#BlogTour! #Review – Love, Lies and Wedding Cake by Sue Watson (@SueWatsonwriter) @Bookouture

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Happy publication day to Sue Watson and ‘Love, Lies and Wedding Cake’! I am absolutely delighted to be hosting one of my all-time favourite authors on my blog today, on her own very special day. Big thanks to Bookouture for the blitz invite and my ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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An absolutely hilarious, laugh-‘til-you-cry, romantic comedy about how life never quite goes to plan…

Faye is in crisis. You wouldn’t know it, because of the big fat smile on her face, but inside, she’s one step away from nuclear meltdown. And she shouldn’t be. Dan is the man of her dreams. And he’s just asked her to marry him.

But Faye’s been down the marriage road before and it ended up with her having Ryan Gosling fantasies while her ex-husband obsessed about the plumbing. Faye and Dan, on the other hand, have been living their lives to the fullest, travelling around the world, having sex under the stars… They’ve never argued about unrolling socks before putting them in the laundry.

Besides, even if she wanted to say yes, how could she move to the other side of the world? Because marrying Dan would mean living in Australia. Beautiful, warm and a gazillion miles from Faye’s daughter, Emma, a single mum with her own crazy little girl who both need Faye every single day. Leaving them – even for someone who makes her as happy as Dan – simply isn’t an option. 

Dan is offering Faye everything she ever wanted. So why does she feel like she’s about to lose it all?

What does TWG think?

‘Love, Lies and Wedding Cake’ is the sequel to Sue Watson’s previous novel, ‘Love, Lies and Lemon Cake’. I had hoped that I would have read the first book before reading the second book, however that wasn’t the case. Luckily it didn’t make much difference as I was able to read this book perfectly well on its own.

Faye is as happy as pig in……cough. She has a wonderful daughter, a sassy granddaughter, and is the girlfriend of an Australian hunk (a toy-boy fyi). What more could a forty something woman want? When Faye finds out that her boyfriend, Dan, has to go back home to Australia, she feels her heart shatter into a million pieces. Dan tells her that it’s about time she lived her own life, instead of living her daughter’s. But can she really go half way around the world without her two girls with her?

Can I just say that Faye’s granddaughter is absolutely hilarious!! Someone get that girl her own novel! What a sassy, strong willed toddler who, incidentally, reminded me of my  own little girl. Gotta love them though, eh!

As daft as this sounds, ‘Love, Lies and Wedding Cake’ came at the right time as lately I have been struggling to do things for myself, because I am so busy doing things for other people. Just like Faye. It’s after you see it in black and white from a different perspective, that things start to make sense. Faye struggled with her own conscience of trying to be the perfect mum/granddaughter, whilst also wanting to finally live her life with her boyfriend. It was as though she was damned by any decision that she made, yet the only person who was going to suffer in the long run was herself.

This storyline really did hit home on a personal level, making me quite emotional in the process, making me feel as though my own personal feelings were being validated by a fictional character. I could see where Dan was coming from to a certain extent, yet the way he ended up phrasing it to Faye made him come across like a donkey hat.

Sue Watson’s delivery of both a hilarious and heart-warming read was, as always, totally flawless. The ratio between serious and snort-your-drink-out-of-your-nose moments was brilliantly defined, moulding well together to create an all round, perfect and huggable read.

Faye, courtesy of Sue Watson, made me remember that whilst we are often intent on splitting ourselves between 3855738 people, the person who we need to ensure is happy and fulfilled more often than anyone else – is ourselves. Faye highlighted that that was easier said than done, yet she also highlighted how important it was to do, before you end up hitting fifty and realising that you have actually done nothing for yourself. Gives you food for thought really, doesn’t it? Or cake….

‘Love, Lies and Wedding Cake’ fulfilled me from the tips of my fingers to the tips of my toes, wrapping me up in a blanket with its cosy and touching moments. Sue Watson’s novel could not have come at a better time for me to read, and I feel like now, thanks to copious amounts of cake and a sassy granddaughter of Faye’s, I can allow myself to snort drink out of my nose in laughter if I choose to do so…for me.

Beautifully written, I’m torn between choosing this book or choosing a cake – that is how much I loved this book**

** Ps, the book won seeing as it contains cake ;).

Buy now!

About the author.

Sue Watson was a journalist then a TV Producer at the BBC until she realised that instead of working, she could stay at home, and write about exciting things like foreign travel and cake!

So far Sue’s written twelve books, and some have been translated into Italian, German and Portuguese (she’s big in Brazil!) Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire where her days are spent baking (and eating) lots of cake, while making big life decisions about whether to have Caramel Chew Chew or Salted Caramel ice cream while watching ‘My 600lb Life,’ on the sofa. 

For more info visit Sue’s website; http://www.suewatsonbooks.com/

Sue would love to meet you on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/suewatsonbooks

Follow Sue on Twitter @suewatsonwriter

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#BlogTour! #Review – Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli by Portia MacIntosh (@PortiaMacIntosh) @HQDigitalUK

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Day three of the ‘Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli’ blog tour is with me, TWG! I adore Portia MacIntosh’s novels, so when I received the e-mail about this little beauty, I just knew that I had to read it. Did it disappoint? You’ll have to read my review to find out! Big thanks to HQ for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book.

