#Review – The Forever House by Veronica Henry (@veronica_henry) @orionbooks

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Would you know your forever house if you found it?

Hunter’s Moon is the ultimate ‘forever’ house. Nestled by a river in the Peasebrook valley, it has been the Willoughbys’ home for over fifty years, and now estate agent Belinda Baxter is determined to find the perfect family to live there. But the sale of the house unlocks decades of family secrets – and brings Belinda face to face with her own troubled past.

What does TWG think?

As soon as I saw that Veronica Henry had a new book coming out, I just knew that I had to get my hands on a copy! I’m not going to lie, I was overcome by incredible disappointment when I saw that the book was due to be released in May this year. Now, as I’m sure you’re all aware when you’re a massive bookworm, patience for upcoming books is pretty much non-existent (especially if they’re one of your favourite authors)! I took a chance by requesting the novel via NG and I danced around my living room when I had the e-mail stating that Orion Books had approved me for Veronica’s book! Thank you!!!

You know when you’re getting older when you dream of interior design, garden landscape and owning your very own house. Thinking about it, it really isn’t THAT much to ask is it? Well, unless you’re Belinda then yes, it is. Belinda Baxter gets to be amongst beautiful houses day in day out, as it’s her job to help other people find their ‘Forever House’, whilst secretly dreaming of her own. What’s even more bittersweet is that Belinda was SO close to owning that dream home, starting her dream life and actually feeling quite positive about her future; until the rug was pulled from under her of course. My first thought was ‘will Belinda get her happily ever after?’, as she was helping other people to find their dream home and not getting her own. Surely working as an Estate Agent with that mind set is similar to dangling a carrot in front of a horse?

I warmed to Belinda pretty much instantly. She came across as such a warm natured personality with an incredibly huge heart; how could someone hurt a personality like hers? All Belinda wanted was a happy life, a life to be proud of after all these years, and as a reader, I longed for her dream to finally come true. When I read that Belinda was about to help her latest client with their request, in regards to a sought after property which held a lot of memories, I began to see a completely different side of Belinda. The family involved in that  particular property, the Willoughbys’, had their own story to tell in more ways than one. Veronica Henry’s style of writing the storyline incorporated an emotional and beautifully written flashback to the past for two of the Willoughbys. So not only was I able to get to know the family from Hunter’s Moon in the present, I was also able to learn more about their family history at the same time. Such a wonderful addition to the book.

Picking up a Veronica Henry book to read is like holding a precious gem (garnet anyone?). Beautiful on the outside yet intricate, unique and special on the inside. I haven’t read a book of Ms.Henry’s that I disliked. Not only are her book covers absolutely stunning, the storylines themselves are like beautiful gifts.

‘The Forever House’ has quite a busy storyline with a lot of characters coming and going yet, unlike others, it doesn’t leave you feeling suffocated by information. Instead, the storyline leaves you feeling involved in each of the characters lives and as though you’re part of the community. This novel completely blew me away and I wish I could find the right words to explain my views properly, however I do feel that ‘The Forever House’ is a book where YOU need to be the one to unleash its beauty for yourself.

Reading ‘The Forever House’ made me feel as though I was reuniting with long-lost friends, and I was absolutely devastated to see the book come to an end.
Full of enchanting situations, heart warming history and beautifully written characters, ‘The Forever House’ is a book that needs to be read and cherished, forever.

It’s time to unlock the door to your new favourite read courtesy of Veronica Henry and the majestic, ‘The Forever House’.

Thank you Orion Books & Netgalley.

Buy ‘The Forever House’ by Veronica Henry on Amazon UK
Buy ‘The Forever House’ by Veronica Henry on Amazon US

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huge thanks to Simon & Shuster.

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

#Review – A Not Quite Perfect Family – Claire Sandy day Part 2 @julietstories @panmacmillan

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Funny, feisty and all-too-true, A Not Quite Perfect Family by Claire Sandy is for anyone who loves their family so much they’d just like a weekend away from them.

Fern Carlile has a lot on her plate. It’s a good thing she loves her big, imperfectly perfect family, because she’s the one who washes their pants, de-fleas the dog and runs her own business. A hearty meal is the one thing that brings the Carliles together – but over the course of a year, the various courses also pull them apart.

Around the table sits an eight-year-old militant feminist, a pair of teenage accidental parents, and a cantankerous OAP. Fern’s husband needs an extra seat for his spectacular midlife crisis.

Will Fern’s marriage be over by the time coffee is served? Perhaps she’ll give in and have the hot new dish that looks so tempting. Decisions, decisions . . .

What does TWG think?

Part two of Claire Sandy’s publication day review posts has arrived! If you are only just joining in and are wondering what the fudge cake I’m on about head over to part one here, and then come back okay? Happy publication day to the hilarious Claire Sandy and her brand new novel, A Not Quite Perfect Family, which was published today by Panmacmillan. Enjoy my review!

As soon I my e-mail inbox pinged and Jess Duffy’s name appeared with the words ‘Claire…Sandy’, I ended up dancing around my kitchen like an absolute ding dong (and yes, the same happened when the book came through my letterbox). Huge fan much? It felt like ages ago since I last picked up a Claire Sandy novel so I was incredibly eager to start reading this little beauty.

