Saturday, 4 March 2017

Blog Tour: Review of How to Mend A Broken Heart by Anna Mansell

Out now

Published by Bookouture

Purchase from Amazon here

What is the book about?

Hello? Rhys Woods? I have a patient here I think you know. Yours is the only number in her diary…

When Rhys is called to the hospital to meet Susan, a woman he barely knows, he is compelled to help her. Still grieving the loss of his brother months earlier, Rhys knows all too well the feeling of loneliness.

There are years between them, but Rhys is the only person Susan will respond to, and when she asks him to bring her her most treasured possession, a book of fairytales, he is intrigued.

Hidden in the book is a clue to Susan’s past, and the painful regrets she carries with her. And as Rhys starts to unearth Susan’s secrets, he finds that his own grief begins to heal too…

Together, Susan and Rhys must learn to live again. Can they help each other to find happiness and finally mend their broken hearts?

How to Mend a Broken Heart is a heart-wrenching and absorbing story about second chances, forgiveness, and making every second count, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.

What did I think?

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the cover of this book. It is beautiful, and as I came to find out, sometimes you can judge a book by its cover, because the story told in the pages were also beautiful.

I must admit that I didn’t fully take in the synopsis before starting to read. I was expecting a light story of someone who has had a break up and has to get back on her feet. But what I found was far more than that. It was deeper, more heartfelt and compelling.

The blurb tells you what you need to know about the book without giving too much away, and that is part of what I found powerful, not knowing the characters stories, and having them revealed to me as I read. Yes, ok, it isn’t too long before you put the pieces of the jigsaw together, but for me it didn’t take away from the book as this is a work that as described on the cover is an emotional, uplifting page turner about love, loss and hope. I felt all those emotions during the course of the story, and as I write this review, just hours after finishing it, I find myself feeling that I have taken a message away that will stay with me.

Susan is a complex and troubled character and like Rapunzel, trapped in a tower of her troubled and sad life, she needs rescuing. When an event happens Rhys is the only contact number they can find on her and so Rhys gets a call which leads to him racing to the hospital thinking his Mum has been injured. Whilst relieved that his family is ok, he is compelled by Susan, and having lost his brother he has an urge to see if by helping Susan he can bring some closure and answers to his grief.

One character not mentioned in the blurb is Kat who is a nurse working at the hospital. She is also key to the story and I loved her. She has her own past that she is battling, but she is strong, caring and compassionate. A little bit of a lost and damaged soul I could relate to her.

I wasn’t initially sure how I felt about Susan and Rhys. Whilst I was reading the words and could understand them it took me time to get inside their heads and emotions, but for me it was worth the wait. Their stories are moving and absorbing, as is Kats. I loved the way that the author has made each of their situations and feelings compliment eachother.

Each chapter is narrated by a different character which gave it an added dimension for me as I was able to look at the how the story evolved from each of their perspectives, in particular Kat and Rhys. Susan is definitely far more closed and surrounded by more mystery which by the end really left me wondering how things would pan for her. I would love to hear her story with her as narrator.

I have just seen that this the debut novel from Anna Mansell which didn’t even occur to me whilst reading. Full of character, depth and emotional writing this book is fantastic, and I can’t wait to read more of her work.

About Anna Mansell

Anna spent almost twenty years trying to shoehorn writing in to her career as a marketing manager for dance and theatre companies. Eventually, she did what you are not remotely supposed to do and walked away from an excellent job in order to try and become a published author. Three years, lots of tears and some slightly hairy bank balances later, she met Kirsty Greenwood and the rest, as they say, is history. Anna lives in Cornwall with her husband and two kids. She feels very fortunate!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Blog Tour: Girl 99 by Andy Jones - Extract

Hey everyone 

I am so excited to be able to part of a publication day tour and share an extract from Girl 99 by Andy Jones. I am lucky enough to have read The Two of us by Andy previously and can honestly say I loved it! I have also heard great things about Girl 99 and am looking forward to reading it myself. 

Whats the book about?

When Tom’s girlfriend walks out on him the day before Christmas, he feels humiliated but not necessarily heartbroken. Sadie wasn’t, after all, The One. If we’re being precise, she was number eighty-five.
And so, for reasons that are only mostly wrong, Tom embarks on a mission to bring his number of encounters up to a nice neat one hundred.
Over the course of his quest he sleeps with a colleague, a colleague of a friend, a friend of a friend, a friend of a friend’s wife, the estate agent selling his flat and several more besides.
Everything is going, if not well, then at least according to plan…and then Tom meets Verity. Whether she’s The One remains to be seen, but she’s certainly more than just another number.

Girl 99 is published by Lake Union and is out today as an eBook, paperback and audiobook:

Before reading the extract lets just set the scene: Tom's Downstairs neighbour and good friend, Doug, is a widower close to 70. He has been dating Eileen, a lady in her late 60s who lost her husband a few years ago. Eileen has been ready to take hers and Doug's relationship to a more intimate level for a while now, but is becoming frustrated by the lack of action.

Girl 99 - An Extract - Viagra
By Andy Jones

Eileen reaches into her handbag and produces a box of Viagra. She puts them on the table between

‘There’s three left,’ she says, tapping the box, once, twice, three times.

‘Listen, Eileen, no offence, but I . . . I don’t . . .’

‘Not for you, Thomas. For Douglas.’

‘Eileen, I’m not sure this is any of my . . . I don’t understand.’

‘I want you to give them to him, love.’

‘Does he need them?’

Eileen sips her tea. ‘I think so, sweetheart. We haven’t actually . . . Me and Doug have been together for six months. We’ve kissed and canoodled, of course, plenty of canoodling, but we haven’t actually . . . you know.’

‘I see.’



‘Now, six months is a long time to wait. A person gets frustrated, Thomas. So I suggested Lyme Regis. I assumed Doug was either shy or just being a gentleman, but I thought a weekend away might, well, open the window, so to speak.’

‘More tea?’

‘I’m fine, love. Too much and I get cystitis.’

‘Is it hot in here?’ I ask. ‘I’ll just open the w— Just let some air in.’

Eileen continues as I open the window and briefly contemplate jumping out of it and running away.

 ‘So you’re going to . . .’ I nod at the pills. ‘Give him the . . .’

Eileen laughs. ‘He won’t hear it from me, love.’ And she stares hard at me.

‘Me? No, no way.’

‘Well, there’s no way I can give him my dead husband’s leftover dicky pills, is there?’

Dicky pills?

‘So what do you want me to do?’

‘Tell him they’re yours.’


‘Well, he knows what you get up to, love. He’s heard all your comings and your goings. Drop it into conversation. Tell him you swear by the Viagras. Offer him a couple.’

There is nowhere to hide in my living room, no cupboard to climb into, no curtains to conceal me, no trapdoor; all I can do is hunch my shoulders around my ears, hide my face in my hands, and hope Eileen will get bored and let herself out.

If you want to read more why not check out extracts on other blogs today:

About Andy

Andy Jones lives in London with his wife and two little girls. During the day he works in an advertising agency; at weekends and horribly early in the mornings, he writes fiction.
You can find Andy on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram as andyjonesauthor

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel by Jane Costello

Out Now

Published by Simon & Schuster

Purchase from Amazon here

What’s it all about?

The Moonlight Hotel sits on the shore of England’s best-loved lake, Windermere, exuding vintage glamour.

Lauren loves the hotel, for hidden inside its faded walls is the key to her most precious memories. So, along with her best friends, Cate and Emily, she signs up to a new dance class in its gorgeous ballroom. They aren’t going for the men, they’re going for a laugh – although a little romance wouldn’t hurt . . .

But then a chain of events off the dance floor puts their friendship to the ultimate test, and makes Lauren question everything she holds dear.

Put on your dancing shoes and escape to The Moonlight Hotel, for Jane’s funniest and most poignant novel yet…

What did I think?

Hooray for Jane Costello! An author who is always guaranteed to write a book that puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step! Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel is no exception to that. With a gorgeous cover that screams pick me up and devour me, that’s exactly what I did!

Ever watched Strictly Come Dancing and wanted to learn to dance like they do? Ever wanted to to escape men and have laugh with your girlfriends? If so Lauren is the girl for you to meet. Things haven’t worked out quite as she had hoped, and she is sworn off men. She wants to inject more fun into her life while she plans her next moves and so signs up for salsa lessons at a local hotel. The hotel has just been bought by a property developer and things may be changing a lot which is hard for Lauren as her Dad used to work there and it holds lots of sentimentality for her.

Cue fun, shenanigans and a touch of romance thrown into the mix. This book has a bit of it all, as well as being deeper than just a ‘feel good’ easy read. Don’t get me wrong, it is still both of those, but it feels more than that, and shows the importance of friends, and of dreams.

As you would expect from Jane Costello, the book is well written with characters who develop along with the plot, and made me want to become friends with them also. It makes you laugh, smile, feel like the world is good, and that life can be great fun. The book is more than just the story of Lauren and her exploits, we also find out more about her friends and what is going on in their lives that add another depth and dimension to the book.

A fab read that I would highly recommend. I will definitely be looking out for her new work along with any of her older books I have yet to read.