Blog Tour: Sunrise Over Pebble Bay by Della Galton

Talented, yet relatively unknown actress and celebration cake baker extraordinaire Olivia Lambert is running out of time.

Approaching forty, she’s yet to land the role that will launch her television career and she’s desperate to be a mum.

Her new man, Phil Grimshaw from the Bluebell Cliff Hotel, seems the perfect match, but seems to be in no rush to settle down.

Having ditched her childhood sweetheart and fiancé, Tom Boyd, when he backtracked about being a dad, Olivia dreads making the same mistake again.

Rocked by confessions from both her sister Ruby and Tom, Olivia knows it’s time to make some life changing decisions.

Then a terrifying incident off Chesil Beach changes the course of her future and brings Olivia to question everything she values and loves.

What I Thought:

Della Galton is back with the latest in her heartwarming, Dorset-based series, Sunrise Over Pebble Bay.

I’ve really taken to this series where, although characters from other books do pop up, you can safely read them in any order without losing any relevant information – I think I’ve read them all bar the first book at the moment, something I’ll put right over the coming weeks.

As a Dorset local myself, it’s great to see such detail in the descriptions of the locations and some fantastic historical details included too – Visit Dorset could use some of them in their advertising – but all of this builds seemlessly into the story.

The main character, Olivia, is really easy to like as she deals with heartache, her family, and the fact that her life and career dreams may not be coming true, but always stays positive and hopes for the best.

Fun and escapism are the fundamental words here, but this book – more so than some of the others – has real peril in it, which I thought was very well done.

This whole series is highly recommended – a great location (but I’m biased) and always the romantic pay off we’re looking for. A masterclass in romantic fiction.

About the Author:

Della Galton is the author of 15 books, including Ice and a Slice. She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine. She lives in Dorset. Della launched her new fiction series set around The Bluebell Cliff Hotel with Boldwood in April 2020.

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the publication of Sunrise Over Pebble Bay. Why not check out the other participating blogs below?

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book via Netgalley for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog Tour: The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All by Josh Ritter

In the tiny timber town of Cordelia, Idaho, everyone has heard tales of the Applegates. Local legend says their family line boasts some of the greatest lumberjacks to ever roam the American West, and from the moment young Weldon stepped foot in the deep Cordelia woods as a child, he dreamed of joining the rowdy ranks of his ancestors in their epic, axe-swinging adventures. But at the beginning of the twentieth century, times are changing fast, and the jacks are dying out.

On his deathbed nearly a century later, Weldon Applegate recounts his life in all its glory, filled with tall tales writ large with murder, mayhem, avalanches and bootlegging. It’s the story of dark pine forests brewing with ancient magic, and Weldon’s struggle as a boy to keep his father’s inherited timber claim, the Lost Lot, from the ravenous clutches of Linden Laughlin.

Braided with haunting saloon tunes and just the right dose of magic, The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is a novel bursting with heart, humor, and an utterly transporting adventure that is sure to sweep you away into the beauty of the tall snowy mountain timber.

What I Thought:

The Great Glorious Goodamn of It All is a fascinating slice of Americana, showing a bygone age when men were men, and mechanisation had yet to tear the heart out of the western nations.

Weldon Applegate lies in a hospital bed – for reasons that we will find out – and falls back into his memories of being a 13-year-old boy, living in lumberjack country in the early 1900s. He remembers the townsfolk – including bootlegger Peg Ramsey and Annie, the maker of the finest hooch in the St Anne.

In his 13th year, Weldon’s reasonably quiet life becomes dominated by a parcel of land his father owns. The Lost Lot has been abandoned by companies and individuals as just too darn hard and dangerous to cut trees from, but Weldon’s father is lured back into the lumberjack life by Linden Laughlin who is a legend in the trade, but not at all what he seems…

The phrase ‘coming of age novel’ is often overused, but it’s really apt with this book. Young Weldon is forced to learn some hard lessons while coming face-to-face with real evil – this is proper, biblical good versus evil stuff, set down in the middle of America.

We know that Weldon ultimately triumphs as he is now 99 years of age, but how he second guesses himself and eventually learns how to lead is really stirring stuff, especially when in the bulk of the book he is so young.

Much of this book is a love letter to a bygone era, and some of it is sheer poetry – some of it is profanity, which many people are not fond of, but I felt it was perfectly in keeping with a rough-and-tumble gang of lumberjacks.

I really would have loved to see some of this old America – much of what Josh Ritter writes about so evocatively is gone now and only exists in novels like this – but that world is so beautifully described here that you can begin to get a sense of it, and it’s written so that you can almost smell the pine trees and hear the manual labour of those men. Very nicely done.

The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is published by Harper360.

About the Author:

Josh Ritter is a songwriter from Moscow, Idaho. His albums include The Animal Years and So Runs the World Away. Bright’s Passage was his first novel. He lives in New York.

You can find out more about Josh, his writing, and his music on his website.

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the UK release of The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All – why not check out some of the other participating blogs, as below?

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog Blitz: A Little Piece of Paradise by T. A. Williams

The inheritance of a lifetime… with a catch

When Sophie’s uncle leaves her a castle in the Italian Riviera in his will, she can’t believe her luck. The catch? She and her estranged sister, Rachel, must live there together for three months in order to inherit it.  

Having worked in Rome for four years, Sophie’s excited to revisit to Italy, even if it reignites memories of a cheating ex who soon learns of her return and wants to rekindle their spark. Sophie realises that distance does indeed make the heart grow fonder – but for her friend back home, Chris, who she discovers is more to her than just a friend.

With the clock ticking, can Sophie and Rachel stick it out and heal old wounds, or are the sisters destined to go their own way at the end of the three months? And does Chris feel the same way about Sophie as she does for him?

What I Thought:

I make no secret of the fact that I love T. A Williams’ romance novels, so I was thrilled be able to drag summer a little further into the year this year by reading A Little Piece of Paradise.

A hot Italian climate and hot Italian men abound in this romantic tale that actually has family at its heart, as we join Sophie on a mission that has been devised by her beloved uncle and which will (hopefully) see her inherit a fortune and a huge castle, and see her reunited with her estranged sister.

As ever, this book is filled with sumptuous descriptions of Italy, which could only come from someone who knows and loves it. The food, the landscape and so much of the history (which I love) makes a T. A. Williams book what it is, and makes it instantly recognisable – you can’t help but get caught up in it, especially now that the chilly nights are drawing in here!

T. A. Williams writes primarily about women. His main female characters are smart and resourceful and always – most importantly – three dimensional. You can always imagine these women as properly fleshed-out people so they’re very easy to relate to – even if I’ll never know what it’s like to inherit a whopping great castle in Italy…

Another heartwarming novel from T. A. Williams – keep them coming!

A Little Piece of Paradise is published by Canelo Escape.

About the Author:

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing escapist romance is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

Catch up with T. A. Williams on Twitter.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book via Netgalley for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Blog Tour: Daughters of War by Dinah Jefferies

France, 1944. Deep in the river valley of the Dordogne, in an old stone cottage on the edge of a beautiful village, three sisters long for the end of the war. Hélène, the eldest, is trying her hardest to steer her family to safety, even as the Nazi occupation becomes more threatening. Elise, the rebel, is determined to help the Resistance, whatever the cost. And Florence, the dreamer, just yearns for a world where France is free. Then, one dark night, the Allies come knocking for help. And Hélène knows that she cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. But bravery comes at a cost, and soon the sisters’ lives become even more perilous as they fight for what is right. And secrets from their own mysterious past threaten to unravel everything they hold most dear…

The first in an epic new series from the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller, Daughters of War is a stunning tale of sisters, secrets and bravery in the darkness of war-torn France…

What I Thought:

I think I’ve read most of Dinah Jefferies’ books now, so it’s great to make the move with her to a new publisher and the beginning of a brand new historical fiction series.

As with Dinah’s previous books, Daughters of War is ambitious and covers an incredible amount of historical and personal ground, but at the heart of it, it’s the relationship between the three main characters that comes to the fore.

The three, young Baudin sisters having seemingly been left to fend for themselves in occupied France, by a mother with whom they have a somewhat fraught relationship. Based on what is revealed about that in the book, I would love to see that further explored in the two books that are due to follow this one.

During their time in France, Hélène has dropped into the role of mother figure, often at the expense of her own life and experiences, but when the war comes to their doorstep, she has to acknowledge that she is not in control of everything.

As always with Dinah Jefferies’ work, there is an immense amount of detail about the period and location, but it fits in seemlessly with what we want to know about the story – there is never description for description’s sake, and everything adds to the story and never detracts.

There are a few threads that clearly lead on to the second book, but most of what we would want resolved is resolved, making this book an incredibly rewarding read.

Daughters of War is published by HarperCollins.

About the Author:

Dinah Jefferies began her career with The Separation, followed by the number 1 Sunday Times and Richard and Judy bestseller, The Tea-Planter’s Wife. Born in Malaysia, she moved to England at the age of nine. As a teenager she missed the heat of Malaysia, which left her with a kind of restlessness that led to quite an unusual life. She studied fashion design, went to live in Tuscany where she worked as an au-pair for an Italian countess, and there was even a time when Dinah lived with a rock band in a ‘hippie’ commune in Suffolk.

In 1985, the death of her fourteen-year-old son changed everything and she now draws on the experience of loss in her writing. She started writing novels in her sixties and sets her books abroad, aiming to infuse love, loss and danger with the extremely seductive beauty of her locations.

This post is part of the blog tour celebrating Daughters of War. For more reviews and exclusive content, check out the blogs taking part as below:

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book, via Netgalley, for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog Tour: Five Minds by Guy Morpuss

The Earth’s spiralling population has finally been controlled. Lifespans are limited to eighty years, except for those who make an extreme choice: to become a commune. Five minds sharing one body, each living for four hours at a time. But with a combined lifespan of nearly 150 years.

Alex, Kate, Mike, Sierra and Ben have already spent twenty-five years together in what was once Mike’s body, their frequent personality clashes leading to endless bickering, countless arguments, and getting themselves stranded on a Russian arctic freighter. Wanting to buy upgrades for their next host body, they decide to travel to a Death Park where games are played and time can be gambled like money. But things go very wrong when Kate accepts a dangerous offer, and one of them disappears.

It soon becomes clear that someone is trying to kill off members of the commune. But why? Is one of them responsible? Or is an outsider playing a deadly game? It’s hard enough to catch a murderer. It’s almost impossible when you might be sharing a body with them…

What I Thought:

It’s less and less common these days – especially when you read a lot – to find books that are nothing like anything else you’ve read, so a hearty well done to Viper Books for finding Five Minds, which is brilliantly unique.

There are elements of lots of things in this book – dystopian fiction, crime fiction and even a brief foray into romance at one point – but these elements blend really well to make a dark and compelling thriller.

The concept of having each part of the story furthered by each member of the commune works really well, especially as we can assume that one of them is unreliable, but we don’t know who – there are clues of course but sifting the reality from the whopping red herrings is incredibly challenging!

Part of the book that really struck me what that there is little information about how the world is living outside of the death park that the characters find themselves in – there is a flashback section which takes place outside the park but, in the main, we have to imagine for ourselves. This works quite well, as the events of the book are then much more immediate and not bogged down in pages and pages of description bringing you up-to-date on what the places we might know are like for these characters now.

You do, however, get a great sense of the death park and the people within it, and the games that the characters are forced to play to earn time credit are brilliantly thought out – I would assume that Guy Morpuss is a fan of the cryptic crossword…

This book is imaginative and vivid – I was gripped by it and recommended it to my friend when I had only read the blurb. It’s quite remarkable for a debut novel and I’ll definitely be looking out for more from Guy Morpuss in future.

Five Minds is published by Viper Books.

About the Author:

Guy Morpuss is a London-based barrister and QC, whose cases have featured drug-taking cyclists, dead Formula 1 champions and aspiring cemetery owners. He lives in Surrey with his wife and two children. Find him on Twitter @guymorpuss, or at guymorpuss.com.

This post is part of a blog tour celebrating the publication of Five Minds – check out more reviews and exclusive content at some of the blogs below:

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book, via Netgalley, for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment