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Thursday, 29 July 2021

The Beginner's Guide to Loneliness Blog Tour

 


Today it is my stop on the blog tour for The Beginner's Guide to Loneliness by Laura Bambrey. You may remember I reviewed this one when it was released on Kindle ( if you have missed it you can Click Here to check it out.

Now this wonderful read is available on paperback and thanks to the book fairies over at Books and the City I have a chapter to share with you and also a UK only giveaway for your chance to get your hands on your own copy.

Chapter 1 Extract

 

True Friends Will Always Be There

 

Warriors Chat Group. April 30. 10.48pm

 

WriterTori: Guys, help!

Nathalie33: Hey Tori! What’s occurring?

WriterTori: Gah. Gah. GAH!

Nathalie33: Drama. Drama. DRAMA ;) Come on. Tell Aunty Nat . . .

WriterTori: Are Sue and Hugh online?

Nathalie33: Who knows . . . who cares . . . ?

WriterTori: Nat!!

Nathalie33: Kidding! Anyway, talk to me. What’s up?

SueSue52: Oi, Nat, you cheeky mare! I’m here Tori. Managed to place any of your articles yet?

WriterTori: No, and that’s half the problem.

Nathalie33: What’s the other half?

WriterTori: Paying my rent! My landlord is being patient, but he said he wants the money the next time he sees me.

SueSue52: Ah, the joys of life as a self-employed writer. I thought you were going to look for a part-time job?

Nathalie33: Nah, she gave up that idea to focus!

SueSue52: How’s that working out?

Nathalie33: How do you think it’s working out? Her landlord’s chasing her . . .

WriterTori: Jeez, thanks guys . . . But seriously – I’m skint. I have a million ideas for articles out, but so far, no interest. AND I’m struggling for rent, hence the landlord issue. Also, I haven’t been paid by puddle.com, even though I wrote six weeks’ worth of content for them before they went under!

SueSue52: Nightmare! Wish I could help you out, but with the twins’ birthday coming up and OH’s hours cut, we’re tight too. Maybe think again about getting that part-time job?

WriterTori: Cheers Sue, but I wouldn’t want to borrow from you guys anyway. And I don’t want to give in and look for a job yet. Would seem like admitting defeat . . . Anyway, this one opportunity has come up, and I need your advice about whether or not to go for it.

Nathalie33: Spill . . .

WriterTori: You know I don’t accept any advertising on the blog?

Nathalie33: If you did, you wouldn’t be having these problems. The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is so insanely popular – you’d be raking it in, especially after the recent publicity you’ve been getting. And don’t get me started on all the interview opportunities you’ve turned down . . . !

WriterTori: That’s not what the site’s about! The blog’s anonymous and I want to keep it that way. But, this place in Wales called The Farm made contact a couple of weeks ago. They run wellness retreats and they’ve offered me a spot on the latest course in exchange for a review.

SueSue52: What’s the course?

WriterTori: It’s a mixture of mindfulness and counselling, designed to teach people how to improve their mental health and wellbeing. You work on building authentic relationships, self-acceptance, with a bit of yoga thrown in there for good measure. They reckon my readers are their target audience.

Nathalie33: Erm, yep – I can see their point! So are they going to pay you?

WriterTori: No, but it’s a free three-week course that normally costs £3k, and they provide food, somewhere to stay and they’d cover travel costs too. What do you think? I’m not sure if I should go . . .

Nathalie33: Why the hell not? It sounds like it’s practically tailormade for you!

WriterTori: 1. Because the site’s anonymous! 2. Because it feels a bit like I’d be selling out.

SueSue52: The anonymity thing is easy enough to get around. Just contact them via the blog’s generic email address and say you’ll send ‘one of the site’s reviewers’. Stops them knowing that you’re the face behind all the articles.

WriterTori: Oh. Actually, that’s a good plan.

Nathalie33: And you wouldn’t be selling out by writing about an experience that could benefit so many of your readers.

SueSue52: Have you got a link?

WriterTori: Sure, two secs . . .

 

I paste the retreat’s website address into the chat for Sue and Nat to peruse and then slump back on my sofa. With my computer balanced precariously on my lap, I reach over for my glass of wine and take a gulp. It’s not just my need to stay anonymous that’s making me hesitate. The thought of sharing

my problems, face to face, makes me feel a bit sick. That’s why I need the Warriors’ second (and third and fourth) opinions.

I really don’t know where I’d be without this lot. Nat, Sue and Hugh have been my one constant for the past two years, ever since I lost my mum. Things got…desperate. I didn’t

have anyone I could talk to about how I was really feeling, so I went online and found a grief support group. Nat came to my rescue within minutes of me posting to the communal chat. We talked so much that we were clogging up the thread, and it was gently suggested by a moderator that we shift over to our own private message channel. We chatted for hours on end, and she was just amazing. I credit her with single-handedly saving my sanity that first week.



If you like the sound of this one then here is your chance to win your own copy by entering below.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Home by Penny Parkes

 


I jumped at the chance to be on the blog tour for Home because this, in my opinion, is Penny Parkes 

Best 

Book

Yet!

So I wanted to share my review far and wide so you can see what made this book such a thought-provoking and captivating read for me.


Anna Wilson travels the world as a professional housesitter – stepping into other people’s lives - caring for their homes, pets and sometimes even neighbours. Living vicariously.
 
But all Anna has ever really wanted is a home of her own – a proper one, filled with family and love and happy memories. If only she knew where to start.
 
Growing up in foster care, she always envied her friends their secure and carefree lives, their certainty and confidence. And, while those same friends may have become her family of choice, Anna is still stuck in that nomadic cycle, looking for answers, trying to find the courage to put down roots and find a place to call home.


I have read and enjoyed Penny Parkes books in the past so when I saw the cover of her new release Home I was won over with the simplistic design and popped this one on my TBR list straight away. Having now just finished reading Home I can honestly say this is Penny Parkes at her best and her writing in this book has more depth and emotion which made this storyline feel so raw, honest and insightful leaving a mark on my heart.

We meet Anna who is a house sitter which on the face of it seems like a rather exciting job being paid to live in the luxurious houses she could only dream of moving from idyllic location after location, but as we get to know Anna we dig deeper and see that this is all Anna has ever known having been moved from home to home and family to family.

Anna is lost, Anna doesn’t know who she is or where she fits in the world, she has no foundations and yet she has the biggest heart and is intelligent but her childhood has shaped her future but the question is How many times can you start over?

The loneliness and that feeling of not being able to trust anyone after anyone Anna lets in breaks her that little bit more is heartbreaking and can be felt through the pages. She has one great big positive in her life though, her one and only constant her bestfriend Kate who she meets at university.

The storyline highlighted the effects on children being in care has on them showing that not every home who opens the door to look after children opens the heart too and the lasting damage this causes.

The last quarter of the book was what really had me chocked though this is where I really did have a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat as we have had such a detailed telling of Anna’s life and so we really feel like we know Anna on a personal level and this is a young woman who deserves so much love and happiness in life but she doesn’t know how to achieve this, does she even think she is worthy of this? How does she turn her life around and start a new chapter with no guidance, no help and no idea what her happy place is?

It just opens your eyes to the fact you can’t choose your family but you can choose your tribe, get your tribe right no matter how big or small and that is where love, support, contentment and happiness will be.

A beautiful and evocative novel that has really touched a nerve and opened my eyes, it is never too late to start a new chapter. Praise to Penny Parkes, Home is a book not to be missed.



Kindle                       Hardback

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Sunrise by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

 



When she is given the opportunity to move to a remote tidal island off the Cornish Coast, Marisa Rossi decides some peace and quiet might be just what she needs.

Since the death of her beloved grandfather back in Italy, she's been struggling to find a way out of her grief. Perhaps this will be the perfect place for her to recuperate.

But Mount Polbearne is a far cry from the sleepy little place she was imagining. Between her noisy piano-teaching Russian neighbour and the hustle and bustle of a busy community, Marisa finds solitude is not so easy to come by. Especially when she finds herself somehow involved with a tiny local bakery desperately in need of some new zest to save it . . .


Do you have certain authors who you have such a love for their books that you don’t even need to look at the synopsis as you just know that you will love whatever they deliver?

That is how I am with any new Jenny Colgan release! I love her uplifting and comforting novels that always have me immersed in her writing and connecting instantly with her characters and her new release Sunrise by the Sea is no exception.

Following the death of her Grandfather, Marisa has crumbled under the grief and no one seems to understand her struggle. Even her flatmate doesn’t want her around but when he throws an opportunity her way to escape to somewhere remote and quiet, with no other options available to her she takes the leap to Mount Polbearne.

Will the tiny Island be able to work its magic and get under her skin and help her to find her way back out and living life again.

Marisa was a well developed character and her struggles that she faced were delivered in a delicate and informative way showing how grief can effect everyone in very different ways and that there is no time scale to mourning. Although the storyline follows a challenging battle it didn’t make this a depressing read as it focused more on healing and new beginnings as well as new friendships and unexpected romance too so it was still an uplifting and enjoyable read.

I loved reconnecting with previous characters from the Little Beach Street Bakery series especially our much loved Polly and Huckle, I actually feel like this book has set them up for another book in the series as things are rather up in the air for them and I would love to read another novel that touches on them and Marisa again even if they are just supporting characters, Mount Polbearne is not an Island that or community that I ever seem to tire of.

This was another one of Jenny’s books that plays havoc with the diet, cooking and baking seems to be a passion that a lot of Jenny’s characters seem to have and everytime my cravings kick in so I think that Jenny Colgan needs to have a treat box that comes with her next book!

Another enjoyable read with a loveable cast of characters and a writing style to lose yourself in this Summer.

 

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

 



Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents' house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna's mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.

But she's shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can't bear the thought of the place changing hands - especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!

Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams?


One thing I have certainly missed since covid wrecked its havoc is jetting off around the world discovering hidden gems and tasting various cuisines, but I have had a little taste of what I am missing through Jo Thomas’s books!

This time we are taken off to Italy in her latest release Chasing the Italian Dream where our main character Lucia is heading back to see her Nonno and Nonna but when she discovers that due to her Nonno’s recent health issues he has decided he needs to step away from the family restaurant and that he had picked her not quite ex Giacomo to take over! Could this be the push that makes Lucia discover what and who she wants in life?

Jo Thomas has fast become one of my favourite authors as she never disappoints me and I think she has delivered her best book yet she reveals another masterpiece that transports me away to an exotic location with mouth-watering delights, strong independent female leads and a storyline that will capture my attention and not let it go meaning each book of hers has to be read in one greedy sitting!

This is certainly a book to be avoided if you are on a diet because this book has so many tantalising delights and left we with a mad craving for pizza and a desperate need to try tiramisu! I enjoyed the competition to see if the old traditional food would beat the new modern take on the pizzeria, I just would have loved to have had a sneak peek at the end!

Lucia was an instantly likeable and determined character and I loved how she brought women together to challenge the tradition of male pizzaiolo and the use of sourcing all local ingredients. There were new chances and fresh beginings for a number of characters which was humbling to see, it just shows we are never too old to make a big change in our lives sometimes we just need something to open our eyes to opportunities.

The romance that flowed through the storyline didn’t overpower the storyline which I liked but it also kept me intrigued and guessing what way it was going to go.

This was such a joyous read that I definitely will be recommending to all of my bookworm friends who love a feel good uplifting read.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

The Cornish Cream Tea Wedding by Cressida McLaughlin





 Wedding planner Ellie Moon is dreaming up the most beautiful bespoke wedding for Charlie and Daniel, owners of Cornwall’s favourite cream tea bus. Even though her own life has been turned upside down and she’s had to rent out her charming Cornish cottage with its climbing roses and lavender beds, Ellie is determined to give them a day to remember.

