An Elegant Solution by Anne Atkins #BookReview #BlogTour (@anne_atkins) @malcolmdown @LoveBooksGroup #AnElegantSolution #LoveBooksTours

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When someone mentions the City of Cambridge you probably think of an iconic building, its four corners stretching out of the once medieval mud and into the arms of everlasting heaven, its white limestone yearning into eternity… and without even knowing exactly what ephemeral joys or permanent wonders the vision brings to mind, it s a safe bet that the one thought which doesn t occur to you is that the Chapel might not be there by Christmas.

Theo (Theophilus Ambrose Fitzwilliam Wedderburn to his friends) is a Junior Research Fellow in Number Theory. Prompted by a supervisee to demonstrate how to trace the provenance of bitcoins, Theo happens across a shocking revelation, with embarrassing ramifications for the whole University. Meanwhile he is being stalked unseen by someone from his childhood. To his annoyance, Theo falls for a cheap con… and discovers a horror set not only to rock the very seat of power itself but to change the face of Cambridge and its beautifully iconic image for ever.

I am thrilled to be one of the blogs opening up the tour for An Elegant Solution by Anne Atkins today. Huge thanks to the author and publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially, and to Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group for my place on the tour.

This is one of those very rare and delightful books that come out of nowhere and take you by surprise by being something totally different to what you expected and affecting you in ways you never saw coming. I’ll be honest, the reason I signed up for this blog tour was purely because I have an odd obsession with books set in and around universities, which was sparked in my youth by reading Dorothy L. Sayer’s Gaudy Nightstill one of my favourite book of all time. I had no real idea what to expect from the story,  and what actually appeared between the covers of this book was a beautiful revelation.

This wasn’t immediately apparent when I started the book. In fact, I started it twice because the opening chapter did not grip me the first time around. However, on my second attempt I read a little further and I had never been so glad that I persisted with a book because, once I got into it, I was gripped, charmed and profoundly moved by the characters, the story, the setting and the underlying themes of this book in a way that I never saw coming and that has stayed with me long after I closed the back cover. I have actually never read anything quite like it in the way it blends the plot, which could be something out of a flashy thriller, with a deeply poetic and affecting characterisation of living with autism and a developing relationship, none of which ends how you expect. I can’t repeat enough just how much this book surprised and delighted me, possibly more than anything else I have read this year.

If, like me, you are drawn to pick up this book because of the setting of Cambridge University, you will not be disappointed. The author does a wonderful job of immersing the reader in the feel and life of the city and the hallowed halls of the University. It gives the academic voyeur a tantalising peek into the world of this esteemed institution and its esoteric rituals, a world that most of us will never experience outside the pages of a novel. She makes the city and the university central to the book, so that the delicious descriptions of that world and environs are not awkwardly and unnecessarily tagged on to the plot, dragging it down, but are essential to its workings. It is very cleverly and seamlessly done and allowed me to revel in the setting without being pulled from the story.

I did worry to begin with that the plot itself was not only a little outlandish, but that it was also going to be too complicated for me to follow, as someone who knows very little about cryptocurrency and cares even less. I was very wrong on this front. The author does a great job of making sure that there is not too much technical information in the book and, what is there, is just enough and clearly explained to enable the bitcoin dunce to follow what is going on and understand how it propels the story. The book is very unusual in the way that the thriller aspect of the book felt more like the sub-plot, there to showcase the characters and the personal issues that beset them, rather than the main point of the book. A thriller for people who want a bit more food for the brain. Weirdly, despite the grand finale, it also didn’t feel like an OTT, bang bang thriller, with things whamming at you constantly. As I said earlier, I have never read anything quite like it, which is no mean feat given the volume of books and the wide genres I read in.

