Which would you choose? Review of ‘Truth or date?’ – Portia Macintosh.

Truth or date? by Portia Macintosh.
Published: 11th April 2016 by Carina.
Available on Amazon in Kindle format.

‘Falling for the man of her dreams…

Ruby Wood is perfectly happy playing the dating game – until she has a red-hot dream about her very attractive flatmate, Nick. He might spend every day saving lives as a junior doctor, but he’s absolutely the last man on earth that fun-loving Ruby would ever date!

The solution? Focus on all of Nick’s bad points. And if that fails, up her dating antics and find herself a man! So what if she manages to make disapproving, goody two-shoes Nick jealous in the process…

Only, after a series of nightmare first dates, there’s still just one man on Ruby’s mind. Maybe it’s time to admit the truth and dare to ask Nick to be her next date?’

Well!! What can I say about ‘Truth or date’? Thank you to Netgalley and Carina for the early copy! Apparently blue balls are a ‘thing’, and I don’t mean the bouncy kind. According to Ruby, you’ll meet her in a moment, it is a line guys use to lure women into their love shack! Who knew?! Ruby Ruby Ruby!! Ruby is the person whose life you will follow, I say life, but I mean dating and alcohol central.  She has the ‘I don’t give a fudge cake’ about everything, mainly guys, relationships, oh and walking around with partly pink hair! Who here has been in a situation where you get nowhere with dates and always fall into the ‘friend zone’? Or having a massive crush on somebody and trying to change yourself to be like all the ‘popular’ people? Yes? If that is the case, you’re going to love this book.
As you can gather by what I have mentioned already, Ruby seems to have one or two problems with dates. The main reason being that they’re only after one thing. Think Netflix and chill…without the Netflix. Following? Good. Ruby seems to be stuck in a bit of a rut with all the dates, going to bars with her guy best friend, and mucking about instead of working. Now Ruby has a choice to make, should she follow her heart or live with regrets for the rest of her life?
Should Ruby carry on believing that everything about her is an issue due to the guys that have let her down, or should she believe that there is someone out there for her? But which path does she choose…..truth….or date….
Truth or date? is an absolutely hilarious read. By the second chapter I was having a coughing fit by laughing so hard. There is sarcasm and humour is all the way through, including mentioning ‘punched lasagne’ (that phrase is following me everywhere this week!) Everyone is Ruby. Everyone has been Ruby. I have been Ruby. Unfortunately I have been in the situation where I have been treated like scum by guys, and still am. Just like Ruby, my confidence was shattered (and still is), so instead of feeling self worth, it’s a natural defence mechanism to use humour. That is exactly what Portia has portrayed within Ruby. She acts like she doesn’t give a muffin, but she really does. She is such a relatable personality that I am sure her outlook may help those who always get let down. Her best friend Millsy, is the typical lad and he is hilariously annoying, but he is the only one that has stuck by her since she will little. I felt so sorry for Ruby, she was trying to be strong throughout all of her issues, but still was getting trodden on and made to feel like she wasn’t enough. It is so refreshing to read a book that covers a real-life situation like dating; especially in today’s society with social media and so-called ‘role models’.
Having been the first book that I have read of Portia’s, I had no idea what to expect, but I am thrilled that I found her books. Hilarious and refreshingly brilliant all the way through. Quote me if you like, but this is my heart-warming humorous book of 2016. Fantastic!

It’s publication day for Marcie, and a second chance for Riley!

Happy publication day to the wonderful Marcie Steele aka Mel Sherratt!! ‘The Second Chance Shoe Shop’ is available to buy HERE!! in both Kindle and paperback formats! You can also check out my book review of the novel here: The second chance shoe shop – Marcie Steele.

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I have that canvas hanging up on my wall, and I thought it would fit in with today. Not only does Riley try to find the right shoes, Marcie/Mel will conquer the world with her new book. Also, she is currently running a competition over on Twitter to celebrate the novel’s publication. It’s a competition about….you’ll never guess…..SHOES. Tweet your own shoes with the theme that gets set daily! It’s running until the 15th and you’ll be daft not to join in, the prizes are fabulous darling! Find all the details from Marcie herself right here —-> Marcie Steele’s Blog.

I’m sure all of you lovely readers will help congratulate Marcie on her publication date, and go and buy the book too. I mean, if you like shoes, why not? #shoelove.

From Scotland to England With Ali Mcnamara….Actually.

I am squealing as I type this. If you’re currently hearing a high pitched noise, or your dog has its ears pricked up listening for something, don’t panic, only me!

It is with great pleasure and honour to welcome Ali McNamara to The Writing Garnet! Ali McNamara is well known for the ‘Notting Hill’ series (my book review of book 1 can be found HERE, and currently has six novels to her name, with her seventh being published this July.

