#Blogtour – We’ve Come To Take You Home by Susan Gandar.

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We’ve come to take you home  by Susan Gandar.
Published 23rd March 2016 by Matador.
Available to buy from Amazon UK//Amazon US//Troubador

‘Samantha Foster and Jessica Brown are destined to meet. But one lives in the 20th century, the other in the 21st…
It is April 1916 and thousands of men have left home to fight in the war to end all wars. Jessica Brown’s father is about to be one of these men. A year later, he is still alive, but Jess has to steal to keep her family from starving. And then a telegram arrives – her father has been killed in action. 

Four generations later, Sam Foster’s father is admitted to hospital with a suspected brain haemorrhage. A nurse asks if she would like to take her father’s hand. Sam refuses. All she wants is to get out of this place, stuck between the world of the living and the world of the dead, a place with no hope and no future, as quickly as possible.
As Sam’s father’s condition worsens, her dreams become more frequent – and more frightening. She realises that what she is experiencing is not a dream, but someone else’s living nightmare…
We’ve Come to Take You Home is an emotionally-charged story of a friendship forged 100 years apart..’

It’s TWG’s tour stop for Susan Gandar’s debut ‘We’ve come to take you home’! Thank you to Susan for sending me a signed (just had to) copy of the book personally, in return for my honest opinion!
I’ll be honest, I had to spend a while thinking about how I was going to write my review for this book, the first line of the post got changed multiple times, I just could not work out what to write. Now, before you put your head in your hands wondering if that was because I didn’t like the book, lift your head up. No, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy the book, I couldn’t find my words, the correct words, to describe a book that has so much raw emotional as well as the ability to draw you into a situation as though you had gone through it yourself.
‘We’ve come to take you home’ follows the life and the memories of Samantha Foster and Jessica Brown. It’s as though one life ends when another begins. The story isn’t as straight forward as I personally assumed it would be as it switches between the lives and memories of both the girls. That said, the amount of depth within the book makes up for my inability to work things out quicker ha!
The circumstances with Jessica’s life are truly harrowing and a lot of people may find that they relate to what she and her father went through in service. To be honest though, the way that Susan has written about the war-time, whether you are connected to it indirectly or not, it will probably make you feel slightly emotional.
As I read more of the book, I found myself connecting to more parts of it than I did others. That’s not a negative comment on the book itself, everyone will connect to things in a different way.
What would you do if you could see or feel things that had happened to other people? Unnerving really. Makes a very cleverly written story though!
My favourite part of Susan’s novel was her writing. Susan’s way of writing captivated me in multiple ways. She managed to create a feeling of power and intensity over such few sentences, it left me eager to find out what she writes next.
Despite the fact I found a few parts difficult to comprehend, overall the book was fascinating and definitely opened my eyes to differences in era’s and the differences in hidden emotion.

About Susan Gandar:

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My father, John Box, was a film production designer, working on ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘Dr. Zhivago’, ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘A Man For All Seasons’ and the musical ‘Oliver’. (Click here for more on John ) Our house was always filled with people, usually eccentric, always talented, invariably stroppy, discussing stories. My mother put my father’s four Oscars to good use as toilet roll holders, doorstops and hat stands. A major chunk of my childhood was spent loitering around on film sets. Who needs an ‘English education’ when you have the polystyrene-coated streets of downtown Moscow, ten miles outside of Madrid, to explore?

But then the years of ‘Who Will Buy My Sweet Red Roses’ came to a rather abrupt end. Reality knocked on the door in the guise of the Metropolitan Line to Shepherds Bush and the BBC. Working in television as a script editor and story consultant, I was part of the creative team responsible for setting up ‘Casualty’. I became known for going after the more ‘difficult’ stories at the same time successfully racking up viewing figures from 7 to 14 million. I went on to develop various projects for both the BBC and the independent sector. The period I enjoyed most was working with Jack Rosenthal, a wonderful writer, on the series ‘Moving Story’ – ‘That’s a situation, a good situation, but now you need to make it into a story.’
Martin, my husband, was made an offer he couldn’t refuse and we left England to live in Amsterdam. ‘Ik wil een kilo kabeljauw, alstublieft’ will, if all goes well, buy you a piece of cod – I decided to concentrate on my writing rather than my Dutch pronunciation. My debut novel, ‘We’ve Come to Take You Home’, set in the present and in 1918, a crossover
aimed at the adult and young adult women’s popular fiction market, was published on 28th March by Matador.

Susan’s Website
Follow Susan on Twitter
Susan’s Facebook

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#Bookreview – The Paris Effect by Karen Burns.

The Paris Effect by Karen Burns.
Published 31st May 2016 by Velvet Morning Press.
Available to buy from Amazon US//Amazon UK

‘Friendship, loss… and a tantalizing trip to Paris in this highly praised debut novel!

Amy and Kat had a plan: A secret trip to Paris. Even Amy’s husband wouldn’t know about it. But when Amy loses Kat, the “friend of her heart,” to cancer, she knows the plan, too, has disappeared forever. Or has it?

