The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George book review/blogtour

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The Little Breton Bistro written by Nina George, publisher Abacus, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover and audio download format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Marianne Messman, a housewife, wants to escape her loveless marriage and an uncaring and unfeeling husband of 35 years. Marianne and her husband (army sergeant major Lothar) take a trip to Paris, during which Marianne leaps off the Pont Neuf into the Seine, but she is saved from drowning by a homeless man. Angered by her behaviour, major Lothar takes a coach trip back home to Germany, expecting that a psychologist will escort Marianne home a few days later. However, Marianne comes across a hand-painted scene of the tiny port of Kerdruc in Brittany, and becomes fixated with the place. Marianne decides to make her way to Kerduc, and once there meets a host of colourful characters who all gravitate around the small restaurant of Ar Mor (The Sea). It is this cast of true Bretons who become Marianne’s new family. She finds love and passion with Yann, an artist who becomes her guide to the secrets of Brittany. Before long, Marianne’s husband is back to retrieve her and Marianne feels pulled towards her old life by way of duty and guilt. She leaves Kerduc and gets as far as Paris before she realises it’s now or never when it comes to building the life she really wants.

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I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Nina George’s new novel, The Little Breton Bistro.

A 5* read to me is a story that grabs my attention, I fall in love with the characters and settings, the story evokes emotions in me.  The Little Breton Bistro was all this to me and more.  I was totally swept away with Marianne’s story of her decision to end the drudgery that had become her life, married to a man that belittled her and she felt no love from him.  Marianne had been married for over 50 years to Lothar and she felt despair of her life and what it had become.  Marianne and Lothar are German born and reside in their native land, on a day trip to Paris Marianne slipped away from her husband and made her way to Pont Nerf with the intention to leap off the bridge into the River Seine.  Anger swells up in Marianne when she is saved by a stranger.  During her recovery in hospital she comes across a small painted tile.  The image depicted on the tile is of the small village of Kerduc, Brittany and the idyllic landscape with the beach and sea somehow speaking to Marianne she vows to visit this wonderful place to finalise her journey.

Marianne’s journey to Kerduc was eventful and charming in it’s own right but the finality that Marianne had sought wasn’t to be.  The inhabitants of the village immediately befriended Marianne offering her solace.  She learnt  from the locals and she was also able to teach them a fair few tricks of the trades of life she had learnt in her 60 years.

Each day in Kerduc became more tolerable for Marianne, she started to make friends and she felt belonged and she mattered to people, which she hadn’t felt in a very long time.  Will the love of her new life be enough for Marianne to give her strength and belief for the future?

This was such a delightful tale that is inspiring and hopeful.  I felt joyous for Marianne for what she had become but also for the lives she had enriched.  A wonderful, heart warming, almost magical tale of second chances.

I’d like to share a quote from the novel that deeply moved me:

Walking on, she felt as if something had jumped off her back, something that had dug it’s sharp claws into her skin.  It was fear.  Fear had jumped off, an ugly, red-eyed beast that was not scuttling through the undergrowth to look for someone else’s back to possess.

To find out more about Nina George and her work please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.nina-george.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/nina_george

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/NinaGeorge.Schriftstellerin

Penhaligon’s Attic by Terri Nixon book review

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Penhaligon’s Attic written by Terri Nixon, publisher Piatkus, is available in ebook and paperback format from 1st December 2016.

To pre-order/buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Penhaligons-Attic-Penhaligon-Terri-Nixon/dp/0349412650/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1480362559&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

1910. Anna Garvey arrives in Caernoweth, Cornwall with her daughter and a secret. Having come from Ireland to take up an inheritance of the local pub, she and her eighteen year-old daughter Mairead are initially viewed with suspicion by the close-knit community.

Anna soon becomes acquainted with Freya Penhaligon, a vulnerable girl struggling to keep her family business afloat in the wake of her grandmother’s death, and starts to gain the trust of the locals. As their friendship deepens, and Freya is brought out of her shell by the clever and lively Mairead, even Freya’s protective father Matthew begins to thaw.

But when a part of Anna’s past she’d long tried to escape turns up in the town, she is forced to confront the life she left behind – for her sake and her daughter’s too . . .

