#BlogTour! #Review – Her Last Promise by Kathryn Hughes (@KHughesAuthor) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

Apologies for the delay in posting my review today, I have been at Edinburgh Book Festival! Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Kathryn Hughes’ latest novel, ‘Her Last Promise’. Also, many thanks to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.

Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet’s destiny, in the most unexpected of ways…

What does TWG think?

Ever since I lost myself in Kathryn Hughes’, ‘The Letter’, I just knew that this was an author to watch and, after reading ‘Her Last Promise’, my opinion of the authors talent was cemented on a whole new level.

As far as I am concerned, Kathryn Hughes is the queen of historical fiction who also knows how to incorporate the dramatic realism, with the hint of broken family ties that readers have come to know and love.

‘Her Last Promise’ focuses on the devastating effect that harboured regret and guilt can have on one person and families alike.

The gentleness of Tara’s personality alongside Violet’s lack of confidence, could easily have been a recipe for disaster, yet their characters spoke volumes and made the story, and their own personal journeys, come to life beautifully.

I loved how Kathryn Hughes emphasised the importance of living life to the full as best as you are able, as well as highlighting the fact that a lot of people get scared when they are faced with life changing decisions, just like both Tara and Violet.

‘Her Last Promise’ is such a beautifully written and thought provoking novel which made the hair on my arms stand to attention due to the power of the written word.

Buy now.

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#BlogTour! #Review – #IfYouWereHere by Alice Peterson (@AlicePeterson1) @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC

Huge thanks to the wonderful Simon and Schuster team for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Alice Peterson and ‘If You Were Here. Also, many thanks for the ARC. Here is my review:

When her daughter Beth dies suddenly, Peggy Andrews is left to pick up the pieces and take care of her granddaughter Flo. But sorting through Beth’s things reveals a secret never told: Beth was sick, with the same genetic condition that claimed her father’s life, and now Peggy must decide whether to keep the secret or risk destroying her granddaughter’s world.

Five years later, Flo is engaged and moving to New York with her fiancé. Peggy never told her what she discovered, but with Flo looking towards her future, Peggy realises it’s time to come clean and reveal that her granddaughter’s life might also be at risk.

As Flo struggles to decide her own path, she is faced with the same life-altering questions her mother asked herself years before: if a test could decide your future, would you take it?

What does TWG think?

If you could look into the future to find out how your life would pan out, would you do it? Honestly, I don’t think I could even answer that. Life is full of surprises, however if you knew what lie ahead of you, would you feel more confident about dealing with the negative things if you had warning?

Flo is faced with that very decision. Should she take a medical test to find out whether she is likely to succumb to the very illness that took her parents away from her? Before reading Alice Peterson’s latest novel, I had heard of Huntington’s disease but I didn’t quite know how devastating it could be. Just like many illnesses, it isn’t a one size fits all as many sufferers react differently to the symptoms and challenges they face.

Told as a dual narrative, ‘If You Were Here’ tells the story of Peggy and her granddaughter, Flo. Peggy finds out something which could like a fuse under her granddaughters life and, instead of biting the bullet and being honest with her, Peggy keeps that information to herself because she doesn’t want to hurt someone she loves dearly.

I could see where Peggy was coming from to an extent, however I could also see where Flo was coming from because it wasn’t up to Peggy to withhold that vital information about Flo’s health, from Flo herself.

The family dynamics and secretive notions, are very emotional and intense. It was incredibly difficult to form a solid opinion on the characters actions, having not endured what they have, yet finding a way to be empathetic is such an important mindset to have whilst reading this.

Alice Peterson writes stories about characters who are dealing with things that no-one hardly ever talks about. If the subject is likely to be seen as taboo, Alice Peterson is straight in there, bringing her characters personalities to life with such dignity, courage, poise and realism.

