Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Kathleen McGurl · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl (@KathMcGurl) @HQDigitalUK @HQstories @rararesources

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of Kathleen McGurl’s latest novel The Forgotten Secret with you today.

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to HQ, Harper Collins for sending me an e-copy of the book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Scroll on for a taster of the book and to read my review.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

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.

~ My thoughts ~

I can’t believe I am only just reading Kathleen McGurl’s stories!! I am sure I say this every time I review a book by an author whose books I haven’t read before, but I can’t!

The Forgotten Secret has everything I love in a story: contemporary and historical fiction, a mystery, characters I can easily connect with, well researched, beautifully told.

The story is told as a dual time frame, set between 1919-1920 and the present day. In the historical thread, Kathleen McGurl pulls us into Ellen O’Brien’s life and the War of Irish Independence. I warmed to Ellen instantly and the love she has for her childhood sweetheart is beautiful. Ellen’s story was not easy to read at times and there were instances where I wanted to jump into the page to hug her.

In present day Ireland, we accompany Clare Farrell on her journey to independence from her broken marriage. Having inherited a run-down farmhouse from her uncle, she seizes the chance to leave her husband, Paul, and start a new life. Gosh, I hated Paul. Even after a week, he still hasn’t redeemed himself. Well done to Kathleen McGurl for a writing a character who provoked this emotion in me! I did however really like Clare and was championing her on to really make a new life for herself.

I do love it when a house throws up a mystery to be solved and the farmhouse in this story is no exception. I will say no more for the risk of spoiling the story so you will have to read The Forgotten Secret to find out more.

I love how Kathleen McGurl intertwines both women’s stories, answering questions raised in one era in the other, tying it all up nicely at the end.

I do love reading the acknowledgements at the end of a book. Often, the author will give us an insight into where the idea for the story came from. The seed for The Forgotten Secret was a small nugget of conversation which became this great story.

~ Where to find The Forgotten Secret ~

The Forgotten Secret was published as an eBook by HQ Digital, Harper Collins, in March 2019 and will be published in paperback in May 2019. It can be found at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About Kathleen McGurl ~

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.

~ Where to find Kathleen McGurl ~

You can find out more about Kathleen on her website https://kathleenmcgurl.com/ and connect with her on Twitter @KathMcGurl, on Facebook @KathleenMcGurl, and on Instagram @kathleenmcgurl.

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Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Dan Proops · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review: A Letter from Sarah by Dan Proops (@Dan_Proops) @UrbaneBooks @LoveBooksGroup

I am pleased to be sharing my review of Dan Proops’ debut novel A Letter from Sarah with you today.

Thank you to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Group Tours for inviting me to take part and to Urbane Books for sending me a copy of the book in return for my honest review.

Scroll down to find out more about the book and to read my thoughts.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Adam’s sister, Sarah, has been missing for seven years, but he hasn’t given up hope of finding her. He is a sculptor and lives with his bedridden father who is a bully and a curmudgeon.

One morning, as the anniversary of Sarah’s disappearance nears, Adam receives a letter from her and she is apparently alive and well, living in New York. Adam travels to Brooklyn to search for Sarah as he’s desperate to see her, but she seems determined to avoid him.

Sarah’s letters arrive weekly, but she continues to remain elusive. Adam is perplexed by Sarah’s requests for secrecy, as is his father and his girlfriend, Cassandra.

He is determined to find her, whatever the cost to his wellbeing, health and sanity….  

~ My thoughts ~

I want to begin by mentioning how well packaged A Letter from Sarah is. The cover (below) is simple yet effective and I love the font choice and colour. It ties in nicely with the idea of the letters coming from New York. At the top of the page for each new chapter, there is ripped paper and a piece across the bottom follows through the entire book. It’s almost as though the story has been written on paper. At the end of each chapter, there is a silhouette of the Manhatten skyline, as per the photo on the left.

The story itself is far from simple though . Dan Proops has crafted an intimate observation of how the loss and resulting grief from a situation can take over your life and impact on those around you. Essentially, it shows how the not knowing what happened could literally drive you mad. We meet Adam, the protagonist, seven years after his sister, Sarah goes missing. With no word from her in this time, suddenly, letters from Sarah start to arrive. This leads Adam to try to find track her down, no matter what.

My thoughts about A Letter from Sarah have taken a while to settle in my mind. This isn’t because I didn’t enjoy the story. I just wasn’t sure what to make of it. Dan Proops has a style of writing that I’ve not read before. Some of the time, I was trying to decide whether I was reading thoughts and feelings from Adam’s imagination or whether it was his reality. As I write this, I think what I was reading was Adam verging on the edge of madness.

