#BlogTour! #Review – #TheLineWeLeaveBehind by Eliza Graham (@eliza_graham) @ed_pr @AmazonPub

Apologies for my slight delay with this blog post, however I am delighted to share my review of Eliza Graham’s, ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’. Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

The Lines We Leave Behind cover

England, 1947: A young woman finds herself under close observation in an insane asylum, charged with a violent crime she has no memory of committing. As she tries to make sense of her recent past, she recalls very little.

But she still remembers wartime in Yugoslavia. There she and her lover risked everything to carry out dangerous work resisting the Germans—a heroic campaign in which many brave comrades were lost. After that, the trail disappears into confusion. How did she come to be trapped in a living nightmare?

As she struggles to piece together the missing years of her life, she will have to confront the harrowing experiences of her special-operations work and peacetime marriage. Only then can she hope to regain the vital memories that will uncover the truth: is she really a violent criminal…or was she betrayed?

What does TWG think?

I am going to put my hands up and say that, at first, I really didn’t think that I would like this book. I know that sounds slightly negative, but hear me out. I am a massive fan of WWII novels, but my experience of reading wartime novels set anywhere other than Britain is very limited. Would I struggle to understand the crimes which happened in other places during the war? Would I be able to keep up with the storyline in a country I have had pretty much nothing to do with in real life, let alone fiction? I couldn’t help but ask myself those questions as I read the first few chapters of ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’. So, going back to my earlier comment, I didn’t think that I would like this book at first because I guess I didn’t feel intelligent enough to read it. Every page of ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’ is full of in-depth situations, detailed discussions, and quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between the main character’s past and present.

After attempting to dismiss my earlier thoughts, I got stuck into Maud’s life and the awful predicament she has unfortunately found herself in. How did she end up living in an asylum? Why can she remember some parts of her life, yet draws a blank when she attempts to think of other events?

Once again I am holding my hands up to say that, after several chapters of eye-opening material, I ended up surrounding to the book in its entirety. Wow – yes, this book is very, very deep and often dark, but oh my goodness me, what a brilliant, brilliant novel this is. I cannot believe I even thought that I wouldn’t like it at first! It was certainly hard-hitting to read what Maud’s life was like during the war and the devastating things she came across. I had absolutely no idea that times in Yugoslavia were so devastating, but I am so very glad that Eliza Graham has written the theme into her storyline to educate people on wartime events outside of Britain.

‘The Lines We Leave Behind’ blew me away from the attention to detail whilst Maud was in service, to the psychologically damaging events later on down the line which I couldn’t help but feel emotional about. Poor Maud had lost years and years of her life due to somebody else’s actions, or did she? The text may be black and white (literally), yet the author has given her readers free reign to interpret Maud’s situation in the latter half of the book. Well, at least that’s what I felt that I was able to do!

I am so pleased that I didn’t pay too much attention to my first impression of ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’ as it has turned into one of my all-time favourite books of 2018 due to its incredible level of intensity, magnetic storytelling by Eliza Graham, as well as its poignant and highly emotive attention to detail. I cannot recommend it enough.

Buy now!

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#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas With the East End Angels by Rosie Hendry (@hendry_rosie) @RaRaResources

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Rosie Hendry’s latest novel today, as I share my review. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and the East End Angels are working hard to keep Londoners safe.

Frankie is trying hard to keep everything together. She can count on the support of the East End Angels, even in the face of family trouble.

Winnie‘s beloved husband, Mac, is putting himself at risk every day in the bomb disposal unit and she’s finding it hard while he’s away.

Bella is growing in confidence and happiness. Her friendship with Winnie’s brother, James, is getting closer all the time.

Christmas on the Home Front is a hard time with loved ones far away – but the women of the Auxiliary Ambulance service are making do and mending.

What does TWG think?

I am a huge fan of wartime sagas/historical fiction, especially those that have a unique bite to them. That probably sounds quite a daft thing to say, but whilst novels set in the war are worth their weight in gold, if a storyline showcases a different side to the war or different jobs, it makes me feel very excited, aka that ‘unique bite’. Just like Rosie Hendry’s novel.

Set during World War II, ‘Christmas With the East End Angels’ puts the Auxiliary Ambulance service in the spotlight by allowing readers to ‘be’ in amongst the going’s on like main characters, Frankie, Winnie, and Bella.

Whilst this book is number 3 in the series, I was able to read it fine as a stand-alone but I would suggest reading the books in order due to older characters popping up again. That said, if not knowing all of the details about characters lives doesn’t bother you then reading these books out of order would make no difference.

