#BlogTour! #Review – #TheLibrarianOfAuschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (tr: Lilit Zekulin Thwaites) @Tonilturbe @EburyPublishing @PenguinUKBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

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Third tour of the day is for a book which I am humbled to be hosting on TWG today; ‘The Librarian of Auschwitz’ by Antonio Iturbe, translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Ebury, Penguin Books for the ARC. Here is my review:

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‘It wasn’t an extensive library. In fact, it consisted of eight books and some of them were in poor condition. But they were books. In this incredibly dark place, they were a reminder of less sombre times, when words rang out more loudly than machine guns…’

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…

What does TWG think?

I really have no idea how to review this book to be honest. It’s not that I didn’t like it because, as weird as this sounds given the topic of the book, I did really enjoy it. I mean, this book is about the prisoners of Auschwitz and the Nazis. I don’t feel qualified enough to comment on the devastations of that time, does that make sense? Obviously I am going to, but I apologise in advance if I just ramble!

‘The Librarian of Auschwitz’ is based on the true story of one of the prisoners in the camp, Dita Kraus, written in the book as ‘Dita Adler’. There are some parts of the storyline which have been fictionalised – good luck to those trying to work out which bits are which! Of course, if you googled every single thing in the book, I’m sure the fictional pieces will jump out at you! I did end up googling some things whilst I was reading the book, not because I wanted to double-check that it was factually correct, but more so because I wanted to see the faces of the imbeciles who led people towards their deaths. Not just a small handful of people, not that that would make it any easier to swallow, but an estimated 1 million people. ONE MILLION!

At times I struggled to believe what I was reading. The fact that the SS soldiers and the Kapo were so blasé about what they were doing, sent chills up my spine. What possessed them to get caught up in Hitlers dirty work? How could they live with themselves knowing that they had sent innocent people, including young children, to their deaths? At one point in the book, the story described just how one young child was sticking their tongue out at a solider as they were being put into the chamber. Heartbreaking.

I was in awe at Dita’s strength as, for such a young girl, she clearly had to grow up very quickly to be able to get through the things that she did. She saw people die right before her very eyes. She protected her mother from a situation which could have turned out a lot worse if she hadn’t. She made friends with children one day, only to hear that they have been removed from the camp and sent to a chamber. No way of saying goodbye. No way of protecting people who came to be like an extended family. Dita’s hands were tied, and at times that was quite literal.

Just like the title suggests, there was a library in Block 31. Hang on, let me correct that. There was a SECRET library because, if prisoners were found with books on them, it warranted a death sentence. Death. Because they read a book. I’m literally shaking my head here. And, seeing as Dita ended up being the librarian for Block 31, and responsible for the collection of the five books in the block, she had literally put herself in the firing line knowing full well what the outcome would be should she be caught. Yet her love for books, according to her, was worth playing with death for.

Alongside Dita’s journey, we also follow the lives of several other figures such as Fredy Hirsch, leader of Block 31, and Dr Mengele, a man who liked conducting inhumane experiments on the prisoners….just because he could. There are a lot of other historical names noted throughout this book, a lot of which don’t deserve their names in print, but unfortunately it’s an important part of our history.

Before reading ‘The Librarian of Auschwitz’, I had obviously heard about the gas chambers and such, but I had never read a book with Auschwitz at the forefront of its storyline. I am glad that I finally decided to read about the devastation of those years, and finding out little details which helped the prisoners during that time, such as coming together and singing songs on the way to the chamber. Unity at such a dark time.

I don’t think I will ever understand the why’s and wherefores about this particular subject, but, thanks to Antonia Iturbe’s outstanding writing, I am determined to broaden my knowledge. It’s a shame that me doing that won’t change the situation for the thousands and thousands of people who lost their life, but it’s a small way of honouring the memory of the survivors.

