Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson @suewatsonwriter @bookouture #blogblitz

** advanced copy received via publisher **

I’m absolutely delighted to be hosting a stop on the blitz tour for Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson! Many thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the opportunity and the advanced copy!

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Author : Sue Watson
Title : Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances
Pages : 269
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : October 12, 2017

aboutthebook

A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas Day, Chloe’s heart is still in pieces as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…

It seems Gianni’s new seaside restaurant is in trouble and Chloe must go to Appledore to save the business – and him. Equally famous for his experimental culinary extravaganzas and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way!

As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But will it be enough to save their marriage?

mythoughts

Some of you may know, this isn’t really my normal sort of read. I tend to shy away from romance things and pretty much anything to do with Christmas. Just call me Scrooge. But this is Sue Watson and her Ice-Cream Café series holds a special place in my heart so the decision to read and review this one was a lot easier than you’d think.

Sue Watson takes us back to the lovely town of Appledore but this time, Winter is coming. (Sorry!) Gianni, a fiery Italian, has opened a restaurant there but things aren’t going very well. Gianni isn’t exactly a people person and has an incredible temper which results in staff leaving, altercations with food critics and grumpy customers. He calls in the help of his estranged wife, Chloe, though he won’t admit the idea was his as he’s far too stubborn for that.

Chloe and Gianni started out having a wonderful relationship and marriage but after the sadness of three miscarriages, each tried to deal with their grief by throwing themselves into their work. A lack of communication, misunderstandings and too much time apart eventually leads Chloe to leave the marriage behind. Forced to spend time together in Appledore and make Gianni’s latest venture a success, could their marriage possibly get a second chance?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Appledore with Chloe and Gianni. Although I must admit to frequently feeling my temper rise at Gianni’s attitude and if I’d had a pan handy, it probably would have found its way to his head. Despite his character also delivering quite a few chuckle-worthy moments, he’s also utterly infuriating and Chloe, quite frankly, has the patience of a saint most of the time.

Throw in the delightful residents of Appledore we’ve all come to love, snow and the impending arrival of the holidays, and this does exactly what you’d expect. Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances is a feel-good Christmas romance that will definitely get you into the spirit and is as warm and comforting as a cosy fire or a blanket. Yes, there is a level of predictability but really, I couldn’t care less because this author always manages to come up with realistic characters you care about and root for. And she makes me laugh. It’s that simple, really!

If you’ve read any of this author’s previous books, you will absolutely adore this! If you haven’t, maybe now is the time to give them a go and kick-start the festive period (too soon?) with a giggle or two.

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances was published on October 12th.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Sue Watson was a journalist then a TV Producer at the BBC until she realised that instead of working, she could stay at home, make stuff up and sell it!

So far Sue’s written ten books, and some have been translated into Italian and Portuguese (she’s big in Brazil!) Originally from Manchester, she now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire where her days are spent baking (and eating) lots of cake, while making big life decisions about whether to have Caramel Chew Chew or Salted Caramel ice cream while watching ‘The Biggest Loser USA,’ on TV.

You can contact Sue via her website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page or Instagram

***

Make sure to check out these brilliant bloggers on the tour!

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances - Blog Tour

Reality Rehab by Lisa Mary London @emmamitchellfpr #blogtour #guestpost

Today, it’s my turn to host a stop on the blog tour for Reality Rehab and it’s my pleasure to welcome author Lisa Mary London to the blog with a brilliant guest post about celebrity memoirs.

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Author : Lisa Mary London
Title : Reality Rehab
Pages : 275
Publisher : Ivan Berg
Publication date : July 13, 2017

aboutthebook

Faded TV star Gloria Grayson has hit rock bottom. Sacked from her starring role in a top soap, divorced from hell-raising actor ‘Mad’ Tommy Mack, and obese from binge eating, her days as Britain’s sexiest blonde are well and truly over.

Gloria has gained 70 lbs when a paparazzi snaps unflattering photos and a cruel tabloid article relaunches her career. Instantly she and her fat, feisty dog Baby-Girl are booked for TV’s Reality Rehab.

Gloria is locked up with an American psychotherapist, a rabble of D-list celebrities and umpteen cameras, then put on a starvation diet. But worse is to come, with the shock arrival of her alcoholic ex-husband.

