#BlogTour! #Review – Some Old Bloke by Robert Llewellyn (@bobbyllew) @unbounders @annecater

Apologies for another late post, but today was spent with mumma TWG so I’m catching up now! Tonight I am delighted to be reviewing ‘Some Old Bloke’ by Robert Llewellyn, as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

When writer, comedian and Red Dwarf actor Robert Llewellyn’s son scrawled a picture of him at Christmas and titled it ‘Some Old Bloke’, Robert was cast deep into thought about life and what it means to be a bloke – and an old one at that. In this lighthearted, revealing and occasionally philosophical autobiography, we take a meandering route through Robert’s life and career: from the sensitive young boy at odds with his ex-military father, through his stint as a hippy and his years of arrested development in the world of fringe comedy, all the way up to the full-body medicals and hard-earned insights of middle age.

Whether he is waxing lyrical about fresh laundry, making an impassioned case for the importance of alternative energy or recounting a detailed history of the dogs in his life, Robert presents a refreshingly open and un-cynical look at the world at large and, of course, the joys of being a bloke.

What does TWG think?

I’m not a bloke, nor am I in the same age bracket, nor have I watched much of ‘Red Dwarf’ – with that in mind, I’m sure you’re probably wondering why I would read ‘Some Old Bloke’, right? Well weirdly enough, you don’t need to be a bloke to enjoy Robert Llewellyn witty book! Who would’ve thought it!

I thoroughly enjoyed Robert Llewellyn’s honest and hilarious portrayal of his life and life in general, plus the fact the book contained many eyebrow topics that would no doubt make a lot of people’s eyes go wide in terror. I on the other hand was in hysterics and felt that his delivery was incredibly refreshing.

Even though I haven’t watched many of the programs Robert has been associated with, it didn’t stop me from enjoying reading about his adventures, his misdemeanours, and his insight on a four legged animal. I may not not be an ‘old bloke’ but Robert Llewellyn is definitely ‘Some Old Bloke’ I loved getting to know.

Buy now!

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul (@GillPaulauthor) @Headlinepg @annecater

Busy here on TWG today! First up is my review for the absolutely phenomenal new novel by Gill Paul, ‘The Lost Daughter’. Big thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to the publisher for my review copy. Here is my review:

A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret

From the author of The Secret Wife, a gripping journey through decades and across continents, of love, devastating loss and courage against all odds.

1918
With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia’s imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.

Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father’s side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: ‘I didn’t want to kill her.’ As she unravels the secrets behind her mother’s disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world’s greatest mysteries.

What does TWG think?

Omg I think I have just found my most favourite book of 2018!!!! Gill Paul is an incredibly intelligent and vivid storyteller who blurs the lines between fact and fiction. Put it this way, I struggled to work out what parts of the storyline were indeed fiction because, whilst I had heard of the ‘Romanov’s’ rather briefly, I didn’t know the ins and outs of the historical Russian family and knew that Gill Paul would do a better job than Google, at explaining what happened to the Romanov’s all those years ago.

I was completely bowled over by such a heart wrenching yet historically brilliant storyline, as it not only kept me glued to the book until 2.30am, I also couldn’t help but feel as though I was witnessing the 1918 events with my own eyes. It was as though I was there, feeling the emotion which set Maria Romanov apart from the rest. Feeling the pain as she witnessed the aftermath, the end of life as she knew it.

Wow – I wish I could convey my opinions of the book a lot better than what I am currently doing it, but please trust me when I say that ‘The Lost Daughter’ is a gem to be discovered. A gem which, regardless of how much it fades, will always manage to shine bright and beautiful and, if I were to be perfectly honest, I would rather have this type of gem in my hands than a shiny diamond.

I adored how the author switched between the multiple viewpoints as it was just so effortless and natural. There was no confusion on my part at all. In fact, Val’s story blended exceptionally well with Maria’s – I have genuinely never read anything like it.

I urge each and every one of you to sit and read ‘The Lost Daughter’ – it blew me away more times than one book has ever done before. My heart broke for Maria and her family, and I could only hope for the best where Val and Nicole were concerned. The storyline was incredibly hard hitting at times, because the author has used a lot of historical facts in her storyline where the Romanov’s are concerned, as well as the events during 1918 Russia. I still cannot believe that people endured those horrific conditions, watching their loved ones being taken from their families in the blink of an eye.