‘The Librarian of Auschwitz’ moved me, devastated me, and left me utterly broken. Nothing at all compared to what people endured at the hands of the Nazis I know. It goes without saying that Antonio Iturbe has written a heart wrenching novel, simple because you would need to be made of stone to not be moved by even a little detail in this book. I am blown away by the amount of research it must have taken in order to complete this book. I, like I said at the start, am blown away by Dita Kraus, especially as she retraced her steps many years later.

One of my top books of all time, ‘The Librarian of Auschwitz’ is an emotional, harrowing novel which details some of the heartbreaking events from Auschwitz. A book which I will never, ever forget.

Buy now from Amazon

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#BlogTour! #Review – Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech (@LouiseWriter) @OrendaBooks @AnneCater #CallMeStarGirl

This lady needs no introduction, so, all I will say is I am HONOURED to be hosting the bird who wrote ‘Call Me Star Girl’ on the blog today. Huge thanks to Anne and Orenda Books for the blog tour invite, and to Jen for buying me a signed copy! Here is my review:

Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours


Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.
Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

What does TWG think?

‘Starrrrrrrr, that’s what they call meeee.’

Got to love Kiki Dee!

Wow, wow, wow – what a striking read. I finished this book in the early hours of the morning a couple of days ago, with my eyes glistening with unshed tears for our Star Girl. I was bereft. Empowered. Emotionally drained. I was overcome with feelings that I struggled to file away. ‘Call Me Star Girl’ isn’t book with Radio 2 at the core. It’s a book which takes both the readers, and the characters, on a journey they will never, ever forget.

How far would you go for love? I don’t mean washing your partner’s soiled pants, or clearing up their puke when they’re poorly. I’m talking about things a lot more complicated than that. Would you move heaven and Earth for your one and only, refusing to look anywhere other than the ground that they walk on? See, Stella showed love as an obsession. An obsession which clouded her judgement and looking at her life through rose coloured glasses. They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – just look at Stella’s mother for example. I won’t divulge why, but it will all make sense once you come across that particular character.

Stella’s love life isn’t the only concerning thing in this book. Nope. Someone has lost their life. An act of revenge? Or an accident? Stella, thanks to her job in the radio station, hears on the news reports regarding that devastating night and, thankfully, she can look at the situation from afar. Not for long though. How does the death of Victoria Valbon, concern Stella? And why is someone being a smart alec?

Atmospheric would be one word to describe this particular storyline, but in all honesty, I think the words ‘bloody outstanding’ work a lot better. Louise Beech left me in a predicament I had never found myself in before, thanks to a storyline which, if you looked in the dictionary under the word ‘unique’, you’ll find that the definition is ‘Call Me Star Girl – Louise Beech’.

This is a story that highlights the beauty of books. A story which had me so overcome with emotion, my tears refused to flow. A story so unique, its left an imprint on my soul. Louise Beech is an exceptionally talented, majestic, and enchanting author who writes with incredible passion, poise, and sheer brilliance.

One of the best books I think I have ever read, ‘Call Me Star Girl’ is everything that’s right with the literary world.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts (@_caroroberts) @FictionPubTeam @emiliechambs #PuddingPantry

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Beyond excited to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Caroline Roberts and ‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’! Huge thanks to Emilie from Team Harper Fiction for the blog tour invite and ARC! Not only will I be reviewing the book today, I also have a recipe to share with you all too, so don’t forget to keep reading after the review!

Rachel's Pudding Pantry
Step inside Rachel’s farmhouse Pudding Pantry, a place where love,
laughter and scrumptious bakes bring everyone together.

Primrose Farm is Rachel’s very own slice of heaven. Come rain or shine there’s always a pot of tea brewing by the Aga, the delicious aroma of freshly baked puddings, and a chorus of happy memories drifting through the kitchen.

But the farm is in a spot of trouble. As the daffodils spring, Rachel must plant the seeds of
change if she wants to keep the farm afloat, and it’s all resting on a crazy plan. She’ll need one family cook book, her Mum Jill’s baking magic – and a reason to avoid her distractingly gorgeous neighbour, Tom . . .

Swapping their wellies for aprons, can Rachel and Jill bake their way into a brighter future?

The proof will be in the pudding!

What does TWG think?

I’m just going to cut a slice of cake and get straight to the point here. ‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’ is one of my favourite reads of 2019 so far! The storyline wasn’t overcooked, nor did it have a soggy bottom. Instead I was hooked by the tantalising relationships between the characters, the cumbersome issues that arose, the fantastic pairing of both sweet elements and sour elements. My taste buds were tickled, my stomach was growling like a caged lion, and my heart swelled with pride like a perfect soufflé. Yes, ‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’ is my idea of the perfect escapism, the perfectly baked Victoria sponge cake, and the melt in the mouth meringue. I adored the softness of Rachel’s personality alongside her fiery, mummabear nature. She was such a fun character to get to know, and her little girl, Maisy, had me laughing out loud multiple times. The phrase ‘out the mouth of babes’ is absolutely spot on where she is concerned!

Caroline Roberts’ delectable new novel isn’t just about how many sweet treats the characters can shove down their gusset. Yes, it may seem like it at times, but believe it or not, underneath the sweet and perfectly risen exterior lay a surprising and complex bunch of flavours. In simple terms, there is a lot more to this story than several servings of spotted dick! Rachel is a single mum. She would do anything for her little girl, so when Maisy’s father makes a random appearance, Rachel can’t help but feel slightly nervous about the situation.

Not only that, both Rachel and her mum, Jill, haven’t exactly had the easiest of years due to the incident with her father. I’ll try to not give too much away here, but I felt Rachel’s pain as something similar happened to me with my father two years ago. I was moved and to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting a book like this to contain something so raw. I’m not complaining at all as it gave the book a very cleverly placed depth. I just found it a lot more emotional than I originally thought.

So, like I said before, there is A LOT more to ‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’ that meets the eye, and it really is one of a kind. I have read many books which have been set on a farm, but never have I ever read a book where the farm animals are characters in their own right! Can I have my own Pete, please?!

If you’re a fan of sweet things, both food wise and romance wise, ‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’ will be the perfect accompaniment to any bookshelf. Caroline Roberts has certainly channeled her inner Mary Berry where this storyline is concerned, and if I could award anyone with the covet Star Baker award, Jill would be the winner hands down!

Such a wonderful, enriching, little slice of heaven – ‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’ is such a heart-warming, delectable, more-ish novel which I would eat….I mean, read, time and time again without getting bored.

‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’ will be published 18th April. Pre-order now from Amazon.

Recipe!

Irish Cream Cheesecake

Note from Caroline: This is one of my (and my friends’) all-time favourite cheesecakes – it’s very easy to make and involves no baking as such!

Serves 8-12

175g digestive biscuits
70g unsalted butter
275g full fat cream cheese
150ml double cream
Half a can of condensed milk (about 200g)
4 x 15ml spoons (tbsps.) Irish Cream liqueur
8-10 large chocolate chips/chocolate curls or chocolate coffee beans to decorate

Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin, or whizz in a food mixer until evenly crushed.
Melt the butter in a pan, add biscuits and stir through to mix well. Spoon into a deep 20cm/8 inch flan dish (one with a push-up base or clip side release would be ideal). Press into place with the back of a dessert spoon around the base and sides of the dish. Chill in the fridge whilst you do the next step.

Place cream cheese in a bowl, add the cream and condensed milk and beat until thick with an electric hand whisk. Slowly add the Irish Cream and beat again lightly to mix through.

Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Decorate with your chocolate garnish at equal spaces around the outer circle area, ideally one garnish per slice.

This makes a gorgeous dinner party dessert or why not slice up a treat with a cup of tea or coffee. Serve with friends!

#BlogTour! #Review – Maybe Baby by Carol Thomas (@carol_thomas2) @RaRaResources

We have reached the end of the blog tour for ‘Maybe Baby’ by Carol Thomas, where I will be sharing a review for my stop on the tour. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC.

Just when you thought you had it all worked out …

Best friends Lisa and Felicity think – maybe, just maybe – they finally have everything sorted out in their lives.

Lisa is in a happy relationship with her old flame, and busy mum Felicity has managed to reignite the passion with her husband, Pete after a romantic getaway.

But when Lisa walks in on a half-naked woman in her boyfriend’s flat and Felicity is left reeling from a shocking discovery, it becomes clear that life is nothing but full of surprises …

What does TWG think?

If you’ve read Carol Thomas’ previous novel, ‘The Purrfect Pet Sitter’, you might find that you’ll be recognising one or two of the characters in this book! That’s right, Lisa and her gang of furry friends are back! I do believe that this can be read as a standalone as the author explains any references to the previous book, so don’t worry too much if you haven’t read it yet.

Once again I found the storyline very hard to get into at first. There wasn’t the immediate hook that I would have hoped for, but seeing as the same thing happened with book one and I ended up really enjoying it, I decided to bide my time and hope that Lisa and Felicity were going to do more than a job along the prom.

And they did! After several chapters of being unsure, I was able to lose myself in the drama surrounding the not so mysterious woman who popped up in Lisa’s boyfriends flat, as well as the drama with Felicity’s knife tongue MIL, Sue. Plus, Felicity’s kids had me in hysterics – out the mouth of babes 100%. Brilliant.

The further into the book I got, the more I fell in sync with what was going on – there are a lot of surprises!

‘Maybe Baby’ does what it says on the tin, so to speak, and I adored watching that theme flourish throughout the book. Obviously I can’t say too much but the happiness and joy was evident, pouring out of the characters like a waterfall. I’m no softie yet even I found myself getting a little emosh!

A joyful, lighthearted and uber touching read – even my cheeks hurt from smiling so much!

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US

About the author.

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively young Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and taught in primary schools for over fifteen years, before dedicating more of her time to writing. Carol is a regular volunteer at her local Cancer Research UK shop. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local cafes working on her next book.

Carol writes contemporary romance novels, with relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads.

Visit Carol Thomas’ blog.

#BlogTour! #Review – Island in the Sun by Janice Horton (@JaniceHorton) @RaRaResources

Many thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Island in the Sun’ by Janice Horton, as well as the ARC. Here is my review:

When successful jewellery designer Isla Ashton unexpectedly inherits her eccentric Aunt Kate’s Caribbean island, she is obligated to return to the place she associates with heartache and regret. To where she grew up and fell in love with her childhood friend, Leo Fernandez. Fully intent on selling the island and finally putting the past behind her, Isla is soon compelled to put together the pieces of what really happened on a fateful night ten-years before.

She begins to believe that in going to prison, Leo hadn’t only been shielding her from the same fate. She also starts to suspect that her late Aunt hadn’t been entirely honest in sending her away under the guise of recriminations. Who had they both been protecting and why?

What does TWG think?

Can you tell that summer is on the way? No? Well you should, because if you don’t, ‘Island in the Sun’ will be changing that before you can choose your seat on your TUI flight!

I wasn’t feeling this book at first to be honest. An entitled, high and mighty family member with the power newly bestowed upon her to either make a community stronger, or ruin a lot of peoples lives. It was Isla’s arrogance that irked me, and like I say, the fact she thought she was entitled because of what and who she came from. It just bugged me – it took me a little while to gel with the storyline and to try and understand where it was heading.

The more of the story I read, the more Isla began to make sense and, the more her past was uncovered, the more I felt empathy towards her. Ironic really, isn’t it? It just goes to show that an authors attention to detail is paramount when it comes to a reader disliking, or liking a novel. Thankfully I ended up being the latter despite my uncertainty at the start.

