Book Review: Four Christmases and a Secret by Zara Stoneley

It is officially Autumn which means it is time to prepare for dark evenings, warm duvets, hot chocolate and seasonal reads. This is my first Christmas book review of the year. There are so many festive books to tempt bookworms you have to start early to fit them all in. Last year I enjoyed No one cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley  so I was excited when Rachel’s Random Resources  invited me to this blog tour for her new Christmas novel, Four Christmases and a Secret. 

Book Review: Four Christmas and a Secret

Four Christmases and a Secret Cover

Four Christmases and a Secret

Title: Four Christmases and a Secret

Author: Zara Stoneley

Publisher: Harper Impulse and Killer Reads

Genre: General Fiction, Romance

Release Date: 27th September 2019

Blurb

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Except for Daisy Christmas means another of Uncle T’s dreaded Christmas parties, complete with Christmas jumper and flashing antlers.  And Oliver Cartwright.  Gorgeous Oliver Cartwright. Who she hates.

Every year Daisy has to face insufferable Ollie and hear all about how BRILLIANT he is.  Whereas Daisy has no job, no man and no idea how to fix things.

This Christmas however Daisy is determined things will be different.  There will be no snogging Ollie under the mistletoe like when they were teenagers.  No, this year she’ll show Ollie that she’s a Responsible Adult too.
 
But as the champagne corks pop, and the tinsel sparkles, Uncle T has news of his own to share…and it could change Daisy’s life forever…

 Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07QRTC5JC/

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QRTC5JC/

My Thoughts

I knew I was in for a treat when the early scenes of this novel, set in an atmospheric bookshop oozing with Christmas magic instantly drew me in. As a bibliophile I find it hard to resist novels where bookshops play a significant role and the addition of Christmas makes this book a winning combination.

Daisy was a likeable character treading water while everyone else is succeeding in their dreams especially her childhood best friend, Ollie.  I had sympathy for her as she is dragged into the competitive battle between her Mum and Ollie’s mother adding to her belief she is a failure. Adult Oliver is the hunk who leaps of the page making me swoon when he appears in the chapters. The chemistry between the two characters, other memorable characters like Uncle T and the antics of her smelly dog, Stanley made this an  enjoyable festive read about self discovery and learning to fly.

It made me chuckle, cry and made me get in to the Christmas mood. What more do you need in a festive rom-com?

Would I recommend?

This is an entertaining novel, ideal for lazy cold evenings or weekends. If you enjoy the  Bridget Jones’ festive scenes you’ll enjoy this.

Author Biography

ZaraStoneley authorpic

Zara Stoneley

Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of ‘The Wedding Date’.

She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Born in a small village in the UK, Zara wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true. She now writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘No One Cancels Christmas’, ‘The Wedding Date’, ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’.

Social Media Links –

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley

Instagram: zarastoneley

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/zara-stoneley?follow=true

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B007WK307G

 

A big thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Zara Stoneley for the chance to read an advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

What books have you got on your Christmas TBR pile?

Happy reading and weekend!

Love

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Book Review: The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady

Book Review: The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady

This is my second review this month from a local author though Sylvia Broady writes a different genre to the last. The Lost Daughter is classed as a saga which I rarely read but when I read the blurb, I was desperate to read it. Scroll down to see what I thought.

Book Review: The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady

The Lost Daughter Cover

The Lost Daughter

Title: The Lost Daughter

Author: Sylvia Broady

Genre: Saga, Women’s fiction

Publisher: Allison and Busby

Release Date: 22nd November 2018

Blurb

Hull, 1930. A terrified woman runs through the dark, rain-lashed streets pursued by a man, desperate to reach the sanctuary of the local police station. Alice Goddard runs with one thing in her mind: her daughter. In her panic she is hit by a car at speed and rushed to hospital. When she awakes, she has no memory of who she is, but at night she dreams of being hunted by a man, and of a little girl.

As the weeks pass and her memories gradually resurface, Alice anxiously searches for her daughter, but no one is forthcoming about the girl’s whereabouts – even her own mother is evasive. Penniless and homeless, Alice must begin again and rebuild her life, never giving up hope that one day she will be reunited with her lost daughter.

Purchase Links

From 22nd – 29th August, The Lost Daughter will be at the bargain price of 99p.

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Daughter-Sylvia-Broady-ebook/dp/B07F3KPN1J

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Daughter-Sylvia-Broady-ebook/dp/B07F3KPN1J

My Thoughts

I loved this book in many ways – the style, voice, time frame, and locality of the setting but mainly the story. I am a huge fan of The Long Lost Family, a British TV programme where relatives find those separated by adoption, trauma and other turns of life. The real life stories are fascinating and heartbreaking; ideal inspiration for writers. A box of tissues is needed throughout. If the novel was based on a true story it could easily be featured in this series.

The blurb caught my imagination but the main character, Alice Goddard captured my heart and as her story developed I had to keep reading. She is everything I would like to be – kind, compassionate, determined and strong. This novel is an emotional journey of a woman’s life and the search for her child, Daisy. Beginning in 1930’s it is believable that a child could easily get lost in the care system at a time when the stigma of being classed as an unfit mother ran deep and there was little compassion in the authorities.  My heart broke reading the accounts of both characters missing each other. The outbreak of the Second World War adds further emotion and take Alice to places beyond her imagination.

This well researched book opened my eyes to the realities of war on the home front as well as the unsung heroes of the nurses. The location of Hull, East Yorkshire gave this book more meaning as it is a city I have recently discovered. When there I am always intrigued by the many beautiful buildings and quirky architecture mingled between the modern ones. It brought home to me how much must have been lost and the true devastation the place and its people endured during the blitz. The novel also touches on other local places such as Bridlington and Scarborough, so every time I visit them I can visualise Alice and others walking close by.

Would I recommend?

Yes, The Lost Daughter will proudly sit on my forever shelf. It has rekindled my love for sagas and made me realise how much I enjoy learning about the changes in society and lives of people in history through fiction. You see the growth of a person over a longer time span than other genres which tend to provide you a quick snapshot of the protagonist’s life.

I am looking forward to Sylvia Broady’s future releases and her previous books have been added to my TBR list.

Author Biography

Sylvia Broady was born in Kingston upon Hull and has lived in the area all her life, though she loves to travel the world. It wasn’t until she started to frequent her local library , after World War 2, that her relationship with literature truly began and her memories of war influence her writing, as does her home town. A member of the: RNA, HNS, S of A and Beverley Writers. She has had a varied career in childcare, the NHS and East Yorkshire Council Library Services, but is now a full-time writer. Plus volunteering as a Welcomer at Beverley Minster to visitors from around the world, and raising money for local charities by singing in the choir of the Beverley Singers, both bringing colour and enrichment to her imagination and to her passion for writing.

Social Media Links

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SylviaBroadyAuthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/SylviaBroady

Website: https://sylviabroadyauthor.com

Giveaway

I am pleased to share a chance for you to win 2 x paperback signed books of The Lost Daughter and The Yearning Heart (Open Internationally).* Good luck.

Click here to enter

The Lost Daughter GIVEAWAY 3

Giveaway Prizes

Thank you Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Sylvia Broady for the advanced copy of The Lost Daughter so I could give my honest, unbiased opinion. If you life to find out more about Sylvia Broady and her book,why not visit other blogs on this tour.

Happy reading!

Love

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Review and Tour: The Pieces of Me and You by Rachel Burton

Last year I was lucky enough to read Rachel Burton’s previous novel, The Things We Need to Say, which I loved. The review can be found here. When I saw the news she was releasing a new book I was eager to read it and was excited to be invited to this blog tour.

Book Review: The Pieces of You and Me by Rachel Burton

The Pieces of You and Me

Book Cover for The Pieces of You and Me

Title: The Pieces Of You and Me
Author: Rachel Burton
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: HQ Digital
Release Date: 21st February 2019

Purchase Link: mybook.to/PiecesYouMe

Blurb

They say time can heal all wounds…

When Jess and Rupert parted ways, it was the end of a great love story that might have been. Now ten years later, the very different paths they have taken in life will bring them back together for a chance meeting.

But with so much left unsaid about the break up neither ever recovered from and with each keeping their own devastating secrets, will they finally be able to make the fractured pieces of their love for one another whole again?

