Which season do your secrets appear in? Apparently, Alice Ross has ‘A Summer of Secrets’!!

summer of secrets for JENNY
A Summer of Secrets (Countryside Dreams, Book 2) by Alice Ross.

Published: 9th May 2016 by Carina UK.
Available to buy from Amazon UK.
Add to GoodReads shelf.

Not read the first book in the series yet? Find out what I thought of ‘An Autumn Affair’ right here: An Autumn Affair by Alice Ross. Book Review.

‘A perfect, feel­ good summer read about love, life and family. 
One long hot summer. Secrets never stay buried for long…
Portia is determined to restore Buttersley Manor, her family’s crumbling ancestral home, to its former glory.
Yet she has a feeling that there are a few forgotten skeletons in the dust­ covered cupboards.
Jenny has put her life on hold for far too long. It’s time to finally start living and to dig up those hopes and dreams she’s kept hidden all these years – but is she brave enough? 
Rich is happily married with a beautiful wife and lovely daughter. In fact, his world is perfect until a very unexpected consequence of his past walks through the door…
Joe would like nothing more than to travel back in time to when he and Gina were happy. But is it too late to rescue what they once had?

One thing’s for sure, nothing’s ever quite what it seems when it comes to life in the country!’

Thank you to Jenny In Neverland for inviting me on the tour, and thank you to Carina UK and Alice Ross for allowing me to read the book pre-release!

Despite ‘A Summer of Secrets’ being part of the Countryside Dreams series, just like the previous story ‘An Autumn Affair’, it can be read as a standalone book. This means that each book can be read without reading the other books in the series prior, however, the stories are great reads so there wouldn’t be any reason not to read the rest!

We’re back in Buttersley meeting another four of its colourful residents, how many skeletons will be found in each of their closets?
Will Portia be able to restore Buttersley Manor to its former glory, or will her heart rule her head?
Can Jenny remove herself from her mother’s grasp, or will she continue to put her life on hold as that is all she has ever known?
The perfect wife, the perfect marriage, and the perfect child. But is Richard’s life as perfect as he thinks? Can anything ever be just…perfect?
Then there is Joe, oh how straightforward it is to be a window cleaner, everyone knowing who you are, reputation is a powerful thing. But is it just Joe’s reputation that he should be worried about?

Welcome to Buttersley! The place where anything and everything can happen, literally! As soon as I knew that I was going to be involved in this tour, I made sure that I had read the first book in the series, just incase. Yes, they can be read on their own, but seeing as this would have been the first book that I had read of Alice’s, I just had an excuse to read the first book beforehand.

Even though I knew that the story concentrates on four characters and their lives, it took me a couple of chapters to work out where it was all going. I did find it hard to keep up at first, but seeing as I am easily confused and find it hard to keep up with Bambi, then I expected myself to be a tad slow!

Each of the characters that you meet have their own story to tell and you get to find out about their personalities pretty quickly. I found myself warming to Portia and Richard quicker than I did Jenny and Joe. I think this was because I shouted at the book ‘grow up!’ and ‘grow a pair’, multiple times throughout Jenny and Joe’s stories. I sound harsh now don’t I? I think it’s my ice queen persona coming out there, either that or I am just…harsh! Once my confusion with the direction of the book subsided, I really got into the book and found myself enjoying the dramas that unfolded. There is always something to keep you thinking and eager to read more of the book, which for me personally, is a bonus. Sometimes when I have read books that cover multiple characters lives, the storyline can get a little bit clouded and can be a bit slow on getting to the nitty gritty parts. ‘A Summer of Secrets’ was definitely not one of those books. Each of the four characters have their own nitty gritty parts to sink your teeth into. I most certainly wasn’t bored when I was reading it. I mean, I read the book in one night!

Alice Ross has managed to give the book incredible depth in various ways. Within just one book she has evolved her characters and made them grow up right in front of your very eyes. I did change my opinion of each person as the story progressed, I wasn’t as judgemental of Jenny and Joe at the end, I did warm to them. Well, I suppose I had stop being too much of an ice queen and admit that I may have felt a tad sorry for Jenny, once or twice(!), the guilt that her mother has fed into her over the years is astonishing. How anyone can put up with that is beyond me. I’m talking about the characters as if I know them, just goes to show how talented Alice is as a writer if she can make me feel as though I have friends ;).
Alice Ross is a very clever writer. Not only did she make me feel as though I had friends, she made me wonder about what was in store, who had the secrets, and whether the secrets would finally be revealed. As well as all of that, she made me laugh with her witty writing. The sarcasm that oozes into the story with some of the one liners is brilliant, it added even more to the already enjoyable read.
‘A Summer of Secrets’ is a perfect read for sitting in your garden with your glass of pimms (or any beverage of your choice), and finding yourself disappearing into the tales that await for you in Buttersley. If you thought the countryside was going to be calm and serene, then you haven’t been to Buttersley, it’s a village you won’t ever forget…

