Throwback Thursday: Faking It by Leah Marie Brown @leahmariebrown

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: May 12, 2015

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Genre: Chick Lit

Blurb:

Haven’t you ever told a little lie in the name of love?

Vivia Grant couldn’t be happier. She has her dream job and is about to marry her dream man. Does it really matter that she’s led him to believe she’s a virgin? After all, being in love makes every experience feel like the first time anyway! But an unexpected encounter with an ex-lover is about to expose her embarrassing lie…

When Vivia’s fiancé discovers the truth, he ends their engagement—via text—and uses his connections to get her fired. Unemployed and heartbroken, Vivia begins planning her new future—as a homeless spinster. But her best friend has a better idea. They’ll skip the Ben & Jerry’s binge and go on Vivia’s honeymoon instead. Two weeks cycling through Provence and Tuscany, with Luc de Caumont, a sexy French bike guide. Too bad Vivia’s not a big fan of biking. And she’s abysmal at languages. Will she fib her way through the adventure, or finally learn to love herself—and Luc—flaws and all?

Review:

I’m joining in again with Throwback Thursday which was created by my good friend Renee at It’s Book Talk . She started this weekly feature as a way to highlight old favorites and read books that have already been published. I have so many older books on my TBR that get ignored in favor of review copies and I figure participating in Throwback Thursday will help me to read at a least one older title a week!

I have a small confession. My love of reading may have started when I was a young child but what truly made me a bookworm was Chick Lit. Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood, and Rachel White are some of my all time favorite fictional characters, period, regardless of genre. Over time my tastes evolved and I began reading wider and found myself drawn to darker themes and my love affair with thrillers exploded and now they pretty much dominate my TBR. I still go back to my beloved CL quite often, it’ll always be one of my go to genres when I need a pick me up but it’s been a long time since I read a CL book that reminded me of the books I used to adore. Until now. Faking It had that fabulous, female empowerment vibe coupled with outrageous comedy and a dash of sexy romance that was missing from my reading life!

Vivia has an over the top type of personality that a memorable heroine needs, she’s totally hysterical AND super realistic. Everything about this one was authentic in terms of the characters and especially the dialogue, nothing was choppy or forced, the writing had a natural ease that kept me flipping pages at a rapid pace. This was a little racier than what I usually read, the sex scenes where steamy, R rated but not raunchy and relevant to the plot, which added a fun sass. I’m excited this is the first in a series, I’ll be reading the next book ASAP as I seriously can’t get enough of Vivia!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Blog Tour: Follow the Snowflakes by Angelina Kerner @KernerAngelina

Follow the Snowflakes: A Christmas Novella by Angelina Kerner

Follow the Snowflakes front cover.jpg

Author Name: Angelina Kerner

Book Title: Follow the Snowflakes: A Christmas Novella

Date Published: December 15, 2017

Genre: Chick-lit, contemporary romance

Publisher: KDP Select

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

Angelina Kerner has made me a fan of novellas even though they’re not usually my book of choice. She has a unique ability to make you feel something for the characters she creates in a really short period of time. This was cute, sweet and light, totally ideal for this time of year.

Cat was a quirky and fun heroine, she marches to the beat of her own drum and I really liked her. I don’t want to discuss the plot because it’s so short, but the blurb gives you enough of an idea of what to expect. I will say that a little boy asking Santa for a new mommy is just about the sweetest thing ever! This was a bite sized treat of a book with warmth, humor and romance, absolutely precious.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Author Bio:

Angelina Kerner.jpg

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

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R&R Book Tours

Blog Tour: Moonlight over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: November 28, 2017

Publisher: HQN Books

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list—dealing with Madi’s temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi—how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple—he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide twenty-four-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan’s kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all—letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Moonlight over Manhattan! Check out TLC Book Tours for the full tour schedule.

Review:

Oh my god you guys, this was the most adorable book I’ve read in a long time! I don’t think I’ve been introduced to a cuter fictional couple in…well maybe ever actually. I absolutely adored every single page of this feel good read and am now a huge fan of Morgan and can’t wait to go back and read some of her earlier work.

Harriet was my idea of the perfect romantic comedy heroine. She’s cute, smart, kind and funny but she is far from perfect, they type of person any woman could relate to. I love the idea of challenging yourself to do things outside of your comfort zone and I so admired her courage. Ethan is the type of romantic lead that you can’t help but swoon over, he’s a handsome doctor for crying out loud but the cliches stop there. They were both extremely well developed and just so much fun! Their relationship progressed at a natural rate, no instant love or annoying, overused tropes to be found here, but their connection was undeniable, magical and flirty.

This had a whole lot of heart alongside some sass, there were also a few sexy moments and enough romance to knock me off of my feet. It’s set in NYC during the holidays, is there anything more romantic than that?! I think not. I can’t say enough good things about this one, it was perfection in my eyes and had exactly what I want when I’m in the mood for a romance and a surprising amount of depth and maturity that I wasn’t anticipating but I wholeheartedly appreciated.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for my review copy.

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes lively, sexy contemporary stories for Harlequin.

Romantic Times has described her as ‘a magician with words’ and nominated her books for their Reviewer’s Choice Awards and their ‘Top Pick’ slot. In 2012 Sarah received the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America. She lives near London with her family.

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Connect with Sarah

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: Crossing the Line by Kerry Wilkinson @bookouture

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: December 12, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

A serial killer with a past. A detective with a secret…

Twenty-five years ago, the Stretford Slasher murdered eight women and was locked behind bars for life. But after the notorious serial killer dies in prison, there is a new series of attacks bearing all the hallmarks of the originals. Victims are being targeted in broad daylight and people are scared to go out…

Recently promoted Detective Inspector Jessica Daniel is heading up the investigation. To unmask the culprit, Jessica must first unravel the truth behind decades of secrets. With so many leads, she enlists the help of Detective Superintendent Niall Hambleton – the man who arrested the Stretford Slasher.

Will Jessica be able to connect the crimes before someone else gets hurt? And how far will she go to solve the case?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza and Rachel Abbott will be hooked by this pacey, addictive crime thriller, guaranteed to keep you turning the pages until the unforgettable ending.

I have to start by wishing Kerry a happy US publication day!! I’m so pleased to be participating in the blog blast for this awesome series today.

Review:

I started this series at the beginning and then unfortunately I fell behind as the old TBR pile has grown to epic proportions. But when I heard that we’re almost caught up to the UK releases here in the good old US I knew I had to jump back in a try and catch back up with Jess. I’m so glad I did, I had the best time reuniting with her and her team and while I’ve definitely missed out on some things not having read a few books, I easily caught up and I really didn’t feel confused or lost, so you could most definitely jump in here if you would like and I think you would be fine.

I’ve really come to love Jess, her sense of humor greatly appeals to me, she’s sarcastic and blunt, but that’s a coping mechanism because underneath it all she’s actually pretty warm and caring. I find her to be really relatable, she works hard and she constantly bends the rules, she’s wonderfully human and I can always understand why she skirts the boundaries. Izzy was the newest team member in the last book I read and I was pleased to see that not only is she still around, but so is Dave! I swear the rapport between Jess and Dave always makes me laugh, it’s so natural and fun.

Wilkinson keeps things moving at a rapid pace and there’s various subplots so there are no moments of boredom. This is set in the spring but Manchester is experiencing unseasonal weather with below freezing temperatures and I loved how the weather played such a huge role in the investigation. If you enjoy police procedurals with a strong, kick ass female lead you have to try this series! This was the best book for me in the series (that I’ve read!) and I’m really excited to make time for the next book.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

About the Author:

Kerry Wilkinson has had No.1 bestsellers in the UK, Canada, South Africa and Singapore, as well as top-five books in Australia. He has also written two top-20 thrillers in the United States.

As well as his million-selling Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written the Silver Blackthorn trilogy – a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults – a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages.

Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry has spent far too long living in the north of England, picking up words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’.

When he’s short of ideas, he rides his bike or bakes cakes. When he’s not, he writes it all down.

Upcoming US releases:
Behind Closed Doors (Jessica Daniel 7): Out now
Two Sisters (standalone): Out now
The Girl Who Came Back (standalone): Out now
Crossing The Line (Jessica Daniel 8): December 2017
Scarred For Life (Jessica Daniel 9): late-2017
One Cloudy Night (standalone): Spring 2018
The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker (standalone): June 2018
For Richer, For Poorer (Jessica Daniel 10): 2018
Nothing But Trouble (Jessica Daniel 11): 2018

  Social Media Links:

http://kerrywilkinson.com or http://facebook.com/KerryWilkinsonBooks

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

What I Read Last Week:

The Trick was a tender, bittersweet story.

A Little Christmas Faith was a delightful little holiday read.

Killman Creek was an awesome serial killer thriller.

A Hundred Small Lessons was a unique read, a bit different from my usual picks.

Brighter Days Ahead was a historical saga I really liked.

I love Carol Wyer. That is all. 😜

His Guilty Secret was an emotional read that read like a soap opera drama.

Currently Reading:

I actually haven’t decided yet, as soon as I draft this I’ll choose!

Up Next:

I’m not sure what else, lord knows I have plenty to choose from!!

How was your week?

Blog Tour: Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: November 21, 2017

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.

I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn’s house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Little Broken Things. If you want to follow along with the tour check out TLC Book Tours for the full schedule.

Review:

Have you seen the buzz surrounding this gem of a book? I sure have, especially on Instagram and I haven’t missed the comparisons to Liane Moriarty and as much as I usually hate when books are touted as the next (insert name of huge, best selling book) I can definitely see why the comparison is being used. Fans of books in Moriarty’s vein will adore this one, I can see it being picked as a book club read very easily!

This is told using various points of view, you have Liz mother to Nora and Quinn and all were extremely well rounded and well written. You know how you sometimes read a really great book and by the end you feel like you truly know the characters? That’s Little Broken Things in a nutshell. The depth of characterization is outstanding, this was a multifaceted story written in a heartbreakingly gorgeous manner.

As much as the beginning of the book hooked me, it had that steady quiet type of suspense that requires some patience. BUT, if you stick with it I really believe the payoff is worth it in the end. Don’t get me wrong, I was still very engrossed and I found it to be a compelling read, I just want to give a warning to those who may be expecting a super intense and fast paced read.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

About the Author:

Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, The Beautiful Daughters. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com.

Connect with Nicole

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour: His Guilty Secret by Helene Fermont @HeleneFermont

Goodreads|

Release date: November 27, 2017

Publisher: Fridhem Publishing

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

When Jacques’s body is discovered in a hotel room his wife, Patricia, suspects he has been hiding something from her.

Why was he found naked and who is the woman that visited his grave on the day of the funeral? Significantly, who is the unnamed beneficiary Jacques left a large sum of money to in his will and what is the reason her best friend, also Jacques’s sister, Coco, refuses to tell her what he confided to her?

Struggling to find out the truth, Patricia visits Malmö where her twin sister Jasmine lives and is married to her ex boyfriend. But the sisters relationship is toxic and when a family member dies shortly after, an old secret is revealed that shines a light on an event that took place on their tenth birthday.

As one revelation after the other is revealed, Patricia is yet to discover her husband’s biggest secret and what ultimately cost him his life.

His Guilty Secret is an unafraid examination of the tangled bonds between siblings, the lengths we go to in protecting our wrongdoings, and the enduring psychological effects this has on the innocent…and the not so innocent.

I’m so pleased to be the stop on the blog tour for His Guilty Secret today!

Review:

The premise for this hooked me instantly, I’m always down with a book about secrets and boy were there some whoppers here! Patricia’s husband Jacques passing away naked and alone in a hotel room is just the beginning of questionable happenings and as she grieves her loss Patricia is forced to simultaneously face up to her own past as well as the lies her husband died protecting.

I read one of Fermont’s books last year and really enjoyed it, it was very different from the types of books I’m typically drawn to, but made for an engrossing read. She has a skillful and lovely way with words that draws you in and she creates characters that are relatable, they seem like women that I would want to approach in real life. I felt so much sympathy for Pat, I can’t imagine being blindsided the way she was and admired the grace and dignity she maintained while trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life.

This was on the lighter side despite it dealing with some heavy topics, it read like a true drama and was full of interesting secondary characters giving it an almost soap opera vibe. There were so many secrets being kept, it seemed like all of them were hiding something and I always like that uneasy sense of not knowing who to trust in a book. This was an emotional journey following Pat and I was wholly invested in her life and that of her family and friends, pick this up if you’re in the mood for something different that’s written in a really beautiful and unique way.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Blog Tour: The Silent Children by Carol Wyer @carolewyer @bookouture

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK

Release date: December

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

The boy studied the bruise turning yellow at the base of his neck. With quick fingers his mother tightened his tie, and pulled his collar high above it. Her eyes alone said, We will not speak of this…

Years later, a man is found shot dead in a local park. On his phone is a draft text: I can’t keep this secret any longer. The recipient is unnamed.

Detective Robyn Carter knows this secret is the key to the case, but his friends and family don’t offer any clues, and all her team have to go on is a size-ten footprint.

Then a nurse is found in a pool of blood at the bottom of her staircase, and a seemingly insignificant detail in her friend’s statement makes Robyn wonder: are the two bodies connected, and has the killer only just begun?

When another body confirms Robyn’s worst fears, she realises she’s in a race against time to stop the killer before they strike again. But just as she thinks she’s closing in, one of her own team goes missing.

Buried in the past is a terrible injustice. Can Robyn uncover the truth before another life is lost?

An absolutely heart-stopping and compelling serial killer thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter, Rachel Abbott and Robert Dugoni.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for The Silent Children today!!

Review:

If you’re a new follower you may not know that this series is one of my absolute favorites, I’ve read and loved them all. I highly recommend starting at the first book and catching up as soon as possible because they’re SO good and you really need to read Robyn’s backstory to appreciate how excellent they are. The order is Little Girl Lost, Secrets of the Dead, The Missing Girls then this one, so get cracking and add them to your Christmas list!

Wyer is a clever lady and I love her formula of inserting chapters pertaining to the case via flashbacks that she uses in each book. This time, an unknown boy is telling the story of his terribly sad life full of horror and abuse. The addition of these snippets in between chapters from Robyn and team gave this such a dark, harrowing and gritty feel that worked so well for me. Per usual there are several plot threads to keep track of and again, as always this has a highly complex storyline that I never could quite figure out, Robyn sure is a better detective than me 😜

Wyer is beginning to be the queen of curveballs and this was no exception, especially as it relates to Robyn’s personal life. I’m being purposefully vague in case you haven’t read the previous book but she’s torturing us readers by giving us a tiny piece of the puzzle and then moving on. I LOVE IT! Keeps me on my toes and makes me all the more eager for the next book. Fans of police procedurals/thrillers that haven’t read this are truly missing out, they’re fast paced, exciting, shocking and fantastically well written.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

About the Author: < strong><<<<
l E. Wyer is an award-winning author whose humorous books take a light-hearted look at getting older and encourage others to age disgracefully. More recently she has chosen to write for the "dark side" and embarked on a series of thrillers, starting with the gripping best-seller, Little Girl Lost.

Her book Grumpy Old Menopause won The People's Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.

Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing 'Irritable Male Syndrome' and 'Ageing Disgracefully' and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines 'Woman's Weekly' featured in 'Take A Break', 'Choice', 'Yours' and 'Woman's Own' magazines and writes regularly for The Huffington Post.

Carol is a signed author with Bookouture and Delancey Press.

To learn more about Carol, go to www.carolwyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer.

Carol blogs at www.facing50withhumour.com and www.grumpyoldmenopause.com

Blog Tour: That They Might Lovely Be by David Matthews

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK

Release date: December 8, 2017

Publisher: Top Hat Books

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

No-one thought Bertie Simmonds could speak. So, when he is heard singing an Easter hymn, this is not so much the miracle some think as a bolt drawn back, releasing long-repressed emotions with potentially devastating consequences… A decade later, Bertie marries Anstace, a woman old enough to be his mother, and another layer of mystery starts to peel away. Beginning in a village in Kent and set between the two World Wars, That They Might Lovely Be stretches from the hell of Flanders, to the liberating beauty of the Breton coast, recounting a love affair which embraces the living and the dead.

I’m so pleased to be the stop on the blog tour for That They Might Lovely Be today! I have a wonderful Q & A with the author to share today.

Top 5 with David Matthews

Top 5 books

Riders in the Chariot by Patrick White – a brilliant reworking of the events surrounding the death of Christ, set in Australia, this novel reminds me that the Christian story can be played out time and again throughout history

Waterland by Graham Swift – a beautifully narrated ramble through the secrets of the past, tangled with evocative description of place

Middlemarch by George Eliot – a richly woven tale of middle England in the 19th century bringing a wonderful array of characters to life, all finely nuanced and caught up in the preoccupations of their circumstances

Wake by Anna Hope – one of the most moving books I have read recently; revolving around the internment of the

Unknown Soldier, this novel captures the devastation and courageous endurance which follows loss and grief. It is a beautifully written elegy.

Saturday by Ian McEwan – his best book, in my opinion: a tight portrayal of the anxieties and preoccupations haunting modern urban living.

Top 5 films

The Third Man – wonderfully atmospheric with the use of music and shadow and the most poignant end sequence of all.

Brief Encounter – a period film about emotional restraint set against the most searing music; sacrifice can be exquisite.