My Thoughts

I loved this book and related to it on many levels. As someone who spends too much time under the duvet, I instantly connected to Jess who has ME.  Jess has adapted to life with chronic illness, living at home and has carved out a successful career as a writer despite the tendrils of her condition affecting all aspects of her life. There were times it made me cry and say “I know that feeling”. The frustration of watching peers being busy their lives with no need for naps, medication or pacing, the emotions of having to let go of your old life to make way for a new one and the fear the illness will steal more from you in the future. It describes Jess’s dilemma balancing her heart’s desire with the knowledge how much ME affects relationships and it discusses whether being with your soulmate is enough to face a future of uncertainty together. Rupert has his own demons he faces, and it was refreshing to see the other side of the story.

The depth of emotion between the two characters touched me when Jess’ diary told the story of their lives, from best friends to lovers and the circumstance which ripped them apart. It is a tale of deep love, trust and the importance of revealing your true self. The other topics covered include grief, mental health, but they are dealt with sensitively and does not wallow. It left me with feelings of hope and uplifting.

I am grateful to Rachel Burton for writing an honest heart felt depiction of life with a chronic illness, showing its fears hopes and uncertainty but how with the power of love and determination someone can make a new but different life. As an aspiring writer having a character achieve success while pacing her writing time around fatigue gives me hope.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this novel is a love story but it is also so much more.  I would like a physical copy on my forever shelf to read again when I need encouragement but also to share so others can understand the realities of life when it is turned upside down because of illness.

Author Biography

The Pieces of You and MeIMG_20181116_124903 (1)

Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton is the author of the international ebook bestseller The Many Colours of Us.

Rachel spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Yorkshire with her fiance and their three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or follow her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….
Social Media Links 

Twitter: twitter.com/bookish_yogi
Instagram: Instagram.com/Bookish_yogi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rachel-Burton-353151308524664/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/rachelburton6/pins/

Thank you to Rachel Random Resources and HQ Digital for my advanced copy so I could review.

Happy reading!

Love

 

Blog Tour: I Give You My Heart

Book Review and Giveaway: I Give You My Heart by SarahJane Ford

Today I am happy to bring you my book review for I Give You My Heart by SarahJane Ford as part of a blog tour from Rachel’s Random Resources. With a tagline ‘A terminal diagnosis. A life-saving sacrifice’ I was prepared with a box of tissues before I opened the first page.

I Give You My Heart Cover

I Give You My Heart Book Cover

Title: I Give You My Heart

Author: SarahJane Ford

Release Date: 29th Aug 2018

Genre: Romance, Woman’s Fiction

Purchase from Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Give-You-My-Heart-ebook/dp/B07G3LHX7P/

Blurb

𝗔 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝗮𝗴𝗻𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘀. 𝗔 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲-𝘀𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘀𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲. 𝗔 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁.
Alice Richards looked forward to watching the seeds of love she and her husband planted bloom and grow well into their old age. But her plans for the future shrivel up and die when she learns she has an inoperable brain tumour.
Determined that she won’t die in vain, she decides to become an organ donor. With a few precious months left, Alice begins documenting her fairytale romance—from their first meeting to the children they dreamed of having. She’ll pass on every detail to her heart’s next owner… along with careful instructions to send her husband reminders of her undying love. Before her time runs out, Alice must find the perfect candidate to guide her husband through unimaginable grief and hold the memory of their love in her heart.I Give You My Heart is an emotional romantic fiction novel with an uplifting message.

If you like strong-willed women, undying love stories, and honest portrayals of coping with a terminal illness, then you’ll love SarahJane Ford’s heart-warming epic.
An unmissable love story full of warmth, beauty and with a huge, beating heart. Perfect for fans of Cecilia Ahern’s ‘P.S. I Love You’ and Jojo Moyes’ ‘Me Before You’.

My Thoughts

This is a strong debut with a heart breaking but positive tale. It is the ultimate tearjerker celebrating true love and the joy of life.

Alice’s happy, upbeat personality, her zest for life and with her appreciation of all small things made me instantly connect with her and the more I read the more I wanted to have her as a friend. This was cemented further as she is a florist with the speciality of language of flowers which I have recently started to appreciate. From the start of this emotional novel, I felt her pain of diagnosis and love she feels for those around her as she creates the manual of her heart.  The book she writes is more than a list of instructions, it is a celebration of her overwhelming love for Alex and the strong bond she has with her best friend, Ryan. The positivity and happy memories shared made me want to experience some of it meaning hot chocolate was a must while reading as well as digging out the Abba CD to dance to when on my own.

By the last page, I was left wanting more. I feel the need for a continuation of this beating heart’s story. I want to know if the heart’s recipient goes along with Alice’s wishes or whether they are a little creeped out by receiving a manual alongside a much needed organ as I suspect I would. I want to know how Alex’s copes without her and whether he is as perfect as Alice believes.  This story will stay with me for a long time.

I am looking forward to reading more from SarahJane  Ford and follow her career.

Would I recommend?

Yes, but be prepared to use boxes of tissues and feel envious of the fairytale love most people can only dream of.

Author Biography

author-photo-1

SarahJane Ford

SarahJane is the debut author of ‘I Give You My Heart’ which is due to be published on September 1st 2018.
SarahJane was born in Scotland but grew up in the Cheshire countryside, which is home to her. After a few years living in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, where she went to secondary school, she has now settled back in Cheshire in a quirky flat surrounded by trees, birds and rolling fields.A marketing professional since finishing her formal education SarahJane is delighted to be following her writing dream. She still works part-time as a Marketing Manager, whilst furiously penning her second novel.
Harbouring an adventurous spirit, SarahJane loves to travel, be surrounded by the wilderness or be riding Cornish waves.
SarahJane loves to read (ideally by the sea!). She was raised on the greatest love stories, which is where her romantic soul comes from. She is in love with love…Mr Darcy’s brooding looks in Pride and Prejudice; Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s arresting chemistry in Runaway Bride; the intensely emotional Titanic; going weak at the knees for Danny Zuko in Grease; Cecilia Ahern’s heartbreaking P.S. I Love You and Patrick Swayze’s mega moves in Dirty Dancing.
Social Media Links

Facebook : www.facebook.com/sarahjanefordauthor/
Website: www.sarahjaneford.com

Giveaway

I am pleased to share the chance for you to win signed hardback of I Give You My Heart with a personalised message (UK Only)*

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494128/?

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for the opportunity to join this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. If you would like to know more about the book and author why not drop into the other blogs below.

Happy Reading!

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Book Review and Blog Tour: An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson.

I am excited to be part of the blog tour for Kiltie Jackson’s new release An Artisan Lovestyle and share my review.  Her debut A Rock’n’Roll Lovestyle was in my best reads of 2017 list so I have been eagerly waiting for this book to be released.

An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

 

An Artisan Lovestyle - Hi-res

 

Title: An Artisan Lovestyle

Author: Kiltie Jackson

Genre: paranormal romance

Release Date: 28th June 2018

Purchase Linkhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D23TM38

Blurb

Are you ‘living’ your life or just living your life?

Elsa Clairmont was widowed barely five years after marrying her childhood sweetheart. She has struggled to come to terms with the loss and, six years later, has almost ceased to live herself. She does just enough to get by.

Danny Delaney is the ultimate ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s kind, caring and sweet. A talented artist in his teens, his abusive mother ruined his career in art and he turned his back on his exceptional gift. Now, he does just enough to get by.

On New Year’s Eve, both Danny and Elsa die in unrelated accidents.

Thanks to some poker playing shenanigans, Elsa’s husband Harry, and Danny’s old Art teacher, William, manage to orchestrate a deal with Death that allows Danny and Elsa to live for one more year on the condition they both agree 
to complete three tasks.

They have until the last chime of Big Ben on the 31st December to fulfil their quests.

If they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.

If they should fail however…

‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is a story of personal growth and self-discovery as two people find themselves forced to make overdue changes in their lives, changes in other people’s lives, and all with the added challenge of 
finding true love before their time runs out.

Will they do it?

Can they do it?

After all, it’s a matter of Life or Death…

My thoughts

This is Kiltie Jackson’s second novel and though it includes the stars of her debut, A Rock’n’Roll Lovestyle, Sukie and Pete, it is brilliantly different. It may follow on from the first book but it can an easily be read as a standalone without losing any enjoyment.

