Monday 31 July 2017

Review | Is Monogamy Dead? by Rosie Wilby

Published by Accent Press on August 3, 2017

Is Monogamy Dead? by Rosie Wilby is fresh and on-trend with a down-to-earth and compelling take on the world of relationships. The author is honest and upfront with the reader straight away about being a lesbian, and how whilst writing this book she has been faced with confronting how her sexuality is not as clear-cut as she once thought it was. Through her eyes, and her research, and the way she delivers this book, the topic of monogamy is an insightful one and one that is more complex than it first seems.

I found Rosie Wilby’s conversational style of writing really refreshing and easy to read. She discusses a topic personal to her whilst also considering the science of it all, but throughout, the tone reads warm and friendly and I took to the style of this book straight away and I found it made for a much more enjoyable read given that the author came across as honest and approachable.

I don’t tend to read much non-fiction as to me it often comes across as too preachy or self-indulgent, but this is the third non-fiction book I’ve read this year and, like the others, did not disappoint. It doesn’t go off on a tangent, it stays close to the topic of the title and is structured well, with each chapter ending in an engaging mini-cliffhanger which kept me interested in what was to come next. This is something which I often find is lacking in non-fiction – the interest in reading to the end – and so instead of picking this book up just to read a chapter, like I had expected to, I found myself reading chapter after chapter throughout the day and thoroughly enjoying this thought-provoking book.

This book discusses many aspects to the word monogamy. What stops a relationship from being monogamous? Is it having sex with someone else or kissing someone else, or does flirting with someone or even thinking about someone else in a less than platonic way count? Do different sexualities see the idea of monogamy differently? I definitely think this is a book that holds a wide sense of appeal for many readers – those who are single or those who are in some form of relationship. I found the book to be really interesting in looking at relationships and how individual opinions on the meaning of the word monogamy can cause conflict when, according to what is presented in Rosie Wilby’s book, there seems to be so many different opinions on what cheating involves.

Rosie Wilby’s take on monogamy is honest, humorous and very insightful. She doesn’t shirk from sharing the intricacies of her own life whilst observing society and the lives of other people. She doesn’t preach her own opinions and force-feed them to the reader. She has obviously researched the topic of monogamy well before, or during, writing this book. It is not one-sided and it is not clear-cut, but it is a very fascinating and modern read that I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending.

Saturday 29 July 2017

Giveaway | The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher

Good morning and happy weekend. Last week's winner has been announced on Twitter this morning and today I have another of my favourite books to giveaway.

Today's giveaway is for a copy of The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher.

This week's prize includes: 
Copy of The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher
Mid-year diary
Emoji keyring

Giveaway begins on the 29/07/2017 and ends at 23:59 on the 04/08/2017. 
Prize is as pictured above. 
Open worldwide.

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Friday 28 July 2017

Guest Post | Twenty Tips for Improving Your Writing by Marlene Bateman, author of Searching for Irene

Published by Covenant Communications on July 1, 2017

Twenty Tips for Improving Your Writing
by Marlene Bateman

Writing is hard work. You can dismiss anyone who tells you otherwise, because obviously they have never written a book. One of my favorite quotes about the writing process—because there is so much truth in it—is by Ernest Hemingway. He said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” If you don’t want to go the bleeding route, there are some simple things you can do that will immediately improve your writing.

1. Begin sentences with subjects and verbs. Make the meaning clear early, then let weaker elements branch out. Example; Rebels seized control of . . . . Example; The tide goes out imperceptibly. The boulders show and seem to rise up . . . Example. Before prayer, warriors massed outside her window . . .

2. Place strong words at the beginning and the end. Since the period acts as a stop sign, the reader’s eye is drawn to the next word.

3. Activate your verbs. Strong verbs create action, save words, and reveal the players. Never use passive when you can use active. Avoid qualifiers such as ‘sort of’ ‘must have’ ‘seemed to’ ‘used to’ and ‘begin to.’

4. Watch “to be” verbs and clutter. Example; “There were leaves all over the ground.” Better; “Leaves covered the ground.” Also, don’t be pompous and say things like; “It is interesting to note that . . . or “There are those occasions when. . .

5. Watch those adverbs. Use them to change the meaning of the verb. Adverbs can spice up a verb or adjective, but they can also express a meaning already contained in it. Example; The blast completely destroyed the church office. The accident totally severed the boy’s arm. To be useful, an adverb must change or explain the meaning of the verb. Such as ‘She smiled sadly.’ Or, “Killing me softly.”

6. Take it easy on the –ings. Prefer the simple present or past. Put simply, wish, hope and think is stronger than wishing, hoping, and thinking. Swimming and walking are good, but it’s better to swim and to walk.

7. Fear not the long sentence. Take the reader on a journey of language and meaning.

8. Establish a pattern, then give it a twist. Build parallel constructions, but cut across the grain. Martin Luther King Jr. built a crescendo from the repetition of words and grammatical structures. He said; “So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado.” Another example; If there are people starving in the world, and there are . . . if crime is rampant in the streets . . . if our schools are not working . . . if we are plagues by such problems, it is because something else is missing. Example of parallel, Boom, boom, boom. Parallelism with a twist; boom, boom, bang. Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. Hither, thither, and yon. Peter, Paul, and Mary.

9. Let punctuation control pace and space. Learn the rules, but realize you have more options than you think. Use commas for a pause. Keep parentheses short. A colon announces what follows with a flourish.

10. Cut big, then small. Prune the big limbs, then shake out the dead leaves. In other words, Murder your darlings. William Strunk said it best; “Vigorous writing is concise.” But wait until you are done before starting to cut. Start with cutting the big stuff first. First, cut any passage that does not support your focus. Then, cut the weakest scenes to give power to the strongest. Last of all, don’t invite others to cut. You know your work best.

11. Prefer the simple over the technical. Use shorter words, sentences, and paragraphs at points of complexity. Be careful when explaining complicated ideas, and go for simple. It’s not easy, but a product of imagination and craft, carefully created. Example; “The few colored beads slid along the wire paths haphazardly, like ships on the high seas.”

12. Give key words their space. Do not repeat a distinctive word unless you intend a specific effect. Try to avoid repetition unless it’s for a purpose.

13. Play with words, even in serious stories. Choose words the average writer avoids but the average reader understands. Try to write as if you are seeing a thing for the first time.

14. Get the name of the dog. Dig for the concrete and specific, details that appeal to the senses. Novelist Joseph Conrad described his task as a writer was “To make you hear, to make you feel, to make you see.” Example; The candleflame and the image of the candle flame caught in the pierglass twisted and righted . . . The floorboards creaked under his books . . . the lilies leaned so palely from their waisted cutglass vase. Along the cold hallway behind him hung the portraits. . He pressed his thumbprint in the warm wax pooled on the oak veneer. . . .

15. Pay attention to names. Interesting names attract the writer and the reader. Think of J.K. Rowling and the people in her books.

16. Seek original images. Reject cliché’s and first-level creativity. Never use a metaphor, simile or figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print—that is a substitute for thinking. Take a cleansing breath and jot down ideas. One reporter creates and rejects a dozen before coming to the right one.

17. Riff on the creative language of others. Make word lists, free-associate, be surprised by language.

18. Set the pace with sentence length. Vary sentences to influence the reader’s speed. Slowing the pace of the story serves to: simplify the complex, create suspense, and focus on the emotional truth.

19. Vary the lengths of paragraphs. Go long or short—or make a turn—to match your intent. Remember the paragraph is a unit of thought, not of length.

20. Choose the numbers of elements with a purpose in mind. One, two, three, or four; each sends a secret message to the reader. Use one element for power. The girl is smart. If a writer wants the reader to think something the absolute truth, render it in the shortest possible sentence. For example; God is love. Use two elements for comparison and contrast. The girl is smart and sweet. The reader has to balance two characteristics and weigh them against each other. Think of Dick and Jane. Use three elements for completeness. The girl is smart, sweet, and determined. Here, we see a more well-rounded person. For example, The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Use four elements to list and expand. The girl is smart, sweet, determined and neurotic. This offers a flowing, literary effect.

Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner.

Marlene has also written a number of LDS, non-fiction books: Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die.

Marlene’s website:

Thursday 27 July 2017

Review | Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Published by Sphere on July 27, 2017

Friend Request wastes no time in getting started. Louise is no longer in contact with any of her old school friends, except Sam, who is her ex-husband and father to her lovely four year old son Henry. However, the last person she expects to get a Facebook friend request from is Maria Weston. The girl who died on the night of their leavers’ party. The girl who Louise has never been able to forget. The girl whose death Louise feels responsible for.

I loved this concept. I loved it the moment I first saw the cover on Twitter and was so ridiculously excited to get my hands on a copy of this book. It's such a smart and thrilling idea and Laura Marshall delivers a chilling tale of bullying, reckless mistakes and their dire consequences. There are many layers and themes to this book. One thing that struck me in particular was how the mistakes of Louise’s past were never forgotten. She still felt the consequences in her day to day life, still worried about the implications they would have on her son’s life, and still worried about what kind of role model she was setting her son, and her best friend’s daughter too, because of her teenage years which she regrets massively. Despite her flaws, I liked Louise, and felt for her as her paranoia, regrets and fears took over.

The book switches in narrative between 1989 and 2016. In Louise’s teenage years, we see her striving to fit in with the popular clique, eager to please the girl she would love to call her best friend, Sophie. In the present day, Louise is haunted by the friend request. Not only that, she feels she is being watched and with a school reunion looming on the horizon, Louise is beginning to panic. Who sent that friend request? Or did Maria really die that night? Could Maria be back and out for revenge?

Both parts of this book are filled with tension and I couldn't get the story off of my mind. I was desperate for this book to live up to my expectations and it definitely did. I was really engrossed in the narrative straight away and powered my way through it barely stopping for breath. In both parts there was just an overwhelming feeling that something bad was going to happen and I was hooked on this, the suspense grabbing hold of me and not letting go.

The Facebook and social media representation in this book is very realistic. I could identify with Louise’s opinion of Facebook on many levels. It can come across as some sort of platform for people to show off about their lives and the rubbish aspects of day to day life don't get a mention. And it can be easy to find yourself scrolling through the photos and posts of a friend of a mutual friend’s mutual friend! When I left school I quickly took myself off of Facebook to avoid reading statuses and seeing photos from people who I didn't like and who didn't like me. Friend Request has convinced me that that was a very good move!

Another aspect to this book that I thought the author wrote particularly well was the lengths teenage girls go to to fit in and make friends, and the insecurities of those who bully others. I’m sure that sadly many girls could relate to the way Maria was treat at school. The casual name calling and spreading of rumours about her, to isolating her and taking things even further. Maria was a feistier character than I expected when I began to read this book, and seeing her character develop during her school days made me consider all the more whether she was behind the friend request and whether we’d see her resurface in the present day.

Friend Request is current and clever and a book that got under my skin and had me obsessing over it. It was everything I hoped for and more. I spent a good half of this book thinking I knew the truth about what happened to Maria and about the friend request Louise received – but I was thrilled when it turned out I was completely wrong about everything. This is a book I won’t be forgetting in a hurry – I can’t recommend it enough!

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Guest Post | How Real Life Became More Frightening than Fiction by Mike Thomas (Unforgivable)

Published by Zaffre on July 27, 2017

How Real Life Became More Frightening than the Fictional Events in ‘Unforgivable’

What if the unreal became real?

What if something you were planning to write, something so extreme and preposterous and troubling, became – during the creation of the novel – the horrifying new normal?

I’d had a story idea rattling around my addled brain for some time: what if, against a backdrop of racial tensions in the UK city of Cardiff, a lone white male decided to attack an ethnic market then blow up a mosque? What if this was our very own Anders Behring Breivik moment, or David Copeland all over again, targeting people with nail bombs and firearms and remote-detonated homemade explosive devices? But what if I dialled it up to eleven, really pushing the devastation, the insanity?

And what if these attacks paralysed an entire city? Brought the populace of a cosmopolitan west European capital to its knees, and stretched its emergency services – already fraying at the seams during an ongoing case of racially-motivated murder – to breaking point? How would the police respond to such a meticulously planned and vicious series of events where hundreds of people were left dying or dead?

I thought I’d find out. It was in the early summer of 2015 that I finally began writing, hacking away at an opening chapter – the market scene, where the attacker strides in and begins setting off IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) – that was designed to get the heart thumping. That was designed to leave you open-mouthed at its conclusion, reeling at what you had just read.

It worked well enough, but something was niggling at me. That niggle stayed with me as I moved on to the next chapter, and the next. I couldn’t work out what it was, so I kept writing, dismissing it as first draft jitters.

It was at around the ten thousand word mark that I realised: this is too far-fetched. Nobody will believe it. Nothing like this could ever happen. Remember, this was 2015. This was before. Before homophobic gun rampages in nightclubs, before airports being blown up, before images of Paris suburbs turned into war zones.

So I put the manuscript away. Gave up on the idea, after months of planning and prep, of hours spent typing and editing and working my way into the story.

It just seemed too out there to work. I had dozens upon dozens of people dead. More injured, maimed. It just felt too unrealistic. I brooded about the thing for a month or so, thinking how I could make it better, more authentic.

I decided to reduce the carnage. Just a few deceased in the market. A couple in the mosque. Nothing too outré, and it would have the bonus effect of leaving the investigation in the hands of the Cardiff police – with large-scale casualties you’d be talking national anti-terror officers and the Metropolitan Police getting involved. I’d have been left without a Cardiff-based story to write.

So I took to the novel again, happy that it was more realistic. Less ridiculous.

Then I woke on the morning of Saturday 14th November. And, oddly for me, the first thing I did was check Twitter on my phone.

And I saw the news.

The tweet I sent read: ‘What a shitty thing to wake up to. The world has gone mad.”

Paris. The Bataclan. The images, the stories, beyond awful.

The unreal had become real. My – now abandoned – initial tale seemed almost tame in comparison to the horrors scrolling across the television screen, the reports coming out of the music venue, the restaurants and café bars. It was as if things had slipped their moorings, the world as we know it spinning off into some place of outrageous, terrifying new levels of slaughter, of inhumanity.

More of it came in the following months, into 2016. Istanbul. Brussels. Orlando. Ataturk Airport. Bastille Day. The seemingly daily bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. A wave of senselessness that numbed you as you watched and read. And then Westminster in London, a pop concert in Manchester, London once again.

My concerns had shifted: where once I was worried the book wouldn’t be published because it was too ridiculous, a few months ago I was worried it wouldn’t be published as it was too close to the bone for readers’ tastes.

‘Unforgivable’ is a novel, one you can step away from at any time. You have entered the world of DC Will MacReady voluntarily and can leave when you wish. As I was writing it I thought about the poor people caught up in these attacks, who were going about their business, living their lives, when terror struck.

They had no choice. It was a sobering, scary feeling. It fed into the novel, because now it focuses on the families, the aftermath, the humanity and warmth and love that people can have for one another when these terrible things occur.

Yet the fact remains that during the lifetime of this novel, what I considered outlandish and likely to be ridiculed as impossible has become – dare I say it – entirely commonplace.

Now that’s scary.

Thanks, Sophie!


Thank you, Mike!

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Review & Interview | The Ludlow Ladies' Society by Ann O'Loughlin

Published by Black and White Publishing on July 4, 2017

Thank you, Ann, for joining me for an interview on my blog.

Delighted to be chatting today.

Can you tell us one thing we would be surprised to learn about you?

I asked a friend how I should answer this and she said most people would be surprised to know I manage to juggle a full time job and writing novels. The truth is I love fiction writing and I love my job as a journalist. It is a perfect combination for me. I really feel that my fiction informs my writing.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society was published by Black and White Publishing on July 4. Can you tell us a bit about it?

American Connie Carter has lost everyone and everything dear to her. She comes to Ludlow hall in Wicklow, Ireland nursing her grief. She is also looking for answers. She never knew this mansion even existed until after her husband’s death.

In the village she meets the members of The Ludlow Ladies’ Society and reluctantly lets them back in to the Hall for their meetings. Slowly but surely, she is befriended by the women and particularly Hetty and Eve, the former owner of the Hall until it was repossessed and sold to Connie’s husband.

As the women begin to stitch memory quilts together to those they have lost, the secrets of the past tumble out. As they stitch and talk, the, sadness and bitterness is excised; the process helps heal the hearts of the women, all nursing their private grief and loss.

What shines through is the support for Connie Carter. Support and friendship of other women which gives her a chance to stitch her shattered life back together again.

I found there were several beautiful and resonating quotes within The Ludlow Ladies’ Society, but did you have a message in mind when you wrote this book?

I can’t say I had a message in mind when I wrote the book, but I did want to explore friendship among women and how women hold each other up and support each other through the toughest of times. Women are good to each other, listen and understand each other. I think we would be lost without our friends. Connie Carter, when she meets the Ludlow ladies, is drawn in to a band of women who reach out and help her through her hard times. She is all the better for the support and friendship she finds in The Ludlow Ladies’ Society.

What character in The Ludlow Ladies’ Society do you think you’d get along with the most?

I think everybody loves Eve. There she is, thrown out of her home, Ludlow Hall as the bank repossess it and she continues life in a very different way, but in a totally dignified way. I think the thing about Eve is that even though she lived in the lovely big house Ludlow Hall, she never forgot who she was, so when the worst of times came she was able to adapt to living in a small house and taking in sewing to scrape a living. There is also a well of kindness and understanding in Eve.

How did you celebrate publication day?

What a busy day getting ready for the Irish launch of the novel in the bookshop Dubray Books, Grafton Street, Dublin. But before anything I had a lovely glass of champagne with a breakfast cooked by my two children. That really was the best part of the day. After that, it was a flurry of telephone interviews and rushing about until the launch in the evening. I was so thrilled we had a packed house and that so many old and new friends came out the third year in a row to celebrate the launch of one of my novels. Afterwards, we all had dinner with my lovely agent Jenny Brown and my editor at Black&White Publishing, Karyn Millar. It was the perfect end to a perfect publication day.

What does your typical writing day look like?

I like to get up at 5am to write. I have a big comfy chair in the kitchen where I flop with the lap top. There was a time the dogs would give me an excited welcome so early, but now they know the routine and don’t budge until I have reached the first 1000 words. That is when they get breakfast. If they are lucky, we try to get a walk in before the next stint of writing. At 7am I get everybody in the house ready for whatever they are doing and I get ready for work. It takes an hour on the train to get to work, so I often read over and edit during that time.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I like to read. When I am writing, I don’t read, so I have a huge TBR pile beside my bed right. Now that The Ludlow Ladies’ Society is safely on the shelves I intend to spend August soaking up the sunshine and catching up in my reading. I live beside the sea at home, so I have promised the dogs plenty of early morning walks in August. I also love to travel and grab every chance I can to do that.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society is your third novel. Has the process from writing the first words to publication differed with each book?

It has in some ways, but it is still the hard slog of getting up early in the morning and getting the words down. When I was writing my first novel The Ballroom Café, I did not have an agent or a publisher so it was like being in a vacuum, but I kept writing, hoping someday my dream of publication would come true.

When I was writing The Judge’s Wife, my second book I knew my publisher Black &White Publishing were keen to have a first read, so that made a huge difference and of course it was the same with The Ludlow Ladies’ Society. The Ballroom Café was a bestseller on kindle and an Irish bestseller and The Judge’s Wife was weeks in the Irish bestseller charts.

But you have to put that all out of your head and write the story in you.

My wish is that the readers of The Ludlow Ladies’ Society, when they close the book feel uplifted after meeting the Ludlow ladies.

What do you enjoy the most about being an author?

The champagne and strawberries every morning for breakfast! I am only joking of course.

Genuinely, my favourite thing is when readers get in touch to chat about one of my books. It is a wonderful feeling to think the words you put on the page and the story you tell has touched so many people. There are some readers that regularly keep in touch through my author Facebook page @annoloughlinbooks and it really is lovely. Writing is a lonely existence and I think every writer is full of self-doubt about his or her work, so when people take the bother to get in touch to tell you they love the books, then it is really wonderful.

If you could choose one book published during the past year that you would recommend we read, what book would that be?

The House Between Rides by Sarah Maine. I was saving this for when I am on holidays in August, but I started to read it the other night and I just love it. Maine writes beautifully and I love her descriptive passages, it just brings me in to another world.

This book has captivated me. Hetty inherits a large old house in the Outer Hebrides and wants to turn it into a hotel. When a cracked skull is found under the floorboards, there is a crime of the past to be solved and long buried secrets begin to tumble out. Maine moves between timelines following the lives of two women a century apart but both connected to this big house on the island.

Is there a book you wish you’d written? If so, which one, and why?

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres.

I just loved this book. I am not surprised that the Greek island of Cephallonia had an increase in tourism after its publication and the movie release. It is such a wonderful love story. Set in the early days of World War 2 – a beautiful local woman whose fisherman boyfriend departs to fight with the Greek army falls in love with Captain Antonio Corelli in command of the Italian garrison occupying the Greek island. I particularly loved the historical detail. The movie did not do the book justice. This is a book that made me laugh and cry.

On a more frivolous note, Louis de Bernieres was able to give up work and concentrate on his writing after publication and that would a dream come true for any writer.

Finally, can you tell us anything about what you’re working on next?

In a word… No. Please don’t take offence, nobody knows or will know until those two magic words The End are typed at the bottom of the page.

Not even my agent or my publisher is let in to that secret.

It is my favourite time with any book, when nobody knows what I am writing. I live with the characters and the story. It is almost a secret world where I can retreat. It gives me time and space to think everything through and get the words on the page.

Thank you, Ann!

I’ve read both of Ann O’Loughlin’s previous novels, The Ballroom Café and The Judge’s Wife, and they were both beautifully written tales that captured my heart. The Ludlow Ladies’ Society had the exact same impact on me. I find Ann’s writing is really expressive and meaningful and each book truly feels heartfelt, which only makes me enjoy reading them even more. The Ludlow Ladies’ Society is about learning to live again, and through the power of friendship, anything seems possible. Not simply sentimental, there are some hard-hitting and shocking moments as well as plenty of humour which made this book a real treat to read.

At the beginning of the book we meet Connie. Her husband has died and whilst she is grieving, she soon learns that he was hiding something from her. Her husband has bought Ludlow Hall in Ireland. As they were living in America and this place in Ireland is something Connie has heard nothing about, she is confused as to what her husband’s motives were and why he kept something like this from her. Bravely she leaves her life in America behind to go to Rosdaniel, Co. Wicklow and see the property for herself. Ludlow Hall is not what it once was. It’s boarded up, closed down. But Connie sees the opportunity to bring the place back to life – and that’s where the Ludlow Ladies’ Society comes into it.

At Ludlow Hall, Connie meets Eve and Hetty. All three of these women are trying to deal with their own losses in their own way, and each of them have their own very individual story and background, but they bond together so well. They also all have a love of sewing and quilt making. This is a hobby that, whilst rewarding to actually do, might not sound like the most entertaining to read about but this was such a powerful part of the book. Through sewing, and making patches of a quilt, Connie, Eve and Hetty help each other through the toughest of times. Here they learn to evaluate their grief, understand how it can affect in different ways and that it’s ok to feel pain and sorrow but also, that any moments of happiness should be grasped with both hands. For anyone who has felt grief, or is still grieving, I think this is an absolute brilliant choice of book to read. Seeing the way these three women handle their grief really left an impression on me.

I absolutely loved getting to know all three characters, but Connie was just about my favourite. They were all very different and I think Eve came across as the most easily likeable of the three, but it was Connie’s character I seemed to warm to the most. Connie has been dealt a real shock at the beginning of the book but I loved how she didn’t just sit and wallow, instead going to Ireland to tackle things head on. I really admired how she came through her apprehension and worries about being judged and not fitting in, to the level where she makes such true friends in Hetty and Eve.

I’ve said it before, but Ann O’Loughlin is a real favourite author of mine. I always look forward to her new book and I don’t believe they will ever disappoint. I love the beauty of her storytelling and how each layer of her books is full of emotion and honesty and characters who feel like close friends come the end of the book. The chapters in The Ludlow Ladies’ Society are quite short and impactful. Because of this and because of how much I was enjoying the book, I never once put it down, something I cursed when the book was over so soon, but it was a real pleasure to read. Full of emotion, secrets, intrigue and friendship, this book has it all and I loved every moment of reading it. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this author, but The Ludlow Ladies’ Society will prove a difficult one to top!

Monday 24 July 2017

Giveaway | The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe

Published by Headline on July 27, 2017

Good morning. Today I'm really happy to be kicking off the blog tour for The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe. For my stop on the blog tour, there's a giveaway to win one of five copies of the book, which is out this Thursday. The giveaway is open to UK residents only and will end at the end of July. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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