blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Unprotected -Sophie Jonas-Hill*

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She’s fighting to save everyone else but will she have anything left to save herself?

Witty, sharp and sarcastic tattoo artist Lydia’s life is imploding. Her long-term relationship has broken down after several miscarriages and she’s hiding from her hurt and loss in rage. After a big night out she wakes beside a much younger man who brings complications she could really do without.

As her grief about her lost babies and failed relationships spirals out of control, she obsesses about rescuing a wayward teenage girl she watches from her window and gets more involved than she should with her charming but unstable young
lover.

Unprotected is a raw and punchy story of love, family and accepting yourself for who you really are.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting read. Lydia is recoiling from the series of miscarriages she has suffered and the end of her long term relationship.

Instead of seeking help for her grief she plunges into a fling with a younger man who is dealing with his own demons.

This is a meditation on grief and loss that explores a woman’s strong reaction and her attempt to bury her pain by taking on that of others.

Well written and emotionally compelling, this is a book that lingers with you.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: One Christmas Night – Hayley Webster*

Nine lives. One street. And a secret behind every door.

Christmas is ruined on Newbury Street, Norwich.

Presents have been going missing from resident’s homes. There are rumours going around that it’s one of their own who’s been stealing from the neighbours. Festive spirit is being replaced with suspicion and the inhabitants of Newbury Street don’t know who to trust. The police presence isn’t helping matters, especially when they all have something to hide.

But Christmas is a time for miracles… and if they open themselves up to hope and look out for each other, they might discover the biggest miracle of all.

 

My thoughts:

This is a sweet wintery tale of friendship, neighbours and redemption. Newbury Street’s community all seem to know each other, which in an age of disconnection, where most people couldn’t tell you the names of their immediate neighbours, seems a little old fashioned but makes for a great story.

With presents going missing and plenty of residents hiding their own secrets and pain, suspicion haunts the street. Popping in and out of the houses and businesses along the road, the story weaves around the lives of the families and their Christmas plans.

Definitely a book to read over your Christmas break (even if it’s only 2 days) with a mug of something hot.

 

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books, reviews

Book Review: One Winter Morning – Isabelle Broom

One Winter Morning: Warm your heart this Christmas with this uplifting and emotional family drama by [Broom, Isabelle]

Genie isn’t feeling very festive this December.

The frosty mornings and twinkling fairy lights only remind her it’s been a whole year since she lost her adoptive mother, who took her in as a baby and raised her as her own.

She’s never felt more alone – until she discovers her birth mother’s identity.

And where to find her: New Zealand, half the world away.

Travelling there could be her one chance to meet the woman who gave her up.

But will she find the answers she has been looking for? Or something she could never have expected?

My thoughts:

This is another cosy up under a warm blanket with a hot chocolate and all the better for it.

This book is all about family, the family you’re related to and the one that claims you. I can’t imagine losing my mum, I think that would be the absolute worse, so I could empathise with Genie, whose adoptive mother has died, and then she learns about her biological mother – all the way on the other side of the world.

They have things in common, mostly their love of horses, and the story is more complicated than Genie originally thinks.

I honestly loved curling up with this book, and recommend you pick it up for your Christmas reading.

Thank you to the publisher, who sent me this book, which is available now.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Coming Home to Winter Island – Jo Thomas*

Wrap up warm and prepare to explore the breath-taking beauty of a remote Scottish island and an old house waiting to unlock enchanting family secrets.

Fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will love this irresistible new winter novel from Jo Thomas.

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business.

It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.

But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …

Jo writes heart-warming and feel-good novels centred around gorgeous holiday destinations and the delicious local cuisine.

My thoughts:

This is a heartwarming tale of family, how our pasts affect our present and a gentle romance too, all set in scenic Scotland.

An excellent curl up under a blanket comfort read, perfect for the horrid wet evenings we’re having at the moment. I find books like these super at taking you away from your troubles and stresses and leaving you feeling warm and relaxed.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: Secret Keeping for Beginners – Maggie Alderton

Recently divorced Rachel is juggling her new dream job in interior design PR with the demands of two young daughters. She’s full of creative ideas but – even with a colourful childminder or two – some days she can’t make it into the office in time and in matching shoes. Her life is balanced more precariously than she cares to admit. Tessa, a talented muralist, is feeling flat. Her kids are growing up and she’s feeling upstaged by her husband’s new-found celebrity as the host of a reality TV fireplace restoration show. But everything turns on its head when she gets a surprise from her past. Youngest sister Natasha leads a glamorous jet-setting life – she’s one of Vogue’s favourite make-up artists who regularly creates the looks for the biggest shows in Paris and Milan. Single and childless, she’s been focused on her career – but when the lie she’s concealed for years threatens to come to light, the truth will make her question everything. Meanwhile their mother, Joy, a hippy vegetarian caterer, is carefully ignoring the letters that keep arriving at her door. Into the mix comes Simon, Rachel’s urbane boss, hiding secrets of his own. And everything lurking beneath the surface of this seemingly happy family is about to come out …

My thoughts:

I was kindly sent this by the publisher to read and review, but I managed to misplace it and only just found it again! I suppose I could have reviewed it while it was on its trip through the black hole in my bookcase, but I couldn’t remember any of the characters names!!

