#BlogTour! #Review – Palm Beach, Finland by Antti Tuomainen (@antti_tuomainen) @OrendaBooks @AnneCater

First Palm Beach BT Poster
Apologies for the late post, but day two of the blog tour is here and I am delighted to be sharing my review of Antti Tuomainen’s new novel, ‘Palm Beach, Finland’. Thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

PALM BEACH PROOF COVER AW
Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear … Sun Protection Factor 100

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.

With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.

What does TWG think?

Seeing as Antti Tuomainen’s previous novel, ‘The Man Who Died’, found itself in my ‘Top Books of 2017’ list, I had high hopes for his latest novel, ‘Palm Beach, Finland’.

So, the burning question is; did it live up to my expectations?

Short answer: yessssssss, I think.

Long answer: I have no idea what to make of this book! I can’t put my finger on what made it for me, but it did live up to my expectations in its own unique and brilliant way. Just like the authors previous book, I found myself wondering ‘whaaaaa?’ many times throughout the story, yet I ended up becoming even more intrigued the more of the book I read. Now, I am still unsure as to whether that is intrigue as in the ‘dun dun dunnnn’ sense, or whether it was because of how utterly bonkers (in a good way) it was.

The setting was described beautifully, which was a massive thumbs up for me as I have never been to Finland, and the storyline contained multiple criminals and a lot of criminal activity. That said, it wasn’t done in a taxing manner, nor did it scare the flamingos out of me either – it was just a perfect balance of people getting above their station, along with multiple characters who didn’t know their backsides from their elbows, making me giggle along the way.

Even though this book is written with the truth at the start, I was excited about connecting the dots to said event, wondering which character fell into the path along the way and why. The to-ing and fro-ing between the characters was very cleverly written, as was entire vibe of the novel.

Like I said before, I really don’t know what to make of this book, but rest assured, it isn’t anything negative. I adore Tuomainen’s unique writing style which combines criminal activity with comedic activity, a combination I never knew was possible until I read this author. I may always find myself thinking ‘what the heck?!’ every time I read his novels, but I promise you it is definitely thought with a smile on my face as I sped through the pages not wanting this book to end.

Buy now!

About the author.

Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary
debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was
published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of
Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards.

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#BlogTour! #Review – Costa Del Churros by Isabella May (@IsabellaMayBKS) @RaRaResources


I am delighted to be popping on my dancing shoes for today’s stop on the blog tour for ‘Costa Del Churros’ by Isabella May. Many thanks, as always, to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:


The rain in Spain doesn’t mainly fall on the plain…

Brits abroad Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina need more than the sweetness of churros with
chocolate dipping sauce to save them from their unsavoury states of affairs.

Cue Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera, the town’s flamboyant flamenco teacher! But can she
really be the answer to their prayers?

One thing’s for sure: the Costa del Sol will never be the same again.

What does TWG think?

Every time I see this cover on social media, my stomach lets out a hugely embarrassing growl. I have never had churros before. I mean, I’ve wanted to, who wouldn’t? Please say that I’m not the only one who gets rather hungry after seeing this cover…please?

Strictly Come Dancing may be about to kick off this weekend here in the UK, but Carmen Maria is fox trotting her way to teach people how to flamenco (see what I did there?). However, the four ladies who end up taking Carmen’s class, end up getting more than they bargained for as their friendship becomes united thanks to the art of dance.

At first, my opinion of ‘Costa Del Churros’ was awfully jaded as I struggled to find the link between the four characters the storyline focuses on. The four ladies couldn’t have been more chalk and cheese if they had tried and, whilst I wanted to like them, I couldn’t gel with them for quite a while.

That said, the more I learnt about them and their situation, the more empathetic I became. What started off as quite a slow burner, ended up becoming a novel which kept me thoroughly entertained. Isabella May’s humour is brilliantly entwined throughout the storyline from start to finish, giving her readers excellent one liners to feast on as they dream of the churros on the cover.

I do like a multiple viewpoint novel, but despite my earlier reservations, I found that the characters worked incredibly well together. I was just a little disappointed by the fact that I couldn’t gel with them as quickly as I would have liked.

A light-hearted, witty novel which brings the Spanish sunshine to you in only a way that Isabella May can.

Buy now!

Giveaway!

To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Isabella’s previous novel, ‘The Cocktail Bar’, all you need to do is click the link below. Good luck!

Terms and conditions: Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the
Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all
valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received
within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all
entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is
used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of
the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for
fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for
despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter now!

About the author.

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively
inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new
cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be
found writing. As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s
magazine, The Glass House Girls – http://www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to
subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince
(The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her
imaginative ‘drops’! Costa del Churros is her third novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from
the hit sensations, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar.

Social Media Links

http://www.isabellamayauthor.com
Twitter – @ IsabellaMayBks
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

#BlogTour! #Review -Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas (@jo_thomas1) @AnneCater @HeadlinePG @Bookish_Becky @DavidHHeadley

jothomas
I am so very excited to be today’s stop on the blog tour for ‘Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard’ by Jo Thomas. Big thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

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It’s time for Beti Winter to dance to her own beat.

After three failed engagements Beti is in desperate need of a fresh start. What better place than the sun-drenched hills of southern Spain?

But it’s not all sangria and siestas. Beti finds work on an old Andalucian cherry farm where there are cherries to be picked, trees to be watered and her fiery boss, Antonio, to win over.

As the sun toasts her skin, Beti finds herself warming to the Spanish way of life. Embracing the art of flamenco, she discovers there is much to learn from the dance of passion. She just has to let loose and listen to the rhythm of her heart.

What does TWG think?

I started this book this morning (I know, cutting it fine), but fast forward 4 hours and I was sitting with the closed (and finished) book on my lap feeling as though I had been given a new lease of life.

Beti’s uncle and cousin have honed in on her for years, taking the Mickey out everything she has done (or not done) in her life so far. They seem to think that having three engagements, two of which ended up being failed, is something to laugh about. Even though, deep down, Beti knows that she shouldn’t take their comments to heart, she can’t help but feel her confidence getting chipped away with every knifey comment they send her way. Beti has had enough of living without enjoyment, and she ends up persuading her fiancé, Will, to uproot to Spain where her dream of owning a bar waits for her. Unfortunately, luck isn’t on Beti’s side and things don’t go to plan.

Oh my, what a gorgeous book this is! I did start and finish this book this morning, I was being totally serious with that comment! I couldn’t put the book down, and to be honest, I didn’t actually want it to leave my hands. I felt so sorry for Beti, but I was absolutely livid with Will. What sort of person does that?! I think he got off lightly, I really do. I know that Beti was determined to make her dream a reality and didn’t want to live in the past and, whilst that is certainly commendable, I couldn’t help but feel that Will didn’t get what he deserved at all. Maybe it’s because I am quite a fiery person that made me think he needed to pay for what he had done.

I have to admit that I am not a fan of cherries AT ALL, yet after reading Jo Thomas’ latest novel, I felt like I wanted to pick one up and eat it. How strange! I think the cherry farm got under my skin in more ways than one, as did other wonderful things in the little Spanish village.

Jo Thomas has such a beautiful way with words – I was blown away by her vivid descriptions, her tantalising way of bringing smells and food items to life, as well as her phenomenal characters. I can often be quite guarded when it comes to some characters, yet Beti, Miguel, Antonio, and Frank (to name a few) made ‘Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard’ such a rich, indulgent, life affirming novel which had me dusting off my own dreams in no time.

I know people say that it is quite easy to follow your dreams if you really want them, but Jo Thomas certainly proves that everyone is different, with some people struggling with their confidence to sit there and say ‘I will own my dreams’. Take a look at Beti. She went through personal heartbreak and professional hard graft, both which ended up taking a bit of time, all to reach her dreams without settling for less. There are people who cannot make their dreams become a reality because they don’t have the resources that some other people do, nor do they have the luck of others. Or maybe their face might not fit. I am one of those people, so finding a character like Beti which I ended up relating to, made me feel far less alone. That probably sounds incredibly daft, but Beti’s face didn’t fit. She didn’t know where she belonged. She knew what she wanted from her life, yet she couldn’t quite grasp it.

‘Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard’ put a massive smile on my face, fire in my belly, and hope in my heart during a time where I couldn’t have needed it more. I absolutely loved reading every page of this book, as well as learning a bit more about Spain.

A beautifully written, heart-felt, poignant, fiery and outstanding novel which will be staying in my heart for a very, very long time, guaranteed.

Buy now!

About the author.

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC
Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo
won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was
a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon
Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale
of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

#BlogTour! #Review – Sky’s The Limit by Janie Millman (@ChezCastillon) @DomePress


Final blog tour for today ‘Sky’s the Limit’ by Janie Millman. Huge thanks to Dome Press for the blog tour and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:


Sky is devastated when she finds that her husband is in love with someone else, even more that it is her oldest friend Nick. She has lost the two most important men in her life and can’t ever trust either of them again.

To escape, she goes alone on a dream trip to Marrakesh and meets Gail, on a mission to meet the father of her child, a man she loved but thought did not want her.

In Marrakesh, Sky and Gail both find unexpected joys – and surprises. For Sky these lead to France, to a beautiful chateau and a family whose relationships seem as complicated as her own.

What does TWG think?

If you’re after a read which has the ability to transport you overseas quicker than you can walk upstairs and put on your pyjama’s, ‘Sky’s the Limit’ will definitely be your cup of tea. Now, I have to admit that I am not very well-travelled at all. Well, unless you count fictionally because in that case I am VERY well-travelled! The only places I have been to are England and Scotland, and seeing as I have lived in both of those countries, there is nothing like keeping it close to home, eh! Life recently as been extremely horrendous so the fact that I was able to jet off to Marrakesh and France without worrying about money, packing and what not, was a very welcome distraction, and one which kept my soul working overtime.

I think soul’s work, don’t they? Oh well, they do now! Janie Millman is a new author for me, but just as her book title states, the ‘Sky’s the Limit’ where this author is concerned, that’s for sure! Personally, I felt the elements of self discovery in the storyline the most poignant and the ones I was able to relate to completely. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Sky’s the Limit’ was jam-packed with romance, intensity, fresh starts, and complicated relationships, and whilst they were all executed incredibly well, I couldn’t help but use the escapism and self discovery as antidotes for my own selfish reasons.

Janie Millman is a beautiful storyteller who is able to transport her readers in the blink of an eye. I did find the storyline a little bit difficult to get into at first, but once I became accustom to Millman’s unique storytelling and enchanting characters, I soon found myself becoming part of the furniture where this story was concerned.

An entertaining, enchanting, and thought-provoking novel, an ideal read for anytime, anywhere, anyone.

Buy from Amazon

#BlogTour! #CharacterReview of ‘Ellie’ from #TheSecretsofVillaRosso by Linn.B.Halton (@LinnBHalton) @HarperImpulse @RaRaResources


I have something a little bit different for you all today, as I have already had the pleasure of reviewing ‘The Secrets of Villa Rosso’, I will be doing a character review of main character, Ellie, instead! Thank you to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and to both her and the author for allowing me to do something different for my tour stop today. Enjoy!


Some places stay with you forever…

When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her
job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect
escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels
to the estate’s director Max Jackson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the
rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.

It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the
undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about
this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?

What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever.

Character review – Ellie

So, Ellie, a character who is bound to get readers talking for various reasons, but just how far can I delve into those reasons without giving anything away? Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Ellie has been asked to go on a business trip to Italy, and of course she agreed. Who wouldn’t? What Ellie didn’t bargain for was a connection to local man, Max Jackson. Ellie is someone who doesn’t quite know her true worth, especially when she has a husband at home who seems to want to knock his wife’s confidence, instead of being the cheerleader she so desperately needs. Personally, I had everything crossed that Ellie would see sense where her husband was concerned, by telling him where to go so that she can live the life she unknowingly wants.

I loved how bubbly and warm-hearted Ellie’s personality was; it was really difficult not to fall under her spell! No wonder Max Jackson was awfully taken with her! Although to be fair to him, Ellie is an extremely determined woman, so I can’t exactly put all of the blame onto him. I don’t think that Ellie is one of the strongest characters Linn B Halton has written, but she is definitely one that will leave a mark for a lot of readers. I’m all for independence, so when Ellie chose to go to Italy, I felt a different side of her personality come alive. It’s just a shame that she hadn’t felt comfortable to dust the cobwebs from that particular side around her husband.

All in all, I thought that Ellie was a fun character to read about, but one who also showed signs of low self-esteem towards herself, and nervousness towards her future.

Buy ‘The Secrets of Villa Rosso’ – now!

About the author.

From interior designer to author, Linn – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says
‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both
Harper Impulse (Harper Collins) and Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus); she’s represented by Sara Keane of
the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working
in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have
been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.
Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy,
she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about
life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links

Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/
Twitter: @LinnBHalton and @LucyColemanAuth
Facebook: LinnBHaltonAuthor

#BlogTour! #Review – #ConfettiAndConfusion by Daisy James (@daisyjamesbooks) @canelo_co


I am so excited to be reviewing the next instalment in Daisy James’ new serial, ‘Confetti and Confusion’. Big thank you, as always, to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:


The Paradise Cookery School is officially open!

Stepping in for a celebrity chef, Millie Harper is feeling the pressure to make the first ever
Paradise Cookery School classes a dazzling success and ensure that bride-to-be Imogen
and friends have an unforgettable experience.

Meanwhile, Millie is trying to play it cool around handsome estate manager Zach Barker. But
whenever he is near Millie cannot fail to notice the chemistry between them – until someone
from Zach’s past arrives and any potential romance seems out of the question.

When disaster strikes and the wedding is in jeopardy, Millie realises she may have to go
above and beyond to make sure the school is a success. Can Millie manage to create a day
that dreams are made of, and will she find a way to tell Zach how she feels?

What does TWG think?

Oh I am so glad that I got to catch up with Millie and Ella at ‘The Paradise Cookery School’! I absolutely adored the first book in the series, ‘Sunshine and Secrets’, so I couldn’t wait to head back to the Caribbean to find out what was in store for Millie this time around.

‘Confetti and Confusion may be the second book from ‘The Paradise Cookery School’ series, but I definitely do recommend that you read the books in order otherwise you may find that you’re missing out on the start of Millie’s journey and how she found herself in the Caribbean in the first place.

Despite this book being quite compact at around 160 pages, it certainly packs a punch! Millie isn’t sitting twiddling her thumbs or topping up her tan, in fact she is run off her feet as she takes a detour from the Paradise Cookery School owner, Claudia, best laid plans! I can guarantee that helping a bride-to-be wasn’t part of the plan at all, but because Millie has got a heart of gold, she can’t sit back and watch a wedding day go to ruins because of someone else.

Of course, whilst romance is prominent in this storyline due to Imogen’s upcoming wedding, Millie’s new friends are watching her closely to see if she finally plucks up the courage to let a certain man know just how she really feels. Well, it might help if she stopped falling over her feet, especially if HE gets to be her knight in shining every time, being none the wiser to Millie’s true feelings…

I will be devastated when this series finishes as it has got to be my most favourite serial that Daisy James has written to date. There is something very special about Millie, and Daisy James has done a fabulous job by bringing her true personality to life by mixing Millie with some rather colourful people, as well as taking her out of her comfort zone.

‘Confetti and Confusion’ made me giggle and left me grinning from ear to ear. What a truly fabulous, spirited, and huggable little read this is. I absolutely loved it and will be recommending this series until I am blue in the face. More please!!

Buy now from Amazon

Buy now from Kobo

About the author.

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing
stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her
summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She
loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of
afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

What a difference, a day makes – or in this case, the month of May! #MonthlyRoundUp #TopBook (@NoelleHarrison @bwpublishing)

The Writing Garnet's Book of the Month is......
It isn’t often that I do a monthly roundup, purely because I often forget. However, I felt the urge to do one for the month of May because I feel that I have to speak out about a few things, and what better way to do it than in a roundup post! #KillTwoBirdsWithOneStone

So, what happened in May?

The highlights!