Guided by memories of her friend and dissatisfaction with her own calorie-counting life in Phoenix, Amy sneaks off to Paris while her husband is away on a business trip. Once there, she’s robbed, stalked, arrested and kidnapped (almost). Worse, she finds that her numerous issues have come right along with her.

Through her adventures, laced with luscious descriptions of food and Paris, Amy learns that often in life, love and friendship, nothing is exactly as it seems. Grab a croissant and settle in for a decidedly non-touristy trip to the City of Light.’

‘The Paris Effect’ is a book that I have seen pop up on my Twitter feed more than once. At first I had no idea who wrote it (sorry) because I was memorised by the cover. I saw the colours, the word ‘Paris’ and it went straight on my TBR list. The more I saw it, the more intrigued I became. I did want to read it but every time I saw it, I was already ‘booked’. Then one day, the lovely Karen Burns sent me a lovely e-mail asking me to review her book ‘The Paris Effect’. It was one of the nicest request e-mails that I have ever received, plus it wasn’t a book I was going to turn down, obviously! Thank you Karen for sending me the copy of the book and for your truly lovely e-mail!

I did make room for this book I’ll be honest (read it the day after I got sent it!).
Have you ever made a pact with a best friend, to do something completely outlandish, planned to the last detail, with the only participants being you and your best friend?
But what if you could no longer make that pact a reality?
When Amy loses her best friend to cancer, she has not only lost her best friend; the one person that truly knew her, she has also lost Kat’s words of wisdom and friendship. They had a plan to go to Paris, everything was planned, outfits organised, itinerary known..but one important thing was missing. Kat. Amy could go to Paris with her husband, after all, it is a romantic city, she could go on her own with no husband and no Kat, or she could not go full-stop. Where do Amy’s priorities lay? With her husband, herself or her best friend that is no longer with her?

I was slightly disappointed when I began the book and read a chapter or two as there were rules on dieting and being obsessed with calories. As a person that has struggled with eating disorders and weight for many years, it caught me off guard a little bit. However, once I had removed my own personal struggles from the concept of the book and how that tied in with Amy’s character, my disappointment soon went and I began to enjoy it. The rules for dieting turned out to be quite cleverly done too.
I did feel quite sorry for Amy, she had just lost someone close to her and her husband was being a gigantic pain in the pear tree. Amy goes on her journey making some rather questionable decisions, but you can tell by the emotion within the story, that it was right for her despite the consequences that she will face.

I adored feeling as though I was getting a tour of Paris, monuments and well-known spots being described brilliantly. Well, I say brilliantly, I have never been to Paris but if I do go, I’ll expect it to look like what Karen has described it to be! No pressure haha. Despite the chic lit background what with the obsession with food and best friend plans, ‘The Paris Effect’ had some rather fast paced situations which bumped the book up another level for me, personally. I felt that it gave the story another dimension to it.

As Amy continued her journey she came across a selection of very different people. At first glance they were just the ‘average Joe’, but Amy soon released that people, and places, aren’t always as straight forward as we believe. My opinion of Amy differed immensely throughout the book because of every choice that she made. Part of me felt sorry for her, another part of me felt she needed to grow up, but then another part of me wanted to support her. How can you support someone who seems such a lost cause though?

I loved how each character stood out of the book in their own ways and weren’t just part of the story to make up numbers so to speak. ‘The Paris Effect’ was the first book that I had read of Karen’s so I was looking forward to finding out her style of writing. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Despite my earlier reservations, after a couple of chapters, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down and I was eager to find out what happened to each character and what path they were destined to be on.

‘The Paris Effect’ is a novel full of emotionally charged situations. A novel that opens your eyes to people’s motives, including your own. A novel that will take you on a journey around Paris and show you that it’s okay to eat nice things. A novel that will make you question whether you’re on the correct path for YOU or whether you are going along for the ride. A novel that, if like me, will leave you thinking that you have something ‘in your eye’. A novel that will make you message the author and ask her whether there will be a next book…..

Such a brilliant read, I would read it again in a heartbeat….unless the next book comes out and then I will read that first!

Author Q & A with Aimee Horton as well as her re-launch and re-brand!

Book Tour

I’m so excited to bring you the ReLaunch and ReBrand of Aimee Horton’s ‘The Perfect Disaster Series’
Velvet Morning Press has recently ReLaunched these books with the fabulous covers below! As soon as I received the e-mail from HCL Book Tours and saw the catchy covers, I just had to be involved somehow. Surely you know TWG by now, a sucker for a cover, and these do not disappoint! The blurbs aren’t half bad either ;). Not only is there a re-launch, Aimee Horton answered five questions for us here at TWG. I hope you enjoy, and thank you Aimee for answering them!

The cover links may take you to the US Amazon, so for those in the UK that wish to get their hands on a copy, you can do so via this link: Aimee Horton – Amazon UK

I LOVE these new covers!! I can’t wait to read these!!

(To find out more about each book, click on the covers)

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Perfect Mishap
Blurb:

A hilarious and honest British mom’s madcap adventures in suburbia, from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

Dottie Harris has a knack for stumbling into chaotic situations, gin & tonic in hand. When Dottie and Henry Harris move to their new house, Dottie’s only desire is to make friends in the neighbourhood. But Dottie, just home from delivering her third child, is struggling to adjust to village life. Recently promoted Henry travels a lot, and the neighbours aren’t very welcoming (although that could be because when Dottie first met them, she had dyed her children green).

