Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Book review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

The Forgotten Secret

A country at war

It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.
And a long-buried secret
A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.
For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.

Purchase Links

My thoughts...

Well that was something special. I absolutely adored this book and found it a compelling and touching story. The writing was warm and engaging and had me hooked from start to finish.

The narrative explores life from two different periods in time but as the story gently unfolds it becomes extremely clear that they share common ties with one another.

Irish history is not my strongest subject so I found the historical elements to the story fascinating and moving. I felt that Kathleen McGurl approached the information with a great deal of sensitivity and care to create a special piece of writing.

The two female protagonists were thoroughly engaging and I was swept away by both stories...I found that I couldn't read fast enough to find out what would happen next.

The Forgotten Secret is an emotional journey that will move you completely with its passionate embrace for hope and love. I wholeheartedly enjoyed this book and know it will stay with me for a long time to come.

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for letting me take part in this tour.

#StacyRecommends #literaryadventure #bookblogging #bookreview #booklove

Author Bio –

KATHLEEN MCGURL lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @KathMcGurl  https://twitter.com/KathMcGurl 

Monday, 18 March 2019

Book promotion: The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas

The Family Secret

Will she find the truth?
England, 1940
After a sudden unexplained disappearance, Thomas Charles comes back into Cat Carlisle’s life with the suggestion she leave London – and the threat of bombs – to move to back her childhood village in Cumberland.
Back in her hometown Cat discovers her childhood friend, Beth Hargreaves, is suspected of murder. As Cat tries to prove Beth’s innocence, she discovers a scheme of deception that affects the whole village. Can she uncover the family truths behind the murder and expose the enemy hiding in plain sight?
Get ready for another gripping read from USA Today bestselling author of THE SILENT WOMAN!
Purchase Links

Well doesn't this look like a tale of mystery and intrigue? I can't wait to dive into this stunning looking novel and find out the truth. I will be reading this gripping novel next month on my honeymoon and will be reporting my thoughts on my return so stay tuned to read my review.

Author Bio –

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.
Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks 

Book review: Magnolia House by Angela Barton

Magnolia House

Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction. 

But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again. 

To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?

Purchase Link  - smarturl.it/fttfc2 

My review...

What a warm and enchanting story that lifts you up and takes you away on a heartwarming journey. I was drawn into the story from the opening page and couldn't put the book down.

The narrative is open and welcoming and pulls you in like an old friend. Angela Barton doesn't shy away from dark and deep topics but balances them out beautifully with wonderful uplifting moments to create textures of light and shade to the story.

The characters are in a class of their own and I fell in love with them instantly. Rowan is strong and determined and faces her problems head on. She was the perfect heroine to have at the helm and I cheered her on every step of the way.

Magnolia House is a picture perfect gem of a story. It warmed my heart with its vivid imagery and character creation, it certainly is the epitome of a feel-good read.

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for letting me take part in this tour.

#StacyRecommends #literaryadventure #bookblogging #bookreview #booklove

Author Bio –  

Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and adorable four-year-old twin granddaughters. Angela is passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction and loves time spent researching facts for her novels. Having signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Choc Lit’s new imprint, Ruby Fiction, Angela is excited to be working alongside such a lovely team.
Angela and her husband, Paul, recently moved to France and planted a lavender field. She’s looking forward to spending more time writing in the beautiful Charente countryside working from her new writing room, a beautiful shepherd hut. Angela is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.

Social Media Links –

Arlette’s Story:   amzn.to/2lAyIlb
Magnolia House:   smarturl.it/fttfc2

Book review: No Place Like Home by Maxine Morrey

No Place Like Home

Two hearts. One home?
Eleanor Laing has a very good reason to want to stay single: her last relationship put her in danger. And she’s worried that while the physical scars will heal, the emotional ones never can. So, travelling to Kansas for her best friend Sandy’s wedding, Eleanor’s in need of some time alone. And Sandy’s brother Ben’s rural and idyllic ranch seems like the perfect place for it.
Ben comes with his own baggage – a failed marriage in his past, and a big question mark over his future – and he knows the feelings he had for Eleanor belong firmly in the history books. But, sitting on his porch with her, he’s never felt more at home.
Both of them swore they were better off alone… yet is it possible that two broken hearts could come together to heal?
Purchase Links:

My review... 

Maxine's ability to weave a blissful story of romance seems to go from strength to strength. I was caught up in this beautiful tale and couldn't tear my eyes away from the page.

The sweeping story whisks you away to the stunning location of Kansas creating the perfect location to set this story on. The narrative was romantically charged and filled to the brim with emotional moments.....and yes the tissues were called upon several times. The story line didn't shy away from difficult topics but bravely dived head first into deep issues that were both moving and emotive.

Ellie is a character your heart could easily break for but her tower of strength and determination is inspirational. Her 'will they, won't they' relationship with Ben had me silently screaming in frustration at my Kindle but it all worked perfectly to weave a stunning and compelling tale.

No Place Like Home is a beautifully crafted story of courage and love. Learning to love and trust again is a tremendously brave act and this book portrays that struggle in all its fragile and emotional ability. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book and couldn't recommend it enough.

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for letting me take part in this tour.

#StacyRecommends #literaryadventure #bookblogging #bookreview #booklove

Author Bio...

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten.

As time went by, she continued to write, but 'normal' work often got in the way. She has written articles on a variety of subjects, as well as a local history book on Brighton. However, novels are her first love.

In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK's 'Write Christmas' competition with her first romantic comedy, 'Winter's Fairytale'.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words loves to read, sew and listen to podcasts. Being a fan of tea and cake, she can (should!) also be found doing something vaguely physical at the gym.

Follow Maxine Morrey

Website           www.scribblermaxi.co.uk 
Instagram @scribbler_maxi
Pinterest ScribblerMaxi

Giveaway to Win a red glitter nail varnish, notebook and large chocolate bar (Open Internationally)

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Book review: The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson

The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson

Behind every successful man is a woman.
Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

Sophie Mayhew 
looks like she has the perfect life. Wife of rising political star John F Mayhew, a man who is one step away from the top job in the government, her glamour matches his looks, power, breeding and money. But John has made some stupid mistakes along the way, some of which are threatening to emerge. Still, all this can still be swept under the carpet as long as Sophie 'the trophy' plays her part in front of the cameras.

But the words that come out of Sophie’s mouth one morning on the doorstep of their country house are not the words the spin doctors put in there.  Bursting out of the restrictive mould she has been in since birth, Sophie flees to a place that was special to her as a child, a small village on the coast where she intends to be alone.

But once there, she finds she becomes part of a community that warms her soul and makes her feel as if she is breathing properly for the first time. Sophie knows she won't be left in peace for long. Now she must decide: where does her real future lie? 

My review...

Wow where do I start? A book that superbly showcases people in all their flawed glory. From the opening page I was pulled into a backstabbing world of one-upmanship where lies, sex and scandal are the currency in play and a conscientious mind and heart have no place in the game.

Life in the upper echelons of society is succeedingly tough, but throw politics into the mix and you get devious personified actions worthy of Oscars nominations. I have never met a set of characters I disliked so much as those salaciously attached to the John F Mayhew camp of bottom feeders. 'Poor Sophie' was the thought on everyone's lips, but boy did she rise to the occasion. What a character.....complex I will grant you that but for very good reasons. Had she not had such a firm grasp on the psychological workings of the mind I'm not sure she would have been triumphant in her actions. But let me tell you she was a force to be reckoned with. Her life has been a constant broken record of saving face and doing what ought to be done, even to the determent of happiness, love and an affectionate family. So rising like a phoenix from the ashes was a joy to witness.

The story line blends two worlds in perfect harmony. The political world of fake allies, yes men, complicit wives and social climbing mistresses slides neatly across to the warmth seen from the North. Yorkshire is a safe haven of honest, genuine interest and love, these opposing levels in society are portrayed to perfection by Milly to create something extremely special. I loved each and every moment of this book....even when I was silently screaming blue murder towards several characters at their devious unfeeling actions.

The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew serves excellence on every level. It is a delivery in psychological behaviour laid bare in all its ugly glory. Life isn't perfect but I believe good will always triumph and Sophie was the epitome of strength and endurance - a sheer beacon of light in this delightful story. If you haven't added this book to your TBR pile yet then what are you waiting for? I urge you all to grab your nearest copy today you won't be disappointed in the slightest.

I am so grateful to be a part of this fantastic blog tour and would like to thank Milly Johnson, Simon and Schuster and ED Public Relations for my copy of the book and this opportunity.

#StacyRecommends #literaryadventure #bookblogging #bookreview #booklove

About the author...

Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. As well as being an author of 16 published novels, 2 short story books and 2 novellas, she is also a copywriter for the greetings card industry, a poem and joke-writer, a columnist and a seasoned after dinner speaker.

She won the RoNA for Best Romantic Comedy Novel of 2014 and 2016 and the Yorkshire Society award for Arts and Culture 2015.

She writes about love, life, friendships and the importance of community spirit. Her books champion women, their strength and resilience and celebrate her beloved Yorkshire.

Her latest book - 'The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew' deals with a woman who has been conditioned since a child to be little more than a support for an important man. But there is much more to Mrs Mayhew than anyone who knows her - even her own family - could ever believe.

Milly's website is www.millyjohnson.co.uk. She is on Twitter as @millyjohnson, Instagram as @themillyjohnson and has a Facebook page @MillyJohnsonAuthor. She also has a monthly newsletter www.millyjohnson.co.uk/newsletter with exclusive, news, offers and competitions.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Book review: When You’re Gone by Brooke Harris

When You’re Gone by Brooke Harris

Holly was overjoyed to discover she was pregnant. But the baby is unwell, and her relationship is fracturing under the stress. Just when she is at her lowest, she receives the worst news of all: her beloved nana, Annie, is dying.

But Annie has one final wish before she leaves. She asks Holly to find a memory box in the attic, and to read the handwritten pages within it to her, the most precious things she owns.

It’s the story of Arthur ‘Sketch’ Talbot, Annie’s first – and last – love, and how much he sacrificed to save her from a home where she didn’t feel safe. It’s Annie’s promise to Holly that it doesn’t matter how long you love someone – but how much.

As Holly reads her nana’s story to her one last time, could it help her find the strength to face her own future? Is fulfilling her grandmother’s final wish really a gift for Holly?

Compelling, heart-breaking, and emotionally vivid, When You’re Gone will break your heart and fix it anew. A gripping and emotional novel about family, love and sacrifice, for fans of Diane Chamberlain, Susan Lewis and Kathryn Hughes’ The Letter.

Previously published as When It Rains. This edition contains significant editorial revisions.

My review...

When a front cover deems the book a heartbreaking page-turner you know you need to have tissues at the ready but what I didn't realise was that I would end up buried under a tissue mountain. What an emotional rollercoaster.....I wonder if there's a single person who can read this book from cover to cover and not shed a single tear. It's heartbreaking yet still emits that element of belief for life and love, a true beacon of hope.

The story within a story set up was framed to perfection with Annie and Sketch's narrative taking centre stage. Their fierce love for each other shone through the pages and melted my heart. True love is something to hold onto and keep close and treasure for always and Annie and Sketch's story portrayed that to the fullest. 

Family was at the heart of this story with characters drawing strength from one another at such a difficult time. Each character had such a strong bond with Nana which was beautiful to witness and added to the emotional layers that weaved throughout the piece.

When You're Gone is a beautifully heartbreaking story of love and loss that will tear at your emotions but leave you with hope in your heart. Each page is filled with complete devotion to instill and inspire a life filled with true love. 

Read and reviewed with kind permission by Netgalley and Bookouture.

#StacyRecommends #literaryadventure #bookblogging #bookreview #booklove

About the author

USA Today bestselling author Brooke Harris is a self diagnosed romance addict. Realising at the age of seven that being a real person and not a cartoon character may prove a hindrance when applying for a role as a Disney Princess, she decided to create her own stories. As a grown up Brooke tried swapping the heels and tiaras in her stories for sex and revenge and published her first book, Rules of Harte in 2014. The Harte Series went on to become a #1 international bestseller. 

Brooke lives in Kildare, Ireland with her young family. She daydreams about a climate where it doesn't rain every day, but secretly she loves the green fields and heritage of Ireland.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Book review: Knowing You by Samantha Tonge

Knowing You

An abrupt change; a new friendship; a dark secret...

 Kind-hearted Violet has never fitted in, but despite being bullied at school is now content. She is dating ambitious Lenny, has her dream job in publishing and runs a book club at the local retirement home.

However, when her relationship with Lenny begins to falter, Violet, hurt and alone, seeks the advice of her new flatmate, Bella. She changes her image and with her head held high aims to show that she doesn’t need Lenny in her life to be happy and successful.

Her long-term friends Mable and Farah worry about Bella’s influence and slowly Violet starts to distance herself from them. When she was a child, her closest confidant and companion was a boy called Flint. Her mother didn’t approve of their closeness and he suffered a terrible end. She won’t let the same thing happen to Bella, no matter what anyone says...

Knowing You is about friendship and knowing who to trust with your deepest secrets; it’s about taking control of your life and not being afraid to stand out. Perfect for fans of Ruth Hogan, Gail Honeyman and Amanda Prowse

Purchase Links

My review...

What a book! A carefully crafted masterpiece that I completely devoured in one single sitting. What started off as a gorgeous cosy read quickly took on a deeper vibe that gently simmered below the surface with just the right amount of unease to keep you turning the pages.

The themes approached in this book are of a serious nature which I'm sure will resonate on some level with each and every reader. The writing carefully crafted these topics into the story line in a way that is to be applauded. At no moment did the material preach or dictate but laid out these elements in a caring way that will allow others to relate and understand.

The plot was extremely well crafted and unfurled, layer by layer, at a fascinating pace. Violet was a complex character with deep and tangled emotions. Her life has dealt her many obstacles that have in turn rendered her life challenging. At times her lack of self love was difficult to witness and I'm still not convinced she has made it safely out the other side. But I can only hope for a kinder and better life for Violet Vaughan.

Knowing You is a tangled web of mystery and wonder that will leave you in awe. I was enthralled from the opening page and couldn't put it down and I know you will be the same to.

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for letting me take part in this tour.

#StacyRecommends #literaryadventure #bookblogging #bookreview #booklove

About Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and her passion, second to spending time with her husband and children, is writing. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.