#BlogTour! #Review -Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas (@jo_thomas1) @AnneCater @HeadlinePG @Bookish_Becky @DavidHHeadley

jothomas
I am so very excited to be today’s stop on the blog tour for ‘Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard’ by Jo Thomas. Big thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

51BmSmX-qyL._SY346_
It’s time for Beti Winter to dance to her own beat.

After three failed engagements Beti is in desperate need of a fresh start. What better place than the sun-drenched hills of southern Spain?

But it’s not all sangria and siestas. Beti finds work on an old Andalucian cherry farm where there are cherries to be picked, trees to be watered and her fiery boss, Antonio, to win over.

As the sun toasts her skin, Beti finds herself warming to the Spanish way of life. Embracing the art of flamenco, she discovers there is much to learn from the dance of passion. She just has to let loose and listen to the rhythm of her heart.

What does TWG think?

I started this book this morning (I know, cutting it fine), but fast forward 4 hours and I was sitting with the closed (and finished) book on my lap feeling as though I had been given a new lease of life.

Beti’s uncle and cousin have honed in on her for years, taking the Mickey out everything she has done (or not done) in her life so far. They seem to think that having three engagements, two of which ended up being failed, is something to laugh about. Even though, deep down, Beti knows that she shouldn’t take their comments to heart, she can’t help but feel her confidence getting chipped away with every knifey comment they send her way. Beti has had enough of living without enjoyment, and she ends up persuading her fiancé, Will, to uproot to Spain where her dream of owning a bar waits for her. Unfortunately, luck isn’t on Beti’s side and things don’t go to plan.

Oh my, what a gorgeous book this is! I did start and finish this book this morning, I was being totally serious with that comment! I couldn’t put the book down, and to be honest, I didn’t actually want it to leave my hands. I felt so sorry for Beti, but I was absolutely livid with Will. What sort of person does that?! I think he got off lightly, I really do. I know that Beti was determined to make her dream a reality and didn’t want to live in the past and, whilst that is certainly commendable, I couldn’t help but feel that Will didn’t get what he deserved at all. Maybe it’s because I am quite a fiery person that made me think he needed to pay for what he had done.

I have to admit that I am not a fan of cherries AT ALL, yet after reading Jo Thomas’ latest novel, I felt like I wanted to pick one up and eat it. How strange! I think the cherry farm got under my skin in more ways than one, as did other wonderful things in the little Spanish village.

Jo Thomas has such a beautiful way with words – I was blown away by her vivid descriptions, her tantalising way of bringing smells and food items to life, as well as her phenomenal characters. I can often be quite guarded when it comes to some characters, yet Beti, Miguel, Antonio, and Frank (to name a few) made ‘Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard’ such a rich, indulgent, life affirming novel which had me dusting off my own dreams in no time.

I know people say that it is quite easy to follow your dreams if you really want them, but Jo Thomas certainly proves that everyone is different, with some people struggling with their confidence to sit there and say ‘I will own my dreams’. Take a look at Beti. She went through personal heartbreak and professional hard graft, both which ended up taking a bit of time, all to reach her dreams without settling for less. There are people who cannot make their dreams become a reality because they don’t have the resources that some other people do, nor do they have the luck of others. Or maybe their face might not fit. I am one of those people, so finding a character like Beti which I ended up relating to, made me feel far less alone. That probably sounds incredibly daft, but Beti’s face didn’t fit. She didn’t know where she belonged. She knew what she wanted from her life, yet she couldn’t quite grasp it.

‘Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard’ put a massive smile on my face, fire in my belly, and hope in my heart during a time where I couldn’t have needed it more. I absolutely loved reading every page of this book, as well as learning a bit more about Spain.

A beautifully written, heart-felt, poignant, fiery and outstanding novel which will be staying in my heart for a very, very long time, guaranteed.

Buy now!

About the author.

