Shhhh….#ItStartedWithASecret @jillmansell @headlinepg @annecater #blogtour

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Headline for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Jill Mansell’s new novel, ‘It Started With a Secret’, which is published 23rd January (and for the ARC of course). Here is my review:

The trouble with secrets is that you can’t guess what the consequences will be . . .

Lainey has lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she’s living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired – if far-from-retiring – actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. It’s definitely worth the challenge of keeping her secret.

At least Lainey isn’t looking for love. It’s time for a break from all that. And yet . . . Seth, the actor’s grandson, really is rather attractive. There’s growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. But how would he react if he knew she hadn’t been honest with him?

Lainey’s not the only one with a secret, though. Seth has one of his own. And everything’s about to start unravelling . .

What does TWG think?

Jill Mansell has done it AGAIN!!! Flawlessly written, intriguing beyond belief, with the most intricately crafted characters I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know.

Lainey is the type of character who does the wrong things so you dont have to. If you’ve ever wondered what happens if you tell a gigantic porky when trying to get a new job, thanks to Lainey you get to know the outcome! Obviously fibbing isnt advantageous and more trouble than it’s worth, yet it makes an excellent starting point to Jill Mansell’s new novel!

Just like other Jill Mansell novels, a gentleman makes himself known and leaves a lasting impression on Lainey. However due to her bad, bad move, he ends up slipping through her fingers a tad and she ends up kicking herself. So, moral of the story is – if you want a hot guy, dont ruin it for yourself by fibbing!!!

I adored getting myself involved in the drama of this book and the aftermath of the characters decisions! I found the entire thing so addictive and so moreish, i could have kept on reading! How dare the book have to end!!

Entertaining, relatable, cosy and romantic, Jill Mansell delivers once again as she uses her incredible talent to her advantage and ours, with this outstanding novel. Looooooved it!!

Buy now.

If you had to choose songs for your own #MixTape, which ones would you choose? #MixTapeBook @TransworldBooks @SandersonJane @AnneCater #blogtour

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Transworld for the blog tour invite and ARC of ‘Mixtape’ by Jane Sanderson.

You never forget the one that got away. But what if ‘what could have been’ is yet to come?

Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape.

But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; after all, she’d been the one to run.

Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past.

For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her skin-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind.

And so begins a new mix tape.

Ali and Dan exchange songs – some new, some old – across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything…

Because what if ‘what could have been’ is yet to come?

What does TWG think?

‘Mixtape’ is a romance novel with a difference.

How many of you used to sit and record the music charts every sunday? How many of you made a collection of songs to give to someone? Quite a few I would imagine! As I’m sure you may have already realised, Jane Sanderson’s novel is about exactly that; a special collection of songs. A mixtape if you will.

The concept of this story is unique and highly sentimental, full of a power playlist that will have all music buffs dancing in their chairs. I enjoyed the musical element of the book. I enjoyed the unique and heartfelt storyline. I enjoyed the mixture of colourful personalities and how each song told a personal story for the characters involved.

With that said, I found the storyline to be quite a hard to engage type read, with a pace that stayed very slow until the end. In my opinion, i felt as though there was not an all important hook for me to keep hold of which meant my attention was constantly wavering.

Despite being full of emotive and insightful songs, there were a lot of topics put in the spotlight which could, for those who have been through similar, be quite difficult to read. I was very impressed by the way in which the author dealt with those tough subjects, highlighting them in a realistic and sensitive manner.

All in all, whilst ‘Mixtape’ wasnt completely my cup of tea, I was really moved by the poignancy of the characters journeys, and the delivery of exceptionally placed songs to cement the emotions of the entire storyline.

Pre-order now (published 23rd January)

Nevermind who did I tell, #WhoDidYouTell?! @LesleyKara @TransworldBooks @AnneCater

Apologies for the delay in this post, suffering with migraines due to chronic illnesses. Huge thanks to both Alison Barrow and Anne Cater for your patience regarding the post, and of course for the tour invite itself. It’s a pleasure to be reviewing ‘Who Did You Tell?’ by Lesley Kara.

It’s been 192 days, seven hours and fifteen minutes since her last drink. Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around.

Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She’s going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she’s wronged.

But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won’t stop until she learns that some mistakes can’t be corrected.

Some mistakes, you have to pay for . . .

What does TWG think?

Having grown up around an alcoholic and seen how alcohol can not only affect the person consuming it, but also those around them, the concept of Lesley Kara’s new book was one I had seen first hand. Despite that, following Astrid’s journey was unique in it’s own right, and the spotlight into the detrimental effects of alcoholism was one that needed to be shone. I thought that the author handled the subject sensitively, yet also maintained the authenticity of the topic with the development of Astrid’s personality and the way in which the overall storyline was crafted.

Whilst ‘Who did you tell?’ can be considered quite a slow burner, the attention to detail and powerful suspense made the slow pace seem quite irrelevant. They say that good things come to those who wait, and I believe that that phrase is very apt where this book is concerned. Astrid isn’t the type of character who you could surmise in a few words, nor is she one who you could ‘work out’ pretty much straight away. I found her complexity very intriguing, and the fact that her exterior peeled away to reveal her inner relatability, was quite endearing.

I thought that the execution of the novel was very well thought out, especially as the storyline still held onto the depth from Astrid’s life until the very end. Even though there were elements of this book which brought back memories and reignited hidden emotions, I still throughly enjoyed the craftsmanship of the novel in its entirety. A bloody powerful and thought provoking read.

Buy now.

Are you a #WomanOnTheEdge? @SBaileyBooks @headlinepg @AnneCater

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Headline for the blog tour invite and ARC, here is my review of ‘Woman on the Edge’ by Samantha.M.Bailey:

A moment on the platform changes two lives for ever. But nothing is as it seems…

In a split second, Morgan’s life changes for ever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman’s life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

Or is something much darker going on?

What does TWG think?

OMG!!! What on Earth did I read? I’m just going to come out and say it….

I fluffing loved this!!!

What would you do if a stranger approached you, handed you their baby and then proceeded to jump in front of a moving train? Well, apart from being in severe shock of course! Funnily enough, Morgan didn’t quite know what to do either, yet there she was, standing on the platform with someone else’s baby in her arms.

‘Woman on the Edge’ is a psychological mind funk! We know WHAT happened, yet we dont know WHY. We know WHO the lady on the platform is, yet we dont know the name of the stranger or why they chose to do what they did. Would we ever know the truth? Are we only being told what we want to know?

The plot of this book is a very uncomfortable read and, like many things in life, there is a lot more to the story that meets the eye. Set in the present day as well as a couple of weeks prior, ‘Woman on the Edge’ focuses on the emotional side of being a new parent, as well as highlighting how past decisions have a way of coming back to bite you on the backside if not dealt with properly.

I sped through this novel like a dog on heat! I wanted to find out the truth and attempt to understand what exactly happened on that day on the platform. I wasnt expecting to be taken on a journey where I was left questioning every detail including my own name, however I will definitely take that as a good thing as it shows that the author, and her storyline, got right under my skin.

This is such an addictive, psychologically brilliant, complex and compulsive read that had mu jaw unhinged from the get go. I loved how the author created many suspenseful situations, racking up the intensity as she went. Everything about this book worked and the only thing I can say bad about it, was the fact the darn thing had to end!

Love, love, love!!!

Buy now.

I can’t even begin to think about how emotional it would have been to see #TheChildOnPlatformOne @headlinepg @AnneCater @wordkindling #GillThompson

Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. I am delighted to host day two of the blog tour for ‘The Child On Platform One’ by Gill Thompson.

Prague 1939. Young mother Eva has a secret from her past. When the Nazis invade, Eva knows the only way to keep her daughter Miriam safe is to send her away – even if it means never seeing her again. But when Eva is taken to a concentration camp, her secret is at risk of being exposed.

In London, Pamela volunteers to help find places for the Jewish children arrived from Europe. Befriending one unclaimed little girl, Pamela brings her home. It is only when her young son enlists in the RAF that Pamela realises how easily her own world could come crashing down.

What does TWG think?

Oh my heart!

I am a huge fan of historical fiction novels. I find the topic of history a very important subject to learn as, without it, our lives wouldn’t have been paved the same.

‘The Child on Platform One’ is emotionally draining in the most poignant and beautiful way. I cannot even begin to fathom how heartbreaking it would have been for Eva, to send her child away to keep her safe. She knew that she may never see her little girl again, yet she still made the selfless decision to put Miriam’s safety first. Pretty much what mothers do anyway, yet the thought of sending your child into the unknown, away from your own safe and loving arms, must have absolutely broken Eva.

Inspired by true events, this book highlights just how devastating life was for Jewish people, and the lengths that they went to to protect themselves and other children around them. Like I said above, I was emotionally drained by the end of this book, yet i had also learnt valuable things from a time where the only valuables people had was their love.

Gill Thompson is an incredible, incredible author who wrote with such power and passion. I really felt the underlying emotion from the author herself, and I appreciated the fact that this wouldn’t have been an easy one to write.

‘The Child On Platform One’ is what historical fiction is all about, as authors become the voice of the people who are no longer able to tell their story. Full of emotion, devastating situations, and powerful historic notions, Thompson’s novel spoke volumes and moved me from deep within. I cannot recommend it enough.

The e-Book is due to be published on the 1st December.

Pre-order now

Uhoh! I’m #SnowedInAtThePractice! @CotswoldPenny @SimonschusterUK @AnneCater

Thank you Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to the publisher for the ARC of Penny Parke’s upcoming novel, ‘Snowed in at the Practice’. This book is set to be published by Simon & Schuster on the 14th November.

Larkford Surgery is the heart of a tightknit community in the Cotswolds, as well as a hotbed of drama, rivalry, resentment and romance – and that’s just the doctors …


Dr Holly Graham is finding life with two sets of twins exhausting. Even with husband Dr Taffy Jones and devoted friend Elsie by her side, she is completely outnumbered. Making the transition back to work will be no easy feat but a regular slot on Radio Larkford as their on-air doctor might be the perfect stepping stone, until an unexpected job offer changes everything.

Dr Alice Walker’s new canine clinic at Larkford Surgery with Coco, her assistance dog, has been a storming success. If only shipping her best friend, Dr Tilly Grainger, in from South America to cover for Holly had been such a smooth transition. It seems that Tilly isn’t finding life in the peaceful Cotswolds valley as rewarding as she’d hoped, and she is causing chaos …

What does TWG think?

Emotion? Check.

Heartwarming? Check.

Thought provoking? Check.

The perfect escapism? Double check!

What I love most about Penny Parkes’ novels is the way she captures the heart of her characters, whilst captivating her readers at the same time. In my eyes, that is a talent that you either have or you dont, and Parkes certainly has that talent!

Dr Holly Graham has swapped her scrubs and latex gloves, for nappies and dribbles. Holly loves being a mum and wouldn’t change it for the world, yet she cant help but miss her patients and the job she has temporarily left behind. Some people think that mothers cant have it all, yet Holly is determined to prove them all wrong.

Holly isnt the only one finding her feet, there is a new resident to the town who is finding it difficult to settle in and is worrying that she may have made the worst decision she has ever made.

In this story there is sunshine and rainbows mixed in with rain clouds and gales – you honestly get the best of both worlds in terms of uplifting storyline, and a storyline which makes your eyes close to leaking. The dynamics of the book were brilliant, and the variation between light and shade was incredible, as I felt that it kept me on my toes due to being unable to work out what to expect. I didn’t know what was going to be around the corner on the next page, and the fact that there were several characters with colourful personalities, made the element of surprise all the more addictive.

I thoroughly enjoyed the latest installment in the Larkford series. It was such a joy to lose myself in, and the festive frolics were an additional bonus in an already incredible read.

Heartwarming and memorable, ‘Snowed in at the Practice’ is THE perfect escapism for every single day of the year. I loved it.

Pre-order 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.

Did you get #TheChristmasInvitation? Trisha Ashley did! @trishaashley @annecater @TransworldBooks #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Anne for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Hayley for the ARC – I am excited to be reviewing Trisha Ashley’s new book today!

Meg is definitely not in the Christmas mood. She’s never gone in for tinsel, baubles and mistletoe, and right now she’s still getting over an illness. Yet when she’s invited to spend the run-up to Christmas in the snowy countryside, rather than dreary London, she can’t refuse.

Arriving at a warm and cosy family home in a small hilltop village, Meg soon begins to wonder what a proper Christmas might be like. But just as she’s beginning to settle in, she spots a familiar face. Lex.

Despite the festive cheer, Meg suddenly wants nothing more than to get as far away from him, and their past secrets, as she can. But if she stays, could this be the year she finally discovers the magic of Christmas…?

What does TWG think?

What I love most about Trisha Ashley, is the way she creates such unique characters who always seem to make their way into readers hearts. Meg was certainly one of those characters. She wasn’t perfect. She was a little rough around the edges. Some might say that Meg was ‘perfectly flawed’, and I would agree with that one hundred percent as she took those flaws and embraced them instead of trying to be something she wasn’t.

I really enjoyed the warmth of ‘The Christmas Invitation’ and the message it relayed to readers regarding the importance of community spirit, the importance of embracing situations one may find uncomfortable, as well as the importance of being true to who you are and what you believe in.

I will hold my hands up and say that i felt that the book was incredibly slow to get going, often going off on a tangent at times it didn’t feel overly necessary to the story. In all honesty, I did struggle with those parts because I just wanted to get back to the main part of the book, instead being sidelined by things that didn’t really fit in.

That said, I really warmed to Cara, and i found her hilarious personality an absolute joy to get to know. I loved how she made the story come alive with her ‘no bull’ attitude and genuine love for those she held dear.

Despite my earlier irks, I really enjoyed the festivities of the overall storyline, especially as I ended up finishing it with a massive smile on my face. Romance may be the spice of life for some, yet Trisha Ashley makes warmth, family, Christmas, and the sense of belonging, the spices of life in general and, to be perfectly honest, what more could you ask for?

A genuine, humble and heartwarming novel, ideal for those warm cosy nights of winter.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #BloodSong by Johana Gustawsson (@jogustawsson) @OrendaBooks @AnneCater

Happy paperback publication day to Johana Gustawsson and ‘Blood Song’, I am so pleased to be today’s stop on the blog tour! Many thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda for both the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

The action swings from London to Sweden, and then back into the past, to Franco’s Spain, as Roy & Castells hunt a monstrous killer … in the lastest instalment of Johana Gustawsson’s award-winning series

Spain, 1938:

The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Therese witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Therese gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016: A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and soon finds herself on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer. Little does she realise that this killer is about to change the life of her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells. Joining forces once again, Roy and Castells’ investigation takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule.

What does TWG think?

As ignorant as this may sound, I wasn’t aware of the atrocities that Spain dealt with in the late 1930’s….I am now though! I have absolutely no words! My heart broke for all of the people involved, for all of the people who lost their lives, and for those who lost their life and were forced to continue as a shell. ‘Blood Song’ isn’t a comfortable read at all, in fact I would go as far to say that it is a deeply uncomfortable and unsettling read, however my reaction was nothing compared to the pain of those living in Spain during Franco’s dictatorship.

‘Blood Song’ is a dual timeline novel as it switches between Spain in the past, and Sweden in the ‘present’ where Emily Roy and Alexis Castells find themselves with the task of finding the cold hearted culprit who murdered three people in their own home. Why were they killed? What secrets, if any, were they hiding?

The murder investigation angle of ‘Blood Song’ was so addictive! I loved being able to follow Emily Roy as she attempted to create a profile of the killer, or killers, based on the evidence left and they way they chose to murder. A profiler is such an underrated part of a police investgation, however I thought it was one of the most fascinating.

Emily Roy is an intriguing character, her personal guard is so far up, anyone would need a ladder should they attempt to get past it!

I really did enjoy the complexity of the storyline – I found the uncertainty incredibly intriguing whilst it also kept me on my toes. I did find the storyline to be a little confusing at times due to the way certain situations flitted from one another, making me concerned that I had missed something along the way. A little bit too staggered for me at times!

That said, I thought that Gustawsson dealt with the topics in the storyline phenomenally. The historical nature of the book, whilst being very dark, was written beautifully and I found myself becoming emotional at the fact that stories were being told and voices were being heard, even if the original victim wasn’t telling the story themselves.

A heartbreaking, suspenseful novel which combines historical fiction and crime in the most unique and eye-opening manner, ‘Blood Song’ is a truly unforgettable read.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #InTheAbsenceofMiracles by Michael J Malone (@michaeljmalone1) @OrendaBooks @AnneCater

Next up on TWG today is my review of ‘In The Absence of Miracles’ by Michael.J.Malone. Many thanks to Orenda and Anne for the blog tour invite and ARC.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again.

With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

What does TWG think?

Gosh, I don’t really know where to begin. ‘In The Absence of Miracles’ is such a unique story, one that is incredibly topical in todays society.

I would feel incredibly uncomfortable if I sat here and said that I loved this book because of the subject matter discussed, however, even though there were moments of discomfort on my part, I really enjoyed the way in which Michael J Malone delivered the story.

My opinions on the characters changed multiple times throughout the story as one moment I felt empathy towards John’s mother and anger towards John, and then the next moment those opinions reversed.

I was completely blindsided by the eventualities that were uncovered by John’s journey, many of which were difficult to read, yet the reality of said situations are difficult, distressing and often harrowing. Michael J Malone seemed to really get into the psyche of his characters which really made the emotional scenes come to life.

‘In The Absence of Miracles’ may be a dark, harrowing and destructive read, yet it is also a compelling, emotive, poignant and relatable story which describes the journey of locked away emotions, hidden agendas, as well as the miracle of learning how to protect yourself, even if you never realised you had to.

An incredible read that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Buy now.