#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas Angels by Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) @HoZ_Books

Christmas Angels blog tour

Dorries_04_CHRISTMAS ANGELS PB
Christmas is the most harrowing time of year for the nurses of St Angelus Hospital.

A brilliant nurse secretly battling a fatal illness over Christmas… A starving baby boy abandoned in the freezing cold… A cruel, controlling mother, determined to block her daughter’s nursing career at all costs…

In the run up to Christmas, nurses Pammy and Beth are aiming to win the coveted national decorating competition for the St Angelus children’s ward, but drama after drama threatens to upset their plans.

Amid the hardship and poverty of 1950s Liverpool, only the humour and community spirit of nurses and patients will get the Angels through their toughest Christmas yet.

What does TWG think?

Christmas is a time for loved ones, sharing memories, as well as creating new ones. Unfortunately though, that isn’t always the case for everyone – as you will no doubt realise when you delve into ‘Christmas Angels’. With a storyline packed full to the brim with heartache, illnesses, abandonment, and extremely bitter family members, it’s a wonder how the author managed to turn all of those heartbreaking moments into the heart-warming, touching, poignant and memorable storyline that ‘Christmas Angels’ turned out to be. This is only my second novel by Nadine Dorries, but with such genuine warmth flying off the pages (aka the authors words), it feels as though I have been reading Dorries’ novels for a very long time.

Set in the 1950’s when the healthcare system was a lot different from today, ‘simple’ illnesses, by today’s standards, were a lot harder to treat meaning that people could be on the brink of losing a loved one. The nurses at St Angelus Hospital are working around the clock as they treat to treat all of the patients who come through their doors both physically, and emotionally. ‘Christmas Angels’ was set when the NHS was dipping its toe into the water and, contrary to popular belief, it’s a system which has come a long way in the last 60+ years and reading this book makes you appreciate the NHS that little bit more.

For me, the true highlight of this novel was the community spirit. As daft as this sounds, I am incredibly jealous of that as times have drastically changed and community spirit is severely lacking. I am so glad that authors like Nadine Dorries keep the community and fighting spirit alive in their novels. We really do need it.

I’m not going to lie, there storyline does contain a lot of heartache and emotional situations which for me, got a little bit too hard to digest at times because it chipped away at the ice around my heart until I had no more. I think I underestimated how emotional this novel was going to be so make sure you read this book with a huge box of tissues next to you.

Touching, moving and heartbreakingly beautiful, Nadine Dorries puts the spotlight on community spirit at Christmas time in the most humble and poignant manner, igniting the Christmassy spirit in readers everywhere – guaranteed.

Thanks HoZ.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Advertisements

#BlogTour! #Review – A Winter Love Song by Rita Bradshaw @panmacmillan @ed_pr

Blog Tour Artwork for A Winter Love Song

A WINTER LOVE SONG cover.jpg
A Winter Love Song is a heartwarming and moving story of survival and love from bestselling author Rita Bradshaw.

Bonnie Lindsay is born into a travelling fair community in the north-east in 1918, and when her mother dies just months later, Bonnie’s beloved father becomes everything to her. Then at the tender age of ten years old, disaster strikes. Heartbroken, Bonnie’s left at the mercy of her embittered grandmother and her lecherous step-grandfather.

Five years later, the events of one terrible night cause Bonnie to flee to London where she starts to earn her living as a singer. She changes her name and cuts all links with the past.

Time passes. Bonnie falls in love, but just when she dares to hope for a rosy future, WW2 is declared. She does her bit for the war effort, singing for the troops and travelling to Burma to boost morale, but heartache and pain are just around the corner, and she begins to ask herself if she will ever find happiness again?

What does TWG think?

Without sounding too macabre, I absolutely love read a saga which is set during war time. Obviously I don’t find other people’s misfortune entertaining at all, it’s just the whole vibe of a wartime setting mixed with fictional characters and fictional stories, all inspired by a real life situation, makes me feel as though I can sink my teeth into the storyline without too much of an issue. I have always been fascinated with history so to then mix an interest of mine into novel reading – I’m sure you can see why I get so excited about this genre!

