#BlogTour! #Review – The Girl I Used To Know by Faith Hogan (@GerHogan) @Aria_Fiction

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It feels like ages ago since I last welcomed this author to TWG, BUT, I am super excited to welcome Faith Hogan back to TWG once again as I review her brand new novel, ‘The Girl I Used To Know’ as part of the blog tour! Huge thanks to Aria for both the invite for the tour and the ARC. Here is my review:

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Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

What does TWG think?

Have you ever had an opinion about someone, despite not knowing their true personality?
Have you ever disregarded someone as a friend because a spouse, family member or friend, didn’t like them?
Have you ever been stuck in a rut so deep, you lost sight of who you truly were?
Have you ever thought ‘enough is enough’ and felt empowered to change all of the above?

Yes? Me too. Amanda and Tess too, funnily enough.

Tess Cuffe has always believed that her life was destined for stardom. However, even a well thought out idea doesn’t always go to plan and, instead of Tess rubbing shoulders with singers from all walks of life, she has spent many years being too afraid to live her own life.

And then there’s Amanda King. A woman who, from the outside, has everything she could ever dream of; an endless pot of gold in the bank, a pigeon pair (boy and a girl), and a life of luxury. Although is it REALLY a life of luxury? From spending her time painting, to being married and surrounding herself with two-faced, backstabbing people, Amanda starts to question her choices in life.

What a jam-packed, thought-provoking novel! We wouldn’t be human if we hadn’t spent a little time stuck in a rut at some point in our lifetime, right? It’s never too late to get ourselves out of that particular rut, but often we find that we need a little bit of help to do so, even if we aren’t aware of it at the time. As far as Tess Cuffe is concerned, Amanda King lives a life most people could only dream of and, as far as Amanda King’s husband is concerned, Tess Cuffe is a waste of space who is ruining the look of their house. Of course, just like the house, nothing is ever quite what it seems, is it?

Firstly, Amanda’s husband, Richard, needs his nether regions taken off. From the first moment he appeared in the storyline, I knew straight away that I would have an issue with the character. He just oozed arrogance and came across as the biggest end of a bell I have ever met. Seriously. A little piece of me felt sorry for Amanda, but then another piece of me felt a little bit miffed that she didn’t kick him from here to kingdom come. But I can say that, obviously, I’m not in the situation like Amanda is.

Secondly, I had a feeling that there was more to Tess Cuffe that met the eye. She really was like a diamond in the rough who just needed a little bit of TLC to realise that she does, in fact, deserve her spot on this Earth. I just wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that everything was okay. It was clear that this character had spent many, many years building a wall for herself, she had absolutely no idea how to act anymore.

Thirdly, Faith Hogan has written her best book yet. Fact. Even though I found the first couple of chapters a little on the slow side, I soon fell in love with the message which the author was able to put across via her characters. I guess I found it a little emotional because just like Amanda, I have spent years living in people’s shadows, being afraid to bring the real me out again in case it didn’t live up to other people’s expectations. Whilst part of me felt that Amanda should have told her husband where to go, I can fully appreciate how low her self-esteem was and having being ‘safe’ in a marriage for so many years, living the life that Richard wanted was all Amanda has ever known. From the outside looking in, it is far too easy to sit and judge a situation without knowing all of the facts, yet having a smidgen of faith in someone can mean more than you could ever realise. For Amanda, Tess was that faith. For Tess, Amanda and her daughter, Robyn, was that faith. They just had to make themselves known to each other.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t find parts of this storyline a little emotional, because I did. I felt like each of the characters were talking to my soul, being that faith for me like they are to each other. I loved watching the characters find their wings and fly in a life which they believed in with every ounce of their being.

‘The Girl I Used To Know’ is a poignant, life affirming tale of faith, belief and being true to yourself. Taking that leap to say ‘you know what, I do believe in my self’ takes more courage than anyone could ever imagine, which from the bottom of my heart, I truly believe that Faith Hogan has conveyed with every ounce of her being. I adored this book and everything it stands for. Everyone needs a Tess and Amanda in their lives, and everyone needs to read this book as it truly is beautifully.

Faith Hogan’s best book ever, ‘The Girl I Used To Know’ is a beautifully written, heart-warming and touching novel which is guaranteed to stay in your heart for a very, very long time.

Thanks Aria.

Buy now: Amazon // Kobo // iBooks

About the author.

Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Faith Hogan Contact:

Twitter (her favourite) https://twitter.com/GerHogan
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithhoganauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faithhoganauthor/?hl=en
Web Page. http://faithhogan.com/

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#BlogTour! #Review – #AnatomyofaScandal by Sarah Vaughan (@Svaughanauthor) @simonschusterUK

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I am beyond delighted to welcome author, Sarah Vaughan, to TWG today as I review her highly anticipated novel, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’. Sarah Vaughan’s novel is set to be one of the biggest reads of 2018, which you can find that out for yourself when the book is published on the 11th January 2018. Huge thanks go to Simon Schuster & Jess Barratt for not only allowing me to read this book early, but for also inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Here is my review:

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‘The best courtroom drama since Apple Tree Yard … sensational’ Clare Mackintosh

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

What does TWG think?

