Family Tree by Susan Wiggs + Extract!

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Hi guys, and happy Wednesday! Today I am really delighted to be a part of Susan Wiggs‚ blog tour for her newest release „Family Tree„. Later on today I’ll be posting my review of this novel but first I have an extract from the book exclusive for you! Enjoy!

Family Tree

by Susan Wiggs



Publisher: Harper

Publishing Date: 28th July 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 356

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback






For readers of Kristin Hannah and Jodi Picoult comes a powerful, emotionally complex story of love, loss, the pain of the past—and the promise of the future.

Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes.

Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Manhattan home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child.

But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a year-long coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she’s lost.

Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned ex-cop. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.

Family Tree is the story of one woman’s triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember.

Rating: 4/5


I can’t believe that I haven’t heard about Susan Wiggs’ books before, especially after looking at the impressive list of titles that she’s written over the years. „Family Tree” has captured my attention immediately because of this gorgeous cover and the synopsis – I was really intrigued what kind of story the book is going to turn into. It was something different to what I’ve expected but nevertheless, the book is full of events, vivid characters and we get plenty of love, friendship, heartbreak and family. And food! Don’t read this book when you’re hungry!

I admit, I had some troubles to get into this book. No particular reason why, I just couldn’t engage with the characters and the plot at the beginning. Even though it started really well. But then came chapters titled „Then” and I found them not as captivating as the ones set in „Present”. I much more enjoyed the present story to be honest, it just seemed much more interesting, while the past, as much as it gave us a great insight into what happened, was for me a little too flat. And I also much more preferred Annie as adult than Annie as a teenager – she was great. She was sarcastic and had a great sense of humour. She was confident, and sometimes – especially in the past – too confident and too selfish, especially when it came to the relationships and people. Sometimes I just had a feeling that Fletcher was for Annie like a second – best, that her career was really the most important thing in her life and that the rest will somehow adjust itself to Annie’s other priorities.

The past dragged on a little bit and yes, I skipped some of the descriptions of maple syrup or whisky production to be honest. Sure, I enjoyed to learn, together with Annie, about her past life and how she came to the point in her life she found herself into, to see what kind of good and bad luck she had and which opportunities she had. However, I really much more preferred to see Annie getting back on the horse, realising what it is she really wants from her life now.

Annie is forced to re – evaluate her life after a tragic accident and what comes is a very emotional, sometimes very poignant, sometimes funny story with characters that seemed so very realistic, probably because they were not flawless. All of them made mistakes and were selfish, and the mistakes caused other people’s heartbreaks. They were stubborn but mostly they were also able to own up to mistakes and look for solutions. It made them all feel so real and I quickly found myself really engaged with their lives, keeping my fingers crossed for them, wanting to shake them, getting angry with them or going „oooooh” with them – just the way I like it!

Altogether, I am really happy to say that I enjoyed this book. I love the hidden message in it – that you can reclaim your dreams, no matter what, and that everything is possible in love and war, as they say :) It was emotional, not so fluffy yet light – hearted read and there is a lot of food in it! I’ve perhaps missed a more distinctive closure with the Martin situation, maybe because I’d love to see him suffer but the end was absolutely right for this kind of story. It was a comforting, full of warmth family saga that left me feeling so content and happy inside. Recommended!



Chapter 3

“Open your eyes.”

An unfamiliar voice drifted overhead. She couldn’t tell if the spoken words were in her mind or in the room. The sound floated away into silence, punctuated by hissing and a low hum. Despite the request, she couldn’t open her eyes. The room didn’t exist. Only blackness. She was swimming in dark water, yet for some reason, she could breathe in and out as though the water nourished her lungs.

Other sounds filled the space around her, but she couldn’t identify them—the rhythmic suck and sigh of a machine, maybe a dishwasher or a mechanical pump of some kind. A hydraulic pump?

She smelled … something. Flowers in bloom. Maybe bug spray. No, flowers. Lilies. Stargazer lilies.

Lilies of the field. Wasn’t that from the Sermon on the Mount? It was the name of a high school play. Yes, her friend Gordy had won the Sidney Poitier role in the production.

“… more activity by the hour. She’s progressed to minimal consciousness. The night aide caught it. Dr. King ordered another EEG and a new series of scans.”

A stranger’s voice. That accent. “Caught” sounded like “cot.” Losing the r in “ordered” and “another.” That was known as non-rhotic pronunciation. She remembered this from broadcast journalism training. Lose the caught-cot merger. Speak the rhotic r. Never let anyone guess where you come from.

The mystery speaker’s accent was straight out of northern Vermont.

“Help me with this EEG, will you?” Something jarred her head.

Knock it off.

Ma’am, this is a hard-hat area. Were they putting a hard hat on her? No, a hairnet. No, a swim cap.

Swimmers, take your marks.

She could see herself bending, coiled like a spring, toes curled over the edge of the starting block. She was one of the fastest swimmers on the high school team, the Switchback Wildcats. Senior year, she’d broken the state record for the one-hundred-meter breast. Senior year, she’d seen her life roll out like an endless, shimmering river, with everything in front of her. Senior year, she’d fallen in love for the first time.

“ … always wondered how I’d look with short hair like this,” said one of the voices. Shawt hay-ah. The non-rhotic r.

Beep. The starting tone buzzed through the aquatic center. Annie plunged.

Dry. Why was her throat dry even though she wasn’t thirsty? Why couldn’t she swallow? Something stiff confined her neck. Take it off. Need to breathe.

She floated some more. Water the same temperature as her body. She had to pee. And then she didn’t have to pee. After a while, there were no more physical sensations, only feelings pulsating through her head and neck and chest. Panic and grief. Rage. Why?

She was known for her calm demeanor. Annie will fix it. She fixed people’s accents. Lighting problems. Set design. Stuck valves.

Lefty loosey, righty tighty. With the maple leaf key chain in her hand, she demonstrated.

“See? That movement—it’s not random.”

A voice again.

“She’s left-handed.”

Another voice.

“I know she’s left-handed. So am I.”

Mom. Mom?

“She looks the same,” said the mom voice. Yes, it was unmistakable. “I don’t see any change at all. How can you tell me she’s waking up?”

“It’s not exactly waking up. It’s a transition into a more conscious state. The EEG shows increased activity. It’s a hopeful sign.”

A different voice. “People don’t suddenly wake up from something like this; they come around gradually, drifting in and out. Annie. Annie, can you open your eyes?”

No. Can’t.

“Squeeze my finger.”

No. Can’t.

“Can you wiggle your toes?”

No. Jesus.

“It can be a lengthy process,” the voice said. “And unpredictable, but we’re optimistic. The scans show no permanent damage. Her respiration has been excellent since we removed the tracheostomy tube.”

Trache … what? Wasn’t that like a hole in her windpipe? Gross. Was that why it hurt to swallow, to breathe?

“I’m sorry.” The mom voice was thick with tears. “It’s just so hard to see …”

“I understand. But this is a time to feel encouraged. She’s avoided so many of the common complications—pulmonary infection, contractures, joint changes, thrombosis … so much that could have gone wrong simply didn’t. And that’s a good thing.”

“How do I see something good here?” Mom whispered.

“I know it’s been difficult for you, but believe me, she’s one of the lucky ones. With this new activity, the care team thinks she’s turned the corner. We’re staying positive.”

“All right. Then so am I.” Mom’s voice, soft with desperate hope. “But if … when she wakes up, what if she’s different? Will she remember what happened? Will she still be our Annie?”

“It’s too soon to know if there will be deficits.”

