Wednesday, 14 September 2016

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: To Have, Not Hold! - Carina McEvoy

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Carina McEvoy's debut novel, To Have, Not Hold!  Carina has very kindly sent me a signed paperback to give away so, if you live in the UK, make sure you enter the competition below my review to win this fabulous prize.

Embrace a healthy attitude towards sudden outbursts of laughter; oh and maybe grab some tissues as you escape into the lives of three remarkable friends, as they each navigate their own catastrophic mess. Discover the strength of friendship while you submerge yourself in suspense, fury and humour. Let the drama unfold… Emma’s doing her best to raise the adorable Amy while hanging on to the ghost of her past. But is she really the crazy, deranged woman she eventually feels compelled to be? Beneath Siobhan’s picture perfect exterior, the struggle of deception is exhausting. However when life slaps her in the face with an unforeseen twist, will she be able to salvage any of her future, perfect or not? With mounting money problems and an unwanted visit from his expertly suppressed past, Jack must confront his inner demons for once and for all. Can he defeat them and emerge as the true person he really is?

What did I think?

I should have known, with a title of 'To Have, Not Hold!', that a few tears would be shed when reading this book.  I did not, however, expect my tears to flip so easily from tears of heart-wrenching sadness to tears of laughter.  Such is the nature of the book, it has such a heart-breaking storyline but with the author's Irish wit shining through, every cloud does indeed have a silver lining in Carina McEvoy's sparkling debut.

To Have, Not Hold! read like a soap opera to me as we peeped into other people's lives, lived their dramas and were privy to their secrets.  We are gradually introduced to a cast of colourful characters, linked to the main character, Emma, each one living a drama of their own.  I loved the character of Emma, with her really bad baking skills, and her innocently hilarious daughter, Amy.  Emma is struggling to cope on her own but she has a strong support system of friends and family around her.  They are there for Emma as much as they can be, but they have their own little dramas going on and I could hear the Eastenders drum roll in my head at the end of some cliffhanging chapters!

I don't want to give any of the story away but there are so many subjects covered in this lovely book.  I do have to say that the bereavement issue was covered brilliantly.  There's putting a brave face on, looking for signs that your loved one is still with you, the days of despair when you don't want to get out of bed, and the worry of your family as they don't know how to help you.  Carina McEvoy did a brilliant job of discussing this issue without it being too dark and despondent; she focussed on the positives that can be made out of every negative, leaving a lovely warm glow around me as I wiped away my tears.

There's so much going on that it really is like a soap opera.  There's a really riveting storyline with Emma's friend, Siobhan, and her husband, Alex.  They are both workaholics but, after Alex had a health scare, they decide to re-examine their work/life balance.  Only one of them hasn't really bought into the family can their marriage survive if they're not being honest with each other?  (Can you hear the Eastenders drum roll?)

To Have, Not Hold! is a sparkling debut from Carina McEvoy; I laughed, I cried and I didn't want it to end.  It's a bit like life - there is laughter and there are tears.  I felt like I knew all of the characters by the end of the book; I knew their hopes, their fears and their dreams.  I lived it and loved it.

I received this e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

Now for the giveaway!
To get your hands on a lovely signed paperback courtesy of Carina McEvoy enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.  The competition is open to UK entrants only and closes on 23rd September 2016.  One winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email on 24th September 2016.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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