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Sorry, sorry, sorry!! (Reading, writing and reviewing update)

I had intended on getting this blog up to scratch, whacking it out of the court with Nanowrimo (or as I call it ‘be a lunatic and try to get close to one draft of your novel in one month), and to read the books that I know I should have read. I had hoped to get my picks of the year at a stage where I’ve read all the books I’ve seen reviews for and CRAVED over the year and so can definitely say that there’s a chance I’m being representative. Instead I’ve found myself restless, unable to commit, and, in the last week with an earache that had me up most mornings leaning my head against anything I’d heated up on the cover, against radiators, that sort of thing (turned out it wasn’t an earache but a toothache and I had a root canal that was bliss because I knew the pain was ending-the dentist thought I was weird!)

Anyhoo, I now have a ‘tbr’ list. No, not to be read, but actually ‘to be reviewed.’ I’m way behind on my reviews (9 and rising) and my reading (11 books on Netgalley, four outside of that and then all my ‘I need to read by the end of December ones.’ (Let’s just forget that theer’s a KIndle full of ‘others,’ shall we?;)

On the writing front. So you might know I have one book out: It Started With a Snub. I have a second book written, the first of the Abbeyglen series called Pushing Her luck, about a lottery winner who tries to ‘fix’ her village, not really  taking into account the people actually living in it!  Now as I said it’s finished, but there is a lottttt to be done with it, I feel I need to get it sparklier, more lively and nobody in the outside world will see it until I know it’s something I’d covet myself.

I am 30,000 words into new book (book 2 of The Abbeyglen series) where one of the characters that was MIA in the first of this series, is taking over and making life hell for all around her, including a very spritely Bex from book 1 (my favourite character, if I’m honest). Here I’m writing as if I am reading, being surprised as I go along by some of the characters going in different directions to those I’d planned for them to go in and am much happier with it than the first book (so will be going  back to the drawing board). In this book I’ve only 10K from Nano, but I’ll get back to that tonight!)

So, just to let you know where I am book wise- First off I’m reading this

trustme

I have to admit this is totally different to what I expected. I’m not far in, only about 8%, but already it seems to be a mixture of very light and that I expected it to be, somewhere on the dark spectrum. It started out with a good old fashioned thunderstorm as the protagonist drives home, and pretty much had me from there, although the arrival of a very chick kitty character has thrown me, but in a  good way, methinks!

and this

noone

This is sooo good. As you can see, it says ‘the most hilarious comedy you’ll read this Christmas’ and actually, I think they might be right! It’s the side characters that are making it for me, inappropriate without being crude with mix ups and muddling that remind you of something along the lines of ‘This Years Love’ meets ‘Love Actually.’ Brilliant!

and have just finished this:

reachforthestars

(Now out as I’m Still Standing!) I’m afraid I saw Bookouture, and Irish comedy and the cover and jumped a bit too fast for this one. I love that it’s set in Dublin, with excellent settings, but with a cover like that I think I thought it might be a bit sharper and braver than it is, it’s more of a really nice descriptive romantic comedy. It’s somewhat telling for me that with only ten percent to go I switched over to something else, but did go back after a while, and I do enjoy the author’s writing and I think most will love it.

and then after that I’ll get to this

herlast

Next up pretty much has to be Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite , basically I’ve been holding onto it for so long, as I’d read amazing reviews, but ones that had told me it would make me cry again (review for The darkest lies is here), and I’ve been tired lately and wasn’t ready for it. But now I am! (I hope!)

 

Sorry that this is so rough and ready but is just I read so many epic blogs and hate that I’m letting people down trying to be blogger AND writer (and of course Mammy, which is my day, night and 24 hour job (and I do adore it!)). Hope you’re all doing well, if you’d like you can talk about anything, anything at all in the comments! x

 

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Book Trailer Reveal: Follow the Snowflakes by Angelina Kerner

Following on from the cover reveal for Follow The Snowflakes by Angelina Kerner (see cover below), today I’m so pleased to be part of the reveal for the lovely book trailer for the same book.

Follow the Snowflakes front cover

Author Name: Angelina Kerner

Book Title: Follow the Snowflakes: A Christmas Novella

Date Published: December 15, 2017

Genre: Chick-lit, contemporary romance

What they say:

At 28, it’s bad to be single. After four years of relationship struggles, Cat is ready to try anything. 

That’s when her friend tells her about her class’ Dear Santa letters. One little boy asked for a new mommy, and she suggests Cat meets the kid’s dad, just to see where things go. Cat figures it can’t hurt…until she meets a stranger in the midst of a car accident. The man is handsome with a sad look in his eyes. He still wears a wedding band and she’s not sure his heart’s available, even if he makes her heart race. But, maybe he’s a widower? Cat wonders if she should resign herself to being an old maid, or whether she could possibly be the answer to a little boy’s Christmas wish, unless there’s a third option – a future with the stranger.  

Add to Goodreads

Pre-order Links:

Amazon

Kobo 

And now for the Book Trailer (it’s very lovely!!) View it here

About the author

thumbnail_Angelina Kerner

Angelina Kerner’s writing career started at a young age when she discovered that her creativity could be channeled through a bit of ink and paper.

She moved around during her younger years from Novosibirsk and Kaluga Russia to finally settle in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. This startling contrast between the fierce snow of Siberia and the bright sun of the American West is a crucial source of inspiration and humility: the forces of people is to be found not only in their spirits, but in their land too.

Angelina’s curiosity in the human condition led her to pursue courses in psychology and blossomed into a master’s degree in Topographical science. It was with a burning fire that she rejected the status quo offered to her generation, and after many meaningless jobs, she decided that writing could be the canvas in which she could express this dichotomy. While working full time behind counters and registers, she persisted in supporting her family, her full-time coursework, and her creative dreams.

She dared to believe in her talents, and most importantly, in her ability to make a real mark on this world.

Like any creative soul, there was time for doubts, self-loathing, and loneliness, but never fear. She worked on countless experimental narratives, universes, genres, until her voice crystallized into her first published narrative. She is now the author of Deity’s Soulmate and Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted. Her next project involves a competition for a beautiful phoenix. Angelina currently divides her time between her family, work, writing, lots of cats, and two celestial dragons.

Author Links:

Website  (http://www.kernerangelina.com/)

Facebook

Twitter  (@KernerAngelina)

Blog  https://kernerangelina.live/

Pinterest

Goodreads

Brought to you via

Shanannigans 
(Owner/ Blogger/ Book Promotor Extraordinaire)

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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

midnightLength: 319 pages

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

What they say: When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has inherited his meagre worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long-buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu.

The review: So I actually found this book via Claire Heuston over at Art and Soul (an epic book and baking blog, see review here  and, having read the blurb, was keen to get over to Netgalley to request (Thanks so much to Cornerstone and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review!)

Now Claire’s review basically told me that it was a beautiful book, with a fabulous bookstore in it that didn’t feature quite enough, with the story moving away from this fantastic setting to investigate a murder that had happened in the protagonist, Lydia’s life. She found this to be a slight disappointment and I was slightly disappointed when she said this, but decided that maybe this element would be different for me. Unfortunately not, although it didn’t always take away from the book.

It is a book of two paths, the first, the story of Joey, who sadly committed suicide at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. His suicide fully took hold of me, his climb to his death, with the sound of fluttering pages and falling books echoing around a bookstore that oozed character adding to the intrigue as to what was going on. Joey is a Bookfrog, one of many characters that enter the bookstore solely for somewhere to be, and my heart went out to him and wished for him to be stronger, and less beaten down by life.

We meet Lydia, one of the only people in Joey’s life, without being his actual person, and we soon realise she has some monstrous skeletons in her closet. Lydia starts looking into Joey’s death, and it brings her back to her own past, as we find out the horror she had to face as a child int he presence of ‘Hammerman’. There’s a number of characters about, some lovely, some tougher. I found Lydia to be overdramatic at times, even given her circumstances, and so I sometimes struggled.

We come to know her estranged childhood friend and father, who have also been affected by the goings on of times past. Her past itself, when revealed, is tough going, not by any means the toughest I’ve read by a longshot, but you’re so immersed in it and so filled with the sensation of the darkness and being enshrouded by snow, that it was one of the more headachy reads I’ve read recently, causing me to blink a few times on finishing, as if I’d just woken up, or stepped into the light myself. The way everything was put together in the end slightly perplexed me at times, and there was some overdramaticness on Lydia’s part in relation to her father especially.

