#BlogTour! #Review – #Control by Hugh Montgomery (@hugh_montgomery) @ZaffreBooks

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Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Control’ by Hugh Montgomery, and thank you to Zaffre Books for the ARC via Netgalley. I am delighted to be reviewing this book for my stop on the tour today. Enjoy!

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Renowned surgeon Michael Trenchard locks his office door and prepares for a relaxing evening. But what follows is a living nightmare when later he is discovered in a locked-in coma, the victim of an auto-erotic asphyxiation.

It is left to Doctor Kash Devan, Trenchard’s young protégé, to uncover the truth. And what he discovers is chilling . . .

In his ruthless pursuit of wealth and success, Trenchard has left a trail of wrecked lives, and angry people, behind him. Which of Trenchard’s victims hated him so much that they wanted to ruin not only his reputation, but his life as well?

Not all doctors are heroes . . .

What does TWG think?

Goodness me – I have never, EVER read a book like this before! A book which was so gripping, yet mindblowingly farfetched at times, I just simply couldn’t tear my eyes away.

I didn’t dislike the book, in fact, I really did enjoy it. However, certain eventualities within the storyline were a bit too unbelievable at times, and my enjoyment dipped ever so slightly because of that. I am fully aware that ‘Control’ is the work of fiction and the author is well within their right to overuse their imagination wherever they see fit and, seeing as I have my own overactive imagination at times, I don’t mind when situations go off on their own little tangent. To a point. There’s always that fine line, isn’t there?

Kash Devan is fresh meat, so to speak, and he finds himself under the wing of an exceptionally well known surgeon, Michael Trenchard. As far as Kash is concerned, as soon as he steps foot onto the various wards, the life and health of his patients take precedence over everything else. Did I mention he was under the wing of a well known surgeon? I never stated whether Trenchard was well known due to his positive actions, or whether he was well known because more people seemed to dislike him than genuinely like him…..

Let’s just say that Kash Devan’s mind was elsewhere due to the Chinese whispers around the hospital. Were they true, or were they purely fiction?

What I enjoyed most about ‘Control’ was how the author incorporates the reader into the storyline which enables them to form their own opinion of certain characters, as well as trying to work out who should be in the firing line, if anyone at all. It was as though Hugh Montgomery refused to steer his readers down his thought path in an obvious manner, even though deep down I knew that that was going to happen, simply because he knew what was going to happen and us readers could only attempt to guess.

The medical side of the book were incredibly eye-opening and very, very dark. Some of the descriptions are a teeny bit graphic, however the book isn’t full of scenes which would make you chuck up your previous meal. At times I thought that there was a lot of medical jargon which flew over my head, but I just went with the flow as ‘Control’ is centred around medicine due to it being predominantly set in a hospital. That said, if you’re wanting to feel as though you could go on and become a doctor right after finishing read this, kudos to the medical jargon!

‘Control’ is a compulsive, complex and psychologically twisted novel which kept on surprising me and left me in a false sense of security. I thought that the characters were brilliantly written, each adding their own dynamics to the overall vibe of the book.

I really do recommend picking up ‘Control’ if you’re a fan of dark, medical reads – just not straight after eating food….

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 – 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 – #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 – 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! #Review – Sunshine Over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennett (@sarahlou_writes) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

Massive congratulations to Sarah Bennett on the publication of her latest release, ‘Sunshine Over Bluebell Castle’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

The summer she will never forget…

Time’s running out for Iggy Ludworth to restore the wild gardens of Camland Castle in time for the Summer Fete, so she ropes in hotshot gardener Will Talbot…

But she regrets her decision as soon as he sets foot in the historic grounds – not only is Will arrogant and bossy, he’s totally gorgeous!

And very soon, sparks are flying amongst the bluebells. Yet with summer nearly over, will their summer fling convince Will and Iggy to go the distance?

What does TWG think?

It feels like yonks since we last caught up with the lord of the castle and his family! ‘Sunshine Over Bluebell Castle’ is book two in the ‘Bluebell Castle’ series, and personally I would advise that you read the books in order so that you’re able to get a real feel for Arthur, Tristian and Iggy’s life. If you’re feeling a bit rebellious, I guess reading the books out of order would be ‘ok’ for some readers, however I do think that you will be missing out on too much character history if you do. Each to their own of course!

Forgive me for saying this, but I wasn’t really taken with the book at first as Iggy really grated on me! She came across as such a marmite character who had such potential, but she wasn’t offering that positive side to her personality very often. Iggy seemed to think that everyone was out to get her, didn’t think that she was capable to do things because shes a woman….I don’t recall anyone saying that to her! However, when a certain relative of Iggy’s came on the scene, it became shockingly clear as to why she is the way that she is.

Believe it or not, I did warm up to Iggy the more I got to know her, especially when Will came to town. He brought out the positive side of her personality and i thought it was such a shame that Iggy has very little faith in herself. She is a good egg, really.

Romance is in the air and in every nook and cranny of the castle, what on Earth was the housekeeper putting in their food!! I felt quite emotional watching the main characters flourish after their recent heartache as discussed in book one. It can’t have been at all easy for the siblings yet they’re doing themselves proud…..most of the time.

What I love most about Sarah Bennett’s storytelling, is the way she captures the essence of her characters. She creates them like they’re real human beings instead of fictional characters, which allows the readers to relate to their emotions and their lives as though they’re right in front of them. I loved the cosy, feel good factor of this book, and I loved how each of the siblings started off as caterpillars, yet by the end of the book they had turned into beautiful, empathetic butterflies who weren’t afraid to spread their wings. Sarah Bennett has written a story which is guaranteed to make you feel untouchable, ready to conquer the world. I really, really enjoyed it.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May (@zoe_writes) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources

Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review of ‘When Polly Met Olly’ by Zoe May.

Polly and Olly were never supposed to meet…

Polly might spend her days searching for eligible matches for her elite list of clients at her New York dating agency, but her own love life is starting to go up in smoke.

Even worse, she can’t stop thinking about the very person she’s meant to be setting her latest client up with… surely it can’t get any worse!

But then Polly bumps into oh-so-handsome Olly, who heads up a rival agency, and realizes that perhaps all really is fair in love and dating war…

What does TWG think?

Ahhh, I really don’t know what to think about this one!

Polly has found a new job working in a dating agency, despite her own love life containing more tumble weed than Texas. Her actual niche is photography, but seeing as jobs like that are few and far between, Polly needed something to tide her over. By tiding her over I mean ending up actually enjoying her new job.

Like supermarkets and other businesses, dating agencies have to deal with the competition too. I mean, if you’re wanting someone to find you ‘the one’, they had better give you an experience never to forget….right? Owner of the competition, Olly, is a ladies man and one to watch. Polly clearly didn’t get that memo as she ends up having a major crush on the man who is twenty years her senior.

I was gutted that Gabe was gay as I thought him and Polly would have made THE ideal couple. I couldn’t see her with Olly, and to be perfectly honest, i found their coupling a bit too rushed and unbelievable. There wasn’t enough storyline about Olly as a character, and the only parts of the book which focused on the pair, ended up being quite short and sweet which surprised me given the title of the book.

Polly’s character is definitely that, a character. She had me giggling at times, but she also irked me at times. I found her to be someone who was far too easily led and didn’t seem competent enough to think for herself, relying on other people to point her in the right direction for every little thing. It was sweet at first as I put it down to vulnerability.

Overall, ‘When Polly Met Olly’ is a romantic read that is ideal for lovebirds everywhere. I did enjoy the easy to read storyline and unique characters and, whilst I did feel as though the storyline itself was a little bit weak, the premise was fun and certainly one of a kind.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #FiveStepsToHappy by Ella Dove (@EllaRoseDove) @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I hope I do this book justice today! Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton and Trapeze for the blog tour invite and ARC, I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for ‘Five Steps To Happy’.

Life can change in a heartbeat…

When struggling actress Heidi has a life-changing accident aged 32, her world falls apart. Stuck in hospital and unable to walk, her only companion is Maud, the elderly lady in the bed next to hers. Heidi misses her flatmate, her life, her freedom – surely 32 is too young to be an amputee?

But when Maud’s aloof but attractive grandson Jack pays a visit to the ward, Heidi realises that her life isn’t over just because it’s different. It might not look like the life she dreamed of, but it’s the one she’s got – and there’s a lot she still wants to tick off her bucket list. With Jack at her side, will Heidi take the first step back to happiness? Or is there one more surprise still in store…?

A feel-good read based on the inspiring true story of journalist Ella Dove. Sometimes all it takes is one small step..

What does TWG think?

How the hell do you review this?! ‘Five Steps To Happy’ may be fiction, however it is based on the true story of the authors own life, and all I can say it……wow.

Ella Dove is one helluva woman, and one helluva author. I knew, after racing through 10% of the book in a matter of minutes, that it was going to be a good’un. You know when you just get that feeling about something? I had that and then some. I mean, how does anyone even come back from a situation like this? I know that some people have no choice but to carry on, and others feel as though they cannot cope, but can you honestly blame them for being upset by what’s happened? I can’t. I felt like shouting at the book; ‘don’t tell Heidi to cheer up, you have no idea how she feels!’.

‘Five Steps To Happy’ tells the story of Heidi and her journey as she finds her ‘new normal’ after becoming an amputee after a freak accident. As well as Heidi’s emotions, the storyline sheds light on the domino effect of the accident and how Heidi’s loved ones are struggling to cope with what’s happened.

This was such an eye-opening and poignant read – I had no idea about the journey which amputees go on, nor how long the ‘rehab’ is before they can go back to living in their home. On a personal level, I was able to resonate with some of Heidi’s emotions as I am losing the ability to walk myself, with the prospect of being unable to walk completely by the time I’m 40. Now I’m not taking the owniss off Ella or Heidi by saying that, it’s just I felt comfort by the rollercoaster of emotions, the worry at finding a ‘new normal’, feeling guilty and such. Walking is something we take for granted and it’s not until that ability is hindered, do we realise just how much a part of us walking actually is.

Being based on a true story, the emotion and frustration was very genuine and, because I was aware of the authors story, I felt that Heidi’s emotions hit me a lot harder because someone had actually been in that position if you get what I mean. It wasn’t as though Ella Dove was writing the scenes based on second hand knowledge via other people’s stories.

Talking of other people, I LOVED Maud!!! I just wanted to wrap her in a huge hug and take care of her. Such a lovely, lovely character.

Towards the end of the book, I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried. I honestly couldn’t hold in my emotion any longer. ‘Five Steps To Happy’ is one of the most beautiful, uplifting, honest, and empowering novels i think I have ever had the pleasure of reading. You don’t need to be an amputee to appreciate the powerful words in this story, you just need to have a heart and be willing to listen. People who have found their whole life change over night aren’t expecting people to understand, they’re just wanting people to take the time to listen and be present.

Such a wonderful, wonderful book with a very important message within. I adored its beauty, and I adored the authors magnetic storytelling – I am jealous of everyone who gets to read this for the very first time.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Secret Cove in Croatia by Julie Caplin (@JulieCaplin) @JulesWake @0neMoreChapter_ @RaRaResources

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Happy publication day, Julie Caplin, and ‘The Secret Cove in Croatia’! My second RaRaResources blog tour of the days is for this beautiful, beautiful book – thank you so much for having me on kicking off the blog tour, and thank you to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

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Sail away to beautiful Croatia for summer sun, sparkling turquoise seas and a holiday romance that’s forever…

When no-nonsense, down-to-earth Maddie Wilcox is offered the chance to work on a luxury yacht for the summer, she can’t say no. Yes she’ll be waiting on the posh guests… But island-hopping around the Adriatic sea will more than make up for it –especially when Nick, her best friend Nina’s brother, is one of them.Sparks fly when they meet on board and Maddie can’t believe self-entitled jerk Nick is really related to Nina.But in a secret, picture-perfect cove, away from the real world, Maddie and Nick discover they might have more in common than they realise…

What does TWG think?

‘Sail away with meeeee……’

If only!!!! I have never been to Croatia before – can someone take me, like now? Oh Julie Caplin, what have you done to me?! I am someone who rolls my eyes at PDA’s and romance itself. I am also someone who adores reading romance despite not being a fan of the actual thing myself. Again, I am also someone who now wants to go to Croatia so I can meet my own Nick! Swoon!!!!! He can keep the shorts though, soz!!!

Maddie is THE best character ever!!! What a breath of fresh air she is. I absolutely loved her and her bluntness. She certainly wasn’t taking any prisoners, that’s for sure! Did I see myself in her? Damn right I did, maybe that’s why I gelled with her personality because I could relate to her personally.

The absolute star of the storyline was the message the author had hidden in between her words; be yourself, don’t go out of your way to be anyone else except you. How many of us have been amongst a group of people and found ourselves changing our mannerisms, adjusting our likes and dislikes, just to make other people like us? How many of us have pretended to be something we’re not, just because a crush prefers us a certain way? Of course – we have all been there and done that! Instead of leaving a situation because it doesn’t fit YOUR needs, you end up changing yourself because you don’t fit THEIR needs, but at the end of the day, what’s more important? Your happiness, or theirs?

Such an easy thing to say, but one of the most hardest things to put into practice. As an outsider looking in, Nick’s situation with Tara was the elephant in the room. People could see what Tara was like, however the only person who struggled to see what she was capable of, was Nick himself. Why could that be? I’ll tell you – it was because he was so close to the situation, he ended up being blindsided by the attention. It wasn’t until someone, aka Maddie, took the time to tell him how it was. Could she have done that out of jealousy because Tara disliked her? Possibly, in fact almost definitely! That said, Maddie’s personality wasn’t that way inclined and, whilst she didn’t want to get involved in someone else love life, she wanted Nick to be happy. Thankfully Tara didn’t help herself at all……

Maddie is very open about her lack of confidence, and that resonated with me big time as, just like her, I am lacking in confidence and I don’t fit in. And yes, I have done what everyone else has done and adapted my personality to suit others but you know what? Why should I? Why should you?

Julie Caplin really opened my eyes with this book. Not only that, she had me in hysterics and racing through the pages as though someone had offered me a lifetime supply of books! The setting was beautifully described and got under my skin big time. I loved it more so because of how Croatia seems to be such an underrated holiday destination. Makes a nice change to be somewhere different in a book as opposed to always being in the same old settings.

I wish I could bottle up the warm and hopeful feeling the book gave me just so that whenever I feel like I don’t fit in, I can dip deep into my heart to remind myself the importance of being true to the skin I was born in.

Julie Caplin is one of the most beautiful story tellers I think I have ever read, and she has outdone herself with ‘The Secret Cove in Croatia’. Hand on heart, one of my all-time favourite reads ever, Maddie and Croatia will be staying locked up in my heart for a very, very long time to come. A truly spellbinding, emotive novel which ticked every single box I never even knew existed.

Buy now.