The Nine Lives of Christmas #FlorenceMcNicoll #Battersea @orionbooks #Blogtour

Many thanks to Orion for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Nine Lives of Christmas’ by Florence McNicoll, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Can Battersea’s loneliest cat find a home in time for Christmas?

It’s Christmas at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and Laura is desperate to find a home for Felicia, a spiky, bad-tempered moggy with a heart of gold. Her boyfriend, Rob, can’t understand why she’s spending so much time at work, but for Laura, the animals aren’t just a job – they’re her life. She needs a partner who understands that – doesn’t she?

As the December snow falls, Laura encounters nine people, all of whom need a little love in their lives and find it in new pets. Everyone needs somebody to curl up with at Christmas, and when the handsome Aaron walks in, he takes not just Felicia, but Laura’s heart too…

What does TWG think?

Oh my heart!!! If you’re not an animal lover already, then there is a high chance you will be by the end of the book!

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is the setting for this story, and main character, Laura, is determined to find Mrs Grumpy Cat aka Felicia, a new home for Christmas. If Laura had her way, all of the animals would have a home with her but seeing as that wouldn’t be feasible, she intends to find homes for as many of the animals as she can.

This is such a special, special book. The fact that the author is trying to give rescue animals the attention that they deserve, so that they can find new homes, is such a selfless act. I mean, who wouldn’t go onto Battersea’s website after reading this? Or any other animal shelter?

They say that a pet is for life, not just for Christmas and, whilst that is certainly true, people need to remember that a lot of animals fit themselves without a special lap to fall asleep on during the cold months, and months after. Even grumpy ones like Felicia!

I fell in love with Felicia and the story! Her grumpy nature didn’t scare me at all and I had everything crossed that she would finally get her happy ending in a home where someone loves her. I am in awe of people like Laura who take care of animals as a job as, just like Laura says, the animals are like her family and not just a job.

‘The Nine Lives of Christmas’ is a heartwarming and emotive read, where the true essence of love gets sprinkled over the characters like fairy dust. If you find yourself with space in your home and space in your heart, maybe you might find what you’re looking for in a local rescue shelter.

Thought provoking, endearing, and an all round festive treat. Really enjoyed it.

Pre-order now (published 14th November).

My gift to @CathyKellyBooks is….#TheFamilyGift! Congratulations on your 20th book! @OrionBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

What an achievement! Massive congratulations to Cathy Kelly on the publication of her 20th novel, The Family Gift. Huge thanks to Tracy for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Orion for the ARC. Here is my review:

Freya Abalone has a big, messy, wonderful family, a fantastic career, and a new house.

But that’s on the outside.

On the inside, she’s got Mildred – the name she’s given to that nagging inner critic who tells us all we’re not good enough.

And now Freya’s beloved blended family is under threat. Dan’s first wife Elisa, the glamorous, manipulative woman who happily abandoned her daughter to Freya and Dan’s care and left the country, has elbowed her way back into their lives.

But Freya knows that when life gives you lemons, you throw them right back.

What does TWG think?

With ‘The Family Gift’ having a bit of a slow, uncertain start to it, I wasn’t sure whether the storyline was going to have enough to keep me hanging on. Why did I want to know about a woman who was struggling to deal with her emotions? Why did I want to hear about a family who had picked the short straw in their life?

Well, I’ll tell you why I DID want to know all of that – because it’s real life. ‘The Family Gift’ had a jam packed storyline that contained more than enough to keep me hanging on until the end.

Freya IS struggling with her emotions after being the victim of a late night attack. Freya IS struggling with her emotions due to an unwanted person returning to her life, and yes, she is also struggling with her emotions because some of the people she loves the most, are hurting and she cannot do anything to help them.

Throughout the book, Freya welcomes her subconscious, Mildred, into the fold. You know, the voice in the back of our heads that we all love to hate. The one who ALWAYS has an answer for anything.

The fact that Freya was frightened to talk about her feelings in fear of disappointing her loved ones, coming across as weak, or ruining her career because she didn’t lead the positive, bouncy life that she had been told her fans wanted to see; struck a chord with me. Nobody should feel ashamed when it comes to talking about their worries, their fears, their mental health. Nobody should feel as though they need to pretend to be happy in case people dont like them anymore. Nobody should be ashamed of being true to themselves, all because of what someone else believes.

