#Review – How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (@katherinecenter) @Panmacmillan @EllisKeene

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Maggie Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked so hard and so long for: her dream job, a fiancé she adores and the promise of a perfect life just around the corner. But on what should have been the happiest day of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a single catastrophic moment.

In hospital Maggie is forced to confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Charlie, wallowing in self-pity while demanding forgiveness. Then there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally there’s Iain, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Iain, who won’t let her give in to her despair, who makes her cry, but also manages to make her laugh . . .

Maggie’s new life is nothing like she expected. But could it be more than she had ever dared hope for?

What does TWG think?

I just want to say a quick sorry to the publishers for taking a little while to read the book they so kindly sent me (thank you Panmacmillan!).

When I picked up Katherine Center’s novel, ‘How To Walk Away’, I had received news that I was likely to end up being unable to move my left leg permanently, due to chronic health issues. I think there was something deep within my subconscious that was telling me to read this novel for a very good reason. I don’t read blurbs beforehand you see, so I was completely unaware of the theme of the book, but with the title of ‘How To Walk Away’, I merely assumed that maybe a main character needed to find the strength to walk away from something that wasn’t meant to be. Was I right?

Good question – both yes and no will answer that, and I will tell you why.

Maggie has the life she has longed for right at the end of her fingertips, ready for her to make it her own, ready for her to enjoy with every ounce of her being. Until one night where everything changes, where Maggie has to found the courage to walk away from something that will no longer never be, whilst also trying to find the strength to walk into a new life. It sounds so simple when its written down, doesn’t it?

Obviously I won’t go into detail about what happened that night, nor will I divulge what Maggie had to walk away from, however, the reason why my subconscious told me to read this book was due to how I would end up relating to the main character. Don’t get me wrong, what Maggie endured was absolutely catastrophic, and my own issues will never take that away from the character. That said, after receiving my own devastating news as I mentioned at the beginning, Maggie’s feelings ended up mirroring my own and in a weird sort of way, I found that quite therapeutic. I mean, I couldn’t exactly speak to random people and explain my situation as they wouldn’t have a clue what to say, yet because myself and Maggie had some similarities, I was able to tune myself into her feelings by having the courage in my own mind to sit there and go ‘omg, me too’ alongside someone going through a situation that was (very loosely), similar to my own.

I couldn’t help but feel extremely emotional whilst reading ‘How To Walk Away’, as the way in which Katherine Center wrote her characters lives was breathtakingly devastating. Their lives were written from the mind of someone who knows how to feel, and I can only assume that the author has endured her own fair share of heartbreak because the emotion covered in this book was natural, whilst also being written with such poise and power.

Maggie’s story highlighted how drastically relationships and friendships can change in the blink of an eye, with those changes making your place in someone else’s world extremely evident. You see, sometimes when things happen, the person involved may find themselves no longer fitting in to how somebody else views their future because of what has happened. I know, it hard, but it certainly shows the colours of those you thought you knew. Unfortunately for Maggie, that is what happened and my heart broke for her all over again. Surely if you love a person deeply, it won’t really matter whether they lose their arms/legs/hair etc, as they’re still the same person deep within. Right?

As you already are aware, ‘How To Walk Away’ brought extreme emotion out of my eyeballs and onto my pjs and bed – in other words, I sobbed. How could I not? Maggie’s journey is heart wrenching yet totally life affirming. For me, I read this book at the right time without even knowing it, and by golly am I glad that I listened to my subconscious.

‘How To Walk Away’ is a beautiful, beautiful story about learning how to live life again, whilst also learning how to love yourself despite the heartbreaking challenges you have had to face, or currently do face, without those who you thought would be by your side until the very end. This life affirming, powerful read will strip back your emotions, lower your guard, and take you on a journey of self discovery.

I was severely blown away by this book, and I genuinely cannot recommend it enough.

Buy now!

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#Blogblitz! #Review – One Winter’s Day by Laura Briggs (@paperdollwrites) @Bookouture

Happy publication day, Laura Briggs! I have the pleasure of kicking off the blog blitz today with a review – thank you to Bookouture for the ARC to allow me to do so. Here is my review:

If only falling in love was as easy as baking a cake… 

 Ama’s loved baking ever since she can remember. Desserts, cakes, cookies – anything sweet, delicious and sinful. The kitchen is the only place where she can be truly herself.

 But – as she starts work on the biggest cake she has ever made – for a couple’s magical winter wedding – she realises just how much she secretly dreams of falling in love too.

 Then she meets a handsome man on a motorbike who sets her pulse racing. But Ama knows it can never be. Because he’s her very traditional parents’ absolute worst nightmare… And she knows she can never let them down.

 Do her family know best? Or can she trust her heart? And, as the snow begins to fall, will she ever find out what really does go into the recipe for true love?

What does TWG think?

Can I just take a moment to say how stunning that cover is? Wow! Such an eye catching and enchanting cover – definitely the reason why I chose to read this book, that’s for sure!

Ama’s family like to think that they have her best interests at heart, whilst she on the other hand, can’t help but think that they’re sticking their noses into her business. With Ama and her family very cultural, her father wishes that she would find a partner in keeping with their tradition. Is it up to them to decide who she falls in love with? Hell, is it even up to Ama to decide who she falls in love with?

‘One Winter’s Day’ is split into the different outlooks of Ama, Tessa, and Natalie – three women who are completely different not only in personality, but their beliefs as well. You would have thought that working as wedding planners/designer/Baker together, that love would fall at their feet as quickly as it did for their clients. Ha….yeah right!

I must admit that I do like a novel with a wedding planner in it, as I like to be nosy and watch it all come together. This book was no different! That said, whilst I did enjoy the cultural differences where romance was concerned, I didn’t end up falling head over heels with it as I felt as though something was missing. Don’t get me wrong, the characters were brilliantly written separately, and I loved delving into their own journeys, but I felt as though things could have been a bit more energetic when it all came together.

Please don’t take the above as a negative as I did enjoy the book, and of course that is my own personal opinion!

Laura Briggs is very talented, and it’s clear that she writes with her heart and probably via her own experiences as they seemed naturally written rather than forced by Google. I thought that the book was very tender, humorous, and free spirited – I am really looking forward to reading more from this author!

Buy now!

About the author.

Laura Briggs is the author of several lighthearted romance novels and novellas, including the bestselling Amazon UK series A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage-style dresses (especially ones with polka dots) and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

 

 Author Social Media Links: 

Website: https://paperdollwrites.blogspot.com/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

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

 Goodreads: 

 https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/230209.Laura_Briggs?from_search=true

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Now!

About the author.

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

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

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

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

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

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Christmas Teashop of Second Chances by Donna Ashcroft (@donnashc) @Bookouture

I am thrilled to be able to share my thoughts of Donna Ashcroft’s latest novel with you all today, as I host today’s stop on the blog tour! Huge thanks, as always, to bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Snow is beginning to fall around the cosy Castle Teashop, with its toasty log fire, scrumptious mince pies and delicious hot chocolates. Romance is in the air and Lily King is hoping some winter magic will help to make her dreams come true…

Twenty-five-year-old Lily King is wondering when her life is going to start. She adores working at the much-loved Castle Teashop, surrounded by familiar faces and delicious cakes. But she’s stuck in a rut. She’s just been dumped by her boyfriend and her dream job seems to be slipping through her fingers.

When her best friend Emily Campbell needs urgent help to organise her enchanting Christmas wedding, Lily realises it’s finally her moment to shine and reach for the opportunities she’s been wishing for. Can she pull off the biggest celebration Castle Cove has ever seen or will something – or someone – make things more complicated than she imagined?

Rebellious and handsome photographer Josh Havellin-Scott has always felt like an outsider, especially next to his perfect older brother, who is about to get married. At the last minute, Josh finds himself roped into plans for the Big Day, the very last thing he wants to do, until he is meets creative and quirky Lily King…

When Lily and Josh are thrown together, it’s clear they couldn’t be more different. But they begin to realise that opposites can attract – and sometimes when you’re not looking for love, it comes and finds you when you least expect it. With some festive magic, will they manage to work together and save the day?

And could they discover a winter romance of their very own along the way?

What does TWG think?

Oh my mince pies, could this book BE anymore fabulous?!?! I really did enjoy the first book in the series, but I have to say that this festive delight is something else! I was hooked from the very beginning, intrigued about Lily’s personal past as well as what made Josh tick. Yes, Josh is one of those characters who you should instantly dislike due to his arrogant nature, however I couldn’t help but be taken under his spell almost straight away. How the holly and ivy Lily managed to be immune to his charms for a little while was beyond me!

Even though this story is full of tantalising, stomach rumbling treats and friendships to last a life time, the thing that got right under my skin in such a beautiful manner , was the cleverly incorporated ‘hidden’ theme which made me relate to Lily on such a deep level. Take it from me, we have all felt as though we aren’t good enough, and I am sure we have always ensured other people were happy before ourselves. And, I am also sure that a lot of us have put our emotions aside and done something because of someone else, ignoring our own personal feelings about the situation. Yes? Of course we have – we are human. It’s not until you sit back and think about it or, in this case, read it in black and white, that you realise you have been living your life in the way that other people would prefer you to. Before anyone says anything, I know that it is our choice as to how we live our own life, but sometimes emotions get the better of us, just like Lily’s in this book.

Lily’s situation caught me off guard, despite seeing some of myself in the character. Weirdly, it was quite emotional. I also think that a certain family member of Lily’s needs to get caught by some holly and ivy. What a bleeping bleep bleep they are!!

I absolutely loved this book from reading about the yummy treats, to following the characters around as they plan nuptials, to watching Lily and Josh’s journey play out. Donna Ashcroft’s novel is such a feel good, life affirming, huggable and touching novel which will leave you wanting to plan your own nuptials to Josh. He’s definitely my sort of guy! Why are all the good ones fictional?!?! Pfft.

Honestly though, this book gave me the feels and I couldn’t have wished for anything more as Donna Ashcroft ticked every single box. In my eyes, she is now the Mrs Claus of Christmas reads.

Buy now!

About the author.

Donna Ashcroft was born in London and grew up in Buckinghamshire. She went to university in Lancashire and, among other things, worked as a copywriter, buyer, waitress, secretary and marketing manager. 

Donna wrote novels for over ten years before being published. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and was a joint winner of the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. 
Donna loves a happy ending and is never happier than when she’s escaping into a romance novel or movie. When she’s not reading or writing she’ll probably be found hoovering … or negotiating with her teenagers about who is doing the washing up.

Author Social Media Links: 

Website: www.donna-writes.co.uk

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Donnashc

#BlogTour! #Review – The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse (@MrsAmandaProwse) @Ed_Pr


Happy October everybody! I can’t believe how fast 2018 is flying by! To kick off the new month, I am delighted to be on the blog tour for best selling author, Amanda Prowse. Many thanks to Ed Pr for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

When Rachel Croft wakes up on her family’s boat in Bermuda, it’s to sunshine and yet another perfect day…until she goes to wake her seven-year-old son, Oscar. Because the worst thing imaginable has happened. He isn’t there.

In the dark and desperate days that follow, Rachel struggles to navigate her grief. And while her husband, James, wants them to face the tragedy together, Rachel feels that the life they once shared is over. Convinced that their happy marriage is now a sham, and unable to remain in the place where she lost her son, she goes home to Bristol alone.

Only when she starts receiving letters from Cee-Cee, her housekeeper in Bermuda, does light begin to return to Rachel’s soul. She and James both want to learn to live again—but is it too late for them to find a way through together?

What does TWG think?

Amanda Prowse has been one of my all-time favourite authors for many, many years. I just adore the way in which the author is able to write about such devastating subjects with great poise and sensitivity.

For me personally, reading ‘The Coordinates of Loss’ didn’t feel like I was reading an Amanda Prowse novel as usually I connect to the storylines pretty much straight away, whereas this time I didn’t. I’m not saying that the storyline wasn’t emotive, because it was. Clearly! A child had gone missing, that’s enough to make anyone go stir crazy and want to break down! The thing for me though is that as readers, we didn’t meet Rachel’s little boy, Oscar, so I wasn’t able to connect with Rachel’s loss on the same level as to me, he didn’t enter the storyline to begin with. Does that make sense? I felt empathy towards Rachel and James. Goodness, I would have been ashamed with myself if I didn’t! It was just that all important connection that I found to be missing.

Amanda Prowse’s beautifully descriptive writing is once again on point as she describes the setting where Oscar went missing, enabling her readers to recreated the imagery in their own minds. I love that about this author as she never fails to bring her stories to life, despite just being ‘mere’ words on a page.

I thought that Cee-Cee’s input to the storyline was incredibly touching, highlighting the fact that people feel loss in a multitude of ways, with no way being ‘better’ than the others. The way in which the character reached out to the emotional parents was very heartwarming, and I truly felt that the understated housekeeper kept the storyline above water in a very magical way.

I cannot fault the emotional intent in this book as, even though I couldn’t connect with the meaningful emotion towards the situation itself, I was still able to feel empathy towards the characters, with their sadness and fear moving me time and time again. Personally, ‘The Coordinates of Loss’ wasn’t my favourite book by this author, but if I were to comment on the book as a whole without singling out the connection, I would say that Amanda Prowse has done herself, and the theme, very proud indeed.

A beautifully unique, emotive, and life affirming read which will highlight the importance of dealing with grief, as well as the different stages of loss. A powerful, powerful read.

Buy now!

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Coming Home to Maple Cottage by Holly Martin (@HollyMAuthor) @Bookouture


A late one this evening, sorry! Feel free to blame Strictly Come Dancing! Anyway, I am excited to be reviewing Holly Martin’s stunning new novel, ‘Coming Home to Maple Cottage’. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:


Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?

What does TWG think?

Oh Elliot, what a boy! My poor ovaries! That boy is my favourite character for sure – his personality is like sunshine on a rainy day. I just want to cuddle him!! If you’ve read any of the books in the series, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about! I have absolutely no idea how I managed to miss the second book, but I did. However, despite only having read the first book and then the third, I was able to slot back into Sandcastle Bay as though I had been there all along. In simple terms – you CAN read the books as a standalone with no problem at all. Although if you’re the type of reader who likes getting the background information on most of the characters, you might find it easier if you did read the books in order!

‘Coming Home to Maple Cottage’ focuses on Isla’s life with her little nephew, Elliot; a little boy who lost his dad at such a young age, and his mother even younger. But, with Isla having his back and loving him like he was her own child, little Elliot’s future is looking rosy. Well, as long as people stop sticking their noses into Isla and Leo’s business that is!

Be still my beating heart!!!! What a gorgeous, gorgeous book this is! Holly Martin never fails to capture my heart with her storylines and her well-rounded, colourful and beautifully written characters. Of course not all of the characters are lovely, as just like any place, there is always at least one person who is determined to stuff things up for other people. Why couldn’t people just leave Isla and Leo alone? What exactly would they benefit from watching the little family crumble before their eyes? It wasn’t fair and actually made me quite emotional as I just wanted Elliot to be settled and happy. Surely for a little boy of his age, that isn’t too much to ask?

The humour in this book was on point, as always, and I found myself holding my belly and crossing my legs whilst I laughed. I found that the giggles were just so natural and unforced, I couldn’t help but laugh with the characters. Hell, my face certainly got some exercise as my cheeks were aching from grinning so much! Not that I’m complaining obviously!

For me, ‘Coming Home to Maple Cottage’ is everything a romantic comedy/’chick lit’ should be and more, and that is down to Holly Martin engaging with her readers and making them believe that love is in the air. Like I have said many times, I’m not really a romantic person, yet I could feel the love between two of the characters and I believed it as though it was coming from my own heart and not theirs. I could feel the tenderness between the two characters, I don’t think that anyone would be able to miss it!

I adored every single word, every single joke, every single flutter of the heart, and every single line that Elliott came out with. I just loved this book from start to finish and I have everything crossed that the author doesn’t end the series with this book as I need to find out more. What happens to Isla and Leo afterwards?

‘Coming Home to Maple Cottage’ made my heart flutter, my belly laugh, my mind dream, and my cheeks ache – all the signs of an absolutely perfect, beautifully written, tender, and utterly divine read. I could read it over and over again and not get bored – more please!!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #MiniReview – What Was Lost by Jean Levy (@JeanELevy) @EmilyGlenister @DomePress

I am delighted to be sharing a mini review of ‘What Was Lost’ by Jean Levy, for my stop on the blog tour organised by Dome Press. Many thanks to Emily and the publisher for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

How would you live if you had no memories? And what if you were suspected of a terrible crime?

Sarah has no memories. She just knows she was found, near death, on a beach miles from her London home. Now she is part of a medical experiment to see whether her past can be retrieved.

But bad things seemed to have happened before she disappeared. The police are interested in her hidden memories too. A nice man she meets in the supermarket appears to have her best interests at heart. He seems to understand her – almost as if he knows her…

As she fights to regain her memories and her sense of self, it is clear that people are hiding things from her. Who are they protecting? Does Sarah really want the truth?

What does TWG think?