Anyway, back to the book.

Bonnie has had her own fair share of heartache over the years. Not only did Bonnie lose her mother at a young age, she was then faced with the devastating situation of then losing her last remaining parent. Nobody understood Bonnie like her father did. Nobody wanted to understand Bonnie. Instead, she’s left misunderstood with a knee-jerk reaction to flee. Will Bonnie ever get her happy every after? Will Bonnie finally be loved for who she is and everything she stands for?

I felt so sorry for Bonnie as it was like she constantly got the short end of the stick. Everywhere she turned there seemed to be something bad about to happen, or she would end up faced with memories of the bad times past. I had my fingers crossed that she would find true happiness, but without sounding too pessimistic, I wasn’t entirely convinced that she would. I felt that Bonnie was exceptionally hard on herself in a lot of ways, which unfortunately made it harder for me to gel with her as a character as I couldn’t find a way to get through to her.

As the story progresses we see Bonnie’s life take a very different turn, although the feeling of sadness was waiting around every corner, ready to strike again.

I felt that the historic nature of the storyline shone through really well, which in turn made me able to see various characters in very different lights.

I am being really vague with this review as the storyline is rather complex and I would hate to give anything away. Even though I felt that the complexity was definitely a positive, I did find myself becoming a little bogged down by the overall heaviness of the novel itself. Don’t get me wrong ‘A Winter Love Song’ really is a lovely read, but the fact I had trouble keeping up with every situation in the book meant that I couldn’t enjoy the storyline as much as I would have liked.

Overall I did enjoy ‘A Winter Love Song’ – it ignited multiple emotions from deep within whilst also keeping the historic element poignant all the way through.

Thanks Pacmacmillan.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Heartaches and Christmas Cakes by Amy Miller (@AmyBratley1) @Bookouture

Heartaches and Christmas cakes - Blog Tour
I am delighted to be one of the blogs closing Amy Miller’s blog blitz for ‘Heartaches and Christmas Cakes’! Huge thanks to Bookouture for the ARC and for inviting me to take part in the blitz. Here is my review:

Heartaches-and-Christmas-Cakes-Kindle
Heartaches and Christmas Cakes: A wartime family saga perfect for cold winter nights (Wartime Bakery Book 1)

December, 1940: All that Audrey Barton wants is her family together for Christmas. But the war changes everything… 

The Barton family bakery in Bournemouth has been at the heart of the town for generations: Audrey and Charlie Barton have never been rich, but their bread and cakes – and their love and advice – have enriched the lives of others in the town for many years.

When war breaks out, it doesn’t take long for trouble to arrive on the bakery doorstep. Audrey’s brother William has joined up to fight, and William’s fiancé Elsie fears she may lose him before their life together has even begun. Audrey’s stepsister Lily comes to stay, but Lily is clearly hiding a dark secret

And a silent and strange little girl is evacuated to the town – will Audrey get to the heart of what is ailing her? 

Audrey battles to keep hope and love alive in tumultuous times. But when disaster strikes at Christmas, will her efforts be in vain? 

This is the first book in a heartwarming and romantic new saga series, perfect for fans of The Gingerbread Girl, Nadine Dorries and Ellie Dean.

What does TWG think?

Oh my goodness me! What a cracking start to a series! I have no idea whether my review of Amy Miller’s, ‘Heartaches and Christmas Cakes’, will do the book justice but I will certainly try my best.

As a lover of saga’s/historical fiction, I just knew that ‘Heartaches and Christmas Cakes’ would be right up my street. With other books I have read in this genre, the storylines are written from a different angle where the reader gets to hear about the war, is probably involved in one way or another via a family member, and that the tale of the war is told secondhand and distant. Amy Miller’s story wasn’t like that. Set in the family bakery in the heart of Bournemouth, the storyline showcases a different side to the wartime devastation as the ‘main character’, Audrey, got stuck into situations when they arose by helping others. Where Audrey went, the reader went.

