#BookReview – Love Connection by Camilla Isley (@camillaisley) #RNA #RomCom #firstcomeslove

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Have you ever wondered what might have been?
Gemma’s at the airport, staring at two plane tickets to two different cities. Two different weddings. Two different futures. She’s at a crossroads.
Be maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding or crash her ex’s?
Gemma’s decision, unknown to her, hinges on a delayed flight and a chance meeting. Now her life is about to go down two parallel tracks—will Gemma fly toward a life with her first love or a future with a man she’s not even met yet?

In concurrent storylines, Gemma lives out the consequences of each journey. Different stories unravel with unpredictable outcomes for Gemma and her loved ones. As the alternative realities run their course, humor and romance intertwine raising questions about fate and chance. Will these parallel universes converge? Is true love meant to be? Is everyone destined to have a soul mate? Or are one’s cards just a choice away from reshuffling?

Love Connection is a romantic comedy about one woman, life’s infinite possibilities, and the destiny that lies beyond two different choices. First Comes Love is a series of interconnected romantic novels. However, each book in the series can be read as a standalone novel.

What does TWG think?

I am rather ashamed at the length of time it has taken me to get round to reviewing this novel! Camilla Isley is the type of author who manages to find a way to connect with her readers, pretty much straight away. As a fan of her previous novels, I crossed my fingers and prayed to Cookie Monster (what?!) that this novel wouldn’t disappoint.

Two big decisions; Gemma’s chance at happiness or her best friend’s? Two uncertain outcomes, but one giant leap of faith. Or is it? Gemma has a huge decision to make. A decision which is either going to make or break her AND her friendships, but which one is the right way to go? Unfortunately for Gemma, she won’t know until she chooses. But, luckily for us, we get to see her live out both scenarios. However, if you think it’s going to a plain sailing, predictable ‘love connection’, then you’re wrong. ‘Tinder’ has nothing on Camilla Isley and her infamous ‘Love Connection’, trust me.

As soon as the book begins, we are graced with Gemma’s presence and THAT decision. Er, my sofa made pals with my backside, seeing as I wasn’t going to move until I knew everything (aka The End). In real life we actually have to make a decision and stick with the one, we don’t have the luxury of being able to dabble like that. It would save so much hassle if we could though, especially with relationships….and choosing a pair of shoes. Two of THE biggest decisions, obviously.

Just when I thought this book could not get any better, I think I peed a little in excitement when I saw Ally Mcbeal & Grey’s Anatomy mentioned! It was as though the book was made for me, I LOVE those sitcoms! I thought that was such a fab touch as a lot of females will relate to those sitcoms, especially when it comes to relationships.

The storyline flowed absolutely brilliantly, even with the cringey ‘oh she didn’t!’, moments! Camilla’s trademark humour is back with a bang in ‘Love Connection’, generously sharing her fantastic, dry humour with her characters. Gemma is the ballsy character who everyone will wish for as a best friend; she’s loyal, generous and extremely kick ass, definitely my favourite character.

You just cannot fault Camilla Isley’s memorable writing skills, nor her relaxed (yet relatable) way of keeping the reader entertained the entire way through. Despite that, she has even managed to add a hint of seriousness to the storyline as she highlights the importance of making decisions that are right for YOU, and nobody else. Under all of the humour and sass, there is a message which needs to be listened to; you just need to find it and believe it. Be true.

Yet another brilliant, fun, sassy novel from rom com writer, Camilla Isley. A joy to read from the first page, to the last page; apart from when it said ‘The End’. Now THAT I didn’t like!

Thank you Camilla!

Buy ‘Love Connection’ now from Amazon UK
Buy ‘Love Connection’ from Amazon US

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#Review – The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty (@NikkiM3) @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks

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Four friends. Five Letters. One Secret.

The scandalous breakthrough novel from Nicola Moriarty that will leave you asking, how well do I really know my friends?

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

What does TWG think?

You know when a book cover catches your eye online, and you can tell straight away that it’s going to be a good read, that your excitement overflows when it doesn’t disappoint? Ever get that?

Couldn’t wait to get started on Nicola Moriarty’s new book, I’m not gonna lie! Letters, secrets, what’s not to be intrigued about! Four friends who have been best friends since they were knee-high to a grasshopper, you would assume that they know each other inside and out, yes? In an ideal world, yes, but seeing as reality got in the way, friendships and relationships grew apart. How can four women re-kindle their close friendships, reconnecting with the personalities they once knew?

Getting four women to write anonymous letters was such a bold move! It was also a move which wasn’t going to be free from trouble either. Look, here’s the thing, I’m female and I really do like to talk (if I’m in the mood). However, I don’t really like baring my soul when people know that I am, I want something to hide behind to save…judgement. That said, being free from judgement and having that anonymity means women WILL bare their souls, and go to town on it. Why? Because they can!

All four ladies are extremely different in terms of personalities and beliefs. There is Joni, the one that seems to enjoy being the ‘fixer’ of the group, but it also means she is often stuck in the past. Then we have Trina, she reminded me of Claudia from The Babysitters Club books as she was the quirky one, yet oozed warmth. That make sense? Think I’m showing my age with the BSC books though! Next up we had Eden, the lady with a life which everyone admires. Lastly there’s Deb, the firecracker of the group. Ever seen Miss Congeniality 2? Deb reminded me of the character Sam Fuller, played by Regina King, as she is bulshy and very blunt, yet her heart seems to be in the right place.
Oh and btw, this is my take on the character! You may think differently!

At first I liked Joni as she just wanted to do right by them all, except she didn’t seem to enjoy using her brain and ended up not thinking of the consequences before she did anything. The letters for example. Could you write anonymous, honest letters with three of your friends? I couldn’t! I’d be absolutely bricking it! Due to that, I absolutely LOVED the letter part of the storyline, as us readers were kept in the dark right until the last minute. Trying to work out who wrote what, proved incredibly difficult. After all, as readers we only know a little bit about each of the characters, so unless our detective skills are rather brilliant, working out the authors of the letters is a tricky one. I did get rather impatient though as I wanted to know who wrote them haha.

I really did enjoy ‘The Fifth Letter’ as it ticked a lot of my boxes, proving itself to be my kinda book. Yes, I ended up disliking a character or two I am afraid to admit. No, I’m not going to tell you who as you will need to decide for yourself who you like and dislike! I kept changing my mind, especially when I disliked them all at one point, nearly putting them on the naughty step! I loved each and every element of surprise that Nicola added to the storyline. For me, Nicola Moriarty modernised the whole Sex and the City vibe by creating characters who were much more relatable, and far easier to understand. I thought that the novel, bar a few moments where the storyline slowed down too much, was a fab read.

The Fifth Letter is the modern-day take on Sex and the City meets Neighbours; a fun, sassy, emotional storyline which highlights exactly how damaging secrets can be. A must read that’s for sure!

Thank you Penguin/MJ/Netgalley!

Buy The Fifth Letter from Amazon UK
Buy The Fifth Letter from Amazon US
Buy The Fifth Letter from Amazon AU

#BlogTour! #Review of Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick (@franvicksays) @Bookouture

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There really should be some sort of club for Bookouture addicts as they produce some FAB books from FAB authors, and I am hooked on their books! Can you tell that this book was published by Bookouture? Thrilled to be one of the two blogs that Frances Vick is stopping at today, especially as the other blogger is super lovely! For my stop, I will sharing my review of Frances Vick’s new release, Bad Little Girl.

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‘I’m not safe – you have to help me…’

Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.

As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe. 

Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled? 

Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?

What does TWG think?

Oh, my; I wish I knew how to begin! ‘Bad Little Girl’ had me changing my opinion on the book, multiple times throughout. One minute I was showing empathy and the next moment I was reading the book through my fingers. I found the storyline a little slow to begin with, as the first few chapters seemed to be centred around Claire and her instincts.

As Claire Penny is a teacher, she takes her job rather seriously and holds herself personally responsible when it comes to the pupils. Well, one pupil more than the others, Lorna Bell. Claire’s concerns over Lorna’s wellbeing, ends up taking over her mind and leaves her on tenterhooks every day. Can you really care TOO much?

Claire came across as an incredibly naïve and weak character as she always seemed frightened to say what she thought, and many times I shouted ‘get a backbone!’. Once the storyline got going, I’m surprised I didn’t break my kindle from the furious tapping to change the pages. There was  A LOT of information and wild characters to sink my teeth into (not the actual characters, just to clarify); it was really hard to step away from the book.

Lorna, Lorna, Lorna; I don’t think I can say too much about her as like Claire, she is one of the main characters, yet Lorna has a lot of layers to her. Frances Vick has written such a marmite character where Lorna is concerned as she is just a child, however, her antics made me go from empathetic to angry to concerned to shocked. The whole shebang to be honest. I think Lorna is going to get a lot of readers talking that’s for sure!

All of a sudden, the intensity of the storyline completely changed from an ‘on edge, looking over shoulder’ type feeling, to a ‘what the actual f…..’ kind of feeling. I will admit that the pre-bedtime-for-three-year-old wording was fudge and not the naughty word (that was used when she was in bed)! From that moment on, for me, the storyline became exceedingly uncomfortable to read. Not due to how the author had written it, no, it was because every situation and outcome was SO vivid in my mind, it was as though it was happening right in front of me there and then. All of the noises surrounding the characters grew louder in my head, as though a recording was getting played. It was a really surreal feeling but yes, I found those circumstances to be an uncomfortable read.

However!! The fact I felt uncomfortable didn’t deter me from finishing the book, at all. The author has quite clearly done what she set out to do where her genre is concerned, with a reader like me! I didn’t even guess the outcome of the book either!

Overall, despite having many, many goosebumps all over my body, Bad Little Girl is an intense rollercoaster ride of uncertainty. Full of a fair few ‘what the f…..’ moments, Frances Vick has written a novel which most certainly packs a punch….or two. Gritty, dark and intense, Bad Little Girl is a book you need to read, even if you’re a wuss, as you’ll be missing out!

Thank you Bookouture!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author

The only child of parents who worked at a top security psychiatric hospital, Frances grew up receiving disquieting notes and presents from the patients. Expelled from school, she spent the next few years on the dole, augmenting her income by providing security and crewing for gigs, and being a guinea pig for medical trials. Later jobs included working in a theatre in Manhattan, teaching English in Japanese Junior High Schools, and being a life model in Italy, before coming back to London and working with homeless teenagers and refugees.
www.francesvick.com
https://www.facebook.com/FrancesVickAuthor/
https://twitter.com/franvicksays

#BlogTour! #Q&A with author of #TheGoodDaughter – @alexandraburt @avonbooksuk

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From the #1 ebook and Sunday Times bestseller, comes the tale of a young woman in search of her past, and the mother who will do anything to keep it hidden…

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighbouring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

The Good Daughter is a compelling take on a genre that shows no sign of slowing down. The perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins.

Buy now from Amazon

It’s my stop on the blog tour for ,The Good Daughter, by Alexandra Burt! I have a mini interview to share with you today, enjoy!

Q&A with author, Alexandra Burt.

1.      Your second novel, just like Little Girl Gone, centers on a mother-daughter- relationship. Was that a conscious choice, did you feel compelled to revisit the relationship?

I am fascinated by mother-daughter relationships. My mother passed away when I was in college and I never got to experience an adult relationship between us. There are so many unanswered questions, so many stories she hadn’t told me yet. Her absence left such a steep abyss, such a cavernous black hole, and the effects were far reaching—I felt grief beyond loss, beyond darkness and despair, her death was the end of nurturing, the end of safety, and the end of who I was. I revisit mother-daughter relationships because it allows me the opportunity to live vicariously through my characters, mothers and daughters, for I am both; a motherless daughter and the mother of a daughter. The word ‘orphan’ has such a dramatic incantation, is reminiscent of Dicken’s Oliver Twist getting by with little food and few comforts, a Victorian vision of what it means to be alone in this world and yet it isn’t so farfetched at all, because here I am, literally, forever holding out the empty bowl asking for some more of my mother’s love. It took decades yet eventually I came to a place of gratitude and appreciation, after all, twenty-one years with her were better than nineteen, or ten. Any amount seemed better than no time at all and I continue to hold on to this gratitude. I sometimes hear her firm voice—she wasn’t stern at all but that’s how I imagine it—saying You get what you get and you don’t complain, her attempt to lessen the blow of her absence, make it less painful, less life-altering, a mere loving scolding.

There were these odd moments that snuck up on me after her death. The first one was in my early forties when I realized I had spent more years without her than with her, like a switch had been flipped. Shortly thereafter I approached the age my mother had passed and I imagined my life being cut short at that moment and I felt this panic inside of me; if I let another year go by my stories will be lost to my daughter like my mother’s stories are lost to me. Let no stories be lost was a mantra I adopted, like a coping mechanism, a motto allowing me to eternalize death which is inevitable. That’s when I began to write about mothers and daughters, and yes, there might just be a theme here I won’t be able to escape from any time soon.

 

  1. How did your preparation/research for writing this novel differ from, or perhaps was similar to, your preparation for writing Little Girl Gone?

I had personal experience with postpartum depression, a central aspect of Little Girl Gone. I had a lot to draw from, personally and from the mothers I spoke with in preparation for the book. I also consulted maps of New York, had to get it just right because slipups are easy and readers would notice. The setting of Aurora Texas, somewhere East of Dallas, is completely fictional. There are many small towns like Aurora in Texas and all over the country. Childhood is not only a place but also a state of being, something you re-experience once you cross that threshold and returning home to the house you grew up in or lived for the better part of your life can be extremely emotional.

For The Good Daughter I did a lot of research on personality disorders and seizure disorders. The most fascinating theory I came across was a theory called “the doorway effect.” In essence it is the belief that memory is disrupted by switching locations, like walking in another room but forgetting why we went there. It’s not a matter of poor memory at all, but an event that creates a mental boundary, separating episodes, filing them away, in essence compartmentalizing them in order to be able to move on. For The Good Daughter I imagined this “doorway effect” in reverse and on a grander scale: what if we revisit a place where some sort of suffering was inflicted upon us and how that would play out when a character returns to a house where unspeakable acts have taken place. Then I imagined the character unable to leave and forced to confront the past. I was literally stuck in that process of the research, didn’t want it to end, that’s how fascinated I was. Almost as if my mind refused to step out of it, cross over a threshold, anxious if my state of wonder would erase itself, would I too forget how it felt? It’s this obsessive part of a project that allows me to soak up knowledge like a sponge and as I write, I squeeze it and watch it all unfold.

 

  1. What were your influences in creating the characters of Dahlia and her mother?

The Good Daughter was inspired by the demise of a marriage I witnessed. I wasn’t at the heart of the story, I was a mere bystander, yet it is safe to say that I got caught up in it. There was a middle-aged couple and their marriage came to an abrupt end. There were no red flags, no infidelity, and no disagreements on financial decisions. I want to believe, like any marriage, it wasn’t perfect but quite average in its trials and tribulations. One day a man finds his house empty, but it’s one thing to be in a deteriorating marriage and ending up separated, it’s another to be the victim of a cloak and dagger operation in the middle of the night. I was left with the premise that we really don’t know the people we live with, regardless how much we want to believe we know everything about them. In the novel I took it a step further; what if your entire life was based on a lie from the day you were born and it was up to you alone to assemble the pieces to uncover the truth. In The Good Daughter, the character Dahlia is a flower and every flower needs water and soil and sunshine and nurturing, like human beings rely on others to sustain them. I realized early readers were quite fascinated with the character of the mother, and I found myself connecting more and more dots and ending up with the character named Memphis who became just as important as Dahlia. Memphis means to endure. It felt fitting, inevitable in a way.

Thank you for stopping by, Alexandra! Also, thank you to Avon Books for having me involved in the tour! This book is on my TBR pile, looking forward to reading it once I get to it!

Here are all the other blogs involved in this tour:

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#InvisibleIllness VS #VisibleIllness. How REAL is real ENOUGH? #chronicpain #mentalhealth

A few weeks ago on social media, someone I know was discussing a moment which truly knocked them for six; a moment where ignorance became arrogance and invisible illnesses meant having to prove yourself to people. The a few of the comments which appeared underneath their post made me feel sick and a bit upset, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what they felt like at the time. Ever since that FB post, I have become even more determined to fight for the right to remove the stigma attached to invisible illnesses; starting right here, right now.

Let’s start with the basics.

If you were to look at a person walking down the street, would you be able to tell if they had an invisible illness or not? No…
Why not?

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Notice a difference (apart from the gender, smart alecs)? No, because to an outsider, or even our friends and family, we look absolutely hunky dory. However, this is where it gets interesting. People WITH invisible illnesses are anything BUT hunky dory, believe me, I should know. According to PapWorth Trust website, there are about 11.9 MILLION disabled people in the U.K. Now that figure covers both invisible AND visible illnesses, however, the website also states that 38% of those 11.9 million people are disabled due to breathing issues and/or fatigue, with mental health coming in at a mere 16%. I know what you’re thinking; ‘how is fatigue a disability?’ or ‘why is mental health a disability?’. Whilst those are actually okay questions to ask if you genuinely do not know the answer, they are also bloomin’ ignorant questions too.

& I will tell you why…

The definition of invisible illnesses, according to Wikipedia is: ‘Invisible disabilities are chronic illnesses and conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living’.
To what extent day-to-day activities impair a person, all depends on their make up AND what illness(es) they are having to battle with. Invisible illnesses come in a range of different sizes, such as: fibromyalgia, crohns disease, coeliac disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (aka join hypermobility syndrome), IBS, lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and many, many more. Mental health is also one of the many illnesses that remain ‘hidden’. However, the term ‘mental illness’ covers a HUGE range of illnesses/disabilities such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), depression, anxiety, personality disorder, ADHD, AND even anorexia and bulimia.

Fatigue is classed as a disabling condition due to the fact it isn’t just TIREDNESS, nor will an early night or a rest just simply fix it. Chronic fatigue is when your body is absolutely exhausted, you may even fall asleep anywhere and everywhere and then wake up feeling as if you haven’t slept for weeks. The slightest thing will make the person even more exhausted. So, to a regular, healthy person, when they get tired they do get an early night, manage to sleep and wake up full of the joys of spring. For sufferers of fatigue, we want to sleep but more often than not, we can’t or sleeping doesn’t even do what its supposed to do. Therefore, seeing as fatigue/overtiredness will lower our reactions, hardly safe to go back to the day job of being Bob the Builder now is it?

As for mental health and why that is a disability, I actually cannot believe people are still immune to mental health as a topic. Imagine feeling trapped inside your own body, scared of your own thoughts and your own actions, without the ability to rationalise anything. Sounds scary doesn’t it? It’s debilitating for sufferers as their minds are controlling every single thing within them, and has binned the hope, good memories and warmth to oneself; replacing them with thoughts that they don’t even recognise. How on earth can you tell someone to ‘snap out of it’ when you have absolutely NO idea what their minds are doing to them? & yes, anorexia IS classed as a mental illness, even though people do assume that an anorexic CHOOSES not to eat, or that a bulimic CHOOSES to purge. No, no, no, NO. They don’t just wake up one morning and go ‘I know what I’ll do today, starve myself/make myself sick as I’m bored’; the reality is a lot different and much scarier. Sufferers of those two illnesses lose the control over how food, and their bodies, are viewed, meaning the one thing they have control over is whether that substance enters or leaves the body in a way that THEY choose.

In 1995, when I was five years old, I started to get bullied. At first it was name calling, or asking if they could do a dot to dot on my face as I have freckles. But, before long, it became a lot worse. The name calling turned to ‘omg fatty’ and ‘people can hear you before they see you as you’re rocking the ground’. Bear in mind I was FIVE, I wasn’t fat but even if I was, I was FIVE. The vile name calling continued to ages and it even branched out into physical attacks, however, my problem was about to get even worse than that. Food became a poison, and if I did eat a little, I automatically thought I would end up looking like the Michelin man, even after eating a cracker. Did I choose to feel that way? No, I didn’t. At school I had to get watched by the dinner ladies to ensure that my food was eaten before I left the dining hall, and not thrown in the bin; I managed to get round that though and put the food in the bin. At home was a similar situation, except I was dropping food on the floor or drinking water/fizzy drinks before and with my meal, to fill me up. By the time I was 11 years old, I was ‘rocking’ the scales at 4.5 stone with rehydration sachets becoming my new ‘bestie’. Well, in theory anyway. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way food left me. Yes, I was a mess as eating became too much and too upsetting, I was scared of it. Unfortunately, the bullying days continued until the age of 13 when we moved away and my home circumstances changed; my eating was minimal but at least I was eating. When I became 18, a massive 13 years after it all began, I was able to look at food in a different way, but I still had no idea what hunger felt like. I’m 27 now, and to be honest, I still don’t truly know what hunger feels like as, despite people’s thoughts, the actions of an eating disorder may diminish, but some sufferers truly cannot recover from the illnesses, mentally. It stays there, in the back of your mind, waiting to attack again; it still hinders me now.

All what I have mentioned so far is 100% real, yet to the eye they’re invisible. But are they? Really? The illnesses themselves may be invisible, nobody will go ‘oh I can see your diabetes!’, yet they might go ‘you’re shaking!, as more often than not, the symptoms are what’s visible. However, to make it even more confusing, those illnesses could have over 600 symptoms to it. Take hypothyroidism for example (underactive thyroid). You won’t say that you can see a problem with a thyroid itself, hell, not many know where it actually is! You may notice how a hypothyroidism sufferer may be lacking in colour, dull eyes, hair loss, fainting, to name a few. But then again, folk are way, way too quick to judge and more often than not, come out with ‘ah your hair will grow back’. Erm, maybe so, your point is? ALLLLLLLL of the invisible illnesses are only really invisible if the sufferer chooses not to divulge them and/or pretend they are in fact ‘hunky dory’, to save judgement, OR they’re only invisible as people CHOOSE not to see them as there isn’t ‘any evidence’.

Bryony Gordon wrote in her latest book, Mad Girl, about chest infections and how because its seen/heard, people are more likely to tell you to go and fix it. However, all the stuff that is hidden people do not take seriously, meaning we then have to prove ourselves. At the beginning of this post I mentioned a FB post and the disgusting comments, I have had the permission to name that person with a bit more information. Angela Clarke, author of Watch Me, has her own health limitations and got made to feel guilty for using the disabled/easy accessible toilet and having to PROVE herself ‘worthy’ to use it, with a disability card. The comment on the post AGREED with said person who required proof as we could be lying.

Come again? If we wanted to lie about something we would choose things WAY more beneficial to lie about, instead of being in pain 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Totally lie worthy! Why SHOULD we have to prove ourselves? Just because YOU cannot see it or you CHOOSE not to believe it, doesn’t make us liars or our illnesses any less real. We already feel failures, shame, embarrassment of what our lives have become, without ignoramuses judging our every move.

We are only touching the surface with this post and I will be back another day, with another post because I NEED to support my chronic illnesses sufferers and campaign to rid the stigma.

Why? Because my name is Kaisha and I have to live with hypothyroidism, carpal tunnel syndrome (with chronic muscle wastage), fibromyalgia, joint hypermobility syndrome, IBS, anxiety AND depression, every single day. Tell me, are my illnesses REAL ENOUGH yet?

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#PublicationDay #Review – Undertow by Elizabeth Heathcote (@lizzieheathcote) @QuercusBooks

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A heart-pounding psychological thriller for fans of Disclaimer and Apple Tree Yard.

My husband’s lover. They said her death was a tragic accident. And I believed them . . . until now.

Carmen is happily married to Tom, a successful London lawyer and divorcee with three children. She is content to absorb the stresses of being a stepmother to teenagers and the stain of ‘second wife’. She knows she’ll always live in the shadow of another woman – not Tom’s first wife Jenny, who is resolutely polite and determinedly home-counties, but the lover that ended his first marriage: Zena. Zena who was shockingly beautiful. Zena who drowned swimming late one night.

But Carmen can overlook her husband’s dead mistress . . . until she starts to suspect that he might have been the person who killed her.

What does TWG think?

As soon as I spotted the cover of Undertow, my curiosity level went through the roof. Whose death was an accident? Why is there hair on the cover? What on EARTH does ‘undertow’ mean?
Those were just some of the questions that were going through my mind, even before I had opened the book. Questions which could only get answered by paying close attention to the storyline and the information it held. But, as soon as the story began, I ended up with even more questions than I started with and I couldn’t wait to see how the storyline was going to unfold.

Carmen was a tough character to warm to, yet she exuded a lot of warmth to those around her. It just wasn’t a vibe that lingered with her once she was on her own, and of course I wondered why. Did she feel as though she had to prove herself when it came to ex-wife, Jenny, and dead ex-girlfriend, Zena?

The further I got into the book, the more unsettled I became. I knew something wasn’t right, yet I had no idea what. There were signs, little pieces of information which were a long way off from being complete. Red herrings perhaps? For me, yes. However, due to the additional vibes from Carmen as the book went on, my own reactions ended up mirroring hers. Her shock became my shock, her fear became my fear; hell yeah I was on edge but it wasn’t the uncomfortable or disturbing sort. It was the unsettled, nervous, spine tingling on edge feeling.

Pardon my bluntness but I absolutely despised Tom and everything he stood for. He was such an arrogant and nasty piece of work, yet he most certainly made his presence known in the storyline. Even though I wished he swapped places with Zena, if ‘Undertow’ didn’t have a character with such skin crawling tendencies, I honestly don’t think it would have had the intense storyline that ‘Undertow’ ended up with. He was a vital character in terms of personality, but my golly he disgusted me in more ways than one.

‘Undertow’ reminded me of a pot of water on the stove to boil. At first the storyline simmered gently, the odd situation causing a few bubbles. Then, as the storyline unfolded and cans of worms were opened, the amount of bubbles multiplied and the intensity of the storyline boiled and reached its peak. With a vengeance. It was then, when the book hit boiling point, the turn of events caught me completely off guard, with a pounding heart. Did I expect those events? No, I didn’t because the author wrote each and every uncomfortable situation, extremely cleverly. The author seemed to have an idea what the readers first instincts may have been and to me, it felt as though she had worked the storyline to make sure the readers expected the unexpected. No first instincts, just teasers and the need to use your own brain power to decipher exactly what those teasers meant.

‘Undertow’ is a cleverly written, head-funk of a book that is full to the brim of uncertainty, intensity and enough turbulence to rival dinner with an ex. Full of shocking and hair-raising moments, you may end up finishing this book wondering if you can even trust yourself…

Looking forward to read Elizabeth Heathcote’s next book, after this!
Thank you Quercus!

Buy ‘Undertow’ from Amazon UK
Buy ‘Undertow’ from Amazon US 

#BlogTour! #Review of You Drive Me Crazy by Anna Premoli @Aria_Fiction #YouDriveMeCrazy

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What girl doesn’t dream of an amazing promotion working on the other side of
the world?
This once in a lifetime opportunity is presented to 28 year old investment
banker, Maddison Johnson and instantly fills her with abject fear.
It isn’t the New York transfer she had set her heart on… she’s going to South
Korea, instead. To make things worse, her boss Mark Kim doesn’t go out of his way to make it easy for her to adapt to her new environment.
Plunged into a world she knows nothing about with a man she can’t stand,
Maddison finds herself forced to adapt and grow up quickly. Maybe in the

process she will stumble over something wonderful and quite unexpected…

What does TWG think?

Maddison has had her fingers and toes crossed for transfer day, for what seems like ages. She has her heart set on FINALLY being able to go to New York for work and EVERYONE is routing for her to get her break. I’m guessing you can imagine her face when Mr. Boss Man calls her into his office to tell her that she IS transferring to a different country, just not the one she wanted. After all, going to South Korea for a year and working with a boss who acts like he would prefer it if she wasn’t there, it sounds fiiiiiiiine; right?
Maddison doesn’t seem to think so!

You Drive Me Crazy was scheduled in my diary for today (obviously), but as I’m a fast reader and I looked at my diary last week, I had the choice of reading this book or picking something completely different as I really needed a light-hearted, pick me up style read. So I went with this one as it intrigued me the most, especially as I had never ventured to South Korea via a book before.

The storyline wasn’t jam-packed with information, yet it contained just enough to keep boredom at bay. For me, the beautiful thing about the storyline was that it was simple and didn’t require me to overexert my brain cells whilst reading it. I didn’t need to think, I didn’t need to decipher any hidden agendas; all I needed to do was put my feet up and read, at my own leisure. Bliss.

As for the characters, they most certainly were a mixed bunch! Personalities were brought together which, in any other situation, probably wouldn’t have gotten on well, but it worked. A couple of them leaned more towards having a bizarre personality, don’t get me wrong, but they were fun and most certainly unique. It made a change to read such diverse characters who are so full of life, as opposed to the samey sort of characters that pop up frequently.

I LOVED visiting Korea via book form as I have never been before, so I have no idea how close the authors descriptions of the country were to the real thing. I’m hoping very close as Anna Premoli’s descriptions were incredibly vivid.

Overall, You Drive Me Crazy was rather fun to read. Ok, no, it didn’t blow me away as such or shock me in any way, but, it didn’t really need to do those things either. I was able to just lose myself in the book, without having to have my emotions or reactions on high alert. A joy to read, You Drive Me Crazy was just the book I needed to stop me from driving myself crazy.

Buy: Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

Thank you to Aria Fiction for asking me to be involved in the tour!

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#BlogTour! #Review – If Ever I Fall by S.D.Robertson (@SDRauthor) @AvonBooksUK

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Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. He’s lost his house, his job is on the line, and now he’s going to lose his family too. All he’s ever wanted is to keep them together, but is everything beyond repair?

Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered. Nights are spent trying to hold terrible memories at bay, to escape the pain that threatens to engulf her.

Jack wakes up confused and alone. He doesn’t know who he is, how he got there, or why he finds himself on a deserted clifftop, but will piecing together the past leave him a broken man?

In the face of real tragedy, can these three people find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through?

What does TWG think?

After reading this novel, I felt quite similar to a bag of liquorice all sorts; completely out of sorts. Having read multiple posts on social media in regards to the book being a real tear-jerker, I found myself wondering if I truly was an Ice Queen..

If Ever I Fall is written as though it has three separate personalities, all with their own stories to tell. The storyline switches between those three personalities multiple times, however, it isn’t as straight forward as you might think.
There’s Dan, a man who is very close to losing hope; Maria (his wife) who’s only form of grief release is through letters, and, finally, there is Jack, a….man.

I couldn’t warm to Dan as much as I would have liked as I found his character a little cold. I had my fingers crossed that that would change as the storyline progressed and it did, but only by a little bit. When the storyline changed to Maria and her letters, at first I was a little bit confused as to why she was writing letters and to whom, but sure enough, things became clear and I was quite taken aback by the emotional value those letters and her actions contained. The whole situation caught me off guard, but in a good way as it gave the storyline more of an edge. Very cleverly written.

The third personality we come across in the storyline, is Jack’s, the wildcard of the book in my opinion. As soon as we were introduced to his life I wondered where on Earth did he come from? One minute I was looking at Maria’s letters, and the next I was faced with a man who only knew that he was a man, because he has eyes to see the important ‘clue’. It took me a while to work out where he fit in with the rest of the storyline and what his purpose was, I have to admit.

For me, the storyline went on a rollercoaster ride. It peaked at certain points and it also dipped at certain points too. S.D.Robertson most certainly has a way with words and it is evidently clear by this novel and his previous one, that he has the knack when it comes to enchanting his readers. He comes across, via his storylines, that he understands what it will take to make the reader feel some sort of emotion, whether it be positively or negatively. Even when I found the storyline dipping, the authors writing ‘hugged’ me into the storyline, does that make sense? Let me try to explain; when I came across moments where I felt as though there was a little puzzle piece missing from somewhere; S.D.Robertson  natural and warm storytelling made me feel warm within, enough to continue. In simple terms I was pretty mesmerised by how he wrote the novel to be honest. Really, really beautiful.

That said, for once I didn’t cry yet a lot of people classed this as a tear jerker. Now, before you go all ‘oh em gee’ on me for not crying (believe me, I was shocked myself), my emotions shut down (no, I’m not telling you which part of the storyline that happened!). I became numb and exceptionally cold. Maybe that was because of shock, I don’t know, although it’s highly likely due to the fact my mouth was open and my hand was over it. I wish I could say I loved the entire storyline, but for me, there were multiple parts of the book where a question mark hovered above

Overall, ‘If Ever I Fall’ is a novel which will head straight for your emotions in a way that only YOU know. S.D.Robertson has written a truly lovely book which highlights the true extents of love, grief and hope.

Thank you Avon/Netgalley.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review of BLINK by K.L.Slater (@KimLSlater) @Bookouture #blink #ohmy

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Today is the last day of K.L.Slater’s blog tour for, Blink, and I have the honour of being one of two blogs to help close the tour! If you have missed any of the tour stops so far, all the blogs that were involved are stated in the picture above! For my stop today, I have a review of ‘Blink’ where you will find out whether I BLINKed and I missed it, or whether I BLINKed just once due to being super engrossed. Enjoy!

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What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace.

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter.

A compelling, gripping thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister.

What does TWG think?

OH.MY.GOD!!!! Have you ever been SO engrossed in a book that you end up reading it whilst you’re cooking the dinner, or sorting out the washing? Of course you have! Now, have you ever been unable to remove your hands from said book as you found it rather impossible to put down; toying with the possibility of getting a prison sentence if anyone DARED to disturb you reading THAT book, which in turn meant you just HAD to finish reading the book whilst you were eating your dinner? Let’s just say that there is a slight possibility that what I’ve just said, could have been my actions where Blink was concerned. Wait, scrap that. No COULD, no SLIGHT, it was me! Usually I would hang my head in shame/embarrassment, but not this time!

I had never read a book whilst eating my dinner before; until Blink came along. This is where reviews become truly difficult to write, when all you want to do is shout about the book and everything you loved about it, including all the ‘OMG WHAT ABOUT THE TIME….’ moments. But, I can’t do that today as it would be highly unfair seeing as you can buy ‘Blink’ for a mere 99p (here), and you can find out for yourself!

‘Blink’ is probably one of THE most intense novels I have ever read. From the get go there was a lot of uncertainty and nervousness where a few of the characters were concerned, with those situations playing out very slowly over the course of each chapter. It felt as though each character had something to hide as the vibes they were giving off, even from the beginning, were very sketchy.

Toni came across as such a defeatist in terms of actions and responses to other people’s opinions. It was a shame as I felt that she deserved a little bit of luck sent her way. As the storyline spread its wings, character personalities became a little bit clearer and I ended up being on high alert for little pieces of information which I thought sounded a bit suss.

We all do it with books like this; try to play detective and think that we can get one over on the book. I’m not going to lie, about 3/4’s of the way through I was just about to go ‘HAH I’VE GOT IT’ to my living, being a smidge over-confident, when I read a little bit more and ended up with egg on my face. Not literally obviously, but you know. I was WAYYYYY off the mark. At least I know not to apply to be a detective!

Seeing as I was a teeny bit aware of what the storyline is centred around (shock horror I read 1/3 of the blurb), I tried to ease myself into the storyline very gently just in case I couldn’t handle it. Yeahhhhh, I tried and failed after the first chapter. Once I had opened that baby on my kindle, there literally was no turning back. Stupidly I started reading it in the early hours of the morning and had to do preposterous things like try to sleep. I mean, WHO INVENTED SLEEP WHERE BOOKS ARE CONCERNED! The following day whenever I was cooking or faffing about my house, my kindle had to come with me so that I could read and end up NOT cooking or faffing about. I’m not even being over the top when I say all of that, as I was actually like that with this book!

‘Blink’ is an intense, hair-raising and gripping read which will have you falling off the edge of your seat in suspense. K.L.Slater’s writing is PHENOMENAL and she has laced every single word with copious amounts of grit and uncertainty, enough to warrant a rapid heartbeat and sweaty palms without being uncomfortable. I have never, ever, read a book before which has pulled me into its storyline by every hair on my body; until now. It gripped me, shocked me, made my heart pound, made my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth when it went dry and even caused my eyes to leak. For a book to do all of that, and more, it just goes to show what an absolute BELTER of a book it is, and how extraordinary the author is to be able to expose such intense reactions from just one reader.

A SUPERB, powerful and gut wrenching read that will have you on tender hooks the whole way through. ‘Blink’ is an outstanding and extraordinary read, full of everything you could ever want within a book. A must-read from TWG!

It is safe to say that ‘Blink’ has clawed its way into my top FIVE books of ALL TIME. Seriously, the author is a genius. Absolutely fantastic.

Thank you so much Bookouture.

GO & BUY ‘BLINK’ NOW!!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt (@fionamordaunt) @AuthorightUKPR

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The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt is a tale of survival and love, blending the eye-opening dangers of domestic violence with the hope found in the healing power of love and others.

What does TWG think?

With a book title like ‘The Frog Theory’ and a cover full of frog faces, how can you be anything BUT curious? I did think to myself at first, ‘what the tadpole is the frog theory?!’, but I could have kicked myself once it became clear as it’s pretty well-known! Doesn’t mean it’s listened to mind you, but it’s still well known to say the least.

I found that this novel split into two separate groups as it were; the loyal lads and the dramatic diva’s. On one ‘side’ there were lads who were loyal to those close to them, including girls. On the other ‘side’ though, you have the girls who think they could do anything they wanted (even things that they probably shouldn’t), and as long as they kept it to themselves it was deemed ‘okay’. Overall, they were all, to me, seen as the ‘popular’ groups at school. The ones you wanted to be, hang out with and would go along with them on anything and everything, regardless of the outcome. But, is that just a façade?

Fiona Mordaunt has highlighted such an important factor within her novel; the fact that everyone is FAR too quick to judge people based on what they can see or what they choose to believe. One of the characters in the novel has a lifestyle many would probably dream about; but that’s from the outside. Nobody knows what Clea is dealing with.

Overall, I thought the underlying message was such an important one to convey, especially in this day and age. I thought that the novel was written really well, it didn’t become too heavy even despite of what subjects the storyline contained. ‘The Frog Theory’ was a pleasant read, more so as it had me chuckling several times and feeling the love. Not my usual reading material I’ll admit, but most definitely a welcomed change.

Thank you Authoright!
Buy now.

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