Blog Tour: Spring at Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett

Blog Tour



Spring at Lavender Bay (Lavender Bay, Book 1) by [Bennett, Sarah]

Spring At Lavender Bay (Lavender Bay, Book 1) by Sarah Bennett

Published: 22nd February 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B075HPQM41
ISBN:

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Description

Beth Reynolds couldn’t wait to get away from boring, provincial Lavender Bay. With a good degree under her belt and a gorgeous, rich boyfriend in tow, she headed to London ready to conquer life. Sadly, life decided to fight back, and six years later she’s on her own in a bedsit-shaped rut.
When an unexpected legacy offers her the chance to take the money and run, no one is more surprised than Beth to find herself back behind the counter at Eleanor’s Emporium, the Aladdin’s cave of a shop she used to work in as a Saturday girl.
Sam Barnes has been in love with his sister’s best friend since she was all gangly-limbs and skinned knees. When fate brings her back into his life, and to the shop next door to his family’s pub, he vows she won’t slip through his fingers again. Will a new start in Lavender Bay offer Beth the future she never knew she needed?

My Review

Thank you to Jenny over at Neverland Blog Tours and the author for the chance of reading this book, and for taking part in the blog tour.

I did not want this book to end. I really enjoyed it. I loved the idea of Lavender Bay and could imagine everything about it. The cover of this book really works for this book. It’s bright, promising, and exactly what I’d imagine a little seaside town to be like. It’s beautiful.

The characters were fantastic, and the chemistry between Beth and Sam is exactly what we’re promised. Libby and Eliza were great additions and I’m excited to see if we hear their stories in the next two books. I think the character that stood out for me, strangely, was Pops. He made me chuckle and think of my own grandfather. He would probably have a story or two to share.

My favourite character? It would have to be Sam. He was smart, witty, handsome, and romantic. I did like Beth, the way that she bounced off Sam was perfect and it made the book more enjoyable to read. I loved seeing her come from a bit of an underdog situation to this blossoming, vibrant woman.

I will safely say that I have never chuckled so much at an inflatables situation. Hilarious! It was definitely a comical moment, with a steamy moment of it’s own as well. It was written wonderfully and has definitely put Sarah Bennett on my radar, this is my first book written by her that I have read and I don’t think I will miss any more of them!

This book is the perfect story to get you ready for spring. It’s full of hope, blossoming love. It’s uplifting, comical, and has the most loving friendships and relationships. With beautiful moments, along with comical, touching and downright romantic moments, I highly recommend this book to everyone in need of cheering up!!

I do have one question though, how did she find out that Sam had used his money? There’s no mention of her finding it out and I would have loved to have seen that conversation!!

I’m giving this book a big, fat 4/5. Check out the details below for a giveaway!!!

About Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others. Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives. When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants. Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove trilogy, published by HQ Digital UK.

Her new series is set in the beautiful seaside town of Lavender Bay, and will follow the lives of three best friends – Beth, Eliza and Libby.

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Spring at Lavender Bay Blog Tour Giveaway

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Book Review: The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French

BookReview


The Bed and Breakfast on the BeachThe Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French

Published: June 2017
Publisher: Avon Books UK
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B01NAXJCBL
ISBN: 9780008236762

Goodreads
Amazon UK

Description

A Greek island solves all life’s problems…doesn’t it?

Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.

When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B&B on a remote Greek island. Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is…

Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…

My Review

Kat French knows how to write incredible men (and books), I’ll give her that. Robinson in One Hot Summer, Gabriel in Love Your Neighbour (previously published as Undertaking Love), and Hal in My Perfect Stranger (previously published as The Piano Man Project). Now we have Jesse in this book. Good god he was amazing. He’s up there with my obsession with Robinson. Just yummy.

Anyway, I loved Winnie, Stella and Frankie. They were feisty, determined, witty, and in need of a good turn in the lives. My favourite would probably have to be Winnie, going from an awful time in her life to gaining her confidence, and becoming a brave (very brave), independent woman. Willing to open up to the possibilities of life.  I liked her witty come backs, her sense of adventure and just her in general. Her chemistry with Jesse was perfect,with it bouncing from the pages instantly. Stella also had great, steamy chemistry with Angelo, and in a strange way, I’m glad things worked out for Frankie with her husband Gavin.

The writing style was very easy to get into, with you instantly wrapped up in their lives. I instantly clicked with all of the women and liked everything about them. I wanted them to succeed with the B&B, to get the happiness they all deserved.

This book was fun, romantic, steamy, and just fabulous. The island’s residents made me chuckle with how faith they put into something so… strange? No, not strange. Something so normal. It was normal, and it was a fantastic addition to the story.

I’ve given this a 4/5. With Jesse, the girls, the B&B and the magical island of Skelios I was hooked.

 

Christmas Book Week #6: Snowflakes on Christmas Street by Ivy Pembroke

Snowflakes on Christmas Street

Snowflakes on Christmas Street by Ivy Pembroke

Publisher: Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group UK)
Published: 2nd November 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 384
ASIN: B01MUUV6R4
ISBN13: 9780751569728

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

On a little street in a big city, everything is changing

Bill has lived on Christmas Street since he was a young man. He’s seen families come and go, watched children grow up… Now he wants to be left alone.

Everything seven-year-old Teddy loves is in America. But his widowed father, Sam, has brought them both back to England to be closer to their family. Sam’s one wish is for Teddy to be happy again.

As Teddy and Sam settle into their new life, a very special four-legged neighbour is determined to make them feel at home. Jack, the Christmas street dog, is welcome in everyone’s house – but will it be in his power to help a little boy and a lonely old man remember the true meaning of the season?

As the snow sparkles on the ground, one small act of kindness will give a whole street a happy Christmas…

My Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for mu copy of this magical book in exchange for my review.

This book is a magical story, filled with love, and the warmth of friends and family.  I didn’t see where Jack was going to fit into this book, thinking he would be a side character but he ended up having a starring role.  He effects peoples lives massively in ways that a dog really shouldn’t. He’s the connection between each resident of Christmas Street and I love how the story weaves together.

My favourite residents probably would be Sam and Teddy though. Sam, with his witty comments about beetroot (yes, beetroot), and Teddy with his caring nature.  Teddy really hit a soft spot with me, he was a wonderful little boy.  One part of the book really moved me, involving him, his class members, and another character, Bill his next door neighbour.  It really moved me, and it showed perfectly that children always see the good in the world, while there is so much pain and suffering.  It was a moving moment which fitted perfectly within in this story.

I cannot believe that this is Ivy Pembroke’s first book, it reads beautifully with fantastic characters. I love the fact that the only common link, except living on the same street is Jack.  Jack being the street dog.  His backstory is a sad story but I like to think that the was he lives now is better than what it was. At least as the “street dog” he has more people loving him, more affection, more food.  Obviously.

Each chapter is split into sections for each resident of the street.  We have Teddy and Sam, Bill (Mr Hammersley), Pen, Pari and her family (brother Sai, mum Diya, and dad Darsh), Max and Arthur, and Emilia with her parents Anna and Marcel,and of course Jack.  Each character adds something to the story, be it stability, adventure, young love, family.  They all add it.

I loved this book, and I don’t think I can portray actually how much I did.  It made me think of how people around us impact our lives, be it an animal or an unknown neighbour.  It all happens when it’s supposed to.

I give this book a huge 5 out of 5.

ARC Review: The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara
Published: July 2017
Publisher: Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group UK)
Format: Ebook
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780751566215
ASIN: B01MQJVNBC

Goodreads
Amazon UK

Description

My Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for copy, in exchange for my honest review.  I’m so glad I got to read this, I’ve loved other books by Ali McNamara and this one does not disappoint.

I found this to be a magical story, full of folklore, history, mysteries and romance.  It was interesting to read the different legends.  I know it’s a fictional place, but it made me realise that everywhere has these little stories, legends, rumours, whatever you want to call it.  They all stem from somewhere don’t they?

Written well, as always for Ali McNamara. The characters all had feeling, depth, and a likeability that touches you.  There is a lot of eye-rolling though, and winking. What’s that all about? Anyway, I liked all of the characters.  The setting was beautiful, as is all of Ireland.

Ren is determined, stubborn, but a very likeable woman.  Kiki plays well against Ren. For Ren’s matureness, Kiki is the opposite. She’s ditzy, doesn’t get a lot of Ren’s references, but she’s still very likeable.  Finn.  I’ve been trying to find the right words for Finn but I’m struggling.  He’s likeable, you get to see a little of his history, his backstory but on the other hand I don’t know…  I felt like I didn’t get a lot from him.  I don’t know.  All the characters worked well together, there is chemistry between all the characters, a fondness between them.  Kiki and Ren found their home in Ballykiltara and it shows.

It makes a nice change that the loss that a character’s suffers is an animal.  Many stories centre around the loss of a person, not an animal.  People’s lives are affected by the loss of a pet or like Finn, a business.  it shows that it does change the way people are.

This book was just great.  I loved how it was written, I loved the majority of the characters, and I just really enjoyed it.  I give it 4/5.

 

Blog Tour: Q&A/Review: The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by Cressida McLaughlin

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by [McLaughlin, Cressida]

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by Cressida McLaughlin
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 29th June 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 500
ISBN13: 9780008219284
ASIN: B01MY458DB

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
Robin Brennan has come home to Campion Bay. Now her parents have retired, she’s set to become the new landlady of The Campion Bay Guesthouse.
Bookings have been as thin as the hand towels, and it doesn’t take long for Robin to realise that the place needs a serious makeover. Perhaps throwing herself into the task will help to heal her sadness at the tragic end to her dreams in London.
As she gives the guesthouse a new lease of life, Robin encounters old friends and new, including old flame Tim, who’d clearly like to reboot their romance. But what about Will, the new arrival at No. 4, who’s rocked up with the cutest dog ever?
Caught up in a flurry of full-English breakfasts and cream teas, Robin’s never sure what, or who, the next check-in will bring…

Q&A With Cressida McLaughlin

1. What does your writing day look like? And do you have a favourite place to write?

My brain is much better first thing, so I like to start early, 7.30 or 8am, and will try and work through until lunchtime on writing or editing, whatever stage I’m at. After lunch I’ll do other things, social media or blog posts or Q&As like this. The main hazard is Twitter, which can suck up hours of my time if I let it. I should put one of those ‘no internet’ thingies on my computer, but it would frustrate me not being able to look something up if I needed to. (Which is obviously a rubbish excuse from a Twitter addict.)

I have an office in one of our spare bedrooms at home, and I love it. I can have music playing, my sparkly lava lamp on, coffee and tea when I want, a candle burning. It’s very snug and colourful – it has lots of Poldark postcards on the walls – and it’s the ideal space for me to be creative.

2. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Can you tell us a bit about it?

I feel bad that I don’t remember the first story I ever wrote, but I do remember that whatever I did write, I always wanted it to look like a book. I folded sheets of A4 paper in half, stapled them at the fold and then drew a cover on the front, writing the words and adding pictures on the pages inside. My parents taught me about the magic of books from day one, and I loved the idea of my words being inside one – an ambition I feel very lucky to have realised. I remember very vividly a murder mystery my sister wrote for primary school. The story was brilliant, it was put together like a proper book, and I remember wishing that I’d written it. That has stayed with me much more than any of the stories I wrote when I was small – she was definitely an inspiration to me.

3. Do you have a favourite film adaptation of a book? What was it and why?

I thought the adaptation of Gone Girl was excellent, and very faithful to the book, but my favourite has to be the BBC adaptation of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, with Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale and Richard Armitage as John Thornton. It’s bleak, dramatic and very romantic. The scenes in the mills, with the cotton falling like snow while John Thornton stalks about in his stark black suit and hat, are so powerful. It’s a classy adaptation that I never get bored of re-watching.

4. If you were forced to write a different genre, what would you chose?

Creepy ghost story, definitely. I may have the beginnings of one on the go at the moment, just to see if I can do it . . .

My Review:

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley, and the Publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my review.  Also, for letting me take me part in the blog tour.

A light hearted story, revolving around Robin who is starting fresh in her home town of Campion Bay. Taking over her parents guesthouse, she starts from scratch after losing her friend and closing her events business.  A likeable character but a little predictable. She comes across as kind, caring, thoughtful, if not a little held back because of her time in London.  The whole story was a little predictable but then again that’s what we all need as a pick me up from time to time!! This book is definitely a pick me up book. It was heartwarming, friendly, a little amusing, and has some delicious recipes at the end.

Throughout the whole book we have likeable characters, from Molly, Will, Paige, the guesthouse guests and other people from the town. Of course, we have a villain (in a sense anyway) in the form of Robin’s childhood sweetheart, Tim. Not so much a likeable character but it works for this story.  He comes across as sleazy, a little too confident and thinks he’ll get his own way no matter what.

The writing style was easy to read, it kept me reading and was easy enough to keep track off. The book is separated into 4 parts (I think they were published individually before?), each part flows brilliantly into the next. The time frame is only over a couple of weeks but doesn’t feel like that as you read it.  But then on the other hand, it goes by so quickly you don’t really get a sense of the timeframe of everything.  Such a quick pace is always good for me, I love getting caught up in everyone’s stories.

I think it’s safe to say that I liked this book, a lot.  I loved the writing style, the quickness of it, the characters.  I can’t really pinpoint one thing that I didn’t really like about it.

I give this book 5/5

Mid-Year Freak-Out Book Tag

So, I read this over on Thrice Read and thought that as we in fact 6 months, nearly 7 months, into the year that I would do just a general post with this book-tag.
Just for an update: My Goodreads Reading Challenge is set at 100 again for this year, and currently I am reading book number 69.  I seem to have been flowing through this year, without struggles or what not.

On to the Book Tag questions I go….

Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2017

I can’t decide on just one book, so here is the top 5 so far.

The Little Café of Second Chances by J.D. Barrett    The Perfect Present by Karen Swan   Heartless by Marissa Meyer   The Rome Affair by Karen Swan   The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley

I’ve picked (In no particular order):

  • The Little Cafe of Second Chances by J. D Barrett
  • The Perfect Present by Karen Swan
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • The Rome Affair by Karen Swan
  • The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley

All of them have something special about them, all of them being exceptional books.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017

 

Oh, god… I think I’ve only read 2 sequels this year.. If you can even call them sequels

Turn Towards the Sun by Emma   Davies   Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox

The ones that I have read are:

  • Turn Towards the Sun by Emma Davies
  • Secrets & Fries at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox

Again, both great books, I would not be able to pick my favourite one.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet but Want To

      

They are all very, very different books.  I’m excited to read Kat French’s The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach purely because I have loved all of her others.  One Hot Summer was one of my favourite reads on 2016.  Godblind has had so much hype, I see it everywhere on social media at the moment, it isn’t something I would probably pick up straight away but I’m really excited to eventually get to this one in a couple of weeks!! Flame in The Mist’s cover looks stunning, that’s what attracted me first but it does sound like a pretty amazing story.

Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of the Year

   

These are the only 2 I have covers for, the third book would be an upcoming Lynsey James book, I believe it’s coming about October time (well, that’s when I’m booked in for a blog tour).  The above books are: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody and The Honey Farm on the Hill by Jo Thomas.  Why am I excited for theses? Ok, the first book includes a circus, I love books like this.  And the second? Jo Thomas. her books always make me feel warm, loved, happy. They are pretty special books.

Biggest Disappointment

Caraval (Caraval, #1)

This is easy for me. Caraval by Stephanie Garber.  I was expecting so, so much for this book. But.. I just didn’t particularly enjoy it. I got the story, the characters, I understood everything and the world of Caraval was certainly magical but I just didn’t enjoy it all. There were parts that just didn’t really fit the book, the magical setting.

Biggest Surprise

Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman   Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal

Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman and Birthrights by J. Kyle Mcneal. Both completely different books but I was pleasantly surprised by both.

Favorite New Author

Without a doubt, Karen Swan.  I think I have read 3 of hers this year, and each book has giving me something amazing from it.   The ones I’ve read are The Rome Affair are The Perfect Present. I’ve got a couple more either on my kindle or my bookcase and I plan on reading both before the year is out.

Favorite New Crush

Hmmm…. Sam Carlton from Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks or Maverick from Lost Rider by Harper Sloan. Both very sexy, hot men.

Summer's Lease by Carrie Elks   Lost Rider by Harper Sloan

Favorite New Characters

I can’t pick, I honestly cannot pick.  There are characters that stand out at me while looking at me list of books read this year.  Like Dade from The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen, Cesca and Sam from Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks, Catherine from Heartless by Marissa Meyer, and Whym and Quint from Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal.

Summer's Lease by Carrie Elks   The Breaking Light by Heather    Hansen   Heartless by Marissa Meyer   Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal

Books That Made You Cry

I don’t think any have made me cry so far this year.  It’s been a close thing, but no definite tears which is highly unlike me.

A Book That Made You Happy

Can I just say all the ones I’ve rated 4 stars or higher? I don’t think I could even pick 5 of them to be honest.

Most Beautiful Books You’ve Bought So Far This Year

The Chalk Artist   The Waking Land (The Waking Land Series)   The Night Circus   Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

I haven’t read any of these yet.  I was sent The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman and The Waking Land by Callie Bates for review, and I was lucky enough to be given Waterstones vouchers as a gift so The Night Circus was a must buy, along with Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

What Books Do You Need to Read Before the End of the Year?

My whole Netgalley shelf? Impossible as that is though, I’ll select a few that I’m planning blog posts for in the future couple of months.

            Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)      The Waking Land (The Waking Land Series)         The Stolen Marriage   Two By Two   Keep Me Safe (Seal Island #1)

So, there’s 12.  Hopefully I’ll get round to reading them all, and hopefully I’ll get to do a blog post on each of them.  The list is:

  • Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict
  • The House of Secrets by Sarra Manning
  • The Inheritance by Angie Coleman
  • The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer
  • Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth
  • The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara
  • The Waking Land by Callie Bates
  • Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
  • From Rome With Love by Jules Wake
  • The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain
  • Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks
  • Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti

So, how has your first 6 months of reading in 2017 been? Have you got some disappointments? Or some big surprises? I’d love to hear if you have or not!!

 

ARC Review: The Rome Affair by Karen Swan

The Rome Affair by Karen Swan
Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Pan
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 400
ISBN13: 9781509838028

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Synopsis
The glamorous capital city of Italy is brought to startling life in The Rome Affair, a compelling summer novel by Karen Swan.
1974 and Elena Damiani lives a gilded life. Born to wealth and a noted beauty, no door is closed to her, no man can resist her. At twenty-six, she is already onto her third husband when she meets her love match. But he is the one man she can never have, and all the beauty and money in the world can’t change it.
2017 and Francesca Hackett is living la dolce vita in Rome, leading tourist groups around the Eternal City and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London. When she finds a stolen designer handbag in her dustbin and returns it, she is brought into the orbit of her grand neighbour who lives across the piazza – famed socialite Viscontessa Elena dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola. Though the purse is stolen, Elena greets the return of the bag with exultation for it contains an unopened letter written by her husband on his deathbed, twelve years earlier.
Mutually intrigued by each other, the two women agree to collaborate on a project, with Cesca interviewing Elena for her memoirs. As summer unfurls, Elena tells her sensational stories, leaving Cesca in her thrall. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena’s life.

My Review:
Firstly, thank you to Pan and Netgalley for my copy in exchange of my honest review.   I know they say never judge a book by its cover, but I love this cover.  I will be honest, I didn’t even read the description of this book when I requested it for 2 reasons 1- Karen Swan wrote it, I’ve loved the other books I have read and 2- The cover.  The title suits this book, and this cover, perfectly.

There are some books in this world which make you love a place even more than you already do. This book is one of them. It has made me fall in love with Rome all over again, making me wanting to visit and experience it all for the first time again.  Karen Swan’s writing style immediately dumps you into a place and you instantly wish you were there. Her characters make you feel at home, they become your friends, your family.  I feel as though I have lost a friend in the main character, Francesa. Of course, I miss Elena and Nico as well.

Beautifully written, we get to see how the rich and glamourous live.  It takes us on a journey of love, loss, heartbreak, and a decades old mystery.  It shows us that money isn’t everything and sometimes anyone would do anything for the person that love deeply. Having me hooked from the first few pages, I couldn’t wait to see where Karen Swan took us this time.  The book is split between 2 wonderful women, from the 1960s through to 2017.

Through the book we see how Elena/Laney grows from the 16 year old we are introduced to through to the woman that she is when Francesca/Cesca meets her.  Both woman are fantastic characters, and in a way polar opposites.  Elena oozes wealth, glamour, sophistication and never having to work a day in her life. Cesca lives in vintage clothing, basically living hand to mouth, and then loses her tour guide job.  Coincidentally, Elena is there to offer her a job, to write Elena’s memoirs.  While she agrees to do the job, Cesca has to face what happened in her past.  She finds her own love in Nico, and discovers that Elena’s life wasn’t completely perfect after all.

I feel that Cesca learnt a lot from Elena, and from Nico.  I think that she learnt that she wasn’t responsible for her reason for escaping.  I also think that she learnt that she should never say no to a chance of love.  Elena got her true love after a pretty rough run of it, she lost more than she got throughout her life until she met her true love.  On the other hand, I think Elena was grateful for Cesca finally discovering the truth, and for her help coming to terms with everything.  Also, I think that the way that Elena was sort of fitting in a way.  She done it on her own terms, which she didn’t get to do a lot of.  But that’s all I will say about that, I don’t want to give too much away.

With beautiful writing, leaving me with a wish to revisit Rome, and to hold on to my love and my family, I give this book a very well deserved 5/5.