Thursday, 21 June 2018

Blog Tour Review: The Distance by Zoe Folbigg


The Distance by Zoe Folbigg
Published: 1st June 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 368
Available on Kindle
Rating: 3/5


Blurb
From the author of the bestselling novel, The Note, comes this beautiful, romantic tale of finding love in the most unexpected places.

Under the midnight sun of Arctic Norway, Cecilie Wiig goes online and stumbles across Hector Herrera in a band fan forum. They start chatting and soon realise they might be more than kindred spirits. But there are two big problems: Hector lives 8,909km away in Mexico. And he's about to get married.

Can Cecilie, who's anchored to two jobs she loves in the library and a cafe full of colourful characters in the town in which she grew up, overcome the hurdles of having fallen for someone she's never met? Will Hector escape his turbulent past and the temptations of his hectic hedonistic life and make a leap of faith to change the path he's on?

Zoe Folbigg's latest novel is a story of two people, living two very different lives, and whether they can cross a gulf, ocean, sea and fjord to give their love a chance.

Review

The Distance is Zoe Folbigg’s latest novel and like its successful predecessor The Note is explores the concept of love overcoming any obstacle. In this book it’s the story of love between Hector and Cecilie. Hector lives in Mexico and Cecilie lives in northern Norway, the two “meet” in a music chat room one evening in 2013. Over the next five years the two communicate via the internet and slowly fall in love, there’s just one major problem the distance between them. Will these two ever gain the courage to meet up and give their relationship a chance or are they destined to be pen-pals for ever?
Cecilie and Hector are two characters which I didn’t gel with for a long time. Hector seems a bit of a player and spends much of his time drinking and partying until the early hours without a care in the world. Cecilie came across as very young and naïve despite being in her late twenties, she acted more like a sulky teenager most of the time. I did warm to them towards the end of the book but only after they make big changes in their lives.
My favourite part of the story was Kate’s, who lives in England with her husband George and their three children. I immediately like Kate although I couldn’t work out her connection to either Hector or Cecilie. This is explained further on in the book but doesn’t fully make sense until the very end of the book.
I found The Distance quite a hard book to read, you have to be paying full attention as the narrative switches between and Hector, Cecilie and Kate and jumps through a time period between 2013 and 2019, so sometimes I was confused by what exactly was going on, making it a hard book to enjoy.
The Distance is a book about love finding a way, no matter what, about not giving up on your dreams and doing what makes you happy. It had some funny moment, some sad moments and some heartfelt moments which made for a well-rounded read. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it as much as Ms. Folbigg’s first novel.
Thank you to aria and Netgalley for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and sending me a copy to review.


About the Author


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. She is the bestselling author of The Note


Buy now links:
Amazon: mybook.to/TheDistance  
Google play: http://bit.ly/2l7RakV 

Follow Zoe

Twitter: @zolington
Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor

Follow Aria

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



Monday, 18 June 2018

Blog Tour Guest Post: More Than Us by Dawn Barker


More than Us by Dawn Barker
Published: 21st May 2018
Publisher: Canelo
Pages: 334
Genre: Women's Fiction, Family Drama
Available on Kindle

Today I'd like to welcome Dawn Barker to my blog, author of the inspiring novel More Than Us, she's going to give us some insight into the inspiration for the novel, over to Dawn.

Blurb
When parents disagree on how to care for their child, is it justifiable to take extreme measures?
Emily and Paul have a glorious home, money in the bank and two beautiful children. Since leaving Scotland for Paul to play football for an Australian team they have been blessed. But sadness lies behind the picture-perfect family - sixteen-year-old Cameron has battled with health troubles his entire life. There's no name for what he has, but his disruptive behaviour, OCD and difficulty in social situations is a constant source of worry. 
When Paul's career comes to a shuddering halt, he descends into a spiral of addiction, gambling away the family's future. By the time he seeks help, it's his new boss Damien who recommends and pays for a rehab facility.
While Paul is away, Emily has to make a tough decision about their son. She keeps it from Paul knowing he'll disapprove. And when a terrible accident reveals the truth, Paul takes his son and goes on the run, leaving Emily to care for fourteen-year-old Tilly, who unbeknown to her parents is fighting battles of her own.
Can the family join together for the sake of their loved ones, or will their troubles tear them apart?

