#BlogTour! Author @Catherine_ann_f shares her views on writer life @avonbooksUK #guestpost

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Author of the incredible novel; Four Weddings and a Fiasco, Catherine Ferguson, is back and she is bringing her brand new novel with her! ‘The Secrets of Ivy Garden’ was published on the 3rd April 2017 by Avon Books and is currently sporting a ‘Best Seller’ banner on Amazon UK already!! Today is day three of Catherine’s blog tour with me, TWG. I have a guest post from the lady herself where she shares her own personal thoughts about writer life, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Please follow the blog post until the end where there will be the all important new book details and to buy link for you!

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Fab and scary things about being a writer
by Catherine Ferguson.

Let’s get the scary things out of the way first …

That horrible first draft.

There’s a brilliant book on writing by Ann Lamott called Bird by Bird that explores all the high and lows of writing for a living – and her assertion that ‘all first drafts are shitty’ was a real relief moment when I read it. Because I realised it’s absolutely true – for me, at any rate. My first drafts are embarrassingly bad, and it can be quite scary when you’re right in the middle of it all and wondering why your sentences seem so dull and uninspiring this time round. You panic, thinking you’ve lost the knack altogether and you’ll never again be able to write a book that some people might actually enjoy.

                I used to agonise for ages over the opening chapter, polishing the same few thousand words over and over, aiming for perfection. But I’ve since realised that the trick, for me, is to just get it all down on the page, without stopping to read it back, no matter how childish it seems or how many holes in the plot I might suspect there are.

                Then, when I’ve got the words down (but not necessarily in the right order), I can go back to the beginning and transform my shambolic load of horse manure into something that makes sense and might even be emotionally engaging!

Self-motivation

You need this in spades to be a writer. As you’re usually working at home (with easy access to fridge, TV and social media, without a boss looking over your shoulder), it can be very hard to rev the engine and get motoring. I envy people who can be stern with themselves (no stopping until I’ve written a thousand words!) and actually carry through with it. I’ve found it helps to set a realistic word-count target that you know you can easily meet. Then, if you manage to actually exceed your target, you feel very pleased with yourself, which puts you in a helpfully positive frame of mind for the next day’s writing session!

            Reviews (bad)

It doesn’t matter how many great reviews you might already have, it’s the single bad one you will end up obsessing about. Scary!

And the fab things?

Light-bulb moments

These are the times I love best of all about being a writer.

                Light-bulb moments happen most often when I’m out walking to escape the screen for an hour. It can be anything from suddenly thinking of the most brilliant name for a character, to realising in a flash of inspiration exactly why I introduced the friendly post woman in chapter three. (When characters first come along, they’re not fully formed and it can take a while to get to know them and to find out what their motivation is.) I love it when a piece of the plot jigsaw suddenly falls into place and I realise, for example, that the friendly post woman would pair up perfectly with one of my male characters!

Publication day

There are butterflies in the stomach on publication day, when all your months of hard work are about to be revealed to the public. But they’re the deliciously scary kind rather than the exam-day dread type. Publication day is always exciting. And the perfect excuse for opening the champagne. I’m currently writing my sixth book but I know that when publication day arrives, I’ll be just as excited for this one as I was three years ago for my very first book …

Reviews (good)

Reviews mean so much to a writer – especially if they’re glowing! It can really make your day like nothing else if a reader takes the time to go on Amazon and tell the world that they really enjoyed reading your book. It makes you feel all months of the hard work were worth it.

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Whilst Catherine’s post made me chuckle, it was lovely to get an insight into a writer’s mind. If you thought that your one sentence opinion on a book (constructive) was irrelevant, think again. Reviews are what help authors get seen in a very busy market, although make sure your review is actually for the correct thing. I mean, you don’t want to review Catherine’s book with a line that should belong somewhere else now do you?

Thank you to Catherine Ferguson for the fabby-tastic guest post!
If Catherine’s Ivy Garden intrigues you with its secrets; here is the important ‘to buy’ link and the book information!

