Blog Tour: Those Other Women – Nicola Moriarty

I’m absolutely delighted to be part of the Those Other Women blog tour today. Huge thanks to Penguin RandomHouse and Nicola Moriarty for having me, I’m so happy to spread the book love on this Sunny Sunday. The tour kicked off last Monday and as always I’ve been loving reading other lovely bloggers thoughts on this one. It’s a brilliant story and I think you’ll love it!

Confession: I’ve never been a Mumsy Mum. Not that there’s anything wrong with always having muslin to hand, multiple nursery league table conversation threads on Mumsnet and at least one packet of Quavers about your person at any given moment. (In fact, whilst we are confessing….the latter may be applauded….but that’s not my point)

I was the disorganised one without a wedding ring, always looking for the coffee and avoiding dirty noses at all costs.

To be super-clear I’m not shaming the Mums who obsess about their babies and talk of nothing else – I admire their dedication and focus – it’s just not me, and never was. Integrating with these super-motivated-dedicated-Mums groups was really challenging and made me question my own skills as a Mum so much when my son was small. Really, all I needed to do was find the groups who gave just as many shits as I did about textbook parenting and organic rusks.

My point is, finding MY community was the key and this book takes a really interesting approach to this, and in particular online communities.

Not everyone wants to be a Mum, especially Poppy. When she finds out her best friend and her husband have been having an affair and she is now pregnant, she quite understandably has a bit of an anti-motherhood moment. She sets up a secret Facebook group for women just like her, the ones who never want to have children and are pretty bloody fed up of all the perks they miss out on because of their life choices. No finishing work early to dash to school plays, no flexibility and no holiday priority – it’s enough to make a girl get cross and get online. And that’s exactly what she does.

When the local smug Mums network discovers this secret group, it sets off a rivalry which escalates prrrrrrretty quickly and soon makes Poppy question the honesty and integrity of those close to her.

One thing that Nicola Moriarty always NAILS is the subtlety and nuance in toxic female relationships. It is so cleverly done, you almost physically feel the sly digs and deceit. The way the book is structured with parts focused on each of our main characters is really engaging and helps keep you hooked to the very end.

I can’t recommend this enough, I absolutely loved it. I also think no matter which side of the motherhood debate you fall on, there’s something here you’ll enjoy too.

It’s a slightly sinister and super-smart five cwtches from me. Get your copy here.

Once again, a big thanks to Penguin RandomHouse and Nicola Moriarty for having me on the tour. It’s been a pleasure!

Big cwtches xx

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Mills & Boon #DareToShare A Week to be Wild Blog Tour

Hello friends, welcome to my first blog tour post of 2018. I’m so proud to say it’s with the legends at Mills & Boon. As a lifelong romance fan, I can’t tell you how much joy that gives me!

I am currently recuperating after a little operation and I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be getting too over-excited.

Oops.

It might not have been the best timing for Mills & Boon to launch their raunchy new #Dare series….not whilst my temperature and heart rate were being closely monitored.

CWTCHERS. IT. IS. HOT.

So hot it steamed up my glasses.

I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy of “A Week to be Wild” by JC Harroway and I couldn’t wait to cwtch up with it. If you enjoy your romance peppered with pulse-racing raunch, then like me, you’re going to absolutely love this.

Our female lead, Libby Noble is a successful businesswoman who knows exactly what she wants and exactly how to get it. I absolutely love her strength and sassiness. She is so bold and it’s really refreshing and empowering to see a powerful woman taking control (as well as losing it spectacularly too!)

Our guy is Alex Lancaster and he’s just your usual run-of-the-mill SEX GOD. I can’t overstate his attractive qualities enough…holy wow…the man should be KNIGHTED for his services to women, business, helicopters & charitable endeavours. (I might’ve somewhat fallen for his charms..)

The power play between the pair sizzles with sexual energy and although you might need to pause to cool off now and again, the story doesn’t lose sight of its romantic core and develops at a great pace. The dialogue is SUPER-HOT and offers some nicely creative ideas that you may wish to incorporate in your very own action adventures, depending on how brave you are.

“What do you want?”

RIGHT NOW ALEX, I WANT A LIE DOWN AND A COLD FLANNEL. I CAN’T COPE WITH YOUR HOTNESS.

This is such a brilliant start to what I’m sure will be the most thrilling romance series of the year. The handbag size paperback is perfect, but there are also digital versions if you prefer to keep your desire on the down-low during your commute. I see you blushing kindle sisters! We ALL know.

Huge thanks to the LUSH Mills & Boon team for sending me a review copy & letting me join in the launch tour. I can’t think of a better way to recover from hospital.

It’s been an absolute pleasure *purrs*

Big hot sexy cwtches xx

Paris for One and Other Stories – Jojo Moyes

It’s been a really hectic few days for me which has meant a lot less time for reading this week. I’ve only had some short grabs of time to quickly pick up a book and dive in to a fictional world, there’s just been too much going on in the real one! 

When you’re reading this, I shall be exploring the beautiful city of Paris on my first ever trip there. Ooh la la! 

Why am I telling you this stuff? Well, both points are linked to this week’s book, Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes. A perfect novella & collection of short stories for when your reading time is limited to tiny bursts of literary lushness and your mind is on a trip to the city of love! 

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not usually a fan of the novella, even less so of the short story. As a reader I just find it a bit clunky and by the time I’ve got to know the characters the story is over. I always want more! This is purely personal preference, I know some folks adore this style. I am however, a massive Jojo Moyes fan, which combined with my lack of available reading time this week meant that I absolutely loved this collection. It was a perfect romantic choice for this week and I could happily finish a story in one of my little mini nuggets of reading time, thanks Netgalley! 

The slightly longer main story about Nell’s first visit to Paris really got me in the mood for my own trip. It’s a lovely tale of empowerment, self-discovery and a swoony handsome French writer. The setting descriptions made me really excited to see the sights, taste the wine and fall in love! (Even if it’s just with the city and not necessarily my own rugged & creative French man…) 

Some of the other shorter stories I enjoyed more than others, but overall this is a tidy little collection of romance to cwtch up with. Get your copy here, four cwtches! 

New Year New Books

Happy New Books! I mean…Happy New Year lovely readers! Hope you all had a fantastic festive break & are feeling energised and inspired to make 2017 a truly fabulous year.  

I’m not really into resolutions although I am determined to be more committed to posting regularly here (Goodreads tells me that in 2016 I read 62 books…and I definitely didn’t post reviews here for all of them. I’m looking to fix that this year, so brace yourselves to hear lots more bookish stuff from me in 2017!) 


I started my New Year reading with the cutest novella by the wonderful Katey Lovell “Three Men and a Maybe“. I’ll be really honest I’m not usually a fan of novellas, I’m greedy & like a big chunky story to escape within however I love Katey’s writing so I got stuck in. I’m so glad I did because this a cracking read aptly set on New Year’s Eve. Katey grew up in South Wales & the Welsh influence in this story is so LUSH to read; from references to local places in Cardiff to the actual use of the word “cwtch” YES! 

Grab your FREE copy here – five cwtches! 

Have a great week Cwtchers, let’s get back to work & school with new year energy and passion and positivity! Let’s do this x 

The Devil’s Work – Mark Edwards

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A job in publishing must be every bookworm’s dream come true, right? Can you imagine living the dream? *drifts off into alternative life fantasy montage*…..

For Sophie, her dream job turns into a nightmare in this pretty dark, twisty and unnerving tale by Mark Edwards.

Returning to full-time work after a maternity break, Sophie – like lots of us – has to juggle work & family life. But unlike lots of us, she finds herself surrounded by colleagues she cannot trust and several scary events which can only leave her spooked and suspicious of those around her.

Paranoid & unsure who to trust, Sophie takes us down many paths with flashbacks to her university days offering some insightful background to the present day. There are also some really brilliant shocking moments, just when you think you’ve got it figured out. I have to tip my hat to an author who can keep us guessing (& still gripped) right to the reveal. It’s such a delicate skill.

This is a really dark novel, full of suspense and surprises. Mark is really great at making you feel just-enough-uneasy….You might want to cwtch up with the lights on with this one! Five cwtches – grab yours here

Cut to the Bone – Alex Caan

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I do love it when I get so wrapped up in a story that it totally consumes me & I can’t stop reading until I have all the answers I need. Cut to the Bone has that very special all-consuming quality and I absolutely LOVED it.

This book really cleverly picks up on the rise in popularity of vloggers; the young people who share their lives on the internet & the online audiences who watch them every day. My teenager has introduced me to a few of these real-life stars (some I have enjoyed watching more than others….exactly who CARES what’s in someone’s handbag so much that they watch a 14 minute video outlining the contents in DETAIL?! A half-eaten cereal bar, a hairbrush, old train tickets & a battered paperback anyone?…Sadly, some of these young girls’ handbags are far more glamorous – and clearly sponsored by companies – than mine!)

Team Internet marks a fascinating shift in entertainment culture and is an area ripe for exploring through this genre. I am often astounded at the amount of intimate information people share through these online channels and the vulnerability this opens them up to. It’s such a perfect setting for an exciting thriller.

Some internet stars have turned vlogging into a beautiful artform (I must hat-tip the amazing Casey Neistat here. Casey shares daily videos with incredible craftsmanship & production values weaved into crazy adventures and family life. I’m a huge fan and I highly recommend subscribing to his Youtube channel ) Neistat fangirling over…back to the book…

Ruby is our main character and a rising internet star with an audience of millions of impressionable teenagers. When she goes missing & videos start appearing that indicate she is in trouble, we start to unravel the truth behind her online life. The pace of the story is perfectly pitched as the story flows with just the right amount of suspense and intrigue, throw in a few red herrings and we have a brilliant recipe for a thrilling read.

Just one disappointment – I am gutted this is a debut. When I find an author voice I really enjoy, I love to go back & read all of their previous stuff. For that reason, I really hope there will be more to come from Alex.

An exciting read with relatable characters, based in a really current & interesting setting. Pick up a copy here. Five cwtches!

Cwtch Up Spots: Octavo Book Café and Wine Bar

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Books. Coffee. Wine. SOLD!

Based on West Bute Street in Cardiff Bay, Octavo Book Café and Wine Bar is a hot contender for my new  favourite place in the city to cwtch up with a great book.

Having seen lots about this place on social media, I’ve been desperate to visit for a while now. When me & my mate George met up for coffee a couple of weekends ago, I eagerly suggested here so I could have a little nosey around.

Oh sweet joy!

The book selection is really eclectic featuring mainstream & indie publishers and it is really great to see them supporting Welsh authors. They will also order in any title you are looking for that they don’t currently have in stock (aren’t they lush?) The décor is clean, fresh & stylish & the staff are so chatty and welcoming. I spotted a chalkboard featuring upcoming events & see that they are definitely making the most of having such a versatile and cosy space (wine tasting, poetry readings & book clubs – DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?!)

As well as traditional table seating both indoors and out, there is a super-cosy sofa area which is PERFECT to cwtch up in (I didn’t grab a pic – sorry – but take my word for it – SUPER-cosy) I can confirm that the coffee is delicious (I had a sweet-tooth mocha & George a classic flat white) I also sneaked a peek at the food menu which I’ll be sure to try on my next visit.

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They also offered to pop my beautiful sunflowers in water whilst we enjoyed our coffee – a little extra touch which was so attentive & really kind.

If you’re in Cardiff I would strongly recommend you pop in, I’ll certainly be back. See you soon – Five cwtches!

Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner

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Police procedurals often tend to be a bit too uncomfortable for me to #CwtchUp with, however I do love a book with a bit of a buzz about it (FOMO anyone?) so when Netgalley offered me the chance to read a copy of Missing, Presumed I jumped on the book bandwagon with big hopes.

For me, the thing that sets this apart from other books in the genre is the three dimensional aspect to the characters and the personal detail that really brought them to life. DS Manon Bradshaw is not only trying to locate a missing woman and compile a pretty complex criminal case with many leads, she is also navigating the more relatable worries of distastrous internet dating and insomnia.

Balancing the two sides of our characters & trying to keep a handle on everything is just modern life, amirite sistas?

We are treated to equally detailed descriptions of the disappearance of Cambridge post-graduate Edith Hind as the insights into Bradshaw’s soul-destroying internet dates and this makes for a really engrossing read.

As far as the conclusion goes (no spoilers, promise) I wasn’t left feeling as satisfied as I’d hoped. Perhaps I was expecting something a little more complicated than what eventually transpired, but this didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment.

This book has been selected to join the Autumn Reads in the Richard & Judy Book Club so you can expect to see & hear much more of it in the coming months. (Side note: I LOVE the R & J Book Club podcast, however WHO monitors their backing track sound levels? Jeez… I appreciate that it’s a fairly niche whinge, but if you listen regularly, you’ll know what I mean….anyway, I digress)

A cracking police drama – Four cwtches!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 6 Cwtch Up Summer Reads

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We had no time for summer holidays this year at Cwtch Up HQ (*sad face*) but of course there was still plenty of time for summer reading! (*happy face*) There’s nothing nicer than grabbing a cold drink & a sun lounger and cwtching up with a great read – even if it is just in the back garden and not a glamorous beach location! And now that the nights are getting darker and the kids are back in school, why not extend that lovely summer feeling for as long as we possibly can?! All of the reads that made it into our Summer Top 6 have FIVE CWTCH ratings and (obviously) can be enjoyed at ANY time of the year. Cwtch Up and enjoy….

Lovers & Liars – Nigel May

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It wouldn’t be a Summer Top 6 without a classic sexy beach bonkbuster, and here it is! Featuring a glittering cast of glitzy, glamorous and filthy (rich) characters, this book will take you on a thrilling summer getaway to Barbados. Steamy sex, ruthless murder, bitchy scandal, deadly revenge & the sparkliest champagne. What more could you possibly want? I’m a fan of Nigel’s writing, his dry humour really comes through & I really love how all the threads of the story eventually come together. Such a clever twisty writing style. Five cwtches!

 

Summer at Oyster Bay – Jenny Hale

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I always fall in love with Jenny’s leading men. She has such a talent for sculpting these incredibly gorgeous characters and Charles Peterson is no exception. You can’t help but fall for him.

This story is a gloriously summery relaxing read, you can almost hear the waves & feel the sand between your toes! I love how Jenny weaves themes like the importance of family values & staying true to your heart into the narrative. It makes for a really emotional read (yeah, I might have cried a bit) I’d also highly recommend checking out her Pinterest page for some gorgeous insight into her inspiration behind the locations that feature in her stories. It’s exactly how you’d imagine! Another brilliant book – five cwtches!

 

Five Go Glamping – Liz Tipping

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I am not a natural-born camper. I like soft comfy beds, electricity & a fully functioning toilet that doesn’t involve any cups of compost.

I am, however, a natural born festival-goer  which causes some conflict in the non-camping camp. Stick me in a field with a band & some flowers in my hair and glitter on my face and I am one HAPPY girl. Camping is an essential part of the festival experience, but then arrives the dawn of GLAMPING and all is well once more. I can enjoy festival vibes and retire at the end of a long day dancing to a gorgeous (hmmm) glamorous (hmmm hmmm) tent that I haven’t had to put up which has luxury items like fairy lights & a doormat to pop your muddy wellies on. Beaut.

Five Go Glamping is a cracking read which follows Fiona and her bunch of mates on a four day festival experience with a pooch named Brian Harvey. It is a cheerful & relaxing read with many laugh out loud moments. This one has been on my tbr pile for ages & I am gutted I waited so long to get around to it. I love Liz’s writing – her humour & tone are perfect – and I’m really looking forward to reading more of her stuff. Five cwtches!

Summer at the Cornish Café – Phillipa Ashley

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As a huge fan of both Phillipa’s writing AND the swoonsome Poldark this one was ALWAYS going to be part of my essential summer reads collection. A heartwarming feel-good read with everything you could possibly want in a sunny story, Summer at the Cornish Café is just wonderful.

The descriptions of Cornwall are simply stunning & will make you long for a trip to the coast. The references to our favourite curly-haired tin miner are really clever and will definitely raise a smile. Phillipa has created a gorgeous cast of characters in an idyllic setting – it’s a winning combination!

I am so excited to hear that there will be more in this series and I eagerly await the festive edition. I love Phillipa – five cwtches!

 

Summer at Rose Island – Holly Martin

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I love the world that Holly has created in White Cliff Bay and this is the third in the series (totes fangirl). Each can be enjoyed as a standalone book, however I am positive that once you’ve entered this world you’ll be as keen as me to gobble up the rest of them. (Go back now & read the others….’kay?)

Rose Island Lighthouse is the true star of this story, as the unique and stunning home of brooding Riley and beacon of light for island newcomer Darcy. Will they be able to save her from demolition?

This is a really lovely read and again I wish I could live there! Five cwtches!

 

Flawed – Cecilia Ahern

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I’d like to go on record – right here and now – that I think this book (and the subsequent deserved hullaballoo) is going to be HUGE. And when I say HUGE, I mean HUGE. We’re talking Hunger Games Huge. I can clearly see how well this will work as a movie and I’m really excited to see what happens in the next installment (if there was ever a recipe for a successful franchise…)

I always say that I’m not really a fan of the Young Adult genre, but then every YA book I read I seem to always really enjoy so I think I need to change my tune on that one…..so… I love YA!

I’ve read quite a few books by Ahern and really enjoyed them, as this is her first foray into YA I wasn’t sure what to expect. The book picks up the themes of perfection and conversely imperfection in a really clever way.

I don’t think it gives too much away to say it ends on a properly satisfying note that leaves you desperate for the next installment.

A really clever concept & exciting read – READ THE BOOK BEFORE THE (inevitable) MOVIE COMES OUT. Five cwtches!

 

 Thanks to Netgalley for the copies of some of the books featured – you’re lovely x

The Show – Tilly Bagshawe

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Confession: I love reality TV. The trashier the better.

When I saw that this book was set around a brand new reality TV show I just knew I HAD TO cwtch up with it.

It’s the second book in the Swell Valley series; I hadn’t read the first and got along fine, so it’s a perfect stand alone.

Gabe and Laura Baxter decide to invite the television cameras into their beloved Wraggbottom Farm in order to help boost their farming income. Not everyone is happy with this idea and it upsets more than a few of the locals.

A whole village of characters means that it’s quite tough to keep up with who’s who at times but Bagshawe is so talented at crafting these entire worlds for us to inhabit, you soon get to grips with the village cast and their individual storylines.

There’s a lot going on; farm life, TV production, protests, sex, politics, infidelity, immigration, manure, cricket….definitely something for everyone!

A really great engrossing read with just enough hot spots & tender moments – five cwtches!