About the author – Alice Ross.
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Follow Alice on Twitter
Alice’s Website
Alice Ross used to work in the financial services industry where she wrote riveting, enthralling brochures about pensions and ISAs that everyone read avidly and no one ever put straight into the bin.
One day, when nobody was looking, she managed to escape. Dragging her personal chef (aka her husband) along with her, she headed to Spain, where she began writing witty, sexy, romps designed to amuse slightly more than pension brochures. 
Missing Blighty (including the weather ­ but don’t tell anyone), she returned five years later and now works part­time in the tourism industry. 
When not writing, she can be found scratching out a tune on her violin, walking her dog in wellies two sizes too big (don’t ask!), or standing on her head in a yoga pose.

 

T-minus…how many days? TWG is still counting down!

It’s the final countdown!! Do do do dooooo do do do doooooo! Yes that’s right, ‘The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower’ in a matter of days, and TWG will be shouting about it until the day of release!

Today is Friday 24th June 2016 which means….

6

‘Anouk LaRue used to be a romantic, but since she had her heart well and truly broken her love life has dissolved into nothing more than daydreams of the perfect man. Retreating to her extraordinary Little Antique Shop has always been a way to escape, because who could feel alone in a shop bursting with memories and beautiful objects…
Until Tristan Black bursts into an auction and throws her ordered world into a spin.
Following your heart is a little like getting lost in Paris – sometimes confusing and always exciting! Except learning to trust her instincts is not something Anouk is ready to do when it comes to romance, but the city of love has other ideas…’

Like the sound of that and want to ensure you have your copy pre-ordered ready? You can pre-order it right now via Amazon UK!

It’s wedding season! How about ‘Four Weddings..and a Fiasco’?

Four Weddings and a Fiasco by Catherine Ferguson.
Published: 16th June 2016 by Avon (Harpercollins).
ISBN-10: 0008163618
ISBN-13: 978-0008163617
Available to buy from Amazon UK.

‘The ebook bestseller is back with her next riotously funny read! Get your hands on the ONLY book you need this summer. 
Katy Peacock lives a life as colourful as her name. As a wedding photographer, she spends her days making other people smile as she captures all sorts of fun and capers at celebrations that range from the wacky to the wild. 
But her own life isn’t looking quite so rosy. Her mum is acting out of character, her menacing ex is back on the scene, and she is torn between two gorgeous men. And that’s before we even get started on the trouble her sister is causing . . .
As Katy weathers the ups and downs of the season, she revisits problems from the past, discovers new friendships and finds that four weddings and a fiasco have the power to change her world beyond measure.’

Time to put your dancing shoes on as it’s TWG’s stop on the ‘Four Weddings and a Fiasco’ blog tour!! A big thank you to Harpercollins publishing for inviting me onto the tour; the cover alone caught my eye before I received the invitation, so I was rather excited when my e-mail notification pinged to tell me that I had the opportunity to be involved with a book I was very eager to read! It most certainly didn’t disappoint either!
Katy Peacock hasn’t been lucky in love in the past. She has had multiple failed relationships which means she has put the idea of herself walking down the aisle, on a backburner…for now. Despite that, there has been nothing (yet) to stop her being able to make other people happy on their special day. Instead of being the one that is in the photographs, Katy is the person taking the photographs. Unfortunately for Katy, it’s hasn’t just been her love life relationships that have failed, her own family relationships have suffered over the years also. Can Katy fix the mess that she was left in? Or will she end up finding herself in more of a difficult position? They say that there are two sides to every story….if both sides talk to each other that is.
As I said above, the cover caught my eye before I got invited onto the tour. Whilst it is quite a simple cover, it made me rather intrigued as to what it was ‘hiding’. I couldn’t wait to see what Catherine Ferguson had in store for me as I began reading the book. By the end of the first chapter I realised that there was more to Katy that meets the eye. She comes across as a very lovely, humble lady, but there was just something I couldn’t put my finger on. You’re probably thinking that one chapter isn’t long enough to get to know a character in a book, and you’re right, but you can begin to work out each character usually by the end of the first chapter. I say usually, this time I hadn’t!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about all the different weddings that Katy was involved in, learning about each and every character and what makes them tick, and whether each wedding will go without a hitch. I’m not being pessimistic but there’s bound to be something that goes iffy during a wedding isn’t there? Even if it was just a lost shoe! Luckily for you though, Four Weddings and a Fiasco isn’t just about a lost shoe, it is full to the brim of secrets, betrayal, but most importantly, hope.
The story follows Katy throughout her job as a wedding photographer as well as capturing moments that could either re-light her fire, or extinguish it. Not only that, each of the weddings that Katy is involved in have their own story to tell. Some of the weddings aren’t as straight forward as the others, but one in particular had me bent over laughing because of the extraordinary events that happened. As the saying goes ‘photographs capture moments that words cannot’. I found that saying come to life on more than one occasion throughout the whole story. Many relationships were put to the test; what would you prefer: perfect wedding or a perfect relationship with a few bumps on the wedding day?
Catherine Ferguson has written Katy’s personality like you’re reading a story about a close friend. I warmed to Katy quicker than I did the other characters and multiple times I felt extremely sorry for the things that she has faced.
But what was the fiasco?! If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what it might be as soon as you have read the title. Although, to begin with my curiosity about the ‘fiasco’ soon disappeared as the story came to life. Not only has Catherine captured her characters in a wonderful way, she captured my heart with such a warm and heartfelt story. It had me captivated and mesmerized, I did not want it to end! Reading ‘Four Weddings and a Fiasco’ felt like I was in the middle of a 21st century love story four times over.
Extraordinary book from a very talented author. I am so looking forward to what Catherine has in store for us with her next book!