So when Dottie accidentally hears her neighbours’ conversations over her baby monitor, she can’t help but use the sneaky information in her quest to build new friendships.

Of course, eavesdropping never ends well, and when Dottie discovers that two of her neighbours are having an affair, she’s horrified. Worse still, the locals are convinced she’s the one who’s doing the cheating. It’s up to Dottie to clear her name and uncover (and expose) the real cheat—in her signature haphazard way!

A humorous blend between chick lit and cozy mystery, this funny novel will have you laughing along with gin-drinking amateur sleuth Dottie!

Previously published as Mothers Ruined

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Perfect Mayhem

Blurb:

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets The Nanny Diaries in this Amazon UK Best Seller!

The only thing Dottie Harris loves more than her gin & tonic is her family. Most of the time.

From her hapless-but-well-meaning husband to her two energetic bundles of joy, Dottie certainly has her hands full. And she’s tired. So tired.

With quips like “How do sleeping babies know the minute you sit down?” this modern-day diary will have you laughing—when you’re not crying with empathy, that is!

Dottie tells it like it is: the good, the bad, and the eternal piles of dirty laundry.

If you’re looking for chick lit packed with parenting humor, or simply want to know you’re not the only one having trouble parenting newborns and toddlers, this book about the ups and downs of parenthood is for you! It’s a motherhood manifesto, social media style!

Previously published as Survival of the Ginnest.

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Perfect Christmas
Blurb:

A hilarious Christmas novella from Amazon UK bestselling author Aimee Horton!

“Cooking for nineteen people will be a cinch!”

Ever-optimistic Dottie Harris is preparing for the biggest and best Christmas celebration ever, and nothing—not even unexpected guests or running out of gin—will get her down.

But as always, things don’t run smoothly for Dottie, and it’s not long before her two energetic children, hapless husband and a nasty stomach bug wreak havoc on her carefully planned spreadsheets.

Can Dottie throw the perfect family Christmas (without so much as a swig of gin to help her through) or will preparing for the festivities get the best of her? One thing’s for sure: This will be a Christmas to remember!

A humorous Christmas novella, perfect if you’re looking for a funny read for the Christmas season, or want to get in the Christmas spirit. Or you can spread some Christmas cheer and give it as a Christmas gift!

Previously published as Survival of the Christmas Spirit.

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Perfect Mix-Up

Blurb:

Find out just how British Dottie is…

Dottie Harris is as British as they come, which is exactly what endears her to us. But when her pregnant American cousin comes for a visit, Dottie is a frazzled disaster who can’t seem to overcome the language barrier.

Perfect Mix-Up is a funny look at parenting from both sides of the pond, and the surprising number of confusing language differences that entails.

If you’d like to try the ebook before you buy, it’s free if you join Aimee’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/aimee-gin-news

Previously published as Lush in Translation.

TWG’s Q & A with Aimee Horton.

TWG – What made you decide to start writing books?

I¹ve always loved writing, and as a child I used to write loads of
stories, then as I got older my confidence dwindled. It was only after I
had my second child that I saw it as an actual possibility again.

TWG – If you weren’t an author, what could you see yourself doing instead?
Superhero?

Ha, I’d be an awful superhero – I¹m far too tired! I genuinely struggle to
think of an alternative, personal shopper maybe?! I love helping my friends
choose clothes to suit them.

TWG – What was your favourite book as a child?

Ooh there were a few, Huff the Hedgehog, Goodnight Moon, The Owl Who was
afraid of the dark were huge favourites. But I think the TOP TOP TOP
books, anything by Enid Blyton, I just LOVE her. OH AND JUDY BLUME!

TWG – What was your inspiration behind your books? Did you find them
difficult to write?

My real life is inspiration for The Perfect Disaster Series. Being a mum
was a lot harder than I realised, and I also realised I was often a lot
more honest about it than other people! I loved writing the books, they
were enjoyable and almost therapeutic. The next few books I¹m writing are
slightly different, and more just ideas I¹ve had from people watching or
reading the news/social media.

TWG – If you could choose any book by another author, that you would become
the author of instead, which one would you choose and why?

Ooohhh! That¹s tricky!! There are so many good books out there right now,
but I think Amanda Jennings IN HER WAKE – it¹s just fabulous, so clever,
emotive, and addictive.

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Aimee Horton

Bio:

Aimee is from Lincoln, England, where she enjoys drinking gin and spending time with her family (and she won’t tell you which of those she prefers doing). As a child, one of her favourite parts of the summer holidays was to devour all the books in a little book shop in Devon. She continued reading at lightning speed right up until having children. She now reads with eyes propped open by match sticks.

Find her here:

http://passthegin.co.uk/
GoodReads
Twitter
Facebook

Check out the rest of the #BookTour

July 18th

On My Bookshelf – Author Guest Post
Novelgossip – Book Promo/Excerpt
Hello Chick Lit – Book Promo

July 19th

Sylv all about books and films – Book Excerpt
He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post

July 20th

Jenna Books – Book Promo/Excerpt
Judging More Than Just The Cover – Author Q&A
Sweet Little Pretties – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 21st

The Writing Garnet – Author Q&A
Book Lover in Florida – Book Promo/Excerpt

July 22nd

One Book At A Time – Promo Post
Dreaming With Open Eyes – Author Q&A
These Words: A Blog – Author Guest Post
Grass Monster – Book Review (Amazon)

BookTour arranged by HCL Book Tours & Author Services
(now taking clients and book for late summer/early fall)
HCL Book Tours Logo (2)

#Blogtour – The Stepmother by Claire Seeber.

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The Blurb.

The perfect wife. A fairytale family. Don’t believe your eyes…

Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships. No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.
And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.

But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.
Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all.
After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending…doesn’t it?

A compelling, dark and twisty psychological thriller.’

TWG’s Thoughts.

I am extremely honoured to have been asked by Bookouture publicity manager, Kim Nash, to be part of Claire’s tour! Thank you Kim!

Seriously, WHY is this the first book of Claire’s that I have read? Why didn’t I come across her books sooner?!
We all wish for our own fairytale ending don’t we? We meet a person, fall in love, get a cosy little house together, have children and everything is hunky dory….yes? But imagine this scenario; boy meets girl, girl has child and boy has two children, girl has a past and so does the boy, both pasts are unknown to the other person before marriage. That scenario is grounds for a fairytale ending as well, isn’t it? I mean, joining two ready-made families together to create one big happy family is going to have the standard everyday struggles. Children bickering, ex-partner’s showing up all the time, a house with a history, random rooms….you know, those sorts of struggles….

Before you start reading this book, clear your diary, unplug your phone and ignore life demands. Why? Because you cannot, under any circumstance, be disturbed whilst reading it. I’m saying that from experience as when I was reading it, I nearly let my family walk around the house in the buff as I wanted to keep reading instead of doing the washing!
‘The Stepmother’ had all my vitals raised. My heart was pounding, my breathing was erratic and I was absolutely HOOKED on every single word that Claire had written. Every single page had me wanting more. Reading the book felt like opening Mary Poppin’s bag. Never ending and kept on giving. A treasure chest if you will.

Usually I find in some books that the main character has the most depth and the other characters are memorable but not as complex. With this book, it wasn’t the case at all. Not only does the Jeanie have a past, a very complex past, every main character does too. I thought it was incredibly clever to have such a dark and mysterious book containing many characters with such depth.  I am in awe of Claire for how she has managed to write all of that without any flaws. There were no gaps in the story at all. Many times I found myself thinking I knew where the story was heading and who did what, but every single time I was wrong! As I read more of the book, other circumstances became more apparent and to me, it seemed as though enough clues were there to back up that particular circumstance. Things aren’t always as they seem…

This book had me in a constant state of shock; gasping became my knee jerk reaction, as did covering my mouth. I have never read a book that made me feel as though I would be missing out on vital information if I stopped reading, until this one. Don’t get me wrong, I began questioning myself and feeling like I was the one causing the trouble for Jeannie, but that just goes to show how captivated by the storyline I was!
I cannot fault this book at all, well, apart from the obvious fact that it had to end (how rude!). When I finished reading ‘The Stepmother’, I was physically exhausted by the ride I had just been on with Jeannie and her family. But then, shortly after, I began to grieve for the book that I had just read! I would have carried on reading it if I had the chance.

The Stepmother by Claire Seeber is an absolute MUST READ. Such a gripping story that will leave you guessing the whole way through. A book that keeps on giving. Just when you think it can’t get any better than it already is, oh it definitely does! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book if you couldn’t tell that already. It is definitely my favourite book of 2016 SO FAR. Terrifyingly brilliant from start to finish.
I cannot wait to find out what Claire’s next book will be about!

Claire Seeber, you are a literary genius. I am in complete awe of your work as you have written a truly magnificent book. Thank you.

The Stepmother is available to buy right now from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

clairee

Claire Seeber’s TV career has seen her move from in front of the camera to behind it, and from MTV, to  chatshows, to documentaries. Her work has taken her all over the world, but home is in London with her partner and two children. Claire writes features for a range of broadsheets, last year began studying psychology, and has had four novels published by HarperCollins.

Claire’s Website
Follow Claire on Twitter
‘Like’ Claire’s Facebook Page

It’s that time again! TWG’s Don’t-Snooze-You’ll-Lose Deal Day with…@jenniewriter.

TWG's Don't-Snooze-You'll-Lose Deal Day with..... (2)

It’s Tuesday, so that can only mean one thing, it’s TWG’s ‘Don’t-Snooze-You’ll-Lose’ Deal Day With……

This author has written many books, many of them with a French setting or theme, which fits in with this ladies lifestyle. Why? Because she lives in France! Today’s deal day is with the fabulous Jennie Bohnet. I’m sure many of you have come across one of Jennie’s books, if you haven’t yet, here is another reason as to why you should. (Obviously aside from the fact she is a brilliant writer!) That reason is….she has a book on promotion!

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Au revoir old life, Bonjour Brittany!

Parisian prima ballerina Suzette knows it’s time to hang up her pointe shoes before her next injury ruins her ankles for good. But dancing is all she’s ever known and she’s terrified of who she’ll be after that final curtain falls.

Meanwhile, lonely Londoner Libby is pouring her life savings into buying an auberge that she and her late husband had loved visiting on holiday. It’s a huge risk that could leave her broke…as well as broken-hearted.

And then there’s Brigitte who’s retired to the village for a slower pace of life, but who dreads seeing someone else run her beloved auberge.

Three fresh starts…one unforgettable summer!

I actually have this book on my TBR pile as I took advantage of this deal myself! As with all books that are featured on TWG, the deals are on for a LIMITED TIME ONLY, I do NOT know when they will end, so it is best if you act fast. Basically, don’t snooze or you’ll lose out! 99p is a bargain price for book. Here is where you can get your copy from:

Amazon UK
GooglePlay

If this book tickles your Parisian senses and you want to find out what else Jennie has written, click —>HERE<— for her Amazon page.
You can also ‘like’ her author page on Facebook right HERE.

When you buy your copy, or if you have read it or any of her other books, PLEASE do leave a review. Reviews are very important to authors. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace length, but as long as it is constructive, support an author, it takes minutes!

Unfortunately I cannot dance like a ballerina, maybe this book will give me some pointers! Until then, I will toddle off like an elephant in a tutu.
Thank you to Jennie Bohnet for letting me know about her book promotion!

#ReleaseBlitz – Friends ForNever by Melissa Baldwin.

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It’s release blitz time! Melissa Baldwin is back with yet another smasher of a book, and you can get your hands on it from today! ‘How? How?’ I hear you ask. Well my lovely TWG readers, I shall not only tell you HOW and WHERE you can grab your copy, I also tell you about the book. I spoil you, I know.

Book Information

Title: Friends ForNever
Author: Melissa Baldwin
Release Date: July 19, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing

Summary

Erin Taylor is a hard-working journalist with a serious TV addiction and lack of a social life. She’s focused on her career and determined to leave her tiny cubicle behind for a fabulous corner office! But when a new co-worker, a friendship drama, and a hot workplace crush collide, Erin finds it harder and harder to focus. Especially when that crush on the oh-so-yummy Aiden Thomas starts to materialize into what feels like a magical relationship. Erin’s life seems to finally be heading in the right direction…until suddenly friends aren’t such great friends after all, her magical relationship hits a bumpy road, and her career could be derailed by it all. Erin learns a lesson the hard way: Sometimes people aren’t who they seem to be. With her happiness on the line, can Erin rise above her disappointments and create the life she’s always dreamed of or will she be stuck being Friends ForNever?

Book Links.

GoodReads
Amazon US
Amazon UK
iTunes
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

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Author Biography

Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications; she has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember . . . Or Forget. Since then, she has written and published four more novels, Wedding Haters, See You Soon Broadway, Not Quite Sheer Happiness, and Friends ForNever.
Melissa resides in Florida, with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy being a mother, wife, chauffeur, PTA President, and Fitness Trainer.
When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, running, fitness, fashion, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

Melissa’s Social Networking Links

Website
GoodReads
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Amazon Author

This release blitz was brought to you courtesy of:
rrt2

 

 

#Review of ‘Chances are’ by Wendy Lou Jones.

Chances are by Wendy Lou Jones.
Published 25th June 2016.
Available to buy from Amazon UK//Amazon US

‘Luke is the man with the money, the fast car and the hot woman. There’s no way he would even think about getting serious, but a face he can’t remember soon threatens his calm.
Rebecca isn’t interested in a relationship, and definitely not with him. How could she, after all he put her through? She’s spent the last 4 years hiding away from society, a one woman crusade for children’s road safety. Who would have thought one fateful day, it might almost be her … again.
As two worlds collide, will opposites attract?
Not if she can help it’

I would like to start by saying thank you to Wendy for putting this lovely book under my nose, and I want to apologise for keeping you waiting with the review. I would say that I have been chasing my tail, but then I would be insulting myself by saying that I am indeed a dog!