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Lily Holmes is ready for a fresh start. And there’s no better place to begin again than the idyllic seaside town of Marram Bay.

All Lily wants to do is focus on making her new deli a success and ensuring her son’s happiness. Not the postcard creeping out of her handbag, and definitely not finding a new man in her life!

But this isn’t going to be as easy as she first thought. The town is in uproar about the city girl who’s dared to join them and she’s fighting a battle at every turn.

Perhaps with a little help from the gorgeous cider farmer next door, she may be able to win them over, but her past secrets threaten to ruin everything…

What does TWG think?

SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES. STANDING ON THEIR OWN TWO FEEEEEEET!

Ohhhhhh my goodness me – what a refreshing read this is! Being a single mum myself, of  course I am going to zoom in on those parts of the storyline, especially due to the way the author wrote them.

Many books I have recently which have featured a single mum or two, have made us single mums’ out to be whining, negative women who aren’t good role models to our children. This book however, did the complete opposite. Whilst I am incredibly proud to be a single mum, after reading Portia MacIntosh’s new book, I felt even more proud to be one. Not only did MacIntosh celebrate single mums with her main character, Lily, she also showed all the haters that bringing up a child on your own is something to be proud of in more ways than one. This author didn’t patronise us, nor did she make us out to be a negative thing. Instead, she embraced us by allowing her character to kick all of the haters bottoms. For that alone, I want to thank Portia MacIntosh for writing a story which shows single mums in a positive way – it’s refreshing to see an author thinking for themselves where this topic is concerned.

So, Lily wants a new start for reasons which aren’t clear to us readers at the start. Her son’s happiness is at the forefront of her mind, but so is being able to lock the door on the past. However, with the locals going out of their way to alienate Lily and Frankie from the town before they have even unpacked their belongings, Lily’s ‘fresh start’ looks to backfire before it has even properly begun. Even though Lily is determined to do things on her own without the help of a man, when her new neighbour comes to help her out, she knows it would be incredibly rude to say ‘thanks but no thanks’, especially when he is too hot to trot. The neighbour, not his llama (of course). 

It’s amazing how much animosity one deli can cause. Or is the animosity radiating from her new visitor who likes the water the ground with his self attached hose? Who knows!

Hand on heart, if you were to ask me to tell you one negative thing about this book, I couldn’t reply. It’s not that I’m afraid of saying negative things, it’s because I genuinely cannot think of anything negative to say. Portia MacIntosh really has outdone herself with the content of ‘Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli’. From start to finish I was  gripped by such a refreshingly brilliant storyline which just kept on given. Even though the storyline contained more laugh out loud moments than serious moments, the author still managed to give the more serious situations the same amount of attention. Portia MacIntosh is known to make me snort drink from my nose, but when the vibe of the storyline changed to accommodate a stressful situation for Lily, MacIntosh delivered the sombre moments with the gritty oomph that they rightly deserved. Okay, she did include some things which did make me laugh out loud and visualise things when, being perfectly honest, I would have preferred NOT to, but it all worked very well together and I cannot fault the delivery of the theme in any way shape or form.

I LOVED every single thing about this book, so much so I had to wipe a stray tear from my eye when I reached the end (er, I think it was a stray tear, either that or the sweat from the 37573838 degrees outside was dripping down my face). I have everything crossed that ‘Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli’ is the start of a brand new series, but if it’s not, I hope MacIntosh can feel MY LOOK radiating through this blog post as a ‘wtf, get on with it’. Although, seeing as my daughter loves the fact the author has included a Shopkin name in her title (apple blossom), I cannot wait to see what Shopkin name you’ll manage to put into the second book in the series – there had better be a second book!

Such a hilarious, unique, refreshingly brilliant, and addictive read which will tickle your taste buds more than Shirley Valentine like her ahems tickled until Friday. I urge you all to go and read this – you will be missing out on a beaut of a book if you don’t!

Buy now from Amazon!

#BlogTour! #Review – #YouMeEverything by Catherine Isaac (@CatherineIsaac_) @SimonSchusterUK

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Thrilled to be taking part in Catherine Isaac’s blog tour for #YouMeEverything! Huge thanks to Jess Barrett from Simon & Schuster for asking me to be involved! Here is my review:

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You Me Everything is a heartfelt and unforgettable story about the lengths we are prepared to go to for those we love. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry, this is novel you will never forget.

You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.

What does TWG think?

Oh…..I don’t even know where to begin. How do you even review a book like this? I hadn’t even reached the halfway point before my heart decided to start breaking.

‘You Me Everything’ is a story which managed to capture my heart almost straight away. As a single mum myself, it was pretty clear that I was going to side with the main character and relate to her point of view a lot more. Yes, I’ll even admit that I was annoyed with the father of the baby and marked his card straight away. However, as more heartbreaking topics came to light as the story progressed, my opinion of the father changed drastically because I was aware of the uncertain future that lay in front of them.

I’m trying not to say too much about the storyline as I don’t want to give anything away, but believe me when I say that ‘You Me Everything’ is extremely emotional. At first I thought the emotion was going to be because of Jess and her baby, William, but that really was just the tip of the iceberg.

This book has one of the best blurbs I have ever read as it is so vague, yet it makes you wonder what on Earth is behind the front cover of the book. I was not expecting the complex storyline, colourful characters, or the heart-wrenching situations Jess and her family found themselves having to face.

