Friday, 24 March 2017

Don't Stop Me Now - Coleen Coleman

Don't Stop Me Now
by Coleen Coleman

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About the book...
A hilarious feel good read about making lemonade when life gives you lemons, and finding the silver lining in every cloud.

Poppy Bloom planned to finish her PhD and walk straight into a job at her university. But here she is, unemployed, unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, and living back at her mum’s in her vampire-themed childhood bedroom.

Not exactly what she was hoping for.

But when Poppy sets her mind to something, nothing can stand in her way. She scores herself an internship at the hottest radio station in town, joins a netball team, and renews her friendship with her oldest friend Leanne. Spending time with Leanne’s gorgeous twin Tom is just a bonus…

But life has a way of tripping you up when you least expect it, and Poppy soon has to decide where her priorities lie… With new friends, a new career and a new romance, can Poppy keep everyone happy, or is everything about to tumble down around her?

A laugh-out-loud story about friendship, second chances, and new love, perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk, Marian Keyes and Jane Costello.

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About the author...
Colleen Coleman is an Irish-Canadian novelist. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. She spent over ten years working as a teacher of English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching her eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words The End. As a result, her first novel was born. Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very, very chatty twin daughters. Don’t Stop Me Now is her first book and will be released in March. 

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My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Bookouture, Coleen Colemans publisher.  This is something which I am more than happy to do.

Poppy Bloom has spent ten years working towards her goal of a Doctorate and her dream job as professor at Bainbridge University where she studied.  She has it all planned out, down to the decor and new shelving for her books. 

She is the highest performing student and the job is in the bag only for her world to come crashing down around her ears on graduation day.  Her live as she knows it changes instantly - she now has no job, no home and absolutely no idea what to do so escapes home with her mum and step father.

I loved this book, Poppy is an absolute delight - her confidence couldn't get any lower as she finds out her boyfriend and best friend have got it together whilst celebrating the professorships they've been awarded - her professorship that is! It doesn't get any better when a visit to the job centre seems to seal her fate, she has qualifications that even the job centre staff don't understand - her only hope is to try and wangle another job, somehow back at the university.

Back home, she has the support of her mum and step dad and a shopping trip puts her back in contact with a childhood friend Leanne and her twin Tom a boy she had a crush on at school.  Her first encounter with him is hilarious, I chuckled out loud as I am want to do in the office.  

Fate has a wonderful way of hitting you for six and putting your life in turmoil but when you're down the only way is up and Coleen Coleman has given Poppy her wings - bit by bit she claws her way back up and ends up with a life that is so far from her dreams she never would have thought it possible.

I loved this book, it was such good fun, I laughed and smiled throughout - Don't Stop Me Now is like a tonic, we don't always know what we want in life, we think we do but things happen for a reason and sometimes the reality is much nicer.  A fab, ready that has depth, fun characters, love and laughter - a perfect book to lift your spirits and make you smile.

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Mystery at Maplemead Castle - Kitty French

The Mystery at Maplemead Castle 
by Kitty French 

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About the book...
Welcome to Chapelwick, a leafy English town in the hills of Shropshire, where chocolate pecan cookies come with a helping of sabotage.

Maplemead Castle is crawling with ghosts, and the new owners need them gone. When Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency arrive on scene, they quickly identify the troublemakers swinging from the chandeliers… literally. 

A century ago, stunning trapeze artist Britannia Lovell plunged to her death, and has done every night since. But did she really just fall, or was there something more to her demise?

Forced to work with Leo Dark, her scoundrel ex, and infuriating, irresistible reporter Fletcher Gunn, Melody’s investigative powers are under strain (i.e. lost in a pink mist of lust and confusion). She needs her team on top form, but best friend Marina’s cake pipeline goes AWOL, assistant Artie’s distracted by a giant sausage roll, and the pug is scared witless by a lion.

Somewhere, hidden in the castle, is a heart-breaking secret, but what will it take to find it? And is there a chance it could set Britannia free, or is she doomed to repeat her last fateful act forever?

An utterly hilarious, gripping, spooktastic read for fans of HY Hanna, MC Beaton, Gina LaManna and Jana DeLeon.

About the author...
Kitty French lives in the Black Country with her husband, two young sons and two crazy cats. She’s a lover of all things romantic – songs, music, and most of all, books. 

