The Little Guesthouse of New Beginnings by Donna Ashcroft #BookReview #BlogTour (@Donnashc) @bookouture @RNATweets #NetGalley #TheLittleGuesthouseOfNewBeginnings

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The Sunshine Hideaway, with its big bay windows and stunning view of Sunflower Island’s golden beaches, is the only place Madison Skylar has ever truly thought of as home. Could returning to the island be the second chance she needs? 

When twenty-three-year-old Madison arrives at The Sunshine Hideaway, she discovers the beautiful little guesthouse is falling into disrepair. With the help of old friends Amy and Connor, Madison throws herself into creating a gorgeous wellness retreat, introducing yoga sessions, adventure walks and ice-cream sundaes with a delicious twist. But will it be enough to save her childhood home?

Handsome and mysterious Connor has lived on Sunflower Island his whole life. He works hard as a builder, with his faithful dog Jaws by his side, but something is missing and he dreams of bigger things. As Connor helps to revamp The Sunshine Hideaway, this could be his opportunity to tell the woman he’s secretly been in love with for years how he really feels…

As spontaneous and fun-loving Madison settles into life on the close-knit island, sparks fly between her and shy Connor as they clash on the reinvention of the guesthouse. Are the they too different to make things work or will Madison and Connor finally find true love this year?

Delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for the new book by Donna Ashcroft, The Little Guesthouse of New Beginnings. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for my place on the tour and my copy of the book via Netgalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

You can tell from the cosy, pastel cover that this is going to be a fun, warm, summer read so this is the perfect book to pick up the weekend British Summer Time officially started and I can confirm that I whiled away a couple of contented hours devouring this book.

From the very opening scene, as Madison is approaching her old home of Sunflower Island via the ferry, the reader is thrown straight in to the atmosphere of the book, so if you are someone who likes a sweet, seaside setting for your romance (and who doesn’t, it’s like taking a holiday while staying in your armchair, and at a fraction of the cost!) you are going to love the setting. Donna does a great job of setting the scene and I found it very easy to picture Sunflower Island and the Hideaway guest house in my mind’s eye.

The main characters in the book, Madison and Connor, are quickly and firmly established, and seem to rub each other up the wrong way. Madison is a travel junkie with itchy feet, a legacy of her childhood, whereas Connor has always lived and worked on Sunflower Island. He is deeply suspicious of Madison and her nomadic tendencies and she can’t understand why he seems to dislike her so much. Plot set for much misunderstanding and tension, but you can feel the attraction  between them from early on and will be eager to see if they manage to work out what we believe, they are each the perfect person to help the other out. It is the classic tale of opposites attracting. I fell in love with both of them, although neither are perfect, and really cared what happened to them. An essential requirement for a compelling read.

You see, despite the fact this book may look like a fluffy, summer read, there are real issues carrying the story along. This is a book about how our relationships with our parents can affect the way we form relationships ourselves in later life. It is about finding a place to call home, and learning that we don’t need to be alone in life, there are people who will love and care for us if we let them in. It is about stopping to look around us and valuing each moment for the precious gift it is. Donna brilliantly weaves all of these things through the story and gives it a heft you wouldn’t necessarily expect from  a beach read.

The writing in the book seems effortless and follows easily, carrying the reader along. This is no chore to read and I whizzed through it quickly, absorbed in the story as the hours flew by. It felt like a very quick book, so if you are looking for something satisfying by speedy, I would highly recommend it.

I have to say, I was captivated by this book. The characters, the plot, the setting, the writing were all very appealing and I would urge you to pick it up if you are looking for a mood-lifting read. Looking forward to more from this author.

The Little Guesthouse of New Beginnings is out now and you can get a copy here.

There are lots more fabulous bloggers taking part in the tour so make sure you check out their reviews too:

TLGHONB - Blog tour

About the Author

Donna Ashcroft photo

Donna Ashcroft was born in London and grew up in Buckinghamshire. She went to university in Lancashire and, among other things, worked as a copywriter, buyer, waitress, secretary and marketing manager.

Donna wrote novels for over ten years before being published. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and was a joint winner of the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017.

Donna loves a happy ending and is never happier than when she’s escaping into a romance novel or movie. When she’s not reading or writing she’ll probably be found hoovering … or negotiating with her teenagers about who is doing the washing up.

Connect with Donna:

Website: http://donna-writes.co.uk

Facebook: Donna Ashcroft Author

Twitter: @Donnashc

The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan #BookReview #BlogTour (@Lisalregan) @Bookouture #TheBonesSheBuried #NetGalley

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Josie works until her arms ache, until the paramedics arrive and pull her gently away from the woman’s cold, fragile body. Noah’s voice cracks beside her as he calls the time of death for his own, beloved mother.

Arriving with her partner Noah for dinner at his family’s immaculate countryside home, Detective Josie Quinn is devastated to find Noah’s mother, Colette, lying lifeless in the back garden, her mouth clogged with soil.

Searching the house for answers, Josie’s team don’t know what to make of the rosary beads buried in the dirt near the body, or the hidden file labelled “Drew Pratt”, the small town of Denton’s most famous missing person.

As she delves deeper into Pratt’s case, Josie quickly discovers he had a brother whose body mysteriously washed up on the banks of a river. There’s also a diary entry suggesting that Colette may have met him on the last day he was seen alive. Can Josie believe the unthinkable, that a kind old soul like Colette might have been involved in their murders? And, will Josie’s new relationship with Noah survive the accusation?

Josie’s only hope lies in tracking down Pratt’s daughter. But when she arrives at her home to find she’s been murdered just minutes before, Josie knows the real killer is one step ahead and won’t stop until Colette’s secret is buried forever. With many more innocent lives on the line, how deep is Josie prepared dig to reach the truth?

I am delighted today to be taking part in the blog tour for The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan, which is the fifth book in the Josie Quinn Detective series. My thanks to Noelle Holten of Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is the fifth book in the Josie Quinn series but only the second one I have read. However, it works completely as a standalone and, although I am sure if you have read all of the books in the series there may be minor enhancements you would pick up from knowing more of the back story of the characters, new readers should not be at all put off starting the series with this book, with the delights of reading the back list then waiting for them!

This time around the crime is very personal to Josie, and to her boyfriend Noah, as it involves the murder of his mother, Colette. I really enjoy the way that the novels are revealing more and more about the personal lives of the officers in the Denton Police Department, it makes the reader more invested in the series as it goes along… very clever! The story line also allows Lisa to portray strains on the main character, Josie, in both her professional and personal lives as she struggles he demands of solving a tough murder case along with dealing with Noah’s grief and she doesn’t always get it right. It gives the book a very interesting dynamic and an extra level of tension for the reader which I greatly enjoyed.

The murder itself is very complicated, involving a decades old case and trying to work out how Colette could be involved. Lisa is very good about only dropping tiny clues and throwing in plenty of red herrings, extra bodies and lots of action, so you will be gripped from beginning to end and I certainly did not see the resolution coming right up until it was revealed right at the end. From that perspective, the book is very satisfying for fans of the genre. I will say that the whole plot is completely improbable and requires the reader to suspend their disbelief to quite a degree. However, for me, this is part of the fun of these books and a signature of Lisa’s writing so I say, go along for the ride and enjoy it as the escapism that it is.

I really love Lisa’s writing style. It is extremely accessible and easy to read, gripping and with plenty of impetuous to keep the book rolling along. Josie is a fantastic character, I love her drive and forthright manner, she is an easy protagonist to identify with. Lisa always does a wonderful job of leaving you with the odd little question about the characters and what will happen next, making you want to pick up the next book to find out. This is a series that still has plenty of places to go and I am sure her many devotees can’t wait for book six. I know I can’t.

The Bones She Buried is out now and you can buy your copy here.

To read some other great reviews of the book, be sure to follow the tour:

The Bones She Buried - Blog Tour

About the Author

Lisa Regan - Author Photo

Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Lisa:

Website: http://www.lisaregan.com

Facebook: Lisa Regan

Twitter: @Lisalregan

New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle by Liz Eeles #BookReview #BlogTour (@lizeelesauthor) @bookouture #NewStartsAndCherryTartsAtTheCosyKettle #NetGalley

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After yet another failed romance, twenty-six-year-old Callie Fulbright is giving up on love. She’s determined to throw all her efforts into her very own, brand-new café: The Cosy Kettle. Serving hot tea, cherry tarts and a welcoming smile to the friendly locals proves to be the perfect distraction, and Callie feels a flush of pride at the fledgling business she’s built.

But her new-found confidence is soon put to the test when her gorgeous ex reappears in the quaint little village. She’ll never forget the heartache Noah caused her years ago, but when they bump into each other on the cobbled streets of Honeyford she can’t help but feel a flutter in her chest…

As Callie and Noah share laughter and memories, she starts to wonder if this could be her second chance at happiness. But when Callie discovers that someone is mysteriously trying to ruin the café’s reputation… she has an awful suspicion that Noah knows who’s involved.

Was she wrong to ever trust him again? And can she find out who’s behind the lies and rumours, before it’s too late for the Cosy Kettle?

Delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle by Liz Eeles. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for my place on the tour and my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Another day, another light, heart-warming read and another big thumbs up from me. I think I am just in the mood for lighter fare at the moment to offset the awful weather and heavy doom and gloom of current events and this book is absolutely perfect for that. The ideal book to hunker down at home and indulge in some perfect escapism.

I actually think the blurb of this book misses out one vital factor that would tempt readers in, this book features a cafe IN A BOOK SHOP! Why would you not highlight this marvellous piece of information? I love cafes, I love books … I love cafes in bookshops the most! This has all the perfect ingredients for an enticing read. It is also set in the gorgeous Cotswolds, which the author does a fabulous job of describing and making you want to up sticks and move to Gloucestershire immediately.

There is nothing startling about the plot, but it is undoubtedly charming and what really bring at to life and makes it stand out are the characters. I loved absolutely all of them. The main protagonist, Callie, is attractive (in a personality sense) and easy to side with and her story will resonate with most readers on some level, as it involves family drama and unluckiness in love. But it is Gramp who was my favourite character in the book, he is full of personality and sass and I just loved him, he made me laugh and tear up at the same time. Marvellous stuff. The love interest is suitable interesting and attractive, there is a not-too-villainous villain awaiting either his comeuppance or redemption and a cast of other interesting townsfolk to round out the story. Everything to like in a book.

This story is undemanding but entirely pleasing, it made me laugh and shed a little tear at parts. It whiled away some extremely happy hours, held my interest and left me with the warm and fuzzies at the end. The author’s writing flows well and draws you through the story and I very much enjoyed her voice. There is a hint in the end that there is more to come from Honeyford and the Cosy Kettle and I, for one, am delighted to hear it. Can’t wait for a return visit.

New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Please do follow the rest of the tour and here what my marvellous fellow bloggers have to say about the book:

New Starts - Blog Tour

About the Author

Liz Eeles - Author Photo

Liz began her writing career as a journalist and press officer before deciding that she’d rather have the freedom of making things up as a novelist.

Being short-listed in the Corvus ‘Love at First Write’ competition and the Novelicious search for a new women’s fiction star gave Liz the push she needed to keep putting pen to paper …. and ‘Annie’s Holiday by the Sea’ (her first published novel) is the result.

Liz lives on the South Coast with her family and, when she’s not writing, likes to spend time walking by the sea, and trying to meditate. Her ambition is to be serene one day …. she’s still got a long way to go.

