#StasiWinter – I wondered why it felt so cold! @djy_writer @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogtour

Anyone else feeling a little bit chilly today, as though, erm, winter is rife?

Today I am hosting David Young and ‘Stasi Winter’ as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre Books for the tour invite and ARC.

In 1978 East Germany, nothing is at it seems. The state’s power is absolute, history is re-written, and the ‘truth’ is whatever the Stasi say it is.

So when a woman’s murder is officially labelled ‘accidental death’, Major Karin Müller of the People’s Police is faced with a dilemma. To solve the crime, she must disregard the official version of events. But defying the Stasi means putting her own life – and the lives of her young family – in danger.

As the worst winter in living memory holds Germany in its freeze, Müller must untangle a web of state secrets and make a choice: between truth and lies, justice and injustice, and, ultimately, life and death.

What does TWG think?

If you’re new to David Young’s novels, ‘Stasi Winter’ is book 5 in the Karin Muller series, with each book reading well on their own. Just be mindful that you may not have the full backstory of character relationships if you do read the books out of order.

‘Stasi Winter’ is written well. There is no doubt about that at all. It’s very clear that the author has researched his locations and finer details to ensure authenticity throughout, and I really did appreciate it. For me, however, I found the shell of the story to be a bit confusing and quite slow at times. I do realise that books of this genre require a slow build up to create more tension, and whilst the tension was definitely there, I would have liked the pace to speed up a bit more, rather than the characters to-ing and fro-ing as often as they did.

Despite the slow pace, I still found myself enjoying historical crime elements to the book, and I ended up being quite addicted to the ‘will they wont they?’ parts. It just goes to show that, under pressure, logistics go out of the window and peoples choices can often appear quite selfish.

What I love about this series is the fact that I can dip in and out of the books and still feel as though I’m part of the overall vibe when I come back to the stories at a later date.

Overall, an intriguing, well thought out novel that made Scottish weather seem like Summer!

Buy now!

What IS #TheGoodInGoodbye? Is there even such a thing? #review #blogtour @Queenoffirelas @RaRaResources

It gives me great pleasure to be kicking off the blog tour for book two in the ‘Lisa Millar’ series, ‘The Good In Goodbye’. Many thanks to Rachel for having me on the tour, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Relationships are complicated. Long distance ones, even more so.

When Lisa Millar met AJ Williams online through mutual friends, she wasn’t prepared to fall in love with the man of her dreams. She was even less prepared to discover that he already had a wife. In a heart-wrenching story of love attempting to transcend miles, Lisa finds herself pregnant and on the wrong side of the Atlantic from the man she loves.

Will their love conquer all? Or will the intricacies of a relationship woven across the Atlantic be too much to take and tear them apart once and for all?

(Warning: This book ends on a cliff hanger)

What does TWG think?

Before I go any further, if you arent already aware – ‘The Good In Goodbye’ is part of a series, the second book in fact. I would whole heartedly suggest that you get the first book, ‘Intimate Strangers’ read first before you get stuck into this one. The storyline in this book will make more sense to you if you do it that way.

So, yeah, as the blurb so rightly warns you, this DOES end on a cliffhanger. Something I didn’t realise until the very last minute as I dont read blurbs! Did it ruin the experience for me? Not at all. It just means that i really need to get my hands on book three….like right now!!

Mental health and different emotions are such a huge part of this book. Speaking from a personal point of view a moment, I could relate to the way that Lisa was feeling as I am feeling that way currently and have been for a while. The delivery of such raw emotions made me cry. All I wanted to do was run to Lisa and say ‘I feel this too, help me!’. Not only that, seeing emotions and thoughts I could relate to in black and white, really hit home as I have spent so long trying to find the words to convey how much my own mental health has spiralled.

Lisa has such a devastating time throughout this book, and the serious nature of the situation she found herself in was definitely an eye-opener. The entire scenario was written so clearly, and so honestly, I cannot even begin to imagine how much research the author embarked on to make it as realistic as possible.