‘The Lost Daughter’ is an outstanding, breathtaking, powerful, and utterly poignant read which I know will stay with me for a very, very long time. Gill Paul was a favourite author of mine before I read this book, but I can safely say that she is now my go to author for anything historical. This really is my top book of 2018 without a doubt. Absolutely brilliant – I wish I could give it more than 5 stars!

Buy now!

About the author.

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, Another Woman’s Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.

WEBSITE : www.gillpaul.com

 

TWITTER : @GillPaulAUTHOR

 

#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.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper (@ItsEmmaCooper) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

emmacooper
It’s my turn to host Emma Cooper and ‘The Songs of Us’ today! Thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

The Songs of Us Cover

If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.

If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life’s heart.

But if they hadn’t seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.

What does TWG think?

Can someone please pass me more tissues?

I’m not even joking! Oh my god. I finished reading ‘The Songs of Us’ late Sunday night, and I STILL am trying to fight the urge to burst into tears when I think about this book!

Okay, okay, I’ll admit that there were a lot of moments where I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud at Melody’s actions, with one quote having me bent over double in hysterics; ‘swerve to the left, swerve to the right’. Obviously it will make sense for those who have already read the book, but if you haven’t read it yet, go…..go!!!!

Before anyone thinks that I am being a nasty moo moo by what I said above about laughing at Melody’s actions, just hear me out. I wasn’t laughing at the fact that Melody had a condition a bit similar to Tourette’s, where she ended up singing in public spaces anytime she became stressed. Not at all, because a health condition isn’t funny. However, it was the songs at the right (or wrong) moment which were cleverly written into the storyline, making Melody who she was. Of course I felt for her when she ended up doing the dance moves to a song when she was in a ‘serious’ situation. I can’t even begin to imagine how that must have made her felt, but I thought she handled it brilliantly with great humour, which in turn made me feel as though I was allowed to laugh along with her, even though I felt bad. Does that make sense?

Whilst there was a lot of humour in the storyline, there was also a lot of heartache and devastation. I shan’t go into detail as that wouldn’t be fair on the author or the readers, but please do trust me when I say that ‘The Songs of Us’ is a tearjerker. Melody’s situation does govern a lot of the book, however, her children, Flynn and Rose, also have their own fair share of turbulence as they try to combat their own teenage emotions. I love how the storyline is told from several of the characters points of view, as I felt as though I  was able connect with them on a much deeper level as it was more of a ‘one to one’.

‘The Songs of Us’ left me sobbing my heart out. I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely devastated by the concluding part of the storyline, and no I don’t mean that in a negative way. It was as though I could feel my heart shattering into millions of pieces, the tears were just falling from my eyes. Emma Cooper has written an outstanding, powerful, devastatingly beautiful, heart wrenching, emotional, humorous, and utterly, utterly brilliant novel which has given me the biggest book hangover I have ever had in my life. Yes, I am exhausted from the amount of tears I shed, but holy cannoli was it worth it!

Honestly, what a diamond in a rough of a book this is and, despite having read 282 books already this year, ‘The Songs of Us’ has swooped into the sought after top spot of my most favourite books of 2018, and I don’t think it will be leaving anytime soon! I’d even go one better and say that this book is now an all-time favourite read of mine, ever!

This book truly deserves to be turned into a movie for the big screen, and the songs covered in the book need to be brought out as a soundtrack to Melody’s life, so that everyone can #beabitMelody when they feel as though their life is knocking them down.

Grab your tissues, turn off your phone and prepare yourself to be swept away by Emma Cooper’s incredibly moving, beautifully written novel – this is absolutely perfection (and yes, my eyes are STILL incredibly puffy!)

Buy now!

About the author.

Emma Cooper is a former teaching assistant, who lives in
Shropshire, with her partner and four children. Her spare time consists of writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day.

Emma has always wanted to be a writer – ever since her childhood, she’s been inventing
characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend ‘Boot’) and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.

The Songs of Us was inspired by Emma’s love of music and her ability to almost always
embarrass herself, and her children, in the most mundane of situations. She was so fascinated by the idea of combining the two, that she began to write Melody’s story. Working full-time with a large family meant that Emma had to steal snippets of ‘spare’ time from her already chaotic and disorganised life; the majority of her novel was written during her lunchtime in a tiny school office.

She never expected to fall so deeply in love with the King family and is overwhelmed that others feel the same. 