Guest Post: The Inspiration Behind More than Us by Dawn Barker

The inspiration for writing More Than Us

Dawn Barker

First of all, thank you for having me on your blog today. I’m very excited that More Than Us, my third novel, is out now!

Of all my books, More Than Us was the one that took the longest to write. I remember having the first idea for it about four years ago, while my family and I were living in Cape Town in South Africa. I remember walking in the beautiful Camps Bay area with my husband and talking about the problems that young sportsmen (and women) face after being drafted in their teenage years into elite sport, then propelled into a life where they are treated like stars. Here in Australia, there have been some high-profile cases of Australian Rules Football and swimming stars who have then struggled to adjust to the real world when their careers end and become addicted to substances. I know in the UK, there have been similar stories reported of soccer stars, where the fame and money involved is almost incomprehensible. For many young men, when their career ends, often in their twenties or thirties, they have to adjust to real life, which is difficult when they haven’t completed their education, and have never had to learn to manage things the way that the rest of us do. I thought this would be an interesting character for a book.

That idea grew, but I needed more, and then I recalled a case I saw at work (I’m a psychiatrist for my day job) many years ago, when a family disagreed with the cause of their teenage son’s psychosis. This child’s father sought alternative treatment, while the mother wanted the treatment that I recommended as a doctor. I never knew how that case ended, as I only saw the family briefly, so I thought that writing about a similar case would allow me to explore all the complicated issues and beliefs that we have in our society about mental illness.

I then started writing the first draft of this book a few years ago, combining those ideas and also exploring the often-conflicting views about mental illness in children. As a child psychiatrist, I have absolutely no doubt that children can become psychiatrically unwell, of course, but I also feel that sometimes, mental illness is over diagnosed, and I share the concern of many about the use of medication in children when diagnosis is unclear.

In writing More Than Us, I hoped to explore all of these issues through the eyes of a fictional family living that experience. It certainly helped me to consider many of the issues in depth and I hope that it provokes some thought and discussion amongst readers.

Thanks again for having me on your blog today!

About the Author



Dawn Barker is a psychiatrist and author. She grew up in Scotland, then in 2001 she moved to Australia, completed her psychiatric training and began writing. Her first novel, Fractured, was selected for the 2010 Hachette/Queensland Writers Centre manuscript development programme, was one of Australia's bestselling debut fiction titles for 2013, and was shortlisted for the 2014 WA Premier's Book Awards. Her second novel is Let Her Go. Dawn lives in Perth with her husband and three young children.

Twitter: @drdawnbarker

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Blog Tour Review: The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts


The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts
Published: 1st June 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 295
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
London, 1914: one ordinary day, three girls arrive for work at London’s renowned Foyles bookshop. But when war with Germany is declared their lives will never be the same again…

Alice has always been the ‘sensible’ one in her family – especially in comparison with her suffrage-supporting sister! But decidedly against her father's wishes, she accepts a job at Foyles Bookshop; and for bookworm Alice it's a dream come true. But with the country at war, Alice’s happy world is shattered in an instant.

Determined to do what she can, Alice works in the bookshop by day, and risks her own life driving an ambulance around bomb-ravaged London by night. But however busy she keeps herself, she can’t help but think of the constant danger those she loves are facing on the frontline…

Alice, Victoria and Molly couldn’t be more different and yet they share a friendship that stems back to their childhood - a friendship that provides everyday solace from the tribulations and heartbreak of war.

Perfect for fans of Elaine Everest, Daisy Styles and Rosie Hendry.

