#BlogTour. #Review – The Elephant of Frimley by Nicholas Rawls. @AuthorightUKPR

The Elephant of Frimley Cover

Two sisters and an elephant embark on an exciting adventure in this charming illustrated children’s book.

After the discovery of an elephant in their back garden, sisters Hannah and Emily make it their adventurous mission to return it back home. 

Originally written as a bedtime story for his two daughters, and beautifully illustrated by Louise Jewell, The Elephant of Frimley is a delightful and fun read that parents, primary school teachers and extended families will enjoy sharing with young children.

What does TWG think?

As soon as my three-year old daughter saw the front cover, she asked me a question; ‘Mumma, was is the elephant sad? Its eyes are dripping near the baby bit of her eye, why she crying?’.

Before I was able to answer her questions, I flicked through the book myself and tried to see if the story gave me any clue. Personally, it didn’t. The illustrations were delightfully drawn and completely different to other books I have read with my daughter, that’s for sure.

I still didn’t answer my daughter’s question, so I sat down with her and read the book with her, just to see what her thoughts were and whether her question got answered in its own little way. She adored the illustrations of the elephant the most. But, where the storyline was concerned, her little face began to frown when she couldn’t realise why the elephant was involved in certain things. Don’t get me wrong, it’s uniquely written and has a certain charm about it, and I adore the touching background story of it being written for the authors two daughters. Super cute!

It was a lovely, little book as far as the elephant was concerned, and as far as my little girl was concerned. She didn’t seem to find that answer for her question, nor did it keep her attention like other books.

I enjoyed reading something different with my daughter, even though it wasn’t really for us. I am sure many other children will adore the story as much as we adored the elephant.

Thanks Authoright.

Buy now.

The Elephant of Frimley Banner

#BlogTour! #Review of Nobody’s Girl by Tania Crosse (@TaniaCrosse) @Aria_Fiction

Nobody's Girl - The Blog Tour banner

Day three of Tania Crosse’s blog tour is with me, TWG! I have a review of Tania Crosse’s new novel, Nobody’s Girl, on my blog today and I hope you enjoy it! Make sure you keep following the rest of the blog tour via the hosts above.

Nobody's Girl cover
A compelling story that tingles with drama, tension and an overwhelming sense of love. Perfect for the fans of Jo Cox and Rosie Goodwin.

The boom years immediately after the Great War bring nothing but happiness for wealthy industrialist Wigmore Stratfield-Whyte and his wife Clarissa – until tragedy robs them of their greatest treasure.

Many years later, an horrific fatal accident brings young Meg Chandler, a spirited farmer’s daughter, into their lives. Meg wants nothing to do with them, but Clarissa is drawn irresistibly towards the bereaved girl and will move heaven and earth to help her. Will Meg allow Clarissa into her own shattered life, and can the two share a future happiness together? And will Meg’s new acquaintances bring her the contentment she craves – or seek to destroy her?

Set in the Kent countryside in the years leading up to the Second World War, this compelling saga tingles with drama, tension and an overwhelming sense of love.

What does TWG think?

Oh.My.Word! ‘Nobody’s Girl’ really isn’t the easiest book to read. I had read about a chapter when I became choked with silent emotion, and I had to pause, put the book down and try to reassemble my thoughts. Now, what’ve I’ve just said isn’t a negative thing at all, especially how I said that it wasn’t an easy book to read. In terms of language usage and storyline organisation, it WAS an easy book to read; in terms of the theme of that first chapter, no, it wasn’t an easy book to read. With other books I have read, we usually get a meet a greet type feeling at the beginning of the book, being eased into the storyline gently and completely unaware as to what may be around the corner (or, the next page). However, ‘Nobody’s Girl’ didn’t really do that, before I had even learnt the ins and outs of the main characters I had been caught off guard in such a heart-wrenching way. I so badly wanted to cry, but I couldn’t because the emotion was far too raw. Does that make sense? Sometimes you can read something in a book which upsets you drastically, to the point you’re stunned into silent emotion. It was that.

As I mentioned before, I had to put the book down and go do something else which didn’t require any of my emotions. But, the more I tried to calm my emotions, the more I struggled to forget the novel. I felt as though I was abandoning the characters by pausing the book. How stupid does that sound, but it’s true.

When I decided to pick the book back up, I needed to keep my emotions in check otherwise the book was going to take me an age to read, and that’s not TWG. ‘Nobody’s Girl’ is set in the years between the Great War and World War II, straight away it was as though I had stepped back in time due to the use of ‘motor vehicle’, for example. Those slight word variations throughout the novel may be overlooked by many readers, but it was brilliant to see the author use the language from the time in which her book was set. ‘Nobody’s Girl’ starts off with two main characters, Wigmore and Clarissa Stratfield-Whyte; and it didn’t seem too long before another character main character was added. Sigh. I just wish it was under better circumstances.