Tears and tantrums ensue as the divorced couple’s joint therapy sessions take over the show and ratings soar. The other celebrities are infuriated to be sidelined and Reality Rehab fast becomes the Tommy and Glo Show. But Gloria and Tommy are hiding explosive secrets from each other and 10 million viewers.

guestpost

‘Author Soapbox’

Celebrity Memoirs – Fact or Fiction?

My new novel Reality Rehab is a satire on reality TV and the cult of modern celebrity.  Celebrities have always fascinated me. I guess that’s why the minute I qualified as a journalist on a sleepy Cotswold newspaper, I headed to the bright lights of London to work as a TV producer on entertainment and chat shows.

I’ve been privileged to meet literally hundreds of celebrities in a 20 year career working behind-the-screen on prime time TV shows.  Seeing the real star behind the make-up (figuratively and literally), is a rare privilege and sometimes, an eye opener.

Perhaps not surprisingly, my preferred reading is celebrity biographies and autobiographies.  People say “But how can you believe a word a celebrity says in their autobiography? They’re bound to sugar coat the truth to make themselves look good”. A fair point of course, and for this reason many prefer those unauthorised, unflattering biographies written without the famous subject’s consent.

But I believe the way a celebrity presents their life story and themselves, whether in a book or in person, can be very telling.  In my experience, famous and powerful people often reveal fundamental truths about themselves totally unintentionally in the most subtle ways.  I long ago learned to disregard the false currency of face value and reserve judgement on people – whoever they may be.  I trust my instincts on what a person shows, rather than tells me, and I flatter myself I’ve developed a good steer.

I was recently browsing You Tube late at night and stumbled on an ancient audio book of the late actress Joan Crawford’s 1971 autobiography.  Title:  ‘My Way of Life’, Miss Crawford read the book herself, all six hours of it.  And what a treat it was!

Her melodic voice soothed me to sleep over three consecutive bedtimes, the jangling of her bracelets as she turned the pages almost persuading me she was in the room.  I was mesmerised as she spoke of her glittering movie career, her wonderful children, her beautiful clothes, her tastefully decorated homes and her tips on beauty, deportment and etiquette.  Most touching of all were the affectionate passages about her late husband Pepsi millionaire Alfred Steele, who had tragically died of a heart attack aged 58.  Her voice trembled with emotion, as she described the pain of his loss just four years after they wed. I adored every perfectly enunciated word.

You Tube was on autoplay and with spooky irony, the next recording was another audio book – this time, the infamous memoirs of Joan’s eldest adopted daughter, Christina.  It was the same story of course – but ‘Mommie Dearest’ was told very differently!

Christina pulled no punches and with a steady voice and clear delivery, described her late mother Joan’s child abuse.  I lay in the dark listening to harrowing accounts of Joan Crawford’s violent rages, cruel physical attacks and decades long, irrational grudges.  It was chilling stuff and compelling enough to convince me of its truth.

Unlike Joan’s glossy version of the same years, I had no desire to listen to the end and had to switch it off. Christina claimed her stepfather Alfred Steele hadn’t died of a heart attack at all, but perished after mysteriously falling down the stairs at home. Cynics might reflect on the fact Joan Crawford was an Oscar-winning actress! The two books presented the movie star in stark contrast, one as heroine, the other as villainess.  The truth no doubt lay somewhere in between. And don’t we all, to an extent, ‘choose’ our own truth?

My novel Reality Rehab started out as a non-fiction book, memoirs entitled: ‘I’m a Celebrity Booker… Get Me Out of Here!’ A jaw-dropping account of my TV career, the book was chock-a-block with juicy stories about famous and infamous people I had worked with. There was a buzz about it, my anecdotes featured as a two page spread in the Daily Mail and a top literary agent took me on, confident it would sell.  But no publisher would take the bait, fearing a libel suit.  The solution was to share my celebrity gossip in fictional form, and so Reality Rehab was born.

Reality Rehab explores the current world of television and celebrity, so inevitably it names checks around 200 real stars.  But the fictional characters I’ve created are ‘real’ too, based on all kinds of genuine stars and TV executives I’ve known over the years. I think that gives the book an authenticity that could only come from a TV insider. And presenting a fictional account gave me the freedom to write more honestly than I could have done, were I naming names.

