Many thanks to Fiona and Muswell Press for the review copy of ‘A Little Hope’, and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
In the small city of Wharton, Connecticut, lives are beginning to unravel. A husband betrays his wife. A son struggles with addiction. A widow misses her late spouse. At the heart of these interlinking stories is one couple: Freddie and Greg Tyler.
Greg has just been diagnosed with a brutal form of cancer. He intends to handle this the way he has faced everything else: through grit and determination. But can he successfully overcome his illness? How will the Freddie and their daughter cope if he doesn’t? How do the other residents of Wharton learn to live with loss and find happiness again?
Celebrating the grace in everyday life, this powerful debut immerses the reader in a community of friends, family, and neighbours and identifies the ways that love and forgiveness can help us survive even the most difficult of life’s challenges.
There were a lot of situations in ‘A Little Hope’ to sink your teeth into, such as family drama, friendship issues, declining health and unforgiveable betrayal. Personally, at times, I thought that it was a lot of things to keep track of, which lowered my enjoyment of the storyline a touch. I’m all for jam packed storyline, don’t get me wrong, but there is a fine line between just enough, and too much.
That said, I take my hat off to the author for being able to write about such delicate and heartbreaking situations without minimalising the validity of each individual circumstance. I thought that that was very impressive and very well done.
It’s safe to say that my feelings of ‘A Little Hope’ are a bit mixed, and I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. The novel was memorable in terms of the authors writing style, characterisation, and their ability to put soul and life into their characters heartbreak.
Overall, ‘A Little Hope’ was indeed, full of hope. A soul searching, heartwarming novel.
Hugest of thanks to Jenny Platt and Hodder for asking me to be involved in the blog tour today, and for the ARC.
Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.
Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.
But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.
Where do I even begin writing this review!
You would have thought identical twins would know each other inside out, wouldn’t you? You would also have thought that they would be able to trust and rely on each other more than anyone else in the world. Sadly, that wasn’t the case for Molly and Katie. Whilst one twin was an extrovert who lived life to the full, grabbing adventures by the who-ha’s, the other twin was an introvert, fiercely afraid of her own shadow and worrying about what could happen….about anything.
I wasn’t expecting the storyline to unfold the way that it did, not at all. When it got to the half way point of the book, loose ends were becoming tighter and I couldn’t understand why. Had I missed something? I hadn’t missed a thing because what came next completely caught me off guard. I think the thought of ‘what the actual f……’ went through my head like a conveyor belt for 10 minutes straight.
Now I know you’re probably wondering what on earth am I going on about, but I can’t give too much away!
I didn’t want to put ‘First Born’ down, although I had to once or twice feed my child…and the dogs. Let’s just say that it wasn’t my choice to stop reading the book! I was hooked on ‘First Born’ like a little kid in a sweet shop! I have no idea how Will Dean managed to keep the timeline so iron clad throughout the entire thing without giving anything away. I was bloody impressed!
Stories such as this, is exactly why Will Dean is one of my most favourite authors of all time. The suspense levels were flawless, the attention to detail was absolutely spot on, and the gritty nature was enough to rival a sandy beach! If Will Dean isn’t on your radar, he really needs to be. I cannot wait to find out what he’s got up his sleeve next!
Brilliantly written with such a clever and gripping storyline – a belter of a book and then some.
Apologies for the day late review, I hadn’t quite finished reading it yesterday! Huge thanks to Penguin Michael J Books for the tour invite, and for supplying me with a copy of the book to read and review.
In 1999, seventeen-year-old Tone Vaterland was killed on her way home from work.
Desperate for a conviction the police deemed the investigation an open-and-shut case and sent her spurned boyfriend, Danny Momrak, down for murder.
But twenty years later William Wisting receives a puzzling letter. It suggests the wrong man was convicted for Tone’s death.
And the real murderer is still out there.
Wisting is quickly thrown into a terrifying race against time where he must find the sender, decipher this mysterious letter and catch the real killer – before they strike again . . .
I’m just going to put this out there, straight to the point – WHAT A BLOODY BOOK! It’s very rare for me to not even finish reading a book before I purchase another book from the series, but that is exactly what happened here.
‘A Question of Guilt’ is the fourth book in Wistings ‘Cold Case’ quartet, so if you’re one for reading books in order, then you might want to stary with ‘The Katharina Code’, however, I thought this installment read perfectly well on its own. Saying that, like I said above, I had purchased another book from the series before I had even finished reading ‘A Question of Guilt’. Honestly, it really was THAT good.
The storyline tells the tale of William Wisting, a Norwegian police detective, who ends up delving into a cold case or two, after being put onto their radar from an anonymous tip off. Because the book is about cold cases, the timeline does switch between years such as 1999, when the investigation was started originally, the present time, and other subsequent years in order to keep the flow of the book. Personally I found it easy to follow and pretty seamless.
I really didn’t know what to make of ‘A Question of Guilt’ to begin with, but it wasn’t long before I was sucked into the gritty storyline, the unanswered ‘whodunnit’, and the excitement of wondering what was waiting for me when I turned the page. I honestly thought this was a brilliant, brilliant novel, full of suspense, high energy moments, and a storyline that just kept on giving.
Without sounding too macabre, seeing as this book was in fact, a Nordic crime novel, I was gutted when ‘A Question of Guilt’ came to an end. I just wanted more! I recommend you put Jørn Lier Horst on your reading list PRONTO. I’m going to go and spend more money by buying the rest of the books!
Many thanks to the Hodder team for inviting me to take part in today’s social blast, and for providing me with a copy to review on my own free will.
THE BONES COME FIRST… When single mother Alex arrives at her new home with her two children, she can finally breathe easy. Pine Ridge, a rural community near the Australian coast, is beautiful, peaceful and most importantly, far away from the trauma she left behind.
NEXT, A DOLL… Then unexplained boxes start arriving at the house, and Alex’s teenage son begins to retreat into himself more than ever. As rumours and legends swirl through the community, Alex realises that Pine Ridge is guarding long-held secrets of its own.
AND THEN THE BLOOD. Something is lurking in the shadows, and Alex and her family are in grave danger. She must protect her children from the darkness at all costs – before it engulfs them whole…
The Shadow House intrigued me. From the get go there were questions being raised, such as why did they move, why did Pine Ridge have a ‘cult’ like feel to it, why were the other residents acting as though they were under some sort of spell.
Maybe that was just me who thought that, but it certainly gave me food for thought.
I have read many suspense/thrillers that have been slow burners, and I would have to say that The Shadow House falls under that category for sure. It took me a good while to get into the throws of the storyline as, even though the questions at the beginning gave me that all important hook, I found it a bit tricky to really grab the book by its horns. I’m not sure whether that was because I was a bit impatient, or whether the storylines full potential was a bit delayed.
With all that in mind, I enjoyed the concept of the novel, the drip feeding of eery moments, and the authors way of creating her characters. A thumbs up from me!
The Shadow House by Anna Downes, is published today in e-book/audio and can be purchased now fromAmazon
A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper’s island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.
They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours. ____________________
What does TWG think?
If I were to describe this novel in laymen’s terms, I would say that it’s about a young girl who has an infatuation on a man who is nearly ten years her senior, and one who works on lighthouses on a secluded island, on his own, for a living. The young girl and the man build a life together which ends up breaking their hearts as well as the heart of someone they don’t even know exists…yet.
I will be extremely careful as to not spoil this book for anyone, so please forgive me if anything I say comes across like I am speaking in riddles!
I was blown away by the simplicity of the story in regards to Tom and Izzy’s relationship and where they built their life together, and I found the shell of the novel to be incredibly magnetic. Some may say that the novel was addictive, charming….words like that, and I would agree because it was. I couldn’t put it down, even though I knew in my heart of hearts that the storyline was going to end in a certain way. I saw it coming. The storyline gave hints that it was going to end in that way, however I had all my fingers crossed because I just wished it wouldn’t. Or did I?
I spoke about the shell of the story and how much I was drawn to that in particular. Now if I delve into the nitty gritty details, I had several dislikes. One of them being Izzy. Her immaturity really annoyed me. She never seemed to grow up, nor did she ever want to take ownership of her actions. I understand that things had happened to her which had made her view life differently, however, I felt as though she didn’t do herself any favours at all.
My second dislike was Tom’s ignorance. His job was to report anything that was wrong, right, or indifferent. He chose not to do that and wondered why things came crumbling down around him. Now I know that his relationship with Izzy was more important than his job, that said, I felt that it was quite selfish of Izzy to put Tom in the situation that she did. Also, if Tom felt so wrong about it, why didn’t he just go with his gut anyway? There were times where he couldn’t see further than his nose and it was a shame as, later in the story, his personality seemed to settle and I felt like I was seeing the real Tom. Too little too late perhaps.
For me personally, those dislikes weren’t make or break ones, because after all, it made the characters who they were, and the author clearly did a good job in creating them otherwise I wouldn’t have spent most of this review talking about two fictional people…but whatever!
It takes a lot to make me cry, however ‘The Light Between Oceans’ had me curled up in a ball sobbing my heart out because of what could have been and what was lost. This, in my eyes, was a life affirming, haunting, and tragically beautiful read.
I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Louise Candlish’s latest novel, The Heights, as part of the blog tour. My thanks go to Jess and the Simon and Schuster team for asking me to be involved and for supplying a proof for me to read and review honestly.
He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you.
The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him.
Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.
Because you’re the one who killed him. It’s time to confess what we did up there.
‘Kieran Watts has been dead for over two years when I see him standing on the roof of a building in Shad Thames…’
What does The Writing Garnet think?
When I see people say that a book is ‘unputdownable’, I think to myself that they’re fibbing because surely you would put a book down to pee and what not. How could a book be read cover to cover without putting it down? My answer to that, after reading ‘The Heights’ and only putting it down once to grab a chocolate bar and then pick it up again, is ‘very easily’. Heck, my 2 second put down to grab an aero bar doesn’t even count as putting it down as the cover was still warm from my hands!
After I had finished reading the book that literally took me 2 hours to read, my daughter asked me how many stars I would give it, and, without missing a beat, a response of ‘five stars’ flew out of my mouth. There was no doubt in my mind at all as ‘The Heights’ had the marital uncertainty, the troublesome pasts of the main characters, secrets that were too damaging to reveal regardless of how long had passed. The story had thrill, it had a chase, suspense, characters which you just wanted to dislike yet weirdly liked and visa versa.
I loved the way the author let’s us see both sides of the situation from two characters point of view, allowing readers to work out on their own, indirectly, which was bad cop and which was good cop. Which character was the most trustworthy? Which character was seeing things clearer than the other? Which one wasn’t being honest with themselves? The storyline was a well crafted, well oiled piece of ‘machinery’ so to speak as it hopped from different events flawlessly, without missing a single beat or filling the storyline with unnecessary padding. Every single word in this book had its place and played a vital role in bringing ‘The Heights’ to life.
If you hadn’t guessed already, Louise Candlish’s novel blew my mind and reignited my love for reading. Its books like this, written by authors as talented as Candlish, that make me excited about the written word. If youre after a new book to read, I highly suggest you buy and devour this one as yes, it really is and un-putdownable read.
Many thanks to the lovely Jen and the Harper Fiction team for asking me to be involved in Alex Brown’s blog tour for ‘A Postcard From Paris’. I am delighted to be hosting day two of the tour, sharing my review of this picturesque novel. Thanks to the publisher for also supplying me with an advanced copy.
Annie Lovell is keen to put the spark back into her life and when her elderly neighbour inherits an abandoned Parisian apartment she goes to Paris to discover more. Her curiosity takes an unexpected turn on discovering a bundle of secret diaries hidden within the walls, detailing the life of a young English woman, Beatrice Crawford, who volunteered in 1916 to nurse the soldiers in the fields of France.
Captivated by the romantic City of Light, Annie realises first appearances are not always as they seem. Following Beatrice’s journey from the Great War, through the Roaring Twenties and to a very different life in Nazi-occupied Paris, Annie must piece together the events from the past, if she is to fulfil the legacy that Beatrice left for her to find…
What does TWG think?
A book by Alex Brown which also contains historical elements? What’s not to love?
I adore losing myself in anything that Alex Brown has written, and this novel was no exception. There was quite a mysterious vibe to the story as main character, Annie Lovell, finds old diaries dating back to 1916 during the war in France. Having moved to a new country to add some variety to her life, Annie didn’t expect to become Miss Marple almost instantly, and neither did I for that matter. I was genuinely surprised by the direction the story took because of the diaries – which certainly was not a bad thing! Finding out about Beatrice and the volunteer work she was involved in, was both astounding and intriguing. I can’t even begin to imagine what Beatrice must have seen in those fields with the soldiers, nor can I even begin to imagine the pain and anguish that they must have felt in battle.
I thought that Alex Brown approached the historically emotional subject with extreme grace. It was evident just how much research the author put in to keep the events and descriptions as close to reality as possible. As a history lover, I appreciated the dedication from the author, but on the other side of the coin as a fiction lover, I also appreciated the way that Alex Brown incorporated facts alongside fiction without making them stand out like a sore thumb. I loved how seamless the entire thing was, and the flow of the story was on point. I was gutted to reach the end as I was captivated by every word I was reading.
Alex Brown exceeded my expectations with ‘A Postcard From Paris’, from the characterisation to the factual information, to the emotional turmoil to the sense of belonging. Everything worked and it blew me away. I would read it all over again in a heartbeat.
Many thanks to Ellen and Orion for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Littlest Library’ by Poppy Alexander, and for sending me an ARC of the book to review. Day 5 of the blog tour starts here, enjoy!
It’s only the beginning of her story…
Jess Metcalf is perfectly happy with her quiet, predictable life – it’s just the way she likes it. But when her beloved grandmother passes away and she loses her job at the local library, her life is turned upside-down.
Packing up her grandmother’s books, she moves to a tiny cottage in a charming country village. To her surprise, Jess finds herself the owner of an old red telephone box, too – and she soon turns it into the littlest library around!
It’s not long before the books are borrowed and begin to work their magic – somehow, they seem to be bringing the villagers together once more…
Maybe it’s finally time for Jess to follow her heart and find a place to call home?
What does TWG think?
You know when a story is going to be right up your alley when you realise that it’s about a library….and books. I mean, HELLOOOOOOOOO book god, whoever you are! Saying that, the excitement surrounding the library was short lived as, when Jess’ grandmother passed away, Jess not only loses a much loved family member, she also lost a job she adored. Losing one of those would be enough to knock someone for six, but losing both at the same time? It wasn’t really surprising that Jess began to find things tough and a bit unsure about what the future held for her. After deciding to relocate to a little village called Middlemass, Jess has the option to rebuild her life and start a new, and what a bundle of surprises where waiting for her!
I think that a lot of readers would be able to relate to Jess’ personality in one form or another because she comes across as such a genuine, free spirited person who wasn’t afraid of life when the going got tough. Of course Jess found things difficult, but she moved forward in her own way and her own time, and tried her best to do what was right for her, whatever that may’ve been.
Due to social media, I have seen multiple pictures of little libraries that people have made in specialist boxes, or utilised an old container to fill with books, and I love seeing those because it’s such a lovely idea to be able to bring communities closer together due to a shared love of books. I would love to do something like that near my house, but unfortunately the crime rate is quite high. Never say never though!
In terms of bringing communities together, Jess utilised a red telephone box, turning it into the new ‘go to’ place in the community – a little library. If you’re not an avid reader then the thought of coming together with a group of strangers over a storyline surrounding murder, or the latest comedy read etc, may sound like an extremely bonkers idea, however that person you find yourself speaking to about the book you’re just read may live on their own, have mental health issues etc, and by you chatting to them it may be the lifeline they never knew they needed. You just never know.
So yeah, I loved the premise behind this story and I simply adored the way that Poppy Alexander brought her little library to life, showcasing the power that books can have. Jess was such an addictive character to get to know, and is probably one of my most favourite characters I have read about so far this year. She just oozed courage, spirit and really was such a joy to read about.
Poppy Alexander is such a charismatic author who, when she tells a story, she TELLS that story as though it’s royalty. With every new book I read of hers, I feel like I’m being treated to the best of the best every single time. Honestly, she never disappoints and ‘The Littlest Library’ is proof of that tenfold. This is such a heartwarming, tender read which will make you giggle, smile, and leave your heart as though its just been wrapped up in a cosy little blanket. Divine.
‘The Littlest Library’ can be purchased now from Amazon.
The Writing Garnet is officially 5 years old TODAY! When I started my blog back in 2016, I never envisioned it turning out the way that it has. It never even crossed my mind that my blog could turn into a multi award winning blog (yes, multi), nor did it cross my mind that my review quotes would make their way into physical copies of books or even on the cover of some. Without blowing my own trumpet, I am unbelievably proud of all of that. At the very beginning, my blog was created as my way of saying thank you to authors for writing their books which has allowed me to escape via their words, when things in my personal life have been difficult. It wasn’t created as a popularity tool (because clearly I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes had that have been the case), nor was it created merely to get free things because, in all honesty, I had no idea that that was even a thing when I first started.
Over the last 5 years I have met a wide variety of authors, met fellow bloggers, other like minded bookish folk, and found myself involved in a world that went beyond just loving books. I had never really had that before. I had never been able to sit and discuss books with people who had read the same book as I, nor would I have ever found the confidence to cart myself off to events such as Edinburgh Book Festival, Aye Write in Glasgow, or even more intimate events such as meeting the Orenda gang in Edinburgh (to name a few), if it wasn’t for a select few of people who, after ‘meeting’ through the online book world, have gone on to becoming real life friends (Jen, Mandie, Kelly, Joanne, Lainy, DC to name a few). Not only that, despite not having met them in real life yet, I have come to know even more people who I consider to be friends now, who one day I would love to be able to give them a hug (COVID permitting, obvs – special shout out to Liz B for being as true as they come). If I named each and every one of the people who I called friends and who I would do anything for, I would be here a while and would no doubt miss someone off so, to put it simply, if we talk, I adore you. Simple as, and I thank you for your kindness and support over the last 5 years.
For me, the highlight so far has got to be meeting Sue Perkins and Tom Fletcher as those were the times where I unintentionally embarrassed my little girl with my high pitched squealing and trampoline bounces. I think I was fair excited……. Would I have been able to meet them had it not been for my blog? Honestly? Probably not as I never knew events like that existed until I became a blogger. I have so many other authors, bloggers, publicists etc, that I would love to meet and I have everything crossed that that will become a reality.
I know blogging isn’t all about stats, but for the first time in ages I had a quick nose at the stats of TWG. In the last 5 years TWG has had:
160,424 views. 84,689 visitors. 1837 blog posts have been posted.
Also, I even worked out roughly how many books I have read over that time…..1270!!! Ermmmmmmmm, say what?
As I may have mentioned previously, 2020 for TWG wasn’t the greatest as, putting it quite bluntly, I was treated like dirt via the bookish community (not all of you, just to clarify), and it hurt me so much that I ended up retreating because I didn’t know what else to do because, as I have also said many times, I’m not the most popular of people and I don’t fit into the tight knit groups. I suppose my face doesn’t fit, so I knew that regardless of what I said and what I did, I wouldn’t have been believed which is unfair and incredibly hurtful. Because of that, my posts within the last year have been few and far between, however I still have been ‘here’ from afar and still able to keep my feet in the door so to speak. Again, I want to thank those who have stood by me, supported me, and been true friends during that time and continue to do so. I see you.
I am super shocked that my little, multi award winning blog turns 5 today. Yes there have been some ups and downs and confidence knocks along the way, and yes, at times I bit off more than I can chew and left myself over stretched. However the joys of anything in life is that you can learn from your mistakes and realise where you went wrong or what needs to change. There is only me running this blog and, even though I like to think that I can do everything, I physically can’t….I just wish it hadn’t taken me 5 years to realise that! Well, in all fairness it’s probably taken me over 20 years to realise that as I recently turned 31 but y’know, semantics.
Creating The Writing Garnet was probably one of the best, on the spur decisions I have ever made and I just want to thank every single author, publisher and publicist who have sent me countless books over the years and trusted me to review your books. I want to thank the organisers of book events of their hard work and dedication in bringing likeminded bookish folk together. I also want to thank each and every person I have come to know and admire for being true to themselves and becoming good friends of mine. I have your backs – you are all awesome. Major shout out to my fellow bloggers, and anyone who is thinking about starting a blog – you’ve got this! Just remember it’s okay to say no….
On that note, happy birthday to TWG! Heres to another year full of weird and wonderful books, intriguing debuts, and a truck load of reviews.
After waking from an emergency caesarean, you’re dying to see your new baby. But when you’re introduced something is wrong.
This is not your child.
The nurses assure you that the baby is yours.
Your husband believes them. And so does your father.
But how can you be wrong? You’re a doctor. You know how easily mistakes are made.
When everyone is against you, do you trust your instincts?
You know only one thing . . .
You must find your baby.
(Many thanks to the publisher for the copy of ‘Mine’ received from Netgalley)
Time to catch up with a bit of blogmin! This book has been sitting on my ‘to review’ shelf for a very longer while, and it’s time I actually sat down to review it – enjoy!
What does TWG think?
Gosh, this was one of my biggest fears when I was pregnant with my little girl – that my baby would be taken somewhere and the wrong one delivered back to me. That sentence makes it sound as though something like this happens often, which I don’t think it does. However, it shouldn’t really be happening at all though should it? You put your faith into the system and the people who are there, in their field, delivering your baby, to give you the correct one back. I wouldn’t sound so judgey if I had gone into Argos to pick up my click and collect order, as those mistakes are easily made; two Holloways, or a similar looking address, you know, simple things. I would me a bit miffed if a stranger got my Russell Hobbs kettle instead of myself, a little mistake that is easily rectified. But my baby? My baby is no Russell Hobbs kettle, that’s for sure!
I’m going off kilter here, apologies. If you haven’t guessed already, the main theme surrounding ‘Mine’ is a new mother being adamant that she was given back the incorrect baby. She has a strong gut feeling that the baby in her arms is not the one she birthed, yet nobody believes her. Everybody thinks she’s going crazy, being unrealistic, causing problems for nothing. Is she right though? Has she been given the incorrect baby and, if so, where on Earth is her baby….and who on Earth has them?
It was pretty evident that the author had a medical history as the storyline contained a lot of medical words and situations which would only ring true if one had experienced them first hand. I think that Susi Fox’s history helped her in creating the suspenseful undertone to the storyline, and I felt that it gave the book the strength that a thriller would need to stand on its own.
There were a lot of moments where my eyebrows received very good workouts throughout the story, and I felt a little bit disheartened by just how outlandish the storyline seemed at times. I felt as though the author had veered a bit too far left at times which diminished a sense of credibility overall. That said, I enjoy novels that push the boundaries as long as they make them as realistic as humanly possible (unless it’s a genre that is known for its outlandish, unrealistic stories), and I think that ‘Mine’ does push the boundaries on several occasions rather well. I just think that at times it went a bit too far and left me thinking ‘ermmmmm, you what?’.
The undertone of the storyline is definitely thrilling and intense, and I couldn’t help but second guess things myself as I was reading the book which I truly grabbed with two hands.
Whilst my overall opinion on ‘Mine’ is on the fence, I did appreciate the attention to detail on the medical point of view, and the memorable, chilling events of the majority of the novel. This is definitely a unique read, one that was executed cleverly at times.