An interview with…..

Several readers over on the Facebook page might remember me dropping hints about an interview, yes? Okay, this author is extremely well known and has written many books about food, and a puffin. Any ideas?

The Writing Garnet is absolutely thrilled to welcome Jenny Colgan! You might be familiar with some of her books, for example, Little Beach Street Bakery. (Amazon) and more recently The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After. (Amazon). I have admired her work for a while so I was extremely honoured to be able to have a chat with her about her work. Enjoy!

First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time for this interview!

Garnet:  Could you tell us a bit about you and your background before you began writing?
Jenny: I worked in the NHS for a few years, not very successfully! I always wanted to be doing something else. 

Garnet: Have you always wanted to become a published writer?
Jenny: Well yes, but I didn’t really think it would ever actually happen. I just kept plugging away at it, but I was quite surprised when it actually came true.

Garnet: Several of your books are about working in food retailers, how were you able to create such realistic situations? Have you worked in a bakery or chocolate shop before?
Jenny: I’ve worked in bars and restaurants of course, but never things like bakeries. My father ran a small business so I know how hard people have to work to do it. I don’t know how realistic it is really, I rarely show people struggling with VAT!

Garnet: How hard was it to find the inspiration for each of your books?
Jenny: Not really difficult, I think of stories I’d like to tell and settings I personally like. We moved as a family to Scotland last year so I know I wanted to write about that experience.

 Garnet: If you could pick one character from any of your books, who would it be and why?
Jenny: Well, that depends what for! I’m very fond of Rosie & Stephen in the Rosie Hopkins series, I like them a lot.

Garnet: Have you ever disliked any of the characters in your stories?
Jenny: Of course, I always have baddies. Most recently Mrs Manse in the Bakery books was a fairly implacable enemy.

Garnet:  I see that you have written children’s books too, did you find those easier to write than the ones you write for adults?
Jenny: No, they’re far harder, because you have to practice them so often and they have to stand up to being able to be read aloud over and over again. Children’s books are far harder to get right I feel.

Garnet:  You are a very well known author, do you find that gives you added pressure when writing books, because of how well your other books have done?
Jenny: I don’t feel well-known at all! I think it’s perspective though. It doesn’t really add pressure; you just have to write the book you want to read and hope other people feel the same way.

Garnet: Time for a tough one, if you could choose any book that has already been published to be the author of, which one would you choose and why?
Jenny: Oh lord, loads of course. I suppose Harry Potter, because not only did they sell millions, they’re also brilliantly good.

Garnet:  One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to be published? Any words of wisdom?
Jenny: Yes: do your research! There are so many useful sites out there that tell you what agents do, where to find them, how to market your work, etc. it’s much easier now than when I was starting out. And check for typos. Then check again. You’d be amazed how many slip through the net… and good luck!

Thank you again to Jenny Colgan for stopping by for the chat, much appreciated! To keep up to date with her latest information, follow her on twitter: @jennycolgan

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Once upon a time…..

……there lived thousands of books about magic. Not magician type of magic, but fantasy magic. Magic that makes your imagination run wild. Magic that has you dreaming about a life that doesn’t exist, yet it seems so real to you. A type of magic that stays with you into your adulthood. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about children’s books. Now I’m sure many of you had a favourite book to read as a child? Or one that your parents or family member read to you, yes? Of course you did! I bet you can even remember it now. If you can’t remember, have a think about the books you came across as a child. There will be one that will jump out at you in relation to certain childhood memories. Thought of it? Let me know in the comments your favourite childhood book and why.

How many people reading this are parents? You’ll probably have a slight advantage here if your child likes to read. What book(s) does your child or children enjoy the most?

When I was a child I read a lot, apparently. No change there then! I read Jill Murphy’s ‘The Large Family’ and ‘The Worst Witch’; Roald Dahl’s books, especially ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,  James and the Giant Peach and the BFG. To name a few! But, the two books that remind me of my childhood the most are Noddy, and The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. Such classics. There are thousands of children’s books, some even being very popular today. Such as Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) and the fairy tales (Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella etc).

I will admit that as a late twenty-something woman, I still LOVE The Magic Faraway tree because it still takes me fall into the magical lands every time I read it. Such an incredibly clever written story. Anyone else familiar with it?

Despite there being multiple ways for children and adults to get access to books nowadays, it makes me feel sad when I get told a child doesn’t read books, or even when an adult tells me that they hate reading. Whilst I am fully aware that there may be health obstacles for the individual, it’s the choosing NOT to pick up a book just because. I sound like a book snob and I do apologise, BUT, who would choose not to escape into a make-believe story? A story that lets them forget their own troubles. What do you do when you go onto social media? You read. But you’re reading countless posts of the same thing over and over again. Somehow that is more appealing than reading a book wondering what Mary Berry would do, or finding out about a deep, dark secret within a family. I do realise that reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea sadly, but it really is an incredible way of broadening your mind and your imagination. There is a book for everyone out there. So many authors that have been on the scene for years, are still bringing out amazing books, and there are authors debuting their novels which shoot straight up the Kindle chart (Katerina Diamond – The Teacher, if you’re interested!).

Who is reading this now that wishes they could read more, or that wants to get train themselves to read something other than social media? Fancy a challenge? I challenge every single one of you to find a new book and read it without giving up halfway through. Let me know how you get on with it, what you enjoyed and see if we can get #garnetchallenge trending on twitter shall we?

I would love to hear your thoughts on anything mentioned, and please tell me your favourite books!

T’ra.

What would Mary Berry do?

What would Mary Berry do? by Claire Sandy.
Published: 31st July 2014 by Panmacmillan.
ISBN: 978-1-4472-5349-5.
Available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats.

‘Marie Dunwoody doesn’t want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. But her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits are rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee.
Marie can’t ignore the disappointed looks anymore, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie’s had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow – to the letter – recipes from the Queen of Baking, and at all times ask, ‘What would Mary Berry do?’
Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget cuts and with redundancies on the horizon, he too puts on a pinny. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year old girls…
Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy’s sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour?’

I must admit, I have asked the question ‘what would Mary Berry do?’ in my head multiple times, and not just for baking! What would she do? Maybe she is the sort of person that would go rock climbing! No, not rock cake climbing, actual rock walls. Oh never mind! Maybe I should tweet her and ask? Probably not a good idea. Don’t want Maz Bez to think I’m taking the mickey out of her buns…
Several readers over on my Facebook page: The Writing Garnet – Facebook Page. were curious about this book because of the cover. It’s cake, how can you NOT be curious about it. So I said that I would do them a humongous favour and read it for them! I’m nice like that.

Claire Sandy begins the book by introducing you to Marie’s fail-stopper….sorry, show-stopper. You got a rough idea from the blurb that Marie’s buns weren’t all that squishy, so she proves it in public, at the children’s school. Oh dear. Throughout the story you will meet characters from all walks of life in their cosy little neighbourhood. As always, not all neighbours get along with each other. Some things don’t sit quite right with a couple of the neighbours, they seem to be hiding something, but what is it?
Marie decides that it is time to actually use her kitchen and invites Mary Berry to join her. No, not the real Mary Berry; her cook book! Due to Marie’s nose being buried in copious amounts of flour and icing, she doesn’t notice that her husband and her son have their own personal anguish. Robert faces problems at his work and realises that it’s going to be make or bake…sorry, break, and he could face losing his job. Angus, her son, has his own trouble with the ‘clones’.  So out comes Mary Berry’s pal in book form, and fighting for the kitchen begins.  As you read more of the novel, you will find out the troubles that are under Marie’s nose. But is it too late for her to fix them all? Or should she just focus on fixing her buns?
Like my Facebook readers, this book had me curious straight away because of the cover and title. Everyone loves Mary Berry! Claire Sandy writes about a ‘typical’ mum in the kitchen, and I mean ‘typical’ in a good way because many of us have been standing cursing at our failed attempts in the kitchen. Just like Marie. Because she does curse, and so does Aileen. You will meet Aileen when you visit Marie’s work, you will love her. Just don’t have a drink in your hand when you read about her. She is probably one of my favourite characters in the book because she doesn’t give a donut! ‘What would Mary Berry do?’ is such a laugh out loud and warm book which tells the story of ‘friends’ coming together, and maybe soul mates being found. On more than one occasion I was laughing so hard (high pitched squealing sort of laughter), that I thought my house was surrounded by dogs. They respond to high pitched noises don’t they? Hilarious and modern (because of the swearing) it was an absolute treat to read. High praise for Claire Sandy because it’s BRILLIANT! From start to finish it had me hooked and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that loves Maz Bez and the GBBO. You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read it again!
 

Meet me at the Cupcake Café.

Meet me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan.
Published: 14th April 2011 by Sphere.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-4449-7.
Available on Amazon in multiple formats including paperback and kindle.

‘Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery, she has undoubtedly inherited his talent.

When she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment. Armed with recipes from Grampa, and with her best friends and local bank manager fighting her corner, The Cupcake Café opens its doors. But Issy has absolutely no idea what she’s let herself in for. It will take all the courage – and confectionary – to avert disaster….’

Picking just one of Jenny Colgan’s novels to review first was incredibly difficult, especially as I have several to choose from. It reminded me of when I open my Cookie Monster biscuit tin and try to choose a biscuit; I have a collection of those too so I’m sure you can see the similarities….

I chose the book because it’s about cake, and I like cake…chocolate cake mmmm. Plus, I had the pleasure of reading a couple of Jenny’s books before I got to read this one, she is an incredible writer.

Time to meet Issy. Issy is passionate about all things baking, and thanks to watching her Grampa at work when she was a child; creating delicious treats is all that she has ever known. So instead of fulfilling her dream and following in her Grampa’s footsteps, she became an office worker. However, the city job comes to an end and Issy gets made redundant. Will this be the perfect opportunity for Issy to finally fulfil her dream, or does she come up against yet more obstacles?
After her redundancy, Issy spends time thinking and baking….constantly baking. To see if her dream is actually realistic, she does some research. Along the way she meets a lot of different personalities. Some of those people are more than willing to help her succeed, and the others are quite happy to put up a tent and block her path. Will her Grampa’s advice give her fire to go for it? Or will there be more tents blocking the path? (I’m sure there is a law against that though?)

Do not, under any circumstances, read this book when you’re hungry. Unless of course you have cake, obviously. The amount of delicious treats that Jenny has Issy making is unbelievable. I was salivating. Not on the book, that would be a sacrilege! As always, Jenny Colgan brings you a warm, laugh out loud book that by the end, will make you want to work in The Cupcake Café. Well, I did! Poor Issy goes through a rough time, some of it being quite emotional. You might even end up with something in your eye. Sniff. Despite the humour in the story, it is very heart warming and moving. A story of people joining together for someone they love. Moments of unity. For me personally, having that unity in a story as well as emotion, humour, and cake, it ticked the boxes. With Jenny’s style of writing, she captures the true essence of every individual character and their lives. Because of that, Jenny Colgan makes their lives somewhat relatable to your own life. I found myself getting lost in the book because I felt cosy reading it, and hopefully you will too. It is a brilliant read. Jenny Colgan, you have written yet another smashing novel. It is a pleasure to have you on my shelf! (I’ll give you a cushion, honestly!)

Chocolate!!

Happy ‘eat tons of chocolate until you feel nauseous’ day! Aka happy Easter!

I’m rather excited this morning, blogging for the first time using the app on my phone! Amazing right?! Probably should be excited that I have Easter eggs in my kitchen….but….I’m a fully grown, mature adult that doesn’t get excited over things like that. Okay that was a lie…

Who has Easter eggs today?! Are you going to be eating them whilst you read books? I am hoping you’re saying no to that! Don’t make me panic! Can you imagine having chocolate marks on the pages of your favourite book?! I feel faint, this is all too much…..books are….are….like a precious stone! See what I did there?! You impressed I’m that clever at 10.25am, on a Sunday? 

Hope you all have a lovely Easter! Don’t forget the writing garnet is on Facebook as well if you fancy popping a like on the page!

Let me know in the comments what your favourite chocolate is! Hopefully  I’m not the only one to sit on my own eating copious amounts of chocolate and then feeling like I’m going to burst! I’m a galaxy chocolate fan I must admit!

Enjoy, gems!

Take a look at me now – Book Review

Take a look at me now by Miranda Dickinson.
Published: 24th October 2013 by Avon Books.
ISBN: 978-1-84756-235-7.
Available on Amazon in paperback and kindle format.

‘Nell Sullivan has always been known as ‘Miss Five-Year Plan’. But when she finds herself jobless and newly single on the same day, Nell decides it is time to stop planning and start taking chances.

Nell blows her redundancy cheque on a trip of a lifetime to a place where anything’s possible – San Francisco. There she meets a host of colourful characters, including the intriguing and gorgeous Max Rossi, Very soon the city begins to feel like Nell’s second home.

But when it’s time to return to London, will she leave the ‘new Nell’ behind? And can the magic of San Francisco continue to sparkle thousands of miles away?’

Have you ever wanted to change your life for yourself, but the mundane, everyday life took over, meaning that you’re unable to live in the moment? Meet Nell Sullivan. A woman whose job involves paperwork, and lots of it. Unfortunately her job is no more and her on-off ‘boyfriend’ decides to let her go. But is it unfortunate that Nell is no longer employed?

Nell has the opportunity to live a little, and by living a little she means booking a spur of the moment holiday to San Francisco to see her cousin Lizzie! Can’t really blame her after losing her job! Whilst in San Francisco she gets involved in the life style by sightseeing, helping her cousin in the after school club, oh, and getting work experience. Nell has the opportunity to learn more about a career that she has always wanted to explore, but the amount of hard work and challenges she faces comes as a bit of a surprise. Will Nell manage to make her dream come true and prove that she has moved on from her past? Or will she be faced with as many problems as she did in the U.K?

‘Take a look at me now’ was the very first book that I read of Miranda Dickinson’s. I came across it one day when I needed a little pick me up and with a title like that, I would have been a fool not to buy it. It was exactly what I needed to feel like ‘hey, I’m better than how you treat me’. Personally, the title had the power of making me feel like I was wiping smug looks off of people’s faces by going ‘take a look at me now’. Daft perhaps. Pretty powerful message though.

I have never been lucky enough to venture to San Francisco, but luckily Miranda Dickinson has! Because of that, she manages to capture the city in such an incredibly descriptive way that you’ll feel like you’re there, living the dream. Throughout the story you will do all the touristy things that Nell does, for example, having breakfast in an American diner and seeing the Golden Gate bridge, to name a few. Following Nell’s story from heartbreak and upset, to her flourishing in another country is incredibly refreshing. The obstacles that Nell faces yet still gets through is enough to make you think you can do the same in the moment.

I love how fast paced the story is because of all the swapping between various issues and the lifestyle Nell is currently in. Each character stood out in their own personal ways because of the personality Miranda has given them, and I think that can be hard to find when reading a busy story. I did tear up while I was reading the book (shock), I felt so sorry for Nell and the way she was treated. Especially when she had given her heart and soul to her new life, and that didn’t seem enough no matter what she did.  I also found the blurb to be spot on, you do end up cheering Nell on. You want her to find happiness, finally.

‘Take a look at me now’ is such a heart-warming read with an incredibly powerful message. I actually read the book two years ago, and it has stuck in my mind ever since, even to the point of writing this review now, two years later. It is definitely a book that, despite knowing exactly what happens, I would quite happily read it again and again. It’s crazy how words on a page can give you such a confidence boost after reading them, but it can take a very passionate author to get that power across in writing. If you are after a boost and a book to curl up in bed whilst eating copious amounts of chocolate, then this is for you.

Miranda Dickinson, thank you for writing confidence in a book. It is such a lovely story, I felt extremely content after reading it. You are very talented author, and I feel privileged to have you in my ‘circle’ so to speak! Brilliant.

 

Dream a little dream….

Dream a little dream of meeeee do do be do do de do…
You singing yet? Thought so. Did you have a childhood dream? By dream I mean something plausible and not the obvious one about wanting to be batman, or superman, or wonder woman! I mean seriously, we have all wanted to be one of those….or Iron man! No, I mean a dream that you would have done anything to achieve. You thinking about it? Good. I had an amazing ‘what I want to be when I grow up’. Well, two. I actually achieved one of my dreams when I was in my teens. I wanted to be a checkout girl! Stop laughing, I’m being serious! I wanted to work on the checkout so that I could sit down all day, I made my dream come true at 17. True story. As a child I wanted to be a singer, got plenty of practise singing into the light hanging from the ceiling…..’you know we belong togetherrrrrr, you and I forever and everrrrrrr’. Home and Away eat your heart out! Choreography was also on point, I mean, if Sclub 7 or Steps needed new members me and my brother could have filled in at a moments notice! We were that good. Well, we thought we were. In this day and age we would probably be seen as the joke act on the X Factor! Now there’s a thought!
I did have one other dream though, I wanted to be a published writer. I wanted to publish a children’s book for my own children. Is that still an aspiration of mine? Yes, it is. I never thought I could do it, I still don’t, but I don’t know unless I try. This is why I’m here, writing for you. Now while it is funny that I wanted to sit down all day back then, it’s not as funny now if you think about me and my situation. My situation is me being chronically ill, with not one, not two, but six conditions. Six that won’t go away. I could sit down all day, but unless I want to look like I’ve just been sitting in a freezer all stiff, moments after getting up, I can’t. Take my fibromyalgia for example (all over body pain – issues with the nerves, but can affect every part of your body), for an outsider looking in, it’s obviously far too easy to go ‘just get an early night and you’ll feel better’ or ‘take time to rest, you’ll feel better for it’ or ‘think positively’. Why didn’t I think of that!  Imagine this a second, imagine not being able to make any plans because you don’t know how you’re going to be when you wake up every morning, being exhausted just from taking a shower, parts of your body hurting and you haven’t done anything to make them hurt, feeling like you’re letting your loved ones down for not being ‘you’. How does that make you feel? Scared? Like you have lost a part of you?
You grieve for the life that you have lost, a life that had no limitations, a life you had more control over. Will I accept that I’m never going to get better, and that I’m reliant on tablets to keep me alive? To an extent, yes. Because that is the case. Will I accept that my life now has limitations…my body has limitations? Yes! I have to! It is either push myself and flare up for goodness knows how long after, or prioritise and be able to do things with my daughter and flaring up because of fun and not because I cleaned the kitchen floor. Not saying my kitchen is dirty by the way, totally an example!!
When you get told that you’re chronically ill on multiple occasions, you don’t really get told much, you have to go to your good friend Google. Me and google are BFFS!!! The illnesses are all completely unpredictable in their own very special (ahem) ways. The cognitive problems are sometimes more hurtful than the pain because I feel I can come across stupid if I get my words muddled up. I don’t want sympathy, I just want to be remembered. Not that hard really is it?
So the dream of me wanting to be a writer, a published writer, and feeling that now is the right time..you want to know why? Because me taking the control and working hard to try to make it a reality, is probably one of the few things I can be certain about. It is down to me to make this work. Words won’t write themselves. I have the control. I love to read, I love to write. If you truly want something and you know full well that if you don’t do it right now you may not even be able to do it in a few years time, it’s a kick up the youknowwhat. Grab the bull by the horns! Actually, don’t, I don’t think that is allowed. Is it?! Plus I can hide behind what I write to an extent. That isn’t me being false, it’s a way of escaping what I have to face. I may write something emotional but you won’t be seeing me cry so the embarrassment factor is no longer there.

Despite all of that, since 2013 I have had one main aspiration. One that will always be with me. I want to make my daughter (and my mum) proud of me. Every day is a battle for me, in various ways. Some days have more battles than others and I know I’ll not win every single battle I come up against. Does that bother me? No, not anymore. Whilst inside I think I’m Iron Man and can do everything, I can’t. I shouldn’t be expected to either. You all have your limits, be aware of them. Be true to yourself and the ones that love you, otherwise you will feel guilty. Believe me.

If you have somebody close to you right now that is needing a pick me up, don’t be all ‘awwww i’m sorry’ be all ‘here, have a cookie’ or just remember them. Goes for anyone really, even a stranger. I’m learning every single day that I fight my battles, but one thing I know is clear, the little things are what make it. The little things are important because they make up the bigger picture. You have to start somewhere…..

The years of loving you – Review

The years of loving you –  by Ella Harper.
Published
19th November 2015 by Harper Collins Publishers (Avon books)
ISBN: 978-0-00-758184-9
Available on Amazon in multiple formats (paperback and kindle).

‘What if your first love was your only love?

When Molly is diagnosed with a life-changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call Ed in a crisis?

Ed, the very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in different directions.

Molly starts to question every decision she has ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? When the only certainty they shared was each other….’

Stop for a moment and think about YOUR life. Have you ever had to break devastating news about yourself to any of your loved ones? Or have you been the one to receive the terrible news, getting told that lives will never be the same again? Yes? Thought so. Me too, except that I was the one breaking the horrible news…..multiple times. So was Molly…
The story begins in the present, lots of laughing, drinks and a hint of tension. Throughout the story you not only follow Molly’s life, you follow Ed’s life as well. Ed and Molly have known each other for many years, they share a history and a connection so deep that they have remained friends right into their adulthood. Ed has had a troubled life with secrets and problems he is too embarrassed to tell anyone, even Molly. Unfortunately for Ed, his life comes crashing down and he ends up making one of the biggest mistakes of his life….
Molly is married to Sam, a man who has his eyes firmly focused on the prize….his business. Molly has to compete with it, even when she has to sit down and break the news to him that she has a chronic illness. An illness that will not only change her life, but her loved ones lives too. They will see her grieving over a life she has lost, whilst also trying to adapt to a life that is unpredictable…very unpredictable. Unfortunately, Molly finds herself battling with extra problems and becomes lonelier than ever.
Who will come through for Molly in her darkest times? Sam, or Ed? Or nobody?
The book stood out for me because of the illness situation. I had to find out how other people reacted to life changing news. Why? Because I relate to it in more ways than one. I have multiple chronic illnesses. Reading about what Molly went through and how other people reacted to the news, had me in tears. It’s a topic that people don’t want to talk about and I am very pleased to find Ella Harper putting it in her story. It is real life. People go through it every single day. Personally I found that to be my connection to the storyline and to the characters. Also, I was hooked on finding out whether the girl got the guy, or the guy got the girl!
In every chapter there is something that will grab your attention, whether it’s something funny, or sad. Ella Harper’s style of writing is very engaging and I found myself in the story like I was someone watching everything unfold right in front of me. Depending on your beliefs about certain situations within the story, you might find yourself siding with a certain character and their own decisions. I know I did. ‘The years of loving you’ is an emotional rollercoaster of a book because it takes you on a journey of love, life and self discovery. Personally, I found the ending to just appear, like it was too short, and I think that is because I was incredibly engrossed in the gripping story that I didn’t realise it was coming up!
Ella Harper has managed to capture the soul of each character, bringing them to life in a way that I have never experienced before. A wonderful book that will bring out every emotion possible. A book that will open your eyes to different eventualities, good or bad. A book that will make you think anything is possible. Ella Harper, thank you. It has been an absolute pleasure to read and I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

Life Swap by Carol Wyer.

Life Swap by Carol Wyer.
Published by
Bookouture on 22nd April 2016.
Available on Kindle at Amazon

*Advanced preview copy given by Bookouture/Netgalley.*

‘All Polly has to her name is a string of failed relationships and a mountain of debt. She sees herself as a hopeless case and would do anything to change her luck.

So when she’s given the opportunity to swap all she’s ever known for a life of luxury, Polly jumps at the chance. Soon, it’s all diamonds, spa days and celebrity parties. Now all that’s missing from her life is a bit of romance. Will hunky Matt be the man to heal her broken heart?

But money can’t always buy you happiness. Can the life she’s always dreamed of get in the way of true love? ‘

Prepare yourself for a book that you will probably remember the day after you read it. Prepare yourself for a book that will have you wondering ‘what the fried eggs is going on?’. Prepare yourself for a book that will leave you that puzzled to the point of being unable to put it down. But more importantly, prepare yourself to be transported into a story that will make you look at your own life a little bit differently….

Before reading the Life Swap, I did the unthinkable. I didn’t read what it was about so I took it by its lively and bright looking cover and title. I straight away assumed that it was going to be about one person wanting a better life for themselves. Ever seen ‘The Holiday’ with Kate Winslet? I thought it was going to be similar to that. I know it is wrong to assume, however, it makes a much better surprise if you do in the book world. Brace yourselves, it’s not often I admit this so I am just telling you, you can keep a secret right? I was wrong, completely wrong. It was nothing like ‘The Holiday’. Lives were swapped, but not in the way that you might think.
Life Swap starts by the hunger inducing, wonderful thoughts of…..marshmallows. Yes, the book begins with marshmallows! If you’re not a fan of them, don’t let it put you off the book though, I mean, it’s not like it’s a talking marshmallow! No really, it’s not! At the beginning you’re introduced to Mr Simon Green, a car salesman with a wife and two children. Oh, and a cat. I won’t mention the cat too much, not that I have anything against cats, but, oh you’ll see! Mr Green is unhappy in his current life and wishes for his troubles to disappear (don’t we all). He wishes for the typical thing, happiness. Luckily for him, strangers come to the ‘rescue’ and promise him that things will change for the better and that a happier life is before him. Or is it?
Meet Polly MacGregor. An unlucky in love sports therapist that adores spending money on things she doesn’t really need. Polly is also unhappy in her life because of problems facing her that could ruin everything. She could lose everything. No wonder she wants a new life, a life full of luxury and without problems. Unexpectedly, Polly gets promised the world also, beckoning her into a life that she desires. A life swap. But is it really what she desires?
Throughout the story you will swap between the two main characters, their lives and their ‘new’ lives, with every chapter leaving you will something to think about and laugh about. Go with the story, because you’ll be truly kicking yourself at the end. Don’t blame me if you hurt yourself though!
I finished the book in five and a half hours. I was hooked on the bizarreness of what I was reading. Many, many times I did say out loud ‘what the fried eggs is going on?’ but I HAD to finish it. It is definitely an unpredictable story, however, it has the most incredible conclusion. This was the first book by Carol Wyers I had read, I didn’t know what her style was like, but I laughed, I laughed a lot. The things you will come across in the book are actually relatable to an extent because of the real life worries that do occur. Not everyone is happy in their lives, people do want things to change, but I would suggest not going down the route that Simon and Polly did!
If you’re into weird and wonderful humour, then expect the unexpected because you’re in for an absolute treat. It’s so bizarre and hilarious to the point that you will be guaranteed to remember it. Lose yourself in the joys of what unfolds before your very eyes. Laugh out loud. This is definitely a book for relaxing and to not take things so seriously. It’s my feel good book of 2016 so far!

About me! ‘Is your name Garnet?’

Unfortunately I haven’t been asked that question yet, and I am a little bit gutted! A little birdy told me (clever bird) that blog readers want to get to know about the person or people who write for the blog! I’m hoping that is the case, because that is what is about to happen! Prop up your cushions, grab your cuppa (milk and two sugars for me please) and let’s get started!

As I’ve already established, my name isn’t Garnet (boo!), it is Kaisha. If you can pronounce that on your first try, then give yourself a brownie point! I’m a late twenty-something mummy to a little gem, living in the UK. I have been obsessed with books for at least 16 years, if not more, and I have enjoyed writing for roughly the same amount of time. Here is a random fact for you: I sent Random House Book Publishers a story when I was in my teens! They were so lovely they even sent me a letter back saying that they won’t be using it this time, however it was a ‘lovely story’ and that they will look forward to me going back to them later down the line. Nicest rejection letter I have ever gotten, but it was one that cemented my love for all things words.
I don’t want this to go into a life story about myself, because not only will it be long and unnecessary, you’ll also get bored and we’re not here just for that! Here are some more random facts about myself instead:

1. I have seven tattoos.
2. I dislike odd numbers.
3. Snow leopards are my favourite animal.
4. I’m a chatterbox…I think I talk AT people, probably why I like writing!
5. I dislike snakes, with a passion!

Now you know that there is a real human being operating this blog, here are the ways that you can get in contact with me. Of course you can also follow this blog via the link and even post me comments. The other ways are all on the contact page anyway, but for ease I will put it here also:

You can contact me via Facebook (if you do decide to take a peek, pop a like on your way through!): The Writing Garnet
Follow me on Twitter: @kaishajayneh
Send an e-mail to kaishajayneh@gmail.com

I am extremely passionate about what I do, and I am so grateful I can share my work with you all. It has been a dream of mine for many years, so thank you all for being a part of this journey with me. Please continue to leave me comments or your thoughts, it is very important to me to know my readers enjoy what I write.

You’ve gotten to the end of my ‘about me’! Pop onto the Facebook page or in the comments, leave me 5 random facts about yourself!