book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · real life

#Review – The Summer of New Beginnings by Helen Rolfe (@HJRolfe) @RNATweets #tuesnews

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They say trouble comes in threes…

Headstrong and organised, Mia is a single mum who wants to fix the world – but the one thing she can’t fix is her family. Responsible older brother Will has fled Primrose Bay, unable to forgive and forget after the ultimate betrayal. And Jasmine, no longer the wayward baby sister, is determined to prove to her brother and sister that she’s just as capable as they are.

Together in the bay after years apart and a separation spanning three continents, it doesn’t take long for the siblings to clash when Mia calls everyone together in a family crisis. And with jealousy and resentment simmering between them, as well as faces from the past and new loves, the family ties could end up being severed forever.

Sometimes we need to lose ourselves in order to find each other again…

What does TWG think?

I would like to start by saying a MASSIVE congratulations to Helen Rolfe as today is the publication day for her seventh novel, The Summer of New Beginnings! It feels like yesterday that I was helping Helen reveal the cover of her new book, and now it’s available for all of you to buy! Luckily for me, I got to read this a week or so ago, although I now wish I could read it for the first time again..

If anyone can turn around and say that they get on with EVERY single member of their family, then my name is Snow White. Seriously though, we all have skeletons in our closets when it comes to the relationships we have with members of our families, but no matter what, there are just some family members that we would always bend over backwards to help. Regardless of how much they have annoyed us. Am I right? Obviously a lot of circumstances are excluded! If you’ve cut ties with a family member due to something more serious than them pinching a bag of your cheese and onion crisps, then what I just said is completely irrelevant, you catch my drift though, right?

Will, Mia and Jasmine are what I call ‘typical siblings’, however their feuds and frosty relationships seemed to have lasted a lot longer than anticipated. Especially seeing as they can’t be in the same room together without re-creating their own version of Jeremy Kyle. Yes, their rows are THAT bad according to each other. The thing is, one sibling thinks one thing, another one thinks something completely different, and the third one is a mini Tasmanian devil. Lets just say that Will, Mia and Jasmine have led completely different lives over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the lack of communication. By communication I mean talking at a level that doesn’t require protective ear equipment.

Mia is the worrier of the family; as a single mum who had her daughter at a young age, Mia has spent so many years putting other people’s needs before her own and that has left her feeling lost. How can Mia calm down and be a bit selfish for once?

Will is the manly man. Having moved away when unsightly things hit the fan, Will has been living in his own bubble for more years than he cares to remember. What he doesn’t seem to realise though, is how his actions and bubble are hurting those around him. After all, he wouldn’t know that would he? Seeing as he refuses to acknowledge anything else but THAT….

Ahhhh Jasmine. No, not Princess Jasmine (although if she had half the chance, a flying carpet would be top of her ‘to buy’ list). Often as the youngest of the family, it is incredibly easy to get side lined and for family members to assume that, seeing as you’re young, you need siblings (well, one in particular), as a bodyguard. Assumptions…hmmm. I’ve always been told that if you assume, it makes an ass out of you and me. Who’d have thought it?

I think I pay WAYYY more attention to the individual characters than I should. It’s as though I dissect their personalities as the storyline unfolds. It’s a habit I’ll admit, but it’s one that won’t be changing any time soon! All three siblings had traits that annoyed the muffins out of me, I just wanted to shake them and help them see sense. Easy for an outsider to say that though, isn’t it? When Mia called her family back to the bay due to an out of character family crisis, I wasn’t prepared for the family war that had appeared. So many years had passed with each of them holding onto pent-up anger, misunderstandings and sheer stubbornness, that when they were all together in a confined space, everything came spilling out at lightening speed. Will and Jasmine were able to up sticks and move away from the Bay, but not Mia. Could she have gone if she really wanted to? I did wonder that, but as a single mum myself, waking up one morning and deciding that you’re going to start a life somewhere else, is severely outlandish.

I absolutely adored ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ as it was incredibly realistic and relatable. Many of us will read the storyline and nod our heads to circumstances that unfold within the book, due to the similarity of our own lives. I have read many of Helen Rolfe’s novels and whilst she always manages to leave me pleasantly satisfied upon completion of every novel, ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ hit home in a way that none of her previous novels have done before. Tackling a storyline which involves copious amounts of secrets, overlapping situations and bucketful’s of emotion, requires a lot of talent to be able to pull the storyline off, without losing any of the poignancy and overall concept. Helen Rolfe has that talent and she has pulled the storyline off with such ease and power; I truly am amazed at what she has managed to achieve with her new novel.

‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ is an outstanding portrayal of family life, as well as laying bare the secretive truths which often remain unknown behind close doors. This book is by far Helen Rolfe’s best book to date due to her refreshing, powerful and fantastically written storyline. It wasn’t all ‘he said, she said’ and arguments don’t get me wrong! No, it was also a book full of hope, trust and being aware of your own true feelings. When things get too much we often lash out at those who know us best, and that often includes us lashing out at ourselves. Thanks to the authors black and white tale of an imperfect lifestyle, ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ highlights the importance of taking a step back and….breathing.

A truly outstanding novel, ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ is my favourite book of Helen Rolfe’s so far. Fantastic! A well deserved 5*; if I could give it more stars I would!

Thanks so much Helen.

You too can get your hands on a copy of Helen Rolfe’s new novel right now from Amazon UK

#Harpercollins · book blogger · guest spotlight · real life

Author of ‘Those Who Lie’, @DianefJeffrey chats to TWG! @HQDigitalUK #authorinterview

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I am absolutely thrilled to welcome back to TWG, author of the AMAZING ‘Those Who Lie’, Diane Jeffrey! I had the honour of being able to review that very novel and you can find my review here: #BlogTour! #Review – Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey (@dianefjeffrey) @neverlandbt.

It feels like ages ago that I last interrogated an author, and quite frankly, I was having withdrawal symptoms! Luckily for me, Diane was happy to step into that spotlight and I really do think that I was rather easy on her…this time anyway! I hope you enjoy reading the chat that Diane and I had! As always, the book link will be after the interview!

First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time for this interview!

  • Could you tell us a bit about yourself and the genre you write?

    Hi Kaisha! Thank you so much for interviewing me! My name is Diane Jeffrey. I grew up in Devon and I now live in Lyon, France with my husband and our three children. My debut psychological thriller has just been published by HQ (Harper Collins).

 

  • What made you choose that particular genre as your niche?

    When I first decided to write a book to try and get it published, I wrote a Chick Lit novel. It didn’t get published and it was over ten years ago. At the time, I read a lot of Chick Lit. But, although my tastes in reading are quite wide, I read more thrillers than any other genre, and in particular psychological thrillers. So, years later, I tried my hand at that instead!

  • Have you always wanted to become a published writer?

Yes. Ever since I was little. I wrote stories and poems even when I was a little girl. I even illustrated some of them, which makes me cringe now as I am absolutely hopeless at drawing!!! I sent a novel off to an editor when I was eight years old. It was entitled The Stowaway. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful!

  • Where did you get your inspiration from for your debut novel?

    I wanted to write about a female protagonist who is harassed over the Internet. A friend of mine sent me an article in which a man complained that he’d been receiving disturbing messages on Facebook from his ex-girlfriend. He didn’t know what to make of these messages as she was supposedly dead! This inspired the beginning of Those Who Lie.

  • If you could pick a favourite character from your book, who would it be and why?

    It would probably be Emily, my main character, even though she’s not really likeable and I am not really like her! She is a complex, traumatised character. She can’t trust anyone around her, not even herself. She makes some bad decisions, avoids her problems and is dishonest, including to herself, but she’s smart, she does her best and I think she’s strong.

  • Did you dislike any of your characters along the way?

    Ooh, yes. All of them at some stage! Josephine certainly won’t be getting a nomination for mother of the year award! And Emily’s father was pure evil!

  • Time for a tough one, if you could choose any book that has already been published to be the author of, which one would you choose and why?

    I think the first time I read a book and thought: ‘God, I wish I’d written that’ was the first Harry Potter book. I thought it was absolutely brilliant! The fact that I would now be a multi-millionaire if I’d written that book just reinforces that feeling! More recently, I’ve had that same thought when reading The Fault in our Stars by John Green, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.

  • Do you have plans for your next novel? If so, what can we look forward to?

    I’ve started a second novel. It’s another psychological thriller. It focuses on domestic abuse and I’m currently discussing this with another central female character who has experienced it. Psychological abuse can be so much more insidious, but just as damaging as physical abuse, and I’d like to explore this.

  • Are there any authors you aspire to? If so, who and why?

Apart from the authors whose books I wish I’d written myself, my ideal author would be a mixture of Dennis Lehane and Stephen King but with a British voice. That’s who I’d like to be!!!

  • One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to be published? Any words of wisdom?

Get in touch with authors who write in your genre. Via Twitter, Facebook and friends of friends, I got in touch with people who not only gave me sound advice, but also became good friends.

See, I wasn’t lying when I said that it was a tame interrogation! I really do hope that you enjoyed reading Diane’s author interview and I can assure you that the interrogation level will be higher next time. Whoops, sorry Diane haha.

If you’re curious at all about Diane Jeffrey’s novel, here is the blurb and the all important ‘buy’ link!

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Emily Klein doesn’t know she has killed her husband until the day of his funeral.

At first, signs point to a tragic accident. Yet, as Emily pieces together the events before his death – events which led to her own memory loss – she begins to suspect that her husband’s death may have been the result of more than a terrible twist of fate…

But the accident is only the beginning. Because while Emily’s physical scars will heal, the trauma of the accident has awakened old ghosts. She hears strange sounds, catches things that can’t possibly be there in the corner of her eye. Before long, everywhere she looks, she seems to see her husband.

And suddenly, Emily finds herself asking the most dangerous question of all.

Buy now!

Can she really trust herself?

blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Crime/thriller

#BlogTour! #Review of Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett (@RachelAmphlett) @emmamitchellfpr

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Reputation is everything

When a packed commuter train runs over a body on a stretch of track known to
locals as ‘Suicide Mile’, it soon transpires that the man was a victim of a calculated murder.
As the investigation evolves and a pattern of murders is uncovered, Detective
Sergeant Kay Hunter realises the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a
brutal serial killer.
With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempting to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own adversaries.
When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, she realises the killer’s timetable has changed, and she’s running out of time to stop him…

What does TWG think?

Stepping out of my comfort zone yet again today as I review Rachel Amphlett’s, Will To Live. Will To Live is the second book in the Kay Hunter series, and whilst it can be read as a standalone, if detective series aren’t your usual ‘go to’ genre, it might be beneficial to read book one first so that you’re introduced to Kay Hunter properly. I didn’t read the first book in the series, Scared To Death, and I am kicking myself. Detective style novels aren’t my usual genre, I’ll admit that, yet Rachel’s new novel intrigued me as I had seen it SO many times on social media. I just wish that I had read her first novel before this one so that I didn’t feel as though I was walking into a conversation half way, as it were.

‘Will To Live’ took me by surprise on more than one occasion. Not only does the storyline come across ‘tame’ to begin with, the gradual unfolding of nitty and gritty circumstances was a much welcome surprise. Although the descriptions of some of the deaths did make me feel a little bit queasy! Gruesome yet realistically written. If a death didn’t have an edge of gruesomeness to it in a police procedural novel, is it even worth writing it into the storyline? Luckily for Rachel Amphlett, she gets top marks from me for keeping the stomach churning events incredibly realistic. That said, I know it’s Kay Hunter’s job to be in the firing line, so to speak, in regards to deaths, suicide attempts and so on, finding those victims in that state and then having to deal with the aftermath must have been awful.

Compared to other detective style novels which I have read, Kay Hunter doesn’t seem to be lacking in her work ethic. She is incredibly feisty and fair yet she comes across as one of us. Thanks to T.V and the way crime scenes are portrayed, I just assumed that detectives/constables were made of stone and empathy wasn’t one of their go to emotions. Rachel Amphlett’s main character, Kay Hunter, completely blew my assumption out of the window (in a good way).

Reading Ms.Amphlett’s novel was quite similar to being on a rollercoaster ride, multiple times. There always seemed to be something going on in the storyline whether that was to do with an investigation or personal feelings, there was no let up or slow moments in the entire storyline. Well, I didn’t think so anyway. Even though I enjoyed the fast storyline, the chilling circumstances and a bulshy natured main character, I do feel as though I missed out on something by not reading the first book.

‘Will To Live’ kept me on my toes, and had me on the edge of my seat to the point of falling off and landing on the floor. No joke. Even though I stepped out of my comfort zone with one giant leap for….woman kind, there is something about this storyline and Kay Hunter, that has left me hungry for more. I never thought I would say that, but hats off to Rachel Amphlett for writing a novel to keep me interested enough to want more. I will be backtracking in the series before the next book (if there is one!), I refuse to miss out on any more of Rachel Amphlett’s nerve wracking, suspenseful and shocking storylines. A nice change from my usual read, Will To Live has left me wanting more. I may be hooked but shhhhh!!!

Thank you Rachel Amphlett & E.Mitchell

Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett will be released on the 4th April 2017, where it will also be available to purchase on Amazon (no link at present), as well as the two links below.

Buy – Kobo


About the author.

Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage
novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series, as well as a number of
standalone crime thrillers. Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association,
with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci
Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014. An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.

You can keep in touch with Rachel by signing up to her mailing list via her website
Twitter: @RachelAmphlett


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blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture

#BlogTour! #Review – When We Danced at the End of the Pier (@SandyTaylorAuth) @Bookouture

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Brighton 1930: Maureen O’Connell is a carefree girl, but her family is on the brink of tragedy, war is looming and life will never be the same again.

Jack and Nelson have always been dear friends to Maureen. Despite their different backgrounds, they’ve seen each other through thick and thin. 

As Maureen blossoms from a little girl into a young woman, the candle she’s always held for Jack burns bright. But just as she’s found love, war wrenches them apart. The man she cherishes with all her heart is leaving. 

When the bombs start to fall, Maureen and her family find themselves living in the most dangerous of times. With Jack no longer by her side and Nelson at war, Maureen has never felt more alone. Can she look to a brighter future? And will she find the true happiness she’s dreamt of?

What does TWG think?

Kicking off a brand new month at TWG HQ is an author’s blog tour courtesy of the rather popular (and fabulous) publishers, Bookouture! Bookouture authors have appeared on TWG once…or twice (cough, cough), so it gives me great pleasure to introduce author of ‘The Brighton Girls Triology’, Sandy Taylor, to TWG for the very first time! Today I have the pleasure of being one of the tour blog tour stops on Sandy’s blog tour for her new book, ‘When We Danced at the End of the Pier’. Hope you enjoy my review!

Sandy Taylor is a brand new author for me, I hadn’t come across her work before but seeing as I have become a huge fan of the historical fiction genre, her book was recommended to me so I gave it a go. What drew me to the storyline at the start was the fact it was predominantly set in Brighton. My family had a lot of ties to Brighton many moons ago so even though I wasn’t the family member to grow up there, reading Sandy Taylor’s novel made me feel as though I was going home. Strange huh.

Unfortunately I struggled with the first quarter of this novel, as I couldn’t quite get to grips with where the storyline was supposed to be heading. At first the storyline was centred around Maureen as a child, living her childhood with her new found friends, as well as trying to understand her family’s issues. Whilst that was still pleasant enough to read, I couldn’t help but want that little bit extra depth.

As the storyline started to unfold, the gritty nature within the book became more apparent. Maureen had become an adult and the war was just around the corner. Whilst the historical factor of the novel was bold, I found that the storyline seemed to focus more on the personal relationships, as well as dealing with a loved one being called up to serve in the war. I loved how it all seemed to personal and, seeing as most historical fiction novels put the history first as opposed to relationships, it was really refreshing to read a book in that genre from a completely different angle. We are all aware of the war times, we can find out the main facts in a couple of seconds thanks to Google, however, we aren’t aware of the personal side. How did the women feel to have their sons/brothers/boyfriends/husbands/friends called up to serve in the war? Who would be the one to let their loved ones know that they had died in combat or were missing in action? What if they were injured and unable to fight in the war, would they be brought back to their loved ones at home?

They are all questions that google can’t really answer unless someone from the war sat down and had an interview. Well, until Sandy Taylor’s novel came along. Yes I struggled with the book at first, but at least I’m honest about that. I also need to be honest that once the storyline showed more love and emotion than ever before, I fell in love with the characters and their lives. Struggling with the novel was a thing of the past. When Sandy Taylor wrote about the bombs falling and loved ones getting caught up in the devastation, I actually became quite emotional as I had never read about the war times so black and white before. Reading the emotional words that the author had given her characters to say gave me goose bumps. I can’t even begin to imagine what on Earth was going through their heads at the time of the bombing. All I do know is that the author has captured those devastating, real and emotional moments rather poignantly, and beautifully.

‘When We Danced at the End of the Pier’ is a truly humbling and emotional read which will leave you thinking about those who fought for our country and for what they believed in.
Such a heart warming and spell binding novel, full of raw emotion, devastating circumstances and friendships strong enough to last a lifetime.

Thank you Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author
 
Sandy Taylor grew up on a council estate near Brighton. There were no books in the house, so Sandy’s love of the written word was nurtured in the little local library. Leaving school at fifteen, Sandy worked in a series of factories before landing a job at Butlins in Minehead. This career change led her to becoming a singer, a stand up comic and eventually a playwright and novelist.

https://twitter.com/SandyTaylorAuth

Make sure you follow the rest of the blog tour for Sandy Taylor’s new novel, all of the bloggers on the tour are listed below. Huge thanks to Bookouture & Kim Nash for inviting me on such an eye-opening blog tour.

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