#Review – Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by @Heidi_Swain @simonschusteruk @TeamBATC

heidiswani

From the bestelling author of Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market and The Cherry Tree Café comes a glorious summer treat of glamping, vintage tearooms and love …

When Lottie Foster’s grandmother’s best friend Gwen dies, she leaves Lottie her lovely home, Cuckoo Cottage.

Lottie loves the cottage but Matt, a charming local builder, points out that beneath its charm it is falling apart. Luckily he is always on hand to help with the problems that somehow seem to keep cropping up. But is he just a bit too good to be true? Certainly Will, Lottie’s closest neighbour, seems to think so.

Lottie plans to set up her own business renovating vintage caravans. She hasn’t told anyone about the project she has cooked up with Jemma from The Cherry Tree Café to repurpose Gwen’s old caravan and turn it into a gorgeous tearoom.

But before she can finally enjoy living with her legacy she must uncover who she can trust, and who to avoid. And with two men vying for her attention, will she also find love?

What does TWG think?

After a little time away from losing myself in one of Heidi Swain’s delectable novels (it wasn’t easy, believe me), I returned to Wynbridge with a spring in my step and copious amounts of excitement. After all, if you have read any of Heidi Swain’s previous novels, you’ll know that returning to Wynbridge is like catching up with old friends whilst making new ones in the process.

Lottie Foster is back in Wynbridge for a flying visit –  visit that is, unfortunately, surrounded by a lot of sadness and guilt. Just as Lottie was about to leave Wynbridge and make her way back to her mundane daily life, she is stopped dead in her tracks (pardon the pun) by information that could potentially change her life completely. Well, either that or she ends up being the most talked about woman in the village. Oh, wait…

Having adored Heidi Swain’s previous novels, I was so excited to see what the latest Wynbridge instalment would bring. How was The Cherry Tree Cafe thriving? Were the owners of Skylark Farm still living their dream? Whilst I was looking forward to catching up with some old friends, Lottie’s arrival in Wynbridge took over my thoughts in more ways than one. First of all, she didn’t exactly make a calm entrance back into the village, now did she? I probably shouldn’t have laughed at that, but I did, sorry!

As soon as the front door of Cuckoo Cottage was unlocked, I just knew that Lottie’s new life wasn’t going to be as plain sailing as she would have liked. I was waiting for the guy to come in and rescue the ‘damsel in distress’. It didn’t seem to matter whether she was actually ‘in distress’ or not but, sure enough, a male swooped in and popped himself on Lottie’s radar. Predictable? A teeny bit. However, what I wasn’t expecting was a second male character to swoop in and re-rescue the ‘damsel in distress’. Predictable? Not in the slightest, although he (Matt) seemed to appear out of nowhere like he was waiting for the right moment to pounce.

I wouldn’t say that I fell in love with Lottie’s character straight away but, because I had grown accustom to the closeness of the current Wynbridge residents as part of the previous novels, I felt as though Lottie Foster was a little bit of an outsider and I was hoping she hadn’t moved to Wynbridge, purely to cause trouble. Sounds a bit daft getting protective over a fictional village I know, but it’s a little bit difficult not to emotionally attach yourself to the village and its hardworking residents. I felt as though we have come such a long way already by overcoming such heart-breaking hurdles with various characters, I guess I just didn’t want their lives unraveling due to Lottie’s situation.

Matt annoyed me from the moment he stepped foot into Cuckoo Cottage. Obviously I cannot divulge the reasons why as it’ll give away the storyline but, he really needs to take a good hard look in the mirror and grow up (and yes, that’s the nice way of putting it!). As for Lottie and Will’s friendship, it seemed to me that she had only been back in the village a moment of minutes before she was dreaming of getting jiggy with her new neighbour. Whilst their friendship certainly was entertaining, I did feel as though they had reached 0-100 in the blink of an eye. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

Overall, I found that ‘Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage’ was such a joy to read, keeping me entertained from start to finish. Yes certain parts of the storyline came across as a little predictable, but, it didn’t take any of the Wynbridge away, nor did it ruin my enjoyment of the novel at all. The more I read of the book, the more I found myself warming to Lottie Foster and her little personality quirks – especially how she threw herself into emergency situations. For me, I preferred that side of her personality, and I truly believe that there is a lot more to Ms.Foster than we were shown. Hopefully she will return in later books (if any) as I really feel she is a gem just waiting to be discovered properly.

‘Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage’ was such a pleasurable read which was full of giggles, heart-warming moments, live rivals, and memories. It is so hard not to fall in love with Wynbridge but, once again, I fell in love with it one more time.

Wynbridge may be magical in itself, but it’s Heidi Swain’s energising and exquisite storytelling which makes it that way, as well as making me come back for more. Stunning.

Thanks Netgalley.

Buy now from Amazon UK

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#BlogTour! #Review – Practice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes @CotswoldPenny @simonschusterUK

Penny Parkes

THE HILARIOUS AND HEARTFELT NEW NOVEL FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF OUT OF PRACTICE!
‘If dishy doctors, cute dogs, hilarious OAPs and idyllic country settings are your thing, you’re in for a treat with this second novel set at a GP practice in the village of Larkford. Funny, moving, romantic and full of characters you’ll love – it’s perfect in every way’ Heat

The Practice at Larkford has suddenly been thrust under the spotlight – and its nomination as a ‘NHS Model Surgery’ is causing the team major headaches. Dr Holly Graham should be basking in the glow of her new romance with fellow doctor, Taffy – but she is worried that the team is prioritising plaudits over patients, and her favourite resident, the irreverent and entertaining Elsie, is facing a difficult diagnosis. Add to that the chaos of family life and the strain is starting to show.

Dr Dishy Dan Carter’s obsession with work is masking unhappiness elsewhere – he can’t persuade girlfriend Julia to settle down. It’s only as Julia’s mother comes to stay that he realizes what she has been hiding for so long. Alice Walker joins the team like a breath of fresh air and her assistance dog Coco quickly wins everyone round – which is just as well, because Coco and Alice will soon need some help of their own. Can they pull together and become the Dream Team that the NHS obviously thinks they are?

Out of Practice won the Romantic Comedy of the Year category of the RNA Awards.

What does TWG think?

I am absolutely delighted to be today’s stop on Penny Parkes’ blog tour for her new novel, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’! Huge thanks to the oh-so-lovely, Jess Barrett from S&S for inviting me on the tour! Such an honour.

For the last year or so, I have seen Penny Parkes’ name everywhere. Whenever I hopped onto Amazon a thumbnail of her book, Out of Practice, made itself known. Yet, despite that, I put her novel on the forever growing ‘to be read pile’, adamant that I would get round to reading it. Shamefully, I didn’t. However, Ms.Parkes’ name kept cropping up. I saw reviews for her first book, social media posts; I was too busy fangirling the author instead of reading her work. Well, that was until Jess Barrett contacted me and I managed to make my three-year old come running into the kitchen with my squeals. The author says that ‘Practice Makes Perfect’, and after reading her new novel, I whole heartedly agree.

Why?

Because this was THE perfect time to fall under Penny Parkes’ literary spell, without any other books coming between me, and page numero uno. If you like the thought of a dishy doctor, a cute four-legged friend, as well as the ‘shouldn’t do that’ of a doctor’s surgery, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ will be right up your street.

If you haven’t read the first book in the Larkford Series, ‘Out of Practice’ – don’t fret. I haven’t and I found that I was able to slot into the lifestyle of the characters extremely easily, without feeling like I was missing out on any vital pieces of information which could hinder my enjoyment of this book.

