Review – ‘A Cornish Christmas’ by Lily Graham (@lilywritesbooks) @bookouture.

accBlurb.

Nestled in the Cornish village of Cloudsea, sits Sea Cottage – the perfect place for some Christmas magic …

At last Ivy is looking forward to Christmas. She and her husband Stuart have moved to their perfect little cottage by the sea – a haven alongside the rugged cliffs that look out to the Atlantic Ocean. She’s pregnant with their much-longed for first baby and for the first time, since the death of her beloved mother, Ivy feels like things are going to be alright.

But there is trouble ahead. It soon emerges that Stuart has been keeping secrets from Ivy, and suddenly she misses her mum more than ever.
When Ivy stumbles across a letter from her mother hidden in an old writing desk, secrets from the past come hurtling into the present. But could her mother’s words help Ivy in her time of need? Ivy is about to discover that the future is full of unexpected surprises and Christmas at Sea Cottage promises to be one to remember. 

What does TWG think?

Having fallen in love with Lily’s previous book; The Summer Escape, I had extremely high hopes for ‘A Cornish Christmas’. I just couldn’t wait to see where it was going to take my imagination. When the story begins, it feels as though you’re walking into a story half way through, there is no gradual build up to each character or their lives as they’re right there, waiting for you to find out more about them. What a way to start a book, it pulled me in straight away and the book didn’t leave my hands until I had finished it. I just couldn’t put it down, something special had me hooked, but at that moment, I couldn’t quite place what it was.

‘A Cornish Christmas’ follows the lives of Ivy (a children’s book illustrator) and Stuart (mr jam man). After jumping many, many hurdles, Ivy is finally pregnant. The thing is, when you’re pregnant, the only person you really want…is your mum. Ivy’s mum passed away a few years prior, and she is now getting round to looking through her mum’s old desk. Ivy stumbles across a little something that unearths a lot of questions, some that may be left unanswered.

At first when I met Ivy and Stuart, I thought that their life would be straight forward. After all, their relationship is cosy, I didn’t want to think that the storyline would go any other way except happiness! Such wonderfully written characters. Further into the story, a little Christmas magic begins to happen, and oh my goodness me!!! I could not fathom exactly what was happening. I was in shock, my arms were covered in goose bumps, and I had to work out how to prop my kindle up as one hand was covering my mouth. Beautiful, just…beautiful. Whether you believe in a bit of magic or not, I don’t think it matters as the way Lily wrote the Christmas magic into the storyline, will have anyone and everyone believing it. I did.

Unfortunately, there is one character that made me think ‘oh mistletoe!!’, quite a few times in my head. There is nothing worse than an interfering person, but, after a few stern words with Rudolph, I had to grit my teeth and just go with the snow…sorry…flow. Ahem.

The Christmas magic situation does pop up multiple times with the storyline and as the book went on, the more powerful the magic became. I’m sure you know where I am going with this now, yes? Yes, I sobbed my heart out; not in a devastatingly sad way, but in a ‘that melted all the ice around my heart’ type of way. The emotion that poured from the book was unbelievable, so much feeling and heartache in so few words, yet the story became an intense and powerful work of art.

When it comes to Christmas, everyone associates it with magic and cosiness. ‘A Cornish Christmas’ is both of those. Not only does the book contain heartache, tragedy and jam, it oozes love, warmth and magic. I cannot fault Lily’s novel at all, the whole thing from start to finish was absolutely magnificent. I knew that Lily was a fantastic author, but after reading this, wow, I am in awe.
Inspiring, emotional and completely magical; if I could have ‘A Cornish Christmas’ under my Christmas this year, I will be one very happy lady. Another fantastic book from Lily Graham, ‘A Cornish Christmas’ is one of my favourite books of all time. Just, wow.

Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley – I received a complimentary copy in return for my honest opinion.

‘A Cornish Christmas’ by Lily Graham, published by Bookouture, is available to buy 30th September from Amazon UK

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Review – ‘Take A Chance On Me’ by Carol Wyer (@carolewyer) @bookouture #publicationday

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Happy publication day Carol!!

Blurb.

When Charlie’s husband leaves after ten years of marriage, her spirits hit an all-time low. She just isn’t sure how to pick herself up again. So, best friend Mercedes makes it her mission to put a spring back in Charlie’s step with the perfect bucket list.

As Charlie takes a chance and bungee jumps and belly dances her way through an array of adventures, her love life also begins to look up and she’s soon enjoying a few dates as a newly single woman. She begins to realise that finding romance, might not be so hard, especially when you’ve got someone like journalist Jake who has an adorable little boy and is very easy on the eye.

But is Jake too good to be true? As Charlie’s challenges on the bucket list get bigger, so do her questions about Jake. Should she continue to hold out for the fairy-tale? Or should she take a chance on Jake and hope for a happy ending?

What does TWG think?

Author of one of my favourite books, Carol Wyer, is back with yet another memorable story. However, it is memorable for a completely different reason than ‘Life Swap’ is. Before I read ‘Take A Chance On Me’, I was told that it would be nothing like ‘Life Swap in terms of the emotion and the hidden message. I did think to myself ‘nahhhh, it IS a Carol Wyer book afterall’. Oh how naïve I was!

Meet Charlie, a broken-hearted woman who tries to find her calling in life…again. With the help of her best friend, Mercedes, Charlie attempts things that are completely out of her comfort zone, thanks to the pact that she made with Mercedes. Despite all of the thrills and excitement the pact gives Charlie, a piece of her jigsaw is still missing. Will Charlie find the missing puzzle piece and be able to fix what she can control? Or will Charlie’s loss be too much to handle and the puzzle will forever be incomplete?

I can’t even begin this review properly with a joke, I may finish it with one, but it wouldn’t be right to begin with. I mean, how could I be anything but serious when the first few pages of the book gave me goosebumps and made me gasp? As I mentioned previously, I got told that this book would have a completely different edge to it than ‘Life Swap’, I didn’t quite believe just how much of an edge that it would have. I will now hold my hands up and say that the person who told me about the edge, was absolutely correct. After all, the author knows better about what they have written, right? -whistles-

When it comes to light in the book that Charlie and Mercedes have made a pact, also known as a good old bucket list, I couldn’t wait to see what challenges Charlie was going to face. There is powerful message behind the bucket list, but it isn’t what you would usually think. I’m not one for writing spoilers in my reviews and as this review is no different regarding that, I urge you to read the book and find out for yourself.

The complexity of each character and their personalities is outstanding. Every character has been beautifully written into the story, along with their own troubles and heartbreak, making ‘Take A Chance On Me’ extremely memorable for more than one reason. Memorable AND relatable.

Whilst Charlie and Mercedes’ bucket list has its own hidden message, ‘Take A Chance On Me’ has more than one powerful message hidden within. The word powerful is an understatement if I’m honest, the whole storyline had such a hold on me. It felt as though the story had put bricks in my feet to keep me from moving and then crawled into my soul and set up camp for the duration of the book. There was something about Carol’s writing that moved me,  I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was.

Many times as I was reading, I had to sit back and soak up what I had just read. The storyline felt real, incredibly real, and it is completely clear that Carol has written ‘Take a Chance On Me’ straight from her heart. To write such moving situations must have taken a lot of strength; as all of those intense situations moved me to tears (more than once). How does one person deal with so much heartbreak in such a short space of time, yet still be able to pay it forward for those around her? Charlie is such a beautiful character for sure, but Carol Wyer is such a beautifully, talented author for creating such, wow, intense moments. Plus, Carol has added her trademark humour all throughout the novel, creating a pillow for the emotional moments. A bit like chocolate for a women’s monthly moment, or bubbles for a bath, or a kazoo for….anytime. You know, comforting things. Where is my kazoo Carol, did you pinch it?!

I will never be able to find the words to fully describe how ‘Take a Chance On Me’ has left its mark on me. There aren’t enough words to explain how many tears I shed at the end of this book. If I could have given Carol a hug whilst reading her incredible book, I would have. I needed to. I needed to be there for her characters through her. I’m tearing up now writing this as Carol’s words hit home, I related a lot to the personal limitations of a couple of her characters. I was not expected to feel as though I was reading about my life, not a characters.

‘Take a Chance On Me’ is a story about love, loss and finding the strength to move forward. A story about just going for it and trying to accept life’s limitations in the moment, no matter how hard it is. A story about letting go (and no, not Disney’s Frozen) and believing that YOU are worthy and that you are NOT defined by your heartache. ‘Take A Chance On Me’ oozes emotion from start to finish and I cannot recommend this book enough. Yes, I cried. Yes, I laughed. Yes, I cried some more. But I will tell you this, Carol Wyer is a literary genius with a heart of gold, ‘Take A Chance On Me’ is now in my Top 5 favourite books, ever.

No, don’t ‘Take A Chance On Me’, take a chance on Carol Wyer and her beautifully written, powerful and intense book that will have you reaching for the tissues multiple times. Magically moving, with added hilarity, this book is incredible.

Take A Chance On Me by Carol Wyer, published by Bookouture, is available to buy from today (23rd September) on Amazon UK

 

Review: ‘The Day I Lost You’ by Fionnuala Kearney (@fionnualatweets) @HQstories

tdilyBlurb.

THE DAY I LOST YOU WAS THE DAY I DISCOVERED I NEVER REALLY KNEW YOU

When Jess’s daughter, Anna, is reported lost in an avalanche, everything changes.

Jess’s first instinct is to protect Rose, Anna’s five-year-old daughter. But then she starts to uncover Anna’s other life – unearthing a secret that alters their whole world irrevocably . . .

THE DAY I LOST YOU WAS THE DAY YOU TORE OUR FAMILY APART

What does TWG think?

I would like to start my review by saying congratulations to Fionnuala, as today is paperback publication day for ‘The Day I Lost You’! The picture does not do this cover justice in the slightest, in the flesh it is even more beautiful. The beauty doesn’t stop at the cover though, no way, the beauty continues throughout the whole story.

‘The Day I Lost You’ has been sitting on my desk waiting for me to read it since the moment it came through my door. Now, it wasn’t that I didn’t have time to read this particular book, it was the fact that I didn’t want to lose the ‘first time’ feeling with it. I kept putting off reading it time and time again until I realised that the paperback publication day loomed, so I had to give in. I wanted to savour the story page by page, emotion by emotion, but I couldn’t. Why? Because after reading a mere couple of pages, this book had my emotion on a lead and was in control of it, I wasn’t. I was absolutely transfixed with the entire storyline and the intensity of each and every character.

The fact that of not being able to savour it piece by piece, wasn’t a bad thing, it just meant that my heart belonged to the book for the duration, and I needed to find out what happened. I wanted answers and it wasn’t even me going through it, it was Jess and her family. The raw emotional and pain sliced through the words that Fionnuala wrote, I truly felt as though Jess was talking to me face to face about her devastation. The storyline felt so…real, I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading a book.

When the storyline developed even more, the realistic feeling got even more intense. Several circumstances in particular were described with incredible poignancy, I buckled. I had to put the book down as I couldn’t see through my tears. Just, wow. It wasn’t the first and last time that I cried either.

‘The Day I Lost You’ is a book about heartbreak, loss and sheer devastation, most definitely. But, it is also a book about finding the strength within to do what you know is right and never wasting the special moments with your loved ones.

This is definitely a book that, regardless of how many reviews are read, is one that needs to be appreciated with your very own eyes. You need to experience Fionnuala’s incredible writing. You need to experience the powerful and intense storyline in between your very own tears. You need to experience feelings that you have never felt before, and go to a place in your heart that you never knew existed.  An emotional masterpiece.

Thank you to HarperCollins (HQStories) and Fionnuala, for my complimentary copy in return for my honest opinion.

The Day I Lost You by Fionnuala Kearney, published by HarperCollins, is available to buy in paperback format from today, as well as kindle format – Amazon UK

Book review: ‘The Girl I Was Before’ by Izzy Bayliss.

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Blurb.

When Lily McDermott walks in to find Marc, her husband of just three months in bed with actress Nadia, life as she knows it is over. Lily thinks things can’t get any worse when she sees photos of her husband and his new lover splashed across the glossy magazine pages, but when she loses her job too, she is at her lowest ebb and turns to baking to soothe her soul. Wounded and broken she has to try to pick herself up again with the help of her best friend Frankie and with her encouragement, Lily decides to turn her hobby into a business and sets up Baked With Love. However whatever Lily does, it seems disaster soon ensues and when handsome stranger Sam comes to her rescue, Lily isn’t quite ready to turn her back on her marriage.
Can Lily risk opening her heart again or is she destined to allow Marc to shadow her life forever?

What does TWG think?

It is thanks to TBConFB that I was able to review this book, whilst finding a brand new author in the process.

Newlywed Lily is still on a high from her wedding three months prior. Revelling in the marital bliss, still, Lily thinks a romantic meal is in order for her husband and herself. Quite right too! Three is a crowd though, yes? The third person (the crowd) being Lily, seeing as her husband is rather busy having a ‘take-away’.  That’s right ladies and gentleman, she walked in on her husband getting jiggy with another woman, in THEIR bed. Will Lily get over the hurt and humiliation and become ‘The girl she was before’?

As you’re aware by now, it is rare as rocking horse biscuits that I read the blurb of a book these days, this book was no exception. Based on the title alone, I wondered what had happened to make the character want to go back to who she was. I didn’t have to wait too long to find out either. No wonder Lily was annoyed to be honest, having that view when she walked into her home. Usually events like that happen later on in a book, so it made a nice change (albeit shocking) to have the nitty gritty shoved in your face straight away.

My heart went out to her, the devastation was very clear and I feel that Izzy approached that topic with sensitivity. It is, unfortunately, a situation that a lot of Izzy’s readers may be able to relate to, so it was refreshing to have it black and white to show that it’s okay to feel hurt and devastated after being cheated on and that you’re NOT the bad party. Most of the book, for me, felt like it was a ticking time bomb. I had a feeling the first incident wasn’t going to be the last due to the way Izzy wrote the chapters. Boy I wasn’t wrong. Drama after drama mixed in with a sister that can’t see further than her nose equals BRILLIANCE.

I was completely hooked on the events that kept happening. There was always something that grabbed my attention, whether it was positive or negative. I found myself going through different emotions as I was reading; anger, shock, laughter, cringing…you know the sort.

‘The Girl I was Before’ reeled me in with its clever anecdotes, relatable characters and the fact it contained cake. Izzy has written such an in-depth book that tells a story about one person’s heart-break, devastation and the ability to find the power to turn a life around.

‘The Girl I was before’ is a curl up on the sofa and eat chocolate, type book. Perfect for the romantic comedy loving readers. I think this is going to be one to watch!

‘The Girl I was Before’ by Izzy Bayliss, published by Blue Gate Publishing, is currently available to pre-order on Amazon UK now!

#Review of ‘Chances are’ by Wendy Lou Jones.

Chances are by Wendy Lou Jones.
Published 25th June 2016.
Available to buy from Amazon UK//Amazon US

‘Luke is the man with the money, the fast car and the hot woman. There’s no way he would even think about getting serious, but a face he can’t remember soon threatens his calm.
Rebecca isn’t interested in a relationship, and definitely not with him. How could she, after all he put her through? She’s spent the last 4 years hiding away from society, a one woman crusade for children’s road safety. Who would have thought one fateful day, it might almost be her … again.
As two worlds collide, will opposites attract?
Not if she can help it’

I would like to start by saying thank you to Wendy for putting this lovely book under my nose, and I want to apologise for keeping you waiting with the review. I would say that I have been chasing my tail, but then I would be insulting myself by saying that I am indeed a dog!

A man who has it all; money, career, lifestyle and the ability to click his fingers and a woman would come running to him.
A woman who is afraid of having it all. Afraid of putting her heart on the line. Afraid of history repeating itself.
After all, it nearly did repeat itself. Rebecca lost the man that she loved, the man that she was supposed to marry and ever since that day she has tried to make the roads a safer place. Then one day, along comes Luke, trying to multi-task whilst driving and nearly sends Rebecca to the same place as her fiancé.
Is Luke really that arrogant where women are concerned? Or is Rebecca too guarded after her past? The ‘chances are…..’
At first, I disliked Luke with a passion. Arrogance in men does not appeal one bit, especially when they think they are the be all and end all. He could have caused a terrible accident, yet ‘that woman’, Rebecca, is on his mind. Seriously? Surely you would avoid contact with a person that you nearly put in an unfortunate situation? I’m not nitpicking at Wendy’s writing, definitely not. Despite my early opinion of Luke, as the story progressed, my opinions changed for the better. Which, if I’m honest, was a surprise to me!
But then there is Rebecca. A lost soul and extremely guarded after everything she has been through, and thanks to an idiot in a car, she gets to re-live the past to a certain extent. No wonder she wants to stay clear…at first. My heart definitely went out to her because she seemed so lonely and without a purpose.
The way that Wendy incorporated chalk and cheese personalities, and completely turned them and the storyline around, takes such talent. She has created very complex characters with highly strung personalities and a lot of baggage. To fit all of that, and the future into just one book, made for an exciting yet emotionally charged read.
Watching the characters grow as they dealt with their own pasts and feelings made me feel like I was walking the journey with them. When the characters were happy, I was happy, when they were sad, I was crying like a baby unable to breathe and looking like I had met Ruldolph for a slush puppy (red nose).
Even though I found ‘Chances Are’ a very moving story, crying with the events within the book felt like the natural step. Every situation flowed and every word had its place. I am in awe of Wendy and how she has written such an emotional, rollercoaster ride of a book, with such a BEAUTIFUL cover! A pleasure to read.

The years of loving you – Review

The years of loving you –  by Ella Harper.
Published
19th November 2015 by Harper Collins Publishers (Avon books)
ISBN: 978-0-00-758184-9
Available on Amazon in multiple formats (paperback and kindle).

‘What if your first love was your only love?

When Molly is diagnosed with a life-changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call Ed in a crisis?

Ed, the very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in different directions.

Molly starts to question every decision she has ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? When the only certainty they shared was each other….’

Stop for a moment and think about YOUR life. Have you ever had to break devastating news about yourself to any of your loved ones? Or have you been the one to receive the terrible news, getting told that lives will never be the same again? Yes? Thought so. Me too, except that I was the one breaking the horrible news…..multiple times. So was Molly…
The story begins in the present, lots of laughing, drinks and a hint of tension. Throughout the story you not only follow Molly’s life, you follow Ed’s life as well. Ed and Molly have known each other for many years, they share a history and a connection so deep that they have remained friends right into their adulthood. Ed has had a troubled life with secrets and problems he is too embarrassed to tell anyone, even Molly. Unfortunately for Ed, his life comes crashing down and he ends up making one of the biggest mistakes of his life….
Molly is married to Sam, a man who has his eyes firmly focused on the prize….his business. Molly has to compete with it, even when she has to sit down and break the news to him that she has a chronic illness. An illness that will not only change her life, but her loved ones lives too. They will see her grieving over a life she has lost, whilst also trying to adapt to a life that is unpredictable…very unpredictable. Unfortunately, Molly finds herself battling with extra problems and becomes lonelier than ever.
Who will come through for Molly in her darkest times? Sam, or Ed? Or nobody?
The book stood out for me because of the illness situation. I had to find out how other people reacted to life changing news. Why? Because I relate to it in more ways than one. I have multiple chronic illnesses. Reading about what Molly went through and how other people reacted to the news, had me in tears. It’s a topic that people don’t want to talk about and I am very pleased to find Ella Harper putting it in her story. It is real life. People go through it every single day. Personally I found that to be my connection to the storyline and to the characters. Also, I was hooked on finding out whether the girl got the guy, or the guy got the girl!
In every chapter there is something that will grab your attention, whether it’s something funny, or sad. Ella Harper’s style of writing is very engaging and I found myself in the story like I was someone watching everything unfold right in front of me. Depending on your beliefs about certain situations within the story, you might find yourself siding with a certain character and their own decisions. I know I did. ‘The years of loving you’ is an emotional rollercoaster of a book because it takes you on a journey of love, life and self discovery. Personally, I found the ending to just appear, like it was too short, and I think that is because I was incredibly engrossed in the gripping story that I didn’t realise it was coming up!
Ella Harper has managed to capture the soul of each character, bringing them to life in a way that I have never experienced before. A wonderful book that will bring out every emotion possible. A book that will open your eyes to different eventualities, good or bad. A book that will make you think anything is possible. Ella Harper, thank you. It has been an absolute pleasure to read and I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.