#MyHusbandsDaughter by Emma Robinson @EmmaRobinsonUK @Bookouture

Many thanks, as always to Bookouture for the tour invite and ARC.

It is just past ten o’clock on a cold Friday evening when Rebecca and her husband Jack’s doorbell rings. Outside is a woman who introduces herself as Jack’s ex-girlfriend Cara. And she’s holding the hand of a shivering, blue-eyed, four-year-old girl. Who she claims is Jack’s daughter.
Rebecca is shocked to discover he has a child from his last relationship – even one he hadn’t known about. Because becoming parents isn’t part of their life plan. They like children, but they also love their freedom and spending time together uninterrupted; the way that, if they wanted to, they could travel the world at a moment’s notice.
But Cara needs them. Because Cara has a devastating secret that she can’t tell anyone yet. Not even her daughter. A secret with the power to change all of their lives.
A secret that will ultimately mean Rebecca has to ask herself – could she find it in herself to welcome her husband’s child into her home, and into her heart?

What does TWG think?

Oh for goodness sake, Emma Robinson, did you have to go and switch on the water works? I mean, really?!

I’ve been crying a lot recently, so when I decided to pick up a book thought it was going to be a light hearted, Peppa Pig type book that I had chosen (no, wait, that mardy pig makes me cry too!). Then I realised I needed to read Emma Robinson’s novel and straight away knew that any hopes of furry beings having picnics were to stay where they belonged; on my daughters bookshelf. Instead of a Teddy bear picnic I had tension. I had suspense. I had emotion so fraught that I was scared it was going to slice my heart in two.

This book is black and white proof as to why Robinson is a published author, and there is no denying that her characterisation and realistic storylines make for excellent and dramatic reading.

The main topic of this read is a tough pill to swallow, however it is beautifully done in every sense of the word. I know I am being exceptionally vague by not delving into specific parts of the book or giving too much away, and thats because I don’t want to ruin the experience of this novel for anyone else. My only advice to you all would be to grab the tissues before you start reading, mute the phones, and buckle up for a ride you’ll never forget.

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#IfEverydayWasChristmas by Donna Ashcroft @donnashc @Bookouture #TisTheSeasonToBeJolly

Thank you, as always, to Bookouture for the tour invite and ARC. Here is my review of Donna Ashcroft’s newest novel, ‘If Every Day Was Christmas’.

Snow is falling, fires are crackling merrily, and Lockton tradition has everyone hanging a promise they’re determined to keep this Christmas on the tree in the village square…

Meg Scott has promised to make a success of her first solo Christmas. She runs a year-round Christmas shop in the little Scottish village, and is a fan of all things mulled, sparkly and festive. So when her warring family shows up on her doorstep, ready to spread discord and tension, Meg is determined not to let them ruin her favourite time of the year.

Meanwhile, Christmas-hating Tom Riley-Clark has been called to the Highlands to help his old friend at The Apple Cross Inn. He’s ready to work hard and has no time for mince pies, tinsel or hanging a promise on the tree: the thought of every day being Christmas is his worst nightmare, and you wouldn’t catch him dead buying a bauble. So everyone is surprised when Christmas-loving Meg and grinch Tom start to get cozy under the mistletoe.

But Tom has a big secret about his past, and in a small town like Lockton it’s hard to keep anything hidden for long. Will everything fall apart when Meg discovers who he really is? The pair are about to learn the hard way that some promises are impossible to keep…

What does TWG think?

Oh I wish it could be Christmas, every day….!!!!

Can you imagine it? Would you want it to be Christmas every single day? I wouldn’t, I think it would lose its sparkle! How about if you had a shop that was Christmas themed, so even in the height of summer when people are wandering around with money tucked into their sweaty bikini bottoms/swimming trunks, a shop would be selling snow themed ornaments. Every day would feel like Christmas then, wouldn’t it?

If you’ve ever struggled with ways to describe the festive season, then I suggest you study this book. If, after reading this, people STILL don’t quite get Christmas, then I will eat my hat!

Meg reminded me of Meg Ryan’s character in ‘Youve Got Mail’ – did anyone else think the same? Shes such a warm hearted, free spirited character who definitely has some oomph about her!

I’ve really been struggling with books of late, however I really was in my element with this as Donna Ashcroft never disappoints with her from the heart story telling. I’ve said this once before (or maybe more times than that), however I will happily say it again; Donna Ashcroft really is the Mrs Claus of fiction.

As always, the balance between romance, humour, and the ‘hook’, was absolutely spot on, giving me a little bit of everything whilst also leaving out nothing.

I, hand on heart, cannot fault this novel! Instead of wishing it could be Christmas every day, I cant help but wonder what it would be like If I Read Donna Ashcroft’s Novels Every Day!

A timeless, warm and homely read.

Buy now.

#CathysChristmasKitchen by Tilly Tennant @TillyTenWriter @Bookouture

Before I start, I just want to apologise profusely to Tilly and Bookouture for the delay in getting this review out, but huge thank you to the publisher for their patience and understanding. (Oh, and the tour invite and ARC too!)

As the snow flutters down in the little village of Linnetford, escape to a cosy farmhouse kitchen, scented with the rich aromas of fruitcake and gingerbread, where a love of baking is about to unite two lonely hearts…

Cathy cooked at her mother’s side her whole life and could bake a fairy cake before she could ride a bike. Now she is facing her first Christmas without her beloved mother, she’s determined to use her memories for something positive. She decides to organise a weekly cooking class, sharing her mother’s precious recipes with other lonely souls.

There’s just one small spanner in the works: teenager Tansy, who attends Cathy’s classes even though she’s rude to everyone there and seems to hate every minute. Cathy is poised to ask Tansy to leave, but her uncle, physiotherapist Matt, begs her to give the teenager another chance. And Cathy can’t resist Matt’s sparkling hazel eyes and incredibly kind heart…

But just as Cathy is feeling she might find joy again, her ex returns to Linnetford, desperate for a second chance. With Matt becoming distant as his life gets more complicated, it seems so easy to return to the safe embrace of someone she knows so well. Can Cathy avoid the temptation of falling back in love with the man who broke her heart and let Christmas bring her the greatest gift – that of happiness?

What does TWG think?

There’s just something about baking at Christmas time, isnt there? I simply adore it and i am so excited to get into the kitchen to rustle up some festive goodies. Until then, I was able to live vicariously through Cathy and her love of baking, which thankfully kept that baking bug at bay for the time being.

Christmas for Cathy this year will be tainted with emotion, what with it being the first one without her mum. To keep herself busy, and her mums memory at the forefront of her mind (not that it ever left there), Cathy puts her skills to use and organises a class for other budding bakers. Now it wouldn’t be much of a storyline if everything went plain sailing from start to finish, would it?

Cathy’s heart was in the right place, however not everyone got the memo regarding the happiness that learning to bake can bring, leaving Cathy questioning the future of the classes and her own talents.

Of course, like all romantic fiction, there is a love interest involved. And, again, like most romantic fiction, there is also a past love interest who makes their presence known, much to Cathy’s annoyance.

(Doesn’t sound all plain sailing now, does it? Self raising if you ask me….).

Tilly’s latest novel was an absolute joy to read from start to finish. The storyline had festive cheer and tender moments, but it also had humour and situations which came at me like a bull in a china shop. Tilly truly brought her characters to life and put them in a league of their own without making them come across samey. Not only did this tickle my taste buds, it made me want to stalk my local physiotherapists to find one like Matt….

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#TheItalianGirls by Debbie Rix (@DebbieRix) @Bookouture

Thank you, as always, to Bookouture for inviting me on Debbie Rix’s blog tour, and for supplying me with an ARC.

The sun hung low in the sky, casting pink light all over the city. A faint breeze blew over the rooftops, as flocks of starlings swirled above her, swooping and diving in unison. It seemed unimaginable that, even now, German soldiers were marching along the streets below. It was time, she decided, for direct action. It was time to fight back.

Each morning Livia Moretti makes her way from an apartment overlooking Florence’s famous Duomo to a nearby café, where she drinks espresso and reads the newspaper. To the crowds of tourists who pass by, snapping selfies, nothing about Livia will be memorable. She is simply an old lady. They walk on without knowing the part she played in ensuring the future of this beautiful city. And to Livia now, those dark days feel very far away too.

But today, when she opens the paper, she sees a name she has not heard for a long time. A name that will bring memories flooding back of Nazi troops marching through the city and the dangers she faced as a young woman, carrying out secret missions for the resistance.

Isabella Bellucci.

A siren of the silver screen, Isabella cultivated all the right connections to ensure her rise to stardom. But when Rome falls to the Nazis, Isabella is suddenly faced with the choice between protecting herself, and all she has worked for, or sacrificing everything to save the man she loves.

As the war rages across Europe, a terrible misunderstanding causes the fates of Isabella and Livia to become forever intertwined. And each woman must decide what they’re willing to risk, to protect the ones they hold dear from a brutal enemy.

What does TWG think?

My first piece of advice to anyone wanting to read this is; make sure your mind is free from distractions beforehand as the storyline requires your attention.

My second piece of advice is not to rush the book. There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between times and characters, and time is needed to appreciate those parts for what they are.

‘The Italian Girls’ is a WW2 novel set in Italy. I have read several historical fiction novels that have had Italy as their settings, so i was a little bit concerned about whether they would be similarities between the stories aside from the obvious influences of the war. Thankfully, Debbie Rix has a unique voice within her stories and that is what gave this particular book its own stance.

Livia was such an interesting, multi layered character who constantly surprised me. I loved getting to know her personality and finding out about her life. Its safe to say that she was my most favourite character in the novel.

Debbie Rix has written an atmospheric, heart rendering novel that just kept on giving. I love historical fiction and I am delighted to say that ‘The Italian Girls’ really didn’t disappoint.

Buy now.