This storyline is FULL of drama, drama and more drama! Who doesn’t like drama? Dan Carter and his girlfriend, Julia, seemed to be having a spot of bother, whilst the other doctors in the surgery were competing against four-legged friend, Coco, for attention. Not only does the storyline contain drama from the medical team, their patients were giving them a run for their money. After the practice was thrust into the spotlight, stress levels were raised and goal posts were moved. One moment the doctors were well aware of what their roles consisted of, the next moment they were unsure of every single detail in their lives. Personally, I LOVED watching everything unfold. I couldn’t foresee what was going to happen, at all. I just knew that I was looking forward to the rollercoaster ride.

For me, the characters of ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ is what made this storyline come to life. Their individual personalities and unique stories, in my eyes, gave the story an incredible amount of depth, as well as holding onto the relatable factor that a lot of readers look out for. As a person who should have their own seat in their local doctors surgery, I found it quite refreshing to read a novel from the ‘other side’ – the doctor side. Plus, this book has given me something humorous to think of the next time I have to venture to my surgery for even more tests. I mean, how could you not think of a certain dishy doctor, and an unhinged personality that is good ol’ Elsie? Would it be bad of me if I said that I wanted my doctor to be Taffy?

Penny Parkes’ latest novel is the type of book you need to invest time into. At 559 pages long, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ is a hunk-a-chunk of burning love…and then some. It is, quite possibly, the longest contemporary fiction type novel I have ever read. Can I let you into a little secret? It’s also one of my most favourite as well. Yes, really.

I just love the down to earth vibe that the book gives off. The bubbly, three-dimensional characters who were able to make me sides hurt from laughing. The firecracker, Elsie, who I will remember for a very, very long time due to her unbelievably personality. All of that, plus a storyline that kept on giving – I mean, how could I not rate this highly? Of course, none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the brains behind it, Penny Parkes. In such a short space of time, this author managed to turn the characters into ‘friends’, rather than just a name for the readers remember. I giggled. I snlaughed. I gasped. I awwww-ed. I said ‘what on earth’ more times than I care to admit. AND I wanted to give the author a hug after the tying of the loose ends.

TWG’s verdict? Enough talking, go and buy it. If an author can turn this Ice Queen into a warm, fuzzy mess – it’s definitely a winning book.

Thanks Simon and Schuster.

Buy now from Amazon UK

The blog tour isn’t over yet, so make sure you stop by the bloggers listed on the graphic below:

 

Practice Makes Perfect Blog Tour

#EarlyReview of The Last Piece of My Heart – @PaigeToonAuthor @SimonSchusterUK @JessBarratt88

Paige Toon

When life feels like a puzzle, sometimes it’s the small pieces that make up the bigger picture… Join Bridget on a journey to put her world back together.

A successful travel journalist, Bridget has ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog about the missing pieces of her heart into a book. But after a spate of rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition.

Nicole Dupré died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel. Tasked with finishing the book, Bridget is thankful to have her foot in the publishing door, even if it means relocating to Cornwall for the summer and answering to Nicole’s grieving husband, Charlie

What does TWG think?

I was lucky enough to have been given a copy of Paige Toon’s new book, long before publication date. The only downside to that was how I ended up having multiple arguments with myself about it. They went something like this;

Me: AHHHHH read it already!!
Me: Nooo, I can’t read it yet, I need to savour it for as long as possible!
Me: But you need to read it!!
Me: Savour it!! It’s PAIGE TOON FOR GOODNESS SAKE
Me: READ IT BECAUSE IT IS PAIGE TOON!!!
Me: But then if I read it, I’ll end up finishing it!
Me: Well yes, that’s the whole point!

Soooooo, much to the annoyance of…me, I read it. Now, I say annoyance like I didn’t want to read it, when I would have done anything TO read this book. As you saw by the argument with myself (above), I just didn’t want to read it and then end up being disappointed because it had finished, meaning I would need to wait for another book (which I’m going to have to do anyway!!).
Right, if you’re a bookworm, you’ll understand what I’m trying to get at here, right? I hope so!

Anyway, I did attempt to savour this book, so much so that I ended up reading 60 odd percent in one day. Yeah, totally savouring it! Even if I wanted to, I could not have put it down. Whilst I struggled to gel with Bridget at first, I automatically clicked with the general feel of the storyline, and I couldn’t put my finger on why that was exactly. It just felt…magic. Does that make sense?

‘The Last Piece of My Heart’ really came into its own, in my opinion, when the setting changed to Cornwall. It felt like the entire feel of the storyline, as well as the strength of the characters and their emotions, became settled and I was able to really get comfortable with the book. It was also at that moment when my emotions began to get the better of me.

Why?

Because, one of the characters in particular grabbed a hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go. It sounds pretty daft now when I think about how emotional that one character made me, but I’m just being honest. I’m trying to be extremely vague and not say too much here as I guess it could be seen as an interlinked spoiler, BUT, the character I’m referring to was by far my favourite character in the book. Such a beautiful, beautiful character.
(If you read the book when it comes out, you’ll no doubt see who I’m on about!)

Charlie and Bridget’s relationship truly was a breath of fresh air. Their banter was on point and the way their personalities complimented each other, really did make for excellent reading. Paige Toon certainly knows how to create such loveable, memorable  characters that reel you into the heart of the storyline like long-lost friends.

I have been a HUGE fan of Toon’s work for many, many years and I have to say that ‘The Last Piece of My Heart’ is definitely her best book to date, and one of my most favourite books of all time. She just has that skill of making a storyline come to life as though you’re living in the pages with the characters; a comforting author I would say. Whilst this novel delved deeper into some rather emotional and raw topics, it also made me laugh out loud and end up with sore cheeks from smiling so much.

Toon’s brand new novel, in my eyes, is flawless. From the moment I began reading, until the moment the book unfortunately came to an end, I was addicted to Bridget, Charlie and Nicole’s life. I would say that Paige Toon had me at hello, but the book didn’t start like that! You catch my drift though I’m sure..

‘The Last Piece of My Heart’ is yet another of Paige’s books which I could sit and talk about for an age, but I can’t. I am absolutely devastated that the book had to come to an end, I didn’t want it to! I wanted to keep on reading and stay in the safe haven of Toon’s delightful and exhilarating words.

An addictive, heart warming, thought-provoking, and beautiful read from the incredibly talented, Paige Toon. The Last Piece of My Heart is an outstanding tale of love, loss and having the strength to make the most out of your life, no matter what the circumstances are.

Paige Toon and her brand new novel now have a piece of my heart, and you know what? I don’t want it back either because I will remember this phenomenal book for a very long time.

P.S. Welcome to my list of top books ever, Paige. This novel flew on there. Amazing, truly amazing.

Thank you S&S!

‘The Last Piece of My Heart’ by Paige Toon, will be published by Simon and Shuster on the 18th May 2017. You can ensure your copy is secure by preordering it via the links below (you’ll be mad not to, honestly):

Pre-order now from Amazon UK
Pre-order now from Amazon US

Repost due to error: #Review of This Love by Dani Atkins (@AtkinsDani) @SimonSchusterUK

Posting again due to error on the previous one. Apologies.

Dani Atkins

Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a long time ago, but could this love change all of that?

Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon – she’s a single, 31-year-old translator who works from home in her one-bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in dreams when she was a teenager and tragedy struck her family.
 
So, to be safe, she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.

One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a passer-by, Ben, sees her and rescues her.
 
Suddenly her cocoon is shattered – what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?

What does TWG think?


You MUST read this book, okay? Review done. kthnx

If only this review would be as easy to right as that ^^^. Unfortunately due to the fact that Dani Atkins’ novel made my inner Ice Queen surrender to every single emotion in the storyline, I am feeling a smidge tongue-tied and may also end up in tears (again) by the time I have reached the end of this review.
(Yes folks, again)


Before I started reading, I had seen on social media that Atkins’ novel was receiving tweets stating that it was ‘extremely emotional’. Honestly? No disrespect to the author, I rolled my eyes and went ‘PFFT’ when I read that. Why? Because it can sometimes take a lot for me to truly get emotional about something, y’know, actually feel emotions -shudders-. Seeing as I was going to read ‘This Love’ anyway, the emotional responses made me rather intrigued. I knew deep down that I would probably end up being one of the few people to not cry at this book, because I am an Ice Queen….

After reading the book:

Me, not cry? Seriously? What on EARTH possessed me to be all cocky about not getting emotional?! I bawled like a baby, except it being the ugly version. If you don’t believe me nose on my Instagram as I felt the absolute need to tweet the author with my ugly crying face, seconds after reading her book. I’m nice like that.
(Dani, I’ll pay for your therapy).

‘This Love’ melted me like the snowman from the movie, The Snowman. It wasn’t the general type of emotional either (if there is one, but you know what I mean). It was the sort of emotion that comes from deep within your soul, absolutely cripples your senses and logical thinking, whilst also making you feel as though your own heart is breaking for the characters within the storyline. Raw.

Once again I am having to be slightly careful with my words to ensure that I don’t accidentally give any of the plot away. It’s pretty clear that Atkins’ has written ‘This Love’ from her own heart as her attention to detail where the storyline is concerned, is outstanding. Atkins’ hasn’t just written the bare necessities of a storyline and let the characters do the talking, no. She has created a life within the pages of the book. A life where we are able to visualise each character, every heart breaking moment, every momentous occasion, and yes, even being able to visualise the materialistic aspects too. Take a door for example. To us it would be just a door, it opens and closes, simple. If Dani Atkins’ were to describe a door in this storyline, it would be the most beautiful, iconic, majestic door you have ever seen. It may do the same things as our door, but which one would you remember out of the two?

I have read a lot of books where the characters love stories attempt to rival that of Romeo and Juliet’s or Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (I jest on the latter…I think), and whilst those love stories are always ‘awwww you guys!!!’, I struggle to relate because I am not a romantic. However, the love-type-story contained in THIS novel really made me believe that there is a little thing called love, out there. It was believable and realistic; what more could you ask for?

As for the characters in Atkins’ book, I would LOVE to sit here and have the opportunity to write my full opinion on them, however, I think my wrists would be slapped as spoiler central. So, I will try to be as vague as I can by saying that I LOVED reading about Sophie’s journey, as well as Ben’s journey. Their individual personalities were wonderfully written and a sheer joy to read.

‘THIS LOVE’ HAS TAKEN ITS TOLL ON MEEEEEEEEEEE, I SAID GOODBYE, TOO MANY TIMES BEFOREEEEEEE,

Please say I wasn’t the only one to do that….? Maroon 5-age!

Anyway, I veered off. Apologies.

‘This Love’ is such a beautifully written, literary work of art. Atkins’ outstanding portrayal of love, life and new starts, truly opened my eyes to things I never would have paid attention to before now. I would be lying if I said that this book didn’t completely blow my mind; because it did.
Absolutely phenomenal – if I could give it more than 5*’s, I would in a heartbeat.

Thank you S&S!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

#BookReview – The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton (@Julietstories) @simonschusterUK

24

Meet the residents of number 24 in the warm, witty and wonderful new novel from bestselling author Juliet Ashton.

When your marriage falls apart, the last place you’d want your husband to move to is downstairs. Unfortunately for Sarah, up in the eaves at number 24, her ex-husband now lives one floor beneath her with his new wife. Their happiness floats up through the floorboards, taunting her.

A child psychologist, Sarah has picked up great sadness from the little girl, Una, who lives with her careworn mother three floors below, but is Sarah emotionally equipped to reach out?

