#Review – #ElevatorPitch by Linwood Barclay (@linwood_barclay) @HQStories

(Many thanks to HQStories for the ARC).

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world – and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment – is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men and women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers . . .

Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

What does TWG think?

I never, ever, EVER want to go in a lift again!!! Plus, how the fudge have I not read a Linwood Barclay novel before? I am disgusted with myself, and I want to apologise to my bank balance in advance for when I do binge buy sevral of his novels.

As I’m sure you can tell from the title, ‘Elevator Pitch’ is centred around elevators, or lifts as we call them in the UK. With that little snippet of information, you’re probably wondering why anyone would want to read a book about lifts, right? Understandable! But what if I told you that Linwood Barclay’s novel is a psychlogically twisted, fraught, and unique read that just happens to have elevator problems?

I say elevator problems like I’m describing a nuisance spot; they are indeed way more than being a little problematic, sometimes a teeny bit gruesome! I never knew just how lethal elevators and elevators shafts were!

Linwood Barclay is a force to be reckoned with. His talent at creating such a rollercoaster, chilling and intense read, seriously blew my mind. There were so many fingers pointing towards various characters, and I had marked the one I thought was ‘it’ early on, however I changed my mind multiple times throughout the book because of certain events, certain actions of the characters, and because of my own uncertainty. I wont say which particular character that was as I don’t wish to influence anyone if they haven’t read the book yet.

I really wasnt expecting ‘Elevator Pitch’ to conclude the way it did but oh my goodness, my heart was in my mouth! This book has given me a brand new author to stick on my to be read pile, and it’s a book that I will be shouting about big time!

Just a word of warning though; #takethestairs.

An insanely dark, spine tingling and bloody fantastic book. I honestly couldn’t have wished for anything more.

Buy now from Amazon

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#BlogTour! #Review – #TheRabbitGirls by Anna Ellory (@AnnaEllory) @LakeUnion @Ed_pr #Auschwitz

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It is an honour to be on the blog tour today for ‘The Rabbit Girls’ by Anna Ellory – thank you to EdPr for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Berlin, 1989. As the wall between East and West falls, Miriam Winter cares for her dying father, Henryk. When he cries out for someone named Frieda – and Miriam discovers an Auschwitz tattoo hidden under his watch strap – Henryk’s secret history begins to unravel.

Searching for more clues of her father’s past, Miriam finds an inmate uniform from the Ravensbrück women’s camp concealed among her mother’s things. Within its seams are dozens of letters to Henryk written by Frieda. The letters reveal the disturbing truth about the ‘Rabbit Girls’, young women experimented on at the camp. And amid their tales of sacrifice and endurance, Miriam pieces together a love story that has been hidden away in Henryk’s heart for almost fifty years.

Inspired by these extraordinary women, Miriam strives to break through the walls she has built around herself. Because even in the darkest of times, hope can survive.

What does TWG think?

Where to begin? On subject matter alone due to a large portion of the story being set in Auschwitz, ‘The Rabbit Girls’ is a devastating read. Yet on the other hand, Anna Ellory’s novel is heartbreakingly beautiful because of the characters poignant memories.

Set in Berlin in the late 1980’s, ‘The Rabbit Girls’ follows the life of Miriam as she cares for her dying father. Unfortunately, the impending death of her father, Henryk, isn’t the only devastation Miriam has in her life. Without giving too much away, Miriam’s own personal tale is enough to break anyone and, as the story progresses, it is abundantly clear that it has nearly broken her, until a stranger steps in and gives her the strength to realise otherwise, that is.

Miriam’s father is in a bad way, clearly, he is dying. At times he is conscious and aware of Miriam there, and other times all he can do is shout out the name ‘Frieda’. But that wasn’t Miriam’s mothers name, was it? Who is Frieda, and why is Henryk so set on this person?

‘The Rabbit Girls’ is a dual timeline read as it steps back in time, courtesy of letters Miriam has found, and it’s because of those letters that we find out who ‘The Rabbit Girls’ actually were, and why they were called that (amongst other things of course, but spoilers!). I hadn’t heard that terminology before and due to it being related to Auschwitz, I just knew that it wasn’t going to be a case of something cuddly and cute like rabbits are usually associated with. It broke my heart which, is quite a selfish thing to say because I wasn’t the one enduring the heart ache, the pain, the devastation of watching people die and hearing their screams. Why do I, a mere 29 year old who wasn’t even around then, have any right to feel upset about a moment in history which didn’t directly affect me?

