Sunday, 11 November 2018

Blog Tour Review: Who I Am by Sarah Simpson



Who I Am by Sarah Simpson
Published: 6th November 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 494
Available on Kindle
Rating: 3/5

Blurb
I know everything about you

And you know everything about me… except

WHO I AM.

Andi met Camilla at university. Instantly best friends, they shared everything together. Until their long-planned graduation celebration ends in tragedy…

Years later, Andi is living a seemingly perfect life on the rugged Cornish Coast with her loving husband, happy children and dream home. Yet Andi is haunted by a secret she thought only she knew. Someone out there is bringing Andi’s deepest fears to life. And she knows there’s no escaping the past that has come back to haunt her…

You trusted me with your secrets, you told me everything, you thought I was your best friend... but you have no idea WHO I AM.

 Gripping, unputdownable and packed with twists and turns from the first page to the very last, this stunning psychological thriller will make you question whether we can ever really trust the ones we love. 

Review
Sarah Simpson is back with another twisty addictive thriller with Who I Am. Andi meets Camilla while studying in Edinburgh, the two form a close bond and are soon best friends until one fateful night after graduation where there is a tragic accident and their lives are changed forever. Years later and Andi’s living the dream life in Cornwall with husband Kyle and her two children but suddenly things are starting to happen which remind Andi of her past. Is Andi just imagining it or is there someone else who knows what really happened that night.
To begin with I was gripped by this character driven novel as we learn about the beginnings of Andi’s relationship with Camilla. I loved how we kept learning little details which helped me to try and build a picture of what happened on that fateful night. I did find though that I seemed to be getting too much information, things that happened when the girls were at university were brought back into the present day and left me more than a little confused.
Andi and Camilla were not character’s I particularly liked, both were very self-absorbed and didn’t seem to care about the feelings of others and when they did there always seem to be a hidden agenda. I did find them fascinating to read about though, especially Andi as she becomes haunted by her past. I loved the addition of Eve from Ms Simpson’s previous novel Her Greatest Mistake and it was good to find out how she was getting on.
This is a novel with a lot going on in it, there are three main narrative voices Andi, Camilla and a mysterious and quite vengeful sounding third and the storyline swaps between Edinburgh and Cornwall from 1999 to 2017. This made for a very detailed storyline and with characters who weren’t always honest it was hard to know what was the truth and what were lies.
If you like complicated plots with many layers you will love this novel, it has interesting characters and a complex plot exploring the truth and how well can we really know anyone. I enjoyed most of this novel but  I was left a little disappointed as I guessed a couple of the twists early on and the final ending for me was a bit lack-lustre after all the build-up.

About the Author


Sarah Simpson has a first-class honours degree in Psychology and has experienced working at a Brain Rehabilitation Hospital. She has spent time as a family consultant for Warwickshire and Oxfordshire solicitors and gained knowledge of the Family Court System. She now lives in Cornwall with her husband, three children and animals.

Follow Sarah
Twitter handle: @sarahrsimpson
Facebook: @sarahsimpsoncornwall

Buy links

Follow Aria
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Blog Tour Review: Divide and Rule by Rachel McLean


Divide and Rule by Rachel McLean
Published: 23rd October 2018
Publisher: Catawampus Press
Pages: 336
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
Jennifer Sinclair’s fight to save her political career, her family and her freedom has failed. Traumatised by prison violence, she agrees to transfer to the mysterious British Values Centre.

Rita Gurumurthy has betrayed her country and failed the children in her care. Unlike Jennifer, she has no choice, but finds herself in the centre against her will.

Both women are expected to conform, to prove their loyalty to the state and to betray everything they hold dear. One attempts to comply, while the other rebels. Will either succeed in regaining her freedom?

Divide and Rule is 1984 for the 21st century - a chilling thriller examining the ruthless measures the state will take to ensure obedience, and the impact on two women.

Review
Divide and Rule is the second book in Rachel McLean’s Division Bell Trilogy and the sequel to A House Divided. In this book MP Jennifer Sinclair has been imprisoned after being found to be helping her son Samir, who was suspected of terrorist behaviour. Jennifer has been sent to a secure facility where she is to be rehabilitated and must prove her loyalty to the state, something Jennifer initially thinks will be easy but soon learns there is much more behind the supposed “celebration” than they are led to believe.
Rita Gurumurthy is a teacher who also finds herself imprisoned by the state as she fails to teach her children the British Values Oath as prescribed by the new government. Rita finds the institution difficult as is unwilling to relent on her views. Can either of them find away to “cheat” the system and find a way out.
Just like Rachel McLean’s previous book A House Divided I found Divide and Rule to be gripping right from the start and it had a chilling and sinister feel running throughout it as both Jennifer and Rita experience a Big Brother type regime like in 1984. I did find the story dragged a little in the middle but regained pace towards the end where its left us with another cliff-hanger ending. I have loved this as I’ve been pondering different ways the trilogy cold end since finishing the book and I’m really looking forward now to finding out how Jennifer’s story ends.
I like the introduction to Rita into the story as it explores another view of the radical Britain Rachel McLean has created and I loved her determination not to let go of her initial beliefs. There are a couple more characters who play an important role in Jennifer’s story particularly Dr Mark Clarke and Meena Ashgar and I’m interested to know what happens to these two in the next book.
If you enjoyed Rachel McLean’s last book I’m certain you will enjoy this one just as much and look forward to the final instalment soon. If you haven’t read A House Divided yet, I urge you to do so as it’s a real page turner, just like this one.

About the Author


I'm Rachel McLean and I write thrillers and speculative fiction.

I'm told that the world wants upbeat, cheerful stories - well, I'm sorry but I can't help. My stories have an uncanny habit of predicting future events (and not the good ones). They're inspired by my work at the Environment Agency and the Labour Party and explore issues like climate change, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis and sexism in high places. All with a focus on how these impact individual people and families.

You can find out more about my writing, get access to deals and exclusive stories or become part of my advance reader team by joining my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub.
Social Media Links –

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Saturday, 20 October 2018

Blog Tour Review: Cottage on a Cornish Cliff by Kate Ryder


Cottage on a Cornish Cliff by Kate Ryder
Published: 16th October 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 474
Available on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

Blurb
Returning to the heart of her beloved Cornwall, Kate Ryder weaves another deliciously irresistible tale of desire, jealousy and the search for understanding, set against the stunning backdrop of the glorious Lizard Peninsula.



Globally renowned actor Oliver Foxley has made the most difficult decision of all and set the love of his life free, in order to try and bring his family back together. But there's a magnetic pull back to both Cara and Cornwall that Oliver can neither deny nor resist...



Heartbroken for a second time in her short life, single mother Cara knows she has no choice but to pick up the pieces yet again and carry on. Perhaps a complete change of scenery would help her, and her young family? Yet her mind, spirit and heart yearn for the windswept shores of her Cornish Cove...



Cara and Oliver face the agonising choice between following expectations, or following their hearts. How will their story end...?


Review



Cottage on a Cornish Cliff is the sequel to Summer in a Cornish Cove, if you haven’t read the first book then I urge you to do so before reading this. Firstly because it was a great novel in its own right and secondly I think you will definitely gain more enjoyment from Cottage on a Cornish Cliff if you’ve read its predecessor.

It’s been eighteen months since world famous actor met his soulmate Cara Penhaligon and then sadly had to let her go it order to keep his family together. It’s a decision he found heart-breaking at the time and one he’s beginning to regret, especially since his wife Deanna announces she wants more of a life of her own away from family life.

Cara’s reputation as a world-class artist is gradually increasing, thanks to her mentor Greg. As Cara spends more time with Greg he begins to make it clear his interests in Cara don’t stop with a paintbrush and he could offer her the security she and her young family need. Can Cara really make a life away from her beloved cove and all the memories it holds.

I adored Kate Ryder’s previous book Summer in a Cornish Cove and I’m so glad she has fulfilled the wish of many readers to that book by writing a sequel, so we can find out if Oliver and Cara ever found a happy ever after. Like her previous book this story has been written incredibly well and her ability to create characters whose inner turmoil really strike a chord with the reader.

Although I enjoyed this book very much I don’t think it’s quite as good her first. I loved the interaction between Cara and Oliver in the first book as it was so enchanting but in this book their lives are very separate for most of the book and I did miss their “togetherness”.  I also felt there wasn’t as much going on in this book and that it lacked a little sparkle that the previous book had.

I can’t wait to read more from Kate Ryder as for me she creates incredible characters that you can’t help but fall in love despite their flaws.