The Spring brings a new couple to the house. Jane and Tom‘s zest for life revives the flagging spirits, and Sarah can’t deny the instant attraction to handsome Tom. Having seen at first hand what infidelity does to people, she’ll never act on it … but the air fizzes with potential. The sunshine doesn’t reach every corner of number 24, however. Elderly Mavis, tucked away in the basement, has kept the world at bay for decades. She’s about to find out that she can’t hide forever.

Juliet Ashton weaves a story of love, friendship and community that will move you to laughter and to tears.

Think Cold Feet meets David Nicholls, with a dash of the joy of Jill Mansell added for good measure.

What does TWG think?

When writing my reviews, I usually write my overall thoughts of the book towards the end, using the top half of the review as a suspenseful build up to my oh-so-important views ;). This time however, I cannot review it that way. I’ve tried, but I just cannot write the build up to my views. I need to air them straight away, a bit like ripping off a plaster. I apologise in advance, I really do….but I have to be honest…

OMG I BLOOMIN’ LOVED THIS BOOK!!! HELLO NEW FAVOURITE BOOK!!!!!

Oh em gee!!!! I adore Juliet Ashton and her alter egos, she is an incredibly talented author and I have never read a book of hers that I didn’t like. I just knew that her newest book, The Woman at Number 24, would be included in my loved list alongside the others.

The first main character we meet at the start of the book is Sarah, a child psychologist whose own life has taken a tumble, leaving her feel unsure of her own self-worth. Not only that, a certain ex-husband of hers is living in the flat below hers, swanning about in his own egotistical bubble. My views on the ex? He’s a doorbell-end. There are a lot of colourful main characters in the housing block and the arrival of Jane and Tom, make the characters of the T.V. show, ‘Rainbow’, seem completely bland. Seriously. Jane is a HOOT! She is so real and has such an unhinged mouth which makes for excellent (and hilarious) reading. Honestly, she became one of my favourite characters rather quickly.

Hiding away from everyone else was yet another character, Mavis. She reminded me of a ‘wild card’ as she seemed to be the odd one out, giving off such marmite vibes. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be changing your opinion on Mavis the whole way through. Do you like her? Do you hate her?

I have never come across a selection of mismatched characters such as these, before. The only way I can describe the overall house is by thinking of ‘Big Brother’, the T.V. show; although on an extremely loose basis (I said they were mismatched not completely barmy)! Each character (or miniature household) came with their own storyline and keeping up with several separate lifestyles wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I guess I expected to feel a little confused by the comings and goings, but I didn’t. In actual fact, I loved the complex storyline with the high energy situations, as well as the underlying hidden messages.

What really hit home for me with ‘The Woman at Number 24’, were the powerful and intense friendships and the lengths that the characters went to protect them. I guess it made me feel quite emotional as I have never had that kind of friendship before, yet each individual character ALWAYS thought of the ones that they held dear. If they didn’t seem them for a day or two, they would get worried and actively seek them out. If I went anywhere, would I be missed? Before I started reading this novel, my positivity about trust, friendships, and even feeling loved, was quite low. However, after I finished this novel, I found myself closing the book with a satisfied grin on my face and the feeling of hope surrounding me in a little bubble.

I am amazed that, despite the busy storyline and the multiple poignant situations, the storyline never lost its personality, nor was it stuck in limbo with any ‘blank’ moments.

‘The Woman at Number 24′ is a perfectly written, inspiring and heart warming novel which will leave you feeling like a puzzle; complete. Picture Mary Poppins’ never ending bag. Got that? Make that bag even bigger and you will have a clearer image of exactly how much Juliet Ashton’s novel kept on giving.

This book blew me away several times over. It made me incredibly emotional one moment and in hysterics the next. It opened my eyes to the true beauty of hope, true friendships and being loved for who you are.
More importantly, ‘The Woman at Number 24’ ended up being the puzzle piece that I didn’t even know was missing.
Outstanding and by far my most favourite book of 2017.

Huge thanks to Simon & Shuster.

Buy ‘The Woman at Number 24’ now from Amazon UK
Buy ‘The Woman at Number 24’ now from Amazon US