Jeremy…..what a lad. I really wasnt sure of him in book one as I found him very over the top, yet he redeemed himself this time around. In fact, I bloody love him now. Everyone needs a Jeremy in their life, and I’m gutted I dont have one in mine!!

The whole Lisa and AJ situation made me angry! Firstly, Lisa did know what she was getting herself in for with the distance and everything else. Secondly, AJ really needs to get it into his head that simply saying ‘sorry’ doesnt just magically fix things. Thirdly, neither of them owe the other one anything, so they really need to work out what is best for them when it comes to their relationship!

Now before anyone says I’m harsh, I’m well aware that AJ has his own problems and that his own mental health can snowball. However, he really needs to take heed of the responsibilities he now has! As for his priorities, well, I’ll be here all night if I started going on about those!

From the moment I picked up the book until the moment I had finished it, the book stayed in my hands the whole time. I refused to stop reading until there were no more pages to read and, it’s safe to say that I was extremely invested in these characters and their colourful lives.

I know that I have a strong opinion about the two main characters, but can I just say that I bloody loved this book! Lasairiona is incredible at what she does! I love the way she makes her characters come to life as though they’re three dimensional instead of simply being words on a page. I found her storyline to be such a powerful and poignant masterpiece in terms of the deep rooted emotions which were there from start to finish.

‘The Good In Goodbye’ has left its mark on me. Luckily, the fact that it’s a thoughtful and brilliantly written novel makes me incredibly lucky to have the mark of such a enlightening read, left on me. This is raw, cut throat, unsettling, yet it is also a one of a kind read that I urge you all to get your hands on.

Buy now from Amazon UK.

Buy now from Amazon US

Anyone wanting #AnIslandChristmas this year? @helenahalme @AnneCater

Very slowly getting back into the swing of things, thank you for your patience! Before I go any further, I would just like to extend my thoughts to Helena after the death of her father. We are all thinking of you here at TWG.

Many thanks to Anne for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and to Helena for the ARC. Here is my review:

On the windswept Scandinavian Åland Islands, the festive season is snowy and chilly—yet breathtakingly beautiful.

It’s time for Alicia to enjoy her first Christmas back on her beloved Islands with her family. There’ll be traditional dancing around the tree and sipping mulled wine in front of a cozy fire. But peace is broken by Alicia’s estranged husband, Liam, who springs an unwelcome and devastating surprise, while her ex-lover, Patrick, temps her with an altogether different kind of future. Alicia faces impossible choices to keep her family together.

With her world crashing around her, can Alicia create the idyllic Island Christmas she’s always dreamt about?

Meanwhile, Brit, Alicia’s best friend, returns to the Islands to lick her wounds after a particularly bloody break-up with an Italian chef. When she meets her new boss, the Captain of a Baltic cruise liner, sparks fly.

Brit can’t help but fall quickly in love with Jukka, but when she discovers his murky past, she fears her heart is about to be broken yet again. Are the rumors about Jukka true, or just typical small island gossip?

What does TWG think?

Ooooo! Well there is definitely more to ‘An Island Christmas’ than I was expecting!! Helena Halme seems to have gone all out with her Scandinavian storyline, combining emotional family drama with Russian dominance, and Christmas with a life on a ship! I mean, where on Earth does she get her influence from?

Alicia is back on the island where her heart belongs, yet her heart seems to have a different idea when it comes to the man who is taking her fancy! Legally she is married to Liam, however he may no longer be the man for her. Whilst she tries to decide where her heart lie, a lot of other drama grab hold of her attention, putting her own feelings to the back of the queue.

For me, the storyline took a long time to get going. We were given a lot of information to sink our teeth into, but for a while it felt like that was as far as it went. I was pleased that as readers, we were able to touch base with the various different characters in the story, however due to the frequent character change, it meant that the storyline took far longer to get into the swing of things and, given the nature of some of the topics discussed in the book, I would have preferred it if I was able to sink my teeth into it much earlier.

That is, of course, just my opinion and, despite that, I did really enjoy ‘An Island Christmas’ and seeing how festivities are done across the pond. Helena Halme is a beautiful, descriptive author who brings each of her stories to life as though the reader has front row seats to the entire novel. As I said at the beginning of this review, this book has so much more to it than I could ever have dreamed of, making it such a pleasure to read.

Buy now.

#ChristmasAtTheChateau is here!! @0nemorechapter_ @RaRaResources #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Rachel for the blog tour invite, and thank you to the publisher for the ARC.

Poppy is looking forward to spending her first Christmas in France at her boyfriend, Leo’s, Château. And as the snow falls softly around the dramatic castle, Poppy can’t think of anything more magical.

There are new traditions to discover, a cosy Christmas market to explore and best of all, a promise of a secret treasure hunt from gorgeous Leo. The clues take Poppy on a magical tour of the chateau, each place holding special memories for her and Leo – their first date, their first kiss, the list goes on.

And at the end, hidden beneath the mistletoe, is one last surprise for Poppy. A simple question that could change her life forever….

What does TWG think?

At just shy of 50 pages, ‘Christmas at the Chateau’ is the perfect starter to anyone’s festivities this year. If you haven’t read the first book in the ‘A French Escape’ series, don’t fret because it’s fine to read this book as a standalone. Now, I really enjoyed the first book so I do advise you all to get it on your TBR piles!

For such a such a compact read, it sure does pack a punch! I am impressed at how much content Lorraine Wilson managed to fit into her storyline and, even so, everything in the story had its place. Of course I do wish that it was a full length novel, purely because I felt that Poppy and Leo had so much more to say, and I think that the situation that they found themselves in this time round, could have had more detail included in it instead of halting so abruptly.

That said, in my eyes, it’s a mere finer detail! I really enjoyed this pint sized, festive treat, and I absolutely love the four legged friends that fill this story with such humour and uniqueness.

Buy now.

Did anyone else hear #TheSoundOfHerVoice, or was I just hearing things? @OrionBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n @Nathan_B_Author

Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite, and Orion for the ARC. Here is my review of ‘The Sound of Her Voice’ by Nathan Blackwell.

Some murder cases you can’t forget. No matter how hard you try.

The body of a woman has been found on a pristine New Zealand beach – over a decade after she was murdered.

Detective Matt Buchanan of the Auckland Police is certain it carries all the hallmarks of an unsolved crime he investigated 12 years ago: when Samantha Coates walked out one day and never came home.

Re-opening the case, Buchanan begins to piece the terrible crimes together, setting into motion a chain of events that will force him to the darkest corners of society – and back into his deepest obsession . . .

What does TWG think?

Theres nothing like a gutsy police procedural to keep you on your toes when it gets dark at tea time!

A cold case is the heart of this storyline…quite ironic when you think about it as the book is set in New Zealand!

After a body is washed up on a local beach, similarities to a previous case put Detective Matt Buchanan in the top spot to re open a cold case, and investigate why the body appeared on the beach, and whether it was in fact related to said case.

With not much to go on at first, the storyline was a slow burner. Naturally! The more Buchanan delved into the investigations, the more the suspense ramped up and the more I became hooked.

It isnt often that I get to read books set in New Zealand, so ‘The Sound of Her Voice’ made a nice change.

I really enjoyed this one! I’m finding my review tough to write as I dont want to give anything away! The story is quite complex and nearly every situation has a way of linking back to the others, so too much information from me could drop a spoiler!

I was really impressed by what I read, and the elements of surprise and tension were absolutely bang on. I’m intrigued to see what else this author can do!

Buy now.

Put the kettle on, I’m #ComingHomeToWinterIsland! @jo_thomas01 @AnneCater @headlinepg

I am delighted to welcome back, Jo Thomas, to TWG today as I review her latest novel, Coming Home to Winter Island. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to the publisher, Headline, for the ARC.