Those remarkable, talented and charismatic individuals I was so blessed to spend time with have imprinted on me and can all be found, in some shape or form, in the pages of the book. If Reality Rehab is even half as entertaining as the real people it’s based on, I’ll be a very happy author.  Because as my extraordinary experiences in television have taught me, reality is stranger than fiction!

***

Thank you so much Lisa for this brilliant guest post! And many thanks to Emma Mitchell for the opportunity to join the tour!

Reality Rehab is available now!

Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Dear Internet : It’s me, Avery by Jennifer Ammoscato @JenAmmoscato

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Author : Jennifer Ammoscato
Title : Dear Internet : it’s me, Avery
Pages : 258
Series : Avery Fowler 2.0
Publisher : Carmel Communications
Publication date : May 4, 2017

aboutthebook

When newspaper reporter Avery Fowler discovers her husband is having an affair, the online help site HowTo.com is where she turns to navigate this challenging stage of her life.

If the Internet is Avery’s information god, then HowTo.com is her Holy Grail. Its live chat option is like having a virtual life coach for the low, low price of $14.95 a month:

Add into the mix a new boss whose managerial style calls to mind the Wicked Bitch Witch of the West—or the Anti-Christ—and the poor girl needs all the help she can get! The stakes rise and hilarity ensues as our heroine struggles to take control of her personal life and topple her boss after she learns Victoria’s guilty secret.

With Clementine (virtually) in tow, our heroine tackles such tricky situations as dating after divorce, sex once nothing points north anymore, and how to cover attempted murder scenes (despite a paralyzing fear of blood) as the new and improved Avery Fowler 2.0.

mythoughts

Dear Internet is the first instalment in a trilogy of books about Avery Fowler, written by Jennifer Ammoscato.

Avery Fowler’s life isn’t exactly going so well. First she finds out her husband is having an affair. Then her new boss turns out to be an absolute nightmare. So not only is she desperately trying to hang on to her job, or somehow find a way to get rid of her boss, she’s also trying to pick up the pieces of a broken marriage and navigate the dangerous minefield of dating. And she does all this with the help of the Internet. In particular, a site called HowTo.com which has a live chat option.

Avery has an incredibly fun personality and I warmed to her immediately. She’s really likeable and frequently had me in fits of giggles. She’s also very much glued to her phone. It’s almost like an extra hand. She will ask Clementine, the virtual life coach, pretty much everything from how to get rid of red wine stains on a white carpet to how to tell the signs when your husband is cheating on you, or even how to get away with murder. Throw in the banter with her circle of friends and this very much reminded me of Bridget Jones.

This isn’t my usual type of read, as you all should know by now. But I found it to be thoroughly entertaining as Avery tries to reinvent herself. The author has a delicious sense of humour and frequently throws in some fabulous one-liners. So if you’re looking for a little something that’ll put a smile on your face and would like to try out the chick-lit department, then this is the book for you!

Many thanks to Jennifer Ammoscato for my copy, which I chose to review honestly!

Dear Internet : It’s me Avery is available now!

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The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin @annolwriter @bwpublishing

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Author : Ann O’Loughlin
Title : The Ludlow Ladies’ Society
Pages : 288
Publisher : Black & White Publishing
Publication date : July 4, 2017

aboutthebook

Connie Carter has lost everybody and everything dear to her. To help nurse her grieving heart and to try and find answers, she moves from her home in America to Ludlow Hall, deep in the Irish countryside. All she knows about Ludlow is that her late husband spent all their money on the house – without ever mentioning it to her. Now Connie needs to know why.

At Ludlow Hall, Connie befriends Eve and Hetty and is introduced to the somewhat curious Ludlow Ladies’ Society. But can Connie ever reveal her hurt? And, more importantly, can she ever understand or forgive? As the Ludlow Ladies stitch patchwork memory quilts to remember those they have loved and lost, the secrets of the past finally begin to surface.

mythoughts

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society is a truly beautiful story about love and loss, but above all of compassion, friendship and the strength and resilience of women.

Connie moves into Ludlow Hall after leaving behind devastating events in America. Her late husband has spent all their money on the house without her knowing about it and now she wants to find out why.