All of that being said, the characters are what drive this book and what made me fall irrevocably in love with it. The two main players, Theo and Charlotte, were fully rounded people that I immediately fell for and I was rooting for from the beginning. The exploration of Charlotte’s complex family dynamic and Theo’s autism were done so lovingly and sympathetically that they may me feel deeply involved in their development and I felt genuine joy and pain for both of them as their stories unravelled. The characterisation is done with great understanding, and gave a very different view of autism to me than I have read before. It is obviously an issue very personal and important to the author, and this came across in the pages. At the end of the book, I was yearning for a particular outcome and, whilst it did not end as expected, it left me feeling happy and hopeful … and making up my own ideas for what happens to the characters after the narration ends. The fact I cared enough to spend a deal of time thinking about this is testament to how much the story touched me.

It is not often these days that a book comes out of nowhere and really surprises me and touches my soul. This is one of those books. I cannot tell you how much I loved it, I hope it reached the wide audience it deserves.

An Elegant Solution is out now in ebook and physical formats and you can get a copy here.

To get some alternative reviews of the book from my marvellous blogger colleagues, please visit the blogs listed below:

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About the Author

Anne Atkins

Anne Atkins is a well-known English broadcaster and journalist, and regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. She took an involuntary, and long, break from writing fiction when her son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, their daughter repeatedly hospitalized with a severe illness, and finally the family was made homeless.. Thankfully those dark days are now behind her and she and her husband Shaun along with some of her children now live happily in Bedford, England.

Connect with Anne:

Website: http://anneatkins.co.uk

Twitter: @anne_atkins

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The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook by Morgen Bailey #BookReview #BlogTour (@morgenwriteruk) @BOTBSPublicity #amwriting #writingtips #creativewriting #creativewritingtips #writingadvice

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Over a thousand sentence starts, three per day, with writing tips at the end of each week to motivate and inspire, providing kick-starts to avoid the dreaded ‘writer’s block’. Useful for any writer at any level, whether they have 10 minutes or 10 hours, to start a new project. Also an ideal tool for writing groups.

With a combination of six first-person, six second-person, six third-person and three non-specific point of view starts per week, there are plenty to choose from. Beginning at ‘Day 1’ this book has been designed to be started at any time of the year, and regardless of whether the sentences are used in order or not. With a choice of three per day a writer can select one, two or all and see where it leads them.

Today is my turn on the blog tour for this non-fiction title, designed for writers of all levels, The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook by Morgen Bailey. My thanks to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially, and to Sarah Hardy at Books On The Bright Side Publicity and Promo for inviting me on to the tour.

As a striving-but-as-yet-unpublished writer, I was very keen to take part in the blog tour for this useful little book. I have done various writing exercises and prompts before, and have found they often produce some fascinating pieces of work that can be expanded or incorporated into bigger projects, so I was eager to see if the prompts in this book would spark similarly useful creativity in the word-weary writer’s mind.

The book is small but perfectly formed, with three writing prompts per day for a whole year, in a mixture of tenses. Each week of prompts is then rounded off with a writing tip, which cover a multitude of authorly concerns. The format works well for ease of reference, but you wouldn’t necessarily have to stick rigidly to the recommended regime (I was listening to your tips on alliteration, Morgen, but not the one about adverbs – oops.), but could easily choose a day at random, whenever you feel the need of a spur, and work like that. I obviously have not spent a year working through this book on a daily basis in order to write this review, but did try a random mix of the prompts and read all of the weekly tips, and it did produce some fascinating ideas.

With regard to the prompts, I liked the fact that we were given one for each tense per day. I have to say, I am a cautious (possibly lazy) writer, who prefers the comfort of third person past tense, so using the prompts that pushed me out of this comfort zone was a very useful and surprising exercise, and the results may make me a little braver and more experimental in the future. I also adopted the approach of rejecting the very first idea that popped into my head after reading the prompt, on the basis that this was probably too obvious if it came so easily and I wanted to make my writing more surprising, and this worked really well. Some of the prompts resulted in some possibly bizarre ideas, but that is the fun part of writing. I am sure I am not the only aspiring author whose brain produces odd ideas from time to time!

The writing tips were probably my favourite part of the book. Some of them were ones that were not news to me, but some really made me think, and a lot of them will provide a very useful checklist in the process of editing my current WIP, so much so that I am going to summarise them in an editing reference document. For a small volume, this definitely packs a big punch.

This is a great little workbook for any writer who sometimes needs a little push to get the pen to the page, or for anyone who wants an odd thought or sentence from a third party that might spark that new creative connection in their brain that leads to a great piece of writing. A useful tool to have in your writer’s toolbox.

The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook is out now and you can get a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour, please check out the tour poster below:

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About the Author

2 Morgen July 2017

Based in Northamptonshire, England, ‘Morgen with an e’ is the author of numerous short story collections, a chick-lit novel (with crime and mystery novels in the works), a series of writer’s block workbooks, articles, and she dabbles with poetry.

As well as being a freelance editor (who offers a free 1,000-word sample), she is a creative writing tutor for Northamptonshire County Council’s Adult Learning (10-week evening and one-day Saturday classes). Morgen is also speaker of anything writing-related, panel moderator, and event tutor, and will be running a two-hour editing course at the 2017 Crime & Publishment weekend, alongside Lin Anderson and Martina Cole!

Morgen is also a writing-related blogger who ‘spotlights’ authors, agents, editors, illustrators and publishers. Other content includes guest posts, flash fiction, poetry, and reviews (crime / chick lit novels, short stories and writing guides).

A charity shop volunteer (dealing with donated books) and regular cinema visitor, she walks her dog while reading (often teaching-related), writing, editing or listening to writing-related podcasts, she reads (though not as often as she’d like and mostly for review on her blog), and in between she writes.

Connect with Morgen:

Website: https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com

Facebook: Morgen Bailey Author

Twitter: @morgenwriteruk

Instagram: @morgenwriteruk

The Summer House in Santorini by Samantha Parks #BookReview #BlogTour (@samanthajgale) @0neMoreChapter @HarperCollinsUK @RaRaResources #GuestPost #RachelsRandomResources #TheSummerHouseInSantorini

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I am delighted to be taking my turn today on the blog tour for this lovely-looking, summery book set in one of the destinations at the top of my bucket list, Santorini, and I have a fun guest post from the author to share with you. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and too the author for guesting on the blog.

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One summer in Greece will change everything…

Anna’s running away. From a failed relationship, a dead-end career and a complicated family life.

On the island of Santorini, with its picturesque villas, blue-tiled roofs, and the turquoise waters of the Aegean lapping at the white sand beaches, Anna inherits a less-than-picturesque summer house from her estranged father. As she rebuilds the house, she rebuilds her life, uncovering family secrets along the way that change everything. She starts to fall for her little slice of paradise, as well as for gorgeous, charming Nikos.

Will Anna lose her heart in more ways than one?

Let’s hear from Samantha now about who her dream cast would be if The Summer House in Santorini were made in to a film.

My Dream Cast for the film adaptation of The Summer House in Santorini

Some writers decide what their characters look like before they ever write a word. Others get clear pictures in their minds as they go. For those of us who daydream about our books being turned into films (which, if we’re being honest, is all of us), our minds often drift to actors and actresses we’ve seen on-screen.

While I didn’t cast the film version in my mind while I was writing, I really enjoyed picking out the lineup after I was finished. However, having fully fledged characters already created in my mind and on the page presented challenges for a few of them. But in the end I’m perfectly happy with the lineup I chose, and if someone would like to purchase the film rights for my book and then hire me to manage the casting, that would be fine by me.

Anna – Gabriella Wildeimage1

So despite the fact that I wrote the book without actors in mind, I always thought Anna would be an easy one to cast. She’s blonde and 25, after all. There are tons of blonde actresses in Hollywood, right?? Well… that’s true, there are. But they’re all either too young-looking, too old, too famous (yes, that’s definitely a thing), or too aggressively pretty. I scoured Pinterest looking for someone more gentle and delicate looking without looking like a porcelain doll. I liked the idea of Lily James, but having found my picks for the rest of the characters she didn’t fit the right age range.

Eventually I found Gabriella Wilde, probably best known for Endless Love and Poldark. She looks the right age, she has a beachy look about her, and she seems more withdrawn and considered, which fits with Anna’s character really well.

Honorable mentions for Anna include Indiana Evans and Elizabeth Lail.

Nikos – Deniz Akdenizimage2Okay, to be fair, I don’t know for sure that he’s Greek. He’s actually Australian. But his character in Tomorrow, When the War Began mentioned being Greek, and I’ve latched onto him as a frontrunner for Nikos ever since. He’s got a bit of a baby face without the stubble, and he’s not as tall as I imagined Nikos to be, but you have to admit he’s pretty damn handsome, and he has a charm about him that would work well for the character. Plus, if you search for more images of him on Google, you’ll see that he definitely has the body to pull it off…

Elena – Marie Avgeropoulosimage3If you’re a fan of The 100, you will definitely have seen this face before. You know Marie has it in her to be flirty, assertive and a bit dramatic. She’s meant to be a couple of years younger than Nikos, and while Marie is 33 in real life, she’s definitely found the fountain of youth and could easily play someone in her mid-twenties. After all, her career-making role is as a teenager after all. Elena is a bombshell and a big personality, and Marie seems perfect for the part.

Eirini – Olympia Dukakis

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Would an Oscar-winning actress want to play a grandmother in a film adaptation of my book? Probably not. But the answer is always no until you ask, right? Plus, she’s got that maternal vibe going on really well.

Christos – John Aniston

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*Cues the Days of Our Lives theme song* Honestly, who has played more endearing Greek dads and granddads than dear old John Aniston? Maybe we could even get his daughter Jennifer to make a cameo… I’m thinking as the American woman at the wedding?

Marcus – Justin Hartleyimage6

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Justin Hartley. But can you imagine him as Anna’s boss Marcus, the photographer/gallery owner with just enough celebrity that he thinks he can treat people around him like they’re disposable? Because I can. Hey, the bad guy is always super hot, right? And if being hot and having the ability to play confident-bordering-on-cocky are the criteria, then Justin Hartley has this one in the bag.

Xenia – Zoe Ventoura

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Australian actress Zoe Ventoura just SCREAMS kickass business woman to me, so she’s perfect for the part of Xenia. Fun fact: Xenia wasn’t actually in the original version of this book. But as the story evolved, someone was needed that was strong enough to wear the hats of cafe owner, resort owner and Anna’s first paying client on the island. Thus, Xenia came to be. If Zoe here would just chop her hair into a power bob, she’d be perfect for the role!

Vasilis – Konstantinos Vasalos

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So this guy is a personal trainer I found on Instagram. Not an actor. No idea if he speaks English. But let’s be honest, Vasilis wouldn’t be a very acting-heavy role. I mean, come on, he’s even got the wife-beater top I put in the book! He’s here for the eye candy and the broken English, nothing else, so a personal trainer sounds pretty perfect.

Grace – Michelle Pfeiffer

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I have to admit, Grace was the last character I cast. I tend to adopt the attitude of my characters when I’m writing, which for Grace Linton involves just trying not to think about her. But she deserves great casting just like everyone else. The important thing to get right about Grace is her age; she should look right around 50. Any older and she’s too close in age to Eirini and Christos, and any younger and she’s not believably Anna and Lizzy’s mother. With those critera, the obvious choice for me was Michelle Pfeiffer. She looks just bougie enough, just devious enough and just blonde enough. Can’t you just picture her swilling a glass of white wine telling Anna nothing good ever came from a Linton woman going to Greece?

Lizzy – Tonia Sotiropoulou

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This bombshell from Skyfall was the perfect choice for Lizzy. Fun fact: this wasn’t discussed at length in the book, but Lizzy, Anna’s sister, was always meant to look more Greek than Anna does. Their appearances were meant to draw parallels to the parent they sided with, as well as their readiness to embrace their heritage. If you look at a side-by-side of Tonia and Gabriella, they have just enough similarities to pass as sisters (if they do some contouring and always face this exact angle, of course).

So, what do you think of my choices? Do any of the characters look a lot different than you pictured? Would you go see this film? I know I’d be front row with a BIG old box of popcorn watching all the drama unfold on the little island of Santorini.

Thanks, Samantha, you must have had great fun picking out your dream cast, let’s hope we see the film adaptation one day!

The Summer House in Santorini is out as an ebook on 7 August and in paperback on 3 August and you can pre-order both formats here.

For some more great content and reviews of the book, make sure you check out the rest of the blogs on the tour as detailed below:

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About the Author

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Samantha Parks is the pen name of Sam Gale. Her pen name comes from her late grandmother Velma Hobbs nee Parks, who was one of Sam’s greatest role models. Sam was born in North Carolina but now resides in Bournemouth, UK with her husband Alex. She owns a successful marketing company and is enjoying her slow descent into “crazy plant lady” status.

Connect with Samantha:

Website: https://www.samanthaparks.com

Facebook: Samantha Parks Author

Twitter: @samanthajgale

Instagram: @searchingforsamantha

 

The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole White, Narrated by Ana Clements & Paul Heitsch #AudiobookReview #BlogTour (@bclaypolewhite) @RaRaResources @audibleuk @SpokenRealms #TheUnfinishedGarden #RachelsRandomResources

The Unfinished Garden

I’m very excited to be doing my very first audiobook blog tour for The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole White, so big thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and to the author for my audio copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

The Unfinished Garden Front

A love story about grief, OCD, and dirt 

Tilly Silverberg is rebuilding her life with her young son, Isaac, one potted-up plant at a time. Since her husband’s death, gardening has become her livelihood and her salvation. Hiding out in the North Carolina forest, she wants only to be left alone with Isaac and her greenhouse.

New to the area, successful software developer James Nealy needs a garden. On a solitary mission to reclaim his life from irrational obsessions and relentless compulsions, he has a plan: to conquer his greatest fear. Dirt. One glimpse—or two—of Tilly’s garden, and he knows she holds the key. But when he asks her to take him on as a client, she refuses.

After a family emergency pulls Tilly and Isaac back to her native England, she’s quietly happy, because nothing has changed in her childhood village. Or has it? Her first love is unexpectedly single, her mother is scheming, and her best friend is keeping secrets. Then James appears on her doorstep.

Tenuous at first, but gradually taking root, James and Tilly forge an unlikely bond. As they work together to rescue a garden choked by neglect, they unearth each other’s secrets, each other’s fears, each other’s hopes—and maybe, a shared second chance.

I do listen to quite a lot of audiobooks in the car but my taste in aural literature tends towards thrillers, which I find make journeys pass quite quickly with their tension and short chapters, so this was a bit of a departure for me as far as audiobooks are concerned and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it.

It is a very long book to listen to, and definitely very different to my thrillers as there is a long of internal dialogue from the characters and the pace of the story is quite slow and languorous, like the Carolina summer where the story starts. However, the pace of the writing was perfect for the story which tells the tale of a timid, blossoming relationship between bereaved Tilly and James, plagued and tormented by his OCD. Once I got used to the slower pace, I was completely enthralled by the story.

There are two narrators for the book, one telling the story fromTilly’s perspective and one from James’s, so it was very easy to tell whose point of view we were hearing at any given time. It was well done, and I think it was necessary because, given how much internal musings there are in the story, it would have been quite difficult to follow them whilst listening if there had been a single narrator.

This is a really beautiful story exploring the relationship dynamics between two damaged people and how they recognise things they need in one another. There are further complications involving extended family with internal tensions and old, unresolved relationships that add layer upon layer of texture to the tales of our internal, human stressors and difficulties. The book is a beautiful exploration of the human condition with complex but sympathetic characters and a beautiful setting that provides the ideal metaphorical backdrop for the issues dealt with in the book.

The reason I mostly listen to thrillers in audio format is that I find it difficult to fully appreciate the nuances of language and construction of the more literary novel when I am listening to, rather than reading them. When I am reading, I will often go back to read and re-read and highlight beautiful sentences or passages, to fully wring the meaning and emotion from the words. I find this more difficult to do with an audiobook and worry that I am missing some subtlety or impact in the language. I think this is a book I would like to go back and read in a physical format to make sure I have fully appreciated it, but this may well be a personal quirk of mine and should not put anyone else off listening to the audiobook.

I thought The Unfinished Garden was a rich and beautiful story, full of emotion and complexity and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The audio version is very well done and I would highly recommend it if you enjoy this genre in audio format. I will definitely go back and re-read this book in a physical format.

The Unfinished Garden is out now and you can get the audiobook here.

To read some alternative reviews of this audiobook, check out the tour stops on the poster below:

The Unfinished Garden Full Tour Banner

About the Author

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Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Born in England, she works and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her novels include: The Unfinished Garden, which won the Golden Quill for Best First Book; The In-Between Hour, a SIBA Okra Pick; The Perfect Son, a Goodreads Choice Awards Semi-finalist; Echoes of Family, a WFWA Star Award Finalist; and The Promise Between Us, a 2018 Nautilus Award Winner.

Barbara is an OCD advocate for the nonprofit A2A Alliance, which promotes advocacy over adversity. 

Connect with Barbara:

Website: http://www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com

Facebook: Barbara Claypole White

Twitter: @bclaypolewhite

Instagram: @bclaypolewhite

 

Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses on Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale #BookReview #BlogTour (@emilyharvale) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #RaRaResources #LilyPondLane

Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses on Lily Pond Lane

This is, sadly, my final visit to Little Pondale as I take part in the blog tour for Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses on Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour to finish the journey with these characters and to Emily for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Make sure you enter the giveaway detailed below!

Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses on LPL -FLAT-KINDLE-JUNE9

Everyone’s got a secret wish in Little Pondale this summer.

Mia’s been exceptionally lucky since moving to Lily Pond Lane. But even on her honeymoon with the man of her dreams, she still has one remaining wish.

Ella wishes Gill would propose. But since Mia’s wedding something’s changed in their relationship. Now he’s spending time with newcomer, Tabbie Talbaine, Ella wishes Tabbie will leave as quickly as she arrived.

Tabbie wishes she hadn’t driven her car into a pond. But it could be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. When she discovers Hollywood heartthrob, Justin Lake’s staying in the village, getting an interview for her popular blog isn’t her only wish.

Bree was told she couldn’t have a baby. Now she’s expecting twins and is simply wishing it all goes well.

And as for Hettie … she wishes she could get her hands on an old map of the village. Because there’s something hidden in Little Pondale that Hettie Turner really wants to find.

I have truly loved visiting Lily Pond Lane on and off with Emily Harvale over the last year to see how Mia, Jet and her friends were getting on, so I was happy to get one last chance to see how things had moved on after Jet and Mia’s wedding. What more could possibly happen?

Well, plenty is the answer, although mostly to people other than Jet and Mia, since their happy ending was pretty definitively sewn up in the last episode. It was the turn of the other characters to have their stories completed, along with newcomer Tabbie. There was just room for me to join Mia on her enviable honeymoon in the South Pacific, though, and for her to have a final surprise for the reader.

Emily, with her trademark charm provided me with plenty of feel good romance in this book, and some round ups for the characters we have come to know and love in Little Pondale, as well as introducing some new ones. I particularly loved the introduction of the reclusive Aurelia Jenkins, a woman who gives Hattie a run for her money through the course of the book. There is an extra dose of the Little Pondale magic in this book, literally in the plot and figuratively in the writing, and I was charmed from beginning to end.

This book, as the others do, will work as a standalone, but I think readers will get most out of it if they have read at least some of the proceeding titles in the series first. It definitely felt like a ‘tying up of loose ends’ novel, with some of the unresolved stories being concluded, and had less of a meaty, although still rewarding, plot of its own. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have continued to fall in love with Emily’s writing throughout the series, but it one more for established fans rather than one I would advise new readers to start with. But what better excuse could there be for buying them all? You definitely will not regret it.

I am going to miss the gang in Little Pondale but I hope they all enjoy their futures in the village. See, they have become real friends to me. Thank you, Emily, for this series, a great addition to the romantic comedy genre.

Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses on Lily Pond Lane is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour, make sure you visit the blogs detailed on the poster below:

Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses on Lily Pond Lane Full Tour Banner

Giveaway

Secret Wishes Blog tour giveaway

To win a signed paperback of Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses, a pen, novelty sticky notes and a bookmark, click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

About the Author

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Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.


Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

Connect with Emily:

Website: https://www.emilyharvale.com/

Facebook: Emily Harvale Writer

Twitter: @emilyharvale

Instagram: @emilyharvale

The Case by Leopold Borstinski #BookReview #BlogTour (@borstinski) @damppebbles #damppebblestours #TheCase

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One Private Eye. One Case. One sackful of trouble.

When Jake agrees to take a package across America, he doesn’t know if he’ll live to tell the tale. If the CIA, the Feds and the British Secret Service don’t get him then the mob will.

How’s a cowardly private dick going to survive in these bloody times?

Delighted to be one of the blogs kicking off the tour today for The Case, a noir thriller by Leopold Borstinski. My thanks to Emma Welton at damp pebbles tours for inviting me on to the tours and to the author for my e-copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This was a really different read for me in more ways than one and, for that reason alone, I really enjoyed it. My favourite thing about taking part in blog tours is getting pushed out of my comfort zone and picking up books that I would not normally read. Expanding our reading horizons is a great thing, I learn things I would never have known before, become exposed to different styles of writing, different genres and different life experiences. All of this helps with my own writing, and also my own experience and empathy in life. A lot to gain from one little book, hey? This is the secret that avid and diverse readers know and want to share with the rest of the world!

Anyway, enough waxing lyrical about the advantages of reading widely and back to the book in hand. This is a an old school pulp fiction-style novel of a kind I would never normally pick up under my own volition. It’s protagonist is a low-level gumshoe with dubious morals, grifting his way through life doing PI work for suspicious spouses and local hoodlums, until he gets entangled with the Mob and becomes embroiled in events above his usual pay grade which offer him greater rewards and greater dangers than he usually experiences.

The way the book is structured is quite unusual, because it involves the biggest case of the MC’s career, recovering a missing case for a Mafia boss (The Case of the title, but also a play on words because it is his biggest case. Clever.) But, whilst we are following this investigation, the PI is also reminicising about previous cases that have shaped him and his business over the years, so the book jumps around between different time periods, different cities and different investigations. This is a really interesting and informative way of informing us about the character and providing a lot of interesting stories. In fact, I felt like this actually read like a collection of short stories, rather than a contiguous novel, which I quite liked but I guess may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, the fact that it jumps around, and not always in a very obvious way, requires a higher level of concentration than may otherwise be needed for this type of book and it did get confusing a couple of times, particularly when I was reading late at night.

The story itself is gritty and does not pull any punches. This book is dark, containing a lot of violent scenes, graphic descriptions and gratuitous sex. Anyone who is not a fan of any of these things in books will not enjoy this because it runs unapologeticically throughout. I had no problem with it as I’m not squeamish and it felt very true to the story and the character and the style of novel being written, but it certainly will not be for everyone. The characters in this book are not pleasant people, they do very unpleasant things to one another and feel no remorse. This is even true of the main character, although he does seem to have a moral line which he will not cross and, because we get an insight into his motivations and inner thoughts, the reader does end up having some sympathy and affection for him, despite his many failings. I think it is a cleverly written book.

This was a really interesting and diverting read for me which stretched my mind and my reading experiences out of my normal safe zone. Has it converted me to a huge fan of dark pulp fiction? Probably not, it will still not be my genre of choice. However, if you do like this style of book, I think you will get a lot from this interesting new take on it and the writing is great. Have a look and see what you think.

The Case is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the blogs coming up on the tour, please check out the poster below:

The Case Blog Tour

About the Author

Leopold Borstinski

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Connect with Leopold:

Website: http://www.leopoldborstinski.com

Facebook: Leo Borstinski

Twitter: @borstinski

dpbt 2

The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan #BookReview #BlogTour @headlinepg @annecater @NetGalley #RandomThingsTours #NetGalley #TheGiftOfFriends

FINAL The Gift of Friends Cover

Kingfisher Road – a leafy, peaceful street in the town of Vayhill. But there are whispers behind closed doors. Who is moving into Number 10?

Engaged to handsome, wealthy Justin Johnston, Danielle appears to her new neighbours to have the perfect, glossy life. But not everything is as it seems…

In fact, each of the other four women who live close by has a secret, and each is nursing their own private heartache.

But could a gift be waiting on their doorsteps? And, by opening their front doors, and their hearts, to each other, could the women of Kingfisher Road discover all the help they need?

This thirteenth and final novel from the beloved and inspiring Emma Hannigan is a life-affirming, uplifting story that celebrates the strength and joys of female friendship.

I’m thrilled to be winding up the blog tour for The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan today and I send my huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours who squeezed me in to the tour because she knew I was desperate to be included, and to Headline for my copy of the book via NetGalley, a book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is a beautiful book. Truly. I enjoyed every single second I spent between its pages and I was incredibly sad when it was over. I wanted to linger in the story, and in the lives  of the five women who were the main characters of the book, what better endorsement could you possibly give a book?

The book follows the lives of five women who live on the same beautiful street in Ireland. The women are friends, but they all have problems and secrets that they aren’t sharing with one another, until circumstances force hidden issues out in to the open. This is a book about how the support and understanding of people who care about you can help you through and make problems easier to bear.

The writing in this novel is very warm and engaging, it draws you in and holds you in its grasp throughout the book. As soon as I started reading, I was completely lost in the story, the world outside the book ceased to exist and I was totally engrossed in the world that the author created. Being pulled from the pages felt like a loss each time, and I couldn’t wait to get back into the story every time I had to put it down; I raced through the pages, whilst not wanting the story to end.

The characters are very well written and believable. I believed these women could exist and have the relationships and the problems that were featured in the book. Their lives perhaps are not extraordinary, or particularly exciting, but they were real and relatable and exactly the kind of thing that you or I might experience in our lives. I felt like they could be me and my friends and I loved reading about them as if they were my own friends.

Although the issues dealt with in the book may not seem earth-shattering to the outside world, the book deals with the type of things that can really rock the world of the woman involved, even if it is invisible to the outside world and makes little ripple in the fabric of  the universe outside of that life. It shows how people can be struggling in secret without anyone noticing the seismic things that are happening within them, and what a difference it can make when someone does notice and reaches out. The storylines were written so tenderly and with such empathy that there were many parts that truly moved me and had me welling up, a lump at the back of my throat. It is a really wonderful and well-written book that rewarded me in spades for picking it up.

I think this book has made it on to my list of my favourite reads of the year so far. It is charming, engaging, thought-provoking, uplifting and moving. The fact this is Emma’s final book lends it an additional poignancy and I really hope it is widely read. it deserves to be, and any reader will not regret picking it up.

The Gift of Friends is out now. I have bought a paperback copy and you should get one too. You can purchase the book here.

To read the reviews of the book by the other bloggers on the tour, please find their blog details below:

The Gift of Friends BT Poster

About the Author

Emma Hannigan Author Picture

Emma Hannigan was the No. 1 bestselling author of eleven novels including Letters to My Daughters, The Wedding Promise, The Perfect Gift, and The Summer Guest, as well as a memoir, All to Live For, which was about surviving an eleven year battle with cancer – facing cancer 10 separate times over the course of those years – and remaining strong, positive and warm. Very sadly, we have now lost Emma in the fight against cancer – she passed away at the end of February 2018.

The Gift of Friends went straight to number one on the bestseller lists in Ireland and has remained there ever since.

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