#Review – A Song for Tomorrow by @alicepeterson1 @TeamBATC @simonschusterUK #cysticfibrosis

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Tom fell in love with Alice the moment he saw her. He realises that being with her will not be easy, but she is a force of nature, a burst of sunlight in his otherwise ordinary world. 
 
Some people might look at Alice and think she has everything, but Alice knows she is not like other women. Her life is complicated, unpredictable, difficult. Alice does not like pity. All she wants to do, has ever wanted to do, is sing.

Alice has been told not to follow her dreams. So has Tom. But when fate has already dealt a tough hand, it’s time to stop listening to everyone else and only follow their hearts.

What does TWG think?


This is by far the hardest review that I have written, to date. If you aren’t aware already, A Song for Tomorrow is inspired by the real life story, and journey, of UK-based singer and songwriter, Alice Martineau. Alice Martineau was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition which causes the sufferers lungs to become clogged with mucus (and many, many other symptoms). Because cystic fibrosis is a progressive illness (gets worse over time), life expectancy can be, unfortunately, a lot shorter than average.

A Song for Tomorrow follows the journey of Alice, a cystic fibrosis sufferer from the moment that she was born. From the outside, Alice is deemed ‘well’ and ‘able bodied’, but she is far from ‘well’. One night, Alice managed to attract a man’s attention without even realising it. Spellbound by her beauty, Tom knew that he would never, ever, be able to forget ‘the girl from the gallery’.

Even though this book is inspired by a true story, the characters personality and actions are fictitious; but the journey of a sufferer isn’t. At the beginning of the storyline, we learn about the steps Alice has to take to keep the harsh comments at bay. You’re probably thinking ‘what harsh comments?’, yes? The thing is, Alice has an invisible illness; she cannot rush up and down the stairs due to her lungs so to save the huffing and puffing from not-so-polite people, Alice had to make her invisible illness….visible. When I read that part of the book, my heart nose dived and I froze mid-paragraph; why on earth SHOULD invisible illness sufferers be made to feel that way? Just like the author of this novel, Alice Peterson; I have an invisible illness, well 7 illnesses, and to see that ignorance in black and white really hit home. I’m also hoping it hits home to everyone else too.

Before I read ‘A Song for Tomorrow’, I had only heard of cystic fibrosis and I was completely clueless about the illness. I felt as though my eyes were opening wider and wider, with every sentence that I read as I had no idea of the heartache behind such a devastating illness. Alice Peterson took an inspirational true story and created a character who, despite having death looming over her head, is more kick ass than ALL of the Marvel superheroes. Alice’s determination, strength and focus on achieving her dreams was absolutely breath-taking to read. She had a dream, she knew the possibility of achieving that dream was slim yet she knew that if she didn’t go for it now, it could be too late. Such an inspiring and courageous main character, inspired by a truly courageous young woman.

I’m not going to lie, the storyline isn’t all rainbows and head stuck in the clouds, hiding from the inevitable, no. The storyline has a lot of gritty, raw and dark moments which highlights the heart wrenching situations that a cystic fibrosis sufferer faces daily. They’re REAL moments, real heartache; and a real eye opener.

I am absolutely flabbergasted by Alice Peterson’s outstanding portrayal of such an emotional, real life story. I wish I could put into words exactly how much this book moved me, but I know that none of my words would be the right ones. Why? Because there aren’t enough perfect words to say that the storyline is heart breakingly beautiful. Yes, my heart did break reading this for multiple reasons, some personal and some not.

But nothing, NOTHING can hide the fact that Alice Peterson has written a book which, in my eyes, is deserving of such poignant accolades in the industry. Her deliverance of a topic which needs to be spoken about yet seen as ‘taboo’, was sensitively written yet undeniably raw and powerful. Alice Peterson has kept Alice Martineau’s memory alive through the life of ‘Alice’; I am in awe of this incredible author.

A Song for Tomorrow is an emotional, heartbreaking novel which has been written absolutely beautifully. It is a novel which will have you giggling one moment, then sobbing your heart out the next. It is a novel which highlights the power behind true friendships, true love and learning to believe in yourself. It is also a novel that has put invisible illnesses (cystic fibrosis) on the table and laid them bare, reminding people who just because you cannot see IT, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
I will never, ever forget this book or the emotion that poured out of my eyes whilst reading it.