I thought the topic of the ambulance service was very well researched and a joy to read, even though I found myself becoming quite emotional at times due to the poignancy of it all, and I loved the close knit relationship between the main characters as they came together despite being from different walks of life.

Now, this book is a ‘Christmas’ book yet the oneness wasn’t on the festive season at all, understandable to a point. Personally, I would have loved it if the storyline contained more of the Christmas element as it states just that in the title. However in the grand scheme of things, with such a strong and emotive storyline as the one in ‘Christmas With the East End Angels’, my heart was captured anyway, regardless of how little Christmas was spoken about.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed Rosie Hendry’s latest book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves wartime sagas, or those you wish to try something new.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

 Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in Norfolk with her husband, two children, chickens and a snake. She’s worked in a variety of jobs from fruit picking, waitressing, teaching and as a research scientist but has always loving reading and writing. Starting off writing short stories for women’s magazines, her stories have gradually become longer as her children have grown bigger.

Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked Rosie’s interest in this period and she’s especially intrigued by how women’s lives changed during the war years. She loves researching further, searching out gems of real-life events which inspire her writing. 

When she’s not working, Rosie enjoys walking along the beach, reading and is grateful for the fact that her husband is a much better cook than her.

Websitewww.rosiehendry.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/RosieHendrybooks/

Twitter  https://twitter.com/hendry_rosie 

#BlogTour! #Review – #MissMarley by the late, Vanessa LaFaye and Rebecca Mascull (@RebeccaMascull) @HQStories

This is beautifully bittersweet, and I am sure a lot of you will understand why. Devastatingly, Vanessa LaFaye passed away earlier this year, which meant that ‘Miss Marley’ was unfinished. To keep Vanessa’s legacy, Rebecca Mascull finished writing the novel which Vanessa lovingly started, resulting in the finished product of ‘Miss Marley’. Today I have the honour of sharing my review on publication day as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to HQStories for the ARC and allowing me to be involved in the tour. Here is my review:

Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

What does TWG think?

‘A Christmas Carol’ is a classic piece of literature which I am sure a lot of people have either heard of and/or read. Whilst a lot of Dickens’ tale focuses on the man with a frozen heart, Ebenezer Scrooge, his right hand man, Jacob Marley, is still a poignant character in the tale. However, have you ever wondered about what went on in Jacob’s mind? How he became who he was? That’s where the delightful, ‘Miss Marley’ comes in, Jacob’s sister. A character who was specifically created for this book, thus being a beautifully written introduction to the festive tale we have all come to know and love.

‘Miss Marley’ tells the story of Jacob and Clara’s life on the streets and how Jacob became the man who many loved to hate. Whilst the siblings were indeed close growing up as they only had each other, life as adults made their relationship much more strained than they would have liked. Jacob Marley was so focused on his work, on trying to keep a roof over their heads, yet point blank refused to look at the bigger picture, despite the urges from his sister. They were both aware of the struggles that came with being poor, not knowing where their next meal came from, not knowing whether they would be killed in their sleep by a thief or the weather. So why did Jacob refuse to look at the situations of others? The situations that weren’t quite so dissimilar to his very own, instead making other people’s lives a lot harder – including his sisters.

‘Miss Marley’ is a beautiful, beautiful tale which has been written from the hearts of two incredible authors. Authors who have clearly researched Dickens and the Victorian era before embarking on their prequel to a classic tale. Reading this book was incredibly bittersweet due to the fact the original author had passed away before her book was out in the world. However, Rebecca Mascull seamlessly finished the story, making me feel as though I was reading a book by one author and not two. Mascull has done LaFaye incredibly proud by her enchanting storytelling, and by bringing ‘Miss Marley’ to life in the most memorable way possible.

Until now, I had never envisioned a prequel to ‘A Christmas Carol’, but now I can honestly say that ‘Miss Marley’ is an outstanding addition and something which the literary world never knew it needed. A truly fantastic story told by two hearts which became one.

Buy now!

#CoverReveal! ‘The Things We Cannot Say’ by Kelly Rimmer (@KelRimmerwrites) @headlinepg @Phoebe_Swinburn

Ohhhhh I’m so excited today!!!! I have been asked by the lovely, Phoebe Swinburn from Headline books, to help reveal the cover of Kelly Rimmer’s new novel, ‘The Things We Cannot Say’. I am a hugeeeeeee, HUGE fan of Kelly’s – it’s an honour to help out with the cover reveal, so thank you!!