“What do you mean, deficits?” The voice sounded thin and strained. Panicky.

“We have to take this process one step at a time. There’ll be lots of testing in the days and weeks to come—cognitive, physical, neurological. Psychological. The results will give us a better idea of the best way to help her.”

“Okay,” the mom voice said, “how will we tell her everything? What if she asks for him? What do I say?”

Him. Who was he? Someone who felt like a heavy sadness, pressing her down.

“We’re going to take each moment as it comes. And of course, we’ll continue to monitor her constantly.”

“Oh God. What if—”

“Listen. And, Annie, if you can hear us, you listen, too. You’re young and strong and you survived the worst of it. We’re expecting you to make a good recovery.”

I’m young, thought Annie. Well, duh.

Then she wondered how old she was. Weird how she couldn’t remember … She could easily recall being just four or five, in the sugarhouse with Gran. See how it coats the spatula so perfectly? That means the sap has turned into syrup. We can use the thermometer, but we must use our eyes, too.

Then she was ten, standing on the front porch of the farmhouse, watching her father leave in a storm of pink petals from the apple trees. The truck was crammed with moving boxes, and Dad walked with a stiff, resolute gait. Behind her, sobs drifted from the parlor, where Mom was curled up on the couch while Gran tried to soothe her.

Annie’s world had cracked in two that day. She couldn’t put it back together because she didn’t understand how it had broken apart. There was a crack in her heart, too.

“You should go, Caroline,” someone said. “Get some rest. This process—it can take days, maybe weeks. She’ll be monitored round the clock, and we’ll call you at the first sign of any change.”

Hesitation. A soft sigh. “I see. So then, I’ll be back tomorrow,” said Mom. “In the meantime, call me if there’s any change at all. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the night.”

“Of course. Drive safely.”

Footsteps fading away. Come back. The voice in her head was a man’s voice. She didn’t want to hear it. She tried to listen to the other people in the room.

“ … knew her in high school. She’s from that big family farm on Rush Mountain over in Switchback.” The voice was a gossipy chirp.

“Wow, you’re right. I swam against her at State one year. Small world.”

“Ay-up. She used to go around with Fletcher Wyndham. Remember him?”

“Oh my gosh. Who doesn’t? She should have kept going.”

Fletcher. Fletcher Wyndham. Annie’s mind kept circling back to the name until it matched an image she held in her heart. She remembered the sensation of love that filled every cell of her body, nourishing her like oxygen, warmed her through and through. Did she still love him? The voice had said she used to go around with him, so maybe the love was gone. How had she lost it? Why? What had happened? We’re not finished. She remembered him saying that to her. We’re not finished. But of course, they were.

She remembered high school, and swimming and boys, and the most important person in her life—Fletcher Wyndham. There was college, and Fletcher again, and then there was a great cracking sound and he was gone.

She felt herself sinking as sleep closed over her. A phantom warmth lay across her legs and turned the darkness to a dense orange color, as though a light shone from above. Trying to stay with her thoughts, she wandered in the wilderness, a dreamscape of disjointed images—laughter turning to sadness, a journey to a destination she didn’t recognize. After that, she sensed a long blank page with unrecognizable flickers around the edges.

No, she didn’t know her age.

She didn’t know anything. Only confusion, pain, breathing through water.

Swimmers, take your marks.

And Annie raced away.



Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

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Truly Madly Guilty

by Liane Moriarty



Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 28th July 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 480

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 25. 07. 2017)






The electrifying new novel from the international bestselling author, Liane Moriarty

Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you’d think.

For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.

But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.

Which is how it all spirals out of control…

Rating: 4/5


Liane Moriarty has mesmerized me with her writing and ability to tell incredible, down – to – earth, realistic and full of twists and secrets stories. This time, the synopsis to „Truly Madly Guilty” has truly knocked me off my chair but let’s be honest – I’d read Liane Moriarty’s book no matter what the blurb says. Her sharp imagination, realistic dialogues and eclectic groups of characters keep me glued to the pages and pull me completely in to the stories. With this book I was expecting secrets, lies, feeling guilt and surprises, and I certainly got it all. This story focuses on a small group of characters who have all been affected by a very significant and dramatic event, and it tells us how all of the characters reacted, responded, felt after this incident. It is really a kind of art to write in this way, to reveal so much, yet not reveal too much and I truly admire the author for this. She gives us a story, characters that at the first sight seem so normal, and then she starts to reveal the secrets and lies, to strip away all the layers and slowly showing us the real faces and characters.

Even with all the digressions and jumping between past and present and changing of the point of view, I settled for the story quickly and I didn’t have any problems to follow the stream of events and characters. Liane Moriarty has a great talent to describe her characters in very detailed, recognisable way and I quickly felt as the part of the characters’ world and really, I felt like a fly on the wall, having insight into their deepest and most hidden feelings and emotions and being able to see all of their points of view. She also brilliantly captures the dynamics between the couples which makes the reading even more interesting and quicker and I liked how, thanks to the switching of times and characters’, we are allowed to collect the pieces of the puzzle and try to glue them together.

The story starts of course deliberately mentioning that something happened at the barbecue that took place several weeks before – we know that something happened between the two friends Clementine and Erika and their families, and the narration jumps between the characters and the day of the barbecue and the present. Nevertheless, I didn’t have any problems with all this jumping and changing the points of view and I felt incredible curiosity about what’s happened. However, this book was a very slow burner and I think there is the rub. After reading Liane Moriarty’s two previous novels, „The Husband’s Secret” and „Little Lies” and adoring those books immensely, admiring the writing style and the way the author built the suspense and tension, I kind of knew what to expect – a very slow unravelling of the secret that is mentioned at the beginning of the story. However, this time, it took much too much time for my liking to reveal what happened and the tension built around this secret made me expect something very incredible, surprising, unusual but I was a little disappointed, and if I were a new reader I could feel confused. But in the end I think that what happened at the barbecue was not so important in comparison to how it affected the people involved and how it changed them.

To make the story more interesting, the author introduces us to the private lives and past of the three couples. If they are linked with the main plot – line, I am not sure, but they for sure add a lot to it. I also think that it was a great test for the reader’s patience :) However, I found the stories really interesting and they were a nice addition and interjection to the main story, because we have a whole range of events and pasts. We have a cellist and pole dancer, troubled marriages, forced relationships and friendships, mental problems and fertility problems, trust, hate and mixed feelings, and the author has managed to put together an incredible story – a little on the slow side but nevertheless a captivating, hooking story with thousands of secrets, twists and turns and easy to follow. The language of the characters, the way they acted felt so very realistic and relatable and I didn’t have any problems to get into their story. However, characters is the other story here, as they were not all truly likeable – but do they need to be likeable for the story to be captivating? I think them being so full of flaws only made them more realistic and relatable and more than once I found myself thinking, oh my, how true their words and thoughts are. The friendship between Erika and Clementine was so brilliantly captured, full of tension and understatements and hidden emotions and I was really in awe at how well the author „does” the feelings here, the feelings of resentment and… I’m not sure what it was. Duty? Responsibility? Guilt? Jealousy? Liane Moriarty can incredibly well write about human nature. It is as if she sits in every characters’ head and she makes them truly convincing and realistic. The characters were full of flaws, imperfect. They kept secrets from each other, and their lives were far away from perfect. They were more than normal people: Clementine dreaming of joining an orchestra and finding that practising is not so easy with two young children; Erika’s trauma of childhood leaving incredible impact on her adult life; Tiffany’s secret past. The friendship between Clementine and Erika I’d call toxic and I found Erika almost neurotic, and even though learning about her past didn’t change my feelings towards her – I couldn’t warm to her, I couldn’t feel relaxed in her company, she was always so uptight and correct. Yes, I understood where she was coming from and I felt sorry for her but for me she stayed the bitter one, and I preferred Clementine much more. I think it’s because I could relate to her more than to Erika.