An extraordinary story of hope; as long as you have A Song for Tomorrow.

Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster and Team Books and the City.

Buy ‘A Song for Tomorrow’ by Alice Peterson from Amazon UK

To find out more about Alice Martineau’s story which inspired Alice Peterson to write this novel, go to: About Alice Martineau.

If you wish to listen to Alice’s music from her debut album, Daydreams, click HERE!

About the author.

Alice Peterson writes contemporary fiction with humour and compassion. Her novels always have the feel good factor, but she also aims to take the reader to a darker place where characters have to overcome adversity. This is partly due to Alice’s own life experience of living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which she wrote about in her memoir Another Alice. She has written four novels: Monday to Friday Man, which has sold over 500,000 copies across all editions, Ten Years On, By My Side and One Step Closer to You, which won the Festival of Romance’s Best Romantic Read 2014.

Alice Peterson – Amazon Profile

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#Review! The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris (@AliHarrisWriter) @simonschusterUK

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Blurb.

How do you hold on to a love that is slowly slipping away from you?

Can you let go of the past when you know what is in the future?

And how do you cope when you know that every kiss is a countdown to goodbye?

This is the story of a love affair, of Ryan and Molly and how they fell in love and were torn apart. The first time Molly kissed Ryan, she knew they’d be together forever. Six years and thousands of kisses later she’s married to the man she loves. But today, when Ryan kisses her, Molly realises how many of them she wasted because the future holds something which neither of them could have ever predicted…

What does TWG think?

I have seen Ali’s books as I have nosed on Amazon in the past, yet never gotten round to reading one. Until now that is. Well, this book was recommended by THE Tracy Fenton on TBConFB (she gets everywhere! Don’t tell that I said that!), and I thought that if the Queen Bee herself thought it was fabulous, then it must be!

I will need to be incredibly vague in this review! I don’t want to give anything away by writing something that could potentially be linked to a spoiler; I wouldn’t be popular if I did that. ‘The First Last Kiss’ was yet another book that I read without looking at the blurb as all I went by was recommendation, and the title/cover. I didn’t seem to twig what the book was about based on the title, it wasn’t until the storyline unfolded that things became a lot clearer.

Imagine being in love; completely head over heels in love with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Got it? Now, try to imagine how you would feel if your relationship and life together was sitting on a mound of uncertainty….
You’re probably thinking that you would fight, regardless what life throws at you both, you’d fight, yes?
But what if it wasn’t up to you, or your partner to fight?
Life is about to shake things up for Ryan and Molly, and the only thing that is a guarantee in their lives…is devastation…

I’ll admit, I read this book completely unaware. I had no idea what to expect in regards to the storyline, or even Ali’s writing style.
It didn’t take me long at all to warm to both Ryan and Molly’s personalities, for completely different reasons. Don’t get me wrong, they had bad days as characters, just like us and I did find myself getting a bit frustrated with their choices sometimes. The fact that both of them came across very realistic and relatable was a big bonus. They also make such a lovely couple…when they get their act together of course!

As the storyline developed and the characters grew, I found myself incredibly settled. I didn’t want the book to end, nor did I want anything to change! No sooner had I thought that….WHAM.

What happened next completely caught me off guard. I couldn’t prepare myself or my emotions as I was in shock. Put it this way, I wasn’t moving my toosh off the sofa until the book was completely finished. Not that I was going to anyway mind you, but the change of pace in the storyline cemented that fact.

The way that Ali Harris wrote the entire novel, especially the last third, was exceptional. My hat goes off to her for the way she handled such a harrowing, and devastating topic with incredible sensitivity, yet still kept it realistic. I am sure a lot of readers have been able to relate to the circumstances the characters faced, and I am sure a few tears may have been shed along the way.

For me, I didn’t just shed a few tears; I sobbed my heart out at the powerful image Ali Harris’ writing had stamped in my mind. I sobbed my heart out due to the emotion that was jumping off every page and making itself known. I sobbed my heart out because the characters were emotional at times and because I had warmed to them, their pain was my pain…in a roundabout way.

