arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book of the month · Book Review · contemporary fiction · Hodder · lifestyle

#TheMuseumOfOrdinaryPeople by Mike Gayle (@mikegayle @hodderbooks @jennyplatt90) #review #blogtour #MikeGayle #booktwt

Thanks so much to Jenny Platt and Hodder Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Museum Of Ordinary People’ by Mike Gayle, and for supplying me with an ARC of the book. All views written in this review are done so in an unbiased manner.

Still reeling from the sudden death of her mother, Jess is about to do the hardest thing she’s ever done: empty her childhood home so that it can be sold.

But when in the process Jess stumbles across the mysterious Alex, together they become custodians of a strange archive of letters, photographs, curios and collections known as The Museum of Ordinary People.

As they begin to delve into the history of the objects in their care, Alex and Jess not only unravel heartbreaking stories that span generations and continents, but also unearth long buried secrets that lie much closer to home.

Inspired by a box of mementos found abandoned in a skip following a house clearance, The Museum of Ordinary People is a thought-provoking and poignant story of memory, grief, loss and the things we leave behind.

TWG’S Thoughts.

I’m just going to dive straight in and say that this is probably one of my most favourite books that I have read so far this year – I absolutely adored it.

From the get go readers are introduced to a character that is complexly brilliant. We meet Jess at the first stages of grief, where everything is so raw and the house is being cleared of personal belongings. But, instead of ensuring she holds back items for herself of her late mothers, she worries about the space to put them in her boyfriends apartment. Sorry, I know space can be an issue at the best of times (or in this case, the worst), however space should be the least of her worries and instead of her boyfriend, Guy, ensuring his apartment is pristine, he should try and accommodate his girlfriends needs as well. Or is that just me? Perhaps I was thinking all of that because I took an instant dislike to Guy and his self obsessed personality. Who knows.

As the storyline progressed, we got to see more of Jess’ personality shine, and a collection of new characters with their own troubles, were brought in. Take Alex for example – the polar opposite of Guy and despite the turmoil that he had went through, he still managed to stand on his own two feet and help others. I liked Alex, and I felt like there was more to him than what we saw and I enjoyed that uncertainty of his personality and his actions.

Despite the book being centred around a museum, an unspoken secret gave a good fight to become the centre of attention. I was flabbergasted to be totally honest. I didn’t know who I felt sorry for the most in the situation, yet I could also see it from the side of a mother, what with being one myself. I know this sounds like I’m speaking nonsense, however those who have read the book will understand where I am coming from. However, if you haven’t read the book yet, I highly suggest you nab one as soon as you can.

So yes, as I said at the very beginning, ‘The Museum Of Ordinary People’ is one of my favourite books of 2022 already. I loved the unique storytelling and plot, and I thought the characters were so well developed, each standing tall with their own personalities and individual stories. Mike Gayle has such an addictive way with words, lacing emotion through the simplest of sentences to create something that ends up being one of a kind, memorable, and very well written. I couldn’t have asked for more from a book – this one ticked every single box on a list in my head that I didn’t realise I had even created!

If you’re looking for a book that speaks to you on a multitude of levels, resonates with your subconscious and has you holding onto the book as though its a precious gem, then ‘The Museum Of Ordinary People’ is for you. Absolutely brilliant.

Buy now from Amazon.

BabyGarnet · book blogger · Book Review · childrens books · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · Transworld/Penguin

It’s time for a #BabyGarnetTakeover! #BabyGarnet reviews #TheLongestWhaleSong by Jacqueline Wilson (@FansofJWilson @RHKidsUK) #childrensbook #review #JacquelineWilson

I am absolutely delighted to be welcoming my little girl, Baby Garnet (who will be turning 9 next month!), back to TWG! It’s been a hot minute since Baby Garnet was last seen on TWG, several years in fact! That said, she is very excited to be back and reviewing a book from an author that has swiftly become one of her favourites. I hope you will all give TBG (The Baby Garnet) a very warm welcome!

A tender and gentle story that will captivate readers of 8+ from bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson.

Ella’s mum’s in a deep coma having just had a new baby. That means Ella has to live with Jack, her hopeless stepfather and cope with her tiny newborn brother, as well as worrying about Mum. The only thing that’s going right is her school project. It’s all about whales and how they sing out to each other to attract a mate – sometimes for hours. Maybe a whale song could reach Mum, wherever she is, and bring her back to Ella and baby Samson. Surely it’s worth a try?

TBG’s thoughts.

Hello everyone, my name is Eva. As TWG said, I am delighted to be back just like all of you guys are excited to have me back (I hope!). I was six when you last heard from me and now I’m nearly nine. I have some great news to be sharing with you; I’m going to be here every once a month. Hope to see all of you every month with a brand new review and more fun with me, TBG. Now that is all out of the way, lets get on with the review!

‘The Longest Whale Song’ is a very delicate book with very heavy parts that are hard to swallow. Even though I have not been reading Wilson’s books for a long time, this one was one of my favourites as it was a type of book that you wanted more of and, even though your head might hurt from reading quickly, you would still read the next chapter and you would NOT regret it.

Ella’s mum is in a coma after having her baby, Samson. Even though Ella might hate her stepdad because he gives her a hard time, she ends up having to forgive him, move on, and try to remember that her mum is very poorly, which means that Ella may end up having to live with Jack forever on her own with her new brother. At times, Jack sounds a little insecure, he is able to have a laugh and a joke but in him deep down, that sometimes never comes out. I personally, thought Jack was funny at times. Ella was more insecure as she seemed to want her biological dad then her stepfather, which made Ella and Jack’s relationship complicated and more tainted than ever before her mum married him.

Ella was very interested in her school project for whales as it helped to make her forget about the fact that her mum was fighting for that little piece of thread to keep her alive. Ella has two problems in school – one is she has to get picked up by Jack and not her biological dad, and two, she has classmates that tease her for having fun with the school project more than anyone else does, and that makes her miserable.

As Ella’s new brother, Samson, is just a baby, he definitely has a mind of his own and gets angry with his dad, Jack, whilst Ella has a strong bond with Samson and he never gets angry with her when she feeds him. I quite liked Samson, having a mind of his own is a good thing in babies as when they grow up, they are more confident in themselves to get their life together. Everything revolved around the hospital visits to see her mum and read her all of the things she wrote in her school project about whales and see if her mum wakes up, but nothing happened.

What did I like about the book you ask, well, I did really like the family dynamic with Ella having to suck it up and get along with Jack, even when she didn’t really want to, yet she had to or the family would start to fade if her mum did die and the family would start tainting slowly. As of Jack, he tends to get aggressive which I find funny when he makes a step too far and ends up get bitten on the backside if you will. He acts like he is allergic to confrontation even though he makes drama himself, and it ends up ten times worse than what it should have been in the first place. Samson was very confused as to why everybody was scared, pacing the stairs like their mum is trying to kill them and set them a punishment to death row (as much as a baby can!). Samson saw no different and probably thought that his mum was Ella, but Ella was Samson’s sister of course.

Buy now from Amazon.

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · Hodder · womens fiction

#TheSummerTrip by Isabelle Broom (@Isabelle_Broom @Hodderbooks @JennyPlatt90) #Review #Corfu #blogtour

Many thanks to Jenny and the Hodder team for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Isabelle Broom and ‘The Summer Trip’, as well as providing me with an ARC. All views written are done so in an unbiased manner.

What if your life worked out perfectly . . . for someone else?

It’s been 18 years since Ava spent the summer on the Greek island of Corfu, but she has never forgotten what happened during those months – or who she left behind. 

Now single, estranged from her family, and preparing to wave her daughter off to university, Ava’s life seems a million miles away from the one she dreamed about as a teenager – a life now being lived by her sister instead. 

When Ava decides to return to Corfu for the summer, she knows she must finally face the place and the people that broke her heart. But with old resentments festering, long-buried secrets lurking, and familiar feelings resurfacing, it looks set to be a holiday that will change all their lives forever. . .

TWG’s thoughts.

3.5 hours it took me to read this book. Three point five hours to read a 416 page novel. For exceedingly fast readers (aka the book version of Mr Kipling), that is nothing, however in general, that is considered to be uber fast. In all honesty, I just couldn’t put the book down, I didn’t want to stop reading, and I was so invested in the newly fangled Corfu version of Eastenders, I just HAD to let my eyes roam the pages.

Oh, and yes, I bloomin’ loved ‘The Summer Trip’ – sorry, I maybe should have started the review off with that instead!

Ava and Corfu go hand in hand like cheese and a tomato, salt and pepper, cheese and onion…..you catch my drift. In other words, they’re made for each other. Unfortunately for Ava though, her sister has the life she wanted, and she has the life that, er, she chose to have. Now I’m not being mean here but surely if you wanted that free spirited life in Corfu, then you would have done everything in your power to get it. Right? Wrong – even I know that (despite my previous facetious comment). It wasn’t that easy and life isn’t as straight forward as we sometimes wish it was. Ava had to stay in Blighty because of her daughter. She thought she was doing right by her, putting her on a good path for her daughters own future. That being said, as good as Ava’s intentions were, they seemed to come back and bite her on the behind. Parenting eh.

‘The Summer Trip’ was a light-hearted read at times, yet it also covered multiple deep topics along the way, mainly disruptive family dynamics, black sheep of the family, forgotten love, death, and even theft. Looking at the cover of the book you probably wouldn’t think that what lie underneath would cause controversy for its characters now, would you? I certainly didn’t expect it at all, but I received it well….very well in fact.

I really enjoyed the varied storyline, multiple personalities, as well as the beautiful descriptions of the scenery. Because of the latter, I was able to envision Corfu in my minds eye, hear the waves, smell the sea. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that if the author wasn’t so good at describing each and everything around her characters.

‘The Summer Trip’ reminded me of getting a picture developed. It started off with an idea, a glimmer of what could potentially come. Then, in time, the story began to develop, focusing on the minor details, the major details, as well as the little nuggets of things in the background which may have been forgotten. By the end of the story, the ‘picture’ made sense, loose ends were tied up, and you were left with a memory that would last a lifetime, exactly like ‘The Summer Trip’. I would read it again in a heartbeat!

Make this your own summer trip of the year, you won’t regret it.

Buy now from Amazon.

#suspense · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · historical fiction · lifestyle · On location · Panmacmillan

#TheFourWinds – KristinHannah (@PanMacmillan) #KristinHannah #AmericanHistory #GreatDepression #review #booktwitter

She will discover the best of herself in the worst of times . . .

Texas, 1934. Elsa Martinelli had finally found the life she’d yearned for. A family, a home and a livelihood on a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens all she and her community hold dear, Elsa’s world is shattered to the winds.

Fearful of the future, when Elsa wakes to find her husband has fled, she is forced to make the most agonizing decision of her life. Fight for the land she loves or take her beloved children, Loreda and Ant, west to California in search of a better life. Will it be the land of milk and honey? Or will their experience challenge every ounce of strength they possess?

From the overriding love of a mother for her child, the value of female friendship and the ability to love again – against all odds, Elsa’s incredible journey is a story of survival, hope and what we do for the ones we love.

TWG’s Thoughts.

I have been delaying writing my review of ‘The Four Winds’ because I knew that, deep down in my heart of hearts, I would never find just the right words to sum up my thoughts of the storyline. I had to give it a go though.

‘The Four Winds’ was the first book I have read by Kristin Hannah, and it certainly hasn’t been the last. Since finishing, my collection of Hannah’s books has increased drastically and I have read ‘The Nightingale’ and ‘Night Road’ (more on those another time).

It didn’t take me long to work out that the plot of ‘The Four Winds’ was very heavy and, in places, somewhat depressing. Goodness me, it was set in the time of the ‘Great Depression’ in America, so obviously it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and roses, laughter and joviality. Whilst most people would associate the words ‘heavy’ and ‘depressing’ with negative connotations, and rightly so, I found that the storyline needed that darkness to showcase the strength of the main character, Elsa, as well as the strength of the real life people who lived through such a tumultuous time. It wasn’t the fact that I was revelling in other peoples misfortune by enjoying a storyline that had heartbreak and devastation at the centre of it, not at all, however it opened my eyes to a time in history that should be spoken about.

Elsa was a majorly flawed character who wanted to do so right by everyone else, that she ended up doing the complete opposite. She was quite a naïve woman and that often got her into trouble. At times I felt like she was forgetting that she had two children, with their lives depending on her strength and courage to point them in the right direction, safely. Something which again, ended up being the complete opposite and Loreda and Ant were put in harms way. It’s crazy to think just how different life was back in the 1930’s, let alone in 1930 America, and I loved how those differences were portrayed in the storyline.

With the best intentions in mind, I absolutely loved ‘The Four Winds’, and I was blown away (pardon the pun) by the powerfully flawed characters, the eyeopening historical moments, and the power behind Kristin Hannah’s words. Every sentence was delivered with determination and hard hitting grit. By the time the book had ended, my brain was awash with emotion, empathy, and belief that no matter what you’re faced with in life, you must attack it head on with courage, whether you feel strong or not.

Buy now on Amazon.

#suspense · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · Transworld/Penguin

#LessonsInChemistry – Bonnie Garmus (@BonnieGarmus) @AlisonBarrow @TransworldBooks #review #booktwt

Your ability to change everything – including yourself – starts here

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.

But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results.

Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (‘combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride’) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

TWG’s Thoughts.

‘Lessons In Chemistry’ ironically, was my treat to myself after donating blood one Sunday afternoon. I had seen the periodical beauty in the hands of multiple bloggers, authors, and other readers on social media, and, to be perfectly honest, I felt a bit left out. That’s a good enough reason to buy yourself a copy of a recent release, in hardback, alongside your weekly purchase of red grapes and gala apples, right?

Well, that’s my reasoning and I am sticking to it! Can I just say how BEAUTIFUL the cover of the book is? If you have the hardback, do yourself a favour and carefully look beneath the dust cover if you haven’t already. Isn’t it a thing of beauty? I’m no A+ student when it comes to science by any means (I mean, I’m 32 years old, a bit beyond that but STILL), but I can still appreciate a bit of O2 and h2o!

‘Lessons In Chemistry’ IS about science….without stating the obvious. If you’re thinking that you need to have a degree in chemistry to read the book, take a deep breath and calm yourself because that isn’t the case. In my opinion, all you really need to have is an open mind and the ability to see the good in those who are flawed. Elizabeth Zott is one of the most wholesome, well rounded characters I think I have ever come across in my history of reading. Yes, she is stubborn. Yes, she knows her own mind. Yes, she can seem a bit argumentative. Yes, she has the ability to overcomplicate matters instead of simplifying things. But since when has all of that been seen as a bad thing? If a male was like that, would he be treated the same as his female counterpart? No. And that is EXACTLY what Bonnie Garmus delves into within ‘Lessons In Chemistry’.

Set in a time where every.little.thing was governed by males, Bonnie Garmus has written a story in a bid to give women a voice. I’m sure most of you have heard of the Suffragettes – Elizabeth Zott would have been the ideal candidate to join in with them! People didn’t like Zott because she was different. She made cooking out to be a scientific experiment which, if you were to sit and think about it, baking a cake is scientific. However, people didn’t like that she didn’t fit the norm. She didn’t fit into the box that society was trying to tell her to sit in. Instead, she took that box and shoved it right up their backsides. By golly I hope that those people received a ton load of paper cuts at the same time!

I devoured ‘Lessons In Chemistry’ and I was absolutely gutted when it came to an end because it was just absolutely SPOT ON! I mean, who wouldn’t want to read a book that teaches you to be yourself, that shows you your flaws and opinions are part of you and people should accept you exactly who you are. People should be accepted for who they are, whether they are male or female. Gender doesn’t make you more important. Who you are, your morals, your experiences, to name but a few, is what makes you stand taller than the rest.

I would read ‘Lessons In Chemistry’ again in a heartbeat, and I urge you all to buy yourself a copy, put the phones on silent, bribe the children with everything they’re not supposed to have, and lose yourself in the charm that is Elizabeth Zott and ‘Lessons in Chemistry’. This is, without a doubt, one of my most favourite books I have ever read, and it taught me so much in what felt like a short space of time. Timeless, inspirational, touching, relatable, and absolutely perfect, this is, ‘Lessons In Chemistry’.

Buy now from Amazon.

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · lifestyle

#ALittleHope by Ethan Joella #BlogTour (@joellawriting @muswellpress @brownlee_donald #review #booktwitter

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.

TWG’s Thoughts.

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.

Buy from Amazon now

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · historical fiction

#APostcardFromParis – Alex Brown (@alexbrownbooks @fictionpubteam @harperfiction) #review

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.

Purchase from Amazon.

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · Orion

#TheLittlestLibrary #PoppyAlexander @SarahWaights @orionbooks #blogtour #review


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.

#Harpercollins · #psychological · #Simon & Schuster · #suspense · arc · aria fiction · blog tour · bonnier zaffre · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · BOTBSPublicity · childrens books · ChocLitUK · contemporary fiction · Crime/thriller · Faber Books · HarperImpulse · headline books · historical fiction · HQ · HQDigitalUK · humour · lifestyle · Little Brown Books · medical · mills and boon · netgalley · Non Fiction · orenda · Orion · Panmacmillan · Police procedural · Quercus · real life · RNA · romance · Transworld/Penguin · Trapeze · womens fiction

The Writing Garnet turns 5! Happy birthday TWG! #blogger #blogbirthday #TWGTurns5 #Awardwinningblogger

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.

TWG x

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · humour · lifestyle · romance · womens fiction

#MarriedAtFirstSwipe @FabFrosty @simonschusteruk @teambatc #review

Delighted to be joining the blog tour for ‘Married at First Swipe’ by Claire Frost. As always, thank you to Becca and the team at Simon & Schuster for inviting me to take part and sending a copy my way.

Hannah lives life on the edge. Never one to pass up on a new adventure, she has truly been living her best life. But once the adrenaline wears off, she wishes she had someone to spend the quieter moments with too. Learning that her best friend’s online dating business has taken a hit, she comes up with an idea that just might solve both of their problems…
 
Jess has been with her husband for twenty years. They have a stable marriage, great kids and run their own businesses. But what looks like a perfect life from the outside has its own problems within, and with her business on the brink Jess can’t help but wonder where the spark has gone in her life, and whether settling down is all it’s cracked up to be.
 
When Hannah embarks upon her latest scheme: finding a man using Jess’s dating app and meeting him for the first time at the altar, both women start to realise the grass isn’t always greener. Can Hannah help her friend save her failing business or will Jess stop her from making what could be the biggest mistake of her life?
 
In the modern tech-fuelled world of dating, is it possible to find true love?

What does TWG think?

I’m all for girl power and females supporting others, which is very handy as if the Spice Girls needed two new members, I am sure Hannah and Jess would fit the bill tenfold! Plus, its handy because this novel is full of girl power and strong women! Strong females come in all shapes and sizes. Some find their strength by letting their tears out, whilst others share their strength by using various different coping mechanisms. Or, if you’re anything like Hannah, you’ll find ‘strength’ in asking your best friend of over 20 years to find you the man you’re going to marry….on the day you’re going to get married.  

No, you didn’t read that wrong, Hannah wasn’t going to see or meet her new man until the day of the wedding! I mean REALLY, does anyone really trust someone THAT much? I don’t think i could have done that at all. One, I’m far too nosey. Two, I don’t even know my own dream type, let alone someone else working it out. And three, I dont even want to get married!

Anyway, as completely bonkers as this story is, for the reasons mentioned above, I could NOT wait to find out the details, and whether Hannah actually made it down the aisle, or what happened in the future. It really was such a ‘rub your hands together with glee because you’re about to get some gossip’ type of read, and I was in my element.

Even though Hannah’s love life was the center of attention, Jess’ marriage ended up showing cracks, highlighting the fact that whilst marriage is a wonderful thing for those who want it, its always a work in progress, regardless of how long you’re with the other person for. Even I found Tom, her husband, infuriating because he was a lazy little sphincter. But then again, did Jess have her expectations to high?

Overall I really enjoyed delving into the lives of Hannah and Jess, and I especially love G-Ma – what an absolute character!! At times, however, I did find the character dialogue between the main characters to be a little stilted in the fluidty, and I felt that sometimes the dialogue didn’t have as much oomph in it as the rest of the story had. With that being said, I really did appreciate the distraction that Married At First Swipe gave me, and I throughly enjoyed how fun and totally out there the storyline was – I definitely recommend it for readers who like to know every little detail about someone, as well as readers who like their stories to be outside the box!

Buy ‘Married At First Swipe’ from Amazon.