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

Advertisements

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

#CwtchUp for 5 with Kate Glanville #WelshWritersWed


This week we’ve got a bonus midweek post to celebrate #WelshWritersWed and we’re hosting an author Q & A with megababe Kate Glanville! 
(Pop over to @CwtchUpBooks on Twitter to see how you can win a signed copy of one of Kate’s books on #WelshWritersWed) 

Grab a cuppa & let’s Cwtch Up for five…

1. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The best thing about being a writer is being able to escape from reality into a fantasy land.When I was a child I loved playing with my dolls house, creating exciting scenarios, dramatic situations and tumultuous relationships for the tiny dolls who lived in it. My novels are just a continuation of playing with my dolls house except instead of doing it alone, within the confines of my bedroom, now I can share the stories in the pages of my books. The stories seem to bubble up from my subconscious and the characters develop personalities and take shape until they are almost real people to me. It’s like having an extra life running parallel with my own! 

2. Writing or reading? 

Writing. I like reading. I’d hate to not have a good book ‘on the go’ but I love writing my own stories. Creating a work of fiction is very hard work (not dissimilar to giving birth) but the sense of achievement is immense. To express the stories in my head on paper is great therapy and I become totally immersed in a way I find it hard to do when I’m reading. 

3. What kind of books do you like to Cwtch Up with? 

I’m very fond of Irish women – from Edna O’Brian to Marian Keyes via Maeve Binchey and Anne Enright – whether light and funny or dark and tragic I can always depend on an Irish woman for a good story. 

4. What are the biggest pitfalls for aspiring writers (and how do you avoid them)? 

Expecting too much too fast! When I finished my manuscript for my first novel ‘A Perfect Home’ I thought the process would be very quick – I’d find an agent, find a publisher and have a book in my hands within a few months – each step took at least eighteen months – the world of publishing moves very slowly! I also thought that after I was published I might be expected to go on a book tour – signings in Waterstones, readings at arts centres, maybe some talks at literature festivals -possibly Hay? – I asked my agent – she said ‘who do you think you are? Joanna Trollope!’  

5. What’s your favourite part of Wales and why? 

My favourite part of Wales is where I live. Llandeilo has it all; gorgeous architecture – with its multicoloured Georgian houses and pretty shopfronts lining the main street and lovely shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. Beautiful Dinefwr Park is on its doorstep and the foothills of The Brecon Beacons create a scenic backdrop, hinting at wilderness and solitude not far away – for those days when I feel the need to escape!

Absolute heaven for writers and readers alike! Huge thanks to Kate for joining us on #WelshWritersWed. Fancy a giveaway? 


You can get a copy of Perfect Home here, or pop over to Twitter to see how you can win your very own signed copy, woot! 

(International giveaway, closes at midnight (UK time) on Tues 16th May 2017, see Twitter for details) Good luck Cwtchers! 

Keep Me Safe – Daniela Sacerdoti


“Your child asks for her mother. But she doesn’t mean you.”

This is a brilliantly atmospheric novel, with just enough spookiness to keep you intrigued but not so much to scare your pants off. Throw in some romance in a unique location and you’ve got yourself a really lovely book to Cwtch Up with. 

When her husband walks out, Anna is left to raise their daughter Ava by herself. Recognising that this life-changing moment would have an emotional impact, when Ava starts behaving strangely Anna initially puts it down to the stressful time they’re having. But when Ava starts taking about her “other Mummy” and longing for the place she calls home, Anna starts to seriously question what’s going on inside her little girl’s mind. 

You might have to suspend disbelief to really enjoy the paranormal element of the story, but trust me, go with it, you won’t be disappointed. (That’s not usually my cup of tea, but surprisingly I did really enjoy it) 

The setting of Seal Island is described so vividly, you could almost be there and the romance is just lovely. A really cosy read, four cwtches. Get your copy here

The Idea of You – Amanda Prowse


This book is beautifully written, touching and packed full of emotion. The heartbreak of miscarriage and its impact on lives and relationships is tenderly depicted through Lucy & Jonah’s marriage. When Jonah’s teenage daughter from a previous relationship comes to stay with them, the pressure becomes all too much to bear and Lucy has to confront the true meaning of motherhood. 

I love to Cwtch Up with a family drama, it’s the literary equivalent of a hot drink and a blanket. Amanda writes in this genre so brilliantly, I’m a huge fan. Knowing that she herself has personal experience of this particular form of heartbreak makes it an even more poignant and meaningful read. Amanda is writing from her truth and that raw emotion adds such a powerful level of feeling to the story. I can only imagine the pain and heartache women like Lucy go through. Imagining becomes much easier when amazing writers like Amanda describe it so sensitively. 

An emotionally difficult but important read, five cwtches. Get your copy here

The Choir on Hope Street – Annie Lyons

9780008196073

I think there are few situations in life that can’t be made better with singing. Obviously there are some pretty huge exceptions, but for the most part music is magic.

When Nat’s husband utters the words that no-one ever wants to hear; “I don’t love you anymore” she is left to pick up the pieces. Also making some huge life adjustments is perfect PTA Queen Caroline who is left with no choice but to take care of her estranged mother with dementia when her care home is unable to meet her needs.

Both women are dealing with hugely emotional life-changing situations, and both happen to live on the wonderfully named Hope Street where the local community hall is under threat from property developers.

Faced with all this drama, there’s only one logical solution….let’s SING! (I very much buy into this philosophy) As luck would have it, a handsome new music teacher has just joined the local school. Can good old community spirit bring everyone together and help both women find their way, find friendship and find their voices?

This is just the loveliest book! I’ll be honest I couldn’t STAND Caroline for a large part of it, she is infuriating and brilliantly depicted as one of Those Mums (we all know them, they’re on every committee, annoyingly perfect & determined to make you feel inadequate) It is quite a skill to take a repugnant character and bit-by-bit make you fall in love with them. Annie does this really well with Caroline’s character and there is a quite a significant turning point where you start to really feel for her. Caroline’s Mum who lives with dementia is also really sensitively written. As someone with personal experience of this awful disease, I think Annie has captured the associated heartache really beautifully.

This easily gets a melodic five cwtches from me, it’s a perfect pick-me-up read and will make you want to join a choir (and eat cake) Big thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

I hope (sorry) we’ll hear more from Hope Street, they are such a lovely bunch and I think there is huge scope to find out a bit more about each of the cast. Fingers crossed for more please – ENCORE!

Five cwtches – get your copy here!

The Devil’s Work – Mark Edwards

51mijcufqvl

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

30139053

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!

Year of No Clutter: A Memoir – Eve Schaub

41icuztlol-_sx331_bo1204203200_

One of the usual clichés I and many other book reviewers sometimes tend to overuse is “so good I couldn’t put it down” and in this case that just wouldn’t be true.

It is so good I HAD TO keep putting it down, to empty out a clutter cupboard or to sort through a bundle of envelopes & junk mail that has been hanging around on a side table. This, I think, is the greatest compliment you can pay to Eve Schaub and the tale of her decluttering project. I was so inspired (and sometimes a tiny bit guilted…) that I simply had to put the book down & go and clear something out.

Boy, did it feel better.

Lots of Eve’s references to how she feels about her memories and treasured possessions rang so true with me & really resonated with how I’m currently feeling. Memories are so valuable to us all and it’s hard sometimes to balance the need for capturing the stuff that you’ll regret losing, with trying to keep a tidy & organised home. I’ve been listening to loads of minimalist podcasts recently too (the clutter is obviously something that’s stressing me right now) and the thought of all the “Stuff Anxiety” lifting is an exciting, daunting but totally achievable one.

Eve involves (nearly) all of her family in her quest, much like her previous challenge to live without sugar (I’ll be honest, there’s no way on earth I’d be able to manage that particular mission – nuh-uh, soz Eve love, we just loves our sweet treats too much.)

But the clutter-mission? I reckon we could give that a fair go & judging by the effect it had on her family, I think it can only be a positive thing.

The tale of the “Hell Room” (think more like a hoarder’s paradise than anything Fifty-Shades-style) is so relatable and I’m guilty of closing the door on more than one room in our house to block out all the chaos. This book not only offers practical tips and advice on letting go & clearing out, but some really interesting insight into the psychology of “stuff”.

An inspirational read; plan to put it down lots & pick up a rubbish bag. I dare you not to be urged to have a clean out! You can pre-order here (thanks to Netgalley for the copy)

Five cwtches!

Cwtch Up Spots: Octavo Book Café and Wine Bar

img_3238

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.

img_3232

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!