Ali Harris has written such a powerful, intense yet beautiful read that is guaranteed to leave you with something in your eye. ‘The First Last Kiss’ will show you the true meaning of love, promises and honesty; all you need to do is focus on Ryan and Molly. I am in awe of Ali Harris and her incredible delivery of such a heart breaking subject. She has done it proud, beautifully written.

The First Last Kiss is available to buy from Amazon UK

 

‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ turns ONE today! Happy debut book birthday Heidi Swain!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR THE CHERRY TREE CAFEEEEEEEE
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

Plus, TWG would like to say a massive congratulations to Heidi Swain as one year ago today, her debut novel was published! (The Cherry Tree Café, if you haven’t worked it out ;)).

To help Heidi mark such a special occasion, she got the privilege(privilege was all mine really!!) of sitting down with TWG and answering all the questions that I ‘threw’ at her!

I have read and reviewed both of Heidi’s books, here are the links in case you missed the posts:
I need a coffee and a yummy cake, ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ anyone? Heidi Swain?
Book review of ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’ by Heidi Swain.

TWG: Thank you Heidi for stopping by the blog today, I really appreciate you taking the time to have a chat!  Seeing as this is your first interview on TWG, I’m going to ease you in gently with a quick fire round of questions, are you okay with that?

Yes, I love a quick fire round but before we begin can I just say thank you so much for inviting me? I am absolutely delighted to be making my first visit to your fabulous blog, especially on this exciting anniversary for The Cherry Tree Café.

TWG: Milk chocolate or white chocolate?
Milk

TWG: Books or movies?
Books

TWG: Movie adaptation or book?
Book, although I love the Merchant Ivory Forster adaptations and I’m a huge fan of Peter Jackson and his Tolkien adventures.

TWG: High heels or flats?
At 5 foot nothing in my socks I should probably make more of an effort, but flats all the way! I’m middle aged now and I take comfort over style any day!

TWG: Potatoes or pasta?
Potatoes

TWG: Blackjack chews or fruit salad chews?
Neither really. I’m not a huge sweetie fan.

TWG: If you could choose to be any animal, which one would you choose and why?
A hare. I love everything about them – their elusiveness, wildness and the mythology which surrounds them – I’m fascinated by it all. They thrive in south Norfolk and I’m lucky enough to see them on most trips out.

TWG: If you could choose one super power; which one would you choose and why?
Gosh, that’s a tough one.  Can I make one up? I’d rather like the ability to banish prejudice and hate, anything in fact that causes pain, fear and unhappiness.

TWG: Okay Heidi, hopefully that has melted any first time ice! Now let’s talk books!

TWG: For those that aren’t familiar with your work, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am an author of contemporary romance novels which are filled with a whole host of feisty female characters and some rather delicious heroes.  An author friend recently described my writing as ‘feel-good fiction’ and I’m thrilled to wear that badge! So far my novels have been based around the fictitious East Anglian country town of Wynbridge.

TWG: What made you decide one day to write your first book?
The decision to write my first novel wasn’t really a conscious one. I had finally taken the plunge and started to take my writing seriously, attending creative writing courses and submitting short stories to an online community. Writing my first novel seemed like the natural (but nonetheless daunting), next step.

TWG: Speaking of your first book; your debut novel ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ turns one today! Happy birthday! What are your plans for the birthday book today? I hope there is cake!
Thank you lovely. I ‘m still struggling to believe it’s been a whole year since The Cherry Tree Café was published! So many exciting things have happened in the last twelve months so this summery anniversary couldn’t be better timed for a little celebration of everything. Of course there will be cake and bunting and there will definitely be a few corks popping!

TWG: What was the inspiration behind ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’?
The Café itself came first and then Lizzie strolled in and told her story (it wasn’t quite that simple but you get the idea). Setting is hugely important to me and I love to write about places, jobs and lives that I would love to experience and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to spend their days surrounded by pretty crafting projects and luscious cakes? Personally I can’t imagine a more perfect combination and fortunately my publishers and readers agreed with me!