A man who has it all; money, career, lifestyle and the ability to click his fingers and a woman would come running to him.
A woman who is afraid of having it all. Afraid of putting her heart on the line. Afraid of history repeating itself.
After all, it nearly did repeat itself. Rebecca lost the man that she loved, the man that she was supposed to marry and ever since that day she has tried to make the roads a safer place. Then one day, along comes Luke, trying to multi-task whilst driving and nearly sends Rebecca to the same place as her fiancé.
Is Luke really that arrogant where women are concerned? Or is Rebecca too guarded after her past? The ‘chances are…..’
At first, I disliked Luke with a passion. Arrogance in men does not appeal one bit, especially when they think they are the be all and end all. He could have caused a terrible accident, yet ‘that woman’, Rebecca, is on his mind. Seriously? Surely you would avoid contact with a person that you nearly put in an unfortunate situation? I’m not nitpicking at Wendy’s writing, definitely not. Despite my early opinion of Luke, as the story progressed, my opinions changed for the better. Which, if I’m honest, was a surprise to me!
But then there is Rebecca. A lost soul and extremely guarded after everything she has been through, and thanks to an idiot in a car, she gets to re-live the past to a certain extent. No wonder she wants to stay clear…at first. My heart definitely went out to her because she seemed so lonely and without a purpose.
The way that Wendy incorporated chalk and cheese personalities, and completely turned them and the storyline around, takes such talent. She has created very complex characters with highly strung personalities and a lot of baggage. To fit all of that, and the future into just one book, made for an exciting yet emotionally charged read.
Watching the characters grow as they dealt with their own pasts and feelings made me feel like I was walking the journey with them. When the characters were happy, I was happy, when they were sad, I was crying like a baby unable to breathe and looking like I had met Ruldolph for a slush puppy (red nose).
Even though I found ‘Chances Are’ a very moving story, crying with the events within the book felt like the natural step. Every situation flowed and every word had its place. I am in awe of Wendy and how she has written such an emotional, rollercoaster ride of a book, with such a BEAUTIFUL cover! A pleasure to read.

**New Feature** 1st class mail from TWG & friends – A letter to your younger self!

Welcome to yet another brand new feature on The Writing Garnet! A couple of weeks ago I put multiple posts out on social media asking for people to get involved, and by golly they did! What would YOU tell your younger self if you could? Would you give them advice based on what you know now?
Those were the questions I had everyone keep in mind for writing their letters. Hopefully people (you) will continue to be involved as this feature will only run as long as I have your lovely letters to post.
If you fancy getting involved by writing a letter to your younger self, e-mail me at kaishajayneh@gmail.com. Thank you to those who have e-mailed me so far!

Okay, so this is how the feature is going to work. Each Sunday until further notice, I will share each of the letters that I have received so far. Seeing as some of the letters belong to authors and bloggers, their social links will also be included so you can see what they are up to now compared to the contents of their letters! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an author/blogger to take part. Anyone can!
Now I have told you all of the important information, let’s get this show on the road!

young self

TWG is delighted to welcome fellow blogger and new-found friend, Jo Robertson, to the blog! Get ready for honesty with a few giggles as here is what Jo would write in a letter to her younger self.

Dear Joanne,

I should probably start by reassuring you that the path you have taken, although not the one you planned on, is a good one and you will be in a happy relationship with a wonderful husband and children (plus grandchildren but I don’t want you to freak out about that! Yes, you’ll be a young Nana but it’s amazing!).

You won’t be going to uni to study English like you wanted but not getting those grades means that you will become part of the wonderful NHS caring for people who is what you do best. Just have the confidence to know what is right for YOU! Don’t be pushed down a road you don’t want to travel down.

Those books that you hide away to read, keep reading them! Books will always be part of your life and one day you will find that the knowledge and background that they gave you, will lead to one of the most exciting times of your life! You will become part of a community where you aren’t looked at as some kind of nerd. You will have found your place.

Don’t be ashamed that you didn’t like Catcher in the Rye!!! Have the confidence to tell people why you throw it in the New Year bonfire!! And life is too short to read Ulysses by James Joyce. Just leave it on the bookshelf!

You won’t ever be that writer you wanted to be, life gets in the way, but be amazed at how ahead of your time you were! Those exercise books you steal in school to write those instalments of your “novel” when you’re 16, the ones that you used to pass around all your friends, well they were the way forward! The adventures of Christie, the teenage pop star and her liaisons with her fans and her much older manager were a little bit shocking for some of your friends (and the mother who felt she had to have a word with mine!) But I wish you had kept them!! You could have been the first E.L. James!

And wear a bikini!!!!! Yes you may be pear shaped with a big bum and tiny waist but embrace your curves, there’s not an ounce of fat on you. Someday you will be Apple shaped and wish you had that body now that you have the confidence to wear that bikini! And don’t worry about that gorgeous curly hair you are bullied about, GHDs are on their way and anyway, those curls are your best feature, embrace them too! And keep drinking all that water! Your 51 year old face will thank you for it!

Lots of love

Jo (Book reviewer and blogger at mychestnutreadingtree)

Thank you so much Jo for kicking off TWG’s new feature! You look younger than me so go rock that bikini!!!!

Here are Jo’s social links so you can find out what she is about now!
Jo’s Blog
Jo’s Facebook Page
Follow Jo on Twitter

‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ turns ONE today! Happy debut book birthday Heidi Swain!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR THE CHERRY TREE CAFEEEEEEEE
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

Plus, TWG would like to say a massive congratulations to Heidi Swain as one year ago today, her debut novel was published! (The Cherry Tree Café, if you haven’t worked it out ;)).

To help Heidi mark such a special occasion, she got the privilege(privilege was all mine really!!) of sitting down with TWG and answering all the questions that I ‘threw’ at her!

I have read and reviewed both of Heidi’s books, here are the links in case you missed the posts:
I need a coffee and a yummy cake, ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ anyone? Heidi Swain?
Book review of ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’ by Heidi Swain.

TWG: Thank you Heidi for stopping by the blog today, I really appreciate you taking the time to have a chat!  Seeing as this is your first interview on TWG, I’m going to ease you in gently with a quick fire round of questions, are you okay with that?

Yes, I love a quick fire round but before we begin can I just say thank you so much for inviting me? I am absolutely delighted to be making my first visit to your fabulous blog, especially on this exciting anniversary for The Cherry Tree Café.

TWG: Milk chocolate or white chocolate?
Milk

TWG: Books or movies?
Books

TWG: Movie adaptation or book?
Book, although I love the Merchant Ivory Forster adaptations and I’m a huge fan of Peter Jackson and his Tolkien adventures.

TWG: High heels or flats?
At 5 foot nothing in my socks I should probably make more of an effort, but flats all the way! I’m middle aged now and I take comfort over style any day!

TWG: Potatoes or pasta?
Potatoes

TWG: Blackjack chews or fruit salad chews?
Neither really. I’m not a huge sweetie fan.

TWG: If you could choose to be any animal, which one would you choose and why?
A hare. I love everything about them – their elusiveness, wildness and the mythology which surrounds them – I’m fascinated by it all. They thrive in south Norfolk and I’m lucky enough to see them on most trips out.

TWG: If you could choose one super power; which one would you choose and why?
Gosh, that’s a tough one.  Can I make one up? I’d rather like the ability to banish prejudice and hate, anything in fact that causes pain, fear and unhappiness.

TWG: Okay Heidi, hopefully that has melted any first time ice! Now let’s talk books!

TWG: For those that aren’t familiar with your work, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am an author of contemporary romance novels which are filled with a whole host of feisty female characters and some rather delicious heroes.  An author friend recently described my writing as ‘feel-good fiction’ and I’m thrilled to wear that badge! So far my novels have been based around the fictitious East Anglian country town of Wynbridge.

TWG: What made you decide one day to write your first book?
The decision to write my first novel wasn’t really a conscious one. I had finally taken the plunge and started to take my writing seriously, attending creative writing courses and submitting short stories to an online community. Writing my first novel seemed like the natural (but nonetheless daunting), next step.

TWG: Speaking of your first book; your debut novel ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ turns one today! Happy birthday! What are your plans for the birthday book today? I hope there is cake!
Thank you lovely. I ‘m still struggling to believe it’s been a whole year since The Cherry Tree Café was published! So many exciting things have happened in the last twelve months so this summery anniversary couldn’t be better timed for a little celebration of everything. Of course there will be cake and bunting and there will definitely be a few corks popping!

TWG: What was the inspiration behind ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’?
The Café itself came first and then Lizzie strolled in and told her story (it wasn’t quite that simple but you get the idea). Setting is hugely important to me and I love to write about places, jobs and lives that I would love to experience and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to spend their days surrounded by pretty crafting projects and luscious cakes? Personally I can’t imagine a more perfect combination and fortunately my publishers and readers agreed with me!

TWG: As well as having a book turning one, you have also had another reason to celebrate recently. Your second book ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’ was published in June of this year, congratulations! How would you describe your book using just one word?Idyllic

TWG: I adored ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’. It gave me the Calamity Jane type vibe with the homeliness. Are you a Calamity Jane fan?
I have to admit that until now Calamity Jane hasn’t been on my radar but if ‘homeliness’ is key then I know I’m going to love it! *heads straight to internet to search*

TWG: Are either of your books influenced by anything from your own life?
I grew up in the countryside. My dad’s family are arable Fenland farmers, my mum and stepdad were pig farmers and my granddad grew summer fruits and potatoes to sell at the local auction, (now sadly replaced by a housing estate). All of those things had an influence on Summer at Skylark Farm and I have also lived in some beautiful parts of the country so I understand the value of loving the landscape and having that connection with the earth and her seasons.

TWG: In ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’, Amber strikes me as the lost and unconfident type. What made you have that personality as your main character?
It was never my intention for her to come across as lost and unconfident. I think, given the fact that she moved to an environment and situation so far removed from her comfort zone, she coped pretty well. She got stuck in and always coped with whatever life on the farm threw at her. 

TWG: Will ‘Skylark Farm’ be appearing again in any of your future books?
Definitely! So many people have told me how thrilled they were that The Cherry Tree Café and Jemma and Lizzie featured in Summer at Skylark Farm that it would be impossible to let them all disappear. Pretty much everyone pops back up in Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market so you can look forward to discovering what happens to them all next!

TWG: Out of both of your books, which one was harder to write?
Summer at Skylark Farm I think. There is always that pressure to produce an even stronger book second time around and I hope I’ve done that. The Cherry Tree Café was very successful and lots of readers were waiting to see what I would do next. I hope I have lived up to their expectations. The reviews have been fantastic so far.

TWG: What is your writing space like?
I wrote a blog post recently titled ‘on being an adaptable author’ in which I explain that these days with deadlines looming I have to write pretty much anywhere.  I write in my car, on the sofa, in cafes and on the train. My spot for editing and typing up the longhand I write during the day however is always the same and that is at the head of the dining table in relative silence, if I’m lucky!