Her USA Today best-selling Lucien Knight series topped the erotic chart on both sides of the pond, and she also writes romantic comedy as Kat French for Avon, HarperCollins. 

She’s over the moon to join Bookouture with her brand new paranormal romantic comedy series, Melody Bittersweet and the Girls Ghostbusting Agency.

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Mystery at Maplemead Castle
Melody Bittersweet Book 2
Chapter One

Every now and then someone tells me how lucky I am to be able to see ghosts and I bite my tongue and sit on my hands so I don’t accidentally punch them in the face. Honestly, I know it might seem interesting, fun even, from the outside looking in, but if I could trade places with a regular Joe I’d do it in a heartbeat. It’s a gift and a curse in unequal measures, but one I’m determined to make best use of by building my fledgling business empire around it.
‘Hey, Bittersweet.’ 
I look up as Marina bounces a balled-up chewing gum wrapper off my head to get my attention.  
‘That’s the third time I’ve said your name.’ She folds the stick of gum in half before she puts it in her mouth. ‘What’s got you so distracted?’ 
I shrug. ‘Just thinking about this afternoon’s meeting at Maplemead. I can’t remember the last time I went inside an actual castle.’ I avoid places steeped in history on account of the fact they’re usually also steeped in ghosts who want to hassle the hell out of me, but this is for work purposes so I’m breaking my own rules. We’re meeting later today with the American couple who recently moved lock, stock and barrel to England after buying Maplemead Castle over the Internet. I know. Who does that?
‘Do we need to buy caps to doff?’ Marina asks, her dark eyes dancing. She’s not one for taking things too seriously, unless someone winds her up or threatens us, in which case she morphs into a crazy woman and you don’t want to be the one she’s gunning for. It’s her Sicilian heritage. Luckily for us, she also has a Sicilian nonna, or gran to you and me, who is a stonkingly good cook. Therefore, Marina comes in most days armed with something fabulous in her vintage biscuit tin. 
‘A quick tug of our forelocks should suffice,’ I say, pulling ineffectually at my fringe.  
We both look up as our assistant Artie comes through the door, all long legs and wide, nervous eyes. 
 ‘Morning.’ He grins, then drops to his haunches to greet Lestat, my utterly uncivilised pug. He hasn’t been with us very long, but he already has his paws firmly under my table, his ass in my bed, and his furry flat face in Nonna’s biscuit tin too if he can find a way to get at it without being seen. He’s a ninja when it comes to food, but it’ll take a faster pug than him to come between me and my next sugar hit. 
I’m not a girl with that many vices, but sugar is definitely near the top of my addiction list. 
‘What time are we due at the castle?’ Marina asks.
 Glenda Jackson, our part-time secretary, taps the end of her pencil against the diary that’s open on her desk. ‘You’re due at Maplemead Castle for two o’clock.’ She glances at her watch. ‘It’s going to take you approximately forty minutes to get there in pre-rush-hour traffic, so you’ll need to leave immediately after lunch.’ 
Glenda doesn’t even look up as she imparts this information, because her fingers are flying so fast over her keyboard that it’s a wonder her hands don’t levitate. She’s worked for my family for more than a decade, and she now does a couple of hours each morning here at the agency before going back to her regular job next door with my mother and gran at Blithe Spirits. Some people would find it difficult to be the sole administrator for two businesses at once. Not Glenda Jackson. Monday to Friday she packs her curves into sexy little power suits, piles her red and gold curls on top of her head, then steers both of the Bittersweet ships whilst doing the cryptic crossword in her downtime.  
We are an unlikely company, all round. Glenda Jackson, aka superwoman in a sexy power suit. Artie, snake-charmer, tea-drinker, trainee ghostbuster. Marina, my wisecracking, loyal right-hand girl since we were scabby-kneed kids; a gum-chewing, fiery Sicilian beauty queen.  
And then there’s me. The short, quirky girl in jeans and Converse who sees dead people, fantasises about superheroes and prefers sugar to sex. Actually, that is a complete and utter lie. I don’t prefer sugar to sex, but I’m not getting any of one so I overindulge on the other. God, imagine if I could combine the two! For a moment I let myself imagine being boffed by Fletcher Gunn – the local hot-shot reporter who I have a love–hate relationship with – whilst eating a Curly Wurly, and it’s so frickin’ fabulous that I feel my cheeks heat up and wonder if the others can tell I’m suddenly on the brink of a saccharine orgasm. 
  ‘Stick the kettle on, Artie,’ I say, reminded of my need for caffeine as he pulls a little plastic Ziploc food bag from his pocket and deposits his weekly supply of tea bags on the tray beside the jar of coffee. He’s an oddball in all the best ways, our Artie. At first glance he seems gawky and awkward, and actually he is both of those things, but there’s so much more to him too. He has his own special way of looking at the world; pragmatic to the tenth degree and a knack for stating the obvious in a way that cracks me up. 
It strikes me suddenly that Marina has yet to produce Nonna’s special biscuit tin from her bag. I go icy-cold with fear. Please don’t let this be the day Nonna Malone has decided we don’t need her sugar fix to set us up for ghost-hunting because, as far as I’m concerned, that day will never come.  
‘Coffee, Marina?’ I say, hoping to jog her memory without needing to ask outright. If she doesn’t get the hint, I’ll face-plant myself in her cavernous suede hobo bag and wear it as a hat to snout out those biscuits. 
She nods, looking at me coolly. ‘I don’t know how to break this to you gently, so I’m just gonna be fast and blunt. Brace yourself. Nonna’s gone back to Sicily for a week. There are no biscuits.’ 
I gulp, and stare at her in wide-eyed horror. ‘You must have known she was going,’ I whisper hoarsely. ‘You could have prepared me.’ 
She looks at me with a helpless shrug, which might mean there was a family emergency prompting Nonna’s trip but, more likely, means she was too chicken to tell me.  
Artie plonks his lunchbox down on my desk and opens it. ‘You can have my egg sandwich if you want,’ he offers. I appreciate the gesture of solidarity. He feels the same way about his mum’s egg sandwiches as I do about Nonna’s biscuits. 
‘I’m going to cry now,’ I say. ‘Because my life is practically ruined.’ I shoot Marina a dark look. ‘Glenda, cancel the appointment at Maplemead. I’m going to go to bed for a week. Wake me up when Nonna Malone comes home again.’ 
Glenda watches me have my sugar-free meltdown with calm, doe-like eyes, then silently reaches into her desk and hands me an unopened box of shortbread. It’s quite fancy, as it goes; proper Scottish stuff dipped in white chocolate for good measure. I feel my blood sugar start to rise in anticipation and decide that perhaps I don’t need to hit the sack after all. See what I mean about Glenda Jackson? She’s Wonder Woman without the Spandex.  
Lestat barrels across the room as I pick the end of the biscuit box open and our eyes meet as he ducks under my desk, skids to a halt and puts his stubby little foot on my knee.  
‘Not a chance, Mutt-Face,’ I growl, as protective of the shortbread as a mamma tiger with her newborn cub. ‘Go hunt your own kill.’ 
I feel absolutely no guilt as he slinks away across the office to his bed, shooting me daggers as he stomps around his cushions in ever-decreasing circles to get comfortable.
 ’I’ve printed out the recent sales particulars of Maplemead Castle.’ I pause to hand the copies I made earlier around. ‘It’s worth us all taking some time to familiarise ourselves with it. There’s also a potted history attached at the back, although we’re going to need to go deeper after our initial assessment this afternoon.’ 
‘It’s quite a place, isn’t it? I always hoped they’d open it up to visitors but the family were very private,’ Glenda murmurs, admiring the moat and handsome facade. She isn’t wrong; it’s a beautiful sandstone brick building that has been cared for and modified over the years to keep it in service in various guises, and its many-mullioned windows glint in the sunlight behind the grand stone steps leading up to the entrance. 
Marina flips the top image of the castle over and whistles as she glances over the details. ‘Seventeen bedrooms!’  
Aside from the numerous bedrooms, the castle has a library, a billiards room, various attics, cellars and an old dungeon. 
‘I vote we don’t set foot in the dungeon,’ I say. I’m not the bravest when it comes to the dark. 
‘Lois and Barty Letterman have been living at Maplemead for a month or so now, and in that time they’ve witnessed an array of paranormal activity; objects being moved, thrown, that sort of thing, that they attribute to ghosts,’ Glenda says, reading through the notes from the booking-in telephone conversation. ‘They’re not unduly bothered for themselves, but a film crew are due in at the beginning of next month and the leading lady has already made it clear that she won’t step foot inside the place while there’s so much as a sniff of ghosts and ghouls.’ 
From what I can gather, the Lettermans are planning to run the castle as a business, hiring it out as a party venue and film set. Privately, I’m hoping the first movie being made at Maplemead will have a distinctly superhero vibe; I mean, it isn’t a deal-breaker that it has to star Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, but it sure would help oil the wheels. Or would it? I’m not sure I’d get much done, mainly because I’d be stalking him and trying to cop a feel of his iron helmet. That’s not even a euphemism. I like his actual helmet; all of that wizardy gadgetry stuff makes me come over all Gwyneth Paltrow and want to be his Girl Friday. Or maybe just his girl. Anyway, you get the idea. I’m not exclusive to Iron Man though. I’m a superhero junky; I’d be just as happy to see Captain America or Spidey rock up to the portcullis at Maplemead. 
Surreptitiously scribbling on my jotter block, I clear my throat and whip quickly through the other bare-bone details we already know about Maplemead, mostly just the basic timeline of the castle that I’ve dug up from the net. There’s not very much to go on yet; we need to get over there and try to assess what’s going bump in the night before Hollywood descends and all hell breaks loose.  
Glenda rules a neat line to close off the morning meeting in the diary and, as we slowly disperse back to our relative perches, Marina leans over my shoulder and reads my scrawl in the jotter block, then rolls her eyes. 
Buy Curly Wurlys.  

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Monday, 20 March 2017

The Missing Ones - Patricia Gibney

The Missing Ones
by Patricia Gibney

About the book...
The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror. 

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how? 

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal. 

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger? 

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice. 

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

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About the author...
Patricia yearned to be a writer after reading Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene and even wanted to be Nancy Drew when grew up. She has now grown up (she thinks) but the closest she’s come to Nancy Drew is writing crime!

In 2009, after her husband died, she retired from my job and started writing seriously. Fascinated by people and their quirky characteristics, she always carries a notebook to scribble down observations.

Patricia also loves to paint in watercolour and live in the Irish midlands with her children.

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My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by Bookouture, Patricia Gibney's publisher in exchange for an honest review - something which I am more than happy to do.

Wow, where to begin with this one?  This is a crime thriller that will grab you by the throat - literally!  A story that will grip you from the start, it has a dizzying amount of characters and unexplained events that conspire to confuse and throw you off the scent. Who would be a police detective?  The story is told from the voice of many characters and it is the job of Detective Lottie Parker, side kick Boyd and her team to unravel the motives for so many seemingly random murders.

Almost each and every character within The Missing Ones has a back story and not all of them visible or obvious - add to that a detective with her own issues and problems and you can imagine how cloudy the waters are!

The story is told over a nine day period set in the present but periodically flicks back to a narrative from the 1970s and a children's institution it is a heart pumping, dark and twisted tale that at times is so awful t's difficult to read, yet you're compelled to keep turning the pages.  Events unfurl at a lightning pace - so many events and incidents seem to occur to many people all at the same time leaving no time to second guess the next move or connection.

One thing I am sure about though is, events that happen in our childhood shape the adults we become — not always for the best and not all of us get the solid foundations we should -each turn of the page in The Missing Ones sees a number crumbling that you wouldn't expect. A brilliant debut and a fantastic start to a new detective series.

I highly recommend this book, it is compulsive reading above and beyond and once you've read the prologue you'll be speechless, turning the pages in search of answers.

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Evie's Year of taking Chances - Christie Barlow

Evie's Year of taking Chances
by Christie Barlow

About the book...
It’s Evie’s birthday and the start of a year she’ll never forget. An emotional story of love, friendship and grabbing life by the horns.

Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books - after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own.

Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother. 

Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past. 

As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken? 

A romantic, funny and poignant story of living life to the full and finding love in the most unlikely of places. Fans of Debbie Johnson and Cathy Bramley will adore this book!

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About the author...
Christie Barlow was born in Cheshire and had a successful career as a civil servant until she decided to trade it in for something more glamorous: ironing, mucking out chickens and horses and chasing a mad cocker spaniel while rearing four children. Christie wrote her debut novel, A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, as an example to her kids about realising their dreams.

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My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by Bookouture, Christie Barlow's publishers in exchange for an honest review - something which I'm more than happy to give.

Once again, Christie Barlow has written a book that is full of delightful characters that are interwoven into a local community. The story is about the ups and downs of family life, friendship and relationships. Evie, the main character in this book works in her local library and is an out and out book worm, losing herself in the lives of the many characters she reads about.  She works with her best friend Clara and until her recent retirement, her foster mother Irene.  Evie was given up at birth and knows nothing of her birth parents.  Although sharing a very close bond with her foster mother she can't help but wonder about her birth mother - with each passing birthday the urge to try and find her gets stronger.

Christie described the emotions and process that Evie goes through in her search for her mother with empathy and compassion - the roller coaster of emotions is shared by her close friends and family as they support and encourage her in her journey to find her mother and to take a chance on love too. Add a book group held at a gorgeous cafe owned by Mim, a stripper and a hunky author and Evie's Year of Taking Chances has the recipe for success.

All in all, despite the highly emotive central story this was a light, frothy book that does what it says on the tin.  An easy read that gives exactly what you'd expect from a modern chic lit author.  It's the sort of book that is quite predictable but in a good way.  Sometimes we need that fix and to know we are going to get a happy ending. A perfect story for an afternoon curled up on the sofa beside the fire. It's equally balanced with humour and seriousness.

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Rome Is Where The Heart Is - Tilly Tennant

Rome is Where the Heart Is
by Tilly Tennant

About the book...
Can a holiday romance ever have a happy ending? Escape with Kate to the sun-drenched city of Rome where a love affair is just about to begin …

When Kate’s husband Matt dumps her on Friday 13th she decides enough is enough – it’s time for her to have some fun and so she hops on a plane to Rome. A week of grappa and gelato in pavement cafes under azure blue skies will be just what the doctor ordered.

What she doesn’t count on is meeting and falling for sexy policeman Alessandro. But the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly – Alessandro has five meddling sisters, a fearsome mama and a beautiful ex Orazia. They’re all certain that Kate is not the girl for him.

Can Kate and Alessandro’s love last the distance? Or will she return home with the one souvenir she doesn’t want – a broken heart …

Fall in love with the colourful cafes and the cobbled piazzas of Rome and follow Kate’s dreams and her heart in this enchanting escapist read. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Carol Matthews.
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About the author...
From a young age, Tilly Tennant was convinced that she was destined for the stage.  Once she realised she wasn’t actually very good at anything that would put her on the stage, she started to write stories instead. There were lots of terrible ones, like The Pet Rescue Gang (aged eight), which definitely should not see the light of day ever again. Thankfully, her debut novel, Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was not one of those, and since it hit the Amazon best seller lists she hasn’t looked back. Born in Dorset, she currently lives in Staffordshire with her husband, two daughters, three guitars, four ukuleles, two violins and a kazoo.

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My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of Rome is Where the Heart Is by Bookouture, Tilly's publisher in exchange for an honest review, something that I'm more than happy to do.

The main character is Kate, her marriage has suddenly ended and she's bereft. She needs some time out and decides to totally escape her life and embarks on a solo trip to Rome to gather her thoughts and gain some traction on her life.  Her sisters, are seriously worried about her plans and make her promise to keep in touch - something that she finds difficult as she is absorbed into Italian life.

This is such a lovely, feel good book.  Tilly Tennant has the ability to suck you right into the heart of a story and Rome Is Where the Heart Is had me hooked.  It is such a sensory read I so want to go to Rome now and walk the routes Kate trod as she discovered the city, tried new foods, made friends, plans and found love - I felt as though I was there with her the descriptions are so vivid the story just wrapped itself around my heart.

This is ultimately a romantic read.  It couldn't be anything but, the cover just exudes sunshine and happiness and brings a smile to my face every time I look at it.  It isn't all hearts and flowers though and there are a few mysteries to solve along the way too.

I loved the way Tilly provided an instant friend in Italy for Kate, she so deserved some happiness and support.  Arriving in Italy Kate stood out as a tourist and is about to be ripped off when she was rescued by Jamie, larger than life, with an air of mystique that runs throughout the book. My thoughts about him yo-yo'd as he ambushes Kate's holiday and she finds herself in more than one awkward situation - one such incident though brings her face to face with the delicious policeman, Allesandro so all is not bad. He's another man who takes her under her wing and gives her a glimpse of real, Italian life. The instant, romantic connection between the pair fizzed off the page and I silently crossed my fingers for a romantic, happy ending for them.

This was the perfect book to read, it inspires hope, happiness and thoughts of good things to come, a perfect slice of deliciousness that had me oohing and aching through every chapter. A dream like book, that melted my heart and has left me wanting just a little bit more.  I'm off to the travel agents now - Italy here I come.

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Monday, 6 March 2017

A Song for Tomorrow - Alice Peterson

A Song For Tomorrow
by Alice Peterson

About the book...
Tom fell in love with Alice the moment he saw her. He realises that being with her will not be easy, but she is a force of nature, a burst of sunlight in his otherwise ordinary world. 

Some people might look at Alice and think she has everything, but Alice knows she is not like other women. Her life is complicated, unpredictable, difficult. Alice does not like pity. All she wants to do, has ever wanted to do, is sing.

Alice has been told not to follow her dreams. But when fate has already dealt a tough hand, it’s time to stop listening to everyone else and only follow their hearts.

What readers are saying about A Song for Tomorrow

‘A tremendously inspiring story’ Handwritten Girl 
‘A Song for Tomorrow is about a woman who strives to follow her dreams’ Chicklit club 
A Song for Tomorrow is the best example of how genius a writer Alice Peterson is – I can’t stop admiring how wonderfully and effortlessly she brings all the emotions to life … beautiful, captivating… I can’t recommend it highly enough’ On my Bookshelf
‘The most beautiful, moving, inspirational book I have ever read. Its story will stay with me for life, and will inspire me every single day’ Jill loves to read 
5 Stars ‘A moving story of guts and determination!’ Breakaway reviewers 
‘A beautiful story… full of hope, strength, love and determination’ Sincerely Book Angels 

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About the author....
At the age of eighteen Alice had been awarded a tennis scholarship to America when she experienced pain in her right hand. It was rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and she hasn’t picked up a tennis racket since, a sadness that shall always be with her. The theme of disability features in her fiction, but there is nothing gloomy about Alice or her work. Rather this gives her fiction the added dimension of true poignancy.

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My thoughts...
Wow, how privileged do I feel to have met Alice Peterson at the Books and the City Spring Blogger event, not only that, she read from and signed a copy of her latest book A Song for Tomorrow. I had already pre-ordered a kindle copy of this book which hit my kindle on publication day and I saved it for my holiday last week.  I was warned I'd need tissues, something that SJ at Books and the City had provided in the goody bag and they weren't wrong.

A Song for Tomorrow has to be one of the most breath takingly beautiful books I have ever read.  It is based on the true story of Alice Martineau, an incredibly strong, determined woman whose grit and determination propels her towards her goal of becoming a singer and securing a recording contract. 

Alice has the odds stacked against her, she has Cystic Fibrosis a condition that affects her lungs and breathing, the very things that are needed to sing. Growing up being told she'd never make it in music and being bullied and taunted at school are the very things that give her the backbone to try.

Alice Peterson has written a deeply moving book that is inspirational and moving beyond belief - written in such a way that leaves the reader in no doubt as to the extent of the physical and mental challenges faced by Alice and her family, yet at no point did I feel pity for any of them.   I felt the style Alice Peterson wrote A Song For Tomorrow was such that the reader gets to walk a mile in Alice's shoes gaining a small understanding of what her life entailed. It wasn't all sad, Alice had a fantastic humour and joy for life that shines throughout the story.  The love and support she both receives and gives with her friends and family  makes what could be a very sad book up-lifting.  Her character exudes a strength and determination that totally amazed me - her cup wasn't just half full it was brimming, when really she could have been forgiven if it was half empty.

I loved her relationship with Tom, it wasn't all hearts and flowers and the reactions of his parents and best friend when faced with the reality of Alice's condition, although not pleasant for Alice; was probably very realistic - it is human nature after all to protect our loved ones from potential hurt and they were no different.

This is a book I'll be shouting about for a long time to come - it is humbling, breathe takingly beautiful and a book that I know I shall read again and again.  Thank you SJ & Books and the City for introducing me to this amazing author Alice Peterson - a shining star in the Simon and Schuster family that is every bit as strong, determined and gorgeous as Alice Martineau.