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This was a wonderful family saga set in Cornwall in the early 1900’s.

Anna and her teenage daughter, Mairead, escape a secret that they hope has been left hidden in Ireland. They take the long, cold journey across the sea and counties to relocate in the small, rugged coastline village in Cornwall. Anna has a long-lost family business back in the village and hopes to be able to move easily back into it without upsetting the current residents.

The village is quite a close-knit community, especially with the fishermen. One of the fishermen is Matthew Penhaligon. Matthew had it all: a beautiful wife, doting daughter, a job he loved working out on the sea. But he had another love 8 years ago which nearly cost him everything he had.

Can this close knit community trust the new outsiders? Will Anna and her daughter Mairead be able to keep their dark secrets hidden? Can Matthew keep his demons in the past?

The village has seen many changes over the years and business owners (including Matthew’s parents own, Penhaligon’s Attic a wonderful bookshop) are facing hard times. With the changes in industry and economy can the bookshop survive in this unknown future?

A lovely story of grief, hardship, community spirit, dark secrets, love and hope set in a wonderful idyllic location.

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this novel.

About the Authorterri-nixon

Terri was born in Plymouth in 1965. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, to a small village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one’s ever offered to pay her for doing those.

Since publishing in paperback for the first time in 2002, Terri has appeared in both print and online fiction collections, and is proud to have contributed to the Shirley Jackson award-nominated hardback collection: Bound for Evil, by Dead Letter Press. As a Hybrid author, her first commercially published novel was Maid of Oaklands Manor, published by Piatkus Entice (a digital-first imprint of Little, Brown,) and short-listed in the “Best Historical Read” category at the Festival of Romance 2013. The sequel, A Rose in Flanders Fields, was published by Carina UK (a digital-first imprint of HarperCollins) and was short-listed in the same category in 2014.

Terri’s self-published Mythic Fiction series set in Cornwall, The Lynher Mill Chronicles, has now been launched. Books one and two are available in print and e-book, and the third book in the series is due for release in June 2015.
Terri now lives in Plymouth with her youngest son, and works in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, where she is constantly baffled by the number of students who don’t possess pens.

Terri also writes under the name T Nixon, and has contributed to anthologies under the names Terri Pine and Teresa Nixon. She is represented by the Kate Nash Literary Agency.

To find out more about Terri please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.terrinixon.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/TerriNixon

Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson book review/blogtour

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Mistletoe on 34th Street written by Lisa Dickenson, publisher Sphere, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mistletoe-34th-Street-Lisa-Dickenson/dp/0751563099/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1478803550&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Olivia has never experienced a snow-covered, ‘traditional’ Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she’s not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her colleagues are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in the Big Apple.

Jon, Olivia’s friend, on the other hand is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation, he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when handsome New Yorker Elijah is added to the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As 25 December draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

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I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the release of Lisa Dickenson’s new novel, Mistletoe on 34th Street.  I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this novel and would like to thank the publishers for this.

What a super winter warmer of a read this was.  I’m feeling quite sad that I’ve finished reading this sparkly story.  I want to read it all over again and experience the wonderful winter journey Olivia took which led her to New York gaining experience and accolades in her professional life and experiencing new highs and facing up to old demons in her personal life.

Lisa Dickenson’s novels wrap you up like a hot spicy tea; they warm you up from the inside but have that extra zing that tantalise your taste buds and leave you wanting more …

Olivia has been given a temporary promotion leading her team of colleagues on the trip to the annual conference in New York.  The team are hoping to get international interest in their business Girls of the World which helps promote esteem, equality and courage to girls worldwide.  I loved the sound of this organisation and could see why the team were so positive about promoting it.  The conference is four days in New York, a week before Christmas.  New York is idyllic in the winter time and especially with the run up to Christmas however, Olivia is not a fan of all things Christmassy.  Her family have never had a traditional Christmas together, they always favoured time away in sunnier climates.  So Olivia is hoping once the conference is done with she can go home over the holiday season just chillout and relax on her own.  However, her plans of tranquillity go awry as the team are left stranded in New York due to horrendous snow storms back in the UK.  An extended stay in the wonderful wintry city is perfect for some but not for others.  Will New York’s winter magic cast a spell on Olivia and change her whole perspective on Christmas?  Jon, one of Olivia’s colleagues is hoping to bring New York’s magic to Olivia and puts a plan in action to warm her heart.  However, a ruggedly handsome friendly New Yorker has his own way of helping spread cheer to Olivia.  With two men vying for Olivia’s company she is left confused with all this attention.  Each man has a different way of appreciating the season.  Will Olivia be blinded by the handsome native from New York or will Jon her old and trusted friend know exactly how to show Olivia the wonder of the season?