The characters and dialogues are sharp and true to life and there is a depth to the story, and it has a hidden message as well. It is raw, it is gritty and it doesn’t have a lot of humour, but it truly is a quick read, even though it is a rather long book and sometimes it drags on – I just felt so immersed in the characters’ lives that I didn’t want to leave for a single second. Even after the unlucky events at the barbecue were revealed, there were still many layers to be unveiled and I couldn’t wait to see what’s hidden under all of them. Even though the revelation wasn’t as shocking, the rest of the book made up for it, as really, what happened at the barbecue is only a small part of the complex, multi – layered story. „Truly Madly Guilty” was, as usual, a thought – provoking, tense read and even though it had some slow moments, I truly enjoyed it and I am already waiting for Ms Moriarty’s next release. Highly recommended!


Book of the Month: July + Q&A with Katie Marsh

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Today is 1st August. Already. Winter is coming, guys! I’ve just come back from a very well – deserved (even if I say so myself) short break at the Lake Constance and I could move there, to be honest. I’d have water, my husband would have mountains and everybody would be happy. But as it’s rather impossible, I’d stay happy on my reading sofa at home with my books. Am a little behind with my TBR pile, but will do my best to get on track again asap. In the meantime, it is time to let you know about my Book of the Month July. The choice was obvious for me this time – I loved „A Life Without You” by Katie Marsh with my whole heart!


And here you can read why I loved this book so much.

I am also absolutely thrilled to have Katie on my blog today – she was so kind and sgreed to answer some of my questions about „A Life Without You”. Thanks so much, Katie and you guys, enjoy!

1. Katie, could you tell us a few words about your new novel „A Life Without You”?

 The book is about mothers and daughters and the joys and complexities of that relationship. It tells the story of Zoe, who is about to get married when she gets a call telling her that her estranged mum, Gina, has been arrested. The two reconnect, but Gina has signs of serious memory loss and is a different woman to the one Zoe remembers. At the end of each chapter is a letter from Zoe to Gina, written on every birthday, charting how their relationship has developed, from the exhaustion and mess of early motherhood to the secret that tears them apart. It’s a page-turning story of rediscovery and family secrets and about making the most of every single moment – and every scrap of love – that you have.


2. Both of your novels have turned me into emotional wreck – they are so full ofemotions and there is whole range of them, from sadness to happiness, from love to hate… – how hard is it to write a book balancing those feelings?

 I always think that if I don’t feel something when I’m writing, then the reader won’t feel it when they’re reading, so I work really hard to get into situations and really feel them as I write. It is really difficult to keep emotions feeling real and vivid on the page – but I find that as I edit and re-edit scenes tend to clarify. I read my dialogue out loud to make sure that it feels realistic and not over-dramatic (heaven knows what the neighbours think), and my editor is brilliant at helping me to maintain the emotional balance of the story and of the characters.


3. I am always wondering – some scenes made me laugh, some made me cry – did you also laugh and cry when writing the book?

 I certainly did. I come from a family of cryers – we cry when we are proud or happy just as much as when we are sad. I even put a warning in the Order of Service at my wedding, telling people that I would inevitably spend much of the day in tears so they didn’t think I was unhappy!  I don’t laugh out loud when I’m writing, but I do consciously weave humour into my stories to lighten the more emotional moments. I am a massive giggler and I hope that shows in my writing. I cried buckets writing ‘ALWY’ – especially the ending. That chapter had about twenty rewrites and I knew I’d got it right when I was glued to a packet of tissues for about an hour after typing that final sentence.


 4. Your first book, „My Everything”, was immediately one of the most beloved books among bloggers and readers. How did it feel to write this dreaded second novel? Were you scared that „A Life Without You” won’t live up to readers’ expectations?

 Yes. It was terrifying. During the structural edit, I really had to pull the story apart and try to make it both pacey and believable, and I kept thinking about all the ‘My Everything’ fans and worrying about whether this was a worthy successor. However now that it’s finished I am incredibly proud of ‘ALWY’ and am so happy with the reception it has had from bloggers, readers and the press.


5. Who is your favourite character in „A Life Without You”?

 Gina. I absolutely love her. I love her heart, her humour and her complete inability to keep her mouth shut – writing her was an absolute dream.


 6. What did you want the readers to take from your novel?

 This book is fundamentally about a character learning to make the most of every single day she has – not to be held back by the past or too focused on the future. I would love it if readers felt a little bit carpe diem when they put down the book and went out to make their dreams happen. Equally, some people have told me they finished it and instantly called their mums to tell them they loved them, which made me very happy too.


 7. Are the characters, in the book, inspired by people you know, facts from your life?

 My granny had Alzheimer’s in her eighties, so some of the scenes in the book are very much inspired by that. One scene is directly taken from my times with granny – I’ll leave readers to guess which one. But the characters always arrive in my head, pretty much fully formed – and are never taken from real life (though I’m sure some of my friends secretly believe they are walking the pages of my books…)


 8. What was the best moment of being an author for you?

 The launch of my first book was very special – all my friends and family were there and they had heard me banging on for YEARS about writing books and were all so happy and proud. However – to be honest – it’s the smaller moments that really mean the most. My daughter proudly picking my book off the shelf in a shop and beaming. Or the messages I get from readers – one the other week told me that ‘My Everything’ had inspired her to write again. Moments don’t get much sweeter than that.


We’ll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson

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I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of Sue Watson‚s Blog Tour. You know, Sue is not only a very brilliant author but we also have birthday on the same day – tadah! It’s really special, right? But back to the book – „We’ll Always Have Paris” is a somewhat different direction for Sue, as the story is a little more serious in tone but it still introduces us to fantastic, vivid characters that I truly loved! Be sure to check this book for yourself, it’s so lovely, warm and uplifting!

We’ll Always Have Paris

by Sue Watson



Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 27th June 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 23. 03. 2017)






Does first love deserve a second chance?

When she was almost seventeen, Rosie Draper locked eyes with a charismatic student called Peter during their first week at art college, changing the course of her life forever. Now, on the cusp of sixty-five and recently widowed, Rosie is slowly coming to terms with a new future. And after a chance encounter with Peter, forty-seven years later, they both begin to wonder ‚what if’ . . .

Told with warmth, wit and humour, We’ll Always Have Paris is a charming, moving and uplifting novel about two people; the choices they make, the lives they lead and the love they share.

Rating: 4/5


Sue Watson has accustomed us, or at least me, to humorous stories full of quirky, lovely heroines that already experienced a lot in their lives. „We’ll always Have Paris” however was remarkably different – it was much more serious in tone. Sure, Rosie, our heroine is already a mature woman and there are some comical situations but altogether it was a new direction, more mature. And I think it’s great – no matter what Ms Watson’s writes about, it turns out into a lovely, so close to life story with relatable characters.

All of the characters in this book are wonderfully rounded and feel like real people and the author has brilliantly captured the differences between the generations. We have the grandmother Rosie, a lovely, woman who remained young who loves her family above all but there is also a lot of life in her and I absolutely freakingly adored the fact that she felt she deserves to live, even after her beloved husband dies. She had her period of grief and she still loved Mike but she felt young enough to follow her heart. She devoted all of her life to her family, she raised two great daughters and had two brilliant, quirky granddaughters (they don’t appear often in this story but what I got made me fell in love with those girls, especially with the older one – I loved their conversations!) and now it was Rosie’s time. She wasn’t afraid of challenges and new experiences and I truly admired her for this.

