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

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#Bookreview – The Paris Effect by Karen Burns.

The Paris Effect by Karen Burns.
Published 31st May 2016 by Velvet Morning Press.
Available to buy from Amazon US//Amazon UK

‘Friendship, loss… and a tantalizing trip to Paris in this highly praised debut novel!

Amy and Kat had a plan: A secret trip to Paris. Even Amy’s husband wouldn’t know about it. But when Amy loses Kat, the “friend of her heart,” to cancer, she knows the plan, too, has disappeared forever. Or has it?

Guided by memories of her friend and dissatisfaction with her own calorie-counting life in Phoenix, Amy sneaks off to Paris while her husband is away on a business trip. Once there, she’s robbed, stalked, arrested and kidnapped (almost). Worse, she finds that her numerous issues have come right along with her.

Through her adventures, laced with luscious descriptions of food and Paris, Amy learns that often in life, love and friendship, nothing is exactly as it seems. Grab a croissant and settle in for a decidedly non-touristy trip to the City of Light.’

‘The Paris Effect’ is a book that I have seen pop up on my Twitter feed more than once. At first I had no idea who wrote it (sorry) because I was memorised by the cover. I saw the colours, the word ‘Paris’ and it went straight on my TBR list. The more I saw it, the more intrigued I became. I did want to read it but every time I saw it, I was already ‘booked’. Then one day, the lovely Karen Burns sent me a lovely e-mail asking me to review her book ‘The Paris Effect’. It was one of the nicest request e-mails that I have ever received, plus it wasn’t a book I was going to turn down, obviously! Thank you Karen for sending me the copy of the book and for your truly lovely e-mail!

I did make room for this book I’ll be honest (read it the day after I got sent it!).
Have you ever made a pact with a best friend, to do something completely outlandish, planned to the last detail, with the only participants being you and your best friend?
But what if you could no longer make that pact a reality?
When Amy loses her best friend to cancer, she has not only lost her best friend; the one person that truly knew her, she has also lost Kat’s words of wisdom and friendship. They had a plan to go to Paris, everything was planned, outfits organised, itinerary known..but one important thing was missing. Kat. Amy could go to Paris with her husband, after all, it is a romantic city, she could go on her own with no husband and no Kat, or she could not go full-stop. Where do Amy’s priorities lay? With her husband, herself or her best friend that is no longer with her?

I was slightly disappointed when I began the book and read a chapter or two as there were rules on dieting and being obsessed with calories. As a person that has struggled with eating disorders and weight for many years, it caught me off guard a little bit. However, once I had removed my own personal struggles from the concept of the book and how that tied in with Amy’s character, my disappointment soon went and I began to enjoy it. The rules for dieting turned out to be quite cleverly done too.
I did feel quite sorry for Amy, she had just lost someone close to her and her husband was being a gigantic pain in the pear tree. Amy goes on her journey making some rather questionable decisions, but you can tell by the emotion within the story, that it was right for her despite the consequences that she will face.

I adored feeling as though I was getting a tour of Paris, monuments and well-known spots being described brilliantly. Well, I say brilliantly, I have never been to Paris but if I do go, I’ll expect it to look like what Karen has described it to be! No pressure haha. Despite the chic lit background what with the obsession with food and best friend plans, ‘The Paris Effect’ had some rather fast paced situations which bumped the book up another level for me, personally. I felt that it gave the story another dimension to it.

As Amy continued her journey she came across a selection of very different people. At first glance they were just the ‘average Joe’, but Amy soon released that people, and places, aren’t always as straight forward as we believe. My opinion of Amy differed immensely throughout the book because of every choice that she made. Part of me felt sorry for her, another part of me felt she needed to grow up, but then another part of me wanted to support her. How can you support someone who seems such a lost cause though?

I loved how each character stood out of the book in their own ways and weren’t just part of the story to make up numbers so to speak. ‘The Paris Effect’ was the first book that I had read of Karen’s so I was looking forward to finding out her style of writing. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Despite my earlier reservations, after a couple of chapters, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down and I was eager to find out what happened to each character and what path they were destined to be on.

‘The Paris Effect’ is a novel full of emotionally charged situations. A novel that opens your eyes to people’s motives, including your own. A novel that will take you on a journey around Paris and show you that it’s okay to eat nice things. A novel that will make you question whether you’re on the correct path for YOU or whether you are going along for the ride. A novel that, if like me, will leave you thinking that you have something ‘in your eye’. A novel that will make you message the author and ask her whether there will be a next book…..

Such a brilliant read, I would read it again in a heartbeat….unless the next book comes out and then I will read that first!

Blog tour for ‘Owl Song at Dawn’ by Emma Claire Sweeney.

Owl Song at Dawn by Emma Claire Sweeney.
Published 1st July 2016 by Legend Press.
Available to buy from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

‘Maeve Maloney is a force to be reckoned with. Despite nearing eighty, she keeps Sea View Lodge just as her parents did during Morecambe’s 1950s heyday. But now only her employees and regular guests recognise the tenderness and heartbreak hidden beneath her spikiness.

Until, that is, Vincent shows up. Vincent is the last person Maeve wants to see. He is the only man alive to have known her twin sister, Edie. The nightingale to Maeve’s crow, the dawn to Maeve’s dusk, Edie would have set her sights on the stage all things being equal. But, from birth, things never were.

If only Maeve could confront the secret past she shares with Vincent, she might finally see what it means to love and be loved a lesson that her exuberant yet inexplicable twin may have been trying to teach her all along.’

Thank you to Legend Press for giving me a copy of the book in return for my honest opinion.

Owl Song at Dawn is the type of book that, regardless of what anyone else says about it, you need to read it for yourself to capture the true essence of the story. Maeve has had a lot to contend with in her life. Not only has she been her own protector, she has had to be a protector for her twin sister Edie. Unfortunately,  people were treated much differently in the 1950’s compared to now, and disabilities weren’t accepted by many; if any.

Despite Maeve’s persona coming across as very guarded, I could tell that she carried a lot of hurt and loss on her shoulders. The loss of part of herself, her twin Edie. Throughout the story, Maeve is faced with dilemmas and past memories. She has kept Sea View Lodge the same over the years, and it’s a safe haven for people with disabilities to feel accepted.

Edie is never far from Maeve’s mind because she talks to Edie via the story as though she is right next to her, continuously protecting her.

How can people judge others without knowing them? The true meaning of Owl Song at Dawn hit home to me in multiple ways. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to deal with such prejudice about something you cannot control. You want to fight for the one you love, but there is only so much you can do if things are understood in different ways. I could feel the emotion right from the beginning to the very end, the powerful and fierce message the book contains is quite overwhelming.

Owl Song at Dawn is very well written despite having quite a harrowing storyline, which in turn makes it quite a deep read which I found tough to read at certain points. Despite that, I enjoyed the portrayal of loss versus love and finding comfort with moving forward into the unknown. Very inspirational.