When a book has a lot of hype surrounding it on social media, I usually sit back and worry ever so slightly, multiple questions running through my mind.
‘Will this book live up to the hype?’ ‘Would I be the only one to dislike the book?’ ‘What IF I dislike the book, would people come after me holding burning torches?’.

I am sure that a lot of bookworms, like myself, have been known to think that and yes, I’ll be honest, those questions above did run through my mind when I saw Sarah Vaughan’s, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ in the spotlight on social media. But, despite my worries, I felt a large surge of intrigue build up inside of me. I just knew that I had to read this book before it made it into the big wide world. I needed to see for myself what this book was all about and, you know what? In my opinion, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ not only lives up to the hype, it also surpasses it a million times over. This book blew me away and left me wanting more. Never have I ever read a book which not only ticks every box surrounding modern-day society, it also ignited a fire in my belly which hadn’t been lit for many, many years.

Without giving too much away, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ has a theme which is highly in tune with society right now. Yes, certain parts of the theme make for uncomfortable reading, but seeing as this sort of thing happens to thousands upon thousands of people, I am certain that us readers feeling a smidge uncomfortable reading it, is nothing compared to what the people involved felt.

There’s a scandal in Westminster (shock). A person who has a high status and probably thousands of pounds in the bank, alongside a person whose life has been governed by certain eventualities. Who would they believe? A person with status, or a person who was being perceived in a certain way due to looks and lower status? Of course, not every single person can work in Westminster, can they?

I could relate to so much of this novel. I can’t say WHAT I related to as that would give the story away, but let’s just say that I related to the overall theme itself, especially how one character in particular felt.

To be perfectly honest, I think that Sarah Vaughan is incredibly brave for writing a book about a subject which is staring everyone straight in the face, knowing full well that it could bring some rather questionable comments to light. Not only that, I think that this author is inspirational for writing this book as well as, probably without even knowing it, she has become the voice of reason for many people in a similar situation due to what she has written her book about.

Sarah Vaughan has hit the (albeit sickening) nail on the head with ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ because everything about this storyline screams reality. It doesn’t seem to matter what the truth is anymore, all that seems to matter is how much money people can throw at a situation, regardless of whether they’re in the wrong or not. Since when did honesty come with such a disgusting price tag?

I am going to put this out there and say that yes, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ is a guaranteed must read for 2018 and beyond. I absolutely loved every single thing about this storyline. It was addictive. Intriguing. Honest. Real. Hard hitting. Emotional. Raw. Gritty. This is a book that I would be prepared to walk around my town with in the freezing cold, shouting loud and proud whilst also demanding people to buy it. I’m being serious!

‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ is everything I could have wished for and more. The storyline flowed like a waterfall – perfectly and utterly beautifully. I’ll even go as far to say that Sarah Vaughan’s novel should be made into a T.V. drama without a doubt. This book really needs to be on everyone’s book shelves, in everyone’s minds, in everyone’s hearts. Just…everywhere.

I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again – this book blew me away in more ways than I could ever imagine. Just, wow. It goes to show that I adored this book if I am struggling to convey my thoughts!

A phenomenal, beautifully written, hard-hitting and poignant novel which will leave a mark not only on your mind, but also your soul. A novel which highlights what is wrong with this world and some of the people in it, whilst also highlighting the strength of a lot of people in this world and how they go through life despite being on the receiving end of devastating situations.

If you need a confidence boost – this book is for you. If you’re needing a reality check – this book is for you. If you’re needing a book to lose yourself in – this book is for you. I really can’t recommending ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ enough. Everyone should go and pre-order this book right now because I’m telling you now, I am most definitely buying the hardback of this book when it’s released, because it is a book which everyone should put on their bookshelves with pride.

Out-flipping-standing. Sarah Vaughan is an author to watch in 2018.

Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster.

Pre-order right now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – 88 North by J.F.Kirwan (@kirwanjf) @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT

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SO excited to be reviewing yet another J.F.Kirwan novel on my blog today! After surprising myself by being hooked on his previous novel, ’37 Hours’, I just knew I had to read the last book in the series. Huge thanks to HQDigitalUK for the ARC of ’88 North’, and thank you to NeverlandBT for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Here is my review:

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The deadliest kind of assassin is one who is already dying…

As the radiation poisoning that Nadia Laksheva was exposed to in Chernobyl takes hold of her body, she knows she has mere weeks to live. But Salamander, the terrorist who murdered her father and sister has a deadly new plan to ‘make the sky bleed’. Nadia is determined to stop him again, even if it is the last thing she ever does.

