#BlogTour! #Review – Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson @DoubleDayUK @AnneCater @TransworldBooks

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I have the honour of kicking off another blog tour today, this time it’s for ‘Meet Me At The Museum’ by Anne Youngson. Thank you to Anne Cater for the tour invite, as well as the ARC. ‘Meet Me At The Museum’ will be published on the 17th May by DoubledayUK.

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Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are..

When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.
When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.

They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet.  Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.

Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.

Can their unexpected friendship survive?

What does TWG think?

You know, I don’t think I have ever read a book before that was written in the same format as this one! Instead of being set out in the way we all know, Anne Youngson has set her debut novel out in a completely different way – by using letters!

No, no, I don’t mean letters that make up words, because that would be pretty obvious. Actual written letters, you know, the conversing type…before e-mails were invented and stamps didn’t cost nearly a pound. Those letters!

With history as the basis of this novel and the letters, Tina Hopgood decided to write a letter to a museum curator in Denmark (her reasons become known further in the book). Unfortunately, the recipient had passed away and instead, the current curator of the museum replied to her letter. As they say, ‘and the rest is history’.

The letters between Tina and Danish man, Anders, set the scene for the overall novel, with both characters comparing lifestyles in the letters as Tina lives in Bury St.Edmunds, and Anders lives in Denmark. Neither characters had any idea that one simple letter could end up changing their lives..

I appreciated the emotion in the letters, as well as the honesty, lifestyle differences, and snippets of history. For me, those were the highlights of the novel. I did struggle with how the book was set out as I kept waiting for the novel to change into a story as opposed to letters. Of course the letters themselves told a story, but it wasn’t really an obvious story. I was half expecting Tina to meet Anders at the museum to coincide with the title, but that particular lightbulb remained off.

Even though this book wasn’t my cup of tea, I thought the author wrote the content of the letters absolutely beautifully, making the characters jump off the page due to how much I had found out about them in such a short space of time. I enjoyed the historic feel to the novel, that’s for sure.

Overall, I thought that ‘Meet Me At The Museum’ was an intense, different and thought-provoking read. If you’re after something out of your comfort zone, I am sure that this will tick the box.

Pre-order now (published 17th May)

About the author.

ANNE YOUNGSON worked for many years in senior management
in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date. MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM is her debut novel, which is due to be published around the world.

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

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Happy publication day, Samantha Tonge, and ‘One Summer in Rome’! I am delighted to be taking part in the publication day blitz for Samantha’s novel by sharing my review. Big thanks to Rachel for the tour invite, and HQDigitalUK for the ARC.

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To Rome…with love?

Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a
one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.
Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the
utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love
with the bustling capital!

Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems
displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for
long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…

What does TWG think?

I took a lot away from ‘One Summer in Rome’, a lot more than I expected actually, and yes that is a good thing!

First of all, let me give this book cover a bit of loving’ – how gorgeous does that look by the way! I can almost feel the heat radiating from the sunshine. Now, I have never been to Italy and, whilst it has been a dream of mine to go, I feel as though I took a trip to the Italian capital thanks to Samantha Tonge and her latest offering.

Mary Smith hasn’t had an easy life. She’s been pushed from pillar to post for as long as she can remember, but due to the fact that her scars are still raw, Mary knows that she needs to do something drastic before her life runs away without her. Some people may get an image overhaul or enrol in further education to get into their dream career. Some, yes. Mary however, no. What does she go and do? Purchases a one way ticket to Rome to work in a family pizzeria business. Drastic? Perhaps. Ideal? Damn right! There’s nothing like changing your life by visiting a new country with everything crossed that you can make a new life over there. I thought she was brave although a little bonkers! Good on her though!

It didn’t take too long for the idyllic, Italian lifestyle Mary so badly craved, to take her under its wing. It also didn’t take long for Mary to realise that working in a family run business wasn’t all homely and cosy as she first thought. It was clear that several of her new colleagues had their own challenges that they had to battle on a daily basis and, whilst Mary knew that it wasn’t her business to pry, she couldn’t help but lend an ear to any member of her new Italian family. The only thing was, who was going to take it?

Whilst part of me thought that this book was going to be an easy-read (in a good way), it actually turned out to be an easy-read with such intense depth, I’m surprised the wind wasn’t blown out of my sails. No, that is not a negative, it’s a bloomin’ good thing! I never expected the storyline to have a serious side to it. Yes it caught me off guard, but because I was surprised by the path the storyline chose to take, I found that certain events shocked me in more of an emotional manner than just an ‘omg what?!’ manner.

