#BlogTour! #Review – The Place We Called Home by Jenny Oliver (@JenOliverBooks) @HQStories

The third and final blog tour for today is for ‘The House We Called Home’ by Jenny Oliver! Thank you to HQStories for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

The house where Stella and her sister Amy grew up never changes – the red front door, the breath-taking view over the Cornish coast, her parents in their usual spots on the sofa. Except this summer, things feel a little different…

Stella’s father is nowhere to be seen, yet her mother – in suspiciously new Per Una jeans – seems curiously unfazed by his absence, and more eager to talk about her mysterious dog-walking buddy Mitch.

Stella’s sister Amy has returned home with a new boyfriend she can barely stand and a secret to hide, and Stella’s husband Jack has something he wants to get off his chest too. Even Frank Sinatra, the dog, has a guilty air about him.

This summer, change is in the air for the Whitethorns…

What does TWG think?

Well, I am sure that a lot of us, if not all of us, have been involved in heated family issues at some point in our lives! For the Whitethorns however, family disputes seem to be a rather regular occurrence, but they wouldn’t know that would they? Seeing as communication isn’t exactly their fortes!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but Jenny Oliver’s writing style seemed to be a bit different this time round. I’m not too sure if that’s because of the subject she was writing about, or whether her writing has changed direction, either way it did make me sit up and take notice. I guess part of me didn’t find this book to be as cosy as her other reads, which is why I probably noticed the change.

That said, the overall storyline is definitely full of hope and I thoroughly enjoyed the humour that was evident throughout the entire novel. I ADORED Sonny and the guy, Amy, had brought back home to meet her family. I thought that they were absolutely hilarious, especially the way that they lifted the storyline due to their carefree attitudes.

‘The House We Called Home’ is an enjoyable read which highlights a very important message regarding family disputes, relationships, and what to do with a drain cover. The theme of the book is one that needs to be given a lot of attention as there is a lot going on, but I don’t think that that is a bad thing at all. I loved the way that Jenny Oliver incorporated her trademark humour into a deep storyline, making me laugh like a seal more than once.

Jenny Oliver has a real knack in creating some rather memorable and hilarious characters, making her stories come to life quicker than a dog is able to pick up a piece of food that has fallen to the ground. ‘The House We Called Home’ is written in such a poignant manner, you may even wish to remodel your own house or your relationships after reading this book!

Enjoyable, hopeful and very touching, roll on the next book!

Buy now!


#BlogTour! #Review – How To Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan (@SarahMorgan_) @HQStories

Many congratulations to, Sarah Morgan, on the publication of ‘How To Keep a Secret’! It is an absolute honour to be able to kick off the blog tour for this incredible novel. Huge thanks to HQ Stories for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

How to Keep a Secret

Three generations of Stewart women, all with secrets to keep…

Matriarch Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother but how can she ever tell her daughters the reason why? Lauren and Jenna are as close as two sisters can be and they made a pact years ago to keep a devastating secret from their mother – but is it time to come clean? Lauren’s teenage daughter Mackenzie masks her own pain by keeping her mother at a distance. Her mother, aunt and grandmother keep trying to reach her but will it take a stranger to show her the true meaning of family?

When life changes in an instant, the Stewart women are thrown together for a summer and suddenly they must relearn how to be a family. And whilst unravelling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, it could also be their finest moment . . .

What does TWG think?

Avid Sarah Morgan fans may have noticed on social media that ‘How To Keep a Secret’ is the authors’ first, more in-depth novel which has allowed her a lot more scope on the intimate details of her characters and their lives, in comparison to Sarah Morgan’s previous novels. As a huge fan myself, the fact that this book was going to have a different vibe to it, really did intrigue me as I didn’t think anything needed to change. However, after reading ‘How To Keep a Secret’, a novel that is 100% standalone and not linked to other books in a serial, I was able to understand why the author put a different spin on her work.

‘How To Keep a Secret’ is told from the viewpoints of three generations; Nancy (mum), Jenna and Lauren (daughters), and Mackenzie (Lauren’s daughter). All parts are set out well and written with the characters personality in mind – I loved being able to view a situation from a different perspective, whilst also being able to think like the character whose viewpoint is at the forefront of the story.