It feels like a bit of a ‘Kelly Rimmer’ day on TWG today as you’ll never guess what….I will be sharing my review of Kelly’s latest novel ‘Before I Let You Go’ as part of the blog tour for the paperback release! Make sure you check back later!

However, back to the task in hand and the beautiful new cover! Are you ready for this? I cannot wait to get my hands on this beauty!!

See what I mean? But that’s not all, for all of you blurb loving folks out there, here is a little bit more information about this intriguing novel:

What would you sacrifice for love?
Inspired by the author’s family history, a searing page-turner of war, family secrets and a love to defy all odds.

World War Two
Alina and Tomasz are childhood sweethearts. The night before he leaves for college, Tomasz proposes marriage. But when their village falls to the Nazis, Alina doesn’t know if Tomasz is alive or dead.

Present day
When Alice’s cherished grandmother is hospitalised, a hidden box of mementoes reveals a tattered photo of a young man, a tiny leather shoe and a letter. Her grandmother begs Alice to return to Poland to see what became of those she held dearest. 

In Poland separated from her family, Alice begins to uncover the story her grandmother is so desperate to tell, and discovers a love that bloomed in the winter of 1942. As a painful family history comes to light, will the struggles of the past and present finally reach a heartbreaking resolution?

If you like the sound of ‘The Things We Cannot Say’, the e-book is set to be released in March 2019, with the paperback set to follow in October 2019. If you wish to pre-order your copy now you can do so here:

Pre-order now from Amazon UK

I am so looking to reading this! What do you think? Is it up your street? Are you a fan of Kelly Rimmer? If so, which book is your favourite? Let me know your thoughts on the cover in the comments!

Please note that publication dates are subject to change at the publishers discretion! To keep up to date with the latest news from Headline, you can follow them on twitter Here. Or, if you wish to have the latest news of all things Kelly Rimmer, you can follow her on twitter Here!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul (@GillPaulauthor) @Headlinepg @annecater

Busy here on TWG today! First up is my review for the absolutely phenomenal new novel by Gill Paul, ‘The Lost Daughter’. Big thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to the publisher for my review copy. Here is my review:

A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret

From the author of The Secret Wife, a gripping journey through decades and across continents, of love, devastating loss and courage against all odds.

1918
With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia’s imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.

Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father’s side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: ‘I didn’t want to kill her.’ As she unravels the secrets behind her mother’s disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world’s greatest mysteries.

What does TWG think?

Omg I think I have just found my most favourite book of 2018!!!! Gill Paul is an incredibly intelligent and vivid storyteller who blurs the lines between fact and fiction. Put it this way, I struggled to work out what parts of the storyline were indeed fiction because, whilst I had heard of the ‘Romanov’s’ rather briefly, I didn’t know the ins and outs of the historical Russian family and knew that Gill Paul would do a better job than Google, at explaining what happened to the Romanov’s all those years ago.

I was completely bowled over by such a heart wrenching yet historically brilliant storyline, as it not only kept me glued to the book until 2.30am, I also couldn’t help but feel as though I was witnessing the 1918 events with my own eyes. It was as though I was there, feeling the emotion which set Maria Romanov apart from the rest. Feeling the pain as she witnessed the aftermath, the end of life as she knew it.

Wow – I wish I could convey my opinions of the book a lot better than what I am currently doing it, but please trust me when I say that ‘The Lost Daughter’ is a gem to be discovered. A gem which, regardless of how much it fades, will always manage to shine bright and beautiful and, if I were to be perfectly honest, I would rather have this type of gem in my hands than a shiny diamond.

I adored how the author switched between the multiple viewpoints as it was just so effortless and natural. There was no confusion on my part at all. In fact, Val’s story blended exceptionally well with Maria’s – I have genuinely never read anything like it.

I urge each and every one of you to sit and read ‘The Lost Daughter’ – it blew me away more times than one book has ever done before. My heart broke for Maria and her family, and I could only hope for the best where Val and Nicole were concerned. The storyline was incredibly hard hitting at times, because the author has used a lot of historical facts in her storyline where the Romanov’s are concerned, as well as the events during 1918 Russia. I still cannot believe that people endured those horrific conditions, watching their loved ones being taken from their families in the blink of an eye.

‘The Lost Daughter’ is an outstanding, breathtaking, powerful, and utterly poignant read which I know will stay with me for a very, very long time. Gill Paul was a favourite author of mine before I read this book, but I can safely say that she is now my go to author for anything historical. This really is my top book of 2018 without a doubt. Absolutely brilliant – I wish I could give it more than 5 stars!

Buy now!

About the author.

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, Another Woman’s Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.

WEBSITE : www.gillpaul.com

 

TWITTER : @GillPaulAUTHOR

 

#BlogTour! #Review – A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton (@JeanFullerton_) @Rararesources @CorvusBooks

Swooon!!!! Day two of the blog tour for ‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is here and I am so excited to be a part of it! Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, here is my review:

With Christmas approaching, the Brogan family of London’s East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe’s nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.

For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

What does TWG think?

If you aren’t aware of this fact already, I LOVE historical fiction novels, and I have always been fixated with ration books and the unfortunate circumstances which led to those books becoming a way of life. So you see, my excitement for this book was through the roof; history, romance, more history, ration books….what’s not to like?

The cover of ‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is rather pretty, but please don’t be sitting there thinking that the storyline is going to be all pristine and happy because it’s not. It’s far from it, and I do not mean that in a bad way at all. Yes, the storyline does contain happiness, but not the sort that comes with ease. It’s the type of happiness which breaks your heart because you have been championing a character to finally have some good luck, or you have witnessed a family reach their breaking point yet when something positive comes their way the sun seems to shine brighter than ever before.

This book is deep. Very deep. I mean, the storyline is based on events during the Blitz; an emotional, powerful time which saw thousands of people lose their lives. How couldn’t it be deep? It needed to be to convey that strong historical element. Okay, I did find it hard going at times because it is thickly laced with facts versus fiction, harrowing circumstances, and characters you wish you could do things for, yet all of that put together just worked.

I can’t even begin to imagine what life was like during that time, trying to save people in amongst rubble yet finding out later that they would be making their way to the mortuary instead of back with their families. Watching Jo and Mattie tend to those people made my heart sore in such an emotional manner. The community spirit in this book was second to none and would definitely put a lot of people in this day and age, to shame.

I loved how raw and poignant Jean Fullerton’s story telling was, as it brought the storyline to life on so many different levels and captured my heart at the same time.

‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is a book to be savoured, but it’s also a book which highlights the importance of ‘being’ and being able to find happiness in the little things in life despite the strong storms which may loom overhead.

A wonderfully written, heartwarming and poignant story. I cannot wait to read more from this author.

Buy now!

About the author.

Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer.  She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

Social Media Links

Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton-202631736433230/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_

 

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Keep You By My Side by Callie Langridge (@clangridgewrite) @bombshellpub

Happy publication day to Callie Langridge and ‘Keep You By My Side’! I am honoured to be kicking off the blog blitz today with a review, many thanks to the publisher for the blitz invite and ARC.

Are family secrets the ties that bind or the lies that divide?

The secrets of one family live in the walls of a cottage perched high on a Dorset cliff. But secrets can only be kept for so long.

 Follow three generations of a family from war-torn London, to the permissive 60s and liberated 80s. Gertie, Rose and Abi live through joy, tragedy and heartache as they navigate complicated mother-daughter relationships and learn the importance of friends and finding love. When circumstances force them under the same roof, secrets begin to unravel and promises made in love threaten to tear them apart. 

 How far would you go to protect the people you love?

What does TWG think?

Having read and absolutely adored Callie Langridge’s debut novel, I could not wait to see what the author would bring out next. She had certainly set the bar high for herself with her debut, that’s for sure! I tried to ensure that I kept my mind open, reading the book as though I hadn’t read anything from the author before, purely because the bar was so high. I must admit that it didn’t always work though.

‘Keep You By My Side’ is gold from various viewpoints at multiple moments in time, with one character in particular telling her story during the war. It took me a little while to work out how all of the characters fit together, but when I did, I enjoyed being able to connect with the characters on a deeper level now that I was aware of their individual links in the storyline.

I would say that the romance element is evident throughout the entire novel, and it is also written in such a heartfelt manner so that even someone as unromantic as I, could fall under the heartwarming spell.

I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy ‘Keep You By My Side’ because I did, but for me personally, I didn’t find it as strong as the debut. Don’t get me wrong, Langridge told Gertie’s story beautifully and I was mesmerised by her journey, I just wanted more as I know the author has the outstanding talent to achieve that. This book was a very poignant and pleasing read, I just hope that the next novel comes back as strong as the first one.