Ahhh, mums, the glue that holds the family together when it comes to doing the laundry, cooking the dinner, sorting out birthdays, walking the dog, looking after the children, housework, dealing with family members you just cannot say no to…..sound familiar?! (Apologies if you’re a male and the glue to your family, but this novel has a mummy as the glue so don’t get your marigolds in a twist.)
For Fern Carlile it all sounds TOO familiar seeing as it’s pretty much her own self summed up in a nutshell! Her children, Ollie and Tallulah, couldn’t be more different if they tried; one of them is all for woman power and creating an insect hospital whereas the other is all for doing…WELL, y’know…
As for the man of the house, well, his midlife crisis seems to have taken away his sense of clarity! Adam wants excitement, a life without any ties; so he gets a face that cannot move and a penthouse..

My first impressions of the storyline after reading the first chapter were a bit jaded. I couldn’t seem to work out what made the Carlile family’s life book worthy. After all, they’re a totally dysfunctional and bonkers family just like a lot of the population are! But then, all of a sudden Tallulah came to life in the storyline, much like a Tasmanian devil with strong, feminist views which wouldn’t have looked out of place with the rest of the Suffragists. Tallulah is absolutely hilarious and because she is only eight years old, her views of the world are so innocent, she makes the toughest of situations ‘awww’ worthy. Plus, her interpretation of certain words and how they’re pronounced is award worthy in itself. I sniggered more than once! I probably shouldn’t have seeing as my three year old is venturing down Tallulah’s route already and I probably won’t be laughing when she turns eight, BUT, I can because it’s Claire Sandy’s book and…oh hell, it was hilarious.

Which reminds me, what would YOU call one of your dolls (if you had one)? Ford? Micra? Hatchback? Hm…

Just when I thought that the storyline had reached its peak in terms of bonkers-ness, Nora appears, then another colourful character appears and it’s all like ‘WOAH’. So many different personalities, beliefs and lifestyles all under one roof; it was like asking Dolly Parton, Status Quo, Korn, Steps and Justin Bieber to a party and asking them to talk about the elements!
In other words, it was rather comical to read!

I’m not going to say that I enjoyed every characters antics throughout the book because I would be lying. Yes, some of the situations did seem a little petty, BUT, it didn’t make me think any less of the storyline or the overall theme of the novel at all. I think that because I invest a lot of myself into the storylines I read, I sometimes forget that the characters aren’t real and I end up assessing them as though they are real. You can tell I’m a book nerd, right?

Despite the laugh out loud moments and the ‘cover face with hands’ cringey (yet funny) moments, Claire Sandy’s novel covers quite a lot of relatable and poignant issues. Obviously I can’t tell you what those issues are as it would be classed as a spoiler, however, adding those issues into the storyline has highlighted the fact that not all families are perfect. It also highlighted that not all families follow the same paths as their peers, they may end up making mistakes and deal with them in a way that will aggravate their family members. But that’s life. It was incredibly refreshing to read a storyline which contained more than one ‘taboo’ situation and owns it like it’s the ‘right’ way to live. Why SHOULD we be ashamed if our lifestyles aren’t like the rich and famous? Why SHOULD we be ashamed for bringing up our children differently to the Royal Family? Why SHOULD we be ashamed?

‘A Not Quite Perfect Family’ is a hilarious, refreshing and relatable read which completely modernises situations which society chooses not to. Not only that, the novel also has the power to fill you with a type of warmth you never realised you required.

A snort-worthy, side-splitting, hysterical read from start to finish, ‘A Not Quite Perfect Family’ is THE perfect book to lose yourself in, forget all your troubles c’mon get happy with, and read over and over again. Such a fantastic read, Claire Sandy is my go to author when I am in need of a pick me up and a giggle. She never disappoints…well…only when she writes ‘The End’ but I’ll left her off..

Big thanks to Jess Duffy & Panmacmillan.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Claire Sandy #TBT vs New book! Reblog – What Would Mary Berry Do?@julietstories @panmacmillan

I’m doing something a tad different today as I am sure you have guessed by the title, yes? Well, let me explain. A year ago last month when TWG was still a nipper and the GBBO was the nations feast for a Wednesday, I reviewed ‘What Would Mary Berry Do?’ by Claire Sandy, on my blog around that time. I’m not sure if you’re aware but Claire Sandy has a brand new book published TODAY!  Yes, I know, I nearly peed myself in excitement too when I found out, but it’s all good because I will be reviewing her brand new book on my blog later on today (1.30pm GMT to be precise), so make sure you check back for that later!
Before that though, to celebrate Claire’s publication day, I had the ultimate light bulb moment of re-blogging a review of one of her older books in one post, and then reviewing her brand new book in another. Double whammy y’see. So, that is exactly what I’m doing!
Please note that I have not changed anything about the way I wrote the review, I have literally copied and pasted it from its original post. Definitely an authentic book #tbt!! I hope you enjoy & make sure you’re back at 1.30pm for my review of Claire Sandy’s book baby!

What Would Mary Berry Do? was originally posted on my blog a year ago here: What would Mary Berry do?