It was a little hard to remember that all of the women are related as they are all incredibly different! According to Jenna and Lauren, Nancy hasn’t been the ideal ‘mum’, so their relationship isn’t one of a typical mother-daughter – it’s very, very fragile. According to Mackenzie, Lauren is a very strict, obsessive mum who is constantly on her case – how many teenagers HAVEN’T thought that about their parents? According to Jenna, Lauren is the perfect sister, the one who has everything under control 24/7, but to Lauren, Jenna has the ideal life and the confidence to be daring. But, the more the ladies focus on the other members of their family, they are losing touch of their own credibilities in the process. These women do not know how to communicate efficiently, not about things that matter like feelings, worries, that type of thing. They’re dab hand at talking about the weather or their careers, but when it comes down to the things that will either make or break their family, it seems that NOT talking about the secrets will be the thing to break the family, and not the secrets themselves.

I adore Sarah Morgan’s writing as she keeps her style modern and in tune with what is going on in society at that time, especially where her previous novels are concerned. When I found out that ‘How To Keep a Secret’ was going to be different from all of the rest, I did wonder how this author could get even better, because as far as I was concerned, she had already hit perfection in my eyes. It’s safe to say now, however, that the change in direction with her latest storyline has pushed Sarah Morgan above and beyond that perfection line.

The grit that oozed from every single page was outstanding. The entire storyline was laced with fragility, yet still came across as being unbreakable due to the bond of the Stewart women (even if they didn’t realise it themselves). Yes, the style of this book is different from the others because of, in my opinion, the more mature vibe. ‘How To Keep a Secret’ isn’t a book which is guaranteed to give you a happily ever after, but it is a book that shows you the reality of bad decisions, the reality of marriage, the reality of parenthood, the reality of friendships and relationships. Sarah Morgan doesn’t pussyfoot around delicate situations in this book, instead she grabs hold of them, dissects them, and then watches her characters rebuild them in their own way.

I personally believe that ‘How To Keep a Secret’ is Sarah Morgan’s best book yet. Not only has she kept her iconic, romantic style of writing, she has taken it up several notches and encased it in something so raw and powerful, I was genuinely surprised that I wasn’t physically blown away. This book ticks every single box and more. From the moment I started reading, until the moment I finished, I was gripped by the magnetic force on every single page.

An outstanding portrayal of reality at its worst and at its best, with characters who are so flawed, they end up looking flawless. Powerful, thought-provoking, inspiring, and highly entertaining – ‘How To Keep a Secret’ kept a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Perfection.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings (@MandaJJennings) @HQStories

Huge thanks to HQ for asking me to kick off the blog tour for ‘The Cliff House’! Incredibly honoured. Here is my review:

Some friendships are made to be broken

Cornwall, summer of 1986.

The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.

If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.

If only her life was as perfect as theirs.

If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.

If only she lived at The Cliff House…

What does TWG think?

There is one thing being asked to kick off a blog tour full stop, but then there is another thing being asked to kick off the blog tour for an author you admire not only for her literary skills, but also for her presence, views and the way that she has her tea. Yes, I am being serious. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they drink their tea, and let me tell you now, Amanda Jennings is my type of person – it’s definitely a bonus that she can write exceptionally well, too ;).

The cover of ‘The Cliff House’ is one of the most relaxing yet highly intriguing covers I have seen for a while. It was  pretty clear before I read the book that there was a lot more to the story that meets the eye, and boy it wasn’t wrong!

Usually I lean more towards storylines which send a rocket up your youknowwhat almost straight away, but the fact that the pace of ‘The Cliff House’ was slow, meant that the vibe came across a lot more haunted due to the authors incredible talent of creating vivid imagery in her readers minds. I genuinely think that had the pace been fast, the storyline wouldn’t have worked as well as it did, and I don’t think I would have reacted the way that I did. It wasn’t that the story was creepy, because it wasn’t. I found it to be more of an intense, haunted and mesmerising type of read, which seemed to capture all of my senses and hold them hostage until the very last page.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the book as that wouldn’t be fair on the readers or the author, however, there were certain elements of the book which I was able to relate to unexpectedly. The main one which made me sit up and take notice was the fact that the main character, Tamsyn, had lost her father. I found the way in which Tamsyn reacted to the aftermath of her father’s death such a realistic portrayal of grief, especially where a parent is involved. It wasn’t a case of her father passing away and she just got on with it and forgot about it as she was young (kudos if you can do that, but kudos if you can’t, obviously!), instead her grief came out in her personality and the way that she lived her life. It was quite emotional to read, yet it hit open rather drastically.