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You’re in for a double treat today! Not only have I written this review, Catherine Ferguson has written a short story featuring the main character of ‘Four Weddings and a Fiasco’, Katy Peacock. If you have been following the blog tour so far, you would have come across the other parts to the short story! Here, especially for you, is part nine of the short story. Thank you to Catherine and Harpercollins for allowing me to share this with you on my blog, I am extremely honoured! (Especially as one of the characters names sounds like mine 😉 ).  I hope you enjoy:

ONE BRIDE AND A BOMBSHELL 

9

How odd, though, that I’d been thinking only the night before about her horrible bullying. When I was in the pub talking to…?
What was his name?
My lips twitched in a rueful smile. We’d talked about pretty big stuff yet we didn’t even know each others’ names! 
Camilla left to make her phone call and I walked briskly over to the purpose-built annexe where the wedding ceremonies took place. 
When I entered the room, a string quartet were in the process of setting up at the back, and the groom and best man were already there, standing by the altar. 
I glanced over at them and to my surprise, I realised I actually recognised the groom. It was the man with the beard and curly black hair from last night. The man who’d come over to ask if his mate wanted a drink. It was a small world. 
As I approached with my camera, he looked across at me and I saw a flicker of recognition as his eyes landed on me. I took a deep breath and hid my nerves behind a big smile. ‘Hi there, you must be Jonathan. Pleased to meet you. I’m Katy Peacock, Camilla Radcliffe’s assistant.’ 
He grinned and shook my hand. ‘Actually, it’s not me going to the slaughter today,’ he joked. ‘I’m Keesha’s brother, Lewis. This is Jonathan, the lucky groom.’
A sandy-haired man, who’d had his back to me, now turned. I stared in amazement. It was the man I’d talked to in the pub. 
‘Well, hello,’ he smiled. ‘Fancy seeing you again.’
‘Yes, fancy!’ I forced a laugh, as my head reeled all over the place.
This man, Jonathan, was getting married. To Keesha Dixon
It didn’t make sense. 
Keesha was the woman he’d been telling me about in the pub? The woman who was so generous and kind-hearted, she gave her money away in the street? And who, for years, had selflessly run marathons and raised money for charity, despite having asthma? 
But it was all lies!
The Keesha I’d known back then was so lazy, she’d bunk off PE every chance she got. 

I stared at Jonathan, wondering what the hell to say. 
His bride-to-be had never been bullied at school. Ever. For one very important reason. 
Keesha ‘Crusher’ Dixon was the bully!

 

TWG & Rebecca Raisin are counting down, are you?

It’s the final countdown!! Do do do dooooo do do do doooooo! Yes that’s right, ‘The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower’ in a matter of days, and TWG will be shouting about it until the day of release!

Today is the 23rd June 2016 which means…..

rebecca raisin

‘Anouk LaRue used to be a romantic, but since she had her heart well and truly broken her love life has dissolved into nothing more than daydreams of the perfect man. Retreating to her extraordinary Little Antique Shop has always been a way to escape, because who could feel alone in a shop bursting with memories and beautiful objects…
Until Tristan Black bursts into an auction and throws her ordered world into a spin.
Following your heart is a little like getting lost in Paris – sometimes confusing and always exciting! Except learning to trust her instincts is not something Anouk is ready to do when it comes to romance, but the city of love has other ideas…’

Like the sound of it and want to ensure you have your copy pre-ordered? You can pre-order it now via Amazon UK now!

Love cake, ‘Ruby Tuesday’, cake, A.L.Michael and…cake?

Hopefully the title has lured you in with extreme curiosity! Yes? Some of you may know that I absolutely adore A.L.Michael’s book ‘Ruby Tuesday’ and I have been cheerleading the book, and the author, in run up to its release! Today’s blog is a very special one, and I am thoroughly excited about sharing this with you as not only does it involve ‘Ruby Tuesday’, it involves cake! I LOVE cake!
If you have read the first book in the series, you will know that there is on character in particular that adores baking with her daughter. A.L.Michael has given us a very special recipe from that particular character! I’ll hand you over to the lovely author herself to explain!