TWG: I am curious about your answer to this question! What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, the Magic Faraway Tree and the Wishing Chair were two firm favourites, but I also loved the Brambly Hedge tales and Beatrix Potter. I was hooked on anything with a country element from an early age. 

TWG: If TWG flutters eyelashes at you, would that persuade you to give us an exclusive? I would love to hear what we can look forward to from you next!
Well now, let’s see. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market will be published on October 20th in both paperback and e-book and I can’t tell you how excited I am to get my hands on the paperback. I might have had a little peek at the cover already but you mustn’t tell anyone. Needless to say it is gorgeous! The Books and the City Team produce such beautiful jackets and I’m planning on having them made into canvases to hang in our hall at home.
I’m currently writing the first draft of the Summer novel for next year which introduces some brand new characters to Wynbridge as well as catching up with some old friends but I can’t say more than that!

TWG: Heidi, it has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for joining me today. Happy birthday to your debut novel! Please do pop by the blog again, you’re always very welcome!
Thank you my lovely. It has been a real treat to visit and I can’t wait to come back and see you again very soon!

TWG gets another exclusive! Whoop! I absolutely loved doing that interview, such wonderful answers from Heidi, especially loving the Magic Faraway Tree! I don’t know about you, but I know what I’ll be buying on the 20th October in paperback! I hope you enjoyed reading the interview as much as I enjoyed being involved in it. I think it is an amazing achievement to be celebrating a debut novel reaching one year old, as well as having a second novel published within the same year. Congratulations Heidi!!

Here are all the important links that you’ll need to grab yourself a copy of Heidi’s books, as well as the links to keep up to date with the latest from the lady herself!!

Once again, happy birthday ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ and congratulations to Heidi!

happyyyy

Purchase links:
Buy ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ on Amazon UK.
Buy ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ from Amazon US
Buy Heidi’s latest novel ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’
Buy ‘Summer at Skylark Farm’ from Amazon US

Keep up to date with Heidi:
Heidi @ Simon and Schuster
Heidi Swain on Facebook
Follow Heidi on Twitter.

What’s on your mind TWG? – Do you judge a book by its cover, literally?

Good afternoon you lovely lot! I am back again this week with another ‘What’s on your mind TWG?’, last weeks blog post seemed to go down a treat! Thank you to everyone that got involved in the discussion. If you missed the post, you can find it again here:  What’s on your mind TWG? – Spoilers in a review, yes or no?

So what IS on TWG’s mind this week? Let’s talk about judging books by their covers, literally. When I was younger, book covers didn’t seem as vibrant, fancy or eye-catching as they do these days. To me anyway. Although, I guess an 5-6 year old wouldn’t really stand at shelves stacked with books going ‘mother, this book cover isn’t catching my eye, I shan’t read this one today!’. I would be rather impressed if I did though! As I have grown into a late twenty something woman, as well as starting my blog, I pay attention to individual book covers more than anything. Maybe it’s because I am more aware of how much work goes into creating them, or maybe it’s because I appreciate them more now that I am older.

But there is a difference between appreciating a cover for its beauty and using a book cover to decide whether you will buy the book or not.

When you go to buy a book do you:
a) read the blurb first, then make your decision based on that – or –
b) judge a book by its cover and base your decision on what it LOOKS like – or –
c) will you only buy the book if you like BOTH the blurb and the cover.

I know, I know, it’s a well-known phrase that you should never ‘never judge a book by its cover’, but is that allowed for books?

Before I began blogging, I had a very thorough way of choosing whether I was going to read a book or not:
1. Look at the cover & title.
2. Read the blurb.
3. Read the first couple of lines on the first page.

Do I do that now? No, I don’t. When you work with publishers and authors, you can’t exactly say ‘hang on a second, I need to read the first page before I decide whether I’m going to review your book or not’, that is a tad rude. It is rare that I read the blurbs of books now too because I find that they seem to give more of the story away.
So TWG, how DO you choose a book to read? Well, I decide based on the cover and the title. If both of those catch my eye and make me intrigued, then I will read it. That said, my way isn’t set in stone. Sometimes I do delve further into the information of the book before choosing, but predominantly my decision is based on the cover.

When I get asked to review a book one of the first things that sit in the e-mail (apart from Hi Kaisha) is the book title and author. Yes, the information of the book is included, but I don’t read it. I probably sound like a book snob here, but using my logic, I find I accept more books to review because it broadens my genres and I have found many different and new authors because I chose their books based on the covers.

So yes, it does play a big part in my decision with books. But I am a complete book nerd and I appreciate all the hard work that goes into making a cover shout the story visually. It’s quite clever when you think of it that way.

My question to you is: do you judge a book by its cover? As always I want to hear your thoughts on this weeks topic. Please let me know how you choose a book to read using the choices above in your answers, or do you do something completely different? Authors: do you have a lot riding on your covers to help sell the book?

To join in this discussion pop your comments in reply to this blog post, or you can tweet me @kaishajayneh, or find me on The Writing Garnet on Facebook. I cannot wait to hear what you think! If you have any topic ideas please e-mail them to kaishajayneh@gmail.com!