I really loved this book, it was like a comfy, enjoyable, mug of hot chocolate type of read. I love the relationship between the sisters and their mum; that family bond is one I wish I had with my own sister.

The plot was clever, funny, well written and enjoyable, an excellent read for when the nights are drawing in and you can’t face more Netflix.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Museum of Lost Love – Gary Barker*

In Zagreb is an unusual museum: it displays mementos of broken relationships. Each exhibit describes a unique story of a broken heart, of love gone awry.

When Katia and Goran visit the museum, Goran stumbles upon an exhibit that seems to be addressed to him, from a girl he met in a Sarajevo refugee camp at age fourteen. A reminder of two days spent together while he and his mother and brother waited anxiously for visas to America to escape the war.

Encouraged by Katia, a therapist, to reconnect with his lost past, Goran confronts the youth he lost during the Yugoslav Wars. Similarly Katia, adopted by Americans at one week old after her birth mother was murdered in a gangland killing in Brazil, heads back to Brazil to uncover her own family history.

Meanwhile Tyler, a military veteran and one of Katia’s patients, attempts to put the Afghan war behind him, and finds love in unexpected circumstances.

Drawing upon his own experiences working in conflict zones, Gary Barker’s powerful novels dive deep into human love and longing. Crossing continents, and set against backdrops of war, deprivation, and violence, The Museum of Lost Love is a soulful testament to the resilience of the human heart.

GARY BARKER is an author, researcher, and human rights activist. He is founder and director of Promundo, an international organization that works with men and boys in more than 25 countries to achieve gender equality and end violence against women. He has been awarded an Ashoka Fellowship and an Open Society Fellowship for his work in conflict zones. His previous novels include Luisa’s Last Words, Mary of Kivu, and The Afghan Vampires Book Club (co-written with Michael Kaufman). Barker lives in Washington, DC.

Website

My thoughts:

I remember reading a piece in the newspaper about the museum at the heart of this book, a place where people send in things that remind them of lost loves. Weaving in between the narratives of Katia, Goran and Tyler, are those of the displays in the museum.

Katia and Goran both look into their own pasts to find answers to questions they didn’t admit to having; while Tyler is trying to look forward, putting his new life and son first, moving on from his wartime experiences.

Each goes on a journey, literally and figuratively into themselves in order to find a way forward, to put lost loves to right and find out who they truly are.

Goran returns to Bosnia and seeks out first his father and then his first love, filling in the past, both of his country and the people he left behind.

Katia goes in search of her birth mother’s family, and finds not only that she is part of a family but also a tragic history.

Finally Tyler unexpectedly finds himself in love and raising the son he never knew he had, when tragedy strikes and he discovers the man he really is.

This book is slight but powerful, love is an incredibly potent emotion and Barker looks at all its forms; from familial, to sexual and innocent romance. He is interested in how people interact and the importance of someone’s capacity to sustain themselves.

The characters are well written and believable, the plots intersect nicely and flow well, swapping comfortably between the three protagonists without any jarring.

I found it an interesting way to look at violent parts of history (the war in Sarajevo, the gang violence in Brazil’s favelas, the recent conflict in Afghanistan) and show that love can blossom even under the shadow of such tragedy and suffering.

*I was kindly gifted this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Her Last Promise – Kathryn Hughes*

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Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.

Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet’s destiny, in the most unexpected of ways…

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Kathryn Hughes was born in Altrincham, near Manchester. After completing a secretarial course, Kathryn met her husband and they married in Canada. For twenty-nine years they ran a business together, raised two children and travelled when they could to places such as India, Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand. Kathryn and her family now make their home in a village near Manchester. Her first novel, The Letter, was a Kindle Number One bestseller.

My thoughts:

This is the beach read of the summer – honestly the perfect book to accompany you on holiday. From cold windy Britain to the sweeping vistas of Spain, Tara’s journey to find out the truth of what became of her mother is gripping and takes you off on a journey. Which is what the author specialises in. I read her first book ‘The Letter’ and it does the same thing but doesn’t travel quite so far. ‘Her Last Promise’ is a love story – but not a conventional one, being between a mother and daughter. The characters are warmly written, I love Alf btw, and feel realistic, the story is one of those that when it ends you sigh and go ‘oh that was lovely’. Honestly stick a copy in your beach bag and you won’t even notice when the sun goes in. My mum’s borrowed my copy for her two weeks in Greece!

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*I was kindly gifted this copy in exchange for joining the blog tour, however all opinions remain my own.