This was such a gorgeous read from the pretty, sparkly cover to the fabulous words of warmth, wit, wisdom and humour inside I soon got wrapped up in Olivia’s life and felt like I was with her in the city.  The sounds and sights in this great city that championed so many Christmas movies felt so real with the author’s descriptions … I wanted to be right there in the middle experiencing it all!  I never would have thought New York to be romantic but with the city transformed by freezing temperatures it felt like one of the warmest places to be in December with the Christmas spirits embracing you all and leaving no-one without a smile and a warm heart.  Lisa packs her stories with heart, warmth, humour and lots of festive fun.  5/5*

Please do stop by the other blogs on the blogtour.

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To find out more about Lisa Dickenson and her books please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.lisadickenson.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/lisawritesstuff

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/LisaWritesStuff/?fref=ts

The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene book review

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The Little Pieces of You and Me written by Vanessa Greene, publisher Sphere, is available NOW in ebook, paperback and audio download format.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Pieces-You-Me-ebook/dp/B01921JS14/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1473441492&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

When life as you know it changes, will it define you, destroy you or make you stronger?

Best friends Isla and Sophie made each other a promise a long time ago: to never let life pass them by. Years later, Isla is in love, living abroad and fulfilling her dreams. But for Sophie, things haven’t turned out the way she was expecting and she hasn’t achieved any of the things she and Isla talked about.

And then, in one sudden moment, life irrevocably changes for both women.

Isla and Sophie have hard decisions to make but above all else they must face up to the uncertainty that lies ahead. It’s only when they realise that this is easier together, two friends standing side by side, that each woman can embrace whatever the future holds for them.

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I’d like to thank the publishers for an arc in return for a review.

I was first taken in by this book by it’s beautiful, simple, subtle cover.  I love a story centred around people’s emotions and as I’ve read two of Vanessa’s previous stories that I adored I knew I was in for a treat.

This was such a poignant, thought provoking beautiful story of friendships riding the rollercoaster of life facing bumps in the road together.  Turning the bumps they faced in their journey into a positive, inspirational different direction in their travels of life.

Best friends Isla and Sophie made a pledge whilst at uni to fulfil their dreams.  They each compiled their respective dreams as a list, both girls with very different views on what they wished for in life and to have achieved.

Ten years later Isla is enjoying success in acting in a theatre in Amsterdam and her list is still very much a focus in her life. Sophie’s life took a different course and one of her dreams had to be put on hold due to a decision she made that completely changed her life.

Unfortunately, the girl’s lives take on some more unexpected bumps which rock their world completely.  Adjustments initially are difficult to comprehend and emotions are running high.  However, the strength of Isla and Sophie’s friendship gives the girl’s focus and slowly they become to accept these alternate routes in their life.  The lists the girls wrote years ago bring inspiration when it’s most needed.

I simply adored this beautiful story, it was quite emotive at times and very thought provoking.  Vanessa Greene has written a very clever, sensitive, beautiful tale full of raw emotions, love and friendship.  The story has left me feeling hopeful and inspired.  5/5*

I’ve recently come across a song that I feel compliments this book and I’d like to share it with you all and hope after reading the novel you feel the song does the story justice:

To find out more about Vanessa Greene and her books please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.vanessagreene.co.uk/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/VanessaGBooks

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/VanessaGreeneBooks

Start With Your Sock Drawer by Vicky Silverthorn book review

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Start With Your Sock Drawer: The Simple Guide to living a less cluttered life written by Vicky Silverthorn, publisher Sphere is available in ebook and paperback format from 8th September 2016.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Start-Your-Sock-Drawer-Cluttered/dp/0751566071/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473269579&sr=8-1&keywords=start+with+the+sock+drawer

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Cupboards packed with unused gadgets. Boxes full of obsolete chargers. Unpaid bills hidden among piles of junk mail. Wardrobes bursting with unworn clothes. Heaps of neglected children’s toys. A dresser jammed full of mismatched socks. . .

Sound familiar?

Many of us feel increasingly overwhelmed by – and guilty about – the sheer amount of stuff packed into our homes. And we’re starting to realise that being organised at home doesn’t just mean always knowing where you left the remote; it means being able to face the world with a clear mind and increased energy. It all starts at home.

But where? When the problem is so vast and we are all so busy, how do you even begin to tackle the clutter mountain? Professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn has the simple answer: start with your sock drawer.

Using tried-and-tested methods, Vicky will guide you through practical, bite-sized tasks that will help you achieve a friendly level of organisation throughout your home and a new clarity of mind. With Vicky’s help, you can fight back against the clutter and learn to love your home once more.

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I don’t know how long I’ve been an hoarder, probably over 20 years as I’ve recently found a folder full of magazine cuttings I’d saved!  I’m not messy, I just like lots of things and if I see a bargain I can’t resist, so now I’ve got stockpiles of toiletries, non-perishable food items and presents-to-be.

I was so excited to receive Vicky Silverthorn’s book and I’d like to thank the publishers for an arc in return for a review.  I had seen a buzz on Twitter regarding Start With Your Sock Drawer and #youneedavicky and was intrigued to learn more and had to admit that ‘yes’ this is me.  I think Start With Your Sock Drawer is a book that your can keep to hand on your coffee table or shelf to keep referring back to reminding yourself of the wondrous words of wisdom and pick up on the positive vibes from the author.  Just having the book in my possession gave me a little inspiration and I immediately sorted the receipts out in my handbag!

The book is clearly written and has intermittent drawings/images to help appeal to the visual side of your brain.  I love how the book is set out in different chapters so if you need to refer back to a certain section you can easily find the area you require.

I’ve not finished reading the book yet, I’m on chapter 4 at the moment, I keep reading then having a quick organisation spree.  I’ve been sticking page markers against areas I feel relate to me and my situation.  I do feel like chapter 3: Letting Go has been personally written for me.  Reading the words made complete sense and I felt an almost calm wash over me and the experience gained from just this chapter alone was quite therapautic.  I have a plan of action in my head just from this one chapter of how to deal with the points raised.

I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of this quite inspirational book and putting my plan into action.  I feel this book is a must buy just from the positive energy emitted from the words.

I’d like to share with you a quote from the book that I was particularly inspired by:

There’s a real buzz to be gained from matching an unused belonging with an appreciative new owner – enjoy it.

To find out more about Vicky Silverthorn please visit the following links:

website:  http://www.youneedavicky.com/

twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/Youneedavicky

facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/Youneedavicky/

instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/youneedavicky/

We’ll Always have Paris by Sue Watson blogtour book review

we'll always have paris

We’ll Always have Paris written by Sue Watson, publisher Sphere is available NOW in ebook and audio download format.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Well-Always-Have-Paris-Watson-ebook/dp/B01AGO1062/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1469548761&sr=1-2


Product Details (as per amazon page)

Does first love deserve a second chance?

When she was almost seventeen, Rosie Draper locked eyes with a charismatic student called Peter during their first week at art college, changing the course of her life forever. Now, on the cusp of sixty-five and recently widowed, Rosie is slowly coming to terms with a new future. And after a chance encounter with Peter, forty-seven years later, they both begin to wonder ‘what if’ . . .

Told with warmth, wit and humour, We’ll Always Have Paris is a charming, moving and uplifting novel about two people; the choices they make, the lives they lead and the love they share.

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I’m so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating Sue Watson’s new novel.

I’d like to thank the publishers and netgalley for an arc in return for a review.

This is a beautifully told story of one life, two loves.  The past and the present and the in between are remembered fondly and bring back emotions that at the time were so raw your heart felt like it was breaking but now the memory is just a little scar.

This story is a little different to Sue’s previous novels that were delightful, heart warming and full of fun.  This book still has the wonderful wit and humour from Sue shining through but in a more gentler, sensitive manner.  Hearts have been broken and mended but the wounds have remained.  Humour is welcomed now and is refreshing to hear of fun times from long ago.