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC
Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo
won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was
a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon
Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale
of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Advertisements

#BlogTour! #Review – The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen (@MaryTorjussen) @AnneCater @HeadlinePG #RandomThingsTours

Day two of the blog tour for #TheGirlIUsedToBe, and I, TWG, have the honour of sharing my review of Mary Torjussen’s book. Big thank you, as always, to Anne from Random Things Tours for the blog tour invite, and huge thanks to publisher, Headline, for the review copy. Here is my review:

How can you hide your mistakes when you don’t know what they are?

Gemma Brogan needs a break from her life.

A work event looks the ideal chance to get away. And a friendly new client seems like the perfect gentleman when he joins Gemma for an innocent dinner . . .

But the next morning she has no memory of how the night ended and he has vanished into thin air.

Suddenly, Gemma is plunged into a twisted nightmare she can’t control. To protect her future, and her family, she will have to confront shocking secrets from her past – and the truth about the girl she used to be.

What does TWG think?

I am quite sure that a lot of you reading this review right now have had at least one hangover before, right? If that is the case, imagine feeling as though you have the proof something has happened, but without having the actual proof to cement it. I know, that sounds quite confusing doesn’t it? Lets look at it a different way. Imagine going out for a walk one day, you run into an old friend, have a bite to eat, and then come home not remembering half of the things you did that day, yet something is brought to your attention from that day out which you have no reason not to take as gospel. But do you? I have never had a hangover, but I do know that brain fog is quite similar and, whilst brain fog isn’t the case for main character, Gemma, there are a lot of things happening in the storyline which make Gemma’s life appear rather uncertain, and Gemma very untrustworthy.

Not remembering what you got up to is quite scary and, believe it or not, actually reading about someone who cannot remember what they got up to is scary as well. You think that, as readers, we would be privy to certain events throughout the storyline, but that isn’t the case here. I hadn’t the foggiest what happened that night apart from what the author wrote about, therefore as soon as Gemma’s journey became more uncertain, I found myself growing increasingly nervous because I kept thinking to myself, ‘did I miss a page out?’ and, ‘have I already forgotten what happened to Gemma?’. It made me quite anxious if I’m honest! Intriguingly anxious, yet also anxious in a rather uncomfortable manner as well.

I cannot fault Mary Torjussen’s story telling, nor can I fault the way in which she keeps her readers on tenterhooks all the way through the novel. Whilst I would usually use the word ‘creepy’ for novels which include ghosts and stalkers etc, I have to say that that word could not be more apt for ‘The Girl I Used To Be’. It’s creepy, it’s edgy, it’s very suspenseful, whilst also making you feel as though you have to second guess every conceivable thing in your own life as well as Gemma’s.

A twisty, suspenseful novel which was full of skeletons and bucketful’s of insecurities – I cannot help but be impressed by what I have read!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis (@EmilyGunnis) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater @Phoebe_Swinburn


I am so excited to be sharing my review of Emily Gunnis’ outstanding novel, ‘The Girl in the Letter’, which was published in e-book by Headline on the 1st August. Don’t despair if you’re more of a paperback lover, as the paperback is due to be released next year. It really is worth the wait! Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Phoebe Swinburn for the ARC via Netgalley. Here is my review:


A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away.  A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding
house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a
letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother,
begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late. 
Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the
woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece
together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for
ever…

Read her letter. Remember her story…

What does TWG think?

I am fully prepared for the fact that my review may not do the book justice at all, but I aim to give it my best shot.

-falls on the floor- If I could get away with a review merely stating, ‘OutFLIPPINGstanding – EVERYONE MUST BUY!’, I totally would. In fact, I couldn’t have summed it up better in four words if I had tried. Luckily (or unluckily, depends which way you look at it), I enjoy talking and I feel that ‘The Girl in the Letter’ deserves to be in the spotlight for as long as possible, sooooo, sorry to my four words, but even I know I’m going to need to do better.

Set in 1956 when mother and baby houses were around for unmarried mothers to cleanse their souls and deal with their ‘sins’, ‘The Girl in the Letter’ tells the emotional story of a young girl called Ivy, who had her path chosen for her against her will. Her life in St Margaret’s was very, very tough. She saw things that people her age and younger should never see, let alone have to deal with. But what could she do? The nuns were set in their ways, and their punishments were very severe – whichever way she looked at it, Ivy was well and truly screwed but, as always, she couldn’t help but hope for the best.