I loved how the book dealt with all the dilemmas and how gently and with a lot of respect Sue Watson approached all the questions and uncertainties of falling in love when you’re of a mature age. She took all the aspects into account as it was not only Rosie’s life that was changing but also this of her family.

I only think that I’d love a little different introduction to Peter. Rosie was reminiscing, thinking about her youth and her first young love and then suddenly, boom, he entered the scenes – it was obvious that he’s going to appear in the story sooner or later. I think for me it would be bigger surprise when he first appeared and then Rosie would introduce us to him and tell us about him and their young, turbulent relationship. Also, the book was on a very steady level, the pace was very peaceful and quiet and yes, sometimes you don’t need fireworks and drama but this time I was waiting for something to happen. Not sure what, perhaps some troubles in paradise, just something that would pump up the volume and the temperature a little and add so very needed twist. But other than that, I really adored this story, it was lovely, warm and full of feelings.

„We’ll Always Have Paris” is really a book about women – power, I think, putting women in the centre in this story. It is about different generations of women, because even those that are not longer with the characters were important part of the book, like Rosie’ mother Margaret, who Rosie now, grandmother herself, learnt to appreciate. It shows the unconditional love mothers feel, it shows how families work and it also shows that actually there is always the same circle of life – we give birth to our children, we love, adore them, we suffer together with them, we want to kill them but they always stay our children, no matter how old they are, and it is the same for our daughters, granddaughters… This is a story for everybody, no matter how old you are because it shows you how to appreciate your family and your own time in life. And hello, it is never too late for a romance and fall in love, right? This is also a wonderful tale of rediscovering not only your first love, but also yourself. It shows that loving one person doesn’t mean you can’t love the other. It’s about real family and real family dynamics, and this all written in such a lovely, vivid and gentle way. Witty and poignant, sweet and bitter, a real joy and gem to read. Recommended!




The Name I Call Myself by Beth Moran

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Today I am absolutely excited to be a part of Beth Moran’s blog tour for her new novel „The Name I Call Myself”. I fell in love with Beth’s writing after reading her previous book „I Hope You Dance” – her books are the perfect blend of bitter and sweet, humour and sadness for me and I can’t have enough of them! „The Name I Call Myself” is one of the best books I’ve read recently and I couldn’t put it down – I didn’t want to put it down! Really, guys, whatever you do, just drop it and treat yourself to this beautiful story about Faith -  and this name is really significant!

The Name I Call Myself

by Beth Moran



Publisher: Lion Fiction

Publishing Date: 15th July 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback






All Faith Harp wants is a quiet life–to take care of her troubled brother, Sam, earn enough money to stop the poverty wolves snapping at her heels, and to keep her past buried as deep as possible. And after years of upheaval, she might have just about managed it: Sam’s latest treatment seems to actually be working, Faith is holding down a job, and she’s engaged to the gorgeous and successful Perry. But, for Faith, things never seem to stay simple for long. Her domineering mother-in-law-to-be is planning a nightmare wedding, including the wedding dress from hell. And the man who killed her mother is released from prison, sending her brother tumbling back into mental illness.

When secretly planning the wedding she really wants, Faith stumbles across a church choir that challenges far more than her ability to hold a tune. She ends up joining the choir, led by the fierce choir-mistress Hester, who is determined to do whatever it takes to turn the group of ragtag women into something spectacular. She also meets Dylan, the church’s vicar, who is different than any man she has ever met before . . .

Rating: 5/5


After reading and loving Beth Moran’s last release, „I Hope You Dance”, I was waiting impatiently for her new novel. I haven’t read Beth’s debut novel yet and I must eventually treat myself to it but reading her previous book made me fell in love with her writing and the way she tells her stories – stories that usually have much more to them than meet the eye, complicated, beautiful, incredibly sad but also incredibly uplifting stories with the right mix of humour and tears. It was really like Christmas coming in summer when I’ve received an email asking if I want to be a part of Beth’s blog tour for the new novel and when the book itself arrived on my doorstep I dropped everything and started reading it on the spot.

Looking at the cover of this book you may expect a light, fluffy rom – com and partly you get this, but „The Name I Call Myself” mostly concentrates on much more serious issues. However the fact that it is about abuse, violence, mental health issues and women that don’t believe in themselves doesn’t mean that the book isn’t uplifting or optimistic – because it is! Thanks to the writing style the tone switches from comedy to dramatic and this is all so very well balanced and the book is going to make you laugh out loud and cry in the next second. I am lost in admiration how well Beth Moran „does” feelings and emotions, everything she writes about rings the bell, feels so realistic and close to life and I often had desire to shout yes! I know how it feels!

Faith is planning her wedding to Perry, a „millionaire playboy”. However, she very quickly realises that the wedding day is going to be not her own big day but rather her future mother – in – law, interfering mother of Perry, Larissa’s, who has planned everything – also Faith’s wedding dress, the „Ghost Web”. But quickly we learn that the „Ghost Web” and Larissa could be Faith’s least essential problems. She is supporting her very troubled brother Sam and is at his beck and call – there are awful secrets and dark past involved. Even though a fiancée to a millionaire, Faith is struggling financially, as she doesn’t want to accept Perry’s help and is determined to earn her own money and bread. Then, accidentally, when visiting the church her mother went to and its Minister Dylan, Faith finds herself joining the choir, and it is actually then that everything happens – she starts to learn to live again but her dangerous past is suddenly trying to catch up with her and Sam…

The cast of characters is brilliant! They are all not only vivid, larger than life people with their own personalities but they feel like 3 – D people. They’re dimensional, they’re relatable and all of them have their own stories. Faith. Oh my word, Faith. Independent, strong on the surface but inside she was carrying the weight of the whole world on her shoulders and she had scars that will probably never heal. She’s only 25 years old but she seems so much older and so much wiser for her age, I was actually surprised when I learnt that she’s so young, but it’s not a wonder that she is like she is as her past was not a bed of roses. What I so adored in her was that even though Perry was incredibly rich and offered her money at every turn, Faith wanted to be independent of him and insisted to work, which sometimes led to very hilarious situations, let’s only mention Faith’s engagement party. Faith’s past was so, so sad, and all the time new facts came to the light, there was always more to know, and I admired her for the fact that she always tried to keep her chin high and look forward. The way she was telling the story made me feel like a part of it, as if I knew faith personally for a long time.
Larissa may be considered your clichéd future mother – in – law but the scenes with her, as much as they made me desperate to bite her head off, were brilliant and added so much fun to the story. She’s a true nightmare, Larissa, and I know it is so easy to say that Faith should have just say no to her – I think it was impossible. I wouldn’t dare. Even Perry wouldn’t dare, and he was his son, so we can’t expect it from Faith, the strong, brave Faith.
The story of Sam was at the beginning truly engaging and heart – wrenching, though I must admit that through the course of the novel it started to knacker me out. He had no idea how lucky he is with the two women dumping everything and everybody when he was in need. Sure, I can’t put myself in his shoes, and I even don’t want, I truly can’t imagine what has happened to him and I am certain it was freakingly difficult for him but on the other hand, he got so many chances, he had so many possibilities and still he wasn’t strong enough. It doesn’t mean his story didn’t move me, because it did, I am just incredibly sad that after all the things he and Faith went through he just gave up.

The biggest highlight of the book is, I think, the choir and its members. It was a very special choir and let me tell you this one thing: if you had such a group of friends around yourself, you needn’t fear anything. With those women you could move mountains and they’d walk a mile in the rain to help you out. It’s not a wonder that Faith finds solace in the church and its choir group, even with the choir master Hester who – yes, sometimes terrifying – gives the women what they need – confidence, makes them feel comfortable in their own skin, even if in a controversial and sometimes very adventurous and dangerous way. Being in the choir helps Faith to find herself and to open up to people. It was incredible, this choir, only reading about it and seeing how strong Hester was made ME feel stronger and like ME better. Because of the choir members there are many characters in this book but they are all so incredibly vivid and life – like that I’ve never had a problem with who is who, and they all added tons of depth to this book. I loved them all and I fell for them all and I kept my fingers crossed for them. They were strong, believable characters that you root for and the author so effortlessly brings them all to life.

The romance element is there, of course, and I found it a little misleading. For a very long time I was thinking Perry to be a really great guy, the real Prince on a White Horse, the perfect showpiece and the friendship (or more) of Faith and Dylan was – even though really sweet and full of understanding and seeming as if those two were a real match made in haven – confusing. I couldn’t understand why Faith feels such reservations towards marrying Perry (I’d better not mention Larissa here. It would be enough to end all relationships and engagement), even though she’s agreed to marry him, they’re engaged. It was confusing, because Perry was always there for Faith, he didn’t ask questions, he helped her, so it was a kind of mystery to me and it took a long time before the situation was cleared.

Beth Moran in a perfect way blends and covers so many issues in one story – it is about families and friendships, abuse and violence, mental health, love… She somehow manages to combine all the threads together and delivers an emotional, moving and terrific story that is thought – provoking and so light to read. Ms Moran has already placed herself at the top of my favourite authors list and I am already waiting for her next book (and in between, I’m just hitting the „Order” button for „Making Marion”). I would compare this book to the novel written by Marian Keyes – full of sadness and difficult issues but also full of hope and lightness, bitter – sweet novels about brilliantly drawn characters with many layers. „The Name I Call Myself” is full of surprises, it is brutally honest and it can easily break your heart, but it is also uplifting, optimistic read that shows that with some work you will eventually find your happiness. It is this kind of story that stays with you for long after you turn the final page, which is a magnificent feeling. It is this kind of book that you wanted to finish as soon as possible to see how it’s going to end but you also want to last and last and never end. It is a book with a soul, it’s deep, it’s incredibly gripping and it feels really genuine. The author puts her characters through so much and together with them we are taken on an incredible, funny and sad journey through ups and downs, twists and turns. It, in a beautiful way, describes friendship, love and trust. Just like with the last book, this time the author has offered us the perfect balance of bitter and sweet, of dark and light, of hope and hopeless and I adored every single second of it – highly recommended!




The Paris Secret by Karen Swan

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The Paris Secret

by Karen Swan



Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Publishing Date: 14th July 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback






Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades.

High-flying Fine Art Agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to asses these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and just who has concealed them for so long.

Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren’t all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family’s affairs – but just what is he hiding?

Rating: 5/5


I am always waiting impatiently for Karen Swan’s new novel, no matter if it is a summer or winter release. I can be sure that Ms Swan is going to deliver a fantastic, wonderfully plotted, full of gorgeous places and brilliantly drawn characters story. This time Karen Swan let herself be inspired by a discovery of a Parisian apartment several years ago, which I didn’t know to be honest, I learnt this when reading the book already, but I think it was a great idea – just imagine, apartment left behind, looking the same as on the day when its owner departed, its treasures and secrets and hidden past – and about this all Karen Swan writes in her new novel, not forgetting about her distinctive add of glamour.

To be absolutely honest I am not so into art. Sure, I know a few artists and I know that Renoir is a big name but art was never my things. However, not for a single moment was I afraid that the story is going to bore me with the descriptions of paintings or sculptures – because Karen Swan knew exactly how much is too much and really, I couldn’t have enough of the descriptions of the lost art – it was interesting, it was hooking and it was new to me. And – surprise, surprise – they were one my most favourite passages in the book. But those were not only the descriptions of the art that were so captivating, oh no. Karen Swan, as usually, writes so vividly about the places and the settings and I could easily imagine everything, see it in my mind, beginning with the lost apartment, through the places Flora visits and ending with Gertie the ostrich. Yes :) Because of course, as usual, Karen Swan takes us on a journey around the world. Together with Flora we travel to the most glamorous places of Paris, London, Vienna and Antibes and I really enjoyed it. What I enjoyed even more is that in all the places there is not only glamour and glitz but also secrets and hidden pasts, and ones that I couldn’t dream about – the author has really taken me by surprise with each secret revealed. When I was a little over the half of the book one of the secrets and puzzles has been solved, and it was brilliant, I’d never guess it for myself, and I didn’t even try to be honest, but I also thought, wow, and what is the second half of the book going to be about when this thread is closed? But then I turned the page and boom, the author has hit me with a twist that I would never in a million years see coming. And it was like this with mostly the whole book – there were things and events happening that I didn’t see coming.

All of the characters are so well – rounded and each of them is given their own personality by the author. Some of them are more likeable, some of them less but all their life stories are relatable to and realistic. Flora is a lovely character. Strong, independent and she knows what she wants, and her passion to her job was fantastic. And because of this passion she is also a great detective! She has really incredible skills and she knows where to dig to find information she needs, hats off girl, I’d never be able to unearth such things. She is also very caring and she loves her family and there are really many layers to her but altogether I think you can’t not like her. Flora is a fine art adviser and for her job she travels around the world to procure very expensive paintings (like, you know, Picasso or Renoir) for her clients. The finding of the hidden apartment was from the beginning not her usual job but then she finds herself roped into a secret that also concern the paintings and other valuable artefacts found in the apartment but also it concerns the family the apartment belongs to. And Flora is not the one that lets the secret stay undercover, even if the secret in question is really a big one.

What didn’t work so much for me was the romance element in this story, however I think I know what the author wanted to achieve. It was as if the first part of the book focused much more on the art and the second part was more on Flora’s life and this budding romance. It was there but it was as if it wasn’t in the story, if you follow me :) Nevertheless, even with the few scenes, the chemistry and sparkles between Flora and Xavier were incredible, I think it was the best captured blossoming relationship ever written! Well, okay, I’d prefer a little different ending, hoping Flora would stay hard but it’s only me. There were so many significant events happening in the story but the author doesn’t explain everything at once. Oh no. She lets the tension to built and there were moments that I’ve already forgotten about something or moments that I was afraid the author has forgotten about something. But no worries, guys, all the secrets are revealed, all the questions are answered – in their own time. It doesn’t mean that the story drags or that I was struggling to go through it, of course not, it is so full of great things that I didn’t see coming and I didn’t notice the time passing, so immersed was I in the reading, and I enjoyed every single page of this book. It is this kind of book that you think you have all figured but then another curve ball comes and hits you on the head. There is really much more to it that meets the eye and I truly recommend this book. Karen Swan creates stories that keep me hooked in their grips, and it was the same with „The Paris Secrets”. I absolutely loved the writing style and the story itself – it was intriguing, hooking and original, it felt like a breath of fresh air. Karen Swan tells the story so effortlessly and I really felt like a part of the characters’ world. Sure, there were some moments that the plot seemed a little too far – fetched and the sudden change in Xavier’s sister Natascha towards Flora was too sudden and too obvious, but altogether, I adored this story. I immersed myself in the world of art, glamour and glitz, in the world of secrets and mysteries and I think this is the perfect summer read.