This book was not what I expected. Even so, something kept me reading, wanting more. The twist at the end was not something I saw coming and reflecting on this, Dan Proops has created a haunting and disturbing story. You’ll have to read the book to find out more about this.

~ Where to find A Letter from Sarah ~

A Letter from Sarah was published by Urbane Books in March 2019 and can be found at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About Dan Proops ~

Dan has been a full time writer for six years and has completed four novels and a memoir. He wrote short stories as a teenager gleaning knowledge from his grandmother, the legendary advice columnist, Marje Proops.

Dan Proops

Dan was a professional artist, and had a one man show at the age of fourteen in London. He’s had many exhibitions over a long career and his artwork was purchased by internationally acclaimed art dealer, Eric Franck. His artwork appeared frequently in the national press and his painting was featured in Image of the Week in the Times. One of his exhibitions was previewed in the Telegraphby columnist Colin Gleadell.

Dan lives and works in London. He is a Twitter influencer and has a following of 22, 000. Dan has been using the twitter platform for some years. In 2016 he had a wide outreach and his tweets were seen by 1.5 million users.

~ Where to find Dan Proops ~

You can find out more about Dan on his website http://dan-proops.com/ and connect with him on Twitter @Dan_Proops.

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Be sure to drop by the other blogs on the tour!

Books · Cover Reveal · Heidi Swain

Cover Reveal: Poppy’s Recipe for Life by Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain) @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC

I am so excited to be sharing with you the cover for Heidi Swain’s latest novel, Poppy’s Recipe for Life, which is due to be published in May 2019. For those of you who are familiar with Heidi’s books, this cover is a slight change in direction and, personally, I love it!

The image at the top of this post is a little taster of the delicious cover but before I reveal the full cover, here’s what Poppy’s Recipe for Life is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Treat yourself to a glorious novel full of food, sunshine, friendship and love

Things haven’t always been straightforward in Poppy’s life but her dreams are finally within her reach.

She’s moving into a cottage in beautiful Nightingale Square, close to the local community garden, where she can indulge her passion for making preserves and pickles. She may not have the best relationship with her family but she is surrounded by loving friends, and feels sure that even her grumpy new neighbour, Jacob, has more to him than his steely exterior belies.

But the unexpected arrival of Poppy’s troubled younger brother soon threatens her new-found happiness and as the garden team works together to win community space of the year, Poppy must decide where her priorities lie and what she is prepared to fight for …

~ Cover Reveal ~

Are you ready?

Here it is!!

What a gorgeous cover!!! It is so sophisticated and I can’t wait to see it brightening up bookshelves far and wide. It has really put me in the mood for Summer and I am so looking forward to reading it whilst lounging in the sunshine 🙂

~ Where to find Poppy’s Recipe for Life ~

Poppy’s Recipe for Life will be published by Simon & Schuster UK in May 2019 and can be found at the following links:

Paperback ebook Goodreads

~ About Heidi Swain ~

Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.

Heidi Swain

A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes feel good fiction with heart for Simon and Schuster.

Her debut novel, The Chery Tree Café was published in July 2015 and since then she has had a further six books published, becoming a Sunday Times Bestseller in 2017. She is currently preparing to celebrate the release of her 2019 summer title, Poppy’s Recipe for Life while working on her next project.

Heidi is represented by Amanda Preston and lives in Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.

You can find out more about Heidi on her website and connect with her on Facebook @WriterHeidiJoSwain and Twitter @Heidi_Swain.

Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Linn B. Halton · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review, Giveaway: A Greek Affair by Linn B. Halton (@LinnBHalton) @HarperImpulse @rararesources

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of Linn B. Halton’s latest novel A Greek Affair with you today.

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to Harper Impulse for an ecopy of the book.

Read on for my review and for your chance to win a bottle of rose wine and some chocolates.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

More than just a holiday romance?

Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations. Lying around drinking exotic cocktails and being paid for it! What could be better?

Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart again…

~ My thoughts ~

When I heard that Linn B. Halton had a new novel coming out, I couldn’t wait for it to land on my Kindle. I read The Secrets of Villa Rosso back in July and adored it (read my review) so I was hoping that I would feel the same about A Greek Affair. I am delighted to say that it did not disappoint!

A Greek Affair is a contemporary romance novel which follows 31-year old single mum and travel blogger Leah and her 9 year old daughter Rosie as they transition through an important part of their life after Leah wins a prestigious blogger award and the offers start rolling in.

