Monday, 30 July 2018

Publication Day Review: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings, Part Three by Audrey Davis

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings, Part Three by Audrey Davis
Published: 30th July 2018
Pages: 101
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5 

Nothing lasts forever … Gary’s time on earth seems to be coming to an end. His visits are less frequent and his visibility is fading fast. But he still has a mission to accomplish, which involves Hattie and her ability to pass on a heart-rending message.

Best friend Cat’s ex-husband is determined to prove that he deserves another chance, but do leopards really change their spots?

Times are tough for Hattie’s mother Rachel, but where there’s life, there’s hope …
Meanwhile, is there someone already in Hattie’s life who can help her move on when it’s finally time to say goodbye?

Get your tissues at the ready – both for laughter and tears – with the final instalment of a trilogy that has been hailed ‘brilliant’, ‘hilarious’, and ‘a great feel-good read’.

This is the final part of the Hattie Hastings story so if you haven’t read parts one and two yet I strongly suggest you so everything in this book makes sense to you.
Hattie’s husband Gary was killed in a road traffic accident but afterwards he didn’t disappear completely, after re-appearing several times to Hattie and her best fiend Cat. Gary’s been given a mission to help those he’s left behind, and in this part, he’s finally worked out what that mission is before he can rest in peace and he sends Hattie to Scotland to try and help him on his quest.
In this the final part of the story it was to say goodbye to Gary for good, something which I did find quite emotional, as I’ve grown to love his honest nature and obvious devotion to Hattie.
 Audrey Davis has done a fantastic job of giving each character a proper ending, something which can appear rushed and incomplete even in some longer books but has been done sympathetically and completely. I have loved reading the Hattie Hastings trilogy mostly because I love Audrey’s writing style of quick witted one-liners which has taken the issues of loss and grief and explored them in a sensitive way with humour that just works.
I really hope this gets made into a complete book as I’ve loved joining Hattie and Gary in their journey to everlasting peace, well Gary anyway. I’m really looking forward to what Ms. Davis’ writes next.

About the Author

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, fewer farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: 'There's been a murrrrder!'

After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancĂ©. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for 'artistic' use of naked men's bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn't bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it's packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the 'wrong' side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we'll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.
It wasn't until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in July. After which she might have a wee lie down …

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Blog Tour Review: Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman

Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman
Published: 12th June 2018
Publisher: Choc Lit 
Pages: 358
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5 

Sometimes life just takes the biscuit …
Abby Spencer knows she can come across as an airhead – she talks too much and is a bit of a klutz – but there’s more to her than that. Though she sacrificed her career to help raise her sisters, a job interview at biscuit company Crumbs could finally be her chance to shine. That’s until she hurries in late wearing a shirt covered in rusk crumbs, courtesy of her baby nephew, and trips over her handbag. 

Managing director Douglas Faulkner isn’t sure what to make of Abby Spencer with her Bambi eyes, tousled hair and ability to say more in the half-hour interview than he manages in a day. All he knows is she’s a breath of fresh air and could bring a new lease of life to the stale corporate world of Crumbs. To his life too, if he’d let her. 

But Doug’s harbouring a secret. He’s not the man she thinks he is. 


I have a few novels by Kathryn Freeman on my kindle sadly waiting to be read, Oh Crumbs is the first novel of hers I’ve read, something which needs to be remedied shortly as Kathryn Freeman is a true gem of a storyteller, I was hooked on Abby and Dou’s story from the very first page.
Abby’s had a tough start in life losing her mum at thirteen she’s had to help her dad bring up her four younger sisters. Despite all the extra work and chaos of living with a big family Abby has been determined to better herself and has finally earned herself a business degree. At a job interview for a personal assistant to the Managing Director of biscuit company Crumbs, Abby meets Doug and there’s an instant attraction between them. Abby bumbles her way through the interview in her clumsy talkative way and is surprised and over-joyed when she’s offered the job.
Doug hates every working minute being at crumbs and would much rather be in his studio painting, so he’s taken by surprise when his new personal assistant turns out to be attractive and fully of enthusiasm and ideas for the company. He longs to take Abby in his arms and kiss her but somethings holding him back.
I instantly loved Abby and Doug and the dynamic between them is so cute to read about, although they are complete opposites. Abby is so full of love and chatter and expressing her emotions comes naturally to her. She’s been the mother figure to her four sisters so has learnt to stand her ground and make her ideas heard. She’s passionate about business and loves her new job. Doug is shy and reserved and has spent much of his life alone avoiding his rigid and rich family. He hates his job as although he’s the managing director his overbearing father ensures his no power and no freedom. Their instant chemistry and flirty banter mixed with reluctance on both sides makes the perfect mix for a great romance.
My favourite parts of this story all took place in Abby’s family home and involved her sisters. Teenage girls are hard characters to get right and Kathryn Freeman has done a wonderful job with the creation of Sally, Holly and Ellie. The interaction between them is spot on and I loved their cross-examinations of Doug, their cheeky innuendo's and Sally’s secret crush.
Oh Crumbs was for me a perfect story with a believable developing romance between Doug and Abby and enough background dilemmas and complications to carry the story along. It’s story full of love and laughter that is sure to put a smile on your face.
Thank you so much to the publishers Choc Lit and to Netgalley for sending me a copy to review and to Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour.