Getting to know Peggy and Flo was an absolute joy, however I was undeniably bereft when their story ended. I have a feeling that their emotional journey will stay with me for a long while to come, and I cannot wait to read another beautiful, uplifting novel from an author who knows, and understands, the power of empathy and emotion when it comes to hurdles involving illnesses.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Where I Found You by Emma Robinson (@EmmaRobinsonUK) @Bookouture

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Another Bookouture blog tour for you this afternoon, but this time it is for Emma Robinson’s, ‘Where I Found You’. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Your daughter does not speak… But can she teach you how to live?

Ever since Ruby was tiny, she has been unique. Her smiles are magically rare, her building blocks are always colour-coded, and she communicates only in gestures. Sometimes, being Ruby’s mother is hard, but the way she sees the world makes it new for Sara every day.

When Sara’s husband walks out on them, Sara’s world falls apart, and her mother-in-law, Barbara, is the only person she can turn to for help. But Barbara thinks Ruby’s problems are all in Sara’s head; that she just doesn’t know how to raise a child right.

Sara can’t see how she’ll cope alone. Barbara won’t listen. Can a girl who doesn’t speak show them the way?

What does TWG think?

I really don’t know how to begin this review. I’m pretty torn with my thoughts on this book, to be perfectly honest.

Anyone who has children will find the first few chapters this book incredibly difficult to read. I was so overcome with emotion, my body had no idea how to expel it. My heart went out to little Ruby and the fact that she didn’t know how to make herself heard. Not only that, my heart went out to her mum, Sara, too. I wanted to shake her husband because he was being an absolute -insert bad word here-. Just because he couldn’t see further than his nose, it didn’t mean that Sara was wrong and should be ignored. A little support would have gone a long, long way and perhaps the whole situation wouldn’t have been as much of an emotional turmoil for Sara if she had had his support in the first place. And then there’s Barbara. I took an instant dislike to her because she was an interfering bat. Sara is Ruby’s mother, not her! Her constant interfering alongside her sons incapability to think of anyone other than himself, made me so angry. I just wanted to make everything okay for Ruby, you know?

As the storyline progressed, things regarding Barbara start making sense, however whilst I was able to show her more empathy, she seemed to want Sara on side one minute and then go behind her back the next. Which one was it to be? By the end of the book, I didn’t dislike Barbara, thankfully, I just didn’t trust her as far as I could throw her.

I thought the addition of the art and being able to let Ruby flourish with anyone expecting too much of her, was so touching and filled me with happiness from top to toe. However, this is where I began to feel torn with my opinion. The first three quarters of the story was intense, emotional, and unique to Ruby’s personality, so when the story started to fast forward without much of an explanation, I couldn’t help but be a bit confused. I was unsure as to why the latter half of the book ended up feeling rushed with several things being unanswered. It just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the book and gave off a different vibe.

That said, I could feel the emotion and the thought behind everything Sara did for Ruby. For me, that little girl was the star of the show and was such an incredible character to read about and get to know. I was also pleased that Sara was listened to, it was just a shame that it took so long. And yeah, I am aware that that is what happens in reality, and it shouldn’t at all.

To all the parents who have a child like Ruby, you are superheroes for having their backs.
To all the children like Ruby, you are legends of your own castle.
To Emma Robinson, thank you for such an honest and emotive read.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Beekeepers Cottage by Emma Davies (@EmDaviesAuthor) @Bookouture

Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, I am delighted to be one of the bloggers closing the tour for Emma Davies and ‘The Beekeepers Cottage’. Here is my review:

Comforted by the gentle hum of the beehives at the bottom of the garden, Grace drains the last of her tea and walks slowly back towards the little hillside house she adores. Her marriage is over, but is it too late to start her life again?

Beekeeper Grace thought throwing out her cheating husband would be the hardest thing she ever did. But when she opens the door to a property developer one morning, it’s clear that keeping her beautiful home and garden – her only sanctuary throughout her miserable marriage – will be the greatest challenge of all…

Fleeing to her best friend at the farm next door, Grace blurts out all her problems, only to be overheard by Amos, a handsome, free-spirited visitor with a twinkle in his eye. Fascinated by Grace and her bees, Amos offers to stay in the village of Hope Corner, to help turn her home into a guest house in return for lessons on beekeeping.