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The ebook bestseller is back with her next hilarious read – a fun, fresh tale of love, friendship and family secrets…

When Holly breaks up with her boyfriend Dean, she’s at a loss as to what to do next. But things go from bad to worse when her beloved grandmother Ivy dies – and Holly is left in charge of sorting out Ivy’s house and garden. As she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings and makes her way through the wilderness outside, Holly soon finds that there is more to Ivy than meets the eye, and uncovers a surprising family secret that changes everything…

This is a heart-warming and hilarious story from Catherine Ferguson about starting over, learning to garden and most of all learning to love.

Buy now from Amazon UK

A #bookreview of – When Stars Collide by Tammy Robinson.

When Stars Collide by Tammy Robinson.
Published: 20th September 2013.
Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US in Kindle and paperback formats.

‘When Ivy meets Walt at a party she sees past the corny pick up lines (a dare from his friends, or so he tells her) and his t-shirt featuring the immortal slogan, ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful – hate me because I have big boobs!’ and they fall in love. Not only is he Ivy’s first love, he’s also her first lover, and she’s sure nothing could ever come between them. Their love is simple yet magical, and they delight in the happiness they have created. But when tragedy strikes, their future is thrown into turmoil, and Ivy goes searching for answers. Will she find them? Or will she forever be searching for something which just isn’t there.’

Remember finding your first love, and the excitement that came with it? Remember not wanting to be apart from them and your family realising that you were growing up before their very eyes? Aw, a love story! A love story of Ivy and Walt to be precise. Two people falling head over heels in love with each other, excited for their future and being together…if only it was that simple. If only things were as straight forward as being in love and being allowed to get on with it. Never is, is it? It’s always very calm…..before the storm….
Yet again I read this book without reading the blurb, and once again I am glad that I did it that way. I wanted to see the story unfold without knowing a thing, which is exactly what’s going to happen in this review! Usually I write general things about a book without spoilers (obviously), just to give readers a rough idea before they read it. But this time, I’m not going to because I feel that it is a story you need to find out for yourself, just like I did. Why? Because the book is a work of art. I will tell you what I thought of it though, naturally. I absolutely loved it, from start to finish. The amount of raw and powerful emotion that escapes into the story is incredible. As it’s already known, you do get to remember the love story of a first love and experience how Ivy felt. But then everything changed. The dynamics in the book changed. I was sitting bolt up right in my bed with my hand covering my mouth. No, I’m not being dramatic, it is THAT powerful.
Every event within the story is backed with a very realistic description; to the point where I felt that I was looking through Ivy’s eyes to what she saw. It made me feel that I was Ivy, walking the same path has her, realising that love comes in multiple forms, and that it’s not just reserved for that special someone. Friends, family, pets…you catch my drift. As I’ve said already, ‘When Stars Collide’ isn’t a simple love story, not by miles. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried multiple times. All of the emotional parts of the story came through in different ways. It wasn’t upset for one particular part or chapter, it was various things within the whole book. Does that make sense?
The story made me realise that you need to grab things with both hands. Love with all your might. Make the effort with those you love and don’t pay attention to those you don’t love or care for. When Stars Collide may also teach you other lessons, such as, helping you to realise that people deal with things in different ways and just because you don’t agree with it, doesn’t make it wrong. It might even teach you that you don’t need to justify how you feel to anybody, but others need to respect how you feel. Why do I think you might get taught a few things? Because I did. I had never read such a powerful, poignant, emotional and raw book…until I read this one. I just had to keep reading it…which is why I finished the book in little over an hour. People have said to me before ‘why do you read books that make you cry?’ and my answer to that is this; you don’t tell yourself that you will cry at a story, it’s not something that you know will happen. But when you get a book such as this, that has such power over you to the point of you getting emotionally involved in the characters lives, it’s extremely hard not to get upset. Especially when the characters you have gotten to know throughout the story are faced with tragedies, uncertainty, and even themselves.
Tammy Robinson, you are incredible at what you do and I am in awe of you and your work. Such a talented and humble individual, yet can produce such powerful writing. Amazing.

A chat with the #LifeSwap lady herself – Carol Wyer!

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Edit: included in #TalkOfTheTown Talk of the town with help from Carol!

First of all I would like to say a MASSIVE congratulations to the truly wonderful Carol Wyer, as today (22nd April 2016) is the publication date for her newest novel – Life Swap! A few weeks ago, if you remember, I posted a review of the novel as I was lucky enough to read it before the release date! Thank you again to Carol and Bookouture for allowing me to do so. If you can’t remember the review (I’ll be insulted if you can’t!!!), then please click the following link to have a nose: Life Swap by Carol Wyer.

Ever since that review was posted, I have had the honour and privilege to be included in Carol’s circle, an honour I do not take lightly. It does mean the world to me. However, I do have ONE small moan….I mean….I know newsletters are the thing with authors and so on, but honestly…where the fried eggs are my marshmallows?!? Marshmallows do seem to be the topic of conversation lately, and I am sure you’re wondering why.

Well, if you hop along to Amazon UK/Amazon US/Amazon Worldwide to buy your copy! Go on! You will regret it if you don’t. But, before you do, I managed to nab the busy lady herself for a natter. Sit back and relax. It is with great pleasure that I welcome Carol to The Writing Garnet. Here’s what we had a chat about:

Kaisha: Where did you get the inspiration from for the ‘Life Swap’?

Carol: As is the case with most of my books it started when I was eavesdropping a conversation. To be fair I was included in the conversation but was only half-paying attention at the time. A friend was leafing through a magazine while simultaneously complaining about her lot in life. My ears pricked up when she announced she would like to swap lives with Kim Kardashian. When pressed on the matter, she was adamant that she would give up everything and everyone she knew if someone could magically get her to exchange lives. It lead to a discussion about who we would swap with and why and would we really give up it all to swap lives.

Kaisha: Several of the events were hilariously farfetched; did you find those parts hard to write?

Carol: No. I have a truly bizarre sense of humour. Sorry folks but I do. I rarely sleep so maybe its a product of a hyper-active, completely over-tired brain. I lie awake most nights just thinking about stuff and plotting for my books. My mind often relays events of the day to me as if they were in a cartoon and people are little cartoon figures. Don’t ask me why that happens but a recent conversation with my mother revealed she does the same. I think it’s some sort of coping mechanism so when things are tough my brain makes them easier to digest. When I write some of the more far-fetched scenes in my books, I imagine them first like they’re employing out in a comedy film acted by someone like Ben Stiller or Rowan Atkinson. My mind rolls my books as films throughout the night and I stop the scene, replay, change sequences or characters, re-roll the scene in my head and when I am happy with it, convert it to writing.

Kaisha: Every chapter in the book had a turn of events or a cliff-hanger, how did you decide to do that?

Carol: It’s deliberate. I’m afraid I am a manipulator of emotions. I learned the technique of leaving cliffhangers when i studied Literature years ago. I always encourage the reader to be urged on. i want them to be reluctant to put the book down. It’s pretty much how I read too. I am a speed reader and I gallop through books at a rate of knots.

Kaisha: Do you think it warrants a sequel, ‘The life after the demonised life swap’?

Carol: Tempting as it is to pick up these characters again, I think it’s run its course. The surprise element would be difficult to replicate in a sequel.

Kaisha: I must ask this, do you have an obsession with marshmallows? You manage to describe them on an impressive level!

Carol: I have an obsession with sweets in general and I adore marshmallows. I get through bags and bags of sweets when I am typing. I have had to cut down dramatically as the last three times I have broken teeth on chewy jelly sweets and had to get new crowns. This next book I am going to abstain…really…well, maybe only a few marshmallows.

Kaisha: If you were able to life swap with anyone, who would it be and why? Doesn’t have to be someone you’ve met!

Carol: I’d swap with the businesswoman Celia Sawyer. She’s one of the most influential businesswomen in the UK, runs a hugely successful interior design company and property company, is a dealer on Channel Four’s Four Rooms, flies about in a beautiful jet, has homes in London and Barbados, hangs out with celebrities, is very intelligent, stunning, looks incredibly glamorous and owns the most amazing collection of footwear including some Christian Louboutin boots I covert. Sadly, I’m pretty certain she wouldn’t want to swap lives with me and drive on a windy hill with Mr Grumpy.

Kaisha: You have a wild sense of humour, have you always been like that?

Carol: It’s a very long story but the shortened version is I developed a sense of humour really early on in my life as a way to combat bullies. I was one of those kids that got picked on thanks to looking weird, wearing specs and then smashing out my front teeth and having false teeth that kept falling out!

At one point when I was pretty low, my mum took me to see Ken Dodd who I loved and that changed my life. He made everyone laugh so much and didn’t care about his sticky out hair or sticky out teeth. He sang a song at the end of the show called, happiness and in my 11-year-old mind I fused happiness and laughter. From that day, I started to laugh at myself and made others laugh. They laughed with me rather than at me and I discovered the power of humour.

Kaisha: What has been your proudest writing achievement to date?

Carol: There have been a few but when I got interviewed on BBC Breakfast about my book Grumpy Old Menopause I was elated and when I won the People’s Book Prize Award for the same book last year and accepted my prize at a glitzy award ceremony that was televised by Sky News, I felt over the moon.

Kaisha: Are there any authors you have found to be a type of role model?

Carol: When I first started writing I wrote to Janet Evanovich who I admire hugely. She answered my email and encouraged me to “go for it”. I loved her for taking time to email me even though she was so busy. I would love to be as successful as her and write such hugely entertaining books.

Kaisha: What did you aspire to when you were a child? Has it always been to write?

Carol: Actually, I wanted to be a vet but I failed Biology at school and ended up doing languages instead. I was always good at English and one teacher in particular pointed out to the class that I was extremely good at writing comedy (even way back then). I have been writing since I was twenty. I started when I was bed bound in hospital for many weeks, then wrote stories for children when I lived in Morocco. I didn’t try and get them published because I didn’t believe I was good enough.

It took me until my thirties to send some children’s stories away to a publisher. They were illustrated stories about animals in France and taught basic French to children. We were in talks to sign to a big publishing house when my best friend and illustrator died suddenly and I pulled the books. I didn’t try to get published again until I started writing full-time in 2009.

Kaisha: If you could have written any book that has already been published, which one would you choose and why?

Carol: I wish I’d written Fifty Shades of Grey. Ha! Seriously, I can’t write sex scenes for love nor money. During a conversation with my 82-year-old mother while I was writing Just Add Spice, I made some comment about writing a sex scene and she laughed. The next day I got a letter from her containing a photo of a handsome naked man and the note, “To jog your memory.”. It’s not so much the content of the book that I wish I’d written but I would love to see my books being hauled off the shelves in supermarkets as if there was going to be a shortage f them. Oh to have that success!


Kaisha: What writing habits do you despise?

Carol: Shoddy editing. I cannot read a book that is full of typos and poor grammar. I’ll accept a few mistakes but some authors (especially self-published ones) are too keen to publish their books as soon as they complete them and ignore how important it is to edit.


Thank you Carol for such a wonderful chat. It has to be the most funniest interview I have ever had. So, you have heard it here first, she wishes she had written ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. You never know, Carol’s next novel might be an erotic one, possibly involving melted marshmallows….or not!

Life swap is available to buy RIGHT NOW from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Amazon Worldwide. Also, if you want to keep up to date with Carol’s humour and updates of new novels, then you can follow her blog right here: Carol Wyer’s Blog. If you are in need of a pick me up and feel you need to lose yourself for a little while, then I suggest you go and buy this. You will not be disappointed, I certainly wasn’t. Bizarrely hilarious from the onset. Carol Wyer, it has been a pleasure having you on the blog today, and congratulations on your latest release!

 

An Autumn Affair by Alice Ross. Book Review.

An Autumn Affair by Alice Ross. (Book one of Countryside Dreams series).
Published: 21st April 2015 by Carina UK.
Available on Amazon in Kindle format.

‘Autumn is coming. Anything could happen…
Julia is contemplating an affair with ex-boyfriend Max after a chance meeting in the cereal aisle of the supermarket…and finding that he’s just as gorgeous as ever.
Miranda has got it all: expensive clothes, a huge house and her enormously wealthy husband, Doug. So why does she feel as if something is missing?
Faye is fed up of being treated like a child – she’s a teenager, and knows what she wants! She’s determined to escape her sleepy life at Primrose Cottage…
Three women, each with two options, needing to make one choice. When it comes to affairs of the heart, nothing is ever simple.’

An Autumn Affair follows the lives of two grown women and a teenager on the verge of becoming an adult. All three ladies have their own story to tell, and as it is known, everyone’s story is different. These ladies are no exception. At first you’re introduced to Julia; a woman who has spent over twenty years trying to get over her first love…by getting married to a man called Paul and having twins. Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it? But, during her typical Friday food shopping, Julia found herself re-evaluating her life by a box of Frosties. Thanks to her daughter Faye getting herself into a ‘minor’ pickle, Julia’s eyes become fully open to what has been the obvious decision all along. But is it an easy one?
Now Faye. The teenager. Julia’s daughter. The teenager that wants to be treated like an adult and act like an adult, but doesn’t seem to want to think about consequences. Which results in her wanting her mum…but at what cost?
The third lady you come across in the story is Miranda. She is married to a very wealthy man and has one daughter. She has the lifestyle most women would dream of. But can money really buy happiness? Is everything in Miranda’s life as rosy as people think?
What can I say about ‘An Autumn Affair’? Quite a lot actually! This was another book that I picked to read purely based on the cover, and the title, so everything I read was going to be a surprise. I felt the switching between the three ladies was ever so slightly confusing to begin with, but once I got into the story it flowed so well and I became grateful it was split because my attention could be on each lady and their individual stories. I was hooked after the second chapter and it get me gripped throughout. Every time I read what one lady got up to, I was itching to find out what happened to the next one! Each lady had their own problems to deal with and it did keep me guessing because just when I thought I could predict the next situation, I was totally wrong. I love books that do that! For me personally, the whole point of reading a book is to be surprised and to feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. Did this book live to that? 100% yes. I was shocked at some of the characters stupidity, humbled by how one person can forgive a betrayal, and yes, I welled up. Shock!
Most importantly though I felt that the story carried a very strong message about identity, life and choosing the path that is right for you. Whilst all three ladies seem to be good at putting on a front and making themselves think that they’re happy, deep down they aren’t. But in the end, who gets hurt the most? Whilst the book had humour and light-hearted moments, it also had some very real moments which were written with a great deal of compassion. Reading ‘An Autumn Affair’ has been an eye-opener, and a  wonderful thought-provoking read. I loved it. If I could sum up this book in one sentence I would say that it is a hug in a book and definitely my go to book of the year so far. I cannot wait to read the second one.

How to get hitched in ten days by Samantha Tonge. A Book Review.

How to get hitched in ten days by Samantha Tonge. (Novella)
Published: 11th February 2016 by Carina.
Available on Amazon in Kindle format.

‘How not to get the girl…

Meet Mikey, every girl’s best friend – he bakes the creamiest cheesecake, loves movie nights and is a great dance partner.

For Jasmine, Mikey is the perfect flatmate – he owns a 50s diner that turns out the best food around, gives the best bear hugs and amazing romance advice – after all they’re scoping out the same hot guys! So when her boyfriend proposes in the worst possible way, Jazz knows her best friend will be there to pick up the pieces with gourmet popcorn, Pinot sleepovers and a shoulder to lean on.

But Mikey isn’t about to let Jasmine give up on love, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to mend her broken heart – even if it means helping the one person who sees him as the enemy…

Because at the end of the day, all’s fair in the pursuit of true love… right?’

How far would you go to fix things for your best friend? To the end of the Earth I’m sure. But how far would you go to fix your best friend when there is someone involved that seems to have lost their tongue and gained rudeness? Tough one isn’t it.

Well, Mikey loves to retro, nice clothes, his diner, but most importantly, he loves his best friend Jasmine. Mikey is the shoulder to cry on and the person to turn to when you need a dose of chick flick movies and wine. But, it seems as though Mikey is disliked by someone who is a ‘permanent’ fixture in his life. Who could that be I wonder? Why would a fun-loving, hug giving best friend be disliked?

Jasmine has a boyfriend, good job with good prospects, but a past that keeps haunting her. Thanks to her boyfriends disastrous mistake, her past is too close for comfort. Can she move past her past to settle down with someone who she loves? Or will the decision already be made for her due to other people’s stupidity?

I hadn’t read a novella before (short story), so I wasn’t sure how much information and description would go into one. I was pleasantly surprised because despite the length of the book, it didn’t feel as though you were missing out on anything. Mikey and Jasmine were written with very likeable personalities, as well as having the ‘cover face with hands because you weren’t thinking’ characters. Of course I don’t mean in terms of Samantha’s writing!! I mean the fact that one or two made stupid mistakes and you end up sitting there thinking ‘why the roly poly did you do that?!’. So yes, that’s why I covered my face with my hands. I never realised someone could be that….idiotic! It did make me laugh, and as I have just said…cringe, several times. I also felt sorry for some of the characters! For a light read, it definitely packed a lot of punch into the storyline and even covered some issues that are quite prominent in today’s society. I found that to be an extremely clever turn in the story. Such a lovely, light-hearted book to  relax and get cosy with, definitely one I will be reading again! Thank you Samantha!

From Scotland to England With Ali Mcnamara….Actually.

I am squealing as I type this. If you’re currently hearing a high pitched noise, or your dog has its ears pricked up listening for something, don’t panic, only me!

It is with great pleasure and honour to welcome Ali McNamara to The Writing Garnet! Ali McNamara is well known for the ‘Notting Hill’ series (my book review of book 1 can be found HERE, and currently has six novels to her name, with her seventh being published this July.

Ali agreed to an interview with me for the blog, so here is what we had a chat about, enjoy!

Kaisha: – You already know I’m a massive fan of yours, but who inspires you in terms of other authors, if any?

Ali – Thank you! From my own genre I’ve always loved Cecelia Ahern, as her stories are always a little bit different. At the moment I also love reading J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, and Mitch Albom’s books – a bit like Cecelia, something a little different…

Kaisha – You went into a great amount of detail with the Notting Hill series, bringing movies to life. Did you find that hard to do, or are you a movie buff just like Scarlett is?

Ali – I love the types of movies Scarlett does – feel good films that make you smile! :).  I spent a long time re watching all my favourites, and some I hadn’t seen before, as research for the first Notting Hill book. And I got to call it work!

Kaisha – I have to ask. Bridget Jones’s diary turned 15 this month and she is having a baby in the new film! Do you have any plans to bring Scarlett and co back for a fourth book?

Ali – I would LOVE to write about Scarlett again! I always planned another book where children were definitely on the horizon for her and Sean. However things change quite quickly in publishing, and at the moment my own publishers aren’t so keen for another Notting Hill book. But never say never! I miss those characters; they may be back one day….

Kaisha – Your book ‘Step back in time’ had quite a lot of celebrity references too in terms of music, how long did it take you to research that particular book?

Ali – A long time! Step Back in Time is one of my personal favourites, but because its set in five different decades, it was one of the hardest to write in terms of research, everything had to be checked and double-checked!

Kaisha –  If you could pick just one of your books as your favourite, which would it be and why?

Ali – Whoops, I think I answered that above! But the Notting Hill characters will always be special to me.

Kaisha – Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Ali – No, definitely not.  However, because I’m an only child I’ve always had a very active imagination!

Kaisha – If you hadn’t become a writer, what would career path would you see yourself in right now?

Ali – Law. I love fighting for what’s right!

For those that are fans of the ‘Notting Hill’ series, cross your fingers for a fourth book! Thank you again to Ali for taking the time out to have a chat with me and answering my questions. It has been an absolute pleasure. You have also put my inquisitiveness to rest for a little while! Ali’s new novel ‘Letters from Lighthouse Cottage’ is out 14th July 2016, and is available to pre-order on Amazon right now, so make sure you get your copy snapped up ready for publication date!

 

 

 

 

The Summer Escape – Book Review

The Summer Escape by Lily Graham.
Published: 26th May 2016 by Bookouture.
Available on Amazon in Kindle format.

Amongst the beautiful olive groves and sea-front tavernas, summer has arrived on the sun-drenched island of Crete.
After losing the love of her life, Ria’s life has been on hold. So when her boss becomes completely unbearable she makes the snap decision to run away to the Greek island of Crete, armed only with her passport.
When Ria finds herself working for eccentric novelist Caroline, she meets handsome vineyard owner Tom. He’s charming, mysterious and Ria starts to wonder if it’s not just the beautiful Greek island that she’s falling for.
But as Ria gets to know Tom better, she uncovers a tangled web of secrets. What is he hiding? Ria has some secrets of her own. Can she open up to Tom and learn to live again?
This summer, escape to the sun with this charming and emotional story about starting over and grabbing happiness with both hands.

This is becoming a habit of mine. ‘What is?’ I hear you ask, leaning forward on the edge of your seats waiting patiently for my words…….
Sorry, I went on holiday, to Crete for approximately six hours. Well, it only took me six hours to read! Back to my habit. This was yet another book I judged by its cover. Sorry!! I hadn’t read the blurb before I began to read it, I just spotted the cover and the author on Twitter and went to read it for a review. Simple as that. Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for the advance copy of the book!
At first glance, the cover made me think it was going to be a light-hearted, romantic, simplistic book which gives you an idea to find a holiday romance on your travels. Is that what you’re thinking it’s about?
Welcome to Ria’s life, or lack of, seeing as she is stuck in a job with a boss and a colleague that finds fault in everything she writes. Ria finds herself in a difficult situation after terrible things happened in her life, making her future become full of uncertainty. No five-year plan anymore so to speak. Should she stay, or should she go?
Ria makes a decision that changes her life once and for all. A decision that puts her on the path that a loved one had wanted for her all along. But how influential was that loved one? Will Ria be able to honour her loved ones dreams, but more importantly, will Ria be able to find herself again and honour her own dreams?
Along the way you meet vibrant and exciting characters, some who you probably won’t pay too much attention to at first, and some that you wish you had paid more attention to. On her travels, Ria finds herself in hot water, more than once, thinking that she was about to lose her new-found life. Can she hold onto it? Will Ria finally get the happy ending she has dreamt about? Or will Ria find herself going back to living with her parents, working with a teacher’s pet?
After reading the book, I found my first glance to be somewhat incorrect. I mean, it is a romantic story, very romantic. However, oh my goodness me! It isn’t simplistic at all and I love that! The amount of skeletons that you see come from the closet is unbelievable. The amount of secrets that ONE family, sorry, no, one person can have is absurd! Absurd in a ‘this makes fantastic reading’ kind of way. I felt sorry for Ria throughout most of it because she has had an incredibly tough time, and you find yourself willing her to succeed and be happy. Even when she lands herself in hot water you will probably find yourself willing for her still, wanting her to finish what she started! I wouldn’t suggest reading this book when you’re hungry though. You go to several bakeries in the story, more than once, and unless you don’t like Greek pastries then you’re going to be a tad stuck. I have never tried Greek pastries myself, but oh I want to now.
Several times during the book I laughed out loud, the humour and jokes between Ria and Caroline (her new boss) are on point. Modern humour. This book should have come with a warning though: ‘WARNING: do not, under any circumstances, forget the tissues’. Why? Because you will cry! I hope you do actually, because if you don’t then I’m even more soppy than I thought and I cannot have that. So when you read it, cry. Deal?
‘The Summer Escape’ is a book about love, dreams, second chances, but more importantly; truth. It is such an unpredictable read which will have you captivated by the end of the first chapter. Lily Graham has written a book that will stay in the back of your mind, in a good way, and make you question your own paths in life. Are you living your life for somebody else, or are you living your life for YOU?

I have had the absolute pleasure the past few days to get to know Lily, and not only is she a wonderful writer, she is also a wonderful person. You’re all in for a good time with this book. Lily, I cannot wait for your next book, please keep me updated! If it’s anything like this one, it will be incredible!