#Review of Miss Wrong and Mr Right by Robert Bryndza (@RobertBryndza) @Bookouture

Happy publication day Mr B!!

The Writing Garnet

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‘This is men,’ said Gran. ‘When they vant you, but you don’t vant them, they stay. But let them know you vant them, they no longer need you, and they go! It’s like that movie, Nanny McPhee.’

Natalie Love has worked hard to have it all. She runs a successful London theatre that’s about to host one of Hollywood’s leading stars, Ryan Harrison. She’s pretty sure she’s found her man in yoga boyfriend Benjamin, despite his annoying habit of saying Namaste! every time he speaks. And her eccentric, glamorous Hungarian gran is always on hand to offer sage advice and steaming bowls of goulash.

Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie’s escape from her chaotic family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar fifteen years ago. Until he turns up at her theatre door…

Jamie is in town producing a…

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#BlogTour! #Review of The Food Of Love by @MrsAmandaProwse @MrSimeonProwse

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Wow, last year I was reading Amanda’s books, I never thought I would be personally asked to take part in her blog tour. But I was (thank you Mr & Mrs Prowse), and this post can only mean one thing….today it’s TWG’S stop on the tour!! Before I start making a speech about how thrilled I am to be involved, forgetting that my blog isn’t an award ceremony (shocking), let’s get on with the review shall we?

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Blurb.

Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years of marriage to a man who still warms her soul and two beautiful teenage daughters to show for it: confident Charlotte and thoughtful Lexi. Her home is filled with love and laughter.

But when Lexi’s struggles with weight take control of her life, everything Freya once took for granted falls apart, leaving the whole family with a sense of helplessness that can only be confronted with understanding, unity and, above all, love.

In this compelling and heart-wrenching new work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one ordinary family tackles unexpected difficulties and discovers that love can find its way through life’s darkest moments.

What does TWG think?

This is probably one of the hardest reviews I have ever needed to write. Not because of who the review is for, but because of contents of the storyline.

In the blink of an eye, Freya’s vision of a perfect life shatters right in front of her. Relationships that she thought were honest and open, turn out to be closed and tainted. Children who she thought were happy and glowing, were actually sad and spiralling out of control. Freya has a big decision to make; fight…or flee?

I had a slight feeling that I would maybe shed a tear or two throughout the book, I completely underestimated my feelings. I didn’t shed a tear or two; I sobbed my little heart out. Why? Because I was Lexi. Just like Lexi, I spent most of my life battling with the number on the scales and seeing food as a negative substance. I had to keep pausing as I read this book to ensure that I had digested every single emotion.

‘The Food Of Love’ is not a book to rush read. It is not a book that will give you self-help or tips on how to cope with anorexia, especially given the fact that each character, just like every person, will respond to situations differently. It’s a book which highlights the complexity surrounding anorexia, bulimia and mental illness. I found it very hard to read Lockie’s feelings on anorexia as they were so brutal! Don’t get me wrong, I understand that some people might not believe anorexia to be a ‘real thing’, or can’t work out how hard it is for the sufferer to do what everyone else classes ‘easy’. But, having had Lockie’s words shouted at my face multiple times by people who couldn’t understand, it was really cutting.

Like other Amanda Prowse books, ‘The Food Of Love’ contains moments that will leave you thinking the worst, wondering what’s going to happen as tears fall down your face. After I read the book, I went nosing at other reviews elsewhere; I’ll be honest, the content of them shocked me as they were insulting the mental illness overall. Amanda obviously did her research on the topic, especially given the fact that I felt as though I was reading a story of my life due to Lexi’s struggles. Every emotion Lexi let out, I felt. Every negative comment towards herself, I said the same. But there is a difference between going through it yourself, and reading it in black and white, it hits home dramatically.

My heart went out to Freya and Charlotte as well. Freya was trying to be a mum to her very poorly daughter and was often torn over whether to be a mum or remove her emotions from the situation. Now that is a tough decision for ANY parent as all we want to do is keep our children safe, but we aren’t in their heads are we? The family’s devastation cut straight through the storyline in multiple ways, it was incredibly hard to watch a family fall apart with no understanding on how to pick it all back up again, with no guarantee that the pieces would glue back together either.

Yes, I found this book exceptionally harrowing and difficult to read. BUT, if someone finds this topic easy to read, I want to know why. Amanda has written the entire storyline with incredible realism and power; the topic is real, the emotions were real and she has captured them all beautifully. Amanda hasn’t touched upon the subject with a feather duster; lightly. She touched upon the subject with fire, poignancy and true grit; and for that, I applaud her. I applaud her for helping to highlight an illness that gets laughed at and is surrounded by a truck load of stigma. I applaud her for capturing my heart and soul (yet again), with such powerful writing.

‘The Food Of Love’ made me cry, a lot. It made me smile. It made me laugh. Most importantly, it made me feel as though I am no longer weird for having anorexia. Thank you to Amanda Prowse for writing the words us sufferers couldn’t even say, let alone write. Thank you for writing such a heart-wrenching yet beautiful book that captured my heart and soul almost immediately. You have completely outdone yourself with this book, I need to hug you now.

Thank you Mr & Mrs Prowse.

The Food Of Love by Amanda Prowse is available to buy in multiple formats NOW from Amazon UK, I highly recommend it. Just ensure you have tissues with you.

Make sure you keep following the blog tour for ‘The Food Of Love’ as there are a lot more fabulous blogs coming up! The picture below is just HALF of the bloggers that are involved in the tour, I am humbled to be one of them.

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#Review of Christmas at The Little Knitting Box by @HJRolfe @RNATweets #tuesnews #RNA

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Blurb.

Christmas is coming and New York is in full swing for the snowy season. But at The Little Knitting Box in the West Village, things are about to change …

The Little Knitting Box has been in Cleo’s family for nearly four decades, and since she arrived fresh off the plane from the Cotswolds four years ago, Cleo has been doing a stellar job of running the store. But instead of an early Christmas card in the mail this year, she gets a letter that tips her world on its axis.
Dylan has had a tumultuous few years. His marriage broke down, his mother passed away and he’s been trying to pick up the pieces as a stay-at-home dad. All he wants this Christmas is to give his kids the home and stability they need. But when he meets Cleo at a party one night, he begins to see it’s not always so easy to move on and pick up the pieces, especially when his ex seems determined to win him back.
When the snow starts to fall in New York City, both Cleo and Dylan realise life is rarely so black and white and both of them have choices to make. Will Dylan follow his heart or his head? And will Cleo ever allow herself to be a part of another family when her own fell apart at the seams?

What does TWG think?

Have you ever fallen so in love with book that you feel a loss when it ends? Have you ever fallen so in love with a book that the entire thing just felt…right? I have. I was really excited to read Helen’s new book even before it was released (I will explain why shortly), so when I had the added bonus of falling in love with the storyline and the characters, I just knew I had to shout loud and proud about this one.

To Cleo, The Little Knitting Box is everything. It’s her safety net, her lifeline and the place where she can fill her heart with memories of her family as she works. Just as Cleo feels settled, something is about to threaten The Little Knitting Box’s livelihood..

One of the reasons why I was bouncing around like a lunatic before the book was released, was because Helen had created a character…with MY name! Oh yes folks, The Little Knitting Box has a character in it called Kaisha! Even though I knew my name would crop up, I still felt quite emotional seeing it in black and white. Absolutely surreal. I was already beginning to feel involved in Cleo’s life myself, then my character doppelgänger turned up and was also involved in Cleo’s life! Yes, the character has my name, but despite that, the way that she was written into the storyline with such feistiness and bolshiness, Kaisha quickly became one of my favourites.

As Helen was describing The Knitting Box interior with such attention to detail, I felt like I was walking around the shop myself. Every feature she described, I could see it. Every smell she described, I began to smell it. Everything. That may sound daft but it is true. Such beautiful descriptions of such memorable features; if this was an actual shop in my town, I would be living in it, mark my words!

The storyline goes between Cleo’s life, and Dylan’s life. Unfortunately, we meet Dylan at a very sad time in his life, and people around him seem to be using that to his advantage. His naivety was a little questionable at times, but it was a joy to see Dylan grow as a character throughout the book. By the end of the story, my opinion had changed as I had gotten to see a different side of him and get to know him much better. The only way that I can describe Dylan would be; ‘teddy bear’, you’ll see why in the story!

It’s not often I say this but I really would love to see this storyline carry on into another book. Whilst the ending wasn’t left unfinished, it still has been left with room to expand due to where the characters are in their lives at the end of the book. For me, the book just stopped. I wanted to know more and I am really hoping that Helen does make it into a series because it is such a beautiful book. Every single thing was…perfect. I felt like I was opening a present as I turned each page and read the magically words in front of me.

Christmas at The Little Knitting Box has gotten under my skin in ways I never thought were possible. I feel like have lost something due to finishing the book, crazy huh?
Helen Rolfe has written such a warm and cosy read, which will fill your heart with sheer joy from first page to the last. I ended the book feeling as though I had gained a lot of new friends, and there is no doubt in my mind that you will feel that too.

Beautiful, magical and incredibly moving; Christmas at The Little Knitting Box is a book that keeps on giving. Easily one of my favourite books, ever.

You too can buy a piece of Christmas magic from Amazon UK, enjoy!

#Review of Miss Wrong and Mr Right by Robert Bryndza (@RobertBryndza) @Bookouture

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Blurb.

‘This is men,’ said Gran. ‘When they vant you, but you don’t vant them, they stay. But let them know you vant them, they no longer need you, and they go! It’s like that movie, Nanny McPhee.’

Natalie Love has worked hard to have it all. She runs a successful London theatre that’s about to host one of Hollywood’s leading stars, Ryan Harrison. She’s pretty sure she’s found her man in yoga boyfriend Benjamin, despite his annoying habit of saying Namaste! every time he speaks. And her eccentric, glamorous Hungarian gran is always on hand to offer sage advice and steaming bowls of goulash.

Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie’s escape from her chaotic family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar fifteen years ago. Until he turns up at her theatre door…

Jamie is in town producing a West End show and with rivalry suddenly clouding old feelings, this isn’t quite the reunion Natalie was expecting.

Will Benjamin prove to be Natalie’s perfect match? With Ryan turning her head, Natalie is more confused than ever. And what about Jamie – could he be her second chance at first love?

What does TWG think?

A lot of you may have heard of, or read, Robert Bryndza’s books, and if you haven’t I want to know why! Mr B seems to be one of THE most talked about authors right now so given the fact I hadn’t picked up one of his books to read, until now, I just HAD to find out whether Mr B could tick TWG’s boxes with his latest release, Miss Wrong and Mr Right.

Ever since Natalie got taken to London with her up and coming, sassy gran; the city became her safety net and her ‘go to’ place. After all, she left her groom at the altar when she was a teen, she had to run somewhere! Since arriving in London, Natalie has made a name for herself within the theatre community and is loving every minute of it. For now..

The book begins by throwing readers into the middle of Natalie’s life with her boyfriend, Benjamin. Ahhhh Benjamin…what an utter…cactus! It only took me a few sentences to dislike him! He was so far up his own toosh that he ended up creating new yoga poses! Honestly, I’m not judgemental (overly), but he was something else. Good on Mr B for creating a character that had such an effect on me though, admittedly not the greatest effect, but I do enjoy books where there are marmite characters.

‘Miss Wrong and Mr Right’ most definitely was a book that kept on giving. The storyline never stopped, characters grew in front of my very eyes and drama went up a notch every chapter. Every where that Natalie went, drama followed her like a little lost puppy, as did pigeons. But, seeing as it would be mean of me to include spoilers in my review, you will need to read the book to find out why!

Even though I enjoyed the storyline immensely, I did find the Ryan situation to go on a bit too long. I would have loved to read more of gran’s one liners and on point humour. It’s safe to say that gran became my all time favourite character within the book. That woman has a lot of gusto. She is brilliant and added so much to the storyline with her presence. Such a gold dust character. Hilarious.

So, did Mr B tick TWG’s boxes with this book? Of course he did! Miss Wrong and Mr Right is such a fun, light-hearted yet quirky read, full of drama and humour. I can honestly say that you will never be bored just as long as this particular book is on your lap. It’s bonkers, it’s brilliant and it’s another smashing hit from Mr Bryndza. I am rather looking forward to seeing what he releases next in this genre, maybe gran will get her own spin-off book!

Thank you Bookouture.

Miss Wrong and Mr Right by Robert Bryndza, published by Bookouture, will be released on the 8th December 2016. You can pre-order/order your copy right now from Amazon

#Review of ‘Mad Love’ by Nick Spalding (@NickSpalding) #LakeUnionPublishing #humour

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Blurb.

Can two people who have never met make a marriage work? Popular dating site Sociality thinks so, and is marrying London lad Adam to California girl Jessica to prove it.

What better way to show that your ‘love algorithms’ work than to put two complete strangers together in an expensive publicity stunt? But, as livewire Jess and lazybones Adam quickly discover, just because a computer says you’re the perfect match, it doesn’t make it so!

Two million Sociality subscribers and the media are following the happy couple’s progress, and they have to make a go of it or they’ll lose everything, look like idiots, and destroy Sociality’s reputation. But can the mismatched pair, who seem to be constantly at each other’s throats, put their differences aside and work their way into each other’s hearts?

Nick Spalding, bestselling author of Fat Chance and Bricking It, will make you cry with laughter at this story of marital warfare—complete with sinking boats, badly aimed flatulence, well aimed tennis balls and some very suggestive pastry.

What does TWG think?

You see a familiar name crop up on the book scene, act like Buddy from Elf with ‘I KNOW HIM/HER I KNOW HIM/HER’, then realise you only recognise the name but haven’t read any of their books before..
Sound familiar? ‘Mad Love’ was one of those moments. How I haven’t ever read any of Nick’s books is beyond me. For that, I apologise, don’t tell me off -sniff-.

I truly think that the title sums this book up completely. Well, the ‘mad’ part anyway! Seeing as I knew OF Nick’s work, I knew that he wrote rather funny books, so I was waiting for the giggles from the beginning. Unfortunately, it did take me a couple of chapters until I laughed, BUT, once I started laughing like a seal, I couldn’t stop. The predicaments that Adam and Jessica, got themselves into was a mixture of cringeworthy, hilarious and ‘omg you didn’t!?!’, moments. Put it this way, all the ’embarrassing’ things that people hide or deny in relationships; Jessica and Adam showed them in all their glory.

Despite the way that the couple found each other, they did make a pretty good go of it and their arguments were absolutely HILARIOUS to read. I mean, I will never look at a tennis match in the same way…or the Eiffel Tower.

Seeing as my laughter button seemed to a bit hit and miss for the first two chapters of the book, I did sit on the fence about the storyline as it was sheer bonkers. I didn’t know what to expect at all, but I was a little bit concerned that I would be able to keep up with the bonkers lifestyle which Jessica and Adam, live. (I did btw!)

Nick Spalding has such a laid back way with words;  it really is genius the way he can write embarrassing situations as if they’re the ‘in thing’, in such a fabulous way. Even though the storyline is sheer bonkers, and the insults are more laughable than hurtful, ‘Mad Love’ gave me a much welcome distraction with its breath of fresh air vibe.
If you need a light hearted, guaranteed to belly laugh read, you would be MAD not to read Nick Spalding’s latest read.

Cheers Nick & Netgalley!

‘Mad Love’ by Nick Spalding will be released on the 6th December and can be pre-ordered/ordered from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review of ‘Be My Baby’ by @ALMichael_ @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT #giveaway

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Blurb.

Two’s company…

If you asked Mollie whether she struggled as a single mum, she’d have to cover her daughter’s ears before answering. Surrounded by friends, watching Esme grow into the sassiest eleven-year-old in North London, and building her name as TV chef Mollie Makes, Mollie’s never been happier. Well, that’s what she’d tell you. But as her best friends pair off, and Esme starts getting into trouble at school, Mollie wonders whether life would be different – not better…but easier – with a team mate.

Three’s a crowd?

But Esme’s dad, Jamie, would be the last man Mollie would team up with. After all, he made it clear eleven years ago that he wasn’t interested in playing the family game. So when he suddenly reappears, Mollie can’t believe her eyes. And soon, she’s got to ask herself the hardest question yet: she knows she can succeed as a single mum. But what if her daughter doesn’t want her to?

What does TWG think?

BE MY, BE MY, BE MY LITTLE BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
YAY! Finaaalllllyyyyy able to review this BEAUTY! It does feel a little bittersweet though. I mean, all three books are fabulous…but…’Be My Baby’ is the third and FINAL book in the House On Camden Square series! I cannot believe we are here already, it feels like yesterday when the series started with ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’. I’ll be very sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful bunch of characters. My fingers are crossed that A.L.Michael gives in to my persistent nature and writes more! Here’s hoping!

‘Be My Baby’ focuses on Mollie and Esme’s relationship, as well as their everyday lives. Mollie has met her match in daughter Esme and she finds herself wondering what life would have been like if Esme’s father was in the picture, or if she had found love after Esme was born. Seeing as Mollie is a single mum and her daughter’s school life is about to be turned upside town, Mollie starts questioning how well she is actually coping…that is, until someone waltzes into her life; again.

As a single mummabear myself, I was able to relate to the storyline rather easily, and incredibly quickly. Well, I have a three year old instead of an eleven year old, but the concept is similar! It’s very clear that Mollie just wants to do right by her daughter, but no matter what she does, it never seems to be the right thing as someone will always be a bit miffed by her choices.
Personally, I felt as though the storyline attempted to rid single mums from the stigma that seems to surround them, especially when people assume it’s a chosen path. Sometimes it isn’t. A.L.Michael has taken such a complex situation and has written about it with such ease, determination and power. For that, I thank her.

In the previous books, Esme’s personality was on point even then, but oh my goodness!! This book in particular showcases her intelligence and sharp wit, I spent most of the book thinking ‘why didn’t I say that?!’. Absolutely brilliant, she has been such a consistent character and a wonderful one to watch grow up from a small witty person, to a witty person that will give adults a run for their money.

The last third of the book was a little bit tricky for me to read. Nothing against the A.L.Michael’s writing, but I found myself deeply involved with the situation and found it difficult to remove my own feelings from that. Jamie got on my nerves swooping in and acting like he had been there all along. Part of me did wish Mollie had a little more fire in her belly to take charge and stick to her guns. But, like I said, that is just my opinion and it is nothing against the writing or book. It does contain a topic that will get people talking so I am sure A.L.Michael knew that beforehand!

‘Be My Baby’ has got to be my absolute favourite book of all three due to its huggable, cosy feel and relatable circumstances. The humour throughout the book, as always, was on point and then some! My belly hurt from laughing so hard afterwards. Such an inspirational read full of gusto, beautiful relationships and a lot of love.
A.L.Michael has completely outdone herself with ‘Be My Baby’. Another stunning book from a very talented author. I cannot WAIT to see what comes next from A.L.Michael and her magical writing fingertips!

Thank you A.L.Michael & HQDigitalUK!

Buy ‘Be My Baby’ from Amazon UK.

Fancy being in with a chance of winning a goody bag which is inspired by one of the characters in the book? Of course you do! The giveaway will close on the 12th December and is UK ONLY! To be in with a chance all you need to do is:
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! Good luck!

About A.L. Michael

A.L Michael is a writer and workshop leader from North London. She has a BA in Creative
Writing with English Lit, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and is starting an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She likes learning and hates essays.
She’s a fan of cheap wine, expensive chocolate and still wants to be a secret agent when she grows up, but she’ll settle for lying on the page.

Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

#Review & #Q+A for @lucy_dillon #AllIEverWanted #BlogTour! @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity

lucydillon-squeal-! I am unbelievably honoured, and thrilled to be on Lucy Dillon’s blog tour for her newest release, ‘All I Ever Wanted’! Seeing as today is the last stop on the tour (thank you Hodder Books for trusting me with this), not only am I bringing you a review, I was given the opportunity to interview Lucy. As you can tell, I am extremely excited about being involved with this, lets start shall we? First up is my review, enjoy!

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Caitlin’s life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.

Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.

Nancy’s Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.

But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages – and about what they both really want . . .

What does TWG think?

Being only four years old, Nancy has properly found her voice. She loves talking and singing everywhere and anywhere she can. But then one day, Nancy’s sweet little songs and sweet little voice are no longer heard. She has stopped speaking; nothing her mum, Caitlin, does can get her to talk, or sing. Can Caitlin and Patrick put their issues aside, and get to the bottom of the sudden silence with their daughter?

Despite the fact that most of the book revolves around Caitlin and Patrick’s troubles, the storyline also dives into Patrick’s sister, Eva’s life, giving us a bit of a breather from bad choices and one sided decisions! I know that I am not alone when I say this, but Caitlin and Patrick got my back up quite a few times whilst I was reading the book. Even though they were adamant that they knew where their priorities lay, it was very clear by their actions who they were truly thinking about; themselves. It did seem to take a while for the penny to drop with them both and for each of them to realise that when children are involved, things are based on their happiness and wellbeing foremost, not theirs.

Caitlin came across as a rather self-centered character. She wanted to be around her children yet her personal antics seemed to take over, lowering the order of her priorities. My heart went out to Nancy and her brother, Joel, on many occasions. Their life had just been turned upside down and were too young to fully understand why. I did get very involved in the storyline, I mean, how couldn’t I? It was a book that I just couldn’t put down, even if I wanted to.

I really did enjoy it when the storyline switched over to Eva and her life for a little bit, especially when we got to delve into her life a bit more! Put it this way, there seemed to be a lot of skeletons in Eva’s closets, some of which she didn’t know about! Eva’s character seemed to play a vital role in the storyline, one that I didn’t really see coming. She most definitely turned into the Fairy Godmother of the book in my eyes.

‘All I Ever Wanted’ is a story about the effects of separation foremost, trust and being true to yourself. The entire storyline covers A LOT of ground and can easily be associated with a treasure chest. Every single page had a special edge to it; whether it was in an emotional way or a situation was cleverly written, it just highlights the fact that Lucy Dillon has written a truly fantastic book. Yes, a couple of the characters were rather frustrating and got under my skin but hats off to Lucy for writing characters like that. I must admit, I did find the Nancy situation emotional, it tugged at my heartstrings and my maternal instinct came out.

A truly special, heart-warming book that will stay in your mind for a long while afterwards. Beautiful.

Thank you Hodder Books!

All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon can be bought from Amazon

TWG Interviews Lucy Dillon!

Never in a million years did I ever think I would get the opportunity to interview THE Lucy Dillon. But I did! I think I interrogated her a little bit too, sorry Lucy haha!

Thank you Lucy for taking the time to answer my questions!

TWG:  You are an incredibly popular author, but, for those that aren’t overly familiar with your work, could you tell us a bit about your background please?

Hello! That’s a very nice way to start…🙂 I’ve written seven novels, all set in the small town of Longhampton, All of them deal with love, secrets, families, losses, life, the therapeutic magic of a long walk and tea, and usually dogs.

TWG: The very first book of yours I bought was ‘A Hundred Pieces Of Me’, the title resonated with me before I had even begun reading. Out of all of your books, including your new one, which one can you relate to the most?

Probably A Hundred Pieces of Me: like Gina, and like most people, I’ve had to confront the ‘how long should I keep university birthday cards?’ dilemma – when I had my house renovated and had to put everything I owned into storage, and then unpack it, room by room, I realised a lot of my life was defined by ‘stuff’, and that it was about time to work out what was important, both in terms of physical possessions, and also dreams and memories I’d hoarded away too. It was hard to write, but quite cathartic!

TWG: Are there any of your books that you find quite difficult to write, in terms of emotion or intensity?

There are always at least a couple of chapters in every book that I find hard to write, but that’s how it should be: the moments when the characters are reaching deep into their own hearts to confront their fears or hopes should take the reader (and the writer!) to those places and make us feel that same emotion. I try to imagine how I would feel if I was in my character’s shoes – A Hundred Pieces of Me was particularly heartbreaking because while I was writing the final chapters, my mum, like Gina, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it suddenly all became very real.

TWG: I am aware that your book catalogue is quite large, congratulations! Looking back through your catalogue of books, do you wish that you could have done anything different?

I’d probably change something about every book! I won’t say what though because then you’ll just read them and think, ‘Hmm, yes, maybe she should have done…’ But I would definitely have added a postscript to the end of One Small Act of Kindness to say, FIDO IS FINE. (Cryptic. But people who’ve read it will know!)

TWG: I could be clutching at straws here so do forgive me if I am, but, I have noticed that your book covers all have one thing in common, aside from your name obviously! They all have a ‘person’ on the front, is there a particular reason for that? Does the ‘person’ signify you, or am I like I said, clutching at straws?

I think that’s a great design decision from Hodder! I love the idea of the big sky and the small person – to me, it sums up both that feeling you sometimes have of being really small and vulnerable, and at the same time, the tremendous freedom that sweeps over you when you’ve faced up to your problems, and the world’s one big opportunity again.

TWG: What is your plan of action when it comes to starting a new book? Do you have a set way of preparing?

I make lots of notes, think about the characters, apply the idea of the Three Act Structure to my ideas… and then start writing and watch it all go out of the window.

TWG: I ask this question to all of the authors I am lucky enough to interview, purely because I’m nosy! What were your favourite books when you were a child?

I was – sorry, this makes me sound like a real nerd – a big fan of Greek and Roman mythology. I loved the creative madness of it all, particularly the punishments! From the age of about four, I read anything I could get my hands on, from Enid Blyton and Arthur Conan Doyle to plenty of stuff I shouldn’t have been able to get my hands on, like The Thorn Birds and Jilly Cooper.



 TWG: Could you see yourself writing a different genre? It seems as though a few authors change between two genres, is that something you would do?

I’d love to, but I’m not sure I could – my writing always seems to come out one way. But you never know! Sometimes you get an idea and it shapes everything else, so my cybercrime novel might make an appearance yet…

TWG: You have a new book coming out called ‘All I Ever Wanted’, massive congratulations to you. I was lucky enough to read an early copy and it is fantastically emotional. How did the storyline for the book come about? Was it a hard book to write?

I wanted to write a story about motherhood that everyone would be able to relate to in some way – whether it’s being a parent, with all the worries and delights that children bring into your life, or not being a parent, and having to deal with the way society regards childless women, as well as the feelings of regret or relief it might trigger inside. It was hard to balance everything up – obviously there’s no ‘right’ answer to any of those questions, and I didn’t want to make it seem as if I thought there was! – and the struggles both Caitlin and Eva go through the course of the book are quite emotional. And of course, Nancy’s story was pretty heartbreaking to write – I hate letting bad things happen to characters, but you know, you have to….

TWG: I am going to ask this question rather vaguely as to not give anything away to the readers, so hopefully you’ll know what I’m on about! But, little Nancy in the book will no doubt be a character who a lot of people will remember afterwards. Her situation is rather heart wrenching, where did the inspiration for her character begin?

From several places, but initially from watching small children interact with my dogs. My basset hounds were big, black, strong dogs – quite scary, you’d imagine, for children – but they were incredibly gentle with little ones, who always made a bee line for them. They seemed to ‘read’ each other’s body language instinctively, unlike adult humans with our often clumsy expressions. I wondered how it would be if someone who didn’t have much experience with children, but who’d spent many silent hours with her pugs, one of the most expressive breeds, might cope with a child who wouldn’t speak – and the trust that might build up without words. It’s hard to lie to a dog: they read us so well!

11. One last question; what are your plans for 2017? Can we look forward to more books? Any book events (Edinburgh cough)? Any exclusives?

I’m deep into my new book right now – exclusive reveal: it contains knitting! And family secrets! – and although I don’t have any specific plans for book events in Edinburgh, my boyfriend hails from the ice cream nirvana that is Largs, so I’ll doubtless be sneaking into the bookshops of Scotland to rearrange the stock before long.
And thank you for such interesting questions! I’m really glad you enjoyed the story, and for having me on the blog today.🙂


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thank you to Lucy for answering my interrogation! I look forward to reading your next book!! I hope you all enjoyed reading the review and interview, thank you for popping by on the last stop of Lucy’s blog tour for ‘All I Ever Wanted’, published by HodderBooks!

#Review! Holiday with the Mystery Italian by @EllieDarkins #HarlequinRomance @millsandboon

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Blurb.

Since the accident that paralyzed him, Italian tycoon Mauro Evans vowed to embrace life. So when he stars in a dating show for charity, picking prickly journalist Amber Harris as the winner to take on holiday is a challenge he can’t resist!

In Amber’s experience, relationships equal pain, so she’s determined to ignore her attraction to charismatic Mauro. But his bravery and strength threaten to tear down her defences, giving her a new Christmas dreamringing in the New Year with wedding bells!

What does TWG think?

First of all, happy publication day to Ellie Darkins! Holiday with the Mystery Italian is available in e-book from today!

You know when you were a youngster and you’d see books that you really wanted to read, but they were classed as ‘forbidden’ reads? By forbidden I mean…books that probably wouldn’t have been suitable for a six-year-old to read. Curiosity is bound to peak, naturally. However, it only recently dawned on me that I am no longer a six year old, and that those books are no longer ‘forbidden’. Wahey!! As soon as Ellie Darkins mentioned her book, I caved. I just had to finally get my hands on one of these books!

I will describe this book in one word; FIRECRACKER. Seriously, someone turn down the heat cos I’m about to melt!
Despite Mauro’s life limitations, he just wants to enjoy his life and embrace it as much as he can. He has the opportunity to be part of a dating show for charity and he gives himself a challenge with a fusspot named Amber. The thing is, Amber doesn’t want to give into temptation so the harder she fights against it, the stronger the lust bangs on her door…

He likes her and she likes him, what’s the problem? WELL, seeing as one of the characters is like a walking check list of things she doesn’t want or like in a man, it proves rather difficult to marry Mauro and Amber off.
Yes, I spent most of the book going ‘oh come on, get it onnnnn!’, because you know, that’s totally what us adults do, ahem. They both seemed to enjoy the chase, but Amber seemed to be more set in her ways than Mauro, and took a while to warm up to the concept of embracing life.

The storyline itself was fabulous, cosy setting, sizzling attraction yet oodles of emotion. I didn’t have any idea what to expect before I read this book, but it most certainly surprised me in such a positive way. Not only was the storyline cosy, it was also really well written. I thought that the two characters antics came across as very realistic, relatable and not at all farfetched.

Even thought this book was the first ever Harlequin Romance I had ever read, after reading Ellie Darkins’ beautiful and spine tingling writing, it most definitely will not be my last book from this genre. Wowza.

Thank you Ellie.

Holiday with the Mystery Italian by Ellie Darkins, is available to buy now from Amazon

#Tour! Author @Marnie_Riches, talks about book series in a #pubday guest post! @HQStories

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There is no better way of starting this blog post, other than by a HUGE congratulations to author Marnie Riches! Today is the day that Marnie’s FOURTH book, ‘The Girl Who Had No Fear’, is released and available for you all to buy (more details further down). To help celebrate the fact that #GeorgeIsBack, HarperCollins have set up a blog tour!
Popping her TWG cherry, Marnie has written a guest post about writing a continuing series, hope you enjoy!

Three’s company, four’s a crowd? : Writing a Continuing Series by Marnie Riches

I’m lucky. I have a successful series with a wonderful cast of returning characters. It’s like playing God over your own private soap opera or, more appropriately, long-running TV crime drama. George McKenzie has evolved into a satisfyingly complex character in the course of four books, with an often entertaining extended family to bounce off or clash against.

One of the wonderful things about writing a series is that you have the space in which to allow your main character’s backstory to keep unspooling, revealing new surprises. Certainly, where George is concerned, I hope never to run out of character arc with which to frame an entire series. As her hidden past unravels, her future unfolds before us too, so the possibilities for story-telling continue. The same can be said for Van den Bergen. He too has all sorts of conflict and pain buried in the past. The past has a way of catching up with you and influencing how you behave on your day-to-day present, so I am lucky to be able to explore fraught and broken relationships that I had only hinted at in The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die – such as Van den Bergen’s relationship with his dying father, and George’s relationship with her own father – in subsequent George books.

But you have to keep things fresh, don’t you? Consequently, I’ve striven to shift some of the focus onto lesser characters in each book, so that we get to know people better. In The Girl Who Broke the Rules, we learn a great deal about Aunty Sharon, with whom George lodges for some of the year. In The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, Marie, Van den Bergen’s IT specialist, plays a much more important role. In The Girl Who Had No Fear, Elvis, Van den Bergen’s sidekick junior detective is a key player when the stakes are raised, revealing much about his private life.

Each George novel has similar themes within it – family, sexuality and the effects of trafficking, for example. But though there are flashbacks to previous novels and George’s personal story continues, each instalment has a different, standalone main plot. And this is what keeps the series fresh, I hope. In The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die, the story was about an apparent suicide bomber. In The Girl Who Broke the Rules, George and Van den Bergen were on the hunt for a possible serial killer of trafficked people and sex workers. In The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, the mystery revolved around two missing toddlers. Now, in The Girl Who Had No Fear, we’re dealing with another apparent serial killer of gay men – or is it?

Well, I don’t mind telling you that you’re in for a surprise, some sex, a lot of drug-taking and a trip to Central America in search of…well, not just the killer of six Dutch men! You’ll have to read it and tell me if I’ve managed to keep it fresh!

A big thank you to Marnie for writing the guest post and featuring on TWG. If you fancy nabbing a copy of Marnie’s latest book, all the important details are below:

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The fourth gripping thriller in the Georgina McKenzie series.

Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?

Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?

Buy now from – Amazon UK

#Review! The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris (@AliHarrisWriter) @simonschusterUK

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Blurb.

How do you hold on to a love that is slowly slipping away from you?

Can you let go of the past when you know what is in the future?

And how do you cope when you know that every kiss is a countdown to goodbye?

This is the story of a love affair, of Ryan and Molly and how they fell in love and were torn apart. The first time Molly kissed Ryan, she knew they’d be together forever. Six years and thousands of kisses later she’s married to the man she loves. But today, when Ryan kisses her, Molly realises how many of them she wasted because the future holds something which neither of them could have ever predicted…

What does TWG think?

I have seen Ali’s books as I have nosed on Amazon in the past, yet never gotten round to reading one. Until now that is. Well, this book was recommended by THE Tracy Fenton on TBConFB (she gets everywhere! Don’t tell that I said that!), and I thought that if the Queen Bee herself thought it was fabulous, then it must be!

I will need to be incredibly vague in this review! I don’t want to give anything away by writing something that could potentially be linked to a spoiler; I wouldn’t be popular if I did that. ‘The First Last Kiss’ was yet another book that I read without looking at the blurb as all I went by was recommendation, and the title/cover. I didn’t seem to twig what the book was about based on the title, it wasn’t until the storyline unfolded that things became a lot clearer.

Imagine being in love; completely head over heels in love with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Got it? Now, try to imagine how you would feel if your relationship and life together was sitting on a mound of uncertainty….
You’re probably thinking that you would fight, regardless what life throws at you both, you’d fight, yes?
But what if it wasn’t up to you, or your partner to fight?
Life is about to shake things up for Ryan and Molly, and the only thing that is a guarantee in their lives…is devastation…

I’ll admit, I read this book completely unaware. I had no idea what to expect in regards to the storyline, or even Ali’s writing style.
It didn’t take me long at all to warm to both Ryan and Molly’s personalities, for completely different reasons. Don’t get me wrong, they had bad days as characters, just like us and I did find myself getting a bit frustrated with their choices sometimes. The fact that both of them came across very realistic and relatable was a big bonus. They also make such a lovely couple…when they get their act together of course!

As the storyline developed and the characters grew, I found myself incredibly settled. I didn’t want the book to end, nor did I want anything to change! No sooner had I thought that….WHAM.

What happened next completely caught me off guard. I couldn’t prepare myself or my emotions as I was in shock. Put it this way, I wasn’t moving my toosh off the sofa until the book was completely finished. Not that I was going to anyway mind you, but the change of pace in the storyline cemented that fact.

The way that Ali Harris wrote the entire novel, especially the last third, was exceptional. My hat goes off to her for the way she handled such a harrowing, and devastating topic with incredible sensitivity, yet still kept it realistic. I am sure a lot of readers have been able to relate to the circumstances the characters faced, and I am sure a few tears may have been shed along the way.

For me, I didn’t just shed a few tears; I sobbed my heart out at the powerful image Ali Harris’ writing had stamped in my mind. I sobbed my heart out due to the emotion that was jumping off every page and making itself known. I sobbed my heart out because the characters were emotional at times and because I had warmed to them, their pain was my pain…in a roundabout way.

Ali Harris has written such a powerful, intense yet beautiful read that is guaranteed to leave you with something in your eye. ‘The First Last Kiss’ will show you the true meaning of love, promises and honesty; all you need to do is focus on Ryan and Molly. I am in awe of Ali Harris and her incredible delivery of such a heart breaking subject. She has done it proud, beautifully written.

The First Last Kiss is available to buy from Amazon UK