Review

Elaine Roberts’ debut novel The Foyles Bookshop Girls is a delightful tale of friendship and family during the outbreak of World War 1. Alice, Victoria and Molly all work in the famous Foyles bookshop in London and have been friends for many years, despite having very different lives.
Alice lives in Bloomsbury Square with her middle-class mother, father and three siblings. Life under her father’s roof is strict but Alice copes by escaping to the work in the bookshop three days a week. Molly lives with her working-class parents and brother in a much cosier and warmer house, but she spends much of her time with womaniser boyfriend Tony. Poor Victoria lost both her parents and the love of her life four years ago, she’s struggling to keep a roof over her head and keep her younger sister and brother under control. When the war breaks out all their lives change, and their friendships are put to the test as each woman watches someone they love, go off to fight.
This is one of those books which creeps up on you and draws you in, until you just must finish it. I was surprised by just how much this book did this as I wasn’t initially expecting to love it as much as I did.  The first few chapters are a bit slow but after the fifth I was well and truly hooked on this captivating story, I’m just sad now I must wait to find out what happens next.
Elaine Roberts seems to me to have perfectly captured the atmosphere at this time in history. Before the war breaks out woman are rallying to introduce votes for women which would give them more freedom in time when men were very much in control, something Alice’s younger sister Lily is desperate for as she struggles to conform to her father’s strict way of life.  As the war breaks out you can feel the younger men’s optimism at going on the “adventure” to fight in the war as the older generation covey the message of doing the right thing for the country, the innocence of Charlie as he set off to war was quite distressing to read as at seventeen you could tell he wasn’t ready for the trauma ahead of him. As the war progresses it’s the women that keep the country going and provide emotional and physical support for those in need. I loved that Alice and Lily became part of this and at times risked their lives to help those in danger, it showed just how strong these women’s characters were.
Alice was definitely the hero of this book as the majority of the storyline focuses on her family and her blossoming romance with police officer Freddie. I loved how much she changed throughout the book, changing from a meek and mild woman who dreaded confrontation to one who is brave enough to challenge her father, this was my favourite part of the book.
Victoria does have some of the plot devoted to her life, but I felt Molly was often overlooked and didn’t add anything to how the story progressed. With two more books planned in this series I’m hoping each of these girls will have one focusing on them, so we can learn more about them.
Elaine Roberts has done a wonderful job with The Foyle’s Bookshop Girls, writing a novel which is engaging and full of atmosphere and emotion and its one which I can highly recommend to anyone who loves this genre.
Thank you so much to Netgalley and Aria for sending me a copy to review and inviting me to be part of the blog tour.


About the Author



Elaine Roberts had a dream to write for a living. She completed her first novel in her twenties and received her first very nice rejection. Life then got in the way until she picked up her dream again in 2010. She joined a creative writing class, The Write Place, in 2012 and shortly afterwards had her first short story published. Elaine and her patient husband, Dave, have five children who have flown the nest. Home is in Dartford, Kent and is always busy with their children, grandchildren, grand dogs and cats visiting.

Follow Elaine

Twitter: @RobertsElaine11
Facebook: @ElaineRobertsAuthor


Buy links:

Amazon: mybook.to/TheFoylesBookshopGirls

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

iBooks: https://apple.co/2HnGG9K

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2xNqm2v


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


Friday, 15 June 2018

Blog Tour Review: Mulberry Lane Babies by Rosie Clarke


Mulberry Lane Babies by Rosie Clarke
Published: 1st June 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 418
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
1941 Mulberry Lane, London. War rages but new life brings new hope. Perfect for fans of Katie Flynn and Cathy Sharp.

Times are hard for all on Mulberry Lane as the war rages into yet another year. Desperate times push people into dangerous situations, and the residents of Mulberry Lane are not exempt.

Menacing shadows lurk on dark street corners, threatening the safety of those who are alone and vulnerable. When Peggy's twins are born early Maureen and Nellie are there to lend a helping hand.