I loved the setting and imagining feeling the sand between my toes and the warmth of the sun on my cheeks. Janice Horton brought that to life beautifully. I honestly think it’s one of the best settings I have ever had the pleasure of losing myself in.

‘Island in the Sun’ is a sunshine on a rainy day type of book, which blends both romantic situations with emotional and devastating events in a touching and enriching manner. It really was a joyful and pleasant read, perfect for staycations and vacations.

Buy now!

About the author.

Janice Horton, also affectionately known as the backpacking housewife, writes contemporary romantic fiction with a dash of humour and a sense of adventure. Once her three children had grown up, Janice and her backpacking husband sold their empty nest in Scotland UK along with almost everything they owned and set off to travel the world. Since then they have been traveling full-time and have explored over 50 countries, living out of an apartment, a hut, or wherever they happen to find themselves.

Janice works as a writer wherever she is in the world. When not writing bestselling romantic adventure novels, she writes lifestyle and travel features for her website and her work has featured in national and international magazines like ‘Prima’ in the UK and ‘Friday’ in Dubai. She has also been involved in BBC Scotland’s Write Here Write Now project and has been interviewed on many podcasts and radio shows including Loose Women’s Kaye Adams’ prime time BBC Radio Scotland Show.

Visit ‘The Backpacking Housewife’ website.

#BlogTour! #Review – It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl (@HannahPearl_1) @RaRaResources @RubyFiction

Late one tonight as my daughter lost her first tooth today! So brave! Anyway, I have a review of Hannah Pearl’s novel, ‘It’s My Birthday’ for my stop on the blog tour. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and thank you to the publisher for the ARC.

It’s My Birthday

… I’ll cry if I want to.

Oh boy, another birthday …

Karen could be excused for crying on her birthday, especially as it’s the first one since her husband got on a plane to the States and never came back.

Then there’s the fact that her workmates were practically bribed to attend her birthday meal. But when a restaurant double booking leads to her sharing a table with single dad Elliot and his daughter, things start looking up.

As Karen gets to know Elliot she experiences feelings she thought she’d never have again. But is it enough? Or will the thing that destroyed Karen’s previous relationship also ruin things with Elliot?

What does TWG think?

If you haven’t already guessed, Hannah Pearl’s novel is about a birthday. Not just any birthday actually, a milestone 40th for Karen! Unfortunately Karen isn’t really feeling in the birthday spirit after recent happenings in her personal life, and you can’t really blame her to be honest. I mean, would you feel like getting down on the dance floor and stuffing your face with birthday cake if you found out that your husband was making a move stateside…permanently?

Forgive me for saying this, but I wasn’t a fan of the story at first as it felt a bit like a midlife whinge. Not that I’m saying that Karen should have gotten over her upset as quick as lightening, not at all. I just wasn’t feeling it, and I wanted to.

However, I wanted to find out what happened with Karen and whether her life turned back around, so I persevered. Oh my gosh, I’m glad that I did! The line about grey hair had me laughing out loud. The humour in this book is absolutely insane!! So witty! I actually lost count of how many times I giggled at the perfectly placed one liners. Karen is such a breath of fresh air once you get to know her, and I am so relieved that I gave her character a chance.

I enjoyed following her journey with Elliott and Sophie and, despite getting the giggles, I thought the author wrote the topics of parenthood, relationships and blended families, in such a sensitive yet relatable manner. Hannah Pearl didn’t hide away from the dark sides of those topics, nor did she tone down the positives. I respected the author a lot for the way she approached it and I truly believe that other readers will too.

So, what started off as an uncertain read, ended up being thoroughly enjoyed by me. ‘It’s My Birthday’ is a witty, humourous, and heart warming novel. Feel free to cry if you want to because it’s your birthday! But, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be crying with laughter!

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US

About the author.

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labrynthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Hannah is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

#BlogTour! #Review – #NobodysWife by Laura Pearson (@LauraPAuthor) @AgoraBooksLDN

Next blog tour today is for Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson. Many thanks to Agora Books for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

‘Of the four of them, only three remained. And there was no going backwards from there.’

Emily and Josephine have always shared everything. They’re sisters, flatmates, and best friends. It’s the two of them against the world.

When Emily has the perfect wedding, and Josephine finds the perfect man, they know things will change forever. But nothing can prepare them for what, or who, one of them is willing to give up for love.

Four people. Three couples. Two sisters. One unforgiveable betrayal.

What does TWG think?

Let me just put this straight out there; ‘Nobody’s Wife’ is so emotionally charged, I thought I was going to an electric shock whenever I picked up the book!

Emily and her sister, Josephine, are as thick as thieves. They have the close bond a lot of family members would dream of, yet there always seemed to be the not so typical sibling rivalry, threatening to put a spanner in their relationship.

This novel is definitely a drama filled, emotionally charged read. I thought that the concept of ‘not knowing what you want until it’s too late’, and the issue of being afraid to be true to your own feelings, was an insightful and poignant piece of writing. A lot of people, in my opinion, will no doubt be able to relate to Emily’s situation, or the emotion the author conveys throughout the storyline. However, I struggled to find what was ‘it’, if you exclude Emily’s situation, which would be pretty difficult to do as the whole book is based around the choices of two people.

There were quite a few things in the book which made my jaw drop as they seemed to come out of nowhere. You’re going to have to trust me on that opinion as I don’t want to give too much away and the shocking scenes would definitely be considered a spoiler. I was quite surprised by my reaction as I couldn’t believe how the character involved brushed the event under the carpet, despite the fact that their action is probably what led to it happening anyway. I mean, they reacted, but was it out of guilt or genuine upset? Too close to call if I’m honest.

I am on the fence with ‘Nobody’s Wife’. I appreciated the complexity of each of the relationships, and I thought the delivery of forbidden fruit was portrayed very well. It worked, it really did, but for me personally, I felt like something else was meant to have happened. I just can’t quite put my finger on what that could have even. I just know that I needed a little more than just drama.

All in all, Laura Pearson is, undeniably, an atmospheric author who brings intense situations to life with extreme ease and realism. I enjoyed having to sit and think about the storyline, and I felt that the drama in the storyline makes for such a juicy read.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Mill on Magnolia Lane by Tilly Tennant (@TillyTenWriter) @Bookouture

Happy publication day, Tilly Tennant! Today is the first day on the blog tour for ‘The Mill on Magnolia Lane’ – it’s an honour to be kicking the tour off! Many thanks to Bookouture for the tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

The sky is cornflower blue, the air is scented with the smell of fresh apple blossom and Lizzie Lovell can’t wait to start her new life in the mill on Magnolia Lane. But is she just about to fall in love with someone she shouldn’t?
When Lizzie loses her larger-than-life Dad she doesn’t know how to move forward. Encouraged by a childhood dream she shared with her beloved father, she is determined to continue his legacy and moves to the old Mill on Magnolia lane, a place he had always longed to own.
Restoring the old windmill is a much bigger job than Lizzie bargained for, especially when she is distracted by her new next door neighbour Jude, who has temptingly twinkly eyes and a body to die for. But when Jude’s ex- girlfriend Harriet arrives back on the scene, Lizzie begins to wonder if life wasn’t far simpler before she moved to the mill. Especially when it emerges that Harriet knows something about Jude’s past, something that could shatter her new start and her heart into smithereens…

What does TWG think?

Oh Charlie, you legend!!! What a fun loving, well thought out character he is! I found his excitement about everything and anything, totally infectious. Yes, it was pretty evident that he had autism or similar, which I found completely insightful and thought it was brilliant that I was able to learn a little bit more about such a misunderstood condition.