Geeeez! Can you imagine what it must be like to wake up one day and have absolutely no recollection of your past, remembering only minute details from when you were a child? I can only guess just how scary that must be, especially if you come face to face with loved ones, they know you yet you have absolutely no idea who they are or how they came into your life. What if you were romantically involved with someone and had no idea? What if people around you were telling you lies about your past, or feeding you pieces of information which you would then take as gospel, purely because you can’t remember a thing? Just thinking about it sends shivers down my spine!

Sarah finds herself under the watchful eye of people ‘who know best’ in the medical field. They say that they have her best interests at heart, but is keeping items from her past away from her, really the best way to go about it? Or, are they right in saying that Sarah needs to remember things naturally? ‘What Was Lost’ is a slow burner of a read which sets the scene of Sarah’s current life with the author drip feeding readers with information regarding to her past, courtesy of someone who said that they are from her past. I couldn’t help but have so many questions relating to the medical team who were supposedly supporting her recovery as, obviously I am not a medically trained professional, but something didn’t sit quite right with the way they were approaching the whole memories and interrogation. Maybe that’s just me, I don’t know. I just felt a little bit ‘off’ towards the whole thing.

I really did feel sorry for Sarah as people were coming into her home and not giving her the full picture, coming across as though they were hiding things from her. Why wouldn’t they give her a chance? What on Earth were they trying to hide?

I thought that Jean Levy’s story was very cleverly executed as she was able to bring the main character to life without explaining the bigger picture. I may not have had the entire truth for a large proportion of the book, yet there was just something so gripping about the storyline which made me want to stay and search for that bigger picture. The final puzzle piece if you will. The psychological aspect of the book was bang on as even I struggled to keep my mind on the straight and narrow, despite not being directly involved in Sarah’s life!

‘What Was Lost’ is a highly gripping, intriguing and powerful read, which has been written with such intense detail that the storyline seemed to speak for itself without us knowing the full story. Very, very impressed!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Man You Meet in Heaven by Debbie Viggiano (@DebbieViggiano) @Bookouture

thumbnail_The Man You Meet in Heaven - Blog Tour
Happy publication day, Debbie! Here is my review of her brand new novel, The Man You Meet in Heaven’. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC.

thumbnail_The-Man-You-Meet-in-Heaven-Kindle
When Hattie Green pops to the shop one afternoon, she never expects her life to flash before her eyes between the tins of baked beans and a special offer on sliced white. One minute she’s loading her trolley and thinking about what to give her son for dinner, and the next she’s speaking to a gorgeous man in a glowing white suit about what her life could have been…

If you had the chance to go back and relive it all, what would you do differently?

Go on that date, take that promotion… eat that second biscuit? Hattie is about to discover where she went wrong, but will her mystery second chance reveal some STONKING secrets in her past that probably should have stayed hidden?

What does TWG think?

I must say – I wasn’t expecting this!

Hattie has told herself that she would rather be single and with her son, than with a man. However, the people in the clouds didn’t seem to agree with what Hattie had decided, as one minute she was minding her own business in a supermarket, and then the next she was…..well, let’s just say that she was no longer in the supermarket!

At first I wasn’t not taken with the idea of a ‘man in heaven’ and the whole modern day ‘Ghosts of Christmas pasts’…except that it wasn’t Christmas, but I’m sure you catch my drift. I couldn’t help but find it overly bonkers…even for me. However (sorry, put your heart back in your chest), once I stopped thinking how bonkers it was and started to think about the message the author was trying to convey, the storyline and cloud walking started making a lot more sense and, you know what, I ended up having a massive lightbulb moment. I know, it doesn’t happen often (yes, I was as shocked as you!).

Hattie has the chance to look back on her life and view her reactions to situations she found herself in, whilst also trying to rid herself of the demons which have been stuck to her like glue ever since. Again, no spoilers, but several of Hattie’s situations were incredibly emotional to read, and very hard hitting. Be prepared, whilst Viggiano’s novel may be full of giggles, cloud discos and rainbows even Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony would be proud of, it does contain a lot of relatable and rather deep scenarios that hit home.

If, like Hattie, you had the chance to do things all over again, would you? What would you change? Would you change the way you reacted to things? Or would you end up forgiving yourself? Personally, I, like Hattie, would struggle to look back on my life as several of her situations mirrored mine. That said, would I change my reactions to things? Yes. But, seeing as I can’t do that, I am now even more aware that I hold the keys to how I react to situations.

‘The Man You Met in Heaven’ started off as ‘hmmm’ of a read, but by the end of the book I found myself taking on board Josh’s advice as it made perfect sense.

All in all, I thought the message the author conveyed in her storyline was very cleverly woven into her storyline, and very well thought out. It certainly gave me food for thought and I’m sure it will be the same for many others, too. A heartfelt, touching and inspirational read.

Buy now!

About the author.
Prior to turning her attention to writing, Debbie Viggiano was, for more years than she cares to remember, a legal secretary. She lives with her Italian husband, a rescued pooch from Crete, and a very disgruntled cat. Occasionally her adult children return home bringing her much joy… apart from when they want to raid the fridge, or eat her secret stash of chocolate. Follow Debbie’s (intermittent!) blog: www.debbieviggiano.blogspot.com Tweet @DebbieViggiano or look her up on Facebook!

Author Social Media Links:

Website: www.debbieviggiano.blogspot.com

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper (@ItsEmmaCooper) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

emmacooper
It’s my turn to host Emma Cooper and ‘The Songs of Us’ today! Thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

The Songs of Us Cover

If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.

If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life’s heart.

But if they hadn’t seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.

What does TWG think?

Can someone please pass me more tissues?

I’m not even joking! Oh my god. I finished reading ‘The Songs of Us’ late Sunday night, and I STILL am trying to fight the urge to burst into tears when I think about this book!

Okay, okay, I’ll admit that there were a lot of moments where I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud at Melody’s actions, with one quote having me bent over double in hysterics; ‘swerve to the left, swerve to the right’. Obviously it will make sense for those who have already read the book, but if you haven’t read it yet, go…..go!!!!

Before anyone thinks that I am being a nasty moo moo by what I said above about laughing at Melody’s actions, just hear me out. I wasn’t laughing at the fact that Melody had a condition a bit similar to Tourette’s, where she ended up singing in public spaces anytime she became stressed. Not at all, because a health condition isn’t funny. However, it was the songs at the right (or wrong) moment which were cleverly written into the storyline, making Melody who she was. Of course I felt for her when she ended up doing the dance moves to a song when she was in a ‘serious’ situation. I can’t even begin to imagine how that must have made her felt, but I thought she handled it brilliantly with great humour, which in turn made me feel as though I was allowed to laugh along with her, even though I felt bad. Does that make sense?

Whilst there was a lot of humour in the storyline, there was also a lot of heartache and devastation. I shan’t go into detail as that wouldn’t be fair on the author or the readers, but please do trust me when I say that ‘The Songs of Us’ is a tearjerker. Melody’s situation does govern a lot of the book, however, her children, Flynn and Rose, also have their own fair share of turbulence as they try to combat their own teenage emotions. I love how the storyline is told from several of the characters points of view, as I felt as though I  was able connect with them on a much deeper level as it was more of a ‘one to one’.

‘The Songs of Us’ left me sobbing my heart out. I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely devastated by the concluding part of the storyline, and no I don’t mean that in a negative way. It was as though I could feel my heart shattering into millions of pieces, the tears were just falling from my eyes. Emma Cooper has written an outstanding, powerful, devastatingly beautiful, heart wrenching, emotional, humorous, and utterly, utterly brilliant novel which has given me the biggest book hangover I have ever had in my life. Yes, I am exhausted from the amount of tears I shed, but holy cannoli was it worth it!

Honestly, what a diamond in a rough of a book this is and, despite having read 282 books already this year, ‘The Songs of Us’ has swooped into the sought after top spot of my most favourite books of 2018, and I don’t think it will be leaving anytime soon! I’d even go one better and say that this book is now an all-time favourite read of mine, ever!

This book truly deserves to be turned into a movie for the big screen, and the songs covered in the book need to be brought out as a soundtrack to Melody’s life, so that everyone can #beabitMelody when they feel as though their life is knocking them down.

Grab your tissues, turn off your phone and prepare yourself to be swept away by Emma Cooper’s incredibly moving, beautifully written novel – this is absolutely perfection (and yes, my eyes are STILL incredibly puffy!)

Buy now!

About the author.

Emma Cooper is a former teaching assistant, who lives in
Shropshire, with her partner and four children. Her spare time consists of writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day.

Emma has always wanted to be a writer – ever since her childhood, she’s been inventing
characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend ‘Boot’) and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.

The Songs of Us was inspired by Emma’s love of music and her ability to almost always
embarrass herself, and her children, in the most mundane of situations. She was so fascinated by the idea of combining the two, that she began to write Melody’s story. Working full-time with a large family meant that Emma had to steal snippets of ‘spare’ time from her already chaotic and disorganised life; the majority of her novel was written during her lunchtime in a tiny school office.

She never expected to fall so deeply in love with the King family and is overwhelmed that others feel the same. 

#BlogTour! #Review – Love at the Northern Lights by Darcie Boleyn (@DarcieBoleyn) @canelo_co

Love at the Northern Lights blog tour
I am super excited to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘Love at the Northern Lights’ by Darcie Boleyn. Thank you, as always, to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Love at the Northern Lights Cover
 ‘Climbing out the window in her dress and tiara wasn’t exactly how
Frankie imagined her wedding day…’

Runaway bride Frankie Ashford hops a plane to Norway with one goal in mind – find her
estranged mother and make peace with the past. But when a slip on the ice in Oslo lands
her directly in Jonas Thorsen’s viking-strong arms, her single-minded focus drifts away in the winter winds.

When it comes to romance Jonas knows that anything he and Frankie share has an
expiration date – the British heiress has a life to return to in London that’s a world away from his own. But family is everything to Jonas and, as the one man who can help Frankie find the answers she’s seeking, he’ll do whatever it takes to help her reunite with her mother.

Now, as Christmas draws closer and the northern lights work their magic Frankie and Jonas will have to make a choice…play it safe or risk heartbreak to take a chance on love.

What does TWG think?

Oh my goodness me, where do I even start with my review of this book?!

Have you ever felt obligated to go through with something, just so that you don’t upset the apple cart, aka ‘family’? Haven’t we all?

How many of you have said ‘yes’ to doing something without even thinking of yourself in the process? Again, haven’t we all?

It’s Frankie’s wedding day and she isn’t exactly feeling, how can I put this….in the marital mood. Her friends and family are all around her, ready to support her on her wedding day, but unless Frankie is there to support herself, what chance does she have for a happy marriage and a happy life?

Without her mum there to give her last minute advice, Frankie’s dad steps in to do the honours. Will she listen to a man who is so governed by his own mothers opinion that he’s lost sight of his own identity? Or will she do what she feels is right for everyone else?

What a beautifully written, engaging, humorous and utterly perfect read! I wish I could sit here and discuss all of the bits of the book which made me go ‘OMGGGGG’ or ‘awwwww!!!’ or ‘oh wow!’. But I can’t. For someone who has a big mouth (me that is), it’s incredibly difficult being vague about this book – it is totally worth it though!!

Frankie is the sort of character who I warmed to instantly. Her personality was invigorating. Her outlook on life was relatable, and her flourishing, gut instinct was a joy to watch.

‘Love at the Northern Lights’ isn’t just a book about a wedding and the Northern Lights, it is so much more than that. Honestly, this storyline kept on giving every time I turned the page! Every single chapter made me feel as though it was my birthday due to the love, the joy, and the heartwarming moments which made me smile from ear to ear.

This book is everything I could have wished for in a book, and then some. Darcie Boleyn, in my humble opinion, has written her best book yet. Not only has the author incorporated a situation into the storyline which a lot of readers may find themselves relating to, she has also brought her characters alive with the power of her own heart. It’s very clear that Darcie Boleyn believes in her characters and what they signify, because if she didn’t, this storyline would not have come across as powerful and touching as it ended up being.

You’ve either got the that fire in your belly to create a storyline which evokes a reaction both heartwarming and emotional in one sentence, or you haven’t. Darcie Boleyn certainly has that fire, and she has that heart because I’ll tell you something for nothing, stories like ‘Love at the Northern Lights’ cannot be googled, as it takes an extremely special writer to produce a novel like this.

One of the best books I have read so far this year, ‘Love at the Northern Lights’ brightened up my night in a way I never knew was possible. A beautiful, beautiful portrayal of life, loss, forgiveness and love – I was absolutely devastated to say ‘goodbye’ to such a wonderful bunch of characters. Darcie Boleyn has outdone herself massively with her latest release – I urge you all to grab a copy as you will NOT regret it. Just….wow, wow, wow.

Buy now from Amazon UK

About the author.

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at
books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an
overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to
become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far
away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate.

Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.