‘You Me Everything’ makes you think about what you would do in Jess’ situation. It makes you realise that life can change in the blink of an eye, pushing you to make decisions about things no parent should ever have to make. Jess knew deep down that she had to live in the moment and enjoy her life, but how could she when devastation could land on her doorstep at any moment? What would you do if you had to live in fear every single day, preparing your loved ones for things that nobody can actually prepare themselves for?

Catherine Isaac has written her characters very, very cleverly, enabling her readers to become in tune with their own emotions and adjust their viewpoints towards certain characters without actually doing anything.

The levels of friendship in this book isn’t ‘typical’. It’s more than that. It’s….real. The themes which run through the storyline are bold yet devastatingly beautiful, capturing the true essence of love, life, friendship and being a mum. At first the book is simple where the author gently eases us into Jess’ life. As the storyline progresses, the author naturally brings another part of Jess’ world to life, making me feel as though I wasn’t just reading the book, I was also living it.

My reaction to Catherine Isaac’s, ‘You Me Everything’, was a reaction I wasn’t prepared for. A reaction I never knew existed until then. Even though my heart was breaking, it took a long time for the tears to fall. I soon realised that my body was breaking with the shakes, feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest, and a sense of loss, was my own way of reacting to the book – from the inside out. I was utterly broken, utterly devastated, yet full of hope due to the incredible and enchanting words my eyes devoured.

I lost myself in William’s discussions. I lost myself in Jess’ emotion. I lost myself in every part of the storyline in a way that I will never, ever forget. Catherine Isaac talks to you via her characters, she brings them to life and showcases them in the most powerful way imaginable. If you’re picking up this book to just ‘read’ then be prepared to live and love alongside it.

Near the end of the book, I had to read several of the pages more than once as my eyes were pouring a waterfall of devastation, grief, passion, and hope.

I lived the lives of Catherine Isaac’s characters. I felt the love of Catherine Isaac’s characters. I believed in the hope that Catherine Isaac’s storyline covered me. This book is an unmissable, emotional, fulfilling, and untouchable novel which will hold your heart hostage in the most powerful way.

There isn’t just Jess, William or Adam – there is ‘You Me Everything’ and I will hold onto the power this book has given me for a very, very long time.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @RaRaResources @HarperImpulse

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The Royal Wedding is nearly upon us, and what could be more apt than ‘The Wedding Date’ by Zara Stoneley! Even though I have already reviewed this book independently, I jumped at the chance to be involved in the blog tour organised by RaRaResources, by sharing my review for a second time. And, seeing as this book is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, I think it deserves being put in the spotlight multiple times.

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One ex.
One wedding.
One little white lie.

When Samantha Jenkins is asked to be the maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding, she couldn’t be happier. There are just three problems…

1) Sam’s ex-boyfriend, Liam, will be the best man.
2) His new girlfriend is pregnant.
3) Sam might have told people she has a new man when she doesn’t (see points 1 and 2 above)
So, Sam does the only sensible thing available to her… and hires a professional to do the job.

Actor Jake Porter is perfect for the role: single, gorgeous and cheap! Sam is certain it’s the perfect solution: no strings, no heartbreak and hopefully no chance of being found out.
But spending a week in the Scottish Highlands with Jake is harder than she imagined. He is the perfect boyfriend, charming, sexy and the hottest thing in a kilt since Outlander! And his dog Harry is quite possibly the cutest things Sam has ever seen!

As the wedding draws closer, Jake plays his part to perfection and everyone believes he is madly in love with Sam. The problem is, Sam’s not sure if Jake is acting anymore…

What does TWG think?

I have to admit that at first, I was a little bit wary about the concept of this book. I mean, we have all seen the film ‘The Wedding Date’ with Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney, right? Plus, having read multiple books with a wedding date at the forefront of its storyline, I couldn’t help but wonder what was going to be different about Zara Stoneley’s interpretation of the theme seeing as it has been done multiple times…

But, after reading ‘The Wedding Date’, I can honestly say that whilst the theme may be familiar, nobody has written it in the way that Zara Stoneley has. Ever. And I don’t think that they will either. There’s writing a story based on a popular theme, and then there’s writing a story based on a popular theme and owning it ten times over. Zara Stoneley is the latter and by golly did she own it!

Samantha has been asked to be the maid of honour at her best friends wedding. The wedding where her ex-boyfriend (the one who dumped her after dipping his wick in new wax before the old wax had even dried) was going to be the best man. Samantha’s knee-jerk reaction is to hide under the covers and ignore the invitation ever arrived, just so that she doesn’t have to come face to face with the man who thinks his derrière doesn’t smell after a bout of diarrhoea. But, because Sam has a conscience and a heart, she is determined to not let her best friend down on her wedding day. With no boyfriend, no date, no man in question, Sam has to think outside the box when it comes to wanting to shove her ex boyfriend inside a box. How? Well, you’d better read the book then, hadn’t you!!

Oh my goodness gracious me! This book!!!! I think I resembled a pig more often than not whilst I was reading Zara Stoneley’s latest offering! The amount of snorting that came out of me really didn’t sound healthy at all, especially when faced with a border collie whose personality is larger than life. Seriously, the dog is a legend and I want his bandana for my own dog!

Now, as a person who finds themselves checking into ‘Zara Stoneley Anonymous’ after each book, I cannot help but think that ‘The Wedding Date’ is her best book EVER. Seriously! The humour was absolutely brilliant, unforced, and totally in keeping with the overall vibe of the storyline. Not only that, the energy throughout the entire story was mind-blowing and highly contagious. So much so, I couldn’t help but feel like I could conquer anything, even if it meant looking like a prat whilst doing it. ‘The Wedding Date’ is Zara Stoneley’s most energetic book yet, and one which kept me with a humongous smile on my face the entire time.

Everything the characters got up to was unique, brilliantly written and full of hilarious one liners which ended up creating vivid (and hilarious) imagery in my mind. One word – horse. When you delve into this book for yourself, remember the word ‘horse’ and you’ll see what I mean!

Whilst I have to admit that the author may have adapted her writing style slightly with ‘The Wedding Date’, I for one am not complaining and think that the slight change has brought more energy and oomph to an already accomplished author. I would LOVE to see these characters back in another story, and I would love to see Harry settle down with a Mrs Harry to find out whether they dress their pups in bandana’s. It has GOT to happen!!

‘The Wedding Date’ blew me away and threw all of my misconceptions out of the window straight away. These bunch of characters are truly fantastic, with personalities you cannot help but gel with. Well, apart from the two characters which are total asshats!!

I want to stand on my soap box with brightly coloured pom poms and shout about this book for the entire world to hear – that is how much I loved this book! Honestly, what a fantastic, high energy, hilarious novel – ‘The Wedding Date’ is my most favourite book of 2018 so far, and even in my ‘top books of all time’ list. I have found my new book boyfriend in ‘Jake’ and nobody is pinching him!!! ‘The Wedding Date’ is the best date I have ever been on, and the one I will remember for a very long time…especially seeing as I will be re-reading this book until I know it word for word. Out-fudging-standing. Zara Stoneley, you legend!!!

Buy: Amazon // iBooks // Waterstones

About the author.

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, Zara Stoneley wanted to be James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. Writing novels means she can imagine she is all these things, and more! Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’.
She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a naughty cockapoo, and a very bossy cat, and loves spending time in sunny Spain.

Where you can find her-

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Summer at the Castle Cafe by Donna Ashcroft (@Donnashc) @Bookouture

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Delighted to be kicking off the blog blitz today for Donna Ashcroft and ‘Summer at the Castle Cafe’. Big thank you to Bookouture for the blitz invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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When Alice Appleton escapes to the beautiful seaside town of Castle Cove it’s the change of scenery she didn’t even realise she needed. Taking up a job in the charming Castle Café, Alice finds herself surrounded by cream teas, chocolate cake and quirky characters. Could this be the perfect place for Alice to embrace the summer?

Mysterious and handsome Jay O’Donnell has lived in picturesque Castle Cove since he was a child. As a volunteer on the lifeboats, his days by the sea are far from predictable. Haunted by a tragedy from his past, he’s on a mission to save as many people as possible. But when Alice Appleton walks into his life – and turns his world upside down – he begins to realise that perhaps it might just be his turn to be rescued…

As Alice and Jay find themselves unexpectedly falling for each other, will they learn the importance of letting go to make way for second chances? And will Alice find the life she’s always dreamed of in Castle Cove?

What does TWG think?

I must admit that I was a little bit unsure about ‘Summer at the Castle Cafe’ at first because there have been a lot of books published with summer/cafe/castle in the title and, being perfectly honest, I thought it was just going to be ‘another one of them’ type of books. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. Donna Ashcroft’s novel isn’t samey, nor is it predictable. In fact, I feel quite confident in saying that ‘Summer at the Castle Cafe’ is in fact, pint-sized perfection.

Alice decided to take on a challenge in memory of her mother. A challenge which meant facing her own fears, and being constantly reminded of the things she, Alice, never did. Whilst trying to rid her conscience of the guilt surrounding her mothers memory, Alice happens to walk in the path of a man who is quite like herself. A man who has had his own fair share of heartaches. A man who puts himself on the line just to save other people. But, even with a lot of things in common, can Alice and Jay find the missing pieces of their own puzzles before it’s too late?

Alice has the type of personality which a lot of people may find ‘marmite’. She’s set in her ways, yet will go out of her way to help others, whilst also refusing help herself. The more I found out about Alice, the more I felt confident that she would be able to rise to the challenge of facing her fears and living life in the moment.

As for Jay, his personality seemed to take a little while to come out in the storyline and, once it became clear about what that man has had to deal with, I could see why it took a while for him to let his guard down. I thought it was very clever how the author changed the vibes to fit in with the characters.

For me, the whole theme of facing your fears, facing up to hardships and going that extra mile to re-build your confidence, struck multiple chords with me. I loved how, even though there were strong, emotional themes hidden within the storyline, there was also a mixture of laugh out loud moments to balance everything out.

‘Summer at the Castle Cafe’ reminded me of the perfect ice-cream on a summer’s day – sweet, addictive, beautiful to look at, filling, and full of tantalising contentment. This is a book that I could read over and over again, and still not get bored. I cannot wait to read more from this author if this book is anything to go by!

Buy now!

About the author.