I am very, very torn with my thoughts on ‘The Mill on Magnolia Lane’ because whilst there were parts of the storyline I was able to lose myself in, I found a lot of it to be a little bit mismatched. The main focus in the story is Lizzie’s mill, but there is also a lot of things going on elsewhere involving her family, relationship, and the death of her father. I wish that the book delved into the life of Lizzie’s brother, James, because his name kept getting mentioned due to his, what I assume, rocky mental health and, when a devastating event occurs involving him, it seemed to come out of nowhere without too much of a deal.

I enjoyed the theme on family ties and how the author highlighted just how complex those relationships can be, both with biological family members, and extended. I will say that Gracie’s selfishness frayed my nerves at times, and I was disappointed to see that the topic of being a single parent was shown in a negative light as though it is a bad thing to happen to someone.

Florentia was a breath of fresh air and I loved the energy she brought to the storyline. Her outlook on life is one to be admired, and I would go as far to say that everyone needs a friend like her, she is fab!!!

Overall, as you tell I am on the fence. ‘The Mill on Magnolia Lane’ wasn’t my most favourite book that this author has written because of the incomplete, mismatch of situations, however, I adore Tilly Tennant’s books and the way she puts difficult situations in the spotlight, allowing readers to understand them in their own way.

Buy now!

About the author.

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.
Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her next Tilly Tennant novel. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life, and Poppy Galbraith, where things get a little crazier.

#BlogTour! #Review – My Best Friend’s Secret by Anna Mansell (@AnnaMansell) @Bookouture

I have just this minute finished Anna Mansell’s beautiful new book, so I apologise in advance if my ramblings aren’t as coherent as normal. Many thanks to Bookouture for asking me to take part in the blog tour today, and for the ARC. I am honoured to be able to share my review today.

Your best friend deserves the truth. But it will ruin her life. What would you do?

In summer, the small Cornish village of Gorran Haven fills with tourists, but in the colder months its pretty narrow streets are blissfully quiet, the bell on the village shop door rings only for locals, the beach is unspoilt, empty and safe.

It’s been over twenty years since four very different teenage girls sat on that beach, and swore to be best friends forever. Their lives went different ways after Emily left. But each remembered that promise. And none truly found friendship like it again.
Now, Emily’s back, with a secret she can’t face. She tries to hide away, take time to heal and make some difficult choices, but she runs into one of her old friends, and soon the four are reunited. Lolly, warm as ever, is a successful physiotherapist, married with kids. Yet smart, strong Amanda, who cherishes her teenage daughter, is alone and seemingly stuck in a dead-end job. And creative Jess is so much quieter than Emily remembers.
The bond is still there, and Emily realises their friendship might keep her together, but there are reasons why the women fell out of touch. Secrets that have lain dormant for decades start to surface, and then one of the women discovers a betrayal so big, it could turn each of their lives upside down.
It’s always those we’re closest to who have the power to tear us apart. Can friendship give Emily and her friends the strength to survive a devastating shock, or are some things unforgiveable?

What does TWG think?

Can someone fish out the lump from my throat please, like, pronto?!

Wow, wow, wow – what a wonderful bunch of characters Emily, Amanda, Lolly and Jess are! Amanda is the fiery, sassy type of personality who hides her heart behind her bravado. Emily is the peace keeper of the group who is afraid to take the stand out of her comfort zone, but she has to. Lolly is a lady who wants to be happy and loved, often settling for second best. And Jess, the one who is misunderstood because she doesn’t even understand herself and is afraid to admit that her life changed due to something out of her control.

Without giving too much away, I adored Emily because of the similarity between her and I. I can’t really say what that is, but the way in which she was portrayed in the book made me so emotional and has got to be the best described character in her situation, I think I have ever read. Finally an author has made it positive instead of turning it into a negative. I’ll let you think about what I could be meaning!

My heart went out to each of the ladies as they had their lives rocked by various different events. I thought the way in which they all came together when they needed someone the most, was so beautiful and made me quite sad that I don’t have that around me. Yes, I’m jealous of fictional characters. In all seriousness though, I adored their closeness and the way that they flourished as a group of friends. I mean really, there’s a lot of people who would run a mile if they came face to face with half of the stuff that those gals did!!

Anna Mansell never fails to deliver with witty humour, beautifully thought-provoking situations, and an overall storyline which makes the world a much better place. This author writes from the heart and makes her readers embark on a journey which not only makes them laugh, it gives them food for thought in regards to their own lives. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.

‘My Best Friend’s Secret’ is definitely a ride to hold onto with both hands as, from start to finish, the storyline engulfed my heart as I followed the journey of four of the strongest women I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. This book isn’t just a eye-opening, shock inducing read which puts all of the skeletons in the closet, directly under the spotlight. It’s a novel which makes you look at the bigger picture, think about what you want from life, and help you believe that you do deserve to be happy, even when you have to endure a lot of pain beforehand.

Can someone hug me now? I loved this book and everything it stood for, and I loved just how much heart the author put into her storyline and the characters.

Buy now.

About the author.

Anna had a brush with ‘fame’ as a magician’s assistant back in 1977. She later decided that being sawn in half by her magical performing father, at barely 6 months old, was too submissive a role. She vowed to channel the trauma in to something much more pro-actively creative. Having failed at acting, singing and professional murder mystery parties (she was ALWAYs the one to die!), she fell to something much more solitary: writing. She has written three novels, published by Bookouture, her fourth – HER BEST FRIEND’S SECRET – comes out on April 1st, 2019. Anna lives on a dairy farm in Cornwall with her two children, her husband, and her ex-racing greyhound, Olive Dog.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Summer of Chasing Dreams by Holly Martin (@HollyMAuthor)

Thank you to Holly Martin for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for her new novel, ‘The Summer of Chasing Dreams’, and for the ARC. It may be the final day of the tour, but I am super excited to be sharing my review with you all.

Eva is quite content with her life in London. In her job as a cover designer, she works at home, and often in her cosy pyjamas. She’s happy to stay in her safe little world and not explore much outside of it.

She is the opposite of her mum, a free spirit who craved finding adventure and thrills in all corners of the world. But on the day her mum’s will is finalised, Eva finds a list of all the dreams her mum wanted to achieve in her life. Things she never did because she fell pregnant with Eva.

Eva decides these dreams will not go unfulfilled – she is going to be brave and complete them for her mum. As Eva has no experience travelling the world, she hires a guide to go with her on this holiday.

Gorgeous but rude Thor Anderson is not the person she would choose to accompany her on this journey, but somehow she gets stuck with him. As they discover the world together Eva starts to think he might not be as bad as she first thought. She is swept away by Thor’s kindness and mischievous sense of humour. But will it be a simple holiday romance or could this wonderful adventure lead to so much more?

What does TWG think?

Wow – if you are wanting a book which puts ‘heart’ into the word ‘heartwarming’, then you have definitely come to the right place!

I can’t help but admit that when Thor came on the scene, I envisioned the character as an Avenger. Please say that I’m not the only one?! His character is definitely a marmite one and, whilst he didn’t knock me off my feet as quickly as the Avenger dude did, i found that I had a soft spot for him and his little quirks.

The story behind Eva’s journey around the world, is one that made me rather emotional. I had a rather large lump in my throat for a large portion of the storyline due to how much love and emotion was laced through Eva’s actions, and the lengths she wanted to go to for her mum.

‘The Summer of Chasing Dreams’ as a title could not be more apt and I felt that the author delivered the strength of those dreams with such heart and poignancy, as well as her trademark humour. This really is a touching novel, but it is also one which highlights the true beauty of romance and living your life before it’s too late

Another wonderful, beautifully written and humourous novel from Holly Martin – I adored it.

Buy now!