#BlogTour The Happiness List by Annie Lyons

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Happiness List by Annie Lyons. I have reviewed quite a few of her books and can honestly say she never disappoints. Lyons always delivers an emotional, solid and yet at times amusing read.

About the Author

Having worked in the worlds of book selling and publishing, Annie Lyons decided to have a go at book writing. Following a creative writing course, lots of reading and an extraordinary amount of coffee, she produced Not Quite Perfect, which went on to become a number one bestseller. Her second book The Secrets Between Sisters was nominated in the best eBook category at the 2014 Festival of Romance and Life or Something Like It was a top ten bestseller.

Her book, The Choir on Hope Street, is a story of power ballads, community, cake and hope. She tries to write stories which make people laugh and cry, although hopefully not at the same time. Annie lives in a shambolic money-pit of a house with her husband and two children plus a cat, who she pretends not to like. She enjoys channelling her inner Adele as part of her own beloved community choir and trying to grow cauliflower. Her latest book, The Happiness List, was published on the 11th of July 2018.

Follow @1AnnieLyons or @HQDigital @HQStories

Visit annielyons.com or connect with Annie on Facebook

Buy The Happiness List

About the book

Life is about to change forever…

Heather is finally back on Hope Street after running from the memories for so long. She hasn’t bumped into many neighbours yet but with her upcoming wedding to plan there’s plenty to keep her busy!

Fran is still trying to get used to a life without her husband by her side. It’s hard enough raising two children on her own – she doesn’t have time to even think about dating…

Pamela is fed up with being taken for granted by her grown-up children and grumbling husband. She’s ready to shake things up a little, but will her family even notice?

So when the three women hear about a ‘happiness course’ starting on Hope Street, surely it’s the perfect opportunity to let their hair down, laugh with new friends and maybe even change their lives in ways they never expected…

Review

Heather, Fran and Pamela couldn’t be more different, and they don’t imagine themselves growing closer to each other, whilst on a happiness course of all things. Although the course is supposed to help them focus on the positive and help them to manage and set themselves achievable goals, they start supporting each other instead.

Each of the women have their own burdens to bear. Fran is still trying to deal with the loss of her husband, Pamela is caught between her son and her husband, and Heather is planning a wedding. Heather is still coping with her own losses, which make her insecure, vulnerable and perhaps a little naive about the people closest to her.

Mindfulness is very en vogue at the moment. It’s all about focusing one’s awareness on the present, as opposed to dwelling on the past or being anxious about the future. Accepting one’s own thoughts, feelings and physical sensations and acknowledging them calmly. In this case Heather, Fran and Pamela are asked to create lists of things or goals, which make them or will make them happy.

It’s interesting to note how each list changes and evolves as the women grow and learn to focus on themselves and their happiness. How some seemingly important goals become less so to the women, as they learn to let things go and to assert themselves and their needs.

Lyons always delivers an emotional, solid and yet at times amusing read. Although it’s infused with a subtle layer of humour, this story is about empowerment and taking control of your emotions and your life. It’s about friendship, loyalty and bonds that grow between people. It’s about enjoying the small things in life, focusing on the positive rather than the negative, and above all it is about knowing there is always a way forward.

Buy The Happiness List at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read The Choir on Hope StreetLife or Something Like It  or Not Quite Perfect by Annie Lyons.

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#BlogTour Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife by Sun Chara

This BlogTour offers emotional turmoil and a fight to keep a child as part of the story of Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife by Sun Chara. A couple fighting against their real feelings and focusing on their pain and anger instead. Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway below to Win an e-copy of Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife and a Greek style bracelet (Open Internationally)

About the Author

Sun Chara, an Amazon top 100 bestseller, writes sexy, hip ‘n fun contemporary romance for HarperImpulse. JABBIC winner, Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinderella launched her writing career, spinning the ‘global millionaires’ series’. She makes her home in southern California, and has appeared on stage/film to rave reviews in How the Other Half Loves, General Hospital, and McGee and Me. With a Masters Degree in Education, and membership in SAG/AFTRA and Romance Writers of America, she enjoys sipping Frappuccinos topped with whipped cream/sprinkles, and dancing on the beach…making everyday a celebration!

Follow @sunchara3 and @HarperImpulse on Twitter

Or connect with suncharaauthorpage on Facebook

Buy Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife

About the book

A tempestuous fling…a marriage…a betrayal?

When Michalis Leonadis’ bride jumps ship at the first sign of rough waters, he’s annoyed. When she costs him a marriage and a billion-dollar deal, he’s furious; but when he discovers she ditched him whilst harboring a secret…he’s out for revenge.

Ex-model, Julia Armstrong gave up everything for Michalis but when she catches him with another woman, crushed, she jets out of his life. The proud Greek blasts back into her world seeking retribution—in exchange for a divorce, he demands she relinquish the one thing she cannot. Her daughter. Only one other bargaining chip remains…Julia herself.

Review

Julia and Michalis seem to be the perfect couple on the surface, but that image crumbles when she catches him with his mistress. In response she takes herself and her secret, and hightails it out of town. Over a year later her husband turns up supposedly wanting to settle their divorce.

Instead he is determined to take their child, the secret she has been coveting and taking care of by herself. Every instinct she has is telling her to run and hide, if it wasn’t for that pesky physical attraction she has to him. The two of them are drawn to each other like magnets.

The character of Michalis has a whiff of romanticised misogyny, which is perfectly normal in this genre and type of story. Come with me now and do anything I want you to do for thirty days or I will take from you what you love the most. Caveman tactics and blackmail to convince the woman you subconsciously love, but openly despise to ‘help’ her to make the right decision.

The focus of the story is a series of misunderstandings, which lead to a heartbreaking crevice in the relationship of a couple who love and lust for each other, and yet are afraid to admit it.

Chara brings back the passion and whirlwind of emotions of 80’s bodice-rippers, but in a modern day setting. It’s perfect for readers looking for a little romance mixed with titillating sexual attraction, and a tug-of-war of emotions.

Buy Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Impulse

Enter the Giveaway below to – Win an e-copy of Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife and a Greek style bracelet (Open Internationally – The design of bracelet will vary depending on where in the world you live.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then 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.*)

#BlogBlitz Coming Home To Ottercombe Bay by Bella Osborne

It’s Publication Day for the Paperback of Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay by Bella Osborne. Celebrate with Bella by reading all about Ottercombe Bay and entering the giveaway for two signed books by Bella Osborne at the bottom of this post.

About the Author

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. She’s now written four romantic comedies and been shortlisted twice for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you.

She lives in The Midlands, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s dog. When not writing she’s usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

Enter the Giveaway (below at the bottom of this post) – Win signed copies of It Started At Sunset Cottage and A Family Holiday by Bella Osborne (Open Internationally)

 About the book

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

Review

Daisy finds it difficult to stay in one place for too long, and she really doesn’t like staying in her hometown Ottercombe Bay, because it brings back a lot of painful and unresolved emotions. The death of her mother follows her everywhere in the place where she grew up.

When she returns home after the death of her Uncle Reg, she is surprised to find he has left her something quite interesting in his will. Unfortunately the wily old man has included specific conditions which must be fulfilled in order for Daisy to receive the inheritance, the kind of conditions he hoped would convince her to stay in O-Bay.

I have to say that Bugsy was the secret star of this book. The interactions between the obnoxious, stubborn pug and Daisy are hilarious. The scene with the chips and the last few pages had me laughing out loud. The two of them were made for each other. Good luck with the retraining!

Ottercombe Bay is all about discovering where you feel at home and most comfortable, even if it means having to lay some demons to rest. Daisy finds a lot of things she wasn’t expecting. After many years of being by herself I think she struggles to accept that it’s okay to let people in and to trust them.

Osborne has a knack for writing comedic scenes which seem completely effortless and natural, and of course this is what makes her books so enjoyable. She combines subtle romantic storylines with realistic emotional turmoil, and doesn’t forget to add the small moments in life that make it both memorable and funny at times.

It’s an entertaining and funny read with plenty of heartfelt moments

Buy Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Kindle edition

Giveaway – Win signed copies of It Started At Sunset Cottage and A Family Holiday (Open Internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above the ToC’s.  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 dispatch or delivery of the prize.*

#BlogTour The Very White of Love by S.C. Worrall

It’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Very White of Love by Simon Worrall. It is a nostalgic ode to Nancy and Martin, and of course to their love and a relationship that took place across many miles through the medium of pen and paper.

About the Author

S.C. Worrall was born in Wellington, England and spent his childhood in Eritrea, Paris an Singapore. Since 1984, he has been a full-time, freelance journalist and book author. He has written for National Geographic, GQ, The London Times and The Guardian. He has also made frequent appearances on Radio and TV, including the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent: NPR and PBS. He speaks six languages and has lived in or visited more than 70 countries. The Very White of Love is his debut novel.

Follow @simonworrall @HQStories

Visit simonworrallauthor.com

Buy The Very White of Love

About the book

Torn apart by war, their letters mean everything…

‘My love. I am writing to you without knowing where you are but I will find you after all these long months…’

3rd September September 1938. Martin Preston is in his second year of Oxford when his world is split in two by a beautiful redhead, Nancy Whelan. A whirlwind romance blossoms in the Buckinghamshire countryside as dark clouds begin to gather in Europe.

3rd September 1939. Britain declares war on Germany. Martin is sent to the battlefields of France, but as their letters cross the channel, he tells Nancy their love will keep him safe. Then, one day, his letters stop.

3rd September 1940. It’s four months since Nancy last heard from Martin. She knows he is still alive. And she’ll do anything to find him. But what she discovers will change her life forever.

Review

This story of romance, first love and the tragedy of war is based on the correspondence between Martin Preston and Nancy Whelan. Her son found the letters and a picture of Martin after the death of his mother, and decided to tell the world about this forgotten blip in time instead of letting it fall into the deep hole of unknown stories.

Unfortunately none or not many of her letters exist, but the author has been able to give the reader a good idea what they would have looked like based on Martin’s emotional and honest letters to Nancy.

Aside from the romantic element of the story, the author also highlights the tragedy of war. In this case both World Wars, during which whole generations of young men were annihilated, and damaged both mentally and physically. Even the men lucky enough to return home were never the same again. You don’t just bury trauma like that without it leaving some kind of mark.

One of the things I think is important to note when discussing the events of both the Great War and World War 2, is the military hierarchy and how it influenced the process of decision-making and number of fatalities. In fact it is probably also the case in other war conflicts and so-called skirmishes. There is this automatic assumption that academic learning and higher socio-economic status in life equates to good leadership skills in the military hierarchy.

This meant that inexperienced, and often very young men were made officers and therefore put in charge of the lives of all men beneath them in the hierarchy. The irony of the fact these boys had lower ranking men with prior war and military experience working beneath them and giving them advice, and yet not in charge, is just tragic in every sense of the word.

Men who have no clue what the situation is on the ground are making decisions that will ultimately kill many innocent men, because they are playing games of strategy in their office. Officers not suited to their positions are leading hundreds of men into traps. Is it any wonder the majority of lower ranking soldiers speak of the same frustration when it comes to the reality of war.

Anyway I digress, although in a way it is pertinent to how Martin ended up where he was and perhaps ultimately decided his fate and that of many others. Although the information was hard to gather, put together and the exact truth will never be known, it is fair to say he was a brave man.

I believe Simon Worrall has made the best of a double-edged sword. He found a secret that determined the inner emotional stability and/or turmoil of his mother and her marriage to his father. She kept the torch burning for Martin throughout her life. Their love was romanticised in her head, especially because it was never physical, and the dreams of a wedding and children were never fulfilled.

It’s the not knowing that makes the brutally interrupted first love something she dwells on in moments of unhappiness or frustration. The trauma of not knowing the truth, and perhaps never quite believing it, stayed with her forever.

It’s a beautiful story, probably one of very many during that particular era, but this one provided the author with enough physical evidence to be able to replicate the events. Obviously he has filled in certain scenes with fictional dialogues and descriptions, but he does so with the greatest respect towards his own family and the family of Martin Preston.

It is a nostalgic ode to Nancy and Martin, and of course to their love and a relationship that took place across many miles through the medium of pen and paper.

Buy The Very White of Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Published by HQ 14th June 2018 Hardback  ebook  Audio

#BlogTour One Small Thing by Erin Watt

It’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for One Small Thing by Erin Watt today. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride filled with strong characters, right-fighters, and with a young girl at war with the world and herself at the midst of it all.

About the Author

Erin Watt is the brainchild of two bestselling authors linked together through their love of great books and an addiction to writing. They share one creative imagination. Their greatest love (after their families and pets, of course)? Coming up with fun–and sometimes crazy–ideas. Their greatest fear? Breaking up.

Follow @authorerinwatt (brainchild of authors: @JenSFred and @ElleKennedy)

Follow @HQStories and @HarlequinTEEN

Buy One Small Thing

About the book

Their secret could tear everything apart…

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Trapped at home by her over-bearing parents Beth needs to get out. So when she sneaks out to a party and meets the boy everyone’s been talking about she’s shocked by their instant connection, and the part he played in her sister’s death.

A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings become. Beth has a choice to make – follow the rules, or risk ruining what she cares about most.

Review

Grief plays a major role in this story, and the different ways people deal with it or don’t deal with it, as is the case with Beth. Her inability to accept any kind of emotional reaction about her losing her sister becomes the active volcano in the midst of the emotional minefield surrounding her. She has to deal with her parents obsessive need to protect her and their refusal to let Rachel go, the killer and his need to be punished indefinitely for her death, and the community and friends who all have an opinion on how she should react to the tragic event.

Watt makes it easy to understand both sides of the coin, when it comes to Beth and her parents. As a parent you are terrified another child will be taken from you, so your reactions don’t seem over the top or extreme. You can justify any action or rule that will keep your kid safe, right? Simultaneously you have Beth reacting and rebelling against the restrictions, the oppression and the panic that oozes from their every pore. Normal teenage shenanigans become more dangerous and risky, when seen through the lens of the frightened and angry parent.

Everything takes on a more explosive and destructive element when Beth hooks up with a handsome mysterious young man at a party, who later turns out to be the person charged and sentenced for the death of her sister. Beth struggles to satisfy her instinctual attraction to him, whilst pretending to hate him for what he has done to her family. She finds it difficult to juggle what she knows of him with what she experiences when she spends time with Chase.

This author duo certainly knows how to tug on the heartstrings and make the reader feel the intensity of the emotional upheaval the characters go through. The sign of good YA romance is being able to communicate the confusion, passion, anger, sadness and joy of a young person, which is usually all over the place, in a way that makes the reader connect with the characters and the story.

At the same time Watt also subtly weaves important topics like abuse, peer pressure, isolation and child-parent conflicts, into this tapestry of grief and pain. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride filled with strong characters, right-fighters, and with a young girl at war with the world and herself in the midst of it all.

Pre-order/Buy One Small Thing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Published by HQ on 28th June 2018 Paperback £7.99 /

eBook £2.99 pub date 26th June 2018

pub date 26 June 2018 Audio 12.99


About HQ

At HQ we love writers and readers. We publish books we believe will bring pleasure and satisfaction regardless of genre or classification. Our aim is simple. To combine the classic values of readability and quality with a focus on reaching readers directly, while giving writers the support they deserve. HQ is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Her Dirty Little Secret by J.C. Harroway

dirty little secretHer Dirty Little Secret is the second book by J.C. Harroway for the shiny new Mills & Boon DARE imprint, by the way the new covers are stunning.

Harley is held back by her insecurities and fears. She thinks everyone sees her through the same lens as her father, who thinks she is lazy, stupid and not exactly a great representation of their talented family. She struggles with her dyslexia on a daily basis, because her parent always makes her feel inferior and different.

When her childhood crush strolls back into her life she also believes he judges her for the same reasons. Every sentence and thought is permeated with the fear of failure, especially when it comes to doing business. Harley is eager to establish her own business reputation, so Jack is both an annoying and simultaneously  very appealing distraction.

Harroway turns up the heat to scorching in this wee romantic delight of a story. The two main characters spend quite a lot of time doing the horizontal tango and quite a number of other suave bedroom moves. Be prepared for breathless and passionate moments with these very feisty characters.

This author combines serious topics with subtle eroticism and fiery romances. It’s a very readable combination, and puts the zest in the Dare series.

Connect with J.C. Harroway on

Twitter @jcharroway

Instagram @jcharroway

Facebook JCHarroway

Goodreads J.C. Harroway

Visit jcharroway.com

Buy Her Dirty Little Secret at Amazon Uk, Mills & Boon, IBook or Google

Read A Week to be Wild by J.C. Harroway

#BlogTour Half a World Away by Sue Haasler

Today I am thrilled to host the BlogTour for Half A World Away by Sue Haasler featuring a fantastic guest post by Sue Haasler, Titles for Books, and my review.

About the Author

Sue Haasler was born and brought up in Co. Durham and studied English Literature and Linguistics at Liverpool University. After graduating she moved to London and worked for three years as a residential social worker. Since then, she has lived as an administrator for a disability charity, which recruits volunteer carers for disabled adults. Many of the volunteers are from abroad and this is how she met her husband, who is from the former East Berlin.

Sue has written four books, True Colours, Time after Time, Two’s Company (all Orion paperbacks) and Better Than the Real Thing. Two’s Company was optioned for film by Warner Bros. She has been commissioned by the BBC to write an authorized tie-in to Holby City.

She is married with an adult daughter and lives in London.

Follow @pauseliveaction @DomePress

Visit pauseliveaction.wordpress.com

Buy Half A World Away


About the Book

Charming and talented Alex dreams of becoming a professional saxophonist while working long hours in the family bakery. Detlef, lonely, repressed, and a small-time Stasi informer, develops an obsessive love for him. But Alex only has eyes for Nicky, an English woman visiting East Berlin as an au pair.

With no natural outlet for his feelings, Detlef’s passion becomes destructive, his need for approval enmeshed with the latent homophobia of the regime. As Alex’s band becomes more successful, he moves closer to influences considered subversive by a state that has eyes and ears everywhere, and Detlef’s passions threaten to endanger all of them.

Guest Post by Sue Haasler

Titles for books

I never find it easy to come up with titles for my books, so I’ve almost always used song titles that resonate with what the story is about. Previously I’ve used two Cyndi Lauper songs (‘Time After Time’ and ‘True Colours’), and my next book will be ‘Another Girl’ – a song by The Beatles, as it’s set in the swinging sixties.

‘Half A World Away’ is a song by REM from their album Out Of Time, which came out a few years after the events of the book. It’s a song I strongly associate with the period when I would often visit my boyfriend (now my husband) in Berlin, where he was a student. He was born and brought up in East Berlin, so even though it was after German reunification it was mainly the eastern part of the city that I got to know. Whenever I hear that REM song it reminds me of Berlin.

East Germany in 1987, the time that the book is mainly set, was half a world away from life in Britain or even West Germany – the same, but distinctly different. Young people were interested in the same things as young people anywhere – music, clothes, sex – but their choices and attitudes were shaped by a state that tried to impose order on its citizens through censorship, regulation and by encouraging them to report any transgressions. There are definitely shades of Orwell’s ‘1984’ in the way that the characters in the book find themselves in trouble with the authorities for behaviour that would be completely innocent anywhere else. The main character, Alex, goes on a journey in his attitude to the country he’s known all his life:

“From the airport over there [in West Berlin], you were allowed to go anywhere in the world: New York, New Orleans, Paris, London. No one got sent to prison for saying their government was corrupt or wrong; you could say what you wanted, even write books full of controversial ideas without anyone saying you were a traitor to the state. You could listen to music without being arrested. You could love anyone you wanted to.”

Review

Haasler couldn’t be more right about the now ex-East Germany being half a world away. If you weren’t there to experience it, it is extremely hard to fathom how an entire country, and of course Berlin for example, could be split in half as if there were a river of molten lava flowing between the two sides.

Half a World Away takes place in 1987, a mere two years or so before the fall of The Wall. The years after World War II are actually much more fascinating and troubling, as the plan to divide Germany between the Allies slowly took on an appearance, and the country was split into two separate ones. Even after many decades of becoming one country again there will be an occasional reference made to the division and the difference between the people from the East or the West. One of the favourite terms for the GDR (DDR as it was known in Germany) used by West Germans was, and often still is, Dunkel Deutschland (Dark Germany). Even after so many years the rift still emerges now and again, more so because the GDR was ruled by such an oppressive and strict regime.

The love story between Alex and Nicky is one that would have been frowned upon, and although Haasler describes the minutiae reporting of Detlef very well, in the confines of this story it sometimes appears to be part of his own obsession. However the people in the GDR were encouraged to spy and report on their fellow countrymen and women in this way. A Big Brother society where no deviation from the state rules or plans were allowed. Letters from and to the West were considered inflammatory. Family, lovers, friends and colleagues spied on each other to keep themselves free of suspicion.

The Stasi files can be accessed in Berlin, and quite a few people have requested permission to see who reported whom or why their loved ones or they themselves ended up in prisons or being punished. The State Security Service (Staatssicherheitsdienst, SSD) had many things in common with the previous German regime, a mixture of Gestapo meets KGB.

The author describes the isolation and the lack of development or opportunities for the younger generations really well. Dreams and expectations are weighed up against loyalty and a sense of duty, as opposed to the free thinking minds and paths in life on the other side of Germany. Detlef has trouble adjusting his natural desires to the expectations of the dictatorship he lives in. His choices are rationalised by the rules he is governed by.

Haasler does a fantastic job of balancing the two sides of the coin, and why that broken coin needed to be glued back together. The separation is a distant memory, and yet the consequences are still felt within the country and its people to this day. The author draws an interesting parallel between the political and romantic fallout of this historical separation of mind, matter and state. Simultaneously she keeps the story light-hearted, authentic and free of any political opinions. A riveting read, and a bold combination of love and history.

Buy Half a World Away at Amazon Uk  (Kindle) or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Pre-order Buy Half A World Away (Paperback) Pub. Date 12th April 2018 by Dome Press.