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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #ThreeDaysInFlorence by Chrissie Manby (@chrissiemanby) @JennyPlatt90 @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity

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Third and final blog tour of the day, and we head to Italy for my stop on the ‘Three Days in Florence’ tour! Huge thanks to Jenny Platt and Hodder Books for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Kathy Courage has never visited the famous Italian city of Florence before, so she’s thrilled when she and her boyfriend Neil are invited there for a wedding. Unfortunately, with Neil’s constant complaining and his teenage children in tow, it’s not exactly the romantic break Kathy was hoping for.

But when a mix-up with her flights leaves Kathy stranded in the city, she decides to embrace the unexpected and stay on alone.

What follows is a life-changing few days in the Tuscan sun, as Kathy begins to question the choices that have led her here. With the help of the colourful Innocenti family, who offer Kathy a place to stay, she gradually begins to realise that there’s a much bigger world out there, if only she can be brave enough to explore it.

Could Italy hold the answers to her future happiness? Or is Kathy destined to return to her old life?

What does TWG think?

Please say that I’m not the only one who thought that Neil and his kids were absolute doorknobs?!?! Oh, wait…that would make them useful. Ugh! I didn’t like them AT ALL…..if you hadn’t already guessed that. I just wanted Kathy to turn round to Neil and go, ‘you know what f’WIT, go to hell!’. But she didn’t. I think she would have been well within her right to do that though, wouldn’t you agree?!

Kathy has longed to visit Florence for as long as she can remember and, thanks to Neil’s brother getting married in that very city, Kathy is over the moon that she can finally step onto Italian soil. Best laid plans and all that meant that Kathy’s trip didn’t exactly go the way that she had hoped it would. I won’t spoil it for you, but judging by what I’ve said above, I’m sure you can guess who the culprit was!

Anyway, through lack of communication and clerical error by Neil’s PA, Kathy found herself staying in Florence longer than anticipated. Not that she would have complained!

Is it mean that I laughed out loud at Neil being annoyed? It wasn’t Kathy’s fault! I was so pleased that we were able to watch her personality flourish in her beloved city, and watch the person she has kept under wraps, finally spread its wings and be the person she is meant to be. Honestly, it was as though I reading about a completely new person and, as weird as this sounds, I felt proud as punch. It was as though she had had a lightbulb moment regarding her worth.

I really enjoyed getting to know the Innocenti family, and I absolutely loved being caught up in the beautiful story that Chrissie Manby had created. The underlying message about happiness and living life to the full, really hit home and is definitely something people should do their bests with. Life is incredibly short, so why should we spend it being unhappy and stuck in a situation that we had no say in?

‘Three Days in Florence’ is a home away from home novel which filled me with hope.

Buy now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Her Silent Cry by Lisa Regan (@LisalRegan) @Bookouture

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First of three blog tours today is my review of ‘Her Silent Cry’ by Lisa Regan. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC – I adore this series!

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Round and round she goes, blonde pigtails flying, her high-pitched giggle catching on the wind. But as the ride slows to a stop, her seat is suddenly empty. Little Lucy is gone…

When seven-year-old Lucy Ross is snatched from the carousel in Denton city park, Detective Josie Quinn joins the frantic search. She’s the one who finds Lucy’s sparkly butterfly backpack abandoned by the ticket booth, a note with a devastating message stuffed inside: answer your phone, or your sweet little darling will die…

The next day, Lucy’s parents are filled with hope when they pick up a call which they think is from their babysitter – but instead it’s a chilling male voice on the line. Josie races to the babysitter’s small apartment only to find her lifeless body in a tangle of sheets on her bed.

Josie is faced with the most high-stakes case of her career as each new phone call from someone connected to the family ends with the shocking discovery of another body. This twisted killer wants revenge, and he won’t stop until the Ross family are in pieces…

Something is telling Josie that Lucy’s parents aren’t giving her the whole truth, but digging deeper into their lives will force her to confront a life-changing secret of her own. Does Josie have what it takes to crack this case? She has no choice if she’s going to bring Lucy home alive…

What does TWG think?

Josie Quinn is back, ladies and gentleman! I cannot believe that we are on book six of the series already, I really hope there are plenty more of these books to come. If you haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, don’t starting panicking as each book can read perfectly well as a standalone. That said (as always), if you like to know more of the backstory of the characters you’re reading about, I would advise reading the books in order, especially as ‘Her Silent Cry’ doesn’t really show as much of Josie Quinn’s personality or history, like the other books do.

Now you see her, now you don’t. Literally. Seven year old Lucy was on a carousel one moment, and then the next it was as though she had disappeared into thin air. Detective Josie Quinn has seen more than her fair share of child disappearances, so she is well aware of the importance of time and getting the child back home sooner rather than later.

If only it was that easy….! There are a lot of dots to try and connect in this storyline, and I have to say that the author was exceptionally clever at not tripping up! I didn’t guess the outcome before it happened, instead I managed to scare the AHEM out of myself when I went downstairs and thought someone was behind me when in fact, it was just my hair and the kitchen light making it appear different. So yeah, the storyline is pretty atmospheric and realistic!

I was bowled over by the intensity of the book and the uncertainty of Lucy’s future. The not knowing is what made my blood run cold as I had everything crossed that she would go back home unharmed. Even though I admitted above that ‘Her Silent Cry’ doesn’t show much of Josie’s personality, I still felt as though we were able to see a different side of her than in previous books. I’m not saying that she never had a heart, however she did come across a lot more human than before, and the disappearance of Lucy really made Josie Quinn seem approachable and less like a Rottweiler.

‘Her Silent Cry’ is such an unsettling, uncertain, and brilliant novel which really tunes into the psyche of the characters and the outcomes of the choices they make in life. This series is one of the best series I think I have ever read, so more please!!

Buy now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now from Amazon UK

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

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

It’s never too late to live the dream…

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now from Amazon
Buy now from Kobo

#BlogTour! #Extract from #MummyNeedsABreak by Susan Edmunds (@SusanEdmunds) @AvonBooksUK

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Many thanks to Avon for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Mummy Needs A Break’ by Susan Edmunds! Seeing as it was my daughters 6th birthday on Wednesday, this particular mummy certainly needs a break! For my stop on the tour, I have the pleasure of hosting an extract from the book. Before I do, here is a little bit more about Susan Edmunds’ novel and the all important ‘to buy’ link. Enjoy!

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With a devilish toddler and baby number two on the way, Rachel’s big dream is to one day go to the toilet on her own. So, she’s surprised to discover that her husband has found the time to have an exciting affair while she’s been bringing up their family.

Suddenly, Rachel is left wrangling with a child who will only eat crackers and a 35-week bump. She knows even Mumsnet isn’t going to solve this.

What Rachel needs is a handsome, good-with-children, single man. But she can barely leave the house without a stain on her top and child on her hip. How on earth can she claim her life back, let alone thinking about dating?

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Extract.

I stared at him. An evening chorus of crickets had started up in the garden, highlighting the silence between us. I watched him struggle for words. My flicker of hope that there was a story to explain the messages evaporated. He had always become tongue-tied at the first hint of a lie and would avoid someone for months rather than risk a confrontation.

The back of my throat was caustic with heartburn and fear danced on my nerve endings. I had only just finished getting the baby’s room ready, and Stephen still had to put the cot back together. What had he done to us? To me?

I poured myself a glass of iced water, wishing it were wine, my hands shaking. It was only 8.30 p.m. What was I meant to do? I pondered calling a friend but what do you say:
‘Hello, nice evening isn’t it? I think I’ve just caught my husband having an affair.’
If it turned out he wasn’t, it would be witheringly awkward to make small talk with the neighbours at our next barbecue.

And if it transpired that he was – but we stayed together regardless – no one would look him in the eye. I could not imagine anything worse than turning up to drinks at my perfect friend Charlotte’s house and having everyone look at me, the scorned wife. Poor Rachel, stuck with a cheating husband and a new baby.