Thursday, 8 August 2019

The Moments by Natalie Winter

Life is made up of countless moments. Moments that make us who we are. But what if they don't unfold the way they're supposed to...?
What if you get on the wrong bus, or don't speak to the right person at a party, or stay in a job that isn't for you? Will you miss your one chance at happiness? Or will happiness find you eventually, when the moment is right?
Meet Matthew and Myrtle. They have never really felt like they fitted - in life or with anyone else. But they are meant to be together - if only they can find each other.

The Moments by Natalie Winter is a captivating, powerful and poignant read that pulls you in right from the minute Matthew and Myrtle make their way into the world. Both born on the same day we grow with both characters as each chapter alternates between them both as we follow them through their life, watching their struggles through grief, romance, friendships and every eventuality that they both face.

Every step of the way I was hoping their paths would cross but the author keeps us on edge waiting to see if the moment is ever going to come as with each challenging situation in their lives they would have been the perfect support for one another.

It is a beautiful story that has so much depth and emotion, because we follow Matthew and Myrtle through their whole lives we form such a strong bond with the characters we are desperate for them both to find happiness and comfort after all they have been through. There was a number of points in this book that really pulled at my heart strings and this made me connect so much more with both Matthew and Myrtle, they were both so strong even if they didn’t realise their own strength they never moaned they just ploughed on through.

The ending of this book is so touching and tied this emotive storyline up perfectly. I was so mesmerised by these characters and the struggles and battles they faced that I couldn’t leave them for a moment so I ended up reading this storyline in one swoop. The authors writing style is so effortless and smooth leaving no points in the book for your attention to waiver she had my attention captured the whole time with this believable storyline.

This is a definite recommendation from me and I am pleased to have found a new author whose future releases I look forward to reading in the future.

Kindle                       Hardback

Sunday, 14 July 2019

A Postcard from Italy by ALex Brown

I am thrilled to have one of my favourite authors, Alex Brown joining us back on the blog today to talk about her new release A Postcard From Italy.

What inspired you to write the storyline for A Postcard from Italy? 
Connie’s character had been percolating away for ages, years in fact, after I bought a beautiful handmade vintage coat in a charity shop. Every time I wore the coat I imagined who its original owner had been, what was her name, what was her life like and Connie was the culmination of those thoughts. I’ve always had a fascination for women in history, ordinary women and how they lived their lives and how that compares to women’s lives today. Plus, I find storage units intriguing, what do they contain? A lifetime of memories in Connie’s case, and so the storyline developed from there.    

Can you tell us a little about the research you undertook for this novel? 
The Italian scenes were written from memory of when I visited the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera over fifteen years ago. I always knew that I would write a book set there and even though my trip was in the days before Instagram, the scenes and atmosphere were as vivid today as they were back then. For the inheritance legalities, I was very lucky to be put in touch with an extremely patient solicitor who specialises in inheritance law. The very emotional scene set on VE day was written after watching old newsreel and reading accounts from people who were actually there like my nan, Edie, the nippy who works in Lyons tea house on the Strand, it was very lovely being able to immortalise her in A Postcard From Italy.     

If A Postcard from Italy was to be made into a film who could you see playing Connie and Grace? 
Obviously, A Postcard From Italy film is a fantastic idea, I can just see Grace and Ellis wandering around Portofino and then discovering Connie’s powder pink villa on the hillside bathed in the scent from the lemon and orange groves … I think Emily Blunt would make a great Connnie and for Grace, it would have to be Gemma Arterton 

I loved the cover for this book, was it all you hoped it would be and did you get much input. 
Thank you. Yes, it is all I hoped it would be … and more. I did have some input, we tweaked the font and a few other small details, but to be honest I loved it so much when I first saw it that I really didn’t need to add or change anything about it.    

Are you currently working on your next book and if so can you give us a little teaser and do you see a return to Tindledale in future novels? 
I’m just about to start writing the next book and feel very excited about it. As soon as I can say more I will, I promise. Sorry to be mysterious about it but get superstitious if I talk about it before my agent and editor have rubber stamped the idea. I’d love to return to Tindledale in future novels … Carrington’s too, perhaps, one day! I’m a great believer in that old adage of never say never. 

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Alex, I am excited to now finally be able to share my thoughts on A Postcard from Italy with you all.

My Review

I have long been a fan of Alex Brown’s novels and I remember in October last year seeing the cover reveal for her next novel A Postcard from Italy and being totally wowed and I couldn’t wait for the book to come so I can be transported off to Italy!

Grace carries this storyline whilst we get to know her as a character and her background she is finding out about an interesting client whose valuable personal belongings have been left in the storage company where she works for years and now the unit is in arrears so she is determined to find out all about the owner Connie and make sure that the belongings are given to the rightful heir. As Grace uncovers Connie’s diary’s and some letters she finds herself becoming so invested in this woman and her heart is so touched by her story.

This was a sweet and touching storyline and I found I was equally interested in learning about Connie’s life as I was about Grace and I soon found that both women have had a strained life due to other peoples actions and I think this was one of the reasons why it was so important for Grace to find out all she could about Connie’s story as she saw a bit of herself in her. Grace was such a selfless character who despite her own struggles is always first to put others needs and wants before her own which only made me love her even more.

Not all of the book is set in Italy but when we are transported there everything was described so vividly it was easy to see in my mind the picturesque surroundings, the change of pace and I really wish I was there with the characters soaking up the atmosphere.

I am a hopeless romantic so I love the little sprinkle of romance that was weaved into the storyline which gave a lightness and uplifting feel to an otherwise moving and emotive read. I loved the mystery surrounding Connie and I enjoyed finding the next piece of the jigsaw as they were uncovered by Grace. The storyline was unpredictable and the epilogue rounded up this delightful storyline unexpectedly and perfectly. This was another flawless read by Alex Brown even if I was a little hesitant about coming away from my much loved fictional place of Tindledale ( although there is a mention here and there!) I knew I would be in safe hands with this authors skilled writing style and I wasn’t wrong.

Paperback              Kindle

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. Only now they're facing the most important decision of their lives - and they don't agree.
As the consequences of an impossible choice threaten to devastate them both, nothing will ever be the same again.
But anything can happen after the end . . .

I have read Clare Mackintosh’s previous books which I find myself recommending continuously but it is always one of those hard things when an author you love tackles a different genre, you feel loyal to the author and want to read what ever they right but there is always that little niggle in your mind thinking will this work.
Having just lost my husband I am finding it hard to pick books to read as I find there are a lot of triggers in books like there are with songs that can set me off but there was something about After The End that really appealed to me.
The story follows parents Pip and Max whose son Dylan has a brain tumor and are now faced with the most unbearable and impossible decision they need to decide if to stop the treatment and concentrate on palliative care making Dylan comfortable in the last days of his life or take him to America for Proton Beam therapy which MAY give him a little longer but will not improve his quality of life. If making this decision isn’t hard enough what makes it even harder is that they both do not agree on the final decision.
Well this storyline will hit you to the core and will open your eyes to the painful and devastating choices people are having to make on a daily basis. Although this was such a desperate and bereft storyline it actually was also a storyline full of hope and the journey of self-healing.
The book is told in two parts the first part where we meet the family and their wonderful Dr Leila ( who I will come back to later in the review) we see how their lives revolve around Dylan at the hospital and the thought process that both Pip and Max go through when time comes to make the Impossible decision. The second part of the book is the After the decision and this is where the book threw me off course briefly as it follows to paths of how Pip and Max’s lives play out after taking both decisions. I personally felt the first half of the book was stronger and more compelling, I found the storyline flowed a lot easier and the authors voice we have come to know in her previous novels could be heard through the first half. The second part did take a while to get to grips with keep chopping and changing between the two paths and at one point my attention did waiver slightly but the idea was great as we live the “What if “question that they both would have been thinking.
I loved Leila’s character in this book and the situation with Dylan really had an effect on her, I was so sad that her character slipped away in the novel as I looked forward to her appearance and I thought it was a great insight into how the professionals can feel in these cases.
The author has shown such incredible strength in writing this book with the storyline being so close to her heart and this is easy to see as  it is written with such tenderness and compassion as well as showing significant insight not just on the emotions and feelings but also on the day to day struggles and the way your life just becomes a little bubble revolving around the hospital.
This was a powerful and poignant read that touched my heart and soul and made me want to give the author, the characters and everyone who is facing or has faced this scenario the biggest cuddle and wrap them up in cotton wool.   

Hardback                  Kindle