#Review of the delightful – The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley @trishaashley @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #Fiction #SummerReading #NewBook #SundayTimesBestSeller

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes
By Trisha Ashley
Rated: 5 stars *****

Today is my stop on the blog tour for the very delightful summer read that is The Garden of Forgotten Wishes. It whisks you away to a beautiful garden and interesting, characters with their uplifting community spirit, sometimes complicated lives and a bit of romance.
Discover the author, blurb, review and the social media links below.
I thank Haley Barnes at TransworldBooks for sending me a copy of the book and to be invited by Anne to review.

About the Author

Trisha Ashley Author pIc


Trisha Ashley’s Sunday Times bestselling novels have twice been shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance, and Every Woman for Herself was nominated by readers as one of the top three romantic novels of the last fifty years.

Trisha lives in North Wales.

Blurb

The brand new novel from Sunday Times Top Five bestselling author Trisha Ashley – the perfect Summer read!

All Marnie wants is somewhere to call home. Mourning lost years spent in a marriage that has finally come to an end, she needs a fresh start and time to heal. Things she hopes to find in the rural west Lancashire village her mother always told her about.
With nothing but her two green thumbs, Marnie takes a job as a gardener, which comes with a little cottage to make her own. The garden is beautiful – filled with roses, lavender and honeysuckle – and only a little rough around the edges. Which is more than can be said for her next-door-neighbour, Ned Mars.
Marnie remembers Ned from her school days but he’s far from the untroubled man she once knew. A recent relationship has left him with a heart as bruised as her own.
Can a summer spent gardening help them heal and recapture the forgotten dreams they’ve let get away?

Praise for Trisha Ashley:
‘One of the best writers around!’ – Katie Fforde
‘Full of down-to-earth humour’ – Sophie Kinsella
‘A warm-hearted and comforting read. Trisha at her best.’ – Carole Matthews

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes Cover

Review

Meander through the garden. It looks beautiful. Seek out the lovely plants that are listed on a key code list for what you see on the small map, and jump back with Marnie to 1993 before following her to the first chapter in 2017.

In 1993, life is bitter-sweet as Marnie (Marianne) sits with her mum after her aunt has dropped her off, reminiscing together, even though for Marnie, to bring up the good times isn’t a natural thing for a young child to do. Her mum is doing the rounds of chemotherapy.

Marnie, by 2017 was in France. To live in a chateau sounds idyllic. Like a dream!
This is a book with themes of control. It’s a timely book, since that’s finally one of the main topics up for discussion. This is also about Marnie’s escape, with Treena’s help more than what led up to her fleeing.

The book is as heartwarming and as uplifting as it is heart-wrenching. Marnie, once she has left for the UK, she has a hope to reconnect on some sort of level with the mother she lost to cancer. She also hopes to rediscover herself and some people she once knew at Jericho’s end. The Fairy Falls sound tranquil and is where the Cottingley Fairies were “filmed” and proven to be a hoax, later a film was made.  She also hopes to restore the garden at Lavander Cottage, that she once knew.

She meets Ned, who presents a tv show called  “The Small Plot.” They knew each other from their student days at horticultural college. The only issue is, intriguingly, he isn’t so pleased to see her.

There’s a lot of strength of character and courage presented within the characters in this book. I love that a lot and is, for me anyway, relatable. The characters have been through a lot and yet they still get on with life.

There’s a real passion for gardens and gardening within the book for readers to explore. It’s uplifting how people end up supporting each other to meet the same goal of having a completed garden. Watching it expand is beautiful and elegant to read about. It’s also nice that it isn’t too romanticised, in other words, you can see some of the hard-work it takes to pull something as vast off. Romance blossoms amongst the blooms of nature as the project grows.

This is a beautiful book that shows courage against adversity in so many ways. That’s what makes it a great book for this summer.

After the book, there are related recipes to some of the icecreams within the book. So you can try out making your own, lavender, ginger, minced meat, mulled wine, non-dairy coffee and choc chip icecreams.

Trisha Ashley’s Social Media Links

For more information about her please visit www.trishaashley.com , her
Facebook page www.facebook.com/TrishaAshleyBooks or follow her on
Twitter @trishaashley

Garden of Forgotten Wishes BT Poster Twitter (1)

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes – It does what it says on the cover @MarianKeyes @PenguinUKBooks #GrownUps #Review #Fiction

Grown Ups
By Marian Keyes
Rated: 4 stars ****

I thought I would check Grown Ups out via Audible. It is also available on e-book and print/physical form. So, I present my review of the book about what it means to be a grown up and what a life it can be. So, without much further ado, I introducereaders to the blurb and  my review as well as a bit about Marian Keyes. You will also find a link to her website.

