#psychological · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger

Review – #TheWhispers by Heidi Perks (@HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing @rachel90kennedy) #review #bookblogger #blogtour


Many thanks to Rachel and the Arrow Publishing team for asking me to take part in Heidi Perks’ blog tour for ‘The Whispers’, and for supplying me with an ARC to review. Today is day three of the blog tour, so let’s get on with it shall we?

A MISSING WIFE. FOUR FRIENDS. WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH?

Anna Robinson hasn’t been seen since she went on a night out with her four closest friends.
She has a loving husband and a son she adores. Surely she wouldn’t abandon them and her perfect life. . .

But what has happened to her?

At the school gates, it’s not long before the rumours start. Anna’s oldest friend Grace is beside herself with worry – desperately searching for answers, and certain that someone is hiding the truth. 

With each day that passes, Anna’s life is under increasing threat. And a the pressure mounts, it won’t be long before something cracks. . .


What does TWG think?

Anna, for me, was a conundrum. Her personality didn’t seem to match up with her actions or the friendship group that she kept around her. I couldn’t work out whether she was trying to convince herself of things, or Nancy. Something wasn’t quite adding up with her at all. When Anna’s childhood friend came back on the scene, it was as though Anna’s ‘boat’ became a bit rocky and she was afraid of something, but what? Whatever it was, her good friend, Nancy, didn’t seem to want her becoming close with Grace again. Maybe Nancy was afraid of something unduly coming out? But what in Anna’s past would make Nancy uncertain?

It didn’t take long before a number of questions started to build up in my mind regarding Anna’s life, her mum friends, and the way she refused to delve into the past when it came to talking about her mum. I wanted the answers to those questions right there and then, however with a thriller, the truth is often drip fed to you, which can sometimes be a bit frustrating if you’re extremely impatient and just want to get to the bottom of everything (I can neither confirm nor deny whether that was me or not……ahem).

Lets be clear; Heidi Perks did her job of keeping the reader hooked, incredibly well. I was hooked and very invested in the lives of Anna and Grace. Probably too invested as I wanted to know every minute detail of their individual lives, but without making me sound all stalkerish, I’ll just leave it as merely ‘invested’. Even though the storyline was slow and steady with the pace, it was abundantly clear that, upon reaching the end of the novel, slow and steady wins the race because all of those loose ends were tied up nicely with a nice little bow. As for the intensity of the novel, something that is rather important for a thriller, it did take its time to build up. Again, it’s good that a novel does that so that readers are left wondering what if, giving them the nudge to keep turning the pages. However, I felt that the intensity took so long to slap me in the face that when it finally built up to the level that was needed for extreme ‘oomph’ factor, it was a bit bittersweet for me. I’m not saying that the storyline wasn’t intense, because it was, it just piqued a little bit too late in my opinion.

Overall, ‘The Whispers’ is an intriguing, insightful, cleverly written novel. I cannot fault Heidi Perks’ ability at creating a storyline that makes you so invested, you feel as though the book is taking over your life (in a good way). I really enjoyed reading ‘The Whispers’ and it’s a novel that I highly recommend you all nabbing a copy of!


‘The Whispers’ will be published in e-book on the 18th March and can be purchased here. If you prefer reading hardbacks, you can pre-order a copy now as it won’t be released until the 15th April.

#Harpercollins · #psychological · #Simon & Schuster · #suspense · arc · aria fiction · blog tour · bonnier zaffre · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · BOTBSPublicity · childrens books · ChocLitUK · contemporary fiction · Crime/thriller · Faber Books · HarperImpulse · headline books · historical fiction · HQ · HQDigitalUK · humour · lifestyle · Little Brown Books · medical · mills and boon · netgalley · Non Fiction · orenda · Orion · Panmacmillan · Police procedural · Quercus · real life · RNA · romance · Transworld/Penguin · Trapeze · womens fiction

The Writing Garnet turns 5! Happy birthday TWG! #blogger #blogbirthday #TWGTurns5 #Awardwinningblogger

The Writing Garnet is officially 5 years old TODAY! When I started my blog back in 2016, I never envisioned it turning out the way that it has. It never even crossed my mind that my blog could turn into a multi award winning blog (yes, multi), nor did it cross my mind that my review quotes would make their way into physical copies of books or even on the cover of some. Without blowing my own trumpet, I am unbelievably proud of all of that. At the very beginning, my blog was created as my way of saying thank you to authors for writing their books which has allowed me to escape via their words, when things in my personal life have been difficult. It wasn’t created as a popularity tool (because clearly I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes had that have been the case), nor was it created merely to get free things because, in all honesty, I had no idea that that was even a thing when I first started.

Over the last 5 years I have met a wide variety of authors, met fellow bloggers, other like minded bookish folk, and found myself involved in a world that went beyond just loving books. I had never really had that before. I had never been able to sit and discuss books with people who had read the same book as I, nor would I have ever found the confidence to cart myself off to events such as Edinburgh Book Festival, Aye Write in Glasgow, or even more intimate events such as meeting the Orenda gang in Edinburgh (to name a few), if it wasn’t for a select few of people who, after ‘meeting’ through the online book world, have gone on to becoming real life friends (Jen, Mandie, Kelly, Joanne, Lainy, DC to name a few). Not only that, despite not having met them in real life yet, I have come to know even more people who I consider to be friends now, who one day I would love to be able to give them a hug (COVID permitting, obvs – special shout out to Liz B for being as true as they come). If I named each and every one of the people who I called friends and who I would do anything for, I would be here a while and would no doubt miss someone off so, to put it simply, if we talk, I adore you. Simple as, and I thank you for your kindness and support over the last 5 years.

For me, the highlight so far has got to be meeting Sue Perkins and Tom Fletcher as those were the times where I unintentionally embarrassed my little girl with my high pitched squealing and trampoline bounces. I think I was fair excited……. Would I have been able to meet them had it not been for my blog? Honestly? Probably not as I never knew events like that existed until I became a blogger. I have so many other authors, bloggers, publicists etc, that I would love to meet and I have everything crossed that that will become a reality.

I know blogging isn’t all about stats, but for the first time in ages I had a quick nose at the stats of TWG. In the last 5 years TWG has had:

160,424 views.
84,689 visitors.
1837 blog posts have been posted.


Also, I even worked out roughly how many books I have read over that time…..1270!!! Ermmmmmmmm, say what?

As I may have mentioned previously, 2020 for TWG wasn’t the greatest as, putting it quite bluntly, I was treated like dirt via the bookish community (not all of you, just to clarify), and it hurt me so much that I ended up retreating because I didn’t know what else to do because, as I have also said many times, I’m not the most popular of people and I don’t fit into the tight knit groups. I suppose my face doesn’t fit, so I knew that regardless of what I said and what I did, I wouldn’t have been believed which is unfair and incredibly hurtful. Because of that, my posts within the last year have been few and far between, however I still have been ‘here’ from afar and still able to keep my feet in the door so to speak. Again, I want to thank those who have stood by me, supported me, and been true friends during that time and continue to do so. I see you.

I am super shocked that my little, multi award winning blog turns 5 today. Yes there have been some ups and downs and confidence knocks along the way, and yes, at times I bit off more than I can chew and left myself over stretched. However the joys of anything in life is that you can learn from your mistakes and realise where you went wrong or what needs to change. There is only me running this blog and, even though I like to think that I can do everything, I physically can’t….I just wish it hadn’t taken me 5 years to realise that! Well, in all fairness it’s probably taken me over 20 years to realise that as I recently turned 31 but y’know, semantics.

Creating The Writing Garnet was probably one of the best, on the spur decisions I have ever made and I just want to thank every single author, publisher and publicist who have sent me countless books over the years and trusted me to review your books. I want to thank the organisers of book events of their hard work and dedication in bringing likeminded bookish folk together. I also want to thank each and every person I have come to know and admire for being true to themselves and becoming good friends of mine. I have your backs – you are all awesome. Major shout out to my fellow bloggers, and anyone who is thinking about starting a blog – you’ve got this! Just remember it’s okay to say no….

On that note, happy birthday to TWG! Heres to another year full of weird and wonderful books, intriguing debuts, and a truck load of reviews.

TWG x

#psychological · #suspense · arc · book blogger · Book Review · Crime/thriller · medical · Transworld/Penguin

#Mine – Susi Fox (@writerdrfox) @MichaelJBooks #Review #bookblogger

After waking from an emergency caesarean, you’re dying to see your new baby. But when you’re introduced something is wrong.

This is not your child.

The nurses assure you that the baby is yours. 

Your husband believes them. And so does your father. 

But how can you be wrong? You’re a doctor. You know how easily mistakes are made.

When everyone is against you, do you trust your instincts? 

You know only one thing . . . 

You must find your baby.

(Many thanks to the publisher for the copy of ‘Mine’ received from Netgalley)

Time to catch up with a bit of blogmin! This book has been sitting on my ‘to review’ shelf for a very longer while, and it’s time I actually sat down to review it – enjoy!

What does TWG think?

Gosh, this was one of my biggest fears when I was pregnant with my little girl – that my baby would be taken somewhere and the wrong one delivered back to me. That sentence makes it sound as though something like this happens often, which I don’t think it does. However, it shouldn’t really be happening at all though should it? You put your faith into the system and the people who are there, in their field, delivering your baby, to give you the correct one back. I wouldn’t sound so judgey if I had gone into Argos to pick up my click and collect order, as those mistakes are easily made; two Holloways, or a similar looking address, you know, simple things. I would me a bit miffed if a stranger got my Russell Hobbs kettle instead of myself, a little mistake that is easily rectified. But my baby? My baby is no Russell Hobbs kettle, that’s for sure!

I’m going off kilter here, apologies. If you haven’t guessed already, the main theme surrounding ‘Mine’ is a new mother being adamant that she was given back the incorrect baby. She has a strong gut feeling that the baby in her arms is not the one she birthed, yet nobody believes her. Everybody thinks she’s going crazy, being unrealistic, causing problems for nothing. Is she right though? Has she been given the incorrect baby and, if so, where on Earth is her baby….and who on Earth has them?

It was pretty evident that the author had a medical history as the storyline contained a lot of medical words and situations which would only ring true if one had experienced them first hand. I think that Susi Fox’s history helped her in creating the suspenseful undertone to the storyline, and I felt that it gave the book the strength that a thriller would need to stand on its own.

There were a lot of moments where my eyebrows received very good workouts throughout the story, and I felt a little bit disheartened by just how outlandish the storyline seemed at times. I felt as though the author had veered a bit too far left at times which diminished a sense of credibility overall. That said, I enjoy novels that push the boundaries as long as they make them as realistic as humanly possible (unless it’s a genre that is known for its outlandish, unrealistic stories), and I think that ‘Mine’ does push the boundaries on several occasions rather well. I just think that at times it went a bit too far and left me thinking ‘ermmmmm, you what?’.

The undertone of the storyline is definitely thrilling and intense, and I couldn’t help but second guess things myself as I was reading the book which I truly grabbed with two hands.

Whilst my overall opinion on ‘Mine’ is on the fence, I did appreciate the attention to detail on the medical point of view, and the memorable, chilling events of the majority of the novel. This is definitely a unique read, one that was executed cleverly at times.

Purchase from Amazon.

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · contemporary fiction · lifestyle

#MyMothersSecret by Julia Roberts (@JuliaRobertsTV) – TWG’s #review @bookouture

Thank you, Bookouture and Julia herself, for asking me to be involved in the blog tour of ‘My Mother’s Secret. You can read my thoughts on the book right after the blurb. Enjoy!

‘They told me he died, but I never believed them. I’d have known,’ she says, her voice little more than a whisper and her eyes searching mine. ‘A mother would know if her child died, wouldn’t she?’

The phone call comes in the middle of the night, rousing Danni from her safe, warm bed. The police have found her mother Diana wandering miles from her house, confused and lost. Danni races to her mother’s side – and as usual, Diana doesn’t seem to want her there. But when Danni finds out that her mother is seriously ill, she decides to put the past behind her, and care for her mother in the time they have left.

But as some of Diana’s memories are slipping away, others are forcing their way to the surface. One night she breaks down and reveals that before Danni was born, she had another baby who never got to see the world. Faced with her mother’s heartbreak, Danni vows to do everything she can to bring Diana some peace, hoping that it will mend their fractured relationship too.

Yet as Danni investigates the past, tracking down the aunt she’s never met and searching for her lost brother’s resting place, her good intentions have unexpected consequences as more truths emerge. And there’s one shocking revelation which could change Danni’s life forever. Are some secrets best left buried?

What does TWG think?

I’ll get straight to the point. This book broke me. It left me an emotional, vulnerable shell of a person and I am astounded at Julia Roberts’ talent at making that happen. It takes a lot to melt my exterior, but by golly ‘My Mother’s Secret’ turned me into a puddle.

A mother’s instinct is one of the most powerful tools a woman could ever possess. Despite the fact that Diana’s health was deteoriating and that time was of the essence, her instinct told her to trust them and what she has been believing all along; that her dear child never died.

I felt for Diana, dont get me wrong, but I felt so sorry for Danni because of how she ended up living in the shadow of a brother she had never even met, or never knew existed until now. She has so many questions yet her mother isn’t in a position to answer them all….its no wonder she ended up doing a bit of detective work, right?

This storyline reminded me of something so fragile. So precious. Something that requires delicate handling. The emotional scenes that took over the book were heart shattering snowflakes. You want to touch them, to look after them, yet they cannot be held. It broke me. Im not saying that that is a bad thing either because it takes talent to reduce me to a snivelling shell.

What i enjoyed most about this book was the power and strength of the characters and their actual storyline. It touched upon situations that aren’t really spoken about, and I felt that Roberts did her characters justice in the way she told their story.

If youre in the mood for a powerful, emotionally driven novel, then this is definitely the one for you.

Purchase from Amazon.

Purchase from Apple.

#psychological · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · Crime/thriller · netgalley · Police procedural

#PromisesInTheDark by @DKHood_Author @Bookouture #review

Happy publication day to D.K.Hood and ‘Promises In The Dark’! I am delighted to be kicking of the blog tour today – many thanks to Bookouture for having me.

The young girl pushes against the backseat of the family sedan, fighting to free herself from the crude ties restricting her hands and feet. As the car speeds towards the edge of town, she looks back at her family home, and watches in horror as it is suddenly engulfed in a mass of flames. Trembling with fear, she turns towards the driver and hears only laughter. She knows that the worst is yet to come…

Detective Jenna Alton surveys the charred remains of the large suburban home, stopping to pause at the three lifeless bodies of the Woods family. Jenna knows she’s looking for a serial killer, but her priority is finding the missing teenage daughter last seen on the night of the inferno.

Days later, Sophie Wood’s body is discovered floating in a shallow pool of crystal-clear water—known locally as Dead Man’s Drop—but Jenna still doesn’t know who would target the quiet family in such a brutal attack.

Delving into the family’s past, she makes a shocking discovery—a link between the killer and someone connected to her deputy David Kane. If Jenna is right and the killer is back and seeking revenge, then she must act fast to keep her deputy safe.

When another girl is taken, Jenna and David follow the trail into a network of underground caves on the outskirts of town. With little time before the killer claims his next victim, they race into the pitch-black tunnels, unsure whether they have just walked into the killer’s trap. Can they find the girl in time and escape the caves without the killer chasing them down?

What does TWG think?

One of, if not THE most disturbing book of the series so far! Which is saying something considering the things that Kane and Alton have come across in the 9 previous books.

A story that starts off with young children being the bait, indirectly speaking, always puts the fear of christ up me. Not that I’m saying should a child be used as bait later on in the book then I’ll be okay with it, not at all. I just find themes like that enough to make my jaw drop further, and a nervous energy crawl up my body far quicker than if I had read it in the middle. That’s exactly what happened here. The prologue plants the seed and ties the roots of the storyline in knots, making it hard for the reader to leave it alone regardless of how nervy you have begun to feel. Honestly, it was brilliantly written and definitely set the scene for the rest of the book.

Once again Kane and Alton have their work cut out for them. Their murderer hasn’t made things very easy for them, despite leaving a ‘trail’ of dead bodies in his wake. Whoever this person is is clearly dangerous and doesn’t think much of other living things. Just another thing that kept me hooked!

I was very disturbed by the storyline, but without sounding weird, I didnt find that a negative thing because what else would you expect from a thriller? Teddy bears and picnics? No. D.K.Hood may have her characters having picnics, but she would also have a dead body stuffed in the bear! (Just to clarify, that isn’t what happens in this book!)

As I may have said once or twice, I was truly glued to this novel and the way the characters developed over time. It may be the tenth book in the series, yet Kane and Alton never fail to surprise me.

Yet another dark, devious, and utterly transfixing novel from an author who is outstanding at holding her readers hostage with her words.

Buy now.

#psychological · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book of the month · Book Review · BOTBSPublicity · lifestyle · netgalley · Non Fiction · real life

#TheBoyBetween by Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley (@MrsAmandaProwse) @BOTBSPublicity #mentalhealthawareness #depression

Before I go any further I just want to say sorry to Amanda, Josiah and Sarah for the delay in posting my review, and thank you to Sarah and Netgalley for the ARC.

Bestselling novelist Amanda Prowse knew how to resolve a fictional family crisis. But then her son came to her with a real one…

Josiah was nineteen with the world at his feet when things changed. Without warning, the new university student’s mental health deteriorated to the point that he planned his own death. His mother, bestselling author Amanda Prowse, found herself grappling for ways to help him, with no clear sense of where that could be found. This is the book they wish had been there for them during those dark times.

Josiah’s situation is not unusual: the statistics on student mental health are terrifying. And he was not the only one suffering; his family was also hijacked by his illness, watching him struggle and fearing the day he might succeed in taking his life.

In this book, Josiah and Amanda hope to give a voice to those who suffer, and to show them that help can be found. It is Josiah’s raw, at times bleak, sometimes humorous, but always honest account of what it is like to live with depression. It is Amanda’s heart-rending account of her pain at watching him suffer, speaking from the heart about a mother’s love for her child.

For anyone with depression and anyone who loves someone with depression, Amanda and Josiah have a clear message—you are not alone, and there is hope.

What does TWG think?

Firstly, having the courage to openly discuss a time in your life where you felt suicide was the only option, with complete strangers and in the form of a book, is such a brave thing to do. I take my hat off to Josiah for choosing to put awareness above everything else. Its not an easy thing to do at all. I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you.

Secondly, Amanda….its hard enough being a parent, let alone being a parent who has to watch from the sidelines whilst her child goes through a situation only they can get themself out of. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it must have been to go through that with Josiah, or the toll it took on your own mental health. Not only that, the courage it must have taken you openly dissect and ‘admit’ where you felt you went wrong as a parent, and to talk about such a heartbreaking time in your life. Your strength astounds me and I am so proud of you.

Depression is STILL seen as a taboo thing because you cannot see what is broken so, if you cannot see what is broken then nothing must be broken…..right? Completely and utterly wrong. In the book Josiah stated that he wished he had broken his arm or his leg because then he and others could see what was broken and what was needed to fix it. With depression or other mental illnesses, it isn’t a case of one thing fixes all.

How do I know this? Because like millions of other people, and like Josiah himself, I have depression and I also have a form of EDS too (hEDS in fact). As soon as I read about that diagnosis, my breath caught in my throat because I could relate to him on yet another level. I wanted to shout into the book that Josiah wasn’t alone because I could, and can, empathise with him.

This isn’t an easy read by any means. Its raw. Its hard hitting. Its emotional. Its dark. But above all else, its honest. Choosing to openly admit you were close to suicide, and choosing to talk about extremely personal things in order to bring awareness to the topic, is, as I’ve already said, such a brave thing to do. Unfortunately it can also bring a lot of judgement which, whilst its part of human nature to comment on the situations of the world and his wife, we have no right to do so as each and every one of us are different. Each and every one of us react to things in a different way, and what upsets one person may not upset another.

For example; in her chapters, Amanda spoke about how she felt she had let her son down with her parenting. Personally, I feel that she acted from the heart and in a way only a mumma bear knows how. I don’t think that she did anything wrong as a parent, because she was only acting out of love and fear. But Amanda does/did think those things. Is she wrong to feel like that? Hell no. Is my opinion wrong? No. Im an outsider looking in, there’s a huge difference.

Josiah’s story is a very relatable one and I would love to say that it’s unique in the fact that it doesn’t happen very often, but it does. What doesn’t happen very often is someone being so open about it instead of choosing to act like everything was all fluffy clouds and rainbows.

The honesty throughout this book, from both Amanda and Josiah, was incredibly moving and at times shook me to the core because I understood. Now me saying that isn’t taking the onus off them, not at all.

I am so proud of Amanda and Josiah for their strength and courage as they wrote this book together. It is such an important topic to discuss, more so as a one size doesn’t fit all and different things work for different people. I want to thank them both for sharing their stories with the world, and I wish I could hug them both. However my ramblings will have to do!

I cannot recommend this book enough. Its beautifully harrowing, tenderly heartbreaking, but poignant and severely honest. Its a little ray of hope when the skies turn grey. Its the one shining star in the night sky to help you on your way. Its a ‘friend’ when you feel like you have absolutely no one to turn to.

Buy now.

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · netgalley · RNA · romance · womens fiction

#MyHusbandsDaughter by Emma Robinson @EmmaRobinsonUK @Bookouture

Many thanks, as always to Bookouture for the tour invite and ARC.

It is just past ten o’clock on a cold Friday evening when Rebecca and her husband Jack’s doorbell rings. Outside is a woman who introduces herself as Jack’s ex-girlfriend Cara. And she’s holding the hand of a shivering, blue-eyed, four-year-old girl. Who she claims is Jack’s daughter.
Rebecca is shocked to discover he has a child from his last relationship – even one he hadn’t known about. Because becoming parents isn’t part of their life plan. They like children, but they also love their freedom and spending time together uninterrupted; the way that, if they wanted to, they could travel the world at a moment’s notice.
But Cara needs them. Because Cara has a devastating secret that she can’t tell anyone yet. Not even her daughter. A secret with the power to change all of their lives.
A secret that will ultimately mean Rebecca has to ask herself – could she find it in herself to welcome her husband’s child into her home, and into her heart?

What does TWG think?

Oh for goodness sake, Emma Robinson, did you have to go and switch on the water works? I mean, really?!

I’ve been crying a lot recently, so when I decided to pick up a book thought it was going to be a light hearted, Peppa Pig type book that I had chosen (no, wait, that mardy pig makes me cry too!). Then I realised I needed to read Emma Robinson’s novel and straight away knew that any hopes of furry beings having picnics were to stay where they belonged; on my daughters bookshelf. Instead of a Teddy bear picnic I had tension. I had suspense. I had emotion so fraught that I was scared it was going to slice my heart in two.

This book is black and white proof as to why Robinson is a published author, and there is no denying that her characterisation and realistic storylines make for excellent and dramatic reading.

The main topic of this read is a tough pill to swallow, however it is beautifully done in every sense of the word. I know I am being exceptionally vague by not delving into specific parts of the book or giving too much away, and thats because I don’t want to ruin the experience of this novel for anyone else. My only advice to you all would be to grab the tissues before you start reading, mute the phones, and buckle up for a ride you’ll never forget.

Buy now

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · historical fiction

#TheItalianGirls by Debbie Rix (@DebbieRix) @Bookouture

Thank you, as always, to Bookouture for inviting me on Debbie Rix’s blog tour, and for supplying me with an ARC.

The sun hung low in the sky, casting pink light all over the city. A faint breeze blew over the rooftops, as flocks of starlings swirled above her, swooping and diving in unison. It seemed unimaginable that, even now, German soldiers were marching along the streets below. It was time, she decided, for direct action. It was time to fight back.

Each morning Livia Moretti makes her way from an apartment overlooking Florence’s famous Duomo to a nearby café, where she drinks espresso and reads the newspaper. To the crowds of tourists who pass by, snapping selfies, nothing about Livia will be memorable. She is simply an old lady. They walk on without knowing the part she played in ensuring the future of this beautiful city. And to Livia now, those dark days feel very far away too.

But today, when she opens the paper, she sees a name she has not heard for a long time. A name that will bring memories flooding back of Nazi troops marching through the city and the dangers she faced as a young woman, carrying out secret missions for the resistance.

Isabella Bellucci.

A siren of the silver screen, Isabella cultivated all the right connections to ensure her rise to stardom. But when Rome falls to the Nazis, Isabella is suddenly faced with the choice between protecting herself, and all she has worked for, or sacrificing everything to save the man she loves.

As the war rages across Europe, a terrible misunderstanding causes the fates of Isabella and Livia to become forever intertwined. And each woman must decide what they’re willing to risk, to protect the ones they hold dear from a brutal enemy.

What does TWG think?

My first piece of advice to anyone wanting to read this is; make sure your mind is free from distractions beforehand as the storyline requires your attention.

My second piece of advice is not to rush the book. There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between times and characters, and time is needed to appreciate those parts for what they are.

‘The Italian Girls’ is a WW2 novel set in Italy. I have read several historical fiction novels that have had Italy as their settings, so i was a little bit concerned about whether they would be similarities between the stories aside from the obvious influences of the war. Thankfully, Debbie Rix has a unique voice within her stories and that is what gave this particular book its own stance.

Livia was such an interesting, multi layered character who constantly surprised me. I loved getting to know her personality and finding out about her life. Its safe to say that she was my most favourite character in the novel.

Debbie Rix has written an atmospheric, heart rendering novel that just kept on giving. I love historical fiction and I am delighted to say that ‘The Italian Girls’ really didn’t disappoint.

Buy now.

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · historical fiction

#TheStolenLetter by Clara Benson @ClaraBooks @bookouture

Many thanks to Bookouture for the tour invite and ARC.

The longer her imprisonment went on, the more she cast her mind back to the stolen hours they had spent together. His love had blown in like an unexpected breath of warm summer air, giving her the promise of life and joy. But now they had been torn apart and she was tormented by the thought that they might never be reunited.
Italy, 1938: When Stella arrives in Florence, it’s love at first sight. She is wowed by the rolling hills dotted with olive trees, the buttermilk villas with shuttered windows and terracotta roofs that glow gloriously in the sunlight. Even the breeze holds the scent of freedom – freedom from England, where the shadow of her past haunted her.

Then there is Ted, an American journalist who is wild and mischievous, with an arrogance bordering on rude. Stella is infuriated by him – but she cannot deny the lure of the danger and excitement he promises.
But there is something dark under the bright surface of this beautiful country, with unspeakable tragedies just around the corner. When the Nazis take control of Italy, Stella and Ted – and whatever dreams the future held for them – are ripped apart. As bombs descend, destroying everything in their wake, there is nothing to do but sit in darkness, praying to see tomorrow.
And it seems that even in Italy, Stella’s past has found her. Somewhere in the winding streets of Florence there is a letter that could change the course of her fate. Unknown to her, it holds a secret with the power to rewrite her past, and everything she has been running away from. But will she live to find it? And with the odds stacked against her, will she ever see Ted again?

What does TWG think?

Novels set during wartime are my most favourite historical fiction to read, and thankfully Clara Benson kept that momentum going.

Set in Italy in 1938, Stella can’t help but be excited for her promising new life in her beautiful new surroundings. However, unfinished business has a way of catching up with people when they expect it to, and soon enough Stella’s new life takes a turn that looks set to be a lot darker than she anticipated.

Stella is such a memorable character to read about and get to know. I felt a lot of empathy towards her because of how she had to mature a lot faster than nature intended her to. I think she surprised herself, and the readers, by flourishing the way that she did. Whilst I applauded her strength and courage, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss for her and the roads she wasnt able to go down because of certain choices that were made.

‘The Stolen Letter’ really is a heartwarming read, one which reminded me so much of author Kathryn Hughes ‘The Letter’! If you’re after a well balanced, detailed and blossoming read, then I highly recommend you get a hold of this.

Buy now.

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · Orion

#ForWhenImGone by Rebecca Ley @RebeccaHelenLey @orionbooks

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy, and to Tracy for the tour invite.

Because there’s never enough time to say goodbye…

Sylvia knows that she’s running out of time. Very soon, she will exist only in the memories of those who loved her most and the pieces of her life she’s left behind.

So she begins to write her husband a handbook for when she’s gone, somewhere to capture the small moments of ordinary, precious happiness in their married lives. From raising their wild, loving son, to what to give their gentle daughter on her eighteenth birthday – it’s everything she should have told him before it was too late.

But Sylvia also has a secret, one that she’s saved until the very last pages. And it’s a moment in her past that could change everything…

What does TWG think?

So you’ve been told some devastating news. Dealt a hand of heartbreak that’s on countdown. What do you do? Wait, what WOULD you do? Spend as much time as you can with your loved ones before you’re taken? Create everlasting memories for those you have held in your heart for goodness knows how many years? Or do you write a book of what to do when you’re gone?

Sylvia did the latter. She created a book for her husband detailing present ideas, little anecdotes to help support him and their children as they grow up without her. I mean, looking to the future lives of your children, knowing that you’re not going to be around to see it? That’s got to hurt.

If, like me, you’re the sort of person who has ice around their heart, be prepared for that to melt and probably flood for the duration of this book. It well and truly broke me and hung me out to dry……yet it was done in the most sensational, poignant, detailed, beautiful manner that made me catch my breath.

The underlying tone of ‘For When I’m Gone’ is very serious as it discusses topics such as still birth and cancer, two very powerful and triggering topics. However on the other side of the coin, theyre two topics which still need their time in the spotlight so that other people can try to understand the devastating effects they can have on a person and everyone around them.

I feel bad saying that I loved this novel due to the emotional content, however i truly was bowled over by the delivery and the way in which the author took the time to create a story that not only taught people about cancer and grief, it also showcased the beauty of memories not being afraid of your own emotions.

Rebecca Ley has polished this novel so well, it is going to shine bright like a diamond for very long time to come. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this managed to get onto the big screen. Honestly? It would wholeheartedly deserve it.

Buy now.