#BlogTour! #Extract from Love at the Northern Lights by Darcie Boleyn (@DarcieBoleyn) @canelo_co

Today I am delighted to be sharing an extract from ‘Love at the Northern Lights’ by Darcie Boleyn. Many thanks to Ellie and Canelo for asking me to be involved in the blog tour. Enjoy!

Climbing out the window in her dress and tiara wasn’t exactly how Frankie imagined her wedding day…’

Runaway bride Frankie Ashford hops a plane to Norway with one goal in mind – find her estranged mother and make peace with the past. But when a slip on the ice in Oslo lands her directly in Jonas Thorsen’s viking-strong arms, her single-minded focus drifts away in the winter winds.

When it comes to romance Jonas knows that anything he and Frankie share has an expiration date – the British heiress has a life to return to in London that’s a world away from his own. But family is everything to Jonas and, as the one man who can help Frankie find the answers she’s seeking, he’ll do whatever it takes to help her reunite with her mother.

Now, as Christmas draws closer and the northern lights work their magic Frankie and Jonas will have to make a choice…play it safe or risk heartbreak to take a chance on love.

Extract

In the airport cafe, Frankie tucked her suitcase under the table then wrapped her hands around the mug of coffee. She could see the entrance to the toilets from here and winced every time someone went in or came out, wondering if she’d see someone emerge carrying the tote bag of treats. The light was fading outside and she realized she had no idea what time it was or how long she’d been sitting there, lost in her thoughts.

Her bones ached and she wished she could curl up under the table and sleep. Instead, she picked up the almond croissant she’d purchased and ate it quickly, washing each mouthful down with coffee, aware that she needed to put something into her empty belly.

Soon, the croissant and coffee raised her blood sugar and the headache she’d blamed the tiara for began to fade. But there was still a question burning inside her: what was she going to do now?

‘What time’s your flight?’ The woman at the next table spoke into her mobile. ‘Uh… aha… right. Well, see you when we get there.’

She cut the call then looked at Frankie.

‘My brother.’ She waved the mobile. ‘He’s getting married in Cuba next week, so we’re heading out there early to take in some of the sights first.’

‘Cuba?’

‘Yes and I’m so excited. It’s my first holiday with my boyfriend too.’ Her eyes sparkled and her cheeks were rosy, presumably with the first flush of love.

‘That’s nice. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time.’

‘Thank you. Where are you going?’ The woman’s eyes flickered over Frankie’s tiara and she touched it self-consciously. It probably did look strange with her casual attire.

Frankie opened her mouth to answer, hoping something would spring to mind, but a tall sandy-haired man arrived at the woman’s table and she jumped up and hugged him, so Frankie was spared the embarrassment of admitting she had no idea. The couple gathered their bags then left the cafe arm in arm, leaving Frankie staring at the table they’d vacated. It must be wonderful to truly love someone. Sure, she’d enjoyed spending time with Rolo in the early days and they’d had some fun – in fact, she’d hoped it was love that she felt for him – but she’d never experienced a burning need to see him, to touch him and to be close to him. In reality, they’d been a lot more like polite acquaintances than lovers about to marry. Perhaps that had been because she’d known she didn’t really love him and had been holding back. And what had been holding her back? Not just a lack of love and desire but her need for independence. Her need to experience freedom, to know what it was like to be happy with who she was and what she was doing. Had she ever really had that sense of personal satisfaction?

No.

Not in her job. Not in her relationship. And certainly not in her home life, where even though her father had tried hard to fill the gap left by her mother, it had been there… a chasm of emptiness and sadness, a constant awareness that the woman who should have loved her more than anyone else had walked away from her and not cared whether she lived or died. It had also, unsurprisingly, been laced with a bitter anger.

Until she dealt with that, Frankie realized, she would never be able to move on and be happy.

She drained her coffee then opened her bag and pulled out her purse. She had a variety of credit cards and some cash, so she could easily book a flight. At the back of her purse, folded over, was something she carried with her. Always. She pulled it out and unfolded it, then pressed it flat on the table and gazed at the image of a snow-covered landscape. It was dark and the trees cast bushy shadows across the ground. It made Frankie shiver just imagining how cold it must be there. But above the snow, brightening the dark sky with swathes of luminous green, blue and purple, were the northern lights.

Every time Frankie had looked at this postcard over the years since she’d turned eighteen, something had tugged at her heart and made her yearn to see these lights in person. They were beautiful, mystical, magical. Even though she’d read about them and knew their true cause, Frankie still believed that there was magic in nature if it could create such beauty. And, of course, she wondered if her mother had seen these lights… if she had thought of her daughter as she watched the shimmering display.

Her mother had sent cards every year on birthdays and at Christmas when she was growing up. They had been pretty cards featuring beautiful paintings but the messages inside had been brief, almost impersonal, as if her mother had either not cared to write more or had been holding back. However, now that she thought about it and tried to rationalize it, perhaps her mother had cared if she was alive and well. She’d noted every changing of the year in her daughter’s life, hadn’t she? And yet… how much did sending a card really prove? Was her mother actually just assuaging her conscience and nothing more?

