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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

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#BlogTour! #Review – #ThreeDaysInFlorence by Chrissie Manby (@chrissiemanby) @JennyPlatt90 @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity

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Third and final blog tour of the day, and we head to Italy for my stop on the ‘Three Days in Florence’ tour! Huge thanks to Jenny Platt and Hodder Books for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Kathy Courage has never visited the famous Italian city of Florence before, so she’s thrilled when she and her boyfriend Neil are invited there for a wedding. Unfortunately, with Neil’s constant complaining and his teenage children in tow, it’s not exactly the romantic break Kathy was hoping for.

But when a mix-up with her flights leaves Kathy stranded in the city, she decides to embrace the unexpected and stay on alone.

What follows is a life-changing few days in the Tuscan sun, as Kathy begins to question the choices that have led her here. With the help of the colourful Innocenti family, who offer Kathy a place to stay, she gradually begins to realise that there’s a much bigger world out there, if only she can be brave enough to explore it.

Could Italy hold the answers to her future happiness? Or is Kathy destined to return to her old life?

What does TWG think?

Please say that I’m not the only one who thought that Neil and his kids were absolute doorknobs?!?! Oh, wait…that would make them useful. Ugh! I didn’t like them AT ALL…..if you hadn’t already guessed that. I just wanted Kathy to turn round to Neil and go, ‘you know what f’WIT, go to hell!’. But she didn’t. I think she would have been well within her right to do that though, wouldn’t you agree?!

Kathy has longed to visit Florence for as long as she can remember and, thanks to Neil’s brother getting married in that very city, Kathy is over the moon that she can finally step onto Italian soil. Best laid plans and all that meant that Kathy’s trip didn’t exactly go the way that she had hoped it would. I won’t spoil it for you, but judging by what I’ve said above, I’m sure you can guess who the culprit was!

Anyway, through lack of communication and clerical error by Neil’s PA, Kathy found herself staying in Florence longer than anticipated. Not that she would have complained!

Is it mean that I laughed out loud at Neil being annoyed? It wasn’t Kathy’s fault! I was so pleased that we were able to watch her personality flourish in her beloved city, and watch the person she has kept under wraps, finally spread its wings and be the person she is meant to be. Honestly, it was as though I reading about a completely new person and, as weird as this sounds, I felt proud as punch. It was as though she had had a lightbulb moment regarding her worth.

I really enjoyed getting to know the Innocenti family, and I absolutely loved being caught up in the beautiful story that Chrissie Manby had created. The underlying message about happiness and living life to the full, really hit home and is definitely something people should do their bests with. Life is incredibly short, so why should we spend it being unhappy and stuck in a situation that we had no say in?

‘Three Days in Florence’ is a home away from home novel which filled me with hope.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Where I Found You by Emma Robinson (@EmmaRobinsonUK) @Bookouture

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Another Bookouture blog tour for you this afternoon, but this time it is for Emma Robinson’s, ‘Where I Found You’. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Your daughter does not speak… But can she teach you how to live?

Ever since Ruby was tiny, she has been unique. Her smiles are magically rare, her building blocks are always colour-coded, and she communicates only in gestures. Sometimes, being Ruby’s mother is hard, but the way she sees the world makes it new for Sara every day.

When Sara’s husband walks out on them, Sara’s world falls apart, and her mother-in-law, Barbara, is the only person she can turn to for help. But Barbara thinks Ruby’s problems are all in Sara’s head; that she just doesn’t know how to raise a child right.

Sara can’t see how she’ll cope alone. Barbara won’t listen. Can a girl who doesn’t speak show them the way?

What does TWG think?

I really don’t know how to begin this review. I’m pretty torn with my thoughts on this book, to be perfectly honest.

Anyone who has children will find the first few chapters this book incredibly difficult to read. I was so overcome with emotion, my body had no idea how to expel it. My heart went out to little Ruby and the fact that she didn’t know how to make herself heard. Not only that, my heart went out to her mum, Sara, too. I wanted to shake her husband because he was being an absolute -insert bad word here-. Just because he couldn’t see further than his nose, it didn’t mean that Sara was wrong and should be ignored. A little support would have gone a long, long way and perhaps the whole situation wouldn’t have been as much of an emotional turmoil for Sara if she had had his support in the first place. And then there’s Barbara. I took an instant dislike to her because she was an interfering bat. Sara is Ruby’s mother, not her! Her constant interfering alongside her sons incapability to think of anyone other than himself, made me so angry. I just wanted to make everything okay for Ruby, you know?

As the storyline progressed, things regarding Barbara start making sense, however whilst I was able to show her more empathy, she seemed to want Sara on side one minute and then go behind her back the next. Which one was it to be? By the end of the book, I didn’t dislike Barbara, thankfully, I just didn’t trust her as far as I could throw her.

I thought the addition of the art and being able to let Ruby flourish with anyone expecting too much of her, was so touching and filled me with happiness from top to toe. However, this is where I began to feel torn with my opinion. The first three quarters of the story was intense, emotional, and unique to Ruby’s personality, so when the story started to fast forward without much of an explanation, I couldn’t help but be a bit confused. I was unsure as to why the latter half of the book ended up feeling rushed with several things being unanswered. It just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the book and gave off a different vibe.

That said, I could feel the emotion and the thought behind everything Sara did for Ruby. For me, that little girl was the star of the show and was such an incredible character to read about and get to know. I was also pleased that Sara was listened to, it was just a shame that it took so long. And yeah, I am aware that that is what happens in reality, and it shouldn’t at all.

To all the parents who have a child like Ruby, you are superheroes for having their backs.
To all the children like Ruby, you are legends of your own castle.
To Emma Robinson, thank you for such an honest and emotive read.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Beekeepers Cottage by Emma Davies (@EmDaviesAuthor) @Bookouture

Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, I am delighted to be one of the bloggers closing the tour for Emma Davies and ‘The Beekeepers Cottage’. Here is my review:

Comforted by the gentle hum of the beehives at the bottom of the garden, Grace drains the last of her tea and walks slowly back towards the little hillside house she adores. Her marriage is over, but is it too late to start her life again?

Beekeeper Grace thought throwing out her cheating husband would be the hardest thing she ever did. But when she opens the door to a property developer one morning, it’s clear that keeping her beautiful home and garden – her only sanctuary throughout her miserable marriage – will be the greatest challenge of all…

Fleeing to her best friend at the farm next door, Grace blurts out all her problems, only to be overheard by Amos, a handsome, free-spirited visitor with a twinkle in his eye. Fascinated by Grace and her bees, Amos offers to stay in the village of Hope Corner, to help turn her home into a guest house in return for lessons on beekeeping.

As Grace shows Amos how to nurture a hive and harvest honeycomb without getting stung, he is charming but secretive. He never stays long in the same place after an incident in his past involving a mysterious woman named Maria. But as their eyes lock over a jar of homemade honey, Grace can’t help feeling that she’d really like him to stay…

Determined to dispel her growing suspicion that Amos is running from something serious, Grace goes in search of the truth about Maria. But when she finds it, will she still want Amos to put down roots in Hope Corner, and will they still have a house to return to?

What does TWG think?

Ooooo it’s not everyday you read a book with a beekeeper in it! I must admit that I did enjoy finding out about Grace’s life and how she tends to the bees. They are such understated yet incredibly important species, so it was nice to see the bees get their time in the spotlight as it were.

Now, onto Amos; that man could have invented the word ‘intriguing’, it oozed out of him big time! I’m I’m complaining by the way, I enjoyed getting to know him and working out what made him tick, especially where Grace was concerned. The fact that the characters had similarities with their lost soul type personalities, was very endearing. That said, it was very clear that both characters had suffered pain in one form or another. Like I’ve admitted once or twice before, I’m not a sucker for romance, yet I really wanted Grace and Amos to have their moment, whether it was with each other or separately.

Emma Davies has an incredible talent at making her stories come alive as though you’ve known the characters your entire life. The way she told Amos’ story had such an enchanting and flawless feel to it, the entire book was such a pleasure and a joy to read. Emma Davies just keeps on getting better and better.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #LastOrdersAtTheStarandSixpence by Holly Hepburn (@HollyH_Author) @TeamBATC

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Wheres better to shelter from the rain than the Star and Sixpence! Huge thanks to Harriet and the TeamBATC team for inviting me for a drink with Sam and Nessie, and for giving me something to remember them by in ARC form. It gives me great pleasure to have a natter about them on my blog today.

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Ice-cold drinks, summer sun and colourful characters – welcome to the perfect village pub!

Nestled in the quiet countryside sits the cosy village of Little Monkham, home of The Star and Sixpence, a renovated pub owned by sisters Sam and Nessie. As the locals welcome the new season, it appears that change is afoot in their tiny community, and not all of it for the better . . .

Nessie is moving in with her boyfriend, leaving Sam alone in the pub. But with the arrival of new chef Gabriel causing a flutter among the women of the village, it seems that Sam might not be so lonely after all. Having just recently come out of a relationship, Sam’s attraction to Gabe is inconvenient, but that’s the least of her worries when an unexpected visitor arrives at the pub, determined to stir up trouble.

As Gabe and Sam grow closer, Little Monkham’s latest arrival threatens to reveal a secret that will turn more than one world upside down. Can Sam and Nessie work through the fall out, or is it really last orders at The Star and Sixpence?

What does TWG think?

Without sounding at all corny, ‘Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence’ truly was a ‘pint’ sized perfection of a read. It’s not often I find myself frequent pubs…if at all to be honest, however I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world!

If you’re after a novel which delivers both romance and drama in one mouthful (sorry, I’ll stop with the puns soon….or will I?), Nessie and Sam can serve that up for you, no problem at all. Of course, being set in the local pub, you would have thought that the storyline would focus solely, if not mostly, on the ins and outs of the villagers who step foot over the threshold, right? Whilst it does to a point, there is a lot more to the villagers of Little Monkham than their favourite pint, and by golly the drama kept me going to the bar for more! (See, told you I wouldn’t stop!).

Nessie and Sam find themselves coming face to face with a visitor who could change their lives forever. Me being forever the cynic, had no faith in this person whatsoever and I smelt trouble a mile off. Obviously I couldn’t exactly shout through the pages to the characters to warn them, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to. And no, I’m not meaning Gabe here. He seemed to be changing lives without even being aware of it…if you catch my drift!

Ruby……my goodness, what a woman. I ADORED her character and I was so glad that Sam and Nessie had someone in the corner, determined to fight for them where necessary. I really don’t think that either of them would have been able to go through half of what they went through if it wasn’t for Ruby. I know that they had each other, but as the storyline will tell you further in, it wasn’t always easy for the sisters to approach each other about changes in their lives due to the turmoil it would have caused the other. I did feel for the sisters, I’m not going to lie. They were such fiery yet warm hearted characters, I couldn’t help but hope for a happily ever after for both of them.

‘Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence’ had such a cosy feel to the entire storyline – I really didn’t want the book to finish! I wanted to stay in the bubble that Holly Hepburn had created because, as weird as this sounds, I felt safe. I loved being able to escape to Little Monkham, and I will definitely remember Franny’s character. I mean, who wouldn’t?

Holly Hepburn never fails to deliver storylines which open your heart and soul to characters you could only wish to have in your own life. When certain events happened in the book, I couldn’t help but have a lump form in my throat, yet the author still managed to incorporate such heartache into the storyline in such a spellbinding and beautiful manner. To say I was captivated by Little Monkham would be an understatement. To say that ‘Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence’ stole my heart, would be absolutely bang on. I honestly urge you all to put this book in your shopping basket the next time you’re out. Like I say, it truly is a pint sized perfect novel.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – #VillaOfSunAndSecrets by Jennifer Bohnet (@jenniewriter) #BoldwoodBlogTour @BoldwoodBooks

Happy publication day, Jennifer Bohnet! It is such an honour to be kicking off the blog tour for her new release, ‘Villa of Sun and Secrets’. Huge thanks to Boldwood Books for the tour invite and ARC.

It’s never too late to live the dream…

Carla Sullivan’s 50th birthday is fast approaching when her whole world is turned upside down. Discovering her feckless husband is having yet another affair and following her mother’s death, she is in need of an escape. Finding an envelope addressed to her mother’s estranged sister Josette in the South of France gives Carla the perfect plan.

Seizing the moment, she packs her bags and heads to Antibes to seek out the enigma known as Tante Josette. But as the two women begin to forge a tentative relationship, family secrets start to unravel, forcing Carla to question her life as she has always known it.

What does TWG think?

Geez, was a bit like opening Pandora’s box with this one! With the cover being so colourful and summery, I was expecting a light and fluffy novel. What I got, however, was something incredibly different. ‘Villa of Sun and Secrets’ is such a rollercoaster ride of a story. One minute Carla was living in her marital home, and then the next she was filing for a divorce from a husband who couldn’t keep it in his pants. What a lovely bloke.

Anyway, Carla soon realised that she deserved better, and with a big birthday looming, she couldn’t think of a better time to create a life that shr was finally worthy of. I don’t think she expected the hurdles she came up against along the way….

Multiple times I had my hand clasped over my mouth in shock at what I had just read. Naturally I’m not going to say why, I’m not that mean to drop spoilers, but goodness me the Jeremy Kyle are gutted that they missed out on this one!!

As weird as this sounds, I was gripped by the rocky family dynamics and I was eager to find out where everyone stood. I still couldn’t believe my eyes though, and yet it wasn’t me receiving the news that Carla and Josette did!

I couldn’t help but love this emotive, cosy novel that had so many wonderful characters in it to get to know. I have never been to France, however after the beautiful descriptions of the setting, I would happily go and visit there in a heartbeat.

Jennifer Bohnet has such an idyllic, sensual way with words which makes her stories and characters come alive flawlessly. ‘Villa of Sun and Secrets’ was such an insightful and delightful read – a real escapism novel.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Forever Gift by Brooke Harris (@Janelle_Brooke) @Bookouture

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My heart…my poor little heart! Many thanks to Kim Nash for the blog tour invite and the ARC, here is my review of ‘The Forever Gift’ by Brooke Harris.

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I remember you learning to ride a bike, the first time you shot a goal with a basketball… and the first time I realised something was wrong. I look at you, my daughter, my beautiful sparky daughter. I would do anything to keep you safe.

Heather’s beloved daughter, Kayla, is her world. She is fifteen, a brilliant basketball player and a fierce friend.

Heather and Kayla have always had a special relationship. For so many years it was just the two of them, watching Friends, baking cupcakes and laughing together. But now Kayla knows her time is short, and she wants to give something back to the mother she loves more than anyone else in the world. A gift that will change Heather’s life.

With just a handful of days left, Kayla will need help from everyone around her to make this last surprise happen. Along the way, the people whose lives have been touched by Kayla’s light will be changed by her loss, and by her plan for Heather. And as Heather’s whole world threatens to fall apart, could Kayla’s forever gift be the key to piecing her life back together?

What does TWG think?

Omg, Brooke Harris, what the HELL have you done to me?! I wasn’t expecting this at all, even more so because I don’t read blurbs, so you know, I went in completely blind. I wasn’t expecting to bawl my eyes out for 10 solid minutes…..twice. Nor was I expecting to feel as though I had gone through a loss as well, as though Kayla was my own flesh and blood. To say that my heart was broken would be an understatement. I felt like someone had ripped it out and stomped on it. Dramatic maybe, but as I’ve already said, I felt as though I was grieving and I was absolutely broken.

With that in mind, please don’t think that I am trying to put you off the book, because it couldn’t be further from the truth. I want you all to read ‘The Forever Gift’ and cry like I did. If you don’t cry, or at least feel emotional towards the storyline, I really want to know why. I’m not a crier (no really, I’m not), so it takes a lot for me to actually break down to the point I cannot breathe…..just like I did with this book.

Wow….wow. Yes, my eyes were stinging and I was exhausted after finishing it, but I can honestly say that ‘The Forever Gift’ is one of, if not THE most moving, emotional, tender novel I think I have ever, ever read. It’s very clear that Brooke Harris put her all into the storyline and the characters, believing in their emotions and their individual journeys. I have no idea how she managed to connect the blended family alongside cancer, with family relationships of different levels, as well as including a four year girl into the situation. Kayla may have been the one in the spotlight so to speak, yet all of her loved ones were showing their pain a lot more than she. Now, that’s not because she wasn’t in pain, because it was abundantly clear that she was, it was just that Kayla’s parents were watching their little girl fight a battle no-one should ever have to battle. Not only that, her little sister couldn’t understand why her big sister was in the hospital. And still, despite ALLLLLL of that, Kayla still left her mark in such a beautiful and selfless manner. Yes, I cried at that as well.

You’re probably thinking how on earth did I manage to love a book which reduced me to sobbing, and I don’t blame you at all because I often wonder that myself in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s not the devastation which allowed me to love the storyline, it was the way in which Brooke Harris delivered the mind-blowing storyline, the powerful characters, and deeply moving premise – without all of that, I don’t think I would have felt the way I did. I mean, anyone could say that they want to write a book about cancer, but there’s one thing writing that book, and then there’s another thing writing the book and being able to connect with the characters and the readers own multiple levels, whilst also bringing the characters stories to life as though the readers are involved in reality. Brooke Harris did just that and I am in awe at this authors incredible, incredible talent.

I grieved for Kayla. I grieved for Heather. I grieved for Molly….oh Molly! I didn’t realise just how invested in the storyline I was, until I saw an advert on Facebook for ‘Friends’ Lego Mini-figures and thought to myself, ‘Kayla would LOVE those!’.

‘The Forever Gift’ may be an earth shattering and heartbreaking read, but it is also a read which gives you hope and the kick up the backside to be thankful for all of the little things in life, you know, like breathing. Sometimes in life we are too focused on how things SHOULD be, instead missing out on things just simply being. Instead of thinking about your lunch while you’re eating your breakfast, enjoy your breakfast for what it is. Probably daft thing to use as an example given the nature of the book, although I hope you get what I mean!

Stock up on the Kleenex (man size, trust me), unplug the phone and allow yourself to become invested in the most harrowing, yet beautiful story, of life vs loss, happiness vs sadness, and the all important gift of being. I can honestly see this as a movie, and I would even go as far to say that Brooke Harris is the female version of Nicholas Sparks.

Buy now from Amazon
Buy now from Kobo

#BlogTour! #Review – Sunshine Over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennett (@sarahlou_writes) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

Massive congratulations to Sarah Bennett on the publication of her latest release, ‘Sunshine Over Bluebell Castle’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

The summer she will never forget…

Time’s running out for Iggy Ludworth to restore the wild gardens of Camland Castle in time for the Summer Fete, so she ropes in hotshot gardener Will Talbot…

But she regrets her decision as soon as he sets foot in the historic grounds – not only is Will arrogant and bossy, he’s totally gorgeous!

And very soon, sparks are flying amongst the bluebells. Yet with summer nearly over, will their summer fling convince Will and Iggy to go the distance?

What does TWG think?

It feels like yonks since we last caught up with the lord of the castle and his family! ‘Sunshine Over Bluebell Castle’ is book two in the ‘Bluebell Castle’ series, and personally I would advise that you read the books in order so that you’re able to get a real feel for Arthur, Tristian and Iggy’s life. If you’re feeling a bit rebellious, I guess reading the books out of order would be ‘ok’ for some readers, however I do think that you will be missing out on too much character history if you do. Each to their own of course!

Forgive me for saying this, but I wasn’t really taken with the book at first as Iggy really grated on me! She came across as such a marmite character who had such potential, but she wasn’t offering that positive side to her personality very often. Iggy seemed to think that everyone was out to get her, didn’t think that she was capable to do things because shes a woman….I don’t recall anyone saying that to her! However, when a certain relative of Iggy’s came on the scene, it became shockingly clear as to why she is the way that she is.

Believe it or not, I did warm up to Iggy the more I got to know her, especially when Will came to town. He brought out the positive side of her personality and i thought it was such a shame that Iggy has very little faith in herself. She is a good egg, really.

Romance is in the air and in every nook and cranny of the castle, what on Earth was the housekeeper putting in their food!! I felt quite emotional watching the main characters flourish after their recent heartache as discussed in book one. It can’t have been at all easy for the siblings yet they’re doing themselves proud…..most of the time.

What I love most about Sarah Bennett’s storytelling, is the way she captures the essence of her characters. She creates them like they’re real human beings instead of fictional characters, which allows the readers to relate to their emotions and their lives as though they’re right in front of them. I loved the cosy, feel good factor of this book, and I loved how each of the siblings started off as caterpillars, yet by the end of the book they had turned into beautiful, empathetic butterflies who weren’t afraid to spread their wings. Sarah Bennett has written a story which is guaranteed to make you feel untouchable, ready to conquer the world. I really, really enjoyed it.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #AHomeFromHome by Veronica Henry (@veronica_henry @Orionbooks @AnneCater

Next up on TWG is a delightful book from one of my all time favourite authors, Veronica Henry. Many thanks to Orion and Anne Cater for the blog tour invite and ARC. I hope you enjoy my review of ‘A Home From Home’!

Sunshine, cider and family secrets…

Dragonfly Farm has been a home and a haven for generations of Melchiors – arch rivals to the Culbones, the wealthy family who live on the other side of the river. Life there is dictated by the seasons and cider-making, and everyone falls under its spell.

For cousins Tabitha and Georgia, it has always been a home from home. When a tragedy befalls their beloved Great-Uncle Matthew, it seems the place where they’ve always belonged might now belong to them…

But the will reveals that a third of the farm has also been left to a Culbone. Gabriel has no idea why he’s been included, or what his connection to the farm – or the Melchiors – can be.

As the first apples start to fall for the cider harvest, will Dragonfly Farm begin to give up its secrets?

What does TWG think?

There is a reason why Veronica Henry is one of my all time favourite authors, and ‘A Home From Home’ is that very reason! Honestly, this is a home away from home read that delivered hope and beauty behind every word.

For as long as she can remember, Dragonfly Farm had been Tabitha’s home; a place where she felt safe. However one day, her life became a mismatched mess when a loved one passed away suddenly. Not only did Tabitha have grief to contend with, she also had the fear of whether she would end up losing her home.

Theres a lot of history behind Dragonfly Farm, and whilst some of it may be hearsay and what not, a lot of it has been kept a secret from those who were involved the most. Now we all know what secrets do to people, including families! I would have been surprised if the storyline didn’t contain fireworks!

Alongside Tabitha is her cousin, Georgia – literally chalk and cheese. One is fiery and very hot headed, yet the other is more logical. It was interesting to watch their two lives combine as they came together bound by their family ties and grief.

There are a lot of characters to keep an eye on in this storyline, especially as the book is dual timeline and visits the past with more characters. I did struggle to keep up with who was related to who, who dabbled with who, who was still alive and what not, but I think I got the gist of it! By the way, can I just say what AWESOME character names are in this book!!!!

I thought ‘A Home From Home’ was such a magical novel. I really didn’t want it to end and felt as though I had lost my right arm when it did! Veronica Henry, in my opinion, is the queen of comfort reads, and she certainly went above and beyond with her storyline this time round. I was spellbound by the family histories of the Melchiors and Culbones, and i fell in love with the cosy Dragonfly Farm that seemed to hold the key to eternal happiness.

Reading ‘A Home From Home’ is the perfect book to escape into and forget reality. I mean, who needs politics when you have characters like Plum and Gabriel? A truly wonderful, humble, and touching novel that lit up my light for the duration of the story. I adored it.

‘A Home From Home’ will be published on the 25th July. Pre-order now from Amazon.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Secret Cove in Croatia by Julie Caplin (@JulieCaplin) @JulesWake @0neMoreChapter_ @RaRaResources

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Happy publication day, Julie Caplin, and ‘The Secret Cove in Croatia’! My second RaRaResources blog tour of the days is for this beautiful, beautiful book – thank you so much for having me on kicking off the blog tour, and thank you to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

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Sail away to beautiful Croatia for summer sun, sparkling turquoise seas and a holiday romance that’s forever…

When no-nonsense, down-to-earth Maddie Wilcox is offered the chance to work on a luxury yacht for the summer, she can’t say no. Yes she’ll be waiting on the posh guests… But island-hopping around the Adriatic sea will more than make up for it –especially when Nick, her best friend Nina’s brother, is one of them.Sparks fly when they meet on board and Maddie can’t believe self-entitled jerk Nick is really related to Nina.But in a secret, picture-perfect cove, away from the real world, Maddie and Nick discover they might have more in common than they realise…

What does TWG think?

‘Sail away with meeeee……’

If only!!!! I have never been to Croatia before – can someone take me, like now? Oh Julie Caplin, what have you done to me?! I am someone who rolls my eyes at PDA’s and romance itself. I am also someone who adores reading romance despite not being a fan of the actual thing myself. Again, I am also someone who now wants to go to Croatia so I can meet my own Nick! Swoon!!!!! He can keep the shorts though, soz!!!

Maddie is THE best character ever!!! What a breath of fresh air she is. I absolutely loved her and her bluntness. She certainly wasn’t taking any prisoners, that’s for sure! Did I see myself in her? Damn right I did, maybe that’s why I gelled with her personality because I could relate to her personally.

The absolute star of the storyline was the message the author had hidden in between her words; be yourself, don’t go out of your way to be anyone else except you. How many of us have been amongst a group of people and found ourselves changing our mannerisms, adjusting our likes and dislikes, just to make other people like us? How many of us have pretended to be something we’re not, just because a crush prefers us a certain way? Of course – we have all been there and done that! Instead of leaving a situation because it doesn’t fit YOUR needs, you end up changing yourself because you don’t fit THEIR needs, but at the end of the day, what’s more important? Your happiness, or theirs?

Such an easy thing to say, but one of the most hardest things to put into practice. As an outsider looking in, Nick’s situation with Tara was the elephant in the room. People could see what Tara was like, however the only person who struggled to see what she was capable of, was Nick himself. Why could that be? I’ll tell you – it was because he was so close to the situation, he ended up being blindsided by the attention. It wasn’t until someone, aka Maddie, took the time to tell him how it was. Could she have done that out of jealousy because Tara disliked her? Possibly, in fact almost definitely! That said, Maddie’s personality wasn’t that way inclined and, whilst she didn’t want to get involved in someone else love life, she wanted Nick to be happy. Thankfully Tara didn’t help herself at all……

Maddie is very open about her lack of confidence, and that resonated with me big time as, just like her, I am lacking in confidence and I don’t fit in. And yes, I have done what everyone else has done and adapted my personality to suit others but you know what? Why should I? Why should you?

Julie Caplin really opened my eyes with this book. Not only that, she had me in hysterics and racing through the pages as though someone had offered me a lifetime supply of books! The setting was beautifully described and got under my skin big time. I loved it more so because of how Croatia seems to be such an underrated holiday destination. Makes a nice change to be somewhere different in a book as opposed to always being in the same old settings.

I wish I could bottle up the warm and hopeful feeling the book gave me just so that whenever I feel like I don’t fit in, I can dip deep into my heart to remind myself the importance of being true to the skin I was born in.

Julie Caplin is one of the most beautiful story tellers I think I have ever read, and she has outdone herself with ‘The Secret Cove in Croatia’. Hand on heart, one of my all-time favourite reads ever, Maddie and Croatia will be staying locked up in my heart for a very, very long time to come. A truly spellbinding, emotive novel which ticked every single box I never even knew existed.

Buy now.