The mothers of Mulberry Lane stick together despite the grim conditions of war torn London and a shadowy fear that stalks their lives. Neighbours and friends look out for each other and new life brings hope and joy to the Lane.

Review
Rosie Clarke’s Mulberry Lane series is one of my absolute favourites and I think  Mulberry Lane Babies is my favourite so far, so much drama unfolded during this book that it was hard to stop reading. I devoured it in just one afternoon which was wonderful but no sadly I’ve got a long wait until the next instalment.
In this third book we have old favourites Peggy and Maureen who are both pregnant and not willing to slow down at all. With husband Laurie away in Scotland its up to Peggy to keep up the running of the pub, as well as helping daughter Janet look after young Maggie while she helps Mike recover from his horrific time in hospital. She’s also keeping a watchful eye on young Tommy Barton as his father Jack has had to return to the army.
 Maureen’s keen to carry on nursing for as long as possible and with her gran looking after little Shirley she can, but when her father falls ill Maureen realises its time to try and make peace with the old man before it’s too late.
Anne Riley is envious of her friend’s happiness and longs to find love after suffering heartbreak yet again, little does she know she will find it in the most unlikely of places.
This book also introduces us to young Ellie Turner, a young newly-wed whose been left with her mother in law while husband Peter is away at war. Ellie’s lonely and spend her times in various pubs drinking with solider until one day this land her in trouble.
The lives of these women are woven together beautifully to make the most wonderful and addictive story of life in the wartime east end. Even if you haven’t read the previous books, which you should, then this makes a wonderful read. The characters are realistic and their community spirit at this difficult time is heart-warming to read, even characters like Violet who have their flaws sow they can change, if only a little.
Despite its title Mulberry Lane Babies this book features so much more than babies, with violent attacks, romance, missing jewellery, a wedding and sadly a tragic goodbye this book has everything you could want from a wartime saga and I adored every page. Rosie Clarke’s writing is marvellous and I’m so looking forward to reading more about the lives of these women on Mulberry Lane very soon.
Thank you to Aria and Netgalley for sending me a copy to review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.
About the Author


Rosie is happily married and lives in a quiet village in East Anglia. Writing books is a passion for Rosie, she also likes to read, watch good films and enjoys holidays in the sunshine. She loves shoes and adores animals, especially squirrels and dogs.

Follow Rosie

Twitter: @AnneHerries


Buy links:

Amazon: mybook.to/MulberryLaneBabies

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Imz1d6

iBooks: https://apple.co/2swKoIP

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2IV3x1U


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

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Blog Tour Review: With or Without You by Shari Lowe


With or Without You by Shari Lowe
Published: 1st June 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 438
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
Have you ever made a life-changing decision and then wondered if you made the right one…?

A clever, captivating and bitterweet story of what might have been. Perfect for the fans of Jo Jo Moyes and Marian Keyes.

 When Liv and Nate walked up the aisle, Liv knew she was marrying the one, her soul mate and her best friend.

 Six years later, it feels like routine and friendship is all they have left in common. What happened to the fun, the excitement, the lust, the love?

 In the closing moments of 1999, Liv and Nate decide to go their separate ways, but at the last minute, Liv wavers. Should she stay or should she go?

 Over the next twenty years we follow the parallel stories to discover if Liv's life, heart and future have been better with Nate… Or without him?

Review
Shari Lowe’s latest novel With or Without explores whether one decision can alter the course of our lives or whether everything that is meant to happen will happen in its own time anyway.
 In With or Without you it’s the millennium eve and Liv and Nate are planning to end their six year marriage which has become stale and boring. At the last-minute Nate begs Liv to give them another go. The decision Liv makes on that night will alter the course of their lives and their friends, but which choice does she make.
Shari has expertly written two books in one here, the first half of the book explores what happens over the next twenty years when Liv decides to call time on her marriage and the second have explores what would have happened if she had stayed. I loved the way Shari has just written about important events over the twenty years and the impact Liv’s choice had over these events.
At first, I did feel the second half of the book would be a repeat of the first but after the first chapter two chapters in each part its interesting just how different the same events can be when looking at them from a different perspective. Both parts are very entertaining and highlight Shari Lowe’s wonderful ability to create great characters and capture their feelings perfectly. The dynamic between Liv and Nate and their friends just works in both sections of the book.  I did prefer the Without You section of the book purely because the overall tone is happier, and things just seem to fall into place easier.
This was a very entertaining book throughout and one I really enjoyed reading, even the parts that had me in floods of tears. I’m a huge fan of Shari Lowe’s writing and this one has ended up surpassing my expectations and has moved into number one position. It’s the perfect book to read anytime, especially if you’re needing reassuring that you’ve done the right thing after making a big decision. It’s a book which perfect for fans of the film Sliding Doors and the book One Day and it’s a book I highly recommend.
Thank you so much to Aria and Netgalley for sending me a copy to review honestly and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.
About The Author


Shari Low has published twenty novels over the last two decades. She also writes for newspapers, magazines and television. Once upon a time, she got engaged to a guy she’d known for a week, and twenty-something years later, they live in Glasgow with their two teenage sons and a labradoodle.

Follow Shari

Twitter: @sharilow
Facebook: @ShariLow




Buy links:

Amazon: mybook.to/WithorWithoutYou



Google Play: http://bit.ly/2IUdJI7



Follow Aria


Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction





Saturday, 9 June 2018

Blog Tour Review: Summer of Love by Caro Fraser

Summer of Love by Caro Fraser
Published: 31st May 2018
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 512
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
The dark days of the war are over, but the family secrets they held are only just dawning.

 In the hot summer of 1949, a group of family and friends gather at Harry Denholm's country house in Kent. Meg and Dan Ranscombe, emerging from a scandal of their own making; Dan's godmother, Sonia; and her two young girls, Laura and Avril, only one of whom is Sonia's biological daughter. Amongst the heat, memories, and infatuations, a secret is revealed to Meg's son, Max, and soon a terrible tragedy unfolds that will have consequences for them all. Afterwards, Avril, Laura and Max must come of age in a society still reeling from the war, haunted by the choices of that fateful summer. Cold, entitled Avril will go to any lengths to take what is hers. Beautiful, naive Laura finds refuge and love in the London jazz clubs, but Max, with wealth and unrequited love, has the capacity to undo it all.

Review
Summer of Love is the follow on from Caro Fraser’s brilliant The Summer House Party from last year. That was a book I adored, and I’ve found Summer of Love to be just as good if not better.
Summer of Love starts in the summer of 1949, a few years after the previous book ended. Meg and Dan Ranscombe have gone to visit their friend Harry Denholm at his new country home in Kent along with son Max and Sonia Hardon’s two daughters Avril and Laura. One fateful day a secret is revealed which leads to a horrible accident which has dreadful consequences for Max, Avril and Laura. As the story unfolds Max, Avril and Laura shake off the bonds of childhood and go their separate ways in life, only to be drawn back together a few times over the years.
This is a beautifully written novel which explores the effects which our parents and our experiences and feelings from our younger days mould us as adults. Max traumatised by his feelings towards his mother leads a sheltered life pouring himself into his work in the hope this will keep his demons at bay. Laura, knowing she was abandoned by her mother as a baby longs to be loved and her naivety leads her into some difficult situations. Avril, always feeling pushed out by Laura takes the ultimate revenge when she has the chance but is still left feeling she’s alone and on the side-lines.
I loved reading how each of these characters changed over the years experiencing love, loss, betrayal, revenge and forgiveness. Caro Fraser has written a novel which is wonderfully character driven and guides us effortlessly from the restrained end of war years to the emergence of the vibrant atmosphere of the sixties. It’s a novel which covers attitudes to many social factors including racism, feminism, homosexuality to drug taking and unwanted pregnancies, all with such eloquent and engaging writing.
This is a novel not to be missed and judging by the way the ending has been left fairly open ended  I’m hoping there is more to come from the lives of Max, Laura and Avril.
Thank you so much to Head of Zeus for sending me a copy to review and inviting me to be part of the blog tour, Summer of Love by Caro Fraser has been a pleasure to read.

About the Author


Caro Fraser is the author of the bestselling Caper Court novels, based on her own experiences as a lawyer. She is the daughter of Flashman author George MacDonald Fraser and lives in London.

Follow Caro

Facebook: @CaroFraserAuthor


Buy links:

Amazon: getbook.at/SummerofLove

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2wIlIC8


Follow Head of Zeus
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @HeadofZeus
Instagram: @headofzeus











Thursday, 7 June 2018

Blog Tour Review: The Single Mum's Mansion by Janet Hoggarth


The Single Mum's Mansion by Janet Hoggarth
Published: 1st June 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 300
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

Blurb
For all fans of Motherland, Allison Pearson and Hurrah for Gin.

Amanda Wilkie unexpectedly finds herself alone with three children under five in a rambling Victorian house in London, after her husband walks leaves them claiming he’s just ‘lost the love’, like one might carelessly lose a glove.

A few months later, Amanda’s heavily pregnant friend, Ali, crashes into her kitchen announcing her partner is also about to abscond. Once Ali's baby Grace is born, Amanda encourages them to move in. When Jacqui, a long-lost friend and fellow single mum, starts dropping by daily, the household is complete.

Getting divorced is no walk in the park, but the three friends refuse to be defined by it. And, as they slowly emerge out of the wreckage like a trio of sequin-clad Gloria Gaynors singing ‘I Will Survive’, they realise that anything is possible. Even loving again…

Review
The Single Mum’s Mansion by Janet Hoggarth is a book which explores the deep bond between women. Three newly single mum’s share this bond in this book as they navigate life after divorces and watch their ex-partners move on with their lives.

Amanda, owner of a large Victorian mansion which becomes the Single Mum’s, has recently been left by husband Sam for a younger tv chef Carrie and she not coping well. With three young kids everything gets out of control and the four of them spend most of the time crying or yelling at each other. So, when best friend Ali announces she’s pregnant and things with partner Jim are not great Amanda offers her the loft in her home to live in. It’s not long before Ali and baby daughter Grace are fully installed with Amanda and when Amanda bumps into an old friend from toddler group newly single Jacqui the trio are complete. What follows is a hilarious ride working through their anger, frustrations and trials of being a single mum until maybe one day they can all move on and forgive their selfish exes for ruining their lives.

One of the most enjoyable things about this book is how real the three main characters and particularly Amanda felt. They are not perfect by a long way and that made me love them. They are women that are not afraid to cry uncontrollable and shout at their children even when deep down they know they should just hug them instead, they feel overwhelming jealously towards their ex’s new partners which leads to some crazy actions and probably too much alcohol and drug consumption, but overall, they’re incredibly local to their friends and protective of anyone else hurting their children.  All of this leads to some incredibly funny scenes, my favourite involving sponges, wedding dresses and dry humping.

One of my favourite characters in this book was young Isla, she may only be young but that girl has a very astute way of looking at life. I loved the way she instead Amanda should get a new boyfriend because they needed a “Space Man” in the house, so cute.

There were a couple of places where I felt the story started to drag a little and that’s why I’ve only awarded four stars. The Single Mum’s Mansion is an enjoyable read which will make you laugh, make you cry and make you very thankful you have female friends.

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


About the Author


Janet Hoggarth has worked on a chicken farm, as a bookseller, children’s book editor and DJ with her best friend (under the name of Whitney and Britney). She has published several children’s books, the most recent ones written under the pseudonym of Jess Bright. Her first adult novel, The Single Mums’ Mansion is based on her experiences of living communally as a single parent.
 Follow Janet
Twitter: @janethauthor
Facebook: @JanetHoggarthAuthor

Buy links:




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

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