Frankie wanted to believe that it was more than just that but what proof did she have other than cards?

She turned the card over and ran her eyes over the familiar words, words she knew without needing to read them, but still, looking at them again helped her confirm that they were real and not a figment of her imagination.

[display postcard]

Dear Frances,

Happy 18th Birthday. I knew this day would come and yet, I cannot believe how the years have flown. Now that you are an adult, I feel able to give you my address. Please know that you are welcome to come and visit me anytime you wish. I would love to see you. However, I understand if you do not want to come. I will not contact you again unless I hear from you, because I don’t want to trouble you if you would prefer not to hear from me.

Yours truly,

Freya X

[/display]

The postcard had arrived in a sealed envelope, presumably to prevent Grandma from reading the message, and Freya’s address was printed in the top-right corner, leaving her to make the decision. She had not gone when she was eighteen, nor when she was twenty-one, nor when she turned twenty-nine. It had seemed better to leave things as they were, to build her own life and not rake up the past. She didn’t want to hurt her father or upset her grandmother, and knew that visiting her mother could well do both. Her grandmother was a stern, aloof woman, but she had always been around – she had not left Frankie behind – and because of that, Frankie owed her loyalty – although her behaviour earlier today had made Frankie question her grandmother’s motives. Her father had been a kind and caring parent, but he had a haunted quality about him, as if he’d never recovered from losing his wife. Frankie had felt protective of him, even though he had been the adult and she the child.

Buy now from Amazon.

About the author.

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

 

Advertisements

#BlogTour! #Review – The Cornish Village School – Second Chances by Kitty Wilson (@KittyWilson23) @canelo_co

Huge apologies to Kitty Wilson for the delay in posting my review for her ‘Second Chances’, the second book in ‘The Cornish Village School’ series. I am playing catch up once again this evening! Many thanks to Canelo for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

The Cornish Village School Second Chances Cover
Ex-ballerina and single mum Sylvie is in trouble. Juggling her ballet classes in
the nearest town, preparing shy Sam for his first day at Penmenna Village school and trying to finally move out from the farm she shares with her cantankerous Uncle Tom means life is anything but easy.

Television Journalist Alex is facing challenges of his own. Seeking a calmer environment for his newly adopted daughter, Ellie, he’s swapped reporting in war zones for the school PTA in quiet Penmenna, where his best friend Chase has persuaded him to start laying some roots.

Fireworks ignite when Sylvie and Alex meet but as Ellie and Sam become instant best
friends, will they be able to keep things strictly platonic for the sake of the children?

What does TWG think?

You have NO idea how relevant those fireworks are on the cover! Holy schmoly!!! If you’re after a novel which allows you to ignite a very well hidden passion, helps you realise that just because your heart has been broken once it doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed to happen again, AND makes you laugh out loud due to the sheer brilliance of the under 18’s in the book, then if I could I would shove this book right under your nose and go ‘THERE!’.

I’m sometimes weary about books which have a single mum as their main character because, more often than not, us single mums aren’t really portrayed in a positive light. Don’t get me wrong, there are clearly some out there who like their negative light and would do anything to keep it that way, but for those of us who like to think we aren’t doing so bad, books which show us negatively knock our confidence. Thankfully, Kitty Wilson didn’t do that at all and yes, I did breathe a gigantic sigh of relief!

Sylvie is a very hands on mum to her little boy, Sam. With ‘big school’ just around the corner, Sylvie does all she can to prepare her son for independence in a school environment when in fact, poor Sylvie is the one who needs to prepare as it doesn’t seem to sink in what Sam going to ‘big school’ actually means. Sylvie and Sam are used to life just them….until Alex comes to town. For such a shy boy, Sam hits it off with Alex’s daughter almost instantly, making Sylvie realise that her little dude is spreading his little wings!

Ohhhhhhhhhh, Alex’s daughter, Ellie, is a LEGEND! Omg, the things that came out of her mouth were absolutely brilliant! ‘Out the mouths of babes’ came to mind on more than one occasion! Honestly, I’m not even exaggerating! Ellie has such a powerful personality which puts a lot of adults to shame actually, and not because she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Well, the mind that she does have considering she is around the age of five! In actual fact, Ellie reminded me a lot of my little girl who is exactly the same age. It’s just the innocence which makes the things they shouldn’t say, end up seeming a lot funnier because they don’t fully understand what they’re spraffing. Anyway, I won’t ruin it for you, but definitely watch out for little miss firework!

I LOVED the first book in the series, ‘Breaking the Rules’, and ‘Second Chances’ is a brilliant addition. I was instantly hooked by the energetic yet thoughtful vibe of the storyline, especially as I was able to relate to the main character what with being a single mum myself. I thought that Kitty Wilson delivered her characters flaws in such a tender and relatable manner, and I felt that it actually added incredible depth to each individual character as well as the overall storyline.