Ex Machina – a film for our times, where human emotion confronts the chilling independence of the machine; we are at the mercy of what we create.

Diva – a French film directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix which focuses on a young man’s obsession with beauty. The soundtrack is great.

Went the Day Well? – an Ealing Studio’s working of a story by Graham Greene. It is set in the heart of England during the Second World War and has stayed with me as an exploration of how ordinary, domesticity copes with overwhelming crisis.

Top 5 songs

Bailero – Joseph Canteloupe from ‘Songs of the Auvergne’

All By Myself – Eric Carmen

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Adelaide’s Lament – Frank Loesser form ‘Guys and Dolls’

Smoke gets in Your Eyes – Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach, sung by Dinah Washington

Top 5 holiday destinations

Any rural retreat in France – good food and wine, beautiful scenery and a culture which says the quality of life and simple pleasures are more important than material progress

Alnwick, Northumberland – a quintessential English town and you can’t ever get a more stimulating blend of countryside, wild coastline and amazing castles; it’s great in all weathers

Great Blasket, Dingle peninsula, Ireland – this is the most western point in Europe, it’s wild and the weather can be dreadful but there is atmosphere in abundance; every Englishman should learn Irish history from a native Irishman standing on these sea-tossed shores

Sicily – there is over two thousand years of history here with Ancient Greek and Norman remains. The coast is stunning and the interior far more lush than you’d expect. There is also a palpable sense of the mafia’s shadow with a thriving culture of tax-avoidance. And the holiday-maker will see obvious poverty and that is an important reminder of how the world is.

My garden, when everyone else in the family has gone away – having the chance to retreat into your own space is a luxury. I work on my garden so that it is a beautiful place to sit and also a place to potter if I want to empty my mind.

Top 5 tips for writing a debut novel

Plan the plot carefully in advance but do not be afraid to let it develop its own shape during the course of writing.

Imagine the characters as rounded people and never allow them to behave out of character. Instead, rework the mechanics of the plot if necessary.

Draft, re-draft and re-draft again, looking out for the patterns of meaning which you (or your sub-conscious) have laid down and highlight or suppress them as you think appropriate.

Direct speech should be used sparingly; it rarely helps drive the plot forward but should reveal depths of character and motivation.

The ‘Great Literary Equation’: (plot + character + setting) x language = themes. The values of these components may change from genre to genre but this reminds you that what you want to leave the reader with at the end of your book is a fresh perspective on the ideas that the novel explores.

Big thanks to David for joining me today!

Blog Tour: Brighter Days Ahead by Mary Wood @AuthorMary

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK

Release date: November 30, 2017

Publisher: Pan

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

War pulled them apart, but can it bring them back together?

Molly lives with her repugnant father, who has betrayed her many times. From a young age, living on the streets of London’s East End, she has seen the harsh realities of life . . . When she’s kidnapped by a gang and forced into their underworld, her future seems bleak.

Flo spent her early years in an orphanage, and is about to turn her hand to teacher training. When a kindly teacher at her school approaches her about a job at Bletchley Park, it could be everything she never knew she wanted.

Will the girls’ friendship be enough to weather the hard times ahead?

I’m so delighted to be the stop on the blog tour for Brighter Days Ahead today!

Review:

Oh how I love a good saga from time to time, especially if it’s set during World War Two, there’s something about that era that I just can’t get enough of, it’s endlessly fascinating. I was totally swept away by Brighter Days Ahead and caught up in the lives of Molly and Flo and found myself invested in their lives almost from the very beginning of the book.

As much as I loved the premise for this book the characterization made it a really fantastic read. Both Flo and Molly were unforgettable but Flo has a special place in my heart, I was totally charmed by her generous nature and positive outlook despite a rather bleak time. I felt for poor Molly, she’s put in an awful situation, this took a darker turn with her storyline that I had anticipated. Their story is told separately for half of the book as they don’t meet until that point, but their friendship was beautiful and so nice to see.

Woods explored some very interesting issues and themes here, Flo has a dear friend that is gay and hearing about how terribly homosexuals were treated during this time was sickening and heartbreaking. Flo also works at Bletchley Park which always intrigues me, I’ll never get tired of learning more about this amazing place.

If you’re a fan of WW2 era Historical Fiction or epic sagas, give this a try. It had some lovely themes, like friendship, hope, strength, courage and love. It was a powerful, emotional story that I won’t forget anytime soon.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.