I think that the message, Cathy Kelly, conveyed in her storyline was such an important one, and something I truly think that everyone needs to know. Its heartbreaking feeling as though you cant talk about what’s concerning you, whether it’s big or small, because of other people. I am talking from personal experience here, especially now as I am in a similar mindset to Freya and I needed to hear that it’s okay to admit that you’re struggling, or that you’re not coping. We are human and NOBODY has the right to invalidate our feelings because others think that the only way through is to just ‘get on with it’. I know I have veered off slightly here, and I do apologise, I just think that Cathy Kelly did something momentous by including a topic so stigmatic, in her book.

I finished ‘The Family Gift’ with a sense of belonging. I adored the heart and the concept of the book, and I felt that Cathy Kelly had executed the emotion and realism, absolutely beautifully. This was, by far, one of the most humbling, hopeful, and pivotal books I have ever read. A true diamond in the rough.

Buy now.

Fiona Valpy is back with a fab new #book, #TheDressmakersGift..and #TWG #reviews it for the #blogtour! @AmazonPub @ed_pr @FionaValpy

Many thanks to EdPr for inviting me to take in the blog tour for Fiona Valpy’s STUNNING novel, ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’, and for the ARC. I am delighted to be reviewing the book as part of the blog tour today!

From the bestselling author of The Beekeeper’s Promise comes a gripping story of three young women faced with impossible choices. How will history – and their families – judge them?

Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them.

Two generations later, Claire’s English granddaughter Harriet arrives in Paris, rootless and adrift, desperate to find a connection with her past. Living and working in the same building on the Rue Cardinale, she learns the truth about her grandmother – and herself – and unravels a family history that is darker and more painful than she ever imagined.

In wartime, the three seamstresses face impossible choices when their secret activities put them in grave danger. Brought together by loyalty, threatened by betrayal, can they survive history’s darkest era without being torn apart?

What does TWG think?

Ever since I finished reading this book the other morning (early hours to be exact), I knew that I was going to struggle writing my review. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the book, it was the fact that I was so emotionally invested in Harriett’s story, both past and present.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and after reading ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’, my love for the genre was cemented even more. Set in Paris in 1940 and then in Germany several years later, Valpy’s novel tells the story of Harriett’s ancestor, Claire, and her friends as they’re faced with living life during the war. As well as being set in the past, the story is also set in the ‘present day’ of 2017, making it a dual timeline and quite complex read.

Harriett hasn’t had it easy after losing her mum to suicide. She has never felt as though she belonged anywhere and, after finding a photograph from 1940, she was determined to find out more about where she came from. The truth becomes clear over the duration of the book, something I certainly wasn’t ready for let alone Harriett!

I’m sure a lot of you are aware of concentration camp, Auschwitz, but are you aware of the other camps? I knew of some, but nothing in depth, however that definitely changed as I learnt about Flossenburg. My goodness, my blood ran cold. The events that were described in this book about that camp were chilling, didistressing and incredibly heartbreaking. I had no idea that the Gustapo went to such lengths, and my heart broke for Claire, Vivi, and everyone else involved.

History and family ties is what makes ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’ what it is, yet Fiona Valpy’s fragile storytelling is what gave me a body covered in goosebumps and a heart haphazardly put back together with sellotape.

Witnessing the events from 1940 through the eyes of Claire and friends, was something I will never be able to forget. The things those women endured is what people actually went through, all because of one selfish and evil individual. Its disgraceful, disgusting, diabolical, but from the bottom of my heart (not that anyone involved would be able to read this), I want to say thank you to all the soldiers who fought for the good of the people, and thank you to everyone who lost their lives for our freedom today. I wish they hadn’t.

Sorry, went off on a tangent there but it needed to be said.

I absolutely adored ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’ for both its beauty and its emotive undertone. Fiona Valpy is an exceptional author who has given those who can no longer speak, a voice and the ability to share the power of their wisdom.

I won’t lie, this book broke me and left me utterly speechless, yet I cannot recommend it enough. This is power at its finest, poignancy in all its beauty, and the history which makes time stand still all over again. A beautiful, powerful and emotive read – one of the best books I have ever read.

The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy is out now, published by Lake Union in paperback original and e-Book.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #FindingBlossomsintheDarkness by Simin Sarikhani (@FindingBlossoms) @Bookollective

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Bit of an emotional blog tour for you now, courtesy of Simin Sarikhani and ‘Finding Blossoms in the Darkness’. Thank you to Bookollective for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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A deeply moving memoir of a mother’s journey through deepest loss to hope. Beautifully designed and produced, featuring the gorgeous illustrations of Lesley Buckingham. Publication supported by imaginative marketing and publicity campaigns from Cultureshock and Bookseller Rising Stars Bookollective.

A refugee from revolutionary Iran, Simin Sarikhani had fled her home, leaving all that she had to make a new life on the other side of the world. Although no stranger to life’s challenges, she would face none so great as the death of her only child, Zhubin, at the age of 21. This heartfelt account describes one mother’s journey through the unbearable pain of a child’s death to find what had seemed forever lost: hope, meaning, love and even joy.

Guided by the letters her son wrote to her to be read after his death, and his other insightful writings, Simin was able to find light in the darkness. In this book, she shares not only her own story but also Zhubin’s simple words, with the wish that they may also bring some comfort to other bereaved parents. Simin Sarikhani was born in Iran, and now divides her time between London and Montreal. Finding Blossoms in the Darkness is her first book.

What does TWG think?

Just as I was getting ready to write this blog post, ‘Footprints in the Sand’ by Leona Lewis, came on Youtube. I don’t think my background music, while I’m typing this, could be more apt!

I’m not going to sit here and say that this is an easy read, because it’s far from it. I’m also not going to sit here and say that I read it in one fell swoop either, because I didn’t. To be honest with you all, ‘Finding Blossoms in the Darkness’ isn’t a book that can be read cover to cover, not unless you’re going to read through eyes like waterfalls and a nose like a fountain. Not a pretty image really, is it! However, this book is pretty….pretty emotive and pretty poignant. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that Simin felt when she lost her son, Zhubin, It takes a lot of courage, and a lot of strength to be able to put those emotions into words for other people, especially strangers, to read.

I won’t lie, I became incredibly emotional reading ‘Finding Blossoms’, both for Simin, the boy she lost, and for all of the other people in the world who have had to deal with something similar. Life isn’t fair at all, but the fact that Simin chose to share her grief alongside feelings of hope, love, and poignancy was incredibly moving. A breath of fresh air if you will. Everyone deals with grief in different ways, there’s no right or wrong way of how somebody approaches and digests those feelings. I want to thank Simin for choosing to share her story with the world. I want to thank her for sharing the heartache, the loss, the feelings of despair. I want to thank her for sharing the love for her son, a love that will never, ever go away.

‘Finding Blossoms in the Darkness’ may be a memoir about Simin’s own personal loss, however it is also a book which will no doubt give other bereaved parents, or members of the family, the strength to breathe.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review – #TheFirstBreath by Olivia Gordon (@OliviaGordon) @Booksbybluebird @Panmacmillan #nonfiction #medicalmemoir

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(ARC received from the publisher, many thanks).

This is a story about the cutting-edge medicine that has saved a generation of babies.

It’s about the love and fear a parent feels for a child they haven’t yet met.

It’s about doctors, mothers, fathers and babies as together they fight for the first breath.

The First Breath is the first popular science book about the pioneering fetal and neonatal medicine bringing a new generation into the world – a generation of babies without precedent, who would not have lived if they had been born only a few decades ago.

Olivia Gordon explores the female experience of medicine through her own personal story and sensitive, intimate case histories of other mothers’ high-risk births. She details the relationship mothers develop with doctors who hold not only life and death in their hands, but also the very possibility of birth.