As Grace shows Amos how to nurture a hive and harvest honeycomb without getting stung, he is charming but secretive. He never stays long in the same place after an incident in his past involving a mysterious woman named Maria. But as their eyes lock over a jar of homemade honey, Grace can’t help feeling that she’d really like him to stay…

Determined to dispel her growing suspicion that Amos is running from something serious, Grace goes in search of the truth about Maria. But when she finds it, will she still want Amos to put down roots in Hope Corner, and will they still have a house to return to?

What does TWG think?

Ooooo it’s not everyday you read a book with a beekeeper in it! I must admit that I did enjoy finding out about Grace’s life and how she tends to the bees. They are such understated yet incredibly important species, so it was nice to see the bees get their time in the spotlight as it were.

Now, onto Amos; that man could have invented the word ‘intriguing’, it oozed out of him big time! I’m I’m complaining by the way, I enjoyed getting to know him and working out what made him tick, especially where Grace was concerned. The fact that the characters had similarities with their lost soul type personalities, was very endearing. That said, it was very clear that both characters had suffered pain in one form or another. Like I’ve admitted once or twice before, I’m not a sucker for romance, yet I really wanted Grace and Amos to have their moment, whether it was with each other or separately.

Emma Davies has an incredible talent at making her stories come alive as though you’ve known the characters your entire life. The way she told Amos’ story had such an enchanting and flawless feel to it, the entire book was such a pleasure and a joy to read. Emma Davies just keeps on getting better and better.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #LastOrdersAtTheStarandSixpence by Holly Hepburn (@HollyH_Author) @TeamBATC

Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence Blog Tour
Wheres better to shelter from the rain than the Star and Sixpence! Huge thanks to Harriet and the TeamBATC team for inviting me for a drink with Sam and Nessie, and for giving me something to remember them by in ARC form. It gives me great pleasure to have a natter about them on my blog today.

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Ice-cold drinks, summer sun and colourful characters – welcome to the perfect village pub!

Nestled in the quiet countryside sits the cosy village of Little Monkham, home of The Star and Sixpence, a renovated pub owned by sisters Sam and Nessie. As the locals welcome the new season, it appears that change is afoot in their tiny community, and not all of it for the better . . .

Nessie is moving in with her boyfriend, leaving Sam alone in the pub. But with the arrival of new chef Gabriel causing a flutter among the women of the village, it seems that Sam might not be so lonely after all. Having just recently come out of a relationship, Sam’s attraction to Gabe is inconvenient, but that’s the least of her worries when an unexpected visitor arrives at the pub, determined to stir up trouble.

As Gabe and Sam grow closer, Little Monkham’s latest arrival threatens to reveal a secret that will turn more than one world upside down. Can Sam and Nessie work through the fall out, or is it really last orders at The Star and Sixpence?

What does TWG think?

Without sounding at all corny, ‘Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence’ truly was a ‘pint’ sized perfection of a read. It’s not often I find myself frequent pubs…if at all to be honest, however I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world!

If you’re after a novel which delivers both romance and drama in one mouthful (sorry, I’ll stop with the puns soon….or will I?), Nessie and Sam can serve that up for you, no problem at all. Of course, being set in the local pub, you would have thought that the storyline would focus solely, if not mostly, on the ins and outs of the villagers who step foot over the threshold, right? Whilst it does to a point, there is a lot more to the villagers of Little Monkham than their favourite pint, and by golly the drama kept me going to the bar for more! (See, told you I wouldn’t stop!).

Nessie and Sam find themselves coming face to face with a visitor who could change their lives forever. Me being forever the cynic, had no faith in this person whatsoever and I smelt trouble a mile off. Obviously I couldn’t exactly shout through the pages to the characters to warn them, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to. And no, I’m not meaning Gabe here. He seemed to be changing lives without even being aware of it…if you catch my drift!