About the Author

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.
With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn't always about hearts and flowers - and heroes come in many disguises.

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Monday, 23 July 2018

Publication Day Review: Forgive Me Not by Samantha Tonge

Forgive Me Not by Samantha Tonge
Published: 23rd July 2018
Publisher: Canelo
Pages: 254
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Forgiveness can be hard to come by… An unputdownable new novel from bestseller Samantha Tonge
 How far would you go to make amends?
When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.
But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.
Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten her newly forged future...
Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough.
Perfect for readers of Ruth Hogan or Amanda Prowse, this is an extraordinary and unforgettable novel about running away from yourself – and finding a way back.

I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Samantha Tonge’s previous novels which have been predominantly light hearted romantic novels which are easy reads. Forgive Me Not is a much deeper story focusing more on family dramas which really made me think and question the characters motives while I was reading it.
It’s been two years since Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm after causing trouble for all those around her when she was drunk.  After living on the streets and hitting rock bottom as an alcoholic she finally faced up to her demons and sought help. Now she’s been sober for almost a year and is ready to return home and seek forgiveness from all those around her. But what Emma learns when she returns home that its not easy for those to forgive you if you can’t forgive yourself.
I found this a very heavy and emotional read which was highly addictive as I was eager to know all about Emma and her problems and what she’d done in the past that was so bad. It’s a novel which takes some serious and often overlooked issues and creates a well-rounded, believable story which has been researched incredibly well. Despite its main themes covering alcoholism, dementia and homelessness I found this a very inspiring and uplifting read. 
The characters in this book are all realistic and its refreshing to read something where nearly everyone has flaws, it made the story feel more genuine. For me Emma was my favourite and for her Emma to turn her life around the way she did and change from being selfish and care-free to be an honest and compassionate person was a real inspiration to read about.
Forgive Me Not is fantastic read and I think Samantha Tonge has done a marvellous job going in this new direction, I’m really looking forward to what she comes up with next.  The best thing about this book, that ending wow, I totally didn’t see that coming.
Thank you so much to the Samantha Tonge, the publishers and Rachel’s Random Resources for sending me a copy to review.

About the Author

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and her passion, second to spending time with her husband and children, is writing. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.


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Saturday, 21 July 2018

Blog Tour Review: A Year of Finding Happiness by Lisa Hobman

A Year of Finding Happiness by Lisa Hobman
Published: 1st July 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 382
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Unlike lightening, it seems heartbreak can strike twice...the only cure is the healing power of time, and someone else who understand exactly what you're going through. A Year of Finding Happiness is a heart-warming romance, perfect to curl up with.

Poignant, heart-warming and gorgeously romantic, this is a love-story with pure, unadulterated happiness at its heart. A Year of Finding Happiness shows you that the little things in life can make you smile, even when you think you might never laugh again…

Happiness doesn’t factor on the deliciously rugged but utterly heartbroken Greg’s radar much these days. Only his beloved Labrador Angus seems to understand his search for a way to make sense of tragedy, until he meets new neighbour Mallory Westerman…

Instantly they know that the other understands how they feel, and over time, as romance blossoms, they dare to wonder if they might, one day, be truly happy again…

There are two sides to every story, and A Year of Finding Happiness is Greg's journey back from the darkest depths to happiness...

A Year of Finding Happiness was previously published as Bridge of Hope.


A Year of Finding Happiness is the first novel I’ve read by Lisa Hobman and I loved it. This book is written from the point of view of Greg who’s still grieving for his love Mairi who died five months ago attempting to climb the mountain K2. He’s a lost soul without her, barley existing except to care for his faithful Labrador Angus. Until one day he meets his new neighbour Mallory Westerman and something is sparked inside him which he hasn’t felt for a long time. Mallory’s suffering from her own heartbreak but slowly her and Greg form a friendship and help each other through the dark days until Greg once again begins to feel happiness.
Initially I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this book as for the first couple of chapters I found Greg a difficult character to connect with, maybe because I read so few books from a male perspective. But please bear with it if you feel the same this is a wonderful story once you’ve read a couple of chapters and Greg is a lovable character underneath all the gruffness and self-pity he starts out with.  Actually towards the end I was probably a little bit in love with him myself as he remined me of my husband, a complete softy once you crack the  gruffness of the exterior shell.
Greg’s journey to happiness was a joy to read about as it had many ups and downs and wasn’t just meet the new girl and happy ever after. His relationship with Mallory is a roller coaster of emotions as they both deal with their previous heartbreak. This is a book which did have me in tears at times but also had my laughing at the way Greg’s tried his best with Mallory but it didn’t always go to plan. One of my favourite parts was when Greg plans Mallory’s surprise birthday, that showed what a lovely caring man he was.
Both Greg and Mallory come across as very stubborn and reluctant to let go of their past relationships, but with their easy flowing banter, shared love of music and passionate arguments its obvious that these two are meant to be together.
This is a wonderful novel which examines the grieving process and moving on with your life. It’s a novel about letting go of the past and finding happiness in the present and the future but most of all its about showing that love really does conquer all, whether you want it too or not.  I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys romances which real feeling and emotion behind them, it’s a wonderful read not to be missed.
After reading A Year of Finding Happiness I’m desperate to go back and read A Seaside Escape by Lisa Hobman which gives Mallory’s insight into events which I know I will enjoy. I’m also looking forward to what this author comes up with next as she has a real talent for creating a meaningful story with well-rounded and deep characters.
Thank you so much to Aria for sending me a copy to review via Netgalley and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.
About the Author

Lisa’s debut novel was shortlisted in the 2014 RNA. Her stories centre around believable, yet down to earth characters and the places in Scotland she has visited and fallen in love with. She is a happily married mum of one with two energetic dogs.

Follow Lisa

Twitter: @LisaHobmanAuth
Facebook: @LisaJHobmanAuthor

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Blog Tour: The Silver Ladies of London by Lesley Eames, Guest Post

The Silver Haired Ladies of London by Lesley Eames
Published: 1st July 2018
Publisher: Aria
Available on Kindle

1920’s London. Featuring four attractive heroines, a scandal, a secret and a silver Rolls Royce.

Dismissed without references when their employer’s valuable necklace goes missing, friends Ruth, Lydia, Jenny and Grace try to rebuild their lives far from home in London.

A surprise inheritance of a beautiful silver Rolls Royce leads them to set up in business as female chauffeurs. But they soon discover that driving is a man’s world and find themselves facing a future fraught with constant challenges.
Soon their business; romances and even their friendship are under threat.

This is a heart-warming story of friendship, loyalty, courage and love. Perfect for the fans of Elaine Everest and Daisy Styles.

Guest Post
The Silver Ladies of London by Lesley Eames

For me, writing a story is like walking into the biggest, most gorgeous sweet shop in the world and gazing in wonder at jar after jar of exciting possibilities. Pear drops, pineapple chunks, mint imperials… Or in my case characters, plot, setting…
I’ve written dozens of short stories for the women’s magazine market but in writing my saga, The Silver Ladies of London, I had a bigger sweetie bag to fill than ever before. Bliss!
Terrific characters are a must as far as I’m concerned: I want readers to enjoy my characters and to care about them as they work through their personal issues and the obstacles they encounter. 
For my lead characters I chose Ruth, Lydia, Jenny and Grace. These young working class women have very different personalities with different strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and goals. They also have different problems in their lives but the friendship they develop as they work together in service at Arleigh Court, a prosperous household in provincial England, helps them to cope – until their circumstances change quite dramatically. Friendship, courage and loyalty were themes I wanted to explore as the story developed.
I set the story in the early 1920’s because this was a fascinating period in British history. The Great War was over and prosperity was returning to the country, bringing with it fashion, fun, jazz clubs, cocktails and glamorous cars. For some people, that was. For others there was grinding poverty with slum housing, precarious health and precious little in the way of employment rights or state financial support. Women had to contend with discrimination too, despite the vote having been given to some but by no means all of them. This social landscape offered a rich source of challenges and opportunities for my four girls to navigate, together with some fascinating themes for me to explore.
In my stories, characters, setting and storyline influence each other but as a writer I also have two magic words that I can summon to open up a whole host of ideas and potential directions. These words aren’t Abracadabra and Shazam but What if? Having decided on my characters, setting and themes, I summoned up the magic to ask myself a whole series of questions:
-        what if the girls are involved in a scandal?
-        what if they’re dismissed without references and forced to return to their homes and the problems they’re trying to escape or manage?
-        what if they can’t find new jobs locally because their reputations are in ruins?
-        what if they try their luck in London instead?
-        What if they use the surprise inheritance of a silver Rolls Royce to set up their own business – chauffeur-driven car hire with themselves as chauffeurs – in what is basically a man’s world?
-        What if love comes calling but is… complicated?
-        And what if one girl has a secret that threatens romances, business and friendship alike?
Answers rushed back at me and gradually Silver Ladies began to take shape. Not that it was an entirely smooth process. Certainly there were times when the dinner burned because I was so engrossed in my characters’ adventures but there were other times when I wanted to take an axe to my computer in frustration because I couldn’t get the words to flow in the way I wanted.
Writing is an emotional process for me. I get caught up in my characters’ tears and laughter, and I also have to process my own excitement and fears over how the story is – or might not be – developing. Whether I’m high or low on the emotional spectrum, writing is compulsive, however, and there’s nothing more rewarding. Except for my lovely family, of course (better say that in case they’re reading this).
Sometimes readers ask me questions and one question I’m being asked at the moment is which of the four girls is my favourite? It’s a question I can’t possibly answer because I like and admire all of them.
Another question I can’t answer is which of their love interests do I like best? How can I choose between dashing American, Harry James Dellamore, and shrewd Owen Tedris? Or between glorious Johnnie Fitzpatrick and everyone’s friend, Luke Huxtable?
Although I can’t choose between them I’m keen to hear what readers think of all the characters in the story, even the minor ones. There I have to confess to a teeny, tiny bit of favouritism because I had especially good fun writing about two of the minor characters: forthright Maggie O’Hara and granite-faced Lady Violet. I hope readers enjoy them too.

