Saturday 30 June 2018

June 2018 Wrap Up

So this month I did pretty well at sticking to my TBR apart from the 'other books I want to read' section. I went on a really big YA romance kick and then threw in some non-fiction I wasn't expecting to get to instead of reading the other stuff that was on my list BUT I had a really fun time reading what I wanted to so that's what matters right?

As usual I will break it down into types of books that I read and also leave any links to reviews I wrote. Video reviews will, as always, be linked down the bottom, I would love if you supported my channel as well. 


Physical Books


Friday 29 June 2018

Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Time is a prison. She is the key. Packed with danger, temptation and desire - a perfect read for fans of The Red Queen.

In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything - even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.

Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family.
There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever ... and possibly the future of time itself.


Review: I'm not normally a massive reader of this genre, I definitely have to be in the mood for it but when I heard the author talk about this book recently, I knew I had to jump in. And I was really pleased that I did. Although this book has fantastical and magical elements to it, the world is not too dissimilar to our world and so there are definitely things that I could recognise. Secondly, this author did such a great job of world building, I could picture exactly where the characters were in each scene and where they were referencing in their exchanges. 

I also really enjoyed this book because of the strong female lead. I am a sucker for a strong female at the helm and so, no matter the genre, if you've got that, you've got me hooked, Jules is a great lead, she knows her own mind and she is not afraid to take risks. If she needs to go for something, she is going to go for it no matter what stands in her way. There is definitely more to her than meets the eye and I can't wait to see what she gets up to in the next book!

One of the other things that I enjoyed about this book was Jules's relationship with her father. So often in Young adult literature, we have an absent father or a negative relationship between father and protagonist. These two have a great relationship in this novel and I believe that Jules would do anything for her father and vice versa. I really enjoyed reading about their history as well as their future and it is something that has stuck with me since finishing the book. 

I loved the concept of time being something which can be sold and which we have within us and the constraints that that brings society and I really want to see how this is explored further in book 2. This series is sure to be great and even if Evermore is the only other fantasy book I read in the future, I'm sure I will enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed Everless!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Thursday 28 June 2018

Blog Tour: Spotlight on Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal

Today I am part of the blog tour for Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal. The book is out now and buy links will be below, as well as information about the author.
Nobody’s Perfect Are They?
Rebecca Loughton’s bumbled her way through her thirty-something years making a few cock-ups along the way. Of course, these wouldn’t be so obvious if it wasn’t for her golden haired, older sister Jennifer.
In a bid to escape Jennifer’s lengthy shadow and to find her happy ever after Rebecca, high-tails it out of her hometown of Christchurch to the other side of the world landing a legal secretary job in the buzzing city of Dublin. A few drinks later, all she has to show for her new life is an embarrassing one-night stand and a dollop of flirtatious banter with her boss Ciaran, who just happens to have a predatory receptionist in hot pursuit of him.

Amidst plans of preventing such a merger, Rebecca receives news that Jennifer’s picture perfect life has a big, fat crack down the middle of it in the form of a philandering husband. Summoned home to look after her sister’s children and cooking school while she works on her marriage, Rebecca finds the reality of looking after two young children along with the bizarre array of guests booked into the cooking school grim. The only bright spot on her horizon are Ciaran’s e-mails but then she meets David Seagar whom she thinks might just be the ending to her happy ever after but will he prove to be far from perfect too?

About the Author

Hello, my name is Michelle Vernal, and by way of introduction, I’m Mum to Josh and Daniel and am married to the super supportive Paul. We live in the garden city of Christchurch, New Zealand with our three-legged, black cat called Blue. BC (before children) Paul and I lived and worked in Ireland, the experiences we had there have flavoured my books.
I’ve always written, but it was only after my first son was born that I decided to attend a creative writing course at Canterbury University. Oh the guilt dropping him at pre-school so I could learn the basics of story writing, but oh the joy of having conversation to contribute other than the price of nappies that week!  The first piece I ever penned post course was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. I went on to write humorous; opinion styled pieces of my take on parenting, but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel. Six books later and a publishing deal with Harper Impulse here I am. These days I write for a North Canterbury lifestyle magazine and my latest book Sweet Home Summer has just been released by Harper Impulse.
Social Media Links –

To order your copy of the book now, just click the link: UK or US
Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour for reviews and other exclusive content. 