Ruby……my goodness, what a woman. I ADORED her character and I was so glad that Sam and Nessie had someone in the corner, determined to fight for them where necessary. I really don’t think that either of them would have been able to go through half of what they went through if it wasn’t for Ruby. I know that they had each other, but as the storyline will tell you further in, it wasn’t always easy for the sisters to approach each other about changes in their lives due to the turmoil it would have caused the other. I did feel for the sisters, I’m not going to lie. They were such fiery yet warm hearted characters, I couldn’t help but hope for a happily ever after for both of them.

‘Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence’ had such a cosy feel to the entire storyline – I really didn’t want the book to finish! I wanted to stay in the bubble that Holly Hepburn had created because, as weird as this sounds, I felt safe. I loved being able to escape to Little Monkham, and I will definitely remember Franny’s character. I mean, who wouldn’t?

Holly Hepburn never fails to deliver storylines which open your heart and soul to characters you could only wish to have in your own life. When certain events happened in the book, I couldn’t help but have a lump form in my throat, yet the author still managed to incorporate such heartache into the storyline in such a spellbinding and beautiful manner. To say I was captivated by Little Monkham would be an understatement. To say that ‘Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence’ stole my heart, would be absolutely bang on. I honestly urge you all to put this book in your shopping basket the next time you’re out. Like I say, it truly is a pint sized perfect novel.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Extract from Honeymoon For One by Frankie Collins (@frankiecollins_) @BoldwoodBooks #Boldwoodblogtour

Frankie Collins Blog Tour (2)
Many thanks to Boldwood Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Honeymoon For One’ by Frankie Collins, it’s a pleasure to be involved! For my stop on the tour, I am delighted to be sharing an extract from the book itself. Before I do that, here is a little bit more about the book, as well as the all important ‘buy’ link. Enjoy!

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When disaster strikes, paradise calls…

As a published novelist, Lila Rose has been writing about fictional weddings all her life. But disaster strikes on her own big day when she hears her philandering fiancé, Daniel whispering sweet nothings to someone else.

With her dream day shattered, all Lila wants to do is run and hide, so she decides to fly solo on her own honeymoon.

When Daniel arrives in the resort with his new squeeze, Lila strikes up a ‘showmance’ with hot new movie star, Freddie Bianchi. Freddie is perfect for the part and Lila soon relaxes into her leading lady role.

But as truth starts to merge with fiction, could real love be in the air?

Buy now from Amazon UK

Extract.

Your wedding day is the start of a life-long journey, and, like any other journey, it
requires a lot of planning.
First, and most importantly, you need to know where you’re going and how you’re
going to get there. Are you on a one-track path to growing old together or are you
planning on making stops at pets, babies or house moves?
On a real trip you’re going to want insurance, but on the life-long journey of
marriage, assurance is what you need. Are you doing this with the right person? Will
they stand by you for better, for worse? For richer, for poorer? In sickness and in
health?

When your plans are all in place and it’s time to set off on this wonderful, wild
adventure, the only thing left to do is pack – but pack light.
Unfortunately, on this non-stop flight to a happy ever after, ex-boyfriends will not
fit in the overhead storage, no matter how much you dissected the relationship. All
baggage must be destroyed before boarding – you absolutely cannot bring your baggage
into a marriage.

Before you tie the knot, customs will confiscate any and all contraband still on
your person, not limited to, but including flirtatious WhatsApp threads and other
miscellaneous weaponry.

I’m travelling light today. All I have with me is my something old (a necklace my
grandma left me in her will), my something new (the sapphire studs in my ears), and my
something borrowed (a handkerchief from my mum, which I’m going to keep in the
pocket of my wedding dress, because you’d better believe I had my wedding dress made
with sneaky pockets). My something blue is (apparently) my best friend, Ali, who is
currently lying on the chaise longue at the bottom of my bed in my hotel room.
‘Oh, Lila,’ she says dramatically. ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’

