Sunday, 8 December 2019

A Million Dreams - Dani Atkins

About the book…
'Dani Atkins is the undisputed queen of fiction that packs a huge emotional punch' Heat

Beth Brandon always dreamed of owning a florist, but today the bouquets of peonies and bright spring flowers are failing to calm her nerves. Because today, Beth will visit her husband's grave, and share with him a life-changing decision.

Izzy Vaughan thought she and her husband would stay together forever, but sometime last year, their love began to fade. They both find such joy in their young son Noah - but is he enough to keep them together? 

Eight years ago, something happened to these two women. Something that is about to bring them together in a way no-one thought possible... 

Thought-provoking, emotional and uplifting, this is a gripping love story for fans of Jojo Moyes and Amanda Prowse.

Buy Links: 

About the author… 
Dani Atkins is an award-winning novelist. Her 2013 debut FRACTURED (published as THEN AND ALWAYS in North America) has been translated into sixteen languages and has sold more than half a million copies since first publication in the UK. Dani is the author of four other bestselling novels, one of which, This Love, won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2018. Dani lives in a small village in Hertfordshire with her husband, one Siamese cat and a very soppy Border Collie. 

Contact Links:
Twitter: @AtkinsDani
Facebook: @DaniAtkinsAuthor

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My thoughts…
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, this is something I am more than happy to do. Huge thanks to Head of Zeus for letting me join the blog tour.

Dani Atkins never fails to deliver so I jumped at the chance to have an early read of A Million Dreams and was totally blown away.  This is a serious, heart string puller of a read, that had me gripped from the very first chapter, I was totally absorbed and lost in the lives of Izzy and Pete and Beth, tragically widowed when she and husband Tim were to have been embarking on the road to parenthood - three strangers thrown together on their rocky road to parenthood.

A Million Dreams is a breath taking, beautiful book with so many strands interwoven and stitched together to form a read that is in equal measures heart warming and heart breaking.  For the most part of reading A Million Dreams I had tears rolling down my face so was very grateful to be reading in the privacy of my caravan and not anywhere public.

Dani Atkins has not shied away from the difficult questions and dilemma's faced by thousands of would be parents - nurture or nature, there is no stronger love than that of a mother and child and parenthood is a tricky road to navigate without the added complications faced by Beth, Izzy and Pete. 

I can't recommend this book highly enough, it's difficult to say too much without 'spoilers' other than this book will break you into a Million Pieces as you walk in their footsteps only to turn the page and lift you back up again. It's emotional, heartfelt and uplifting at the same time and will leave you thinking about the story long after the final page has been turned.  Dani Atkins does not shy away from the difficult subjects in life and always creates characters that are totally relatable and life-like, I felt their pain and joy like close friends as they and I traversed  Million Dreams.  Huge thanks Dani for another exceptional read.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

The Christmas Wish List - Heidi Swain

About the book… 
After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .

Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.

As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?

The Christmas Wish List is the perfect read this Christmas, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.

Buy Links: 

About the author… 
Heidi Swain is the Sunday Times Top Ten best-selling author of SLEIGH RIDES AND SILVER BELLS AT THE CHRISTMAS FAIR. Her other titles include The Cherry Tree CafĂ©, Summer at Skylark Farm, Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage, Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland, Poppy's Recipe for Life, The Christmas Wish List and The Secret Seaside Escape. 

Heidi lives in beautiful south Norfolk with her family and a mischievous cat called Storm. She is passionate about gardening, the countryside, collecting vintage paraphernalia and reading. Her tbr pile is always out of control!

Contact Links: 
Heidi loves to chat with her readers and you can get in touch via 
her website or 
Twitter @Heidi_Swain

My thoughts…
From the moment The Christmas Wish List arrived through my door I wanted to shout about it.  It is an addictive Christmas read that took me back to my childhood, reminding me of the anticipation of waiting for Christmas to come, all the beautiful decorations and lights that sparkles all the way to the big day.  The activities, smells and tastes that heighten your senses had me giddy with excitement.

The Christmas Wish List revolves around Hattie, we meet her as she is made redundant from a job she loves, she lives and works in a posh hotel and has made it her life to give the guests the best experience and service she can, being on hand to cater to their every need.  It's a shock and has her reeling, she's knocked further sideways when Jonathan her boyfriend announces he is taking a job in Dubai and wants her to move in with him and go with him.

Hattie is in turmoil and can't think straight so accepts an invitation from a dear, old, elderly, friend Dolly to spend one last Christmas in Wynbridge before she leaves for `Dubai.

Oh, I so want to move to Wynbridge, the town and Dolly wrap themselves around Hattie giving her the time and space to question past decisions made and current ones to be made.  Hattie is estranged from her family, has just lost her long standing job, doesn't like Christmas and appears to have a strong-minded boyfriend that delivers his thoughts and ideas which then seem to become her thoughts and ideas.

Oh we all want a Dolly in our lives, she encourages and pushes Hattie along to join in every aspect of life in the small town, even bamboozling her into a job, helping in the local primary school.  Hattie doesn't 'do' Christmas anymore, she used to love it but not anymore. Dolly and a reluctant Hattie write a Christmas Wish List, she really doesn't want to but Dolly is determined to show her all the things she used to love.

Imagine every wonderful sparkly, shiny, magical thing about Christmas and that is what you get as you read this book, my senses were on high alert I could smell the delicious aromas of food, drink and just Christmas all around me as I read this book.  It's a book that is about remembering the simple things in life, the joy of seeing others excitement and pleasure.  Spending time with family and friends. As the pages turned, it was like unwrapping the many layers of outdoor clothing to reveal the warmth and glow in Hattie that had been buried for so long.  She immerses herself in the Wish List for Dolly, it may, probably will be the last time she gets to spend time with her, but the reality is Dolly's Christmas Wish List is the best tonic for Hattie. She has the time and experiences thrust upon her to allow her own thoughts and feelings to surface, she's able to think about what is important in life and sets on a path to forgiveness and fresh starts.

I'm off to New York at the end of the month and writing my Christmas Wish List raised my excitement levels through the roof, I itching to get on the plane and go there and then.  I'm taking my List with me and I am determined to tick off all the Christmassy things I've planned to do and a few more I couldn't fit in and intend to tweet them as they happen so you can all share the magic of Christmas in New York and all thanks to the gorgeous Heidi Swain for the idea xx.

Friday, 18 October 2019

The Christmas Calendar Girls - Samantha Tonge

About the book… 
This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood...

Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She's going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.

Fern, and her best friends, call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the mysterious school caretaker, offers his assistance, Fern's heart can't help but skip a beat (or two).

As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit's the first man to touch her heart since she lost her husband, but his past is holding him back.
In this town, Kit's not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Chummy is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina's perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.
Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?

This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past. It's about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.

Buy Links: 

About the author…
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 and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. 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. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association romantic comedy award

Contact Links: 
Twitter: @SamTongeWriter

Facebook: @SamanthaTongeAuthor

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My thoughts…
Awwww what an absolute delight this book was.  It was my first festive read of the year and the premise had me hooked from the moment Victoria at Aria Fiction first told me about it. 'A living Calendar" OMG I so want to organise one!!

What's not to love about the Christmas Calendar Girls.  It has it all,  it truly is a magical, read that had me totally hooked.  It pulled at my heart strings and certainly gave me food for thought. It made me question what is important in life, when is it better to give rather than receive, to find acceptance within ourselves, to accept it's sometimes ok to follow your heart rather than your head. To look beyond the obvious, things aren't always what they seem at face value.  It was desperately sad in places but counter-balanced with hope, fun and happiness in others.  It's about love, friendship, solidarity and support - it's about friends, family and a community coming together to support and help each other.  It's about picking your battles, knowing when to fight for what's right or when to acquiesce.  It's what would appear at first glance to be a light, easy read and turns out to be anything but - it has depth, the characters and setting providing solid foundations for the story to unfold. It revolves around three friends, their friendship, their families and their community.   They come together to support a fund raising event  to save a vital public service, the local food bank.  

The story sees 'The Living Calendar' brought to life and I was giddy with excitement  muttering to myself what an amazing idea it was and wondering when and how I could replicate it. It really was brilliant, I loved every aspect of it and dare you not to be touched by this incredible read.  

I highly recommend this Christmas Read, it's definitely one readers will be sorry to have missed.  Huge thanks for allowing me to be part of the blog tour all at Aria Fiction.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

The Family - Louise Jenson

About the book… 
The new psychological thriller from master storyteller, Louise Jensen, will leave you breathless.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family,' sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…

Buy Links: 

About the author… 
Louise Jensen always wanted to be Enid Blyton when she grew up, and when that didn’t happen she got a ‘proper’ job instead.

Several years ago an accident left Louise with a disability and she began writing once again, to distract her from her pain and compromised mobility. But writing turned out to be more than just a good distraction. Louise loves creating exciting worlds, dark characters, and twisted plots.

Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, sons, a dog and a rather naughty cat, and also teaches mindfulness.

Contact Links: 

My thoughts…
It's my stop on the blog tour for The Family by Louise Jensen.  Grateful thanks to Jess at HQ Stories for my copy. I was hugely excited when I heard Louise had written another book, I have devoured every book she has written and with each the tempo, pace and bar is raised. She has immense talent, an author that sucks you right into the heart of the story from page 1.

This book follows the story of Laura and daughter Tilly as they navigate their way through the path of grief, Gavan, husband and father died tragically after falling from the roof of a house he was building.  At the same time they are faced with sudden isolation from the rest of the family too, for reasons unknown to them.  Almost from the very first chapter I had a nervousness low in the belly, a grey, miserable feeling of dread that hung like a cloud over me.  Laura is struggling to cope both emotionally and financially and is trying to hold it together for Tilly.  Tilly is finding herself without friends and ostracised at school by her friends and both try to keep their hurt and grief from each other.

There are hints and insinuations that Gavan, Lauras husband didn't die as a result of an accident and the insurance company are withholding payment of his life insurance whilst it is investigated.  The family are at rock bottom and broken.  Laura is about to lose the roof over their heads and has no idea what she is going to do, how they will survive, where they will live. She is thrown a lifeline in the form of Alex and Oak Leaf Organics - Saffron came to Laura's rescue one day after she fell ill and they became friends, she told her she should visit the farm, that she'd be made welcome whilst she gathered her thoughts and planned a strategy for the months ahead.

Laura reluctantly accepts the lifeline, she has no choice, things couldn't get any worse.  Family have turned their back on her and she is desperate.   As her car rattled up the potholed, lane to the secluded farm I was internally repeating don't do this, turn around, don't go in.  The atmosphere as I read felt tight and claustrophobic I had the most uneasy feeling and my senses were on full alert.

The farm turned out to be a commune of sorts that was a refuge to several others - they were welcoming and caring and welcomed Laura and Tilly into their fold.  So why did it feel so wrong, why did I feel anxious and had a gut feeling that screamed things weren't quite right?  Laura and Tilly were at rock bottom, they'd lost everything and gave off a sense of empty hopelessness.  Saffron, Alex & commune should be their saviour but oh boy, I so wished she'd had second thoughts.  Oak Leaf Organics turned out to be both heaven and hell as both Tilly and Laura got sucked into the life there and were pulled in different directions. I didn't trust anyone. 

The more I read, the more I couldn't shake the sick feeling of dread that rose from low in the heart of my stomach.  I had that feeling that makes you want to stop reading or start reading in equal measures. Too scared to know what’s behind the story yet a burning need to know what comes next.  This was a book that haunted me whilst I read it and haunted me when I finished it.  Nobody is who they seem, everyone has a back story and a hidden agenda, with individual stories so separate yet joined like the links on a bracelet. 

Louise Jensen is a firm go to author of mine, an author that I would buy and read without having read anything about the story.  Louise thank you for yet another page turning thriller that hooked me in and gripped me so tightly I felt captive, breathless and broken as I walked in the footsteps of Laura and Tilly. An outstanding read that will stay with me forever, a read I have already recommended to so many friends, thank you.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Why is my Blog not displaying my posts?

Due to losing all images for books jackets and authors as a result of Google+ being removed I have had to put all posts in draft form whilst I source, repair and review over 400 posts.

Thank you for your patience.