Eve is the former owner of Ludlow Hall. She was forced to leave her home when the bank foreclosed on it. And then there’s Hetty, also a widow, who still hides a secret about her husband.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society, of which Eve and Hetty are members, comes together to create memory quilts for an exhibition that will be attended by Michelle Obama. Soon secrets are shared and mysteries will be solved but more importantly, friendships are formed that will change these women’s lives. I loved getting to know each and every one of these characters.

I found this novel to be absolutely heartwarming and sometimes I felt it was so incredibly heartbreaking that I actually reached for a tissue. (Totally blame the hormones!) But there are also a few chuckles. These ladies will worm their way into your heart and they made me proud to be a woman. I envied this warm circle of friends and wished I could be a part of it. Each in their own way is an inspiration, putting their own grief aside to care and show compassion for someone else.

Many thanks to Black & White Publishing for my advanced copy, which I received through Netgalley and chose to review honestly.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society is published today!

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The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers @randysusanmeyer @AtriaBooks #guestreview

Christine is back on the blog today with her review of The Widow of Wall Street. Read on for her thoughts!

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Author : Randy Susan Meyers
Title : The Widow of Wall Street
Pages : 339
Publisher : Atria Books
Publication date : April 11, 2017

aboutthebook

What’s real in a marriage built on sand and how do you abandon a man you’ve loved since the age of fifteen?

Phoebe sees the fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers in Brooklyn. Eventually he creates a financial dynasty and she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

When Phoebe learns—along with the rest of the world—that her husband’s triumphs are the result of an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. Lies underpin her life and marriage. As Jake’s crime is uncovered, the world obsesses about Phoebe. Did she know her life was fabricated by fraud? Did she partner with her husband in hustling billions from pensioners, charities, and CEOs? Was she his accomplice in stealing from their family and neighbors?

Debate rages as to whether love and loyalty blinded her to his crimes or if she chose to live in denial. While Jake is trapped in the web of his own deceit, Phoebe is faced with an unbearable choice. Her children refuse to see her if she remains at their father’s side, but abandoning Jake, a man she’s known since childhood, feels cruel and impossible.

christine

Outstanding! What a HEFTY piece of women’s fiction this is.

The tale is spun over 5 decades. We learn in chapter one that Jake Pierce, a high echelon broker, ends up in prison for fraud in his mid 60s, 45 years or so after marrying 18-year-old Phoebe. This is their story.

I must say the first half of the book was slow in places. This was not helped by the fact that I had really mixed feelings about Jake, with more bad than good vibes. During that time frame I had not made up my mind about Phoebe. I don’t care how nice someone is; when they spend $20,000 on something I would spend $20 on, there is a disconnect.

But then, approximately midway through the book, the story suddenly reeled me in like a prize-winning fisherman—hook, line and sinker.

The themes of this story are numerous and are handled extremely well. What is real love? What is family? How well do you know your family? How does one carry on when struck by major blow after major blow? We see deception galore, we see people put in positions where decisions are almost impossible to make and there is seemingly no way out, we see how people rise or fall when faced with tragic circumstances. And that’s only some of it. Again, the novel is meaty and a real thinker. I will remember this one for a long time.

Let me not fail to mention that a total noninterest in financial matters should not deter anyone from reading this book. Ms. Meyers does a phenomenal job in making that part of the book not only understandable, but engrossing. I’m sure this took intense research on her part and explains to me what she was doing between the time Accidents of Marriage (which I loved) was published in 2014 and this one came out. The wait was worth it. Kudos, Ms. Meyers, not only for learning your stuff, but for keeping it from being boring.

I never like to go into any detail about the plot in my reviews as I am a “go in as cold as possible on all books” type of reader. I do however want to emphasize the brilliant job the author did on the characterization of Phoebe. Her struggles to deal with her situation and to  try to salvage her life throughout the second half of the book were written beautifully, profoundly, and poignantly.  This is what pushed my 4.5 rating to 5 stars.

Randy Susan Meyers has written a couple of older books that I have yet to read. They are now holding two spots on my very selective TBR. I strongly recommend The Widow of Wall Street for anyone looking for a strongly written and powerful story.

Thank you Net Galley, Atria Books, and Ms. Randy Susan Meyers for an e-copy of this novel. The opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

The Widow of Wall Street is available now!