Meg Chandler, a character who I would give anything to talk about right now. A character who, unfortunately, I cannot say too much about due to spoilers. A character who, just like the characters at the start of the book, managed to stir up the silent emotion I had been trying to hide for most of the book. Every emotion, action, and description about Meg’s situation was written to the point I thought I was watching everything from the sidelines. The pain. The moment of being unable to do anything; I have no words about how a large portion of the storyline made me feel. Saying that I became emotional would be an incredible understatement, I mean, who wouldn’t get emotional over the entire novel?

Tania Crosse created firework situations for several of the characters, and they were all written with such poise, sincerity, devastation, yet undeniable beauty. Yes, I could no longer understand my own thoughts and feelings whilst finishing this book, but the authors story telling had me absolutely spellbound.

‘Nobody’s Girl’ was full to the brim of heart-wrenching moments; sometimes it felt as though the beginning of the book started off the domino effect for the rest of the book. It got to a point where I was reading so fast because I was so worried someone else in the book was going to end up emotional, or more sparks were going to fly. This book really was cut throat.

On one hand, Nobody’s Girl kept me on the edge of my seat with emotions even I couldn’t understand, but on the other hand, Nobody’s Girl gave me hope, a sense of belonging, a reason to love and the lesson in learning how to BE loved.

This book is by far the most intense, and emotive novel I have read so far this year. Tania Crosse has blown me away and I am still trying to work out how to put my feet back on the ground. I will not forget Nobody’s Girl in a hurry, Meg will always be the girl in my heart.

Absolutely outstanding.

Thanks Aria.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nGEvsv

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2njgrdZ

iBooks: http://apple.co/2o0Szcn

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2o0WFRK

 

#Review – The Spy Who Chipped the China Teacup by Angie Smith @cxviAngie @Bloodhoundbook

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Arms dealing. Murder. Corruption. 

In Africa, Taylor Hudson reaches the stark realisation that she is in imminent danger.

Time is nearly up when, out of nowhere, she is thrown a lifeline.  Left with little option, she places her trust in a complete stranger. But who is this stranger and why the interest in saving her?

The answers lie 6,000 miles away, deep inside the British Secret Intelligence Service, where a former, disgraced, senior officer is attempting to work his way back into the heart of the organisation. But what are his real intentions? 

What ensues is a deadly game of bluff, double-bluff and triple-bluff.

Can The China Teacup survive this time?

What does TWG think?

This book was the very first book of Angie Smith’s that I had ever read. I had absolutely no idea what to expect in regards to her writing style or anything, as I had never heard of her until this book.

It didn’t take me long at all to realise that the storyline would incorporate themes from genres out of my ‘usual’ range; by that I mean the addition of the spies. I didn’t want to give up reading the book due to it coming under the heading of ‘not what I usually would read’, so I gave it a go.

I’m not going to lie, there was a lot of information, character twists, and dramatic situations to follow throughout the entire novel. Sometimes I managed to follow it, sometimes I didn’t and I ended up being confused by all of the various hopping between different characters and different places. On the plus side, the complexity of the storyline meant that the intensity of the novel was raised, which meant it also kept me in suspense to a point.

I think that Angie Smith was very clever with the addition of the stranger and the lifeline. Not only did it grab my attention, it also left me with a lot of questions involving his integrity, what would be in it for him, how could Taylor actually trust this man, how did she know that he wasn’t going to tell her husband her whereabouts?

It was a pretty bold thing for Shepherd to have done, and an even bolder thing for Taylor to accept! With those questions in mind, the rest of the storyline began to unfold, re-fold, and unfold again. Just when I thought I would get answers or the situation would peak and become clear, the storyline completely swiveled and took a different route!

I could definitely tell that Angie Smith had seen Africa with her own eyes, instead of popping to Thomson for a brochure and second guessing the country. For me, Smith’s descriptions of Africa were the highlight of the book. Incredibly realistic and such a three dimension addition to the storyline.

Overall, my opinion of ‘The Spy Who Chipped the China Teacup’ kept changing throughout, so it took me a little while to work out whether I actually enjoyed it. I found the characters complexity to be a definite plus point, especially as they were all incredibly different and each brought something unique to the storyline. The intensity levels of the plot didn’t falter at all, which meant the pace was kept even and without any ’empty’ moments. Honestly? I struggled with the to-ing and fro-ing and copious amounts of information, as I couldn’t keep up most of the time. When I did manage to keep up, it was grand. When I didn’t though, it became a little frustrating.

That said, Angie Smith obviously knows her craft and I cannot fault her at all for the way she has approached the novel overall. I was entertained and gripped by the storyline itself, I’m not going to deny that. Despite this book being a ‘new one’ for me, I enjoyed what I could keep up with, as well as Angie Smith’s writing style.

I’m intrigued to see what she brings out next.

Thanks Bloodhoundbooks.

Buy now from Amazon UK

china

#Tour #Review The Many Colours of Us – Rachel Burton @bookish_yogi @NeverlandBT @HQDigitalUK

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Finallyyyyy!!! It’s my turn to host today’s stop on Rachel Burton’s blog tour for her debut novel, The Many Colours of Us, which was published by HQDigitalUK on the 26th April 2017! I hope you enjoy reading my review as much as I enjoyed reading this book.

Many colours

What if your life was built on lies?