Lesley x

About the Author
Born in Manchester but currently living in Hertfordshire, Lesley’s career has included law and charity fundraising. She is now devoting her time to her own writing and to teaching creative writing to others. In addition to selling almost 90 short stories to the women’s magazine market, Lesley has won the Festival of Romance’s New Talent Award and the Romantic Novelists’ Associations Elizabeth Goudge Cup.

Follow Lesley

Twitter: @LesleyEames
Facebook: @LesleyEamesWriter

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Monday, 16 July 2018

Blog Tour Review: The Distance Between Us by Georgie Capron

The Distance Between Us by Georgie Capron
Published: 1st July 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 428
Available on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

For fans of Marian Keyes, Hurrah for Gin and Allison Pearson. A tear-jerking but uplifting modern love story about motherhood and marriage.

Happy children, happy husband, happily ever after?

Tasha knows that she should count her blessings: married for eleven years, mother to three healthy children, she should be content with her lot.  However, feelings of frustration have settled over her like a dark cloud.  Despite living under the same roof and sharing the same bed, Tasha has never felt so distant from her husband, Charlie.  She feels worn down by the mental load of motherhood, drowning in the never-ending chores that keep the family and household afloat.  Most of all she worries that her once happy marriage is slipping away from her.

Tasha longs for something to change, but when change comes calling will it really be the answer she was hoping for? And is it possible to fall in love with the same person twice?

A modern day love story about family, marriage and risking it all to have it all. 

Tasha has been married to Charlie for eleven years and together they have three children all of which are at school. Recently Tasha has being finding motherhood harder and more mundane than usual and longs for more support from Charlie who seems to spend forever in the office. Whenever Tasha tries to talk to Charlie he seems to move further and further away from her. When neighbour Javier offers Tasha some kind words she succumbs to his advances and makes a massive mistake. The pair then separate, and Tasha is left even more alone wondering how on earth she’s going to cope and win Charlie back.
This is one of those novels which really highlights the adage “you don’t realise what you’ve got until its gone” in Tasha’s case she begins wake up to how supportive Charlie was being a parent and being a partner.  As she works out how to be happy on her own can she find away to win back Charlie’s trust.
At the beginning I found Tasha to be a strong and independent character but after her misdemeanour she’s racked with guilt and when Charlie finds out she seems to become weak and crumble, she totally forgets how much she tried to communicate with Charlie that she was unhappy, and he just ignored her. I thought Charlie was a very realistic character and did love how the love for his children was portrayed throughout the book. I just wish he’d had the same affection for his wife then none of the drama would have happened.
The Distance Between Us was a realistic look at a marriage into trouble.  It highlights the need to communicate in a relationship. Georgie Capron has managed to portray every emotion felt by these characters so as a reader we can feel the disappointment, the hope, the anger and all the frustrations throughout the story and this I really enjoyed as it felt very real. There are some sad and worrying moment sin the story which do make it quite a heavy read but I think she has managed to balance this with some more light-hearted moments with the children.
Overall I found this an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author. Thank you to Aria who sent me a copy to review via Netgalley and invited me to be part of this blog tour.

About the Author

Georgie lives in South West London with her husband and daughter. Alongside her writing she works as a primary school teacher and she particularly enjoys teaching English. She studied Italian and History of Art at the University of Edinburgh and did a PGCE in primary education at the University of London.

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Twitter: @GeorgieCapron
Facebook: @GeorgieCapron

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