It’s a tough book to review, because I was incredulous at some things that happened in terms of coincidences, and yet was so taken by some of the storytelling, settings and beauty of it all that it made me want to make people read just so they could experience it too, in particular the opening.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

Cover reveal: Follow the Snowflakes by Angelina Kerner

What they say:

At 28, it’s bad to be single. After four years of relationship struggles, Cat is ready to try anything. 

That’s when her friend tells her about her class’ Dear Santa letters. One little boy asked for a new mommy, and she suggests Cat meets the kid’s dad, just to see where things go. Cat figures it can’t hurt…until she meets a stranger in the midst of a car accident. The man is handsome with a sad look in his eyes. He still wears a wedding band and she’s not sure his heart’s available, even if he makes her heart race. But, maybe he’s a widower? Cat wonders if she should resign herself to being an old maid, or whether she could possibly be the answer to a little boy’s Christmas wish, unless there’s a third option – a future with the stranger. 

And now for the cover!!!

Follow the Snowflakes front cover

thumbnail_Follow the Snowflakes full cover

About the author:

thumbnail_Angelina Kerner

Angelina Kerner’s writing career started at a young age when she discovered that her creativity could be channeled through a bit of ink and paper.

She moved around during her younger years from Novosibirsk and Kaluga Russia to finally settle in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. This startling contrast between the fierce snow of Siberia and the bright sun of the American West is a crucial source of inspiration and humility: the forces of people is to be found not only in their spirits, but in their land too.

Angelina’s curiosity in the human condition led her to pursue courses in psychology and blossomed into a master’s degree in Topographical science. It was with a burning fire that she rejected the status quo offered to her generation, and after many meaningless jobs, she decided that writing could be the canvas in which she could express this dichotomy. While working full time behind counters and registers, she persisted in supporting her family, her full-time coursework, and her creative dreams.

She dared to believe in her talents, and most importantly, in her ability to make a real mark on this world.

Like any creative soul, there was time for doubts, self-loathing, and loneliness, but never fear. She worked on countless experimental narratives, universes, genres, until her voice crystallized into her first published narrative. She is now the author of Deity’s Soulmate and Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted. Her next project involves a competition for a beautiful phoenix. Angelina currently divides her time between her family, work, writing, lots of cats, and two celestial dragons.

Author Links:

http://www.kernerangelina.com/ (Website)

https://www.facebook.com/AngelinaKernerFiction (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/kernerangelina (Twitter)

https://kernerangelina.live/ (Blog)

https://www.pinterest.ca/angelinakerner/ (Pinterest)

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14651070.Angelina_Kerner (Goodreads)

And click here to win the Kindle copy of Deity’s Soulmate (The Goddess Training Trilogy book 1)

61DKHtn6TIL

From author Angelina Kerner (Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted) comes an all-new fantasy series about Gardenia, a daughter of Athena, and her 100 years of coursework on how to create whole new worlds and subjects of her own.

A sheltered schoolchild in a realm of condescending gods and goddesses, Gardenia goes to Earth on a dare to witness the unsavory side of mankind for herself. Believing she can do better, she undertakes the formation of an entire galaxy, but without permission from Zeus.

Zeus disciplines her by assigning an epic 13-fold creational lesson destined to take her a century to complete. But he is taken aback once more when she makes an odd choice. She vows to fulfill this knowledge quest by tracking down a lost race of dragons, and discovering the secrets they’ve kept since time began.

Searching the universe to meet even one dragon may be a fool’s errand, but that’s the least of her worries. For ancient wartime resentments linger between the nations of dragons and deities, and some dragons would attack Gardenia on sight!

Yet she ventures out undaunted, learning unexpected things about nomadic life, tender love, and mortal peril along the way. The biggest surprise of all, though, goes by the name of Ri. Ri may be the man of her dreams, the voice in her head, the dragon she’s seeking, or all these things and more…

Meanwhile, the Fates brew sordid plans of their own and Hera jealously sets traps and trials for Gardenia at every chance. What’s a young goddess to do? Flight or fight?

 

This reveal and giveaway was brought to you via Shanannigans 
(Owner/ Blogger/ Book Promotor Extraordinaire)
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#BlogTour #Review The Note by Zoe Folbigg @Aria_Fiction

9781786698070

Length: 293 pages

Available on NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2xk8jzq 

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ho8FLj

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2xXnW0p

iBooks: http://apple.co/2yi6WxU

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2hkpXwt

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

Hi everyone! I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for ‘The Note’ by Zoe Folbigg, a beautiful book with a ‘Sliding Doors’  feel emulating from it.

What they say: As featured on ITV’s ‘This Morning’…

Based on Zoë Folbigg’s true story comes an unforgettable romance about how a little note can change everything… 
 
One very ordinary day, Maya Flowers sees a new commuter board her train to London, and suddenly the day isn’t ordinary at all. Maya knows immediately and irrevocably, that he is The One.  
 
But the beautiful man on the train always has his head in a book and never seems to notice Maya sitting just down the carriage from him every day. Eventually, though, inspired by a very wise friend, Maya plucks up the courage to give the stranger a note asking him out for a drink. Afterall, what’s the worst that can happen? 
 
And so begins a story of sliding doors, missed opportunities and finding happiness where you least expect it. 
 
The Note is an uplifting, life-affirming reminder that taking a chance can change everything…

The Review:

“Maya has done it. She has delivered three sentences and a friendly sign-off. Black Stabilo OHPen ink in Fine 0.7mm width whispered nervously across white paper that was once crisp, and now it is out of her hands.”

This is THE Note. Our lovely protagonist Maya has just completed her hand-off, passing it to a stranger, who, we are intrigued to find out, doesn’t really seem to be a stranger, she knows too much about him and his daily habits and we soon come to realise she is smitten. I loved ‘hearing’ Maya’s thoughts on Train Man, the name she has given him, a name that many of her fellow workers at FASH, a large “clothing giant” where Maya works, know.

On the FASH front, we have a world where everybody rushes, where all manners of personalities meet, and sometimes clash, and what with the pace and the fantastic descriptions of clothing, setting and people, I was hooked. I’d prefer to not give too much away on this  one, it really is a book that you nod and smile along as you look at the worlds of Train man (James to you and me) and Maya, seeing places where their worlds could have intersected, but didn’t and I loved, loved , loved some of the near misses.

My only issue at all, given that everything else about the book, the backdrops, scenery and descriptions were so fantastic and real, was that for me the tense or perhaps the narrative in general, used made it difficult to read for very long periods of time. Whereas with some books, and particularly romantic comedies, I can sit back and fall into them, this was a book where I found I needed a break from at times, maybe the narrative was more serious than I’m used to and had me needing to concentrate more, I don’t know. Saying that the book was conversely so lovely in a dreamy way and yet so sharp, I would generally fall back into it straight away, and was never lost. Actually, I have to say this was the only aspect that took away at all from the book, everything else took hold, what with our glimpses into James’ life (a special mention has to go to Kitty here, I can’t tell you who she is but wow is she a personality to contend with!), Maya’s life, which also includes the extraordinary Nina, her best friend who entertains at kids parties (another lovely aside) and a class that Maya teaches filled with some great characters (another special mention for Velma!).

It also has to be mentioned that there’s a lovely little trick the author does where every so often you catch little exchanges between bystanders that make you smile or lean in just a little. It gave us the impression that we were in on something with all the characters, which I loved. The FASH office with its constant drama, overseen by the nasty but at times hilariously dramatic Cressida Blaise Snellman, the lovely romance, the sparkling humour made this book mesmirising. Definitely recommended, and the perfect read for this time of year too. Thanks so much to the lovely Melanie from Aria and to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

About the author

Folbigg_Zoe colour

Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. This is her debut novel.

 

Follow Zoe

Website: http://www.zoefolbigg.com/

Twitter: @zolington 

Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor 

 

Follow Aria 

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

And of course now why don’t you follow the blog tour!!

THE NOTE blog tour

 

Hunters Moon by Lynda Renham

hunters

Length:  298 pages

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

What they say: Hunters Moon, set in the little English village of Penlyn, promises to be the dream home for Flora and Adam McIntosh. Adam’s career in politics has taken a turn for the better and the only thing left to complete the couple’s happiness is a baby. Flora believes the new home will help her overcome a recent miscarriage but she soon realises the house is not all it seems. What are the villagers of Penlyn hiding and does Hunters Moon hold a dark secret? Flora soon finds herself entrapped in a web of deceit with no one to turn to. Her dream home becomes her nightmare as Flora fears for her life.

The Review: There are some authors that come up fairly regularly on this blog, and Lynda Renham is one that I can count on. I’ve bought a number of her books but am now regularly thrilled when a request to review an ARC comes into my inbox. You’ll remember that I reviewed and loved Remember me (read review here )and was sucked in and hoping that there was another thriller to come. Well here we are!

‘Professor Dorcas teaches philosophy. He likes to talk about errors of judgement … Henry Dorcas is a fine one to talk.’ Continue reading

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

anks so much to thedarkest

Length: 404 pages

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

What they say: A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Before I Let You In will be captivated.

The review: Well, from one standout to the next, and boy was this a standout! Again, this will very likely figure in my ‘best of’ at the end of the year, as it was a book that stayed with me long after I’d moved on.

“The cry for help is ragged and desperate, the voice hitching. There is no one to hear it. A moon hangs so fat it oozes an aura into the sky that almost blots out the stars surrounding it. It looks down on land as flat as an open palm, and as unforgiving as a clenched fist, and gives no answer to the screams of fear and rage that float up to it… ‘Help me! Please! Help!’ There is no one to catch the words. No one, except a lone figure, turning, walking away towards lights int he far off distance.”

And so it starts. The book really begins with Beth, a young teen who’s obviously planned to do something that she hasn’t let her parents in on, as she leaves with her mother to sleep over at her friend’s house. This book thrusts you into every parent’s nightmare, made vivid by the last things, those little everyday occurances that just had to happen before she left-her dad barely said goodbye to her as he was watching tv, her mum doesn’t walk her to her friends door. This is something I always always think of, that the little things that you take for granted, in this case, that her father obviously didn’t think to say a proper goodbye, because little did he know it was going to be a night unlike any other he’d experienced, and then the if only her mother had seen her into her friend’s house.

It is the finer details of this book that keep you hooked, as they search for Beth, then find her, as you sit by her hospital bed, wondering can she hear anything, will she wake up, then as you stand on the doorstep of a house with her mother pleading for someone to tell you they can help you find the attacker or wonder if people you thought were so close to you can even be trusted. I have to admit I struggled with Melanie, the mother, feeling for her so much, but not really liking her as a person. This was especially hammered home as I loved her daughter, Beth, so much.

Some of the chapters were from the point of view of an unknown person, and I have to admit some of it made for slightly violent reading. These, coupled with the unfolding of Beth’s story were real game-changers for me, I was nervous and preparing myself to find out how this had happened to poor, innocent Beth, who was too young to know better. I knew what the end result was, of course, but still willed her to not go where she was headed. Meanwhile I was watching Mel and couldn’t figure out if her deductions were correct because, of course, she was unravelling. The pacing in this was up and down a bit, obviously we had the emotional side of Melanie and Jacob, which was honed in on a lot, to be fair, and some of the people who want a bang bang bang book might have a problem with it, but I was very emotionally invested, so it didn’t matter.

In terms of the whodunnit part- the fact that you had a village of people to look at, and worry about, was excellent, and I was shocked by the gang mentality that sprung up against the people they suspected. The part of the book that held me, though, was when what was to happen, happened, and we heard Beth’s thoughts. I have to say I have not cried like this over a book in some time. I sobbed my heart out for both her and her mum, and it sprang into my head a few times after I’d finished.

I’m split down the centre on the ending, it could have gone either way for me, as in the book could have finished earlier and I’d still have been satisfied, but then the ending that was given sent a bit of a chill so, in the end I was happy out(when the book continued on after the place I expected it to end there was a bit of a ‘what’s going on, why aren’t we finished here?’ but I was jumping the gun. All in all another excellent book that, again (and you’ll be hearing this a lot in the next while as I’ve been extremely lucky book-wise), I’d be very shocked if it didn’t end up in my end of year ‘best of’s.’ Most definitely recommended for exquisite beautiful, emotionally charged writing and settings, tension and chills. Definitely looking forward to the next by Ms. Copperthwaite, Her Last Secret, which, luckily enough, is on my Kindle right now (you can pre-order it here now). Thanks so much to Netgalley and of course the excellent Bookouture for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5