Julia Simmonds had never been bothered about not knowing who her father was. Having temperamental supermodel, Philadelphia Simmonds, as a mother was more than enough. Until she discovers she’s the secret love-child of the late, great artist Bruce Baldwin, and her life changes forever.

Uncovering the secrets of a man she never knew, Julia discovers that Bruce had written her one letter, every year until her eighteenth birthday, urging his daughter to learn from his mistakes.

Julia begins to dig deeper into the mysterious past of her parents, opening up a history she’d never have imagined, but as she discovers the truth she needs to decide if she is willing to forgive and forget…

What does TWG think?

What do I think….what do I think….

1. Julia’s mother needs a stern talking to and a ruddy good shake.
2. Julia’s father should have been made to see sense when he was alive.
3. Julia needs a bloody big hug, with someone trustworthy to lead her in the right and TRUTHFUL direction.

Review done. kthx.

Fine, I’ll do a proper one! Although if I was asked to say three things about this storyline, the above is what I would come out with! Now, seeing as I haven’t been asked for three things in particular, I can now squeal and ramble!

Sometimes when I sit down to read a novel, I ensure I am on Twitter at the same time as I quite like tweeting the author whilst I read their book; Rachel Burton was one of those authors!

I have to say one thing first though as it really shocked me, to be honest I still can’t get my head round it….

HOW THE PICASSO IS THIS RACHEL BURTON’S DEBUT NOVEL?! DEBUT?!? DEBUT!?! I didn’t realise it was her debut until afterwards! The entire novel read as though it was written by an author who had perfected her craft! Can you tell that I was gobsmacked? If this is what Rachel Burton manages to deliver with a debut novel, I cannot WAIT for book two.

Julia Simmonds has grown up knowing one parent, her mother. Every time Julia tried to bring up the subject about her father, her mother culled the conversation, using the excuse of lack of memory for lack of information. As far as Julia was concerned this was her life, she trusted her mother and the information she had been given over the years. Her mother hadn’t exactly given her cause for concern regarding her father….

How could you not be hooked with a storyline like this? I thought my family had a lot of skeletons in our closets but EEEESH! It didn’t take me long at all to sink my teeth into the gritty and intense storyline, as soon as I was hooked I couldn’t put the book down, hence why it only took me a matter of hours to read. Unfortunately, I was able to relate to several of the situations that unfolded in this book, especially where Julia’s father was concerned.

Seeing as I read this book like an outsider looking in, I attempted to see the situation from each of the characters points of view to begin with, but I couldn’t help getting angry at Julia’s mother. Well, and her father! Their ‘logic’ was extremely selfish in my opinion. But like I said, I can relate to certain aspects of the book which is why my views are more emotionally based, and a lot harder than others.
Just to clarify, but views up to this point are solely on the storyline and not the way the author has written it, btw.

‘The Many Colours of Us’ blew me away on more than one occasion. It wasn’t all light-hearted and lovey dovey, the storyline was incredibly black and white at times (in a good way), powerful and unbelievably soulful. I don’t think I have ever read a debut novel that carried itself with such grace, intensity, and emotion, like Rachel Burton’s. I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t stand a couple of the characters in the book yet they brought another dimension to the novel, so they were put in the book for the right reasons (even if they did irk me).

Again, this is yet another review that I have to be rather vague about as every event and emotion in the book is linked to another. I don’t wish to get into trouble for causing a domino effect of spoilers!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Many Colours of Us’; Rachel Burton really has done herself proud by writing such a beautiful, but raw storyline. A lot of people are going to read this book and feel as though their own lives are being written about; yes, it really is that relatable.

Such a poignant and impressive debut novel. I loved it! Absolutely flawless.

Thank you HQ.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Author Bio:

Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk, prodigiously early. In 2013 she finally started making one up that was worth writing down. 

She has a BA in Classics and an MA in English and has never really known what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a legal secretary, a yoga teacher and a paralegal. She never quite made it to law school.

She grew up in Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bookish_yogi

The Many Colours of Us Schedule Graphic

#BlogTour! #Review of Summer at Conwenna Cove by @DarcieBoleyn @canelo_co

Summer at Conwenna Cove blog tour 2

Thrilled to be one of the bloggers hosting Darcie Boleyn’s brand new book, Summer at Conwenna Cove, as part of the blog tour for Canelo! I hope you enjoy reading my review:

Summer at Conwenna Cove

In a gorgeous Cornish village, two brokenhearted people fall head over heels. But can the magic of Conwenna Cove heal the hurt of the past? A feel-good summer romance perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Phillipa Ashley and Jenny Hale.

Eve has a glittering career, a loving husband and a future. But a terrible twist of fate means she loses it all, and with nowhere left to turn she flees to her Aunt Mary’s home in Cornwall. The last thing on her mind is romance – until she meets Jack.

Jack has seen the worst things people can do to each other and realised he is better off alone. He settles in Conwenna Cove, and saves his affections for the rescue dogs he cares for. But when Eve arrives in the village he can’t deny his attraction to her.

Eve and Jack are both scared to trust, but when they come together it’s impossible for either to ignore their feelings. Can they put their fear aside and learn to love again?

