#Review of A Life Without You by Katie Marsh (@marshisms) @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity

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Can you ever outrun the past?

It’s Zoe’s wedding day. She’s about to marry Jamie, the love of her life. Then a phone call comes out of the blue, with the news that her mum Gina has been arrested. Zoe must make an impossible decision: should she leave her own wedding to help?

Zoe hasn’t seen Gina for years, blaming her for the secret that she’s been running from ever since she was sixteen. Now, Gina is back in her life, but she’s very different to the mum Zoe remembers. Slowly but surely, Gina is losing her memory.

As she struggles to cope with Gina’s illness, can Zoe face up to the terrible events of years ago and find her way back to the people she loves?

A Life Without You is a stirring and poignant novel about the power of the past – and the possibilities of the future.

What does TWG think?

I need to apologise BIG TIME. I bought Katie’s book a while ago, it even made my ‘Top Books of 2016’ list (TWG’s Top 24 Books of 2016! @Bookouture @headlinepg @HQStories @canelo_co @littlebrownuk &more), BUT, what I didn’t do was write my review for it! I honestly thought that I had, but obviously I hadn’t. I am very sorry that you’re just getting my review now, Katie Marsh!

Mum…or soon to be husband, which one would you pick? No, I’m not saying that you need to play eeny meeny minee mo just for the sake of it. Let me ask that question in a different way; if you received a phone call which alerted you to a situation with a person (your mum)  you hadn’t seen for many years, whilst you were gearing up to get married to the love of your life, which one would you choose? Stay and get married? Or go and help a person who probably won’t want your help, yet…is your mum? Tough decision to make really, isn’t it?

Zoe hasn’t seen her mum, Gina, for a very long time. Unsure as to whether she would ever see Gina again, Zoe tried to get on with her life and move forward, except the call she received on her wedding day completely turned her whole world upside down…

My heart went out to Jamie for Zoe’s actions, and my heart went out to Zoe for Gina’s actions. I’ve seen a few reviews where the reader has said how walking out of a wedding is a ‘no-no’ and ‘unrealistic’, but I beg to differ. It is realistic but the chances of anyone stating that they have been jilted at the aisle is slim to nil. Not really THE conversation starter is it? As readers, we walk into the storyline partway through the characters lives, and we are unaware of their pasts, relationships with people and so forth. All we know is what they are doing when we open up the book, therefore we cannot really judge a character, in this case, Zoe, on their actions at the very start of a book as their reasons are still hidden within the book.

Zoe DID have her reasons and there was A LOT more to Gina than ‘just getting arrested’. Little did we know that Gina’s journey was heading down a harrowing path; I had no idea how harrowing it was going to be until it hit me. This review is quite hard to write because whilst I want to talk about the book, every situation is linked with a vital piece of information and I don’t think I would be too popular if I wrote this review with spoilers in!

‘A Life Without You’ absolutely blew me away, and at times it felt like my heart was being ripped out due to the emotion that was pouring from my eyes like a waterfall. The family dynamics within this book, despite being broken and rocky, are surprisingly strong and full of hidden courage. Gina’s battle was incredibly eye-opening yet incredibly devastating, Zoe and Lily (along with real life readers) must have felt so powerless as they watched their mother deteriorate before their very eyes, becoming a shadow that even Gina herself didn’t know. For me, the most powerful relationships within the storyline were Zoe, Lily’s and Gina’s, every other character played a part in their own ways, but those three ladies lives shook me to the core.

Katie’s ability to write a raw, poignant and emotionally charged storyline deserves an incredible amount of respect. The fact that she delved into a relatable and devastating illness with such poise and sensitivity, really showcased her writing talent, putting her in the ‘one of my favourite authors’ box.

A Life Without You is a storyline guaranteed to make you shed a tear or ten, whilst also filling your heart with love towards fictitious characters. This book also highlights the importance of trust, honesty and ensuring that you’re there for the ones you love, regardless of how hard it may be at the time. You need them and they need you. Reaching the end of Katie Marsh’s novel was a struggle as I couldn’t see the book properly through my tears.

An inspiring, thought-provoking and emotional read, whilst it broke my heart into pieces it also protected and comforted me whilst reading. Katie Marsh has delivered perfection with this novel, in my eyes anyway. An unbelievable author, and after reading this, one of my favourite authors of all time. Incredible. I just wish I could find the right words for my feelings towards this book..

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – How to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Mansell (@AnnaMansell) @bookouture

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Sorry to break your hearts ladies and gentlemen, but we have come to the end of the blog tour for Anna Mansell’s debut, How to Mend a Broken Heart! TWG isn’t the only one helping to close the tour, so make sure you check in with my blogging buddy, Laura Bambrey Books too. Seeing as I have broken your heart by being the bearer of bad news in regards to the tour, I SUPPOSE I had better tell you how to mend your broken heart eh?
Oh, I can’t. Anna Mansell has already done that so read my review and you can mend your own heart via the Amazon ‘to buy’ link at the bottom! Enjoy!

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Hello? Rhys Woods? I have a patient here I think you know. Yours is the only number in her diary…

When Rhys is called to the hospital to meet Susan, a woman he barely knows, he is compelled to help her. Still grieving the loss of his brother months earlier, Rhys knows all too well the feeling of loneliness.

There are years between them, but Rhys is the only person Susan will respond to, and when she asks him to bring her her most treasured possession, a book of fairytales, he is intrigued.

Hidden in the book is a clue to Susan’s past, and the painful regrets she carries with her. And as Rhys starts to unearth Susan’s secrets, he finds that his own grief begins to heal too…

Together, Susan and Rhys must learn to live again. Can they help each other to find happiness and finally mend their broken hearts?

How to Mend a Broken Heart is a heart-wrenching and absorbing story about second chances, forgiveness, and making every second count, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.

What does TWG think?

I really do feel like a worn out record saying this, BUT, if you think the cover hints that the storyline is a candyfloss type of chic lit/romance novel where the ending signifies walking off into the sunset, stop right there. Now, I adore the cover as it’s simple, pretty, and very eye-catching in a very intriguing way. However, all you really need to focus on with the cover is the title and the author as this storyline contains more grit than the front cover could ever hold. By all means, admire the cover, but don’t let yourself get hung up over it or try to question what lies behind the cover. How to Mend a Broken Heart has a storyline which needs to be savoured word by word, line by line and page by page…

I had a little nose at some of the reviews which have already been posted on Goodreads, before I started writing my review and a lot of readers have the cover as a talking point. Just like many others, my first reaction to the novel was based on its cover and an assumption. But, as soon as I got stuck into Anna Mansell’s novel, I quickly realised how my initial reaction to the book could not have been further off the mark if I tried.

The novel introduces the three main characters, Kat, Rhys and Susan pretty early on in the storyline, even though it is quite clear that things aren’t quite as simple as they first seem. Kat is nursing her broken heart after being dumped by her long-term boyfriend. Rhys heart got completely smashed when his brother committed suicide. And then there is Susan, her heart has been broken for many, many years and she is stuck in her own emotional jail. Which one of the characters, if any, will be able to find the right key to free Susan from her turmoil?

As soon as someone says that they’ve had their heart-broken we automatically assume it’s to do with a relationship. I know I do. I mean, the only way you get your heart broken is when your partner dumps you, right? Completely WRONG. Before I read Anna Mansell’s novel, my mindset was the same as the above, yet the complexity of each character within the storyline, opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of things can break someone’s heart; such as suicide, any other death related circumstances or horrific events involving people you know, love or care about, just to name a few. Every human being will have their own trigger where their heart is concerned, just like Kat, Rhys and Susan. Three individual people with one big thing in common; they all have had their heart broken yet no-one else will understand their own personal pain.

This storyline had me pinned against the sofa with a little voice whispering in my ear, ‘don’t you even think about putting this book down!’. Even if I wanted to put it down (which I didn’t), I couldn’t tear myself away from the emotional orb I had found myself temporarily residing. Even though the book contains a lot of intense moments, it also contains many, many heart-warming and uplifting scenes; it was as though you were walking the journey with the characters and holding their hands for comfort. Does that make sense? I love how Anna Mansell has been able to acknowledge heartbreak in various different forms, highlighting the fact that everyone’s life journey is exactly that…their own. I truly believe that a lot of readers will be able to relate to the three main characters as they all have such a powerful presence within the storyline.

It really blows my mind that ‘How to Mend a Broken Heart’ is Anna Mansell’s debut novel, as she has such a distinctive writing style which automatically made me feel as though I already knew her. I could tell that Anna Mansell has poured her heart and soul into every single line of the book, as though she had published 123248347 books previously.

‘How to Mend a Broken Heart’ made me wear my heart on my sleeve (for an Ice Queen that is unheard of), due to its intense, emotional and raw situations. I cried whilst reading this, more than once, and I’m not ashamed in the slightest. Anna Mansell, if I could hug you right now I would, truly!

A spellbinding novel full of love, tears and heart ache, How to Mend a Broken Heart not only shows how the heart can be broken, it also shows how broken hearts are mended with the right love, care and attention. To you that ‘thing’ may be small, but to another person it may just be the one ‘thing’ they have been searching for to fix their broken heart. Don’t judge, just love. Absolutely fantastic novel, Anna Mansell has set the bar incredibly high with her outstanding debut novel, How to Mend a Broken Heart.

Thank you Bookouture.

Buy: Amazon UK // Amazon US

About the author.

Anna spent almost twenty years trying to shoehorn writing in to her career as a marketing manager for dance and theatre companies. Eventually, she did what you are not remotely supposed to do and walked away from an excellent job in order to try to become a published author. Three years, lots of tears and some slightly hairy bank balances later, she met Kirsty Greenwood and the rest, as they say, is history. Anna lives in Cornwall with her husband and two kids. She feels very fortunate!