I smile at myself in the mirror. Most best friends are supportive, attentive maids of
honour. Ali is showing me her love and support by constantly questioning whether or
not this is the right thing to do. I wouldn’t have her any other way though.
‘I’m pretty sure,’ I tell her. ‘I made sure I was sure before I spent thousands of
pounds on a wedding and a honeymoon.’
‘Well, yeah, I figured,’ she replies. ‘But… I don’t know, I don’t think I thought you’d
go through with it.’
I laugh.
‘And yet here we are,’ I say, smiling at her.
‘Daniel is… you know, he’s fine,’ she says.
‘Fine,’ I repeat back to her. Just what a bride wants to hear on her wedding day.
‘Yeah, he’s fine… he’s maybe just fine though?’
My best friend hasn’t waited until my wedding day to say this, she’s been telling
me for years that Daniel was just too boring to settle down with. I think this is a ‘speak
now or forever hold your peace’ type conversation, not that the latter sounds remotely
like something Ali would do.
‘I know you think he’s boring,’ I tell her. ‘But, maybe “boring guys” are the ones
you settle down with? Take that playboy banker you met last weekend – you wouldn’t
marry him, would you?’
‘Well, someone clearly did,’ she points out. ‘There was a wedding ring in his hotel
bathroom.’
‘Was?’ I dare to ask.
‘Yeah, I flushed it down the lav,’ she says casually. ‘I really don’t appreciate being
lied to.’
Ali is a real force to be reckoned with.
‘I know you’re only being semi-serious with the whole talking me out of getting
married thing,’ I start. ‘But honestly, I’ve thought this through. I love him, we’re happy
together – OK, things might not be wild, but I know in my heart that it’s time to put sexy
playboy bankers behind me.’
‘Well, that’s what I do with them,’ Ali says with a wiggle of her eyebrows.
I know that Ali just wants me to be happy, but I did consider all of this before
agreeing to marry my fiancé, Daniel Tyler, and when I say I considered it before
agreeing, I mean I literally asked him for a moment, before I gave him my answer. The reason for this is because marriage is something I take seriously. My parents, both sixty-
five years of age, have been married since they were nineteen. I might be thirty-one, but I want to marry once, and for life. I had a blast in my twenties, Daniel and I moved in
together when I was twenty-nine and now, comfortably accepting of the fact I am in my
thirties, I finally feel ready to tie the knot.

When some women say they have been planning their wedding for years, what
they really mean is they’ve been dressing up in net curtains as kids and trolling
Pinterest for flower arrangements as adults. Well, I really have been planning weddings
for years… sort of. Not my own wedding and I’m certainly not a wedding planner.
I’m a rom-com author and although the weddings I work with may be fictional, I
haven’t just planned a lot of them – I’ve ruined a lot of them too. I’ve written ten books
now, so it’s pretty safe to say I’ve considered every possible triumph, every little hiccup
and every epic fail my romantic yet devious mind can conjure up.
So, yes, while I have researched flowers, cakes and dresses, and tweaked them
accordingly (pockets! Honestly, this is going to be a game changer), I don’t just know
what this wedding needs, I know what it doesn’t need too. Obsessing over what flavour
frosting to have is rather silly – that’s just the icing on the cake. What you should be
worrying about are the things that are out of your control.
I have essentially reverse-engineered every single wedding I’ve ever written, to
make sure that my real wedding is perfect. It’s kind of a genius move.

About the author.

Frankie Collins is the pseudonym of Portia MacIntosh, bestselling romantic comedy author of 12 novels, including It’s Not You, It’s Them and The Accidental Honeymoon. Previously a music journalist, Frankie writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real life experiences.

Follow Frankie on Twitter

#BlogTour! #Review – #VillaOfSunAndSecrets by Jennifer Bohnet (@jenniewriter) #BoldwoodBlogTour @BoldwoodBooks

Happy publication day, Jennifer Bohnet! It is such an honour to be kicking off the blog tour for her new release, ‘Villa of Sun and Secrets’. Huge thanks to Boldwood Books for the tour invite and ARC.

