#SurvivingMe #JoJohnson @rararesources #blogtour #huntingdonsdisease #mentalhealth

Many thanks, RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in Jo Johnson’s blog tour for ‘Surviving Me’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn t match up to the ideal.

Tom has decided he doesn’t want to live. Adam wishes he had a choice.

Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.

If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

What does TWG think?

If you’re ever feeling a little tipsy and are needing to sober up pretty quickly, ‘Surviving Me’ will be the perfect thing to do just that. This book really opened my eyes to Huntington’s disease, something which isnt spoken about often. Unfortunately I, like many others, have been affected by suicide in one form of another, and Jo Johnson has incorporated that topic into the storyline via a male protagonist. According to various statistics, suicide amongst males is one of the biggest killers, so I was very impressed by the way in which the author gave that topic the spotlight it needed. Whether you’re male, female, animal; it’s okay to be sad, its okay to ask for help.

The relationship dynamics in the storyline were quite unique and astounding at the same time. Tom and Siri seemed to have issues with communication, with Siri herself being good at belittling her husband. Adam and Heather had issues with a belittling spouse as well, yet there seemed to be a lot more to their relationship than the readers were aware of.

I found the belittling spouses quite unsettling to read as, from someone being on the outside looking in, I didnt think it was right of them to do that. I loved Harry though, he was such a consistent character who definitely had his priorities straight.

I said at the start of this review that the storyline was very sobering, and what I meant by that was the way in which the story held it’s own with its poignancy and emotive topics.

Despite the seriousness of the book, I really enjoyed following the lives of four different people, and I ended up being completely blindsided by the revelations I came across – an all round, heartwarming and powerful read that will make you sit up and take notice.

Buy now.

#MessyWonderfulUs @CatherineIsaac_ @SimonSchusterUK @ed_pr #blogtour #bloggers

Next up is my review for ‘Messy, Wonderful Us’ by Catherine Isaac. Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and to Simon and Schuster for the ARC. Here is my review:

In late 1983, a letter arrives, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever.

More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.


When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family – and herself.

With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led far from home, accompanied by her best friend Ed.

But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future.

What does TWG think?

What would you do if you found out something that could threaten everything you have only ever known? Would you want to find out the truth despite being told to leave it? Or would you ignore what you had found out and carry on as normal?

I cant even answer that to be honest, and I dont think anyone could unless they were actually in that situation, and even then the answer could change multiple times!

Allie found a letter that took her breath away and left her questioning her entire upbringing, and she had to make the decision to either move on, or do a little bit of detective work. So, she decided on the latter….but at what cost?

As well as Allie’s dilemmas, her best friend, Ed, seemed to be beating himself up from the inside out. To him his marriage was on the rocks, but to his wife, Ed merely seemed ‘depressed’. It was pretty clear that Ed was joining Allie on her journey of self discovery.

‘Messy, Wonderful Us’ reminded me of a wood burner on a cold day; slow to heat up but when it was warm, it engulfed its surroundings in a powerful warmth that took my breath away and protected me in it’s own little fireball bubble.

The entire storyline was a magnetic force and beautifully written, and the fact that Allie’s job was researching cystic fibrosis was outstanding and gave the book even more of a unique edge.

Allie and Ed’s friendship is one that filled me with envy as it was just so genuine. I couldnt help but wish for a friendship like that for myself.

My heart was so invested in Catherine Isaac’s enticing story telling, I was bereft when the storyline came to an end! The attention to detail, scene setting, character development, relationship timelines were incredibly well thought out and made me able to envision all the finer details of the book as though I was there in person.

This was such a beautifully written, humbling, magical storyline which highlighted Catherine Isaac’s outstanding talent – I genuinely cannot fault this story at all. It has genuinely stolen my heart and soul. Such a stunning, stunning read.

Buy now.

Would you get in contact with someone you used to love, even though theres a chance they might not want to talk? #TheManILovedBefore @bookouture @AnnaMansell #blogtour

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Anna Mansell’s blog tour, and for providing me with an ARC. Here is my review:

‘Dear Ben, I can only write you this letter because I know you’ll never read it…’

When Jem writes to her ex Ben, it’s to explain everything. All the secrets she kept from him – from the little lies she’d sometimes tell about how new those shoes really were, or how many glasses of wine she’d had that evening… right up to The Big Thing that happened on the night that changed everything. But she never expects he will actually see what she’s written.

She is just writing because she thinks it will help to get the words out. Later, she resolves, she’ll burn the letter, and then the past will be in the past for good.

Because Jem is doing fine now. She’s busy: working, spending time with her best friend, and looking after her mother, who’s in remission from cancer. She’s even dating again and has just met a guy who she thinks she could actually fall for. At long last, Jem is really, definitely somewhere close to happy.

But her mum finds the letter and thinks she’s doing Jem a favour when she posts it to Ben. And Jem’s new, carefully rebuilt life begins to unravel in ways she could never have imagined. Then, when her mother gets ill again, she finds herself asking who has the key to her future. The man she’s falling in love with now? Or the man she loved before?

What does TWG think?

Theres a lot of various avenues to explore in ‘The Man I Loved Before’. Not only is Jem finding it difficult to get over the man who had her heart, her mum was in remission from cancer. And, if that wasn’t enough, Jem finds herself being pulled in directions that arent good for her emotional wellbeing that ends up threatening her friendship with her best friend.

I reckon a lot of readers would find it difficult not to be empathetic towards Jem. The situations she deals with is more than enough for several people to contend with, let alone just one. Of course the fact that Jem’s mum is in remission is clearly good news, however with something like that, you cant help but wait for it to return. Not only that, her mum didnt return to her usual self after the cancer.

I enjoyed the realism of the storyline as it focused on things that can happen to real life people, without pretending that life is hunkydory because, contrary to popular belief, it isnt always like that. I appreciated the angle of the book, even though it was emotional at times and very powerful.

When Jem found herself in a sticky situation later on in the book, it did bring memories back for me as I had been in a similar boat myself many years ago. It wasnt easy to read, but i respected the author for including a topic that is often seen as taboo. However (sorry), I felt that it overpowered the rest of the book and took my attention away from other scenes in the book that I felt were important.

‘The Man I Loved Before’ is a romantic, poignant, topical read which puts relationships to the test big time. I really enjoyed the heartfelt storyline but, most importantly, I loved how difficult topics were given their time to shine in attempt to help others understand. Something that Anna Mansell has Mansell exceptionally well.

Buy now.

It’s good for your children to make friends…#LittleFriends in fact….but is it? @janeshemilt @MichaelJBooks

Many thanks to the Michael Joseph/Penguin team for inviting me to take part in Jane Shemilt’s blog tour for ‘Little Friends’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Their children are friends first. They hit it off immediately, as kids do.

So the parents are forced to get to know each other. But as they get closer, they start to take their eyes off their children.

And while they have been looking the other way, evil has crept in.

Every parent’s biggest nightmare is about to come true…

What does TWG think?

Eve is a laid back parent. A parent who doesnt give her children as many boundaries as what her husband, Eric, would like. With a daughter who has dyslexia, Eve gets a little tutor group going for other children on a Sunday. What started off as an innocent tutor group ended up turning into something much more sinister.

‘Little Friends’ is told from the voices of Eve, Melissa, and Grace, the mothers of the children in the story. The great thing about the book being told from different perspectives meant that as readers, we get to hear the story from various angles instead of it being one sided from just one particular character.

I found this book an incredibly unsettling and uncomfortable read, yet I was unable to tear my eyes away from the disaster that was unfolding before my very eyes. I would love to delve further into what I read, however due to spoilers I would be very afraid to do so incase I accidentally tripped up.

Jane Shmelit has crammed a lot of content into her book, covering topics such as marital problems, grief, dyslexia, parenting troubles, mental health, abuse…the lot. Weirdly enough, I didnt feel overwhelmed by how much content there was as everything slotted in well to the premise of the book.

Even though I felt as though my body was encased in a block of ice due to the chilling nature of the storyline, I flew through the novel in no more than three hours. It was so dark, so compelling, so gut wrenching….I felt like I wasnt able to continue yet my brain seemed to have other ideas.

I feel bad for saying that I throughly enjoyed this book due to what the story contained, however I was SO impressed by Jane Shmelit’s way with words and the realistic picture she painted with her characters and the journeys they embarked on.

As unsettling as this may have been, I was absolutely hooked and I have a strong feeling that readers will struggle to keep this novel from their minds. A moving, sinister, memorable domestic thriller – not for the faint hearted!

Buy now.

If you’re holding out for a legal thriller, ‘TheHoldout’ might just be the one! @MrGrahamMoore @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour

Thank you to Tracy Fenton and Oriom for the blog tour invite for ‘The Holdout’ by Graham Moore, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?

‘Ten years ago we made a decision together…’

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed.

Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect.

The real killer could be any of the other ten jurors. Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?

What does TWG think?

Never mind ‘holding out for a hero’, I’m holding out for ‘The Holdout’! I’ve always wondered what it must be like to be a member of the jury and, weirdly enough, my obsession with ‘Ally Mcbeal’ has never really piqued my curiosity as much as I would have liked it to. Basically, I’m too nosy for my own good. So, when I saw Graham Moore’s novel appear on social media, I knew straight away that I needed to get my mitts on a copy. Did it disappoint? Why no, no it did not!

I’m not going to lie though, the storyline was, at times, a little beyond farfetched, something which I’m not exactly used to. However, I had to keep an open mind so that my own walls weren’t stopping me from enjoying the storyline in its entirety.

The concept of everything not being as it seemed is usually so predictable, yet this book completely threw that assumption out of the park! Every new page gave me something I wasn’t expecting, whether it be a new piece of evidence, an unlikely friendship, a different route for the story to take. I was honestly surprised by what I was reading and the way that the author delivered every new thing in such a punchy, memorable way.

I really was hooked by this suspenseful, punchy and eye opening novel. I have a feeling that this is the start of very good things for Graham Moore and his novels!

Buy now.

Is it a #FatefulCoincidence or does this series just get better and better? @QueenOfFireLas @RaRaResources

Thank you to Rachel for listening to my begging for my stop on this tour, and for the ARC. I am so excited to be reviewing the third book in the ‘Lisa Millar’ series by Lasairiona E. McMaster, ‘Fateful Coincidence’.

Five thousand miles from her ex, Lisa is living with her decision to call it quits and leave both AJ and Alabama behind. She believes she’s finally ready to put her broken heart back together and move forward with her life as a single woman.

But when she meets a seemingly too-good-to-be-true doctor, she feels both unsure of herself and guilty for moving on so quickly from her engagement to AJ.

Lisa finds herself at a cross roads, does she give up all hope of ever reconciling with AJ and take a chance on love again with someone new? Or is her heart destined to be forever entwined with the married man she met on the internet?

What does TWG think?

Before I go any further I need to say this; if you haven’t read the previous two books in the series yet and you’re thinking about reading this one, I urge you to read the books in order as each new book is a continuation. Even though you probably could get away with reading them as a standalone, I truly believe that you will get more from the story and the characters if you start their journey with them in book one. I dont say this lightly, but of course it’s only my opinion.

Right…..book three. Probably the one that made my eyes randomly leak off their own accord, a lot quicker than book two. Lisa did not have it easy in book two at all. She had gone through something so devastating and so emotional, I am actually surprised to see her attempting to rebuild her life. Not that I’m saying she shouldn’t do that, because damn right she should! What she went through was enough to traumatise the strongest people, let alone someone like Lisa.

‘Fateful Coincidence’ sees Lisa battling with her conflicting emotions, and Jeremy being the hilarious, loyal, pain in the panini we have all come to know and love.

One thing I do want to ask the author though….

The doctor….WHY?!?!?! I was so excited to see Lisa be true to herself and then suddenly the curveball came and put a final line in the sand where that was concerned (trying my hardest not to do spoilers!!!). Honestly, my eyes sprung a leak big time. I was absolutely devastated by the turn of events and it seem to catch me a lot more than I was expecting….not that I was expecting THAT to happen at all, but you know what i mean.

I actually felt quite sorry for Aiofe because she was being a loyal friend to Lisa, yet Lisa seemed to only contact Aiofe when she needed someone to talk to. I felt a bit bummed by Lisa’s actions and i couldnt help but think that she was being a little bit selfish at times. Dont get me wrong, when we are in a dark place we cannot see further than our own noses, however I could totally see where Jack was coming from later on in the book, that’s for sure.

Once again this book didnt leave my hands until I had read it in its entirety, and i bloomin loved it. The unique love story has made a mark on my heart in more ways than one and it’s been an absolute honour to get to know these characters on their journeys.

Jeremy, as ever, is still my most favourite pick of the bunch and I would love it if he had his own time in the spotlight. I think that everyone needs a best friend like him, and I am extremely jealous that I dont!

This series will always have my heart – simply brilliant.

Buy now.

I would LOVE to visit here! #TheItalianVilla @DanielaSacerdo3 @Bookouture #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Italian Villa’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Italy, 1938 – Elisa clings to Leo in the shadow of the Montevino mountains, the call to war ringing in her ears. They hatch a plan to wed in secret before Leo flees to the woods to join the resistance, and vow to find each other again when the war is over. But history has other plans…

Texas, present day – Callie Di Giacomo, a small-town waitress, is still reeling from the discovery that she’s adopted when she arrives in Montevino in search of answers about her real family – the keys to the stunning hillside villa she has just inherited clutched tightly in her hand. In her birthmother’s wardrobe grief-stricken Callie finds a diary belonging to a woman named Elisa Stella, one of Italy’s first ever female doctors, wrapped in pale blue ribbon.

Page by page, Callie is swept away by Elisa’s story, increasingly certain that their lives – and their fates – are somehow connected, and that the truth about her family is hidden somewhere within the crinkled yellow pages. But just when all the pieces look like they are falling into place, a devastating betrayal in the diary unlocks a heart-breaking secret about who Callie’s mother really is. Can Callie, like Elisa, find the light in her darkest moment and use it to spark a new future?

What does TWG think?

There was something just so humbling about the storyline behind ‘The Italian Villa, and the fact that it had some references to real life events really emphasised the importance of family bonds. It was heartbreaking to learn about what Italians went through during the war because of religion. I cant even begin to imagine what families went through during that time, and that’s merely my thoughts after reading about it!

I loved how the storyline was a dual timeline read, switching between the ‘present’ with Callie’s journey as she tries to find out where she came from, and the past via the diary written by Elisa. For a recently turned 21 year old, Callie had such an old head on young shoulders and her actions throughout the story didnt quite seem to match with the way her character was being portrayed. I’m not saying that that is a bad thing, however it left me feeling as though the overall storyline wasnt as seamless as it probably should have been.

‘The Italian Villa’ is such a picturesque, humbling novel which gives Italy the time in the spotlight to shine..and not just because of the beautiful sounding location. Callie’s story was both thought provoking and emotive, and overall I really enjoyed getting to know her and following her on her journey of self discovery.

Buy now.

#NewBeginningsatWynterHouse @EmilyHarvale @RaRaResources #review #blogtour #blogger

Huge thanks, as always, to Rachel for inviting me to take part in Emily Harvale’s blog tour today (and for the ARC). I am super excited to be reviewing yet another of this fabulous authors novels. Enjoy!

Neva Grey’s Christmas brought several surprises. Now a shocking secret has life-changing consequences for the Wynters, as the New Year brings revelations … and relatives to Wynter House.

It also brings Hazel Smart and Amelia Goodbody. And it’s not just Adam and Rafe Wynter who are pleased Hazel and Amelia have come to stay. Olivia Wynter will enjoy bossing nurse Hazel around and she also makes it clear Amelia – who is handling the marketing for Rafe’s new business venture – is far more suited to be her grandson’s girlfriend than Neva will ever be.

Whilst Amelia is ensconced at Wynter House, Neva is busy with her new hair and beauty salon in Merriment Bay. Perhaps she should enlist her niece, Sasha’s help because just when she thought she had found the love of her life, old secrets, ghosts from the past, and new arrivals might shatter all her dreams.

At least she has her best friend, Jo Duncan to lean on. But newly single, Jo is determined to have some fun, both at Wynter House and in Merriment Bay. And so is Adam Wynter.

This is book two in the Wyntersleap series but it can be read as a standalone. The Wyntersleap series is interlinked with the Merriment Bay series and several characters appear in both series.

What does TWG think?

Can I just start by saying that, even though the blurb does say that this novel can be read as a standalone, I wholeheartedly recommend that you do read the books in order so that you’re able to get the whole ‘Emily Harvale’ experience, and appreciate the characters and the storyline for their flow. Just my opinion of course.

I love being able to lose myself in one of Emily Harvale’s books, and ‘New Beginnings at Wynter House’ was no different. It felt like I had just opened the book before I was closing it again!

Neva doesnt beat about the bush and neither does Rafe! They say that ‘love moves in mysterious ways’, however I dont think I have ever seen it move so quickly! Can someone really fall in love with someone just like THAT? I’m only questioning it because I’m a slight cynic when it comes to that sort of thing! I’m not questioning it because I disbelieve the author…before anyone thinks that.

Anyway, there were a few characters which had me ‘pffffft-ing’ multiple times; Amelia and Jo. I knew straight away that Amelia was going to rub people up the wrong way, and rub Olivia up the right way. I mean, witches tend to migrate together, right haha? As for Jo, without giving anything away, I was quite surprised by the different side to her personality. I appreciate she had recently had a bit of trouble in her personal life, I just couldnt get to grips with the new her and it made me a little bit unsettled if I’m honest. Weird eh!

As always, Emily Harvale’s witty one liners make this story the triumphant read that it is destined to be. I loved the community spirit, the unconventional table talk, and Sasha’s brilliant personality. Mix those together with dry humour, a sprinkling of romance, and an overall tenderness that envelopes you like a big bear hug, and you end up with a story that you cant help falling in love with straight away. I guess falling in love at the click of fingers isnt just for people!

Did I say that I loved it?

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

#FiveWakesandaWedding @ComedyKaren @0nemorechapter_ @RaRaResources #review

Huge apologies to OneMoreChapter, Karen Ross and of course Rachel for my delay in posting this review. It was a complete error on my part, however I have just this moment finished reading ‘Five Wakes and a Wedding’, so I hope my review makes up for the delay.

(Thank you to the publisher for the review copy)

Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.

Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.
Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop. When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith. Because, after all, it’s her funeral…

What does TWG think?

As soon as I saw the title of this book, my interest was piqued straight away. You’ve no doubt heard of the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, so how about ‘Five Wakes and a Wedding’?

If you aren’t someone with a dark sense of humour that isnt afraid to giggle at the things that are a bit more farfetched, then I wholeheartedly suggest that you turn back now as you are more likely to be offended than anything else! For those who can laugh at things that arent deemed ‘appropriate’, or who doesn’t take themselves, or life too seriously, then you have come to the right place because this book is so wrong that its SO RIGHT!

For starters, death is what the storyline is centred around. Obviously grief is a very personal thing, as are funerals and, if you’re anything like Nina, you would agree that a person’s wishes regarding their final send off should be granted, regardless of how inappropriate their wishes may be. Personally I dont see the harm in having a not so typical funeral, why should I? As long as nobody else gets hurt in the process, i dont see the issue….to a point of course!

I thought ‘Five Wakes and a Wedding’ was such a brilliant, brilliant read. Death is usually seen as a macabre event, and no wonder, however the portrayal of it throughout the story was ingenious, humorous, heartwarming, memorable, and a true breath of fresh air.

I loved the random bunch of characters who, from afar, really shouldn’t have worked together, yet they fitted perfectly like puzzle pieces. Even the dog slotted straight into the fold as though he had been there all along! I thought Kelli Shapiro was bloody brilliant and definitely one of my favourites from the book.

Despite all of the giggles, Karen Ross leaves food for thought in her words along the lines of organ donation, life after death, same gender marriage, betrayal, infidelity, as well as many other topics. How the author managed to include a jam packed storyline without losing momentum is beyond me!

As I’ve already said, I throughly enjoyed every single that I read, and for a little while I was able to step away from ‘the norm’ and be a part of something so bonkers, so eye opening, and so cleverly done, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was still on this planet!

This genuinely light hearted giggle fest shouldn’t have worked, yet it definitely worked for me and left me with a massive beamer on my face. As far as I’m concerned, this book is a winner.

Buy now.

#TheLittleVillageLibrary @HJRolfe @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour #womensfiction

Many thanks Tracy Fenton and Orion for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Here is my review:

It takes a village…

Cloverdale is known for its winding roads, undulating hills and colourful cottages, and now for its Library of Shared Things: a place where locals can borrow anything they might need, from badminton sets to waffle makers. A place where the community can come together.

Jennifer has devoted all her energy into launching the Library. When her sister Isla moves home, and single dad Adam agrees to run a mending workshop at the Library, new friendships start to blossom. But what is Isla hiding, and can Adam ever mind his broken past?

Then Adam’s daughter makes a startling discovery, and the people at the Library of Shared Things must pull together to help one family overcome its biggest challenge of all . . .

What does TWG think?

What I love most about Helen Rolfe is the fact that she can take any subject and turn it into a story that people sit up and listen to. I expected this book to be a light hearted read….until I remembered that, whilst Helen Rolfe does write light novels, she always incorporates deep and highly emotive topics into her storylines. Sometimes this makes the overall vibe of the book less pillow soft and more bean bag soft, however I appreciate stories like that as life isnt all candy floss and rainbows. Life is difficult and I respect the author for keeping her storyline authentic.

Community spirit plays a huge part in ‘The Little Village Library’, something which is always a joy to see in books. Adam’s situation was one that I became invested in pretty quickly, and I felt like his character kept a lot of his personality back. Maybe he was too afraid to show his true self after what he had gone through, I’m not sure. On the other hand, Isla took a little bit of time to get used to. She wasnt my most favourite character and her holier than thou attitude really grated on me after a while!

All in all, ‘The Little Village Library’ is a warm, relatable story which isnt too afraid to highlight some rather emotive topics.

Buy now.