This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh / #BlogTour

Hi guys! I am incredibly thrilled to be a part of Katie Marsh’s blog tour today – since reading her debut novel “My Everything” I fell in love with her novels, the way she gently and sensibly tells characters’ stories and making them feel so realistic and genuine. And the new release “This Beautiful Life” is not different, it tugs at your heart – strings, it’s moving and it’s just beautiful, and really, if you haven’t read Katie Marsh’s books yet, drop everything and run to the next bookshop, you will love them – you have my word!

This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh

 

32883111Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 27th July 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 384

Genre:   Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

The addictive and emotive new novel from Katie Marsh, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Jodi Picoult.

‘I lived over half my life before I met you both, and I hope with all my heart to live many years more. You two are the reason why. Always, always the reason why.’

Abi Cooper is living her happy ending. She’s in remission and is ready to make the most of her second chance. But during Abi’s illness her family has fallen apart. Her husband John has made decisions that are about to come back to haunt him, while her teenage son Seb is battling with a secret of his own.

Set to the songs on Abi’s survival playlist, This Beautiful Life is the moving and uplifting story of what happens as Abi tries to put her family back together – and of why life, and love, are worth fighting for.

Rating: five-stars

“This Beautiful Life” by Katie Marsh is not a book with many twists and turns in the story but I think this is the strength of this book – just showing normal, everyday life, with all its ups and downs, crises and little moments of joy. Writing about normal life, in incredibly gentle, subtle and sympathetic way is becoming Katie Marsh’s hallmark, and even though I know that her books are going to make me cry crocodile tears, I incredibly eagerly read them because they also lift me up and give me hope, and I simply love it.

This story shows Abi’s cancer recovery, but not focusing on her medical condition per se, but dealing with her everyday life. I loved the idea of telling the story partly through music and Abi’s favourite songs that helped her when she was recovering. If I were to tell you a song that helps me, it would be – please, don’t laugh – “Get Back Up Again” sung by Poppy in “The Trolls”. Just listen the lyrics – there is really nothing that works better for me than this song. But back to the story. Abi has explained why those songs are so special and particular to her, and you know what, those personal letters made me love this woman even more, and I had a feeling that I know her through and through.

But the book deals not only with Abi and her problems, it also focuses on her family, and especially the tale of Seb, Abi’s son, was heart – breaking. He had not only to face the challenges of his mum’s illness but he had demons of his own and you could feel through the pages how torn he was, and the way the author showed how he tried to fight all the insecurities by attacking everything and everyone was incredibly realistic and genuine.

The author has truly done a great job with getting into the characters’ heads. It was so easy to understand how Ali and Seb have been feeling, to understand their perspectives. It is also incredible how well she captured all the changes that have happened throughout the year Abi was ill, and while her being in remission should be a happy moment, the reality bites, and many things have changed, financial problems appeared, relationships changed as well, and also when you thought nothing worse can happen, the story took a turn or two and made you wonder if this rollercoaster journey is going to have a happy end. The characters have flaws but isn’t this what make them more believable? And Katie Marsh excels in creating such characters, those that doesn’t always make the right decisions, those that keep secrets from each other, that lie and even though they don’t want to hurt each other, they do it. They are raw and they are totally believable.

“This Beautiful Life” is a sensitive, realistic, uplifting read, written with a heart on the author’s sleeve, with a soul. Katie Marsh writes in such a convincing way and you have a feeling that she has been there, has seen this.
I am already looking towards her next book, because whatever she decides to write about, it’s perfect. “This Beautiful Life” is a beautiful, soaring story about love, survival, forgiveness and understanding. It was unusual in showing this side of cancer, as normally the characters go through the illness together with us, but I really appreciate this fact and it is great that this book shows this side of cancer for once. It is a memorable book, with unforgettable characters, and while it touches on hard and difficult subjects, it also has uplifting and promising moments. Highly, highly recommended!

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

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My Top 5 Books of 2016

Hi guys, and happy Friday! as much as I can’t believe it we are already at the end of December and New Year is knocking at the doors. I have such mixed feelings about 2016, it was full of lovely moments, worthwile people and situations, things that I’ll never forget, new beginnings, new chances, new friends but it was also full of sad, painfull moments and I feel like saying, get lost 2016! It is time for something new and positive.

In 2016 I read 195 books. Not as many as the previous year but with life getting in the way and time being so precious I am glad that I could read so many books at all! And those were brilliant books, that I adored and gushed about. However, and I am not sure why, probably because I read so much and am picky, not many books have made it to my Hall of Fame – in fact, I am shocked that there are so few but I think that really, I love many books but only few of them have blown me away – the book must really have this something special!  And so, this year, there are only 5 of them – the very special ones, the crème de la crème of all the books that I had a pleasure to read. Here they are!

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 These Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton. What can I say? I truly adored this book, it had everything I need and want from a book. All my family and friends have read this book thanks to my reccomendations and all of them loved it! The way the author captured all the feelings in this story and it touched and moved me, it made my cry and laugh, tit made me talk to the characters and experience everything together with them – a gorgeous, unforgettable book!  Here is my review of this astonishing novel.

Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin. Already in 2015 51aqd3kunvlher novel “The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes” has made it to my top read, and in 2016 Ms McPartlin has – again, and thanks so much for this! – delivered a beautiful, moving novel with a twist. I laughed and I cried when reading it, and I couldn’t stop to admire the incredible writing style and the way the author has written this story, and I can tell you one thing: whatever you do, please read this novel! Here you can read my review of this emotional, exceptional story.

29750478The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling. It was a story that just blew my mind away – it had all that I’m looking for in a book: it was full of warmth, INCREDIBLE humour, fantastic, vivid characters and it had one of the best plots ever, and well, it took place mostly in a bookshop! I still can remember how much warmth and feeling there were on the pages and this feel – good factor, and that it made me feel warm and happy. Here you can read my review of this gorgeous, charming, heart – warming book!

A year without Lisa Dickenson’s book would be a lost year, guys! I’ve no idea what ‘ve been 28798187doing before Lisa started writing books – I just can’t imagine my bookshelf without her gorgeous, heartwarming paperbacks! If you haven’t read You Had Me at Merlot I can only say drop whatever you do and buy it! It was a MUST READ this summer, and not only summer because it’ll brigthen the most grim days. It really deserves a standing ovation, folks, Lisa’s humour is an exceptional one, and you always have a feeling that her characters are your best friends – so no matter what, dear Lisa, please keep the books coming! You Had Me at Merlot  had all what I am looking for in a book and even more and I. FREAKING. LOVED. EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE.OF. IT. So there. Yes. I loved it. In case you don’t believe me, check my review here pretty please.

29622942And last but not least. It is a book by the author that her debut novel has also found itself on my top reads in 2015 list, and it always warms my heart to see that the second dreaded book is as great as the previous one! Please say hello to A Life Without You by Katie Marsh, a story that I loved with my whole heart. Full of emotions, tricky decisions to be made, brilliant characters and complex plot, written in incredibly beautiful way – and here you can read more why I loved this book so much.

Book of the Month: July + Q&A with Katie Marsh

 

Today is 1st August. Already. Winter is coming, guys! I’ve just come back from a very well – deserved (even if I say so myself) short break at the Lake Constance and I could move there, to be honest. I’d have water, my husband would have mountains and everybody would be happy. But as it’s rather impossible, I’d stay happy on my reading sofa at home with my books. Am a little behind with my TBR pile, but will do my best to get on track again asap. In the meantime, it is time to let you know about my Book of the Month July. The choice was obvious for me this time – I loved „A Life Without You” by Katie Marsh with my whole heart!

 

And here you can read why I loved this book so much.

I am also absolutely thrilled to have Katie on my blog today – she was so kind and sgreed to answer some of my questions about „A Life Without You”. Thanks so much, Katie and you guys, enjoy!

 

1. Katie, could you tell us a few words about your new novel „A Life Without You”?

 The book is about mothers and daughters and the joys and complexities of that relationship. It tells the story of Zoe, who is about to get married when she gets a call telling her that her estranged mum, Gina, has been arrested. The two reconnect, but Gina has signs of serious memory loss and is a different woman to the one Zoe remembers. At the end of each chapter is a letter from Zoe to Gina, written on every birthday, charting how their relationship has developed, from the exhaustion and mess of early motherhood to the secret that tears them apart. It’s a page-turning story of rediscovery and family secrets and about making the most of every single moment – and every scrap of love – that you have.

 

2. Both of your novels have turned me into emotional wreck – they are so full ofemotions and there is whole range of them, from sadness to happiness, from love to hate… – how hard is it to write a book balancing those feelings?

 I always think that if I don’t feel something when I’m writing, then the reader won’t feel it when they’re reading, so I work really hard to get into situations and really feel them as I write. It is really difficult to keep emotions feeling real and vivid on the page – but I find that as I edit and re-edit scenes tend to clarify. I read my dialogue out loud to make sure that it feels realistic and not over-dramatic (heaven knows what the neighbours think), and my editor is brilliant at helping me to maintain the emotional balance of the story and of the characters.

 

3. I am always wondering – some scenes made me laugh, some made me cry – did you also laugh and cry when writing the book?

 I certainly did. I come from a family of cryers – we cry when we are proud or happy just as much as when we are sad. I even put a warning in the Order of Service at my wedding, telling people that I would inevitably spend much of the day in tears so they didn’t think I was unhappy!  I don’t laugh out loud when I’m writing, but I do consciously weave humour into my stories to lighten the more emotional moments. I am a massive giggler and I hope that shows in my writing. I cried buckets writing ‘ALWY’ – especially the ending. That chapter had about twenty rewrites and I knew I’d got it right when I was glued to a packet of tissues for about an hour after typing that final sentence.

 

 4. Your first book, „My Everything”, was immediately one of the most beloved books among bloggers and readers. How did it feel to write this dreaded second novel? Were you scared that „A Life Without You” won’t live up to readers’ expectations?

 Yes. It was terrifying. During the structural edit, I really had to pull the story apart and try to make it both pacey and believable, and I kept thinking about all the ‘My Everything’ fans and worrying about whether this was a worthy successor. However now that it’s finished I am incredibly proud of ‘ALWY’ and am so happy with the reception it has had from bloggers, readers and the press.

 

5. Who is your favourite character in „A Life Without You”?

Gina. I absolutely love her. I love her heart, her humour and her complete inability to keep her mouth shut – writing her was an absolute dream.

 

 6. What did you want the readers to take from your novel?

 This book is fundamentally about a character learning to make the most of every single day she has – not to be held back by the past or too focused on the future. I would love it if readers felt a little bit carpe diem when they put down the book and went out to make their dreams happen. Equally, some people have told me they finished it and instantly called their mums to tell them they loved them, which made me very happy too.

 

 7. Are the characters, in the book, inspired by people you know, facts from your life?

 My granny had Alzheimer’s in her eighties, so some of the scenes in the book are very much inspired by that. One scene is directly taken from my times with granny – I’ll leave readers to guess which one. But the characters always arrive in my head, pretty much fully formed – and are never taken from real life (though I’m sure some of my friends secretly believe they are walking the pages of my books…)

 

 8. What was the best moment of being an author for you?

 The launch of my first book was very special – all my friends and family were there and they had heard me banging on for YEARS about writing books and were all so happy and proud. However – to be honest – it’s the smaller moments that really mean the most. My daughter proudly picking my book off the shelf in a shop and beaming. Or the messages I get from readers – one the other week told me that ‘My Everything’ had inspired her to write again. Moments don’t get much sweeter than that.

A Life Without You by Katie Marsh

A Life Without You

by Katie Marsh

 

Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 14th July 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 369

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Can you ever outrun the past?

It’s Zoe’s wedding day. She’s about to marry Jamie, the love of her life. Then a phone call comes out of the blue, with the news that her mum Gina has been arrested. Zoe must make an impossible decision: should she leave her own wedding to help?

Zoe hasn’t seen Gina for years, blaming her for the secret that she’s been running from ever since she was sixteen. Now, Gina is back in her life, but she’s very different to the mum Zoe remembers. Slowly but surely, Gina is losing her memory.

As she struggles to cope with Gina’s illness, can Zoe face up to the terrible events of years ago and find her way back to the people she loves?

A Life Without You is a stirring and poignant novel about the power of the past – and the possibilities of the future.

Rating: 5/5

 

Oh guys, I’ve been waiting to read Katie Marsh’s second novel since the moment I’d finished her debut „My Everything” – it was such a beautiful, moving story that I immediately fell in love with and I couldn’t wait to see what more Ms Marsh has in store for us. Yep, that’s me, I always want more and more of good books :) And I think that it was really worth to wait over a year for „A Life Without You” – it is another great read, a gem of a novel proving that Katie Marsh is a fantastic author.

We are introduced to Zoe at her wedding’s day – she’s about to marry Jamie but in the last moment she receives a phone call that makes her flee from her own wedding. It turns out her mum was arrested – her many – years – no – see – no – speak mum, let’s add, so why did Zoe feel the need to run to her rescue? Isn’t she sure about Jamie, about the wedding? Or is it something else? Sense of guilt? Why does she feel obliged to help her mum right now, right there?
Little does Zoe know how much the visit to the police station is going to change her life. What is happening to her mum? Are they going to make up for the lost years? What has happened at all in the past that drove the mother and daughter apart? Is Jamie going to forgive Zoe for running away from the wedding?

This is a story about a very complicated, very realistic, very powerful relationship between mother and daughter. The story is told by Zoe and the chapters alternate between her narration and letters that her mother has written for Zoe’s birthdays. The letters were brilliant, as they not only gave as much deeper insight of Zoe and her mum’s relationship, into the history, into clearing and explaining what has happened, but they were also full of the deepest feelings and emotions. It was a great way of organizing the story this way and making the flashbacks into the past through these letters, but keeping the plot in the present. It also, with the way it is built, let us slowly but steadily understand why this relationship looks like this, what has happened and allow us to make our own picture, to make our own opinion.

There are so many questions but each of them is going to eventually find their answers, and believe me, the journey to find them is one of the most captivating, hooking, beautiful journeys ever. What we get from the author is a complicated but true to life story about unconditional love. We mostly get Zoe’s point of view in this story, and as much as I liked her and kept my fingers crossed for her sometimes her actions and the way she reacted appeared to be a little too immature. She was stubborn, our Zoe, but I could see when she was coming from – she felt betrayed and hurt. However, the more letters from her mother Gina we read, the more her point of view came to light and the situations and events were explained, the more I felt my heart went to her. Her actions as mother were brilliantly explained and, in my opinion, she did her best, and in perspective I can truly say that in my eyes Gina was right. I can’t explain more as I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I am sure that when you read the book you’ll understand what I mean. Nevertheless, the book shows how a little misunderstanding can destroy the very precious and short time that we have for our beloved ones and it made my heart – and eyes – swell.

„A Life Without You” has everything that I am looking for in a book. It made me sob, and it made me smile, even though the characters were facing some really difficult situations and decisions. This story has many layers and each of them made me gasp, but all of the layers have something in common, and it is love, different kind of love. And as all of us can relate to love, this makes the book even more interesting and emotional. But it is not only love that we can relate to in the book, as I am sure that all the readers will find something for themselves that will make them perceive this tale in a very special way.

You know, to be totally honest, it was a really hard review to write because how often and in how many ways can you tell how much you loved something – and I really, really, really loved the book. Katie Marsh is such a talented author, she brings all the characters and situations so effortlessly to life and what’s so important to me, the plot, the protagonists, they seem so true to life and realistic. I felt a part of the characters’ world and I went with them through each high and low, every twist and turn. Katie Marsh has in an incredibly gentle and so very realistic way written about Zoe’s mum and her disease – I, thankfully, have no experience of this disease and I truly hope it’ll stay this way, but Ms Marsh has written it in a way that it gave me shivers and I had a feeling I am through it together with Zoe. What I so adored in Katie’s previous novel, as well as in „Life Without You” is that the books make you think about your own life and how much you start to appreciate all the little things of your everyday – gorgeous, just gorgeous, beautiful and evocative novel about love, hope, forgiveness. Strongly, highly recommended!

Top Ten Books in 2015

So guys, here we are, at the end of the year – can’t believe it, to be honest. The older I am, the quicker the time passes by. Nevertheless, what a year it was, with its ups and downs, but let’s concentrate on the books. I read 211 books in 2015, most of them I rated with 5 stars, because… well, because they were absolutely brilliant novels! I discovered new authors to me, fell more in love with „old” authors, was part of many wonderful Blog Tours, interviewed many great people, was honoured to post many fantastic Guest Posts… And today I am going to tell you about my top reads in 2015 – and believe me, it was a very tough choice! The books haven’t been put into order – it would be impossible!

 

I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran – a book that took my breath away. A bitter – sweet, true to life story exploring family life – fantastic!

 

My Everything by Katie Marsh – one of the best debut novels I have EVER read – so very maturely written cracker of a book about journey through life, about developing , about getting to know each other again, about following your dreams, compromises and backing down in the name of love.

 

The Silent Hours by Cesca Major – another incredible debut. After reading this book I couldn’t settle for another novel for a long time, as it left me with a major bookish hangover. This rare gem of a book that you are going to lose yourself in and forget about everything that’s surrounding you. It’s going to leave a large impact on you and your feelings.

 

The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts – I love good historical fiction, and this book is for sure a VERY good historical fiction. It’s a perfect mix of history, romance and drama. The writing style is hooking, realistic and so very vivid and the story was, in fact, unputdownable. I’d recommend it to all, no matter if you like historical fiction or not, because it’s one helluva novel!

 

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees – this book was one of the biggest surprises this year, I really haven’t expected it to be SO good! A brilliant, compelling story that takes us on a journey through early Victorian England and gives us a bunch of strong female characters, some male characters that look so weak in comparison to our girls, but also some that are really worth to make acquaintance with, and of course give us a look at the society, with all its stereotypes, as well as intriguing mystery.

 

The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson – a year without Lucy’s book is a lost year. I can’t imagine not having Lucy in my life and all her novels were rated by me with 5 stars. „The Day We Disappeared” is an incredible story of secrets, friends, family and honesty. I can only say, drop everything you do and go and buy this book – and you don’t have to thank me for recommendation this time.

 

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor – it was my first book by Hazel Gaynor and it left me speechless. It was a wonderful, beautifully written novel that is going to stay with you for a very long time, a book that comes upon once in a while and a book that you don’t want to leave, to depart with.

 

Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley – though I think I should put here all books by Cathy Bramley, as they all deserve to be mentioned! There is everything you could wish for in a book, humour, sadness, love, friendship, hope, together with fantastic writing and brilliant characters. And who knows, maybe you’re going to discover that you do have green fingers after reading the book? Highly recommended, this book for sure is going to lift your mood up and it could be a perfect escape for some time! I have read it twice already!

 

The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester – another fantastic debut this year, I couldn’t stop thinking about this book for a long time! There was everything that I could wish for in a book: brilliantly created atmosphere, fantastic times, vivid characters, mystery, drama but also a lot of dark and sharp humour. Full of twist and turns, surprises and gasps from me.

 

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin – last but not least, and I think this book has the biggest impact on me, and if I were forced to choose my absolute winner I guess this would be THE ONE.  Be prepared that when you start reading the book, you won’t be able to put it down. I have found myself reading it and reading, thinking only one more page. You know what’s going to happen, you know there is no hope, but nevertheless, you keep reading because you just want to know. After I finished this book I couldn’t move for some time, and it’s good that I was home alone, that nobody’s seen the tears pouring down my face. I knew how it’s going to end, but nevertheless, it didn’t make it easier for me. But it was without a doubt one of the most stunning, moving, beautiful books that I have come across.