I warmed to Leah instantly. We are around the same age and both have interests in photography and blogging. I think it is worth highlighting that Linn B. Halton illustrates very well how much time and effort it takes to run a blog, let alone to make it award winning. As a blogger, it was endearing to read.

Rosie is just a delight and very mature for a 9 year old. I also adored Harrison, who Leah meets on one of her assignments. Every woman should have a Harrison in their lives. You’ll have to read the story to find out what I mean by that!

Linn B. Halton’s writing is so fluid that it makes A Greek Affair an easy read and her description is immersive – both of which I know are not easy to produce. I read this story in cold, rainy December and was instantly transported to summer in Athens, sitting by the pool, visiting tourist sites early in the morning to avoid the heat of the midday sun and then chilling in the shade whilst sampling the delights of Greek cuisine.

I don’t know what it is about Linn B. Halton’s writing but as in The Secrets of Villa Rosso, there were occasions where her words jumped off of the page and touched me deeply. Something in me really resonates with Linn’s writing and I love that connection between a reader and writer.

This story goes so much deeper than the cover and blurb suggest. It’s fabulous and I am very much looking forward to reading Linn’s next book.

~ Where to find A Greek Affair ~

A Greek Affair was published by Harper Impulse as an ebook on 28 December 2018 and can be found at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ Giveaway ~

To enter to win this delicious prize of rose wine and chocolates, click on the button below 🙂

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Please note that Sarah’s Vignettes is not responsible for this giveaway. 

~ About Linn B. Halton ~

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn B. Halton

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

~ Where to find Linn B. Halton ~

You can find out more about Linn on her website http://linnbhalton.co.uk/ and connect with her on Facebook @LinnBHaltonAuthor and Twitter @LinnBHalton.

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Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Review Copy · Reviews · Ronnie Turner

Blog Tour: Review of Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner (@Ronnie_Turner) @HQDigitalUK

I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Lies Between Us by fellow book blogger, Ronnie Turner. Thank you to Ronnie for inviting me and to HQ Digital for sending me a copy of the book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is what Lies Between Us is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

The past is always watching . . .

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .

A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Shari Lapena and Lisa Jewell.

~ My thoughts ~

It is always a pleasure to see a fellow book blogger follow their dream and when Ronnie Turner announced that she had signed with HQ, Harper Collins, I was fighting for a chance to read her debut psychological thriller Lies Between Us – and what a debut it is!

Lies Between Us is a chilling, tense and calculated story of extreme obsession that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it. Ronnie Turner’s insightful reading as a blogger is evident here as the thriller is extremely well written and cleverly crafted. The plot is very ambitious for a debut author: told from 3 characters points of view at varying points in time with so many twists, turns, shocks and lies along the way. I did find the jumps between dates a bit confusing at first but it’s worth sticking with it as the story is superb.

The characterisation is accomplished, especially in Miller, the first character we meet. He is highly disturbing and really got under my skin. Some of the horrible activities he gets up to are unbearable to read and at one point, I wondered how far Ronnie Turner would go with his story. I even had to stop reading part way through and go back later, such was Miller’s effect. It was as though his every word jumped off of the page and played with my mind. He certainly had me looking over my shoulder. Even so, I found him the most intriguing character. His creepiness sets the tone for the entire book.

The second character we are introduced to is John. Married to Jules and a writer, we live with them through the hardest time of their lives when their daughter Bonnie goes missing. I wasn’t sure what to think of John and I even wondered if he was responsible for Bonnie’s disappearance. But that’s the skill in Ronnie Turner’s writing. She plays with your head. Just as you think you’ve worked it out, she takes you on a completely different path.

The third character is Maisie, a nurse in an ICU Department who has a few secrets of her own. It is interesting to see how she fits into the story.

All three character’s voices are so unique that I didn’t need to know who’s story I was reading when it was introduced, as I already knew.  I am not sure I’ve read a book where the voices are that distinct.

Lies Between Us is compelling, fast paced, and highly emotional from the beginning. The story’s denouement is one that I certainly didn’t see coming and it fitted perfectly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this brilliant debut and I would highly recommend it. I am so looking forward to seeing what Ronnie Turner comes up with next.

~ Where to find Lies Between Us ~

Lies Between Us was published as an e-book and audiobook by HQ Digital, Harper Collins on 1 October 2018 and is due to be published in paperback on 13 December 2018. It is available via the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ About Ronnie Turner ~

Author Photo 2

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family.

At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Find out more:

Twitter: @Ronnie_ _Turner

Facebook: @RonnieTurnerAuthor

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

Website: www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/RonnieTurner

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Books · Cover Reveal · Rosie Green

Cover Reveal: Snowed In at The Little Duck Pond Café by Rosie Green (@Rosie_Green1988) @rararesources

I’m delighted to have Rosie Green back on my blog with another gorgeous cover from her novella series. Today, it’s for: Snowed in at The Little Duck Pond Café, which is due to be published on 15th November 2018.

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

The biggest snowfall in years has blanketed Sunnybrook, cutting the village off from the outside world. For Fen, who finds herself snowed in at The Little Duck Pond Cafe, it’s little more than a minor inconvenience. Her love life is finally running smoothly; it looks as if she’s found the perfect man for her.

But then a shocking secret threatens to destroy Fen’s new-found happiness.

Will being snowed in be the final straw? Or will Fen find a way through the snowdrifts to the perfect love?

~ Cover Reveal ~

Now it’s time for the big reveal….

What a fab cover!!! It’s so magical and those ducklings!!

Snowed In at the Little Duck Pond Cafe Cover.JPG

 

~ Where to find Snowed In at the Little Duck Pond Café ~ 

This novella can be pre-ordered on Amazon UK.

~ About Rosie Green ~

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-Rosie Green Author Pic.jpgroaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

​​Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.

You can follow Rosie on her twitter page: @Rosie_Green1988

 

Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Nikola Scott · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour: Review of Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott (@nikola_scott) @headlinepg @annecater

I am pleased to share with you my review of Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott.

Thank you to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and for arranging for a proof copy of the book from Headline Review in return for an honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is what Summer of Secrets is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

August 1939

At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives…

Today

Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband’s devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she’s drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything…

~ My thoughts ~

Summer of Secrets is a story primarily about love. The love you have for your siblings; the love you have for your partner; the love you have for your parents; and what happens when this becomes destructive.

Set in a dual timeline, Summer of Secrets tells the story of sisters Maddie and Georgiana in the Summer of 1939. It is the eve of the outbreak of WW2 and Maddie is sheltered at their childhood home of Summerhill, on the idyllic Cornish coast. When Georgiana returns home from a trip to Europe, Maddie is thrilled as she thinks they can see the war through together. However, Georgiana returns accompanied by friends she has met along the way, and one friend in particular, Victor, is not all he seems. The historical story of Summer of Secrets is interesting as the two sisters reminisce and come to terms with their lives as they are. There are a few secrets along the way and one I definitely didn’t see coming. Maddie’ story is emotive and highly descriptive. However, it is the present day story which captured my attention more.

On the outside, Chloe has it all: a beautiful home, married to devoted doctor, Aidan, and has just discovered she is pregnant with their first child. This should be a happy time in her life. However, as we delve deeper into Chloe’s story, we learn that Aidan’s devotion is controlling and harmful. Nikola Scott writes this with such intensity that, at times, it feels suffocating to read. In fact, I found a couple of scenes between the couple quite tough to get through and I found myself wanting to jump into the pages and save Chloe. Chloe’s story is one that needs to be told and sadly it is one which isn’t spoken about enough. Hopefully, it will help at least one person.

For me, the story had a slow start but I think this was necessary to set the scene of both stories for when Maddie and Chloe meet. Then the pace really quickened and I became thoroughly immersed in the story. Chloe and Maddie’s relationship is special and based on an unspoken, mutual understanding and I loved it.

Summer of Secrets is a powerful, emotionally-charged novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

~ Where to find Summer of Secrets ~

Summer of Secrets was published by Headline Review on 6 September 2018 and is available via the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ About Nikola Scott ~

Nikola Scott was born and raised in Germany and studied at university there. Having Nikola Scott Author picbeen obsessed with books from a young age, Nikola moved to New York City after her Master’s degree to begin her first job in book publishing, a career in which she could fully indulge her love of fiction!

She spent ten years working in publishing in New York and then in London, editing other people’s books, before she decided to take the leap into becoming a full-time writer herself.

She now lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two sons.

MY MOTHER’S SHADOW was published in 2017 to wonderful reviews. Her new novel SUMMER OF SECRETS is coming in September 2018.

Please visit http://www.nikolascott.com/ for more information, or find Nikola on Instagram @nikolascottauthor, Twitter @nikola_scott and Facebook /NikolaScottAuthor.

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Summer of Secrets Blog Tour Poster