Connect with Liz:

Website: http://lizeeles.com

Facebook: Liz Eeles Author

Twitter: @lizeelesauthor

Instagram: lizeelesauthor

One Summer’s Night by Kiley Dunbar #BookReview #BlogTour (@KileyDunbar) @HeraBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n @NetGalley #OneSummersNight #CompulsiveReaders #NetGalley

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The path of true love never did run smooth…did it?

Kelsey Anderson is stuck in a rut so big, she’ll need a 4-wheel drive to get out. She’s just been made redundant from her dead-end job, and boyfriend Fran is so busy climbing up the career ladder that he’s forgotten how to have fun. She needs to change her life – and fast.

Stumbling across an advert for tour guides in Stratford-Upon-Avon seems like the perfect way to bring the sunshine back. In an impulsive move, she moves from her small Scottish village to Shakespeare’s birthplace, armed only with a suitcase and her battered copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Kelsey quickly falls in love with the place, her job as a tourist guide allowing her to explore every inch of the picture-perfect town, from cosy cafes to the picturesque banks of the river.

But it’s not just the town that captures her heart, as she finds herself torn between the actors Will and Jonathan who both vie for her affections.

But will beautiful Peony, the lead actress at the Oklahoma theatre company where Jonathan is playing Oberon in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, play a role in keeping Kelsey and Jonathan apart?

Or will flirtatious, charming Will, the fellow tour guide who has set his sights on Kelsey, keep the star-crossed lovers from finding their happy ending?

I’m so excited today to be taking part in the blog tour for One Summer’s Night by Kiley Dunbar. My thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me on to the tour and to Hera Books for my copy of the book via Netgalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I’m just going to say right off the bat that I just adored this book. It was a breath of fresh air that I needed after a heavy weekend of thrillers, emotional reads and a lot of intense working on my own book. This novel gave me some mental respite, at the same time filling me with warmth and joy, not a bad effort for one little book.

The storyline of this book was immensely appealing – Shakespeare-loving girl stuck in a rut takes a gamble on her dream job and escapes to Stratford-upon-Avon for the summer to act as a tour guide in the birthplace of her hero. Kelsey is a really wonderful character that it was very easy to warm to right from the start of the book. She has a kind heart and great relationships with her family and friends, but has had some heartache in her life and has been quite sheltered. She is having some issues in her love life, which partly drive her decision and leave the story wide open to the possibility of a new love.

Once she gets to Stratford, I have to say that Kiley managed to capture the sense of the place perfectly and make it leap off the page. It helps that I have been there many times myself, I suppose, and love it almost as much as Kelsey does, but it really did come alive for me through the pages of the book and I could feel Kelsey’s affection for the place oozing out from the pages. It also exuded the heat and scents of the summer throughout and warmed my cockles through some fairly stormy weather here in Yorkshire over the past few days. This book is just what the doctor ordered for miserable, blustery weather.

If you love Shakespeare, this book will be right up your street, as the beautiful words of the Bard are lauded throughout and the book is littered with quotes. We are able to indulge our passion for him alongside Kelsey as she explores Stratford in the summer and meets all kinds of different characters along the way, via her job and the theatre. Parts of the book are very funny but it also has a lovely emotional appeal, perfectly balanced to provide maximum enjoyment. Kiley’s writing is approachable but also poetic and very easy to read. Hugely enjoyable.

This is a perfect book to chase away the winter blues and make you dream of love in the summertime. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

One Summer’s Night is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To read some other reviews of the book, make sure you follow the rest of the tour:

One Summers Night 3

About the Author

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I’ve spent the last decade teaching English Literature at a University in the North of England. This involved researching and writing for academic publications (stuff that only a handful of fusty boffins will ever read). I’ve finally turned my hand to writing the romantic fiction I’ve always dreamed of and I hope my readers enjoy my sweet and feisty characters and dreamy locations.

The heroine of my first novel One Summer’s Night works as a tour guide in the beautiful theatre town of Stratford-upon-Avon. I too spent a working summer in Stratford where I found my very own leading man. We got engaged four days after we met. This tells you that I’m A) not exactly risk averse and B) a true romantic.

Twenty years on we live in Cheshire with our kids and Bedlington Terrier.

I’m a proud Romantic Novelists Association Member and in 2019 I’ll graduate from the New Writers Scheme which really helped me shape my debut novel.

Connect with Kiley:

Facebook: Kiley Dunbar Author

Twitter: @KileyDunbar

 

 

She’s Mine by Claire Lewis #BlogTour #Extract (@CSLewisWrites) @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #NetGalley #ShesMine

She's Mine

She was never mine to lose…

When Scarlett falls asleep on a Caribbean beach she awakes to her worst nightmare – Katie is gone. With all fingers pointed to her Scarlett must risk everything to clear her name.

As Scarlett begins to unravel the complicated past of Katie’s mother she begins to think there’s more to Katie’s disappearance than meets the eye. But who would want to steal a child? And how did no-one see anything on the small island?

I’m very happy to be kicking off the blog tour today for She’s Mine by Claire Lewis. My thanks to Victoria Joss at Head of Zeus/Aria for my copy of the book and for allowing me to share the below extract from the book with you.

Extract

That’s the truth, but not the whole truth. What I don’t reveal to her is an incident that took place in Christina’s bedroom the week before we flew out to the British Leeward Isles. I don’t disclose it because the incident doesn’t put me in a good light either! On Tuesdays, Katie does a full day at kindergarten so I have a little time to myself. I’ve got into the habit of using Christina’s en-suite, luxurious, walk-in power shower and expensive beauty products following the weekly hot yoga class that I go to after dropping off Katie. So last Tuesday, I had just finished my shower and wrapped myself in Christina’s bathrobe when I heard her bedroom door opening and then the sound of her antique roll top desk being unlocked.

I thought she must have come back early from work for some reason. There was nothing else for it but to come clean (literally!) and apologise for taking the liberty of using her bathroom without asking first. So I took off her bathrobe, draped a towel around me and opened the door. But it wasn’t Christina. It was Damien with his back to me, checking the contents of the desk. Caught in the act. Hearing the catch he started and turned in alarm. He reddened but quickly composed himself and went on the offensive. 

‘What a vision of beauty!’ he sneered as I stood there, my wet hair dripping onto the carpet. ‘I didn’t realise you and Christina were so intimate.’

‘And I didn’t realise you made a habit of going through her private papers!’ I snapped back. I know very well that the desk, an old family heirloom shipped over from the UK, is a strictly no-go area that she keeps locked at all times. He just laughed and then cool as a cucumber, he slipped some documents into a green cardboard file under his arm, locked the desk, pocketed the key and marched out of the room.

‘Just mind your own business and keep out of our affairs. Or you’ll be going the same way as the previous nanny,’ was his parting shot.

I understood this was no idle threat. Christina’s so possessive and distrustful that I knew if she got wind of this brush with Damien, she would imagine the worst and I’d be out of a job. So I said nothing to Christina in New York and I say nothing to the police officer now as she converses with me in the hotel bedroom.

I decide to keep my suspicions about Damien to myself – for now.

*

For something that was supposed to have been a ‘friendly chat’ the questioning is intense. After asking about my relations with Christina and Damien she embarks on a list of questions clearly aimed at working out a timeline for my movements this afternoon. What time did I arrive at the beach with Katie? Did I speak to anyone? Did anyone approach me or Katie? Did I notice anyone watching her? What time did I fall asleep? What time did I wake up? When did I become aware Katie was missing? What did I do next? Did I see anyone on the beach when I was looking for her? How long did I spend searching the beach before raising the alarm? What time did I tell Christina her little girl was missing? 

My head is pounding and I feel like a criminal by the time the family liaison officer finally puts her notepad away.

‘These questions are nothing to worry about,’ she assures me. ‘We just need to establish the timeline for the disappearance of the little girl.’ She ends the conversation by encouraging me to contact her ‘any time, any place’ if I need support or if I ‘remember’ anything else that may be relevant to the investigation. I half expect her to clap me in handcuffs and announce that she’s putting me under arrest, when at last she says that I’m at liberty to go.

*

In a waking nightmare, we struggle on through the grief-stricken hours of the day making calls, badgering the search team for any new scrap of information and giving interviews to reporters in the belief that getting Katie’s story out there might somehow help in her rescue.

The worst moment comes just after midnight when the operation is called to a halt. I collapse onto a chair in a quivering heap. All the strength has gone from my legs. Christina appears distraught, begging members of the police and emergency services to go on searching. 

‘There’s nothing more we can do tonight. We’ll resume at dawn. You should get some sleep,’ says the commander sternly. Holding our despair at bay and unable to contemplate the thought of sleep, we pace the beaches and the rocky headland for the next two hours, tripping over stones in the darkness, our steps lit only by the moon and stars in the cloudless black sky and the light from our mobile phones. 

I am lightheaded with exhaustion by the time I accompany Christina to her room in the early hours of the morning. We sit out on the balcony mesmerised by the sound of waves rolling on to sand. We are too tired to speak. I make tea and give her three sleeping tablets from a packet I find in her wash bag. Once the tablets take effect, I steer her to bed, her expression vacant and confused, as she lets me pull the covers over her. It’s not until I shut Christina’s door and go down the corridor to the room I’m sharing with Katie that it strikes me again. Where the fuck is Damien? I haven’t seen him all day, not since he handed me the cocktail at the pool. 

When I open the door, there is Katie’s blue bunny, propped up on her newly-made bed. The tears stream down my face. The bedtime story I was reading to her last night is still open at the page we got to when her eyes finally closed. It’s a beautifully illustrated copy of Peter Pan that Christina discovered in a quaint little bookshop called the Book Cellar, one of her favourite haunts for second-hand books. I glance down at the page. ‘The Mermaids’ Lagoon’ – Katie’s favourite chapter. She loves the colour illustrations of the mermaids diving in the waves. The doors to the balcony are open. I shiver in the sea breeze and step out through billowing curtains. 

I stand there for a few moments still clutching Katie’s bucket. 

Lost. Drowned.

If this extract has whetted your appetite to read the book, which I am sure it has, She’s Mine is out today and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour for alternative reviews and exciting articles, check out the poster below:

Blog Tour poster

About the Author

Claire S. Lewis

Claire Simone Lewis studied philosophy, French literature and international relations at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge before starting her career in aviation law with a City law firm and later as an in-house lawyer at Virgin Atlantic Airways.  More recently, she turned to writing psychological suspense, taking courses at the Faber Academy. She’s Mine is her first novel. Born in Paris, she’s bilingual and lives in Surrey with her family.

Connect with Claire:

Facebook: CS Lewis Writes

Twitter: @CSLewisWrites

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom by Beth Miller #BookReview #BlogTour (@drbethmiller) @bookouture @NetGalley #TheTwoHeartsOfElizaBloom #NetGalley #PublicationDay

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She followed her heart to change her life, but she didn’t realise how much she left behind…

Eliza Bloom has a list of rules: long, blue skirt on Thursdays, dinner with mother on Fridays, and never give your heart away to the wrong person. Nothing is out of place in her ordered life…

Then she met someone who she was never supposed to speak to. And he introduced her to a whole world of new lists:
New foods to try – oysters and sushi
Great movies to watch – Bambi and Some Like It Hot
Things I love about Eliza Bloom

Eliza left everything she knew behind for him, but sometimes love just isn’t enough. Especially when he opens a hidden shoebox and starts asking a lot of questions about her past life. As the walls Eliza has carefully constructed threaten to come crashing down, will she find a way to keep hold of everyone she loves, and maybe, just maybe, bring the two sides of her heart together at last?

Oh, I am so VERY happy to be kicking off the blog tour on publication day for this most marvellous book! Happy Publication Day, Beth. The hugest thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for giving me a place on the tour and for my gifted copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

The blurb of this book doesn’t really give you a clue what to expect between the covers and gives very little hint of the main plot device of the novel, so it is going to be quite difficult to write a comprehensive, spoiler-free review. Still, I’m up for a challenge so let’s give it a go.

This is a ‘two worlds collide, fish out of water’ story about a couple falling in love from opposites sides of a divide that throws up a multitude of problems in their relationship. If you scout other reviews, you will probably find out what the differences are that divide them without reading the book, but I think that will be a shame for you and I would advise you going into the book naively and discover the secret for yourself as you read. For me, it was really eye-opening, as the world Eliza comes from is one that I know nothing about, and learning about the conventions and rules of the society in which she lives was fascinating and humbling; I’m embarrassed that I have never taken the time to learn more about it before.

However, aside from the particular issues Eliza’s background presents to the relationship, there is a lot in this story that rings true for anyone who has ever been in a relationship, especially one that has been entered into at a young age when, whilst we might feel we are adults, we are largely unformed and uninformed as people, and we are making life-changing decisions joining ourselves to other people when we don’t really know who we are ourselves. Through the book, the author explores all kinds of relationships that shape all of our lives, not just romantic ones. The bonds of family – spouses, parents, children, siblings, friends, extended family, wider community- their needs, expectations, ideologies, personalities, dynamics, all of these things affect each of us in different ways and impact our behaviour and decisions and part of life is learning where we fit, how to manage these things, when we should comply, when we should rebel, what is important and what isn’t. The arts of empathy, understanding and compromise are something we all need to learn, whoever we are and wherever we come from.

The author writes with sensitivity, warmth and approachability. Her characters felt so real to me, even though the world she is writing about is so alien in many ways, I was totally drawn in. The main character, Eliza, could be me, you, or any of us because, as humans, we have more similarities than we have differences, no matter who we are or where we come from, if we choose to see them and focus on them, rather than our differences. Given some of the current things going on in the world today, I think this message is an extremely relevant and important one to be getting out there, and this book does it beautifully.

This is a gorgeous story, the writing pulls you through with ease and pleasure. There was nothing but joy in the reading of it for me, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Pretty close to reading perfection.

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom is out today and you can get a copy here.

To read some alternative reviews of the book, please do follow the tour as detailed below:

Two Hearts - Blog Tour

About the Author

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Beth Miller is the author of two novels and two non-fiction titles, including For the Love of The Archers. She has worked as a sexual health trainer, a journalist and a psychology lecturer and is now a mentor and book coach. Beth is a member of the Prime Writers, has a PhD in Psychology, and is a world class drinker of tea.

Connect with Beth:

Website: https://www.bethmiller.co.uk

Facebook: Beth Miller Author

Twitter: @drbethmiller

 

Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti #BookReview #BlogTour (@Ilaria_Tuti) @wnbooks @gigicroft @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #FlowersOverTheInferno #NetGalley

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An idyllic village in the alps.
A legacy of sin.
An evil lurking in the woods.

In a quiet village surrounded by the imposing Italian Alps, a series of brutal assaults take place.

Police inspector Teresa Battaglia is called in when the first body is found. Soon more victims are discovered – all horrifically mutilated – and when a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa’s investigation becomes a race against the clock.

But Teresa is also fighting a battle against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory…

Delighted to be rounding off the blog tour today for Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti. my thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me on to the tour and to Virginia Woolstencroft of Orion for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is the debut novel by Ilaria Tuti, and the first novel featuring Detective Teresa Battaglia, and I have to say it is impressive to see such a strong and unique novel coming from the pen of a brand new author. Everything about this book is accomplished and confident, you would be forgiven for believing that this is a writer who has been doing this for years.

There is so much to enjoy about this book if you are a fan of the Euro-crime genre. Firstly, and probably the strongest aspect of this book, are the main detective duo. Teresa Battaglia is a really refreshing change to the standard grumpy male or feisty, young, ambitious female detectives you find carrying these stories. A woman of middle years, not beautiful, not thrusting, not particularly stand out in any way except through her intellect, her dedication to her job and the devotion she inspires in her team. I absolutely loved her, and was willing to follow her through whatever ups and downs she might face throughout the novel. She is brutal and forthright in her opinions, no nonsense, dedicated. She has personal issues, health issues, issues with relationships, but battles all these quietly and with dignity to get the job done.

She also does not suffer fools gladly, which appears to be a problem when she gets a new, young, male wet-behind-the-ears inspector to add to her team. To begin with there is the usual chalk and cheese friction between the two, but this has the makings of a great partnership for future books and the two will find that their differences can be an asset, as they have lots to learn from each other.

There is a great supporting cast for this book, but these two carry the book, along with the third standout star of the novel, which is the setting. Forget Scandi-noir, here we have Italy as a back drop for the drama, but not the picturesque coastal towns of Amalfi or Sorrento or Portofino; not the glamorous cities of Rome or Venice or Florence; not the rural beauty of Tuscany or the Italian Lakes. This is the remote, forgotten, mountainous area on the Italian-Austrian border which very rarely has the literary spotlight shone upon it. This author, however, obviously has a great fondness for the region, she brings it vividly to life throughout the book, illuminating the forests, gorges, peaks, rivers and isolated villages making the landscape an integral part of the story, a character in its own right.

The setting of this book is what gives it its atmosphere, and that atmosphere is deeply claustrophobic and unsettling. This is a place cut off from the outside world to a large degree. They are insular, superstitious and extremely suspicious of outsiders. Protective of their community and any perceived external threat, they close ranks and shut out interlopers, protecting their secrets, even if that means protecting a serial killer from the police. This makes the investigation more complicated, and the diplomatic skills of Teresa Battaglia vital to crack the case. The area is sparsely populated, mountainous, heavily wooded, large areas unexplored or long forgotten. The intrusion of the modern world into this ancient wilderness, upsetting the dynamics unchanged for centuries, is one of the fascinating themes of the book and adds to the air of menace and threat.

The case itself is gruesome and deeply disturbing. It is hard to say too much about it without including any spoilers in the review, but there are links to unpleasant echoes of a unedifying era of the area’s past. Some aspects of the book are quite graphic and upsetting, but the plot is completely gripping from start to finish and the reader will find it very hard to break away from the story without finding out what happens. I am still thinking about the plot, even now the book is finished and I have moved on to my next read. There are some moral questions raised in the book that will get you thinking more deeply than is often the case in a standard crime novel, a deeper dimension to the narrative.

The book is written from a few different perspectives, in a variety of time periods, and through different mediums, such as diary entries. As it hops around quite a lot, I did find it tricky to keep up in places. Some of this was due to the way my review copy was formatted on my Kindle I think, but I do believe that this is one of those odd books that would be more easily and enjoyably read in physical format, rather than on an e-reader. Fortuitously, this is also a book where I would suggest that the story is worth the investment in an actual book. This was something new and different and interesting din would highly recommend it. A brave new voice in the crime genre.

Flowers Over The Inferno is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour and read some alternative reviews of this book, check out the blogs on the poster below:

FLOWERS blog tour banner

About the Author

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ILARIA TUTI lives in Friuli, in the far north-eastern part of Italy. FLOWERS OVER THE INFERNO, her debut novel and the first book in the Teresa Battaglia trilogy, was a top 10 bestseller on publication and the biggest debut of 2018 in Italy. Rights for the novel have been sold in over 15 countries, making her one of the most internationally successful Italian authors of recent years.

Connect with Ilaria:

Twitter: @Ilaria_Tuti