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What would Mary Berry do? by Claire Sandy.
Published: 31st July 2014 by Panmacmillan.
ISBN: 978-1-4472-5349-5.
Available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats.

Marie Dunwoody doesn’t want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. But her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits are rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee.

Marie can’t ignore the disappointed looks anymore, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie’s had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow – to the letter – recipes from the Queen of Baking, and at all times ask, ‘What would Mary Berry do?’

Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget cuts and with redundancies on the horizon, he too puts on a pinny. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year old girls…

Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy’s sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour?

What does TWG think?

I must admit, I have asked the question ‘what would Mary Berry do?’ in my head multiple times, and not just for baking! What would she do? Maybe she is the sort of person that would go rock climbing! No, not rock cake climbing, actual rock walls. Oh never mind! Maybe I should tweet her and ask? Probably not a good idea. Don’t want Maz Bez to think I’m taking the mickey out of her buns…
Several readers over on my Facebook page: The Writing Garnet – Facebook Page. were curious about this book because of the cover. It’s cake, how can you NOT be curious about it. So I said that I would do them a humongous favour and read it for them! I’m nice like that.

Claire Sandy begins the book by introducing you to Marie’s fail-stopper….sorry, show-stopper. You got a rough idea from the blurb that Marie’s buns weren’t all that squishy, so she proves it in public, at the children’s school. Oh dear. Throughout the story you will meet characters from all walks of life in their cosy little neighbourhood. As always, not all neighbours get along with each other. Some things don’t sit quite right with a couple of the neighbours, they seem to be hiding something, but what is it?

Marie decides that it is time to actually use her kitchen and invites Mary Berry to join her. No, not the real Mary Berry; her cook book! Due to Marie’s nose being buried in copious amounts of flour and icing, she doesn’t notice that her husband and her son have their own personal anguish. Robert faces problems at his work and realises that it’s going to be make or bake…sorry, break, and he could face losing his job. Angus, her son, has his own trouble with the ‘clones’.  So out comes Mary Berry’s pal in book form, and fighting for the kitchen begins.  As you read more of the novel, you will find out the troubles that are under Marie’s nose. But is it too late for her to fix them all? Or should she just focus on fixing her buns?

Like my Facebook readers, this book had me curious straight away because of the cover and title. Everyone loves Mary Berry! Claire Sandy writes about a ‘typical’ mum in the kitchen, and I mean ‘typical’ in a good way because many of us have been standing cursing at our failed attempts in the kitchen. Just like Marie. Because she does curse, and so does Aileen. You will meet Aileen when you visit Marie’s work, you will love her. Just don’t have a drink in your hand when you read about her. She is probably one of my favourite characters in the book because she doesn’t give a donut! ‘What would Mary Berry do?’ is such a laugh out loud and warm book which tells the story of ‘friends’ coming together, and maybe soul mates being found. On more than one occasion I was laughing so hard (high-pitched squealing sort of laughter), that I thought my house was surrounded by dogs. They respond to high pitched noises don’t they? Hilarious and modern (because of the swearing) it was an absolute treat to read. High praise for Claire Sandy because it’s BRILLIANT! From start to finish it had me hooked and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that loves Maz Bez and the GBBO. You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read it again!

Luckily I can read it again whenever I wish as I have my own paperback copy -smug-. I hope you enjoyed TWG’s first book #TBT. Don’t forget that ‘What Would Mary Berry Do?’ is out to buy now here. Claire Sandy and I will be back at 1.30pm with ‘A Not Quite Perfect Family’. You really don’t want to miss it.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Second Chance Tea Shop by Fay Keenan (@FayKeenan) @Aria_Fiction

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Second chances, new loves and scrumptious cakes, in this heart-warming novel. Perfect for all fans of Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Cathy Bramley.

Following the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it’s time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.

But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.

This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.

What does TWG think?

It’s TWG’s stop on Fay Kennan’s blog tour today! I hope you enjoy my review of her debut book, The Second Chance Tea Shop.

Okay, okay, I’ll hold my hands up; I have to admit that I did groan when I saw that this was yet another novel with yet another tea shop/café in the storyline. At least I admit it though, right? Seeing as this book is Fay Kennan’s debut novel (and the cover is a tad more-ish), I decided to put my teashop/café vendetta to one side and feed my curiosity by actually reading it. Yes, as soon as I saw the cover I was intrigued by it, definitely not going to lie about that. I was just throwing a little wobbly about the overuse of a particular setting.

Anyway, needed to get my little grumble out of the way before I started singing Fay Kennan’s book baby’s praises! I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Second Chance Tea Shop’ from start to finish! For a couple of seconds max, the thought of the storyline heading down the candyfloss route did enter my mind, when in actual fact, it was the complete opposite!

After the heart ache that Anna has been through recently, she decides that a fresh start with her daughter, Ellie, would be the ideal solution to regaining control of her life. Whilst the village of Little Somerby may be brand new to Ellie, it isn’t for Anna and as she starts settling into village life yet again, she ends up recognising A LOT more than she bargained for. Will Little Somerby give Anna the second chance at life which she desperately craves? Or could certain pasts end up colliding and ruin her fresh start before it’s even begun?

I have been wracking my brain trying to think of what Fay Keenan’s novel reminds me of; a multiple layered cake, that’s what it reminds me of! Don’t laugh, hear me out. By looking at the cake (the book) we would assume that it’s just a book about a little tea shop, yet by reading every chapter and going through each individual layer of the storyline and the character’s personalities, it was just like enjoying all of the different layers of a cake. Each layer contained different hurdles, different characters and different emotions, allowing us to surrender to the storyline and the magic between the words. Just like a multi-layered cake layers, no two layers, (or chapters), were the same and that is what made Fay Keenan’s book baby stand out for me.

As I said above, a lot of books at the moment are set in the oh-so-popular tea shop or café, which can make it harder for a brand new author to find a way of standing out amongst the crowd. What could ‘The Second Chance Tea Shop’ bring to the table that was completely unique? A bit like ‘what’s your tea shop got that mine aint got’, kinda thing. But you know what, ‘The Second Chance Tea Shop’ is unlike all of the other similar books in its market and I’ll tell you why.

Firstly, the main character has already built up a life previously which didn’t contain any premises involving mini sandwiches. Unfortunately her life got turned upside down in a devastating way.

Secondly, the tea shop featured in this novel is already an established business, which means that Anna isn’t doing her own version of ‘Changing Rooms’ on the building.

Thirdly, there is A LOT more to this storyline that meets the eye; complex characters, devastating secrets, village gossip, heart breaking secrets, and enough warmth to keep your own house warm over the winter. No joke. Emotional it may be at times yet the heart warming factor trumps any sadness and uncertainty.

Fourthly, the little tea shop is portrayed as a character within the book, instead of being the hub of the storyline. It’s a fantastic addition to an already brilliant storyline, instead of being the centre of attention.

Personally? This novel has got to be one of my most favourite tea shop books out there. It has been brilliantly written (hard to believe it’s a debut book to be honest!), nicely structured with just the right amount of contrasting characters.

‘The Second Chance Tea Shop’ is just like drinking the perfectly made cup of tea; warm enough, sweet enough, not too strong and not too weak. In other words; perfection.

Thank you Aria.

Buy now: Amazon // Kobo // iBooks // Googleplay

Author bio

Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling back
in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she
teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband of fourteen
years, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village
in Somerset, which may or may not have provided the inspiration for Little Somerby.

Follow Fay:
Facebook: FayKeenanAuthor
Twitter: @FayKeenan
Instagram: @FayKeenan
Website: www.faykeenan.com

Make sure you pop into the tea shop as the tour continues with the bloggers below!

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#Review – The Summer of New Beginnings by Helen Rolfe (@HJRolfe) @RNATweets #tuesnews

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They say trouble comes in threes…

Headstrong and organised, Mia is a single mum who wants to fix the world – but the one thing she can’t fix is her family. Responsible older brother Will has fled Primrose Bay, unable to forgive and forget after the ultimate betrayal. And Jasmine, no longer the wayward baby sister, is determined to prove to her brother and sister that she’s just as capable as they are.

Together in the bay after years apart and a separation spanning three continents, it doesn’t take long for the siblings to clash when Mia calls everyone together in a family crisis. And with jealousy and resentment simmering between them, as well as faces from the past and new loves, the family ties could end up being severed forever.

Sometimes we need to lose ourselves in order to find each other again…

What does TWG think?

I would like to start by saying a MASSIVE congratulations to Helen Rolfe as today is the publication day for her seventh novel, The Summer of New Beginnings! It feels like yesterday that I was helping Helen reveal the cover of her new book, and now it’s available for all of you to buy! Luckily for me, I got to read this a week or so ago, although I now wish I could read it for the first time again..

If anyone can turn around and say that they get on with EVERY single member of their family, then my name is Snow White. Seriously though, we all have skeletons in our closets when it comes to the relationships we have with members of our families, but no matter what, there are just some family members that we would always bend over backwards to help. Regardless of how much they have annoyed us. Am I right? Obviously a lot of circumstances are excluded! If you’ve cut ties with a family member due to something more serious than them pinching a bag of your cheese and onion crisps, then what I just said is completely irrelevant, you catch my drift though, right?

Will, Mia and Jasmine are what I call ‘typical siblings’, however their feuds and frosty relationships seemed to have lasted a lot longer than anticipated. Especially seeing as they can’t be in the same room together without re-creating their own version of Jeremy Kyle. Yes, their rows are THAT bad according to each other. The thing is, one sibling thinks one thing, another one thinks something completely different, and the third one is a mini Tasmanian devil. Lets just say that Will, Mia and Jasmine have led completely different lives over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the lack of communication. By communication I mean talking at a level that doesn’t require protective ear equipment.

Mia is the worrier of the family; as a single mum who had her daughter at a young age, Mia has spent so many years putting other people’s needs before her own and that has left her feeling lost. How can Mia calm down and be a bit selfish for once?

Will is the manly man. Having moved away when unsightly things hit the fan, Will has been living in his own bubble for more years than he cares to remember. What he doesn’t seem to realise though, is how his actions and bubble are hurting those around him. After all, he wouldn’t know that would he? Seeing as he refuses to acknowledge anything else but THAT….

Ahhhh Jasmine. No, not Princess Jasmine (although if she had half the chance, a flying carpet would be top of her ‘to buy’ list). Often as the youngest of the family, it is incredibly easy to get side lined and for family members to assume that, seeing as you’re young, you need siblings (well, one in particular), as a bodyguard. Assumptions…hmmm. I’ve always been told that if you assume, it makes an ass out of you and me. Who’d have thought it?

I think I pay WAYYY more attention to the individual characters than I should. It’s as though I dissect their personalities as the storyline unfolds. It’s a habit I’ll admit, but it’s one that won’t be changing any time soon! All three siblings had traits that annoyed the muffins out of me, I just wanted to shake them and help them see sense. Easy for an outsider to say that though, isn’t it? When Mia called her family back to the bay due to an out of character family crisis, I wasn’t prepared for the family war that had appeared. So many years had passed with each of them holding onto pent-up anger, misunderstandings and sheer stubbornness, that when they were all together in a confined space, everything came spilling out at lightening speed. Will and Jasmine were able to up sticks and move away from the Bay, but not Mia. Could she have gone if she really wanted to? I did wonder that, but as a single mum myself, waking up one morning and deciding that you’re going to start a life somewhere else, is severely outlandish.

I absolutely adored ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ as it was incredibly realistic and relatable. Many of us will read the storyline and nod our heads to circumstances that unfold within the book, due to the similarity of our own lives. I have read many of Helen Rolfe’s novels and whilst she always manages to leave me pleasantly satisfied upon completion of every novel, ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ hit home in a way that none of her previous novels have done before. Tackling a storyline which involves copious amounts of secrets, overlapping situations and bucketful’s of emotion, requires a lot of talent to be able to pull the storyline off, without losing any of the poignancy and overall concept. Helen Rolfe has that talent and she has pulled the storyline off with such ease and power; I truly am amazed at what she has managed to achieve with her new novel.

‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ is an outstanding portrayal of family life, as well as laying bare the secretive truths which often remain unknown behind close doors. This book is by far Helen Rolfe’s best book to date due to her refreshing, powerful and fantastically written storyline. It wasn’t all ‘he said, she said’ and arguments don’t get me wrong! No, it was also a book full of hope, trust and being aware of your own true feelings. When things get too much we often lash out at those who know us best, and that often includes us lashing out at ourselves. Thanks to the authors black and white tale of an imperfect lifestyle, ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ highlights the importance of taking a step back and….breathing.

A truly outstanding novel, ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ is my favourite book of Helen Rolfe’s so far. Fantastic! A well deserved 5*; if I could give it more stars I would!

Thanks so much Helen.

You too can get your hands on a copy of Helen Rolfe’s new novel right now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – When We Danced at the End of the Pier (@SandyTaylorAuth) @Bookouture

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Brighton 1930: Maureen O’Connell is a carefree girl, but her family is on the brink of tragedy, war is looming and life will never be the same again.

Jack and Nelson have always been dear friends to Maureen. Despite their different backgrounds, they’ve seen each other through thick and thin. 

As Maureen blossoms from a little girl into a young woman, the candle she’s always held for Jack burns bright. But just as she’s found love, war wrenches them apart. The man she cherishes with all her heart is leaving. 

When the bombs start to fall, Maureen and her family find themselves living in the most dangerous of times. With Jack no longer by her side and Nelson at war, Maureen has never felt more alone. Can she look to a brighter future? And will she find the true happiness she’s dreamt of?

What does TWG think?

Kicking off a brand new month at TWG HQ is an author’s blog tour courtesy of the rather popular (and fabulous) publishers, Bookouture! Bookouture authors have appeared on TWG once…or twice (cough, cough), so it gives me great pleasure to introduce author of ‘The Brighton Girls Triology’, Sandy Taylor, to TWG for the very first time! Today I have the pleasure of being one of the tour blog tour stops on Sandy’s blog tour for her new book, ‘When We Danced at the End of the Pier’. Hope you enjoy my review!

Sandy Taylor is a brand new author for me, I hadn’t come across her work before but seeing as I have become a huge fan of the historical fiction genre, her book was recommended to me so I gave it a go. What drew me to the storyline at the start was the fact it was predominantly set in Brighton. My family had a lot of ties to Brighton many moons ago so even though I wasn’t the family member to grow up there, reading Sandy Taylor’s novel made me feel as though I was going home. Strange huh.

Unfortunately I struggled with the first quarter of this novel, as I couldn’t quite get to grips with where the storyline was supposed to be heading. At first the storyline was centred around Maureen as a child, living her childhood with her new found friends, as well as trying to understand her family’s issues. Whilst that was still pleasant enough to read, I couldn’t help but want that little bit extra depth.

As the storyline started to unfold, the gritty nature within the book became more apparent. Maureen had become an adult and the war was just around the corner. Whilst the historical factor of the novel was bold, I found that the storyline seemed to focus more on the personal relationships, as well as dealing with a loved one being called up to serve in the war. I loved how it all seemed to personal and, seeing as most historical fiction novels put the history first as opposed to relationships, it was really refreshing to read a book in that genre from a completely different angle. We are all aware of the war times, we can find out the main facts in a couple of seconds thanks to Google, however, we aren’t aware of the personal side. How did the women feel to have their sons/brothers/boyfriends/husbands/friends called up to serve in the war? Who would be the one to let their loved ones know that they had died in combat or were missing in action? What if they were injured and unable to fight in the war, would they be brought back to their loved ones at home?

They are all questions that google can’t really answer unless someone from the war sat down and had an interview. Well, until Sandy Taylor’s novel came along. Yes I struggled with the book at first, but at least I’m honest about that. I also need to be honest that once the storyline showed more love and emotion than ever before, I fell in love with the characters and their lives. Struggling with the novel was a thing of the past. When Sandy Taylor wrote about the bombs falling and loved ones getting caught up in the devastation, I actually became quite emotional as I had never read about the war times so black and white before. Reading the emotional words that the author had given her characters to say gave me goose bumps. I can’t even begin to imagine what on Earth was going through their heads at the time of the bombing. All I do know is that the author has captured those devastating, real and emotional moments rather poignantly, and beautifully.

‘When We Danced at the End of the Pier’ is a truly humbling and emotional read which will leave you thinking about those who fought for our country and for what they believed in.
Such a heart warming and spell binding novel, full of raw emotion, devastating circumstances and friendships strong enough to last a lifetime.

Thank you Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author
 
Sandy Taylor grew up on a council estate near Brighton. There were no books in the house, so Sandy’s love of the written word was nurtured in the little local library. Leaving school at fifteen, Sandy worked in a series of factories before landing a job at Butlins in Minehead. This career change led her to becoming a singer, a stand up comic and eventually a playwright and novelist.

https://twitter.com/SandyTaylorAuth

Make sure you follow the rest of the blog tour for Sandy Taylor’s new novel, all of the bloggers on the tour are listed below. Huge thanks to Bookouture & Kim Nash for inviting me on such an eye-opening blog tour.

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#Review – The Choir on Hope Street by Annie Lyons (@1AnnieLyons) @HQStories #HopeIsComing

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The best things in life happen when you least expect them

Nat’s husband has just said the six words no one wants to hear – ‘I don’t love you any more’.

Caroline’s estranged mother has to move into her house turning her perfectly ordered world upside down.

Living on the same street these two women couldn’t be more different. Until the beloved local community centre is threatened with closure. And when the only way to save it is to form a community choir – none of the Hope Street residents, least of all Nat and Caroline, expect the results…

This spring, hope is coming!

What does TWG think?

I’ve got to admit, whilst I was looking forward to Annie Lyon’s new novel, the cover had me thinking that the storyline was going to be a lot tamer than what it actually was. Don’t get me wrong, the storyline wasn’t all harsh and completely serious but the cover was rather simple for such a rollercoaster ride of a book. It really was a pleasant surprise.

One of the main characters, Nat, has just been told five words that no wife (or husband), really want to hear; ‘I don’t love you anymore’. As far as Nat was concerned, everything was fine and their family life with their son was a happy one. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The other main character, Caroline, has a life where anything she requires, she gets. Is her life like the ‘Jones’s’, a way of over compensating for many years of resentment? Both ladies are like chalk and cheese yet they come together to support a community building’s closure by starting their very own choir. A contender for the number one spot in the music charts, you think?

Nat’s family situation was quite heart wrenching to read as everything she had ever known to be real, now had a big, red question mark looming over its head. Would she have to move out of the family home with her son? How would she explain the split to their son? Rather her than me, I’ll be honest. Despite all of that, her attitude to life in general was fantastic. The way she tried to solve her problems with humour had me in hysterics. Yes, sometimes she went over the top but who am I to judge? People deal with things in a different way; her included.

I found Caroline a little bit hit and miss as her personality and attitude drove me up the wall to begin with. However, when the storyline began to unfold a little bit more and we got to see a different side to Caroline, I found myself becoming a little more lenient to the way she came across. You’ll need to read the book yourself to find out what I’m meaning!!

To look at Annie Lyons’ novel at first, you may assume that all it contains is a choir, when in actual fact, the community starting their own choir just seemed to be the key to unlock a whole chest of drama, secrets and hidden agendas. There is A LOT more to this novel than ‘just a choir’, and whilst the change in direction caught me by surprise, I found myself respecting the author even more as she was able to completely change my views.

Overall, ‘The Choir on Hope Street’ is a fabulous, fun and surprising read which covers a lot of topics from serious family matters, to hilarious personal dramas. If you’re after a storyline to tickle every single one of your literary taste buds, then my friends, this book is most definitely one to buy. As long as you have support from good friends and family, and your very own choir, what more could you possibly want? After all, it is Hope Street, right?

A heart-warming, cosy read from the wonderful Annie Lyons and The Choir on Hope Street. I wonder if they did get their number one chart position….

Thank you HQ & Netgalley.

The Choir on Hope Street by Annie Lyons, published by HQ (HarperCollins), will be published on the 6th April 2017 in e-book and paperback. It is currently available to pre-order right now from: Amazon UK (go, go, GO!)

#Review – The Little Teashop of Lost and Found @Trishaashley @poppystimpson @Transworldbooks

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Alice Rose is a foundling, discovered on the Yorkshire moors above Haworth as a baby. Adopted but then later rejected again by a horrid step-mother, Alice struggles to find a place where she belongs. Only baking – the scent of cinnamon and citrus and the feel of butter and flour between her fingers – brings a comforting sense of home.

So it seems natural that when she finally decides to return to Haworth, Alice turns to baking again, taking over a run-down little teashop and working to set up an afternoon tea emporium.

Luckily she soon makes friends, including a Grecian god-like neighbour, who help her both set up home and try to solve the mystery of who she is. There are one or two last twists in the dark fairytale of Alice’s life to come . . . but can she find her happily ever after?

What does TWG think?

Oh my goodness. Have you ever finished reading a book and would do anything to read it time  and time again, as though it would be the first time reading it? Before now, I have seen various people saying that they would love to do that for various other books and I couldn’t quite understand what they meant. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed A LOT of novels over the years but re-reading a book like it’s the first time, every time? What on Earth would be the criteria for a book to fit that accolade?
Luckily, I can now answer that question with seven words. A mere seven words is all it takes, in my eyes, to explain the criteria of first time re-reading, every single time; The Little Teashop of Lost and Found.

Why?

I have been a huge fan of Trisha Ashley’s books for a very long time, so to have the honour of holding the ARC of her new novel in my hands was a HUGE deal to me. It felt like I was holding something special, something priceless (and awfully strokeable. coverlove!!!). I tweeted Trisha periodically as I was reading her book as I wanted her to be with me on the journey that I took whilst reading her novel. That probably sounds daft, but as she couldn’t see my facial expressions etc, I wanted to let her know my thoughts as I read it. Can you tell I’m a HUGE fan of hers? OI most certainly read it alright as it only took me a couple of hours to read cover to cover, much to Trisha Ashley’s (and everyone else’s) surprise.

Alice Rose hasn’t had the most settled of lives. To start with she was left on the Yorkshire moors as a baby, adopted into a new family then rejected by her step-mother and then she had embark on an uncertain journey as an adult, with the fear of never belonging. I cannot begin to imagine how hard that must have been for Alice, she didn’t ask to be born so why did she keep getting rejected? Just when she thought that she had found the right path for her journey, Alice’s life once again takes an almighty turn and she is left with the feeling that regardless of which new route she took, the outcome was likely to be the same either way; a dead-end. She just had to work out which route was worth the extra effort to turn the dead end, into an open road. Doesn’t sound so simple when you think about it, does it?

What made me warm to Alice the most was how real she came across. Yes she came across bulshy, sassy and extremely black and white in terms of getting her thoughts across, but I could tell that she was a bit broken inside yet she didn’t shy away from that. I don’t think that this book could have wanted for a stronger main character than Alice Rose, especially as there will no doubt be a lot of readers who will be able to relate to Alice as a person as well as the hurdles she has had to jump over so far. Plus, she is absolutely hilarious!

When I saw that yet another storyline would contain a teashop/café, I will admit that I was a little bit apprehensive purely to the over popularity of those settings in novels just now. I was hoping that this one would stand out from the crowd and not get lost amongst the other teashops.
But you know what? It worked! The teashop setting in Trisha Ashley’s novel isn’t your ‘typical’ rather popular setting. For starters, the building actually took a long time to get decorated and ready for business and as readers, we get to ‘see’ the interior go from shabby to wow, step by step. Secondly, the teashop was hidden away and it was as though a map would be needed to direct customers down the ever winding roads (love btw). Thirdly, whilst the teashop was a big part of the storyline, the main focus wasn’t on the teashop itself as the focus was on Alice rebuilding her life.

Everything worked extremely well together. I felt as though I had been transported to a land far, far away because I had zoned out from my own life and went and sat in Alice’s life. There is nothing about Trisha Ashley’s book that I disliked, at all. Not only does the storyline have a fabulous main character with Alice, it also contains other fantastic who stand out in their own way. Each character made themselves known, not one of them felt the need to sit in the background and shy away from the unfolding events. They were memorable and utterly fabulous.

I really cannot recommend The Little Teashop of Lost and Found, enough.
Full of laughter, hard times, strength and heart warming events, The Little Teashop of Lost and Found, is a book to devour. A book to hold close to your heart. A book where sadness comes to light but then happiness kicks its toosh quicker than a cupcake can be eaten. A book to cherish. A book to turn off your phone, lay on the sofa with a cuppa and a cake, and get cosy with.

The Little Teashop of Lost and Found contains additional recipes to devour alongside the novel. Now, I like cake as much as the next person but you know what? The only recipe I need contains Trisha Ashley & her latest novel as THAT is my recipe to happiness. Definitely one of my most favourite books ever.

An outstanding, heart-warming novel from the incredibly talented Trisha Ashley. Magnificent.

Thank you SO much Poppy Stimpson!

Buy now from Amazon UK
(click the above link to buy in Hardback at only £4.99 as well – price correct as of 28/03/17)

#BlogTour! #Review – Don’t Stop Me Now by Colleen Coleman (@CollColemanAuth) @Bookouture

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A hilarious feel good read about making lemonade when life gives you lemons, and finding the silver lining in every cloud.

Poppy Bloom planned to finish her PhD and walk straight into a job at her university. But here she is, unemployed, unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, and living back at her mum’s in her vampire-themed childhood bedroom.

Not exactly what she was hoping for.

But when Poppy sets her mind to something, nothing can stand in her way. She scores herself an internship at the hottest radio station in town, joins a netball team, and renews her friendship with her oldest friend Leanne. Spending time with Leanne’s gorgeous twin Tom is just a bonus…

But life has a way of tripping you up when you least expect it, and Poppy soon has to decide where her priorities lie… With new friends, a new career and a new romance, can Poppy keep everyone happy, or is everything about to tumble down around her?

What does TWG think?

DON’T STOP ME NOWWWWW, CAUSE I’M HAVING SUCH A GOOD TIME, I’M HAVING BALLLLLLL. DON’T STOP ME, DON’T STOP ME OOOH OOOH OHHH.

Sorry, couldn’t resist, especially seeing as I have the pleasure of hosting today’s stop on Colleen Coleman’s blog tour for her brand new book, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’! Colleen’s book was published on the 22nd March 2017 by Bookouture, and it already has 21 FIVE star reviews (information correct as of 26/03/17)! Amazing. Here is my review of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.

The title of Colleen Coleman’s book intrigued me beyond belief as, despite the fact we know those four words from a well-known song, it made me curious to see what those words would mean in the storyline itself.

Seeing as I was in a really dark place before I began reading ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, I was really hopeful that the book would give me the escape I so desperately craved. As soon as I had finished the first chapter I knew for certain that it was going to be THE book for me.

Poppy Bloom has been working so hard to ensure that all her T’s were crossed and I’s were dotted, in regards to her studies at university. Poppy was adamant that she would end up leaving university with a ready made job and that her life was going to go exactly to plan. The thing is, we all know that life doesn’t always (if ever) go to plan and unluckily for Poppy, she got to find out that her plan was no more, right in front of an audience. Double burn. No job. No home. No boyfriend. No income. No plans. That’s enough to scare anyone really, isn’t it? Well, lets just say that Poppy’s buds BloomED. No, really…they did. Get your mind out of the gutter people!!

Some people may read this book and think that Poppy’s lifestyle ended up unrealistic and unachievable (yes, I’ve been nosing), and you know what? I’m not one of those people. Yes, the things that happen to Poppy on a positive level DID make me envious, but did I think that it was unrealistic for people like us? No I didn’t. If anything it gave me hope that good things DO actually happen to people, and going through a ton of bad things doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to live a life of picking the short straw. Poppy left a life of organisation, a life where she had grown accustom to the ins and outs of her daily circumstances, a life where anything different meant that Poppy ticked it off as a ‘don’t like’ thing.

The moment Poppy had to think about what she wanted, what her choices meant for those closely linked to her, how it felt to have a group of trusting friends; was the moment, for me, that Poppy flourished. As a reader who was so invested in the storyline and the characters I could have probably had a cameo in the book, I felt like I saw another side to Poppy’s personality. Her humour was incredible and her heart was ginormous; she really is the type of character I would LOVE to have as a best friend!

I found the entire novel rather hilarious, so hilarious in fact that several giggles managed to escape at the most random moments. The storyline was so fun from the very start, and I was overjoyed to see that fun carry on right until the very end. It didn’t lose momentum at all. The levels of sarcasm from Poppy’s new/old-found friends was ON POINT. Several giggles and snorts escaped from my mouth at the moments, I have to be honest!

Before I started Colleen Coleman’s novel I had a feeling it was going to be a good book;  what I didn’t know though,  was exactly HOW good it was going to be. As the saying goes, it turned my ‘frown upside down’. I have never felt so much joy and fun the entire length of a novel, as I have this one. I can’t put my finger on exactly why that was, it just was…perfect.

‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is THE book to read right now. It’s fun. It’s flirty. It’s sassy. It’s hilarious. It’s light. It’s real. Colleen’s words showed me that it is okay not to be okay, it’s okay to not have your shizzmanizzle together as long as you DO get it together. Colleen showed me that it’s okay to follow the right route for you, not the right route for everyone else. Most important, Colleen and Poppy (of course) showed me it doesn’t matter how rocky the road is, all that matters is whether you have the right people helping you over those rocks.

Never mind buying a self-help book when you can buy ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. I absolutely adored this book, and I absolutely adored Poppy. If you need (hah, we all need books) a book to buy yourself, I highly recommend ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ as it is just what Doctor Bookouture and Doctor TWG ordered. Oh, and it just happens to be in amongst my favourite books ever.
Colleen Coleman; YOU’RE AMAZEBALLS.

Thanks to Bookouture.

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

About the author
 
Colleen Coleman is an Irish-Canadian novelist. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. She spent over ten years working as a teacher of English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching her eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words The End. As a result, her first novel was born. Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very, very chatty twin daughters. Don’t Stop Me Now is her first book and will be released in March. 
Colleen Coleman’s Twitter

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour with these fabulous bloggers!!

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