The only clue she has are the coordinates 88˚ North, a ridge in the Arctic right above one of the largest oil fields in the world, three thousand metres below the ice. If Salamander takes hold of the oil field, he could change the climate of the whole planet for generations to come…

But can Nadia stop him before her own time runs out?

The gripping third and final novel in J.F. Kirwan’s brilliant spy thriller series. Perfect for fans of Charles Cumming, Mark Dawson and Adam Brookes.

What does TWG think?

If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be hooked on a spy thriller series, I would have laughed in your face. I have never really paid much attention to, nor had much interest in, spy novels. I’ve always thought of them as ‘boy novels’, stupidly. So, when I was approached to read J.F.Kirwan’s previous novel ’37 Hours’, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take a running leap out of my comfort zone, to read J.F.Kirwan’s novel. Of course I thought to myself, ‘nahhhhh, I won’t like it’, yet I was pleasantly surprised when I absolutely flipping loved it. Because of that, my excitement to read ’88 North’ was through the roof. Would Nadia complete what she set out to do? Would Salamander STILL rule the roost? So many questions, so little time. I would be lying if I said that my heart wasn’t in my mouth the entire time – because it was.

Once again J.F.Kirwan has written such a complex, intense and jaw dropping storyline, which makes talking about this book even more difficult as each event in the storyline is linked with another one, therefore not only would the chances of giving away one piece of information be extremely high, the chances of giving away multiple pieces of information are through the roof. I don’t wish to be the person who gives away an entire storyline, yet I would love to be able to shout about this book and say, ‘WHAT ABOUT THE PART WHEN…….’. Seriously.

Seeing as it had been a little while between reading the books in the series, it did take me a little while to get back into the swing of the storyline. That said, I guess you could read this book as a standalone. But in my personal opinion, I would advise you to grab the previous two books before you read this one just so that you can read all of the events in order, and so that you know each of the main characters back stories.

Reading ’88 North’ really was bittersweet as whilst I was super excited about delving into the book, I was gutted that as soon as I came to the last page, the series was now at an end. I didn’t want it to finish but I whole heartedly understand that Nadia’s story had to be left somewhere, and that carrying it on could weaken the overall feel of the storyline.

I’m not sure whether it was just me, but I found this storyline to contain a lot more gore than the previous book and, whilst I would usually shy away from that sort of thing, all of the blood and gore fit one hundred percent. In all honesty, I don’t think the storyline would have made such an impact on me if it contained no elements of gore. It needed all of that to bring Nadia’s story to life even more, as weird as that sounds but I’m hoping that that makes sense to a lot of you.

J.F.Kirwan has quickly become one of my all-time favourite authors with his dark, gritty, suspenseful and utterly incredibly storylines. If it wasn’t for this author, I don’t think that I would have dared to step outside of my comfort zone to read, and fall in love with (as weird as that sounds) with this spy thriller series. I could not put this book down and to be perfectly honest, I really didn’t want to either.

Jaw-droppingly brilliant, ’88 North’ is the icing on the cake where Nadia Laksheva is concerned. A brilliant finale to a phenomenal series, I would recommend this book, and the series, time and time again.

Outstanding!!!

Huge thanks to HQDigitalUK.

Pre-order now from Amazon UK. (Released 14th December 2017)

Author Bio

J. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having
worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

Author links:

Website // Twitter // Facebook

Giveaway!!

To be in with a chance of winning  3, £10 Amazon gift cards (3 different winners) International, all you need to do is enter the giveaway here! Good luck!

#BlogBlitz! #Review – House of Christmas Secrets by @LyndaStacey @ChocLitUK @Brookcottagebks

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This year we’re just going to have a nice, normal Christmas…

Last year’s Christmas at Wrea Head Hall didn’t quite go to plan which is why Jess Croft is determined this festive season will be the one to remember, for the right reasons. And she has plenty of reasons to be hopeful, she’s going to marry the man of her dreams, Jack Stone, seven days after New Year’s Eve.

However, as family secrets are revealed in hidden letters and two unexpected guests turn up on the doorstep, Jess is left wondering whether her life will ever be the same again.

Can Jess and Jack still experience a peaceful festive season that they had imagined or are there some problems that even Christmas can’t fix?

What does TWG think?

In all honesty, I have no idea how to even begin with this review. I mean, there is SO much to this storyline from suspense to romance, to domestic situations to crime, I really don’t think that my words about this book would do it justice in the slightest. I will try my very best, but do expect a little vagueness as I don’t wish to undo the authors hard work by giving away her extraordinary storyline.

‘House of Christmas Secrets’ follows on from Lynda Stacey’s previous novel, ‘House of Secrets’ which was published last year. Seeing as I didn’t read the first book before I got stuck into this festive treat, I really do feel that ‘House of Christmas Secrets’ can be read perfectly well as a standalone. However, if you’re wanting to get more of a back story to certain characters, then you may wish to read the first book before starting this book. For me, I found that NOT reading ‘House of Secrets’ beforehand, allowed me to experience more shock when certain situations arose – especially when the author brought some of the characters past to light. I was stunned, emotional and absolutely gripped by the story which the author was drip feeding me. How could Jess and her family move on from such heartbreak and devastation? You would think that Christmas time brought out people’s kind-hearted nature and generosity, wouldn’t you? Well, certain characters in this book obviously couldn’t give a flying candy cane whether it was Christmas or not, as they only had their own interests at the forefront of their mind. Regardless of how much upset it brought to other people.

Obviously I don’t wish to give anything away, BUT, this storyline really did take me on a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. As I said above, the storyline incorporated romance alongside crime, domestic situations alongside heartbreak – and that’s just the obvious themes! I absolutely loved how ‘House of Christmas Secrets’ was able to take a snippet from most genres, mix them altogether with some rather unforgettable characters, to create one memorable and gut wrenching novel. Reading this book was a bit like having a picnic – you’re unsure as to what one thing you fancy to eat, but with multiple plates full to the brim of exciting treats, you would think it an absolute travesty not to try something from each plate. Why have one genre when you can have multiple?

I did find several parts of this storyline quite difficult to read as the situations were exceptionally heart-breaking and emotional. I really was a bag of nerves hoping that things ended well for a couple of the characters in particular. I had to remind myself to breath! Also, and I might be the only one to say this, but my golly Jack Stone annoyed me! It was like battling with a man-child! Incredibly selfish, he really got my back up!

Overall, ‘House of Christmas Secrets’ is an unexpected, heart-warmingly devastating novel which seemed to enjoy ripping out my heart, before carefully putting it back in like the hearts from Build-a-Bear. I absolutely adored this novel, and I am in awe at the authors skills for including so many jaw dropping themes, whilst also maintaining the high level of emotion, poignancy and intrigue.

Definitely recommend this book, although make sure you switch every phone off before you start reading so that nobody can disturb you. Trust me, you really don’t want to move your eyes off the page for a second.

Huge thanks to ChocLitUK & BrookCottageBKS.

BUY LINKS

House of Christmas Secrets 
House of Secrets 
Tell me no Secrets

GIVEAWAY

Prize – 2 x signed copies of House of Secrets (UK & Ireland)

Enter the giveaway now!

About the author.

Lynda grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire,
Her own chaotic life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories
of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all
romances) very happy endings.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New
Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit &
Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her husband, Haydn, whom she’s
been happily married to for over 20 years.

Facebook // Twitter // Blog

#BlogTour! #Promo – Blackmail, Sex and Lies – Kathryn McMaster @Truecrimenovels @Rararesources

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Here at TWG, it’s pretty clear that we like to shout about books whether they cost 99p/c or £99. Now, whilst price is irrelevant where books are concerned in my humble opinion, I would be lying if I said I didn’t get excited about 99p e-books (even though I do feel guilty about the minimal author return on said books). However, today I am bringing you information of a book which has had its cost lowered for the duration of this blog tour. Bargain!

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Blackmail, Sex and Lies is a story of deception, scandal, and fractured traditional Victorian social values. It is the tale of a naïve, young woman caught up in a whirlwind romance with a much older man. However, both have personality flaws that result in poor choices, and ultimately lead to a tragic end.

For 160 years, people have believed Madeleine Smith to have been guilty of murder. But was she? Could she have been innocent after all?

This Victorian murder mystery, based on a true story, takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, 1857. It explores the disastrous romance between the vivacious socialite, Madeleine Hamilton Smith, and her working class lover, Pierre Emile L’Angelier.

After a two-year torrid, and forbidden relationship with L’Angelier, that takes place against her parents’ wishes, the situation changes dramatically when William Minnoch enters the scene. This new man in Madeleine’s life is handsome, rich, and of her social class. He is also a man of whom her family approve.

Sadly, insane jealous rages, and threats of blackmail, are suddenly silenced by an untimely death.

If you’re into historical crime novels, then perhaps ‘Blackmail, Sex and Lies’ by Kathryn McMaster, might just be the book for you! For a limited time only, the author has lowered the price of the book to a mere 99p/c! To make use of this fantastic price drop, you too can purchase a copy today from Amazon UK // Amazon US.

Author Bio –

Kathryn McMaster is a writer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, and champion of good indie
authors. She co-owns the book promotion company One Stop Fiction, where readers can sign up to receive news of free and discounted 4 and 5 star reviewed books. She is also a bestselling author of historical murder mysteries set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Her debut novel, ‘Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?’ was well received. All her novels are based on true stories, and she melds fact with fiction, writing in the creative nonfiction style. She lives on her 30 acre farm in the beautiful Casentino Valley, Italy for 6 months of the year, and during the other half of the year, on the small island of Gozo, Malta.

