30 June 2014

eBook Review: When Alice Met Danny by T. A. Williams

"What's in a name?

Devastated after losing her job, eternal pragmatist Alice leaves London for a new start in Devon. It’s there that she meets Danny.

Then she meets another Danny.

And then she meets Daniel – Danny to his friends…

In fact, there seems to be a Danny at every turn! Her neighbour’s a Danny; there’s little baby Danny; there’s a vicar, a windsurfer, even a dog called Danny! And whether it’s laughter, comfort, a flutter of romance or a walk along the beach, they each bring something special to Alice’s new life.

You might say it’s a coincidence. Alice certainly would… at first! But when she suddenly risks losing not just one Danny, but all of them, she begins to wonder: might there be more in a name than she ever guessed?"

Rating: 3/5

You can buy When Alice Met Danny as an eBook now.

I didn't actually know much about this book until I signed up to be part of the blog tour for it, run by Leah from Girls Love To Read. I loved the cover, but with a bit of an ambiguous name, I wasn't sure about the author at all. It turns out that T. A. Williams is a man, and this is his third novel, his second with publishers Carina. As I mentioned, I hadn't heard of him or this book before I read as part of the blog tour, so went into it with my eyes open, and looking forward to a good story. It is currently only available as a Kindle edition, but I love that Carina still put a lot into their eBook covers.

Alice is really devastated to lose her job, and decides it might be the ideal time to move away from London, and buy a small cottage on the coast in Devon. She rents out her London flat to her colleague Danny, who she befriends before she leaves, and buys a house at auction, without seeing it first. However, Alice is in for a shock when she visits after purchasing it, and finding out it's a dump - crammed full of the items of a hoarder, with the most hideous stench, and overgrown garden to boot. Alice rents a room in a local guesthouse while she renovates her new home, and makes some new friends... with rather a lot of them called Danny. There's Danny, the local landowner (although best known as Daniel), Danny the baby of the lady next door, Danny the dog... Danny's appear to be everywhere in Alice's life - is it a sign?!

As you can see, as well as Alice, the majority of the other characters in this book are called Danny. Luckily, I didn't find it too confusing because they are obviously all very different, especially the baby and the dog, and it's not something I have read before in any book, so I liked that it was a unique idea. The character of Alice was very likeable, you could see why she wanted to move out of London for a break, the town she moves to in Devon sounds idyllic, a real tight community and I could see why she wanted to stay there. The descriptions of the house she buys are perfect - they really highlight the state that the house is in; the junk, the grime, the smell - all of it comes to life in the writing and you can't help but think Alice should running as far away from the house as she could get. I liked all the different things going on in the book too - I was never bored, and Alice always had something fun on the go - even the sadder scenes were written with care, and done really well.

The relationships that Alice forms in the book are good too, especially with 'London Danny', who we learn later to be 'windsurfer Danny' too - you do have to concentrate to keep an eye on who is who! I liked how easily Alice made friends, from Alice to the lady living next door, and her landlady too. Alice seems like someone who is easy to befriend and get to know. While the characters were enjoyable to read about, it was their dialogue that really let the book down for me. All of the conversations in the book felt really wooden to me, not at all like you'd expect conversation to flow in real life, and I found it a bit cringey to read at times. I just felt it wasn't a true reflection of real people's chats like it usually is when I read a book, and it was hard work for me. It's a shame, as the story was a great idea, but it was massively let-down by this aspect of the book for me.

I found this to be a fairly enjoyable read, the story was a unique idea, something that actually worked quite well in the book, but there were elements of it which left me wanting to knock a few stars off. For me, conversation/dialogue in a novel are really important, they are often my favourite parts of a book. When they aren't done properly, it can spoil the other parts of the book, and this was the case for me. I'm sure it's something that can be worked on, because the rest of the book flowed well and was enjoyable to read, it's just something for me that I couldn't get past. A beautiful setting, some really good descriptive writing and characters that you can invest in and care about - the bare bones are there to provide a great backbone to the story, and if the dialogue were better, it would have been a pretty brilliant read!

Blog Tour: When Alice Met Danny by T A Williams

Today I am pleased to welcome author T. A. Williams to my blog as part of his blog tour for his new book with Carina, When Alice Met Danny. I've read quite a lot of new books through Carina that I have enjoyed, so I was pleased to get a chance to read this. It's a captivating and sweet story, and I really like the cover as well, it represents the book really well. Today, I have an author article for you from T. A. Williams, and it's a great read, enjoy!

Also please take the time to enter the fab giveaway at the bottom of the post! Good luck!

You can buy When Alice Met Danny as an eBook now.

"The long hard road to publication.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Writing the books is the easy part. Finding a publisher is far, far harder. Take me for example:
It was only last year, at the ripe old age of 64, that I got my first publishing contract. I opened the e-mail at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning and had to re-read it a few times before it sank in. I had done it. I had got a publisher. I rushed through to the bathroom and scared the life out of my wife in the shower as I blurted out what had happened. I think she thought I was having a stroke. When you reckon that I wrote my first book forty years earlier, you begin to see why I have called this the long, hard road to publication.
My first book (which I still keep meaning to pull out and dust off) was The Man of Blood, a timeshift thriller dealing with the prophecies of Nostradamus and the troubles in Northern Ireland. Ironically, of all my work up till last year, it was the one that got closest to publication. It was read twice by Collins. That was back in the days when publishing houses were still prepared to receive full manuscripts direct from writers – seems a long way off now. I still have the letter I finally received from them. It says all sorts of complimentary things, but ends with the words, ‘…owing to the present parlous economic situation in the country, we are unable to take on new authors at present.’ That was in 1974. So what’s new?
Anyway, since then on the writing front; zilch. I found myself doing a very full-on sort of job. I was running an English language school and that involved, among other things, a hell of a lot of travel all over the world, doing my best to drum up business for the school. Before the days of laptops and iPads, there was no way I could seriously continue to write while hopping from one long-haul flight to another. And, of course, when the summer came and we had something in the region of 500 students in the school, there was barely time to eat and sleep.
I got back to writing seriously about fifteen years ago. I have always been hooked on history, and the Middle Ages in particular. I wrote a trilogy of historical novels dealing with the Knights Templar, the Cathars, the Crusades. In fact, pretty much all the stuff that Dan Brown put into the Da Vinci Code. Say what you like about Dan, the stuff was all out there; he was the one with the good sense to turn it into a bestseller. Alas, unlike Dan Brown, I was unable to find any takers for my “serious” stuff.
Which brings us to January 5th 2013. I read an article in the paper in which an editor at The Bookseller magazine predicted that, in the wake of 50 Shades of Grey, erotica would do well in 2013 and historical erotica even more so. I knew I had the historical background. Unfortunately I knew very little about erotica. And that’s how Dirty Minds was conceived. Quite amazingly, I wrote the whole thing (80,000 words) in less than a month. Six months later, it came out.
Since then I have written three more books, the latest, When Alice met Danny, only just published, and am just beginning to think about my fifth. So, I am one of the lucky ones – at long last.
A final word of encouragement for any would-be writers out there: e-publishing has suddenly opened many, many more doors. I seriously question whether a traditional publisher would have risked the considerable investment of taking on a new author (particularly an old one). It was e-publishing and a terrific editor called Clio Cornish at Carina UK that did it for me. So, remember, there’s never been a better time to get into print. At least not since the invention of the TV. "