Summer at Conwenna Cove is an emotional and heart-warming holiday read about being brave enough to take a chance on love.

What does TWG think?

Every time Darcie Boleyn brings out a brand new book I seem to turn into an excited puppy, unable to sit still and pining with impatience. Seriously, I’m not even kidding. Oh, and by ‘pining’ I mean DM’ing the author asking when her next book is coming out, over and over again. I’m nice like that, SOOOO not annoying.

Anyway. Cornwall. Again. Deep down I really didn’t want to groan about the setting as Darcie Boleyn is one of my favourite authors, but the groan just shot out before I could stop it. Now, I don’t have anything against Cornwall as it sounds so beautiful, it’s just there are loads of books which are set in Cornwall, most of them being published recently!

I kept an open mind and as I ploughed into the storyline and got to know the characters, my ‘issue’ with the setting went completely out the window. Eve has hit rock bottom. No longer is she the confident, carefree, optimistic individual she once was; instead she is a woman who has reached her breaking point. All I wanted to do was give Eve a big hug and obviously I couldn’t. I felt so, so sorry for her as a character as her circumstances were quite heart wrenching to read about. Seeing as Eve needed a change of scenery, my mind was so occupied with the way that she was feeling I didn’t seem to mind where she went, as long as she took the time she needed to recuperate.

It was from that moment that the storyline itself took precedence over the setting. The setting was an eye-catching addition instead of being the star of the show. For me, that is more important. I wanted to be able to connect with the storyline and its characters BEFORE I was able to gaze at the scenery; it’s no use if the setting of a book overpowers the true essence of the story and the characters. Hats off to Darcie Boleyn for writing such a powerful storyline that was able to showcase its own beauty.

Alongside Eve as a main character, is a man called Jack. A man who prefers his own company after being ‘stabbed’ in the back but people he thought he could trust. We’ve all been there, eh? I didn’t know what to make of his character at first as it took a while for his guard to come down, so his inner personality was always hidden away. It was as though he was always putting on a front. As time went on, his ‘guard’ kept doing squats by coming down, then going back up again, which meant that my opinion of Jack kept changing.

For me, the absolute stars of the show were the dogs in the rescue centre. Well, one in particular but I don’t want to say too much as I might give snippets away. I am not ashamed to say that where those dogs were concerned, ‘teary’ became my middle name. Wow.

‘Summer at Conwenna Cove’ sure does pack a punch in terms of intensity and depth. I was amazed at how full of information the book was, there was just so much to sink my teeth into!

I really have no idea how Darcie Boleyn does it, but she does. Every. Single. Time. I cannot fault this book at all, not even for the setting! I loved the diversity of the characters, the intense situations, the deep and meaningful conversations and the heart-warming moments with the dogs. Most importantly, I loved how the author brought all of the different situations and emotions together to create this mesmerising, huggable, rollercoaster ride of a novel; all without losing any momentum.

‘Summer at Conwenna Cove’ is a book to be read, cherished and understood. A book to be your hug when you’re on your own. A book to give you that confidence to be able to admit when you need to re-group. A book to give you the kick up the backside to ensure that your own well-being is put before anyone else’s. Not just A BOOK, it’s THIS BOOK.

Out-flipping-standing.

Thank you Canelo.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34925197-summer-at-conwenna-cove

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Conwenna-Cove-heart-warming-feel-good-ebook/dp/B06ZYK46GW/

Author Information

 Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

Author Links

Blog: https://darcieboleyn.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/darcieboleyn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/public/Darcie-Boleyn

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darcieboleynauthor/

#BlogTour #Review – Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea by Liz Eeles @lizeelesauthor @Bookouture

Liz Eeles

When twenty-nine-year-old Annie Trebarwith receives an unexpected letter from a great-aunt she’s never known, she leaves her shoebox-sized flat in London and catches a train to the rugged Cornish coast.

Salt Bay is beautiful and Annie begins to kindle a bond with her great-aunt Alice. Even though there is zero phone signal and the locals – including the gorgeous but brooding Josh Pasco – can be decidedly grumpy at times, Annie starts to feel at home in Salt Bay.

Soon Annie’s love of music leads her to relaunch the Salt Bay Choral Society, and she’s surprised to see how just much the choir means to the community – and she even starts to break through Josh’s surly exterior…

But London is calling Annie back, and she has to make a decision. Give up her old life completely, or leave Salt Bay, her new-found family – and the choir – behind?

What does TWG think?

Happy publication day to Liz Eeles and Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea! I am truly honoured to be kicking off the blog tour with a review. Hope you enjoy!

How STUNNING is that cover by the way!!

Let me just get this bit out-of-the-way first; I may have groaned a little when I saw that the book was set in Cornwall. I know, I know, it’s madness! Recently there seems to have been a rise in the amount of books set in Cornwall (not that it’s not a beautiful place btw!), and I did happen to think ‘not another one’. Wait, wait, let me explain! A lot of the novels that I’ve read that were set in Cornwall, seemed to be a bit ‘samey’; I was uber excited about Liz Eeles’ novel and I really was hopeful that it would be different from the rest.

You want to know something?