As a story told by three generations, it was remarkable to see just how their personalities differed over the years, even though a lot of their choices and decisions were quite similar. My heart went out to Abi, but for me the star of the book was Gertie. I think that was because she reminded me of one of my own family members. Her story really touched me and I am delighted that I was able to be a part of that by reading it.

Overall, ‘Keep You By My Side’ was a very heartwarming and tender read which kept me cosy from start to finish. It is a lovely, lovely read which came across well, despite having to follow in the footsteps of the authors incredible debut novel.

Buy Now!

About the author.

Callie was born and brought up in Berkshire. After a brief teenage spell in the depths of Lancashire, she moved back to London.

 Having left school at 16, she studied drama before embarking on a career in marketing. This saw her work in music marketing in the heady days of Britpop in the nineties. She unleashed her creativity in the design of window displays and marketing campaigns for the leading music retailer. More recently she has followed her passion for history, working in marketing and communications for historical and cultural organisations.

 On hitting her thirtieth birthday, she decided finally to pick up her pen and take the first of many creative writing courses. A few years later and she has had a number of short stories published and plays performed at theatres and venues across London. Her first novel A Time to Change was published in September 2017.

 Her second novel Keep You By My Side will be published in October 2018.

 Callie lives in London with her long-term partner, an ever-growing collection of antique curiosities, and more books than any person really needs. 

#PublicationDayPush – The Warrior’s Bride Prize by Jenni Fletcher (@jenniauthor) @rararesources #Promo

The Warrior's Bride Prize

Warrior'sBridePrize_Cover

Daughter of a slave…wedded to the warrior!
Livia Valeria is furious when she’s ruthlessly gambled away by her intended bridegroom. Luckily, it’s tall, muscled and darkly handsome Roman centurion Marius Varro who wins her as his bride! Livia must hide her Caledonian roots, but when Marius faces a barbarian rebellion at Hadrian’s Wall she must make a choice: her heritage or the husband she’s falling for…

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK

Amazon

iBooks

WHSmith

B&N

Author Bio –
Jenni Fletcher was born on the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire, where she writes Medieval, Roman and Victorian romance novels.

She studied English at Cambridge University before doing an MA on Women and Literature in English and a PhD on Victorian & Edwardian literature at Hull. After realising that she was better at writing than teaching, she worked in a number of administrative jobs whilst trying to finish her first book, which was rejected. Thinking there must have been some mistake, she then wrote another, which was fortunately accepted by Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe that’s just because she’s Northern.

Social Media Links 
Facebook

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed US Copy of The Warrior’s Bride Prize (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter the giveaway!

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Paris Secret by Lily Graham (@lilygrahambooks) @Bookouture

The Paris Secret - Blog Tour

Happy publication day, Lily Graham! I am delighted to be kicking off the blog blitz with a review of Lily’s new novel, The Paris Secret. Huge thanks to Bookouture for the blitz invite and the ARC. Here is my review:
The-Paris-Secret-Kindle

The last time Valerie was in Paris, she was three years old, running from the Nazis, away from the only home she had ever known.

Now as a young woman all alone in the world, Valerie must return to Paris, to the bookshop and her sole surviving relative, her grandfather Vincent, the only person who knows the truth about what happened to her parents. As she gets to know grumpy, taciturn Vincent again, she hears a tragic story of Nazi-occupied Paris, a doomed love affair and a mother willing to sacrifice everything for her beloved daughter.

Can Valerie and Vincent help each other to mend the wounds of the past? Valerie isn’t after a fairytale ending, she only wants the truth. But what is the one devastating secret that Vincent is determined to keep from his granddaughter?

What does TWG think?
Wow, what can I say? I really don’t think that my review would do this book justice at all, but I can only try my best.
I am so glad that Lily Graham decided to make her novels a bit more historical fiction, as she certainly has the tender writing style which makes the history become less in the past and more in the present…if that makes sense. This book isn’t a story which can be taken lightly. Instead, it’s a book which deserves to be read and appreciated from the reader’s heart, just like the story has been written from the authors heart.
‘The Paris Secret’ is written in both the present, and the past, switching between two different years in the past to allow Valerie’s life story to come alive. Poor Valerie has a family history she never knew existed but, with the chance of being heart-broken incredibly high, Valerie is still determined to find out the truth before it’s too late. Nothing could have prepared her for what she did find out, and my heart broke for her many times. Hell, my heart even broke for several of her family members because they were living in Paris during the time of the Nazis. I can’t even begin to imagine how frightening that must have been, although Lily Graham gave me an insight into history which I never thought was possible. Eye-opening and so emotional, I’m surprised the tears stayed in my eyes to be honest!
I have to hold my hands up and say that I probably underestimated this book to begin with. I didn’t know the situation, nor did I know the characters so my assumptions were made on my first impressions. Don’t be like me and assume. This story is utterly beautiful in both a devastating way, and a heart warming way, so read it like you’re holding onto something fragile. Read it as though you have someone’s precious item in your hands. Read it with your heart and mind wide open as it truly deserves it. Honestly.
‘The Paris Secret’ took my breath away – what a humbling, magical and powerful novel. I have to say that this is Lily Graham’s best book yet, and I truly feel as though the author has found her calling with this niche.
 About the author:

Former journalist, Lily Graham grew up in South Africa, and spent much of her childhood buried inside the covers of a book. Her adulthood has passed no differently. Except that now she occasionally gets to make up some of the stories for a living. She is happy to report that most of her neighbours think of her as a cheerful layabout and no amount of protesting that lazing about in her pyjamas is actually ‘work’ she is never taken seriously. She lives in West Sussex with her husband and her beloved bulldog, Fudge.

Lily is the author of five novels, including THE ISLAND VILLA. All her books have entered the Amazon Top 100 bestseller list.  THE PARIS SECRET is published on 4th October 2018.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Orphan Girl by Sandy Taylor (@SandyTaylorAuth) @Bookouture

thumbnail_The Little Orphan Girl - Blog Tour
Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC, here is my review of Sandy Taylor’s, ‘The Little Orphan Girl’.

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Ireland, 1901: The work house gates clanged shut behind us, as me and the mammy walked down the hill towards the town. I was six years old and leaving the only home I had ever known…

When Cissy Ryan’s real mother comes to claim her from the workhouse, it’s not how she imagined. Her family’s tumbledown cottage has ice on the inside of its windows and is in an isolated, poverty-stricken village in the muddy Irish countryside. But when Cissy is allowed to help neighbour Colm Doyle and his horse named Blue on their milk round one morning, Cissy starts to feel as though friendship could get her through anything.

It’s Colm who looks in on Cissy’s grandfather when she starts at the village school, and Colm who tells her to hold her chin high when she interviews for a position at the grand Bretton House. But in the vast mansion with its shining floors and sweeping staircase, it’s Master Peter Bretton who captures Cissy’s heart with his dark curls and easy laugh.

As Cissy blossoms from a skinny orphan into a confident young girl, Colm tells her she’s as good as anyone and she begins to believe anything is possible. But not everyone with a kind smile has a kind heart, and Cissy doesn’t know that further sorrow lies in store for her.

When Cissy finds herself desperate, alone, and faced with a devastating choice, can she find the strength to survive?

What does TWG think?

What a beautiful, emotional and poignant read this is! Set in the early 1900’s, at a time where children worked from a very young age. Not only that, the amount of orphaned children was very high. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like to be a child who had to grow up in those conditions, even if I am aware that they would have known no different. It’s a shame that they had to know it at all, in my opinion.

‘The Little Orphan Girl’ follows the life of Cissy, a young girl who has to work her fingers to the bone to live. With no ‘mammy’ fighting her corner, Cissy soon learns that she can only rely on herself, yet she can’t help but see the best in people.

My heart went out to Cissy on more than one occasion. It broke my heart that she had to live in those conditions, and it broke my heart that children actually DID live in those conditions back in the day. Like I said above, I know they know no different, but when innocent, young children are involved, it certainly makes you open your eyes and look at the bigger picture.

Sandy Taylor, whilst portraying an emotional scenario when Cissy is a young girl, has written a book which not only captivated my heart, it tugged on my heart strings as though someone was ringing a bell. I cannot fault this author for the delivery of such a touching , rollercoaster ride of a read which took me on an inspiring journey of self discovery, right until the very last page.

A heart-warming, poignant and captivating novel, written with the best intentions. Beautiful.

Buy now!

About the author.

Sandy Taylor grew up on a council estate near Brighton. There were no books in the house, so Sandy’s love of the written word was nurtured in the little local library.

Leaving school at fifteen, Sandy worked in a series of factories before landing a job at Butlins in Minehead. This career change led her to becoming a singer, a stand-up comic and eventually a playwright and novelist.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SandyTaylorAuthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SandyTaylorAuth