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Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream by Sue Watson @suewatsonwriter @bookouture #blogtour

Absoluted thrilled to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for this delightful book by Sue Watson! Many thanks to Kim at Bookouture for the opportunity!

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Author : Sue Watson
Title : Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream
Series : Ice Cream Café
Pages : 280
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : June 27, 2017

aboutthebook

Dani’s on a mission to get her life back on track by the end of the Summer. Running, rowing, aerobics and more, but perhaps all she needs are sweet treats and a second chance?

Twenty years ago, Dani fled Appledore with a broken-heart and a suitcase full of shattered dreams. Only now is she brave enough to put her past behind her and return for a summer selling homemade ice-cream and getting fit by doing sit-ups by the sea.

But the new-look cafe is filled with old memories of Jude, her teenage sweetheart-turned-sour. She thinks of him every time she swirls warm sauce onto a “chocolate-bockaglory” and even with the help of Chris, her gorgeous personal trainer, the urge to break her diet is everywhere she turns.

mythoughts

You may remember from my review of the first book in this series, Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer, that this isn’t my typical type of read. But after having enjoyed the first one so much, I couldn’t resist picking this one up as well and it’s every bit as heartwarming.

Dani has a bit of an unhealthy relationship with food. Twenty years ago, she left Appledore but life didn’t quite pan out the way she thought it would and now she’s back. Determined to finally let go of the past and get fit in the meantime, she signs up for gym lessons with a gorgeous personal trainer, Chris. But temptation is everywhere, especially when you work in an ice-cream parlour.

I found Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream a bit more of an emotional ride than its predecessor but that’s not a bad thing. The story is incredibly realistic and believable and I’m sure us women can all relate to Dani’s circumstances as far as body issues and low self-esteem are concerned. Yet she’s an amazing and funny lady and I warmed to her instantly. Her diary entries about numerous diets she’s tried are hilarious!

There are appearances from characters from the first book which I thoroughly enjoyed. They may not be the main attractions in this story but they leave their mark regardless. Their help and support is invaluable to Dani. I found myself truly caring and by the end of the book, all I really wanted to do was hug Dani and say “you go, girl!”

Of course there are some emotional moments where I almost shed a tear and that doesn’t happen often, let me tell you. But there’s ice cream and the beach, romance, plenty of chuckles and laugh-out-loud moments and so yes, this is a perfect feel-good summer read!

Many thanks to Bookouture for my advanced copy which I received via Netgalley and chose to review honestly!

Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream was published on June 27th.

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Sue Watson was a TV Producer with the BBC who combined motherhood and family life with a busy career. However, one day it dawned on Sue that Cosmo magazine may have been telling porkies about ‘having it all,’ and her life had become a slightly crazed juggling act.

So after much soul searching (and comfort eating) Sue abandoned her TV career, bought a pink laptop and wrote a novel. ‘Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,’ tells the story of Stella Weston, whose life is a constant struggle with a nasty boss at work, the weighing scales and being a mum, wife and daughter.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire. When she’s not toiling over her latest novel, Sue bakes (and eats) cake and enjoys very large tubs of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream all to herself while watching ‘The Biggest Loser USA.’

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Safe With Me by Grace Lowrie @AccentPress #blogtour

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Author : Grace Lowrie
Pages : 356
Publisher : Accent Press
Publication date : June 22, 2017

aboutthebook

Abandoned as children, Kat and Jamie were inseparable growing up in foster care. But their bond couldn’t protect them forever.

From a troubled upbringing to working in a London greasy spoon, Kat’s life has never been easy. On the surface Jamie’s living the high-life, but appearances can be deceiving.

When they unexpectedly reunite, their feelings become too intense to ignore. But as secrets come back to haunt them, are they destined to be separated once more?

mythoughts

Kat and Jamie grew up together in foster care until Jamie was adopted and they were separated. Decades later, their lives couldn’t be more different. Kat went from foster care, to living on the streets, to being caught up in an abusive marriage. Jamie works in insurance and has a gorgeous actress girlfriend but cracks are starting to show in the relationship. Then Kat and Jamie meet again unexpectedly.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book, where I think its strength lies. Kat’s life especially had me engrossed. I really felt for her as it becomes increasingly clear she’s a prisoner in her marriage, working her fingers to the bone and never knowing what mood her husband will be in.

Chapters alternate between Kat and Jamie. I liked the concept where the reader knows what’s going on but the characters don’t. That being said though, I think the big plot reveal happened a bit too early in the book, even though it was really well done. But it did make me wonder how the rest of the story would unfold.

The second half of the book didn’t hold my attention as much but I’m admittedly not much of a romance reader. There is conflict and tension as the focus of the story shifts to the relationship between Kat and Jamie but the pace slowed down a bit too much for me.  I also felt a little disappointed in how quickly the husband situation was resolved.

That said Safe With Me is well written, very atmospheric and realistic. This isn’t a fast paced read with buckets of drama but it is full of emotion and romance so if that’s your thing, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Many thanks to Karen at Accent Press for the advanced copy and for inviting me on the tour!

Safe With Me is published today! Happy publication day, Grace Lowrie!

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

abouttheauthor

Having worked as a collage artist, sculptor, prop maker and garden designer, Grace has always been creative, but she is a romantic introvert at heart and writing was, and is, her first love.

Safe With Me, the first women’s fiction novel in The Wildham Series, is published by Accent Press, who also released her debut contemporary romance novel, Kindred Hearts, in 2015.

A lover of rock music, art nouveau design, blue cheese and grumpy ginger tomcats, Grace is also an avid reader of fiction – preferring coffee and a sinister undercurrent, over tea and chick lit. When not making prop costumes or hanging out with her favourite nephews, she continues to write stories from her Hertfordshire home.

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One Wrong Turn by Deanna Lynn Sletten @DeannaLSletten #lakeunionpublishing

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Author : Deanna Lynn Sletten
Pages : 204
Publisher : Lake Union Publishing
Publication date : June 20, 2017

aboutthebook

The words “I’m her husband” roll off Clay Connors’s tongue, but with his estranged wife lying in a coma—and no assurance that she’ll awaken—he knows he’s perilously close to losing everything. A singular, terrifying accident has left Jess Connors suspended between life and death. Now Clay is reunited with the family he hasn’t seen for two years, including the daughters he left behind.

Clay should have been there for his family. He never should have stayed away so long. The alcohol that took over his life destroyed everything but a shred of his self-preservation. Sober and haunted, Clay revisits the memory of love, marriage, and how his life unraveled. He hopes that by trying to reconnect with the daughter who blames him and the daughter who barely knew him, he can find a light of hope in this darkest hour. As his family faces its most grueling, emotional test yet, Clay must summon the courage to make right what was wrong—and find forgiveness from his harshest judge: himself.

mythoughts

When Clay gets a phone call to tell him his wife has been in a car accident and is now in a coma, he rushes home to be with his children. There’s just one problem. He hasn’t seen his family in two years and not everyone is ready to welcome him back with open arms.

Clay is an alcoholic and while he’s been sober for a few years now, he’s never felt strong enough to go back home, fearing he would let his family down again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Will he be strong enough to resist the beer? Will he have what it takes to take care of his children? Will his wife ever wake up from her coma?

The story is mostly set in the present with some flashbacks to explain the life of Clay and his wife, Jess, and his downfall into alcoholism. I found all the characters to be highly believable and realistic, especially the children. Eldest daughter Maddie is angry at her father for leaving and doesn’t hesitate in letting him know she doesn’t trust he will stick around this time. The youngest daughter Jilly doesn’t really remember much and is far more willing to accept her father back into her life.

At 206 pages, it’s a very quick read and if I want to be picky, I might say it could have been a little longer and maybe have some more depth to it. However, I found this to be a truly beautifully written story about the effects of alcoholism. It’s a story about forgiveness, love, loss, finding your inner strength and second chances and I really enjoyed it.

My thanks to author Deanna Lynn Sletten for my advanced copy of this book, which I chose to review honestly.

One Wrong Turn will be published on June 20th.

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A Daughter’s Courage by Renita D’Silva @RenitaDSilva @bookouture #blogtour #extract

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Renita D’Silva’s A Daughter’s Courage. Today, I have an extract from the prologue for you. But first, let’s all take a moment to drool over that gorgeous cover!

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Author : Renita D’Silva
Pages : 447
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : May 31, 2017

aboutthebook

How much would you sacrifice to save your family?

1929. When a passionate love affair threatens to leave Lucy in disgrace, she chooses a respectable marriage over a life of shame. With her husband, coffee plantation owner James, she travels to her new home in India, leaving her troubled past behind her.

Everything in India is new to Lucy, from the jewel-coloured fabrics to the exotic spices. When her path crosses that of Gowri, a young woman who tends the temple on the plantation’s edge, Lucy is curious to find out more about her, and the events that lead her to live in isolation from her family…

Now. With her career in shatters and her heart broken by the man she thought was her future, Kayva flees from bustling Mumbai to her hometown. A crumbling temple has been discovered in a village nearby, along with letters detailing its tragic history – desperate pleas from a young woman called Gowri.

As Kavya learns of Gowri and Lucy’s painful story, she begins to understand the terrible sacrifices that were made and the decision the two women took that changed their lives forever. Can the secrets of the past help Kavya to rebuild her life?

extract

Prologue 

Happy dreams

The Temple

In a scenic corner of India, beside sparkling fields and across from a jungle, near rain-bejewelled coffee plants lined with areca trees and pepper vines, a small temple nestles, slowly going to ruin. It has seen many generations come and go; it is hiding countless secrets deep within its crumbling walls. Woodlice have burrowed into its pillars and anthills adorn its steps and cling to its small veranda. Cobwebs stretch from one end of the temple bell to the other (once gleaming yellow, now tarnished rust; once heralding devotees and massaged by a thousand pious palms, now caressed by silvery skeins of spidery secretions and frantic with the frenzied patter of trapped insects).

Peepal trees have conspired to form a canopy over the temple, hiding it from the world. Warm air, infused with the zesty tang of ripening pepper and the smokiness of coffee, hangs respectfully still around the temple, loath to disturb the sombre peace.

A falling-down cottage is just visible between the columns of deciduous roots gracing the temple courtyard, which are almost as tall as the overgrown trees to which they belong. The disintegrating, moss-steeped walls of the cottage glow orange-gold in the shafts of sunlight occasionally piercing the vibrant green awning of branches, playing hide-and-seek with the ants that scurry around, searching for crumbs. The wall of tumbledown bricks surrounding the temple and the cottage is almost completely covered with velvet moss.

From certain angles, with its foliage-festooned steps leading up to its open cave of a mouth, lush vegetation parting to afford a tantalising glimpse of the deity within, its small shrine draped with vine and creeper garlands, its offerings of rotting leaves and mulchy bark, the temple looks as if it is smiling; a slumbering child experiencing happy dreams.

***

Many thanks to Kim at Bookouture for having me on the tour and for providing me with this extract!

A Daughter’s Courage is available now!

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abouttheauthor

Renita grew up in a picturesque coastal village in the South of India, the oldest of three children. Her father got her first story books when she was six and she fell in love with the world of stories. Even now she prefers that world, by far, to this.

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Wish Me Home – Kay Bratt

32596916

3*

A hungry, stray dog is the last thing Cara Butter needs. Stranded in Georgia with only her backpack and a few dwindling dollars, she already has too much baggage. Like her twin sister, Hana, who has broken Cara’s heart one too many times. After a lifetime of family troubles, and bouncing from one foster home to another, Cara decides to leave it all behind and strike out alone—on foot.

But the harrowing trip takes unexpected turns as strangers become friends who make her question everything, and Cara finds that as the journey unfolds, so does her life—in ways she could never imagine.

Wish Me Home is a beautiful story of one woman’s journey, not only from Georgia to Key West, but to finding her inner strength and self-worth. It touches on the complicated relationship between twins, the pitfalls of the foster care system and how hard it is to regain trust in your fellow humans when you’ve been hurt and let down more times than you care to remember.

I must admit, I chose this novel based on the cover. I’d never done that before. But there’s a dog! I love dogs! It was that simple. Luckily, the dog actually plays a huge part in the story. Meeting him is what really sets the pace for Cara’s journey and it’s such a lovely tale of the bond between a human and an animal. I kept petting my own dog, happy that I have her in my life.

For me though, the book was just nice. I couldn’t connect to Cara and disliked Hana tremendously. I also found that once Cara made it to Key West, the story started to drag a bit too much. It couldn’t keep me captivated although the last two chapters made up for that.

I received my copy from Netgalley and chose to review.