Donna Ashcroft was born in London and grew up in Buckinghamshire. She went to university in Lancashire and, among other things, worked as a copywriter, buyer, waitress, secretary and marketing manager. 

Donna wrote novels for over ten years before being published. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and was a joint winner of the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. Her first two books Summer at the Castle Cafe and Christmas at the Castle Cafe will publish in 2018.

Donna loves a happy ending and is never happier than when she’s escaping into a romance novel or movie. When she’s not reading or writing she’ll probably be found hoovering … or negotiating with her teenagers about who is doing the washing up.

You can find Donna on Twitter @Donnashc or visit her at www.donna-writes.co.uk

#BlogTour! #Review – Shaken and Stirred (Ottercombe Bay Part 4) by Bella Osborne (@osborne_bella) @AvonBooksUK

Would like to apologise for the fact that my review is a day late. So very sorry! I am delighted to be sharing my review of Part 4 in Bella Osborne’s ‘Ottercombe Bay’ series. Huge thanks to Avon Books for the ARC and the tour invite.

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Escape to the Devon coast, with Part Four of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

What does TWG think?

As I am sure you’re all aware of by now, this is the fourth instalment of a four-part serial, so therefore it would be beneficial to yourself if you read the previous three parts before you read this one, otherwise it won’t make sense and you’ll be lucking out on how Daisy got to where she is now.

Having being left dangling at the end of part three, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into ‘Shaken and Stirred’ to find out what happened with Daisy and the boat. Was it as iffy as her gut instinct said? Or was Daisy being far too naive and letting yet another man dupe her?

I’ve probably said this in every review I’ve written of the serial so far, BUT, hand on heart, I really feel as though the fourth novella is the best one of all four. Don’t get me wrong it’s also bittersweet because I knew the end was nigh, but I felt that Daisy finally came into her own rather than hiding behind her past mistakes and family history. We really have seen Daisy blossom from part one until now, literally like a flower (no pun intended). Tamsyn is as hilarious as ever, but just like Daisy, she has also grown as the story went on.

I loved how intense the concluding part of the story was as it allowed the storyline to take on a different sort of depth, without overshadowing Daisy’s time in Ottercombe Bay. The fact that there was a mix of everything in this book, really did make for such an enjoyable read and left me with a huge smile on my face.

I am sad that this serial has come to an end, but I am so looking forward to reading the series in its entirety when the full collection comes out at a later date.

Buy now!

#BlogBlitz! #Review – One Summer in Rome by Samantha Tonge (@SamTongeWriter) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

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Happy publication day, Samantha Tonge, and ‘One Summer in Rome’! I am delighted to be taking part in the publication day blitz for Samantha’s novel by sharing my review. Big thanks to Rachel for the tour invite, and HQDigitalUK for the ARC.

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To Rome…with love?

Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a
one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.
Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the
utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love
with the bustling capital!

Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems
displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for
long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…

What does TWG think?

I took a lot away from ‘One Summer in Rome’, a lot more than I expected actually, and yes that is a good thing!

First of all, let me give this book cover a bit of loving’ – how gorgeous does that look by the way! I can almost feel the heat radiating from the sunshine. Now, I have never been to Italy and, whilst it has been a dream of mine to go, I feel as though I took a trip to the Italian capital thanks to Samantha Tonge and her latest offering.

Mary Smith hasn’t had an easy life. She’s been pushed from pillar to post for as long as she can remember, but due to the fact that her scars are still raw, Mary knows that she needs to do something drastic before her life runs away without her. Some people may get an image overhaul or enrol in further education to get into their dream career. Some, yes. Mary however, no. What does she go and do? Purchases a one way ticket to Rome to work in a family pizzeria business. Drastic? Perhaps. Ideal? Damn right! There’s nothing like changing your life by visiting a new country with everything crossed that you can make a new life over there. I thought she was brave although a little bonkers! Good on her though!

It didn’t take too long for the idyllic, Italian lifestyle Mary so badly craved, to take her under its wing. It also didn’t take long for Mary to realise that working in a family run business wasn’t all homely and cosy as she first thought. It was clear that several of her new colleagues had their own challenges that they had to battle on a daily basis and, whilst Mary knew that it wasn’t her business to pry, she couldn’t help but lend an ear to any member of her new Italian family. The only thing was, who was going to take it?

Whilst part of me thought that this book was going to be an easy-read (in a good way), it actually turned out to be an easy-read with such intense depth, I’m surprised the wind wasn’t blown out of my sails. No, that is not a negative, it’s a bloomin’ good thing! I never expected the storyline to have a serious side to it. Yes it caught me off guard, but because I was surprised by the path the storyline chose to take, I found that certain events shocked me in more of an emotional manner than just an ‘omg what?!’ manner.

Dante is such an inspirational character. To be honest, they all are. Each character had their own story to tell due to what they had been through or were currently going through, and I found that the difference in dynamic between each of the characters was absolutely fantastic to read. It just worked one hundred percent. I am in awe at how many hurdles Samantha Tonge managed to create for her characters, whilst also describing each character’s situation with such sensitivity, realism, and empathy. I am sure it took a lot of research to nail so many different situations, but it certainly paid off that’s for sure!

If I were to write about each individual thing that resonated with me, I would be here a while and get my wrists slapped for spoilers. A lot of ‘One Summer in Rome’ warmed my heart, made me feel emotional, whilst also managing to breathe a new life in me that I thought was long gone. One part in particular made me feel like breaking down. Not because I was sad or anything, but because the talk about ‘being your own hero’ resonated with me on multiple levels and allowed me to feel like I had been given my own special pair of wings to be a hero. Yes, mine and the characters situations are completely different, but I couldn’t help but put the ‘be your own hero’ under lock and key in my heart.

‘One Summer in Rome’ took me on a trip of a lifetime, rocked my emotions like a boat on choppy seas, whilst also filling my heart with heroic and special love like never before. Samantha Tonge has written a truly inspirational, memorable, energising, and beautiful read which I will hold very dear for a long, long time.

I really do feel that this author has outdone herself with her latest novel. Whilst Samantha Tonge does state that you need to be your own hero, I can safely say that, thanks to her timeless literary skills and huggable way of writing, she is now my hero for making me feel like I can be a hero.

Buy now!

About the author.

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat who
thinks it’s a dog. When not writing she spends her days cycling, willing
cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short
stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting
Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook
award in 2014. Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won
the Best Romantic Ebook category at the 2015 Love Stories Awards.

Links

Twitter // Facebook // Website

#BlogTour! #Review – #AFamilyRecipe by Veronica Henry (@veronica_henry) @orionbooks @Lauren_booksPR

Blog Tour asset
I am so excited to be hosting day two of the #AFamilyRecipe blog tour! Veronica Henry is one of my all-time favourite authors and it is such an honour to be involved in this blog tour. Huge thanks to the team at OrionBooks for the blog tour invite, and my ARC of the novel. Here is my review:

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What’s the secret ingredient to your happiness?

Laura Griffin is preparing for an empty nest. The thought of Number 11 Lark Hill falling silent – a home usually bustling with noise, people and the fragrant smells of something cooking on the Aga – seems impossible. Laura hopes it will mean more time for herself, and more time with her husband, Dom.

But when an exposed secret shakes their marriage, Laura suddenly feels as though her family is shrinking around her. Feeling lost, she turns to her greatest comfort: her grandmother’s recipe box, a treasured collection dating back to the Second World War. Everyone has always adored Laura’s jams and chutneys, piled their sandwiches high with her pickles . . . Inspired by a bit of the old Blitz spirit, Laura has an idea that gives her a fresh sense of purpose.

Full of fierce determination, Laura starts carving her own path. But even the bravest woman needs the people who love her. And now, they need her in return . . .

What does TWG think?

You know the feelings you get after eating your most favourite meal; contentment, cosy, happiness – I’m sure you know the ones I’m on about, and I’m sure many of you have felt like that in the past. Imagine those feelings for a moment, just so that they come to the forefront of your mind, now imagine reading a book which allowed you to feel those feelings all over again. What would you say to that?

‘A Family Recipe’ made me feel as though I had just eaten my most favourite meal in the entire world. I felt content. Delirious. Pretty much as though I was walking on cloud nine. Yet I also felt devastated because the book had ended and I didn’t want those feelings to disappear. Veronica Henry is an author who never fails to disappoint me and, after reading her previous novel, I genuinely though that she had written her best book yet, then. But now, after reading ‘A Family Recipe’, I’m not so sure.

Why?

Because ladies and gents, THIS book is Veronica Henry’s best book yet as it made me feel things I had never felt before. Set in the family home of Number 11 Lark Hill, ‘A Family Recipe’ switches between the present day and 1942 as the author takes us back to how it all began. I absolutely adored the historical feel to the story as I was able to resonate with the characters a lot more in the present day, having known their back story and how they became who they are today. I found the ‘stepping back in time’ moments rather emotional and severely eye-opening. I won’t go into detail as for why, but trust me when I say that those parts of the book were a little slice of heaven.

In the present day, main character, Laura, has reached a point in her life where uncertainty seems to be her main emotion. Her daughters are off living their lives and the ’empty nest’ feeling couldn’t be more strong. What does she do with her life now? Having not worked for a while, Laura’s options are slimmer than most but, after delving into the family recipe box, Laura finds herself baking an idea in her head.

Of course life isn’t that simple and, despite Laura working out what she could do with her children at university, her life took a dramatic turn. I just wanted to step into the book and give her a big hug when I read what had happened. Veronica Henry wrote that part brilliantly as we were able to see both sides of the story, even though a lot of readers (if you’re anything like me) will forge their own opinion on said events and might refuse to see the situation from both sides. I know at first I did!

‘A Family Recipe’ tickled my taste buds in more ways than I could ever imagine. The strong, addictive theme was an incredible basis for the storyline itself, pulling me further in with every turn of the page. I loved every single word, every single page, and absolutely every little thing about this book! Veronica Henry has delivered an outstanding and thought-provoking novel in such a flawless manner – I really do wish I could bottle the feelings this book gave me as I never want to let them go.

A vibrant, emotive, appetising, and joyous read from the incredibly talented, Veronica Henry. I couldn’t love this book even more if I tried and it is definitely the authors best book yet, and my most favourite book of all time. ‘A Family Recipe’ is everything I could have ever dreamed of for a book, and it has been an incredible honour to read. I cannot recommend this book enough.

‘A Family Recipe’ by Veronica Henry is due to be published on the 17th May and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon

#BankHoliday #Giveaway! Want to win a #SIGNED set of @MaryJayneBaker novels? Time to get into the mindset of a #RunawayBride!

To explain the giveaway, here is the lovely lady herself, Mary-Jayne Baker:

Runaway Bride release day giveaway!

To celebrate the paperback release of my new novel Runaway Bride on Thursday 3rd May, PLUS a bank holiday weekend, PLUS the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race (which ties in with the theme of my Grand Départ-inspired novel A Bicycle Made for Two), I’ve teamed up with Kaisha at The Writing Garnet to give away a signed set of all four of my published books!

Runaway Bride

A Bicycle Made for Two (A Love in the Dales story)

Meet Me at the Lighthouse

The Honey Trap

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How generous is this! Not only do you get the chance to win all of the books pictured above, you also get to swoon over my quote on the front cover of ‘Meet Me at the Lighthouse’, how fab is that?! Now, before you get all antsy on me and want to find out how to enter this incredible giveaway, I’m going to make you wait a teeny bit longer.

Seeing as this giveaway is to help celebrate the release of Mary-Jayne’s latest novel, ‘Runaway Bride’, I asked her to tell me where she would ‘runaway’ to if she ever felt the need to become Julia Roberts and a modern day ‘Runaway Bride’. Here is what she had to say:

My top five “runaway” destinations

As friends and family will tell you, I’m not enormously well-travelled. We didn’t take holidays overseas when I was a kid, and not having a family car, our day trips were restricted to places easily accessed via public transport. I was 12 the first time I left England (on a school French trip) and 18 when I went on my first flight (to a Scout jamboree in Russia). Even as an adult, the opportunity to travel widely seems to have eluded me so far. The last time I had a foreign holiday was, I think, six years ago.

Partly this is down to time, partly finances, but I suppose mainly it’s that I saw so little of my own country growing up that even places quite near to me are enough to inspire a sense of wonder. The Yorkshire Dales, the Lakes, the highlands of Scotland… these are all places I’ve had the great good fortune to discover as an adult, and I love packing up the tent, lacing on my walking boots and discovering new places in Britain.

This is part of what inspired my new novel, Runaway Bride, in which, like me, heroine Kitty has rarely travelled – in fact, she tells hero Jack, other than a single trip to Alicante, the furthest she’s ever been is Blackpool. Previous drafts of this book had working titles including Don’t Fence Me In and Wanderlust for Beginners, so in all its various evolutions, I’ve always seen it as being a story about travel and adventure.

Kitty Clayton works as a travel guide editor. When she first meets Jack, she describes how frustrating it is working on travel guides while being so poorly travelled herself:

‘I dreamt I was in Iceland – the country, not the supermarket.’ My eyes clouded. ‘God, Jack, it was so vivid. They geysers, the glaciers, the lakes so dark they’re almost black. I could practically smell the herring.’

‘So?’

‘So, it just reminded me I’ve never been to Iceland. I read about all these places and I look at hundreds of pictures, but I never get to actually experience them.’

Determined to teach Kitty that ‘not everything worth experiencing is on the other side of an ocean’, free spirit Jack takes her on a voyage of self-discovery that takes in some of the most beautiful locations in Britain, including the Lake District, Loch Rusky in Scotland and the Dorset coast. As Kitty struggles to put her past life with cheating fiancé Ethan behind her and Jack is forced to confront the guilt he feels over the death of his wife, the two soon find themselves growing closer. Throw in a vintage orange VW campervan, a karaoke-singing dog, six tiny puppies and a bit of cheeky moonlight skinny dipping, and it’s shaping up to be the road trip of a lifetime for Kitty…

So the question is, if you needed to escape from your life, where would you run away to? We’d love to see your answer in the comments! Meanwhile, here are my top five destinations to escape to in the UK (so if I ever go missing, you’ll know where to look…)

1. Malham

This gorgeous Yorkshire Dales village, packed with limestone wonders and waterfalls, is one of my favourite places in the world.

1 Malham_Cove_(5802)(Photo credit – Malham Cove (By Nilfanion – Wikimedia UK, CC BY-SA 4.0))

2. Fort William

In Runaway Bride Kitty and Jack visit Loch Rusky, but the area around Fort William is one of my favourite places I’ve visited in Scotland. While I’d have to be on mind-altering drugs before I’d agree to climb Ben Nevis again, it looks pretty good from the ground, and the Nevis Gorge and Steall Falls are fabulous.

2 The_Glen_Nevis_-_geograph.org.uk_-_229246(Photo credit – Glen Nevis, near Fort William (By Erik Piek, CC BY-SA 2.0))

3. Wastwater

Jack describes Wastwater in the Lake District as ‘one of the most spectacular views on the planet’. I concur.

3 Wast_Water_in_the_evening(Photo credit – Wastwater (By Andrew Hayward, CC BY 2.0))

4. Buttermere

That’s right, not one but two destinations in the Lakes (because why go anywhere else?), and they both feature in the story. I spent a lovely day walking around Buttermere and climbing Fleetwith Pike as research for this very book, and for that reason alone, it holds a special place in my heart.

4 IMG_2677(Photo credit – View from Fleetwith Pike (by Mary Jayne Baker))

5. Whitby

Kitty may not have been much further than Blackpool, but if she were to venture to the coast at the other side of the country, she might stumble over this gem of a seaside town. If it was good enough for Dracula to call home, it’s good enough for me.

5 Blue_sky_thinking_(101298832)(Photo credit – Whitby (By Bryan Ledgard, CC BY 2.0))

Yes, I know, there’s a big northern bias here. Like I said, I don’t get out much…

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To be in with a chance of winning ALL FOUR books published by Mary-Jayne Baker, all you need to do is this:

1) ‘Like’ The Writing Garnet on Facebook (link opens in a new tab).
2) ‘Like’ Mary-Jayne Baker’s Author Page on Facebook (link opens in a new tab).

And, last but not least, we want to know where YOU would runaway to if you felt the need to become a ‘Runaway Bride’ (or a runaway groom)!

3) Comment below with your choice of runaway destination and why! Ideally it would be grand to not double up on Mary-Jayne’s responses, but if you must then at least make it Whitby, obviously!

Feel free to share this post to anyone you may think would be interested, this really is a bloomin’ awesome giveaway! Big thank you to Mary-Jayne for asking me to be her runaway bitch by hosting this giveaway!!

If you want to find out more about Mary-Jayne’s novels, you can do so via Amazon! Don’t forget to also follow her on twitter @MaryJayneBaker!

NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY WILL END AT 11.59 ON TUESDAY 8TH MAY. ANY COMMENTS POSTED AFTER THAT TIME WILL NOT BE INCLUDED. WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED NO LATER THAN 48 HOURS AFTER THE GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED, WITH THE WINNER HAVING 3 DAYS TO ACCEPT THEIR PRIZE OR IT WILL GO TO THE NEXT CHOICE OF RUNAWAY DESTINATION.

Good luck everyone! Looking forward to reading your answers!!

#BlogTour! #Review – Forever at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn (@darcieboleyn) @canelo_co

Forever at Conwenna Cove Blog Tour (1)
It’s day three of Darcie Boleyn’s blog tour for #ForeverAtConwennaCove and the tour bus stops with me, TWG! Hosting Darcie and her books is always a pleasure, but today this is a very bittersweet post as it is the last book in the Conwenna Cove series. Pass the tissues, this could get emotional! Big thanks to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

Forever at Conwenna Cove Cover Reveal Cover
Following heartbreak, Zoe Russell found a haven in Conwenna Cove. As the owner of the village diner and a volunteer for the local greyhound sanctuary, she’s happy with her peaceful life. Local surfer Nate Bryson plans to leave Conwenna and see the world. He wants to shake off his reputation as a ladies man and start again somewhere new. Before departing, Nate decides to raise funds for the dog rescue home as a way of giving back to the community.

When Nate approaches Zoe to help with the charity event she sees there’s more to him than meets the eye. Nate can’t believe he’s failed to notice the kind and beautiful woman right before him. But can two such different people ever be together, especially if one of them is determined to leave?

What does TWG think?

If you have never read a Darcie Boleyn novel, or one of the books from her ‘Conwenna Cove’ series, you are seriously missing out. Whilst I truly feel that ‘Forever at Conwenna Cove’ is the best book in the series, I am absolutely devastated that the series has now come to an end. How am I going to cope without my dose of the greyhound sanctuary, or the blindsiding details of Conwenna Cove itself? I’m not even joking when I say that it will be very difficult to come to terms with the conclusion of this series and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I’m ready to admit defeat on this. I would love to see Zoe and Nate reappear in another story later down the line, I really would.

Zoe has had her own fair share of hardships over the years, so when she claps eyes on local surfer heart throb, Nate, she is instantly reminded of the man who broke her heart into smithereens. Whilst Zoe admits that it isn’t Nate’s fault that he reminds her of her past, she can’t help feeling a little bit nostalgic. Should she re-open her heart to a man who she barely knows, yet has managed to make the Earth move just by looking at her? Or should she remain guarded over her past and never let a man near her again, especially if they’re a surfer dude?

Zoe’s past doesn’t come to light until later on in the book which meant that my mind went into overdrive thinking, ‘omg did she kill someone?’. There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between Zoe and Nate, but the way their paths connect was such a joy to read and would make even the most unromantic person turn romantic in a heartbeat. Trust me, I am said person!

‘Forever at Conwenna Cove’ was everything I could have wished for in a storyline and more. I giggled until my sides hurt, I ‘awwwwww’ed’ so many times, my dog thought I was about to give him some love, and I smiled until my cheeks hurt. It is incredible when a book can make you feel happy, cosy and settled, all within a short space of time and honestly, books like that are incredible special. I always knew that Darcie Boleyn was a cut above the rest in terms of her delivery of her storylines and wonderfully crafted characters, but ‘Forever at Conwenna Cove’ proves that this author is a lot more special than I had originally thought.

Whilst I am incredibly sad that this series has come to an end, I now feel complete after being on such a beautiful journey with Darcie Boleyn and her characters. This book is perfection and perfection alone – thanks to Zoe and Nate, I now have faith that the light at the end of the tunnel will turn on.

By far Darcie Boleyn’s best novel yet – beautifully written, inspiring, memorable and definitely one to watch out for. Outstanding.

Buy now!

Author Bio:

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and
movies, whether ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.