I love this book for its unusual premise, humorous, and honest writing.  I instantly connected with both Elsa and Danny making me eager to read the next chapter to see what happens next. With Danny being a Mr. Nice Guy and Elsa being a grieving widow the book could easily have fallen into the trap of portraying Elsa as a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued as often seen in romance novels but Kiltie Jackson excels in creating strong female characters. Though they are floundering Elsa and Danny both have an inner strength they need to complete the three tasks to survive. It was lovely to catch up with the characters from  her debut novel Rock’n’Roll Lovestyle , and to see snippets of references to the previous book scattered into the story but I enjoyed meeting the new ones.

The introduction of Death is inspired. The plot lends itself to an angelic intervention as seen in the films  I loved as a kid Heaven Can Wait (both versions) and of course, It’s a Wonderful  Life so he is a  refreshing addition and a fantastic memorable character. His outlandish antics and scenes with Harry and William will stay with me and continue to make me grin for a long time. He links the two threads of Elsa and Danny stories perfectly. I was kept guessing throughout the book as the plot unfolded and twisted.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Kiltie Jackson is an author but also a natural storyteller with a distinctive voice which makes me want to read more.  I could happily reread this book on sunny days in the garden or curled up under the duvet with a hot choc on wintery nights.

Thank you Rachel Random Resources and Kiltie Jackson for inviting me on this fun blog tour and allowing me a sneak read before the release date.

Happy reading!

 

P.S For more Kiltie Jackson magic, catch up with other bloggers on this tour to read a three-part prequel to the Lovestyle series and thoughts from the author. Links can be found on her page Kiltie Jackson daily as the tour continues.

Also do not forget to scroll down to enter a giveaway to win an Amazon gift voucher worth £40. An ideal prize for a bookworm with an extensive TBR list.

Author Biography

An Artisan Lovestyle Head Shot Piccie

Kiltie Jackson

Kiltie grew up in Glasgow in Scotland,
This is a very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life.

When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then,
after several years of obtaining interesting experiences -which are
finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.

Kiltie currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one grumpy husband.
Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having
plenty of moggies, there are no towers!
The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their house on the
condition they keep paying the mortgage!

She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles.
She really dislikes going to the gym!

Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job
and write her stories for a living.

Kiltie’s debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, was released in September 2017 and won
a “Chill With A Book – Reader Award” in December 2017.

She first began writing her debut novel eleven years before it was released but shelved
it as she didn’t think it was very good.

In November 2016 when, having read more on a best-selling author who had begun
her own career as a self-published author, she was inspired to revisit the unfinished
manuscript and finally finish what she had started.

Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing.
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is the second book in the Lovestyle Series.

Work is due to begin on book three (not yet titled but also part of the Lovestyle Series)
in the Summer of 2018.

She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a
fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and
the ideas still keep on coming.

Kiltie now lives her life around the following three quotes:
“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!”
“Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?”
“Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”

To connect with Kiltie Jackson

Website www.kiltiejackson.com
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/kiltiejackson
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/KiltieJackson

Giveaway – Chance to win £40/$40 Amazon Voucher (Open internationally)*

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494104/

Good Luck!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Book Review: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

I have read many of Sarah Morgan’s books including Moonlight over Manhattan so I was pleased to receive her new release from NetGalley and HQ  in exchange for a honest unbiased review.

How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

How to Keep a Secret cover

Title: How to Keep a Secret

Author: Sarah Morgan

Publisher: HQ

Genre: Romance, Women’s fiction

Release date: 14th June 2018

Blurb

The much-loved Sarah Morgan is back with her most emotional novel yet. A feel-good read full of drama, romance and laughter, this is a story about family, being brave and opening up to new love.

Praise for Sarah Morgan:

‘An absolute delight’ Veronica Henry

‘The perfect book to curl up with’ Heat

Three generations of Stewart women, all with secrets to keep…

Matriarch Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother but how can she ever tell her daughters the reason why? Lauren and Jenna are as close as two sisters can be and they made a pact years ago to keep a devastating secret from their mother – but is it time to come clean? Lauren’s teenage daughter Mackenzie masks her own pain by keeping her mother at a distance. Her mother, aunt and grandmother keep trying to reach her but will it take a stranger to show her the true meaning of family?

When life changes in an instant, the Stewart women are thrown together for a summer and suddenly they must relearn how to be a family. And whilst unravelling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, it could also be their finest moment . . .

My Thoughts

I have read many of Sarah Morgan’s books and find they are ideal to curl up under the duvet with a warm drink in the winter or read outside in the sun in the summer. This novel is no exception.

From the start I had a connection with the two sisters as they sneak out as children to witness something that will impact the rest of their lives. As adults they have different lives; Lauren with her rich husband in London and Jenna with her more modest lifestyle in Martha’s Vineyard, America. I loved them both and as the story developed enjoyed the interaction between the two. Mack, Lauren’s daughter took me back to my own teenage years and the emotions that went with it. Nancy, her grandmother was the hardest character to connect with but as secrets were revealed it was easy to understand her actions and she grew on me. This novel felt more involved and the relationships had more depth than Sarah Morgan’s previous novels so was a pleasure to read. The characters were more real and it had a greater sense of place. I have fallen in love with places described by her in other books such as Manhattan, Puffin Island and the Snow Crystal resort but Martha’s Vineyard is something else. I wanted to sink my feet into the sand on the beach and walk through the rooms of The Captain’s House.

It is a tale about sisters, the secrets they share and those they keep to themselves and how secrets keep people close but can tear them apart. It made me think about the relationship between my own sister and made me want to pick up the phone just to say hello. It is emotional with its heart break but also uplifting as strength of the characters shines through.

I was disappointed to reach the last page because I did want to leave them and the house behind.

 

Have you read any Sarah Morgan’s books or this one? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Happy reading!

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton

It is publication day for Rachel Burton’s  The Things We Need to Say. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this emotional, gripping novel in and I loved it.

 

Book Review for The Things We Need to Say

The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton

Title: The Things We Need to Say

Author: Rachel Burton

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Publication day: 11th May 2018

Purchase on Amazon UKhttp://amzn.to/2kLqSYL

Blurb

Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.

Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.

Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.

As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

 Perfect for fans of Katie Marsh, Amanda Prowse and Sheila O’Flanagan

My Thoughts

Poignant, honest and beautifully written, I instantly connected with Fran and Will as they stand at a crossroads in their once secure, loving marriage. This book made my heart ache with emotion as the story unfolded.  This book emphasises how important the things we do not say are and the importance of communication and connection in relationships even when trapped in dark depths of grief.

Fran and Will have had years of heartache with miscarriages when life gives them another blow to deal with. Fran goes to a yoga retreat to heal and make decisions. There she meets a collection of yoga students where secrets revealed and bonds formed allowing hope to form. Rachel Burton deals with the topic sensitively but honestly. Be prepared to cry and your heart to hurt.

Partly set in glorious Catalonia, Rachel Burton paints the landscape with her words. Her descriptions of yoga and the calm and emotional release it gives reminded me why I loved the exercise so much. It has given me a nudge to look into it again.

Fran may not be one for fate but this book arrived at the perfect time and once read  I felt I had been on the retreat myself;  I felt calm and the world was a little bit clearer.

Would I recommend?

Definitely but get some hankies first. I am now nudging her previous book The Many Colours of Us to the top of my reading pile as I love her reading style.
Thank you to Rachel Random Resources for inviting me on this blog tour and Rachel Burton for writing a touching and important book.

 

 

Author Bio

 

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Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts she finally made one up that was worth writing down.

After graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn’t really know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and a yoga teacher.

She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Her debut, The Many Colours of Us, was an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her second novel, The Things We Need to to Say, is released on 11 May 2018. She is currently working on her third novel in which the heroine follows the love of her life to live in a city in northern England. It has no autobiographical elements at all…..maybe.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or search Facebook for Rachel Burton Author. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….

 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rachelburtonauthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bookish_yogi

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bookish_yogi/

 

Book review: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland.

Duvet days are continuing so I was appreciative to receive a copy of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland to read. I loved her previous book Lost for Words so I settled down with a cuppa, jelly beans — my new favourite thing thanks to Sunflowers in February,  and Nigel snuggled next to me hoping to be equally impressed.