About the Author

Marian Keyes is one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time. Though she was brought up in a home where a lot of oral story-telling went on, it never occurred to her that she could write.
Marian Keyes is the international bestselling author of Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man, The Brightest Star in the Sky , The Mystery of Mercy Close, The Woman Who Stole My Life, The Break and her latest Number One bestseller, Grown Ups. Her two collections of journalism, Making it up as I Go Along and Under the Duvet: Deluxe Edition are also available from Penguin.

Click here for her website

 

Grownups.jpg

Blurb

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers, Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much…

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife, Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

Review

I thought I would listen to an audiobook whilst doing a bit of exercise and so, chose Grown Ups to see if it lived up to the hype. I pretty much does. The audiobook is actually narrated by Marian Keyes herself, which is very pleasant and actually fairly relaxing and she has narrated her story very well. It’s a book that is perhaps a little overly long, but you know what, to listen to it, the book, pretty much grabs you and I just had to find out how it all ended, even though by this time, to listen to it, it became quite a pleasant ritual and you can’t help by then, having a sense of involvement, so I’m pleased I did decide to give this a chance.

It certainly is an interesting family and is impressive in the amount of themes and different adult types it covers. Grown Ups is the perfect title for it. It does what it says on the “tin” or rather cover. I did also  wonder, in certain parts who would want to be a grown up with so much to deal with, after reading this as I decided that the cover looks somewhat appropriate.


Grown Ups covers so much of adult life and is certainly inclusive in that way, almost like no other book I’ve read or listened to. It’s quite original in that sense. It also makes you hungry to begin with, with all the food in the restaurant business. The family are far from as perfect as they seem to begin with, when it all seems like fun and romantic. Secrets just tumble out from Cara and everything starts to unravel as truths are presented.

Apart from the fun and lovely food, there are relationship troubles in every sense, there’s mental health issues in terms of bulemia mostly and therapy, it mentions the couples, the singles, business doing well and not doing so well and having to face challenges of restructuring. Even period poverty gets a mention. It did like almost every aspect of adult life was mentioned and yet it did all tie together to create a story that has some humour and some light entertainment throughout the emotions and at times is quite profound. There is also hope and light through some of the darkness presented as readers will head to the very satisfying conclusion.
The storytelling is very good and if you read it in book form, I know, from the way it was told, it would be to a very good standard too.

Escape To The French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 @TransWorldBooks #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour #Fiction #BookReview #EscapeToTheFrenchFarmhouse

Escape To The French Farmhouse
By Jo Thomas
Rated: 4 Stars ****

Today I present my review of a book that is a treat for the senses and a great French escape that has its twists and warmth.
Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the Random Things Blog Tour and publisher Transworld Books for sending me a PDF copy of the book. My review is unbiased.
The book is published 9th July 2020.

About the Author

Jo Thomas Author Pic (1)Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Blurb

Escape To The French Farmhouse CoverCan she find her recipe for happiness?
Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier… a new life in France – without Ollie.
Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? Discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?
A heart-warming tale about reclaiming your life, set amongst the lavender fields of Provence.
Perfect escapism from the author of Late Summer in the Vineyard and The Honey Farm on the Hill.

Review

I felt to get me in the mood for my adventure to France, I would surround myself with French classical music, just for fun as I immerse myself in France amongst lovely patisseries, market places, coffee shops, lavender and the French Farmhouse, Del has escaped to. This is far from a whimsical story. It is one of courage, hope, sadness, happiness and moving onwards with life. It makes for a great escape to Provence, France. It is a very pleasant read indeed and one that I enjoyed.

Rifts appear in relationships as other things happen in life and just mount up. This is what is portrayed with great emotion and tenderness at the start of Del and Ollie’s tale. This is a tale about entering into a new era of life. For Del and Ollie it will be apart.
France however sounds idyllic with its market stalls selling anything from chandelier’s to lavender and then there are the patisseries with their lovely baking. For the bakers out there, there’s plenty of inspiration from macaroons to using lavender as a herb for tulles.
The contrast is stark between this and the other realities of life that Ollie and Del have to deal with. A place can look nice, but there can still be so much going on, including the challenges that being expats can impose and the decisions that have to be made, whether to stay or leave. It casts a story of how being an expat takes some getting used to as there is a whole new way of living with so many differences, even small ones, to get used to and it isn’t that you wake up in another country and can or should expect it to be like that one you left.

There is strength of character depicted through Del, it’s realistically written though, from the heartache and difficult decisions to make, to the moving onwards with her life. She does however make a friend in Carine and her dog – Ralph as you follow their lives and follow the scent of lavender throughout.

Taking second chances and giving second chances also features as does romance and emotional challenges to overcome when people move on. There are however some really nice feel-good factors and warmth to be found throughout this book.

