Tuesday, 11 August 2020

This Time Next Year - Sophie Cousens

About the book… 
Quinn and Minnie are born on New Year's Eve, in the same hospital, one minute apart.

Their lives may begin together, but their worlds couldn't be more different.

Thirty years later they find themselves together again in the same place, at the same time.

What if fate is trying to bring them together?

Maybe it's time to take a chance on love...

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About the author… 
Sophie Cousens has worked in television for twelve years. She attributes surviving this long to always knowing where the Post-it notes are kept, and her ability to carry six coffee cups at once. This is her first novel.

Contact Links: 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SophieCous

My thoughts…
I enjoyed This Time Next Year sooo much.  The title alone strikes of hope and expectancy and the book cover simplicity and elegance.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised to be thrown into the depth of a beautiful story that traversed every emotion possible.  The story crisis crosses back and forth over a twenty year period from the birth of two babies born a minute apart in the same hospital to when they first meet by chance at a party to celebrate Quinn’s birthday, New Years Eve 2019.

Can you imagine being one of two ladies, from different walks of life who meet in the maternity ward of a hospital on New Years Eve - one Tara isn’t coping at all, the other Connie strong and practical.  Connie supports and calms Tara throughout her labour, sharing advice and practical tips. Imagine Connie reaction when Tara walks away with £50k pride money for giving birth to the first baby born just after midnight on New Years Day1990 and the name Connie shared she was going to call her baby.

Quinn and Minnie couldn’t be more different but there’s an electric connection that attracts and repels them throughout this book, they couldn’t have been born from two more different backgrounds.  Sophie Cousens traversed the class divide and paraded a supporting cast of characters across the pages of This Time Next Year, each and every one of them diverse, with characteristics that created images of them so visible in my mind.

The story was at times hilarious and made me laugh out loud or quietly cringe on behalf of Minnie and the situations she ended up in, she really did seem to have ‘bad luck’ follow her around, something she grew up thinking was because of Tara stealing what should have been her birth name Quinn.  Luckily best friend Leila was always there to pick up the pieces.  In Leila, Sophie really did get the best friend characterisation spot on.  I loved their relationship and hilarity that followed the pair around - ooh to have been a fly on the wall, watching the scenes unfurl for real would be amazing.

This Time Next Year is a fabulous story that spans the ups and downs of life and emphasises how relationships are more important than physical assets and wealth. Family and friends are the strongest foundations.

This was a book that made me smile a lot, I’d love to see it turned into a film - It’d be a real pick me up, perfect for a day when you need a little bit of a pick me up.

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Sunday, 9 August 2020

A Walk Along the Beach - Debbie Maccomber

About the book… 
A heart warming tale of the love of sisters and finding inner strength you didn’t know you had by bestseller Debbie Macomber. 

Sisters Willa and Harper mean the world to each other.

Inseparable since the loss of their mother as teenagers, the Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. Quiet, demure Willa has always admired Harper's sense of adventure. She enjoys her peaceful routine as a café owner in their coastal hometown of Oceanside.

When a handsome customer shows interest in Willa, Harper urges her sister to take a chance on love. Then Harper receives crushing news that threatens to bring everything to a halt.

Only by supporting each other will the sisters be able to face the trials to come. And though the time ahead may be tough, Willa and Harper will discover that the darkest times can lead to the most beautiful rewards.

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About the author… 
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 1,000 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Thirteen of these novels hit the number one spot.

A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington, the town which inspired the Cedar Cove series.

My thoughts…
Reading a Debbie Maccomber novel is like sitting down with a best friend you get everything you expect and then some.

A Walk Along the Beach follows the story of Harper as she navigates her life and is forced outside of her comfort zone by sister Willa.  The role of protector to her brother and especially her sister Willa is a hard one to shake. Harper has spent most of her adult life being a sort of surrogate mother to sister Willa and brother Lucas after their mother died of cancer, her sense of responsibility compounded even more when sister Willa was diagnosed with cancer too.

I found reading A Walk Along the Beach was like stepping inside a virtual reality but with characters I felt I already knew and loved. The sisters were at total ends of the spectrum personality wise.  Their characters shaped by the lives they’d lived growing up.  Harper solid, dependable and cautious.  Willa, flighty, outgoing and daring.  Brother Lucas, solid and dependable but living away from the sisters not as close or invested in their day to day lives, despite that it was very easy to see how much they loved and cared for each other.

This was a book about taking baby steps outside of your comfort zone, about learning to let go, to trust, to accept as well as give love and support.  It was about grief and sadness, hope and happiness.  It’s about learning to let others share the responsibilities and allowing yourself happiness too.  Its  about being their for your friends but also letting them be there for you.

The story ebbed and flowed with every emotion possible.  I smiled and laughed as well as quietly crying and then noisily sobbing before returning to the happy smiling - the pace, content and story was pitched perfectly.  The more I read the more I loved it.  As ever Debbie Maccomber has nailed reality in both the story and setting as well as the characters, I was invested in the whole package 100% and felt sad when I turned the last page and had to leave Oceanside and it’s residents behind.

Thank you to Rachel Kennedy at Arrow Publishing for the opportunity to read and review A Walk Along the Beach, which I highly recommend, it was such an uplifting read.

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