Social Media Links –

Website // Twitter // Facebook

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The blog tour isn’t over yet, folks! You can follow the rest of the bloggers post on the dates above!

On the eighth day of Christmas……..Kaisha Holloway @kaishajayneh

Reblogging my flash fiction story as hosted by the fantastic Portobello Book Blog as part of her Christmas feature! Who wants to hear more from Holly?

Portobello Book Blog

eep in cool area • best before 2020

On the eighth day of Christmas I give you a story from Kaisha Hollway who you may know better as the blogger behind The Writing Garnet blog. Kaisha’s enthusiasm for books and reading shines through every post and it’s not surprising that her blog has been nominated for and won several awards. Today she tries her hand at writing and has written a story which I’m sure will make you smile!

Kaisha (TWG)

Wrapping paper – check.

Bows – check.

Tags – check.

Sellotape – double check.

Mentally praise self for remembering to buy sellotape – check.

Gift bags – check.

Presents…..AH CRAP!

I thought I was doing exceptionally well then! I mean, I did remember to buy sellotape, that alone should be grounds for an award nomination. Of course I would need actual presents for the sellotape to become a useful investment. Nobody in their right mind would brave the busy…

View original post 646 more words

#BlogTour! #Review – The Runaway Children by Sandy Taylor (@SandyTaylorAuth) @Bookouture

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Stepping back in time today as I review Sandy Taylor’s latest novel, ‘The Runaway Children’, for the last stop on the blog tour! Huge thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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London, 1942: Thirteen-year-old Nell and five-year-old Olive are being sent away from the devastation of the East End. They are leaving the terror of the Blitz and nights spent shivering in air raid shelters behind them, but will the strangers they are billeted with be kind and loving, or are there different hardships ahead?
 
As the sisters struggle to adjust to life as evacuees, they soon discover that living in the countryside isn’t always idyllic. Nell misses her mother and brothers more than anything but she has to stay strong for Olive. Then, when little Olive’s safety is threatened by a boy on a farm, Nell has to make a decision that will change their lives forever…
 
They must run from danger and try to find their way home.
 
Together the two girls hold each other’s hands as they begin their perilous journey across bombed-out Britain. But when Nell falls ill, can she still protect her little sister from the war raging around them? And will they ever be reunited from the family they’ve been torn from?

What does TWG think?

Wow. I struggled to read this book, I’m not going to lie. No, I don’t mean that I struggled to read it because of how it was written, or that I struggled reading it due to any other negative reason. Not at all. I struggled reading ‘The Runaway Children’ because of how emotive and poignant the storyline was. We are taught at school about how things were during the war and, whilst those pieces of information are still quite difficult to digest, a lot of the time it doesn’t seem to work its way to our core. We either shrug it off because ‘it doesn’t affect us’, or we have no idea how to approach history itself. With Sandy Taylor’s novel, that is where everything changed for me personally. I have always loved history, but for the duration of this book, I was able to see things from a completely different point of view. Gone were the historical dates which everyone had to learn just because. Sandy Taylor wrote a story about what happened to people. Whilst the storyline itself is fictional, a lot of it is based on history, after all, children DID have to get evacuated during the war. ‘The Runaway Children’ is a story which is guaranteed to grab hold of your heart and not let it go.

Set in London during the early 1940’s, two sisters are being sent away from the devastation which the war has caused to their beloved city. Why? For safety of course. The opposition didn’t want to throw bombs down in a middle of an empty field, they wanted to attack cities full of monuments and thousands of people. So they did. Unfortunately for Nell, Olive and thousands of other children, London was no longer a safe place to live and their only hope of staying safe would be to leave. Poor Nell has the task of being in charge of her little sister come rain or shine. Okay, for many of us, that would seem like an okay thing to do. For Nell however, the responsibility was extremely large, especially when they found themselves moving from pillar to post on more than one occasion.

It’s not that I was ignorant when it came to learning about evacuees, I just hadn’t had a reason to delve into that period of history to a level which Sandy Taylor has in this story. And, because of that, the entire storyline hit home on a completely unexpected level. I’m not sure whether it was my motherly instincts or the fact that I am indeed human with my own set of emotions, but ‘The Runaway Children’ gave me the feels. It really was like reading a book which made you happy one moment, angry the next, and then realising your face is sodden with tears. How do I know this? Because it happened.

Sandy Taylor has taken a memorable, historical event, and laid it bare to make all of her readers sit up and listen. It certainly made me sit up and listen, that’s for sure! I was absolutely blown away by the intense level of emotion, mixed with the poignancy only a story of this calibre could bring. I shouldn’t sit here and say that I loved this book because of what it contained, however, I really did love this book because it reached my soul in a way I could never really describe. This story highlighted the fact that the little things in life are important, and there is no use wasting your time on stupid things when there are far more important people (and things) to concerned yourself with.

The characters in this book are inspiration beyond belief, and have taught me so much in such a short space of time. ‘The Runaway Children’ is one of the best historical fiction/saga novels I have ever read. You really would be a fool not to grab a copy and travel back in time with Nell and Olive. For me, Olive stole the show and her innocence made the rest of the storyline shine bright like a diamond (whilst also making me laugh out loud more than once).

Written absolutely beautiful and straight from the heart, ‘The Runaway Children’ will forever have a place in my heart alongside Nell, Olive, and Ms Timony. A delightful, heart-warming story from start to finish.

Thanks 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.


#BlogBlitz! #Review – Finding Myself by Victoria Brown (@victoriajbrown) @bombshellpub

BLOG BLITZ (2)
Delighted to welcome author, Victoria J Brown, back to TWG as I review the final book in the ‘Chaos’ series, ‘Finding Myself’. Huge thanks to Bombshellpub for asking me to take part in the blog blitz, as well as sending an ARC of the book. Here is my review:

Finding Myself final

Kat’s life has become a blur of dirty nappies and sleepless nights. She has moved into the flat above the salon she owns, alone and without Max the father of her children.

To make matters worse, Max has revealed he plans to remarry.

Constantly on edge, her babies are taking up all of her time and Max is never around to help.

Diagnosed with post-natal depression, Kat feels more alone than ever.

Will Kat be able to manage alone? Can she find hope and rebuild her life?

What does TWG think?

In the previous book, ‘Losing Myself’, we left Kat during a highly emotional time, yet it was great to see the author pick that back up at the start of her new book, ‘Finding Myself’. I had had a horrible feeling before reading this, that time would have fast forward quite drastically, meaning that we would have missed out on the raw emotions carrying over from the previous book.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case at all. In all honesty, as soon as I started reading ‘Finding Myself’, it didn’t feel like there had been a break between the two books as the author picked the character back up from where she left off. Now THAT it what I call fantastic writing.

Once again I don’t wish to give anything away, even though I would love to sit here and discuss certain characters in length!! Poor Kat is struggling to find her feet after the birth of her two babies, Rosie and Poppy. Her life is no longer her own and whilst she adores her little girls with all of her heart, Kat can’t help feeling a little bit of resentment towards her new life. Her home is not her own as people keep walking in and out, completely oblivious to a thing called, oh I don’t know – PERSONAL SPACE! The girls’ father has pretty much given himself a zero hour contract, whilst still being a grade A loser. Sorry, but he is.

There is a lot of stigma surrounding post natal depression. Mums’ are either too ashamed to admit that they’re suffering, or they just keep telling themselves that they’re coping fine. I mean really, you’ve just had a baby – why aren’t you as happy as pig in poo! As a mummy myself, I thought exactly the same. Why was I sitting on the sofa feeling as though I was the worst mum in the world for not dancing around on cloud nine, despite having no sleep for 2 days straight! I didn’t have post natal depression but I did have the baby blues. I feel that Victoria J Brown’s writing is not only poignant, it is exceptionally raw, whilst bringing a misunderstood, mental illness into the limelight, whilst also showing people that not everything is rainbows and daisies when a baby is born. What Kat went through is real life. It can happen to anyone and everyone after giving birth. Why should that be ignored?

So many times I wished I could just reach into the storyline, grab Kat and give her a big hug. I feel like I’ve come to know the character well in such a short space of time, so seeing her emotional made my emotions come pouring out.

I’ve never liked Max and this book cemented that fact ten times over. I was SO glad to read that someone else agreed with me. About time too! Well, in all honesty, his mother wasn’t exactly my most favourite person either. I actually know people in real life like Max and Clare – I don’t like them in real life either!!!

The overall theme of this book is girl power, finding your emotions and learning to grab life by the baby bag for YOU and nobody else. It’s far too easy to get swept up in ‘can you do this for me?’ or ‘you’re coming out tonight with us, right?’ and so on, without actually taking into consideration your own true feelings on said matters. You don’t HAVE to go to a mother and baby group if YOU don’t want to. You don’t HAVE to breastfeed your baby because someone else TOLD you to. You do what YOU feel is right for YOU and YOUR baby. After all, you’re the one waking up with them every single night, caring for their individual needs, right? The same goes for any other life situation. Don’t do things because someone told you to. Obviously if it’s a police man then that is different, but I’m sure you knew that.

I related to Kat in so many ways, but without Victoria J Brown’s honest, inspiring and thought-provoking story telling, I wouldn’t have been able to relate to Kat at all. This author is an absolute genius and just like Kat, I would love to give her a big hug and thank her for write books which are so real and relatable, that they’ve given me strength to say the all important word of ‘NO!’. I admire Kat and I also admire Victoria J Brown. Even though this storyline does shout about independence to a degree, it also highlighted the importance of support and finding your safety net. Girl power all the way.