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.

But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …

What does TWG think?

Absolutely beautiful – if emotion doesn’t make itself known in any shape of form throughout this book, I’d want to know why!

Ruby has a life plan. Wait, I’ll rephrase that…her boyfriend, Joe, has a life plan and Ruby just happens to be the one doing all of the hard grafting. I know, I know – it didn’t make much sense to me either, but what do I know?

Thanks to Ruby’s voice not working as well as she needs it to, what with her being a professional singer and everything, Ruby decides to take a break to Tenerife for some well deserved relaxation. However, due to an out of the blue phone call, Ruby’s plans are now scuppered and shes needed elsewhere. Personally, I thought she got more out of her visit to Scotland than Tenerife!

I loved how we got to know more about Ruby in Scotland. She seemed to fit into her grandfathers way of living, even if she had never met him before. I wasn’t entirely keen on the community though! I know that people are protective about newcomers, especially in a close knit community, but they didn’t do themselves much favours by coming across stuck up. Like I say, I can see why they were like it as their loyalties laid with Ruby’s grandfather, but then again, Ruby didn’t exactly help herself though!

As I said at the start, the storyline is full to the brim with such heartfelt and poignant emotion, I dont think I could have stopped the tears pricking my eyes if I had tried. It was so lovely to watch memories being reunited, families having their dreams come true, and legacies leaving their marks.

Coming Home to Winter Island, is the perfect read to lose yourself in, and escape to a realm that only Jo Thomas can create. This is a story that captures the true essence of dreams, and the powerful mark that memories can leave for multiple generations.

I loved visiting Winter Island, and I think that Jo Thomas has written yet another beautiful, inspiring novel that will leave it’s own mark on readers from all walks of life.

Buy now.

This Halloween I’m dressing up as #TheGuardianOfLies – what about you? @simonschusteruk @KateFurnivall @ed_pr

Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and ARC, it is such an honour to be kicking off Kate Furnivall’s blog tour today!

1953, the South of France. The fragile peace between the West and Soviet Russia hangs on a knife edge. And one family has been torn apart by secrets and conflicting allegiances.

Eloïse Caussade is a courageous young Frenchwoman, raised on a bull farm near Arles in the Camargue. She idolises her older brother, André, and when he leaves to become an Intelligence Officer working for the CIA in Paris to help protect France, she soon follows him. Having exchanged the strict confines of her father’s farm for a life of freedom in Paris, her world comes alive.
But everything changes when André is injured – a direct result of Eloise’s actions. Unable to work, André returns to his father’s farm, but Eloïse’s sense of guilt and responsibility for his injuries sets her on the trail of the person who attempted to kill him.
Eloïse finds her hometown in a state of unrest and conflict. Those who are angry at the construction of the American airbase nearby, with its lethal nuclear armaments, confront those who support it, and anger flares into violence, stirred up by Soviet agents. Throughout all this unrest, Eloïse is still relentlessly hunting down the man who betrayed her brother and his country, and she is learning to look at those she loves and at herself with different eyes. She no longer knows who she can trust. Who is working for Soviet Intelligence and who is not? And what side do her own family lie on?

What does TWG think?

Revenge? Or family loyalties? Eloise has always looked up to her big brother, Andre. When they were children if he could do something, she would go to great lengths to prove that she could do it too. However, now that they’re older, do they know each other as well as they used to?

Andre has asked Eloise for help and his life, and possibly her own, are now in her hands. However, one bad move led them both to a hospital bed. With scars shining on their bodies like beacons, and the guilt eating at Eloise from the inside out, she is determined to put things right. But at what cost?

Accidents happen and, even though I could empathise with the frustration from both parties, Eloise didn’t do it on purpose so why was Andre channeling his anger towards her, and not the people who actually set out to end his life? Maybe maybe maybe she’s there and they’re not? Andre’s life has changed and it’s only natural for him to feel angry that he can no longer carry on with his duties. I just felt quite sorry for Eloise.

