Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Romance

Waiting To Begin Amanda Prowse 5*#Review @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub #LakeUnionPress #eighties #ComingofAge #Love #forgivness #secrets #WaitingToBegin #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Bessie wanted to be an air hostess, she wanted to experience love, and all life, had to offer, but on her sixteenth birthday, her dreams started to crumble. This is an emotional and poignant coming of age story. It reflects on how your younger life can shape your future. The ethos of growing up in the 1980s, a time of change, is evocatively written. Bessie’s choices less, and her naivety greater, than for young women, in the twenty-first century.

Bessie, at fifty-three, is at a crossroads in her life. Her children are happy with their lives and independent of her. Her marriage is more a habit than a partnership, and her dreams, remain unfulfilled. This is a journey of self-realisation for Bessie. She has to reveal her darkest secret and forgive her younger self.

This story is immersive and memorable, with experiences many can relate to.

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty seven novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Murder Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Dial A For Aunties Jesse Sutanto 4*#Review @thewritinghippo @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #humour #romance #family #drama #PublicationDay #DialAForAunties #Women

When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, she turns to her aunties for help. Their meddling set her up on the date so they kind of owe her.

Although hiding this goddamn dead body is going to be harder than they thought, especially when her family’s wedding business has THE biggest wedding of the year happening right now.

 It turns out the wedding venue just happens to be managed by Meddy’s ex, aka the one who got away. It’s the worst time to see him again, or…is it? Can Meddy finally find love and make her overbearing family happy?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is a multigenerational delight, full of humorous incidents and vibrant characters. It has a little of everything culture, drama, fun, murder mystery and romance. The family curse means Meddy feels she can’t leave her mother and aunties, as their husbands and sons have, but this has consequences for Meddy, which become clear as the story progresses.

This story is a journey of self-realisation for Meddy, who has changed the course of life for her female relatives. It also explores the concept of family and the willingness to do anything for a loved one. The visual writing style makes the comic and dramatic events easy to visualise and therefore more engaging. The dialogue is key to the enjoyment in a novel that is the perfect escape.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Inspiration, Motivational

Growing Season Seni Glaister 5*#Review @SeniGlaister @HQStories Narrator Kristin Atherton #HarperCollinsAudioUK #Audiobook #BlogTour #Review #loss #selfrealisation #uplit #nature #life #love #GrowingSeason

Danny is riddled with anxiety. But he wants to be strong for his wife Sam. She’s been through so much already. If only he had someone to talk to.

Sam is facing a very different future to the one she expected. She’s ready to move on, yet other people won’t let her. If only she had someone to talk to.

Their new neighbour Diana is hiding from her past. She wanted a new life. Now she’s got it she feels angry and alone. If only she had someone to talk to.

Each of them is hiding their pain. Each of them needs to heal. But only when they learn to let each other in will they finally be able to grow.

I received an audiobook from HQ (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This character-driven story features a multi-generational friendship. Told from three viewpoints Diana, Sam and Danny, it is a detailed emotional story that explores finding your true self, fitting in, honesty and loss.

It’s introspective and works well as an audiobook. The narrator is clear and engaging, voicing the characters believably and distinctly. The gentle pace enables the listener to know each character well, and the humour, insight and poignancy, make it an emotional read.

The parallels with nature that affects the characters’ lives are well crafted and make this an engaging, thought-provoking story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Travel

The Greek Heart Kate Frost 4* #Review @katefrostauthor @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #GreekIslands #Travel #SelfDiscovery #Friendship #Romance #TheGreekHeart

A broken heart, an island escape, a boy from the past. Will Lottie’s search lead to love?

When a special anniversary takes Lottie on a journey to find the little boy she once knew, it’s a chance to put heartache behind her.

Lottie’s search takes her to Greece and a family who have known about her for decades. A warm welcome gives her some much-needed time out and the chance to reflect. Yet an emotional revelation and two handsome but complicated brothers make her question her past decisions. 

Learning to love herself and be content on her own is the first step. But will Lottie be able to follow her heart and find lasting happiness?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Lottie’s emotional journey takes her to the Greek Islands to look for someone she once knew and to repair her shattered self-worth. This is a book with vivid descriptions that brings the places Lottie visits to life. Character-driven, it focuses on Lottie’s travels, the people she meets and how she rebuilds her life. It’s a poignant read but uplifting with a lovely conclusion.

The writing is descriptive, and the characters relatable you empathise with Lottie and want her to be happy. If you are looking to escape from wintery England, this book will immerse you in the Greek Islands and a lovely positive story.

Kate Frost

Kate Frost is the author of character-driven women’s fiction (The Butterfly Storm series and Beneath the Apple Blossom), romantic escape novels (The Baobab Beach Retreat, A Starlit Summer, The Greek Heart and The Amsterdam Affair), and Time Shifters, a time travel adventure trilogy for children. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates.

Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, young son, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Frodo. She feels very lucky to spend her days writing, but when she’s not working on a novel, she’s the Director of Storytale Festival, a new city-wide children’s book festival that she co-founded in Bristol in 2019 with the ethos of making books accessible to all and encouraging children and teens to read, write and be creative. 

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Humour, Motivational, Romance, Travel

The Summer Island Swap Samantha Tonge 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @SamTongeWriter @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #Summer #Holiday #Romance #Humour #Motivational #Extract #BookReview #Conservation #SelfRealisation #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #TheSummerIslandSwap

Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect…

 After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.

But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.

So now Sarah’s battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn’t all doom and gloom. They’re at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus – Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Humour, originality and romance are all integral to this motivational story. There are good intentions, misunderstandings and an idyllic if not expected setting. Deeper issues of controlling behaviour and conservation add depth and engagement.

Forced out of her comfort level, Sarah confronts issues caused by her difficult childhood. She is conflicted but easy to empathise. Gentle romance is the catalyst for her emotional journey, which is positive and satisfying.

Extract from Summer Island Swop – Samantha Tonge

‘I’ll still have to clear it at work. I’m not sure how Prue will feel about me taking a month off.’

Just the mention of my boss’s name made my stomach knot.

‘No one’s indispensable. Not even wonderful you,’ she called back.

My chest felt warm. Over recent years, Amy had matured and started to look out for me, cooking dinner and mowing the lawn. However, I’d never lose my maternal feelings towards her. When we were ten and six ours was quite an age gap. As was eighteen and fourteen when I’d had to leave her behind with Dad but promised we’d live together again. I beat the sugar and butter, remembering her tears and his folded arms as I dragged my suitcase past the fountain and out of the huge driveway, into the street. I’d finally realised I had to leave after… I swallowed. No. I wasn’t going to think about that now.

I let Nelly into the back garden, busied myself with ingredients and cleaned up whilst the cookies baked. Their sweet aroma wafted through the air as I carried them into the lounge, on a tray, with two coffees.

‘Good timing,’ said Amy and turned off her screen, looking pleased with herself. I put the tray on the table and joined her.

‘Is it all booked?’

She nodded. ‘A modest deposit paid. The rest is due in the middle of June, two weeks before we leave.’

‘Can’t you at least share which part of the world we’re visiting?’

‘That would be telling,’ she replied airily and took the largest cookie.

I jumped up and held her right arm firm whilst tickling the armpit. ‘I won’t stop until I find out, Amy Sterling.’

However, she was as strong as me these days and, giggling, held the cookie in her mouth and forced both of my hands away. I sat down once more. I recognised that expression. She was determined to keep her secret. Sometimes, with my impulsive sister, that could be a dangerous thing, like when she’d agreed to do a charity skydive with colleagues at work. She didn’t tell me until the morning of the jump.

‘Just a clue. A teeny one,’ I said. ‘Please…’

 ‘I’ve never seen you this excited before. Well, not since you were made assistant manager. Oh, and the time you found that fancy moisturiser for half price.’

‘It wasn’t just any moisturiser. The Duchess of Cambridge uses it.’ I pressed my palms together. ‘At least let me guess… the Canary Islands? Barbados? Australia’s an island, right? I mean, you and me – we share most things, don’t we?’

‘Best buddies, always,’ she said solemnly.

It was a promise we’d made to each other, the day after Mum’s funeral. And sure enough, we confided in each other about our latest celebrity crushes, about our dreams for the future; we put the world to rights over Chardonnay and Pringles. I knew her favourite colour, favourite food, favourite band. She could always tell when I’d had a stressful day at work and, without prying, would make me a hot chocolate, fetch a blanket and switch on my current Netflix obsession.

Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.

When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.

She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo and in 2020 her novel Knowing You won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Motivational

Questions of Perspective Daniel Maunz 4*#Review @MaunzDaniel @brwpublisher @rararesources #Fantasy #ComingofAge #LiteraryFiction #RachelsRandomResources #BlogTour #BookReview #WednesdayMotivation #WednesdayThoughts

No one knew it at the time, but April 19, 2011, was the most important day in the history of the world.

After his only friend and colleague, John Manta, disappears without a word, Dave Randall further entrenches himself in the humdrum life of an unenthusiastic lawyer. But once he begins to understand what happened, he embarks on a journey to uncover the deeper meanings and implications of John’s fate.

Accompanied by Peaches the cat, Dave uproots his life and reinvents himself in the midst of his search. Along the way, he is haunted by his piecemeal understanding of John’s fate and what it means for his existence. Little does Dave know, his journey of self-discovery will have ramifications that extend far beyond the borders of his own little life.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Entertainment and escapism mix with philosophical questions that most of us consider at some time. Belief, faith love and self-realisation are explored in this story. The multi-layered plot is part fantasy and part literary fiction with a liberal amount of humour.

Relatable characters keep the story moving forward. The cat is a vital companion for Dave on his journey of self-discovery. The motivational ethos makes this an uplifting read that has something of interest for most of us.

Daniel Maunz

When he is not writing, Daniel Maunz works as an attorney as in-house counsel for a major insurance company. He currently lives in Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, with his wife Lynne, their son Patrick, and their two cats: Admiral Meowy McWhiskers and Captain Cutie (or “Admiral” and “Captain” for short). Questions of Perspective is his first novel.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

One Italian Summer Lori Nelson Spielman 5*#Review @lnelsonspielman @AvonBooksUK #Romance #Travel #FamilyDrama #Italy #secrets #BlogTour #BookReview #TravelTuesday

Three women. One family curse. The summer of a lifetime.

For generations, no second-born daughter in the Fontana family has married. Lucy desperately wants to find love, but for her cousin Emilia, their family curse is a blessing in disguise.

But then their Great Aunt Poppy declares she’ll reunite with her long-lost love on her eightieth birthday – and break the curse once and for all.

And so the three women embark on a journey to Tuscany to fulfil Poppy’s last wish. But the secrets they uncover there could change their family forever…

A gorgeous story about love, family, and finding yourself in the unlikeliest of places

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An engaging romantic story that spans familial generations from post-war Italy to North America.The Fontana family curse still prevails. Aunt Poppy is determined to end it with the help of her great-nieces Emilia and Lucy on a life-changing trip to Italy.

The story reveals family secrets told from Emilia’s and Poppy’s points of view. The family dynamics and individual characters are authentic and relatable. The settings are vivid and bring the story to life.

This is a charming, poignant romantic story. Full of humour, misunderstandings and self-sacrifice.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Romance

The Neighbours Nicola Gill 4* #Review @Nicola_J_Gill @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #Romance #TheNeighbours #Friendship #life #multigenerational #relationships #BookReview #Paperback

#TheNeighbours

Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four and rent a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Ginny Taylor is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she meets her downstairs neighbour…
 
Cassie Frost was once a beloved actress, but after a recent mishap, she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job – but can she be persuaded to work for the prickly woman who lives below her floorboards?
 
Ginny and Cassie are two very different women, but they have more in common than they’d care to imagine (or admit). And when their worlds collide, they realise that sometimes – just sometimes – bad neighbours become good friends…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An excellent multi-generational look at friendship, romance, career, self-esteem, self-realisation, seen from 30 something, Ginny’s point of view. The writing style is contemporary, referencing current events and issues. It’s easy to read and focuses on the lives of Ginny and Cassie, who is in her fifties and experiencing the sharper end of being a media star.

It takes a while for us to meet Cassie, and to begin I wondered where the title ‘The Neighbours’, related to the story. When the two do meet, both women are experiencing all-time lows in their lives, and consequently are lashing out. Any kind of friendship seems unlikely, but Cassie needs someone to promote her positively and Ginny needs a job, so they start there, and out of a professional need, a worthwhile. mutually beneficial friendship grows.

Ginny is lovely but flawed, and meeting Cassie forces her to look at herself, and see how she can achieve her life goals. The relentless, unforgiving nature of modern life is explored, with its consistent toll on mental health, and self-worth. Like many good friendships, the two women are different in many ways, and this draws them together because they both have something positive to offer the other.

Humorous and poignant, this is a relevant story about life in the twenty-first century and the importance of friends, who care about you, and not your career or financial status.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Motivational, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A Dozen Second Chances Kate Field 4* #Review @katehaswords @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #FamilyDrama #Romance #RomCom #SelfRealisation #StartingOver #NeverTooLate #BlogTour #BookReview #Heartwarming #Motivational

What are the chances that twelve little tokens could change a life?

Seventeen years ago, Eve Roberts had the wonderful life she’d always dreamed of: a degree in archaeology, a gorgeous boyfriend, and exciting plans to travel the world with him, working on digs. But when her sister Faye died, the life Eve knew ended too. Faye’s daughter Caitlyn came to live with Eve, her boyfriend left, and she quickly gave up on her dreams.

Now approaching her fortieth birthday, Eve faces the prospect of an empty nest as Caitlyn is leaving home. Caitlyn gives Eve a set of twelve ‘Be Kind to Yourself’ vouchers, telling her that she has to start living for herself again and that she should fill one in every time she does something to treat herself.

With her very first voucher, Eve’s life will change its course. But with eleven more vouchers to go, can Eve learn to put herself first and follow the dreams she’s kept secret for so long? Because life is for living – and as she well knows, it’s too short to waste even a moment…

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#ADozenSecondChances

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A motivational story with a relatable main protagonist, and an authentic life story. There is a fusion of heartwarming, humorous and poignant moments in Eve’s story of self-realisation. Family secrets are revealed, and Eve is forced to confront the rest of her life when Caitlyn leaves to begin the next chapter of hers.

The love Caitlyn has for the woman she calls mum is evidenced by her tokens. Each one giving Eve, a chance of a new beginning, or a way to recapture the potential of life chances, she believed lost.

The characters are believable, there is a nice multi-generational aspect to the story and a realistic romance.

Kate Field

Kate Field writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire where she lives on the edge of the moors with her husband, daughter and cat. Her debut novel won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Friendship

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen 4* #Review @missyadabright @CassGrafton #JaneAusten #TheAustenTales #TimeTravel #Friendship #Bath #Adventure #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources

When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!

Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…

But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.

Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!

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#BlogTour

I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I was intrigued by the ideas behind this story, and after reading it, I can confirm it fulfils its potential.

It begins conventionally with Rose who lives in Bath, loves Jane Austen and doesn’t realise what a lovely person she is. Hardworking, she is appreciated by her boss and her long-distance Californian friend Morgan, who is finally coming to Bath. Rose has a long term crush on an archaeologist, she only sees briefly in a professional capacity once a year. She dreams of a happy ever after but doesn’t have the self-belief to make it a reality.

Then everything changes, and you have to suspend belief, but if you do the fictional adventure with a historical legend is fun. The setting in Bath is well described and the characters are believable, even if the scenario they are playing is pure fantasy.

This is a good story of friendship, romance, self-realisation and time travel, something for everyone in this tale.

#CassGrafton

A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.

She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.

#AdaBright

Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.

She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.

There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.

Cass and Ada

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