Ali agreed to an interview with me for the blog, so here is what we had a chat about, enjoy!

Kaisha: – You already know I’m a massive fan of yours, but who inspires you in terms of other authors, if any?

Ali – Thank you! From my own genre I’ve always loved Cecelia Ahern, as her stories are always a little bit different. At the moment I also love reading J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, and Mitch Albom’s books – a bit like Cecelia, something a little different…

Kaisha – You went into a great amount of detail with the Notting Hill series, bringing movies to life. Did you find that hard to do, or are you a movie buff just like Scarlett is?

Ali – I love the types of movies Scarlett does – feel good films that make you smile! :).  I spent a long time re watching all my favourites, and some I hadn’t seen before, as research for the first Notting Hill book. And I got to call it work!

Kaisha – I have to ask. Bridget Jones’s diary turned 15 this month and she is having a baby in the new film! Do you have any plans to bring Scarlett and co back for a fourth book?

Ali – I would LOVE to write about Scarlett again! I always planned another book where children were definitely on the horizon for her and Sean. However things change quite quickly in publishing, and at the moment my own publishers aren’t so keen for another Notting Hill book. But never say never! I miss those characters; they may be back one day….

Kaisha – Your book ‘Step back in time’ had quite a lot of celebrity references too in terms of music, how long did it take you to research that particular book?

Ali – A long time! Step Back in Time is one of my personal favourites, but because its set in five different decades, it was one of the hardest to write in terms of research, everything had to be checked and double-checked!

Kaisha –  If you could pick just one of your books as your favourite, which would it be and why?

Ali – Whoops, I think I answered that above! But the Notting Hill characters will always be special to me.

Kaisha – Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Ali – No, definitely not.  However, because I’m an only child I’ve always had a very active imagination!

Kaisha – If you hadn’t become a writer, what would career path would you see yourself in right now?

Ali – Law. I love fighting for what’s right!

For those that are fans of the ‘Notting Hill’ series, cross your fingers for a fourth book! Thank you again to Ali for taking the time out to have a chat with me and answering my questions. It has been an absolute pleasure. You have also put my inquisitiveness to rest for a little while! Ali’s new novel ‘Letters from Lighthouse Cottage’ is out 14th July 2016, and is available to pre-order on Amazon right now, so make sure you get your copy snapped up ready for publication date!

 

 

 

 

The Summer Escape – Book Review

The Summer Escape by Lily Graham.
Published: 26th May 2016 by Bookouture.
Available on Amazon in Kindle format.

Amongst the beautiful olive groves and sea-front tavernas, summer has arrived on the sun-drenched island of Crete.
After losing the love of her life, Ria’s life has been on hold. So when her boss becomes completely unbearable she makes the snap decision to run away to the Greek island of Crete, armed only with her passport.
When Ria finds herself working for eccentric novelist Caroline, she meets handsome vineyard owner Tom. He’s charming, mysterious and Ria starts to wonder if it’s not just the beautiful Greek island that she’s falling for.
But as Ria gets to know Tom better, she uncovers a tangled web of secrets. What is he hiding? Ria has some secrets of her own. Can she open up to Tom and learn to live again?
This summer, escape to the sun with this charming and emotional story about starting over and grabbing happiness with both hands.

This is becoming a habit of mine. ‘What is?’ I hear you ask, leaning forward on the edge of your seats waiting patiently for my words…….
Sorry, I went on holiday, to Crete for approximately six hours. Well, it only took me six hours to read! Back to my habit. This was yet another book I judged by its cover. Sorry!! I hadn’t read the blurb before I began to read it, I just spotted the cover and the author on Twitter and went to read it for a review. Simple as that. Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for the advance copy of the book!
At first glance, the cover made me think it was going to be a light-hearted, romantic, simplistic book which gives you an idea to find a holiday romance on your travels. Is that what you’re thinking it’s about?
Welcome to Ria’s life, or lack of, seeing as she is stuck in a job with a boss and a colleague that finds fault in everything she writes. Ria finds herself in a difficult situation after terrible things happened in her life, making her future become full of uncertainty. No five-year plan anymore so to speak. Should she stay, or should she go?
Ria makes a decision that changes her life once and for all. A decision that puts her on the path that a loved one had wanted for her all along. But how influential was that loved one? Will Ria be able to honour her loved ones dreams, but more importantly, will Ria be able to find herself again and honour her own dreams?
Along the way you meet vibrant and exciting characters, some who you probably won’t pay too much attention to at first, and some that you wish you had paid more attention to. On her travels, Ria finds herself in hot water, more than once, thinking that she was about to lose her new-found life. Can she hold onto it? Will Ria finally get the happy ending she has dreamt about? Or will Ria find herself going back to living with her parents, working with a teacher’s pet?
After reading the book, I found my first glance to be somewhat incorrect. I mean, it is a romantic story, very romantic. However, oh my goodness me! It isn’t simplistic at all and I love that! The amount of skeletons that you see come from the closet is unbelievable. The amount of secrets that ONE family, sorry, no, one person can have is absurd! Absurd in a ‘this makes fantastic reading’ kind of way. I felt sorry for Ria throughout most of it because she has had an incredibly tough time, and you find yourself willing her to succeed and be happy. Even when she lands herself in hot water you will probably find yourself willing for her still, wanting her to finish what she started! I wouldn’t suggest reading this book when you’re hungry though. You go to several bakeries in the story, more than once, and unless you don’t like Greek pastries then you’re going to be a tad stuck. I have never tried Greek pastries myself, but oh I want to now.
Several times during the book I laughed out loud, the humour and jokes between Ria and Caroline (her new boss) are on point. Modern humour. This book should have come with a warning though: ‘WARNING: do not, under any circumstances, forget the tissues’. Why? Because you will cry! I hope you do actually, because if you don’t then I’m even more soppy than I thought and I cannot have that. So when you read it, cry. Deal?
‘The Summer Escape’ is a book about love, dreams, second chances, but more importantly; truth. It is such an unpredictable read which will have you captivated by the end of the first chapter. Lily Graham has written a book that will stay in the back of your mind, in a good way, and make you question your own paths in life. Are you living your life for somebody else, or are you living your life for YOU?

I have had the absolute pleasure the past few days to get to know Lily, and not only is she a wonderful writer, she is also a wonderful person. You’re all in for a good time with this book. Lily, I cannot wait for your next book, please keep me updated! If it’s anything like this one, it will be incredible!

From Notting Hill With Love….Actually.

From Notting Hill With Love….Actually by Ali McNamara.
Published: 25th November 2010 by Sphere.
ISBN: 978-0751544954
Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
Part of ‘The Notting Hill series’. Book 1 of 3.

‘Scarlett loves the movies. But does she love sensible fiancé David just as much? With a big white wedding on the horizon, Scarlett really should have decided by now…
When she has the chance to house-sit in Notting Hill – the setting of one of her favourite movies – Scarlett jumps at the chance. But living life like a movie is trickier than it seems, especially when her new neighbour Sean is so irritating. And so irritatingly handsome, too. Scarlett soon finds herself starring in a romantic comedy of her very own: but who will end up as the leading man?’

Are you a fan of romantic comedies? Was that a yes? Oh good! Are you a fan of popular movies such as Notting Hill or Bridget Jones’s Diary? You are? Perfect! Are you a fan of going to places where movies have been set and finding movie spots or things that were used in the movie? Is that a yes too? I’m impressed! Three out of three isn’t bad! Looks like this book will be your cup of tea…or champagne! If you said no to more than two of those questions then ask yourself why not, or just read the book anyway, you might surprise yourself. You do not want to ever go without reading this gem.

Meet Scarlett; the daydreaming movie buff that ironically works with popcorn. She also has a fiancé called David; a business man who dislikes Scarlett daydreaming all the time about movies. Luckily for Scarlett, she manages to answer her calling and go to Notting Hill. Yes, THE Notting Hill, to house – sit. Straight away she gets side-tracked and spots something she may have seen in one of her favourite films. I say may…she did…although I’m sure you guessed that! Within the first chapter of the book you find out that Scarlett’s mind is like a rollercoaster; thoughts going everywhere, and none of them in an orderly fashion. House sitting makes Scarlett realise a few things, her neighbour seems to help with the realisations too, as well as the new friends she makes. Will Scarlett’s stay in Notting Hill be as plain sailing as she had hoped for? Or will her past end up making an appearance?
You will get to travel in this book, from London to Disneyland Paris. From one life, to another. From Notting Hill to When Harry Met Sally. From love….to lust. If you are a fan of the romantic comedies with the added shock, then you will love this book. Scarlett shocks a lot of people along the way, including herself. She acts differently to the ‘typical’ Scarlett which people, well, one person in particular, doesn’t seem to like. But is that just how Scarlett is? Has she been hiding her true self for many years just to please others?
Being totally honest, I bought this book because the title grabbed me straight away. I knew what it was in reference to without reading the back. Why? Because I love romantic comedies, and finding out about the celebrity life style. Pretty much a ‘how the other half live’. I took an instant disliking to one of the characters nion straight away because he was so far away on his own cloud that it annoyed me! Pretty daft I think but fair play to Ali McNamara for creating that sort of character. I do like reading a book and finding that I dislike one or two of the people mentioned. Every character stands out in a memorable way because of how Ali McNamara has written their personalities. Especially due to the fact we probably all know, or have known people like them! For example; a dreamer(Scarlett), serious one way business man (David), Mr ‘not great at first impressions’ (Sean). Bet that has you thinking of people now!
I was hooked, big time. Whilst part of it was predictable because I was hoping it to be that way, I didn’t find that a bad thing. I gasped in shock, laughed, even had tears in my eyes at one point. The way the storyline captures you from beginning to end is incredible and very cleverly done. If you are the type of person that knows their romantic comedies inside and out, just like Scarlett, you should be able to relate to most things in the story. Although, reading about the happenings of certain events, is just like watching a movie….in a book. Definitely a ‘don’t put down’ sort of book. I read this book last year, as well as the others in the series. I had to find out what happens, so I finished all three books within a week.
Ali McNamara is such a captivating author, I’m pretty gutted I didn’t find her books sooner. I have extremely high praise for this book, it’s absolutely brilliant! So brilliant in fact that I tweeted Ali right after reading them to see if she will write a fourth one. Cannot wait to see if you do Ali. Your work is fantastic!

**If you have read this book, please let me know what you think of it too! If you haven’t read it, I will be reviewing the other two as well.**

The second chance shoe shop – Marcie Steele.

The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie Steele.
Published by: Bookouture on 8th April 2016.
Available to buy on Amazon in Kindle format.

‘All Riley Flynn wants is to meet someone who makes her happy. But attracting the right kind of man is not easy, and with her heart still hurting from her last break-up, Riley believes she’ll never find love again.
A year ago, Sadie Stewart’s whole world was shattered when her husband, Ross, died. She has struggled to keep herself together for the sake of their young daughter, but with the anniversary of his death approaching, Sadie finds herself overwhelmed by grief.
Sadie and Riley work at Chandlers shoe shop, in the charming town of Hedworth. But when Chandlers is threatened with closure, the friends are confronted with the loss of not only their jobs, but also their support network – the glue that holds them together when they are close to breaking.
As they put together a plan to save their beloved shop, Sadie realises that she might just be learning to live again. Could it be that new beginnings are just round the corner? The campaign also finds Riley unexpectedly crossing paths with charming photographer, Ethan. Maybe her second chance at love is right under her feet…..’

Before I begin, who here likes shoes? Okay, not just likes, LOVES shoes? You? Good, because if you didn’t, I would be wondering why you were reading a book about a shoe shop, which, believe it or not, has shoes in it! Funny that! Now I LOVE shoes, the higher the better, ones with prints, loud colours, you know, the ones you probably shouldn’t walk in but you do because everyone says that you can’t…sorry….shouldn’t.
It really is ‘the life of Riley’, well, and friends. Poor Riley has gotten herself into a bit of a pickle in her personal life, and unfortunately, her work life looks like it’s going to have several issues as well. Her colleagues Dan and Sadie, are extremely optimistic that everything will be fine and that the big boss lady, Suzanne, isn’t about to make life a lot tougher for all of them. Or is she?
Sadie lost her husband and she is left to raise their daughter by herself. Ross’s one year anniversary of his death is nearing and she finds herself reaching for more support, online. But does that make it harder for her to let go? Or will it be the comfort she needs, especially as she finds herself feeling lonely, despite her friends support?
Riley and her colleagues find themselves in a position that can be seen as ‘make or break’, but luckily for Riley, a handsome chap re-lights her fire. Little does she know that he has a few skeletons in his own closet and they’re about to put the fire out. Unfortunately, in more ways than one. Could Riley get her fight back? Will Riley be strutting her stuff in her amazing shoes, just like before? Time to give ‘The Second Chance Shoe Shop’ a first chance and find out.
Oh my goodness me! Yes, I will admit I chose this book because it is about shoes, and I don’t know if I have told you yet (ahem), but I adore shoes. Straight away I was hooked on Riley’s life and drama, wondering if she would ever find true happiness. The entire storyline, thankfully, isn’t that straightforward and will have you hooked all the way through. Her friends find themselves having their own problems and having to stand on their own two feet for once. I love how modern the storyline is, including social media and how much power that can have over people. For example, the negativity that can appear and how much people can actually believe words on a screen if they’re against somebody. Marcie Steele has written the story in such a way, it can show you how to deal with any negativity that you might have faced on social media, well, and what not to do!
The Second Chance Shoe Shop is such a warm story that I felt like I was just sitting having coffee with friends. There was always something happening. Not only did it make me laugh, but it did make me cry. The emotion that can be felt throughout the whole story is incredible, and probably to many, many people, the circumstances are extremely realistic. I unfortunately have been on the receiving end of cyber bullies, it is a horrible feeling, so it is very refreshing to see it being covered in a light-hearted but important manner. I am very grateful to Netgalley and Bookouture for giving me the chance to read this book before publication, it really is a truly wonderful read. A work of art from a truly lovely author. Marcie Steele (Mel Sherratt), it has been an absolutely pleasure and I cannot wait to see what else you have in store. #shoelove #shoelove #shoelove!!