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.

#AWinterWeddingAtTheLittleDuckPondCafe @rosie_green1988 @RaRaResources #blogtour #review

Delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Rosie Green and the latest installment in her ‘Little Duck Pond Cafe’ series. Huge thanks to RaRaResources for the tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

With Zak and Ellie’s wedding day approaching, there’s high excitement in the pretty village of Sunnybrook, especially among the Little Duck Pond Café crew. Ellie is over the moon with her romantic surprise wedding gift from Zak, and Madison is promising to organise a hen party to remember. Everyone has high hopes for a magical Christmas Eve wedding celebration at gorgeous Brambleberry Manor. (Even Maisie-Moo has a sparkling new outfit.)

But sometimes, even the best-laid plans can go wrong. And with the journey to the altar turning out to be rockier than expected, it’s going to take nothing short of a Christmas miracle to ensure a happy ending . . .

What does TWG think?

Finally!! Zak and Ellie are days away from saying ‘I do’ and, if like me you’ve been following their story from the beginning, you’ll no doubt have everything crossed that nothing goes wrong! Zak and Ellie haven’t exactly had the best of luck, so they sure do deserve a wedding day to go without a hitch.

The narrative of this novella switches between the characters, focusing on Jaz’s and Fen’s stories as well as Ellie’s. So, if you’re not a weddingy type person, then dont fret because there is more to this book than wedding favours and what not.

Having read the previous novellas I know the way the characters speak and hold themselves, and I have to say that I found Ellie’s narrative to be not as consistent as it has been and, to be truthful, if it wasnt for the chapter saying her name as well as the obvious details about Ellie herself, then I would have struggled to differentiate between characters. She didn’t come across like the Ellie I had gotten to know in previous books.

That said, I still enjoyed this magical read, and it was refreshing to see Madison being knocked down a peg or two – I’ve still not warmed to her!! Once again, cosiness is at the heart of this story and Rosie Green delivers that with such fabulousness like ever before! I really dont think I’ll ever tire of this series!!

Buy now.

#TheFirstTimeISawYou – do you ever wonder what people think about the first time they saw you? @Headlinepg @ItsEmmaCooper @AnneCater #Review

Huge thanks to Anne and Headline Books for the blog tour invite and ARC of Emma Cooper’s new novel, ‘The First Time I Saw You’. Here is my review:

Lost:

Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin. Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.If found, please return to Sophie Williams.

Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey. Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.

When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be. But fate has other ideas.

Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways than they ever expected…

What does TWG think?

Having been blown away by Emma Cooper’s previous novel, ‘The Songs of Us’, I had very high hopes for this book and omg it did NOT disappoint!

The way that Emma Cooper describes her settings, characters, and even the little details of the story, is outstanding! This author doesnt just write a story, she tells the story and owns it in every single way possible.

I loved the unique, romantic journey that the characters embarked on. It was so refreshing to see a book carved out in this way yet still be full of the same, strong romance elements that regular readers of this genre will appreciate.

Be prepared for many laugh out loud moments and many heartbreaking situations. That said, be prepared to be taken on a journey of hope and poignancy.

Sophie and Samuel are two, incredible characters who have made this story the fantastic read it is. As stupid as this sounds, they were made for this book and I think that Emma Cooper has done her characters very proud indeed.

I ADORED getting to know Samuel and Sophie, and I adored being able to lose myself in their story.

Such a beautifully written, cosy, poignant read which will lift you up higher than the balloons from the movie, ‘UP’.

Buy now.

#SadieMcQueen is going to be a tough one to follow!! #TheRiseandFallofSadieMcQueen @julietstories @simonschusterUK @ed_pr #review @TeamBATC

Apologies for another late one, I hope my review makes up for it though! Huge thanks to EdPR for the tour invite and ARC – I am a HUGE fan of Juliet Ashton, so it’s an honour to be on the blog tour today.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but Cherry Blossom Mews is a miraculous place. It’s somewhere that finds you, rather than the other way around.

Sadie McQueen has leased a double fronted space in this small cul de sac in a culturally diverse corner of central London. The cobbles muffle the noise of double-deckers roaring past the arched gates. Turn right and you are in a futuristic maze of corporate glass monoliths. Turn left and you see a wide street with many different houses. Towering above the mews are the degenerating tower blocks of an infamous estate. The old folks home and the nearby school are both in need of TLC; the private members’ club that set up shop in a listed Georgian building has been discreetly refurbished at huge expense.

Into this confusion comes Sadie. She fell in love with the street the moment she first twisted her ankle on its cobbles. Her double-fronted unit is now a spa. She has sunk all her money into the lease and refurbishment. She’s sunk all her hope into the carefully designed treatment rooms, the calm white reception space, the bijou flat carved out of the floor above.

Sadie has a mission to connect. To heal herself from tragedy. Sadie has wrapped the mews around her like a warm blanket, after unimaginable loss and unimaginable guilt. Her hard-won peace is threatened, not only by the prospect of the mews going under but by a man aptly named Hero who wakes up her comatose heart.
Sadie has a lot to give, and a lot to learn, not least that some ghosts aren’t ghosts at all.

What does TWG think?

I feel so sorry for any books I read after this one as Sadie McQueen is going to be a tough act to follow! This was incredible!!!!! Emotional, humourous, romantic, dynamic, relatable….honestly, it had everything I could have wanted from a book and more. I was gutted when it finished.

Everyone who lives in Cherry Blossom Mews has a unique story to tell. If you sat down with any one of the residents, you’ll end up finding out much more than you bargained for. However, despite all of the individual heartache, despair, uncertainty and what not, every single resident has one thing in common; they want to belong.

Sadie McQueen is the main character of the book, and her story had my jaw hitting the floor in shock. How one person can pull themselves through what she did is just incredible. She doesnt see how strong she is, but, given the truth of her past, can you really blame her?

Family (both blood and self picked) is at the heart of this storyline. Juliet Ashton doesnt say that every family is perfect and without problems, nor does she suggest that every family can rival the ones on Eastenders, instead the author has made her characters relatable. She has made them endure things that one of us could relate, empathise with, acknowledge, or even learn from. You never know the full truth of what someone else is dealing with unless they come out and tell you themselves, and this book highlights that fact, and the way that people are so quick to come to their own conclusions, absolutely beautifully.

At times, #SadieMcQueen was quite a difficult book to read in terms of the deep rooted discussions, serious topics, and the way in which many of the characters had been deceived. On the other side of the coin, Sadie McQueen was also empowering, hopeful, full of strength. In other words, the storyline had the right mix of paths, and it all came together to create such a powerful story that warmed my heart.

I could sit here and say what all of the characters had gone through, but I won’t because, even if I did drop hints, it would take the shine away from the authors hard work. I’m basically saying to you that spoilers suck!

I absolutely adored finding out about all the different walks of life in the Mews, and I just loved the strength of the community spirit and the way spirit everyone came together to help one of their own. It didn’t seem to matter whether Fi was going through hard times herself, she would still be there for her best friend, Sadie, should she need her and visa versa.

The best part of the book for me, was the way in which Juliet Ashton came alive in her storytelling. I could feel the emotion behind the words when it was needed, yet I could also feel the elation and hope fulness too.

I truly couldn’t have asked for anything more from ‘The Rise and Fall of Sadie McQueen’ – it’s a story that has truly captured my heart and soul and, if I may say so, is probably the best book that Juliet Ashton has written so far.

What an empowering, insightful, emotional and spellbinding way to start the New Year. Juliet Ashton, you have done Sadie and co, proud. This was magnificent!

Ps. Is it too early to read it again?!

Buy now.

#BluebellsChristmasMagic @marielaval1 @RaRaResources @choclituk #blogtour #review #itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas

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

A flick of a feather duster and a sprinkle of Christmas magic …

Cassie Bell is used to mess. Her cleaning business, Bluebell Cleaning, is well known in the Cumbrian village of Red Moss. However, now it’s almost Christmas and Cassie has a slightly messier situation to deal with than she’s used to.

She’s been hired to help Stefan Lambert, an injured army helicopter pilot who’s staying at the local Belthorn Manor whilst he recovers. Stefan resents Cassie’s interference and is definitely not looking for Christmas cheer. But Cassie prides herself on sparkling surfaces – so, can she bring some festive sparkle to Stefan’s life too?

What does TWG think?

To the unromantic eye, Marie Laval’s new book may look like a typically ‘boy meets girl’ read, however there is a lot more to this particular storyline that meets the eye.

Cassie has been hired to help Stefan, a man who is recovering from an accident. Whilst Cassie may be used to picking up other peoples rubbish, or cleaning strangers toilets on a daily basis, Stefan would prefer it if Cassie would mind her own business and leave him to recover in peace. Of course that wasnt going to happen!

Cassie had the personality one could only ever dream about! Not only was she likeable, she also seemed to respect herself by refusing to take anyones rubbish. Pardon the pun.

Stefan was a broken man and it was evident that his scars from the accident would be there a long time, both externally and internally. If only he could meet his own version of Mary Poppins…someone who was practically perfect in every way. I wonder who that could be?

I really enjoyed this high energy, easy to read, cosy novel that was jam packed with mystery, dilemmas, romance, and genuine friendships. The title may lean towards Christmas, however I would quite happily read this book any time of the year! As a huge fan of Marie Laval’s ‘Little Pink Taxi’, I was so excited to dive into ‘Bluebell’s Christmas Magic’, a read that is more than worth its weight in gold, or tinsel!!

Buy now from Amazon UK

It may be raining, yet there are #StarrySkies #ComingHomeToMerrimentBay this evening! @EmilyHarvale @RaRaResources

Many thanks to Rachel for the tour invite and ARC. Here is my review of part four in the ‘Coming Home To Merriment Bay’ series.

Cat is reeling from the unexpected events of Christmas and as Merriment Bay prepares to toast in the New Year, she’s facing choices she never thought she’d have to make. Her head and her heart are pulling her in very different directions.

Bailey is sitting by Viola’s bedside, regaling everyone with tales from the past but is there any chance he’ll get to see a smile on the lips of the woman he still loves?

Having realised she has made mistakes, will Mary finally tell Cat what she really wants to know?

And what will the New Year bring for Kyra? Will she fulfil the plans she made before she came to Merriment Bay?

When distressing events end more than one person’s dream, can Cat find the strength to fight for the Love she deserves? Sometimes it takes a crisis to make someone realise what they truly want. And Cat has decided what – and who – that really is. But is she too late?

What does TWG think?

Part four already! How? Just like the other parts in the series, I recommend reading this one in order and after the others. If you dont, the overall storyline wont make as much sense as it should.

So, I’ve been quite vocal with my opinion of Cat in my other reviews, and I was a little bit apprehensive this time around because she only had one more chance to stop pushing people away or else she could lose everything.

Without giving too much away, I will admit that she frustrated me once again, however Amias seemed to do his own fair share of that too. I wanted to bang their heads together! As for Ben, I really couldnt see what part he played in the story apart from being something to pass the time. I found his personality a tad overbearing if I’m honest!!

In part four, the loose ends from the other three novellas are tied up and the answers to questions become known. Finally. Was I as shocked as what i perhaps should have been? No. Dont get me wrong, the family drama was brilliant, however I felt that the whole truth of the matter regarding Cat’s dad etc, was a little bit over egged and fell flat a little.

That said, I did really enjoy reading ‘Starry Skies’, and I was pleased that Cat finally got the answers she deserved. I really do enjoy reading Emily Harvale’s relatable stories and I absolutely cannot wait for more! Harvale is my go to author without a doubt.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

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

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

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

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

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

(Warning: This book ends on a cliff hanger)

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now from Amazon UK.

Buy now from Amazon US

Anyone wanting #AnIslandChristmas this year? @helenahalme @AnneCater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

Buy now.

Have you heard!! There are #SnowflakesOverMoonDanceCottage @Rosie_Green1988 @RaRaResources #BlogTour #Review #Blogger

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If this doesn’t make you feel Christmassy then I have absolutely NO idea what will!
I am delighted to be hosting day three of Rosie Green’s blog tour for ‘Snowflakes Over Moondance Cottage’ with a review. Many thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for the ARC.

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When Jess Thornton’s dad was lost at sea, the family coped in different ways, alone in their grief. Now, her mum seems to be going off the rails and her sister, Isla, who moved to France, is now back and determined to gettheir old family home on the market. But the last thing Jess wants this Christmas is for renovations to start on the house. It’s sure to stir up all sorts of memories she’s desperate to avoid. And to make things worse, Isla appears to have hired the most obnoxious builder in the world to do the work.

Jess could ignore the fact that women seem to be putty in his hands. But what she finds harder to ignore is the frisson she gets every time she squeezes past him in the mess that is now their beloved old home!Can the family finally start talking and find a way to move on from the past this Christmas?

What does TWG think?

Well, I wasn’t expecting THAT! The cover of this book is so pretty, but please do not be fooled by what you see! And yes, I mean that nicely! If you’re thinking that you’ll be reading a story which is full of festive frolics, smooching under the mistletoe, and making snow angels in the snow and slush, then you will probably be a little disappointed……as there are no snow angels. I know, I know – I was disappointed too! Jokes aside, there is a lot of Christmas treats to whet your appetite, however there is a lot more to the story than mince pies and Christmas pudding, despite how tasty they both are.

Jess cannot forget the day that her father left her life. She has had to tell herself that he isn’t coming back….ever, and that he is lost at sea. Jess and her sister, Isla, have heard nothing from their beloved dad and can only assume that he died. To try and move on with their lives, their family home gets renovated and memories get thrown out. What’s the point in holding onto a house that their dad will never be coming back to?

I feel as though I am turning into a worn out record where Rosie Green is concerned, as I always seem to say the same things in my reviews! I may be rehashing an opinion here, but it doesn’t matter how many times I say it, the truth in it remains the same! I have NO idea how Rosie Green manages to take an idea, stretch it and turn it into a storyline which has more layers than a baked croissant. It really takes some serious talent to be able to do that and, no matter how many books by this author I read, I still end up being in awe at the end result of each book.

The elements of the book surrounding their disappearing dad was simply heartbreak. I could feel the emotion pouring from the sisters. I had no idea whether they were going to get the happy ending that they were so desperately after. I could only cross my fingers and hope that they were all able to deal with the demons that were eating them from the inside out.

Romance is a big part of this book, however it isn’t too much nor does it clog up your arteries with cheese. Honestly? I thought it was perfectly balanced, believable, and gave the storyline hope.

‘Snowflakes Over Moondance Cottage’ is a beautiful story that gave me tingles. I loved everything about the book and the message the author tried to convey – I really thought it was an incredible and genuine story that made me want to reach into the pages to give the characters hugs. If you’re after a one of a kind, emotional, and hopeful read, then I would recommend Rosie Green’s in a heartbeat.

Buy now from Amazon UK.
Buy now from Amazon US