The majority of ‘The Girl in the Letter’ is set in the present day, as we follow the life of a journalist who is struggling to find the right balance between her work life, and her life with her daughter. However, without even realising it, something had been sitting under Samantha’s nose for a very long time. With her work hat on, Sam is determined to get to the bottom of the situation without thinking of the consequences. To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t help but wonder why she should think of the consequences when she didn’t know where the path would lead. How could Sam foresee the future? She couldn’t.

I finished ‘The Girl in the Letter’ in the early hours of this morning whilst trying to put my jaw back in its rightful position. I knew that my review would take some thinking about, yet despite having all day to formulate some sort of review, I am still struggling to get my opinion out in a way that makes perfect sense. I even demanded that my mother buy this book and, seeing as she isn’t much of a reader, i have to ensure that the books I demand her to read are ones that I feel cannot be missed. And this is certainly one of them.

Whilst the contents of ‘The Girl in the Letter’ makes for quite a hard-hitting, severely intense and emotive read, the entire storyline is written absolutely beautifully and does the theme justice. Emily Gunnis does state at the end of the book that the storyline is a work of fiction, with themes inspired by real life mother and child homes in Ireland. I think that because I knew that women actually endured living in those conditions, gave birth in those conditions, as well as being told that their unborn child was a sin, it hit home a lot more because it was real. I am in still in shock that conditions like these existed and, if the laws were to be the same now here in the UK and I were to think about my current situation as a single mum, I would be in the same position as the women mentioned in this book. Isn’t that scary?

I loved how ‘The Girl in the Letter’ had a historical feel to it, as well as a thick layer of something a lot grittier as it made the suspense level far more intense than I could have ever imagined.

Emily Gunnis’ literary skill blew me away and left me dumbfounded by its beauty. What an enchanting, heart-wrenching, beautifully written and intense read this is. This book gave me everything I could have ever wanted in a storyline, and then some. I fell in love with the story almost straight away and, whilst my heart shattered multiple times throughout, I still found myself loving ‘The Girl in the Letter’ and everything it stands for.

If I were to be asked to choose just ONE book that I think everyone should buy and read urgently, ‘The Girl in the Letter’ would fall from my lips (or my fingers) before the question had even been fully asked. I genuinely cannot recommend this enough, and I truly feel that everyone would be missing out on a diamond of a read if they didn’t get their hands on a copy.

By far one of my all time favourite novels, Emily Gunnis has swooped in as a new favourite author, and one who I will now be watching very, very closely for future releases. Incredible….absolutely incredible.

Buy now in e-book from Amazon

About the author.

Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is
one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.

Follow her on Twitter @EmilyGunnis
Instagram @emilygunnis
and Facebook @emilygunnisauthor.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Unlikely Heroics of Sam Holloway by Rhys Thomas (@rhysthomashello) @Wildfirebks @AnneCater #TheUnlikelyHeroics


Apologies for the lateness with this post today! I am kicking off the blog tour for Rhys Thomas and ‘The Unlikely Heroics of Sam Holloway’. Big thank you to Anne from RandomThingsTours for the blog tour invite, and thank you to WildfireBKS for the ARC. Here is my review:

Sam Holloway has survived the worst that life can throw at you. But he’s not really living. His meticulous routines keep everything nice and safe – with just one exception…

Three nights a week, Sam dons his superhero costume and patrols the streets. It makes him feel invincible – but his unlikely heroics are getting him into some sticky, and increasingly dangerous, situations.

Then a girl comes into his life, and his ordered world is thrown into chaos … and now Sam needs to decide whether he can be brave enough to finally take off the mask.

Both hilarious and heart-warming, this is a story about love, loneliness, grief, and the life-changing power of kindness.

What does TWG think?

I totally didn’t choose this book to read because of the surname namesake….

Okay, I did, and because the cover is rather intriguing.

Oh, and I do like a good superhero….obviously.

Whilst Sam Holloway may not be a typical Iron Man or Thor, he isn’t afraid to become a superhero in his own right. I mean, everyone would love their shopping being carried home, right? Due to Sam’s past, the wall he has built is taller than the beanstalk from ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, with his confidence and self-assurance lower than lower. So, to help himself, he helps other people. Makes sense, right? Actually, yes. Yes it does. Sometimes trying to help ourselves is an incredibly difficult task to complete, yet if we were to help another person out with something minor or even similar to something we need help with ourselves, our subconscious deliver because we aren’t afraid to help others. We are afraid to help ourselves. Just like Sam.

This book is such a thought-provoking and poignant read, with so many messages incorporated into the story which readers will be able to take away with them without even realising they’re doing it. I thought the overall premise of the story was very cleverly crafted and written from the heart. I also thought that the authors take on the subject matter, including the path he put his main character on, incredibly unique and one of a kind.

I really did enjoy how different the story was, and I thought the way that Sam Holloway was portrayed, was very heartfelt. There were times where I just wanted to give him a hug, don my Catwoman costume, and help him just like he had been helping others.

‘The Unlikely Heroics of Sam Holloway’ just goes to show that kindness should never, ever be underestimated, and it doesn’t matter whether you choose to dress up as a superhero, dress up as yourself, or even be anonymous, to embark on being kind. You just need to do it.

A warm-hearted, spirited read which made me think, as well as melt a few of the icicles around my heart while it was at it. A pleasure to read. Everyone should have a hero like Sam Holloway.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell (@JillMansell) @Headlinepg @AnneCater


It is an absolute honour to host Jill Mansell and her latest novel, ‘This Could Change Everything’, as part of the blog tour today. Jill has been one of my most favourite authors for such a while, I hope I do the book proud with my review. Big thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and a big thank you to publishers, Headline, for the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

One little mistake and nothing will ever be the same again!

On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…

On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…

And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…

What does TWG think?

I am just going to put this out here – ‘This Could Change Everything’ is my most favourite book of 2018 so far. What a phenomenally written, enchanting, and heart-warming read! Never in my life have I read anything like this before and, whilst I’m being perfectly honest, I really don’t think I will again for a while (well, until Jill Mansell publishes her next book!).

I have always been a reader who judges a book by its cover (sorry!), but on this occasion, the fact that it was a Jill Mansell novel was enough for me to think ‘OMG I NEED TO READ IT!’. The cover gives nothing away, with the title doing holding the weight of the storyline, and what a brilliant job it does. How could anyone not be intrigued by a title of, ‘This Could Change Everything’? WHAT could change everything? WHY would it change everything? And, more to the point, what exactly is ‘everything’? Thankfully after reading this outstanding book, I now have the answers to my questions. I may have started with copious amounts of curiosity, but now I feel as though my soul has been given a truly wonderful gift thanks to Jill Mansell’s storytelling.

Have you ever had a moment where your judgement has been clouded, you choose to do something which could backfire if it were to get into the wrong hands, yet you still do it anyway? Look, we are all human. I’d be more surprised if anyone sat there and shook their heads in answer to that questions. In the heat of the moment, a badly thought out decision is incredibly appealing. It’s not until logistics are added to it that things begin to look a bit less, how do I put this….exciting. Essie made a mistake like that, and now her ‘perfect’ life is threatening to fall apart around her. But is that honestly a bad thing? Was Essie just going with the flow because she wasn’t aware of her place in life? Or did she genuinely love her life the way that it was? Obviously, now that I have read the book I have my own thoughts on that. Don’t panic though, I won’t be divulging as there is a chance my opinions could be seen as a spoiler.

‘This Could Change Everything’ is such a multi-layered, three-dimensional, and emotional read – for once, I can’t even state who my favourite character is, nor can I state a character who I dislike as there was so many beautiful situations and characters to focus on, the less majestic ones didn’t stay in my mindset long enough to make too much of an impression. Well, there were definitely a couple of people who rubbed me up the wrong way and made my eyebrows shoot up to my hairline, but that’s neither here nor there ;).

You want to know something? I completely underestimated just how much I would fall in love with this book because for once, I allowed myself to surrender to the romanticism of a storyline and the romantic intentions of certain characters. I’ve always been the type of person who hides behind ‘I’m not a romantic person in the slightest’, because I get too embarrassed by lovey dovey feelings. However, Essie, Lucas, and Zillah, showed me that love can be shown in a multitude of formats, and it’s only embarrassing if you allow it to be. Take Zillah for example. A woman in her eighties who refused to let herself settle for second best where a man was concerned. Yes, she made many mistakes, and yes, she had to pay for them in the form of guilt, for many, many years. But now? Zillah shows just how beautiful love can be by embarking on a selfless journey which ends up filling other people’s hearts with utmost joy, all because she believes in love and happiness. Nothing embarrassing about that now, is there?

‘This Could Change Everything’ in its entirety, got under my skin on a level I have never experience before. I loved how the storyline started off calm, gradually building up to things the more characters Mansell introduced to her readers. Her storyline wasn’t just put together with her words in black and white, no. Jill Mansell wrote her story with such tender loving care, bringing her words to life with such magnetism, humour, and colourful characters. ‘This Could Change Everything’ is a book that is bang on the money, because it has certainly changed everything for me.

I love this book with all of my heart – it has everything I could want from a storyline, everything I didn’t realise I wanted, and everything in between. Jill Mansell is an outstanding author, but this is definitely her best book by far. I don’t often re-read books, but I will be re-reading this one time and time again. Out-flipping standing, powerful, and severely poignant – hello new favourite book!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers
including THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT, TO THE MOON AND BACK, YOU AND ME,
ALWAYS and MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME won the
RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding
achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU,
which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have
joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after she read a magazine article that
inspired her to join a local creative writing class. Her first book was published in 1991 and
she is now a full-time novelist. She is one of the few who still write their books by hand, like
a leftover from the dark ages. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter – @JillMansell – and Facebook –
/OfficialJillMansell. You can also visit her website http://www.jillmansell.co.uk/.

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheTallMan by Phoebe Locke (@phoebe_locke) @Wildfirebks @AnneCater

phoebelocke
Second blog tour for you this evening, but this time we are getting very dark with my review of ‘The Tall Man’ by Phoebe Locke. Big thank you to Anne Cater from #RandomThingsTours for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

35442765
A SENSELESS MURDER. A TERRIFYING LEGEND. A FAMILY HAUNTED.

1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.

2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.

2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.

Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.

He is the Tall Man. He can make you special…

What does TWG think?

As I am sure most of you are aware of by now, I do not read the blurb of the book I choose to read, until AFTER I read the book. Therefore, I choose my books based on the cover/title/author. If you look at the cover for ‘The Tall Man’, you can see why I chose to read this book. It intrigued me. It left me wanting to know more. Who on Earth was the tall man? Was he a 7ft man who lived in a village? Was he the ‘World’s Tallest Man’ as seen on the TV show? I did not know, but I ensured I found out the answers to those questions.

The reason why I mentioned the whole blurb thing again, was because it ties to my next point very nicely. ‘The Tall Man’ has a supernatural element to it and, if I had known that beforehand, I wouldn’t have picked it up as I am not a huge fan of those types of books. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the storyline and I felt that the supernatural vibe made the story that little bit more chilling. If that is at all possible by the way, this is one creepy read. I don’t mean creepy as in don’t walk down a dark alley by yourself, I mean psychologically creepy where your mind is put into a total head funk, and your arms have become the new home to a truck load of goosebumps.

I am trying to keep this review vague as I feel that ‘The Tall Man’ needs to be devoured with as little information beforehand as possible!

‘The Tall Man’ is told from different character viewpoints, switching between the past and present day. There is a lot of attention surrounding ‘The Tall Man’, who ‘he’ is and what he wants, especially when the author focuses on events in the past. What comes to light is incredibly unsettling, yet it lays the stepping-stones for events as the storyline progresses. For someone who raises my eyebrows at anything supernatural, Phoebe Locke completely put me under her spell, leaving me questioning the idea of the tall man as well as the truth. It was so scary to see how people can be easily manipulated and the lengths that they will go to when their mind is occupied with an obsession that not only takes over their life, it also terrifies them.

Phoebe Locke is an insanely clever writer, creating vivid and severely sinister imagery with her highly atmospheric descriptions, and her flawless way of combining multiple events through multiple timelines. I am incredibly impressed by what I read, and I am so glad that I unknowingly took the chance with the supernatural vibe.

Buy now!

About the author.

PHOEBE LOCKE is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously
worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy.
Nicci has had two literary novels published by Fourth Estate and Cape, and
also writes YA for Hot Key Books. She lives and writes in London. THE TALL MAN
is Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller.

Find Phoebe on Twitter on @phoebe_locke

#BlogTour! #Review – Lying To You by Amanda Reynolds (@amandareynoldsj) @wildfirebks @annecater

amanda
Day 5 of the blog tour and it’s time for me, TWG, to host Amanda Reynolds and her latest novel! Trust me – I most certainly am NOT ‘Lying To You’ ;). Big thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to the publisher for the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

51cSx-Iw1ML
You’d know if you were lying to yourself, wouldn’t you?

When Jess Tidy was Mark Winter’s student, she made an accusation that ultimately saw him sentenced to three years in prison. A jury found him guilty, but he always maintained his innocence. Now, Jess’s mother’s death has brought her back to the village where she grew up, and where Mark still lives with his wife. And the truth about that night ten years ago which nearly destroyed them both is finally going to come out.

What does TWG think?

I have to apologise in advance for such a vague review, but, due to the nature of the storyline, I am having to be extremely careful with what I write as I don’t wish to give anything away.

Jess Tidy is back but, despite the several years of radio silence, a lot of people won’t be putting out the bunting to welcome Jess back to the village – even though she didn’t want to go back in the first place! The death of Jess’ mother has brought her childhood back to the forefront of her mind. All Jess wants to do is give her mother a respectful send off, re-pack her bag and go back to the place that she now calls home. Simple enough, right?

When the author makes it clear what the situation was with Jess, straight away I sided with her. I’m only human after all! But, as the storyline progressed and more things came to light, ‘confusion’ became my middle name and I had absolutely no idea who to believe. As the storyline is told from different viewpoints, each character explains the situation in the way that they have perceived it after all this time, taking readers even further away from the truth.

What an intense read! The storyline made my mind spiral out of control the more of it I read, telling myself to not believe a word that was coming out of anyone’s mouth, yet I had to find out the truth whatever that may be! The lead up to the truth was full of grit and questionable circumstances – Amanda Reynolds words engaged me with such force, I couldn’t help but be impressed. The pace of this book was on point for the majority of the book, yet I did feel that there were a few too many twiddle my thumbs moments half way through. However, the author soon rectified that with several red herrings, a little more spoon-feeding information, and another dose of grit.

A very cleverly written, suspenseful, and highly addictive read which is bound to make you go stir crazy trying to work out the truth.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Wildflowers by Harriet Evans (@HarrietEvans) @headlinepg @Annecater @Bookish_becky

HE
It is such an honour to be helping Harriet Evans celebrate her tenth novel, as part of the blog tour organised by Headline and Anne Cater. Huge thanks to them both for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of ‘The Wildflowers’. Here is my review:

he1
The new novel by Sunday Times bestseller Harriet Evans will transport you to a Dorset beach house, where you can feel the sand between your toes. Enter the home of Tony and Althea Wilde – the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor of their generation and with a marriage every bit as stormy. This glorious tale of tangled family secrets and lies will leave you warm and glowing.

Tony and Althea Wilde. Glamorous, argumentative … adulterous to the core.

They were my parents, actors known by everyone. They gave our lives love and colour in a house by the sea – the house that sheltered my orphaned father when he was a boy.

But the summer Mads arrived changed everything. She too had been abandoned and my father understood why. We Wildflowers took her in.

My father was my hero, he gave us a golden childhood, but the past was always going to catch up with him … it comes for us all, sooner or later.

This is my story. I am Cordelia Wilde. A singer without a voice. A daughter without a father. Let me take you inside.

What does TWG think?

Where on Earth do I begin with this review? Wow.

First of all, let me start by saying how gorgeous the book cover is! The image has captured the storyline absolutely brilliantly, but of course you don’t realise the reference until after you have read the book!

‘The Wildflowers’ wasn’t an easy read, and by that I don’t mean that it was hard to understand, because it was. It wasn’t an easy read because the storyline describes various, hard-hitting situations in such incredible detail, the reality of such emotional times hit home something chronic. Not only that, the author had chosen a path for her characters which some readers may find a little hard to digest. ‘The Wildflowers’, as a fast reader myself, isn’t a book that you’ll be able to read without thinking. It takes time for this storyline to come alive, and for that you need to be patient and just go with the flow. I urge readers not to give up on this book as yes, it does take a little while for the story to get going, but it really is worth the wait. Please trust me on that.

‘The Wildflowers’ confused me at first because it wasn’t really clear when things were happening, especially as the storyline kept switching between various timelines and that clarity was a definite requirement. I knew that, because of the historical element to this book, the storyline would take a little while to get into as the author needed to set the scene with the various characters, as well as explain certain events which led characters to the place they are now. Patience isn’t my strong point where books are concerned, but deep down I knew that Harriet Evans wanted her story to bloom like a wild flower and that isn’t something that can be done over one or two chapters.

I shan’t give anything away, but I will say that I found myself getting a little emotional when certain things came to light. Even though certain characters chose their own path, I couldn’t help but feel a little empathy towards them because they must have been in such a dark place to warrant such drastic and devastating actions.

I really was able to lose myself in ‘The Wildflowers’ and the storyline which the author had so lovingly crafted, bringing it to life with such poise and poignancy. Everything about this book was raw, heart-wrenching, and severely dramatic – as a reader you have no time to think about anything other than the story you’re reading otherwise you’ll end up running to catch up with a character as they choose a different path on their journey.

I wanted to dislike some of the characters, really I did, but once all of the loose ends began to get tidied up, I just couldn’t find it in my heart to hate some of the characters who did so much wrong.

‘The Wildflowers’ got under my skin completely, and not in a bad way. Okay, I struggled with the first couple of chapters due to slight confusion, but once the ball started rolling, I couldn’t focus on anything else apart from the lives of Cord and Ben. Harriet Evans has written such a beautiful story which captures the essence of beauty, trust, loyalty, lies, death, and everything else in between. The author has left no stone unturned, yet has written about multiple hard-hitting themes with a lot of sensitivity, yet has also managed to keep them realistic and relatable.

If you feel like stepping out of your comfort zone, allowing yourself to be transported back to the 1940’s, I would recommend ‘The Wildflowers’ in a heartbeat. Such a gripping and devastatingly beautiful read which captivated my heart almost straight away.

Treat this book with the patience and kindness a flower deserves, even if they are ‘wildflowers’.

‘The Wildflowers’ is available now in e-book from Amazon, and the paperback version is due to be published on the 5th April and can be pre-ordered now.

#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?

#TWGTurnsTwo! Happy 2nd birthday The Writing Garnet! #blogbirthday #blogaversary #blogger #TheWritingGarnet

The Writing Garnet-5
Happy birthday to TWG!!!! I cannot believe that my little blog turns two years old today, what a corker of a year it has been! When I started The Writing Garnet back in 2016, never in a million years did I think it would blow up like this, nor did I think I would win awards for my blog. I started my blog as a way of saying thank you to authors who continue to allow me to escape my every day hell with stories that make me laugh, make me cry, give me chills – you name it. I’m not even being dramatic when I say that off the blog, my life is a challenge. In this last year, my health has taken even more of a nosedive, with little things like standing up in a queue, starting to become impossible. But, aside from my daughter (obviously), the only other ‘thing’ that helps me keep going is my blog and the community which surrounds it.

In 2016, I was a newbie. I knew nobody yet everyone else knew somebody and, whilst there are still cliques around, I have the most supportive bloggers, publishers, publicists etc around me, I feel like I can do anything with these people beside me. This last year has seen friendships blossom even more so and I am so, SO grateful that I can call these people my friends. I just want to say a massive thank you to Lucy Vine, Katie Marsh, Darcie Boleyn, Jo Robertson, Clair Boor, Katherine Sunderland, Mary Jayne Baker, Vicki Dickinson, Jules Wake, Sarah Hardy, Anne Cater, Noelle Holten, Betsy Reavley, Isabelle Broom, SJV, JB, Linda Green, Sam Carrington, Mairead O’Driscoll Hearne, Nica Hawkins de Koenigswarter, and many, many more, for always having my back, giving me advice, supporting me and giving me a well needed pep talk when I feel like I’m about to give up. I also want to say a massive thank you to all of the publishers and publicists I work with on a day to day basis, for allowing me to read such wonderful books and embark on a journey with them and the author. I also want to say thank you to all of the bloggers who share my posts daily and who continue to make me laugh with their squirrel antics and goodness what else! Also, a big thank you to everyone else who continues to share my posts, like my posts on the facebook page/instagram, and supports me. All of you mean the world to me and I wouldn’t be here without your support. Thank you all for believing in me and being the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I will forever be grateful for your friendship.

So, what has happened this last year? Well, SO MUCH! I was crowned the winner of ‘Most Inspirational Blog’ at the 2017 Annual Blogger Bash Awards – thank you so much to everyone who voted for me! Such an honour!

inspirational

I also turned into a mushy mess at the Edinburgh Book Festival where I got to meet one of my idols, Jenny Colgan (yes, I nearly cried). Jenny has been one of my favourite authors for as long as I can remember so it really was a dream come true to finally meet her, AND be quoted on a graphic in support of her new book!

Last year I also got to meet one of my blogger besties, Jo Robertson! You might know her as ‘MyChestnutReadingTree’, and my daughter now knows her as the person who plays Shopkins!

Jopic
You know on book covers there is usually a quote from a best selling author? Yeah? Well, HarperImpulse and Mary Jayne Baker made my dream come true last year by putting my quote on the front of MJB’s book. Yes, ON THE FRONT!

coverquote
Another highlight from the last year was getting an e-mail from a member of the RNA, stating that I was a nominee for ‘Media/Blog Star of the Year’ in the RNA Industry Awards. Yes, me. I had to double check the e-mail to check that they had sent it to the right person! Unfortunately I didn’t win, but it was still an honour to be nominated and then receive a ‘Runner up’ award – thank you so much.

The Writing Garnet seems to get busier and busier, the more time that passes and, whilst a lot of people think I’m bonkers for taking on over 40 blog tours a month (haha), I am in my element. I really do hope that this year is the year when all of my hard work pays off and I can find a job working from home – that really would be a dream come true.

Whilst all of the above are just highlights, there has been so many things which I am proud of – getting quoted on multiple graphics, having Fern Briton follow me on Twitter, winning multiple competitions via social media, receiving signed books in the post (as well as other amazing book post), and soooo much more. Sometimes I feel like I am dreaming, I really do. I really didn’t expect all of this when I first started my blog and, if I’m being perfectly honest, there are moments where I find that I don’t fit in with the community, and I worry that my words will never be enough, but my passion for books outweighs everything else and even though those worries continue to be there, I just think about how far I have come and why I started this blog in the first place.

Thank you for supporting me and TWG!!

You can ‘like’ my facebook page here!
You can ‘follow’ me on Instagram here!
Or you can ‘follow’ me on Twitter here!