Although occasionally rushed near the beginning, the book is a very good read and I recommend it. So, escape to the French Farmhouse and explore a new life in this vibrantly bound book.

Escape to French Farmhouse BT Poster

 

#Review of Summer on a Sunny Island by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #Uplit #Fiction #feelgood #RomanticFiction

Summer on a Sunny Island
By Sue Moorcroft
Rated: *****

I’ve come to really enjoy Sue Moorcroft’s books, so I was so happy to see that I was approved for reviewing Summer on a Sunny Island by Avon. This book was worth the wait.
It is perfect for some escapism at Summer Cottage. There’s sun, sea, sand, a harbour, food and characters with their reasons on why they are on such an otherwise, idyllic, beautiful island. It’s enough to sweep you away in an imaginary holiday of your very own, from the comfort of your own home.

Summer on a Sunny Island cover

Blurb

The #1 bestseller is back with your perfect holiday read!

When Rosa Hammond splits up from her partner Marcus after his gambling problem becomes too much to handle, she decides to take up her mum Dora’s offer of a summer in Malta. Not one to sit back and watch her daughter be unhappy, Dora introduces Rosa to Zach, in the hope that sparks will fly under the summer sun. But Rosa’s determined not to be swayed by a handsome man – she’s in Malta to work and that needs to be her focus.

Zach, meanwhile, is a magnet for trouble and is dealing with a fair few problems of his own. Neither Rosa or Zach are ready for a romance – but does fate have other ideas? And after a summer in paradise, will Rosa ever want to leave?

A heartwarming, escapist book to lose yourself in this summer from bestselling author Sue Moorcroft, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Cathy Bramley.

Review

The book is set on a Maltese island, where the main characters, Yorkshire girl Rosa and Cornish guy Zach, who she is seeing on a date that isn’t really a date.
Rosa and Marcus have split and she is escaping it all in Malta, except  her mother would really like for her to have a summer romance and is trying to play cupid and has set her up with a date, in this idyllic setting with sun, coastlines and harbour and other gorgeous views. It’s almost dreamy and is very easy to slip into and escape the outside world for a bit. We may but not be able to physically go on holiday, but with this book, we certainly can in our imaginations and still return with a positive effect. The book does however carry substance. Sue Moorcroft balances it out divinely.
Zach has secrets from Rosa about not talking to his father and his grandad having dementia, who his nanna cared for.
On the night out readers meet Elsa from Edinburgh and Luccio who Zach met whilst during volunteer work for a youth organisation and has been lured into hanging out with a not so pleasant crowd.
Dory is an interesting character who is a food writer. The mediterranean food sounds delightful. This is a book that could truly make you hungry. Over delicious sounding food and wine, Rosa’s mother possibly taints the relaxed atmosphere a little by probing into the date that wasn’t a date, or as Rosa will stand firm about in her belief.
It’s interesting to read about Marci and Zach’s parents and Rosa’s parents with connections to the army and with how Dory became famous and has a bestselling Sunday Times book. It’s also interesting to read the grittier, not so wonderful parts too with Luccio heading towards trouble and with Dory’s publication issues. Elsewhere there are relationship anxieties and a disclosure of a miscarriage. It’s all sensitively written and doesn’t go too heavily into details. The book never loses that totally relaxing feel.

It’s fun seeing the relationships between the characters and seeing them develop, seeing the moving on process and romance develop and the interactions.

About the Author

Award winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. The Wedding ProposalDream a Little Dream and Is This Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.

The Christmas Promise was a Kindle No.1 Best Seller and held the No.1 slot at Christmas!

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.

You can follow Sue on Twitter @SueMoorcroft, find her on Facebook and visit her website.

An Online/Virtual Event with Erica James @EricaJames #LettersFromThePast #VirtualEvent #NewBook

So, regular readers of my blog will know, that I have been attending some online events and writing some of them up on my blog. Today I sat in a room and watched the author Erica James do a Q&A session. So take a look to find out a snap-shot of her new bestselling book and a little bit about this very successful author.

Letters From the Past cover

A New Book

She has a new Bestseller called Letters From the Past, set in the early 1960’s. It may be a large book, but the chapters are lovely and short and it sounds a book that many will enjoy. It is a sequel that to Coming Home to Island House, but stands perfectly well as a standalone.
Erica James talked of her sons living in Seattle and Tokyo and it was when she was in Seattle with her son there, driving by movie stars houses, that she then decided to set the scene for her character.
I have been very lucky in being given the opportunity to review this wonderfully interesting sounding book on the 20th of April, so you will find out my thoughts and a little more about the story then, that will hopefully inspire you.

Inspiration

A place, something she sees, something that touches a nerve can inspire her.