Dante is such an inspirational character. To be honest, they all are. Each character had their own story to tell due to what they had been through or were currently going through, and I found that the difference in dynamic between each of the characters was absolutely fantastic to read. It just worked one hundred percent. I am in awe at how many hurdles Samantha Tonge managed to create for her characters, whilst also describing each character’s situation with such sensitivity, realism, and empathy. I am sure it took a lot of research to nail so many different situations, but it certainly paid off that’s for sure!

If I were to write about each individual thing that resonated with me, I would be here a while and get my wrists slapped for spoilers. A lot of ‘One Summer in Rome’ warmed my heart, made me feel emotional, whilst also managing to breathe a new life in me that I thought was long gone. One part in particular made me feel like breaking down. Not because I was sad or anything, but because the talk about ‘being your own hero’ resonated with me on multiple levels and allowed me to feel like I had been given my own special pair of wings to be a hero. Yes, mine and the characters situations are completely different, but I couldn’t help but put the ‘be your own hero’ under lock and key in my heart.

‘One Summer in Rome’ took me on a trip of a lifetime, rocked my emotions like a boat on choppy seas, whilst also filling my heart with heroic and special love like never before. Samantha Tonge has written a truly inspirational, memorable, energising, and beautiful read which I will hold very dear for a long, long time.

I really do feel that this author has outdone herself with her latest novel. Whilst Samantha Tonge does state that you need to be your own hero, I can safely say that, thanks to her timeless literary skills and huggable way of writing, she is now my hero for making me feel like I can be a hero.

Buy now!

About the author.

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat who
thinks it’s a dog. When not writing she spends her days cycling, willing
cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short
stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting
Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook
award in 2014. Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won
the Best Romantic Ebook category at the 2015 Love Stories Awards.

Links

Twitter // Facebook // Website

#BlogTour! #Review – #AFamilyRecipe by Veronica Henry (@veronica_henry) @orionbooks @Lauren_booksPR

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I am so excited to be hosting day two of the #AFamilyRecipe blog tour! Veronica Henry is one of my all-time favourite authors and it is such an honour to be involved in this blog tour. Huge thanks to the team at OrionBooks for the blog tour invite, and my ARC of the novel. Here is my review:

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What’s the secret ingredient to your happiness?

Laura Griffin is preparing for an empty nest. The thought of Number 11 Lark Hill falling silent – a home usually bustling with noise, people and the fragrant smells of something cooking on the Aga – seems impossible. Laura hopes it will mean more time for herself, and more time with her husband, Dom.

But when an exposed secret shakes their marriage, Laura suddenly feels as though her family is shrinking around her. Feeling lost, she turns to her greatest comfort: her grandmother’s recipe box, a treasured collection dating back to the Second World War. Everyone has always adored Laura’s jams and chutneys, piled their sandwiches high with her pickles . . . Inspired by a bit of the old Blitz spirit, Laura has an idea that gives her a fresh sense of purpose.

Full of fierce determination, Laura starts carving her own path. But even the bravest woman needs the people who love her. And now, they need her in return . . .

What does TWG think?

You know the feelings you get after eating your most favourite meal; contentment, cosy, happiness – I’m sure you know the ones I’m on about, and I’m sure many of you have felt like that in the past. Imagine those feelings for a moment, just so that they come to the forefront of your mind, now imagine reading a book which allowed you to feel those feelings all over again. What would you say to that?

‘A Family Recipe’ made me feel as though I had just eaten my most favourite meal in the entire world. I felt content. Delirious. Pretty much as though I was walking on cloud nine. Yet I also felt devastated because the book had ended and I didn’t want those feelings to disappear. Veronica Henry is an author who never fails to disappoint me and, after reading her previous novel, I genuinely though that she had written her best book yet, then. But now, after reading ‘A Family Recipe’, I’m not so sure.

Why?

Because ladies and gents, THIS book is Veronica Henry’s best book yet as it made me feel things I had never felt before. Set in the family home of Number 11 Lark Hill, ‘A Family Recipe’ switches between the present day and 1942 as the author takes us back to how it all began. I absolutely adored the historical feel to the story as I was able to resonate with the characters a lot more in the present day, having known their back story and how they became who they are today. I found the ‘stepping back in time’ moments rather emotional and severely eye-opening. I won’t go into detail as for why, but trust me when I say that those parts of the book were a little slice of heaven.

In the present day, main character, Laura, has reached a point in her life where uncertainty seems to be her main emotion. Her daughters are off living their lives and the ’empty nest’ feeling couldn’t be more strong. What does she do with her life now? Having not worked for a while, Laura’s options are slimmer than most but, after delving into the family recipe box, Laura finds herself baking an idea in her head.

Of course life isn’t that simple and, despite Laura working out what she could do with her children at university, her life took a dramatic turn. I just wanted to step into the book and give her a big hug when I read what had happened. Veronica Henry wrote that part brilliantly as we were able to see both sides of the story, even though a lot of readers (if you’re anything like me) will forge their own opinion on said events and might refuse to see the situation from both sides. I know at first I did!

‘A Family Recipe’ tickled my taste buds in more ways than I could ever imagine. The strong, addictive theme was an incredible basis for the storyline itself, pulling me further in with every turn of the page. I loved every single word, every single page, and absolutely every little thing about this book! Veronica Henry has delivered an outstanding and thought-provoking novel in such a flawless manner – I really do wish I could bottle the feelings this book gave me as I never want to let them go.

A vibrant, emotive, appetising, and joyous read from the incredibly talented, Veronica Henry. I couldn’t love this book even more if I tried and it is definitely the authors best book yet, and my most favourite book of all time. ‘A Family Recipe’ is everything I could have ever dreamed of for a book, and it has been an incredible honour to read. I cannot recommend this book enough.

‘A Family Recipe’ by Veronica Henry is due to be published on the 17th May and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #WBP2018 #Extract – Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ @midaspr @wellcomebkprize

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It is an honour to be taking part in the blog tour for the WellComeBookPrize. For those  that aren’t aware of this, here is some more information about the book prize and the collection featured in the long list:

About the Wellcome Book Prize

Worth £30,000, the Wellcome Book Prize celebrates the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness, showcasing the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction.

Previous winners of the Prize include Maylis de Kerangal (author) and Jessica Moore (translator) for Mend the Living in 2017, Suzanne O’Sullivan for It’s All in Your Head in 2016, Marion Coutts for The Iceberg in 2015, Andrew Solomon for Far from the Tree in 2014, Thomas Wright for Circulation in 2012, Alice LaPlante for Turn of Mind in 2011, Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010 and Andrea Gillies for Keeper: Living with Nancy – a journey into Alzheimer’s in 2009.

 About Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is the free museum and library for the incurably curious. Inspired by the medical objects and curiosities collected by Henry Wellcome, it connects science, medicine, life and art. Through its exhibitions, live programming, and digital and publishing activity, it makes thought-provoking content which aims to challenge how we think and feel about health.

Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. Both politically and financially independent, it supports scientists and researchers, takes on big problems, fuels imaginations and sparks debate.

The book I am featuring for the blog tour is ‘Stay With Me’ by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀. Here is an extract, as well as more information about the book itself:

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear.

Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, Stay With Me is a story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the power of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about the desperate attempts we make to save ourselves, and those we love, from heartbreak.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (30, Nigeria) stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded an international bursary for creative writing. She has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Hedgebrook, Sinthian Cultural Institute, Ebedi Hills, Ox-Bow School of Arts and Siena Art Institute. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2017 ‘Stay With Me’, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Extract

My parents-in-law lived in Ayeso, an old section of town that still had a few mud houses. Their house was a brick building, with a front yard partially enclosed by a low cement fence. When I arrived at the house, Moomi was sitting on a low stool in the front yard shelling groundnuts into a rusty tray that sat on her lap. She looked up as I approached and looked down again. I swallowed and my steps slowed. There was something wrong.

Moomi always greeted me by shouting Yejide, my wife. The words were as warm as the embrace that usually followed them.

‘Good evening, Moomi.’ My knees trembled as they touched the concrete floor.

‘Are you pregnant now?’ She said without looking up from the tray of groundnuts.

I scratched my head.

‘Are you barren and deaf too? I say, are you pregnant? The answer is either, yes, I am pregnant or no, I still haven’t been pregnant for a single day in my life.’

‘I don’t know.’ I stood up and backed away until she was not within the reach of my clenched fist.

‘Why won’t you allow my son to have a child?’ She slapped the tray of groundnuts on the floor and stood up.

‘I don’t manufacture children. God does.’

She marched towards me and spoke when her toes were touching the tips of my shoes.

‘Have you ever seen God in a labour room giving birth to a child? Tell me, Yejide, have you ever seen God in the labour ward? Women manufacture children and if you can’t you are just a man. Nobody should call you a woman.’ She gripped my wrists and lowered her voice to a whisper. ‘This life is not diffi­cult, Yejide. If you cannot have children, allow my son to have some with Funmi. See, we are not asking you to stand up from

your place in his life, we are just saying you should shift so that someone else can sit down.’

‘I am not stopping him, Moomi,’ I said. ‘I have accepted her. She even spends the weekends in our house now.’

She held her thick waist and laughed. ‘I am a woman too. Do you think I was born last night? Tell me, why has Akin never touched Funmi? He has been married to her for over two months. Tell me why he has not removed her wrapper once. Tell me, Yejide.’

I stifled a smile. ‘It is not my business what Akin does with his wife.’

Moomi lifted my blouse and laid a wrinkled palm on my stomach.

‘Flat as the side of a wall,’ she said. ‘You have had my son between your legs for two more months and still your stomach is flat. Close your thighs to him, I beg you. We all know how he feels about you. If you don’t chase him away, he won’t touch Funmi. If you don’t, he will die childless. I beg you, don’t spoil my life. He is my first son, Yejide. I beg you in the name of God.’

 

#BlogTour! #Review – Nineteen Letters by Jodi Perry (@JLPerryAuthor) @LittleBrownUK @littlebookcafe

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One day late, apologies! Should really pay more attention to the date when writing in my diary. However, better late than never is my review of ‘Nineteen Letters’ by Jodi Perry. Big thanks to Millie Seaward for the blog tour invite, as well as my copy of the book. Here is my review:

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Braxton

Nineteen. There’s something about that number; it not only brought us together, bonding us forever, it also played a hand in tearing us apart.

The nineteenth of January 1996. I’ll never forget it. It was the day we met. I was seven and she was six. It was the day she moved in next door, and the day I developed my first crush on a girl.

Exactly nineteen years later, all my dreams came true when she became my wife. She was the love of my life. My soul mate. My everything. The reason I looked forward to waking up every morning.

Then tragedy struck. Nineteen days after we married, she was in an accident that would change our lives forever. When she woke from her coma, she had no memory of me, of us, of the love we shared.

I was crushed. She was my air, and without her I couldn’t breathe.

The sparkle that once glistened her eyes when she looked at me was gone. To her, now, I was a stranger. I had not only lost my wife, I had lost my best friend.

But I refused to let this tragedy be the end of us. That’s when I started to write her letters, stories of our life. Of when we met. About the happier times, and everything we had experienced together.

What we had was far too beautiful to be forgotten.

What does TWG think?

19/01/96 was the date when everything changed for Jemma and Braxton. It was the day when they first clapped eyes on each other, both completely unawares to what lay ahead in their future. 19 years later, they became man and wife, but 19 days after that, Braxton lost the woman he fell in love with. The woman he married. His best friend. His one and only. His one true love. Jemma herself didn’t die that day, no, but her personality of the Jemma that Braxton once knew did die that day. It doesn’t really bear thinking about, does it?

The concept of ‘Nineteen Letters’ reminded me of the popular film, ‘The Vow’, starring Channing Tatum. I was as broken watching that film as I was reading this book, perhaps even more so where this book was concerned. My heart broke for the couple who had their whole life in front of them, but what Braxton did for his wife was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

‘Nineteen Letters’ is proof that love is unconditional and that marriage really is ‘until death do us part’. I’m not one for the whole marriage malarky, but Jemma and Braxton made me believe in it and everything it stood for.

Jodi Perry has written this book from both characters points of views, combining them both to create a showstopper of a read which makes you want to grab hold of your life and never let it go. I loved how raw and poignant the entire storyline was, and I especially loved how real the emotional was conveyed throughout.

‘Nineteen Letters’ is a book I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. ‘Nineteen Letters’ may have been the magic number for Jemma to fall in love again, but believe me when I say that you will fall in love with this book way before you get to number 19.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie (@JaneFMackenzie) @allisonandbusby

Tour Stops
Stepping back in time for blog tour number 6 of the day and it’s for ‘Tapestry of War’ by Jane MacKenzie. Big thanks to Allison and Busby for the tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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In Alexandria, Fran finds her life turned
upside down as Rommel’s forces advance
on the idyllic shores of Egypt. In place of
the luxury and stability that she is used to,
she finds herself having to deal with loss,
heartache and political uncertainty.
Meanwhile, on the Firth of Clyde, Catriona
works day in, day out nursing injured
servicemen. As the war rages on, the two
women’s lives become entwined – bringing
love and friendship to both.

What does TWG think?

Oh I do enjoy historical fiction! ‘Tapestry of War’ was my first book by this author, so I was very intrigued as to how the storyline would be executed from the historical point of view. I couldn’t wait to find out.

Set in both Egypt and Scotland, ‘Tapestry of War’ highlights the heart-wrenching tragedies that WWII brought to the table. Whilst both countries were brought together by one thing; the war, the way in which the differing countries dealt with the war in terms of food, family ties, casualties and so forth, was incredibly different.

I have read a lot of books with the theme of WWII, but I have never read a book written from this angle before as the author describes the devastating conflict in Egypt during that time. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the historic nature, the eye-opening scenes, as well as the emotional situations between families and casualties, I found the overall vibe of the novel to be extremely heavy and a bit difficult to digest.

If you are already aware of the history this book contains, I am sure that you would find it a lot easier to follow than I did. Don’t get me wrong, I felt that I learnt a lot whilst reading the ‘Tapestry of War’, but my brain did become a little overloaded before too long.

That said, I loved how Jane MacKenzie wrote the novel as I could tell that it was written from her heart. It was as though the storyline had a piece of the authors own history written into it which, for me, makes this book even more beautiful than I originally thought.

‘Tapestry of War’ is an eye-opening, though-provoking and poignant novel which will take you back in time without moving a muscle.

Buy now.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald (@DMacDonaldAuth) @Bookouture

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Blog blitz three of the day and it’s for Dee MacDonald and ‘The Runaway Wife’. It was really difficult not to fall in love with this one! Big thanks, as always, to Bookouture for the blog blitz invite, as well as the ARC. Here is my review:

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One evening in early August, while mashing the potatoes for dinner, Connie McColl decides she’s had enough…

Connie is tired of solving one family crisis after another – usually involving her unruly grandchildren – while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?

So Connie packs a bag, gets in her little green car and drives off…

As Connie journeys from England to Scotland on an unexpected adventure, she finally begins to rediscover herself. And she starts to wonder, will she ever be ready to return home? Or will this summer change her life forever?

The Runaway Wife is an inspiring and joyously uplifting novel about being true to yourself. If you loved The Kicking the Bucket List and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry this book is for you.

What does TWG think?

What a wonderful little read this was! Connie is sick and tired of feeling like a housekeeper, a babysitter, and a slave to her family. She’s had enough and after careful deliberation whilst bashing the potatoes for dinner into next week, Connie decides to do something for herself and live. No more being her husbands personal driver. No more having no plans to fit in with her daughter-in-law’s ever-expanding social life so that she can babysit for her. No more! Instead, Connie packs a few essentials and sets off in Kermit to a destination she hasn’t decided yet. You go girl!

Connie is the type of character you will pretty much fall in love with straight away. She reminds me of the sort of grandmother who, should she ever go to a posh dinner, would sit there and talk about sexual positions in great detail. Such a brilliant character.

I loved how the book mentioned Galashiels (which is where I live), and I loved how much detail the author went into when she was describing Edinburgh. It was so lovely to read a book and be all ‘I’VE BEEN THERE. I KNOW THAT’ like you’re the local city groupie or something!

Connie’s adventure had me laughing out loud, sitting with tears in my eyes, as well as becoming emotionally touched by who she met along the way. Sometimes in life we lose sight of who we are whilst other people take us for granted, with us having no confidence to tell them to shove off. I’m sure we have all been there. The fact that Connie was determined to not live the rest of her life in a shell, living life for everyone else, really did make me think. I mean, living life for YOU is in no way selfish, so why are people made to feel that way?

I disliked Roger from the get go and my opinion didn’t change in a positive way, the more of him I got to know. In fact, I actually disliked him more by the time I got to the end of the book. What a self-absorbed man!! If he looked like Channing Tatum then yeah, I could see why he would think his bowel movements don’t stink, but he isn’t. Selfish dweeb!

For me personally, Connie was the star of the show and I was so glad she decided to go on her adventure the way that she did. At the age of 66, Connie knew fine well that she needs to live with no regrets in the time of life that she has left. Just look at Jeannie, bless her heart. It really brought home just how short life is and how we need to grab it by the Kermit before it’s too late. I know that sometimes it’s easier said than done, but like Connie proves, there is no wrong time to do something for you, as long as it isn’t too late.

‘The Runaway Wife’ really warmed my soul and that ending, well, I think I snorted into my cup of tea more than once! Despite being a laugh out loud, carefree type of read, Dee MacDonald included some deep and meaningful topics along the way, making my mind think all that bit more.

I really do hope that Connie returns sooner rather than later as I cannot wait to follow her on yet another life-changing adventure. This book is truly something special, just like Connie, Jeannie and Kath. A wonderful, wonderful book that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Buy links:
Amazon // iBooks // Kobo // GooglePlay

About the author.

Aged 18, Dee arrived in London from Scotland and typed her way round the West End for a couple of years before joining BOAC (forerunner of British Airways) in Passenger Services for 2 years and then as a stewardess for 8 years.

She has worked in Market Research, Sales and at the Thames TV Studios when they had the franchise.

Dee has since relocated to Cornwall, where she spent 10 years running B&Bs, and only began writing when she was over 70!

Married twice, she has one son and two grandsons.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – One Way or Another by Colleen Coleman (@CollColemanAuth) @Bookouture

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SQUEAL. SQUEAL. SQUEAL!!!!!!! The second blog tour of the day is for one of my most favourite authors of all time, Colleen Coleman and ‘One Way or Another’! If you don’t sing that title instead of reading it, are we even friends?! I am SUPER EXCITED to be kicking off the blog blitz today on publication day of all days! Huge thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC. Here is my review:

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Twenty-nine-year-old Katie Kelly is at an all-time low. The love of her life, gorgeous Ben Cole, took a job abroad and broke her heart, the restaurant she’d put her all into went bust, and now she works in a retirement home, cooking beige mush for the residents.

Not exactly the life Katie had dreamed of…

So when the opportunity comes up to work for one of the best chefs in the country – Katie’s idol – she is determined to get the job, no matter what. But then she discovers who she’s competing against: Ben.

As the competition heats up, Katie and Ben spend more and more time together, and it’s clear the old spark is still there… But only one person can win their perfect job, and Katie is going to make sure it’s her. She knows she can’t let Ben back in – or can she find a way to have it all?

A hilarious, heart-warming story about romance, good food, and following your dreams, for fans of Lindsey Kelk, Marian Keyes and Cate Woods.

What does TWG think?

I am quite sure that a lot of you reading this review, have had to change direction with their best laid plans, yes? Maybe even putting your dream on the back burner, crossing your whole body that you can pick up where you left off sooner rather than later, whilst also embarking on a journey merely to ‘pay the bills’. Of course you have – you’re human! We may feel like we have our five year plans done and dusted, refusing to believe that nothing will come and ruin that. But of course, it’s life and something is guaranteed to turn your whole word upside down a lot quicker than Frankie saying ‘Relax’!

Katie Kelly is just like you and I. For as long as she could remember, food has been her creme de le creme. Her Je ne sais quoi if you will. Whilst some people sit and daydream about Channing Tatum or Tom Hardy as they sip their morning coffee, Katie sits and daydreams about putting foam with scallops. Unfortunately for Katie, life didn’t go to plan and not only did the love of her life go off and pursue his dreams in a different country, Katie was left to close the doors of her restaurant one last time and go to work in her local retirement home.

Now, what with being a Colleen Coleman novel n’all, it wouldn’t be right if the storyline didn’t contain some sort of fairy godmother antics from the author herself, right? Hell, I want Colleen Coleman as my own personal fairy godmother, stuff Cinderella, she’s had her moment!!

Ohhhhhhhhhhh this author doesn’t disappoint! Her characters may find themselves walking on a sheet of ice for a large portion of the book, yet Colleen Coleman always manages to find a way to point her characters in the right direction without her readers thinking ‘ugh, predictable’. Seriously, Katie Kelly’s journey is far from predictable! If it was, there would be a lot of unemployed people running down the Job Centre to apply for jobs like Katie’s everything Thursday, that’s for sure!

What I loved most about this book was how energetic, exuberant, and delightful the entire storyline was. We saw Katie grow before our very eyes, feeling as though her life couldn’t get any worse yet still managing to find something deep inside which enabled her to fight…for the right….to paaaarty. Or something to that effect!

