#BlogBlitz! #Review – Keep You By My Side by Callie Langridge (@clangridgewrite) @bombshellpub

Happy publication day to Callie Langridge and ‘Keep You By My Side’! I am honoured to be kicking off the blog blitz today with a review, many thanks to the publisher for the blitz invite and ARC.

Are family secrets the ties that bind or the lies that divide?

The secrets of one family live in the walls of a cottage perched high on a Dorset cliff. But secrets can only be kept for so long.

 Follow three generations of a family from war-torn London, to the permissive 60s and liberated 80s. Gertie, Rose and Abi live through joy, tragedy and heartache as they navigate complicated mother-daughter relationships and learn the importance of friends and finding love. When circumstances force them under the same roof, secrets begin to unravel and promises made in love threaten to tear them apart. 

 How far would you go to protect the people you love?

What does TWG think?

Having read and absolutely adored Callie Langridge’s debut novel, I could not wait to see what the author would bring out next. She had certainly set the bar high for herself with her debut, that’s for sure! I tried to ensure that I kept my mind open, reading the book as though I hadn’t read anything from the author before, purely because the bar was so high. I must admit that it didn’t always work though.

‘Keep You By My Side’ is gold from various viewpoints at multiple moments in time, with one character in particular telling her story during the war. It took me a little while to work out how all of the characters fit together, but when I did, I enjoyed being able to connect with the characters on a deeper level now that I was aware of their individual links in the storyline.

I would say that the romance element is evident throughout the entire novel, and it is also written in such a heartfelt manner so that even someone as unromantic as I, could fall under the heartwarming spell.

I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy ‘Keep You By My Side’ because I did, but for me personally, I didn’t find it as strong as the debut. Don’t get me wrong, Langridge told Gertie’s story beautifully and I was mesmerised by her journey, I just wanted more as I know the author has the outstanding talent to achieve that. This book was a very poignant and pleasing read, I just hope that the next novel comes back as strong as the first one.

As a story told by three generations, it was remarkable to see just how their personalities differed over the years, even though a lot of their choices and decisions were quite similar. My heart went out to Abi, but for me the star of the book was Gertie. I think that was because she reminded me of one of my own family members. Her story really touched me and I am delighted that I was able to be a part of that by reading it.

Overall, ‘Keep You By My Side’ was a very heartwarming and tender read which kept me cosy from start to finish. It is a lovely, lovely read which came across well, despite having to follow in the footsteps of the authors incredible debut novel.

Buy Now!

About the author.

Callie was born and brought up in Berkshire. After a brief teenage spell in the depths of Lancashire, she moved back to London.

 Having left school at 16, she studied drama before embarking on a career in marketing. This saw her work in music marketing in the heady days of Britpop in the nineties. She unleashed her creativity in the design of window displays and marketing campaigns for the leading music retailer. More recently she has followed her passion for history, working in marketing and communications for historical and cultural organisations.

 On hitting her thirtieth birthday, she decided finally to pick up her pen and take the first of many creative writing courses. A few years later and she has had a number of short stories published and plays performed at theatres and venues across London. Her first novel A Time to Change was published in September 2017.

 Her second novel Keep You By My Side will be published in October 2018.

 Callie lives in London with her long-term partner, an ever-growing collection of antique curiosities, and more books than any person really needs. 

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#BlogBlitz! #Review – The M Word by Eileen Wharton (@WhartonEileen) @bombshellpub

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First up this evening is my review of ‘The M Word’ by Eileen Wharton. Big thank you to BombshellPub for both the blog blitz invite, and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

Eileen Wharton - The M Word_cover_high res

Roberta Gallbreath is middle aged and menopausal. She dislikes her children, detests her ex-husband and despises her colleagues.

When her mother dies, Roberta is left with a pile of letters and a mystery surrounding her son. The letters reveal Roberta’s heritage is not what it seems and she is soon on a mission to become a better person.

Told with humour and emotion, The M Word is the tale of one woman’s journey to find out where she came from. As she looks to the past for answers, more questions are raised. Will Roberta discover who she really is?

What does TWG think?

You are in for an absolute treat if you enjoy spending a lot of time laughing whilst reading a book! Eileen Wharton has humour down to a fine art where this novel is concerned, throwing out some one liners that you probably shouldn’t be sitting laughing at but you can’t help yourself – trust me on that, there is a lot of them in ‘The M Word’!

I adored the breath of fresh air style of writing, the ‘I don’t give a….’ humour, and the fact that the main character was 100% bonkers. Seriously, how can anyone not like that?

However (sorry!), the storyline for me, didn’t flow as well as I would have liked. Don’t get me wrong, the contents was incredibly fun, but I felt that the way it all came together a little bit patchy and didn’t really make me feel as though I was reading a story. Sometimes, aside from the letters that were mentioned in the novel, I felt as though I was reading diary entries instead. Like I said before, the contents was there, so I didn’t have an issue with that.

I laughed out loud more than once, and I’ll admit that I even covered my face in shock at some of the jokes that came out of Roberta’s mouth. Hilarious, but very, very daring and quite cut throat. Just be prepared to leave your serious head outside of the book before you start reading, especially as the author is toying with the ‘make them laugh/offend them’ line. I really did laugh, even if I did feel slightly guilty afterwards haha.

If I’m basing my opinion on everything else in the book, I have to say that I am torn because I did enjoy what I read, and I did enjoy reading a book where the author was incredibly daring, brave, and a whole lot of ‘YOU GO GIRL!’. Personally, I just feel that the way all of it was put together, made it quite a staggered novel to read which frustrated me.

However, if I’m basing my opinion on humour alone, then I would say that the author has smashed it. The overall vibe of the book was incredibly fun and kept me thoroughly entertained.

Buy now!

About the author.

Eileen Wharton is not the naughty great-grandaughter of Edith Wharton. She is currently employed by MI5 but has had various jobs including: wigmaker to Donald Trump, Megan Fox’s stunt double and Ann Summers ‘toy’ tester. She also tells lies for a living.

She currently has five ‘lively’ offspring ranging from thirty to ten years of age and has no plans to procreate further much to the relief of the local schools and police force.

Her first novel, ‘Shit Happens’ was published in 2011 to worldwide critical acclaim. She’s also won awards for exaggeration. It did top the Amazon humour chart so she’s officially a best-selling author.

Her first children’s picture book, ‘The Shmoogly Boo’ was published in the same year and another is in the pipeline entitled, ‘My Dad’s Better than Your Dad.’

Her first crime novel, ‘Blanket of Blood’ was launched as a paperback on Friday 28th November 2016. She is now working on the sequel ‘Blood’s Thicker.’

 She teaches English to teenagers and lives on a council estate in Bishop Auckland. She has never eaten kangaroo testicles, is allergic to cats and has a phobia of tinned tuna.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – A Posy of Promises by Sharon Dempsey (@svjdempz) @bombshellpub

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Happy publication day to ‘A Posy of Promises’ by Sharon Dempsey! Today I have the pleasure of reviewing the book as part of the blog blitz. Big thank you to Bombshell Books for the ARC.

Sharon Dempsey - A Posy of Promises_cover_high res (1)

What happens when the relationship you have taken for granted suddenly ends?  
Ava Connors is comfortable with her life just as it is, still living in the tiny terrace house where she was brought up by her grandmother, Maggie, seeing her long-term boyfriend, Finlay, and working in a florists.  
But Maggie’s health is declining and Finlay is fed up waiting for Ava to make a commitment.  
Ava has never really known her mother, Scarlett, and when she inherits an old and dilapidated house it ignites an interest in the mother who had abandoned her as a child.  
Why did Scarlett leave her to be brought up by her grandmother?  
Soon Ava begins to ask this question and in turn sets off a series of events that will change her life forever.  
A Posy of Promises looks at the relationships we have and the questions we ask of those we love.

What does TWG think?

I am incredibly torn with my opinion of ‘A Posy of Promises’ as, whilst there was a lot of the book I thoroughly enjoyed, there were a couple of parts which didn’t shine as  brightly as the others.

Ava Connors is the type of person I would regard as having a ‘safe personality’. Instead of going out of her comfort zone, she makes her decisions based on reliability and safety aspect of it. For example, Niamh (Ava’s best friend) would drop everything without thinking about the logistics, just so that she could to go to a different country, whereas Ava would spend weeks deliberating the decision. Both personalities are fine and each to their own, but Ava refuses to let her guard down and get swept away by something daring or different, including in her relationship with long-term boyfriend, Finlay. For Ava the relationship is safe, just right, and plain sailing. For Finlay however, he believes that Ava is holding a part of herself back, refusing to make a commitment to him and the relationship in fear of not being in control should it all go wrong. I guess you can see her logic, but then I guess you can also see where Finlay is coming from.

With Ava being the way that she is, it has meant that she has stayed in the town that she group in, not having the urge to fly her wings – unlike her mother that is. There are a lot of skeletons that come out of the closet as the story progresses, especially where Ava and her family are concerned. But, the thing I struggled with the most was the way the storyline went off on a tangent when in the middle of explaining something else, completely changing the direction of the story and making me feel as though I was reading several parts from several different books. It felt a little too mismatched for me, so when I could tell the storyline was going to become deep and meaningful, the mismatch vibe took me away from that emotion, focusing my attention on something else.

I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the book, because I did – it was a gentle and cosy read which gave me a lot of food for thought. I just would have preferred the storyline to be a bit more consistent.

I think the definition of the word ‘entitlement’ is rife throughout the book, and not in a bad way! ‘A Posy of Promises’ highlighted the fact that, just because you’re linked by blood, it can mean diddly squat unless you’re actually there in person. If you don’t make the effort or you walk off when the going gets tough, how can you be entitled to just slot back into the family as though you had never left?

I really liked Ava as she stuck to her guns and stayed true to herself. Just because others thought she was ‘boring’, it doesn’t mean that she actually was boring, she was just used to doing things in a certain way. I think the author has done a fantastic job in bringing the truth about different personalities to the heart of the book.

Buy now!

About the author.

A Posy of Promises is Sharon Dempsey’s first contemporary women’s fiction novel.

Sharon is a Belfast based writer of fiction and non-fiction books, with four health books published. He crime debut Little Bird was released July 2017 with Bloodhound Books.

She facilitates therapeutic creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges, and runs a creative writing group for young people, called Young Scribblers, at the Crescent Arts Centre. She is a creative writing tutor at Queen’s University and Stranmillis College. Sharon studied Politics and English at Queen’s University, and undertook a newspaper journalism post grad at City University, London.  She has written for a variety of publications and newspapers, including the Irish Times.

Sharon is working on the follow up to Little Bird and a collection of dark short stories.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Calico Cat by Amanda James (@akjames61) @bombshellpub

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Third and final blog tour post of the day is for Amanda James and ‘The Calico Cat’. Big thanks to Bombshell Books for the blog blitz invite, as well as the ARC. Here is my review:

Amanda James - The Calito Cat_cover_high res
At thirteen, Lottie discovers a huge secret which her parents have kept from her, the impact of which proves to be life changing. 

Because of the way Lottie’s mother handles the consequent fall-out, the two become distant. Lottie’s rejected by her mother and deemed troublesome, rude and wilful. Ever since then, Lottie has struggled with fitting in and actively tries to be different from others. 
As an adult Lottie decides to quit her teaching job and follow her dreams to become an artist. But will she succeed and can she put her troubled past behind her?  
As Lottie embarks on a journey of self-discovery she will come to examine the importance of life, love and friendship.

What does TWG think?

As I am not really a cat person (I find them cute to look at, but the fact that I sneeze like a banshee when around one for a bit, kinda puts me off!), I had absolutely no idea what a ‘calico cat’ was. Well, I thought it was either a cat breed, or a cat made of cotton, but then I thought I sounded daft and rebuked any ideas I had. So, with that in mind, this book intrigued me because of the cat and the tagline at the top; ‘Can you ever break free from the past?’.

What a good question, can you? Unfortunately for Lottie, she had to find out the answer to that question the hard way thanks to her parents. Due to the lightening bolt which severed hers and her parents relationship, Lottie had to stand on her own two feet and become, what some people might say, ‘hard nosed’. I found myself relating to Lottie in terms of her hard exterior and the way she displays herself to other people. Whilst I am sure that a lot of people may find her far too blunt, I couldn’t help but nod along as I am very similar to the character in that sense. Yes, I say the things that people think, and yes, my brain doesn’t connect to my mouth before my mouth opens – just like Lottie.

I did feel that the way Lottie projected herself was due to her past as it was probably a way of protecting her emotions from any further breakages. You can’t really blame her though, can you?

I really didn’t know what to expect from ‘The Calico Cat’, yet it ended up giving me something I still can’t put my finger on. I know that doesn’t really make sense but, due to the fact that the entire storyline is relatable and magnetic, I felt as though the author was telling my soul a story rather than my brain.

Amanda James seems to have become a voice for those without the confidence to use their own voices, by showing that it’s okay to go through difficult times, and that it’s okay to not be okay – if you’re being true to yourself, what does it matter in the grand scheme of things?

‘The Calico Cat’ hit home and for those who know me personally, I am sure that they can understand why it did. I never expected a cat to be at the forefront of a novel where self discovery is concerned, but I am certainly not complaining.

A beautifully written, enchanting, and captivating novel which will highlight the importance of looking after number one (and no, I don’t mean the cat).

Buy now!

About the author.

Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.

Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Three of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and the Behind the Lie. Rip Current is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in April 2018.

Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Amanda’s blog – http://mandykjameswrites.blogspot.com/

Twitter – @akjames61

Facebook mandy.james.33

#TWGDiscusses – Please STOP saying that e-books aren’t REAL books – it’s offensive! #authors #publishers #ebooks #paperbacks #lovebooks

Which books are REAL books?-2
I feel like I’m stuck on repeat where this topic is concerned, yet STILL people continue to offend hundreds of authors, and readers, out there with comments such as ‘e-books aren’t real books’. How aren’t they real? An author spends the same amount if time writing a book whether it’s published in e-book, paperback, hardback or on a slate -eye roll-, so why do people continue to say that other formats of books aren’t real?

Let me ask you this….

You know those ‘friends’ you’ve made online yet haven’t currently met offline, would you say that they weren’t ‘real friends’ because they were made online? Probably not, so why is it okay to say that a book, published in a digital format, isn’t as real as those friends you have made using technology?

Think about it.

Authors can spend anything from a few months to a few years, perfecting their manuscript ready for publication, going through various steps such as multiple edits, restructures and so forth – it’s not like they wake up one morning, sit at their computer for an hour and produce a book. It takes time and a lot of patience. Once that manuscript is given to their publisher, it’s then digitalised and printed. Yes, contrary to popular belief, the same manuscript is used for a digital book AND a print book. Who would have thought it?! Obviously with a paperback/hardback you are physically turning the pages and holding the book with two hands, yet with a kindle you’re holding it differently and using one finger to change a page. BUT, have you thought about the different types of readers that are out there in the world? No?

Well you should.

Some readers can’t hold paperbacks/hardbacks due to illnesses.
Some readers can’t read books full stop because they’re blind and rely on audio.
Some readers are chronically ill and they require various different options, depending on their pain on that particular day.
Some readers have various different reasons as to why they would choose one format over another.

All of the above have one thing in common – they all want to read!!

I’ll be honest with you here. Several years ago I would have given you a filthy look if you had said about reading an e-book, but after realising that I was missing out on such fabulous books, I decided to give it a go. Not only that, several years ago I became a lot more ill and holding things for a long period of time was becoming impossible. E-books helped me to feel ‘normal’ and read books just like everyone else, on days where I felt like I couldn’t do anything like everyone else.

I appreciate that not everyone likes e-books and that they prefer paperbacks/hardbacks – that is totally fine! But what isn’t okay is when people say that they prefer ‘real’ books which is insinuating that a digital version of an authors book, is in fact fake. Can’t you see how offensive that is to the author? Just because a book is digitalised instead of being printed on paper, it doesn’t make it any less of a book!

Those ‘real book’ comments are not only offensive to the author who has written them, it’s also offensive to a reader reading them as if the 100 kindle books read last year shouldn’t be included in their Goodreads challenge because they’re ‘not real’. And yes, someone has said that before. If you don’t like e-books, fine! If you don’t like paperbacks, that’s also fine!

But please, please, please STOP saying that e-books aren’t real when they’re as real as the money you paid for them.

Oh, and as those comments are being made on a DIGITAL website, I can’t help but think ‘well isn’t that ironic’. Put your nose where it belongs, remove your snobbery and let people read the books they choose, in the format that they choose without offending a truck load of people in the process.

ALL books are real.
Instead of bashing people with the stupid ‘they aren’t real books’ comments, be happy that people are actually reading and supporting authors in any way they can. Surely that is more important than your snobbery?

TWG’s #TopBooksof2017! @Bookouture @TeamBATC @Headlinepg @HQDigitalUK @AvonBooksUK @ChoclitUK

The Writing Garnet's
It’s that time of year again when most publishers, bloggers, readers, publicists, (you catch my drift) go through their ‘read’ books of the year, ready to compile a list of their most favourite books. A yearly ritual which sees ‘TBR’ piles growing even bigger, lists being compared, and readers finding new books they wouldn’t have dared to pick up until they read that particular list. A ritual where all the fabulous books us readers/bloggers have fallen in love with over the past year, get celebrated once again.

In lament terms, we get to gush. Having read a total of 318 books in 2017, I knew my #TopBooks list wasn’t going to be small. Have you SEEN the books published this year!? 2017 has been an outstanding year for books. So many debut authors have shone with their debut novels, whilst other authors many already love have upped their game with yet another novel. I have managed to get my list down to a Top 40 otherwise we would have been here until next year going through them, but, in all honesty, I could have happily put most of those 318 books on this list!

In absolutely NO particular order, here are TWG’s #TopBooksof2017!

 

1. A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson
(You can read my review here)
2. The Legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington
(You can read my review here)
3. Before You Go by Clare Swatman
(You can read my review here)
4. Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin
(You can read my review here)
5. The Quiet Man by James Carol
(You can read my review here)
6. The Second Chance Tea Shop by Fay Kennan
(You can read my review here)
7. The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle
(I am still due a full review for all parts of this book – watch this space!)
8. Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland
(You can read my review here)
9. The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton
(You can read my review here)
10. The Wedding Girls by Kate Thompson.
(You can read my review here)

11. Blink by K.L.Slater
(You can read my review here)
12. A Time to Change by Callie Langridge
(You can read my review here)
13. The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan
(You can read my review here)
14. Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman
(You can read my review here)
15. Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul
(You can read my review here)
16. The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper
(You can read my review here)
17. I’m Still Standing (previously titled ‘Reach For the Stars) by Colleen Coleman
(You can read my review here)
18. 37 Hours by J.F.Kirwan
(You can read my review here)
19. If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton
(You can read my review here)
20. Til The Dust Settles by Pat Young
(You can read my review here)

21. The Betrayed by Casey Kelleher
(You can read my review here)
22. The Detriment by David Videcette
(You can read my review here)
23. The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans
(You can read my review here)
24. Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson
(You can read my review here)
25. Trust Me by Angela Clarke
(You can read my review here)
26. Summer at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples
(You can read my review here)
27. Hot Mess by Lucy Vine
(You can read my review here)
28. It Started With a Tweet by Anna Bell
(You can read my review here)
29. A Little Christmas Faith by Kathryn Freeman
(You can read my review here)
30. A Little Luck, A Lot of Faith by Linn.B.Halton
(You can read my review here)

31. Dying Breath by Helen Phifer
(You can read my review here)
32. Dying Day by Stephen Edgar
(You can read my review here)
33. Scream Blue Murder by Tony.J.Forder
(You can read my review here)
34. The Little Clock House series (book 1&2) by Eve Devon
(Reviews can be found here and here)
35. Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell
(You can find my review here)
36. The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney
(You can find my review here)
37. The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen
(You can read my review here)
38. How To Be Champion by Sarah Millican
(I still need to write my review for this book – watch this space!)
39. Bad Sister by Sam Carrington
(You can read my review here)
40. The Other Mother by Judith Baker
(You can read my review here)

Phew! I’m knackered now! If any of the above books tickle your fancy, all purchase links can be found on the review link below each title. So many incredible books written by such fantastic authors – it has been an absolute honour to have been given ARC’s of a majority of the above books. I would like to say a huge thank you to:

Simon&Shuster // ChocLitUK // Harper Impulse // PanMacMillan // Bookouture // Aria
Headline // Bombshell Books/Bloodhound Books // HQDigitalUK // Faber Books 
Accent Press // Avon // Orion // Orenda & Bonnier Zaffre

for giving me the opportunity to read all of the above books. I would also like to thank all of the authors above for writing such jaw dropping and emotional reads! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – this year has been a fantastic year for books and I want to extend another thank you to every author and publisher behind each and every one of the 318 books I have read this year. Just like many readers, I use books to escape and without you writing/publishing those books, I truly don’t think that I would be able to cope.

Whilst 2017 has blown me away, 2018 is set to be another brilliant year for books as well – my number one novel to watch out for in 2018 is ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ by Sarah Vaughan which is due to be published on the 11th January 2018. I was very lucky to receive an ARC of this book before publication and you can read my review (as well as pre-order the book) by clicking here.

Did any of YOUR favourites pop up in my #TopBooksof2017? Let me know in the comments if any have, or whether you have decided to nab a few of these books for your own TBR piles!

2017, it has been a bookish pleasure. I cannot WAIT to see what 2018 brings in terms of books!

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

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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/

#BlogBlitz! #Review – A Matter of Love and Death – Caron Albright @carmenratdke1 @Bombshellpub

@bombshellpub@CarmenRadtke1
This evening on my blog, I have a review of ‘A Matter of Love and Death’ as part of the blog blitz for Bombshell Books. Huge thanks to Sarah Hardy for the blog blitz invite, as well as the ARC. Here is my review:

Caron Albright - A Matter of Love and Death_cover_1

Adelaide, 1931. Telephone switchboard operator Frances’ life is difficult as sole provider for her mother and adopted uncle. But it’s thrown into turmoil when she overhears a suspicious conversation on the phone, planning a murder.
If a life is at risk, she should tell the police; but that would mean breaking her confidentiality clause and would cost her the job. And practical Frances, not prone to flights of fancy, soon begins to doubt the evidence of her own ears – it was a very bad line, after all…
She decides to put it behind her, a task helped by the arrival of their new lodger, Phil. Phil takes her to a night club, where she meets charming but slightly dangerous club owner Jack. Jack’s no angel – prohibition is in force, and what’s a nightclub without champagne? But he’s a good man, and when Frances’ earlier fears resurface she knows that he’s the person to confide in.
Frances and Jack’s hunt for the truth puts them in grave danger, and soon enough Frances will learn that some things are a matter of love and death…

What does TWG think?

Oh I just LOVE that cover!! So retro and so in-keeping with the overall theme of the book. Set in the 1930’s in Adelaide, Australia, Frances has the world and its wife upon her shoulders as she does everything she can to keep a roof over her mother and Uncle Sal’s head. Seeing as her job as a switchboard operator requires keeping any information heard from the callers, extremely confidential, Frances finds herself in a bit of a situation when she overhears something she would have rather have not heard. Does she risk losing her job by telling her boss what she heard? Or does she forget about it and pretend she never heard a thing?

It wasn’t until after I finished reading this book that I noticed it was being dubbed a mystery novel. Personally, I didn’t find that the storyline was overly mysterious and, even though it contained multiple ‘hush hush’ situations, ‘A Matter of Love and Death’ didn’t make me wonder who had done anything as I didn’t get the mysterious vibe at all. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, because I really did. I just don’t feel that the term ‘mystery’ is the right description for this book, but that is of course my own personal opinion. I did wonder whether I had missed anything though, as I couldn’t grab that particular vibe. I’m not sure whether I should be disappointed that I didn’t see this book like that, or whether I should just enjoy the book for how I interpreted it.

For me, ‘A Matter of Love and Death’ was touching, heart-warming and severely nostalgic. I’m really not a romantic at heart, but I felt that the storyline had a romantic feel to it, even if the main characters weren’t pursuing anything.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed most of Caron Albright’s novel. I did feel as though there were several storyline gaps along the way which, at the time, confused me a tad as I felt like something vital was missing. However, I enjoyed the 1930’s vibe and feeling as though I had travelled back in time from the comfort of my own home.

A unique, nostalgic and touching novel – mystery, romance or thriller, regardless of the genre, this book is guaranteed to be enjoyed by many.

Thanks BombshellPub.

Buy now from Amazon UK

About the author.

Caron Albright fell in love with books as soon as she could read and never grew out of it. With one foot firmly planted in Fictionland ever since, she is moving from one adventure to the next (strictly on the paper of course).
She loves capers with feisty heroines, dashing heroes with a dangerous edge and thrilling locations and would gladly explore the world for the sake of research – preferably while tap-dancing, with a champagne glass in her hand.
Instead she spends her time in front of her keyboard, sipping herbal tea.
When she feels the need for a change, she switches to coffee and writing crime novels under the name Carmen Radtke.
Links:
 

#BlogTour! #Review – December Girl by Nicola Cassidy (@LadyNicci) @BombshellBooks

Blog Tour-2

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Molly Thomas is a feisty, independent soul, born on the Winter Solstice. At every stage of her life she has faced troubles. As a young woman her family are evicted from their home at Christmas. Molly swears vengeance on the jealous neighbour and land agent responsible, Flann Montgomery. Then in 1896 her baby son is taken from his pram. Molly searches the streets for Oliver. The police are called but her baby is gone. Why does trouble seem to follow Molly? And will she ever find out what happened to her child?

December Girl is a tale of family bonds, love, revenge and murder.

What does TWG think?

I have absolutely no idea how I am going to get my opinion of ‘December Girl’ from my head onto this page, without sounding like a tool. Now, I finished Nicola Cassidy’s novel a couple of days ago, yet it is still setting up camp in my head.

I have to be honest; there were times whilst reading the book where I felt like putting it down and not picking it back up again, due to several situations within the storyline which came out of the blue, leaving me quite speechless and feeling a bit uncomfortable. The storyline was raw and brutally shocking. I didn’t know whether I felt uncomfortable for myself, or whether I was feeling uncomfortable for the fictional character.

Please be aware that my honesty above is in no way nasty, I just felt like I had to be honest and explain how I felt whilst reading the book. I’m sure you can guess by now that I didn’t put the book down and stop reading it – especially seeing as I am writing a review for it!

Despite the earlier feelings of ‘running’, the addictiveness of the storyline meant that I was unable to stop reading the book until I reached the end and had found out what had happened. It was as though the authors words had handcuffed me to the book, the characters and the overall vibe of ‘December Girl’. Yes there were nauseating moments, brutal moments, and severely emotional moments throughout this book, yet without those, I truly don’t think that “December Girl’ would have ended up being as strong as it was. There was always something happening, something shocking to render me speechless or prick my eyes with tears. Molly’s mindset took over every single thing about this book and there were times where I didn’t know whether to sympathise, empathise, or feel slightly annoyed towards her. Put it this way, Molly Thomas certainly isn’t a force to be reckoned with and, despite what that character endured, I am incredibly surprised that she didn’t give up the ghost at the time.

‘December Girl’ took me miles and miles out of my comfort zone, I’m not going to lie. Do I regret reading it? Hell no. Do I wish I had stopped reading it? Hell no!! At the end of the day, my emotions got the better of me which caused my initial reaction at first. I could empathise with Molly. I could understand, and I feel that the author’s way of laying such a heart-breaking topic out in black and white was shockingly genius. It made me take notice. It made me think about every single word in front of me, wondering whether there was more to Molly’s words at the time.

Nicola Cassidy, quite clearly, is a brilliant, brilliant story-teller, writing words which have the depth to stay by you for a very long time after reading them. I am so glad that I didn’t stop reading the book as I would have missed out on the closure, as well as the rest of the devastatingly beautiful story of ‘December Girl’.

Raw, shocking, emotional and highly addictive, ‘December Girl’ will leave you in such a trance, it might even be December when you wake. The themes throughout the novel may be uncomfortable, yet the underlying message is worth its weight in gold.

Thanks BombshellBooks.

December Girl will be published on the 26th October 2017, but is available to pre-order now from Amazon UK

About the author.

Nicola Cassidy is a writer and blogger from Co. Louth, Ireland. She started
her writing career early, entering short story competitions, penning protest
letters to magazines and making up characters in her head. These
scribblings saw her place in a number of competitions as a child and
encouraged by her English teachers, she chose to study journalism at
Dublin City University.

While working in political PR and marketing, Nicola studied a series of
advanced creative writing courses atthe Irish Writers’ Centre and set up a
lifestyle and literary blog at http://www.LadyNicci.com, which was nominated in
the Ireland Blog Awards in 2015 and 2016.

During her maternity leave for her first daughter, Nicola set about
researching and writing a historical fiction novel, December Girl, inspired
by true events and setin the mystical and ancient Boyne Valley, famed for
its stone age passage tombs, nearto where she grew up.

Nicola signed with US based Trace Literary Agency in 2016. December Girl
was picked up by Betsy Reavley at UK digital publisher Bombshell Books
in June 2017 and will be published 26 October 2017.

She is an avid reader, inspired by the likes of Anais Nin, Joan Didion and
Jessie Burton and is currently working on her second novel, also inspired
by true events. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in
Termonfeckin, Co. Louth.

www.nicolacassidy.com

www.facebook.com/ladynicciblog

#BlogTour! #Review – Losing Myself by Victoria Brown (@victoriajbrown) @bombshellpub

BLOG TOUR (9)-2
Delighted to be hosting Victoria Brown and her novel, ‘Losing Myself’, along with fabulous blogger, Sarah Hardy! Huge thanks to Bombshellpub for asking me to be involved in this blog tour! Here is my review:

Losing Myself final blue
Since Kat made her decision, everything around her seems to be falling apart. Not only is she dealing with family’s secrets, lies and deceit but the salon, which is opening around the corner, threatens her livelihood.

To make matters worse her relationship with Max is on the rocks. Although her relationships with Max’s mother, her step-mother and her sister have grown stronger, are they strong enough?

Working tirelessly to save her salon and save her relationship with Max, she is battling everyday to stay focused on her future. But what will the future bring?

What does TWG think?

Before reading ‘Losing Myself’, I was advised to read the first book ‘Holding Myself’ as this latest book by Victoria Brown is a sequel to that novel. I told myself I will make sure I have the time to read ‘Holding Myself’ beforehand, but unfortunately time wasn’t on my side and I had to read ‘Losing Myself’ on its own. Now, the reason I was advised to read the first book beforehand was so that I was able to follow the storyline, without feeling as though I was missing out on any pieces of information. In all honesty, I didn’t feel as though I was lacking in any information, despite reading the sequel first. Obviously everyone is different, but just because I was comfortable in the book order I chose, it doesn’t mean it will be the same for everyone else. Seeing as ‘Holding Myself’ has had such glowing reviews, I will definitely get round to reading it, so watch this space for a review on that book!

Anyway, back to ‘Losing Myself’.

Kat should be feeling on top of the world, excited for her upcoming journey in a few months time. Unfortunately, she isn’t. It doesn’t matter which way she turns, Kat’s life is determined to make her question every little thing, whilst bombarding her with people whose dictionaries don’t contain the word ‘genuine’ and ‘trustworthy’. Just like a lot of people, Kat has worked hard to get where she is in her professional life, and ironically, her personal life as well. The thing is, in one teeny tiny swoop, Kat’s dream is about to be pulled from under her in more ways than one.

If life required a spokesperson, Kat would fit the bill perfectly. As heart-breaking and unsettling as her life is, Kat is one of the most relatable characters I think I have ever come across because of the way she’s faced with realistic, every day situations and tackles them just like us – in a panic. Well, Kat doesn’t tackle ALL of them in a panic, but it’s clear as the storyline goes on that she has reached her limit, and understandably so!

You’ve probably guessed by now that ‘vagueness’ is the main theme of this review – just like the blurb. I don’t wish to give anything away but, because the storyline contains a lot of heartache and emotional moments (which I related and feel that other readers might do as well), I have to keep my cards close to my chest and give you the bare minimum. I would love to sit here and say which parts I related to, but I can’t as it will give a large portion of the storyline away. All I can say is that Kat’s own personal struggles are very similar to what you, me, and Jimbob down the road deal with on a daily basis. Not only that, Kat’s emotions will resonate with quite a lot of us as well. She doesn’t attempt to deal with the themes of the book in a perfect, straight forward and organised manner. I’m sorry to say, but that’s not always realistic. Instead, Kat deals with them in such a way that will make you feel better the next time you slide down the wall in tears upon receiving bad news that could potentially change your life.

Even though there were moments where I just wanted to scream ‘GIVE KAT A BREAK!!!!’ as I was frustrated with the constant stream of negative happenings in her life, it made me realise that life doesn’t care whether you’re going through one thing before it gives you another thing to get emotional about. It doesn’t care whether you have reached your boiling point. So yes, whilst I wanted everything to stop happening to Kat, I had to appreciate that because the storyline has a lot of realistic tendencies, the author has had to make the events covered within the story, realistic and as prominent as everyday life. After all, we can’t exactly shout at our lives to give us a break now can we?

I really did appreciate the authors black and white writing viewpoint as it made me feel as though the writer behind the book was in tune with their feelings, whilst also being aware of their future readers feelings as well.

I’m not going to lie, I was emotionally drained when I finished ‘Losing Myself’, yet I also felt as though I gained something incredibly special because of the underlying message which the author conveyed throughout the novel.

‘Losing Myself’ is an emotional, thought-provoking, and touching novel about real life situations, as well as real life emotions. Full of realistic scenarios with a kickass main character; ‘Losing Myself’ is guaranteed to make you treat yourself more like a human and less like a robot with no feelings. If you think you have to go through life completely oblivious to any type of emotion or turmoil, think again. If you think you have to go through life and deal with situations in a different way to what’s natural for you, think again. ‘Losing Myself’ made me realise that whilst everyone is different and deals with things in a completely different manner, we are all humans who need love and someone to be present whether that’s in person, by phone or by a message.

Incredibly touching.

Thanks Bombshellpub.

Buy now from Amazon UK