blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Someone Close to Home – Alex Craigie*

Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.

But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.

And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.

Just how far will Annie go?

‘Someone Close To Home’ is a story of love, malice and deadly menace.

My thoughts:

Megan’s home life has never been happy, and the story unfolds as she lies in a hospice, trapped in her own body following a stroke. The sadness and horrors of her past replay in her mind, and we see a victim’s suffering through her eyes.

The moment when she finds strength to survive is very heartening after the tragedies that proceed, and the impact of her determination affects those around her.

The writing is taut and unsparing, not flinching away from the hardships that Megan faces, as well as her successes as a pianist.

I found the book incredibly moving and sad, but the ending uplifting.

It does need a trigger warning for domestic abuse and suicide however, and it can be a bit graphic, perhaps is not suitable for anyone dealing with those issues themselves.

*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: The Bad Mother’s Christmas – Suzy K Quinn

Juliette and Alex are finally getting hitched, which should be joyous news. But Juliette is now entering `blended family’ territory: Alex will be Daisy’s stepfather – and Daisy’s real father is not happy about it. Yes, after messing up Juliette’s family the first time round, Nick is still trying to elbow his way back into her life, doing everything he can to stop her being with Alex. And Alex’s family are hardly rolling out the red carpet. To them, their new daughter-in-law is a slattern with a Jaffa Cake addiction. But Christmas is the thing that will bring them all together. And Juliette is determined that this Christmas will be a wonderfully happy family affair. Determined. Now where did she put that Jaffa Cake? The fourth in Suzy K Quinn’s bestselling Bad Mother series is a sparkly, shiny Christmas romantic comedy for mothers, and the perfect Yuletide treat.

My thoughts:

This is laugh out loud hilarious, I haven’t read the previous books in this series, and to be honest I don’t think it’s essential to do so. I was kindly gifted this book to read and review, but I think I would have picked it up anyway as it’s so entertaining.

The book feels like one of those sitcoms you find on Netflix that just cracks you up every time you watch an episode. I had to try really hard not to wake my husband while I was reading this in bed, purely as it was cracking me up so much.

There are some more touching, sad parts too, balancing the plot quite nicely. The supporting characters are well developed, even though it’s written as a diary, and you see everyone through Juliette’s lens. Her family in particular are great fun, and I would love a book just about them all running their pub.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted, entertaining read for the holiday season, this one is fantastic – just make sure you put your mug down first so you don’t spill while laughing!!

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Unprotected -Sophie Jonas-Hill*

Unprotected Cover Image.jpg

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

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.


OCN blog tour.png

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.