This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell #BlogTour #BookReview #Paperback (@JillMansell) @headlinepg @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours #ThisCouldChangeEverything

This Could Change Everything Cover

“On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…

On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…

And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…”

I am delighted to be on the blog tour today to celebrate the paperback publication of This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell and I want to thank Anne Cater for allowing me on the tour because I know places were hotly contested for this one. However, I am also approaching it with some trepidation because, by a weird quirk of fate, today Jill Mansell and I will be in close proximity as we are both attending the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference in Leeds; Jill as doyenne of the romantic novel and I as a lowly aspiring writer on the New Writers’ Scheme at my first one. So I am hoping that if she likes my review, she will seek me out to say hello and sign my book, which would make my year. It would be like that moment in Wayne’s World where they meet Alice Cooper.

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(If she doesn’t, it isn’t me, it was someone else and I’m not there!) Let’s see shall we?

For starters, I just want to say how much I love the opening sentence of this book. As writers, we are always being told that you have to have a killer opening line that hooks the reader instantly. Well, listen to this one, “What could be more glorious than sitting at a pavement cafe on a sunny afternoon, wearing a marvellous new hat and witnessing an imminent crime?” I was fully invested in this book from the first moment and completely in love with the character of Zillah as soon as I realised she was the owner of the “marvellous new hat”.

Jill Mansell really knows how to create warm, engaging and fully developed characters and this book is full of them. Zillah was my favourite, and I defy anyone to read this book and not decide that this is who they want to be when they grow up but I also loved Essie. Poor Essie. What happens to her early on and sets in motion the chain of events that kick the book off is so cringe-making (and I speak as someone who slid off a wheeled chair TWICE in the space of five minutes in front of a crowd of virtual strangers last night, so I know a thing or two about embarrassment) that you can’t help but feel her pain and be rooting for things to improve for her through the rest of the book. The central male characters are equally well drawn and interesting – no cardboard cut out heroes here – they all have complete and compelling lives and stories and personalities that jump off the page and into your heart.

Jill’s writing seems so effortless, the story just flows – it drew me through the pages gently but with such a firm grasp on my curiosity that I had to keep reading and find out what happens to the characters that she had made me care about so quickly that I could not put it down. As a reader I was delighted and satisfied, as a writer I was sighing with envy at the skill and talent this takes and determined to try and emulate it myself (some hope, but one can dream!)

The relationships between the characters are wonderfully drawn and the way they interact, grow and develop in relation to one another is beautiful. It almost restores your faith in humanity. You want to climb right inside the book and get in on the action so you can be part of what is unfurling before your eyes through the pages.

The setting of the book is charming and enticing, there is fun, laughter, tears and love in this book and plenty to think about. I really loved it, it was everything we have come to expect from Jill Mansell at her best. I will definitely come back to this book again, it has everything you could want in a piece of warm, interesting, satisfying piece of summer fiction.

This Could Change Everything is out now in paperback, as well as all other formats, and you can buy a copy here.

You can follow the rest of this epic tour below:

This Could Change Everything Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT, TO THE MOON AND BACK, YOU AND ME, ALWAYS and MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU, which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after she read a magazine article that inspired her to join a local creative writing class. Her first book was published in 1991 and she is now a full-time novelist. She is one of the few who still write their books by hand, like a leftover from the dark ages. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Connect with Jill:

Website: https://jillmansell.co.uk

Facebook: Official Jill Mansell

Twitter: @JillMansell

Instagram: @jillmansell

Goodreads: Jill Mansell

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The Madonna of Bolton by Matt Cain #BlogTour #GuestPost (@MattCainWriter) @unbounders @annecater #RandomThingsTours #MadonnaOfBolton

Madonna of Bolton Cover

“Charlie Matthews’ love story begins in a pebble-dashed house in suburban Bolton, at a time when most little boys want to grow up to be Michael Jackson, and girls want to be Princess Di. Remembering the Green Cross Code and getting out of football are the most important things in his life, until Auntie Jan gives him a gift that will last a lifetime: a seven-inch single called ‘Lucky Star’…

On his ninth birthday, Charlie discovers Madonna, and falls in love. His obsession sees him through some tough times in life: being persecuted at school, fitting in at a posh university, a glamorous career in London, finding boyfriends, getting rid of boyfriends, and family heartbreak. Madonna’s music and videos inspire him, and her fierce determination to succeed gives him the confidence to do the same – and, ultimately, to let go of his idol, and find his own voice.”