From the dawn of fetal medicine to neonatal surgery and the exploding field of perinatal genetics, The First Breath tells of fear, bravery and love. Olivia Gordon takes the reader behind the closed doors of the fetal and neonatal intensive care units, resuscitation rooms and operating theatres at some of the world’s leading children’s hospitals, unveiling the untold story of how doctors save the sickest babies.

What does TWG think?

2019 is the year I decided to lose myself in medical memoirs. I used to be quite afraid of reading books about such sensitive and often harrowing subjects that non-fiction books cover, however those topics are what people have personally endured. Those books tell readers about a journey that they would love other people to understand, or to be aware of. ‘The First Breath’ is one of those books. In fact, it’s one of those types of books which make a lump the size of a crater, form in your throat, hoping that no-one will talk to you until that lump disappears, in fear of personally turning into a puddle.

If you’re a parent of a child who ended up in NICU, required surgery through the womb, or anything like that, a lot of what Olivia Gordon discusses will obviously hit home. If you haven’t been directly affected by such uncertain times, you’ll no doubt find yourself moved by Olivia Gordon’s honest and harrowing account. I was. I was astounded by what the medical profession can do to try and assist a sick baby both inside the womb, and out. I had no idea about half of the things mentioned in this book, and at times I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer extent of the medical jargon and what not.

There are a lot of medical facts throughout this book, of course, and there is also a lot of medical jargon which, to be perfectly honest, went over my head at times. Thankfully I had Google to help me to understand such terminology, and the author did give the definitions some of the time which helped, however there was still a lot that didn’t make sense for someone who hadn’t been in the position that Olivia Gordon had.

Like I say, I was blown away by the work of the surgeons, genetics teams and, the strength of the female body. I have had one child, a 9lb baby girl in 2013 and, even though I was classed as a high risk pregnancy due to my own illnesses, I to this day cannot quite believe what the human body can do. Seriously, females have 2 hearts in their bodies when they’re pregnant, and then they have to try and expel the baby once the placenta says ‘right, get out’. I mean, us ladies need to dilate to the size of a bagel. A BAGEL. Shocking really, isn’t it. So yeah, I think the female body is an exceptional thing and, like ‘First Breath’ describes, there are many times where babies unfortunately do not make it into this world and my heart goes out to every single person who has had to go through that.

The science behind this book is utterly fascinating, medical jargon aside, and the way in which Olivia Gordon incorporates her own personal experience alongside it, was both mind-blowing and incredibly emotional. Not only did the author relieve her own heartache and give the other families (and their babies mentioned in the book) a voice, she also showed the reality of the aftermath so to speak. She didn’t gloss over how difficult it was to have a child in NICU, or to have a child who ended up poorly with various challenges, for the rest of their life. She didn’t pretend that everything was rosy, nor did she hide the devastation of the procedures the surgeons carried out through the womb, because that’s just not life. It’s not realistic and, as much as we would love no-one to endure the heartbreak of losing a child, multiple children, or even their spouse/family member due to pregnancy or giving birth, it happens. But then on the other hand, there could be an extremely sick baby yet due to advanced medical science and the knowledge of surgeons and other members of the medical team, that baby may pull through.

I’m not going to sit here and say that ‘The First Breath’ was an easy read, because it wasn’t. It was very difficult to read most of the time, due to the sheer amount of emotion throughout, yet it was also a read which opened my eyes to the incredible work of the medical profession. It also opened my eyes to the challenges that parents of sick babies face, as well as the emotional turmoil and stress throughout the whole process. It was very clear that the not knowing, or the uncertainty of the future was one of the hardest things to come to terms with, as was the putting the life of your child in someone else’s hands.

‘The First Breath’ is a poignant, powerful, and devastating read which covers a topic a lot of mothers, fathers, and families will be able to relate with. I can only thank the author for sharing her own personal story, and I would like to send love to anyone who has ever been in this position.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – #IfYouWereHere by Alice Peterson (@AlicePeterson1) @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC

Huge thanks to the wonderful Simon and Schuster team for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Alice Peterson and ‘If You Were Here. Also, many thanks for the ARC. Here is my review:

When her daughter Beth dies suddenly, Peggy Andrews is left to pick up the pieces and take care of her granddaughter Flo. But sorting through Beth’s things reveals a secret never told: Beth was sick, with the same genetic condition that claimed her father’s life, and now Peggy must decide whether to keep the secret or risk destroying her granddaughter’s world.

Five years later, Flo is engaged and moving to New York with her fiancé. Peggy never told her what she discovered, but with Flo looking towards her future, Peggy realises it’s time to come clean and reveal that her granddaughter’s life might also be at risk.

As Flo struggles to decide her own path, she is faced with the same life-altering questions her mother asked herself years before: if a test could decide your future, would you take it?

What does TWG think?

If you could look into the future to find out how your life would pan out, would you do it? Honestly, I don’t think I could even answer that. Life is full of surprises, however if you knew what lie ahead of you, would you feel more confident about dealing with the negative things if you had warning?

Flo is faced with that very decision. Should she take a medical test to find out whether she is likely to succumb to the very illness that took her parents away from her? Before reading Alice Peterson’s latest novel, I had heard of Huntington’s disease but I didn’t quite know how devastating it could be. Just like many illnesses, it isn’t a one size fits all as many sufferers react differently to the symptoms and challenges they face.

Told as a dual narrative, ‘If You Were Here’ tells the story of Peggy and her granddaughter, Flo. Peggy finds out something which could like a fuse under her granddaughters life and, instead of biting the bullet and being honest with her, Peggy keeps that information to herself because she doesn’t want to hurt someone she loves dearly.

I could see where Peggy was coming from to an extent, however I could also see where Flo was coming from because it wasn’t up to Peggy to withhold that vital information about Flo’s health, from Flo herself.

The family dynamics and secretive notions, are very emotional and intense. It was incredibly difficult to form a solid opinion on the characters actions, having not endured what they have, yet finding a way to be empathetic is such an important mindset to have whilst reading this.

Alice Peterson writes stories about characters who are dealing with things that no-one hardly ever talks about. If the subject is likely to be seen as taboo, Alice Peterson is straight in there, bringing her characters personalities to life with such dignity, courage, poise and realism.

Getting to know Peggy and Flo was an absolute joy, however I was undeniably bereft when their story ended. I have a feeling that their emotional journey will stay with me for a long while to come, and I cannot wait to read another beautiful, uplifting novel from an author who knows, and understands, the power of empathy and emotion when it comes to hurdles involving illnesses.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheMoments by Natalie Winter @OrionBooks

Hugest of thanks to Alainna and Orion for the blog tour invite and ARC of ‘The Moments’ by Natalie Winter. Here is my review:

Life is made up of countless moments. Moments that make us who we are. But what if they don’t unfold the way they’re supposed to…?

What if you get on the wrong bus, or don’t speak to the right person at a party, or stay in a job that isn’t for you? Will you miss your one chance at happiness? Or will happiness find you eventually, when the moment is right?

Meet Matthew and Myrtle. They have never really felt like they fitted – in life or with anyone else. But they are meant to be together – if only they can find each other.

A powerful and emotional story about missed chances, interwoven lives and the moments that define us.

What does TWG think?

I have been racking my brain all day, trying to put my thoughts of this book into some sort of order. I don’t think I have managed it, but I’m giving it my best shot!

Have you ever wondered how your life would pan out, what animals you would get, who you would fall in love with? Of course you have, we are only human and the beauty of this book is that it puts characters loves and losses into the spotlight in a way which really makes the reader stop and think.

‘The Moments’ switches between various characters of various ages, however it starts off with two new lives being brought into the world. Two happy families, two new babies, two worlds being their oysters. Matthew and Myrtle are the ‘main’ characters of the story and we get to watch them grow up and find their feet. Obviously life is uncertain, and the two characters aren’t always surrounded by positive energy and happiness. In fact, a lot of what Matthew and Myrtle endure, and their loved ones endure, is relatable and incredibly emotion.

As a child you’re constantly wanting to grow up, whilst disbelieving the adult who tells you, ‘don’t waste your life away, life is too short’. But it really is short, even more so when someones life is crammed into 400 or so pages.

If you’re an animal lover, you will fall in love with the dogs that feature in this book. Yes, even the animals reach their end in the book and as bad as this sounds, I was more emotional about the demise of say, Worzel, than the demise of several of the characters. Please say I’m not the only one who gets like this?!

‘The Moments’ is such a unique story. I have never read a book told in a similar manner and yeah, it was a teeny bit confusing at first, but once I realised what the author was trying to achieve with the fast forwarding of life so to speak, I was more able to go with the flow.

Something which really hit home for me was how the author made every little moment, seem the most important thing ever. And they should be, because every moment in our lives got us to where we are now. Why should we settle for second best? Why should we just do things because other people are, even if we know deep down that it isn’t our destiny?

Like I say, I’ve never read a book like this before, and I don’t think I ever will. ‘The Moments’ and Natalie Winter, truly are one of a kind – i was mesmerised by the poignancy of the storyline and the way in which it made me think from deep within.

The premise of the book is deeply moving, raw, and sometimes unsettling due to the harsh reality of the situations, however Natalie Winter has created something incredibly special.

#TheMoments blew me away and even made the deepest part of my soul emotional! Such an incredibly beautiful, raw, insightful, and highly emotive read which will stay with me for a very long time. Please, please do put this on your wishlist as you will not regret it.

Pre-order now from Amazon (published 8th August)

#BlogTour! #Review – #FiveStepsToHappy by Ella Dove (@EllaRoseDove) @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I hope I do this book justice today! Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton and Trapeze for the blog tour invite and ARC, I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for ‘Five Steps To Happy’.

Life can change in a heartbeat…

When struggling actress Heidi has a life-changing accident aged 32, her world falls apart. Stuck in hospital and unable to walk, her only companion is Maud, the elderly lady in the bed next to hers. Heidi misses her flatmate, her life, her freedom – surely 32 is too young to be an amputee?

But when Maud’s aloof but attractive grandson Jack pays a visit to the ward, Heidi realises that her life isn’t over just because it’s different. It might not look like the life she dreamed of, but it’s the one she’s got – and there’s a lot she still wants to tick off her bucket list. With Jack at her side, will Heidi take the first step back to happiness? Or is there one more surprise still in store…?

A feel-good read based on the inspiring true story of journalist Ella Dove. Sometimes all it takes is one small step..

What does TWG think?

How the hell do you review this?! ‘Five Steps To Happy’ may be fiction, however it is based on the true story of the authors own life, and all I can say it……wow.

Ella Dove is one helluva woman, and one helluva author. I knew, after racing through 10% of the book in a matter of minutes, that it was going to be a good’un. You know when you just get that feeling about something? I had that and then some. I mean, how does anyone even come back from a situation like this? I know that some people have no choice but to carry on, and others feel as though they cannot cope, but can you honestly blame them for being upset by what’s happened? I can’t. I felt like shouting at the book; ‘don’t tell Heidi to cheer up, you have no idea how she feels!’.

‘Five Steps To Happy’ tells the story of Heidi and her journey as she finds her ‘new normal’ after becoming an amputee after a freak accident. As well as Heidi’s emotions, the storyline sheds light on the domino effect of the accident and how Heidi’s loved ones are struggling to cope with what’s happened.

This was such an eye-opening and poignant read – I had no idea about the journey which amputees go on, nor how long the ‘rehab’ is before they can go back to living in their home. On a personal level, I was able to resonate with some of Heidi’s emotions as I am losing the ability to walk myself, with the prospect of being unable to walk completely by the time I’m 40. Now I’m not taking the owniss off Ella or Heidi by saying that, it’s just I felt comfort by the rollercoaster of emotions, the worry at finding a ‘new normal’, feeling guilty and such. Walking is something we take for granted and it’s not until that ability is hindered, do we realise just how much a part of us walking actually is.

Being based on a true story, the emotion and frustration was very genuine and, because I was aware of the authors story, I felt that Heidi’s emotions hit me a lot harder because someone had actually been in that position if you get what I mean. It wasn’t as though Ella Dove was writing the scenes based on second hand knowledge via other people’s stories.

Talking of other people, I LOVED Maud!!! I just wanted to wrap her in a huge hug and take care of her. Such a lovely, lovely character.

Towards the end of the book, I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried. I honestly couldn’t hold in my emotion any longer. ‘Five Steps To Happy’ is one of the most beautiful, uplifting, honest, and empowering novels i think I have ever had the pleasure of reading. You don’t need to be an amputee to appreciate the powerful words in this story, you just need to have a heart and be willing to listen. People who have found their whole life change over night aren’t expecting people to understand, they’re just wanting people to take the time to listen and be present.

Such a wonderful, wonderful book with a very important message within. I adored its beauty, and I adored the authors magnetic storytelling – I am jealous of everyone who gets to read this for the very first time.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #NobodysWife by Laura Pearson (@LauraPAuthor) @AgoraBooksLDN

Next blog tour today is for Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson. Many thanks to Agora Books for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

‘Of the four of them, only three remained. And there was no going backwards from there.’

Emily and Josephine have always shared everything. They’re sisters, flatmates, and best friends. It’s the two of them against the world.

When Emily has the perfect wedding, and Josephine finds the perfect man, they know things will change forever. But nothing can prepare them for what, or who, one of them is willing to give up for love.

Four people. Three couples. Two sisters. One unforgiveable betrayal.

What does TWG think?

Let me just put this straight out there; ‘Nobody’s Wife’ is so emotionally charged, I thought I was going to an electric shock whenever I picked up the book!

Emily and her sister, Josephine, are as thick as thieves. They have the close bond a lot of family members would dream of, yet there always seemed to be the not so typical sibling rivalry, threatening to put a spanner in their relationship.

This novel is definitely a drama filled, emotionally charged read. I thought that the concept of ‘not knowing what you want until it’s too late’, and the issue of being afraid to be true to your own feelings, was an insightful and poignant piece of writing. A lot of people, in my opinion, will no doubt be able to relate to Emily’s situation, or the emotion the author conveys throughout the storyline. However, I struggled to find what was ‘it’, if you exclude Emily’s situation, which would be pretty difficult to do as the whole book is based around the choices of two people.

There were quite a few things in the book which made my jaw drop as they seemed to come out of nowhere. You’re going to have to trust me on that opinion as I don’t want to give too much away and the shocking scenes would definitely be considered a spoiler. I was quite surprised by my reaction as I couldn’t believe how the character involved brushed the event under the carpet, despite the fact that their action is probably what led to it happening anyway. I mean, they reacted, but was it out of guilt or genuine upset? Too close to call if I’m honest.

I am on the fence with ‘Nobody’s Wife’. I appreciated the complexity of each of the relationships, and I thought the delivery of forbidden fruit was portrayed very well. It worked, it really did, but for me personally, I felt like something else was meant to have happened. I just can’t quite put my finger on what that could have even. I just know that I needed a little more than just drama.

All in all, Laura Pearson is, undeniably, an atmospheric author who brings intense situations to life with extreme ease and realism. I enjoyed having to sit and think about the storyline, and I felt that the drama in the storyline makes for such a juicy read.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Woman I Was Before by Kerry Fisher (@KerryFSwayne) @Bookouture

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It gives me great pleasure to be hosting Kerry Fisher today as part of the blog tour for ‘The Woman I Was Before’, where I will be sharing a review. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC.

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A new home can be a happy ending. Or a fresh start. Or a hiding place…

Of all the emotions single mother Kate Jones feels as she walks into her brand new house on Parkview Road, hope is the most unexpected. She has changed her name and her daughter’s, and moved across the country to escape the single mistake that destroyed their lives.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the street starting afresh. Warm, whirlwind Gisela with her busy life and confident children, and sharp, composed Sally, with her spontaneous marriage and high-flying career, are the first new friends Kate has allowed herself in years. While she can’t help but envy their seemingly perfect lives, their friendship might help her leave her guilt behind.

Until one day, everything changes. Kate is called to the scene of a devastating car accident, the consequences of which will test everything the women thought they knew about each other, and themselves.

Can Kate stop her own secrets from unravelling, or was her hope for a new life in vain?

What does TWG think?

Wow….just, wow.

Can I get away with just writing that for my review?

No?

Damn it! I don’t even know where to begin. I have the thoughts in my head but they just don’t want to spill out in a coherent manner, so I do apologise in advance if the phrase ‘wow, just wow’ appears multiple times throughout this review!

‘The Woman I Was Before’ is a drama filled, wow-tastic, mystifying, magnetic, thought-provoking read which made me say ‘oh my word….’ out loud more than once. Wow…(see, told you).

Three narratives, three different women, three VERY different lifestyles, all joined together by one little detail; they’re neighbours. A single mum, a mum with two children, and a lady who wants to be a mum, yet each of the women think that the other ladies in the street have much better lives than theirs. Why do they feel like that? Because of social media. Because of the ‘perfect’ lifestyles people showcase on their social pages, showing off to people that they are very happy and that they’re living a drama free life…..

If only it were that simple…right?

The author isn’t saying that people who update their social sites with pictures and updates, telling others what they’re up to and such, are falsifying their lifestyles. She’s not saying that everyone on social media is pretending to be something that they’re not. Instead, Kerry Fisher, along with help from Gisela, Sally and Kate, highlights just how flawed society is when it comes to social media, and how people are very quick to compare their own lives against a little snapshot which only gives a glimpse into 5 seconds of a person’s life. I’m sure we have all scrolled down Facebook, looking at people’s pictures and feeling a pang of jealousy at how happy people look, or how we wished our lives were like there’s, right? But how many of us have actually stood back and thought that we don’t know what else is going on in their lives?

‘The Woman I Was Before’ isn’t several chapters of women comparing themselves to each other, it’s wayyyy more than that and, to be honest with you all, I wasn’t expecting just how deep the storyline ended up being. I have to be careful of spoilers here, but there is a lot more to Kate, Gisela, and Sally which meets the eye. They all have their own reasons for the way that they come across, yet they are all so afraid of showing their flaws in case people no longer want to be around them. It’s a shame that we have reached a time where people are too afraid to be themselves because of how other people perceive them, and yes, I am guilty of doing that. We all are. However, when you read just how devastating it can be for a family involved in the constant pretending and uncertainty of who they actually are, it can be quite an emotional thing to read.

Kerry Fisher always amazes me with every story she produces, yet with ‘The Woman I Was Before’, this author has gone above and beyond and produced what I think is her best book to date. I was in awe at the complexity of each character and their journeys – they’re all so different yet still very similar. One character in particular was involved in a situation which put my heart in my mouth in shock. I guess part of me saw something like that happening, but it still came out of nowhere and left me flying through the pages to find out the outcome of the event. I mean, why does it always take a shock to the system for someone to realise that things aren’t right?

I went through a variety of feelings whilst reading Kerry Fisher’s latest novel, such as anger, devastation, empathy and of course sadness. I was hooked by the dramatic suspense and constant urge to find out more. Whilst I wanted everyone involved to be happy and have the ending that they deserved, I knew fine well that life really isn’t like that and, seeing as the author had written a story which was so in keeping with modern day society and the challenges that come with that, I knew that the conclusion would be a realistic one.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve, ‘The Woman I Was Before’ captured my heart and soul from the very beginning. The suspense was out of this world and the fact that the characters went through relatable things meant that I was able to fall into their lives as though they were really happening. I absolutely LOVED this book and I wish I could climb to the top of a hill with a megaphone and shout about it until I’m blue in the face. Honestly, wow – this book is everything I could have wished for and more. A stunning, addictive, and empowering read which made realise that I deserve to NOT compare my life to Jane Doe’s on Facebook because I am worth way more than that because I am me, and there is only one of you. What could be better than that?

Buy now!

About the author.

Kerry Fisher is the bestselling author of five novels, including The Silent Wife and The Secret Child. She was born in Peterborough, studied French and Italian at the University of Bath and spent several years living in Spain, Italy and Corsica. After returning to England to work as a journalist, she eventually abandoned real life stories for the secrets of fictional families. She now lives in Surrey with her husband, two teenage children and a naughty Lab/Schnauzer called Poppy.