I had everything crossed for Sylvie as I just wanted her to get the ‘happily ever after’ she deserved, so I am sure you can understand my frustration when the storyline did a bit of to-ing and fro-ing! Again, I won’t ruin it for anyone but this isn’t a case of girl meets boy and they live happily ever after. Not at all. ‘Second Chances’ is a book which may be fiction, yet is incredibly close to reality due to the actions and emotions of the characters. Life isn’t straightforward and I am so pleased that Kitty Wilson got that across in her story without making it as depressing as real life can actually be.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Second Chances’ and I believe that you will too – this book had me in absolute stitches one minute, with my heart soaring and having a mind of its own the next. A relatable, thought-provoking read which has characters anyone will fall in love with. Yes, even the not so great characters you’ll no doubt end up loving – Kitty Wilson just has that knack, and what a knack it is. I loved it!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Kitty Wilson lived in Cornwall for twenty-five years having been dragged
there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. She is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom – and that her own children aren’t as hideous. Recently she has moved to Bristol, but only for love and on the understanding that she and her partner will be returning to Cornwall to live very soon. She spends most of her time welded to the keyboard, dreaming of the beach or bombing back down the motorway for a quick visit! She has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.

#BlogTour! #Review – Dreaming of Christmas by T.A.Williams (@TAWilliamsBooks) @canelo_co

Apologies for the delay in posting my review for T.A.Williams’ blog tour, unfortunately the delay was out of my control due to internet issues at home. Many thanks for the patience! I am delighted to be able to finally share my review for ‘Dreaming of Christmas’. Many thanks to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

It’s the dream Christmas: snow, mountains… and, er, an ex-boyfriend.
But can Zoe still find love in the Alps?


Dumped on Christmas Eve by her long-term boyfriend, it’s been a rough year for Zoe Lumsley. But then she gets an invitation she can’t refuse: an all expenses paid skiing holiday with old university friends.

The bad news: her ex, Grant, will be there with his new girlfriend. But so will her former flatmate Billy, the organiser, and in the meantime he’s done rather well for himself. As Christmas in the Alps approaches, it’ll be great to see the old gang. Some more than others…

What does TWG think?

There’s one thing being dumped by your partner, and there’s one thing being dumped by your partner at Christmas. Clearly both of those aren’t nice at all, but at Christmas? Really? Santa isn’t the only one emptying his sack; Zoe’s boyfriend has done exactly the same thing…with another woman, yet HE’S the one doing the dumping? Forgive me for coming across thick but how does he get to do that?! I shan’t lie, several expletives went through my head – ‘what an absolute tool’ is unfortunately the strongest insult i can do if i want Amazon to accept my review!

Anywhoo, with Zoe trying to come to terms with her recent heartbreak, an invitation to hit the ski slopes, erm, running, gives Zoe a well needed boost. Until she finds out that her ex-boyfriend will be there too. I will admit that when i found out that Grant would be there too, I thought Zoe would refuse to go despite the issue being with him and not her. Thankfully she did go and what a brilliant read ‘Dreaming of Christmas’ turned out to be because of it!

What an absolute darling, Bella, is! Children really do cement the magic of Christmas, don’t they? As for Billy’s dog – the word LEGEND sprang to mind more than once! I adored every morsel of ‘Dreaming of Christmas’ from the Christmas spirit at the ski resort, to the rekindling of friendships thanks to Zoe and her friends, and even the situation with Grant and watching karma come and bite him on the backside! I snorted, i belly laughed, I ‘awwwww’ed’ – and yes, i even was extremely bereft when the book finished as I was truly in my element.

‘Dreaming of Christmas’ is definitely a Christmas dream come true as it symbolises just how Christmas should be. I am always impressed by T.A.Williams’ novels, but the fact that he is able to write characters of the opposite sex in such an outstanding and relatable manner, really impresses me more than words can say. I’m not saying that because this author is a male he shouldn’t be able to write female lead characters, not at all.What I am saying is that he clearly understands females and their ways because if he didn’t, he certainly wouldn’t be able to write characters who ‘woman’ far better than i can ‘woman’, and I am one!

A fantastic, cosy, and brilliantly written novel from the highly talented, T.A.Williams. I LOVED it, I really did. Thanks to T.A.Williams, the Mr Claus of Christmas books, I can safely say that ‘it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….’!


Buy now from Amazon

About the author

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled
extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

 

 

#BlogTour! #Review – Love at the Northern Lights by Darcie Boleyn (@DarcieBoleyn) @canelo_co

Love at the Northern Lights blog tour
I am super excited to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘Love at the Northern Lights’ by Darcie Boleyn. Thank you, as always, to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Love at the Northern Lights Cover
 ‘Climbing out the window in her dress and tiara wasn’t exactly how
Frankie imagined her wedding day…’

Runaway bride Frankie Ashford hops a plane to Norway with one goal in mind – find her
estranged mother and make peace with the past. But when a slip on the ice in Oslo lands
her directly in Jonas Thorsen’s viking-strong arms, her single-minded focus drifts away in the winter winds.

When it comes to romance Jonas knows that anything he and Frankie share has an
expiration date – the British heiress has a life to return to in London that’s a world away from his own. But family is everything to Jonas and, as the one man who can help Frankie find the answers she’s seeking, he’ll do whatever it takes to help her reunite with her mother.

Now, as Christmas draws closer and the northern lights work their magic Frankie and Jonas will have to make a choice…play it safe or risk heartbreak to take a chance on love.

What does TWG think?

Oh my goodness me, where do I even start with my review of this book?!

Have you ever felt obligated to go through with something, just so that you don’t upset the apple cart, aka ‘family’? Haven’t we all?

How many of you have said ‘yes’ to doing something without even thinking of yourself in the process? Again, haven’t we all?

It’s Frankie’s wedding day and she isn’t exactly feeling, how can I put this….in the marital mood. Her friends and family are all around her, ready to support her on her wedding day, but unless Frankie is there to support herself, what chance does she have for a happy marriage and a happy life?

Without her mum there to give her last minute advice, Frankie’s dad steps in to do the honours. Will she listen to a man who is so governed by his own mothers opinion that he’s lost sight of his own identity? Or will she do what she feels is right for everyone else?

What a beautifully written, engaging, humorous and utterly perfect read! I wish I could sit here and discuss all of the bits of the book which made me go ‘OMGGGGG’ or ‘awwwww!!!’ or ‘oh wow!’. But I can’t. For someone who has a big mouth (me that is), it’s incredibly difficult being vague about this book – it is totally worth it though!!

Frankie is the sort of character who I warmed to instantly. Her personality was invigorating. Her outlook on life was relatable, and her flourishing, gut instinct was a joy to watch.

‘Love at the Northern Lights’ isn’t just a book about a wedding and the Northern Lights, it is so much more than that. Honestly, this storyline kept on giving every time I turned the page! Every single chapter made me feel as though it was my birthday due to the love, the joy, and the heartwarming moments which made me smile from ear to ear.

This book is everything I could have wished for in a book, and then some. Darcie Boleyn, in my humble opinion, has written her best book yet. Not only has the author incorporated a situation into the storyline which a lot of readers may find themselves relating to, she has also brought her characters alive with the power of her own heart. It’s very clear that Darcie Boleyn believes in her characters and what they signify, because if she didn’t, this storyline would not have come across as powerful and touching as it ended up being.

You’ve either got the that fire in your belly to create a storyline which evokes a reaction both heartwarming and emotional in one sentence, or you haven’t. Darcie Boleyn certainly has that fire, and she has that heart because I’ll tell you something for nothing, stories like ‘Love at the Northern Lights’ cannot be googled, as it takes an extremely special writer to produce a novel like this.

One of the best books I have read so far this year, ‘Love at the Northern Lights’ brightened up my night in a way I never knew was possible. A beautiful, beautiful portrayal of life, loss, forgiveness and love – I was absolutely devastated to say ‘goodbye’ to such a wonderful bunch of characters. Darcie Boleyn has outdone herself massively with her latest release – I urge you all to grab a copy as you will NOT regret it. Just….wow, wow, wow.

Buy now from Amazon UK

About the author.

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at
books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an
overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to
become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far
away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate.

Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – #ForgiveMeNot by Samantha Tonge (@SamTongeWriter) @Canelo_co @RaRaResources #PublicationDay


Congratulations to Samantha Tonge on the publication of her brand new novel, ‘Forgive Me Not’, which is published by Canelo TODAY! How exciting! For those who are already a fan of Samantha’s previous novels and are a little bit confused, don’t be, there is no need to be. This novel isn’t as romance led as her previous novels, yet it is still the Samantha Tonge we have all come to know and love – she has just chosen to write a novel that has taken a slightly different direction to what people might be ‘used’ to. Me, however, I am a huge fan of Samantha’s writing and I know that I will continue to read her books in whichever direction she chooses to write them.

I am delighted to be taking part in the publication day blitz for ‘Forgive Me Not’, huge thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to do so, and thank you to Canelo for the ARC. Before I share my review, here is what is on the back of the book:

How far would you go to make amends?

When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her
most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.
But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people
she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to
reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.

Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten
her newly forged future…

Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough.

What does TWG think?

How many of you reading this, have made a mistake which later cost you the people you loved?
How many of you have found yourself stuck in a rut due to your own bad choices, have chosen to put yourself on the straight and narrow, yet people refuse to give you the benefit of the doubt?

Of course you have, we all have. We can’t all be perfect.

Emma has chosen to return to the place her life changed forever – her childhood home. Even though it took Emma a lot of guts to return to the ‘scene of the crime’ so to speak, she found herself underestimating her family’s reaction to her reappearance. Emma knows that she has made a lot of mistakes, she also knows that she has paid the price for every single one of them, but will her family see that she is being genuine? Or is it too little too late?

At first, Samantha Tonge keeps Emma’s mistakes under lock and key, building my curiosity every time I turned the page. What on Earth did she do for her family to turn their backs on her? Has she learnt from her mistakes, whatever they may be?

Emma’s story certainly made me sit up and take notice. At first, I couldn’t see much wrong with what she did, but as soon as the author went into detail about the bad decisions Emma made, my opinion changed and I could see why the outcome is what it is. That said, I couldn’t help but feel as though I was missing something as, instead of feeling as though I was reading a brand new novel with brand new characters, I felt as though I had walked into the storyline halfway through and couldn’t seem to work out why I felt as though I had missed out on a lot of things. Before anyone says anything, no, I didn’t begin the book halfway through, it just felt like that for me which was a bit of a shame.

However, I have to say that that was the only irk I had with the book! I loved how the authors change in direction was written from the heart, bringing the story to life on various different levels. Personally, I couldn’t really ask for more!. Samantha Tonge hasn’t just picked a theme from random and decided to write about it, she has chosen a theme which she knew needed to be written about to not only educate people, but to also make people take notice and think about their own decisions in life. I have to say that after reading ‘Forgive Me Not’, my opinion of one thing in particular has changed dramatically. Without giving anything away, I used to be like many of the characters in the book and look down my nose at people who had to set up camp where required, pretty much because I looked at it from a pessimistic and disbelieving angle. But now? Now I can’t help but look at them like one of us and, if I had to choose one important lesson to take away from this book, it would definitely have to be the vague lesson I just mentioned. How could it not be?

I will say one thing though, there were times where I felt that Emma was expecting far too much from her loved ones, yet there were times where I felt as though her loved ones were hearing her but refusing to listen. The phrase ‘I’m sorry’, is one of the most overused lines ever. Even though, as humans, we expect apologies, how many of us can truly say that we believe every single one of them? Saying that you’re sorry is all well and good, but for me it’s the actions that got alongside it is what I take more notice of. Reading ‘Forgive Me Not’ cemented the fact that I just can’t forget, but it has taught me the value of learning to forgive.

I am very proud of Samantha Tonge and this book, as I know it must have taken a lot to write a novel that is so close to home. It takes a lot of courage and determination to write something like this and personally, I think that the author has aced it.

A life-affirming, thought-provoking, emotional, and poignant novel which holds even more power than Iron Man himself. Such a pleasure to read.

Buy now from Amazon
Buy now from Kobo
Buy now from iBooks

About the author.

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and her passion, second to spending time with her husband
and children, is writing. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad,
including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.

When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many
dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.

In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins
and in 2014, her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of
Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK
Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.

Links

Twitter // Facebook // Website

#BlogTour! #Review – #ConfettiAndConfusion by Daisy James (@daisyjamesbooks) @canelo_co


I am so excited to be reviewing the next instalment in Daisy James’ new serial, ‘Confetti and Confusion’. Big thank you, as always, to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:


The Paradise Cookery School is officially open!

Stepping in for a celebrity chef, Millie Harper is feeling the pressure to make the first ever
Paradise Cookery School classes a dazzling success and ensure that bride-to-be Imogen
and friends have an unforgettable experience.

Meanwhile, Millie is trying to play it cool around handsome estate manager Zach Barker. But
whenever he is near Millie cannot fail to notice the chemistry between them – until someone
from Zach’s past arrives and any potential romance seems out of the question.

When disaster strikes and the wedding is in jeopardy, Millie realises she may have to go
above and beyond to make sure the school is a success. Can Millie manage to create a day
that dreams are made of, and will she find a way to tell Zach how she feels?

What does TWG think?

Oh I am so glad that I got to catch up with Millie and Ella at ‘The Paradise Cookery School’! I absolutely adored the first book in the series, ‘Sunshine and Secrets’, so I couldn’t wait to head back to the Caribbean to find out what was in store for Millie this time around.

‘Confetti and Confusion may be the second book from ‘The Paradise Cookery School’ series, but I definitely do recommend that you read the books in order otherwise you may find that you’re missing out on the start of Millie’s journey and how she found herself in the Caribbean in the first place.

Despite this book being quite compact at around 160 pages, it certainly packs a punch! Millie isn’t sitting twiddling her thumbs or topping up her tan, in fact she is run off her feet as she takes a detour from the Paradise Cookery School owner, Claudia, best laid plans! I can guarantee that helping a bride-to-be wasn’t part of the plan at all, but because Millie has got a heart of gold, she can’t sit back and watch a wedding day go to ruins because of someone else.

Of course, whilst romance is prominent in this storyline due to Imogen’s upcoming wedding, Millie’s new friends are watching her closely to see if she finally plucks up the courage to let a certain man know just how she really feels. Well, it might help if she stopped falling over her feet, especially if HE gets to be her knight in shining every time, being none the wiser to Millie’s true feelings…

I will be devastated when this series finishes as it has got to be my most favourite serial that Daisy James has written to date. There is something very special about Millie, and Daisy James has done a fabulous job by bringing her true personality to life by mixing Millie with some rather colourful people, as well as taking her out of her comfort zone.

‘Confetti and Confusion’ made me giggle and left me grinning from ear to ear. What a truly fabulous, spirited, and huggable little read this is. I absolutely loved it and will be recommending this series until I am blue in the face. More please!!

Buy now from Amazon

Buy now from Kobo

About the author.

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing
stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her
summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She
loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of
afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

#BlogTour! #Review – Confessions of a First-Time Mum by Poppy Dolan (@poppydwriter) @canelo_co

Confessions of a First-Time Mum blog tour
Where on Earth was this book when my daughter was born?! If you’re a first time mum, or even a first time dad, or even if you have popped out more than one children – I cannot recommend this book enough. I am so excited to be sharing my review of ‘Confessions of a First-Time Mum’ by Poppy Dolan, on my blog this evening. Big thanks to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book.

Confessions extended (1)
Stevie’s life has changed beyond recognition since having her first baby.

Stevie loves being a mum, but between the isolation and being vomited on five times a day, she really wishes she had someone to talk to.

With husband Ted working hard to keep the family afloat, Stevie really doesn’t want to burden him with her feelings. Turning to the internet, Stevie starts the anonymous First-Time Mum blog and blasts the rose-tinted glasses of parenthood right off her readers.
In the real world, Stevie meets the formidable Nelle and gorgeous Will, along with their own little treasures, and starts to realise that being a ‘perfect mum’ isn’t everything. But when the secret blog goes viral, Stevie must make some tough choices about who she wants to be, and whether she’s ready for the world to know the truth…

What does TWG think?

I’m going to put this out there – where the baby wipes was this book when my daughter was born?! Poppy Dolan had me in hysterics from the first page, and I’m not exaggerating. This authors humour is magnificent, yet she is only writing about parenthood in a realistic manner and without looking at it through rose tinted glasses. Just like Stevie, and I’m sure many of you as well, I had my plans before my daughter was born, adamant that I would do things a certain way. Did that happen? Did it fluff! It wasn’t that I changed my mind when she was born, it was purely a case of being realistic and realising that, after being awake during the night more times than I was asleep, getting myself dolled up in the morning to go to a baby group wasn’t at the top of my list.

Whilst I didn’t find the early stages of parenthood as challenging as others may have done, I still appreciated and loved the black and white way which Stevie spoke about her life. She didn’t fake it, she just said how she felt. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t really see that as a bad thing, do you? What I also thought was completely bang on, was how Stevie said what a lot of mums think when it comes to being looked down upon by other parents for how you raise your own child. As a single mum, I have had my fair share of derogatory comments and people looking down their noses at me and yes, at first it bothered me, but now? I’m just proud of myself and so should every other parent be. Well, as long as they’re being the best that they can be, obvs!!

Anyway, I’m going around the houses with this review – apologies! I thought ‘Confessions of a First-Time Mum’ was such a brilliant, brilliant read which had me snorting like a pig on more than one occasion. I can guarantee that a lot of readers will be nodding their heads at what Stevie comes out with, and relating to every single thing about this book in general. I know I did!

I thought the idea of Stevie’s blog was really fun, even if it did sound a little familiar having read a similar thing in a different book.

‘Confessions of a First-Time Mum’ is a fantastic, relatable read for anyone who has children of their own. Hell, even if I didn’t have a child, I am sure I still would have loved reading about Stevie, Nelle and Will, as people like them re just what the world desperately needs.

Buy now from Amazon!

About the author.

Poppy Dolan is in her mid thirties and lives in Berkshire with her husband. She’s a near-
obsessive baker and a keen crafter, so on a typical weekend can be found moving between the haberdashery and kitchenware floors of a department store, adding to her birthday wish list. She has written three novels: The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp, There’s More to Life than Cupcakes and most recently The Bluebell Bunting Society. The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp made it into the Amazon top 100 bestseller chart, so clearly someone other than her mum must have read it. She’s currently working on her fourth novel – it’s about friends, siblings and crafty things – and drinking far too much tea.

You can get in touch with Poppy on Twitter @poppydwriter and on Facebook at
PoppyDolanBooks. She doesn't bite. Unless you are a dark chocolate digestive.

#BlogTour! #Review – #CornishVillageSchool by Kitty Wilson (@KittyWilson23) @canelo_co

Cornish Village School Blog Banner (3)
Easing myself back into the office very slowly, as this evening I have the pleasure of hosting Kitty Wilson’s debut novel, ‘The Cornish Village School – Breaking the Rules’. Big thank you to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

The Cornish Village School
Rosy Winter is definitely not looking for love

Following heartbreak, Rosy has rebuilt her life in the beautiful Cornish village of Penmenna. Now, headmistress of the local school, she is living by The Rule: no dating anyone in the village. Easy right? But Rosy Winter has a new neighbour, handsome gardener Matt.

In Penmenna for his new gardening TV show, this guy next door will do everything he can to persuade her to break her rule and win her heart. Meanwhile, Penmenna Village School is threatened with closure and it’s up to Rosy to rally the local community and
#SaveOurSchool.

Can she bring her worlds together and accept help from the most unlikely of sources? One thing’s for sure… she won’t be giving up without a fight.

What does TWG think?

Cornwall – a place I have never set foot in, yet I feel as though I know it extremely well given the amount of books I have read with Cornwall as its setting. It’s a very popular setting that’s for sure and, whilst I do seem to roll my eyes whenever I realise a book is Cornwall based, I nearly squealed in excitement when it became clear that Kitty Wilson made her characters the highlight of the story instead of Cornwall. Look, I have nothing against the place, I would just love to see more variation in settings. Seeing as this author put a different spin on the Cornish place we have all grown to love, I won’t hold the setting against her ;).