A highly emotive, beautifully written, and inspiring read, Victoria J Brown has done it once again. I am super sad that we have now reached the end of this series, but it is a series which will forever have an important place in my heart.

Thanks BombshellPub.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Author Bio:

Victoria J.Brown has always had a passion for writing. When asked at the age of 9 years old, what she wanted to be when she grew up, her reply ‘an author’ was met with a disheartened response, ‘that jobs like that, don’t happen to people like us!’

 Luckily, Victoria didn’t listen to this advice and never gave up on her passion.  She continued to write while perusing a career in Marketing after gaining a BA (Hons) in Business and Marketing.

 In 2006 her eldest daughter was born and then two years later her 2nd daughter came along. Victoria realised in the midst of the mummy madness, that she’d let her writing dwindle and that nappy-changing, sleepless nights and not being able to go to the toilet in peace could not stop her       fulfilling her writing dreams. So when her girls were 3 years old and 18 months old, she decided that sleep was over-rated and enrolled at Teesside University. A year later she proudly left with a MA in Creative Writing, some wonderful friendships and a passion for therapeutic writing. While studying for her MA she was also delighted to win a short-story competition judged by Adele Parks, to which she received publication and mentoring from Adele.

 After her MA, Victoria concentrated on writing women’s fiction. She loves writing stories that women can relate to. The Chaos Series grew from her own experience of pregnancy, motherhood and life.

 Victoria is also passionate about mental health and likes to write of such issues in her stories. Her dedication to mental health and living life to the full has led her down a spiritual path. Through her learning of spirituality she qualified as a Law of Attraction and NLP Practitioner, which she integrates into her writing. Her inspirational blog includes an A-Z motivational journey with weekly therapeutic creative writing exercises. She has developed this further and will soon launch her inspirational shop. The shop has been created to pass on positivity and love to others … you never know when someone may need to see those messages.

 Being accepted by Bombshell Books is a dream come true for Victoria, she hopes that her mantra for giving love always and never giving up will inspire others to follow their dreams and passion.

 If you’re interested in finding out more about Victoria, her inspirational blog and shop you can visit www.victoriabrown.com, plus you can follow her on:

FB: www.facebook.com/vicjbrown/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/victoriajbrown

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/victoriaj.brown/

Pintrest: https://uk.pinterest.com/victoriajbrown/

#BlogTour! #Review – The Silent Children by Carol Wyer (@carolewyer) @Bookouture

The Silent Children - Blog Tour

The-Silent-Children-Kindle

The boy studied the bruise turning yellow at the base of his neck. With quick fingers his mother tightened his tie, and pulled his collar high above it. Her eyes alone said, We will not speak of this

Years later, a man is found shot dead in a local park. On his phone is a draft text: I can’t keep this secret any longer. The recipient is unnamed.

Detective Robyn Carter knows this secret is the key to the case, but his friends and family don’t offer any clues, and all her team have to go on is a size-ten footprint. 

Then a nurse is found in a pool of blood at the bottom of her staircase, and a seemingly insignificant detail in her friend’s statement makes Robyn wonder: are the two bodies connected, and has the killer only just begun?

When another body confirms Robyn’s worst fears, she realises she’s in a race against time to stop the killer before they strike again. But just as she thinks she’s closing in, one of her own team goes missing.

Buried in the past is a terrible injustice. Can Robyn uncover the truth before another life is lost?

What does TWG think?

DC Robyn Carter is back as she finds herself in the middle of an investigation which doesn’t seem to be tiring anytime soon. So many secrets yet nobody willing to speak up. Who has a hold over them? Why are they keeping quiet? What on Earth happened to trigger these turn of events? DC Robyn Carter is determined to get to the bottom of such a complex mystery, but if she thinks he investigation is going to be sorted quickly then she has another thing coming.

I’m not going to lie, several parts of this storyline were incredibly hard-hitting and difficult to read, yet they took the overall vibe of the storyline up several notches (despite covering my arms in goosebumps). Once again Carol Wyer has brought her readers straight into the hustle and bustle of the storyline as though they have been there the whole time. I thought the addition of a children’s book was very clever as it kept the theme of the story up to date and modern.

I thought that the entire storyline was severely gripping and highly intense – I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough! I so badly wanted to find out who the ring leader of the spiralling events was! There were times where I did feel as though several situations throughout the book dragged on for a little bit too long though, even though I could understand how complex the investigation was, I still wanted the point to be made.

The star of the show where this book is concerned is in the last couple of chapters. I won’t give anything away by explaining more than that, but for me, I felt that those chapters was were the true grit had hidden itself. I am really hoping that Robyn Carter comes back for another story as I truly feel that this character has a lot more to give.

A fast paced, suspenseful and extremely shocking read which will keep you guessing until the very end. Cleverly written and in keeping with modern-day society, Carol Wyer has crafted such a spine-tingling storyline, full of many multi-dimensional and memorable characters. I cannot wait to find out what is in store for her next. A cracking read!

Thanks Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author: 
Carol E. Wyer is an award-winning author whose humorous books take a light-hearted look at getting older and encourage others to age disgracefully. More recently she has chosen to write for the “dark side” and embarked on a series of thrillers, starting with the gripping best-seller, Little Girl Lost.

Her book Grumpy Old Menopause won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.

Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ‘Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and writes regularly for The Huffington Post.

Carol is a signed author with Bookouture and Delancey Press.

To learn more about Carol, go to www.carolwyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer. 

#BlogBlitz! #Review – What Happens at Christmas by @EvonneWareham @ChocLitUK @Brookcottagebks

What Happens at Christmas Tour Banner
This evening I am pleased to welcome Evonne Wareham to TWG for the very first time, as part of a book release blitz courtesy of BrookCottageBKs. Huge thanks to ChocLitUK for the ARC, and BrookCottageBKs for having me take part in this blitz. Here is my review:

WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS_FRONT
Best-selling author Andrew Vitruvius knows that any publicity is good publicity. His agent tells him that often, so it must be true. In the run-up to Christmas, she excels herself – talking him into the craziest scheme yet: getting himself kidnapped, live on TV.

But when the plan goes ahead and Drew is unceremoniously thrown in the back of a van before being dragged to a hut in middle of the Brecon Beacons, it all starts to feel a little bit too real.

Meanwhile, not far away, Lori France and her four-year- old niece Misty are settling in to spend the holidays away after unexpected events leave them without a place to stay. Little do they know they’re about to make a shocking discovery and experience a Christmas they’re not likely to forget..

What does TWG think?

If you’re looking for a book which can cater for all of your bookish needs in one large swoop, look no further as Evonne Wareham has written a story which not only contains romance, it also contains a large about of suspense and grit. What more could you want?

What is even better is that ‘What Happens at Christmas’, if you haven’t worked it out already, is incredibly apt with this time of year as the story is set during the festive period. And no, before you start wondering, you’re not the only one who stresses out at this time of year. Take a look at Lori for example. She had a plan, was looking forward to her plan, but within seconds that plan had come unstuck thanks to an incredibly selfish family member. With Christmas looming and a house in disrepair, Lori has no home comforts around her and, funnily enough, neither does a Christmas guest who seems to have found himself in a rather sticky situation. Literally.

Hopefully I won’t sound like I’m being picky here, but there was something which I found rather confusing about this book. As the storyline was told from both Lori and Andrew’s viewpoints, I would have been able to enjoy the story more if those parts had been clearly set out and clearly labelled. Unfortunately they weren’t, which meant that it took me a little while to work out whose life I was on. Whilst it was clear that both characters lives are exceptionally different, the flow of the storyline became rather hindered by the confusion I felt when it took me most of a section to work out who I was reading. I appreciate that it might seem a minor detail to other people, but for me it does make a huge difference to my overall enjoyment of the novel.

That said, as soon as both characters paths crossed at about 35% of the way through, I was able to let myself go with the flow of the storyline a lot more. From that point on, I seemed to race through the pages, hooked on the situation which Andrew found himself in, as well as ensuring that Lori and her niece had the happy ending that they deserved. Personally, at 35% read, I felt that ‘What Happens at Christmas’ was in its element. The flow was lovely, the characters were intriguing, and the storyline was severely addictive. In my eyes, that was the important turning point for the storyline and I am SO glad that it had that moment.

As I said above, ‘What Happens at Christmas’ doesn’t just contain romance. It contains so much more – I was in shock during several events! Totally unexpected, whilst also being very cleverly written into the rest of the storyline.

Overall, this book had a jam-packed storyline which was completely unique. Evonne Wareham was able to take me on a roller coaster ride of journey, whilst still being able to make me go ‘awwwwww!!!!’ at the same time. Impressive!

A delightful, festive, addictive, and more-ish novel, which will bring suspense and romance together in the most unusual way. I thoroughly enjoyed this cosy treat.

Thanks ChocLitUK.

Amazon UK // Amazon US // Apple // Kobo // Google

About the author.

Evonne Wareham was born in Barry on the South Wales coast, but spent most of her working life in London. Now home again in Wales she is studying for a PhD in History and writing romance.

She was a finalist in two reality writing contests in the United States and had a great time, even if she didn’t win. When not studying or writing, she loves to travel, go to the theatre, walk on the beach and sleep. She has won and been nominated for awards for her romantic suspense novels on both sides of the Atlantic, and is now also writing romantic comedy with a light dusting of crime – which is a change of pace from writing the dark scary stuff. She is a member of both the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, which means she gets to go to twice as many literary parties.

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