All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

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All Is Not Forgotten

by Wendy Walker



Publisher: Mira

Publishing Date: 14th July 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Psychological Thriller, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback






You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime. Jenny’s wounds have healed. An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack. She is moving on with her life. That was the plan. Except it’s not working out. Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can’t stop touching. And she’s getting worse. Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial. It may be that the only way to uncover what’s wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack. And that could destroy as much as it heals.

Rating: 4/5


You know, I’ve requested this book after reading the synopsis, thinking it’s going to be a next psychological thriller on my list. It was only when I started reading it I realised that it’s going to be a very special read, a very unusual read, and sure, it is a book that truly got under my skin. I’ve finished reading it few days ago and I am still thinking about it, about the events and situations – it is not a book that you finish, close and forget. it’s very intense and compelling, very controversial and thought – provoking and oh boy, am I glad that I came across „All Is Not Forgotten”.

„All is Not Forgotten” is a story about rape – a young girl is raped in the woods during a house party. And the author doesn’t spare us the descriptions – the rape is graphic. Very graphic. It made me cringe inside and often I felt repulsion, it really made me feel sick. But back to Jenny, the main character – she is offered a new treatment, during which the doctors can erase the memory of the rape and the aggressor so that she will never have to come back to those memories. But – and this is one big BUT – can you really erase all memories? And is it sensible? Can you cope without knowing? Without those memories it’s impossible to punish the assassin. So Jenny’s parents, Charlotte and Tome, seek help of a psychiatrist who specializes in therapy that should bring back her memories.

What surprised me most was the way the book was written, I think I’ve never read a book written in such a way, as if it were told from someone’s perspective, someone’s that is not involved. At the beginning I didn’t have a freaking idea who it is that is telling the story and I must admit, it annoyed me, it really annoyed me. This person was reporting what has happened as if they were a fly on the wall. I had my suspicions who this could be and it was confirmed in chapter 7, I think, but really, till then it irritated me not to know who is talking to us. And to be totally honest, the first half of the book felt as if I am reading a psychology coursebook – there were so many descriptions of feelings, emotions, the therapy and the author was using very technical words, words that I’ve seen for the first time in my life actually, and it was hard and difficult to get through this half. The very clinical tone, and especially the focus on exploring all the psychological aspects is – in my opinion – really dangerous. While studying I used to also have psychology classes, and I loved them, I was the only one to get the best note once (sorry. Sorry. I needed to tell you this :) ) but still, there were moments that it was too much of the academic language and I skim – read some of those passages. There were also many facts and some characters introduced that seemed so insignificant to this story, because well, let’s be honest, why should I be interested in someone, a person that the therapist was also helping? Yes, it annoyed me, and I was so close to put this book away, but there was something that kept me reading, and when I crossed this magic half, then I didn’t want to put this book away for a single second! It kept me hooked, I knew who is who and why and I had a feeling that actually everything is VERY significant to the story. It is a book that you can love or hate but it is for sure not going to leave you emotionless and indifferent.

It was really a very special way to tell the story through the eyes of the psychiatrist. It was like a never ending, very long monologue and there were no dialogues like we are used to. He was only reporting what other people told him and yes, it took me a long time to get used to it. It switched from character to character, it switched between times but it was always told through Dr. Forrester eyes. And as much as he tried to be objective and presented us the facts without emotions, there came a moment that I stopped to believe in his objectivity and I’d give anything to hear something, anything directly from other characters. This narrative is almost analytic, with no emotions involved, so clinical and clean. My biggest problem was that I couldn’t place Dr. Forrester. I wasn’t sure if I can trust him – no idea why, though somewhere after the first half of the book I stopped to trust him completely, although it was again mixed, because he had his own interior motives but still it seemed that he really wants to help Jenny! So what to think??? I also had problems with his personality. He seemed so smug and arrogant, the know – better – kind, patronising his own wife and her not being as intelligent as he was. He was totally devoid of emotions, or at least he looked like this, and maybe he needed to be like this to stay professional, but he just gave me the shivers. However, I had a feeling that he knows much more than he wants to say and that he tried not to let out anything and also that I am not fully allowed into the story because he controls everything.

But no matter what you think and what are your feelings towards the book, it is for sure going to make you think. It is a story full of twists and turns and tension and honestly, I didn’t know till the end who raped Jenny and why. I’m not sure how I feel about it, and especially about the reasons why and what made the assassin to did what they did but I think it couldn’t have different end, as I think the author wanted to show us how different people’s minds work. It was not an explosive reveal or something like this, no, but for me it was still unexpected, and thanks the author for this! Altogether, a dark story written by the author who knows how to manipulate the reader, a very unpredictable read, moving and very intense. Recommended!



The Perfect Disaster series by Aimee Horton re – release + Guest Post

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Book Tour

I’m so excited to bring you the ReLaunch and ReBrand of Aimee Horton‚s ‚The Perfect Disaster Series
Velvet Morning Press has recently ReLaunched these books with the fabulous covers below!

I LOVE these new covers!! I can’t wait to read these!!

(To find out more about each book, click on the covers)


Perfect Mishap

A hilarious and honest British mom’s madcap adventures in suburbia, from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

Dottie Harris has a knack for stumbling into chaotic situations, gin & tonic in hand. When Dottie and Henry Harris move to their new house, Dottie’s only desire is to make friends in the neighbourhood. But Dottie, just home from delivering her third child, is struggling to adjust to village life. Recently promoted Henry travels a lot, and the neighbours aren’t very welcoming (although that could be because when Dottie first met them, she had dyed her children green).

So when Dottie accidentally hears her neighbours’ conversations over her baby monitor, she can’t help but use the sneaky information in her quest to build new friendships.

Of course, eavesdropping never ends well, and when Dottie discovers that two of her neighbours are having an affair, she’s horrified. Worse still, the locals are convinced she’s the one who’s doing the cheating. It’s up to Dottie to clear her name and uncover (and expose) the real cheat—in her signature haphazard way!

A humorous blend between chick lit and cozy mystery, this funny novel will have you laughing along with gin-drinking amateur sleuth Dottie!

Previously published as Mothers Ruined

Perfect Mayhem


Bridget Jones’s Diary meets The Nanny Diaries in this Amazon UK Best Seller!

The only thing Dottie Harris loves more than her gin & tonic is her family. Most of the time.

From her hapless-but-well-meaning husband to her two energetic bundles of joy, Dottie certainly has her hands full. And she’s tired. So tired.

With quips like „How do sleeping babies know the minute you sit down?” this modern-day diary will have you laughing—when you’re not crying with empathy, that is!

Dottie tells it like it is: the good, the bad, and the eternal piles of dirty laundry.

If you’re looking for chick lit packed with parenting humor, or simply want to know you’re not the only one having trouble parenting newborns and toddlers, this book about the ups and downs of parenthood is for you! It’s a motherhood manifesto, social media style!

Previously published as Survival of the Ginnest.

Perfect Christmas

A hilarious Christmas novella from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

„Cooking for nineteen people will be a cinch!”

Ever-optimistic Dottie Harris is preparing for the biggest and best Christmas celebration ever, and nothing—not even unexpected guests or running out of gin—will get her down.

But as always, things don’t run smoothly for Dottie, and it’s not long before her two energetic children, hapless husband and a nasty stomach bug wreak havoc on her carefully planned spreadsheets.

Can Dottie throw the perfect family Christmas (without so much as a swig of gin to help her through) or will preparing for the festivities get the best of her? One thing’s for sure: This will be a Christmas to remember!

A humorous Christmas novella, perfect if you’re looking for a funny read for the Christmas season, or want to get in the Christmas spirit. Or you can spread some Christmas cheer and give it as a Christmas gift!

Previously published as Survival of the Christmas Spirit.

Perfect Mix-Up


Find out just how British Dottie is…

Dottie Harris is as British as they come, which is exactly what endears her to us. But when her pregnant American cousin comes for a visit, Dottie is a frazzled disaster who can’t seem to overcome the language barrier.

Perfect Mix-Up is a funny look at parenting from both sides of the pond, and the surprising number of confusing language differences that entails.

If you’d like to try the ebook before you buy, it’s free if you join Aimee’s mailing list:

Previously published as Lush in Translation.

About the Author:

Aimee Horton


Aimee is from Lincoln, England, where she enjoys drinking gin and spending time with her family (and she won’t tell you which of those she prefers doing). As a child, one of her favourite parts of the summer holidays was to devour all the books in a little book shop in Devon. She continued reading at lightning speed right up until having children. She now reads with eyes propped open by match sticks.

Find her here:



Writing when the kids are home.


 Sitting at my computer on Saturday morning I was just attempting to do a quick sprint on my latest project, the daily wordcount target is quite a stretch, and the thought of doing it all in one go was making me twitchy, so I thought I could quickly wack out 1k of words then I could spend a bit of guilt-free time playing with the monsters before the outlaws picked them up so I could crack on with work and a few other jobs.

 I should know by now that this is counter-productive. I know that I should have just put aside my quiet half hour after they were gone, but I’m selfish, I WANTED THAT HOT CUP OF TEA BEFORE I GOT STARTED (plus, you know, a bit of a Netflix binge).

You see, unfortunately I’d promised my eldest that if he’d completed all his tasks for the morning (and I’d given him a long list) he could play Minecraft on the playstation. He’s a determined little bugger, and when he wants something he suddenly remembers how to make his bed and feed the bloody hamster. I have no idea why he wants to go on the playstation. I mean, there is an Xbox in his room, plus we have a computer and ipads. WE ARE BASICALLY GEEK CENTRAL. The only thing I can think of is the fact that the playstation is in the lounge, which happens to be where my desk is right now…although perhaps not for much longer after today.

So there I am, having caved I make him promise to be quiet while I am working, and he agrees. I’m trying to concentrate, splurge my thoughts out as eloquently as I can, and all I can hear is running commentary of Minecraft, along with frequently having to turn around to admire skins and sound out different levels of diamond swords.

 “Mmm, invisible you say darling? That’s AH-MAZE-ING” I say, then turn back to my screen. 

Dottie couldn’t believe it, of all the things cave spider had to do, and they couldn’t even pour her a skin with fizzy tonic.

Shit! I press delete and begin again, by now The-Five-Year-Old has joined us. He’s on the iPad and watching YouTube videos of other people play a game about worms. So now, as I try and concentrate, I have a small boy going “I need an invisibility potion…and full diamond armour”  and I can hear the iPad going “and LOOK! OH MY GOODNESS THIS IS EPPICCCCCCC…”

I get up and go for a wee. 


“I’m on the toilet…I’ll be there in a second”

>cue small child showing up at my door<

*sigh* “Yes, that’s a lovely BallisticSquid impression.”

I go back to my desk, but somehow video on the iPad is now speaking in Italian. 

Fingers in my ears I re-read what I’ve already written. It’s just a bit pathetic to be honest. As I’m sitting, fingers in ears, attempting to think there’s a tug on my arm. It’s a small child asking for a drink of lemonade.

Grabbing my notepad I go and make the lemonade, I grab a few biscuits and take it upstairs to the boys, both sitting on a chair each. They grunt their thanks and are zoned totally in to their extended screen time.

I grab a load of laundry, empty washer to dyer, dryer into pile and dump at bottom of the stairs, then I sit at the kitchen table with the notepad starting to write my to-do list for this afternoon.

Finally I’m making some headway, but I hear a thud of a small child landing on the floor, followed by another smaller thud – that will be the iPad landing on the laminate – of course.

There’s the slam of a toilet seat and I think that I’m safe…



I stay quiet. Hoping he’ll forget.



Thud. He’s making his way down the stairs, but stops half way down. He’s probably got distracted on the iPad…again.

I carry on, scribbling away, but then the door is flung open and a small child comes in wearing my wellies and my denim shirt. There’s a wet patch.

“What’s that?”

“Oh…I didn’t get all my wee in the actual toilet, because basically I got distracted”

Of course.

I’m beyond caring if I’m honest, but because the outlaws are due soon I tell him to get naked and find some more clothes. I return to my desk.

“Hellooooo AND WELCOME TO THEO’S WORLD!” My son’s ‘youtuber’ voice greets me, and I don’t even have time to start looking at my work when he is beside me.

“I NEEED some lunch.”

I’m not going to win. I have created three unfinished tasks, which now need completing.

I head downstairs to begin making lunch, stopping at the bottom of the stairs to pair socks from the laundry pile. The boys naturally gravitate away from what they’re doing and follow me downstairs climbing my legs and jumping on my back.

Doing any sort of work, ‘work work’ or house work, with kids at home is chuffing hard. Even with the usual reliable electronic babysitters, they can sense that I need them to stay occupied, so decide to do the exact opposite.

Pass the gin…and a padded room where I can lock them in…or even better, myself!


Check out the rest of the #BookTour

July 18th

On My Bookshelf – Author Guest Post
Novelgossip – Book Promo/Excerpt
Hello Chick Lit – Book Promo

July 19th

Sylv all about books and films - Book Excerpt
He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post

July 20th

Jenna Books – Book Promo/Excerpt
Judging More Than Just The Cover – Author Q&A
Sweet Little Pretties – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 21st

The Writing Garnet – Author Q&A
Book Lover in Florida – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 22nd

One Book At A Time – Promo Post
Dreaming With Open Eyes – Author Q&A
These Words: A Blog – Author Guest Post
Grass Monster – Book Review (Amazon)

BookTour arranged by HCL Book Tours & Author Services
(now taking clients and book for late summer/early fall)
HCL Book Tours Logo (2)


The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry – Extract

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Today I am thrilled to be kicking off blog tour for Ellen Berry‚s delicious novel „The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane„. It’s not a secret that Ellen Berry is in fact the highly acclaimed Fiona Gibson, so if you are a fan you know you can expect a lovely, hilarious but also down – to – earth read. And if you don’t know her yet – which I can’t believe! – it’s a great moment to treat yourself to this book. But before you do this, here is a small extract.



In The Beginning …

Of the hundreds of cookbooks in Kitty’s collection, an extraordinary number were dedicated to cooking under difficult circumstances. Meals With One Pan, Dinner For Pennies, The Frugal Hostess, even Cooking Without a Kitchen. At ten years old, Della Cartwright was intimately familiar with her mother’s personal library; she could instantly locate Blancmanges, Jellies and Other Set Desserts, and lay a finger upon Rescuing Kitchen Disasters with no problem at all. She knew, however, that there was no book in the house entitled Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You For Another Woman. Which was precisely what Kitty Cartwright needed right now.

Stillness had settled over the kitchen in Rosemary Cottage. Even the books, which entirely lined every inch of available wall space – promising infinite culinary adventures – looked forlorn. Usually the hub of the house, filled with delicious aromas as Kitty chopped and stirred, the room felt cold and uninviting now. A few shrivelled potatoes sat in the wire rack, and tiny flies drifted around them. The milk was sour in the fridge, and the Victoria sponge Kitty had made over a week ago sat, hard and uninviting, beneath its fluted glass dome. Still in pyjamas at 2.30 p.m., Della skimmed her gaze over the books. They no longer promised treats. They overwhelmed her.

Della’s stomach growled hollowly. Hunger had driven Jeff, her big brother, to his best friend Mick’s house at the end of the lane, whilst Roxanne, the youngest, would occasionally emerge from her bedroom to snatch a Jacob’s cracker or a handful of dry Sugar Puffs from the cupboard. Mostly, though, she remained in her room, styling the synthetic blonde hair of her army of Barbies.

Della, the middle child, had no interest in dolls. She owned a battered old Chopper bike – the one Jeff had outgrown – that she’d cycle through the mushy fallen leaves entirely covering the winding lanes of the small Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge. Mostly, though, she loved to stay indoors and cook. Kitty had never given the impression that she knew what to do with her children – it was as if they had been foisted upon her, forever requiring name tapes to be sewn into clothes, or to be driven en masse to Clark’s in Heathfield for school shoes – but she did seem to appreciate a kitchen assistant. Della had made this her job. Together, mother and daughter would pore over the books. Whilst Kitty took charge in her rather flappy manner, Della would undertake menial tasks: peeling carrots, trimming green beans, and gathering up the eggshells her mother left strewn around in her wake. She felt useful then, as if she belonged.

Della ran her fingers along the spines of the books. What to Cook Today was where her hand stopped. Perhaps she hadn’t known the whole collection after all. She didn’t remember seeing that one before. She pulled it from the shelf and studied its plain brown fabric cover. It was slightly stained and smelled musty, its title almost faded away. There were no pictures inside: just tiny type on mottled yellowing pages and a few scribbled notes in the margins. Della fetched a notebook and pencil and, installed at the well-worn kitchen table, she started to flick through the book.

Potato Soup, she wrote in rounded childish lettering. Roast Chicken. Semolina Pudding. Warm, comforting foods to coax Jeff back from Mick’s and Roxanne away from her Barbies and, most importantly, their mother away from her glass of gin. Della was sensible enough to know Kitty needed to eat, and that gin and tonic didn’t count as real food, even with ice and lemon.

Getting up from the wobbly kitchen chair, Della took an elastic band from the rubbery ball which Kitty, frugal to the last, had made by collecting the ones dropped by the postman, and used it to secure her thick brown hair in a ponytail. Then she lifted her own navy blue apron from the hook on the kitchen door and, aware of the distant chink of ice cubes in a glass, turned back to the chapter entitled Soups and Starters.

And so she began…



Learning to Speak American by Colette Dartford

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Today I am kicking off Colette Dartford‚s blog tour for her debut novel „Learning to Speak American„. This book is  based on Colette’s experience of renovating a derelict house in California’s Napa Valley. Having bought and renovated the house, Colette lived there with her husband for many years before moving back to the UK, and the parts about renovating the house were really brilliant! The novel was a quarterfinalist in Amazon’s first novel award in California. Colette’s second novel, The Sinners, will be published by Bonnier in 2017, which is a great news guys!

Learning to Speak American

by Colette Dartford



Publisher: Twenty7

Publishing Date: 14th July 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback






„Having suffered in silence since the tragic death of their young daughter, Lola and Duncan Drummond’s last chance to rediscover their love for one another lies in an anniversary holiday to the gorgeous Napa Valley.

Unable to talk about what happened, Duncan reaches out to his wife the only way he knows how – he buys her a derelict house, the restoration of which might just restore their relationship.

As Lola works on the house she begins to realise the liberating power of letting go. But just as she begins to open up, Duncan’s life begins to fall apart.

Colette Dartford’s debut novel, Learning to Speak American, exploring whether a parent can ever truly move on from the death of a child. And, after all the heartbreak, whether Lola and Duncan can learn to love again.”

Rating: 3/5


I’ve heard many praises about Colette Dartford’s debut novel „Learning to Speak American” and I truly wanted to read the book for myself, so when the opportunity for taking a part in the blog tour came, I didn’t hesitate and jumped at the chance. I really liked the sound of the book as well and I was asking myself all the time, can such a tragedy bring people together or rather drive them away? This is the question that was really bothering me all the time, maybe because I know people who are experiencing the same situation and it doesn’t seem to work for them, so I was really intrigued to see how it is going to continue between Lola and Duncan. On the surface they both seem to cope with the death of their daughter, or should I rather write „cope” because I think it is a situation that you can never process, and I wanted to see for myself the outcome of this story.

I think that for a debut the author has chosen a really difficult subject matter to deal with, and hats off to her for starting with such ambitious novel. The book started in a very promising way and I could feel all the feelings and emotions of the characters myself, as they were really written in very descriptive way and I could feel the tension, the uncertainty, this wall between Duncan and Lola. However, soon the story went a little downhill for me, I found it hard to get into it – I can’t tell you why exactly, it’s just that all the feelings started to overwhelm me. I also think that the death of Clarissa should have been explained much quicker – we know that Lola and Duncan had a daughter and that she’s dead, and this subject came every once in a while in the story, but the real reason of her death was kept a secret. There were some flashbacks, some hints but we needed to wait almost to the end of the book for it to be explained, and I think it was unnecessary tension as it led us to thinking that there was some kind of mystery, especially as Duncan made it clear more than once that he feels guilty about it. I think it should have been told straight at the beginning because maybe then it would change my view of the characters? Because I also couldn’t connect with the characters and as much as I understand that after such a tragedy you must find something to keep you occupied, I couldn’t stomach Duncan and his escapes into work and other „hobbies” (I didn’t like Duncan. I just didn’t. He was a coward, he was cold and he was unjust. I understand his grief, I truly do, but he should have open to Lola and stop carrying the weight of the whole world on his shoulder – because he felt like this. Though there were moments that even with me disliking him, my heart really went to him, he was so incredibly sad and he lived with this sadness alone) and Lola being obsessed with the house renovations.

I much more enjoyed the parts of the book set in Napa Valley than the parts in the Somerset village, as they were so full of sadness, secrets and lies and they made me feel really depressed. And the characters that I liked most were probably Lola’s new neighbours. I empathised with Lola but somehow, the way she acted and reacted, she didn’t feel so genuine to me – I can’t put my finger on my problem and it annoys me to be honest, because there seemed everything to be okay with Lola and yet I had problems to warm to her. To be honest both the characters, Lola and Cain McCann felt just too bland to write a whole story around them and I think I missed a little more depth to them.

The book is written in a lovely writing style, however the pace was too slow for my liking and I was mostly waiting for something to happen. But it was a deeply emotional novel about grief, about second chances and new beginnings and I was intrigued by Lola and Duncan’s story and wondered how it’s going to end. Although the end was far too Disney – like in my opinion and it didn’t make me feel so content and glad. I liked how the story was told from Lola and Duncan’s perspectives, alternatively, as it gave us a deeper insight into their heads, into their thoughts and we were fully aware of what they were thinking and feeling. And the secrets they were keeping from each other as well, and there was quite a number of them. And what the author managed to do is write a novel that is sad on one hand, and on the other filled with hope – she did it really professionally and perfectly blended those two feelings. She has also with a lot of subtlety captured the works of a broken relationship. Yes, I am a little torn about „Learning to Speak American” but altogether it was a nice book and I will be looking forward to reading more from Colette Dartford.