Colleen Coleman truly is a real life fairy godmother. I know I’ve probably said it more than once already, but she really is. She knows how to get her readers thinking and feeling with their hearts, bringing them characters who would hold their hand as they step inside the storyline like a chapter in their own life. I was able to lose myself in every word Coleman wrote and for me, that is what a story is all about.

I loved everything about ‘One Way or Another’, and I even managed to surprise myself by becoming a little emotional later on the storyline. This book has such a fun and energising vibe with multiple thought-provoking tendencies, I really didn’t expect my eyes to prick with tears because of that. But they did and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. It just goes to show that Colleen Coleman knows her audience and how to capture their hearts, because she certainly captured mine.

I always thought that following your dreams was cliché, maybe even selfish. But, after devouring ‘One Way or Another’ and feeling my heart soar with unexplainable joy, I knew that following your dreams was paramount in one’s journey to happiness. Anything is possible as long as you’re actually trying. The only time it becomes impossible is if you’re just choosing to sit and moan about it instead of grabbing it by the youknowwhat’s.

Colleen Coleman’s novels always make me feel like the Queen of the world, like I can achieve absolutely anything and, whilst that is often hard for me to materialise, just the thought of knowing that I can do something because an authors eye-opening and beautiful storytelling showed me how, is such an incredible feeling.

‘One Way or Another’ grabbed me by the heart, the soul and everything else in between. I laughed, I cried, I put my hand to my chest like a dramatic old soul more than once, whilst also wanting to shout ‘YOU CAN DO IT KATIE!’. As far as I am concerned, this book is everything I could want from a book and more, deserving a rating of the entire amount of stars in the universe. Truly – five ain’t gonna cut it at all, this book is pint-sized perfection – 3 Michelin stars if you will.

Buy now from: Amazon // Kobo // iBooks // Googleplay

About the author:

Colleen was born in Canada and raised in Ireland. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. 

She spent years teaching English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching both eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words ‘the end’. As a result, her first novel, Don’t Stop Me Now was born. 

Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very,very chatty twin daughters.

For chat, pics and updates visit www.colleencolemanbooks.com

#Review – My Husband the Strange by Rebecca Done (@writerbex) @MichaelJBooks

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What you would do if your husband became another person overnight?

When Molly married Alex Frazer, she knew it was for ever. Theirs would be the perfect future.

In sickness and in health.

However, after a night out with his twin brother, Graeme, a terrible injury leaves Alex with permanent brain damage. In a single moment the man she married is transformed into someone new. Someone who has forgotten how to love her. And someone Molly isn’t sure she can ever love again.

Till death do us part.

The Alex she married no longer exists. Even with Graeme willing to help, Molly isn’t sure that she can go on. How can she stay married to a man she doesn’t know? Should she let the future she dreamed of slip through her fingers? And what really happened on the night that turned her husband into a stranger?

What does TWG think?

Shameful apology! I read this book just after it came out, yet it has taken me until now to finally leave a review. Apologies to the author and the publisher, but I got there eventually!!

‘My Husband The Stranger’ is proof that life can change just like that. Molly had found her lobster. She had married her true love, a man she adored with every ounce of her being. Then, one day, both Molly’s and Alex’s life changed for the worst. The man who she promised to love in sickness and in health had been taken from her, with a man who looked like her husband yet didn’t act like him, swap places with him. Molly’s happy ending is now an uncertain one.

I would be lying if I said that this book was an easy read, because it isn’t. Far from it in fact. The theme of the storyline is dramatic, heart-wrenching and quite emotional, leaving room for the reader to form their own opinion on the choices that they would make if they were to find themselves in Molly’s situation. What would I do? Honestly, I have absolutely no idea and I probably would never be able to answer that unless I found myself in that situation. Molly thought she had the perfect relationship and loved her husband dearly, however when that man had an accident, she began to question her own motive for staying. Alex was definitely a changed man and Rebecca Done emphasised that point in the latter half of the novel. He wasn’t the man who Molly fell in love with, but he didn’t do this to himself did he, so why wouldn’t she stick by him?

