Cover Reveal: Sunshine After The Rain by Daisy James

I'm thrilled to be able to share with you the cover of Daisy James' new book, Sunshine After The Rain today. Personally, I think it's gorgeous ....what do you think?  




Sunshine After The Rain by Daisy James

A summer that changes everything…
Frazzled workaholic Evie Johnson has finally had enough! When she’s blamed for a publicity disaster at the art gallery she loves, she decides to flee the bright lights of London for the sun-drenched shores of Corfu and turn her life upside-down.

Under the shade of the olive trees, she picks up her dusty paintbrushes and begins to chase the dreams she had put aside for so long. But she never expected to bump into drop-dead-gorgeous Sam Bradbury – and certainly not whilst wrapped only in a towel!
A summer fling is the last thing Evie wanted but a few stolen kisses under the stars might just begin to change her mind… 

Published 5th July 2017 by HQ Digital (UK) 

Doesn't it sound like just the most perfect holiday read? I'm looking forward to getting my hands, or eyes! on this. 

Book Review: The Last Piece Of My Heart by Paige Toon

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …  

Published 18th May by Simon & Schuster (UK)  

This book was absolutely perfect for me as I read it. I've had a rubbish week and I just wanted something warm, something to get involved in and make me smile. With a cast of characters to fall in love with, stunning settings and a romance to melt your heart, I got everything I wished for. Definitely a seven second hug - this book hit every spot.

Thirty something travel writer Bridget has had an eventful love life up to now as she easily falls in love time and time again. When she comes up with the idea of catching up with her ex-boyfriends and asking for the pieces of her heart she gave them, while blogging about her journey, she hopes to convince her agent that this will make a great novel. What she's not expecting is to be offered a job as a ghostwriter, to finish the sequel of popular novelist Nicole Dupre. But the job comes with decisions - Nicole's grieving husband insists she must move to Cornwall to fully immerse herself in Nicole's ideas and inspiration. As Bridget finds herself living in her Dad's camper van and tiptoeing about Nicole's home and bereaved family, she's not convinced she made the right decision at first. But she's about to discover she still has a piece of her heart left to give away - and she couldn't be more surprised by the person who eventually takes it.

I LOVED Bridget. She's fun, witty, and slightly bonkers with a huge heart filled with compassion. I'd love to have a friend like Bridget - I don't think you'd ever be bored in her company and she's completely endearing without being overbearingly sweet. She doesn't take herself too seriously, and can laugh at herself and her mistakes which gives her an added charm. I was rooting for this character all the way.

I guessed where The Last Piece Of My Heart was going pretty early on, but this didn't make the journey there any less enjoyable. The developing romance and relationship in this book is beautifully observed, so that the reader feels the increasing tension as it happens. It's a building romance, which develops slowly and is entirely believable given the difficult circumstances surrounding it. Awkward and messy combined with touching and tender ensures that you can't help but get behind it. There's some difficult themes of grief, loss and moving on covered, and I felt Paige Toon did so sensitively and thoughtfully.  I also lost a little piece of my heart reading this book, courtesy of a very special little character!

 I was bowled over by the heartfelt and honest writing which drew me in and connected me to these characters, becoming as invested in their lives as if I knew them myself ... that's how real and credible they were. As for the setting, well it couldn't have been anymore perfect, and had me yearning to visit Cornwall. With Bridget's intriguingly quirky blog writing research lending lighter, laugh out loud moments, The Last Piece Of My Heart lead me on a roller-coaster of emotions, ending with one huge, soppy smile. I absolutely loved this warm, gorgeous, feel-good book and can't fault a thing.

(I read an advanced proof courtesy of the publisher)






Book Review: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo


Two people. One choice. What if?

Every love story has a beginning…

11th September 2001. Lucy and Gabe meet in New York on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. As the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.

Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.

As Lucy is faced with a devastating choice, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny or chance.

…what if this is how their story ends? 

Published 18th May by HQ (UK) 

I'd read so many amazing things about this book, with praise for its beauty and intense emotional impact. It sounded very much like my perfect type of read, but there's always that concern when you've built up your expectations that reality won't quite live up to it. So, to make it clear right away. This book completely lived up to my expectations and I absolutely adored every single word.

The beauty is in its simplicity really, the story of falling in love and developing a connection to last a life time. It happens all the time, every day the world over, unremarkable to others while being sweepingly huge and all consuming to individuals. What's special about this book is how Jill Santopolo sweeps the reader along with Lucy and Gabe's romance, intimately inviting them to share the intensity of it all. The book is narrated by Lucy, speaking in an almost confessional style to Gabe, so that all the emotion, excitement, disappointments and dreams are first hand as she spills her heart, leaving nothing unsaid.

The book spans over a decade, as the couple's lives take them in different directions yet remain connected. Lucy and Gabe meet on September 11th 2001, as terror and tragedy unfold around them, and while the book isn't really about the attacks themselves, I thought the author conveyed the rawness of emotions and intensity of connections made in the face of such tragedy, and how the experience influences their future choices and direction, convincingly and honestly.

Jill Santopolo's writing is beautiful. It just flows. Reading The Light We Lost is effortless, despite the emotional journey of highs and lows. Her portrayal of relationships is exquisite, depicting strengths and flaws, generosity and selfishness, happiness and heartache. As Lucy tells her side of this story of enduring love, there's a feeling we're heading to an inevitable, without knowing what it is. When it came though, it rocked me - leaving me to pick up my broken heart and put it back together again. The Light We Lost is simply stunning, every word of that early praise I'd read is true, Romantic and emotionally intense and written with the most beautifully effortless prose, I know I'll be thinking about this book for a long time to come.

(I read am advance proof copy courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

Book Review: The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret. 
Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village. 

Nothing can shake her happiness - until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home. 

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk? 

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger… 

Published 12th May 2017 by Bookoutre (UK)  

I really had no idea what to expect when I started this book, the author being completely new to me. However, a lot of bloggers whose opinions and tastes I've grown to respect were very excited about it, and so caught up in that excitement I thought I'd give it a go. How pleased I am that I did, because not only does The Darkest Lies sit up there with some of the best psychological thrillers I've read this year, but something about this book got right under my skin.

The Darkest Lies is told in a second person narrative - I can't remember the last time I read a book in this style and it works so very, very well here. Melanie's thirteen year old daughter goes missing, and is then found battered and on the brink of death. The book is narrated by Melanie, to her daughter, and details the days following the attack and the ensuing investigation. I found this an incredibly honest, raw and emotional way to tell the story and became instantly connected to Melanie.

I hadn't been prepared to relate so strongly to Melanie, but it was like she was living my very worst fears. I'm the parent of an almost thirteen year old daughter myself, and everything about this story rang true. The relationship between Melanie and Beth was authentic and the events leading to the horrendous attack are realistic and believable - it's likely there are similar stories playing out between teenagers around the country as we speak. Melanie's reactions following her daughter's attack were also brutally honest, with Barbara Copperthwaite not shying away from depicting the real, raw and desperate side of her grief.

The Darkest Lies is set in a small community, where everyone knows one and another and each others business. Or so they believe. But this twisty, gripping tale weaves a sordid tale of a community full of secrets, small and large, and reveals just what people are willing to sacrifice to protect themselves. The finger of blame points in many directions, but I truly could not have guessed the truth. Then just when I thought the case was resolved, the author pops another twist in there which, to be quite honest, left me speechless.

This wasn't altogether an easy read for me - a lot of the themes are quite close to home, tapping into some of my biggest fears as the mother of a teenager in the twenty first century. I found it emotional, horrifying and scarily believable and it sent me running up to my daughter's room just to give her a hug at one point (yep, I got the eye-roll from her). Barbara Copperthwaite's writing is gripping and she knows exactly how to deliver a twist to make your jaw drop. Her character's are extremely well observed and believable, as is the tension and feelings of unrest and suspicion in the small community. The descriptions of the stark and wild marshes were atmospheric and eerie, providing the perfect backdrop to this fast-paced, heart-thumper of a thriller. The Darkest Lies is a book I'll be able to remember vividly for a long time to come and I really can't wait to read more from Barbara in the future.

(I read an ebook courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)





Blog Tour Book Review: The Other Us by Fiona Harper

If you could turn back time, would you choose a different life?

Forty-something Maggie is facing some hard truths. Her only child has flown the nest for university and, without her daughter in the house, she’s realising her life, and her marriage to Dan, is more than a little stale.

When she spots an announcement on Facebook about a uni reunion, she can’t help wondering what happened to Jude Hanson. The same night Dan proposed, Jude asked Maggie to run away with him, and she starts to wonder how different her life might have been if she’d broken Dan’s heart and taken Jude up on his offer.

Wondering turns into fantasising, and then one morning fantasising turns into reality. Maggie wakes up and discovers she’s back in 1992 and twenty-one again. Is she brave enough to choose the future she really wants, and if she is, will the grass be any greener on the other side of the fence?

Two men. Two very different possible futures. But is there only once chance at happiness?

Perfect for fans of One Day, The Versions of Us and Miss You. 

Published by HQ 4th May 2017 (UK) 

I'm sure we all do it, think about the "what ifs" in life. What if I'd done this instead of that? What if I'd went here instead of there? In The Other Us, Maggie gets to explore those questions and finds the what ifs may not exactly turn out to be what she wanted them to be after all.

The book starts with Forty something Maggie receiving an invitation for a school reunion. Maggie is at a point in her life where she's reevaluating her life and I suppose, purpose. Her daughter is spreading her wings and leaving her parents behind, her marriage to Dan straight from Uni has grown stale and resentful and the part-time job she has is unfulfilling. She feels frumpy, undervalued and regretful at the lost opportunities to forge a career while devoting herself to motherhood. I related with Maggie here quite a lot. I'm turning 40 soon, my kids are older and need me less and less and I've had a feeling of not knowing what to do with myself, of having to put aside one part of my life and throw myself into something else, like redefining myself almost. I understood how she felt.

When Maggie hears that her ex Jude is going to be there, she can't help wondering what if? Because the night Dan proposed to her, Jude had asked Maggie not to go through with it. To go away with him. When Maggie wakes up then and realises she's somehow slipped back in time to that pivotal moment, she realises this time she can make a different choice.  But before Maggie can get settled into her new life, she finds herself on a constant journey where she wakes to find herself in different versions of her life - with Dan and with Jude. What Maggie needs to work out is which life does she really actually want.

I loved the questions thrown up by this book. Is the grass always greener for example, and does taking a different path always lead to same point - after all you can't run from yourself and who you are. I thought it was interesting how Maggie's journey lead her to realise the influence she'd had over her own life and relationships without realising, and allowed her to start making small changes that would affect everyone.

With short chapters and Maggie flitting through time and different lives, this is a really fast read and one I felt engaged with throughout. At times it moves almost too fast, and I felt I too was hurtling along and wanted things to slow down. I really liked how the book made Maggie look at how she acted and behaved had influenced the relationship she had with Dan, small things which with subtle changes can have overwhelming consequences and results. I could also see why she'd be attracted to the life she has with Jude, successful and wealthy which allows her to forge the creative career she longed for. I did find it difficult to believe Maggie would be prepared to accept her strange, time traveling situation as easily as she did, and especially thought her daughter played a very insignificant role that didn't quite ring true and meant I lacked an emotional connection with Maggie.

I enjoyed reading The Other Us. It's quite light-hearted and would be ideal holiday reading. It poses some interesting questions without getting too deep and is something a little bit different. Fiona Harper's writing is very readable, and her character's are mostly relatable. By the end I was willing Maggie to make the right choice, whether she does or not I'll leave for you to discover. If you want something light, a little bit different and easy to get engrossed in, and if you're prepared to suspend belief a little, then I'd recommend The Other Us to you.

(I read an advanced copy courtesy of the publisher)




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