#BlogTour #Bookreview The Distance by Zoe Folbigg

 Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the charming ‘The Distance’ by Zoe Folbigg

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What they say:  From the author of the bestselling novel,The Note, comes this beautiful, romantic tale of finding love in the most unexpected places. Under the midnight sun of Arctic Norway, Cecilie Wiig goes online and stumbles across Hector Herrera in a band fan forum. They start chatting and soon realise they might be more than kindred spirits. But there are two big problems: Hector lives 8,909km away in Mexico. And he’s about to get married.

Can Cecilie, who’s anchored to two jobs she loves in the library and a cafe full of colourful characters in the town in which she grew up, overcome the hurdles of having fallen for someone she’s never met? Will Hector escape his turbulent past and the temptations of his hectic hedonistic life and make a leap of faith to change the path he’s on?

Zoe Folbigg’s latest novel is a story of two people, living two very different lives, and whether they can cross a gulf, ocean, sea and fjord to give their love a chance.

The Review: Cecilie Wiig, who works in a library and a cafe, is a fan of Depeche Mode. As you will see above she goes online and finds Hector Herrera, who is living a very different life in Mexico, where he is being emotionally blackmailed by his girlfriend of six years, Pilar, into marrying him. The book has a timeline that skitters about, as we see both through the forum and everyday life, how Cecilie and Hector are kindred spirits, even though they are literally worlds apart. We also get another pov, that of Kate, who suspects her husband may be cheating on her. I found Kate’s story the easiest to read and looked forward to how the three stories were going to join up.

I enjoyed Hector and Cecilie’s exchanges, even though their music and other cultural and artistic tastes didn’t really resonate with my own.  I’m afraid that although I loved the Norwegian setting, I also found the Norwegian bustle a bit confusing at times. There was surprisingly one or two scenes, both set in Mexico, that I winced a little at, finding them quite tough, but in a way I suppose I could marry it with the book in setting the scene of how different Mexico was from Cecile’s cozy Norway, or Kate’s very relatable home in England. That being said I was mesmerized by tragic back stories that made my gut twist and marvelled at fantastic settings that made everything so real that I was right there. I was very much taken by the story itself, looking to see how, if they could, they would end up together. Thanks so much to Aria for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Note: See my review of ‘The Note’ here

About the author

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Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting atCosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with Train Man a man she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. She is the bestselling author of The Note.

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http://www.zoefolbigg.com/

Twitter: @zolington

Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor

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Second Guessing by Gail Ward Olmsted

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Length: 218 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Jill Griffin & Ben Fein are meant to be together… said no one ever!
Jill has built a successful career writing romantic ballads for many of today’s top performers. Since the tragic end of her marriage a couple years back, the 40-something single mom has all but abandoned hope for a love story of her own.
Ben is a brash, young boy-band singer seeking a solo career who hires Jill to write for him. He’s got a dark secret from his past that he wants to keep hidden.
The attraction between the two is red-hot and when Ben falls hard for Jill, he doesn’t care who knows it. Jill’s been burned before and wants to take things slow, keeping their relationship out of the glare of the media. After a gossip columnist exposes their affair, she’s forced to decide if she can risk letting go of her past in order to build a life with Ben.
When Ben’s past makes headlines, Jill begins to wonder how well she really knows him. But as Ben climbs to the top of the pop charts, he’s determined to succeed… at convincing Jill to take a second chance on love.
Second Guessing is the love story of Jill and Ben, who are so wrong for each other that they may actually be right!

The Review: I previously read the brilliant  Driving On The Left by this author and knew that again I’d be stepping outside of my comfort zone, moving more to romance as opposed to a book that provides the laughs I generally crave, but again I beyond enjoyed!

This is the story of Jill Griffin, who I’m assuming people met in Guessing At Normal which I hadn’t read. I read this book as a standalone and totally enjoyed it that way! I have to admit when I started reading I was thrilled with the music aspect, as Jill was arranging a tribute concert for her husband (from Guessing at Normal). Ben is one of the lead acts in this concert and him and Jill are soon seeing each other to the excitement of the media. I have to admit I was quite protective of Jill at first and not very trusting, and was thrilled when the author gave us Ben’s pov. The pacing in this book was excellent with something happening around each corner, bandmates in mutiny, crazed fans-the lot! I absolutely flew through the book and was very satisfied at the end. Thanks to the Lovely Ms. Ward Olmsted for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

About the author

gail

Like JEEP TOUR’s main character Jackie Sullivan, I am a professor of marketing. I have taught at the college level for twenty years.  A hopeless romantic, I am married to the love of my life. I am a mom to two young adults and two cats and enjoy reading, music and travel.

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How to be Happy by Eva Woods

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Length: 432 pages

Please note that the cover leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book and is only £0.88 at this moment!

Another note: This book is also published under the name ‘Something Like Happy”

What they say: Annie has been sad for so long that she’s forgotten how to be any other way. Until she meets Polly.

Polly is everything that Annie is not. She’s colourful, joyful, happy. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it’s that your time is too short to waste a single day.

Polly has one hundred days to help Annie find happiness. Annie’s convinced it’s impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey, Annie begins to realise that maybe, just maybe, there’s still colour to be found in the world.

But then it becomes clear that Polly’s about to need her new friend more than ever…and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk worth taking.

The Review: I had been hankering for this for a long time after I’d requested it on Netgalley. I knew it was going to be a tear jerker, but just was never in the frame of mind for laughing through the tears and so I stayed away but I am so so happy I finally got to it because what a gem this book is !

We begin with our lead, Annie Hebden, trying to get the attention of a receptionist in a hospital. The receptionist isn’t taking to Annie’s firm approach and so ignores her but quickly jumps for a stranger who seems to be of the more positive demeanor. And so it is that we meet Polly. Polly decides to latch onto Annie and begins to turn up everywhere, at her house, at her work, and we wonder what her story is. I can’t give away too much but I will just say that both Annie AND Polly have reasons to hide away from life and I knew I was in for a both a treat and a rough time.

This book was magnificently done, a real lesson in writing, in particular the way you didn’t dislike Annie even though she was like a rain cloud and Polly like the sun. Polly decides she’s going to change Annie’s life and make her see that there’s more to life than just getting through each day. The surrounding characters were fantastic, the settings perfection, and the genius of the new heading for the one hundred chapters (not all long, don’t worry!), that showed us the one thing Annie had to do to change things blew me away.

This is  a very special book and a very special mention has to go for Polly but in particular the moment when we actually got to SEE her. I had her in my mind as something and then suddenly started bawling crying when I really saw her ( trying not to cry now actually!) There was so much comedy and joy and heartbreaking aches in this book and it blew me away.  If this isn’t in my Top ten at Christmas (yes, I know I chickened out last year!), I will be so so shocked. Thanks so so much to Netgalley and Sphere for this book in return for an honest review and to all the bloggers whose posts convinced me I needed to suck it up and read something that required me to be braver.

Rating: 5/5

#BlogTour The Story Of Our Lives by Helen Warner

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Story Of Our Lives by Helen Warner

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Length: 400 pages

Please note that the book image leads to a universal buy link for the book

What they say: Four friends. Twenty years. One powerful secret.

Everyone remembers where they were on 31st August 1997, the day Princess Diana died.

Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa certainly do -– a beautiful cottage in Southwold, at the start of an annual tradition to have a weekend away together.

Every year since, the four best friends have come back together. But over time the changes in their lives have led them down very different paths. And it’s when those paths collide that the secrets they’ve been keeping come tumbling out.

One Day meets Big Little Lies in this unputdownable read about four friends, one long-buried secret and the histories we all share.

The Review: I saw this on a number of blogs and headed over to Amazon to buy but before I did for some reason I stopped and went into my email. And what was there? An email asking if I’d like to review this very book! Was I happy? Well I actually did some form of a happy dance and said ‘yes please,’ straight away!!

I’ll tell you straight off this is definitely a book that should accompany people as a holiday read this year. As you can see above it follows four women over twenty years. Each chapter starts with the defining event of that year-Princess Di dying, the Twin Towers attack, the London bombings, and each one sent a chill as, yes, I remembered where I was. It also did the job in cementing you into their story, although for the most part I’d have preferred the event to also have been threaded into the story, but that’s just me. To be honest the only issues I really had was that at four hundred pages I found it a little bit long, which sounds pernickity of me, but I think it could have been shortened to make it a bit snappier in places, plus there was some repetition of words that may slightly jar.

The characters, the tensions, the jealousies and envies, as well as the ‘thank God it’s not me’ aspect that always exists between a group of friends, were woven in expertly, and you actually felt like you were there as life moved on and people got married, had children and unearthed secrets. The secrets, the suspense that was building was perfection, and at (many!) points I was actually really nervous as to what was going to happen. This is a light read, and some will find it too light, but for me it was very well done and I really enjoyed it. Thanks so much to the brilliant Isabel at HQ and to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

 

About the author

Helen Warner Author Photo

Helen Warner is Director of Daytime for ITV where she oversees a wide range of programming from ‘This Morning’ to ‘The Chase’. Previously, she was at Channel 4 where she was responsible for shows including ‘Come Dine With Me’, ‘Coach Trip’ and ‘Deal or No Deal’.

She lives in Essex with her husband and their two children and she writes her books on the train to and from work.

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Fall Into Magic by Melissa Baldwin

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Length: 128 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

After a devastating breakup in the middle of her summer vacation, Summer Peters knows she needs something to distract her. What better than the arrival of fall, Halloween, and a new client? Though she assumes that Alexander Williams will be a hands-off client, she is surprised to find him very down-to-earth. She’s immediately drawn to him, much to the dismay of his overprotective assistant. When it becomes obvious that he feels the same, she begins to wonder if their meeting was meant to be.

Just when she thinks she could be ready to move on with her life, her ex-boyfriend Jake returns for a second chance. She’s in for even more of a surprise when she learns her nosy, meddling neighbor is actually a psychic pushing to reveal details of her future.

Summer doesn’t know which way to turn as she feels like she’s being pulled in different directions. Between Alexander, his assistant, and her ex-boyfriend, she fears she may not be ready to move on after all. She considers turning to her neighbor for advice but the fear of knowing exactly what the future holds is more frightening than not knowing.

The Review: From Christmas to Autumn (or Fall as it is known across the seas) and onto a another book I’ve been waiting to review for too long. This is part of the Seasons of Summer Series (see books on Amazon here) This follows Summer Peters, who has been dumped on holiday. Summer is lost and returns home to work away on ‘Summer Interiors.’ Here we get to meet Alexander, a new client, and I looked forward to the interior design aspect, which I’m always a big fan of in books.

We also meet apsychic, Mrs Rothera, and I was very intrigued as she dispensed advice that made me wonder what may lay in store for summer. Actually as this was so short I should just have read on and so I really have to get back to this series to see just how accurate Mrs Rothera was, with ominous warnings for Summer’s heart! Both comedy and drama were light and enjoyable and I liked the characters that were seemingly likeable and glowered at the characters who seemed to be troublemakers! I would have liked to have a bit more of the FEEL of Halloween and Autumn, but saying that it was still a warm, enjoyable and satisfying read and I will definitely look forward to reading on!
Rating:4/5

Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

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Length: 400 pages

Please note the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link

After yesterday’s review (Tracie Banister’s Mixing It Up) I wondered where to go next. At the mo I’m working through a list of titles which, criminally, I’ve read, made notes on, but not reviewed yet, and on opening it up, I came to this and my finger stopped. Since the previous review was all about sophistication, sparkle and amazing romance and chemistry, where better to move to than the gorgeous Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan?

What they say: Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog-walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list – dealing with Madi’s temporary dog-sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi – how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple – he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide 24-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan’s kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over, and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all – letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

The Review:

Here, we meet Harriet, who has a brother and sister who are in relationships. Harriet is lonely and wants to change something and so has decided to do one thing a day that challenges herself. I loved the idea of this, although I think I’d probably have liked to have seen a bit more of it, as I had ideas of far out, oddball things she could have done! Saying that, Harriet’s predicament at the start of the book had more than enough quirkiness to stand out and make it very memorable, having me settling down very excited to read on.

Harriet is co-owner of a dog walking business which I loved. The dog aspect of the book is brilliant, especially as we meet Ethan, a very organised ER doctor, who is not quite sure what to do with a dog that is disturbing the peace and his apartment. I loved how Harriet stepped in and immediately was part of the furniture and how everything developed from there. The setting, as always, was perfection, and I drew a breath at how beautiful and magical everything was. The comedy was subtle and well timed and suited me perfectly, as did their back and forths, and I really enjoyed the background characters and the drama, as well as learning about hospital life and procedure.

All in all, dogs, Christmas, comedy and beautiful romance, coated expertly in chemistry made this a very very satisfying Christmas read. People will already know that this book is part of the ‘From Manhattan with Love’ series, but these books don’t need to be read in order, they can most definitely be read as standalones, as the characters are delivered to us in their entirety, with any background needed nicely divulged along the way. Saying that I do have to direct you to some of the other of Ms. Morgan’s Christmas books I’ve adored, below,  as I think they slightly , slightly pipped this one to the post (I’d say just have a Sarah Morgan marathon this Christmas to be honest, she has got the title ‘Queen of Christmas’ for a reason!!!) including Miracle on 5th Avenue (book 3 of this series) or Christmas Ever After. Thanks so much to HQ for this book in return for an honest review.

Also just to let you know the order of the books in this series (universal buy link for them here)

Book 1 Sleepless in Manhattan (read review here)

Book 2 Sunset in Central Park

Book 3 Miracle on 5th Avenue (review 5 star here)

Book 4 New York Actually

Book 5 Holiday in the Hamptons

Book 6 Moonlight Over Manhattan (um, above;))

And, while we’re here I have to add one of my favourite Christmas books ever, Ms. Morgan’s Christmas Ever After, 5 star review here )

Rating: 4.75/5

 

From Manhattan with love 3: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

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Length: 352 pages

As always the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. Even if she is spending it alone housesitting a spectacular Fifth Avenue apartment. What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?
The review: At the end of the last book I read by Sarah Morgan I have to admit I was a little bit worried. I was afraid I was getting too old, or perhaps too cynical or something for Sarah Morgan’s gorgeous books, and by that reasoning all of chick lit (I know, drama queen!). This made me hold off on reading this for some time, which was a pity! I am thrilled to say this book brought me back to the magic and sparkle that have always surrounded me as I swallowed her work, book by book (maybe I was coming down with something last time?!)

Anyhoo the book begins with a lovely foreword by Ms. Morgan, that readied me for the off and made me smile and get comfy. Miracle on 5th Avenue follows the same format as before (if it ain’t broke, etc, etc!), with ingenious quotes from each of the characters starting us out. I remembered the characters straight away and listened as Paige and Eva discussed a Christmas proposal as part of their business Urban Genie. Their business and everything surrounding the business was so interesting and I loved their dedication and excitement (it was more professional than I remembered last time too). What was even better, though, was the comedy and the great atmosphere that came when the friends were together, with Eva, Paige and Frankie constantly making me smile.

Eva was working on decorating a writer’s (yes!) apartment for Christmas while he was away. The only thing is, he’s not away, he’s hiding out from his family, who are worried about him, as he struggles with writer’s block for a book that he hasn’t begun which is due imminently. I loved everything about Lucas’ story. I loved that he was a horror writer, which gave an unexpected layer of darkness that fit well into a warm, sparkling book such as this. I could picture him straight away, and warmed quickly to his indifferent, sometimes seemingly cold (I knew that wasn’t really him!) interior, that spilled out when he just wanted to get writing (we’ve all been there!) Their meeting was perfection although I did wonder how it was going to spin out into the length of a book. Enter a storm and a number of issues that meant that everything had to happen as I hoped it would (most entrancing romance and hottest chemistry I’ve read in some time) !

So to recap: Excellent characters, realistic scenarios that forced events to unfold (yes they could happen!), Lucas’ dark writing and romantic past, Ms. Morgan’s trademark descriptions that invoked both magic and wonder, comedy that was bang on the mark, gorgeous romance and sizzling, phenomenal chemistry made for one unputdownable, satisfying book.

Thanks (a million!) to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review. By the way I read this in one night and it was in February, sitting by the fire as it was frosty outside. Apologies for not posting before now-it may be a Christmas read but Christmas doesn’t take over the full book, most is within Lucas’ apartment. Saying that I’d definitely read as a Christmas one as I can, just because, you know, it’s Sarah Morgan! Also can totally be read as a standalone. And sorry for the gushing but this book was like coming home for me.
Rating:5/5