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Blog Tour: Guest Post on Writing from Author of The Mum Who'd Had Enough Fiona Gibson

I am very excited to welcome Fiona Gibson back to the blog today as part of the blog tour for her new novel The Mum Who'd had enough. The Mum Who’d Had Enough, was published as an ebook on June 14, and is out in paperback in July, you can click here to order your copy! Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour after this for other exclusive content and reviews!

Fiona is going to share some writing tips with us today, I will be paying close attention! But first here's what the novel is all about:

After sixteen years of marriage, Nate and Sinead Turner have a nice life. They like their jobs, they like their house and they love their son Flynn. Yes, it’s a very nice life.
Or, at least Nate thinks so. Until, one morning, he wakes to find Sinead gone and a note lying on the kitchen table listing all the things he does wrong or doesn’t do at all.
Nate needs to show Sinead he can be a better husband – fast. But as he works through Sinead’s list, his life changes in unexpected ways. And he starts to wonder whether he wants them to go back to normal after all. Could there be more to life than nice?


When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine being able to write a whole book. I’d try to start one but would dwindle off, convinced I simply wasn’t up to the job. Now I’ve written ten novels for adults and four for children - and it’s still not easy. I don’t think it ever is. But here are some tips I’ve gleaned along the way. 

1.        The cold, hard truth is - you just have to do it. People talk about wanting to write, and that’s fine - sometimes an idea has to simmer away in your brain until you feel ready to get started. But it’s horribly easy to let the simmering go on and on, and nothing real ever gets done (ie, nothing is actually written). So it’s important to just sit down somewhere quiet and private and get started.

2.        What you write at first can be bunkum (in fact, it almost should be). We worry that it has to be ‘perfect’ - that every word we write will be read by millions and reviewed cruelly, and that people will laugh at us. But that isn’t the case. When you start to write it’s generally a first rough draft, and it’ll go through tons of edits and numerous fiddlings before you’re happy with it. That first draft is like laying down the basic foundations of a house. Remind yourself that no one but you is going to see it, and no one will laugh at you in the street.

3.        Perhaps don’t share just yet. It’s tempting to show friends your work at an early stage and say, ‘What d’you think?’ But I truly believe it’s best not to. Friends will generally say, ‘It’s great!’ And you’ll think: she’s only saying that because she’s my friend. It really doesn’t help, and if other people start suggesting ‘improvements’ it just adds to the confusion of what you want to do. While we all crave encouragement, I think it’s best to keep early drafts to yourself.

4.        Try writing in different places. Maybe sitting at home alone, fretting madly, doesn’t suit your temperament. Although I do the bulk of my writing in our flat, I also love to work in cafes and on trains, and to see life going on around me. If you’re stuck, sometimes a jaunt to town with the laptop is the best way to kick-start things again.

5.        Read books in ‘your’ genre. I can’t stress this enough. When I’m lacking in inspiration, I dip into my favourite authors’ novels and somehow feel re-energised. I don’t mean I copy them, obviously - just that their brilliance and cleverness inspires me to try and write as well as I possibly can.

6.        Relax and have fun. We can all sit there thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m trying to write a book! I am frozen with fear and can’t possibly do this!’ But actually, a book consists of scene after scene, all joined together in a way that pulls the reader along. And if you can find a way of telling a story, and somehow enjoying the process, after several months or a year or so - depending on what else is going on your life - you will… have a book! So why not get started?

Thank you so much to Fiona for stopping by today and sharing your writing tips with us. 

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Review: Little Big Man or Little Big Love (US) by Katy Regan

Meet 10-year-old Zac – a boy on a mission – in Katy Regan’s new novel Little Big Man . . .
You can't see the truth from the outside, that's what I've worked out.
Ten-year-old Zac has never met his dad, who allegedly did a runner before he was born. But when his mum lets slip that he’s the only man she’s ever loved, Zac turns detective and, roping in his best friend, hatches a plan to find his father and give his mum the happy-ever-after she deserves. What he doesn’t realize, though, is that sometimes people have good reasons for disappearing . . .
Little Big Man is a story about family secrets and fierce, familial love. It's about growing up and being accepted; grief and lies, and the damage they can do. Most of all though, it’s about a little boy determined to hunt down the truth; a boy who wants to give the Dad he’s never met a second chance to be a father – and his mum a second chance at love.

Review: I just loved this story so much! I love a dual narrative, but multiple narratives where we get to hear from a ten year old, his mother and another family member? Sign me up! The fact that this was a multiple narrative story meant that the pace of the novel was always brisk and kept me turning the pages. I have a physical copy but I also listened to this one on audio and the narrators did a fantastic job so I can recommend all formats of this book! 

I also loved the setting. The fact that this one is set in Grimsby, a northern seaside town is brilliant and I don't think I've ever read another book set here. This author did a great job of getting across the grim feeling that poor weather and poor mood in a northern seaside town can bring, I loved it!

Zac is a great character, he is determined to find his Dad and find out why he left. He enrolls, his best friend, as 10 year olds do and turn detective. I love the fact that the main narrator here is a ten year old boy. I have worked with many many 10 years olds in my years of teaching and they're very much an underrated group. They're honest, they'll tell you what they think and Zac in particular just has so much heart. 

Juliet is also a great character to be sharing this story with. She wants to do her best for Zac and so tries to keep him from getting hurt by the missing dad in his life. Her family are also in a similar position but don't always do what is best for her and Zac. Juliet is a great mum but it was really real and really relatable hearing about her life struggles and her worries. 

I can't say too much about the storyline at all because I don't want to give away spoilers but this is just a massive recommendation from me to read this book now because I loved it and I think you will too!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Monday 25 June 2018

Blog Tour: Extract from With or Without You by Shari Low

I'm very excited to bring you another extract from a new release. Today I have an extract from chapter 1 of With or Without You by Shari Low. The book is out now and you can click here to order your copy. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for more exclusive content and reviews! 

Here's what it's all about:

Have you ever made a life-changing decision and then wondered if you made the right one…?

A clever, captivating and bitterweet story of what might have been. Perfect for the fans of Jo Jo Moyes and Marian Keyes.

When Liv and Nate walked up the aisle, Liv knew she was marrying the one, her soul mate and her best friend.

Six years later, it feels like routine and friendship is all they have left in common. What happened to the fun, the excitement, the lust, the love?

In the closing moments of 1999, Liv and Nate decide to go their separate ways, but at the last minute, Liv wavers. Should she stay or should she go?

Over the next twenty years we follow the parallel stories to discover if Liv's life, heart and future have been better with Nate… Or without him?

 Want to read more? Here's an extract from Chapter 1...

Chapter One

One Minute After Midnight.

1st January 2000

It felt like one of those arty black and white prints, where a couple stands in the middle of a room full of people, the crowd’s expressions rapt with excitement and celebration, while the man and the woman in the centre face each other, lost in the moment, frozen in time, oblivious to all around them.
Everyone who looked at the picture had a different perception of what those two people were thinking, of what was going on in their lives that was so startling that it completely detached them from their surroundings.
Now I knew.
The bloke had just told his wife that he wanted to call off their separation.
And the woman wanted to cry. Or scream. Or fall into his arms. To be honest, she wasn’t one hundred per cent sure.
Actually, that’s not true. She was one hundred per cent sure about what she should do, she just wasn’t one hundred per cent sure she had the courage to go through with it.
‘Nate, I…’
Before I could answer, the others crowded around us.
Sasha smothered me in kisses. ‘Happy New Millennium gorgeous!’ I hugged her tightly. ‘You’re going to be great without that boring fart,’ she whispered in my ear. Sasha came from the ‘in your face’ school of life. She said what she thought, was completely fearless and, with her Morticia Addams hair and vampish make-up, you just knew that she was never going to be fluffy or dippy. It made some people run a mile from her, but I loved that she made no apologies for saying what she thought and living her life the way she damn well pleased. She’d supported my decision to call it a day with Nate right from the start, which sounds brutally harsh, but as one of my two closest friends, I knew she was only taking that stance because she truly believed it was the right thing for me.
‘He wants to try again,’ I hissed.
‘No surprise there. I knew he’d change his mind.’
She had a point. In his working life as a PE teacher, Nate was organised and structured, but outside of the professional environment, my horizontally laid-back husband liked consistency and tended to avoid anything that could involve drama or uncomfortable situations. He’d have stayed married forever despite knowing it wasn’t right, just to avoid the hassle of splitting.
Chloe moved in next and wrapped her arms around me, hugging me tightly. ‘Happy New Year!’
If Sasha was Morticia, Chloe was her arch-nemesis in the fight for good, always looking for the positive in any situation and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt.
If I ever decided to switch sexual preferences, then Chloe would be my perfect woman: funny, caring, smart, and tough enough to handle just about any situation. Having a friend like her could make a girl feel inadequate, but she would find that thought hilarious because she had absolutely no ego or awareness of her brilliance at all. She was beyond beautiful too. Thanks to the genetic mix of her Jamaican mother and her Irish father, she had a stunning Afro, piercing green eyes and the most banging, curvy body I’d ever seen. My 36B’s and apple-shaped figure just couldn’t compare.
‘Are you okay?’ Chloe’s mouth was still at my ear, so her words couldn’t be overheard, and neither could my reply.
‘He’s just said he wants to try again.’
‘I knew it! Say yes. Please say yes. You two belong together.’

About the author

Shari Low has published twenty novels over the last two decades. She also writes for newspapers, magazines and television. Once upon a time, she got engaged to a guy she’d known for a week, and twenty-something years later, they live in Glasgow with their two teenage sons and a labradoodle.

Follow Shari

Twitter: @sharilow
Facebook: @ShariLow

About the book

Follow Aria
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

Thank you so much to Shari for stopping by and sharing that extract with us today!

Sunday 24 June 2018

Movie Reviews: June 17th-23rd June

Last week I asked on Twitter and Instagram whether you would be interested in seeing my thoughts on the films I've watched each week. I often do book vs movie videos from my channel which are quite popular, you can see those here, and so I thought you may be interested in general movie reviews as well. You were!

The opinion as to whether those should be on here or on my channel were pretty much 50/50 so I decided to do both and then you can choose! The opinions on here are likely to be slightly briefer than those on my channel so I will also include the video in this post. 

Here are the movies I watched this week with my Movie Pass:

Oh wow, this is definitely the best film I saw this week. Its a documentary but it's really well edited and I learned so much about RBG from this film, I knew she was pretty awesome but I didn't truly know how and why. Everyone in this theatre was loving it and its the busiest theatre I was in all week which says a lot too. Even if you haven't heard of this Supreme court justice, then seek out this film because you will want to know her by the time you are into the heart of the movie!

This was exactly what I was after, some comic relief and Ed Helms being really funny, also Isla Fischer was great in this! There was one scene where one of the players used a certain excuse to get out of being tagged that I was not in favour of so that let the film down slightly, but I loved that this was based on a true story so this is a thumbs up from me!

I so regret wasting my time going to see this. I thought it was really quire inappropriate for kids, some of the language and the content is quite adult and there is a LOT of strobe lighting in this film. I wasn't a massive fan of the first film but I saw in in the cinema and then re-watched in on DVD. I won't be re-watching this one as I struggled to stay awake throughout!

This was really quite funny and a much better kids film than the previous, I had no trouble staying awake. The idea of talking dogs in a dog show is of course a little ridiculous but its a kids film and there are loads of famous voices in this film which takes places in Vegas, what's not to love on a Wednesday morning?

This was so funny, and I never thought I'd be coming out of a super hero film and saying that! I thought the actors in this were great, the comedy was on point and just as good as the first one. I came out the cinema and immediately started listening to the soundtrack because it was just that good. I don't think you have to have seen the first one to understand what's going on in this one but if you're planning on watching the first film then there are spoilers for it in this one!

Very mixed for me. I loved the 'true story' and 'documentary' aspect to this film. There were quite a few scenes that I had heard or or seen pictures of in other 'mob' documentaries or at the mob museum in Las Vegas. However the characters were tough to keep track of since they all have aliases or similar names and there were far to many of them. The acting was sometimes really cringey, it was like they were all trying to pretend to be Marlon Brando in The Godfather. I liked the story though and learnt something from watching it. 

Saturday 23 June 2018

Blog Tour: Extract from Stalker by Lisa Stone

Today I am part of another very exciting blog tour. I have an extract from the new novel by Lisa Stone for you, Stalker. You can click here to order your copy. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. 

Here's what it's all about...

Derek Flint is a loner. He lives with his mother and spends his
evenings watching his clients on the CCTV cameras he has installed inside their homes. He likes their companionship – even if it’s through a screen.

When a series of crimes hits Derek’s neighbourhood, DC Beth Mayes begins to suspect he’s involved. How does he know so much about the victims’ lives? Why won’t he let anyone into his office? And what is his mother hiding in that strange, lonely house?
As the crimes become more violent, Beth must race against the clock to find out who is behind the attacks. Will she uncover the truth in time? And is Derek more dangerous than even she has guessed?
A spellbinding crime novel from the worldwide bestseller
Cathy Glass, writing as Lisa Stone.

Want to read more? Here's that exclusive extract for you!
At half past five, the job was done. Derek checked the place was clean and tidy and that all their tools were packed in the van and then told Paul he could go. All that remained was for Derek to talk the clients through operating the system, and he never left until the clients felt confident using it.
   ‘I’m glad you’re pleased with the quality of the images,’ Derek said an hour later as he and Mr and Mrs Williams stood in front of their monitor in the hall. He’d shown them how to navigate the screen with the mouse, rewind to a specified date and time, download information, zoom in and out, and decide which images to display. They were now looking at their children in the living room watching television.
   ‘Stop picking your nose, Jack,’ his father called from the hall. They laughed as Jack looked up startled, wondering how he’d been caught.
   ‘I’ve changed the default password along the lines your husband suggested so you can remember it,’ Derek said, winding up. ‘It’s now rujuwi10.’
   ‘I won’t remember that!’ Julie exclaimed.
   ‘Yes, you will,’ Russ said. ‘It’s the first two letters of our names and 10.’
   ‘Of course.’ She laughed, tapping her forehead at having not realized.
   ‘Change it again if you want,’ Derek said. ‘But please tell me if you do. I’m maintaining your system – free for five years – so if there is a technical problem I’ll need to be able to log in to sort it out.’
   ‘Yes, of course,’ Russ said.
   ‘Now, I’ve loaded the website to both your phones; are you sure you don’t want me to do the same with your tablets and laptops?’
   ‘No, that’s fine, I’ll do it,’ Russ said. ‘Thanks for everything. I’ll certainly recommend you.’
   ‘Thank you. Please don’t hesitate to phone or email me if there is anything further I can help you with.’
   ‘We will,’ Russ said. They shook hands.
   Derek turned to Mrs Williams. ‘Nice seeing you again. You’ll sleep easier in your bed now you’re all protected.’
   ‘We will indeed.’

Thanks so much to Lisa for sharing that with us today!