TWG: As well as having a book turning one, you have also had another reason to celebrate recently. Your second book ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’ was published in June of this year, congratulations! How would you describe your book using just one word?Idyllic

TWG: I adored ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’. It gave me the Calamity Jane type vibe with the homeliness. Are you a Calamity Jane fan?
I have to admit that until now Calamity Jane hasn’t been on my radar but if ‘homeliness’ is key then I know I’m going to love it! *heads straight to internet to search*

TWG: Are either of your books influenced by anything from your own life?
I grew up in the countryside. My dad’s family are arable Fenland farmers, my mum and stepdad were pig farmers and my granddad grew summer fruits and potatoes to sell at the local auction, (now sadly replaced by a housing estate). All of those things had an influence on Summer at Skylark Farm and I have also lived in some beautiful parts of the country so I understand the value of loving the landscape and having that connection with the earth and her seasons.

TWG: In ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’, Amber strikes me as the lost and unconfident type. What made you have that personality as your main character?
It was never my intention for her to come across as lost and unconfident. I think, given the fact that she moved to an environment and situation so far removed from her comfort zone, she coped pretty well. She got stuck in and always coped with whatever life on the farm threw at her. 

TWG: Will ‘Skylark Farm’ be appearing again in any of your future books?
Definitely! So many people have told me how thrilled they were that The Cherry Tree Café and Jemma and Lizzie featured in Summer at Skylark Farm that it would be impossible to let them all disappear. Pretty much everyone pops back up in Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market so you can look forward to discovering what happens to them all next!

TWG: Out of both of your books, which one was harder to write?
Summer at Skylark Farm I think. There is always that pressure to produce an even stronger book second time around and I hope I’ve done that. The Cherry Tree Café was very successful and lots of readers were waiting to see what I would do next. I hope I have lived up to their expectations. The reviews have been fantastic so far.

TWG: What is your writing space like?
I wrote a blog post recently titled ‘on being an adaptable author’ in which I explain that these days with deadlines looming I have to write pretty much anywhere.  I write in my car, on the sofa, in cafes and on the train. My spot for editing and typing up the longhand I write during the day however is always the same and that is at the head of the dining table in relative silence, if I’m lucky!

TWG: I am curious about your answer to this question! What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, the Magic Faraway Tree and the Wishing Chair were two firm favourites, but I also loved the Brambly Hedge tales and Beatrix Potter. I was hooked on anything with a country element from an early age. 

TWG: If TWG flutters eyelashes at you, would that persuade you to give us an exclusive? I would love to hear what we can look forward to from you next!
Well now, let’s see. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market will be published on October 20th in both paperback and e-book and I can’t tell you how excited I am to get my hands on the paperback. I might have had a little peek at the cover already but you mustn’t tell anyone. Needless to say it is gorgeous! The Books and the City Team produce such beautiful jackets and I’m planning on having them made into canvases to hang in our hall at home.
I’m currently writing the first draft of the Summer novel for next year which introduces some brand new characters to Wynbridge as well as catching up with some old friends but I can’t say more than that!

TWG: Heidi, it has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for joining me today. Happy birthday to your debut novel! Please do pop by the blog again, you’re always very welcome!
Thank you my lovely. It has been a real treat to visit and I can’t wait to come back and see you again very soon!

TWG gets another exclusive! Whoop! I absolutely loved doing that interview, such wonderful answers from Heidi, especially loving the Magic Faraway Tree! I don’t know about you, but I know what I’ll be buying on the 20th October in paperback! I hope you enjoyed reading the interview as much as I enjoyed being involved in it. I think it is an amazing achievement to be celebrating a debut novel reaching one year old, as well as having a second novel published within the same year. Congratulations Heidi!!

Here are all the important links that you’ll need to grab yourself a copy of Heidi’s books, as well as the links to keep up to date with the latest from the lady herself!!

Once again, happy birthday ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ and congratulations to Heidi!

happyyyy

Purchase links:
Buy ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ on Amazon UK.
Buy ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ from Amazon US
Buy Heidi’s latest novel ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’
Buy ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’ from Amazon US

Keep up to date with Heidi:
Heidi @ Simon and Schuster
Heidi Swain on Facebook
Follow Heidi on Twitter.