My heart went out to both Alex and Molly as they were both dealing with such life changing circumstances, trying to find a way to move forward either as a unit, or on their own. I have to admit that I found a lot of the storyline a bit predictable and not at all shocking in the ‘twisty’ sense of the word. That said, I thought ‘My Husband The Stranger’ was emotionally charged and very raw, with the split narrative working well to hone in on the important elements of the overall storyline. I suggest keeping an open mind with this book as, if you’re anything like me, your outlook on life will change a lot right up until you close the book. Thought-provoking and very intense, Rebecca Done certainly gave me food for thought.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – White Lies by Lucy Dawson (@LucyDawsonbooks) @Bookouture

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Be prepared for a a lot of white lies, and no home truths! I’m reviewing Lucy Dawson’s ‘White Lies’ on my blog today, as I take part in the blog tour organised by Bookouture! Big thanks to the publisher for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Alexandra Inglis is a respected family doctor, trusted by her patients to keep their most intimate secrets. And if sometimes the boundaries between duty and desire blur… well, she’s only human.

But when Alex oversteps a line with Jonathan, one of her patients, she knows she’s gone too far. Jonathan is obsessive, and to get what he wants he will tear Alex’s world apart – threatening not only her career but her marriage and family too.

Soon Alex finds she’s capable of doing almost anything to keep hold of her perfect life, as it begins to spin dangerously out of her control…

What does TWG think?

-dramatically falls on floor- I DON’T KNOW WHO OR WHAT TO BELIEVE ANYMOREEEEEEEE. EVERYTHING I THOUGHT WAS THE TRUTH WAS IN FACT A LIE!!! My head is screwed, seriously screwed. I mean, you convince yourself that what you’re reading is gospel, then all of a sudden a big ‘danger’ sign knocks you on the head and leaves you wondering what the fluffing fluff is going on!

Alexandra is in a position of power. She knows that, her husband knows that, and her patients know that. Would she really be that stupid to overstep that fine line, putting her career at risk for the sake of what….getting her leg over? Revenge? Desire? Surely there are other ways she can do that without putting the toe of her Jimmy Choo’s somewhere it doesn’t belong? Alexandra’s private life is a bit like walking on a sheet of ice. One wrong step and everything she has worked hard for will be broken and gone forever. Could she really do that to her children? Shouldn’t her husband have thought about that before he attempted to stand on the ice? Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and so is the truth. But what if what you thought was the truth, actually turned out to be a lie on top of another lie?

I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page. I went from feeling empathetic towards Alexandra, to feeling annoyed with her extreme level of stupidity, to then feeling sorry for her once again! Even through those changes of opinion, I still couldn’t work out when Alexandra was actually telling the truth. Either way, Lucy Dawson had me under her spell, and no, I’m not lying!

‘White Lies’ gripped me from the very beginning until the very end, keeping me in high suspense the entire way through. The split viewpoints worked exceptionally well as it meant I got to see the story from the other persons point of view, whilst also screwing up my head even further. ‘White Lies’ has the type of storyline which just proves that books can be addictive and get under your skin. I loved how gritty and psychologically draining the storyline was – it certainly kept me on my toes! I have to say that there were times where I found myself getting a little confused due to the amount of lies, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the overall vibe of the novel too much.

What a brilliant conclusion to a rollercoaster ride of a read – I genuinely didn’t see it coming and, even though the saying ‘expect the unexpected’ was apt for several other chapters, the fact that the author took her readers so far away from the truth they were in a different postcode, meant that I couldn’t expect anything, nor could I focus on the unexpected when I wasn’t even sure that it was true. Such a whirlwind of a novel that will funk up your head in a matter of chapters – corker of a book!

Buy now!

About the author.

I’ve been writing psychological suspense novels since 2008, when my first bestseller – His Other Lover – was published. I write full time (mostly on the playroom sofa) from my home in Devon, where I live with my husband and children. Before that, I used to interview the likes of Steps and SClub7 for a living, making absolutely no use whatsoever of my psychology degree from Warwick University, but it was a lot of fun. 

I’m addicted to writing about the extraordinary things that can happen to ordinary people – I like stories that jump in at the deep end, with a gasp. When readers take the time out to let me know they’ve stayed up all night because they couldn’t put the book down, it makes my day. 

I really enjoy catching up with readers and always reply to emails. You can reach me at lucy@lucydawsonbooks.com. I’m also on Twitter @lucydawsonbooks and have a Facebook page at lucydawsonbooks. Alternatively you can download a free short story of mine at www.lucydawsonbooks.com or if you want to look at a lot of pictures of the beach and books that I’m reading, find me on Instagram at lucydawsonbooks.