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

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

Lost:

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

#Swainettes, are you ready? #Readers, are you ready? @TeamBATC, are you ready? You better be- @Heidi_Swain is baaacckkk!!! #TheSecretSeasideEscape

I dont think you’re ready, for this beauty,

I dont think you’re ready, for this beauty.

I dont think you’re ready…..

This cover is too bootilicious for you babe!!

Anyone who has followed my blog since the beginning, you’ll be well aware of the fact that I am a HUGE fan of Heidi Swain. I have every single one of her books in paperback! Well, not quite now……

I am SO excited to share that Heidi has a new book coming out and what a beauty it is! Thank you SO much to the lovely, Heidi, for asking me to take part in her cover reveal today! I cannot wait to add it to my ever growing collection.

So, are you ready?!?

I said….ARE YOU READYYYYY?

Following a shocking revelation within her family, Tess Tyler is looking to escape her hectic city life – and where better to hide than Wynmouth, the seaside town she visited as a child, with its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community. But little does she realise, Wynmouth isn’t quite the haven she remembers it to be, and her real life is still threatening to catch up with her . . .

Also returning to Wynmouth is Joe. Having fled over a decade ago after an accident that changed his life forever, he’s back and is determined to face his demons. But, like Tess, Joe realises that the town is nothing like he remembers and quickly his arrival brings old tensions to the surface.

As the pair begin to familiarise themselves with the town they once knew, they each realise that the secrets they carry are becoming harder to conceal – but will revealing them bring the answers they’re looking for? Will Tess and her new friends finally get the second chance they’ve been hoping Wynmouth will give them?

See what I mean? Isn’t it gorgeous?!?

‘The Secret Seaside Escape’ will be published on the 30th April. If you wish to preorder your copy now you can do so via:

Paperback

E-book

Sorry @AndyJonesAuthor, but #AdamCampbell has stolen your spotlight!! @hodderbooks

Many thanks to Jenny Platt for the blog tour invite and ARC of ‘The Last Act of Adam Campbell’. Here is my review of Andy Jones’ novel for today’s stop on the tour:

A year can go quickly. Particularly when it’s your last.

Adam had a good life: a job he enjoyed, a nice house, a loving partner and a bright six-year-old daughter. Then he cheated on his partner. Then she kicked him out of their home. And then he was given approximately twelve months to live.

Despite the devastating news, Adam is determined to turn his life around before it finally runs out. Help comes in the form of an ex-junky, a cantankerous train driver, a nun experiencing a crisis of faith, and a teenager intent on losing her virginity – all living on borrowed time, all desperate to feel alive before their time is up.

What does TWG think?

What would you do if you found out that your time on Earth was limited? That you were in fact dying? Would you get your affairs in order so your loved ones wouldn’t have to deal with it after your passing? Or would you do what this crazy bunch of people did and brought Shakespeare into the 20th century?

When I say that they’re crazy, it comes from a place of warmth as I really dont know whether I would be able to do what they did. In all honesty, I dont want to think about it at all so, if you finding stories about death and cancer very difficult to read, I highly suggest taking a step back from this. Reading about death is never going to be easy, regardless of the form it is presented in. However, when a story approaches death in an honest, poignant, and humourous manner, the fear surrounding that particular topic diminishes ever so slightly.

I’m not going to delve into each of the characters lives as I feel that would take it away from what the author was trying to do. What I will say is that the group of characters mentioned in this book, all have such colourful and memorable personalities that you won’t tire of quickly. I would even go as far to say that they even make you feel as though you’re one of the family. That is not so good when it comes to the inevitable though….if you catch my drift!

For me, the first and last chunks of the story were the best ones. At around the 20-40% mark I felt as though the storyline was a bit stuck in the mud and seemed to contain a bit more padding to it than absolutely necessary. I didn’t tune out of the story, yet I found my attention faltering a little throughout that twenty percent.

That said, I throughly enjoyed the other 80 percent of the book. I actually feel quite bad saying it like that because I dont want anyone thinking that I found the heartache in the story entertaining. I didn’t enjoy the death aspects – who would? Yet I appreciated the journeys of each character and their strengths until the very end. The whole concept of self picked families, support, legacies, and preparing loved ones for the day that you would be no more, was beautifully done and brought several tears to my eyes.

One character said that they missed ‘their daddy’, and it was that one sentence which broke my heart because my own father passed away three years ago and, whilst I never had the type of relationship with him that resulted in me calling him daddy, it hurt that I would never utter those words again. Well, due to estrangement it’s been a while anyway, but it was still a tough pill to swallow.

Its evident that Andy Jones has lost a loved one or two because you simply cannot fake the emotion that this book had. You dont know loss until you have felt it for yourself and it doesnt matter how many times you google it, it wouldn’t come as freely as someone who had experienced it in their lifetime. As heartbreaking as it is, I was impressed by the honesty and I truly feel that Andy Jones has done his characters, his story, and his readers exceptionally proud.

Buy now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

Has anyone met #TheManAcrossTheStreet? #blogtour @BOTBSPublicity @marcie_steele

Marcie Steele was one of THE very first authors I reviewed on my blog back in 2016, and I am delighted to say that she is back with a new series! I have the pleasure of reviewing Marcie’s first book in her new series, ‘The Man Across The Street’ on my blog today. Many thanks to the author for my review copy, and to Sarah for the blog tour invite.

Maybe I’m scared to be happy…

Meet Hannah – she’s been her mum’s sole carer since she was eighteen. Now alone after Martha’s sudden death, Hannah feels lost in the only place she’s known as home, Hope Street. Coming up to a milestone birthday, she’s wondering what her purpose in life is.

Meet Doug – a workaholic, he’s in the office from dusk ’til dawn, and when he has a heart attack. Now on the mend, he needs to de-stress his life and focus on living it, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Doug moves to Hope Street, number 35. Hannah lives at number 34, directly opposite. From the moment they meet, there’s a spark.

But there are secrets too. Hannah’s mum has been keeping something from her, her sister left over twenty years ago, and there can’t be such a simple reason why Doug has moved to Somerley. Can there?

The Man Across the Street is the first of a new series by bestselling author, Marcie Steele. It features a host of characters living on Hope Street in the market town of Somerley, also featured in The Somerley Series. Each character will have their own standalone story in books to follow.

What does TWG think?

I was SO excited when the news hit that Marcie Steele was back! It’s been several years since this author has graced us with a new book, however fans of Mel Sherratt will understand why!!

When I started this book, I was a bit taken aback by the storyline, as I felt such a dark vibe emulating from the characters that i wasnt really expecting. I mean, the characters live on ‘Hope Street’! I was expecting a lot of hope, naturally, and that was something I felt I didn’t quite get.

Hannah has had her own fair share of upsetting circumstances. Doug, too, has had HIS own fair share of heartbreak. Other characters in the story were honest about the upset that they had also endured in their life. Now there clearly isnt anything wrong with honesty, but when I had so many characters around me with upsetting stories, I felt quite sad and in a little slump. I didn’t feel hopeful. I didn’t feel positive. Instead, I had a cloud hanging over my head.

The beauty of this book is that the author shows that even through dark times, there will always be a little ray of sunshine at some point in our lives, whether it be a weekly routine with a friend, a random joke, a little smile. So even though the storyline was ver uncertain, the author kept the entire book realistic in the vein that bad things do happen, and people still live their lives despite enduring various different heartbreaks. Reality isnt always sunshine and rainbows and I appreciated it. I really did.

I really enjoyed the sheer honesty behind the characters, and I loved how Marcie Steele has come back with a writing style that oozes strength, maturity, ambition and poise. Not that she didn’t have that before, because she did! She has just come back with a bang!

‘The Man Across the Street’ is a true representation of life and loss, friendships and relationships, good times and bad times. The vibe may have been uncertain to begin with, yet by the end of the book my heart was fit to burst with hope and warmth. This is such a feel good, enlightening story that will keep you cosy during these cold, winter nights.

Buy now from Amazon.

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now from Amazon UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

Buy now.

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now from Amazon UK.
Buy now from Amazon US

Single all the way! #Promo #ElaineSpires @ElaineSWriter @RaRaResources

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Travel Together Tour Manager Eve Mitchell is planning a quiet Christmas at home to rest and relax before a special New Year. But she soon, very unexpectedly, finds herself in the depths of the Essex countryside looking after a singles’ group which contains some old, familiar faces and some pleasant -and not so pleasant -new ones.

With its country walks, quizzes, disco and black-tie ball, the Christmas and Twixmas Break passes quickly, but just as they think it’s all over the plot takes a twist and we learn some dark secrets..

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series -Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea. Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series. Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019. Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.