As for the rest of the storyline, I actually can’t find anything that I disliked about it. Every page flowed with the previous one and the next, taking me under its wing by allowing me to lose myself in the spirited and charismatic storyline as though I was one of the characters myself.

‘The Cliff House’ isn’t just about beautiful views and a house you wish you could live in, no. It’s dark, compelling, addictive, beautiful, and utterly, utterly breathtaking. It’s books like this which make me feel exceptionally proud to be an avid reader, because if I wasn’t, I would be missing out on a diamond in the rough, cut above the rest, gem of a read. ‘The Cliff House’ really is one of my most favourite books of all time. How can it not be?

‘The Cliff House’ will be published on the 17th May but can be pre-ordered now from Amazon

#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!


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!

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!

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!

#BlogTour! #Review – Bring Me Back by B.A.Paris (@BAParisAuthor) @HQStories #ForgetSleep

Not so long ago, I was incredibly lucky to win a proof of B.A.Paris’ new book from HQStories – thank you! I am delighted to be sharing my review with you all today as part of the blog tour:

Bring me back

The Disappearance
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.

The Suspicion
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.

The Fear
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…

What does TWG think?

Holy cheeseballs!!!! I don’t think I put this book down from the moment I picked it up! Such an intense, complex read which left me in an absolute tizz – what a book!!

Finn’s girlfriend disappeared twelve years ago. One minute she was in the car, the next minute she was gone. Where did she go? With no body being found in those twelve years, Finn assumes she is dead. But is she? Seeing as that particular chapter hasn’t been properly closed, the uncertainty of her whereabouts is always at the back of Finn’s mind. If she is alive, why did she tell him? Why didn’t she come back? Did she love him as much as she said she did?

So many questions, so little answers. Despite having such a dark cloud hanging over his life, Finn has been able to find a new love in his life, but of course he can’t help thinking about his previous love. The one who disappeared into thin air….

The phrase ‘nothing is ever as it seems’ could not be more apt where this book is concerned. Whilst the storyline makes it clear at the beginning that Finn’s girlfriend disappeared, the author also made it clear that there was more to that disappearance. But what? Did Finn know more than he let on? My opinion of Finn kept changing. One minute I felt so sorry for him, the next I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed with his actions. I couldn’t stand the constant hot and cold that he was blowing, yet I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the bigger picture. I had to find out what happened to his girlfriend, even though I had absolutely no idea where to begin.

I have to keep this review incredibly vague as the storyline is such a complex, and highly entwined read which means that the slightest piece of information I could drop in this review, may end up being an unintentional spoiler.

‘Bring Me Back’ had me on the edge of my seat from the very first page. Not only was I able to lose myself in the fast paced storyline, I also ended up booming extremely invested in Finn’s personal life. My gut was telling me that there was more to him that meets the eye, what that was however, I had absolutely no idea until the truth literally made my jaw drop when I least expected it.

Such a rollercoaster ride of a read, ‘Bring Me Back’ is a book which needs to be devoured in one sitting, whilst everything around you is being ignored. I cannot fault this book at all – B.A.Paris is such a fantastic story teller, I cannot wait to read more from this author. But let me tell you now, she certainly has raised the bar extremely high for herself where this book is concerned! Fantastic!

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell (@MCampbellBooks) @HQStories

It’s Always the Husband…unless it’s the best friend.

Kate, Aubrey and Jenny are inseparable at college – friends who promised they’d always be there for each other.

But twenty years later, their friendship is about to take a deadly turn.

Kate married the gorgeous party boy, Aubrey married up, and Jenny married the boy next door, but when one of the friends dies in shocking circumstances, will everyone assume that it’s always the husband? Or could it be the best friend?

What does TWG think?