Rosie is still grieving from the loss of her husband but a chance encounter with her first love Peter opens up the wounds she’s kept hidden.  Will this new time together let the hurt heal and bring some sunshine back into her life?

Sue sensitively and beautifully tells a story of grief, motherhood, families, friendships and love.  I was enthralled with the love that was; that is and that can be … 5/5*

 

I’d like to share a quote from the novel that I particularly liked:

“You must have hated me.”   “I did – but I loved you too.”

To find out more about Sue Watson and her books please visit the following links:

Home

https://www.facebook.com/suewatsonbooks/?fref=ts

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Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann blogtour book review

valley of the dolls

Valley of the Dolls was written by Jacqueline Susann back in 1966, 2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of this iconic novel that broke the mould in literacy.  I am so pleased and honoured to be part of the blogtour with Virago in honouring and celebrating this historical story.  Valley of the Dolls achieved the number 1 spot on The New York Times bestseller list and remained there for an unrivalled 28 weeks.

To purchase this wonderful 50th Anniversary edition, that has wonderful pink edging to the pages please visit the following link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Valley-Dolls-VMC-Jacqueline-Susann/dp/0349008329/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467100856&sr=1-2&keywords=valley+of+the+dolls

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Before Jackie Collins, Candace Bushnell and Lena Dunham, Jacqueline Susann held the world rapt with her tales of the private passions of Hollywood starlets, high-powered industrialists and the jet-set.

Valley of the Dolls took the world by storm when it was first published, fifty years ago. Never had a book been so frank about sex, drugs and show business. It is often sited as the bestselling novel of all time.

Dolls – red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight. For Anne, Neely and Jennifer, it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three beautiful women become best friends when they are young and in New York, struggling to make their names in the entertainment industry. Only when they reach the peak of their careers do they find there’s nowhere left to go but down – to the Valley of the Dolls.

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I’d like to thank the publishers Virago for my copy of this classic in return for an honest review.

The story starts in 1945 when country girl Anne arrives in New York to start her new life in the most exciting city in the world.  Anne ended up working for a big theatrical attorney.  She was definitely ‘a fish out of water’ in this new world at the start of the celeb culture but Anne soon settled and soon made friends.  One of her first friends was Neely, a 17 year old singer and dancer trying to make it big in a dance/singing trio.  Another friend Anne made was Jennifer whose beauty and figure helped her get a role in the next big Broadway show.  Neely also managed to get a role in this Broadway show with help and encouragement from Anne.We follow the girls on their quest for stardom, love and happiness but the rise to fame comes with many costs.

The demands that were placed on these young women dreaming of stardom were insurmountable.  They felt like the only release for them was a ‘red, yellow, green or even blue striped pill’ washed down with alcohol.  This was the start of a regime that very easily spiralled out of control.  Hollywood was turning the young and beautiful starlets into monsters.  This was the start of the media obsessed culture and producers expected their girls to act and look a certain way.  All most of the stars wanted was to be loved whether by an audience or by a partner.

It was a fascinating read, probably the first book to look at showbiz culture in the raw. All the razzmatazz was clouded and fuelled by drugs, alcohol and sex.  Young actors were used, manipulated and thrown aside all to make sales and Hollywood look good.  Jacqueline Susann was very honest, frank and raw with her writing.  This era wasn’t very kind to the homosexual community and people openly called them names.  With the open use of drugs, sex and alcohol and the independence of women post war wanting to work this novel and Jacqueline Susann helped to pioneer addiction, women’s rights and gay rights.

I felt very sad for Anne, Neely and Jennifer, their lives were controlled by men who wished for them to be or act like someone else.

Just as the young stars were drawn to drink and drugs I felt myself as a reader ‘drugged’ by the words on the pages.  I couldn’t get enough.  I was eager to know what happened next.  On the one hand Valley of the Dolls was shocking, tragic and heart breaking BUT on the other it was also glamorous, sexy and very indulgent!  5/5*

To find out more about this iconic novel and it’s 50th Anniversary celebrations please click on the following links:

http://www.valleyofthedolls.com/#homepage

Virago Books will be holding many celebrations with this iconic novel, please look out for details on their twitter page: