#BlogTour #Review : One Last Greek Summer by Mandy Baggot. @mandybaggot @aria_fiction

Week 3 of the blog tour for One Last Greek Summer and today is my stop. Many thanks to Aria fiction for letting me be on the tour and sending me a copy of the book for review.

One Last Greek Summer Blog Tour Poster 3

 

Blurb:    Beth Martin is 31, newly divorced and wondering just what life holds for her…

Best-friend, Heidi, is adamant that all the answers lie in Corfu – the island where the girls’ partied away their youth.

So cue a trip to a sun-drenched Greek island, ouzo cocktails, a trip down memory lane…and Alex Hallas, the man Beth has never quite forgotten.

As they dance under the stars, the sand beneath their toes, old feelings begin to resurface and Beth might just have a chance to take back her life. If they can learn to love the people they’ve become…

 

Book cover

My Review:  As the blurb says Beth is newly divorced, so newly divorced in fact that ink has barely dried on the papers before her friend Heidi is suggesting a repeat visit to Corfu, somewhere they last went 10 years ago. The plan is to escape their lives now and help Beth rediscover the person she used to be. Being newly divorced Beth isn’t sure what life holds for her next, I can empathise, I’ve been there myself. However, while in Corfu she starts to relax and remember how much fun she used to have before she returned to the UK and her life was turned upside down.

While this is a story of romance, second chances and fresh starts, it also asks the question of whether you can ever go back to being the person you were years ago before your life changed. This is a fabulous read full of descriptions of idyllic beaches, sun-drenched vistas and the streets and eateries that Beth and Heidi visit. I’ve never been to Corfu but just from reading this book, it’s now on my list of places to visit.  Although it’s an escapist book it’s also true to life, even on Corfu Beth can’t completely escape her attachments to the UK and it was interesting to see her reactions to this and what she did next.  The characters are all brilliantly written, you can feel the emotions coming off them in waves, I wanted to get involved sometimes and tell people what to do or, conversely what they shouldn’t be doing. It felt so real I wouldn’t be surprised if they genuinely were real people.

This is a fabulous, escapist read which also doesn’t shy away from reality. Although it’s clearly a summer read I think it would be ideal all year round, after all what’s better than imagining beaches and sunshine in the depths of winter?

 

About the author:

Mandy Baggot

 

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Follow Mandy:

Facebook: @mandybaggotauthor

Twitter: @mandybaggot

 

 

 

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#Giveaway #BlogTour : Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop. @VicHislop @headlinepg #RandomThingsTours

Today I have a giveaway for my stop on this blog tour. Perfect timing for those who want to read it over the summer months. Below you can find all other bloggers on the tour, be sure to check out some of their stops.

Blurb: Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade. Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She
watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes
presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live. As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly
the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

Giveaway:

Click on the link below to win a copy of the book.

One Copy of Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

About the author:

Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller and a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. The Island has sold over 1.2million copies in the UK and more than 5 million worldwide.

Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, which inspired her second bestseller The Return, and she returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki in The Thread, shortlisted for a British Book Award and confirming her
reputation as an inspirational storyteller. It was followed by her much-admired Greece-set short story collection, The Last Dance and Other Stories. The Sunrise, a Sunday Times Number One bestseller about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, was published to widespread acclaim in 2014. Victoria’s most recent book, Cartes Postales from Greece was a Sunday Times Number One bestseller and one of the Top Ten biggest selling paperbacks of 2017. Her novels have sold 10 million copies worldwide.

Twitter: @VicHislop • http://www.facebook.com/OfficialVictoriaHislophttp://www.victoriahislop.com

#BlogTour #Review : Chasing Petalouthes by Effie Kammenou. @EffieKammenou @LoveBooksGroup #Lovebooksgroupstours #WaitingforAegina

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Chasing Petalouthes, the third book in The Gift Saga. Many thanks to the author and LoveBooksGroup for having me on the tour. 

Blurb:  The Gift Saga concludes with the next generation coming into the forefront of the story during their tumultuous years between adolescence and adulthood.

Evvie has lived through more tragedy than a young girl should ever endure, having lost both her father and a most beloved grandmother at a young age. Her rebellious ways are her only defense to mask the ever-present pain in her heart. Closing herself off emotionally, Evvie vows to never let anyone into her heart. But will her determination to keep everyone out see her lose the only person who could heal her broken soul?

Over-achieving, focused, talented, determined to succeed. Those are the traits Stella envies in her siblings and cousins. Her insecurities and lack of confidence stunts her ability to realize her own worth. When an older, handsome young man claims her as his own, Stella believes she has finally found who she has been looking for—someone to love her enough to mold her into the best version of herself. But has she fallen in love too quickly for a man she barely knows anything about?

Chasing Petalouthes (Chasing Butterflies) is the coming of age story of two flawed, young women who push their way out from the confines of the cocoons they’d built around themselves and discover how to soar.

 Can be read as a standalone. For the full emotional impact on the character’s live and histories, read Evanthia’s Gift & Waiting For Aegina.

My Review: I don’t usually read coming of age stories or family sagas but something about this book made me want to read it. It can be read as a stand alone (as I did) but I think you’ll get more from it if you’ve read the first two books. 

This is a longer read than most of the books I usually read but it works well as the story covers quite a few years of Evvie and Stella’s lives. It was like moving in with a family for a few years and being able to see the decisions some of them made, but without the ability to do anything about them. The reader gets to see Evvie and Stella make mistakes, try new things, learn from mistakes and explore the opportunities that they have in their lives. You also get to experience Greece and being part of a large Greek family where everyone looks after everyone else and celebrations are large and enthusiastic. 

I can’t go into much detail in this review as it would lead to spoilers. However I can say I was very impressed with the way certain parts of Stella’s life were handled. It was done very well and with tact and knowledge that suggested a lot of research. There was also a lot of detail and discussion about wine, wine making and grape varieties which was interesting without being too much information. 

Having always avoided saga and family type stories for fear they would be dull and boring, reading this book has made me realise that perhaps I am being unfair and need to be a bit more open minded. I’m not about to start reviewing nothing but these types of books but I will give them more consideration in the future when I come across them.  



About the author:

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category.  Waiting for Aegina is Book Two in The Gift Saga and Chasing Petalouthes is Kammenou’s latest release, completing the series.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.  

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.