With a title and a tagline such as ‘It’s Always the Husband…unless it’s the best friend’, how on Earth are you just meant to walk past the book without picking it up? Yes, I hold my hands up and say that that is exactly the reason why I chose to read this book – because of the title. It intrigued me so much, I just had to find out whether it was in actual fact, always the husband. Or whether it was actually the best friend.

You’ll just have to read it to find out then, won’t you?

My opinion of the storyline kept changing the more of the book I read, ending up with me getting splinters in my backside from sitting on the fence. Personally, despite finding ‘It’s Always the Husband’ full of promise, I did find it to be a little slow. You know when you’re walking behind slow people in a supermarket and you’re silently willing them to move, whilst waving your arms about in frustration? I found the first part of the book to be a little bit like that. I was frustrated because the book had everything else it needed to be a gripping read, but the pace was all wrong.

That said, the pace did in fact pick up later on in the book and, whilst I appreciated that a lot, I still wished that it had picked up a lot sooner.

If I disregarded the pace of the book for one moment, and gave my opinion of the book without that, I would say that ‘It’s Always the Husband’ is incredibly addictive and highlights the lengths in which scorned women go to. I loved the strong presence of friendship especially. I did enjoy this book – trying to get to the bottom of the lies was such fun! I really did appreciate what the author was trying to do with her storyline and her characters, and whilst I do feel like she has achieved in getting her message across, it was the speed in which the dots were connected which I found hard to gauge.

All in all ‘It’s Always the Husband’ was a fun, exciting book to read. My only wish was that the pace and the delivery had a bit more guts to it.

I am looking forward to reading more from Michele Campbell, that’s for sure!

Thanks HQStories.

Buy now from Amazon UK


#BlogTour! #Review – East of Hounslow by @KhurrumRahman @HQStories

East of Hounslow Blog Tour
Apologies for my late in the day post, I have been laid up in bed for most of it! However, I’m here now and I am delighted to welcome author, Khurrum Rahman, and his debut novel ‘East of Hounslow’ which will be released in e-book on the 30th November. Huge thanks to HQStories for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, as well as an ARC of the book. Here is my review:


Meet Jay.
Small-time dealer.
Accidental jihadist.
The one man who can save us all?

Javid – call him Jay – is a dope dealer living in West London. He goes to mosque on Friday, and he’s just bought his pride and joy – a BMW. He lives with his mum, and life seems sweet.

But his world is about to turn upside-down. Because MI5 have been watching him, and they think he’s just the man they need for a delicate mission.

One thing’s for sure: now he’s a long way East of Hounslow, Jay’s life will never be the same again.

With the edgy humour of Four Lions and the pulse-racing tension of Nomad, East of Hounslow is the first in a series of thriller starring Jay Qasim.

What does TWG think?

For a debut novel by a debut author, ‘East of Hounslow’ certainly packs a punch!

Jay is a drug dealer who has, unfortunately, landed himself in a bit of a difficult situation which means his life is about to take on a teensy bit of turbulence. From losing things that weren’t really ‘his’, to then playing a modern version of ‘I Spy’, Jay realises that he has to up his maturity level extremely quickly. Gone are the days where his mum will bail him out…

I really didn’t know what to make of this book at first as I found myself laughing at situations which, if happened in reality, wouldn’t make anyone laugh. The author has managed to take his deep and meaningful theme and stripped it back, before sitting down to tell his ‘friends’ a story.

Some parts of the book were a little bit slow burning, but due to the humour and refreshing storytelling from Khurrum Rahman, ‘East of Hounslow’ really is a book worth sticking with. In amongst all of the humour and slapstick anecdotes, the author has also written in some quite eye-opening and emotive scenes where Jay is concerned. Before anyone says anything, I wasn’t sitting here with tears running down my face with sadness, but I could feel the emotion making itself known in each and every word as the author told his realistic and poignant story.

Truthfully, I still don’t know what to make of this book. The storyline seemed to have a little bit of everything, even if I did find myself feeling a little bit guilty for laughing so much. Because the author has generously given us a story with so many additions (such as humour, thriller, religion, drugs etc), I found myself getting a bit overwhelmed by it all.

That said, ‘East of Hounslow’ kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish. I am in awe at the way the author has written this book and I am looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

Thanks HQStories.

Pre-order now from Amazon UK