Mollie and Esme’s Best Banana Loaf 

Hi all, A.L. Michael here, with a little tip from Mollie, one of the characters in Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, book one in the House on Camden Square Series. You’ll find out more about Mollie’s story in book 3, Be My Baby, out in the autumn, but if you’ve read the first one, you’ll know she’s an excellent baker, but she’s also really committed to healthy treats, especially for kids. That’ll happen when you’re brought up on a diet of McDonalds fries and mouldy sandwiches. 

So I’m sharing one of Mollie’s recipes, that even her 10 year old Esme loves! It’s a really versatile recipe, so if you haven’t got a loaf tin, make them into muffins!

Ingredients:

2 – 3 ripe bananas (squidgier the better!)

2 eggs

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup honey or maple syrup

1/4 cup water

1tsp baking soda

1tsp vanilla extract

13/4 cups wholewheat flour

Handful of chocolate chips, raisins or anything else you like! (At Christmas, Mollie adds white chocolate chips and dried cranberries!) 
You can also substitute the coconut oil for stewed apples for a really pudding-like texture (and extra 5 a day points!)

1.Preheat the oven to 165C, and line the baking pan/muffin pan.

  1. Mix the melted coconut oil, honey and mashed bananas.
  2. Add the baking soda, vanilla and whisk it up, then add the flour, mixing it nicely! If you need the little bit of water, add it in!
  3. Add in all the ‘fun’ ingredients, like raisins or chocolate!
  4. Pour it into the pan/muffin tray, you could put some sliced bananas on top for prettification purposes!
  5. Bake for about an hour (Mollie usually covers the top with tin foil for the first half an hour, but if you like it really crispy on top, then you don’t need to!) and check it with a toothpick or skewer to check it comes out clean.
  6. Let it cool and try to fend away little hands that try to take pieces when their mum says they have to wait till after dinner!
    Enjoy!

    I hope you all will enjoy that lovely recipe, and a huge thank you to A.L.Michael (and Mollie) for sharing that with us! If you do fancy making the cake, tweet me @kaishajayneh and @ALMichael_ with a picture of your creation! Lets see if we can get #Molliescake trending on twitter!

    If you still haven’t managed to read ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’ then you can order yourself a copy right now via Amazon Buy Goodbye Ruby Tuesday where it’s currently 99p for a limited time!
    The second book in the series; ‘Nice Day For A White Wedding’ is being released in August! Not too long to wait, but you can ensure you have your copy by pre-ordering it right here: Pre-order ‘Nice day for a white wedding’.

    One last thing from me, if you have read any of A.L.Michael’s books please, please do leave a review on Amazon, it really helps such wonderful books get seen! Thank you!

What type of reader are you? Find out how rebellious Author Anne Hamilton is!

TWG would like to welcome a very special guest to the blog tonight!
Not only is my special guest editor for the Lothian Life, she is also an author, welcome Anne Hamilton! Anne approached me in regards to a guest post on the blog, obviously I wasn’t going to refuse. Time to find out how rebellious Anne Hamilton is!

Rebel Reader

Reading is my long-standing rebellion; my nose has barely been outside a book since I learned my ABC. Age seven, I had to be forcibly ejected ‘outside to play’; by ten, I had negotiated a bedroom swap with my brother because a street lamp shone through his window if the curtains were carefully angled. Still at primary school I wrote ‘books’ because I’d read everything in the (very small) mobile library. At eighteen, I managed the ultimate rebellious act: away from home, I could finally read a book whilst I was eating my breakfast. Or my lunch. Or my dinner… I don’t do it so much now; I’ve come full circle in trying to set an example for my own child, but, I can still conjure up that little frisson of daring.

These days – when I’m feeling brave – I call myself a writer, and I like to think the reading has stood me in good stead; everyone knows that writers are constantly exhorted to read, read, read. (And I mean the classics, the bestsellers, the debuts in your genre, not Twitter updates, FB posts or, um, oh dear, blog posts on writing!)

Reading, we are told, not only hones our own story-telling skills, but is essential in understanding the murky world of publishing: what novels are currently selling; why, where and to whom.

It’s a timely reminder. How tempting is it, when immersed in creating your own world to forget about everyone else’s? And in doing that, you can fall out of touch with the reading population. Who cares, you might ask; you don’t want to be fashionable, you just want to write the next great novel. Well, secretly, who doesn’t? And whilst none of us knows what this is, your masterpiece is only in the running if the movers and shakers of reading, writing and publishing agree to read it; you have to get on their radar. Yes, you might, possibly, do that by blazing a trail, but you’re more likely to start out by riding on the tails of other successes.