This is great a read and I’m glad I got to experience an ending to Cara and Oliver’s story. It’s a story of love both for your family and romantic love, it’s a story of second chances and taking risks but most of all I think it’s a story about being true to yourself and listening to your heart.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Aria for sending me a copy to review honestly and to the publishers for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.



About the Author



After pursuing a career in publishing and acting, Kate found her passion in writing. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her self-published debut novel received a Chill with a Book, “Book of the Month” Award. She currently lives with her husband in the Tamar Valley in a renovated 200-year-old Cornish sawmill. She finds the Cornish landscape a great source of inspiration. When she is not writing she enjoys reading, art, theatre and travel.

Follow Kate

Facebook:  kateryder.author
Twitter handle:  @KateRyder_Books

Buy links

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Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction




Friday, 19 October 2018

Blog Tour Review: No-One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley


No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley
Published: 19th October 2018
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Pages: 269
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.
The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!
With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….
But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.
With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special her very own Mr Scrooge…

Review
I’m a massive Zara Stoneley fan as her books are hugely entertaining, her latest on No One Cancels Christmas also has the bonus of being full of festive antics as its set in the magical Christmas resort of The Shooting Star Mountain Resort. A place which is full of snow, sleigh rides, huskies and hot chocolate.
Sarah has been running her aunt’s travel agents for a while so when the Shooting Star Mountain Resort starts getting a bad reputation Sarah knows she must step in before it starts to affect her business. After a few heated emails with the resort owner Will Sarah decides its time to head to Canada and sort the problems out herself.
The Shooting Star Resort isn’t just a holiday destination, it’s the last place Sarah was truly happy when she had both her parents around her and was surrounded by love and joy, fifteen years later its time to go back and face what happened there.
Sarah’s enthusiasm for Christmas soon works its magic on the resort and its owners brother Ed and Will. Ed the younger brother tries his best to dodge any work tasks Sarah sets him by flirting his way out, while scrooge like Will tries his best to avoid any fun by hiding away in with husky Rosie. Sarah’s sparkling personality has a way of finding the real Will hidden underneath all the grumpiness.
One of my favourite parts of the book was the interaction between Sarah and young Poppy, who initially seemed like a child nightmare in Sarah’s eyes but actually turned out to be a lovely kid.
This is a book full of hilarious scenes which Zara Stoneley seems to write perfectly, my favourites include scenes with snowmobiles, Christmas trees and gladioli stems.
It was also lovely to catch up with Sam and Jake who are featured in Zara’s previous novel The Wedding Date. Not to mention Sam’s mother the over jealous Ruth, who is sure to bring a smile to your face.
No One Cancels Christmas is a lovely festive novel full of fun, family secrets and a sprinkle of romance. It’s a novel I enjoyed very much, and I can’t wait to read Zara Stoneley’s next novel.
Thank you so much to Netgalley and Harper Impulse for the copy to review and to Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour.
About the Author


Born in a small village in Staffordshire, I wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when I grew up. After many years, and many different jobs, my dream of writing a bestseller came true.

I write about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hope that my tales make you cry a little, laugh a lot, and occasionally say 'ahhh'.

I now live in a Cheshire village with my family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Where you can find her-

Website:
http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter:
@ZaraStoneley
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley


Purchase Link



Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Blog Tour Review: What Happened to Us ? by Faith Hogan


What Happened to Us? by Faith Hogan
Published:  October 2nd 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 444
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
Carrie Nolan is devastated when she is dumped by Kevin Mulvey after more than a decade without even a backwards glance! On reflection, she has sacrificed her own long term happiness establishing their critically acclaimed Dublin restaurant and pandering to his excessive ego.

Meanwhile Kevin can’t believe his luck. Valentina, their new waitress is a stunner, the kind of girl that turns heads when she walks in a room and surprise, surprise she has chosen him! He is living the dream!

Carrie seeks solace from a circle of mismatched friends who need her as much as she needs them. Jane, who struggles to run the pub on the opposite side of the street, Luke, who has stopped drifting while his father settles in a nearby nursing home and Teddy, a dog who asks for nothing more than the chance to stay by Carrie’s side.

With Christmas just around the corner, all is not quite as it seems and a catastrophic sequence of events leads to the unthinkable...

How far do you need to fall before you learn the true value of family and friends? And is it ever too late to start again...

Review
I was introduced to Faith Hogan’s writing earlier this year when I read The Woman I Used to Know, that was a book I adored so I was very much looking forward to reading What Happened to Us and hoping that it had the same beautiful story-telling which I loved from her previous book, which it did in fact this one may just have edged ahead as my favourite.
Carrie and Kevin have been together for ten years and during that time they’ve founded and made a success of their restaurant The Sea Pear. Life is moving along okay for both until Kevin drops the bombshell that he’s leaving Carrie and moving in with younger waitress Valentina who’s just started working at the restaurant. Carrie’s then left alone wondering what to do with the rest of her life, but luck’s her side and she meets three characters who help her to piece her life back together. Little lost dog Teddy takes a shine to Carrie and she takes him home, where the two form a strong bond.  Old lady Jane who lives and works across from The Sea Pear has Carrie down as her emergency contact, so when she’s admitted to hospital Carrie is summoned and the two become closer during hospitals visiting hours. Drifter Luke helps Carrie find her lost key one night, he’s drawn to the Marchant Inn where Jane lives and after seeing her taken to hospital he vows to find out if she’s okay.
Carrie, Jane and Luke quickly form a close friendship and discover that fate has a funny way of bringing you exactly the right people into your life at the right time. The journey these three go on was a delight to read about as their all characters which are easily relatable. Carrie was a lovely character and I warmed to her immediately. She’s warm, loving, caring and very down to earth and despite having her heart broken by Kevin, she’s still civil to him while working at the restaurant even when it emerges that Valentina might not be as perfect as Kevin thinks.  Jane and Luke have their own demons to work through and Faith Hogan has dealt with their issues in a sensitive and charming way making it very easy to be immersed into this book.
I’ve loved reading What Happened to Us it’s a wonderful story of forgiveness, second chances and love and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves a character driven novel.

About the Author


Faith was born in Ireland and currently lives there with her husband, four children and two fussy cats. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate from University College, Galway. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair- an international competition for emerging writers. When she’s not writing, she’s an enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger.

Follow Faith
Twitter: @gerhogan
Facebook: @faithhoganauthor

Buy links

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Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction



Friday, 12 October 2018

Blog Tour Review: Another Day in Winter by Shari Low


Another Day in Winter by Shari Low
Published: October 2nd 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 426
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
On a chilly morning in December… Forever friends Shauna and Lulu touch down at Glasgow Airport on a quest to find answers from the past.

George knows his time is nearing the end, but is it too late to come to terms with his two greatest regrets?

His Grandson Tom uncovers a betrayal that rocks his world as he finally tracks down the one that got away.

And single mum Chrissie is ready to force her love-life out of hibernation, but can anyone compare to the man who broke her heart?

After the success of the No1 best seller ONE DAY IN DECEMBER, comes the second unmissable read in Shari Low’s Winter Day trilogy.

Review

If you read Shari Low’s novel One Day in December last year, then you are sure to love Another Day in Winter as the format is the same.  As four people experience one day in December their lives become irrevocably changed forever.
George is nearing the end of his life and as he lays in his hospital bed he ponders over the biggest mistakes of his life wishing there was some way he could put them right.
After recently losing her grandmother and her husband, Shauna has arrived in Glasgow with her best-friend Lulu hopefully in search of some long-lost family members.
Chrissie is venturing out on her first date in years and spends the day in preparation with friends Josie and Val.
Tom has recently learnt that the love of his life is back in Glasgow and after twelve years he’s determined to be reunited with her.
Told throughout a twenty-four-hour period Shari Low slowly takes each character of a journey of their past as they search for answers in the present, she draws each of her characters together until at the end of the day we learn how they are all connected.
I love Shari Low’s writing, she has a real talent for creating engaging characters which all have interesting stories to tell. In this book she has beautifully unravelled the secrets and lies each character has to deal with and help them to find forgiveness and peace with the actions which have lead to their current situation.
I love that Josie and Val from some of her previous novels have made a reappearance, its like catching up with old friends and gives her novel a cosy which I just adore.
Even if you’ve never read any Shari Low then I recommend Another Day in December it’s a great novel about forgiveness, second chances and all kinds of love.



