Tag Archives: Katarina West

The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice by Katarina West

I have received a free advance PDF copy of the book “The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice” by Katarina West  to review. I was looking forward to this, having read Katarina’s previous novel “Absolute Truth For Beginners” back in 2015. To find out more about the author you may visit her website or blog.

The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice by Katarina West

Here is the book blurb.

Meet Irene Nylander, a frumpy housewife from Finland… and a yo-yo dieter. She feels trapped in an unhappy marriage, looking after her domineering mother-in-law and living vicariously through romantic movies.

Meanwhile, in Florence, Mimi Kavanough’s star is rising. She has the body of a Barbie princess, the iron will of an army sergeant – and Hollywood in her sights.

On her fiftieth birthday, Irene discovers her husband is having an affair. Devastated, she prays for a way out: she wants to die.

In heaven, a mischievous angel called Aaron hears her prayers. He decides to make Irene and Mimi swap bodies.

How will the two women cope with their unexpected, and very different, second lives? And will Aaron’s meddling get him evicted from heaven?
What will happen if he has to transform into a human being and live on Earth?

This book is set over the course of a fortnight commencing 23 June. It starts with Irene heading to Helsinki for a night out to celebrate her 50th birthday with her best friend Saara after more rudeness from her mother-in-law Horrible Harriet. But Saara doesn’t show, giving an excuse about working late. Irene decides to go to the restaurant alone, but then she spots her husband Henrik, who is supposedly on business in Stockholm. Instead he is having a cosy intimate meal with Saara. Irene rushes out and back to her car, just praying to die, as her life is so unhappy.

Meanwhile up in Little Heaven, prankster punk angel Aaron has already caused havoc that day by pretending he spotted a demon. Now he realises Irene needs help and he says Jump as her car is just about to crash.

At the same time, Hollywood star and model Mimi is enjoying herself on a yacht near the Italian island of Monte Cristo when she hears a voice in her head saying Jump. It makes perfect sense to her, as she jumps into the sea.

And just like that Irene and Mimi swap bodies. But what will happen to Aaron, since angels are not permitted to meddle with humans like that. And how will Irene and Mimi get on in their new lives? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

This book is available on Amazon and is currently 99p in Kindle format. I loved this book with its mixture of fantasy and chick-lit. It is the first story in the Angel Aid series, so I’m really looking forward to book 2.

And the author is hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway 10 Amazon Kindle copies of The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice. Open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice by Katarina West

I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

13 June, Tuesday

Rocksprings Crafts

14 June, Wednesday

The Cosy Dragon

Creative Misfit

15 June, Thursday

Hall Ways

The Writing Desk

16 June, Friday

Joyful Antidotes

Mademoiselle Women

17 June, Saturday

Linda’s Book Bag

18 June, Sunday

Novel Gossip

19 June, Monday

Yet another blogging mummy!!!

20 June, Tuesday

Sarah Smiles

Leila’s Bookshelf

Kraftireader

22 June, Thursday

Hello Booklover

Katarina West

You can find Katarina West on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Guest post: A Foreigner in Florence

Guest post by Katarina West, author of “Absolute Truth, For Beginners”.

Author photo Katarina West

Yesterday was a day of sparkling wine and toasts and congratulations for me, because I published my second novel, Absolute Truth, For Beginners. Set in Florence and Chianti, it tells an unusual love story between a twenty-something art history graduate Elisa and Judith Shapiro; a famous British mathematician, who lives cloistered in her world of numbers.

Elisa, my fumbling and insecure heroine, is orphaned – a fact that might explain some of her chronic insecurity. She’s been raised by her Finnish-born aunt Fanny, who has lived most of her life in Florence. And so even Elisa knows a thing or two about the émigré community in Florence, even if she is, in her own words, “dark-eyed and brown-haired: one hundred per cent Italian, one hundred per cent Mediterranean.”

Every Sunday Auntie Fanny organises a lunch for her bookish expat friends, and that’s when Elisa meets the colourful selection of foreigners who have settled in Florence. There is, for example, Matthias ‘Metanarrative’ Köppl, a German deconstructionist who ever since the US invasion of Iraq has refused to speak English as his one-man campaign against American imperialism. Or Roy ‘Ravi Shankar’ Gutman, a New Age composer. Or Ruth ‘Subconscious’ Sanderson, the only Jungian expert in town. Or DeeDee Docek, a fifty-something woman of various European nationalities, who lives in a half-restored farmhouse beyond Fiesole with eighteen cats, two rifles and an Irish poet for a partner.