So, when I’m not writing, parenting, (or updating my social media accounts) I do still read. But what nobody really, truly grasps until they are an author themselves, is that writing ruins reading. Add in the fact that I’m a fiction editor, and a creative writing teacher, and it’s a triple whammy of ruins.

I exaggerate (of course, I do, I’m a writer) but any hobby runs the risk of becoming a chore when it turns into work. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the facets of my job, but I find it harder and harder to read for pure enjoyment. People pay me their hard-earned money to critique, correct and question their stories and help make them the best they can be. I take that very seriously, and the upshot is I read like a writer – and my ‘off’ switch is broken.

In the same way that a restaurant reviewer doesn’t necessarily want to go home and deconstruct her dinner, but to sit, relax and enjoy it, sometimes I just want to be transported by a ripping good yarn, or get the information I’m seeking without analysing text and format. Yet, I find myself examining picture books and rephrasing the words – my five year old son has been known to say, ‘Mummy, stop thinking about the words and read the story.’  I edit the junk mail through the door. I tramp the aisles of the supermarket considering why that cereal packet has that particular blurb. I miss stops on the bus because I’m mentally altering billboards. It isn’t that any of these words – or the novels I do read – are often less than fine, simply that there are endless other options, and I can’t help but wonder.

(It works both ways, of course; come the hour when someone, fair enough, shouts at me – hey, call yourself an editor, what about this, then? – as they brandish my own stories or peoples’ novels I’ve worked on. My only defence is that I do my best, just as everyone else out there is doing. And then I forget the possibility as therein lies madness!)

There’s something else, too. Even when I read a novel purely for pleasure, the writer in me knows how much its author would appreciate a review. Therefore, as I read, I’m formulating my review – and reigning myself in to do it as a reader, not an editor. At this stage, nobody is interested in my suggestions about, say, the structure of the novel or pursuing an alternative Point of View; if they had been they would have asked me to edit it. (The book is published, Anne, get over it). What the writer wants – what I want as a writer – is to know, did the reader enjoy it, why/not and was it a good story, well-written?

What’s my opinion of a great book? Simply the one in which I forget I’m a writer. I forget I’m an editor. When I read and read like I used to do as a child, almost holding my breath to find out what happened next. When it was just one more chapter before bed, where I’d go to dream about my favourite characters – and wonder who were these amazing people called writers?

Then, I’m reading like a reader.

And the rebel reader that got me this far is still going strong.

anneh
Anne’s Website
Follow Anne on Twitter.

Anne is the author of ‘A Blonde Bengali Wife’, and all the money that is earned from the book goes to charity. Here is what the book is about:

‘They all said that Bangladesh would be an experience …
For Anne Hamilton, a three-month winter programme of travel and “cultural exchange” in a country where the English language, fair hair, and a rice allergy are all
extremely rare was always going to be interesting, challenging, and frustrating. What they didn’t tell Anne was that it would also be sunny, funny, and the start of a love affair with this unexplored area of Southeast Asia.
A Blonde Bengali Wife shows the lives beyond the poverty, monsoons, and diarrhoea of Bangladesh and charts a vibrant and fascinating place where one minute Anne is levelling a school playing field “fit for the national cricket team,” and then cobbling together a sparkly outfit for a formal wedding the next. Along with Anne are the essential ingredients for survival: a travel-savvy Australian sidekick, a heaven-sent adopted family, and a short, dark, and handsome boy-next-door.
During her adventures zipping among the dusty clamour of the capital Dhaka, the longest sea beach in the world at Cox’s Bazaar, the verdant Sylhet tea gardens, and the voluntary health projects of distant villages, Anne amasses a lot of friends, stories … and even a husband?
A Blonde Bengali Wife is the ‘unexpected travelogue’ that reads like a comedy of manners to tell the other side of the story of Bangladesh.
All money earned from A Blonde Bengali Wife goes direct to the charity, Bhola’s Children, of which the author and agent are active participants. A Blonde Bengali Wife isn’t about Bhola but it is a tribute to Anne’s journeys into Bangladesh and all the friends she has made there. Most of all, it is the story of the country that inspired Bhola’s Children.’

If this book sounds like something you would enjoy reading, knowing that you’ll be helping out a charity as well, here is how you can get hold of your very own copy: Buy from Amazon UK

Big thank you to Anne for stopping by the blog!

It’s TWG’s turn on a very special tour for a very loved author. #TommyVcancer!

tomvc1
I have been staring at my computer screen for the last ten minutes, trying to find the right words on how I can start this particular blog post. I mean, how can my words help? Honestly? They can’t do much except help spread awareness. TWG is part of a very special blog tour that has been organised for a very brave man named Tommy Donbavand, and his family. Tommy was diagnosed with throat cancer in March of this year, so this tour is to raise awareness for Tommy, his family, and the battle he is up against. Several of the tour stops are hosting giveaways and at the end of the tour on the 30th June between 8pm-9pm, Vivenne and Chelley will be hosting a Twitter chat. To get involved in any of the Tommy chat and discussions use the hashtag #tommyvcancer!

You’re probably wondering right now how you can help, yes? Well here is how:
Paypal Link.
Patreon Link.
Tommyvcancer Website.

About Tommy.
tommy

Tommy is the author of the popular 13-book Scream Street series for 7 to 10 year olds, published by Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the US. His other books include Zombie!, Wolf and Uniform (winner of the Hackney Short Novel Award) for Barrington Stoke, Boredom Busters and Quick Fixes For Kids’ Parties (How To Books), and Making A Drama Out Of A Crisis (Network Continuum).
In theatre, Tommy’s plays have been performed to thousands of children on national tours to venues such as The Hackney Empire, Leeds City Varieties, and Nottingham Playhouse. These productions include Hey Diddle Diddle, Rumplestiltskin, Jack & Jill In The Forgotten Nursery, and Humpty Dumpty And The Incredibly Daring Rescue Of The Alien Princess From Deep Space. He is also responsible for five episodes of the CBBC TV series, Planet Cook (Platinum Films). As an actor, Tommy played the Clearlake MC in the West End musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story for over eight years, in addition to roles in the movies Zombie Love Stories (where he battled hordes of Scottish undead) and Going Off Big Time (where he was beaten up on a bouncy castle). A veteran of pantomime, he has portrayed just about every comic character from Abanazer to an Ugly Sister. Tommy lives in Lancashire with his wife and two sons. He is a HUGE fan of all things Doctor Who, plays blues harmonica, and makes a mean balloon poodle. He sees sleep as a waste of good writing time.
Visit Tommy’s Website here.
Follow Tommy on Twitter here.

Another reason for the blog tour is to shout very loudly about Tommy’s books because, as mentioned above, he has written a number of books for the YA/child audience and I am about to tell you about just one of them! It was incredibly hard to choose a book to review for this tour as Tommy has written so many incredible books.

banshee
Buy Tommy’s books here.
‘ “AAAYYYOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWW!” Stunned awake by piercing screeches from next door, Jamie, newly arrived in the neighbourhood, is certainly experiencing the scream in Scream Street. Favel has an infected tooth and Dr Skully fears the worst – the young banshee needs medicine, and fast! With the help of Luke, Resus and Cleo, Jamie must track down the ingredients for a life-saving remedy. But the four friends are dicing with death: if they’re not careful, Favel won’t be the only one biting the dust…’

I will hang my head in shame for a few seconds because I hadn’t read any of Tommy’s books until this tour! However, I had heard of them over the years, especially with the TV shows. I think ‘Scream Street: Wail of the Banshee’ has got a fantastic amount of detail with enough events throughout the story to keep young minds entertained! What is even better, is that this book is part of the Scream Street series, so once any YA/adults have finished reading this particular book, there is many more to choose from!Scream Street: Wail of the Banshee’ has excitement and mystery running right the way through it. Nothing too scary but enough to make the mind wander. I may be 26 but it certainly made my mind wonder!
Tommy’s writing captures the essence of the story and the magic that is there in front of you if you look hard enough, and believe. The enthusiasm that he has incorporated through his own words, into the story, is mind-blowing. Because the book is intended for younger minds, although many adults will enjoy it I’m sure, Tommy has still managed to create a flurry of light-hearted fear within the story. If i’m honest, I never thought that was possible to do, but it is. The story even has skeletons, but he makes them funny skeletons. I am in awe of this man’s talent and I urge you to buy several of these books for your own children, or for any child that you know. If your child isn’t a bit reader, I am sure that will change once these books are read!


Thank you to Viv at Serendipity Reviews and Faye Rogers for allowing me to be involved in such a special tour. Thank you to all of The Writing Garnet’s readers for reading this post and supporting Tommy and his family at such a difficult time in their lives.
I will leave you with one more thing. TOMMY KICK CANCER’S BUTT. #TOMMYVCANCER!

 

 

Guest Post: Depression and Chronic Illness

A huge thank you to Claire for allowing me to share my story. It’s a battle I face every single day.

BrizzleLass

I am so pleased to welcome Kaisha to BrizzleLass with her story of Chronic Illness and Depression. Many people don’t appreciate how having a chronic illness can have such an adverse affect on mental health or even the other way around. I thank Kaisha for her honesty in telling her story, and for sharing it with us here. At the end of the post are links to Kaisha’s own blog and her social media pages so that you can follow her story from here.

Before I begin, I just want to say a big thank you to Claire for inviting me to write a post for her blog. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

Claire approached me asking my experiences on Mental Health and what I know about it. I found the question ‘what do you know about Mental Health?’ stopped me in my tracks. What do I know about…

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Rachel Strong is ‘That Girl’ as TWG puts her under the spotlight!

Whilst reading ‘That Girl’ by Rachel Strong, I found that I was beginning to get a lot of questions in my mind about the story. Hands up who has read the book yet? No? Here is my book review of Rachel’s book if you haven’t: #Bookreview of ‘That Girl’ by Rachel Strong – Blog Tour.
For those that have already read the book, if you’re anything like me in terms of dissecting a story and want to know EVERYTHING, then you’re going to love this post today. TWG has managed to have a chat with Rachel about her latest book where she has answered a few of my questions regarding it. Don’t worry though, there are no spoilers within the answers, you’re safe ;), I’m not that mean!
I hope you enjoy!

TWG: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions!
Thank you for having me, I’m so excited!

TWG: Some of TWG’s readers may not be too familiar with your name; could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I’m Rachel, I’m married to the lovely Greg and we have three gorgeous children. I’m also the author of Complicated Love and I have just released my second book That Girl.

TWG: Now, because this is your first interview with TWG, I’m going to ease you in gently! Which would you choose?

Pasta or potatoes?
Pasta

Chocolate or crisps?
Chocolate

Black or white?
Black

Lions or leopards?
Lions – love them!

Tesco or Asda?
Asda – I go at least once a day!

Family guy or Friends?
FRIENDS!!!!!!!!! I’m a big Friends fan, I recite the dialogue as I watch it, I drive my husband crackers.

James or Katie?
Oooohhh what a question! But I’m going to say James. Despite doing what he did, James is a good guy, he got himself in quite a pickle and things spiralled out of control, he was just desperate to make things right and be a good dad. Whilst writing That Girl, I just felt so sorry for James, yes he did something awful – but Katie was very deceitful. 

TWG: What were your favourite books to read as a child?
I loved The Faraway Tree – being able to escape to some magical land always appealed to me and Moon Face was my favourite character. I also loved Matilda.

If you could choose any superpower, which would it be and why?
To be invisible, so that I could see what my kids are up to when I catch them with that guilty look on their faces, especially my eldest.

TWG: Congratulations on your newest book ‘That Girl’, how on Earth did you get the inspiration for that particular story?
Aw, thank you so much. The idea came to me a few years ago when I was writing my first book, Complicated Love, I kind of briefly touched on the subject there and then there was a big story in the news about this very thing and I just thought, that would make such a good story line for a book. I must admit, with it being such a delicate matter, I was nervous to write about it, but I couldn’t not, and I’m so proud of how the story unfolded. When my husband read the first draft, he just sat there and said ‘wow!’ He read the last couple of chapters on a plane, flying home from Germany with his boss, and he told me he just completely lost it and sat there and cried like a baby.

TWG: Did you feel as though you may have helped any readers that were going through similar things, as you wrote the story?
I like to think I have, this was what I have been most scared of, not getting it right and offending anyone that has been through what happened to Katie.

TWG: How long did ‘That Girl’ take you to write?
The first draft took me about a year, I kept leaving it and coming back to it because I got so involved in the story and it was emotional. Plus, with three kids, finding the time to sit down and write can be difficult.

TWG: Throughout the book, several big decisions had to be made. How did you reach the decision to write which path certain characters took?
A lot of the time I just kind of went with the flow. Just lately, I have started planning out my stories, but with That Girl I just let things happen and unfold without really planning ahead. Though I knew how I wanted it to end, before I even finished the first chapter. With some of the characters, I put myself in their shoes. For instance, Katie’s parents. As a mother to a daughter, I made myself think about how I would feel and the protectiveness came out. But by the end, my attitude kind of changed because as a parent all you want is your child to be happy.

TWG: Do you think that many readers will side with your choice of how the events unfolded, or do you think readers may disagree?
I have had very mixed reactions, some have come back to me and said, ‘wow, I couldn’t have been so forgiving,’ quite passionately. And then others have been like, ‘well, I can see where they’re coming from’. This is what I love about being a writer, the difference of opinion on my characters, it’s very entertaining.

TWG: Some of the characters in the story have very complex personalities, yet others were the complete opposite. How difficult was it to switch between the characters and their diversity?
When I start writing a new story, I always have an idea of what kind of personalities my characters are going to have and so I get them fixed in my head and spend a lot of time thinking about each of them and how I want to them to be.

TWG: Because ‘That Girl’ has such a harrowing storyline, how did you manage to get the facts so realistic?
Aw, thank you! A lot of research! Google is a wonderful tool. I really don’t know what I would do without it!

TWG: Katie is someone who I found, how shall I say this, rather tricky. Did you write her like that because of her age or because you knew she would be a bit ‘marmite’? Both. Katie is very young and immature so I didn’t want her to come across older for her years. She reeled James in, in a very manipulative way, and I wanted the readers to have a love/hate relationship with her, but then I wanted them feel everything with her at the end.

TWG: Speaking of marmite, do you like marmite?
I have never tried it – not sure I want to either (ha ha)

TWG: It takes a lot of strength to be able to write about a situation with such emotion, could you tell us how you truly felt whilst writing ‘That Girl’?
Writing That Girl really took it out of me, I think I went through everything with James and Katie. Writing the end was so un-believably hard, I just couldn’t keep it together long enough to get my words down and it took me over a week. When it was done, I sat there and had a big cry.

TWG: Could you give TWG any exclusives? Is there a new book in the pipeline? What is in store for you going forward?
I can! I have just finished the sequel to my first book, Complicated Love –  Coming Home. It’s now just a case of editing, editing – oh and editing! Not my favourite process, but I’m hoping for a release date of early next year.  I have just started planning out my fourth book, another delicate subject to write about, but something that is happening to a lot of people in the world right now and a subject pretty close to my heart.

TWG: Thank you again for answering my interrogation, and congratulations on the book!
No, thank you for having me – it’s been fun!

TWG got an exclusive!! How brilliant is that! More books to come from Rachel Strong with yet another delicate subject, I must say I am incredibly intrigued! Thank you again to Rachel for answering my questions! Although I do have one more for you Rachel; which land is your favourite from The Magic Faraway Tree?!?

It’s quite clear that ‘That Girl’ will divide readers with their opinions on the situation. If you have read the book, do let Rachel know what you think of it via Amazon/GoodReads! A review goes a long way!
If you wish toy the book or her first one, seeing as there is a sequel coming out for it 😉 then pop along to Amazon via HERE, and grab yourself a treat…or two!

Guess who’s back, back again…it’s Tilly Tennant & ‘The Little Village Bakery’.

The Little Village Bakery (Honeyborne book 1) by Tilly Tennant.
Published 15th June 2016 by Bookouture.
Available to buy from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Add it to your GoodReads shelf!

I would like to start by saying a MASSIVE congratulations to the very talented Tilly Tennant as today is her publication day! ‘The Little Village Bakery’ is available for you to get your hands on, as of RIGHT NOW! Links are above!
I am absolutely thrilled to have a little bit of Tilly Tennant on TWG, yet again. Think I need to get Tilly her own special seat here at TWG as I’m sure this won’t be the last time she’s spotted here either!

Here is my book review of ‘The Little Village Bakery’, I hope you enjoy!

Help yourself to a generous slice of Victoria sponge, a perfect cup of tea and a big dollop of romance. Welcome to the Little Village Bakery.
Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles.
Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention.
But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan.’

Wow, where to start with this one! Thank you to Bookouture, Netgalley and Tilly for the ARC! ‘The Little Village Bakery’ was not what I expected at all. Straight away you’re met with hints of a characters hidden past that remains secretive throughout, mostly. If you’re a curious devil like me, just that alone will keep the book in your hands. Millie wants a fresh start, but she seems to have jumped in feet first without thinking. As quickly as she jumped, the regrets start to surface which leaves Millie at a standstill. What on Earth should she do? Unfortunately for her, a certain person comes knocking with only one thing on their mind, but will it make Millie’s decision for her?
The cover captured my attention with this book big time, its vibrant, colourful, and has cake. Win win really isn’t it? 😉 I thought ‘The Little Village Bakery’ highlighted the fact that you shouldn’t judge things by the way that they look, or come across, without getting to know them first.
I found the book to be split in half in terms of happy and bubbly characters, and characters that weren’t all that they seemed. I thought that was a clever way of mixing up the storyline as not only is the story faced with trying to work out certain characters, but it also had added hilarity at the same time. It’s like a cushion after the gasp so to speak. I’m the sort of person that has a rather expressive face. If I’m confused or any other emotion, it is written ALL over my face, half the time I don’t realise, so when it came to reading this book, I am very glad I was reading it alone. Why? Because there were a few times that I was sitting with a furrowed brow going ‘what the’ ‘are you serious’ no way!’ and yes, it was out loud! For me, if a storyline can make me do that, as well as laugh out loud, then it’s an incredibly good sign. Tilly Tennant has written yet another captivating book that will make you feel like you’re part of the story, extremely involved.
Not only does Tilly manage to captivate the reader, she has also managed to incorporate certain situations into the story with extreme delicacy. That is a talent in itself. As always, there may be a character or two that can take a while to warm up to. Not in a negative way, but sometimes characters do things that could leave you thinking ‘you’re a donut’. ‘The Little Village Bakery’ is no different. There are many characters which have very complex personalities in the story and it makes for excellent reading. To be honest, the whole book makes an excellent read.
I said at the start of the review that the book wasn’t what I expected, and I still stand by that. It’s not a book about cakes, nor does Mary Berry appear in the bakery to bake a cake or two. What it is though, is a book about truth, forgiveness and finding yourself. Obviously there may be the odd cake involved, it is a bakery after all! ‘The Little Village Bakery’ left me hungry for more, luckily for us, it’s only the first book in the series and I cannot wait to see what happens next! A comforting  and mesmerising read from start to finish.