Rosy adores her little house, seeing it as a place of tranquility and her safe haven away from the PTA busybody at the school she is headmistress of. That is until one day, she comes face to face (literally) with a man who rather enjoyed blocking her car in the driveway, with a van full of his belongings for his brand new home right next to Rosy’s house. If Rosy was looking forward to keeping herself to herself after a hard days work, she’s got another thing coming, especially when her new neighbour seems to find any little reason to go knocking on her front door. The village seemed smitten with the new, local gardener, but Rosy wasn’t convinced – even when she realised that Matt may just be the answer to her prayers…

Keep your mind out of the gutter, I didn’t mean like that! Well, Rosy would probably be dreaming about Matt in that way, but that isn’t what I was insinuating. I think!

I adored Rosy and her looks that could kill. I saw a lot of myself in her, which made me laugh harder when Rosy seemed to plan people’s murders with her eyes alone. Such a fun, sassy, and bold character, I really don’t think I would ever get bored reading about Rosy and her antics.

Just like a lot of the female character population in this book, I ended up tilting my head to one side saying ‘awwww!’ when Matt spent time with the children from Rosy’s school. I’m not usually like that but it was cute, and no I won’t tell you why so if you wanted to know, you’ll have to pick up the book and read it!

‘The Cornish Village School’ was such a multi-layered, laugh out loud, heart-warming, and energetic read which kept me entertained with every turn of the page. I enjoyed how the author put a different spin on Cornwall, bringing its beauty into the description but not letting the setting take the shine away from the overall theme of the book. I suppose the other way of describing this book is by saying that it is a ‘feel good read’, because it is. It’s light-hearted with a hint of serious depth, yet incredibly cosy and guaranteed to keep a smile on your face.

I thought the characters were very well thought out, each with their own memorable personalities (some more than others!). Marion, whilst being incredibly over-bearing, nosy, and often quite annoying, ended up making me warm to her as believe it or not, she actually had a heart underneath the exterior of sticking her nose into everyone’s business. Who would’ve thought it, eh!

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading this gem of a book! The only downside for me was that I wanted more and I didn’t have any more, so if the author could rectify that spit spot then I would be rather happy haha.

Buy now!

About the author.

Kitty Wilson has lived in Cornwall for the last twenty-five years having been dragged there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. She is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom – and that her own children aren’t as hideous. She spends most of her time welded to the keyboard or hiding out at the beach and has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.

What a difference, a day makes – or in this case, the month of May! #MonthlyRoundUp #TopBook (@NoelleHarrison @bwpublishing)

The Writing Garnet's Book of the Month is......
It isn’t often that I do a monthly roundup, purely because I often forget. However, I felt the urge to do one for the month of May because I feel that I have to speak out about a few things, and what better way to do it than in a roundup post! #KillTwoBirdsWithOneStone

So, what happened in May?

The highlights!

– TWG was involved in 52 blog tours, the highest amount of blog tours in one month, ever!
– I met up with author, Mary-Jayne Baker, in Edinburgh for bookish chat.
– My TWG Facebook page  hit 1602 likes!
– I went over 5000 followers on Twitter, despite starting with around 100 or so when I started blogging two years ago.
– I found myself being quoted yet another book cover (thanks Bookouture!), as well as being quoted on Amazon itself!
– I received so many wonderful proof copies through the post, as well as being approved for other many awesome books on Netgalley. Big thank you to the publishers/publicists who have either sent me books or approved me. You’re all amazing!
– I have had many wonderful bookish chats with my fellow book buddies on social media – love you all!

There have been, I’m sure, many other highlights but it is quite difficult to remember them all when you make yourself do so! Like most things, there is always a downside:

The Lowlights.

May was the month where I was trolled on social media not once, but twice in the matter of one week. Now, despite being told that other people have had similar and just to ignore, for me that isn’t easy and I’ll tell you why. From the age of five, I was horrifically bullied, tormented for the hair on my arms to how I spoke, being pushed into brick walls to then having a metal sellotape holder slammed down on my knuckles. I was even told that I was fat day in, day out, where I ended up battling with anorexia and bulimia. Whilst I would love to say that the bullied ended quickly, it didn’t. For some, comments on social media are like water off a ducks back. But for me, when they come across as personal attacks, similar circumstances or not, I find them to be a trigger. It isn’t nice because it then sets off my mental health which in turn sets off my chronic illnesses. Thankfully I have drawn a line under that, but I just wanted to speak about that.

Another lowlight in May involved the entire blogging community and the idea of ‘paid reviews’. I won’t get into it again, but I am sick and tired of hard working bloggers getting thrown under the bus by people who can waltz in without giving a damn about integrity or hard work. I don’t charge for my book reviews, and I don’t intend on doing so. I review because I love books and because I feel that I am forever in authors debts for writing books which allow me to escape my daily hell. And yes, it is often hell.

Again, another one which involved the entire book blogging community was when it became known that someone was selling ARCs/proof copies on Ebay. The fact that it says somewhere on the proof ‘not to be resold or used for quotation’, is neither here nor there…..clearly. Seriously, receiving proof copies from publishers/publicists is an honour and I feel privileged to be able to receive some amazing books through my letter box. Would I then go on to sell them on Ebay? Like fuck would I. Respect is earned, not given. Respect isn’t an entitlement, it’s a privilege.