‘The Guardian Of Lies’ is such a devious and compelling novel, and I LOVED the addictive nature of the entire storyline! The way in which Kate Furnivall kept the secretive tendencies at the height of the story for the duration of the book was incredible. There were no slip ups, no pregnant pauses, no padding out the story with unimportant information – it was, in my opinion, utterly flawless.

Eloise’s journey definitely made me think as she had to choose between seeking revenge and being loyal to her family. That said, with her wanting to seek revenge, surely that was her being loyal to her family anyway? Personally, I thought that there were a lot of bad apples in the book and that Eloise was taking the brunt of their bad decisions! I cannot deny that it made for excellent reading though!

I am envious of anyone that gets to read this for the first time – you’re all in for a sublime, compelling treat that will question your own loyalties and integrity. Fabulous read.

The Guardian of Lies by Kate Furnivall is out now, published by Simon & Schuster, priced £8.99 in paperback.

Buy now.

Anyone know what the Christmas Secrets at Villa Limoncello are? @daisyjamesbooks @canelo_co @RaRaResources

Ending the day on a festive note with my review of Daisy James’ latest book. Thank you to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part.

With Christmas around the corner, Izzie Jenkins is ready to kickstart the new ‘Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes’ course at Villa Limoncello with chef and business partner, Luca Castelotti.

However, secrets are stirring with their latest guests and when nasty accidents keep befalling the group it looks like Izzie will have to turn detective once more to protect the Villa’s fledgling reputation. On top of all this, Izzie’s been offered the job of a lifetime – back home in Cornwall. Will she be coming home for Christmas, or will Tuscany work its magic to keep her at Villa Limoncello with Luca?

What does TWG think?

This is what a true escapism novel is all about! Not only was there a setting to die for (I have never been mind, but Daisy James has definitely sold it to me, that’s for sure!), there is also a truck load of colourful characters to keep you on your toes, make you laugh and frustrate you in equal measures.

I can be quite nosy sometimes, so the fact that several characters had a few skeletons in their closet made me an eager (and impatient) beaver. I couldn’t wait to find out what they were and how Daisy James was going to incorporate them into her story.

I loved the feel good factor of this story, and the fact that I was able to immerse myself in Izzy and Luca’s story without a care in the world. I’ll be honest, I did find the storyline a bit slow at times and I was unsure as to where things were going, however I did really enjoy the flirty frolics and festive fun that made itself known throughout.

Buy now.

One thing is for certain, ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’…will you? @karenclarke123 @bookouture

Huge thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC. I am delighted to be closing the tour for Karen Clarke today.

Nina Bailey loves Christmas. Except this year she doesn’t. Because it turns out that her husband-to-be has been cheating on her – and her beautiful wedding ceremony in the snow is cancelled.

She’s not really in the mood to be jolly, sing carols, or go anywhere near gingerbread men – in fact, what Nina wants is to avoid the whole thing. So she’s come to stay at her Aunt Dolly’s cosy café to nurse her broken heart.

Nina is determined to get through Christmas with no tinsel, no fuss – and definitely no flirting. So when she arrives and meets infuriatingly handsome Ryan Sadler, with his gorgeous forest-green eyes, she is not best pleased. And when Nina overhears him making fun of her, she is furious. (There might have been an incident with a koala onesie and a spilled bottle of milk, but that really wasn’t her fault!) So despite the spark between them, and the fact that he can whip up a fabulous dinner faster than she can say Michelin star, romance and Christmas are off the menu this year.

Unfortunately, Aunt Dolly hasn’t quite got the message, going to great lengths to provide a proper British Christmas for her beloved niece: a true home away from home. With sparkling lights adorning every wall and a tree to equal the Rockefeller Center’s and, yes, mistletoe above every doorway, can Nina resist the magic of Christmas – and stick to her no-romance rule?

What does TWG think?

I wasn’t mentally prepared for this series to end BEFORE I had even begun reading the final installment, and now, having demolished the read in a matter of hours, I am utterly devastated that the series is now finished!! I have read many of Karen Clarke’s novels, and I can honestly say that this is, by far, the best series she has ever written.

‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ sees the return of Dolly, Charlie, and all of the memorable gang in France. This time however, Dolly’s niece, Nina, has decided to take a breather from the recent heartbreak at home. She wants to try and steer clear from the festivities this year, but her Aunt Dolly has other ideas.

Nina’s French escape didn’t exactly start the way she was wanting it to, especially after finding out that her home away from home has ended up being an escape for Charlie’s friend, Ryan; a man who has more drama following him than the Kardashians!

The chemistry between Nina and Ryan was instant, and the banter they shared had me in hysterics multiple times. I loved the ‘he said/she said what??’ moments more than anything.

It was wonderful to be able to catch up with Aunt Dolly again, but as I said before, I am gutted that it also happened to be the final book in the series.

I LOVED ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas’, and I wish I had enough words to explain just how much I fell in love with the story and the characters. Everthing about the story just worked; from the heartbreak to the emotional moments, to the touching and hilarious ones. Honestly, this book had everything for me and I would quite happily read it again in an instant.

The perfect festive treat that’s full of warmth, humour, romance, and a big sprinkle of christmas spirit. What more could you want?

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #IntimateStrangers by Lasairiona McMaster (@QueenOfFireLas) @RaRaResources

Many thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Intimate Strangers’, as well as the ARC. I am delighted to be kicking off the tour with a review.

Is there such a thing as too perfect?

Lisa Millar wasn’t supposed to fall in love with a guy on the Internet. But she did.

Other than living over five thousand miles away in America, AJ Williams is seemingly her perfect match. Strikingly handsome, musically talented, plays hockey and has a typical college-guy life.

In a moment of carpe diem, Lisa flies from Ireland to Alabama to surprise her internet-beau and finds herself face to face with an inconceivable reality that she couldn’t possibly have prepared for.

How well can you truly know someone you meet online?

Will true love win out, or will AJ’s secret life be too much for Lisa to bear?

What does TWG think?

I don’t quite know what I was expecting with ‘Intimate Strangers’, but what I got certainly wasn’t it, and no I don’t mean that negatively! This isn’t your ‘typical’ romance novel by any means, yet it has a lot of lovey dovey situations throughout the book which again, completely surprised me by the route they took.

‘Intimate Strangers’ has that YA vibe about it due to the ages of the main characters and where they are in their lives, ie college and what not. With that in mind, I was a little bit confused by how the storyline went from having a YA vibe, to having the adult vibe with a lot more mature decisions being made. Now I’m not saying that young adults are immature, not at all. In fact, some can actually be more mature than a lot of adults. What I’m meaning is that the intended audience varied instead of staying consistent with the characters. This meant that at times I felt that the main characters were coming across rather immature with the way that they presented themselves and their choices. If the storyline had remained a bit consistent, I dont think I would have thought that.

As I said before, there is a lot of love in this story! Long distance love and one that is found online of all places. Lisa plucks up the courage to travel to the other side of the world to meet a guy she has only spoken to online, never met. She put her trust in what AJ said, hoping that he was indeed telling the truth, and he had put his trust in Lisa. What happens next is a journey of life discovery, self discovery, and finding out just how deep their love for one another is.

I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed reading ‘Intimate Strangers’! Despite feeling as though several parts of the story were a bit top far fetched, I ended up becoming hooked on Lisa and AJ’s story, especially when their new relationship went through something no-one should ever have to witness, or go through themselves. The friendship groups both Lisa and AJ had were simply wonderful to see so, whilst the storyline had romance in it, the author was also telling the story of another kind of love, the type you only find in friendships.

‘Intimate Strangers’ has such a hilarious vibe to it and, all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed walking alongside Lisa and AJ on their various journeys. Im so looking forward to seeing what else is in store for this couple!

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US