Swallowtail Summer is set in Norfolk and for research she read up on, which she sounded quite taken by, and then travelled there to be in situ.

Pastimes

Erica James likes watching  some sport such as ice-skating and  gymnastics, her icon there being Olga Korbut. Her favourite sport of all is F1 racing. She also likes to do gardening and knitting. She clearly enjoys reading too as she has many books on her shelves.

Writing and Reading

For budding writers, she says read, write words on the page and don’t worry about who will read it, it might just be for you and that’s okay and enjoy the process.

Erica started writing as a hobby for escapism and then went on a writers course and a conference and it sounded like someone helped her out and she got an agent from Curtis Brown, who she is still with and got published by Orion. The writing came from a love of reading and she wondered if it was as fun writing a book as it was reading and it turned out, for her, it is and she has now written many books.

The covers of books have changed over the years to suit a new audience and as fashions change, book covers change. 

She enjoyed writing Letters from the Past and many of her other books.
She really likes A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford, although perhaps one of its time and people find they themselves change over the years. It was interesting hearing her talk so candidly about going back to a book to re-read after many years.

She says A Breath of Fresh Air is a book of hers that would be great for escapism. I reckon, all of them are really good to try for that.  Also try out her latest, enticing sounding book – Letters From the Past.

A few of her many books

An event with Multiple Bestselling Author Carole Matthews @carolematthews @KimtheBookworm #RomanceFiction #uplit #ContemporaryFiction #FreeEvent #OnlineEvent

On Tuesday night (31st March), I joined an online chat with bestselling author Carole Matthews, hosted by Kim who has written 2 books and is head of publicity at digital publishing company – Bookouture. You will find a bit about Carole Matthews books, including new books to come, how she became an author and writing tips and more…

Carole Matthews is a multiple Sunday Times Bestseller. She recently won a Romance Novel Award (RNA) for outstanding achievement for her light-hearted fiction.

Some of her Bestsellers are:
Let’s Meet on Platform 8, A Whiff of Scandal, For Better, For Worse, A Minor Indiscretion, With or Without You, The Cake Shop in the Garden, Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses, A Cottage by the Sea, The Chocolate Lovers’ Club, The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas, The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding, Million Love Songs, Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights, Happiness for Beginners.

Just a few of the covers to entice you.

 

 

How she became an author –
Carole Matthews was a beauty therapist and decided to write about aromatherapy, but that all changed as she wrote fiction. She gave up the beauty therapy practice around book 5 to concentrate on her writing.


She entered a fictional short story competition and won £1000. She spent on a writing course.

Her writing was good enough to send to an agent and a contract was done just when chic-lit adn light-hearted stories were just beginning to really be on the rise, around 23 years ago and to date she has written just over 30 books. 

New Book –

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes is currently due out 25th June. Set on Isle of Wight, Sunny Days and Sea Breezes are boats. Something tragic happens to a woman and she tries to leave London on the Isle of Wight and gets more than she bargains for.  The Isle of Wight (on my bucket list), sounds idyllic and she did go there and researched to create a fictional area of the island. It’s written in the first person and sounds like it could be another absorbing book.

Sounds like she has ideas in the pipeline and some of the inspiration and authenticity sometimes comes from actual events and sometimes right from her imagination, but either way, she really gets to know her characters and sometimes they “write themselves”. She writes out everything about her characters in such an organised way.

Carole Matthews Summer Days and Light Breezes

Writing tips

  • Try and write everyday. Keep writing and you will get your style and write what is in your heart and find the story you really want to write.
  • If you chase the trends, publishers might already be done with that.
  • Take your time and enjoy it.
  • Make the effort to sit (she tied her leg to the desk to keep her there).
  • Try writing some short stories.

She also eludes to the fact that her writing has changed over the years, with the more she has written.

The types of books she likes to read are historical, dark crime, gothic stories and has always been an avid reader.

View on Social Media and Reviews –

The only negative is it is very time-consuming. There’s a lot of social media marketing, but she enjoys doing this and the interactions with her fans/readers and that she can reach more people and can chat to readers across the world.

She says the balance for people reading and taking notice of reviews has shifted more towards book bloggers and disproportionately perhaps to Amazon (could be true as most authors like it if bloggers also post onto Amazon), compared to newspaper reviews for recommendations and about how blogs are more accessible. (a good thing for us who are quite partial to writing blogs).

She talked, which was really lovely, about bloggers and the effort it takes to read and then blog about it. It is true, after all is said and done, we get a book out of it. We also may get a nice chat and a wider community out of it too.

An interesting fact is that she has taught herself to crochet.

Coming Soon:

She is currently writing a sequel to Happiness to Beginners called Christmas for Beginners – published around autumn. Do also look out for Summer Days and Light Breezes around June.