Thanks so much, Trevor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

26 June 2014

Book Review: The Travelling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones

"A delectable tale of love, friendship and cake...

Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves tea-time and travel. So when British baking treasure Pamela Lambert-Leigh needs a guide on a research trip for her new cookbook, she jumps at the chance.

The brief:

Laurie and Pamela - along with Pamela's sassy mother and stroppy daughter - will board a vintage London bus for a deliciously unusual tour of the USA's East Coast, cruising from New York to Vermont.

Their mission:

To trade recipes for home-grown classics like Victoria Sponge and Battenburg for American favourites like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pie.

All the women have their secrets and heartaches to heal. As well cupcakes galore, there's also the chance for romance...

But will making Whoopie lead to love?"

Rating: 3/5

You can buy The Travelling Tea Shop as a paperback or an eBook now!

There's something about the summer which always means that a new Belinda Jones book is on the horizon! I've read so many of her fabulous summer novels and feel like I've travelled around the globe with her brilliant characters. This is a lovely new book, set across the east coast of America, so again it's a lovely travel-orientated book. That cover is just stunning too, with the pink and green foil highlights on the paperback, it's certainly a book that makes you want to grab it and devour it quickly, much like the story inside!

This is the story of the adventure of four women as they travel the East Coast on an old London bus. There's Laurie, a travel guide writer who is more than up for the job of being tour guide for her new clients, TV chef Pamela, her mother and daughter too! Laurie has to take them to lots of places, finding out the speciality cake of each state, and gifting them a British one in return. But things aren't quite plain-sailing on the trip, especially with the tensions between Pamela's mother Gracie and her daughter Ravenna running at an all-time high. Laurie, however, is determined to make the trip a success, and this might mean getting in the middle of more than one family argument along the way...

Any book filled with cakes is a book for me, and I was really looking forward to tucking in to it, and reading all about the yummy cakes that Laurie and co were going to get stuck into! Those of you who have read Belinda's last book Winter Wonderland will recognise the character of Laurie who made a few appearances in that book - we also get back in touch with Krista from that book too, it's nice the way that they cross over so easily. Laurie was a likeable character, quite no-nonsense and determined to make the trip successful and exactly what Pamela and her family need. She clearly loved her cake too, and wasn't afraid to scoff a slice or two, I liked that about her!

The other main characters in the book were Pamela, Ravenna and Gracie, the three women on the trip. To be honest, the only one I really liked was Gracie, she told it how it was and didn't want either her daughter or grand-daughter to ruin the trip in any way! Pamela was just a bit wimpy, especially towards her daughter, pretty much giving her what she wanted, when she wanted it, and Ravenna was just a spoilt, rude little girl. I really struggled to warm to either of them, and so it was hard for me to care about their back story, and whether or not they'd sort out their family differences. However, because I struggled to care about them as characters, and consequently as a family, I wasn't overly bothered by the end as to what happened to all of them, whether or not they sorted their differences felt a bit irrelevant to me.

The trip was fun to read. It was great to read about the different destinations, from New York to Boston to Maine, there were lots of different places in there to keep you interested, and consequently lots of yummy sounding cakes as well! There was a lot of heavy description about the places that they stopped at too, and at times I felt like the narrative got bogged down with these - it was just too heavy for me and made the reading feel somewhat stilted. The pace of the book was okay for the most part when there was dialogue happening, but as I said it did get stuck at times. Lots of secrets are revealed, a few of them left me frustrated as to how they were dealt with by the characters, and I felt they were perhaps strung out longer than they needed to be. Jones has clearly done her research here, she knows what she's talking about in regards to the places they visit on the trip, the cakes and various other things, but the characters, their dialogue at times and other things didn't gel for me. It wasn't my favourite of Belinda's books unfortunately, but it's still a pleasant and easy read.

Book News: A Girl Called Summer by Lucy Lord

Lucy Lord is back this summer with a new book, and it sounds like a great read! A Girl Called Summer is due out on July 17th, and has the most gorgeous summery cover, I love it! Lucy's books that I've read are certainly eye-opening, and this one sounds just as exciting! Look out for it soon.

You can pre-order A Girl Called Summer as a paperback or an eBook now.

"Island life is just one step away…

A new start…
Bella and Andy have escaped the rat race for the sun-drenched, relaxed lifestyle on the island of Ibiza. But with a run-down house to make habitable and a distractingly gorgeous neighbour, is their island idyll all that it seems?

A holiday adventure…
Tamara Gold has been Hollywood’s most notorious car crash since she was a child star. Now clean and sober, and engaged to Tinseltown’s hottest leading man, it seems like she’s finally conquered her addictions, if not her bratty behaviour. But a summer in Europe with all the hedonistic lures of Ibiza beckons…

A girl called Summer…
Summer Larsson has always known Ibiza as home: a haven of hippies, yoga and healthy eating – and loneliness. But in Bella, she’s found the friend she always needed, and when Bella’s glamorous Hollywood friends come to visit, it looks like she might have found true love as well…

This could be the summer that everything changes…"

25 June 2014

Blog Tour: Chapter Extract of 'A Gift to Remember' by Melissa Hill

Today I am delighted to welcome Melissa Hill to my blog, with an extract from her new book A Gift to Remember! The book was first released last year in time for the festive season, and now it's being released in paperback with a gorgeous new look. You can take a look at the first chapter at the below link, just click to view the pdf file!

You can buy A Gift to Remember as a paperback or an eBook now!

Read the first chapter of A Gift to Remember!

23 June 2014

Book Review: The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson

"Sally is an incredible singer but she sings only in her wardrobe where nobody can hear her. She'd rather join a nudist colony than sing in public.

That is until she ventures to New York where a wild and heady summer of love and loss changes her forever. No longer able to hide in the shadows, Sally must return home to London to fulfill a promise she cannot break - to share her voice.

But just as she's about to embark on her new life, a beautiful man turns up on Sally's doorstep bearing a sheepish smile and a mysterious hand-written message.

How did he find her? Why is he here? Does he hold the truth to what happened back in New York? And, with him back on the scene, will she still have the courage to step into the spotlight?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me as a paperback or an eBook.

I am a massive fan of Lucy Robinson's books, and have been eagerly awaiting the release of her brand new novel The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me. I had heard so many amazing things about this book before I'd even read a page that I was simply bursting to start reading it, and now I have, I can see what all the fuss was about! It's unlike anything I've ever read, full of larger than life characters, a heart-warming story and a good dose of Opera thrown in for good measure. There's something about Robinson's writing that keeps you coming back for me, and this book just showcases her talent all the more.

Sally is an Opera singer, and an extremely good one at that. However, she only sings in her wardrobe. When she's alone. And when no-one else is listening. So when she finds herself enrolled on a course at the Royal College of Music, it's like all her nightmares have finally come to fruition in one fell swoop. There's something in Sally's past that is forcing her to push through with the course, despite it being the last thing she really wants. Last year, in New York, Sally's life was changed forever, where she finds both love and loss, and she makes a promise she knows she can't go back on. Will Sally have the strength to go through with her promise, and face up to her fears once and for all?

I've never read a book centred around opera before, and I was so excited to find out more about the genre through Sally. Opera isn't something I personally enjoy listening to, although reading about it in this book makes me see it in a totally new light, something magical and special. What made it so special was how much Sally loved opera, and how much her love for it jumps off at the page at you, from the way she describes it, to how it moves her and makes her feel - Robinson has really captured the emotion of this character and how opera moves her and touches her in a way nothing else has been able to. There are a few operas mentioned throughout the book, I can't wait to listen to them now and see what Sally is so keen on, especially those mentioned towards the end of the book.

While the love of opera really comes across in the book, it is the amazing characters which makes this book so readable for me. Firstly, Sally is the perfect main character. We see her life through 'Acts', much like in an opera. The book flits between acts, from Sally's childhood, to her trip to New York, and then present day at the Royal College of Music. It was a bit hard to keep track at first, I had to make sure I was really paying attention as I was reading but I soon settled into the pace of it, and enjoyed learning more about why Sally is how she is. There's a lot going on, many different plots within the one book which ultimately link together, but it makes for fantastic reading! Sally's clearly a damaged person, hiding secrets that have broken her badly, and this is reflected in the relationships she forms in the book. I really did love her, I was hoping she would find the strength to sing in public, and work through her issues to find happiness.

The other characters in the book were fantastic too. There's the amazing Hungarian opera singer Jan Borsos. He is just utterly hilarious, and I was often laughing out loud when I read his scenes! He has a hilarious way of speaking that can't fail to put a smile on your face, and he certainly brings out the best in those around him. He's a big contrast to the other main male in the book, opera superstar Julian Jefferson. He's a singing tutor at the Royal College of Music, and Sally's worst nightmare come to life. Things are not revealed until a good way into the book to keep you gripped, but I did love Julian, he was a lovely man and sounded like he was pretty perfect! The other male is Barry from Wales, Sally's best friend. Again, he's hilarious and really tries to cheer Sally up, everyone needs a best friend like him! It is definitely the characters in this book which make it what it is, they are all perfect for the book!

This is definitely my favourite of Lucy Robinson's books to date. I loved everything about it, from the story, the pace, the writing, the characters, the setting... just everything! There's so much going on, it's thrown at you so quickly but handled in such a brilliant way - there's love, loss, grief, secrets, drugs, betrayal and many more emotions going on, and it all comes together to create an amazing story. Robinson's writing is so easy to read, it jumps out at you from the page and flows perfectly, letting you into Sally's world, drawing you in so much that you don't want to ever leave. This is an utterly brilliant book, full of charm, wit, humour and much more, with a plot unlike anything I've read before. You MUST read it, it's one of those books you won't want to put down and you know you'll come back to to read again and again. What a complete treat.

Blog Tour: Lucy Robinson

Today I am utterly delighted to welcome the fabulous Lucy Robinson to my blog! Her new book The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me is simply a triumph, I loved every page and it's gone straight into my top 3 reads of 2014 so far, no mean feat I assure you! I was delighted to be asked to be part of Lucy's blog tour, and here's her fabulous article about the wonderful character of Jan Borsos from the book :)

You can buy The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me as a paperback or an eBook now.

"Well it’s quite a few days since The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me was published and I’m beginning to get a bit nervous – tomorrow is Tuesday and Tuesday is the dreaded sales email day! Sales figures come in Tuesday afternoon and if you have a nice editor they’ll forward them straight on to you with lots of words of encouragement. Or commiseration. I’ve not had commiserations yet but I fear them ! But who wants to sit around worrying about numbers, eh? Not Robinson.

Thank you to the brilliant Chloe for having me today. Chloe’s website is the gold standard in chicklit blogs and am very happy indeed to be here.

So, to recap. During this tour I am talking about two things: MAD PEOPLE and FEAR.

The MAD PEOPLE are my cast of main characters from The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me. During this tour I’m revealing them to you, one by one.

And then I’ll talk briefly about FEAR. Facing your fears; seizing the day, just being brave is a major theme in this novel and at the end of this blog tour I’ll be facing a sizeable fear of my own and showing you a video of the results. ARGHHH. So, here we go. Feel free to butt in with any actor suggestions for the blockbusting film that will surely follow.

JAN BORSOS! JAN BORSOS! Only two of my friends have been loaned my book pre-publication, but in both cases I received text messages screaming about Jan Borsos. Is he my favourite character of all time? Quite possibly. I ADORE him. I literally ADORE him.

Jan Borsos is a short, stout little man from Hungary.  He has an extremely fierce facial expression which is used to express joy, fear, sadness and rage – it never changes. He had dramatic black hair that sweeps away from his face and a quite lovely turn of phrase.

Having already been married and divorced at the tender age of twenty-three, Jan Borsos has lost a lot of money and has had to walk across Europe from Hungary to start Opera School. Unfortunately, somewhere near the west coast of France, he has lost a shoe. So he walks into the Royal College of Music – and indeed into this novel - with only one shoe. It does not diminish him in the slightest. He is a pocket rocket, a wonderful, passionate, completely uninhibited man, who is capable of moving mountains. Watch out for the scene with the bacon and the record player.

My favourite Jan Borsos quote: ‘You come for dinner with me?’ he asked. ‘Tomorrow? Yes? Yes! We are in agreement!’ And off he strode, a little king of a man.
He called my name again from down the corridor.
‘Sally! I take you for dinner! But you have to pay! I do not have my scholarship for one more week!’
Jan’s biggest fear: Jan is deeply afraid of a woman called Dima. (I don’t blame him.) You’ll have to read the book to find out more!"

21 June 2014

Book Review: The Guestbook by Holly Martin

"Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook!

As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider - whatever her colourful array of guests require. A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.

This includes Annie herself - especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.

Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling! 

Forget sending postcards saying 'wish you were here' - one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Guestbook as an eBook now.

As you can imagine, I am sent lots of books to review, as well as lots of review requests too. Sometimes, things can pass me by, and I have to confess that Holly Martin's book The Guestbook was one such book. However, it caught my attention when I saw an enormous amount of buzz for it on Twitter, with lots of fellow bloggers raving about it. It caught my attention, and so I treated myself to the Kindle version at a bargain price on Amazon. I decided that I needed to give it a try and see if it would live up to the hype of what others have said - it was certainly an enjoyable read, and makes me look forward to reading more from Holly Martin.

Annie Butterworth loves running her guest house, Willow Cottage. It's a popular little place, with bookings often full, and the cottage's guest book gives you a great glimpse into the lives of those who comes to stay there, whether for just a night or for a longer stay. Annie often makes her own contributions in there too, keeping an eye on all her guests wants and needs. Willow Cottage gets a famous visitor when crime writer Oliver Black comes to stay, although Annie knows him far better than some. All of the guests at Willow Cottage are contending with different things in their lives, and the guest book is a cathartic way of them sharing their thoughts. Many wish they could stay forever... will Annie be able to stay despite her own secret heartache too?

I know it sounds silly, but I didn't realise the whole book was written entirely as guest book entries before I began reading. I assumed there would of course be some entries throughout the book, but that it would be a traditional story around them. I did have some doubts when I started, it took me a while to get used to the narrative and to work out who was who, especially when there were several people 'writing' in one entry. There wasn't a lot of formatting going on for my kindle version, therefore I had to have an educated guess at times as to who was talking at the time! Once I settled into reading it though, it was fine and I enjoyed the way it was written.

I have to say that I liked the characters as well. The main one was of course Annie Butterworth, who owns Willow Cottage. We know that there was something sad in Annie's past, and as we learn more about her, I did like her more. She's very good at dealing with her fussiest of customers, the relationship with Oliver Black was fun to read, although I did want the two to hurry up and get together! I really did like Oliver too, he seemed so charming, and perfect for Annie too. The other characters in the book are mainly made up from guests at Willow Cottage. There is a wide range of characters too - from families, to singletons, old and young residents, newly-weds, jilted brides and many more. They are all easy to differentiate, and I loved reading about their lives, their stories and how they came to be at Willow Cottage. They all seemed to fall in love with the guest house too - how could you not?!

The way The Guestbook is written makes you feel like you are sitting in Willow Cottage with the residents, seeing the beautiful garden, the town and everything around them. There is a lot of emotion in the book as well, some moments had me laughing out loud, others had me welling up with tears in my eyes, Martin handles all of the stories very well, making them unique enough to be remembered amongst the many others in the book. Wells-By-The-Sea sounds like a beautiful town as well, you can see why it's a bolthole for so many people, especially Annie and Oliver, after what they have both been through. It's written in an unusual way, and once you get past the initial strangeness, it makes for a great read that you can really get involved with. There's no extra narration to give us information about the guests, aside from what's in the guest book, so it's a skill to put across so many stories in this format. I really did enjoy the book, and think it's one that will be successful through word of mouth, as it seems to be so far. I'm looking forward to reading more from Holly Martin.

18 June 2014

Book Review: Love Me For Me by Jenny Hale

"Libby Potter has just lost the perfect job, the perfect apartment and the perfect boyfriend. Moving back to the same home town that she couldn’t wait to escape when she was younger was definitely not on her todo list. Especially as it means running into the man whose heart she broke when she left.

Pete Bennett can still make Libby’s world stop with just the sound of his voice – even ten years on. Only now, she is the last person in the world that he wants to see.

As everyone else welcomes Libby home with open arms, she realizes she’s missed that special closeness that comes from lifelong friendship. And, as Libby tries to make amends with Pete, she begins to wonder whether she made the right choice in leaving all those years ago.

When an amazing career opportunity gives her the chance to leave again, Libby will have to decide what her version of perfect is… and where she really belongs."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Love Me For Me as a paperback or an eBook now.

One of my favourite new reads last year was Jenny Hale's debut novel Coming Home for Christmas. It was a beautiful read full of love and festive cheer, and certainly made Jenny Hale an author to watch for me. Luckily, I haven't had that long to wait until her book was out, and I was able to review the eBook last month. I have to say the cover is beautiful as well, and I really liked the sound of the story. Jenny Hale's writing is beautiful, very evocative and I really found the story to be an enjoyable read, and is sending Hale flying up my list of must-read authors!

Libby Potter feels like her life is falling apart. She's lost the job she loves in New York, she's lost her amazing apartment, and her boyfriend too. What else is there to lose? Soon enough though, Libby finds she has to return to her hometown of White Stone. She couldn't wait to escape there for the bright lights of the city when she was younger, and is very reluctant to return and face the judgemental people from her past. But once she arrives home, she bumps into an old friend she hasn't spoken to since she broke his heart all those years ago... her old friend Pete. He, however, is still bearing the grudge from years ago, and doesn't want to see Libby. As she settles into life at home again, Libby is determined to right the wrongs she made in the past, with Pete and all the other residents of their town. Will Libby be able to create a new version of her perfect life, or is it too late to turn back the clock and make amends?

I have to be honest, and say that I really didn't like Libby initially. I found that she was quite horrible about her childhood home, making out that it wasn't good enough for her and that she just could not wait to be out of there. I did feel sorry for the people she grew up with, clearly they must have felt like they weren't good enough either! But as the story progresses, I did begin to feel sorry for her because she really has lost anything that mattered, and now it seems those she hurt don't want to know her either. Her narrative was good to read though, she doesn't hold back how she is feeling, and I did grow to like her more.

Pete, on the other hand, was lovely. You could understand why he treats Libby as he does now, he's still hurt from her rejection all those years ago, and is worried that Libby still holds those feelings of resentment when she's forced back home again. Pete is a really caring, kind man who you can't help but like - I couldn't, anyway! He looks after his elderly, sick grandfather and runs his own business, plus he seems keen to help out the local residents whenever he has time too. I wanted Libby to realise how lovely Pete was, and how returning to White Stone was a good thing for her, but she just seemed so negative, it seemed like an impossibility!

The journey that Libby goes in the book is a very realistic one - and it really resonates with you as you're reading. She really has to confront her past when she's in White Stone, face all the people she hurt and think about the decisions she made all those years ago, and exactly why she made them. She does seem judgemental at first, but towards the end, you can see her softening and becoming a generally nicer person, like the rest of the lovely people in White Stone, which sounds like such an idyllic small town by the way! I liked reading about Libby rebuilding the bridges she burnt, and was hoping that the relationships with Pete and her mother would be fixable after all the hurt she has caused. I enjoyed how Hale made clear comparisons with Libby's life in New York and in White Stone, from the people to the pace of life, I couldn't fathom why Libby was making the choices she was! Hale's writing was brilliant, very easy to read and I didn't want to stop reading once I'd started. A heart-warming, touching tale of rediscovering life and yourself, I can heartily recommend it!

16 June 2014

Book Review: You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

"Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that's the problem.

Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it..."

Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy You're the One That I Want as a paperback or an eBook now.

Giovanna Fletcher is very quickly making a big name for herself in the chick lit world. Her debut novel Billy and Me, which was released last year, was a massive success, and I have to confess I was one of its biggest fans! The warm and realistic characters, the love story and Giovanna's writing came together to create a perfect book. Therefore, I was super excited to receive a review copy of Giovanna's second book called You're the One That I Want, with its absolutely gorgeous cover! It's definitely one of my favourite book covers of the year so far, and I was hoping that the story would match up to those expectations too, and luckily it did! But what you really need to know is... was I on #teamBen or #teamRobert?!

Maddy grew up feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. She had Ben and Robert in her life, the two best friends that any girl could ask for, and they knew they'd always all be there for each. Through school, they were a team, no-one could come between them. But as they grow older, feelings started to change and it sent the friends on very different. Before she knows it, it's the day of Maddy's wedding. She's all set to marry Rob, the man she loves, but standing there in the pews, staring at her is her other best friend, Ben. Maddy starts to wonder if she's chosen the right man, and whether Ben is going to say anything at the pivotal moment or not. As the big moment approaches, Maddy knows she has to make a choice... but will she make the right one?

The interesting thing about this book is that it begins with the wedding, but that's pretty much as far as it goes! The rest of the book is actually made up of flashback stories from the childhood of Maddy, Rob and Ben. When the book started, I have to admit I had a few reservations, because it started narration as children and it was a little odd to read for me. However, once I got into the stride of the book, I found it easy to read and I loved getting to know these character almost from the beginning of their lives, right up until the wedding of Rob and Maddy.

The book is about friendship, and the story revolves around the changing relationships between the three characters. When Maddy, Ben and Rob are little, they are purely friends, as you are at that age, not seeing them as a male or a female, but rather as your best friend. But as they get older, and hormones start to make themselves known, things begin to change, and we can sense the awkwardness between them all, as they struggle to deal with their feelings. I really did like Maddy, she wasn't trying to mess the boys about or play them off against each other, I think she genuinely loved them both so much, she struggled when she started to feel a different way towards one of them.

Ben and Rob were written as very different people. Rob's quite outgoing, knows he's handsome and a hit with the ladies, and much more a confident person. Ben, on the other hand, is quieter, a bit more reserved and less likely to put himself out there, even though he has no lack of female attention. I think quite early on, as a reader, you make your mind up as to whether you are #teamBen or #teamRob. For me, though, the twist is that Ben is quite open (to us through his narrative) about being in love with Maddy. He has been for years but kept it bottled up so as not to hurt anyone else. I mean, how can you not love him for that? He was just lovely, and I was certainly rooting for Maddy to choose Ben all the way through the book. He was the one for me without a doubt, and I hoped he would for Maddy too!

The narrative is split between Ben and Maddy, we don't actually get to hear from Rob much which felt a bit strange in parts - it would have been nice to hear from him, rather than just seeing him through the eyes of his friends, perhaps in a biased way. Their narratives are brilliant, very easy to read, and I liked how they changed as they grew up as well, you got to see them mature and I felt Giovanna perfectly pinpointed each of the stages of their lives perfectly, as well as the emotional turmoil they go through. There is some ups, some downs, laughs and tears, you really go through it all in these as you read the book. Although it's a love story, it's also a beautiful look at a special friendship between three people, and I almost wish love didn't have to get in the way of it all! A truly special book, and one I really did love reading!

Author Article: Nic Tatano

Today I am thrilled to welcome Harper Impulse author Nic Tatano to my blog! His new book It Girl is going to be published as a serialized novel throughout the month of June, and you can also get the entire novel at the end too if you prefer reading that way! I think it sounds like a great idea, and I'm so excited to read it! Nic was kind enough to write me an article about just this topic, and how exactly it would work, so please enjoy!

You can pre-order It Girl as an eBook now.


By Nic Tatano

In television news, the tease is king.

You see them all the time and probably don't even notice them. Teases are those little attention grabbers designed to keep you watching. Newscasts use them all the time. "Congressman caught with transvestite hooker! After the game!" Even if said game is a blowout, that tease will ensure you'll stick around to see which member of the House of Representatives got a Crying Game surprise.

That's a passage from "It Girl" which is my new serialized romantic comedy in which our heroine, Veronica Summer, is describing how the tease process works in television news.

Little did I know that something my fictional character talked about would end up being implemented into my actual book.

Awhile back the brain trust at HarperImpulse asked me if I wanted to be part of an experiment in which my novel would be released in three formats: paperback, ebook, and serialized chapters. This sounded like a great idea so I set about dividing the novel into six parts. While doing this it hit me that the concept used by serialized television shows might take this up a notch if applied to a novel. And when a book blogger mentioned it would be nice if books had recaps along the way, I came up with a formula.

"It Girl" would be divided into six "episodes" and each would have a recap of the previous episode and a "tease" about what was coming up in the next one. For the teases I picked quotes and short passages that (hopefully) will entice the reader to keep turning the pages. And I tried to end each episode with a mini-cliffhanger, same as television shows. So, just like a TV show, you'll get a "previously on It Girl" before the episode and a "next on It Girl" after the episode.

The first episode is free ("free" being the ultimate tease!), and will be released on June 6th, so you can pre-order it and it will magically appear on your device on that date. Each new episode will be released a few days later, about three or four days apart. On June 26th, the full version of the novel will be out in ebook and paperback form. (Now referred to as the "Netflix binge reading option.)

Will serialization work? Will readers enjoy being teased after each episode? And will recaps prove useful for those who read a little at a time? For those and other answers, tune in on June sixth.

Thanks so much, Nic!

14 June 2014

Book Review: Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

Only an idiot would attempt to make a pie – a special-ordered chocolate caramel cream Amore Pie – while watching Pride and Prejudice. Had she put in the vanilla? What about the salt? Damn Colin Firth and his pond-soaked white shirt.

At home in Boothbay Harbour, Maine, Veronica Russo loves to lose herself in watching Colin Firth movies and baking pies filled with good thoughts. Pies that can bring you happiness, hope, even love (everything she feels when Colin Firth is on the screen, in fact). But Veronica is not so in touch with her own feelings and has deeply buried memories of that one heart-breaking summer, when she was just 16...

In Boston, college graduate Bea Crane has received an earth-shattering letter. A year after the death of her wonderful mum, she reads that she was adopted at birth and that her biological mother lives not that far away, in Boothbay. But is she brave enough to find out more?

Gemma Hendricks has come to Boothbay not to find something, but to run away. She’s accidentally pregnant, suddenly unemployed and under pressure from her husband to give up on her career and settle down, away from her beloved New York City. With all this on her shoulders, Gemma would rather watch Bridget Jones’ Diary with a bowl of popcorn rather than face the truth. But she can’t hide away for ever.

With Colin Firth in town to shoot a new movie, all three women find their lives become closely entwined. They might be looking out for Colin Firth at every turn, but they’ll also find new and important friendships along the way.

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Finding Colin Firth as a paperback or an eBook now.

I first came across Mia March a few years ago when I read her debut novel The Meryl Streep Movie Club. It was a lovely, heart-warming family-orientated story that I thoroughly enjoyed, and that put a smile on my face. I was sent a review of her second novel Finding Colin Firth at the end of last year, but for some reason, it fell off my radar. Last month, when I was looking for something to read and this cover caught my eye - it's certainly different to anything else I've seen for a while! I picked the book, eager to give it a go, and I'm pleased I did, it was a great read.

Boothbay Harbour in Maine is a special place for a lot of people, and it's about to get a lot more special as well. Veronica Russo loves baking her pies for the local diner, and is quite well known locally for the special effects they seem to have on those who consume them. But Veronica is hiding her own secret, one from her childhood which is going to come back and make a sudden reappearance in her life. Gemma Hendricks, a married journalist, comes to Boothbay for a break from her husband, and to work out how to break the news to her husband that she's pregnant. She knows he'll want her to be a housewife, but that's the last thing Gemma wants. Finally, there's Bea Crane, who has received a shocking letter after the death of her beloved mother. It turns out she is adopted, and her biological mother lives in Boothbay. Will she be brave enough to locate her mother and forge a friendship after so many years? As well as being in Boothbay, the three women are excited to find out that Colin Firth is filming his latest movie in the small town, and wonder if they'll get to find not only Colin Firth, but true happiness as well.

I have to be honest and say despite the title of the book, Colin Firth doesn't actually appear in it at all, and it was a bit of a tenuous link to the rest of the story really. It worked well enough as a story without the Colin Firth love thrown in for me, but there you go! One thing I really did enjoy about this book was how we got to catch up with some of the characters from March's first book The Meryl Streep Movie Club; June, Isabel and Cat. It was fun to see them all settled down and happy now, and it worked really well to write the book to include them in it. The setting of Boothbay sounds idyllic, and is very well described by March. She makes it sound like the perfect place to live, and you can see why people are drawn there. March's writing is very easy to read, whether it's her descriptive passages or her dialogue, I really was drawn into the stories of each of the women and cared about them getting the happy endings they deserved.

I loved each of the characters in the book too. There's young Bea, trying to get over the death of her mum, and dealing with a massive shock as well. It must be awful to find out you are adopted out of the blue, especially as she's just lost her mum, but Bea actually dealt with it well, deciding quite quickly to go and meet her mother. I really hoped it would turn out well for her, she certainly deserved a bit of happiness. I liked the friendship she forged with Gemma as well, both women in a strange town but finding themselves drawn together through circumstance. I did feel sorry for Gemma, she loves her work as a journalist but is scared of being tied down by her husband and his family now she's pregnant. It's a very realistic story, and you certainly sympathise with both Gemma and her husband, he did seem really nice!

Veronica was the eldest of the women, and although she seems happy, she's hiding a dark secret that is about to come back into her life. I really liked Veronica, she seemed like such a nice, kind person and her pies sounded absolutely delicious! I loved the idea of the pie class she ran, it allowed the book to introduce some more characters who hopes Veronica's special pies could work their magic on them too. I really enjoyed how March brought all these characters together through the story so well, and found that I really didn't want to put it down, I just wanted to keep reading and find out what was going to happen next. The book is heavily focused around babies and adoption, and those are themes I really enjoy reading about so it was an enjoyable story for me, although perhaps not everyone's cup of tea. For me, this was a really wonderful read from Mia March, a story that will leave you with a smile on your face, and a happiness inside you too. Whether or not you're a fan of Colin Firth like Gemma, Bea and Veronica, you're sure to enjoy this book!

8 June 2014

Book Review: A Summer to Remember by Victoria Connelly

Rating: 4/5

I have read the past few novels that Victoria Connelly has released and I have really enjoyed all of them. Victoria's novels are fun to read with great stories, characters you care about and are perfect escapist reading. I was really pleased to be sent a review copy of her brand new book A Summer to Remember, and with it's gorgeous summery looking cover, it seemed like the perfect book to dive into with summer fast approaching!

Nina is fed up. Her job doesn't seem to be going to plan, she works for the boss from hell and quite frankly, she's had enough. Nina finally hands in her notice then finds herself without a job, and wondering how exactly she's going to make ends meet. When she, by chance, bumps into her old employer Mrs Milton, she finds herself being offered a job opportunity she can't afford to turn down. She ends up working as Mr Milton's secretary while he writes his secret new book, a job the other Milton's think she is mad to take! What will Nina make of her new job, and what is going to make it a summer to remember?

What I really loved about this story was it's simplicity. There wasn't anything mad going on, any craziness but it just plodded along nicely, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read from start to finish. I really liked the character of Nina. You could understand why she hated her job so much, and I was pleased she found the job at the Milton house. It turned out she had worked there when she was younger, so it was nice that the characters already had a rapport with each other. I did however like the change in the relationship between Nina and the Milton boys, whom she used to babysit for. They clearly see Nina in a new light now they are grown men, but she still sees them as the boys she cared for in Batman pyjamas, which led to a few funny moments! Nina was thoroughly likeable though, and I loved following her in the story.

The Milton family were plenty to make up the rest of the characters for the book. Mrs Milton, bless her, enjoys a rather easy life, caring for her house and husband, and wanting everything to be just perfect. She despairs at husband Dudley's disorganisation, which is where Nina came in. Dudley seemed pretty unliveable at first, but as the book went on, I grew to really like him, he was just stuck in his ways! The Milton sons were an important part of the book too. There's artist Dominic, harbouring a crush on unsuspecting Nina, and his older brother, playboy Alex. As I said, they're now grown men with feelings of their own, and Nina isn't quite sure how to handle it. I particularly liked Dominic, and reading about him and the growth of his relationship with their gardener Faye - this was a lovely addition to the story.

One thing I really loved about this book was the Milton house.  Everything about it is described so beautifully, it's so easy to picture it clearly in your mind. The flowers, Dudley's study, the folly where Dominic loves - it all sounds so perfect, you can see why Nina was so keen to return to the house and not want to have to leave! Connelly creates a beautiful setting for this book, and another part I enjoyed was when Nina had to walk the dog, Connelly's descriptions of Nina's surroundings were just wonderful, I loved reading them. This allowed the introduction of a new character, Jamie, with a bit of mystery as to who he is. I have to admit I worked it out quite early on but it was still fun to read on and see if I was right!

For me, this book is a perfect summer read, it's got everything you would want in a book. There's great characters, a beautiful settings and Connelly's writing is so easy to read that the book was a joy to pick up of an evening. I loved Nina and the Milton's, and I really hoped that they would all find the happiness they all wanted, especially Nina and lovely Dominic too! I know fans of Victoria's previous books will enjoy this, and it's a good place to start if you haven't read anything by her before too! It was a fabulous read, I can honestly say I enjoyed every page and didn't want it to end. A wonderful summer read I heartily recommend. Full of romance, laughs and lots of family fun.

7 June 2014

Book Review: Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Covet as a paperback or an eBook now. 

I was really pleased to receive a review copy of Tracey Garvis Graves latest book Covet. I read and loved her debut novel On The Island when it was first released, and it feels like I've been waiting for the release of this one for a long time! While it was very different to her debut novel, I thoroughly enjoyed it and definitely recommend it for summer reading lists!

Claire and Chris have been married for years and have two children together. However, their marriage has been put under severe strain thanks to the recession, Chris losing his job and subsequently getting a new one which takes him away from his family more often than he or Claire would like. So when she meets police officer Daniel Rush by chance, and the pair strike up an unlikely friendship, Claire begins to feel confused about her feelings. She knows that she misses her husband but things haven't been right for a while - and she loves how Daniel makes her feel when they spend time together. Will Claire be able to get her feelings under control and make the right choice for her and her family?

I'll be honest and say I did struggle withthe  idea of this book before I had read it. I don't approve of affairs by any stretch of the imagination, so I was curious how I would find a book that explores that part of a relationship - whether or not Claire would take her friendship with Daniel to the next level, and how she would reason with herself over that decision. Garvis Graves doesn't make it an easy choice for Claire, showing her struggling with the very realistic emotional turmoil she is going through, both through her story with Daniel, and flashbacks to the tough times she has already gone through with Chris too. 

While I didn't expect to like Claire, I did like her. She's a normal mum, working hard for her family, enjoying time with her friends as well as supporting them through some tough times too. I felt she started off with good intention towards Daniel, but as the pair spent more time together, it inevitably turned into something more. Daniel was a very likeable character, a upstanding policeman in their small town, and someone we know has been hurt before in a relationship. I liked him because although you can see he likes Claire, he too struggles with the fact she is married. Both Daniel and Claire struggle with their feelings, and I did have a small hope that they could make it work together. 

As well as the main story of Daniel and Claire, and the subsequent effect that has on Claire's marriage, I really enjoyed tre smaller storylines of the problems that several of Claire's friends are facing. Outwardly they seem to live ideal lives but as usual, things aren't what they seem and there's a lot of heartache behind closed doors. Claire dealt with these really well, the sort of friend that you need in this situation, it allowed us to see a different side of this character and that she wasn't a bad person, despite her actions in parts. 

I really enjoyed the book, it was really well written and presented what could be a tricky storyline in a fair way that made you actually question what would be the right decision for Claire. I did feel sorry for Chris in parts, but I did feel he neglected his wife somewhat, although he didn't deserve to lose his marriage over it. Daniel was lovely, and he definitely deserved happiness after what he had been through. The book is quite slow paced, but it needed to be like this for the story to develop well. I definitely recommend this book, it's well written and an enjoyable book. 

3 June 2014

Giveaway! Win a picnic hamper thanks to Erica James and Orion

To celebrate the release of Erica James' new book Summer at the Lake, I am part of the blog tour, and we are each hosting an amazing giveaway prize! My prize to give to one lucky winner is an amazing picnic hamper, perfect for the upcoming summer, to pop in the boot of your car stuffed full of yummy and delicious treats for the family! The hamper is pictured below. Please note the prize is an empty hamper, you'll need to fill it with treats yourself! :)

To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous hamper, all you have to do is enter using the form below, and that's it! Open to UK residents only please, and only one entrant per household. Please feel free to enter as many of the categories as you want, the more you do, the more chances you have to win!

Competition ends 10th June 2014 at 11.59pm.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Erica James - The Summer At The Lake

Today, I am thrilled to be part of Erica James' blog tour for the paperback release of her latest book Summer at the Lake. It sounds like a beautiful summer read, and I can't wait to get around to reading it as soon as I can. Erica was kind enough to share some of her photographs with me of places that inspired the book Summer at the Lake. I also have an amazing giveaway coming up later too, so make sure you check back for that!

You can buy Summer at the Lake as a paperback or an eBook now.

"It was a wedding invitation that changed everything for Floriana...

If she hadn't been so distracted at the thought of having to witness the one true love of her life get married, she would have seen the car coming.

If she'd seen the car coming, there would have been no need for elderly spinster Esme Silcox and local property developer Adam Strong to rush to her aid.

And if Floriana hadn't met Adam and Esme she would never have had the courage to agree to attend Seb's wedding in beautiful Lake Como.

For Esme, Lake Como awakens memories of when she stayed at the lake as a nineteen-year-old girl and fell in love for the first time. So often she's wondered what happened to the man who stole her heart all those years ago, a man who changed the course of her life.

Now it's time for both Esme and Floriana to face the past - and the future - on the shores of this most romantic and enchanting of lakes."

"I’m lucky enough to have this lovely view from my apartment at the lake and, not surprisingly, it provided me with a very special kind of inspiration when I was writing Summer at the Lake."

This is the Villa del Balbianello, which is where Seb and Imogen’s wedding takes place.

Bellagio is my favourite place to go shopping and to enjoy lunch with a friend. It’s generally considered to be the pearl in Lake Como’s crown and so my story wouldn’t have been complete without a few chapters set there.

Thanks so much, Erica!

2 June 2014

Book Review: A Place to Call Home by Carole Matthews

"In the dead of night, Ayesha takes her daughter, Sabina, and slips quietly from her home, leaving behind a life full of pain. Boarding a coach to London, all Ayesha wants is a fresh start.

Hayden, a former popstar, has kept himself hidden away for years. He's only opened up his home to two people - Crystal, a professional dancer with a heart of gold, and Joy, an ill-tempered retiree with a soft spot for waifs and strays.

When Crystal asks Hayden if Ayesha and Sabina can stay with them, he reluctantly agrees and, as different as they may be, they quickly form an unlikely bond. So when enemies threaten their peaceful home, they will do all they can to save it and each other."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy A Place to Call Home as a paperback or an eBook now.

Throughout the past few years, I have become a huge fan of Carole Matthews' books and her writing. Whether its her festive offerings which are always a real treat, or her summer novels, I always feel excited when a new book of hers arrives on my doorstep and I can get stuck in - I know I'm guaranteed a great read from Carole! I have to be honest, the premise of her latest book A Place to Call Home sounded a little bit different from her other books, but it made me look forward to see how Carole would handle something a bit different and darker... and of course, she didn't disappoint!

Ayesha knows that she is making a life-changing decision when she slips away with her young daughter Sabina in the middle of the night, leaving her husband alone and with no clue of their whereabouts. She doesn't even know where she is running to - only that she has to get away from her husband and disappear without a trace. She ends up at the home of Hayden, a reclusive pop star who opens his home to those in dire need to sanctuary. Ayesha is nervous and unsure in her new home, but is welcomed in by fellow residents Crystal, a dancer and Joy, a widow with no family around to care for her. Ayesha begins to slowly muddle along in her new home, with an eye always looking out behind her for her husband Suresh, sure she isn't going to be allowed her happy-ever-after with Sabina...

As you can see, this book tackles a dark issue within, one that I wasn't quite prepared for when I began the book, but it's so well handled in the book, it is simply a must-read. The issue within is domestic abuse, and yes, it isn't easy reading in parts but it's necessary to have these darker moments to show how Ayesha's life moves on and how she can find happiness despite the darkness she's had previously. Suresh is an absuive husband, utterly abhorrent to his wife and his own parents, and as such his daughter Sabina is now a selective mute - she chooses not to speak because of the horrors she has seen at home. I think it is this part of the book which touched me and moved me the most - it's a powerful realisation of how our actions as adults can deeply affect our children.

The characters within the book were so well written, I loved each of them. Ayesha is a strong woman although she doesn't think it - the fact she was able to walk away from an abusive marriage for the sake of her and her daughter proves that, and you can't help but will for her to make a success of herself. Her friendship with Crystal, another resident at Hayden's was so real and touching, you could tell the women genuinely cared for each other and wanted the best for each other too. Hayden was a recluse, and you know there's something sad in his past which has deeply affected him, and we're left wondering what it is. When it is revealed, you can't help but feel so sorry for Hayden, he's been dealt a tough hand and struggles to deal with his own pain afterwards.

All of the characters in the book have been through difficult parts in their lives, and the book really is a journey of them all coming to terms with what's happened, and trying to move on with their lives. The new friendships they have each forged stands them in good stead to help each other, and I loved seeing each of the characters grow as the book went on. This is such a positive and uplifting book despite the initial premise, and I can honestly say I loved every single page of it. Matthews handles such a sensitive issue perfectly, and I think for me this is one of my favourite of her books.The book has you laughing, crying, and emotionally hooks you in from the start - there was one moment at the end that had tears running down my face, so strong was the emotion. This book is simply a must-read, an absolute gem of a book.

Book News: Where I Found You by Amanda Brooke

I read and enjoyed 'Another Way to Fall' by Amanda Brooke last year, so I was pleased to see she is back this year with a brand new book. Where I Found You is due out on 5th June 2014, and sounds like it's going to be another emotional read. Amanda's writing is fantastic, so I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

You can pre-order Where I Found You as a paperback or an eBook now.

"One woman who can’t see her future

Maggie Carter knows Victoria Park like the back of her hand. She can tell you what time of year the most fragrant flowers bloom; she knows which paths lead you to the bench by the lake. The park is her safe place – because outside it, expecting her first baby, Maggie has started to wonder whether she’s going to be able to cope.

One woman who can’t escape her past

Elsa, too, is expecting her first child, and alone and without anyone to support her, she is terrified that her child will be taken away. But all is not as it seems: the secrets of sixty years ago are haunting Elsa and they won’t let her rest…

Bound together by the present

Struggling under the expectations and intentions of others, Maggie and Elsa’s chance meeting on the park bench offers them each a lifeline and a friend. As they reveal their hopes and heartaches, can they see themselves – and each other – clearly enough to help, before it’s too late?"