It only took until the end of the first chapter for me to decide that, Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea, is my MOST FAVOURITE book set in Cornwall so far, without a doubt! This book had everything I could have hoped for in a book and more. The main character, Annie, was introduced to Cornwall in the most unique and comical way; lets just say that that woman has a lot of balls!

I was hooked on Annie’s personality from the very beginning as she didn’t seem to take herself too seriously, unlike a certain other character in the book (naming no names)! I thoroughly enjoyed finding out Annie’s family secrets, as well as seeing Cornwall from a completely new angle. Honestly? It was fun. Most of the characters (again, naming no names) stood out in their own individual ways; each of them bringing something special to the storyline. Don’t get me wrong, there was a character or two (cough) that managed to rile me up the wrong way good and proper. No, seriously, I think I actually swore out loud whilst I was reading it; I couldn’t get over how self-absorbed one character was! I could not stand them! I have a slight feeling that I’m not going to be the only one either haha.

The direction in which the storyline took was unexpected and I loved it. Not only did it surprise me multiple times, reading Liz Eeles’ novel gave me a sense of belonging due to Salt Bay’s unity. I loved the fact that I was able to see Annie come out of her shell as the story went on; and as stupid as this sounds, I felt quite proud of her.

Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea truly was an idyllic, beautifully written, heart-warming story that made my heart swell with joy. There was something incredibly special about Liz Eeles’ novel and I can’t seem to put my finger on what that is. Maybe it was the storylines aura, I don’t know. It just gave me that feel good feeling, as well as the belief that anything is possible if you just get up and do it.

A phenomenal, mesmerising novel which is full of family secrets, heart-warming moments and the power to dream.
Absolutely beautiful; I love everything about this book and Liz Eeles’ captivating writing. Brava…really, Brava….

Thank you so much Bookouture!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author

 Liz began her writing career as a journalist for newspapers and magazines before moving into the health sector as a communications manager and press officer. The low point of her career was abandoning an interview with Cliff Richard after two questions because she was about to faint – her excuse is that she was newly pregnant at the time.

Liz is from Gloucestershire but now lives by the sea in West Sussex with her husband and grown-up daughter. She spends a lot of time meaning to meditate, avoiding exercise, and missing her son who lives in London.

https://www.facebook.com/lizeelesauthor/

https://twitter.com/lizeelesauthor

The blog tour has only just begun! All the details of the hosts on this tour are below:

Annies-Lovely-Choir-Blog-Tour

#Blogtour! 5 1/2 things Amanda Robson wishes she knew! #Guestpost #Obsession @AvonsBooksUK

Thrilled to be hosting today’s stop on Amanda Robson’s blog tour for ‘Obsession’! Are you obsessed yet? Amanda Robson has written a guest post about the 5 (and a 1/2) things that she wishes she knew when she started writing, just for us. Enjoy!
Before that though, please find all the details of her brand new book!

obsession cover

One evening, a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for, if you could?

It is a simple question – a little game – that will destroy her life.

Carly and Rob are a perfect couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig and Jenny. They’re lucky. But beneath the surface, no relationship is simple: can another woman’s husband and another man’s wife ever just be good friends?

Little by little, Carly’s question sends her life spiralling out of control, as she begins to doubt everything she thought was true. Who can she trust? The man she has promised to stick by forever, or the best friend she has known for years? And is Carly being entirely honest with either of them?

Buy now from Amazon UK

Guest post.


5 (and a ½) Things I Wish I knew When I started Writing

  1. It’s all about the story, and every story needs conflict. Don’t include any scenes that don’t move the story forward, and always remember that every scene needs to contain conflict.
  2. Speech in a novel is not like real speech. No way. To begin with I used to make conversations as real as possible – but real conversation is only interesting sometimes. Speech needs to be more ‘West Wing’ than polite conversation. Think about it. Much of the time polite conversation is padded out with fillers, that are interesting to you when you are talking to your friends, but are boring for a reader. For example,

  ‘How are you?’ 

 ‘How was your journey?’

 The reader does not need to know that the tube was six minutes late. 

Cut out unnecessary conversation fillers as much as possible. Heighten all conversation. Over-egg it so that the characters seem endlessly pithy and witty.  Never repeat in conversation something that the reader already knows. Every conversation, like every scene, needs to pull the story forwards. Every conversation, like every scene, needs conflict.

  1. The writing strength is in the verb. Use adjectives sparingly. This is probably one of the first things you will be told on any writing course and at first it is hard to believe. It is true though and eventually I got used to rarely using them. Remember the advice is sparingly – not never. It is great fun when you do. Like sprinkling sugar, or salt, across your food, it adds to the taste and most of us love it. But too much ruins rather than enhances. 
  2. If you are passionate about writing you are probably a creative thinker. That is what a lot of us have in common. So, if you have a vivid imagination, treasure it. I really mean it, treasure it. A lot of people can write well. Only some can write well and make up an interesting story.  
  3. Have a simple structure to hook your writing on. My early novels failed because I was trying to interweave too many different threads that didn’t mesh. It frustrated me for years.  The basic structure needs to be as logical as a maths equation. Balanced. It needs to add together and work.

5a  Listen to others’ comments about your work but retain your self-confidence. If you listen too hard to everyone else and act on their every suggestion you will lose the purpose, the thread of your novel. You will end up with everybody else’s hotchpotch, not your own well-considered work. Move through the noise around you by listening to your own gut feeling and building on it. 

What a fantastic guest post! Huge thank you to Amanda Robson for sharing her tricks of the trade. Most certainly useful for any budding writers out there!

The tour isn’t over yet, all the other bloggers on the tour are listed below:

Obsession

#BlogTour! ‘I’ll Eat When I’m Dead’ – Barbara Bourland (@babsbourland) @QuercusBooks

9781784298562

RAGE Fashion Book is the world’s most dynamic, ambitious magazine.
Its editors ­- like Cat Ono – have the power to change minds and the market.
They’re savvy, sisterly and polished to perfection. Even the one found dead in her office.

Everyone thinks Hillary starved to death – but Cat knows her friend’s dieting wasn’t a capital P problem. If beauty kills, it’d take more than that. Hot-headed and fiercely feminist, Cat’s sure she can match the investigating skills of Detective Mark Hutton, solve the case, and achieve sartorial fulfillment.

But going undercover, Cat’s in over her head, and soon becomes snared in a very stylish web of drugs, sex, lies and moisturizer that will change her look – and outlook – forever.

Cat’s about to find out what it really means to be a fashion victim.

What does TWG think?

I have no idea where to begin with this one! -scratches head-.
Hmm. I guess I could start by saying how intrigued I was about this book after reading the title! I mean, with a title like ‘I’ll Eat When I’m Dead’, how on Earth could you be anything BUT curious? If I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book based on the cover alone, if it didn’t have that particular title. Why? Because the title is edgy, intriguing and incredibly eye-catching; ideal! That said, the book cover fits with the theme of the book which is really what it’s aim is, it isn’t going to care whether I like the image or not now is it?

I have never really been a trendsetter when it comes to dressing myself in the mornings. Let’s face it, if I was a celebrity I would find myself on the ‘worst dressed’ lists in magazines as I would be rocking the combats, trainers and cropped tank top look! When I realised that this book was going to centre around the fashion industry, I was half expecting myself to put the book down due to the reason above. But I didn’t. I became even more intrigued as I wanted to see the world behind the glossy pages and the enticing one liners of a magazine. Little did I know how colourful that world was going to be..

Pretty bonkers if you ask me, and that’s not in a sneering way! It really was like reading the modernised version of The Devil Wears Prada// NCIS collaboration! Hillary Whitney is dead. Her death isn’t obvious yet rumours fly around the office in regards to her death; after all, she worked in fashion and the first thing which people associate with that is body image. Sorry, BAD body image (eating disorders etc). Even though that subject was briefly touched upon in places, I still found it difficult to read due to it being rather close to home. However, it was a brave (yet clever) move on the authors part to include that topic as well as many others (drugs/alcohol), because it’s something that is ALL over social media these days. It really is everywhere. I really was impressed at how the author  managed to bring the storyline up to date with such a complex plot.

However, I struggled to find the gritty parts of the storyline, especially the investigation surrounding Hillary Whitney’s death. Personally, I felt as though the whole fashion, magazine, and glamour parts of the storyline overpowered the rest of the book. I would have enjoyed it more if the investigation took more of a centre stage, whilst also having that raw, intense feeling to the situation.

Don’t get me wrong, this book was pleasant enough read and it certainly kept me entertained in parts. It made me chuckle as well as making me want to find a job in fashion (I was sucked into the glamour!!)!

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead is such a bizarre, bonkers and entertaining read; completely different to anything I have ever read before. It’s unique, modern and full of enough glamour and fashion tips to turn you into Gok Wan by the end of the book. On that premise alone, I enjoyed it. On the other hand, the entire storyline didn’t gel with me as much as I would have liked it to, but, I don’t regret reading it at all.

Thanks Quercus Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

IEWID Blog Tour Poster

‘Lizzie’s Daughters’ by Rosie Clarke (@AnneHerries) #Blogtour! #Extract @aria_fiction

Day 2 of Rosie Clarke’s blog tour for her new book, ‘Lizzie’s Daughters’! As part of the tour, I have an extract from the book to share with you. Enjoy!

Lizzie's Daughters cover

LONDON 1958. Lizzie Larch battles to keep her daughters safe and out of harm’s reach. Perfect for the fans of Nadine Dorries and Lyn Andrews.

Lizzie adores her beautiful and clever daughters and will do anything for them. Both possess a wonderful creative flair, but have fiercely different characters. Betty, the eldest is head strong like Lizzie’s first husband whilst Francie is talented and easily influenced.

When Betty runs away after an argument with Sebastian, heartbreak and worry descend on the family. At great risk to her health Lizzie finds herself pregnant but is determined to give Sebastian the son they craved. Sebastian meanwhile is plunged into a dangerous overseas mission using his old contacts to track Betty to Paris and to the lair of the rogue that seduced her?

Consumed with guilt can Sebastian right the wrongs of the past and finally unite his family and friends?

Links to buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jvg4rA

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2jaxKff

iBooks: http://apple.co/2jmxtDS

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2jzdalR

Get The Workshop Girls series here: http://amzn.to/2nwLwHT

Extract from ‘Lizzie’s Daughters’ by Rosie Clarke.

Sebastian looked at Marianne Gutiere and felt the pain of his failure strike him. He’d promised he would find Gretchen for his friend’s wife, but although he’d visited ten orphanages in West Germany,  that they had thought might have some knowledge of the girl, he’d drawn a blank.

‘She wasn’t there?’ Marianne asked, tears glistening in her eyes. ‘It’s a hopeless task, isn’t it? She would be eighteen now and I’m not sure I would know her, because she was only six years old when I left. When I escaped from Eastern Germany after the war, Karl promised he would follow with her the next day… but they arrested him and she was taken somewhere to a children’s home; he was told she would be quite safe. Karl was able to send only one letter, but he was sure that she would be cared for… ’ her voice caught on a sob.

‘I’m so sorry,’ Sebastian said and touched her hand in sympathy. ‘You know that Karl and I were very close before the war. I wanted him to get out before it started but he had a good job at the University in Berlin and he didn’t believe that Hitler would kill the Jews, even though he was stripping them of money, property and dignity…’

‘Did anyone believe it?’ Marianne asked sadly. ‘We none of us expected what happened, but Karl was right; his work was necessary to our masters and they kept us  as hostages to ensure he worked for them –  and so we lived, but when the war was over Karl sent me away. I was carrying another child. I begged to take Gretchen with me, but he said if we all went it might arouse suspicions and we weren’t sure about the Russians then. We thought they might be our friends. Neither of us thought they would accuse him of war crimes and execute him…’

‘Karl was a decent man and a brilliant physicist. Whatever the Nazis made him do I know he wasn’t a criminal by choice, Marianne.  Whatever he did was to keep you safe and I shall not condemn him – but you were innocent of any crime and so is Gretchen, and I promise I will find her, Marianne.’

‘But you’ve been searching for three years, ever since I first spoke to you – just before I got that letter to say that she was in an orphanage and alive…’

‘It was a such a pity that whoever sent it didn’t sign it,’ Sebastian said. ‘Had they done so we might have got more information – as it is, we just have to keep looking.’ 

‘I know there were so many displaced children after the war,’ Marianne said regretfully. ‘I wrote to everyone I could contact; some replied but no one knew where Gretchen had been taken. I should’ve come to you sooner, but I might never have had the courage had we not met by chance on that railway station in Western Germany and you recognised me…’

‘It was meant to be,’ he said.  ‘I’m glad you asked for my help. I intend to do all I can for you, and not just for Karl’s sake.’

‘I’m not the only one you’ve helped, am I?’

‘It’s something I can’t talk about, even to you,’ he said and frowned. ‘We have a different kind of enemy these days. Lives depend on secrecy, and not even my wife knows what I do when I’m away… you should understand the political situation out there better than anyone.’

‘I do, of course, and I shan’t ask. I know you love your wife very much and sometimes I feel guilty for taking up so much of your time.’

‘Lizzie knows I love her.’ Sebastian stood up and glanced at his watch. ‘I must leave I’m afraid. I’m so sorry not to have better news, but I have many friends who have contacts both in Germany and in other countries where Gretchen might have gone and I shall go on looking until we discover something… one way or the other…’

‘You are so kind, but your family need you. I must not ask too much of you…’

‘Karl would have done the same in my place. I could not leave you alone in Germany, Marianne. It took a while to arrange passports and permissions, but I got you here to London and I’ll find you a better job than waitressing – and I’ll do my best to find Gretchen.’ He frowned. ‘You need some decent clothes – no, I know you can’t afford them, but I can. I’m going to take you to the shop of a friend of mine. She will give me a discount and I’ll make sure you have what you need to look the part when you apply for a job.’

‘You’ve done so much already. I can’t let you do this…’

‘I want to help – and I feel bad that I let you down again. Let me do this one small thing, please?’

‘Thank you,’ she said with quiet dignity and Sebastian left the flat he’d rented for her when she first came to England two years earlier. He’d hoped then that she would soon have her daughter with her, but his efforts had so far been in vain. He might have to talk to someone who could help, though he was reluctant to involve Jack and the department, because it would only draw him deeper into their arms when he knew it was time for him to think of his own life and his family…

As he walked from the building and hailed a passing taxi, Sebastian thought about what he’d learned from his inquiries in Western Germany – the things he hadn’t told Marianne. He believed that if Gretchen was still alive she was in East Berlin and it was notoriously difficult to trace children who’d been separated from their parents during the troubled time just after the end of the war; some were placed in orphanages in the Russian sector, others had simply disappeared. The child would be a young woman now. If she’d imbibed the anti-West doctrine that had undoubtedly been fed her these past years since the Cold War had started to escalate, she might not want to come to England to meet her mother and if she hadn’t… it would still be very difficult to get her out. The Russians had no intention of letting the East Germans escape to the West in large numbers– and there were unbelievable rumours about what they were planning to prevent it.

Author bio

Rosie Clarke was born in Swindon, but moved to Ely in Cambridgeshire at the age of nine. Married at eighteen, she ran her own hairdressing business for many years. Rosie started writing in 1976, combining this with helping her husband run his antique shop. She loves to write for her own enjoyment and to give pleasure to her millions of fans. Rosie was the well-deserved winner of the 2004 RNA Romance Award and the Betty Neels Trophy.

Visit Rosie Clarke’s website


If you wish to follow the rest of the blog tour, the details for the rest of the tour hosts are below:

Lizzie's Daughters - blog tour banner

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#BlogTour! #Guestpost from ‘First Time Mums’ Club’ author @lucie_wheeler @HarperImpulse

First Time Mums Club

Today I have the honour of closing Lucie Wheeler’s FIRST EVER blog tour! If you missed any of the blog posts on the previous days, all of the bloggers who have taken part are listed above. I’m not biased or anything as I am a blogger myself, BUT, what a fabulous bunch of bloggers on this tour!! Don’t you agree? The excitement on social for Lucie Wheeler’s debut novel has been outstanding, I am truly blessed to be part of a fantastic group of bloggers for a truly inspirational author.
Today I have a guest post from the lady herself, Lucie Wheeler, but if you did miss my review of her debut novel ‘The First Time Mums’ Club’, you can check it out here: #BookReview! The First Time Mums’ Club by Lucie Wheeler (@lucie_wheeler) @HarperImpulse

My ideal writing environment.
by Lucie Wheeler

There are people who can write anywhere, and there are people who can only write in certain places. I think I fall in between. Generally, as a rule, I write in my office upstairs, which is the box room. I have my desk in there which I bought from Ikea, a steal at £40, a cube unit (also from Ikea) which stores anything and everything and a few filing cabinets for all the boring stuff. It is a room which I really wish I could spend some money on and jazz it up into a fantastic little writing room full of inspiring quotes and beautiful furniture… but that will have to wait. Right now, it serves its purpose and that’s what is important. So I generally do my writing in there. 

However, I also have my laptop which I can take with me anywhere I go and I can still write. Sometimes this is just downstairs on the sofa so that I can spend time with my family alongside writing or catching up with work emails. And sometimes this will be in my car, in the car park at gymnastics, whilst I wait for LO. I do occasionally venture into the garden too – but I get frustrated with the glare from the sun so it doesn’t happen often. 

So what do I need from a writing space? Whether I am in my office at home, or in the car, I need relative silence to function. I am not a writer who can listen to music and write. Sometimes I use music to get a ‘feel’ for a scene or try to encourage an emotion out of me so that I can write about it, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of writing a story, I like it to be quiet. I like to let the story talk to me and run away with my imagination. Saying this, I can work with a little background noise. The TV is on at the moment and I can concentrate fine (unless something like The Great British Bake Off or The Apprentice is on!) I can also write in the library when I am at uni (because I have a lot to do and not a lot of time so sometimes my writing has to happen whilst at university) and the library isn’t silent. But… I can’t concentrate in a place like a coffee shop. I think because the talking there is closer to me and more in my personal space, whereas in the university library, it is a large space and the chatter tends to be a dull hum rather than an interesting conversation that I want to earwig in on – and let’s face it, we authors love an earwig on a conversation. It’s where half our material is inspired from! 

And I am definitely a straight-to-computer type of writer. I can’t do longhand. Whilst this is fine for notes, I simply cannot write fast enough. I like the speed of typing as the idea unfolds in my head and my hand doesn’t write fast enough. And when I try to do it, the words become illegible and it’s a waste of time. So for me, typing is the way forward. 

So there you have it. As long as I have a computer and fairly quiet surroundings, I can write pretty much anywhere. Although if we are talking about an absolute ideal writing environment – I wouldn’t say no to a balcony in a tropical climate with a cocktail and the sea to look at… who wants to take me?

Haha I don’t think many people will be disagreeing with Lucie on her dream writing location, would we? I certainly wouldn’t! It’s fun to see what an authors life is like BEHIND the book. Big thanks to Lucie Wheeler!

If you still haven’t been able to get your paws on a copy of ‘The First Time Mums’ Club’ yet, here are all the details of the book and the ‘to buy’ link:

Featured Image -- 20693

Meet Pippa…

After years of trying and a failed IVF attempt, Pippa is thrilled to see two little lines appear on a pregnancy test. Finally a precious baby to call her own. This is all Pippa has ever wanted…if only husband Jason could show just a little excitement.

Imogen…

A baby is the icing on the cake for Imogen and Alice – proof that their love for each other can overcome any obstacle. But when Imogen starts receiving malicious texts, it’s clear that not everyone is thrilled about the girls’ good news.

And Ellie…

A drunken one-night stand and Ellie’s life is ruined! Pregnant, jobless and the relationship with her best friend, Chris, over- forever. Because Chris just happens to be the father of Ellie’s baby…and potentially the love of her life!

For these first time mums the road to motherhood is bumpier than most!

Buy now from Amazon UK!