Monday, 28 April 2014

Carry You by Beth Thomas With a Guest Post by the Author

"For you mum. This is all for you" For anyone who has loved, lost or found it hard to let go, CARRY YOU will make you laugh, cry and celebrate your best friends. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Jo Jo Moyes. Daisy has lost her mum to breast cancer. She's at rock bottom and doesn't think she'll ever get back up again. Her best friend Abi has other ideas - she tells it like it is and she's determined to make Daisy remember the person she used to be. What Daisy doesn't know is that, thanks to Abi, her life is about to take an unexpected turn, when she signs them up to do a charity walk. Added to which, someone is about to burst into Daisy's world in a riot of colour reminding her that life can be full of surprises.

We meet Daisy when she is hiding from the world, immersing herself in the films of Hugh Grant in between sleeping her life away. The death of her mum to breast cancer has hit her hard and more so because she has been alienated from her sister and step brothers in the most cruelest of ways. Daisy's one salvation is that she has a wonderful friend, Abi, who will stop at nothing to drag her friend from her half life back into the land of the living.
First there is the matter of getting Daisy up from the settee and cleaning the house as it is now for sale. Daisy has to leave her mum's house, find a job and a place to stay,she is incapable of doing any of it by herself.

Abi gives Daisy a place to stay and enrols both of them in the moonwalk in aid of breast cancer. As Abi works during the week she finds people to train with Daisy with some hilarious results. Will Daisy be fit enough to walk the marathon? Will she finally tell Abi her most guarded secret? And what will Abi think of her when she finds out?

It took me a while to like Daisy and her duck ring tone on her phone drove me mad even although I couldn't hear it. I thought Abi had the patience of a saint the way she looked after Daisy and constantly tried to encourage her to re-enter life.
Daisy has been very badly treated by her family and I wanted her to pursue things with them further than she did.

This is a story of what grief can do to you and how other people's opinions affect the grieving process.
The friendship between Daisy and Abi is amazing even although they haven't been friends for very long.
I found most of the story really funny, there are some great one liners. I particularly liked the Facebook statuses. It brings home to you what silly things people write on their Facebook wall. I loved the replies from someone named Georgia who always says,"Sorry to hear that hun" or "Love you babes!"

The real sadness in this book comes when everyone taking part in the moonwalk meet in Hyde park, each one dressed in pink, each one walking for a lost loved one,each one carrying a heavy burden as they walk in their bras during the darkness of the night.
Although the book started quite slowly I'm glad I stuck with it and I enjoyed it once it picked up pace. It did have a good ending especially the epilogue.

Carry You is now at a reduced price of 69p for kindle download and it's also out in paperback.
Amazon UK

I'd like to welcome The author Beth Thomas to, " Books With Wine and Chocolate" Beth is writing about the book that changed her life. Over to you Beth...

I’d love to be able to say that the book that changed my life was something serious and important like Crime and Punishment or The Bible or 1984. Or maybe something classic like Les Miserables or Jane Eyre. I’d even settle for Fifty Shades of Grey – at least that would make me sound exotic and interesting. But the truth is, I think the book that has had the biggest effect on me is The Animals of Farthing Wood, by Colin Dann. It’s a beautiful and well-loved children’s story about a group of animals who unite to leave their woodland home when their water supply is destroyed by building works. There’s a clever fox as the leader;  a wise but gruff old badger as his number one; and a series of smaller, less intelligent creatures including a toad, an adder, a mole and an owl, who form an unlikely alliance to make a mammoth trek across the country. It’s heart-warming, exciting, tear-jerking and very funny.
It was initially published in the early 1980s I think, and went on to be followed by a series of books featuring the adventures of the same animals, and eventually their offspring. The series has been reprinted and republished countless times since then, and made into a television programme that aired across Europe. It has been phenomenally successful, mostly because of the message about environmentalism that it promotes, an issue that is becoming more and more important on every country’s agenda. So in its own way, this charming series of children’s books has been, and still is, incredibly important.
But the most important thing about it, for me, is that it was written by my dad’s brother, my own lovely Uncle Colin. I’d always wanted to be a published author, and when Uncle Colin achieved that when I was a child, it spurred me on. Someone in my family had done it; maybe I could too! Suddenly my ambition didn’t seem like a pipe dream any more, but a real, distinct possibility. So I made up my mind right then that I would do it one day, and started working towards it. And sure enough, around thirty years later, here I am, lifelong ambition achieved. I’m a fair bit older than Uncle Colin was when he did it, but I’ve done it, and that makes me very happy.

Beth Thomas
April 2014

Thank you Beth. Wow! A famous uncle! I remember reading those stories to my children and I'm sure they were made into a film or a tv series. Thank you for joining us today.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Cover Reveal. The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan

I'm excited to be taking part in the cover reveal of The Atlas of Us a debut novel by Tracy Buchanan published by Avon Books. They say never judge a book by it's cover but who can help it when the cover is as beautiful as this one. It is picturesque, atmospheric and romantic, a taste of a wonderful story ahead.
To be published in July  just in time for some holiday reading. You can pre- order your copy from

How far would you go for the one you love the most?
This powerful book from debut author Tracy Buchanan is a compelling and engaging story about mothers and daughters, lovers and secrets, and relationships that change everything. It’s about being true to yourself, following your heart, facing up to your mistakes and moving on.
The Atlas of Us takes you on a moving and involving journey, from Cornwall to Thailand, to Australia, Finland, Serbia and San Francisco in the company of characters you care for deeply (though you don’t always like them) and through the most special and tragic moments of lives lived to the full. It’s about family, loss, resilience, reconciliation and hope... 
When Louise Fenton flies to Thailand to find her mother, Nora, after the Boxing Day tsunami, she fears the worst when the only trace she can find is her mother’s distinctive bag. In the bag is a beautifully crafted atlas owned by travel journalist Claire Shreve, with her notes and mementos slipped in-between the pages. The journal tells the story of Claire’s struggle to find her place in the world following a life-altering revelation, and a tumultuous love affair.
Louise treks across Thailand's scarred landscape, exploring Claire’s atlas to try to make sense of the connection between this woman and the mother she is so desperate to find.
As devastated people are beginning to put their lives back together, Louise uncovers the secrets that nearly destroyed Claire and the man she loved – the same secrets her mother has been guarding all these years …

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Accident by C.L Taylor

The person you trust most may only be telling you half the story …

Fast-paced, suspenseful, this is a book with more twists than a helter-skelter that will keep you reading late into the night. Perfect for fans of Before I Go to Sleep and Gone Girl.

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.

Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

There is a lot that Sue doesn’t know about Charlotte’s life. But then there’s a lot that Charlotte doesn’t know about Sue’s …

Charlotte's father Brain thinks it was a tragic accident but her mother believes her daughter tried to kill herself, she has been reading her diary and knows she had a secret.
 Sue has had a dreadful past which caused her to have a breakdown and her husband thinks she's heading for another one. This is the reason that he thinks she's over reacting and seeing things that are not really there.
Sue knows better but she feels her past is catching up with her and somehow her daughter is involved. If only she could find out she is sure Charlotte will wake up from her coma.
Sue discovers things about Charlotte that shock her to the core but she has to get through how she feels to find out the truth.

Wow! I have just this moment put this book down and my heart is still racing. The story is told from Sue's perspective and because she knows that those around her don't believe what she is saying I also didn't believe her from time to time. 
As Sue's back story is told piece by piece my heart just broke for her but I was also frustrated by her inability to change her life quicker than she did.
Once we know the story of Sue's life the book picks up pace and I couldn't put it down. The last few chapters are so fast and heart stopping I just didn't know what was going to happen next.
This book is about  more than the accident in the title, it has suspense and drama,secrets and mistrust, just about everything you want in a book. 
I don't want give away any spoilers from the book and if you want to read it I'd advise against reading them.

Thanks to Net Galley for a kindle copy of this book. Published today Amazon uk kindle 99p
Also in paperback.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Never Say Goodbye by Susan Lewis

This is a compelling and deeply moving novel of friendship, family and the power of love, from the Sunday Times top ten bestseller. How would you cope with the threat of losing someone you love? Josie Clark is a loving wife and mother. She and her husband Jeff don't have much and it's often difficult to make ends meet. But Josie will do anything to protect her family and keep them safe. Bel Monkton is a successful property developer, living in a beautiful house by the sea. She seems to have everything going for her, but she's lonely. And she's let the shadows from her past cloud her future. Josie's life couldn't be more different to Bel's. But three years ago, tragedy tore Bel's life in two. Now it's happening to Josie. And faced with uncertainty and heartbreak, they come to treasure their growing friendship.

To begin with this is a book of two halves,so much so it is as if it has been written by two different writers.
Josie and her husband are just making ends meet. Jeff is working as a taxi driver with not enough work to even pay for repairs to his car. Josie is working at as many jobs as she can, cleaning houses and working in a cafe. Her son is in prison,ignored by his father and her daughter is planning a wedding.
 Josie has no time and can't afford to be ill but events are moving so fast that she won't be able to keep her secret for much longer.

The other story is about the more affluent Bel who's twin sister lost her life to cancer leaving behind a husband and two young children. Nick, the children's father has already re- married and Bel is finding it hard to accept his new wife, Kirsten.
Bel has no money worries she lives in the kind of house Josie cleans for a living and she loves buying and renovating buildings.
Like all good books the two stories merge and Bel and Josie meet. The two women would never have been within each others social circles but when something brings them together they have an incredible effect on each other.

Yes this book is a tearjerker and if your life has been touched by cancer you might find it a hard read but the uplifting parts of the book outweigh the sadness.
These two woman from very different lives find common ground between them born out of love for their respective families. One has to learn to compromise,to give and take and move on with her life.
The other has to allow others who love her to shoulder some of the burden and try not to do everything on her own. She also finds a strength she never knew she had with a surprising outcome.
I found it hard to put this book down and although I shed tears  it didn't leave me with a sense of despair but with hope and the rosy glow of the friendship that Bel and Josie had for each other. Another great read from Susan Lewis.
Amazon uk for Kindle for kindle

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Beautiful Day by Kate Anthony

Today is the day that things are going to change for Rachel Bidewell.
She will walk through the doors of Clifton Avenue Care Home and start a new life.
Rachel is returning to work. And as she discovers, juggling a new job, three children and an ex husband can feel like drowning.
Someone needs to throw her a lifeline...
Philip doesn't seem like an obvious lifesaver. He has just lost the one person who ever cared for him and, even as an adult, he doesn't know how to live in the real world.
But might Philip and Rachel each have something the other needs?
This is a story of unexpected friendship; of the messy, muddy territory of those broken by life - and what it takes to fix them. It reminds us that the very darkest of days can be funny, heart-warming and even beautiful.

I thought this book was a lovely read starting from the eye catching cover that makes you want to pick it up.
This is a story of how hard it is when your husband leaves you for another woman. Rachel has to start again, working and caring for her three children one of whom is finding the split especially hard. She has to deal with loneliness and jealousy at the thought of her husband's girlfriend involving herself with Rachel's children.
Her job in the care home is a mixed bag, she enjoys it but she knows things are not being done in the best interest of the vulnerable residents and with the help of  fellow worker Rob they restore your faith in humanity.

Phillip arrives at the care home, he is an adult with special needs whose mother has just passed away. Phillip has been kept at home as a virtual prisoner since he was a baby and can now do nothing for himself. Rachel becomes his key worker and tries to open his mind to the world. Hateful manager of the home Denise tries to come between them causing pain and upset to them both.

The story is told from Rachel's point of view and I would have liked to have known part of the story from her ex husband Dom's view. I think both him and his new partner tried to to their best but the hurt he had caused by leaving his family was not easily healed.
Everything has a way of working itself out with a little give and take from both sides but not before some upsetting happenings and lots of tears.
As I said I liked Rachel all through the book until the point where she wrote a letter to her husband's new partner but as I found out there was a reason for that so I forgave her. You'll have to read the book to find out what I mean.
Published on 10th April
Amazon uk
Thank you to Real Readers for sending me a copy of this book.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Deep Blue Sea by Tasmina Perry

Diana and Julian Denver have the world at their feet. With a blissful marriage, a darling son and beautiful homes in London and the country, Diana's life, to the outside world, is perfect. But nothing is as it seems...

When Julian dies suddenly and tragically, Diana is convinced there is more to it than meets the eye. She calls on the one person she had never wanted to see again - her sister, Rachel.

A former tabloid reporter, Rachel appears to be living the dream as a diving instructor on a Thai island. The truth is she's in exile, estranged from her family and driven from her career by Fleet Street's phone-hacking scandal.

For Rachel, Diana's request opens old wounds. But she is determined to make amends for the past, and embarks on a treacherous journey to uncover the truth - wherever it may lead..

Two sisters,one married to a billionaire and one working as a diving instructor in Thailand because her family have turned their back on her for not trying to prevent a scandal that shook her sister's family. 
Rachel's life in Thailand seems idyllic especially as she has the lovely Liam as her partner. It's such a big difference from her life as a tabloid journalist who just escaped a jail sentence in the phone hacking trials.
I liked Rachel a lot and I really felt for her when her sister asked her to return to London to find out the true about her husband Julian's suicide. Neither her mother nor her sister have forgiven her for what she done but Rachel had good reasons which she hasn't disclosed to them yet. 
This book is full of intrigue and secrets. Just when I thought I had guessed what had happened the rug was pulled from under me and Rachel's investigations took a different direction. I didn't know who to trust in this book and anytime Rachel or Diane were left alone with someone I was scared for them .
I was kept guessing and making assumptions right up until the last few pages as it drove me to what was a good ending. 
From the beaches of Thailand to the houses of the wealthy in London and New York to glamorous country retreats, I loved them all but especially Dot's Tea Room where I could quite happily have spent a few hours with my book.
I have read a few books by Tasmina Perry and none have let me down. I will be searching for the few I have missed knowing they will be as good as Deep Blue Sea. for kindle 

The Mum Who Got a Her Life Back by Fiona Gibson

When her 18-year-old twins leave for university, single mum Nadia’s life changes in ways she never expected: her Glasgow flat fee...