#BookReview #Blogtour Return to the Lily Pond Cafe by Emily Harvale @EmilyHarvale @rararesources

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What they say: 

Life couldn’t be better for Mia and her friends in Little Pondale – until tragedy strikes…

Mia Ward is on cloud nine after a magical Christmas and New Year and she isn’t the only one. Everyone on Lily Pond Lane seems to be living in blissful harmony. Until tragedy strikes… not once, but twice. And as Hettie Turner points out: ‘Bad things always come in threes.’

Whilst the other residents of Little Pondale are wondering what might happen next, Mia is busy worrying about her friends and trying to help them with their grief. But she needs to be careful. Just when she thought she had everything, there’s a very real chance she might lose the only thing she truly wants.

The Review: Okay, so I’m going to have to be cagey about this one because I’ve just seen from the blurbs that the disasters that strike Little Pondale aren’t mentioned. So here we go!

From the off of this book there was drama and eventful moments galore and I can’t even tell you how fast it went for me. I settled in so quickly into Little Pondale, happy, as I always am, to be back in one of the most charming and homely settings of any series I’ve read.

We are re-acquainted with all the inhabitants (warning there are a lot of them, just so you know to be caught up with the other books!) as they navigate everything thrown at them and of course all the romance that flutters in between. This is most definitely one for the people who like their chick lit cosy, warm and on the pulse pacing wise, and I loved getting back to all the characters. I do have to say that the big event that caused the named return to lily pond lane made me want to slap some of the residents (most of all Mia and Jet) as they discussed romance when the person returning was going through something much huger than their worries. Saying that I beyond enjoyed and cannot wait to get to the next book in the series! Thanks so much to Rachel’s Random Resources for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Purchase Links:

UK

 US

Author Bio –

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Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

Social Media Links –

Facebook 

Twitter

Instagram

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#BlogTour #BookReview Strays and Relations @rararesources @DizzyGreenfield

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Strays and Relations

Strays and Relations follows the story of Dizzy, whose search for her birth parents is sad, humorous, and in parts bizarre. Dizzy learns that she began life as a surviving twin, then was fostered until a permanent home was found. Dizzy begins her search for her original identity. Why was she given up for adoption in the 1960s? Following a tenuous lead, she travels to Ireland with her best friend Sugar, but the trail takes a misleading turn. It ends in what they mistakenly believe is Dizzy’s mother’s grave. Dizzy falls in love with Will, a blacksmith. But something is missing. Dizzy’s life changes when her birth father Tommy makes contact using a private detective. He reveals that her birth mother is alive and married to a man called Vernon. Now the bigger, trickier task lies ahead: working out how to fit the disparate bits of her life together. This is a book which will both amuse and touch readers’ hearts. Strays and Relations manages sensitive subject matter with engaging wit and sharply-observed dialogue, and includes vivid descriptions of some rather unusual animals and people. It will appeal to readers who have encountered a recycled animal or family.

The review: I have to admit I was a little bit worried about reading this, adoption and catholic Ireland being something I think about a lot, as being an Irish catholic (I go to mass on and off but hold a lot of beliefs, and know some lovely priests, but hate what Irish history is and how cruel catholic Ireland was to so many people) and was relieved when it didn’t become all about that.

I read it on a train, aptly enough, a s this is very much a story about a journey and I settled into Dizzy’s one nicely. The book was full of homeliness, warmth and some nice little chuckle out loud moments. Had it been any other day actually I think I’d have cried in parts too, but it just wasn’t that day (I know, it’s weird, some days the waterworks overflow, others-nothing!) and I nodded on reaching a conclusion that was nicely done. Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for allowing me to be part of the blog tour and for the book in return for an honest review.

Purchase Links

Troubador 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author 

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Author Bio – I have lived in the West Country all of my life, but never in such a remote place as I do now – in the middle of the woods with rooks and bats. It may be remote but it’s never quiet in Dizzyland! When I’m not looking after the dogs, chickens and a six-toed cat, I help run a blacksmith’s forge with my partner.

My ideas come from humorous incidents in my own life, which I fictionalise. Strays and Relations is my first novel.

Before I began writing I had various jobs, including working in a wildlife park and as a youth worker.

Social Media Links – Website

Silvercrow books

Goodreads

Troubador 

Twitter

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#BlogTour #BookReview The Serial Dater’s Shopping List by Morgen Bailey @morgenwriteruk @bombshellpub @BOTBSPublicity

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Length: 373 pages

Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say: Are you looking for the perfect summer holiday read? Then you’ll love this laugh-out-loud comedy about the highs and lows of dating.

Izzy is a journalist who usually writes a technology column for a local newspaper. Her somewhat-intimidating boss William sets her the task of dating thirty-one men, via an internet dating site, all within a month, and writing about it for the paper.

Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend Donna, Izzy knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts and starts ticking them off as she meets the men.

Follow the ups and downs of the dating process including Tim ‘the Weeble’, whose date leads Izzy to see banoffee pie in a whole new light, Lawrence the super-skinny social worker, Felix with his bizarre penchant for Persian Piranhas, and ‘the music maestro but don’t talk about dead pets’ Jake.

By the end of the month, will Izzy have met Mr Right?

The Review: To start with, I have to tell you that I am lucky enough to know Morgen Bailey in a professional capacity, in that she was my right hand and editor of ‘Snowday.’ As I worked with her I inwardly did a very happy dance as I found I’d come across someone who, rom com/chick lit wise, was not only on the same page as me, but also the same sentence! Her help, her feedback and her changes were bang on, wherever I had an issue Morgen’s suggestions and prompts and encyclopedic knowledge gave a proper airtight fix. But, yes, I’m digressing again.  What I’m saying is that when this book came up  for review I was beyond beyond beyond excited (and more than a LOT terrified!) as people always want to know if a trainer/ teacher/ in this case editor is also a master of their trade. And wow is she! Thanks so much to Sarah from Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo for this book in return for an honest review (and sorry, I appreciate this is one long intro!!).

So we start the book with reporter Izzy, our lead, setting up a profile for herself on a dating website as instructed by her boss, William. Izzy is a technology buff, hence the online aspect and also one of the few singles in the office. The theory is, she’ll write every day about the date the night before, trying of course to keep her identity secret (she’s posing as a training consultant).

I got my first laugh as she reported on her date, giving us a review that I probably would  have yawned  over and which didn’t go down well and so we moved onto reviews that were more in depth and which also gave us a message, telling us not to judge people by appearances, to try to help people, make sure to have fun, get new experiences, and other giant gold nuggets all wrapped up in beautiful warmth and wisdom ( I hearted her column so much).

Izzy was beyond up my street, watching Jack and Sarah, laughing over specific moments I also remembered from the Vicar of Dibley, giving us spot on references to Only Fools and Horses and educating people on how full fat coke was better (at one point I made the ‘YES!’ face as she asked a barman was it out of the splash or from a bottle).

She was sensible and yet warm and funny too and I loved her slight feelings of guilt when she dodged out of a date early (all justified!) I smiled often, nodded along appreciatively, laughed fully out loud a very impressive number of times and snorted twice (Who’s counting? I’d say the hubby and the kids, I was questioned in depth on the fact that a book was causing this reaction!!)

Another thing I hearted was Donna, her partner in crime from the office. Donna with her  continuous beam and positivity surprised me (and Izzy) constantly with her scientific analyses and made me grin pretty much every time I encountered her. Actually all of the characters were bang on, the dates (and yes, there are over thirty of them and no, your eyes never wander and you very rarely get mixed up-the odd, odd time I had to check a name and that was it, which is some credit to the author!) showed you how gorgeous to look at guys could be both idiots and lovely, how guys that the outside world giggled at could be absolute gems, how rude and mean people can be, how one or two faux pas can totally mess everything up from the off but more than anything they showed how lovely Izzy was and I actually cried at one point when it was pointed out that compared to what some people have to live with the average person’s problems are generally little more than a mini glitch. Special mention for a guy and his sister in law (nearly crying again at the in law’s comment), a guy with a certain disorder and someone who needs ( and gets!) a helping hand.

All in all a gem of a book that I’d be pretty shocked if it didn’t make it into my top ten at the end of the year. Adored, adored, adored and beyond recommended and definitely one I’d mark as a holiday read as it’s one to take time over and ingest properly.

Rating: 5/5

Author Bio:
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Morgen Bailey (Morgen with an E) is an author (of novels, short stories, writing and editing guides), freelance editor (for publishers and indie authors), writing tutor (in person and online), Writers’ Forum magazine ‘Competitive Edge’ columnist, blogger, speaker, and co-founder of Northants Authors. The former Chair of three writing groups, she has judged the H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, RONE, as well as the BBC Radio 2, BeaconLit, and Althorp Literary Festival children’s short story competitions. She also runs her own monthly 100-word competition. 2018 events include talks and workshops at Troubador’s Self Publishing Conference speakers, workshops and panels at Delapre Book Festival, interviewing and workshops at BeaconLit, and NAWG Fest with her ‘Editing your Fiction’ weekend residential course. Morgen can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and many others. Her blog is http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, and email address morgen@morgenbailey.com.

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B L O G T O U R

Sarah Hardy

Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo
Twitter: @BOTBSPublicity

#BookReview The Truth About Love And Dogs By Lilly Bartlett @MicheleGormanUK

TALAD UK

What they say: Four little words, uttered by her husband…
‘Oh my god,’ he gasped into her shoulder. ‘Shannon!’
There’s just one problem: her name isn’t Shannon.

Rewind six months and Scarlett and Rufus aren’t in the honeymoon stage anymore so much as the honey-should-we-bother phase. Desperate to get their sparkle back, Scarlett has plotted, planned and waxed more than any woman should have to, but none of it is working. Which makes it very hard to start the family they want. 

At least her business is going strong, even if her marriage isn’t. She and her best friend spend their days tangled up in dog leads and covered in fur. Scarlett/ is the fairy dogmother, training hopeless pets like compulsive eater Barkley, impulsive Romeo Murphy and bossy Biscuit. Meanwhile, her best friend walks the dogs and pines for the man who doesn’t know she exists. Thank goodness the women have each other. 

If only Scarlett could work out how to get her marriage back on track. But Rufus isn’t sharing his feelings with her. He is, though, sharing with her best friend. Her best friend, Shannon.

Amazon US link

Amazon UK link

The Review: First off let me direct to previous books by this author that I’ve reviewed here and let me tell you I didn’t actually realise she had so many books out and they cover so much from romance to comedy to romantic comedy that I think you’d be hard pressed not to find something you’d love in her repertoire! But, as usual, I digress.

I have to admit when I a) saw this cover and b) heard that the book was by Michele Gorman aka Lilly Bartlett, I did a little happy dance (I actually truly do these. Yes! In real life!) and agreed straight away to review this, a book choc full of dogs!!!

So of course the whole story isn’t about dogs, this is the story of Scarlett and her best friend Shannon (both tell us the story in third person in  the book. Actually my only issue at all was for some reason my dense head couldn’t move from Scarlett to Shannon for the first half of the book because both their names began with the same letter. This does seem a really dumb thing to nitpick over, but I was flummoxed at times and I was a little bit gutted as it took over from a read that was totally my thing and that I beyond enjoyed) and the man in the middle, Rufus.

Scarlett and Rufus are trying for a baby but the strain of it is starting to show and Rufus seems to be getting fed up of it all while Scarlett is trying to handle the stress by herself. I loved the way the infertility was dealt with and really felt for both of them, feeling sorry for each in equal measures. In the midst of all of this is their mutual best friend Shannon, who isn’t fully in the know as to what is going on, but is getting some of it and trying not to take sides. There is then of course the love interests. Shannon is pining over a guy she sees most days who she’s never spoken to, while the introduction of characters through Scarlett’s work made me fearful for whether Scarlett’s marriage would actually take the test it was being put through, or if there was another guy on the horizon.

Of course by now I still haven’t spoken about the dogs!! Scarlett is a dog trainer. I loved meeting the animals and their owners, a slight caveat, there is a lot of them, so people who don’t like a ton of characters need to beware, but I felt I definitely got to know them as the book went on, really rooting for some of them (look out for Margaret!!) The comedy was nicely done, with a fair few smiles along the way (of course, it being doggy related!) I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it’s very much recommended. Thanks to the author for the book in return for an honest review.

About the author

michelegorman

Lilly Bartlett’s cosy romcoms are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

Lilly is the pen-name of Sunday Times and USA Today best-selling author, Michele Gorman, who writes best friend-girl power comedies under her own name.

The Mum Who Got Her Life Back by Fiona Gibson

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Length: 400 pages

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

What they say: The laugh-out-loud Sunday Times bestseller is back and funnier than ever! Perfect for fans of WHY MUMMY DRINKS.

When her 18-year-old twins leave for university, single mum Nadia’s life changes in ways she never expected: her Glasgow flat feels suddenly huge, laundry doesn’t take up half her week, and she no longer has to buy ‘the Big Milk’. After almost two decades of putting everyone else first, Nadia is finally taking care of herself. And with a budding romance with new boyfriend Jack, She’s never felt more alive.

That is, until her son Alfie drops out of university, and Nadia finds her empty nest is empty no more. With a heartbroken teenager to contend with, Nadia has to ask herself: is it ever possible for a mother to get her own life back? And can Jack and Nadia’s relationship survive having a sulky teenager around?

A gloriously funny and uplifting new book perfect for fans of Gill Sims and Jill Mansell.

The Review: So I’ll start by pointing you to previous gushes about one of my favourite authors. There’s As Good As It Gets, which was the first time I came across Ms. Gibson, then  The Mum Who’d had enough , and then I was lucky enough to come across more in a series of Valentines shorts here . From the second I read my first Fiona Gibson book I sat up, revelling in the fact that I’d found someone that wrote rom coms that were about the everyday and yet written in such a way that sparkled, made you smile, laugh and nod along for the duration of the journey (my sole goal in my own books and the reason why I actually always quote Ms. Gibson as my writing inspiration.)

And here is no exception as we follow Nadia, who thought her world would fall apart when her 18 year old twins left, but who is starting to be able to list the ways it’s actually not shaping up to be so bad ( we are privy to these lists throughout the book).

When we met Jack, who’s got a teen daughter and runs a local charity shop, I was pretty much taken straight away. The shop itself contained the loveliest mish mash of people and beyond added to the humour. Jack was just one of the nicest guys and I found myself thrilled when they bumped into each other in Lush, where he now thinks she works. I’ll admit while I loved seeing them together, I was hankering for some drama ( in the slightest way this book was the teeniest amount less fast moving than her others) which arrived in the form of lovelorn Alfie, Nadia’s son, who I have to admit was the only character I wanted to throttle!

Nadia then finds herself thrown back into a tip-toeing, whispering mother again, suddenly having to perform all of her duties again for her vegan ( but in a totally non accepting way of others), forlorn, moody son. Of course, the requirement to keep him happy pretty much puts everything else in Nadia’s life into a spin and leads to a totally enjoyable, read over multiple nights so I could properly savour and adore it, hilarious and romantic read that is totally recommended. I loved this book and can’t wait to get back to Ms. Gibson’s back catalogue (I’ve a huge number to read on my Kindle for when I have a bit of time!)  Thanks so much to Avon and Netgalley for this brilliant book in return for an honest review.

Rating:5/5

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

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Length: 352 pages

Please note the cover image buys tp a universal Amazon buy link for the book

Have you ever imagined a different life?
Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided…Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar?

From much-loved, international bestseller Cecelia Ahern come stories for all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, discover thirty touching, often hilarious, stories and meet thirty very different women. Each discovers her strength; each realizes she holds the power to make a change.

Witty, tender, surprising, these keenly observed tales speak to us all, and capture the moment when we all want to roar.

The review: I bypassed this gem on my Netgalley list a number of times for very dumb reasons. First off, I’ll be frank, I just don’t like the cover- I think I put it well into the ‘will go over my head’ category. The other thing was I assumed it would be a colossal read and I honestly do not have time this year for anything over 450/500 pages. Oh how I could kick myself now, but look we are where we are and I am so glad to have read this beautiful book!

So to start with, it’s a group of short stories, all centred around different women, some to make you laugh, for example a group of women who have fallen through the floor from various embarrassing moments, others that,I can’t even begin to put across how emotional I became, as they put me right back to times I felt lost, or at the ‘is this really all I can be from here on in?’ time in my life.

To say they took hold of my heart doesn’t even begin to cover it. There was one in particular that caught me and made me smile too, but still stung as I thought about people’s daily challenges. It began simply, with people being defined by a pink or blue wristband, but soon descended into showing us how gender issues of course should never be that simple.

This is a book where the short stories are all encompassing, unbiased and educational, with perhaps one I wouldn’t have agreed with myself, deeming it to be a little sensational and not as clear cut as portrayed and definitely open to interpretation, especially if you hold different beliefs.

Saying that in general they pretty much all held me, gripped me and took my breath away. One I’ll be buying for friends in the future and beyond recommended. Thanks so much to Harpercollins and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating:5/5

 

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

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Length: 312 pages

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

What they say: ‘In this chilling tale of paranoia, suspicion and accusation, Lesley Kara keeps you guessing until the final page.’ Paula Hawkins, No.1 bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water

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When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

The Review: I had heard so much about this and was dying to read it and got to it in one night by the fire, very happy out. It is the story of a small seaside town where one person takes a rumour they heard and repeats it, not totally thinking of consequences.

From the start I was totally walking alongside Joanna, as she mentions something (actually again and again), not meaning to say it, but not sure how to be included. It was something you can totally see yourself doing!

The story in general is quite an easy read, definitely for someone who likes the everyday and little things that make it all so real to be expanded on (me!) And I could envision it as people began to ask ‘did you hear …?’

Of course you weren’t sure if the rumour was true, but the witch hunt had began, with a business owner being picked on and told to leave. As Joanna tried to figure out if it was true and also who the person was, we also got an insight into child killers and how what they do marks their whole life. There are a number of possibilities, most of them standoutish enough that you can follow, picture them and try and work it out yourself but I will admit we probably went a little over the quota for me and I got confused once or twice, although that may be just me. The ending also wasn’t quite my cup of tea but I did very much enjoy the rest of it and would not only recommend to put on your wish list but will most definitely read the author again!

Thanks so much to Transworld Digital and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating:4/5