Her new tenant, handsome mechanic Jago, keeps popping up around the picture-postcard seaside village of Porthgolow. When they’re thrown together in the effort to help his elderly father get a spring back in his step, she discovers that he is full of surprises. Can romance bloom and give Ellie the fresh start she’s been wishing for?


The one book that was top of my list for release this year was The Cornish Cream Tea Wedding by Cressida McLaughlin. The Cream Tea bus series is a firm favourite of mine and I wish we could have 4 books a year set around Gertie but I still don’t think that would be enough for me!

In this new release we are introduced to a few new characters as well as reuniting with our familiar and much loved friends too. Ellie Moon takes the lead in this novel and she has the incredibly important job of organising the wedding of Charlie and Daniel but with the pair having their hearts set on a wedding in their charming seaside town is it possible to find a venue to suit the couple?

Whilst juggling the wedding planning Ellie also needs to settle in her tenant at her beloved home but will she be able to stay away from her beautiful garden or will there be more things pulling her heart back to her cottage?

I am such an organised person, always with a notebook and a list in hand so I instantly connected with Ellie, she had a kind calming and caring nature that radiated through the pages so she was easy to like and a welcome edition to our Cream Tea Community.

We also meet Ellie’s new tenant Jago who is our bit of eye candy to swoon over! He plays a big part in this book and his story kind of weaves everything together.

I loved getting to know our new characters and I got swept away with the wedding plans and the wedding chapter itself was so joyous and I was grinning away reading it like a loon, it really did feel like watching our friends tying the knot! I loved Gertie’s part in the storyline but oh how I wished we could have had her featured more and had my taste buds tingling but that is just my greedy wasteline complaining!

For those green fingered readers out there you will love this book because alongside the romance and planning there is also a heavy feature of gardening including a very special find so this one will certainly appeal to you.

I had waited so long for this novel to come out so I wanted to savour every moment I was eager to race through it and soak it up in one swoop but I was hesitant to because I kept thinking what if this is my last visit to Porthgolow and aboard the Cream Tea Bus, I am definitely not ready to walk away from these characters yet they still have so much to offer and the excitement and enjoyment of revisiting is still as strong as I felt in the first book so you can imagine my delight when I found a certain something at the end of the book!!!!!!!

Once again Cressida McLaughlin has whisked me away to a place that my heart feels at home amongst the most memorable and loved characters I have met and I enjoyed every single moment of this book and I can not recommend this series enough. Now it is time to turn over the page in my diary and let the next count down to commence........



Kindle            Paperback

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Always and Forever at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters

 



It is time to make another wonderful trip to Glendale Hall in Victoria Walters new release 

Always and Forever at Glendale Hall

Today is my stop on the blog tour and I will be sharing my thoughts with you on this book where we catch up with much loved characters as well as meeting new vibrant characters who bring a breath of fresh air to the Hall.



Anna Stewart is lost. After barely surviving a car accident as a teenager, Anna is scared of settling. Flitting between jobs, boyfriends and homes whenever she gets bored, she has no idea what the future holds. Then her brother Brodie, minister of Glendale, suggests she moves to the beautiful Scottish village, lining up a housekeeper job for her at Glendale Hall.

Out of options, Anna agrees to take the job just for the summer. Once at the hall, her culinary skills impress everyone, and she agrees to give Hilltop Farm’s new manager, Cameron, cooking lessons. Sparks fly between Anna and the handsome Scot, but Cameron keeps pushing Anna away, and Anna definitely isn't looking for love. But it's wedding season at Glendale Hall, and Anna is about to discover that her new home has a way of working its magic on even the coldest of hearts.

Will she really be able to just walk away at the end of summer, or could Anna have finally found a place to belong?

It’s summertime so pack your bags and escape to beautiful Highlands village of Glendale with this gorgeously uplifting, romantic read. Fans of Milly Johnson, Heidi Swain and Holly Martin will love this charming romance.



Victoria Walters takes us back to the idyllic village of Glendale in book 4 of the series Always and Forever where we are reunited with our beloved characters from the previous books as well as meeting our new character Anna who is Bodie the Ministers sister.

It is true to say that Anna is unlike the rest of the clan that we know and love from our Glendale community, she is a whirlwind that can not settle in one place she has a defiance and strong independence but she is also haunted by her past which has shaped her life as she knows it.

Brodie longs to see his sister plant roots and he loves having his little sister home but can the close knit group of friends sprinkle their magic and make Anna want to stay and blossom at Glendale or maybe there may be a helping hand with the handsome single farmer Cameron!

As much as I love Anna bringing a new face to the village and a fresh modern storyline to shake it up I actually found myself more eager to see how our original friends are doing with their businesses, relationships and families as they have really captured my heart. At times I found Anna quite infuriating but I could also sympathise with her in the way a tragic event in her life had led her to not feel that she is worth the good things in life and to feel that that is how other people see her too. Her passion for cooking was a great part to the storyline it was clear early on that she had an incredible flair for cooking and I do hope that if we touch on her character in a 5th book in the series that she has followed her dreams.

I know Victoria Walters has announced a new crime series she is publishing but there is still a part of me that wouldn’t be surprised if she was to squeeze one more Glendale book out as a final wrap up for all of our couples I know I would love to see one final instalment and I don’t think I am alone in this.





Kindle                   Paperback

Thursday, 27 May 2021

The Village Green Bookshop by Rachael Lucas

 



I hadn’t come across The Village Green Bookshop until I saw a post by author Miranda Dickinson who was singing its praises. Miranda has lead me to many hidden gems over the years that I wouldn’t have usually picked up so I was looking forward to reading The Village Green Bookshop.

Frustrated that she spends all her time as either a mum to a football-obsessed teenager or a wife to a workaholic husband, Hannah wants something for herself. When the chance comes to take over the Post Office in Little Maudley, a charming Cotswold village, Hannah grabs it with both hands. She’ll have a career at last and also get her son Ben away from his trouble-making mates.

But village life is not so picture-perfect after all: Hannah finds herself an outsider in this tight-knit community where the height of your hedge is a gossip-worthy subject. Even her idea to introduce a small bookshop to the Post Office causes a stir. At least Ben seems to have found his place as he joins the local football team, coached by ex-professional Jake Lovatt. But a shocking secret from their past threatens to uproot the new life they’ve made for themselves, and has drastic consequences…

This novel couldn’t have come at a better time for me with life so complicated at the moment and the bank holiday approaching I needed pure escapism with a simple storyline that would brighten my weekend and that was what I found in The Village Green Bookshop and more!

Hannah’s life as she knows it has been completely pulled out from under her feet and yet she doesn’t sit and mope she grabs life with both hands and focuses on what she wants and needs in life to make her happy and to create a better future for her troublesome son Ben. Her character was so selfless and like many of us has reached a time in her life where she can see how much she does for everyone else putting everyone’s wants and needs before her own and I was routing for her to start living and enjoying her life.

I think every bookworm has that hidden desire to work in a library or a bookshop so it is no surprise that books that feature the running of book businesses lure us in and by the end have us desperate to throw in the towel and upsticks and follow the dream like Hannah did.

I love the sound of a close nit village life with the community spirit knitting everyone together and this can be felt in this novel but it also shows the opposite side where tongues are wagging and no secret is ever safe! We meet numerous amount of the villagers and they all bring a little character to the storyline.

I love how Racheal Lucas has expertly managed to create such a simple easy flowing storyline that captured my heart and attention from the start, her storytelling is so light and uplifting and certainly provided me with the escapism that I needed. Ok so the romance was completely predictable but at the same time it was so honest and believable too so although the suspense factor wasn’t there, I still enjoyed watching the romance blossom.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Village Green Bookshop and the authors writing style is expertly crafted so I will now be going off to find one of her backlist books The Telephone Box Library.

 

Kindle                     Paperback

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