Those lunch guests are fictional examples of the Florentine expat community. A colony with a long history, it has included some very famous writers and artists, like Henry James, who embarked on Portrait of a Lady while staying in an apartment overlooking the golden-yellowish river Arno. Or Edith Wharton, who wrote so superbly about Italian gardens. Or E.M. Forster, who made such a fuss about the view. Today it’s a bustling world of groups and sub-communities, and new members come and go without necessarily even knowing each other (as they must have done on Henry James’s days).

But what are the sub-communities? First of all, there are all the foreign students of the city’s art and language schools, and over thirty American campuses. And then there are the consulate people, and art historians on research missions, and business people doing short work stints here. Plus, who could forget the foreign wives of Italian men (for rarely is it the other way round), or the foreign artists trying to scrape through financially (because this is the only city where they can live)? And every now and then you meet a wealthy bon vivant who has taken a holiday from whatever he or she was doing before, and is now carrying out a third millennium version of the Grand Tour. Or a cool fashion designer who owns a gorgeous attic studio on piazza del Carmine. And so on.

You can live inside this community, talking English, and never really mixing with the Italians at all. Because one of the unwritten laws of the Florentine émigré community is that whenever you can, you’ll seek help and advice inside that colony, thus avoiding the haplessly messy Italy altogether. So your paediatrician could be Dutch and dentist British and gynaecologist Danish; and there’s a high probability that your kids go to an English or French school. OK, so your plumber and electrician have to be Italians – and that’s why it is so delicious to complain about them, starting from the undeniable fact that the Italians are always, always unpardonably late.

Since everyone often knows everyone in this insular community, it’s not hard at all to find the right names and addresses. And when you walk into, say, your British dentist’s office, you can’t help thinking that you have entered the terra incognita of ex-patriot life, because in the waiting room there are almost as many international newspapers as there are foreign licence plates on the parking lot of the UN headquarters; and on the noticeboard hang advertisements on language tuition, au pair help, Christmas Carol concerts at St. Mark’s Church and Fourth-of-July potluck dinners.

I once interviewed Donna Leon, the famous author of the Brunetti crime novels, and an American expat living in Venice. I asked her why so many foreigners end up living here. What’s the reason? She replied that behind each foreigner living in Italy, there is a story. There is a reason why they came here.

When it comes to Florence, that reason is usually obvious: many foreigners come to Tuscany because of its art and beauty. Because of Giotto and Fra Angelico. And the Italian opera. And the food: you can’t but eat well here. And the fashion. And that elegant, carefree lifestyle. And that glorious landscape: for have you stood on piazzale Michelangelo at sunset in summer? Or kissed your fiancé on Ponte Vecchio?

But when these foreigners find out that life’s just life, even in Italy, and that the imagined Florence of Botticelli and tourist guides is not the same as the everyday Florence of traffic jams and souvenir shops, they’re bound to get disappointed. That is exactly the point at which their honeymoon with Florence will end and their idol will metamorphose from a virgin bride into a scarlet woman, a nasty harpy slowly sucking their blood and vitality and making their lives hell. And so slowly the deluded foreigner will turn into the bitter expat who complains about everything in general, and the plumbers and electricians in particular.

I came to Italy to write a PhD on political science. I still remember my open-mouthed awe when the institute where I was going to study asked me to come for an interview, and I saw the Boboli gardens and the façade of the Duomo for the first time. I decided that I shouldn’t even dream of being accepted. For it seemed incredible that anyone – not the least me – could live in a city as beautiful as this. Strangely enough, I was accepted, and fell in love, and married an Italian, and never left this city… even if I was supposed to stay here no more than a few years.

That’s how it works, life.

Absolute Truth for beginners book launch

And you may read my review of Katarina’s new book Absolute Truth, For Beginners here.

Absolute truth, for beginners

I received a free advance PDF copy of the book “Absolute Truth, For Beginners” by Katarina West  to review. It is Katarina’s second book, following her debut novel Witchcraft Couture. To find out more about the author you may visit her website or blog.

Absolute Truth for beginners by Katarina West

Here is the book blurb.

Elisa Mancini is a Nobody. Painfully insecure, more at ease with books than with people, at twenty-three she’s a university dropout living at her aunt’s, drifting from one day to another, and waiting for something big to happen.

Judith Shapiro is a Somebody. Arrogant and eccentric, she’s a superstar of mathematics, the subject of scientific articles, and the undisputed ruler of the world around her.

In a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, Elisa falls madly in love with Judith Shapiro. For sixty-eight days she is the mistress of an internationally acclaimed mathematician.

But loving Judith Shapiro is like running a marathon in a war zone. As days pass, Elisa’s wild infatuation takes on a suicidal bent, and the world around her starts to go to pieces. Just as everything is about to blow up, the moment of truth comes.

Absolute Truth, For Beginners is a story about truth, time and love. Or about identity, positive nursing, degrees of happiness, Baroque art, scientific theories, homosexual lovemaking, arrogant television producers, and becoming who you really are.

I haven’t read Katarina’s first novel so I had no pre-conceptions of what to expect with this book, but the title draws you in. The book starts with Elisa the main character arriving at her new workplace, The Shapiro Foundation but unable to get an answer on the intercom so wondering what to do next. You get an insight into her character and immediately pick up on her insecurities. Later I began to make comparisons between Elisa and her cousin Linda. Neither of their lives are going according to plan and although each sees what is wrong for the other, they can’t spot their own faults.

Elisa falls in love with Judith, the head of The Shapiro Foundation, a brilliant mathematician, but one who is struggling to prove her next theory. But the relationship seems very one-sided with Elisa giving her all and getting very little in return. There is also a big age-difference with Judith being over 30 years older than Elisa. I won’t say anymore. I’ll let you read it for yourselves.

The book is a different genre to what I would usually choose, so I was somewhere outside my reading comfort zone. For instance I’ve certainly never read about a mathematician before. However Katarina has included some controversial topics within her novel and dealt with them brilliantly.

Author photo Katarina West

This book is available on Amazon and is currently on a special promotion at £1.99 until 15 January 2016. The normal price will be £3.99

And the author is hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway 10 eBook copies of Absolute Truth, for Beginners. Open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

Absolute Truth for Beginners book launch

I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

6 December
Rocksprings Crafts http://www.rockspringscrafts.com/book-reviews#
7 December
Oksiblueberry http://oksiblueberry.blogspot.gr
The Book Harbor Reviews http://thebookharborblog.blogspot.it
8 December
Sarah Smiles http://www.sarahsmilesxxx.co.uk
Small Town Blogger https://smalltownfashionblogger.wordpress.com
9 December
Lovely Reads http://serenityslovelyreads.blogspot.com
Emma Jessica Chatter Box http://www.emmajessica-chatterbox.co.uk
10 December
Coco Butter Blog http://cocobutterblog.co.uk
Abigailjessicax http://abigailjessicax.blogspot.it
11 December
The Sparkle Nest http://thesparklenest.com
The Cosy Dragon www.thecosydragon.com
12 December
Reading Shy With Aly http://readingshy.blogspot.ca/p/contact-and-review-policy.html
Outback Review http://www.outback-revue.com
13 December
Consort http://consortpr.com
14 December
TNBBC’s The Next Best Book Blog thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.it
15 December
The Writing Desk tonyriches.blogspot.com
Mademoiselle https://mademoisellewomen.wordpress.com
16 December
Just Sammthing http://www.justsammthing.com
Yet another blogging mummy!!! https://blogmumjd.wordpress.com
17 December
Hall Ways http://kristinehallways.blogspot.com
Bitches n Prose http://bitchesnprose.blogspot.fi
18 December
The Sparkle Nest http://thesparklenest.com
Missntalks http://missntalks.weebly.com
19 December
Ishtyle Awhile http://www.ishtyleawhile.com
Anita’s Diaries https://anitasdiaries.wordpress.com
Mrs Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews http://mrsmommybooknerd.blogspot.com
20 December
A Beautiful Abode http://abeautifulabode.co.uk
21 December
Doodles, Doodles Everywhere http://gopaintbrush.blogspot.it
Up Your Vlog http://www.upyourvlog.com
22 December
It’s All I Say itsallisay.com
27 December
Books Are Love hello-booklover.tumblr.com
28 December
That’s What Sophie Did http://sophiedidwhat.blogspot.it
29 December
My Bookshelf Is Yours http://mybookshelfisyours.over-blog.com
30 December
The Librarian Talks https://thelibrariantalks.wordpress.com
Purple Curiosity – Color the Mundane http://purplecuriosity.com
31 December
Simply Being http://simplybeinggreat.net

You can find Katarina West on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

And look out this afternoon for a guest post on my blog by Katarina.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.