It’s simple; because that moment in history was one which moves people, even to this day, because of the sheer atrocities. The people who were in that camp need to have the recognition they deserve, even if they are no longer here to see it, which is why their stories are getting told both fictionally and non fictionally, at the hands of various different authors.

So, not only is this book a poignant, historical piece, it is also a romantic and insightful novel about love once loss and the deep routed power of that four lettered word. I may not have witnessed the pain directly, yet due to Anna Ellory’s beautiful story telling and her emotionally charged historical elements, I was able to feel a snippet of the heartache felt in both Auschwitz, and the world in which Miriam lived in at that time.

Miriam’s story, as I said above, is heartbreaking, harrowing, and simple quite scary. However, it is also a story which was probably extremely common during that time. The sacrifice of ‘The Rabbit Girls’ was jaw dropping and, even though my emotions regarding this book are still very fragile, it was an honour to be able to read such an incredible, incredible novel.

Anna Ellory and ‘The Rabbit Girls’ are forces to be reckoned with, as are all of the victims of Auschwitz. I was blown away by every single word in this novel, and I urge you all to take the time to be in the hands of a story which will leave you absolutely broken, yet hopeful and spellbound, all at the same time.

Buy now from Amazon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #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 – #TheGirlAtTheWindow by Rowan Coleman (@rowancoleman) @EburyPublishing @AnneCater

How are we in August already? This year is going crazy fast! To kick off a brand new month, I am absolutely delighted to be hosting Rowan Coleman and her stunning new novel, ‘The Girl At The Window’. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…

Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.

While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…

What does TWG think?

Novels with ghostly additions aren’t really my forte, yet Rowan Coleman delivers that particular element in a way which made me feel as though they should have been there all along.

Family secrets and uncertain pasts are rife in this storyline from start to finish. Alongside the addition of fantasy and additive imagination, ‘The Girl at the Window’ quickly became one of the most compelling novels I have read so far this year.

Even though the historical parts of the story were quite haunting and deeply emotive, I was very moved by Trudy and Will’s story and the way in which their characters strengthened as the book progressed.

Rowan Coleman is a very unique story teller, and I loved how she made ‘The Girl at the Window’ come alive in a way only she knows how. This book was such a breathtaking and magnetic read. An absolute page turner.

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.

#BlogTour! #Review – My Lemon Grove Summer by Jo Thomas (@jo_thomas01) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

Hugest of thanks to Anne Cater and Headline for the blog tour invite and ARC, I am delighted to be reviewing ‘My Lemon Grove Summer’ by Jo Thomas on my blog today.

When life hands you lemons … is it ever too late for a second chance?

Zelda’s impulsive nature has got her precisely nowhere up until now. A fresh start in a beautiful hilltop town in Sicily looking for new residents, together with her best friend Lennie, could be just what she needs. And who better to settle down with than the person who knows her best?

But the sun-filled skies and sparkling seas can’t hide the shadow hanging over Citta d’Ora, which means not everyone is pleased to see their arrival. The dreams Zelda and her fellow new residents had of setting up a new life might be slipping away. But a friendship with restauranteur Luca could be about to unlock the possibilities that lie in the local lemon groves. And there’s a wedding on the horizon that might be just what the town needs to turn it around…

Could a summer in Sicily help Zelda learn to trust her instinct and follow her heart?

What does TWG think?

Yet again, Jo Thomas delivers a home away from home read with characters you just cannot get enough of. In other words, this author does NOT disappoint.

Zelda thinks she has it all mapped out. Shes made a plan with her best friend and is adamant that she knows what she wants from life, but we all know what happens to best laid plans!!

The setting of ‘My Lemon Grove Summer’ was simply stunning. I have never been to Sicily and, to be honest, the chances of me going anytime soon are incredibly slim! I’m just glad that Jo Thomas pays attention to the finer details in her stories! There were times I felt like I good taste the air, the descriptions were that vivid and that colourful.

Zelda, in my opinion, has a marmite personality and my opinion of her kept changing throughout the book. Theres one thing being confident about your life, but then theres another thing about being over confident, illogical and verging on arrogant. I had everything crossed that Zelda would realise the error of her ways, but I knew deep down that it wouldn’t be an overnight miracle.

It was very easy to get invested in the characters and the goings on in Citta d’Ora. I loved the escapism and having the opportunity to put real life on the back burner for the duration of this book. A wonderful, home away from home read that will bring your heart, as well as your tastebuds, back to life.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #APostcardFromItaly by Alex Brown (@AlexBrownBooks) @fictionpubteam

As a huge fan of Alex Brown, I am very honoured to be hosting today’s stop on the ‘A Postcard From Italy’ blog tour. Huge thanks to Emilie and the team for the tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Grace Quinn loves her job at Cohen’s Convenient Storage Company, finding occasional treasure in the forgotten units that customers have abandoned. Her inquisitive nature is piqued when a valuable art collection and a bundle of letters and diaries are found that date back to the 1930’s.

Delving deeper, Grace uncovers the story of a young English woman, Connie Levine, who follows her heart to Italy at the end of the Second World war. The contents also offer up the hope of a new beginning for Grace, battling a broken heart and caring for her controlling mother.

Embarking on her own voyage of discovery, Grace’s search takes her to a powder pink villa on the cliff tops overlooking the Italian Riviera, but will she unravel the family secrets and betrayals that Connie tried so hard to overcome, and find love for herself?

What does TWG think?

Be still my beating heart!!! I have a feeling that my review won’t do Alex Brown’s novel justice, but I can only try my best!

This was simply exquisite. From the get go I felt the emotion from Connie as she was trying to brave given the nature of her circumstances. At the time, Connie was a young girl who looked to her parents for guidance, love and support, whilst also trusting them to be honest with her. It was heartbreaking to find out that things didn’t exactly go to plan and that Connie’s heart was never truly mended.

Connie’s memory and life is a huge part of ‘A Postcard From Italy’, but then again, so is Grace. Day in day out, she tries to do right by her mother, only to be treated in a volatile manner in return. Her life isn’t her own and, thanks to her own heartbreak, Grace’s confidence is pretty much non-existent. That said, I was so pleased that she had Larry and Betty in her corner.

The whole ‘heir hunter’ vibe was so addictive! It’s such a shame that situations end up like that, with people not getting the send off they deserve due to lack of family at the time when its needed. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how anyone must feel, finding out too late that a family member had passed. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

I hated how Grace’s mum treated her, but in a roundabout way I think it made Grace even more determined to break away by living a life of her own. I loved getting to know Grace and watching her flourish as the storyline progress; she was the perfect person to take on the ‘Connie mission’.

I am absolutely gutted that ‘A Postcard From Italy’ came to an end. I honestly think I could have sat and read more about the characters for hours and hours! Alex Brown has made Grace and Connie’s personalities come alive in this emotive, beautifully crafted, highly exquisite read. Every single page was a joy to read, with the authors magnetic and outstanding storytelling taking centre stage.

A genuinely beautiful, beautiful read which I would reccomend in a heartbeat.

Buy now.

#Review – #CornishCreamTeaBus ‘Don’t Go Baking My Heart’ pt.1 by @CressMcLaughlin @W6BookCafe @HarperFiction


Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.

Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the attractive but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.

Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

What does TWG think?

Please say that I’m not the only one who thought of Kiki Dee and Elton John after read the title of this book?!

Don’t go baking my heart,

I couldn’t if I fried,

Honey when I get restless,

Baby you’re not that kind…of sponge.

Don’t go baking my heart,

You take the weight off me….scales,

Honey when you knock on my door,

You make me burn my cake, you ass…

Yes? No? Anywhoooooo!

Usually when I see yet another book is set in Cornwall, I roll my eyes to the skies. However, CORNWALL COME AT ME BABY!! And bring Gerti!

What a fabulous opening to an extremely promising series! ‘Don’t Go Baking My Heart’ follows the journey of Charlie, Marmite and Gerti, as she attempts to find her new vocation in life. Is Charlie cut out for more than cutting cake instead of baking her own? She wants to try, especially as her uncle left her his bus after he passed away. It would be simple enough to turn the bus into something foody…right?

Charlie has the weight of the world on her shoulders as she struggles to find a happy medium between keeping Hal’s memory alive, being there for her grieving father, and taking time out to think about her own life. I was glad that she had Juliette behind her, and I was in hysterics at Charlie’s response to one of the Cornish locals opinion on her bus. My goodness what a snobby man that Mr.Harper is!!