The following lowlight is a personal one for me and one which I have ummed and ahhed about saying. Those who know me personally, or those who have read my previous posts, will know that I am rather lacking in the ‘healthy’ area, with illnesses such as fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, joint hypermobility syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, IBS, anxiety and depression, under my belt. It’s bad enough dealing with all of that, but now, after years of battling with doctors who told me it was ‘all in my head’ and being looked at like I had two heads, I am now being treated for CFS otherwise known as ME. I was also put on a new medication, one which isn’t going to become my bestie anytime soon that’s for sure (amitriptyline). Coming to terms with yet another illness at the ripe ‘old’ age of 28 is heart-breaking, and once again I’m left feeling like I am grieving a part of me now gone. Although to be fair, I’m surprised that there is anything left of ‘me’ to grieve but y’know! I want to say a personal thank you to a person who has been checking in with my every few days despite going through their own issues, and that big thank you is for Abbie Rutherford – your friendship means a lot to me, thank you for being there for me <3.

Enough of the lowlights, lets talk books!

With 52 blog tours in one month, I got through quite a lot of books in May such as:

#Review – The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton (@bookish_yogi) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – One Summer in Rome by Samantha Tonge (@SamTongeWriter) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – What Holly’s Husband Did by Debbie Viggiano (@DebbieViggiano) @Bookouture

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Lead Me Home by CS Savage (@sarahsavage26) @BloodhoundBook

#BlogTour! #Review – The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @RaRaResources @HarperImpulse

#BlogTour! #Review – #SunshineandSweetPeas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain) @simonschusteruk

& many, many more.

It is such an honour to be involved in the blog tours/blog blitzes for incredible books, so thank you to the publishers who invite me to take part!

If I did have to choose just one book from May, it would have to be ‘The Gravity of Love’ by Noelle Harrison. That book blew my mind like nothing before, plus I managed to make the author AND the publishing team cry with my review. I loved everything about the book and everything it stood for, and I am sure that you will too. In case you missed my review the first time round, you can read it again here:

#BlogTour! #Review – The Gravity of Love by Noelle Harrison (@NoelleHarrison) @bwpublishing

The Writing Garnet is going from strength to strength and I can only thank you all for supporting me along my journey, sharing my blog posts/tweets, inviting me on tours, and involving me in a community that sometimes I don’t feel worthy enough to be in. It is such a joy to be able to share my love of books with you all, so thank you <3.

What’s coming up in June?

As it stands, I have 40 blog tours in my diary for this month already. I expect that to go up when I realise that I have included all of the tours by forgetting to write some of them down (it happens, but I do post them on time!). We are on the 5th June and I will have taken part in 11 blog tours by the end of today. Insane, but amazing. I don’t have many other bookish plans for June at the moment, well, apart from the usual, but I am looking forward to reading some fabulous books!

Lots of love and books,

TWG x

#BlogTour! #Review – Dreaming of St Tropez by TA Williams (@TAWilliamsBooks) @Canelo_

Dreaming of St-Tropez
The perfect summer escape on the French Riviera. Sun, sea and secrets…

After a disagreement with a billionaire, architect Jess Milton is ‘let go’ from her job. However fortune intervenes – an elderly client asks Jess to dog-sit overweight, but loveable dog Brutus in St. Tropez.

Fed up with the mega-rich, Jess is reluctant to visit the playground of billionaires, but an all-expenses-paid trip and the promise of sunshine seals the deal. Little does Jess know how much time she’ll be spending with the family living in St. Tropez.

The sullen, but very good-looking David and his millionaire father are both welcoming but guarded, haunted by their pasts…

Can Jess bring some sunshine back into their lives – and, just maybe, find love in the
process?

What does TWG think?

You know, I don’t think I have ever read a TA Williams’ novel that I ended up disliking. Reading this authors work is like a breath of fresh air every time a page is turned. He never disappoints, with his latest novel, ‘Dreaming of St Tropez‘ being no exception.

Whilst this particular storyline doesn’t set off fireworks with its pace, the story is full of such likeable and memorable characters. The dog included. I’ve always thought of St Tropez to be a rich persons holiday destination, with visitors being more likely to sip a martini rather than necking a bottle of blue WKD and showing of their blue tongues. However, TA Williams’ changed my opinion rather drastically by describing the destination itself in such a vivid manner – I now want to go and visit! To be honest, I said that about the authors previous book when he took us on a journey to Florence!

As always, TA Williams incorporates romance into his storylines at any given opportunity. Not that I’m complaining, obviously, as the author does it well. I did however, think that Jess’ romantic endeavours were a little too predictable, making my eyebrows raise instead of my heart fluttering. I have to admit here that I am not at all a romantic person, so I blame myself here haha.

With all that in mind, I really did enjoy reading ‘Dreaming of St Tropez‘ as I was able to lose myself in someone else’s daydream, believing for a few moments that life can truly be all about dogs…and yachts.

A relaxing, care free, and fun-filled novel which takes you on a journey you won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

Buy now.

About the author.

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish
mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.