About the Author


Shari has written seventeen novels under her own name and pseudonyms Ronni Cooper, Millie Conway and Shari King, of which many have been published globally. She writes a weekly opinion column and Book Club page for the Daily Record. Shari lives with her husband and 2 teenage boys in Glasgow.

Follow Shari
Twitter handle: @sharilow
Facebook: @sharilowbooks
Website: www.sharilow.com

Buy links

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Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Blog Tour Guest Post: Happily Ever after at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples


Happily Ever After at the Dog & Duck by Jill Steeples
Published: 2nd October 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 358
Available on Kindle


Blurb
Life in Little Leyton is never quiet, and when handsome developer Max and his bride-to-be Ellie, receive some sad news, he decides to whisk her away for a romantic break. The time away gives Ellie a new perspective, and she’s eager to get home to get on with planning their wedding.

But a devastating incident at the pub she runs, The Dog & Duck, puts everything in jeopardy.  And, at their home Braithwaite Manor, tensions are heightened when Ellie’s future mother-in-law turns up with all her worldly belongings, much to Max’s sister Katy’s despair.  

With Max preoccupied with problems at work, Ellie’s left literally holding the baby, while dealing with a seemingly endless list of dramas. And as Christmas approaches, Ellie begins to wonder if she’ll ever get her happily ever after…

Jill Steeples’ heart-warming Dog & Duck series is the perfect escapist read for all fans of romance, laughter and unforgettable stories.


Guest Post by Jill Steeples
The publication of a new book is always cause for celebration.  After all that hard work it’s so thrilling to finally send your baby out into the big wide world and to know that people will be reading it, and hopefully enjoying it too! In the case of my latest novel, Happily Ever After at The Dog & Duck, there’s double cause for celebration as it’s the fourth and final Dog and Duck book bringing the series to a close.
I must admit to having mixed feelings about this.  Obviously there’s a sense of relief, satisfaction and excitement that I’ve actually made it to this point - there were moments when I wondered if I ever would! - but it’s tinged with sadness too knowing that I’m saying goodbye to characters who I’ve come to love and who have played such a major part in my life these last couple of years.
Funnily enough, I didn’t set out to write a series.  When I wrote the first book about Ellie Browne who loses her job and flat in London, and returns home to the village where she grew up, in search of some thinking time, I’d intended for it to be a stand-alone novel. Without a contract in place at the time or a pressing deadline to meet, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of writing the novel, set in an idyllic English country village and centring around the local pub. When it was finished it I sent it off to a new digital imprint that was just setting up, Aria Fiction, a division of Head of Zeus and within a matter of a few weeks I’d heard from them saying how they loved the book, and would like to publish it.  I was thrilled and quickly accepted their offer and that’s when the idea of turning it into a series and writing three more books was mooted by my editor!
I was daunted by the prospect.  I’d just written one book and now they wanted me to write three more, but once I’d chatted it through with my editor and we’d come up with some ideas on how to develop the series, it seemed that I might just be able to pull it off after all.
The good thing about writing a series is that you already have a core set of characters that you know and love so well.  In my case I also had the fictional village of Little Leyton and The Dog and Duck pub, so I had plenty of scope to develop the storylines, and I loved immersing myself in the fictional world I’d created.
Of course there are challenges to writing a series too.  Not everyone who picks up your book will have read the others in the series so you have to ensure that the story can stand on its own, offering enough backstory to make it easy for new readers to follow, but not too much that you alienate existing readers.  There is also a level of expectation from readers who are following the series. One of the loveliest things I’ve experienced in this process has been people getting in touch  saying how much they’ve enjoyed the stories and asking when the next story will be out. Those sort of comments make it all worthwhile and has made my first experience of writing a series a very positive one. Would I write another one? Possibly. Never say never is definitely my motto now after being pushed to do something that I would never have considered in the first place had it not been for my publisher.  In the meantime I really hope readers, both old and new alike, enjoy this latest book in The Dog and Duck series.

About the Author




Jill lives with her husband, two children and an English Pointer named Amber in the Bedfordshire countryside. Her short stories have appeared in women’s magazines around the world aswell as in charity anthologies. When she’s not writing, Jill loves spending time with family and friends, reading, films, musical theatre, walking, baking and eating cakes, and drinking wine.



Follow Jill

Twitter handle: @jillesteeples

Any blogs/website: www.jillsteeples.co.uk


Buy links





Follow Aria




Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

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