As this is the start of a series, the length of the book is novella sized, aka short and sweet. There are three more parts to follow, and I for one cannot wait to tickle my tastebuds with more treats from Charlie’s bus.

Cressida McLaughlin made this story come alive as though she had the recipe for perfection down to an art. ‘Don’t Go Baking My Heart’ really is the Victoria to my sponge; I couldn’t have wished for anything more (except part 2 of course). Bloomin’ delightful!

Buy part 1 now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Summer at the Little French Cafe by Karen Clarke (@KarenClarke123) @Bookouture

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Third and final blog tour of the day is for ‘Summer at the Little French Cafe’ by Karen Clarke. I am super excited to be sharing my review today as part of the tour! Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, and the ARC. Here is my review:

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In the beautiful village of Chamillon lies the Café Belle Vie, where you’ll always find croissants and friends when you need them the most – and where Elle is hoping to uncover the truth about her past…

Thirty-year-old Elle Matheson has decided it’s finally time to find the mother who gave her up as a baby. With a faded postcard from the Café Belle Vie in hand – one of the very few things she has from her mother – she heads straight to the Île de Ré to begin her search.

With only the postcard and the ivory shawl she was wrapped in as clues, finding her mum is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, even with the help of friendly – and gorgeous – café-owner Charlie. And since Elle hasn’t exactly told her younger sister what she’s up to, the little white lies about where she is are starting to add up…

But Elle is really starting to feel at home on the beautiful island. The locals are welcoming, the café is homely, and Charlie is always there with a helping hand, a listening ear, and a pain au chocolat.

Is Elle about to discover not just where she came from – but where she belongs?

What does TWG think?

Oh my, what a delightful little book this is!!!! One minute I was opening my kindle to begin reading the book, and the next I saw that I had read 70% of it!! It’s safe to say that Karen Clarke’s ‘Little French Cafe’ had me hooked – it may have a very colourful cover, but the storyline has so much more to it than pretty colours.

Elle has never met her birth mother and now, due to the passing of her father, she embarks on the journey to France to try and find the parent that ‘got away’. However, Elle doesn’t know her mothers name, nor does she know her age. All Elle can go buy are the clues she found in her fathers things. But would they be enough? And, if Elle were to come face to face with her birth mother, would she have the courage to ask those all important questions?

Like I say, there is a A LOT more to this book than a French cafe, although the cafe does play a huge part in Elle’s journey. Take Dolly and Charlie for example, two people Elle first meets on French Soil – they are such eccentric (well, Dolly is) and warm characters, it would be incredibly difficult not to sit yourself under their wings for safety. I adored them, they really did make the story come alive.

My heart went out to Elle multiple times because the journey she had found herself on was one which was full of uncertainty. She had absolutely no idea whether she would come face to face with her birth mum, nor did she know whether her birth mum would even WANT to talk to her if they did manage to cross paths. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the emotions that were threatening to spill out of Elle – it was certainly emotional for an outsider to read though, that’s for sure.

Despite Elle’s emotional journey, her character had me in absolute hysterics. I thought I was accident prone! Elle put her own little spin on that! I loved getting to know her character, and laughing alongside her with her infectious humour. I felt the community spirit within Cafe Belle Vie tenfold, if only the place and the characters were real! I would move there in an instant!!

‘Summer at the Little French Cafe’ was an absolute joy to read, I honestly don’t think I could have devoured the book any quicker if I tried. I was actually quite bereft when the book came to an end as I could have read more about Elle and Charlie until the cows came home. Yeah…..I was invested!

Karen Clarke has done her characters proud with this book, and I feel that a lot of readers will be falling in love with her little French cafe, just like I have. A cosy, heart-warming novel that left me with a ginormous smile on my face.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Karen Clarke writes romantic comedy novels. Her BEACHSIDE series is set in the fictional seaside town of Shipley and features recurring characters, but each book can be read as a standalone. She is currently working on a new, three-book series set in Devon. 

Karen has also written three romcoms with a paranormal twist, all available to download

When she’s not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women’s magazines and has had over three hundred published globally. Some of them can be read in her short story collection ‘BEHIND CLOSED DOORS…and other Tales with a Twist’ 

Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.

 

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