TWG welcomes the fantastic…..Tilly Tennant!

As soon as I heard that a certain lovely lady had a new book coming out VERY soon (more details in a minute), I just had to hunt her down and grab her for a feature on my blog! Okay, to clarify, I didn’t hunt her down, nor did I grab her. I merely tweeted her one afternoon, but that doesn’t sound as interesting does it? ANYWAY! Huge warm welcome to Tilly Tennant on her first ever visit to The Writing Garnet! I can assure you now, it most certainly won’t be the last time either!

As I’ve already said, Tilly has a new book coming out on the 15th June 2016 called ‘The Little Village Bakery’ (Honeybourne Book 1). Want to see the cover? Of course you do!

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Isn’t it gorgeous?! Luckily for you though, if this cover tickles your taste buds already (see what I did there?!), you can pre-order it for £1.99 (pricing correct as of 10th May 2016) on Amazon UK! Super excited to read this. Mmmm, cake.

Tilly has kindly written a feature for the blog, a letter to her unpublished self. Have you ever written a letter to a younger version of yourself, or even as a child to your grown up self? If you have, please let me know! So here is Tilly’s letter, enjoy.

A LETTER TO MY UNPUBLISHED SELF
By Tilly Tennant.

Dear Tilly,
Listen up! I know you have this grand delusion that you’re going to be a famous singer but, really, nobody wants to hear it. You think you open your mouth and you sound like Mary Poppins. The reality is that you crack mirrors, dogs howl and small children flee. Ditch the warbling. Have you thought about writing books? You love reading, right? You love wordplay and humour? You love happy ever afters? Sometimes you get grumpy that the story you’re engrossed in doesn’t turn out the way you want it to? Well, hold the phone, because if you’d written it, it would have been exactly the ending you wanted to see. See? I won’t bull you; it’s going to be tough. Possibly tougher than one of your Sunday joints. Almost certainly tougher and less financially rewarding than singing (at least, other people’s singing). You will have to hold down about fifteen jobs for a while. You will have to work late into the night and get up at the crack of dawn to start all over again the next day. You will sit in darkened rooms on the sunniest days of the year when everyone else is out leaping in fountains and eating ice-cream because you have a deadline.
At times your kids will think you’ve left home when you’ve actually been holed up in the loft for three days crying over a plot that won’t work. There will be times when you want to throw the laptop from the nearest window, times when your characters will misbehave, times when it seems that nobody wants to buy the stories you’re peddling and when they do they only have bad things to say about them. But one day, one glorious, heavenly-choirs- massing-in- the-clouds day, someone will love what you do. Enough to hand you a contract and take you under their wing to nurture what you grain of talent you have. One day, you’ll publish that book. That’s when the adventure really begins. And in the words of a wise old(ish) Irishman: Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it. That’s my advice. So, what are you waiting for?
Love from Tilly xxx

So thank you to Tilly for sharing her humorous yet very honest letter. Also thank you to Mr Ronan Keating and his lyrics for appearing in that letter, and thank you to both of them for making the song now STUCK in head. Very much appreciated! Ahhhhheeeeeemmmmmm!

If you love Tilly’s style of writing and wish to stalk, I mean, follow her (still stalking!). Okay, scrap that. If you wish to keep updated with Tilly’s upcoming novels and singing (I jest) then you can grab her just like I did at the following links:

Tilly’s Twitter
Tilly’s Facebook
Tilly’s Website

2016 UKYA Book Blogger Award Nominations!

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Did someone say AWARDS?! Yes! Now is time to nominate who you think deserves to win! Have no idea what I’m on about? Oh you will do! Take a look at the information below and get your thinking caps on. You have until 15th May to get your nominations in. What are you waiting for?!

The 2016 UKYA Book Blogger Awards Nominations are now open!

Before we begin, please let me introduce you to the wonderful bloggers who’ll be helping:

Aditi @ A Thousand Words A Million Books

Amy McCaw @ YA Under My Skin

Andrew @ The Pewter Wolf

Annalise @ AnnaliseBooks

Aurelija @ myblinddatewithbooks

Chelley Toy @ Tales Of Yesterday

Chloe @ Writer-On-Wheels

Cintia @ Reflection of the Books

Emma @ Howling Reviews

Georgia Stencel @ The Books Bandit

Jesse @ thatjessebloke

Kaavya @ outlookonabook

Kaisha @ thewritinggarnet

Rachel Kennedy @ Ya-bberingBooklover

Rebecca @ Rebecca McCormick’s Authorial Blog

Big thanks to them and to Faye @ A Daydreamers’s Thoughts for letting Luna’s Little Library host this year.

Let us start!

In 2016 UKYA Book Blogger Awards there are 15 categories to vote in.

Please submit your nomination via the form below. You can nominate up to 3 Bloggers per category. Make sure to include both the Blogger and Blog Name to make it a valid nomination.

Nominations close at midnight on the 15th May 2016.

Don’t forget to share the love! #awardukyabbloggers

CATEGORIES:

*Best Blog Design*

*Best Feature*

*Best Newcomer* under 1 year

*Best Growing Blogger* 1-3 years

*Best Oldtimer* 3years+

*Best on Social Media* be is Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc… The Blogger in question doesn’t have to be on all types of social media, they can be you favourite on Twitter for example.

*Best Booktuber*

*Best Overseas Blogger*

*Marvellous Blogger Award* combining the Sweetest & Friendliest Blogger category

*Best Team / Co-op Blog*

*Best Female Blogger*

*Best Male Blogger*

*Blogger Spirit Award* combining the Most Enthusiastic & Most Passionate category from 2015

*Best Teen Blogger*

*Best Adult Blogger*

A #bookreview of – When Stars Collide by Tammy Robinson.

When Stars Collide by Tammy Robinson.
Published: 20th September 2013.
Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US in Kindle and paperback formats.

‘When Ivy meets Walt at a party she sees past the corny pick up lines (a dare from his friends, or so he tells her) and his t-shirt featuring the immortal slogan, ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful – hate me because I have big boobs!’ and they fall in love. Not only is he Ivy’s first love, he’s also her first lover, and she’s sure nothing could ever come between them. Their love is simple yet magical, and they delight in the happiness they have created. But when tragedy strikes, their future is thrown into turmoil, and Ivy goes searching for answers. Will she find them? Or will she forever be searching for something which just isn’t there.’

Remember finding your first love, and the excitement that came with it? Remember not wanting to be apart from them and your family realising that you were growing up before their very eyes? Aw, a love story! A love story of Ivy and Walt to be precise. Two people falling head over heels in love with each other, excited for their future and being together…if only it was that simple. If only things were as straight forward as being in love and being allowed to get on with it. Never is, is it? It’s always very calm…..before the storm….
Yet again I read this book without reading the blurb, and once again I am glad that I did it that way. I wanted to see the story unfold without knowing a thing, which is exactly what’s going to happen in this review! Usually I write general things about a book without spoilers (obviously), just to give readers a rough idea before they read it. But this time, I’m not going to because I feel that it is a story you need to find out for yourself, just like I did. Why? Because the book is a work of art. I will tell you what I thought of it though, naturally. I absolutely loved it, from start to finish. The amount of raw and powerful emotion that escapes into the story is incredible. As it’s already known, you do get to remember the love story of a first love and experience how Ivy felt. But then everything changed. The dynamics in the book changed. I was sitting bolt up right in my bed with my hand covering my mouth. No, I’m not being dramatic, it is THAT powerful.
Every event within the story is backed with a very realistic description; to the point where I felt that I was looking through Ivy’s eyes to what she saw. It made me feel that I was Ivy, walking the same path has her, realising that love comes in multiple forms, and that it’s not just reserved for that special someone. Friends, family, pets…you catch my drift. As I’ve said already, ‘When Stars Collide’ isn’t a simple love story, not by miles. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried multiple times. All of the emotional parts of the story came through in different ways. It wasn’t upset for one particular part or chapter, it was various things within the whole book. Does that make sense?
The story made me realise that you need to grab things with both hands. Love with all your might. Make the effort with those you love and don’t pay attention to those you don’t love or care for. When Stars Collide may also teach you other lessons, such as, helping you to realise that people deal with things in different ways and just because you don’t agree with it, doesn’t make it wrong. It might even teach you that you don’t need to justify how you feel to anybody, but others need to respect how you feel. Why do I think you might get taught a few things? Because I did. I had never read such a powerful, poignant, emotional and raw book…until I read this one. I just had to keep reading it…which is why I finished the book in little over an hour. People have said to me before ‘why do you read books that make you cry?’ and my answer to that is this; you don’t tell yourself that you will cry at a story, it’s not something that you know will happen. But when you get a book such as this, that has such power over you to the point of you getting emotionally involved in the characters lives, it’s extremely hard not to get upset. Especially when the characters you have gotten to know throughout the story are faced with tragedies, uncertainty, and even themselves.
Tammy Robinson, you are incredible at what you do and I am in awe of you and your work. Such a talented and humble individual, yet can produce such powerful writing. Amazing.

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by A.L.Michael. Book Tour!

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by A.L.Michael.
Published: 29th April 2016 by Carina UK.
Available to buy from Amazon UK.

The #houseoncamdensquare tour bus has stopped by my blog today! Super excited to be taking part in my very first book tour for such a talented author! First all of all I would like to say a big thank you to A.L.Michael and Sara for keeping me right with the information for this tour! Think it’s time I put A.L.Michael out of her misery and let you all know what I thought of Goodbye Ruby Tuesday! You comfortable? I shall begin…..

‘Ruby, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea were the bad girls at school. But Ruby was the baddest. Evie fought her anger, Mollie fought her mother and Chelsea…well, Chelsea just fought. But Ruby set her sights on a bigger stage. And together, they dreamed of a future where Ruby could sing, Evie could make art, Mollie could bake, Chelsea could dance – and all of them could finally feel at home.A decade later, the girls are reunited for the funeral of Ruby, who took the world – and the charts – by storm, before fading too soon. And Evie doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when she learns that Ruby has left them a house on Camden Square – the perfect place for them to fulfil their dreams. But does she dare take the plunge, and risk it all for one last shot at the stars?’

Remember having a group of close friends at school? A group of people with extremely different backgrounds and very different personalities? Meet Ruby, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea, four girls each with their own distinct pasts.  Unfortunately, not all of their pasts were as ‘ruby’ as they might have hoped. To be fair, who’s are? After many years of lost contact and growing up, the girls get to reunite in sad circumstances, for Ruby’s final ‘party’. The remaining girls; Evie, Mollie and Chelsea have taken very different paths in their lives, but all paths have led them back to each other. But why? Because of their friend, Ruby. Will Ruby’s death bring the girls closer again? Or will the girls leave their memories and their old friendships in the past?

In a couple of hours I had read 135 pages, I couldn’t put it down! The only thing that forced me to put the kindle away was the fact it was gone midnight and I had to be a grown up. What.a.book! Oh my goodness. A story of four childhood friends, each with their own very different personalities, disliked each other sometimes, but were still best friends no matter what. A.L.Michael, can I join the gang?! Pleaseeeee!! I felt quite sad that they had lost contact over the years though and that it took an unfortunate circumstance to reunite them. I found all of the characters to be very likeable, well, the main ones anyway! That rarely happens. I do have a favourite character though, little Esme. A little girl with on point humour and talks sense. Wait, I’ll rephrase that. She talks. The sort of person you would go to advice about, apart from she’s little and that’s probably not ideal, but you know what I’m saying. Anyway!
Throughout the story you learn about each of the girls individual pasts, and I found that to be such a clever way of writing as you could see for yourself how much they have grown over the years. They always fought for what they believed in, and they might have the opportunity to fight again…in more ways than one! Despite some of the deep subjects within the book, I found it to be such a light-hearted and very entertaining read. It contains humour, stupid mistakes, men, but most importantly, dreams. If you believe in it, it’s worth it.
I hadn’t read A.L.Michael’s previous books (even though I have one in my ‘to read’ pile) and now I am rather sad that I didn’t find her work sooner. That said, she has set the bar quite high with Goodbye Ruby Tuesday. Every page had me wondering what was going to happen, what else were they going to find out, and what one liners will Esme come out with next. For me personally, that makes a brilliant book to read because not only was it captivating, it had me snorting like a pig and laughing like a dolphin at the same time. I especially loved the bookish references throughout. If you’re a book nerd, you will appreciate those even more so!
I am so honoured that I was given the opportunity to read such a relatable and outstanding book. Such high praise for A.L.Michael! Goodbye Ruby Tuesday is definitely a book that I will remember for a long time. One slight critique I do have……..I didn’t want it to end! I wanted more! I cannot wait to see what the girls get up to in the next book of the series, extremely excited already. I definitely recommend this, everyone needs to have a dream, and everyone needs to be able to fight for it. Goodbye Ruby Tuesday shows you how…

Bella’s Christmas Bake off by Sue Watson

Bella’s Christmas Bake off by Sue Watson.
ISBN: 1910751618
Published: 20th October 2015 by Bookouture.
Available to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US in Kindle and paperback format.

‘Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.
But this year things are going to be different.
For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.
Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…
After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…’

Amy’s Christmas memories as a child mainly involve baking with her mother and her childhood best friend, Bella. Unfortunately, Amy and Bella’s history isn’t all that straightforward, but ‘thanks’ to Bella’s Christmas television programme, Amy finds herself confronting her past. Amy manages to get herself onto Bella’s Christmas programme to finally put to bed the past, but can Amy make Bella see what is right under her nose?
Who said Christmas books were just meant to be read in December? Certainly not me! If anyone has said that, I’m going to ignore it and so should you because this needs to be read ANY month of the year! Remember your childhood Christmases’? The excitement surrounding Santa Claus and whether you had been good enough in the year to find presents when you got downstairs. Not forgetting Christmas dinner of course! Paper hats on heads eating mountains of food because it was Christmas, and that’s the law! Oh, it’s not? Oh! Home made mince pies! (Thanks mum!) Reading Bella’s Christmas Bake off will transport you to every Christmas you have ever had whilst reliving all the special memories and traditions. Although, you might find yourself laughing at the realisation that a ham could be seen in a sexual manner……
I will rephrase that, you WILL find yourself laughing at multiple things, and not just the ham! This book has been on my ‘to read’ list since last year and I never got round to reading it until last month!  I am extremely regretful that I didn’t read this book sooner because it is such a captivating and warming book. Within the first few pages of the book, one of the main characters; Amy is hit with drama, major drama considering it’s three weeks before Christmas and she finds herself husband-less. Her Christmas now in tatters, oh, and the cake she spent ages making. The cake decided to have its own Christmas venture…on the floor…outside…where a cake should not be. Oh my goodness I feel faint at the thought! Amy’s Christmas tradition as an adult was watching Bella’s perfect Christmas life on the television. Is it really that perfect though? Luckily for Amy, in a roundabout way, she gets the chance to confront Bella over many things, including her mother’s recipes.
As you can probably guess already, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. The humour within the story is witty, on point, and will make you spit out any liquid in your mouth due to uncontrollable laughter. Well, looks like my secret is out! FYI, it was tea! Not only does the book contain hilarity, it also contains festivity and, for me, several hidden messages. Now, this isn’t a spoiler because no two people will read a book in the same way as someone else. Bella’s Christmas Bake off had me crying because it makes you realise that you need to live your life because of what you want without having to worry about what anyone else is going to say about your choices. It also made me realise that Christmas doesn’t have to be all fancy, it just needs to have what you hold dear to your heart. Family, close friends, even memories. Every single one of us has our own special memories to do with Christmas. Memories are priceless and so are traditions, however, you can make those memories last by carrying on special traditions as an adult. I know I will be.
I really can’t praise this book enough because it exceeded any expectations that I had before I read it. Hilarious, witty and extremely magical.  A truly compelling story that has been written straight from the heart, with Santa’s sleigh bringing it straight to your heart.

A London Affair by Jan Ellis

A London Affair by Jan Ellis.
Published: 12th April 2016 by Endeavour Press.
Available to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US in Kindle format.

‘Turning her back on university, Kate hopes to find an exciting opportunity that will take her away from wellies and wet sheep in the English countryside to the glitz and glamour of London.
However, after a year selling chutney on a chilly market stall, the prospects for a glittering career in the capital are looking increasingly unlikely.
All that changes when Ned, the intriguing buyer from a smart London deli, brings a welcome chance to follow her dream, and Kate finally embarks on a new chapter, leaving behind rural life and ex-boyfriend, Steve, in exchange for six months in the hectic café scene.
In Chelsea, Kate finds a bunch of ready-made friends in her flat-mates and grows close to Clare, Imogen, Freddy and the glamorous Russian heiress, Valentina. Imogen’s many comical attempts to find Kate a boyfriend backfire for Kate, but result in a twist in Immy and Freddy’s relationship.
Friendships deepen and secrets are revealed when Kate accepts an invitation to spend Christmas at the coast with Ned.
Back from the holidays, the flat-mates receive news that changes everything and forces Kate to make some big decisions: stay in London, return home or follow her heart to Cornwall?’

Do you remember what it’s like to have a choice about your life looming over your head? Remember making the big decision to begin your adult life as you choose, regardless of the hurdles, or begin your life the way that someone else wants you to? To be honest though, how many teens/twenty-something actually knew what they wanted to do when they grew up? A plan? I did, but life threw me curveballs. Just like Kate actually. She makes the decision to start her new found freedom the way that she wants, and not what her parents wanted her to do. Risky move? Probably, considering Kate has no idea what she is letting herself in for. She could find herself landing on her feet, or she could find herself regretting every single choice that she makes. Hopefully her new friends she finds herself bonding with, are good influences on her….

A London Affair was only the second novella (short story) that I have read, and it’s the first book of Jan’s that I have read as well! Huge thank you to Jan for giving me the opportunity to read her book! The first half of the book, I found myself realising that I was incredibly nosy as I wanted the characters and their pasts to be delved into a bit more, HOWEVER, as it is a novella, and you’re not going to find out what they had for breakfast in 1994, my nosiness doesn’t make the book bad at all. It just makes me realise that I am infact…..incredibly nosy and curious! By the second half of the book, I didn’t want it to end. I loved following Kate’s life in the story, finding out what choices she made and how her life turned out in the end. Several times whilst reading the book, I found myself feeling rather sorry for a couple of the characters because of the cards that they were dealt! Are people really that ignorant as to who’s around them? A London Affair is very romantic in multiple parts, there is always something that will make you go ‘awwwww!’. Well, if you’re a slush puppy like me that is. You never know! The story was also such a light and refreshing read, full of good intentions, bad choices and a girl trying to live her dream. What’s not to enjoy?