Delighted to be on the blog tour today for the totally fabulous The Madonna of Bolton by Matt Cain which was published yesterday. I want to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and the publisher for my copy of the book which is Unbound’s fastest-ever-funded novel, with pledges from David Walliams, S.J. Watson, and Mark Gatiss, as well as from countries where to be gay is currently still illegal and is published to coincide with Madonna’s sixtieth birthday.

To celebrate publication of the book, I am absolutely thrilled to bring you a guest post by none other than….Madonna! No, not really but the next best thing in the author himself, Matt Cain, who has unveiled for you:

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me’

* I may have been brought up in Bolton but I was born in the neighbouring town of Bury, where I lived till I was two, and I went to secondary school and sixth-form college there, as both of my parents worked in the town.

* Yes, I loved Madonna when I was growing up but I was obsessed with pop music in general. Acts like Five Star, A-Ha, the Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, Take That and Erasure were all firm favourites at various stages of my teens.

* Before I went to university I spent my gap year working as an au pair in France. I’d asked the agency to place me with a family in central Paris but I was sent to a tiny village 50 minutes outside the capital, with a host family that was very unhappy as the parents’ marriage was falling apart. It was a pretty miserable year for me but I did get lots of time to read and travel into Paris on my days off to drink in everything the city had to offer.

* People always assume I studied English at university but I actually did French and Spanish and also spent a year working as a language assistant in Madrid. And before you ask, yes I did used to be fluent in both but the truth is my languages have gone to rack and ruin now. I did have a French boyfriend for a while and that helped but it’s been downhill all the way since we split up. Once I’ve established myself as a novelist I need to rectify the situation and bring my languages back to life!

* I didn’t move straight to London after university; I spent a very happy year in Manchester, working for a cable TV channel called Granada Men and Motors, which was the equivalent of Page 3 on the screen and starred various glamour models in series like 4Play, Lady Lust’s Lovelies and The Centrefolds. I’m not particularly proud of the work I did here but I got on well with all the girls and, as the saying goes, I was young and needed the money!

* Once I’d moved to London, I spent eight years working on The South Bank Show for ITV. One of the first profiles I made was of Craig David and we were filming in the studio one day when he needed someone to translate the chorus of a new song he was working on into Spanish. I obliged, was given a thank-you in the album notes, and when Spanish was released as a single, it reached number 8 in the UK Top 40. So I like to think I can cross having a top ten hit off my bucket list!

* In order to get the job as the first ever Culture Editor on Channel 4 News I had to do seven interviews and tests over the course of twelve weeks. Every night at home I’d practise speaking into a little camera on my own until I gradually grew more and more relaxed. When it came time to record my screentest we did it on location on the University College London campus and I had to record a mock report and live broadcast on some minor controversy surrounding the film Slumdog Millionaire. I’ve no idea where the footage is now and dread to think how bad I must have been but it did the trick at the time and I was offered the job a few weeks later.

* While working at Channel 4 News I had a pacemaker installed in my heart. I have a rare health condition that means my heart cuts out for up to twenty seconds at a time and then starts again. It was misdiagnosed for over thirty years (including as epilepsy for a while), until doctors finally worked out what it was in 2012. My condition has the rather snappy name of autonomically mediated syncope with asystole and it made me an anxious wreck for decades. Now my pacemaker kicks in whenever my heart cuts out so I don’t lose consciousness anymore. It’s my most treasured possession – there isn’t a day goes by that I’m not thankful for it. It genuinely changed my life and I’ve never looked back since.

* When I was working as Editor-in-Chief of Attitude, I received a lot of attention for stripping naked for our Body issue, writing about my experience of taking HIV prevention drug PrEP, and going on an undercover mission to Russia to report on the impact of Putin’s anti-gay legislation on the country’s LGBT population. But I was perhaps most proud of a less attention-grabbing article I wrote about the LGBT homelessness crisis here in the UK. Did you know that a massive 24% of young homeless people identify as LGBT and of these, 77% say their sexuality or gender identity is the principal cause of their homelessness? I’ve since been made an ambassador for the Albert Kennedy Trust, the UK’s LGBT youth homelessness charity, and it’s a role I fulfil with pride.

* My novel The Madonna of Bolton may have been rejected by over thirty mainstream publishers before I crowd-funded it in record time but I also have another novel and a non-fiction book that were roundly rejected and are now ready to go. If this book is a hit I can’t wait to unleash the others onto the world! Oh and I’ve promised my publisher I’ll write a sequel to The Madonna of Bolton too!

Thanks Matt for being a guest on the blog today and best of luck with the book, it deserves to do brilliantly. Watch out for my review of the book in a future blog post.

The Madonna of Bolton is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to find out what my fellow bloggers thought of the book, you can follow the tour here:

Madonna Of Bolton Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Matt Cain Author

 Matt Cain was born in Bury and brought up in Bolton. He spent ten years making arts and entertainment programmes for ITV before stepping in front of the camera in 2010 to become Channel 4 News’ first ever culture editor. His first novel, Shot Through the Heart, was published in 2014 and his second, Nothing But Trouble, followed in 2015. As a journalist he has contributed articles to all the major UK newspapers and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Attitude, the UK’s biggest-selling magazine for gay men, and its sister publication, Winq. In 2017 he was voted Diversity in Media’s Journalist of the Year. He lives in London. 

Connect with Matt:

Website: http://www.mattcainwriter.com

Twitter: @MattCainWriter

Instagram: @mattcainwriter

Goodreads: Matt Cain

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An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson #BlogTour #BookReview (@KiltieJackson) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #AnArtisanLovestyle #FictionCafeWriters

An Artisan Lovestyle Blog Tour

My turn on the blog tour for my fellow Fiction Cafe Writer Kiltie Jackson’s second book, An Artisan Lovestyle, today and I am extremely happy to be taking part. Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to Kiltie for having me on the tour and for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. There is a great giveaway at the end of the review for you to enter so make sure you read down to the end.

An Artisan Lovestyle - Hi-res

“Are you ‘living’ your life or just living your life?

Elsa Clairmont was widowed barely five years after marrying her childhood sweetheart. She has struggled to come to terms with the loss and, six years later, has almost ceased to live herself. She does just enough to get by.

Danny Delaney is the ultimate ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s kind, caring and sweet. A talented artist in his teens, his abusive mother ruined his career in art and he turned his back on his exceptional gift. Now, he does just enough to get by.

On New Year’s Eve, both Danny and Elsa die in unrelated accidents.

Thanks to some poker playing shenanigans, Elsa’s husband Harry, and Danny’s old Art teacher, William, manage to orchestrate a deal with Death that allows Danny and Elsa to live for one more year on the condition they both agree to complete three tasks.

They have until the last chime of Big Ben on the 31st December to fulfil their quests.

If they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.

If they should fail however…

‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is a story of personal growth and self-discovery as two people find themselves forced to make overdue changes in their lives, changes in other people’s lives, and all with the added challenge of finding true love before their time runs out.

Will they do it?

Can they do it?

After all, it’s a matter of Life or Death…”

Wow, so this is a bit of a departure from Kiltie’s first novel, A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle, which I enjoyed reading at the end of last year. If you haven’t picked up that book, set in the snowy delights of a wintry Salzburg, I can highly recommend it. The author has taken an unexpected turn in the realms of the supernatural this time with the premise that the two protagonists have been saved from death (small ‘d’) for one year by the machinations of their two deceased saviours and their gambling games with Death (capital ‘D’). a situation they could make permanent if they make some drastic changes to their unsatisfactory lives before next New Year’s Eve. If not, it is curtains permanently.

An outlandish idea but boy does she manage to pull it off with panache. This book is a delight from start to finish and I totally bought in to the story and was rooting for both Danny and Elsa to succeed and carve out the happy futures that were eluding them but they both so heartily deserved.

It took my a while to gel with the main character in the last book, but I did not have the same issue this time. I was invested in the story from the off and warmed to both Danny and Elsa immediately. I think this is testament to how much the author has learnt and matured as an author from her debut. She launches into this story with so much poise and confidence this time that you can’t help but be carried along with it to such an extent that even the supernatural elements flow with a naturalness and normality that you can’t help but but in to. It also helps that there is a huge dose of humour and warmth infused throughout that makes it a joy to read.

There are some wonderful characters in the novel. Death is a delight, if that isn’t an oxymoron, and I was chuckling out loud at every scene he was in. Sukie and Peter from book one return, and I really enjoyed seeing how their lives had moved on. Sukie is a brilliant character, so ballsy and down-to-earth, despite her situation (excuse me for being a little cryptic, I don’t want to include any spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read Kiltie’s first book). I think my favourite scene in the whole book was the one in the library at her birthday party. I get the feeling that there may be a little (or even a lot) or the author in this character and you can tell she enjoys writing her, it shines from the pages.

One of the characters, and I won’t say which one but it is easy to know who I am talking about if you read it, is possibly the most appalling, loathsome person I have ever had the misfortune to meet between the pages of a novel but they are also brilliantly written and great fun – we all love a good villain don’t we? All of the characters in this book are a joy to read. Some of them are very OTT, but in a way that fits in with the book, and they all feel like they could exist (well. maybe not Death but I’d like to imagine he could!). The main two characters, Danny and Elsa, were fabulous people to carry a book, likeable but not nauseatingly so, so it was easy to wish them a happy ending. Elsa in particular had enough edge to make her really interesting and a modern woman, not a swooning drip.

There are a lot of relevant themes running through this book. Loss and coming to terms with that; lost chances and it never being too late to do those things you always wished you had; finding out who you really are and working to become the best and truest version of yourself; never giving up hope and grabbing those chances when they come along with both hands because life is short. It gives you  a surprising amount to think about for a book in this genre and it left me at the end with a lump in my throat and a very satisfied feeling.

Forget that difficult second book conundrum, this is a assured and successful follow up, even better than the first. Any doubts, struggles and tussles are not evident in the finished product. This is a great book. You feckin’ nailed it, Kiltie, and I’m really, really pleased for you.

An Artisan Lovestyle is out now and you can buy a copy here. The first book in the Lovestyle series, A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle, is available here.

If you would like to read more reviews of the book, you can follow the blog tour below:

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Giveaway

To enter the giveaway to win a £40/$40 Amazing gift voucher, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494104/?

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link 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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

About the Author

An Artisan Lovestyle Head Shot Piccie

Kiltie grew up in Glasgow in Scotland. This is a very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life.

When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then,
after several years of obtaining interesting experiences -which are
finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.

Kiltie currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one grumpy husband.
Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having
plenty of moggies, there are no towers!

The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their house on the
condition they keep paying the mortgage!

She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles.
She really dislikes going to the gym!

Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job
and write her stories for a living.

Kiltie’s debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, was released in September 2017 and won a “Chill With A Book – Reader Award” in December 2017.

She first began writing her debut novel eleven years before it was released but shelved
it as she didn’t think it was very good.

In November 2016 when, having read more on a best-selling author who had begun
her own career as a self-published author, she was inspired to revisit the unfinished manuscript and finally finish what she had started.

Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing.
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is the second book in the Lovestyle Series.

Work is due to begin on book three (not yet titled but also part of the Lovestyle Series)
in the Summer of 2018.

She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a
fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and
the ideas still keep on coming.

Kiltie now lives her life around the following three quotes:
“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!”
“Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?”
“Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”

Connect with Kiltie:

Website: http://www.kiltiejackson.com

Facebook: Kiltie Jackson

Twitter: @KiltieJackson

Instagram: @kiltiejackson

Goodreads: Kiltie Jackson

 

 

Summer at The Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green #BlogTour #BookReview (@Rosie_Green1988) @RaRaResources #LittleDuckPondCafe

Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe Blog Tour

Delighted to be on the blog tour today for the second book in Rosie Green’s trilogy of books sent in Sunnybrook, Summer at The Little Duck Pond Cafe. You can find my review of the first book, Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe here. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to Rosie for accepting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book.

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“Jaz Winters stuck a pin in a map and fled to the village of Sunnybrook, looking for a brand new life – and after a rocky start, it’s beginning to look as if she made the right decision. Her blossoming friendship with Ellie and Fen has seen her through some dark times, and she’s managed to land two jobs – waitress at The Little Duck Pond Café and working as a weekend tour guide at Brambleberry Manor, the country house that’s been in Fen’s family for generations.

Sure, life isn’t totally perfect. There’s the irritating know-it-all guy who keeps popping up on her manor tours, for a start. He seems determined to get under Jaz’s skin whether she likes it or not. But she supposes it’s a small price to pay for the relative peace she’s found, living in Sunnybrook.

But just as Jaz is beginning to think rosier times are on the horizon, a shock encounter looks set to shatter her fragile happiness.

Will she be forced to flee from Sunnybrook and everyone she’s grown so fond of? Or will she find the strength to stand her ground and finally face up to the nightmares of the past?”

We’re back in Sunnybrook today for the second part of Rosie Green’s trilogy set in the village, and the focus has moved on to Jaz Winters as the central character of this book. If you have read part one, you will remember Jaz as the slightly prickly girl who ran the local Zumba class, and she wasn’t one of my favourite characters in the first book so I was intrigued to see how the author was going to persuade me to warm to her enough for her to carry the success of book two on her shoulders.

Well, she managed it by taking us back to the beginning of Jaz’s story and a terrible event that befalls her in Christmas Eve. I don’t want to give away any of the plot but I was rendered speechless by the way in which she was treated by someone very close to her, and from that point on I was firmly on her side and very willing to overlook her sometimes defensive behaviour as completely understandable in the circumstances.

Again, Rosie has managed to cram a lot of action into a compact novella and I warmed to this one even more than the first. This may be partly due to some familiar characters making a welcome reappearance, namely Ellie and Fen from book one, who have become firm friends with Jaz now, despite the fact they know she is holding back from them. There were a number of new characters to enjoy as well, my favourite being Fen’s mother, the formidable Lady Redpath, who I firmly believe I would turn into if I were given a stately home to run. I absolutely loved her and had such a clear mental picture of her – I could actually hear her voice in my head when she was speaking (rather booming, if you’d like to know!)

I particularly enjoyed the scenes set in Brambleberry Manor and again without giving anything away, if you are a fan of Jane Austen you will enjoy this book and the author’s homage to the great lady. There are some real laugh out loud moments in this book, as well as some very serious ones – it was a good balance that took my emotions on an appealing ride and kept me interested until the end.

There is also another hunky love interest to swoon over, although I found him less compelling as a leading man than Zak in book one. However, I personally felt the romance was more of a secondary issue in this book, rather than being the central theme. For me, what stood out was the exploration of family relationships, and whether blood really matters when it comes to forming strong bonds, the importance of friendship and finding where you really belong. On these points, it packed a big punch for a short book and was another winner. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens in book three (I have my fingers crossed for Fen!)

Summer at The Little Duck Pond Cafe is out now and you can buy a copy here. The final part of the trilogy, Christmas at The Little Duck Pond Cafe will be released on 3 September and you can pre-order it here.

Follow the rest of the blog tour below:

Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe Full Banner

About the Author

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café, published on 18th June 2018, follows the first in the series, Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café.

Connect with Rosie:

Twitter: @rosie_green1988

The Guilt of A Sparrow by Jess B. Moore #BlogTour #BookReview (@authorjessb) @crookedcatbooks @RaRaResources #TheGuiltOfASparrow

The Guilt of a Sparrow - Dogwood

Today on the blog I am hosting a stop on the blog tour for The Guilt of A Sparrow, the debut novel by Jess B. Moore. A big thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book.

TheGuiltofaSparrow_cover

“Magnolia Porter has spent the entirety of her twenty-four years satisfying her mother’s guilt. She was the good girl to her trouble making brother, Lucian – the one left behind to hold her mother together after he died. She is an invisible girl in a small town carrying the burden of her family’s loss and pain. Maggie was nobody trying desperately to be somebody.  

Cotton MacKenna is the one with the temper. Of the five MacKenna boys, he’s the one most likely to throw the first punch. Never mind all those fights were a decade ago, all in an attempt to save a sweet girl from her bullying older brother. Now, Cotton has grown up, with his own photography business, yet as the fourth in the line of MacKennas, he would only ever be known for his past. Time for a change.  

Maggie and Cotton are more than the labels placed on them, put there by their families, the town, and themselves.  

A meddling best friend. Bluegrass jams. Small town gossiping. Love, loss, and family ties. Learning how to be who you are outside of who you were told to be. With humor and plenty of romance, of course.”

Oh, this book is just beautiful. I am so surprised by how much I have fallen in love with it, as it was one that wasn’t high on my radar amongst the books I have signed up to read this month. Outshone on the shelf by some more highly-hyped books and authors, it has secretly and stealthy snuck up and stolen my heart piece by piece as I turned the pages.

This is the story of Magnolia and Cotton, two lonely and over-looked, misunderstood people in a small, remote town in the mountains of North Carolina. Family and community pressures have placed them both in positions that they are fighting to escape, and finding each other might just help them do that, if they can let go of all that is holding them back.

This is a book entirely driven by character. Told in alternating viewpoints between Magnolia and Cotton, everything is filtered through their individual perspectives and it is joyous. The writing gets us deep under their skins, into their psyches and we are able to feel every tiny emotion they are feeling. The author does the most amazing job of bringing these two troubled people to life and making the reader experience every nuance of emotion they are going through. I haven’t read a book recently in which I have been so closely aligned with a character’s emotions, and the fact that she manages to do it with both of them is astounding. I was desperate for things to work out for them both, tense when it looked like it was going wrong, feeling the highs and lows along with each of them. I was riding the rollercoaster of emotions so completely with them that I felt these things were happening to me.

Indeed, some of these things have happened to me. Jess has managed to capture those feelings of falling intensely in love with someone so accurately that it immediately took me back to those times when I have felt this myself, and that nostalgia was a bittersweet feeling that carried me all the way through with the characters. I remembered being Magnolia, all those sensations she was having I relived and I think this was the main reason I loved this book so much. It felt real. It felt like something that had actually happened, rather than just a story. I was totally immersed in it and carried along with it. I felt like it might be my heart that was broken if things didn’t work out the way I so fervently hoped they would.

Because the book is so intimately involved with the emotions of two characters and so closely written from their perspectives, this is not going to appeal to anyone who is looking for a lot of action in a book. It is a gentle tale set in a small town where nothing huge happens. There are no grand external dramas or events, no major crises that force things to happen. If you looked it from the outside, you wouldn’t see anything extraordinary happening, because all the drama is on the inside of these two people. I revelled in this but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

The challenges the characters are facing are those arising from living up to family expectations. From having to try and break out of unhealthy patterns of behaviour and relationships that are holding us back and stopping us being happy in the way we know we deserve. Of facing and defying the opinions and censure of a small town where we have been labelled with traits that are no longer who we are. Of finding the courage to stand up and be who we are truly meant to be, to go after what we want, in the face of opposition. These ARE the big issues of life, the dramas that we are all facing on a daily basis and it is refreshing to see a book that focuses on these as enough of a plot in themselves to eschew throwing in external conflict for the sake of spicing things up. This book is proof that it is not necessary to rely on such props if the writing is good and true.

This was an unexpected treat that I know I will return to again and I am going to buy myself a paperback copy to enjoy in the future.

The Guilt of the Sparrow is out now and you can get a copy here.

If you would like to see what my fellow bloggers make of the book, you find details of the other stops on the tour below:

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About the Author

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Jess B Moore is a writer of love stories.  When she’s not writing, she’s busy mothering her talented and stubborn children, reading obscene numbers of books, and knitting scarves she’ll likely never finish.

Jess lives in small town North Carolina with her bluegrass obsessed family.  She takes too many pictures of her cat, thinking the Internet loves him as much as she does.  She is a firm believer of swapping stories over coffee or wine, and that there should always be dark chocolate involved.

The Guilt of a Sparrow is her debut novel combining her interests in family, music, and small towns into a thoughtful tale of growing up and falling in love.  Her second book, Fierce Grace, follows similar themes in a whole new way, and will be available later in 2018.

Connect with Jess:

Website: https://jessbmoore.com

Facebook: Jess B. Moore

Twitter: @authorjessb

Instagram: @authorjessb

Goodreads: Jess B. Moore

Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch #BlogTour # BookReview (@writerrausch1) @crimewavepress @RaRaResources #RidingShotgun

Riding Shotgun

I’m pleased to be kicking off the blog tour for Andy Rausch’s Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties today. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book.

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RIDING SHOTGUN AND OTHER AMERICAN CRUELTIES is a unique collection of quirky, Tarantinoesque crime novellas, representing three very different sub-genres. In the first story, “Easy-Peezy,” a band of elderly Old West bank robbers return to their wicked ways robbing banks in the 1930s John Dillinger era. The second story, “Riding Shotgun,” is a bitter tale about a man pushed to the limits of human endurance and forced to take up arms to protect those he loves. The third tale, “$crilla,” is an urban crime fantasy in which a fledgling hip-hop group kidnaps a record mogul in the hopes of finally making the kind of loot they’ve always dreamed of.”

Something completely different on the blog today as I talk about Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch. This is a book containing three standalone, crime novellas that are unconnected except by one common theme. I’m not going to tell you what that is, because I don’t want to include any spoilers in the review but once you’ve read it, email me and tell me what you think links the stories. I’ll give you a little clue – once I’d finished this book, I thought it should have had a different title but I guess it would have been too similar to another book that was popular last year. Intrigued now, aren’t you?

I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I started reading this book and whether I was going to enjoy it, not being a fan of gratuitous violence for the sake of it, but in fact I absolutely loved the book, it was a real joy to read. Rausch’s writing style is very fast-paced and in your face and it just carried me along from page to page. The stories themselves were cleverly plotted and I got a real kick from the premise behind each of them. I’m not going to rehash the plots here as you can get the gist from reading the blurb above but they are all very original and smart and I was intrigued by each of them for different reasons. If I had to sum up the plots in a single line I would say ‘Easy-Peezy’ could have the sub-title ‘Once a bank robber, always a bank robber’ and ‘$crilla’ is the perfect example of the old adage ‘Money is the root of all evil’. I think my favourite story though was the middle one, ‘Riding Shotgun’. It was very detailed and I really liked all of the characters, which is odd since my particular favourite was a totallly heartless Italian mobster, but Andy managed to give him a winning personality somehow. I’d sum it up by saying, ‘It’s always the quiet ones you have to look out for’.

There is a lot of violence in the books, but it is so extreme that it is almost comedic. It’s the literary equivalent of watching a Robert Rodriguez movie and did not make me squeamish at all. The language is also ripe; the stories are full of words you wouldn’t say in front of your granny unless your granny is also Quentin Tarantino’s granny, so if that kind of thing offends you, this book is not for you. However, if you love Tarantino, you’ll love this book. You can tell throughout that Rausch also writes screenplays as the scenes are very cinematic and you can see how they would play out beautifully in technicolour on a big screen.

If I had a couple of very small niggles about this book they would be these. First, there were a couple of places where some of the descriptions seemed a little clunky to me; not quite slick. However, I would put this down to possibly the screenplay aspect of writing coming out where descriptions are not for reading but for seeing and this was only in a couple of places. My second niggle was I did wonder where the Average Joe protagonist in story two got some of his sudden mad skills from, as he was doing things that I had no idea why he would know how to do. Was it Google? However, he was a crime writer so i guess maybe he had researched them for one of his books. Since the whole premise of the story and the others in the book are so outlandish and improbable, this really doesn’t matter in any event and none of this detracted in the slightest from my enjoyment of the book.

This is not a book I would ever have picked up in a store or online, as from the cover and the blurb I just would not have pegged it as something I would enjoy but it just goes to show how wrong you can be and that setting assumptions aside and stepping outside of your normal genre choices can reap great rewards. I want to thank Rachel Gilbey, and the author and publisher for giving me the opportunity to experience a great book that I otherwise would have missed out on.

Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour, see the details below:

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About the Author

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Andy Rausch is a a freelance film journalist, author, and celebrity interviewer. He has published more than twenty books on the subject of popular culture, including The Films of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Making Movies with Orson Welles (with Gary Graver), and The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood (with Charles E. Pratt, Jr.). His work has appeared in Shock Cinema, both Screem and Scream magazines, Senses of Cinema, Diabolique, Creative Screenwriting, Film Threat, Bright Lights Film Journal, and Images: A Journal of Film and Popular Culture. He has written several works of fiction including Mad World, Elvis Presley: CIA Assassin, Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties, and the short story collection Death Rattles. He has also worked as a screenwriter, producer, and actor on numerous straight-to-video horror films.

Connect with Andy:

Twitter: @writerrausch1

Goodreads: Andy Rausch

The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane- Part Two: Summer Secrets by Emily Harvale #BlogTour #BookReview (@emilyharvale) @RaRaResources #LilyPondLane #SummerSecrets

Summer Secrets

Having loved Part One of Emily Harvale’s new four part serialisation last month (you can read my review of The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part One: New Beginnings here.), I am delighted to be doing a review for the Part Two: Summer Secrets blog tour today. Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for having me back. Let’s see what is happening to Mia!

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“Mia Ward was amazed to inherit her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda. She was even more astonished to discover she’d only inherit the place if she lives there for a year. 

Now Mia and her friends, Ella and Garrick are embracing village life. Garrick’s also embracing someone in The Frog and Lily, so Mia turns her attention to one or two of her sexy, single neighbours. But great-aunt Matilda remains an enigma and Mia’s still determined to discover who she was.

When Mia’s mum, Lori arrives, she’s eager to see what the summer has to offer. There’s the Kite Festival, the Fête, the Frog Hill Run, but what really appeals to Lori, much to Mia’s horror, is the Midsummer Night’s naked bathing in the pond at Frog’s Hollow.

As sweltering days surrender to sultry nights, love is definitely in the air. And when an incident means Mia has to face her greatest fear, help arrives from a surprising source. But one thing is clear… someone is trying to make sure Mia doesn’t stay in Little Pondale…”

Well, the plot is definitely thickening in the second part of this book and the pace is fast and furious with developments – some of them very unexpected!

Mia is struggling with trying to find out more about her mysterious Aunt Matilda who has left her the cottage. despite having lived in Little Pondale for 25 years and being very involved in the local community, no one seems to know much about Mattie herself and we are all left wondering why she was so mysterious, and why she was so estranged from her family that Mia had never met her. I have been left very curious as to what Mattie’s story is and can’t wait to read on to find out more.

On the romantic front, Mia’s love life takes a dramatic upswing but things move quickly in a direction I was not expecting and I have adjusted my expectations about where this is going quite drastically, so that is some clever plotting by Emily and I am intrigued but uncertain as to whether I have guessed correctly as to how things might develop. She has laid a lot of clues and hints about what might be coming, but I am not sure which are red herrings and which might be the true pointers, which is a great way to make us eager to keep reading. The characters are also revealing more about themselves in different ways, and my opinion of the main players is subtley shifting all the time; it is very well done in this regard.

Village life also hots up in this instalment, with a raft of events that give opportunities to move the plot along, not least the infamous and eagerly anticipated Midsummer’s Eve naked swim in Frog Pond. My one minor whinge about this book would be that we didn’t get enough juicy details and images from this because of the perspective the book is written from – you are a spoilsport, Emily Harvale!

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Despite all the fun and frolics and deepening relationships, someone still seems to be trying to get rid of Mia and her friends from the village though. Is it the curse? Or is it because of the inheritance? I still have my suspicions, but they have altered slightly since book one and I can’t wait to get into Part Three to see if there are any more clues revealed. I will be reviewing Part Three: Autumn Leaves here on 12 August, so check back then to see if this series continues to be a great read. So far, so fabulous!

The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Two: Summer Secrets is out now and you can buy a copy here. Part Three: Autumn Leaves is out on 10 July and you can pre-order a copy here. Who fancies a quick preview of what is to come? I just love the cover of this one.

Lily Pond Lane AUTUMN-9 Jun-NEW

Mia Ward was amazed to inherit her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda. She was equally astonished to discover she’d only inherit the place if she lives there for a year.

But it didn’t take long for Mia and her friends, Ella and Garrick to settle in. Now Mia’s mum, Lori has joined them, and they’re all enjoying village life. Mia’s keen to overcome her fear of water and with Garrick by her side, she’s confident about the future.

Until a fortune teller’s predictions give everyone cause for concern. Now Mia’s not so sure of anything, except that someone still wants her to leave. That makes her more determined to learn all she can about Matilda – and the codicil.

But as the mists roll in over the sea, are autumn winds making passions cool? And when more than one unexpected visitor gives Mia a shocking surprise, is everything about to change?”

If you would like to follow the rest of the blog tour for Part Two: Summer Secrets, you can find the details below:

Summer Secrets Full Banner

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