It’s never too late to live the dream…

Carla Sullivan’s 50th birthday is fast approaching when her whole world is turned upside down. Discovering her feckless husband is having yet another affair and following her mother’s death, she is in need of an escape. Finding an envelope addressed to her mother’s estranged sister Josette in the South of France gives Carla the perfect plan.

Seizing the moment, she packs her bags and heads to Antibes to seek out the enigma known as Tante Josette. But as the two women begin to forge a tentative relationship, family secrets start to unravel, forcing Carla to question her life as she has always known it.

What does TWG think?

Geez, was a bit like opening Pandora’s box with this one! With the cover being so colourful and summery, I was expecting a light and fluffy novel. What I got, however, was something incredibly different. ‘Villa of Sun and Secrets’ is such a rollercoaster ride of a story. One minute Carla was living in her marital home, and then the next she was filing for a divorce from a husband who couldn’t keep it in his pants. What a lovely bloke.

Anyway, Carla soon realised that she deserved better, and with a big birthday looming, she couldn’t think of a better time to create a life that shr was finally worthy of. I don’t think she expected the hurdles she came up against along the way….

Multiple times I had my hand clasped over my mouth in shock at what I had just read. Naturally I’m not going to say why, I’m not that mean to drop spoilers, but goodness me the Jeremy Kyle are gutted that they missed out on this one!!

As weird as this sounds, I was gripped by the rocky family dynamics and I was eager to find out where everyone stood. I still couldn’t believe my eyes though, and yet it wasn’t me receiving the news that Carla and Josette did!

I couldn’t help but love this emotive, cosy novel that had so many wonderful characters in it to get to know. I have never been to France, however after the beautiful descriptions of the setting, I would happily go and visit there in a heartbeat.

Jennifer Bohnet has such an idyllic, sensual way with words which makes her stories and characters come alive flawlessly. ‘Villa of Sun and Secrets’ was such an insightful and delightful read – a real escapism novel.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheMoments by Natalie Winter @OrionBooks

Hugest of thanks to Alainna and Orion for the blog tour invite and ARC of ‘The Moments’ by Natalie Winter. Here is my review:

Life is made up of countless moments. Moments that make us who we are. But what if they don’t unfold the way they’re supposed to…?

What if you get on the wrong bus, or don’t speak to the right person at a party, or stay in a job that isn’t for you? Will you miss your one chance at happiness? Or will happiness find you eventually, when the moment is right?

Meet Matthew and Myrtle. They have never really felt like they fitted – in life or with anyone else. But they are meant to be together – if only they can find each other.

A powerful and emotional story about missed chances, interwoven lives and the moments that define us.

What does TWG think?

I have been racking my brain all day, trying to put my thoughts of this book into some sort of order. I don’t think I have managed it, but I’m giving it my best shot!

Have you ever wondered how your life would pan out, what animals you would get, who you would fall in love with? Of course you have, we are only human and the beauty of this book is that it puts characters loves and losses into the spotlight in a way which really makes the reader stop and think.

‘The Moments’ switches between various characters of various ages, however it starts off with two new lives being brought into the world. Two happy families, two new babies, two worlds being their oysters. Matthew and Myrtle are the ‘main’ characters of the story and we get to watch them grow up and find their feet. Obviously life is uncertain, and the two characters aren’t always surrounded by positive energy and happiness. In fact, a lot of what Matthew and Myrtle endure, and their loved ones endure, is relatable and incredibly emotion.

As a child you’re constantly wanting to grow up, whilst disbelieving the adult who tells you, ‘don’t waste your life away, life is too short’. But it really is short, even more so when someones life is crammed into 400 or so pages.

If you’re an animal lover, you will fall in love with the dogs that feature in this book. Yes, even the animals reach their end in the book and as bad as this sounds, I was more emotional about the demise of say, Worzel, than the demise of several of the characters. Please say I’m not the only one who gets like this?!

‘The Moments’ is such a unique story. I have never read a book told in a similar manner and yeah, it was a teeny bit confusing at first, but once I realised what the author was trying to achieve with the fast forwarding of life so to speak, I was more able to go with the flow.

Something which really hit home for me was how the author made every little moment, seem the most important thing ever. And they should be, because every moment in our lives got us to where we are now. Why should we settle for second best? Why should we just do things because other people are, even if we know deep down that it isn’t our destiny?

Like I say, I’ve never read a book like this before, and I don’t think I ever will. ‘The Moments’ and Natalie Winter, truly are one of a kind – i was mesmerised by the poignancy of the storyline and the way in which it made me think from deep within.

The premise of the book is deeply moving, raw, and sometimes unsettling due to the harsh reality of the situations, however Natalie Winter has created something incredibly special.

#TheMoments blew me away and even made the deepest part of my soul emotional! Such an incredibly beautiful, raw, insightful, and highly emotive read which will stay with me for a very long time. Please, please do put this on your wishlist as you will not regret it.

Pre-order now from Amazon (published 8th August)

#BlogTour! #Review – The Forever Gift by Brooke Harris (@Janelle_Brooke) @Bookouture

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My heart…my poor little heart! Many thanks to Kim Nash for the blog tour invite and the ARC, here is my review of ‘The Forever Gift’ by Brooke Harris.

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I remember you learning to ride a bike, the first time you shot a goal with a basketball… and the first time I realised something was wrong. I look at you, my daughter, my beautiful sparky daughter. I would do anything to keep you safe.

Heather’s beloved daughter, Kayla, is her world. She is fifteen, a brilliant basketball player and a fierce friend.

Heather and Kayla have always had a special relationship. For so many years it was just the two of them, watching Friends, baking cupcakes and laughing together. But now Kayla knows her time is short, and she wants to give something back to the mother she loves more than anyone else in the world. A gift that will change Heather’s life.

With just a handful of days left, Kayla will need help from everyone around her to make this last surprise happen. Along the way, the people whose lives have been touched by Kayla’s light will be changed by her loss, and by her plan for Heather. And as Heather’s whole world threatens to fall apart, could Kayla’s forever gift be the key to piecing her life back together?

What does TWG think?

Omg, Brooke Harris, what the HELL have you done to me?! I wasn’t expecting this at all, even more so because I don’t read blurbs, so you know, I went in completely blind. I wasn’t expecting to bawl my eyes out for 10 solid minutes…..twice. Nor was I expecting to feel as though I had gone through a loss as well, as though Kayla was my own flesh and blood. To say that my heart was broken would be an understatement. I felt like someone had ripped it out and stomped on it. Dramatic maybe, but as I’ve already said, I felt as though I was grieving and I was absolutely broken.

With that in mind, please don’t think that I am trying to put you off the book, because it couldn’t be further from the truth. I want you all to read ‘The Forever Gift’ and cry like I did. If you don’t cry, or at least feel emotional towards the storyline, I really want to know why. I’m not a crier (no really, I’m not), so it takes a lot for me to actually break down to the point I cannot breathe…..just like I did with this book.

Wow….wow. Yes, my eyes were stinging and I was exhausted after finishing it, but I can honestly say that ‘The Forever Gift’ is one of, if not THE most moving, emotional, tender novel I think I have ever, ever read. It’s very clear that Brooke Harris put her all into the storyline and the characters, believing in their emotions and their individual journeys. I have no idea how she managed to connect the blended family alongside cancer, with family relationships of different levels, as well as including a four year girl into the situation. Kayla may have been the one in the spotlight so to speak, yet all of her loved ones were showing their pain a lot more than she. Now, that’s not because she wasn’t in pain, because it was abundantly clear that she was, it was just that Kayla’s parents were watching their little girl fight a battle no-one should ever have to battle. Not only that, her little sister couldn’t understand why her big sister was in the hospital. And still, despite ALLLLLL of that, Kayla still left her mark in such a beautiful and selfless manner. Yes, I cried at that as well.

You’re probably thinking how on earth did I manage to love a book which reduced me to sobbing, and I don’t blame you at all because I often wonder that myself in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s not the devastation which allowed me to love the storyline, it was the way in which Brooke Harris delivered the mind-blowing storyline, the powerful characters, and deeply moving premise – without all of that, I don’t think I would have felt the way I did. I mean, anyone could say that they want to write a book about cancer, but there’s one thing writing that book, and then there’s another thing writing the book and being able to connect with the characters and the readers own multiple levels, whilst also bringing the characters stories to life as though the readers are involved in reality. Brooke Harris did just that and I am in awe at this authors incredible, incredible talent.

I grieved for Kayla. I grieved for Heather. I grieved for Molly….oh Molly! I didn’t realise just how invested in the storyline I was, until I saw an advert on Facebook for ‘Friends’ Lego Mini-figures and thought to myself, ‘Kayla would LOVE those!’.

‘The Forever Gift’ may be an earth shattering and heartbreaking read, but it is also a read which gives you hope and the kick up the backside to be thankful for all of the little things in life, you know, like breathing. Sometimes in life we are too focused on how things SHOULD be, instead missing out on things just simply being. Instead of thinking about your lunch while you’re eating your breakfast, enjoy your breakfast for what it is. Probably daft thing to use as an example given the nature of the book, although I hope you get what I mean!

Stock up on the Kleenex (man size, trust me), unplug the phone and allow yourself to become invested in the most harrowing, yet beautiful story, of life vs loss, happiness vs sadness, and the all important gift of being. I can honestly see this as a movie, and I would even go as far to say that Brooke Harris is the female version of Nicholas Sparks.

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#BlogTour! #Review – Sunshine Over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennett (@sarahlou_writes) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

Massive congratulations to Sarah Bennett on the publication of her latest release, ‘Sunshine Over Bluebell Castle’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

The summer she will never forget…

Time’s running out for Iggy Ludworth to restore the wild gardens of Camland Castle in time for the Summer Fete, so she ropes in hotshot gardener Will Talbot…

But she regrets her decision as soon as he sets foot in the historic grounds – not only is Will arrogant and bossy, he’s totally gorgeous!

And very soon, sparks are flying amongst the bluebells. Yet with summer nearly over, will their summer fling convince Will and Iggy to go the distance?

What does TWG think?

It feels like yonks since we last caught up with the lord of the castle and his family! ‘Sunshine Over Bluebell Castle’ is book two in the ‘Bluebell Castle’ series, and personally I would advise that you read the books in order so that you’re able to get a real feel for Arthur, Tristian and Iggy’s life. If you’re feeling a bit rebellious, I guess reading the books out of order would be ‘ok’ for some readers, however I do think that you will be missing out on too much character history if you do. Each to their own of course!

Forgive me for saying this, but I wasn’t really taken with the book at first as Iggy really grated on me! She came across as such a marmite character who had such potential, but she wasn’t offering that positive side to her personality very often. Iggy seemed to think that everyone was out to get her, didn’t think that she was capable to do things because shes a woman….I don’t recall anyone saying that to her! However, when a certain relative of Iggy’s came on the scene, it became shockingly clear as to why she is the way that she is.

Believe it or not, I did warm up to Iggy the more I got to know her, especially when Will came to town. He brought out the positive side of her personality and i thought it was such a shame that Iggy has very little faith in herself. She is a good egg, really.

Romance is in the air and in every nook and cranny of the castle, what on Earth was the housekeeper putting in their food!! I felt quite emotional watching the main characters flourish after their recent heartache as discussed in book one. It can’t have been at all easy for the siblings yet they’re doing themselves proud…..most of the time.

What I love most about Sarah Bennett’s storytelling, is the way she captures the essence of her characters. She creates them like they’re real human beings instead of fictional characters, which allows the readers to relate to their emotions and their lives as though they’re right in front of them. I loved the cosy, feel good factor of this book, and I loved how each of the siblings started off as caterpillars, yet by the end of the book they had turned into beautiful, empathetic butterflies who weren’t afraid to spread their wings. Sarah Bennett has written a story which is guaranteed to make you feel untouchable, ready to conquer the world. I really, really enjoyed it.

Buy now.