Book review for The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

 

Title The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

Author Stephanie Butland

Publisher Bonnier Zaffre

Release date 19th April 2018

Blurb

Loveday Cardew won everyone’s heart in Lost for Words, now it’s time for Ailsa Rae to live, love and be loved . . .

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.

She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she wants to find her father.

Have her friends left her behind?

And she’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her.

She barely knows where to start on her own.

Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.
But her new heart is a bold heart. 

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

My Thoughts

As a duvet dweller AKA Spoonie or someone with a chronic illness I  relate much to Ailsa thoughts and the emotions she expresses in her blog before her transplant and after as her health improves. She uses her blog to connect with people outside hospital bed as many do, raise awareness of the ability of transplants to change someone’s life and help make decisions with her life. I enjoyed the pleasant mixture of blog posts, email, and narration.

It follows Ailsa as she ventures into the new world of wellness, which means negotiating her close relationship with her mum and discover her well self. The book comes across as well researched and makes you connect with Ailsa. It is uplifting and made me want to get my dancing shoes on and dance. Or at least put the music on loud and sway imagining I was on strictly come dancing. As with her previous book Lost for Words Stephanie Butland has given me another character to love and remember.

Would I recommend?

Yes, for its humour, insight into the life of someone dealing with chronic illness and beyond as well as its delightful characters. This is one of those books I want a physical copy of for my bookshelf so I can indulge again in the future.

Thank you Netgalley and for sending me an advanced copy of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae in exchange for an honest review.

 

Happy reading!

Book Review: The Coven by Lissy

For those who know me and read my other blog, it is no surprise I was excited to receive this in my NetGalley shelf. I love books about witches and the blurb for this first installment sounded ideal.

 

The Coven book cover

The Coven book cover

 

Title: The Coven

Author: Chrissy Lessey

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

Release date: 27th June 2017

Blurb

The future queen awakens…

Newly single mother Stevie Lewis divides her time between raising Charlie, running a store with her best friend, and avoiding the meetings of her mother’s Beaufort Historic Society. Although her life has its challenges, it’s altogether average. Just the way she likes it.

When Vanessa, a ruthless dark witch, launches an attack against young Charlie, Stevie’s simple life derails, and her long-dormant powers awaken. A 300-year-old secret is exposed, revealing her destiny to one day rule the clandestine community of witches who hide in plain sight.

Now she must master her own magical powers before it’s too late. Because Vanessa’s on the warpath, and only Stevie can stop her.

My Thoughts

This was an enjoyable, easy read which delivered a sprinkle of magic on a dreary day. I love the illustration on the cover which would attract me instantly if I saw it on a shelf.

The town of Beaufort is full of magical secrets, known only to a select few.  When a stranger arrives Stevie’s life is turned upside down. She is a likable protagonist and I instantly felt a connection as she struggled to bring up son with autism. The book is littered with quirky characters with imaginative gifts that I loved.  It is part of a trilogy but it could easily become a bigger series by delving into the other older members of the coven. They must all have their own tales to tell. I am looking forward to reading the second installment of The Crystal Coast Series.

Would I recommend?

Yes. it is perfect for light, magical escapism.

 

Happy reading!

The Cottingley Secret Book review

Do you believe in fairies?

Blurb

In 1917

The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back one hundred years to a time when two young girls from Cottingley, Yorkshire, convinced the world that they had done the impossible and photographed fairies in their garden. Now, in her newest novel, international bestseller Hazel Gaynor reimagines their story.

1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true–didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself

Genre:  general fiction

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

I stumbled on this book on Twitter and was instantly drawn to it because I remember being fascinated by these photographs of fairies as a child. The book captivated me from the first page and is as gentle, serene and magical as the fairies themselves. The descriptions are atmospheric and made me believe I was in Yorkshire playing in the beck or browsing the shelves of the Irish book shop which has a character of its own. I enjoyed how the two stories entwined and the relationship between the characters past and present.

 It is a perfect book to read on a crisp Autumn day and may inspire you to connect with nature and hunt for fairies yourself.  

Have you read it? I would love to hear what you thought in the comments below.

Happy reading.