#BlogTour! #Review – After He Died by Michael Malone (@michaeljmalone1) @OrendaBooks @AnneCater

After He Died Blog Tour Poster
Second blog post of the day is for #TeamOrenda and ‘After He Died’ by Michael Malone. Thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

thumbnail_AFTER HE DIED cover

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought she knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger. Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

What does TWG think?

When a storyline starts with a funeral, you can’t help but feel a little bit emotional, regardless of the circumstances. I mean, it’s not like we know anything, right? We’re not associated in any way. We don’t have any insider information. All we know is that someone has died, with their loved ones and possible acquaintances coming together to give them a send off. However, Michael Malone isn’t the type of author who would leave this type of setting without doing something with it. No. The funeral is a small teaser. An amuse bouche if you will.

Paula has just lost her husband. The man she knew inside out. The love of her life. Her lobster….you catch my drift. However when a random person passes her a note on the day of her husbands funeral, everything Paula had ever known is thrown into turmoil. Has her marriage been a waste of time? With a bucketful of questions looming over head, Paula has to decide whether the random stranger is attempting to throw a spanner in the works because she missed an episode of Emmerdale, or because they know more than they’re letting on..

Michael Malone certainly hit the ground with ‘After He Died’, raising the suspense level with every turn of the page. I cannot help but be impressed by this authors writing style as he always delivers with everyone book he releases, and I have to say that, despite having only read a couple of this authors novels, ‘After He Died’ has got to be my most favourite so far.

I loved how the author kept me guessing for the entire duration of the novel! Although I think my heart rate may have been raised to a dangerous level, but that’s neither here nor there ;). I have no doubt that many readers may relate to the theme running throughout the book as we have all come across someone who has more skeletons in their closet than a dress up shop, whilst also keeping the truth under lock and key and pretending to be someone they’re not. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Paula either as her emotions were extremely conflicted, and whilst that made my intrigue of the book grow, it was quite heartbreaking to witness.

Overall, ‘After He Died’ is an intense, rollercoaster ride of a novel which had me falling off the sofa in shock multiple times. Michael Malone has set the bar high with this one, I am so looking forward to what journey he takes us on next.

Buy now!

About the author.

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up
in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary
magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland
and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize
from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes:
Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The
Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a
number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines soon
followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also
worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

#BlogTour! #Review – Perfect Ten by Jacqueline Ward (@JacquiAnnC) @CorvusBooks #PerfectTen @AnneCater @AtlanticBooks


Second blog tour for the day is for ‘Perfect Ten’ by Jacqueline Ward. Thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Atlantic Books for the ARC. Here is my review:


Caroline Atkinson is powerless and angry. She has lost more than most – her marriage, her
reputation, her children. Then one day, she receives an unusual delivery: lost luggage
belonging to the very man who is responsible, her estranged husband Jack.

In a leather holdall, Caroline unearths a dark secret, one that finally confirms her worst
suspicions. Jack has kept a detailed diary of all his affairs; every name, every meeting,
every lie is recorded. He even marks the women out of ten.

Caroline decides it’s time to even the score. She will make this man pay, even if it means
risking everything…

What does TWG think?

Quick question – are you sure that this is a debut novel? Seriously?
Wow…I had no idea that this was a debut!

I knew straight away that I had to read this book after taking one look at the cover! Such a simplistic cover yet extremely effective. Pretty much proves that things aren’t always as they seem on the outside, eh?

I wasn’t too sure on the narrative of the book to begin with as it felt like I was reading continuous diary entries. However, it didn’t take me too long to get used to it. In fact, I actually found it quite clever as it made the entire storyline feel more cryptic. That sounds daft, I know, especially as we always want answers in books, but I just mean that the way in which the book was written made me compelled to read more as the intensity was off the radar.

Caroline is on the warpath. Wait. She’s more than on the warpath, but I’ll let you see that for yourself! She’s lost her lifelines. Her reason to live. Her everything. And it’s all down to one person. A person who she trusted with her life. A person who she vowed ’til death us do part’. A person who couldn’t give a monkeys about anyone except himself. A person who rates the notches on his bedposts more often than a reviewer rates books. Can you tell that I didn’t like him? Well, that’s pretty tame if I’m honest. My reaction to this character results in language that Amazon would find deeply unsuitable. I may have even thought it was a c-bomb….if you catch my drift. I know that there is two sides to every story and all that jazz, but come on, he would have needed to be extremely convincing for people to carry on believing his story. I don’t get how he thought he could get away with it all, I really don’t. I was with someone like him. Thankfully, after long enough, I was able to see clearly and find my way out, but it’s heartbreaking that other women (and even men) aren’t as lucky.

‘Perfect Ten’ is definitely a book about revenge and making people pay. Okay, Caroline’s actions aren’t entirely excusable, yet who are we to judge how someone reacts to a situation like hers? We can’t. We didn’t live it. Can we honestly sit there and say that we would have acted differently? No, I don’t think I could say that. I was in awe that Caroline had the guts to go through with what she did though!

Jacqueline Ward deserves to be treated like royalty after writing this book. Why? Because not only does it take a lot of guts to write about such a misunderstood and ‘taboo’ subject in societies eyes, it also takes a lot of belief, strength, research, and determination from the person writing about it to do the subject justice whilst also approaching it sensitively. Jacqueline Wards ticks all of those boxes and more – I was so close to screaming ‘FINALLY!!!!’ when I realised that someone was being the voice of reason for so many women (and men) who no longer have the strength to use their voice, or are too afraid to.

This is a one of a kind read. A dark, twisted, and psychologically brilliant novel which will have everyone reaching for the #teamcaro and #teamjack wristbands. I am amazed that this is just a debut novel, but if this is the standard of other books to come by Jacqueline Ward, us readers are in for an absolute treat. ‘Perfect Ten’ blew my mind and if the book rating system had a lot more stars, I would be giving it a PERFECT TEN without fault. Bloomin’ brilliant.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – How to Find Love in the Little Things by Virginie Grimaldi (@GinieGrimaldi) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater #LittleThings


I am very excited to be today’s stop on the #LittleThings blog tour. ‘How To Find Love in the Little Things’ by Virginie Grimaldi, is being published in paperback tomorrow. Big thank you to Anne Cater from #RandomThingsTours for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

‘Welcome to Ocean View. You don’t know it yet, but you’ll be happy here…’

Julia’s not running away. Not exactly. She just needs a break from Paris and Marc and all the sad stuff that’s been going on lately. A little time to pull herself together.

The job offer felt like a lifeline. But now she’s back in Biarritz, suitcase in hand, she hasn’t the faintest idea what she was thinking.

What Julia doesn’t yet know is there’s more to the odds and ends of Ocean View than meet the eye. Behind the double doors lie broken hearts, lifelong secrets, a touch of romance and an unwavering passion for life. And sometimes it’s the most unlikely of places and people who help you find your way.

What does TWG think?

Oh! What a lovely little book this is! I had high for ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’ as I fell in love with the cover straight away, and I had everything crossed that the inside of the book was going to be as captivating as the outside. I was right!

Julia has hit a point in her life where she either fights for something that’s not right, or she takes flight and starts afresh somewhere else in hope that she can find her true happiness again. I know, it does sound very easy, doesn’t it! With several months of heartbreak under her belt alongside a psychology degree, Julia thinks that she should be able to cope because her education says so, and because other people around her who are dealing with the same grief, are moseying on with their lives as though nothing compared. Like I say, Julia ‘THINKS’ that. Of course we all know that what we think isn’t always what’s actually happening. People deal with grief in completely different ways, and the only think that Julia should be telling herself instead of ‘deal with it’, is that ‘everyone is different’. Surely as a psychologist she must tell her clients that on a regular basis? Do as I say, not as I do, has never been more apt.

Ocean View – what a lovely name for a residential home! Even before the author allowed her readers to meet the residents of Ocean View, I couldn’t help but giggle as I hoped there would be a character just like my great-grandmother. You know, the sort of older lady who couldn’t give a flying youknowwhat, would do everything she wasn’t supposed to do, and would cause so much mischief it became what they were known for. THAT was my great-grandmother. A force to be reckoned with if you will. Whilst I’m not going to confirm or deny whether there was a character like my great-grandmother, Waddy, I couldn’t help but feel closer to her in the company of all of the residents at Ocean View.

Every single resident has their own story to tell, some with more devastation than others, yet each one relighting the fire in Julia’s belly with their outlook on life itself. I won’t lie, their stories certainly made me sit up and take notice. We all have a habit of worrying about things. We all have a habit of looking at a picture piece by piece, without taking a moment to stand back and look at the bigger picture. Is that bad? No, it’s not – we are all different. But, after listening to Louise, Miss Granny 2004, and even Clara, a little piece of me was able to find love in the little things. Some people may go and by a 50″ TV and be over the moon, despite shelling out several hundred pounds for the honour. Whereas someone else may receive a letter in the post from a friend, telling them that they were thinking of them. Two different outlooks of happiness, yet both are at different ends of the scale. It really is the little things in life that people remember the most. The memories. The smells. The smiles. The laughter. How many of us can honestly say that, when we think about our pasts, we think about all of the material gifts we received?

Virginie Grimaldi made me giggle with her wonderful character creations, but most importantly, this author made me feel humbled. She made me feel as though I was rich as the way in which she told her story, the author took things back to basics, making her readers feel with their hearts instead of their heads.

I really enjoyed ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’, and I really do feel that a lot of people will be able to benefit from the heart-warming message that Virginie Grimaldi conveys throughout her book. If you’re ever in need of a hug, a confidence boost, or a kick up the tooshmanoosh – ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’ will certainly point you in the right direction for all of that…and more.

An insightful, heart-warming, and poignant novel – everyone needs a little bit of Ocean View in their lives.

Buy now!

About the author.

Virginie Grimaldi grew up in Bordeaux and has wanted to be a writer
for as long as she can remember. She wrote her first novel aged eight in a green notebook with
multiplication tables in the back. It was about love and the sea and featured a thirty-page-long
sunset . . .

How to Find Love in the Little Things was first published in France in May 2016 and became an
instant bestseller, translated into multiple languages.

You can follow Virginie on Twitter: @GinieGrimaldi

#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:

51BmSmX-qyL._SY346_
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 – The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen (@MaryTorjussen) @AnneCater @HeadlinePG #RandomThingsTours

Day two of the blog tour for #TheGirlIUsedToBe, and I, TWG, have the honour of sharing my review of Mary Torjussen’s book. Big thank you, as always, to Anne from Random Things Tours for the blog tour invite, and huge thanks to publisher, Headline, for the review copy. Here is my review:

How can you hide your mistakes when you don’t know what they are?

Gemma Brogan needs a break from her life.

A work event looks the ideal chance to get away. And a friendly new client seems like the perfect gentleman when he joins Gemma for an innocent dinner . . .

But the next morning she has no memory of how the night ended and he has vanished into thin air.

Suddenly, Gemma is plunged into a twisted nightmare she can’t control. To protect her future, and her family, she will have to confront shocking secrets from her past – and the truth about the girl she used to be.

What does TWG think?

I am quite sure that a lot of you reading this review right now have had at least one hangover before, right? If that is the case, imagine feeling as though you have the proof something has happened, but without having the actual proof to cement it. I know, that sounds quite confusing doesn’t it? Lets look at it a different way. Imagine going out for a walk one day, you run into an old friend, have a bite to eat, and then come home not remembering half of the things you did that day, yet something is brought to your attention from that day out which you have no reason not to take as gospel. But do you? I have never had a hangover, but I do know that brain fog is quite similar and, whilst brain fog isn’t the case for main character, Gemma, there are a lot of things happening in the storyline which make Gemma’s life appear rather uncertain, and Gemma very untrustworthy.

Not remembering what you got up to is quite scary and, believe it or not, actually reading about someone who cannot remember what they got up to is scary as well. You think that, as readers, we would be privy to certain events throughout the storyline, but that isn’t the case here. I hadn’t the foggiest what happened that night apart from what the author wrote about, therefore as soon as Gemma’s journey became more uncertain, I found myself growing increasingly nervous because I kept thinking to myself, ‘did I miss a page out?’ and, ‘have I already forgotten what happened to Gemma?’. It made me quite anxious if I’m honest! Intriguingly anxious, yet also anxious in a rather uncomfortable manner as well.

I cannot fault Mary Torjussen’s story telling, nor can I fault the way in which she keeps her readers on tenterhooks all the way through the novel. Whilst I would usually use the word ‘creepy’ for novels which include ghosts and stalkers etc, I have to say that that word could not be more apt for ‘The Girl I Used To Be’. It’s creepy, it’s edgy, it’s very suspenseful, whilst also making you feel as though you have to second guess every conceivable thing in your own life as well as Gemma’s.

A twisty, suspenseful novel which was full of skeletons and bucketful’s of insecurities – I cannot help but be impressed by what I have read!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis (@EmilyGunnis) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater @Phoebe_Swinburn


I am so excited to be sharing my review of Emily Gunnis’ outstanding novel, ‘The Girl in the Letter’, which was published in e-book by Headline on the 1st August. Don’t despair if you’re more of a paperback lover, as the paperback is due to be released next year. It really is worth the wait! Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Phoebe Swinburn for the ARC via Netgalley. Here is my review:


A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away.  A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding
house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a
letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother,
begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late. 
Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the
woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece
together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for
ever…

Read her letter. Remember her story…

What does TWG think?

I am fully prepared for the fact that my review may not do the book justice at all, but I aim to give it my best shot.

-falls on the floor- If I could get away with a review merely stating, ‘OutFLIPPINGstanding – EVERYONE MUST BUY!’, I totally would. In fact, I couldn’t have summed it up better in four words if I had tried. Luckily (or unluckily, depends which way you look at it), I enjoy talking and I feel that ‘The Girl in the Letter’ deserves to be in the spotlight for as long as possible, sooooo, sorry to my four words, but even I know I’m going to need to do better.

Set in 1956 when mother and baby houses were around for unmarried mothers to cleanse their souls and deal with their ‘sins’, ‘The Girl in the Letter’ tells the emotional story of a young girl called Ivy, who had her path chosen for her against her will. Her life in St Margaret’s was very, very tough. She saw things that people her age and younger should never see, let alone have to deal with. But what could she do? The nuns were set in their ways, and their punishments were very severe – whichever way she looked at it, Ivy was well and truly screwed but, as always, she couldn’t help but hope for the best.

The majority of ‘The Girl in the Letter’ is set in the present day, as we follow the life of a journalist who is struggling to find the right balance between her work life, and her life with her daughter. However, without even realising it, something had been sitting under Samantha’s nose for a very long time. With her work hat on, Sam is determined to get to the bottom of the situation without thinking of the consequences. To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t help but wonder why she should think of the consequences when she didn’t know where the path would lead. How could Sam foresee the future? She couldn’t.

I finished ‘The Girl in the Letter’ in the early hours of this morning whilst trying to put my jaw back in its rightful position. I knew that my review would take some thinking about, yet despite having all day to formulate some sort of review, I am still struggling to get my opinion out in a way that makes perfect sense. I even demanded that my mother buy this book and, seeing as she isn’t much of a reader, i have to ensure that the books I demand her to read are ones that I feel cannot be missed. And this is certainly one of them.

Whilst the contents of ‘The Girl in the Letter’ makes for quite a hard-hitting, severely intense and emotive read, the entire storyline is written absolutely beautifully and does the theme justice. Emily Gunnis does state at the end of the book that the storyline is a work of fiction, with themes inspired by real life mother and child homes in Ireland. I think that because I knew that women actually endured living in those conditions, gave birth in those conditions, as well as being told that their unborn child was a sin, it hit home a lot more because it was real. I am in still in shock that conditions like these existed and, if the laws were to be the same now here in the UK and I were to think about my current situation as a single mum, I would be in the same position as the women mentioned in this book. Isn’t that scary?

I loved how ‘The Girl in the Letter’ had a historical feel to it, as well as a thick layer of something a lot grittier as it made the suspense level far more intense than I could have ever imagined.

Emily Gunnis’ literary skill blew me away and left me dumbfounded by its beauty. What an enchanting, heart-wrenching, beautifully written and intense read this is. This book gave me everything I could have ever wanted in a storyline, and then some. I fell in love with the story almost straight away and, whilst my heart shattered multiple times throughout, I still found myself loving ‘The Girl in the Letter’ and everything it stands for.

If I were to be asked to choose just ONE book that I think everyone should buy and read urgently, ‘The Girl in the Letter’ would fall from my lips (or my fingers) before the question had even been fully asked. I genuinely cannot recommend this enough, and I truly feel that everyone would be missing out on a diamond of a read if they didn’t get their hands on a copy.

By far one of my all time favourite novels, Emily Gunnis has swooped in as a new favourite author, and one who I will now be watching very, very closely for future releases. Incredible….absolutely incredible.

Buy now in e-book from Amazon

About the author.

Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is
one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.

Follow her on Twitter @EmilyGunnis
Instagram @emilygunnis
and Facebook @emilygunnisauthor.