Despite being set in a bakery the story wasn’t all loaves of bread and buns. Not at all. In fact the story was more about having no choice when a love one gets called up to fight in the war. Finding themselves part of a family under a name, yet also a part of a large, communal family when the town needed help. Putting own feelings aside to help the injured in their time of need. Seeing hundreds of evacuated children with frightened eyes, unaware of what would happen to them beyond that point whilst also hoping that a stranger would be kind enough to take them into their home…

Like I said above, everywhere Audrey went, us readers followed. Because of that, the storyline seemed a heck of a lot more raw than if we weren’t shadowing the main character, so to speak. Of course I have read about the devastation which both wars left on the world, thanks to history books and so forth. But to then be able to conjure up an image in your mind of the emotional devastation from the fighters point of view, thanks to the authors beautiful story telling, was a lot more emotional than I expected. With factual history books it is harder to find emotion as you’re given the facts in black and white. No heartfelt anecdotes or emotional undertones. Just, the facts. Yet with historical fiction books, if based on a certain point in history then the bones of the facts will be there waiting, but it’s then up to us readers to turn the authors words into an image we relate to. Amy Miller told the story perfectly, therefore conjuring up images of the wartime was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Incredibly emotional though.

Even though a lot of the book is written from Audrey’s viewpoint, the author does switch the chapters to a couple of the other characters viewpoints and, because all of the characters were various ages, I was able to feel a bit of release when I read one of the younger girls chapters due to the theme within that chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Heartaches and Christmas Cakes’ from different angles as it meant I got to see different sides to the war and how people were affected. Take Audrey for example; she’s the mother hen of the book and of the town, having to pay attention to rationing when it came to baking cakes, whilst also looking after younger members of her family, running the bakery and assisting other people in her community. Then on the other hand, Elsie’s heart was close to shattering and her own family were subjected to disgusting behaviour from other people.

Two different people, two different views, two different lives, yet joined by the love of one person and the devastation of daily life. Certainly makes you sit and think, doesn’t it?

I have to be honest; this book absolutely broke me! The tears just seemed to fall out of my eyes off their own accord. I became incredibly emotional due to a lot of the storyline and it broke my heart to think that that actually happened to people during those times. Our family members no doubt fought in that war. I know my great grandad did! It’s easy for me to say now seeing as I didn’t have to live through that, but Amy Miller’s outstanding portrayal of a heart-breaking time, certainly opened my eyes.

‘Heartaches and Christmas Cakes’ is an absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful novel about life, love, loss, and learning to find inner strength which you never knew existed. Amy Miller has taken my breath away with her enchanting and spellbinding literary skills.

A truly fantastic, emotional and heart-warming story. I cannot wait to read book two of the series, although based on this story alone, the author has certainly set the bar exceptionally high for herself! If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would. It deserves the entire constellation that’s for sure!

‘Heartaches and Christmas Cakes’ is by far my most favourite saga novel of 2017.

Thanks Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

Author Bio:

Amy Miller is the pseudonym of Amy Bratley, who started her writing life working on magazines and newspapers. She has previously written three women’s fiction novels published by Pan Macmillan, the first of which was a bestseller in Italy. Her day job is being a freelance managing editor of both a vintage interiors magazine and a food magazine, two subjects she’s passionate about. Amy lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmyMillerBooks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyBratley1

 

#BlogTour! #Review – Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul (@gillpaulAUTHOR) @headlinepg

gill paul
I am absolutely delighted to be today’s stop on Gill Paul’s blog tour for, ‘Another Woman’s Husband’. Huge thank you to Phoebe Swinburn for accommodating me on the tour! If you can’t tell already, I am so very excited to be reviewing ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ on my blog today. Keep on reading and you’ll find out what got me so excited. Enjoy!

gill paul 1
From the #1 bestselling author of The Secret Wife comes a gripping novel that commences with the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and journeys back to the fascinating world of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. ‘A triumph’ Dinah Jefferies on The Secret Wife by Gill Paul

Two women who challenged the Crown.
Divided by time. Bound by a secret…

1911
At the age of fifteen, carefree Mary Kirk and indomitable Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, separation and the demands of the British Crown until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal.

1997
Rachel’s romantic break in Paris with her fiancé ends in tragedy when the car ahead crashes. Inside was Princess Diana. Back in Brighton, Rachel is haunted by the accident, and intrigued to learn the princess had visited the last home of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the crash. Soon, the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world…

Richly imagined and beautifully written, ANOTHER WOMAN’S HUSBAND is a gripping, moving novel about two women thrust into the spotlight, followed by scandal, touched by loss.

What does TWG think?

As a huge history fan, I struggled to contain my excitement when the opportunity arose to read Gill Paul’s new novel. Even if you’re not a complete history buff, there is a high chance you’ll have heard of the name, ‘Wallis Simpson’. Also, if you remember a certain date in 1997 when ‘The People’s Princess’ lost her life, you may already find yourself knowing several of the key points of the storyline without even realising it.

Told from two different viewpoints – 86 years apart, ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ shines the spotlight on the two women whose names, and lives, will forever be imprinted in our historical timeline; Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana. Both women found themselves hugely popular with the media, with Princess Diana even being dubbed as ‘The People’s Princess’. Let’s be honest, we all know how Wallis Simpson managed to create a media frenzy, even in those days!

Whilst ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ is a work of fiction, the storyline IS supported by factual information surrounding Princess Diana and Wallis Simpson, as well as several other historical figures/socialites from 1911 onwards. Before I started Gill Paul’s novel, I was aware of Wallis Simpson and her not so glowing reputation in the world of history. I’m not going to lie, I did have Google handy on my phone so that I could double-check some of the storyline as I went along. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe the author’s research, it was because I became so invested in every word of the storyline, I ended up not knowing the difference between the facts, and the author’s fictional additions.  Everything just flowed seamlessly. Even though the story is told by Rachel in 1997, the time of Diana’s death, the years didn’t move forward which meant that particular part of the storyline was easier to dip in and out of, ideal for when the viewpoint changed to Mary Kirk’s from 1911 onwards.

What I found clever was how the book began in 1997, was set in Paris at first with Princess Diana being the main topic of conversation, in a book that is being published during the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death – when the topic of ‘The People’s Princess’ will be back in the media once again. Of course it’s going to be a subject at the forefront of royalists and Princess Diana fans all over the world, at this moment in time. So, to read the devastating event in black and white sent shivers up and down my spine. There’s one thing hearing the about it on the news or watching it on T.V, but then there’s another thing reading it in a book and letting your subconscious take heed of that piece of information, whilst mulling it over and digesting it in the only way your clever mind can; dramatically.

Don’t get me wrong, I was engrossed in the 1997 parts of the storyline but, for me, my most favourite parts were from 1911 onwards which were written with Wallis Simpson’s best friend in mind, Mary Kirk. I knew Ms.Simpson was scandalous, but eeeeesh! I loved being able to read the story as though I was back in 1911, watching the drama unfold with my very own eyes. Obviously, being predominately a work of fiction it can be quite difficult to differentiate between the fictional points of view and the facts, but luckily the author was one step ahead and included which parts were facts, right at the end of the book. I was incredibly intrigued by how one woman managed to make such a mark on history, yet she seemed to manage it as though it was the norm. I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t blunt, so I will admit that Wallis did get my back up on a number of occasions. It just goes to show how different society and ethics were back in those days with the way people responded to Wallis’ misdemeanours. Although, back then it was the case of ‘it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know’, which is also true for today’s society unfortunately. Maybe it was Wallis Simpson who coined that particular viewpoint? Who knows.

There were times where I was quite glad to have google at hand, such as when a certain event shocked me to the core and I had to google it to see whether it was indeed fact, or whether the author had written it in herself. The author really is THAT good at combining all viewpoints and timelines flawlessly.

As weird as this sounds, I wasn’t emotionally ready to say goodbye to those moments in time which have put us on this path today. It’s crazy how one person’s choices can create such a damaging ripple for anyone or anything that ends up in its path. The thing about history is that people will remember it as it’s documented a million times over. Granted a lot of the people involved will no longer be alive, but their distant relatives might be. Can you imagine?

