Thursday, 27 July 2017

This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh

What happens when you get the second chance you never expected?

Abi is living her happy ending. She's in remission and is ready to make the most of her second chance at life. But during Abi's illness her family has fallen apart. Her husband John has made decisions that are about to come back to haunt him, while her teenage son Seb is battling with a secret of his own.
Set to the songs on Abi's survival playlist, this is the story of what happens next as Abi tries to rebuild her family. Can she bring the people she loves most in the world back together again... before it's too late?

This Beautiful Life is the first book I have read by Katie Marsh and having now finished this powerful and emotive read I know it on't be my last as this book is sure to leave a lasting impression on me.

The storyline introduces us to a family who have been through a desperate time with mum Abi fighting cancer and now she is in remission it shows the effects that the fight has had on the whole family and how as a sufferer it completely changes your outlook on life in the immediate aftermath. We also hear from her son Seb and how he has coped but he is hiding his own challenges which he is determined to hide from his parents. Husband John who was a rock all the way through now sees his marriage falling apart and he can't put it right.
This was such a raw emotional read that will touch each and every reader it was so honest and realistic and was delivered with such sensitivity and detail. I have read a number of books now with cancer patients as our main characters but this storyline was unlike any I had read not being afraid to show that Abi still has her flaws and makes mistakes just like anyone else. Seb is also hiding something he is trying to come to terms with which again was very insightful and dealt with so tenderly.
I love how we hear from both Abi and Seb's points of views which gives even more depth to their characters and makes their stories even more poignant hearing from both of their thoughts. Another wonderful touch was the playlist that compliments this book, at the beginning of each chapter we are treated to another new song which Abi dedicates to her loved ones.
The ending is one of those that has you shouting at the pages " YOU CAN'T FINISH THERE" but in hindsight having now taken a day or two to complete this review it is actually a perfect realistic ending to an honest plot.
This was an insightful and heartfelt read that will stay on my mind for a long time to come. This author has really touched my heart with her beautiful writing style I can not wait to delve into another of her novels even if it is to have my heart broken all over again!


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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by Heidi Swain

When Lottie Foster’s grandmother’s best friend Gwen dies, she leaves Lottie her lovely home, Cuckoo Cottage.

Lottie loves the cottage but Matt, a charming local builder, points out that beneath its charm it is falling apart. Luckily he is always on hand to help with the problems that somehow seem to keep cropping up. But is he just a bit too good to be true? Certainly Will, Lottie’s closest neighbour, seems to think so.

Lottie plans to set up her own business renovating vintage caravans. She hasn’t told anyone about the project she has cooked up with Jemma from The Cherry Tree CafĂ© to repurpose Gwen’s old caravan and turn it into a gorgeous tearoom.

But before she can finally enjoy living with her legacy she must uncover who she can trust, and who to avoid. And with two men vying for her attention, will she also find love?




Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage is the latest release by Heidi Swain and sees us returning to the idyllic village of Wynbridge with the introduction of a new main character the lovely Lottie Foster. When Lottie’s grandmothers best friend passed away she left Lottie her home, Cuckoo Cottage, hoping that this would give Lottie the chance to make a real life for herself. As Lottie begins to put down her roots and starts playing with ideas on how to utilise the land which comes with her new home it soon becomes clear not everyone wants to see her settle at Cuckoo Cottage.

I have read all of Heidi’s books and I love that so many of the previous characters are all weaved into this storyline and that we re-visit Skylark Farm and the delightful Cherry Tree Cafe. This book can easily be read as a stand alone but having read the previous books this one just felt like reuniting with friends.

You can expect witty moments from early on in this book and a typical love triangle between Lottie her helpful builder Matt and delightful neighbour, it was a little predictable but never the less a joy to read as we watch events unfold and testosterone flow! The community spirit comes across strongly in this book, no one can keep a secret as everyone knows everyone business and yet they all rally round and help each other.

I don't want to give away any spoilers so I am not going to say too much but I rather hoped we would see the development of Lottie’s idea come to light as Heidi has great descriptive writing and I was eager to watch Lottie develop her vision.

I thought this was a wonderful light read and fans of Heidi Swains previous books will not be disappointed as her character and charm from her previous books are all found in this new release.


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Monday, 3 July 2017

Last Seen by Lucy Clarke


I am kicking off the blog tour for this fabulous read by a much loved author of mine Lucy Clarke.
I have been desperate to share my review for Last Seen for weeks so I am thrilled that I can finally now shout about it from the roof tops!


Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea – and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever.
Sarah’s son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah’s search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows – and she’s right to.
Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they’ll do anything to keep the truth buried
My Review


The Queen of the sea is back with her new novel Last Seen which is just as gripping and twisty as her previous books but has a slightly darker feel to the storyline.

Seven years ago two little boys Jacob and Marley swam out to sea but only one is brought back, the events of that day has had a big impact on the friendship between the boys mothers Sarah and Isla.
On the 7th anniversary of the accident, Jacob disappears and Sarah is desperate to find her son but trying to find him will mean many secrets will need to be revealed.

I was captivated the whole way through this book. The characters were all so well developed but strangely for me I didn't warm to any of them because this storyline has you questioning each and every character and their motives so because you are too suspicious of everyone you don't allow yourself to trust and warm to any of them. Usually if there is not a character I love it really puts me off a book but I didn't feel this way with this novel and I think that is because the plot was so strong with so much uncertainty and mystery that I was desperate to get to the bottom of the events all those years ago as well as the present day.

I can honestly say at no point could I have predicted what was revealed in this twisty book, I had my suspicions that a certain character definitely had a lot to hide but then I suspected everyone! If you love an unpredictable storyline that constantly leads you down the wrong path then you will love this book.

What I have always loved about Lucy Clarke's writing is her connection and descriptive writing she has when writing about the sea, this woman must have been a mermaid in a previous life! This book again is set around the sea with a tragic accident occurring in the waters and the author brings out the mystery of the sea which holds many secrets never to be told.

At different points in the book I found I was shocked, disturbed, angry, suspicious and I also questioned how far I would go to protect a love one so this book will take you on a real journey of emotions.

This is another must read by Lucy Clarke so be sure to grab a copy next time your in town.



Friday, 30 June 2017

Amber Green Takes Manhattan Blog Tour


I am thrilled to be on the blog tour today for Amber Green Takes Manhattan which is the latest release by Rosie Nixon. Those of you who follow my blog will remember I read the first Amber Green book last year, The Stylist, and absolutely loved it so I was over the moon to find out our beloved Amber was making a return.

Joining me on the blog today is author Rosie Nixon who is kindly going to answer some questions about the new book and about her writing.


Amber Green Takes Manhattan is your sequel to your debut The Stylist which was a fabulous hit last year, tell us a little bit about what we can expect in this book and can it be read as a standalone?
Yes, I’d like to think that the book can definitely be read as a standalone – that was important to me because I know that not everyone will have read The Stylist. It’s set in New York and it sees my central character Amber Green relocate from London for a few months with her boyfriend. It involves fashion shows, photo shoots and a host of escapades as Amber tries to make her name as a stylist in the Big Apple. I found it interesting to bring social media into the second book, Amber is encouraged by her agent to up her social media following and has a baptism of fire on Instagram with a fashion faux pas that goes viral – your worst nightmare! There are lots of funny moments. The book is also about navigating her first serious relationship. After I finished writing The Stylist I couldn’t get Amber out of my head and wanted to know what was going to happen next in her life. It was so much fun to write.

I loved Amber Green from the moment I met her in The Stylist, is she or any of your characters based on people you know and have your friends questioned you as to whether a character is based on them?
Of course, you can’t help but be influenced by situations you’ve been in and people you’ve met when you’re writing a book. I certainly was influenced by a number of experience I’ve had in New York, LA and London. My husband found it quite amusing reading about Amber Green because her relationship is an important part of it and he would say ‘isn’t he a bit like me?’ or ‘that situation sounds a bit familiar?’ and I would say ‘No darling, of course not, it’s complete fiction!’  There are definitely elements of me in Amber, I can’t help that, I very much see the funny side in situations and she’s got a great sense of humour, accidentally ending up in hot water but her heart is in the right place and she’s not a walk-over. I also have a very close friend called Chrissie and we've shared lots of travelling adventures – there’s probably a bit of her in Vicky which I think she’d be quite happy to hear because Amber and Vicky have a really special friendship and lots of fun together.

What was the last book that you read, do you find much time to read?
I have to say I read so much for work in my capacity as Editor-in-chief at HELLO!, I’m constantly reading other magazines, websites, social feeds and newspapers to keep on top of everything that reading a book is a real luxury and something I don’t get to do as often as I’d like. I just finished The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo, and it’s brilliant, I really enjoyed it. It was one of those books that you don’t want to end. I have two very young children so I love reading bedtime stories to them and when I go to bed myself I’m asleep immediately – I try and read half a paragraph and then I’m out!

You are a very busy woman, what tips can you give for writing a novel around a demanding job and where is your favourite place to write?
I think if you want to do something badly enough, when it’s a real passion of yours, you somehow manage to find the time. Writing is something that I love doing, it’s real escapism for me. so even though time is short it’s something that I can’t wait to do. I wrote a lot of Amber Green Takes Manhattan on my maternity leave with my second son and it was quite nice to have an excuse to pop to a coffee shop on my own when somebody was around to look after the baby. I’ve always enjoyed having a busy life and I think it’s important to find that balance. Luckily I write quickly when I’m in the zone and Amber’s voice came very naturally to me. It’s not easy and I don’t claim to be Super Woman, because I have weeks when I feel like it’s all too much and others where everything seems to be working well and I get lots done. It’s all a juggling act.

Do you plan on revisiting Amber Green in future books or do you feel like her journey will come to a natural end in this book?
I don’t like the thought of saying goodbye to Amber just yet. I have got an idea in mind for a third Amber Green book, and I’ve sketched out a rough plot. I can see it being a trilogy and then it will probably be time to say goodbye.

Thank you for taking the time to come and talk to us Rosie.
AMBER GREEN TAKES MANHATTAN IS OUT NOW!



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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Summer of Impossible Things By Rowan Coleman



Today it is my stop on the blog tour for The Summer of Impossible Things by one of my favourite authors Rowan Coleman and I will be sharing my review on her upcoming novel.


If you could change the past, would you?

Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.

Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.

At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?
 


My Review


Having been a fan of Rowan Coleman for years I look forward to each of her releases and this time it feels like the longest wait ever for the release of The Summer of Impossible Things. Now if I am being completely honest here for the first time I was a little bit apprehensive when I read the blurb for this book because I am not a fan of time travel whether it be book or film so this wouldn't have been a book that I would have picked up if it was by another author but I have such admiration for this authors writing that I decided to give it a try.

When Luna and her sister Pea discover that their mother had been keeping a heartbreaking secret from them all their life they make the trip back to their mothers childhood home where Luna soon discovers that she has a remarkable ability to go back in time and potentially right the wrongs all those years ago.

It was a very cleverly thought out plot and Rowan delivered the storyline with her usual addictive and descriptive writing style which made this an enjoyable read. What really shined through in this book was the desperate love Luna had for both her mum and her sister Pea she was willing to literally sacrifice everything without hesitation to be able to protect the ones she loved which made my heart go out to such a selfless beautiful character.

As ever Rowan Coleman has delivered a compelling read with a unique plot with characters that you instantly warm to and a storyline that is unpredictable from start to finish.

This is definitely one of those books that will get you thinking about the changes that you would make if you could go back in time, but each little change could make a dramatic change of direction in your life for the good and the bad so maybe we should just deal with the hand we are given.

I enjoyed this book, maybe not quite as much as all of her other books but that is purely for the fact that the topic is not my kind of thing so anyone who does love time travel will love this book because it is so well executed. 



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Thursday, 15 June 2017

My Sister's Wedding by Vicky Pattison

The Ashworth sisters couldn't be more different. Becky is focused, driven and about to marry her lovely fiancé, Daniel Balfour. Lizzie, on the other hand, bounces from one temp job to another, keeps falling for the wrong man and is a whirlwind of chaos in Becky's otherwise well-ordered life. But they love each other fiercely and the Ashworth way has always been family comes first.
As preparations for Becky and Daniel's wedding get underway, it soon becomes clear that the Ashworth way is not the Balfour way. Daniel's family have never thought Becky was good enough for him but he loves her and that's always been enough for the happy couple. But when Lizzie gets caught in the crossfire between Becky and the Balfours, Becky and Lizzie find themselves drifting apart at a time when they need each other the most. Will they be able to repair the damage before Becky walks down the aisle?


Vicky Pattison's latest novel My Sisters Wedding is by far her best book yet. The storyline focuses on the Ashworth sisters Lizzie and Becky who have such a strong bond and yet they couldn't be more different with Lizzie who can't hold down a job or a relationship and seems to crash at her best friends or sisters house because she doesnt have a permanent residence! Becky however has a steady career and lives with her now soon to be husband but the problem is she has the in-laws from hell who will not be pleased when they find out about the upcoming nuptials.

As with Vicky Pattison's previous books her voice shines through in this novel but I feel this time it doesn't feel like the characters are based on her, the characters are developed well and each bring something special to the storyline. Pattison's experiences when it comes to the media and effects that they can have on relationships and friendships really shows in this book where at times the attention is thrilling but on the other hand as both Lizzie and Becky found out can also become so unbearable and can put relationships to the test.

Nicole who was Becky's sister in-law to be was VILE! She was a character you despise from the first meeting and one that you really want to see Karma catch up with. As much as she was a prickly character she actually brought a great amount of drama to the storyline and at times humour too. I loved both Lizzie and Becky they were both lovely girls and there strong sister bond, although put through the test in this book, still had each others back and show strong solidarity.

This was such a fast paced read that can easily be read in one sitting and fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk will love this book as it had a very similar feel to these ladies books. If you love a splash of romance, scandal, drama and friendship then you will love this book. I hope Vicky Pattison revisits these characters briefly in a future novel to see what becomes of the lovely sisters and unbearable Nicole.


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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan

She’s moved on…
Felicity Knight loves New York. But when she spots her ex-husband in the city, Fliss is desperate to escape!
He’s moved back…
Vet Set Carlyle is back from California to establish his own practice and settle down. When he learns that his ex Fliss still lives close by, that future is looking a whole lot brighter…
Will a perfect escape bring them back together?
With the help of his adorable dog Lulu, and a sprinkling of beachside magic, Seth is determined to make Fliss see he’s never stopped loving her!

When I need a light romantic and uplifting read I always turn to author Sarah Morgan as her books are the perfect choice and never disappoint. Her latest release Holiday in the Hamptons tells the story of Fliss and Seth and for those avid fans of Sarah Morgans books will likely remember Fliss and her twin sister Harriet from her previous books with the work they done for Urban Genie so I already felt like I knew these characters and I couldn't wait to read their story but don't worry if this is your first book by this author as you don't need to have read the previous trilogy to be able to read this book as Fliss and Harriet were only supporting characters.

After a young whirlwind romance that ended in such devastation Fliss and Seth have been separated for 10 years, they have both built successful careers and have been enjoying life but they both have been unlucky in love but could that be because they still hold a piece of each other's heart? 

This was such an enjoyable read that was fast paced with short sharp chapters making it perfect holiday reading. The storyline was full of romance and the chemistry between Fliss and Seth was obvious from their first meeting. 

I havent read many books that have twins as central characters but that was one of the things that I loved about this book not just the strong bond between the sisters but it also helped to bring humor to the book with Fliss pretending to be her sister which just goes to show however much twins look alike they have completely different personalities and skills.

Although this was a real feel good read there was also a more emotive part to the story surrounding Fliss's childhood and how it has affected her growing up and having this weaved into the storyline was perfect as it gave a little more depth to the slightly predictable storyline.  

This was such a pleasant read, I thoroughly enjoyed Fliss's story and I really hope we are treated to Harriet's story next.



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