#Tour! #Guestpost from @LizTrenow, author of ‘The Silk Weaver’. @panmacmillan

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I really think we should all take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the tour banner and book cover are!

I am absolutely thrilled to be today’s stop on Liz Trenow’s blog tour for her upcoming novel, The Silk Weaver, which will be published on the 26th January by Panmacmillan. If you haven’t come across the book as of yet, here is the blurb:

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1760, Spitalfields. Anna Butterfield’s life is about to change forever, as she moves from her idyllic Suffolk home to be introduced into London society. A chance encounter with a French silk weaver, Henri, draws her in to the volatile world of the city’s burgeoning silk trade. Henri is working on his ‘master piece’, to become a master weaver and freeman; Anna longs to become an artist while struggling against pressure from her uncle’s family to marry a wealthy young lawyer.

As their lives become ever more intertwined, Henri realises that Anna’s designs could give them both an opportunity for freedom. But his world becomes more dangerous by the day, as riots threaten to tear them apart forever . . .

Inspired by real historical events and characters, The Silk Weaver is a captivating, unforgettable story of illicit romance in a time of enlightenment and social upheaval

The Silk Weaver by Liz Trenow can be pre-ordered now from Amazon , ready for publication on the 26th January (e-book & paperback).

Today, my tour stop consists of a guest post which lets us into Liz’s inspiration behind her novel, The Silk Weaver. Thank you Liz!
I was researching the history of my family’s silk weaving business, which started in

Spitalfields, East London, in the early 1700s (and is still weaving today in Sudbury, Suffolk)
and discovered that the first address was in Wilkes Street. Just a few yards away is the
house where the eminent silk designer Anna Maria Garthwaite lived at around the same
time. It was so exciting to imagine that she would have known and worked with my
ancestors.

Anna Maria was one of the most celebrated textile designers of the eighteenth century, her
silks were worn by royalty and nearly a thousand of her designs are in the Victoria & Albert
Museum in London. Yet no-one knows how she learned her craft or how an unmarried
middle-aged woman managed to develop such a successful business in a male dominated
industry.

It is this mystery that sparked the idea for the novel.

About the author.

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Liz Trenow is the author of three previous historical novels: The Last Telegram, The Forgotten Seamstress and The Poppy Factory. Liz’s family have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years, and she grew up in the house next to the mill in Suffolk, England, which still operates today, weaving for top-end fashion houses and royal commissions.

This unique history inspired her first two novels, and this, her fourth novel.

Liz is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in East Anglia, UK, with her artist husband, and they have two grown-up daughter.


#Review of Whatever Happened To Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man by @laurajanekemp @aria_fiction #Tour

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Blurb.

A tender, funny and haunting coming-of- age novel which asks if the past
can ever be part of your future.

Twenty-one and insecure, Vicky Hope comes up with a plan on the eve of travelling the world with her high flying friend, Kat Lloyd: if she isn’t married by the time she’s thirty, she’ll marry her geeky best mate Mikey Murphy.

Fast-forward eight-and-a-bit years, Vicky, now Vee wakes up on her thirtieth birthday in Brighton, expecting a proposal of marriage from her arty boyfriend Jez. Instead he tells her their relationship is over and she has no choice but to return to her parents’ home.

Devastated and alone in her childhood bedroom, she decides she has nothing to lose and tracks down her two old mates. With shock, she discovers Mikey, now Murphy, is a successful app designer driven by his tragic upbringing. Kat, or Kate, never made it – but she hides a devastating secret, which threatens the happiness of all three.

What does TWG think?

I would hang my head in shame seeing as I managed to worm my way onto this particular blog tour, but I’m not going to. Instead, I am going to get my pom poms out, sprinkle a bit of glitter and be honoured that I am able to help champion Laura Kemp’s latest novel. Be prepared though; this book takes you on a walk down memory lane and BOY does it feel good. It’s even better than a Tamagotchi (and that’s saying something).

Cover + title = one rather curious reader. How could anyone NOT be intrigued about a back up man? Ahhhhhh, oh to be 21 again! I say that like I’m in considerably older (I’m not, i’m nearly 27), but memories of our youth can always stir up a teensy bit of nostalgia. Well, unless you’re Vicky of course! A teensy bit is quite an understatement. You see, Vicky made a plan; a plan to have a back up man if she wasn’t married by the time she turned 30. No pressure, right? What Vicky didn’t really account for was life, and how fast that bad boy moved. She decided to see the world, be free, live a little, find her inner peace….and end up on her own. It is safe to say that Vicky’s fool-proof idea didn’t exactly go to plan.

Fast forward nine years where Vicky finds herself at a crossroad; make…or break?

Delving into Vicky’s youth had me in absolute hysterics! The reminiscing of childhood favourite items and go to things, made me put my head in my hands and forget how to breathe due to my oh so sexy, full-blown belly laughing. Laura managed to keep those all time favourite memories in their own little bubble, without tainting them in today’s world. In my eyes, Laura had reached legen-DARY status with that alone. Genius.

As I sunk my teeth into more of the storyline, it soon became clear that the novel had more to it than just laughter. The characters had depth, quirky personalities and most importantly, relatable emotion. I didn’t dislike any of them either, I just understood some of the characters more than others.

I’ll cut to the chase; I absolutely LOVED this book. There was just something rather special about the entire storyline and I cannot put my finger on exactly what that is, even after having weeks of letting it settle in my mind. It was just…unique. Fragile perhaps. Maybe even soulful. No, definitely soulful. Yes, the humour was off the chart; but so was the emotion, lifestyle turbulence of the characters and the ‘I cannot stop reading this book’ factor.

Laura Kemp has written such a down to earth, relatable and highly amusing read which takes hold of your soul, emotion and all of the cringey memories from your youth that you wanted to hide (but secretly think about). Absolutely brilliant read, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Thank you Aria & Netgalley.

Whatever Happen to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man is available to buy now from the following:

Laura’s previous book, THE LATE BLOSSOMING OF FRANKIE GREEN is available
now:

About Laura Kemp.
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Laura lives in Penarth, Cardiff with her supportive husband, gorgeous son,
playful dog and ancient cat. Writing is compulsive to Laura. With 15 years
journalistic experience and several successful books to her name, writing is her
escape and her love.

Follow Laura

New year, New..? No! #TWGTalks

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Seeing as we are in a brand new year, I thought that I would revamp a feature from 2016 that seemed to be quite popular! If you’ve been following my blog since day one, you might remember ‘What’s on your mind TWG?’ where I took controversial book related subjects, and spoke about them. As you do. However, seeing as I am aiming to become a freelance writer (or thereabouts), I thought that it would be good to showcase my writing in the only way I know how: talking. I am called the WRITING Garnet after all!

So, the title of this post; ‘New Year, New..? No!’, it is pretty vague eh? We are now into a brand new year (well, 15 days into it, who’s counting?) and usually that comes with the ‘new year, new me’ and 134542473773 resolutions that are usually broken within 12 hours (I’m being generous). If you are one of the rare few that do actually keep their new years resolutions then that is excellent! However, do we really need to pile on the pressure every single year with the whole ‘new me’ fiasco? If you wanted to change part of your lifestyle or try something new, you could do that any day of the year and own it. Why is the nod from the New Year so important?

‘When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother what would I be, will I be pretty, will I be rich, here’s what she said to me’……

Go and be yourself and don’t give a fudgewallop what anybody else thinks!

You thought I was going to break into a bit of ‘Que sera sera’-ing didn’t you? My mum has actually said that line above by the way! Maybe not with those EXACT words, cough fudgewallop cough, but I am sure you get the gist. Did I listen to her though? Let’s just say that some human beans that I had the displeasure of being acquainted with, had other ideas for my confidence and self-worth. So yes, I did give a fudgewallop what everyone else thought of me and if I’m honest, I still do (to an extent). Recently I got betrayed by a person that I thought was a really good friend. They took my vulnerability and shredded it whilst trying to mould me into the person that THEY could ‘cope’ with. My illnesses, my struggles, my down days, the way I organised things in my home, everything – they all became problematic to that person. ‘What did you do?’ I hear you ask, I took a step back, removed their toxic asshat from my bubble and reviewed my life. Well, after bonding with tissues and coming to terms with the bullying & betrayal that is.

You’re probably wondering what my little story has to do with the new year, right? Fear not, I will explain…eventually. It dawned on me that I had spent most of my life changing myself to fit in with those around me, or making myself out to be something that I am quite clearly not. I lost sight of me, Kaisha. I didn’t know who I was, all I knew was what everyone else wanted me to be. But you know what? Nah, no more.

If you know me, you probably know my story (if not, it’s on a previous blog post, somewhere). You’ll know that my whole life is controlled by my body and things that I cannot see and cannot do anything about. Why the monkeybum would I want to then mould myself around other folk? I never knew that I was Play Doh!

Personally, New Year isn’t about creating a brand new you. By all means, if you want to do daring things, lose weight or have different aims in life, then go for it! You don’t need to become a brand new you to do that though, do you? If we stood in front of a mirror, it wouldn’t take us long to pick out all of the things that we dislike about ourselves. We have all done it, and we most probably will continue to do it. As Izzy from ‘A Year Of Saying Yes’ (part 1&2 are out now) by Hannah Doyle says; we don’t take the time to appreciate our lines, our beauty.

Don’t change yourself because we have entered a new year. Don’t change yourself because someone has a chip on their shoulder and your addition of salty sass ruins their vinegar. Make aims. Say YES to things (only if you want to though). Aim to become a better you, not a brand new you.

If it turns out that people cannot handle you, handle yourself and OWN IT. If you are having a asshat of a day and can’t stop crying; DON’T! It’s your life.

It’s YOUR song so YOU choose the dance.
New Year, I’m still me, and you’re still you.

#Review – Open For Business (Blue Moon Guesthouse Book 1) – @CressMcLaughlin @HarperFiction

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Blurb.

A warm welcome awaits…the charming new arrival from the No.1 bestselling author of The Canal Boat Cafe.

Robin Brennan has come home to Campion Bay. Now her parents have retired, she’s set to become the new landlady of The Campion Bay Guesthouse.
Bookings have been as thin as the hand towels, and it doesn’t take long for Robin to realise that the place needs a serious makeover. Perhaps throwing herself into the task will help to heal her sadness at the tragic end to her dreams in London.
As she gives the guesthouse a new lease of life, Robin encounters old friends and new, including old flame Tim, who’d clearly like to reboot their romance. But what about Will, the new arrival at No. 4, who’s rocked up with the cutest dog ever?
Caught up in a flurry of full-English breakfasts and cream teas, Robin’s never sure what, or who, the next check-in will bring…

This is the first part of a four-part serial.

What does TWG think?

Any book that has the publication date as Christmas Day, is already earning brownie points in my eyes! I pre-ordered this book even before the author had shared her news on social media (eagle-eyed you see!). It wasn’t until AFTER I pre-ordered it that I released it would be pinging onto my kindle on Christmas Day! Exciting!

I’m sure you’re pretty aware by now that I could not wait to get stuck into this book; I just hoped my excitement would continue to shout loud and proud. At first, it took me a little longer than I expected, to get into the storyline and be wooed. There seemed to be a lot of character interaction to begin with, and a little less storyline action itself. However, after pausing Mcdreamy and Meredith Grey on my T.V, the Once In A Blue Moon Guesthouse got my full attention and before I knew it, the book had ended.

Seeing as this is book one of four, it goes without saying that there will be a lot of unanswered questions at this stage in regards to individual characters and their circumstances. I for one am excited to get those answers. A couple of the characters in particular, gauged my attention more than others. I won’t say who they are just yet as I want to see if that changes throughout the next three books.

Cressida has gotten this series off to a flying start and her eye for detail is outstanding. The way the author described each room in the guesthouse, even down to certain lights, was unbelievable. Such vivid and enchanting descriptions, I really do think those rooms should become painted postcards! After my initial slow start to the book, my heart was rather cosy by the end and I am really looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Open For Business (The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse, book one) is available to download now in e-book from Amazon.

What will Robin get up to next? Will bookings continue to rise? Which gentleman friend will win over Robins heart, if any! Find out on the 16th February when we return to the Blue Moon Guesthouse with book 2 – Fully Booked! Pre-order book two now!

#BlogTour #Guestpost from author of ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ @Laura_E_James @ChocLitUK

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Absolutely thrilled to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Laura E James’ ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’, alongside other fabulous bloggers. Laura’s latest released was published by ChocLitUK on the 9th January and is currently sporting a whopping 42 five star reviews on Amazon (figure correct as of 12/01/17)! Before I share the guest post, here is a little bit more about the book, as well as the all important ‘to buy’ link:

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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – but how strong can one person be?

Griff Hendry knows what it is to be strong. After a turbulent past, he’s dedicated himself to saving lives, working as a coastguard along the breath- taking shores of Dorset. It’s Griff’s belief that everyone is worth saving – which is why he can’t forgive his father, Logan, for what he did.

Griff’s future is plunged into uncertainty when his wife, Evie, tells him she wants a separation. The revelation is a shock and leads Griff to question what Evie could possibly be hiding – and she isn’t the only one holding back. Griff’s troubled stepdaughter, Tess, also harbours a dark secret.

As the truth is uncovered, Griff is forced to accept that perhaps he’s never understood what real strength is.

Buy from Amazon

Laura James has written a post especially for TWG, so without further ado, it gives me great pleasure to hand you over to the lady herself.

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Griff – Getting To Know You.

Thank you so much for inviting me to The Writing Garnet to celebrate the launch of the paperback of my third novel in the Chesil Beach Books, What Doesn’t Kill You.

I was looking through the notebook in which I’d started writing What Doesn’t Kill You, as I remembered asking my main character, Griff Hendry, a series of questions, to fix his personality and backstory in my mind. I’d not used the technique before, but it’s interesting to look back a couple of years later to see if the answers given are relevant to the fully formed Griff and whether the technique worked.

This is what I discovered then: When Griff was a boy his bedroom was decorated with wallpaper depicting the history of planes, the main colours being blues, greys and greens. He suffered a broken ankle at the age of sixteen, and the film he watch repeatedly was Top Gun. The most disgusting food he’d ever eaten was octopus – the tentacles appeared to be alive. He liked to visit the remote Scottish Highlands although he hates snow, and he’s kept awake at night worrying about his wife’s emotional distance and his step-daughter’s deep disregard for him. He loves his dog, healthy food and his job – he works for HM Coastguard. Slackers annoy him, his star sign is Aries and he’s a natural leader.

What I know now: Not once in WDKY did Griff refer to his bedroom wallpaper, Top Gun, or eating octopus tentacles. His father, Logan, was born in Scotland, so that’s probably from where Griff’s love of the Highlands stems. He does lie awake at night worrying and trying to work out how on earth he can fix his relationship with his wife, Evie. The problem is Griff has no idea why or how it fractured. He’s a man who needs a dog, and his Old English sheepdog, Ozzy, is his best friend. Since the age of sixteen, Griff wanted to work for HM Coastguard and now holds a senior position. His natural leadership serves him well. His birthday is in April, and he falls under the sign of the ram – Aries.

Although Griff’s wallpaper doesn’t crop up in the novel, and until I wrote this post, he and I were the only ones who knew about the planes, it helped me get a handle on who Griff Hendry is.

I like to know my characters’ backstories and often have reams of paper with lists and spider diagrams detailing their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, and their fears and anxieties. From that point I work out what’s happened to them to make them the way they are. What happened to Griff that made him want to be a coastguard? What makes him so keen to save everyone? Why does he carry the weight of responsibility on his shoulders? It’s important to me that the backstories are authentic. There has to be an element of, ‘Oh, that explains why he did that,’ rather than, ‘Well, that wouldn’t happen just because he …’

I research far more information than I put on the page. It might not be essential to the plot that Griff had the history of airplanes plastered around his childhood bedroom, but it gives me an important insight into his character which allows me to develop him as an adult. For me the wallpaper and his love of the film, Top Gun, indicates he has a sense of adventure, a sense of history, that he likes military order and precision, and that, perhaps, he likes the companionship and loyalty one gains when working in a team – that friendship, dependability and honesty are important to him in all areas of his life. I hope I’ve shown those values through Griff’s words and actions.

So, back to my original thought; are Griff’s answers to the interview questions, given at the early stages of his development, relevant to his much later and fully formed character? Yes. The interview technique worked for me and it’s been interesting looking back and seeing how Griff Hendry grew as a main character. It’s certainly something I will do again with new characters.

Now, would you like to know the state of Griff’s underwear drawer?

Interesting guest post, thank you Laura!

Make sure you check out the rest of the stops on the tour!


#WatchMe as TWG kicks off @TheAngelaClarke #tour with an INCREDIBLE #giveaway!! @avonbooksuk

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Asking a blogger to kick off a blog tour is such an honourable task. Publishers/authors are putting their faith in that blogger to shout loud and proud and get the blog tour off to the best start that they can. See, honourable! Now, when I found out that I would be kicking off the blog tour for THE Angela Clarke and her much longed for new novel, ‘Watch Me’, my legs turned to jelly! Nervous much?

Angela’s tour is THE tour to watch right now, can you handle it? #AreYouWatching? Before I light up your screen with a star-studded giveaway (or two), I suppose I had better tell you a little bit about Angela’s new book which is published TODAY by Avon Books UK. You can get hold of your copy right now from Amazon UK.

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The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

If that blurb doesn’t pique your interest, I have no idea what will! Oh, wait….no, I take that back….

What would you say if TWG the book fairy told you that YOU could be in with a chance of winning a book…or two, one of those being ‘Watch Me’?

I have TWO giveaways for you to help celebrate the release of Angela Clarke’s ‘Watch Me’, courtesy of Angela herself, and some star-studded friends.

GIVEAWAY ONE

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(Prize: A signed copy of ‘Deep Down Dead’ by Steph Broadribb AND a copy of Angela Clarke’s ‘Watch Me’.)

Blurb of Deep Down Dead.

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come keeping her career as a Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills rack up, she has no choice but to take a job that will make her a fast buck, and that’s when things go wrong. The fugitive she’s chasing is JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her all she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

GIVEAWAY TWO

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(Prize: I LET YOU GO and I SEE YOU (both US versions) by Clare Mackintosh AND a copy of ‘Watch Me’ by Angela Clarke.)

 Two psychological thrillers from the Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author, Clare Mackintosh. I LET YOU GO follows a woman rebuilding her life after a fatal hit-and-run. I SEE YOU tells the story of a woman who finds her own photograph in the classifieds of a London newspaper, and sets out to find out why it’s there.

Fancy a chance at winning? OF COURSE YOU DO! Below is what you need to do to be in with a chance (pay attention to this bit):

OPEN TO UK RESIDENTS ONLY (sorry!)

♠ To be in with a chance of winning, hop over to MY twitter account @kaishajayneh and RT the PINNED tweet (if you don’t do this, you won’t be in with a chance, simples).

♠ Sharing this blog post as well as the giveaway details on Facebook is FABULOUS, however, shares on anything other than Twitter of the pinned tweet will not count.

♠ As there are two giveaways, I will choose one separate winner randomly for each giveaway and the winners details will be passed onto Avon Books UK.

♠ Even though Clare Mackintosh is offering the US versions of both of her books, both giveaways are only open to UK residents due to postage.

Happy with all of that? Good. I don’t know about you but I am rather excited and it’s only day one! Every day of the tour will see a brand new giveaway so make sure you keep your eyes peeled on Twitter & Facebook daily. This is NOT to be missed. Here are all the lovely bloggers who are taking part in this star-studded tour:

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Last but not least, have you ever fancied writing your own book? Well, the fabulous Angela Clarke has got a video that might just be up your street:

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How To Write A Book by Angela Clarke

HUGE thank you to Avon Books for allowing me to kick of the tour, and also a huge thank you to Steph Broadribb and Clare Mackintosh for being part of such a fabulous giveaway. Congratulations Angela, wishing you oodles of success with your new release, and the rest of the tour!

To keep up to date with Angela, Steph, Clare or Avon Books, make sure you follow them on twitter:

Follow Angela Clarke
Follow Steph
Follow Clare
Follow Avon Books UK

#AreYouWatching?

#Review – The One Memory of Flora Banks by @Emily_barr @penguinukbooks #FloraBanks

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Blurb.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

What does TWG think?

#FloraBanks surprised me by being classified as a YA book, but in my opinion, I feel as though it is really for adults too (basically don’t let the YA classification sway you!).  It is fantastic to see that YA are being made aware of situations like Flora Banks’ that’s for sure. Hell, I even learnt a thing or two!

To say that Flora Banks struggles with her memory would be an understatement; she has anterograde amnesia. In simple terms, Flora cannot remember the things that we take for granted (routine etc) and she relies solely on trust, as well as notes.
Put yourself in Flora’s shoes; you get up every single day completely unaware of who you are, what you like or how to do things. You come across a human being who says that they’re your mum. You believe them, yes? Of course you do, you have no reason not to…as far as you’re aware. That human being then decides to give you an item of food that you’re not even sure that you like; but they tell you that it’s your favourite. You believe them again, yes? But then, if it wasn’t confusing enough, another human being speaks to you and tells you that in fact, you are allergic to that food item that was just handed to you. NOW who do you believe?

Emily Barr puts the reader into Flora Banks’ shoes with the way she has written the storyline. Instead of looking at characters from an outsider point of view and being able to see things before they do, the readers ARE Flora. We are reminded of the personal talks that Flora has with herself on multiple occasions. Just like Flora, we don’t see a room in the storyline; instead we see the post it notes and make a bee-line for those. It’s raw, it’s emotional and unbelievably powerful.

Multiple times throughout the book I found myself panicking as I had become rather invested in Flora’s emotions. She couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember. Well, I had nothing TO remember, I didn’t know the storyline until I had read it. Forget trying to piece the situations together like a jigsaw puzzle; you need to ride every circumstance out like rogue wave. Unpredictable and incredibly forceful.

I was blown away by the intelligence behind Flora’s actions, but most importantly, the complete storyline itself. Emily Barr has put memory loss on the map, underlined it and given it a ‘look at me’ style theme tune. For that, I take my hat off to her. It takes a talented author to take such a topic that a lot of readers may be unaware of, and create a storyline around that whilst also being true to the facts. However, it takes an incredible author to do all of what I have just mentioned, connect that storyline with three-dimensional characters AND leave the reader completely entranced.
Emily Barr, you are that incredible author.
A mind-blowing, phenomenal read that will have you find emotion you never knew existed. If you don’t believe me, read it yourself.

Thank you Netgalley.

The One Memory of Flora Banks is out now in e-book and can be bought here.
However, if you prefer paperbacks, sit tight as it will be released on the 12th January. You can pre-order your physical copy right here.

#Tour! #Review of Secret & Fries at the #StarlightDiner – Helen Cox @Helenography @Avonbooksuk

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Absolutely thrilled to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Helen Cox and her newest release; ‘Secrets & Fries at the Starlight Diner’! This book is the second book in the Starlight Diner series and was released by Avon Books UK on the 16th December 2016! I haven’t read the first book (yet), but luckily I didn’t need to read it first to make sense of the story. It does now mean that I will be buying it and reading it ASAP thanks to this book! Today I have an excerpt from the book as well as my review. Hope you enjoy!

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Blurb.

What brings Bonnie Brooks to The Starlight Diner? And why is she on the run?

As the front-woman in a band, Bonnie is used to being in the spotlight, but now she must hide in the shadows.

Bonnie only has one person who she can turn to: her friend Esther Knight, who waitresses at the Fifties-themed diner. There, retro songs play on the jukebox as fries and sundaes are served to satisfied customers. But where has Esther gone?

Alone in New York City, Bonnie breaks down in front of arrogant news reporter, and diner regular, Jimmy Boyle. Jimmy offers to help her. Can she trust him?

When the kindly owner of the Starlight Diner offers Bonnie work, and she meets charming security officer Nick Moloney, she dares to hope that her luck has changed. Is there a blossoming romance on the cards? And can Bonnie rebuild her life with the help of her Starlight Diner friends?

What does TWG think?

I need to admit something! Before I began reading Helen’s new book, I assumed that it would be a candyfloss style read. I don’t read blurbs you see, so I try to guess the book by the cover. It is safe to say that my guess was way, WAY off with this one.

Bonnie is definitely a character to remember. She’s quirky, bolshy and isn’t afraid to ensure that she’s noticed. However, things aren’t as they seem and soon enough, Bonnie lands herself in a bit of hot water at the diner she just happened to ‘stumble’ across. Seeing as I assumed that the storyline would be more candyfloss than pancakes and syrup, I had no expectations of the storyline itself. When Bonnie appeared in the diner trying to find her friend, it didn’t take me long to work out that this book would have more sustenance than even pancakes and syrup!

Every chapter seemed to unearth yet another quizzical circumstance and leave me with unanswered questions. More characters appeared on the scene and took the book up another notch, whilst still leaving a lot of boxes unticked. I had no idea where the storyline was headed but I was super excited to find out!

As well as a FABULOUS book soundtrack that you may find yourself singing along to whilst you read, Helen has laced the entire book with on point humour and dry one liners. Absolutely brilliant.

Secrets and Fries was definitely a book that kept on giving and I was pretty disappointed when it ended. Every single character added to the ambience of the diner (and the storyline) in their own unique ways, making the unfolding storyline even more of a surprise.

I wouldn’t have minded if this book had a candyfloss feel to it (sweet, fluffy) don’t get me wrong, but I am rather pleased that I ended up wrong with my guess and that the Starlight Diner just kept on surprising me.

Full of songs to job your memory, food to tickle your tastebuds, humour to knock your funny bone and a superb, gripping storyline, what more could anyone want? I really do hope that we get to visit the Starlight Diner again, I am already having withdrawal symptoms! A must read by the fabulous Helen Cox.

Thank you Avon Books UK.

Secrets & Fries at the Starlight Diner is available to buy now in e-book from Amazon UK.
If my review hasn’t convinced you enough, here is an excerpt in case you need a smidge more convincing:

Excerpt of Secrets & Fries at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox.

Even in my sleep I wasn’t safe from those vacant eyes, the colour of copper. Once again, they had stared at me out of the darkness, all the memories and hopes sieved out of them. Drained out of the bullet hole punched through his right temple.

I whimpered and my body slackened in Jimmy’s grasp. My heart was still hammering at the thought of what I’d just relived.

What I’d witnessed four nights ago.

Even now, the gunshot still echoed in my ears.

‘I’m so sorry,’ was all I could think of to say to Jimmy, who was crouching in front of me, his hands still resting on my arms.

‘For what?’ he shook his head.

‘Just, everything,’ I croaked. ‘For waking you up. For being a wreck. God…’ I put a hand over my mouth to hold in the disturbing truth loitering on the tip of my tongue.

‘I’ve seen worse.’ A soft smile displaced the hard lines on Jimmy’s face. I took in a deep breath, and then another, realising there was a hint of mandarin in the atmosphere and that it was coming from Jimmy. He’d showered off all of that musty cologne before going to bed. Now he just smelled fruity. And soapy.

‘You gonna tell me what’s goin’ on here?’ Jimmy stared at me.

I swallowed hard. But didn’t say anything. If I did, it could mean his life.

‘Nowhere to go. Nightmares. A makeover from the beauty school of Cyndi Lauper. You’re clearly in some kinda trouble. Don’t need to be good at reading people to see that.’ Jimmy scratched his head. ‘Maybe I can help… Who’s Frankie?’

I started and looked back into his brown eyes. Neat. I couldn’t even keep my trap shut while I was asleep. He moved from his crouching position and sat on the arm of the sofa I’d been sleeping on. It was upholstered in fabric the shade of chewy caramel, but wasn’t nearly as soft as it promised to be. Still, it was better than the sidewalk or a park bench, which is right where I’d be without Jimmy.

I sat up properly, but kept my feet covered with the yellow sheets and stared up again at the map of New York State hanging on his wall.

Perhaps confiding in Jimmy would make me feel better. He was a reporter. He probably had connections. But what if he told me to go to the cops about my situation? I’d already tried that back in Atlantic City, and had nearly died doing it. If I didn’t go to the police myself, maybe Jimmy would and I didn’t know for sure how far Frankie’s influence stretched. It could be limited to Atlantic City, but I doubted it. He’d been around long enough. I had to assume he had informants on this side of the Hudson.

Peeling my eyes away from Jimmy’s wall art, I looked over at him.

‘Don’t take this the wrong way or nothing, but I can’t tell you what’s going on.

There is somethin’, obviously, but I really can’t say what it is,’ I said, running my fingers through my hair and straightening out a knot I found in the back. Flattening it down as best I could.

‘You don’t trust me.’ Jimmy lowered his gaze down to the lime-green carpet, which seemed to line the floors of every room in the whole apartment, save the kitchen area behind the sofa where he’d had wood-effect lino fitted.

‘It’s not that. If I tell you, it could be dangerous. It’s better you don’t know.’

‘Maybe you oughta let me worry about myself,’ he said staring back at me.

can’t risk it,’ I shook my head and looked down at my fingernails. They were painted with black nail polish that was chipped to hell from strumming my guitar.

For once Jimmy didn’t have some wisecrack to make but I heard him sigh and could see him shaking his head out of the corner of my eye.

I had to get him off this subject quick.

‘You got a record player?’ I asked, tilting my head to one side. He paused, frowning at the question.

‘Yeah I got a record player, I’m not a caveman.’ He reached a hand down to Louie who’d been whining off and on and gave the short fur on his head a ruffle.

‘Mind if I play a record or two?’

Jimmy squinted his eyes just enough at the corners to let me know he was well aware I was trying to throw him off the scent. Then he looked at his watch, which I guess never left his wrist since he’d just jumped out of bed. ‘It’s three in the morning.’

‘Music always makes me feel better,’ I said, with a small pout to my lips. Something about the way I did it must’ve amused Jimmy because a smug smile came over his lips.

‘Alright,’ he replied.

Pushing aside the sheets, I stood in my purple plaid nightshirt and walked barefoot over to the corner with the lamp where I’d left my suitcase about three hours ago. Louie scampered over to join me and I gave him a quick pat whilst kneeling to open the clasp on my luggage. Lifting the lid, I pushed aside the sweater dresses and T-shirts I’d thrown in before bolting for Atlantic City bus station. Underneath my toothbrush and my notebook, where I wrote down all the song lyrics I never shared with anyone, was a small pile of 45s. A modest selection of the best records from the last three decades.

I felt the heat of Jimmy’s breath on my neck as he squatted down near me. He was looking over my right shoulder and goosebumps pushed up through my skin at the thought of him being that close. It’d been too long since I’d had a guy that close to me. For the last few years my major concern had been making enough money to pay rent. But showing my parents I could make it on my own had been harder than I’d thought it would be and as a result my love life had been sort of on the back-burner.

‘That’s what you choose to pack in an emergency? Records?’ said Jimmy, waving a hand at my suitcase.

‘Yeah, just the essentials,’ I said, turning in his direction and trying again to look at his face rather than his chest.

‘Any good ones?’

‘Only the best ones.’ I made a show of looking insulted.

‘Alright, let’s hear one.’

‘Hmm. This one.’ I passed him a record in an orange sleeve. He took it and held it close to his face to read in the dim light.

‘“Concrete & Clay” by Unit 4 + 2.’ He shook his head at me. ‘Never heard of it.’

‘Then you’ve never heard really great music.’ I smiled. ‘Play it.’

With a shrug, Jimmy walked over to a small nook near the TV I hadn’t spotted before. It was stacked up high with old, folded newspapers but once they were lifted away a small music centre appeared underneath, complete with a record deck on top. Jimmy blew the dust off it and set the record in place. I walked over to the window and drew back the orange curtains, gazing down to the empty Brooklyn street four storeys below. Tinged yellow by the streetlamps, from this angle the world outside was a jigsaw of fire escape ladders, blacked out windows and water hydrants.

There was nobody out there. Not that I could see, anyway.

The scratch of the record sounded out, followed by the metallic chime of a cymbal right before the sprightly rhythm kicked in. I turned back to face the room and leaned with my back against the wall, running my fingertips over the cheap woodchip. Closing my eyes, I let the music surround me and at the sound of Tommy Moeller’s rich, smooth voice, my shoulders loosened, the tension bleeding out of me.

As the first chorus played out, Jimmy said, ‘That is a good record.’

I opened my eyes. Jimmy stood a few paces away at the record player. Still shirtless, and apparently confident enough about his body not to think about it. Still, he looked, to me, somehow vulnerable in his part-unclothed state. So much softer than I’d first thought him in the diner, when he was making suggestive comments and ogling everything south of my chin.




Publication #review of Sister Sister by Sue Fortin (@suefortin1) @HarperImpulse @TheRomaniacs

sister-sister
Blurb.

Alice: Beautiful, kind, manipulative, liar.

Clare: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous.

Clare thinks Alice is a manipulative liar who is trying to steal her life.
Alice thinks Clare is jealous of her long-lost return and place in their family.

One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac.
Two sisters. One truth.

What does TWG think?

How on Earth do I review this book?! There have only been a couple of books that have completely taken over my mind whilst reading them (in a headfunk, fabulous kind of way); until now. Sue Fortin’s new release, ‘Sister Sister’ has become the latest book to leave me questioning EVERYTHING, including my name.

What would you do if a family member had just…vanished? ‘We will be back’ they said. Now, unless there was a million car back log on the M25 and all flights were cancelled indefinitely, you would pretty much expect them back, yes? After all, they did say…
Clare and her mother have an unfinished chapter in their life story. A chapter which can only be completed by one person; Alice. If only Alice was able to find her way back to the memories once known…

I finished ‘Sister Sister’ a couple of days ago and yet I STILL continue to mull over the storyline. From the get go, there is bucketful’s of juicy storyline to sink your teeth into, especially where the past is concerned. I had no idea what to expect, nor what route I felt the storyline would take as I kept reading. But, I’ll be honest; all thoughts of my surroundings and trying to do guess work with the storyline, vanished from my mind the more of the book I read. I had to surrender to the storyline very quickly as I began to lose my mind with the intense, white knuckle contents of ‘Sister Sister’.

Every single page felt like Pandora’s box. Every single chapter contained another hurdle for the characters. Every single word Sue wrote was laced with a hidden agenda. I could not stop reading; even though there were moments of ‘can I really continue?’. Not due to the likeability factor of the book, no! But, erm, because I was emotionally and physically exhausted by the rollercoaster I was on, even though I couldn’t get off it!

There is absolutely nothing that I can find fault with when it comes to ‘Sister Sister’. Nothing at all. I really did love how each character stood out and seemed to have their own place within the book; nobody was there to just ‘fill a gap’. I really do think that that helped keep the gritty momentum of the storyline.

‘Sister Sister’ completely messed up my head, had me looking over my shoulder and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. What a SUPERB book! Full of grit, rollercoaster moments and enough psychological imbalance to make a psychologist cry, ‘Sister Sister’ is definitely going to be a tough act to follow for the rest of 2017.

In my opinion, Sue Fortin stands out from a lot of people thanks to her latest release. Her way with words and incredible talent at creating such intense situations, is mind-blowing. Absolutely fantastic.
Unplug the house phone, put your mobile on silent and dedicate a few hours to Sue Fortin’s ‘Sister Sister’, interruption free. This is a book you DO NOT want to miss.

Even though we are only six days into 2017, ‘Sister Sister’ has set the bar high and is definitely one to watch.

Thank you HarperImpulse! Happy publication day Sue!!

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin, published by HarperImpulse is available to buy now in e-book from Amazon UK! Don’t fret though, if you’re more of a paperback reader, keep your eyes peeled for the 20th April! You can pre-order your paperback now from Amazon.

#Review of Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson (@fansofjwilson) @RHKidsUK #CloverMoon

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Blurb.

Clover Moon’s imagination is her best escape from a life of hardship in poverty-stricken Victorian London. When tragedy plunges her into a world of grief, Clover realizes that everything she loved about the place she called home is gone. Clover hears of a place she could run to, but where will she find the courage – and the chance – to break free? And could leaving her family be just what she needs to find a place that really feels like home?

What does TWG think?

Ever since I can remember, Jacqueline Wilson’s books have been part of my life. When it came to writing book reviews at school, Jacqueline’s ‘The Lottie Project’ was usually the first book that I chose, and, 19 years on, it still remains one of my most favourite books. As a lot of you are aware, Jacqueline writes books aimed at children and young adults. However, given the topics her books cover, I am sure a lot of adults would still appreciate the literary genius that is Ms.Wilson.

As soon as I was given the opportunity to read ‘Clover Moon’, I grabbed it with both hands and snuggled up on the sofa with copious amounts of excitement bubbling as I began to read. ‘Clover Moon’ is set in London during the Victorian era; the poverty end in particular. Clover Moon is just a young girl. A young girl that has a lot of responsibility looking after her younger brothers and sisters, as well as the neighbours children. Before you even add poverty to the equation, Clover’s life seems very hectic already. In the Victorian era, people didn’t have the luxuries that we take for granted now; things like clothes, hot water, food and even medicines. Reading about Clover Moon’s life and the struggles that she had to face, opened my eyes in more ways than one.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew that life was very different back then, but when you’re focusing on one or two families, the reality of the situation becomes even more clear. When Clover faced grief head on, my heart went out to her. The little girls safety net and best friend was gone, and the only thing that poor Clover could guarantee now was pain.

Jacqueline Wilson has taken yet another harrowing topic, built a story with that topic in mind based on events from our history, and has written it in such an easy to understand way. Not only that, Jacqueline Wilson has kept the gritty reality at the forefront of the story, whilst explaining what younger children had to face and the options that they had.

I found a lot of the storyline quite hard to read in terms of emotion behind the powerful truth, yet it was delivered brilliantly.

Yet another exceptional book from the highly talented Jacqueline Wilson. In the 19 or so years that I have read Jacqueline’s books, I have never come across one that I didn’t like. Absolutely fantastic. Roll on her next book!

Thank you Penguin Books.

Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson is available to buy now from Amazon UK