‘Another Woman’s Husband’ has given me the biggest book hangover I think I have ever had. I became annoyed when I had to stop reading due to having to embark on adult things, and I was absolutely devastated when the book came to end. Gill Paul’s storytelling was beautifully engaging, often leaving me in a state of trepidation as I became incredibly invested in several characters and their lives. Gill Paul invited me on a historical journey with ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ – a journey which made me feel as though I was constantly being fed such rich and succulent knowledge, changing my viewpoint of the world without me even knowing it at the time. I was hypnotised by the authors wonderful writing skills, her magnificent story-telling, and her second to none research skills.

I adored everything about this book. Utterly, utterly brilliant.
After reading 193 books already this year, I can say that ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ has managed to become my most favourite book of the year so far, whilst also being in my top three most favourite books of all time.

This my friends, is a work of art. Any reader (and non reader!) should be proud and fulfilled to have ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ on their bookshelf.

Phenomenal.

Thank you SO much Headline Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK

 

#BlogTour! #Review – The Girls of Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke @Aria_Fiction

The Girls of Mulberry Lane - jacket

1938, Mulberry Lane, London. War is looming, but on Mulberry Lane there are
different battles being fought… Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries and Cathy Sharp.

Maureen Jackson is a prisoner of her father’s blackmail. Three years earlier, she’d
been hoping to marry Rory, the man of her dreams. However, after her mother’s
death, she was left to care for her overbearing father. Now Rory is back in London
with a pregnant wife in tow to remind Maureen of the life that should have been
hers.

As war threatens, Janet Ashley hopes to marry her sweetheart Mike, but her father
refuses to grant them his blessing. Defying his wishes, Janet finds herself pregnant
and her mother Peggy is determined to hold her family together at all costs. Will the girls of Mulberry Lane manage to snatch happiness before the darkness of WorldWar II descends?

What does TWG think?

Rosie Clarke is back with a brand new book! Not only is it a new book, it’s also start of a brand new series, how exciting! I have only read one of Rosie Clarke’s previous books, so I was looking forward to seeing how ‘The Girls of Mulberry Lane’ would make me feel seeing as I just adore historical fiction. Set in London during war-time, life was extremely difficult for the residents of Mulberry Lane.

All Maureen wanted was to marry the love of her life, but seeing as life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, Maureen’s dream was unable to come true due to having to care for her father. With Rory moving on with his life, Maureen finds it hard to let go of what should have been.

Local girl, Janet, decided to choose her own path in life, going against the head of the family (her father) but wanting to marry her sweetheart Mike, the father of her soon-to-be child. Will she regret going against her fathers wishes?

Having struggled a tad with Rosie Clarke’s previous novel, I was over the moon to find myself falling head over heels in love with the Mulberry girls! For me, there is nothing I like more than delving into historic London during wartime. It’s fascinating. Eye-opening. Heart-breaking. I mean, historical fiction is based around real life events which a lot of us were not on this planet to witness, and for us it can be quite heart-breaking to read. Yet on the other side of the coin, readers who were brought up during those years will be able to resonate and remember certain events as though they happened yesterday. I cannot imagine what anyone felt during those distressing years, I can only guess thanks to Rosie Clarke’s poignant and realistic writing which managed to find its way into my soul from the get go.

I loved how unique each of the characters were, as they all brought something different to the overall feel of the storyline which, for me, kept my attention a lot more. In my eyes, there is nothing worse than reading a book with flat and boring characters. Luckily in this book, that was not the case. Because of how much I liked the characters, I found myself becoming far too attached to their journeys which meant I ended up feeling quite emotional when something happened to them, or someone close to them.

By the end of ‘The Girls of Mulberry Lane’, I realised that I had found some new fictional friends, and I cannot wait to take a trip down Mulberry Lane with book number two.

A heart-wrenching, beautifully written, addictive novel from Rosie Clarke,

Thanks Aria Fiction.

Amazon
Kobo
iBooks
Google Play

The blog tour isn’t over yet, so make sure you stop by all of the other hosts:

The Girls of Mulberry Lane - blog tour banner