– TWG was involved in 52 blog tours, the highest amount of blog tours in one month, ever!
– I met up with author, Mary-Jayne Baker, in Edinburgh for bookish chat.
– My TWG Facebook page  hit 1602 likes!
– I went over 5000 followers on Twitter, despite starting with around 100 or so when I started blogging two years ago.
– I found myself being quoted yet another book cover (thanks Bookouture!), as well as being quoted on Amazon itself!
– I received so many wonderful proof copies through the post, as well as being approved for other many awesome books on Netgalley. Big thank you to the publishers/publicists who have either sent me books or approved me. You’re all amazing!
– I have had many wonderful bookish chats with my fellow book buddies on social media – love you all!

There have been, I’m sure, many other highlights but it is quite difficult to remember them all when you make yourself do so! Like most things, there is always a downside:

The Lowlights.

May was the month where I was trolled on social media not once, but twice in the matter of one week. Now, despite being told that other people have had similar and just to ignore, for me that isn’t easy and I’ll tell you why. From the age of five, I was horrifically bullied, tormented for the hair on my arms to how I spoke, being pushed into brick walls to then having a metal sellotape holder slammed down on my knuckles. I was even told that I was fat day in, day out, where I ended up battling with anorexia and bulimia. Whilst I would love to say that the bullied ended quickly, it didn’t. For some, comments on social media are like water off a ducks back. But for me, when they come across as personal attacks, similar circumstances or not, I find them to be a trigger. It isn’t nice because it then sets off my mental health which in turn sets off my chronic illnesses. Thankfully I have drawn a line under that, but I just wanted to speak about that.

Another lowlight in May involved the entire blogging community and the idea of ‘paid reviews’. I won’t get into it again, but I am sick and tired of hard working bloggers getting thrown under the bus by people who can waltz in without giving a damn about integrity or hard work. I don’t charge for my book reviews, and I don’t intend on doing so. I review because I love books and because I feel that I am forever in authors debts for writing books which allow me to escape my daily hell. And yes, it is often hell.

Again, another one which involved the entire book blogging community was when it became known that someone was selling ARCs/proof copies on Ebay. The fact that it says somewhere on the proof ‘not to be resold or used for quotation’, is neither here nor there…..clearly. Seriously, receiving proof copies from publishers/publicists is an honour and I feel privileged to be able to receive some amazing books through my letter box. Would I then go on to sell them on Ebay? Like fuck would I. Respect is earned, not given. Respect isn’t an entitlement, it’s a privilege.

The following lowlight is a personal one for me and one which I have ummed and ahhed about saying. Those who know me personally, or those who have read my previous posts, will know that I am rather lacking in the ‘healthy’ area, with illnesses such as fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, joint hypermobility syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, IBS, anxiety and depression, under my belt. It’s bad enough dealing with all of that, but now, after years of battling with doctors who told me it was ‘all in my head’ and being looked at like I had two heads, I am now being treated for CFS otherwise known as ME. I was also put on a new medication, one which isn’t going to become my bestie anytime soon that’s for sure (amitriptyline). Coming to terms with yet another illness at the ripe ‘old’ age of 28 is heart-breaking, and once again I’m left feeling like I am grieving a part of me now gone. Although to be fair, I’m surprised that there is anything left of ‘me’ to grieve but y’know! I want to say a personal thank you to a person who has been checking in with my every few days despite going through their own issues, and that big thank you is for Abbie Rutherford – your friendship means a lot to me, thank you for being there for me <3.

Enough of the lowlights, lets talk books!

With 52 blog tours in one month, I got through quite a lot of books in May such as:

#Review – The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton (@bookish_yogi) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – One Summer in Rome by Samantha Tonge (@SamTongeWriter) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – What Holly’s Husband Did by Debbie Viggiano (@DebbieViggiano) @Bookouture

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Lead Me Home by CS Savage (@sarahsavage26) @BloodhoundBook

#BlogTour! #Review – The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @RaRaResources @HarperImpulse

#BlogTour! #Review – #SunshineandSweetPeas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain) @simonschusteruk

& many, many more.

It is such an honour to be involved in the blog tours/blog blitzes for incredible books, so thank you to the publishers who invite me to take part!

If I did have to choose just one book from May, it would have to be ‘The Gravity of Love’ by Noelle Harrison. That book blew my mind like nothing before, plus I managed to make the author AND the publishing team cry with my review. I loved everything about the book and everything it stood for, and I am sure that you will too. In case you missed my review the first time round, you can read it again here:

#BlogTour! #Review – The Gravity of Love by Noelle Harrison (@NoelleHarrison) @bwpublishing

The Writing Garnet is going from strength to strength and I can only thank you all for supporting me along my journey, sharing my blog posts/tweets, inviting me on tours, and involving me in a community that sometimes I don’t feel worthy enough to be in. It is such a joy to be able to share my love of books with you all, so thank you <3.

What’s coming up in June?

As it stands, I have 40 blog tours in my diary for this month already. I expect that to go up when I realise that I have included all of the tours by forgetting to write some of them down (it happens, but I do post them on time!). We are on the 5th June and I will have taken part in 11 blog tours by the end of today. Insane, but amazing. I don’t have many other bookish plans for June at the moment, well, apart from the usual, but I am looking forward to reading some fabulous books!

Lots of love and books,

TWG x

#BlogTour! #Review – One Summer in Italy by Sue Moorcroft (@SueMoorcroft) and an #Extract @AvonBooksUK

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Another summery book for you all today, but this time we are going to Italia! Isn’t it ironic that I am reviewing books about summer, yet it is chucking it down with rain outside? Typical! I am delighted to be sharing my review, as well as an extract, of ‘One Summer in Italy’ by Sue Moorcroft. Big thank you to Avon Books for the tour invite, as well as the beautiful ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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When Sofia Bianchi’s father Aldo dies, it makes her stop and look at things afresh. Having been his carer for so many years, she knows it’s time for her to live her own life – and to fulfil some promises she made to Aldo in his final days.

So there’s nothing for it but to escape to Italy’s Umbrian mountains where, tucked away in a sleepy Italian village, lie plenty of family secrets waiting to be discovered. There, Sofia also finds Amy who is desperately trying to find her way in life after discovering her dad isn’t her biological father.

Sofia sets about helping Amy through this difficult time, but it’s the handsome Levi who proves to be the biggest distraction for Sofia, as her new life starts to take off…

What does TWG think?

Don’t be fooled by the stunning cover of this book, because there is a lot more to the storyline than blue seas and lemon tress! And no, that is not a bad thing!

Sue Moorcroft is brilliant at incorporating heart-warming and deeper situations, with the more care free and relaxed moments, and she has done it once again where ‘One Summer in Italy’ is concerned. Now, as I don’t read blurbs, I focus on the cover of a book and I have to be honest, I did think that this novel was going to be more of a light-hearted read. Whilst it did contain a light-hearted element, the book also contained a lot more than I gave the cover credit for. As the well known saying goes; ‘looks can be deceiving’ (no, that isn’t a bad thing!).

Sofia made a promise to her dying father. Well, to tell you the truth, she made several, with some seeming a lot more easier than others. With her fathers wishes in mind, Sofia heads to Italy to see if she can find the answers to questions that have remained unanswered for many years. What Sofia didn’t expect however, was to end up befriending a teenage girl who needed someone to guide her, and to end up finding out a secret that could change her new friends life, forever.

Sofia is the type of character that has the type of personality many readers would take a shine to, as she comes across a truly genuine and relatable character from the word go. I did feel for her when she found herself being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, so I wasn’t too impressed with Levi for putting her in that position. That said, Levi had been put in a ‘devil you do, devil you don’t’ situation himself, with both characters wanting the best for Amy for various different reasons.

I thought it was hilarious how Sofia pretty much gunned for Levi the moment she met him, and it showed a fiery side to her that I think I had underestimated her for. Thoroughly entertaining if I do say so myself!!

Sue Moorcroft is an author who never fails to deliver, and one who seems to get better and better with every book she produces. I have to say that Sofia has got to be one of my most favourite main characters that Sue Moorcroft has written so far, with Levi coming in a close second. The energy between the two of them was charged, but it was also unpredictable which I found exciting.

‘One Summer in Italy’ is definitely a story which has the ability to take you on a journey of self discovery, whilst also ensuring that you keep an open mind for anything you discover along the way. Sofia and Amy are proof that life isn’t all lemon trees and blue seas, yet they are also proof that, with determination and hard work, life can turn into the ‘blue skies and no goodbyes’ life that everyone dreams of. You just have to believe in yourself.

Buy now from Amazon

Extract

Nearer the town centre the residences petered out and the road became lined with shops
and eating places, until Via Virgilio widened into Piazza Roma. Here the buildings were three or even four storeys, painted in earthy tones from ivory to apricot and umber, creating shade for the people passing by or sitting on benches along the way. A giant cartwheel sat in the centre with an old water pump and a profusion of flowers.

The cobbles were laid in fan shapes, old and uneven enough to bear witness to a million
treading feet. One building of honey-coloured stone had a sweeping ornamental arch built into it and when Sofi a stopped gazing up at cornices, wrought iron and shutters long enough to walk through, she found herself in Piazza Santa Lucia, faced with the gracefully imposing building that was Santa Lucia church.

The Palladian front was rendered and painted palest lemon with white raised plasterwork surrounding the circular windows and forming mock columns and niches. Both of the huge carved wooden doors were closed but the door-within-a-door in the one on the left stood slightly open as if to reassure the parishioners that they could visit any time. The upper storey curved and narrowed until it met the triangular gable.

Her father had been raised a Catholic; her mother had not. Sofia hadn’t been baptised or
even attended church very often, but she thought she’d be OK to enter as her shorts were
bermudas and her top wasn’t low-cut. Following Aurora’s directions, she made her way
around the outside of the church, where the walls were of unrendered stone, to a plain door. After hovering a moment, she knocked and entered a tall, cool, silent foyer that smelt of dust and incense. The door snapped to behind her, shutting out the sunlight.

#BlogTour! #Review – Dreaming of St Tropez by TA Williams (@TAWilliamsBooks) @Canelo_

Dreaming of St-Tropez
The perfect summer escape on the French Riviera. Sun, sea and secrets…

After a disagreement with a billionaire, architect Jess Milton is ‘let go’ from her job. However fortune intervenes – an elderly client asks Jess to dog-sit overweight, but loveable dog Brutus in St. Tropez.

Fed up with the mega-rich, Jess is reluctant to visit the playground of billionaires, but an all-expenses-paid trip and the promise of sunshine seals the deal. Little does Jess know how much time she’ll be spending with the family living in St. Tropez.

The sullen, but very good-looking David and his millionaire father are both welcoming but guarded, haunted by their pasts…

Can Jess bring some sunshine back into their lives – and, just maybe, find love in the
process?

What does TWG think?

You know, I don’t think I have ever read a TA Williams’ novel that I ended up disliking. Reading this authors work is like a breath of fresh air every time a page is turned. He never disappoints, with his latest novel, ‘Dreaming of St Tropez‘ being no exception.

Whilst this particular storyline doesn’t set off fireworks with its pace, the story is full of such likeable and memorable characters. The dog included. I’ve always thought of St Tropez to be a rich persons holiday destination, with visitors being more likely to sip a martini rather than necking a bottle of blue WKD and showing of their blue tongues. However, TA Williams’ changed my opinion rather drastically by describing the destination itself in such a vivid manner – I now want to go and visit! To be honest, I said that about the authors previous book when he took us on a journey to Florence!

As always, TA Williams incorporates romance into his storylines at any given opportunity. Not that I’m complaining, obviously, as the author does it well. I did however, think that Jess’ romantic endeavours were a little too predictable, making my eyebrows raise instead of my heart fluttering. I have to admit here that I am not at all a romantic person, so I blame myself here haha.

With all that in mind, I really did enjoy reading ‘Dreaming of St Tropez‘ as I was able to lose myself in someone else’s daydream, believing for a few moments that life can truly be all about dogs…and yachts.

A relaxing, care free, and fun-filled novel which takes you on a journey you won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

Buy now.

About the author.

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish
mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

 

#BlogBlitz! #Review – One Summer in Rome by Samantha Tonge (@SamTongeWriter) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

One Summer In Rome PDP
Happy publication day, Samantha Tonge, and ‘One Summer in Rome’! I am delighted to be taking part in the publication day blitz for Samantha’s novel by sharing my review. Big thanks to Rachel for the tour invite, and HQDigitalUK for the ARC.

one summer final cover
To Rome…with love?

Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a
one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.
Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the
utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love
with the bustling capital!

Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems
displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for
long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…

What does TWG think?

I took a lot away from ‘One Summer in Rome’, a lot more than I expected actually, and yes that is a good thing!

First of all, let me give this book cover a bit of loving’ – how gorgeous does that look by the way! I can almost feel the heat radiating from the sunshine. Now, I have never been to Italy and, whilst it has been a dream of mine to go, I feel as though I took a trip to the Italian capital thanks to Samantha Tonge and her latest offering.

Mary Smith hasn’t had an easy life. She’s been pushed from pillar to post for as long as she can remember, but due to the fact that her scars are still raw, Mary knows that she needs to do something drastic before her life runs away without her. Some people may get an image overhaul or enrol in further education to get into their dream career. Some, yes. Mary however, no. What does she go and do? Purchases a one way ticket to Rome to work in a family pizzeria business. Drastic? Perhaps. Ideal? Damn right! There’s nothing like changing your life by visiting a new country with everything crossed that you can make a new life over there. I thought she was brave although a little bonkers! Good on her though!

It didn’t take too long for the idyllic, Italian lifestyle Mary so badly craved, to take her under its wing. It also didn’t take long for Mary to realise that working in a family run business wasn’t all homely and cosy as she first thought. It was clear that several of her new colleagues had their own challenges that they had to battle on a daily basis and, whilst Mary knew that it wasn’t her business to pry, she couldn’t help but lend an ear to any member of her new Italian family. The only thing was, who was going to take it?

Whilst part of me thought that this book was going to be an easy-read (in a good way), it actually turned out to be an easy-read with such intense depth, I’m surprised the wind wasn’t blown out of my sails. No, that is not a negative, it’s a bloomin’ good thing! I never expected the storyline to have a serious side to it. Yes it caught me off guard, but because I was surprised by the path the storyline chose to take, I found that certain events shocked me in more of an emotional manner than just an ‘omg what?!’ manner.

Dante is such an inspirational character. To be honest, they all are. Each character had their own story to tell due to what they had been through or were currently going through, and I found that the difference in dynamic between each of the characters was absolutely fantastic to read. It just worked one hundred percent. I am in awe at how many hurdles Samantha Tonge managed to create for her characters, whilst also describing each character’s situation with such sensitivity, realism, and empathy. I am sure it took a lot of research to nail so many different situations, but it certainly paid off that’s for sure!

If I were to write about each individual thing that resonated with me, I would be here a while and get my wrists slapped for spoilers. A lot of ‘One Summer in Rome’ warmed my heart, made me feel emotional, whilst also managing to breathe a new life in me that I thought was long gone. One part in particular made me feel like breaking down. Not because I was sad or anything, but because the talk about ‘being your own hero’ resonated with me on multiple levels and allowed me to feel like I had been given my own special pair of wings to be a hero. Yes, mine and the characters situations are completely different, but I couldn’t help but put the ‘be your own hero’ under lock and key in my heart.

‘One Summer in Rome’ took me on a trip of a lifetime, rocked my emotions like a boat on choppy seas, whilst also filling my heart with heroic and special love like never before. Samantha Tonge has written a truly inspirational, memorable, energising, and beautiful read which I will hold very dear for a long, long time.

I really do feel that this author has outdone herself with her latest novel. Whilst Samantha Tonge does state that you need to be your own hero, I can safely say that, thanks to her timeless literary skills and huggable way of writing, she is now my hero for making me feel like I can be a hero.

Buy now!

About the author.

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat who
thinks it’s a dog. When not writing she spends her days cycling, willing
cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short
stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting
Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook
award in 2014. Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won
the Best Romantic Ebook category at the 2015 Love Stories Awards.

Links

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