#BlogTour! #Review – Coming Home to Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters (@Vicky_Walters) @HeraBooks @rararesources #PublicationDay

Coming Home to Glendale Hall Full Tour Banner
Many congratulations to Victoria Walters on the publication of ‘Coming Home to Glendale Hall’! For those people who aren’t sure about reading Christmas books before December, I can assure you that this book is worth that commitment! Thank you to Hera for the ARC and to Rachel for the blog tour invite, here is my review:

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No matter how far you go, home is where the heart is…

Beth Williams hasn’t been home for ten years. After falling pregnant at sixteen, she ran away from the imposing Scottish estate where she grew up rather than risk her family’s disapproval, working hard to build a life for herself and daughter Isabelle – but now she’s finally returning to Glendale Hall.

As Beth tries to mend her broken family ties, and fights to bring the community of Glendale back together, she realises that the story she has told herself for a decade might well be a very different one from the truth. Even though she ran from Glendale it has never left her heart. And, she soon realises, neither has Drew – Beth’s first love.

Will Beth be able to forgive her mother and grandmother (and herself) for what happened ten years ago? What will Drew say when he discovers the secret she’s been keeping from him for so long? Can a festive trail bring the village back together?

Will Christmas work its magic on Glendale – or will Beth be forced to run away from it all over again?

What does TWG think?

Do not be fooled by the incredibly beautiful, festive, cosy looking cover on this book! I’m not saying that the book isn’t any of that, it is, it’s just I underestimated just how much the story would pack a punch due to the cover. I was expecting a calm, rockin’ round the Christmas tree type of book, and instead I got a story which resonated with me on multiple levels and had my eyes feeling like snowflakes had melted on them. In other words, I ended up quite emotional towards the end.

Can you honestly tell me that you don’t feel the same when you look at the cover?! Massive kudos to the cover designer at Hera for their wonderful job though, it is such a stunner. Like I say, don’t be fooled though, there is so much more to ‘Coming Home to Glendale Hall’ than snow and snowmen. Trust me!

The author set the scene by describing Beth’s predicament, as she made her way back to her childhood home after ten long years away. What made Beth stay away for ten years? Why was she so nervous to cross the threshold again? The author divulged the answers to those questions quite slowly throughout the book, and at the same time we are made aware that the cracks in various relationships run a lot deeper than originally thought. Again, readers don’t know the reason for that until a little later on in the story. Of course, I won’t lie, I found it frustrating to be drip fed the information, however that was my own impatience letting me down. There was a very good reason as to why the author planned the story that way, and it did work. It made the truth have more of an intense impact that I don’t think would have been there had things been revealed earlier on.

I said above that I resonated with the story, and that is definitely true. Beth is a single mum, like me, and usually when single parents are mentioned in books, I get rather nervous due to the way that they are represented. Seriously, are we still in medieval times?! Thankfully (and I could hug the author for this), she wrote about single mothers like they should be written; like humans. We aren’t horrible people. We don’t deserve to be ridiculed for bringing up our children single handedly, whether its our choice to or not. I really appreciated how Beth was portrayed both as a mother and as a woman in her own right, and I’m sure that a lot of single parents will agree with me when I say THANK YOU for doing that.

‘Coming Home to Glendale Hall’ is a bit like Pandora’s box, except Christmassy….maybe it’s like a Christmas Eve Box. Anyway, several of the characters seemed to be holding the keys to their own boxes which held the answers to their secrets, and I’m sure that deep down, all of them knew that once those boxes were open, there would be no turning back.

There really wasn’t. I was shocked by the actions of several of the characters – I was angry for Beth and Isabelle! I know that my anger towards certain actions means absolutely diddly squat, but I just couldn’t help it. I really don’t know how the particular characters involved (yes, I’m not naming names) lived with themselves. I know that they had their own reasons, but just like the author makes abundantly clear via Beth, it wasn’t their choice to make. Not in the slightest.

‘Coming Home to Glendale Hall’ really gave me the chills (and no, I don’t mean because it was snowing in the book!), and it certainly gave me all the feels! Throughout the book I felt like I was at home, joining forces with a family who only wanted the best for each other, yet their communication left a lot to be desired. I loved being able to lose myself in the community spirit and being able to find my inner child again as Isabelle got excited for Christmas. You cannot beat the excitement of a child at Christmas, watching their eyes light up when seeing snow or the pretty lights. It may be something small, however things like that really do put things in perspective and I was so pleased to see that happen for Beth.

Victoria Walters, once again, writes a story with so much heart in it, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of the book had been inspired by her own life. I adored the beautiful story telling, the outstanding seasonal descriptions and attention to detail, but most of all I adored the poignant and emotional underlying message of the entire story. We only die once, yet we live every single day – don’t live with regrets. Oh, and you can never have too many Christmas lights! Just beautiful.

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About the author.

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. Her moving debut novel THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE was chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for an RNA award. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star. Her heart-warming new novel SUMMER AT THE KINDNESS CAFE is available to download now.

As well as being an author, Victoria also works as a Waterstones bookseller and buys far too many books there. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry (named after Harry Potter). Victoria is not only obsessed with books but loves buying slogan tops, mugs and notebooks, and posting them all on Instagram.

You can discover more about Victoria – and find pictures of Harry the cat – by following her on Instagram at @vickyjwalters, on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at:https://victoria-writes.com/.

#BlogTour! #Review – Familiar Strangers by Jackie Walsh (@JackieWalsh_ie) @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

BLOG TOUR (3)
Many thanks to BOTBSPublicity for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Hera for the ARC – I am delighted to be reviewing ‘Familiar Strangers’ on my blog today.

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‘I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.’

Since Becca Wall’s mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, every day Becca loses a little more of the loving, caring mother who would do anything for her only daughter. But when one day Nancy Wall confesses that Becca is not her child, Becca’s world falls apart.

Becca tells herself that the words are just a cruel symptom of Nancy’s illness; after all, she has her birth certificate, and pictures of herself as a newborn along with her Mom, Dad and older brother, Danny. Becca tries to forget, to get on with her life – until the day the police question her about the whereabouts of a missing woman, Katie Collins.

Katie has disappeared without a trace, telling her husband that she is leaving to find Rebecca Wall. But Becca doesn’t know Katie, so it’s a case of mistaken identity – isn’t it? But as Becca discovers why Katie was desperate to find her, the lies that Becca has always believed come crashing down.

Soon, it’s clear that someone knows the truth – and that they’ll stop at nothing to keep their secrets…

What does TWG think?

‘Familiar Strangers’ has such a lot of promise. As an intense read, Jackie Walsh has that bang on. I mean, with a line coming out of Becca’s mothers mouth being, ‘I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.’, it really could not be anything other than intense. I don’t know about you, but those eight words sent tingles up and down my spine.

As an emotive read, again, Jackie Walsh nails that element as well because the storyline also deals with the turmoil behind early onset Alzheimers and the effects it has both on the person, and the family. Those parts of the book aren’t easy to read, and I am sure that they aren’t very easy to live through either, however I am very glad that I was able to have my eyes opened to such a heartbreaking illness. I wish there was more help for the sufferers and their families. I cannot even begin to imagine how emotional seeing your loved one going through that must be.

However, like I said at the star, the book has a lot of promise. For me, I found the way everything was brought together wasn’t as tight as it could have been. There was a lot of scene setting and less actual action. I know that scenes need to be set in order for the storyline to work, I just felt that there was more descriptions about what Becca did daily, instead of the nitty gritty details such as Katie Collins. I also found the ending to be a little bit rushed which was a shame.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the complex family dynamics, the intense relationships, and the uncertainty between each of the characters. I thought that the psychological element of the book was utterly brilliant and left my mind in absolute turmoil. I think that Jackie Walsh has an incredible, incredible talent that I cannot wait to see grow as she releases more books.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – No Looking Back by Alex Kane (@AlexKaneWriter) @BOTBSPublicity @HeraBooks

Happy publication day, Alex Kane! I am honoured to be kicking off the blog tour for ‘No Looking Back’. Many thanks to BOTBS for the blog tour invite, and to Hera Books for the ARC. Here is my review:

He’ll find you… unless you find him first.

Kat Denton is a woman running away from her past. For the past sixteen years, her life has been a living hell as Jimmy, the man she fell in love with as a teenager, becomes ever more cruel and abusive. Following the fire that killed her parents, leaving her an orphan when she was just a teenager, Kat is utterly alone and can’t see a way out.

Until the day she finds out that she’s pregnant. Vowing to protect her child from Jimmy’s violence, Kat decides to fight for survival – for her and her unborn baby.

Fleeing the traveller camp that has been her lifelong home isn’t easy. But along with her sister in law, Kat escapes with just the clothes on her back and the one photograph she has of her parents.

Kat, along with her baby girl Lucia, starts to build a better life. But when she looks into what really happened in her parents’ death Kat uncovers dark secrets – including a revelation that will lead Kat back to the place she had been so desperate to run away from. Is she strong enough to uncover the truthand save everything that she loves most, or will Jimmy Denton have his revenge?

Previously published as Chasing the Traveller

What does TWG think?

This is dramatic, gritty, suspenseful and oh so addictive!

I wasn’t sure what to expect before I read ‘No Looking Back’, but I was excited to find out. Kat has exactly had an easy life due to the death of her parents when she was younger, and then finding herself being a human punch bag for her partner. But, as soon as Kat realises that shes pregnant, she finds herself making the biggest decision of her life.

The whole ‘will he find her’ had me fidgeting in anticipation. Whilst I would have loved Kat to have her happily ever after and walk into the sunset with her daughter and potential love interest, I couldn’t help but be worried for her. It’s clear that she knew what she was doing was dangerous, yet I applaud her for her strength in taking that all important first step to a new life.

‘No Looking Back’ isn’t just about Kat’s relationship and moving forward, it’s also about her uncovering things that she probably wished would have stayed covered. The element of suspense in this novel is through the roof and, even though the title of the book references no looking back, I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder whilst I read the book. I don’t know why, it wasn’t like anyone would be able to jump through my brick wall…but still. That’s what I get for being so invested in a book!

Alex Kane is such a well rounded, magnetic author who certainly knows how to write a storyline which grabs her readers by the youknowwhattys. I am SO looking forward to reading more from this author, especially if ‘No Looking Back’ is anything to go by!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – #MyLastLie by Ella Drummond (@DrummondElla1) @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

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Second blog tour of the day is for ‘My Last Lie’ by Ella Drummond. Many thanks to BOTBSPublicity for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to Hera Books for the ARC. Here is my review:

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New beginnings. Old secrets.
Theo and Pilar. The perfect couple.

Successful, beautiful and very much in love.
Until a year ago – and the tragedy that nearly tore them apart.
When their baby died, a part of them died with him.
Now they’re trying to rebuild themselves, moving to a stunning house in rural Cornwall.
But someone knows all their secrets – and will stop at nothing to disturb their fragile peace.

Theo and Pilar are about to learn that you can try to hide – but you can never outrun your past

What does TWG think?

At the very start of the book we are introduced to a very happy and loved up couple, Theo and Pilar. I couldn’t help but feel happy for the couple I had only just met – they were going to have a baby and their family was going to go from two, to three. So, when tragedy struck, I felt devastated for them both and the journey they were about to endure. How could they come back from the death of their child? How can ANYONE move on from that? Theo and Pilar tried their best to move forward by moving house and starting again, but, with the feeling of constantly looking over her shoulder weighing on Pilar’s mind, the storyline of ‘My Last Lie’ didn’t take long to turn sinister.

If you enjoy stories which contain a truck load of characters and a toppling mountain of red herrings, all wrapped up in highly suspenseful wrapping paper, then you will absolutely adore ‘My Last Lie’. There is a lot going on throughout the book, and there are a lot of characters coming and going who do their own fair share of making the tension between Theo and Pilar mount. It’s safe to say that poor Pilar hadn’t gotten over their tragedy, nor has she managed to put her faith back in her husband after what he did. However I could see that she was trying – I really did feel for her, I must admit.

Ella Drummond’s novel isn’t one which screams ‘ROLLERCOASTERRRRRR’ from the onset, it’s more of a story which drip feeds readers snippets of information, upping the level of suspense with each new chapter. Yes, it is a slow burner but given the nature of the storyline and the main characters lives, I don’t think it would have worked if it was anything but. I’m not saying that the story doesn’t pick up speed as it progresses, because it does, but it’s very subtle and cleverly done which, in all honesty, knocked me sideways as I wasn’t expecting it to happen.

I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of things mucking with my head and being unsure of whom to believe in the storyline, and I adored just how engaging Ella Drummond’s storytelling was – this author certainly knows how to set the scene and get her readers on side. Well, we’re led to believe that!

A gritty, psychologically twisted novel which left me trusting nobody, not even myself. I cannot WAIT to read more from this author if this ‘debut’ is anything to go by. Such a cracking read.

Buy now!

About the author.

Ella Drummond recently signed a two-book deal with Hera Books. Her first psychological thriller, My Last Lie will be published in February 2019 and is available for pre-order now.

She lives with her husband on the island of Jersey and you can follow her on Twitter @drummondella1 and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllaDrummondWrites/