What a difference, a day makes – or in this case, the month of May! #MonthlyRoundUp #TopBook (@NoelleHarrison @bwpublishing)

The Writing Garnet's Book of the Month is......
It isn’t often that I do a monthly roundup, purely because I often forget. However, I felt the urge to do one for the month of May because I feel that I have to speak out about a few things, and what better way to do it than in a roundup post! #KillTwoBirdsWithOneStone

So, what happened in May?

The highlights!

– TWG was involved in 52 blog tours, the highest amount of blog tours in one month, ever!
– I met up with author, Mary-Jayne Baker, in Edinburgh for bookish chat.
– My TWG Facebook page  hit 1602 likes!
– I went over 5000 followers on Twitter, despite starting with around 100 or so when I started blogging two years ago.
– I found myself being quoted yet another book cover (thanks Bookouture!), as well as being quoted on Amazon itself!
– I received so many wonderful proof copies through the post, as well as being approved for other many awesome books on Netgalley. Big thank you to the publishers/publicists who have either sent me books or approved me. You’re all amazing!
– I have had many wonderful bookish chats with my fellow book buddies on social media – love you all!

There have been, I’m sure, many other highlights but it is quite difficult to remember them all when you make yourself do so! Like most things, there is always a downside:

The Lowlights.

May was the month where I was trolled on social media not once, but twice in the matter of one week. Now, despite being told that other people have had similar and just to ignore, for me that isn’t easy and I’ll tell you why. From the age of five, I was horrifically bullied, tormented for the hair on my arms to how I spoke, being pushed into brick walls to then having a metal sellotape holder slammed down on my knuckles. I was even told that I was fat day in, day out, where I ended up battling with anorexia and bulimia. Whilst I would love to say that the bullied ended quickly, it didn’t. For some, comments on social media are like water off a ducks back. But for me, when they come across as personal attacks, similar circumstances or not, I find them to be a trigger. It isn’t nice because it then sets off my mental health which in turn sets off my chronic illnesses. Thankfully I have drawn a line under that, but I just wanted to speak about that.

Another lowlight in May involved the entire blogging community and the idea of ‘paid reviews’. I won’t get into it again, but I am sick and tired of hard working bloggers getting thrown under the bus by people who can waltz in without giving a damn about integrity or hard work. I don’t charge for my book reviews, and I don’t intend on doing so. I review because I love books and because I feel that I am forever in authors debts for writing books which allow me to escape my daily hell. And yes, it is often hell.

Again, another one which involved the entire book blogging community was when it became known that someone was selling ARCs/proof copies on Ebay. The fact that it says somewhere on the proof ‘not to be resold or used for quotation’, is neither here nor there…..clearly. Seriously, receiving proof copies from publishers/publicists is an honour and I feel privileged to be able to receive some amazing books through my letter box. Would I then go on to sell them on Ebay? Like fuck would I. Respect is earned, not given. Respect isn’t an entitlement, it’s a privilege.

The following lowlight is a personal one for me and one which I have ummed and ahhed about saying. Those who know me personally, or those who have read my previous posts, will know that I am rather lacking in the ‘healthy’ area, with illnesses such as fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, joint hypermobility syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, IBS, anxiety and depression, under my belt. It’s bad enough dealing with all of that, but now, after years of battling with doctors who told me it was ‘all in my head’ and being looked at like I had two heads, I am now being treated for CFS otherwise known as ME. I was also put on a new medication, one which isn’t going to become my bestie anytime soon that’s for sure (amitriptyline). Coming to terms with yet another illness at the ripe ‘old’ age of 28 is heart-breaking, and once again I’m left feeling like I am grieving a part of me now gone. Although to be fair, I’m surprised that there is anything left of ‘me’ to grieve but y’know! I want to say a personal thank you to a person who has been checking in with my every few days despite going through their own issues, and that big thank you is for Abbie Rutherford – your friendship means a lot to me, thank you for being there for me <3.

Enough of the lowlights, lets talk books!

With 52 blog tours in one month, I got through quite a lot of books in May such as:

#Review – The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton (@bookish_yogi) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – One Summer in Rome by Samantha Tonge (@SamTongeWriter) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – What Holly’s Husband Did by Debbie Viggiano (@DebbieViggiano) @Bookouture

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Lead Me Home by CS Savage (@sarahsavage26) @BloodhoundBook

#BlogTour! #Review – The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @RaRaResources @HarperImpulse

#BlogTour! #Review – #SunshineandSweetPeas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain) @simonschusteruk

& many, many more.

It is such an honour to be involved in the blog tours/blog blitzes for incredible books, so thank you to the publishers who invite me to take part!

If I did have to choose just one book from May, it would have to be ‘The Gravity of Love’ by Noelle Harrison. That book blew my mind like nothing before, plus I managed to make the author AND the publishing team cry with my review. I loved everything about the book and everything it stood for, and I am sure that you will too. In case you missed my review the first time round, you can read it again here:

#BlogTour! #Review – The Gravity of Love by Noelle Harrison (@NoelleHarrison) @bwpublishing

The Writing Garnet is going from strength to strength and I can only thank you all for supporting me along my journey, sharing my blog posts/tweets, inviting me on tours, and involving me in a community that sometimes I don’t feel worthy enough to be in. It is such a joy to be able to share my love of books with you all, so thank you <3.

What’s coming up in June?

As it stands, I have 40 blog tours in my diary for this month already. I expect that to go up when I realise that I have included all of the tours by forgetting to write some of them down (it happens, but I do post them on time!). We are on the 5th June and I will have taken part in 11 blog tours by the end of today. Insane, but amazing. I don’t have many other bookish plans for June at the moment, well, apart from the usual, but I am looking forward to reading some fabulous books!

Lots of love and books,

TWG x

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#BlogTour! #Review – Pretty Little Things by T.M.E.Walsh (@tmewalsh) @HQDigitalUK

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Woot – kicking off another blog tour this afternoon, but this time it’s for ‘Pretty Little Things’ by T.M.E.Walsh! Thank you to HQDigital UK for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

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It’s bad when the girls go missing.

It’s worse when the girls are found.

Six months ago, Charlotte almost lost everything. Now, she’s determined to keep her daughter, Elle, safe. So when local girls close to Elle in age and appearance begin to go missing, it’s her worst nightmare.

Charlotte’s fears are confirmed when a frantic search becomes a shocking murder investigation. The girls’ bodies have been found – half-buried, and with traces of mud and wildflowers under their fingernails.

As Charlotte’s obsession with keeping her daughter close pushes her marriage to the brink, local DI Madeleine Wood embarks on a gruelling search for the killer. And, as they dig deeper into the lives of the people they call friends and neighbours, they uncover secrets more terrible than they ever imagined…

What does TWG think?

Ohhhhhh my word! I’m not afraid of gruesome novels by any means, but this one is Gruesome with a capital G! Four young girls went missing, and now four young girls have been found. Dead. With the formal identification of the bodies taking place, locals (as well as the Police) have their fingers crossed that they aren’t the bodies of the missing girls. But they are. Who in their right mind would kill four young girls, then put them in a place where the killer knows that they will be found sooner rather than later?

Local parents are keeping their daughters close to them after recent events, but with the teenagers not taking the situation seriously, the safety of their daughters become an obsession rather than a necessity. Can the police find out the truth? Will the police find the killer before they find another body? Time is of the essence…

I am so, so, so glad that I wasn’t eating whilst reading this book as oh em gee, the storyline is severely dark and twisted! The killer wanted to describe how he murdered the girls as they were proud of their ‘achievement’ as it were. I on the other hand, would have felt a lot less nauseous if the descriptions didn’t then turn into such vivid imagery in my head! I’m not complaining, obviously, but it is very gruesome.

It has been a while since I have read a novel which completely funked over my head, so when ‘Pretty Little Things’ completely funked over my head more than once, I was over the moon in such a weird, weird way. The psychological element of this book was on point! So many dead ends leading to unanswered questions, with the author dropping red herrings left right and centre to keep the readers on their toes; I felt like I was constantly going round in circles! I had no idea who or what to believe, all I wanted to know was who killed those girls.

I felt sorry for Charlotte several times as her life recently hadn’t exactly been plain sailing. To be honest, her life had actually been wobbling on the edge – she nearly lost everything and the aftermath was still causing her multiple problems in her every day life, as well as her relationships with her husband and daughter. It must have been tough for Charlotte, that’s for sure!

Reading ‘Pretty Little Things’ was like being on a roundabout from start to finish. The theme of the book may have been highly disturbing and very graphic, yet it worked incredibly well with the high level of intensity. Without giving anything away, there was a part of T.M.E.Walsh’s novel which BLEW MY MIND! Totally unexpected. Extremely shocking. And by golly was it addictive. That part came out of nowhere, taking the shock value of the storyline away above the clouds. I would love to write ‘OMGGGGGGG YOU MUST READ THE PART WHEREEEEE’ but I can’t, so please do trust me when I say that you need to expect the unexpected with ‘Pretty Little Things’ as there are tons of discoveries to be made along the way.

Jaw-dropping, spine tingling, disturbingly graphic yet unbelievably addictive, ‘Pretty Little Things’ will make you dizzy with excitement, whilst also keeping you on your toes until the very end. I may have been way out of my comfort zone with this book, but I can assure you that T.M.E.Walsh has now found another fan and I cannot wait to read more from this author if ‘Pretty Little Things’ is anything to go by!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Sister Swap by Fiona Collins (@FionaJanebooks) @HQDigitalUK

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New month and I get the honour of kicking off a blog tour! Huge thanks to HQDigitalUK for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Two sisters. Two very different lives…

Meg simply doesn’t have time for men in her life. Instead, she has a strictly one-date rule, survives on caffeine and runs one of the biggest model agencies from her smart office in London. That is, until she collapses one day at work and the doctor orders her to take some R&R in the country…

Sarah is used to being stuck behind tractors and the slow pace of her cosy village life. But now her children are all grown-up (and her ex-husband long forgotten) she’s ready to change things up a bit – starting with taking back her old job in the city!

After a devastating falling out, the sisters haven’t spoken in years. Swapping houses, cars, everything is the only option – surely they’ll be able to avoid bumping into each other?

What does TWG think?

I probably won’t be the first one to say this, and I’m probably not going to be the last either, but the concept of ‘The Sister Swap’ really intrigued me. Sounded familiar I have to admit, but still intrigued me nonetheless. 

Two sisters with two very different lifestyles. Meg is a workaholic who lives and breathes her job and, should you ever choose to cut her in half, she would no doubt have her job running through her like a stick of rock. Sarah however, hasn’t worked since goodness knows when as she has been bringing up her children on her lonesome. But, now that her children are all grown up with lives of their own, Sarah has decided that she wants to do something for herself…by getting a job…in London….where she would need the help of a sister she hasn’t spoken to in years.

The overall premise of ‘The Sister Swap’ was fun, witty and very enjoyable to read. However, there were parts of the book which I couldn’t seem to quite get my head round. I mean, Sarah and Meg haven’t spoken for many, many years and now they’re suddenly calling each other up asking for a favour? Plus, why haven’t they spoken for years? There are a lot of members of my family who I haven’t spoken to for ever ten years, and the last thing I would do is phone them up asking for a favour. Personally, I couldn’t work that bit out at all.

I did enjoy the fact that the two sisters were able to enjoy different lives in ways that they never would have dreamt about doing before the swap, especially as I was able to see different sides to Meg and Sarah’s personalities. In no time at all, the sisters went from being stuck in rut and quite snobby, to being relatable and more open minded. Thus equalling a more likeable pair.

On their own, Meg and Sarah’s stories were quite funny, electric, and often quite heart-warming, but put them together and I become confused as they really are chalk and cheese.

‘The Sister Swap’ is a heart-warming and thought-provoking read, and I did enjoy the witty one liners, especially from Meg. For me, however, the finer details of the storyline aren’t as fine tuned as I would have hoped. That said, ‘The Sister Swap’ will be an ideal read to lose yourself in once the threatening thunderstorm hits later today!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli by Portia MacIntosh (@PortiaMacIntosh) @HQDigitalUK

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Day three of the ‘Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli’ blog tour is with me, TWG! I adore Portia MacIntosh’s novels, so when I received the e-mail about this little beauty, I just knew that I had to read it. Did it disappoint? You’ll have to read my review to find out! Big thanks to HQ for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book.

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Lily Holmes is ready for a fresh start. And there’s no better place to begin again than the idyllic seaside town of Marram Bay.

All Lily wants to do is focus on making her new deli a success and ensuring her son’s happiness. Not the postcard creeping out of her handbag, and definitely not finding a new man in her life!

But this isn’t going to be as easy as she first thought. The town is in uproar about the city girl who’s dared to join them and she’s fighting a battle at every turn.

Perhaps with a little help from the gorgeous cider farmer next door, she may be able to win them over, but her past secrets threaten to ruin everything…

What does TWG think?

SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES. STANDING ON THEIR OWN TWO FEEEEEEET!

Ohhhhhh my goodness me – what a refreshing read this is! Being a single mum myself, of  course I am going to zoom in on those parts of the storyline, especially due to the way the author wrote them.

Many books I have recently which have featured a single mum or two, have made us single mums’ out to be whining, negative women who aren’t good role models to our children. This book however, did the complete opposite. Whilst I am incredibly proud to be a single mum, after reading Portia MacIntosh’s new book, I felt even more proud to be one. Not only did MacIntosh celebrate single mums with her main character, Lily, she also showed all the haters that bringing up a child on your own is something to be proud of in more ways than one. This author didn’t patronise us, nor did she make us out to be a negative thing. Instead, she embraced us by allowing her character to kick all of the haters bottoms. For that alone, I want to thank Portia MacIntosh for writing a story which shows single mums in a positive way – it’s refreshing to see an author thinking for themselves where this topic is concerned.

So, Lily wants a new start for reasons which aren’t clear to us readers at the start. Her son’s happiness is at the forefront of her mind, but so is being able to lock the door on the past. However, with the locals going out of their way to alienate Lily and Frankie from the town before they have even unpacked their belongings, Lily’s ‘fresh start’ looks to backfire before it has even properly begun. Even though Lily is determined to do things on her own without the help of a man, when her new neighbour comes to help her out, she knows it would be incredibly rude to say ‘thanks but no thanks’, especially when he is too hot to trot. The neighbour, not his llama (of course). 

It’s amazing how much animosity one deli can cause. Or is the animosity radiating from her new visitor who likes the water the ground with his self attached hose? Who knows!

Hand on heart, if you were to ask me to tell you one negative thing about this book, I couldn’t reply. It’s not that I’m afraid of saying negative things, it’s because I genuinely cannot think of anything negative to say. Portia MacIntosh really has outdone herself with the content of ‘Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli’. From start to finish I was  gripped by such a refreshingly brilliant storyline which just kept on given. Even though the storyline contained more laugh out loud moments than serious moments, the author still managed to give the more serious situations the same amount of attention. Portia MacIntosh is known to make me snort drink from my nose, but when the vibe of the storyline changed to accommodate a stressful situation for Lily, MacIntosh delivered the sombre moments with the gritty oomph that they rightly deserved. Okay, she did include some things which did make me laugh out loud and visualise things when, being perfectly honest, I would have preferred NOT to, but it all worked very well together and I cannot fault the delivery of the theme in any way shape or form.

I LOVED every single thing about this book, so much so I had to wipe a stray tear from my eye when I reached the end (er, I think it was a stray tear, either that or the sweat from the 37573838 degrees outside was dripping down my face). I have everything crossed that ‘Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli’ is the start of a brand new series, but if it’s not, I hope MacIntosh can feel MY LOOK radiating through this blog post as a ‘wtf, get on with it’. Although, seeing as my daughter loves the fact the author has included a Shopkin name in her title (apple blossom), I cannot wait to see what Shopkin name you’ll manage to put into the second book in the series – there had better be a second book!

Such a hilarious, unique, refreshingly brilliant, and addictive read which will tickle your taste buds more than Shirley Valentine like her ahems tickled until Friday. I urge you all to go and read this – you will be missing out on a beaut of a book if you don’t!

Buy now from Amazon!

#BlogBlitz! #Review – One Summer in Rome by Samantha Tonge (@SamTongeWriter) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

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Happy publication day, Samantha Tonge, and ‘One Summer in Rome’! I am delighted to be taking part in the publication day blitz for Samantha’s novel by sharing my review. Big thanks to Rachel for the tour invite, and HQDigitalUK for the ARC.

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To Rome…with love?

Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a
one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.
Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the
utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love
with the bustling capital!

Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems
displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for
long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…

What does TWG think?

I took a lot away from ‘One Summer in Rome’, a lot more than I expected actually, and yes that is a good thing!

First of all, let me give this book cover a bit of loving’ – how gorgeous does that look by the way! I can almost feel the heat radiating from the sunshine. Now, I have never been to Italy and, whilst it has been a dream of mine to go, I feel as though I took a trip to the Italian capital thanks to Samantha Tonge and her latest offering.

Mary Smith hasn’t had an easy life. She’s been pushed from pillar to post for as long as she can remember, but due to the fact that her scars are still raw, Mary knows that she needs to do something drastic before her life runs away without her. Some people may get an image overhaul or enrol in further education to get into their dream career. Some, yes. Mary however, no. What does she go and do? Purchases a one way ticket to Rome to work in a family pizzeria business. Drastic? Perhaps. Ideal? Damn right! There’s nothing like changing your life by visiting a new country with everything crossed that you can make a new life over there. I thought she was brave although a little bonkers! Good on her though!

It didn’t take too long for the idyllic, Italian lifestyle Mary so badly craved, to take her under its wing. It also didn’t take long for Mary to realise that working in a family run business wasn’t all homely and cosy as she first thought. It was clear that several of her new colleagues had their own challenges that they had to battle on a daily basis and, whilst Mary knew that it wasn’t her business to pry, she couldn’t help but lend an ear to any member of her new Italian family. The only thing was, who was going to take it?

Whilst part of me thought that this book was going to be an easy-read (in a good way), it actually turned out to be an easy-read with such intense depth, I’m surprised the wind wasn’t blown out of my sails. No, that is not a negative, it’s a bloomin’ good thing! I never expected the storyline to have a serious side to it. Yes it caught me off guard, but because I was surprised by the path the storyline chose to take, I found that certain events shocked me in more of an emotional manner than just an ‘omg what?!’ manner.

Dante is such an inspirational character. To be honest, they all are. Each character had their own story to tell due to what they had been through or were currently going through, and I found that the difference in dynamic between each of the characters was absolutely fantastic to read. It just worked one hundred percent. I am in awe at how many hurdles Samantha Tonge managed to create for her characters, whilst also describing each character’s situation with such sensitivity, realism, and empathy. I am sure it took a lot of research to nail so many different situations, but it certainly paid off that’s for sure!

If I were to write about each individual thing that resonated with me, I would be here a while and get my wrists slapped for spoilers. A lot of ‘One Summer in Rome’ warmed my heart, made me feel emotional, whilst also managing to breathe a new life in me that I thought was long gone. One part in particular made me feel like breaking down. Not because I was sad or anything, but because the talk about ‘being your own hero’ resonated with me on multiple levels and allowed me to feel like I had been given my own special pair of wings to be a hero. Yes, mine and the characters situations are completely different, but I couldn’t help but put the ‘be your own hero’ under lock and key in my heart.

‘One Summer in Rome’ took me on a trip of a lifetime, rocked my emotions like a boat on choppy seas, whilst also filling my heart with heroic and special love like never before. Samantha Tonge has written a truly inspirational, memorable, energising, and beautiful read which I will hold very dear for a long, long time.

I really do feel that this author has outdone herself with her latest novel. Whilst Samantha Tonge does state that you need to be your own hero, I can safely say that, thanks to her timeless literary skills and huggable way of writing, she is now my hero for making me feel like I can be a hero.

Buy now!

About the author.

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat who
thinks it’s a dog. When not writing she spends her days cycling, willing
cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short
stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting
Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook
award in 2014. Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won
the Best Romantic Ebook category at the 2015 Love Stories Awards.

Links

Twitter // Facebook // Website

#BlogTour! #Review – Who Needs Men Anyway? by Victoria Cooke (@VictoriaCooke10) @HQDigitalUK

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I am super excited to be closing Victoria Cooke’s blog tour for ‘Who Needs Men Anyway?’! Huge thanks to HQDigitalUK for allowing me to take part in the blog tour and for allowing me to recieve an ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Don’t get mad, get even…

Thirty-something Charlotte’s Emsworth’s life is a sickeningly perfect round of charity events, hot yoga, and romantic gestures for sexy lawyer husband James. But, patiently waiting to get pregnant, Charlotte is bored. And when she’s bored, she has a tendency to meddle…

First, it’s her personal trainer Megan’s cheating fiancé, then the gardener Sam’s wife’s ‘late nights at the office’. But soon the meddling, however well-intentioned, lands Charlotte in way over her head, and all the time spent ‘managing’ other people’s lives makes her blind to the cracks appearing in her own…

Getting even is one thing, but what about getting happy?

What does TWG think?

As soon as I realised that this book contained a character with the name ‘James’, I burst out laughing, especially when it became clear that Charlotte was going to get her own back on James. Why did I laugh? I know, typing this now makes it all seem a bit childish BUT, seeing as I have an ex called James myself and is as much of an asshat as the James in this book, my mind started to get revenge. How daft am I! Look, Charlotte isn’t the most loveable character at first, nor is she a very relatable one, but that doesn’t excuse James’ behaviour in the slightest. I kept thinking what I would do if i were in Charlotte’s position, hence why i find it a bit funny. Let’s be clear for one second though – I don’t find his antics funny, i find the similarities between my ex and this character funny.

I did get a little bit annoyed with Charlotte’s interfering, and wasn’t at all surprised when things got a little too much in return. It was just a shame that Charlotte felt the need to involve herself in other people’s lives, just to create a bit of excitement in her own.

That said, when Charlotte started to show a different side to her personality later on in the book, my opinion of her changed greatly as she became a much more relatable character to warm up to.

I loved how Victoria Cooke showed characters who seemed determined to live their lives without the input of a male companion as it brought the whole ‘sisterhood’ theme to a brand new level. Okay, there were times where I just wanted the scorned characters to get on with it and hit the other party where it hurt instead of spending the time bitching, however, with the likes of Kate to keep the momentum of the storyline going, I soon forgot the lack of urgency with the characters revenge. Just goes to show how differently people react to certain situations.

Sisters are definitely doing it for themselves in ‘Who Needs Men Anyway?’! Well, sisters from another mister but lets not get pedantic about it! I loved the overall theme of this book, and I loved how much strength Victoria Cooke gave to Charlotte later on in the storyline without making those ‘types’ of people out to be the world’s worst women. Vague, I know, but when you read the book it will make a bit more sense and you will understand where I am coming from with this bit. TWG doesn’t do spoilers!!

‘Who Needs Men Anyway?’ is a laugh out loud, modern, relatable and one hundred percent SASS-TASTIC. Yet another addictive enchanting novel from an author who is ‘just like us’, Victoria Cooke.

P.S – I SO want a unicorn car….

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! Re-posting my #Review – 88 North by J.F.Kirwan (@kirwanjf) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources

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Super excited to have the opportunity to re-post my review of J.F.Kirwan’s ’88 North’ as part of the blog tour organised by RaRaResources! A fantastic book – I can’t recommend it enough! Here is my review:

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The deadliest kind of assassin is one who is already dying…

As the radiation poisoning that Nadia Laksheva was exposed to in Chernobyl takes hold of her body, she knows she has mere weeks to live. But Salamander, the terrorist who murdered her father and sister has a deadly new plan to ‘make the sky bleed’. Nadia is determined to stop him again, even if it is the last thing she ever does.

The only clue she has are the coordinates 88˚ North, a ridge in the Arctic right above one of the largest oil fields in the world, three thousand metres below the ice. If Salamander takes hold of the oil field, he could change the climate of the whole planet for generations to come…

But can Nadia stop him before her own time runs out?

The gripping third and final novel in J.F. Kirwan’s brilliant spy thriller series. Perfect for fans of Charles Cumming, Mark Dawson and Adam Brookes.

What does TWG think?

If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be hooked on a spy thriller series, I would have laughed in your face. I have never really paid much attention to, nor had much interest in, spy novels. I’ve always thought of them as ‘boy novels’, stupidly. So, when I was approached to read J.F.Kirwan’s previous novel ’37 Hours’, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take a running leap out of my comfort zone, to read J.F.Kirwan’s novel. Of course I thought to myself, ‘nahhhhh, I won’t like it’, yet I was pleasantly surprised when I absolutely flipping loved it. Because of that, my excitement to read ’88 North’ was through the roof. Would Nadia complete what she set out to do? Would Salamander STILL rule the roost? So many questions, so little time. I would be lying if I said that my heart wasn’t in my mouth the entire time – because it was.

Once again J.F.Kirwan has written such a complex, intense and jaw dropping storyline, which makes talking about this book even more difficult as each event in the storyline is linked with another one, therefore not only would the chances of giving away one piece of information be extremely high, the chances of giving away multiple pieces of information are through the roof. I don’t wish to be the person who gives away an entire storyline, yet I would love to be able to shout about this book and say, ‘WHAT ABOUT THE PART WHEN…….’. Seriously.

Seeing as it had been a little while between reading the books in the series, it did take me a little while to get back into the swing of the storyline. That said, I guess you could read this book as a standalone. But in my personal opinion, I would advise you to grab the previous two books before you read this one just so that you can read all of the events in order, and so that you know each of the main characters back stories.

Reading ’88 North’ really was bittersweet as whilst I was super excited about delving into the book, I was gutted that as soon as I came to the last page, the series was now at an end. I didn’t want it to finish but I whole heartedly understand that Nadia’s story had to be left somewhere, and that carrying it on could weaken the overall feel of the storyline.

I’m not sure whether it was just me, but I found this storyline to contain a lot more gore than the previous book and, whilst I would usually shy away from that sort of thing, all of the blood and gore fit one hundred percent. In all honesty, I don’t think the storyline would have made such an impact on me if it contained no elements of gore. It needed all of that to bring Nadia’s story to life even more, as weird as that sounds but I’m hoping that that makes sense to a lot of you.

J.F.Kirwan has quickly become one of my all-time favourite authors with his dark, gritty, suspenseful and utterly incredibly storylines. If it wasn’t for this author, I don’t think that I would have dared to step outside of my comfort zone to read, and fall in love with (as weird as that sounds) with this spy thriller series. I could not put this book down and to be perfectly honest, I really didn’t want to either.

Jaw-droppingly brilliant, ’88 North’ is the icing on the cake where Nadia Laksheva is concerned. A brilliant finale to a phenomenal series, I would recommend this book, and the series, time and time again.

Outstanding!!!

Buy now from Amazon UK.

Author Bio

J. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having
worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

Author links:

Website // Twitter // Facebook

#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?

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees by Rebecca Raisin (@jaxandwillsmum) @HQDigitalUK

LittlePerfumeShop_BlogTour
Apologies for my lateness, BUT, I am super honoured to be kicking off Rebecca Raisin’s blog tour today for her fragrant, upcoming novel, ‘The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees’. Big thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

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What is French for falling in love?

When Del leaves small town America to compete in a perfume competition in Paris, she thinks it is just the next step on her five-year-plan. It’s an exciting opportunity. What started out as just a dream for Del and her twin sister is nearly in her grasp. If she wins this competition, they are on their way to opening their very own perfume boutique!

Arriving in Paris, watching the sun glinting off the Seine and wandering the Champs-Elysees, Del discovers the most perfect perfumery she’s ever seen. Yet, as the competition dawns Del realises that whilst she might have had the best nose in her small village, her competitors seem to know more than she could ever have dreamed. This competition isn’t going to be easy…

Del has the romance of Paris to sweep her away from her worries, but as the competition heats up, so does her desire for that which she cannot have! If only the dashing owner Sébastien didn’t smell so seductive, look so handsome and make her heart flutter like it never has before. They say love smells as sweet as a red rose in bloom, but Del would tell anyone that true love can’t be bottled – it’s beautiful and unique to everyone…even herself. With everything on the line for her future, can Del really let a little attraction get in the way of securing her dreams?

What does TWG think?

What a book!

I’m sorry to say that it did take me a chapter or two to get into the swing of things, but once I did, I felt like I was walking on air! The vivid imagery the author put into my mind with her outstanding descriptions was jut beautiful. I truly felt as though I was in Paris, soaking up the atmosphere and being surrounded by such mind blowing fragrances.

Del is taking part in a perfume competition, but is the competition all what it seems or did someone put a dash too much lavender in a recipe? Dell has wanted to turn her dream into a reality for years, keeping the memory of her grandmother alive as she went. But, the more she thought about the competition, the more she over thought the tasks she had to partake in. Can being in a bad mood really make a perfume go wrong? And can feeling loved create the most wonderful perfume? Del is determined to find out…

I could tell that Del had the hots for Sébastien almost right away!! For a woman who was so adamant that love wasn’t going to feature in her perfumes due to never truly feeling what romance actually is, she soon changed her mind the moment her mentor came into view. She was like a love sick puppy, no wonder she couldn’t concentrate!!

This book was such a pleasure to read, keeping me entertained until the very last page. I really didn’t want it to end and I felt that the book concluded rather abruptly. It was as though the last chapter was on fast forward. I wanted to stay with Del a bit longer – there is so much more to find out about that character, as well as Sébastien’s, I am hoping that Rebecca Raisin will take them on another journey in another novel!

Such a fun, warm, laugh out loud novel, Rebecca Raisin certainly knows how to paint a picture in her readers minds, whilst also keeping their hearts warm like a little hot water bottle!

‘The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees’ will be published on the 30th March but can be pre-order now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans (@Be_the_spark) @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT

little wedding
FINALLLYYYYYYY it’s TWG’s turn on Jaimie Admans’ blog tour! -does happy dance-. I have been waiting for her new book since the moment I finished her previous one! It gives me great pleasure to review ‘The Little Wedding Island’ today, I hope you enjoy reading my review as much as I enjoyed reading the book!

The Little Wedding Island-HQ
‘Will you… pretend to marry me?’
Bonnie Haskett loves everything about weddings. She loves her job at a national
bridal magazine and even has a deposit down on her dream dress. The only problem?
She doesn’t have a fiancé!

So when Bonnie is sent to Edelweiss Island, known as ‘The Little Wedding Island’,
it’s a dream come true. She’s heard the rumours, every wedding that takes place in the
tiny chapel ends in a happy-ever- after.

But there’s a catch! Investigating the story, Bonnie needs to pose as a blushing bride –
and the only man up for posing as her groom is her arch rival (and far too handsome
for his own good) journalist Rohan Carter…

What does TWG think?

Are you a fan of all things romance, going to weddings, and go ‘awwwwww!’ when you see a couple in love?

Or, are you against all things wedding, despise romance and would rather stick pins in your eyes instead of embarking on another relationship?

Two main characters, two completely different outlooks on romance. Even though there is a small part of me that would love to be in a relationship and be with someone who truly loves me and who I truly love, I have to say that I was leaning more towards Rohan’s character at first as his outlook was pretty similar to mine. I haven’t been planning my wedding since I was still in the womb, hell, I don’t even want to get married. I would never do a Rohan though and publicly slate a wedding – I’m not that nasty! Plus, unlike Rohan, I don’t actually want to stick pins in my eyes instead of entering a relationship for two reasons; 1) I don’t like putting things in my eyes and 2) I DON’T LIKE PUTTING THINGS IN MY EYES!

Now Bonnie on the other hand, well, she loves love and everything it stands for, yet she just cannot find seem to find her own lobster, bless her! When her boss sends her to an Island dedicated to all things romance, Bonnie can’t quite believe her luck. Personally, I thought the Island was so like ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’, I was half expecting MoonFace and Silky to work in one of the shops on the Island! That isn’t a negative thing by the way, I love that book!

I could not stop laughing at this storyline from the get go! I was only a couple of percent in when I found myself snorting like a pig, unable to contain my laughter. Jaimie Admans’ one liners in this book are top notch and, whilst some of them may make you think ‘what the hell…..!!’, it would be really difficult not to sit there with tears streaming down your face due to the hilarity. Bloomin’ brilliant!!

I was a little bit weary about reading Admans’ second novel as I had loved her debut so much, I just know that I would have been disappointed if this one didn’t live up to my expectations. But it did. Oh boy, it really did. Two storylines written by the same author, yet both considerably different in their own ways, I couldn’t actually tell you which one was my favourite!

I thought the whole ‘pretending to be engaged’ thing hilarious, especially because of what happens afterwards with the characters. I could just imagine their faces!

Even though I began reading this book with a similar outlook to Rohan’s, I actually found myself finishing the book with a similar views to both Bonnie AND Rohan. Maybe ‘The Little Wedding Island’ is magic after all!

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED every single thing about this book from its daft characters to its laugh out loud dog, from its storyline ladened with romance to its negative outlooks due to romance – everything. Jaimie Admans’ is an author I know that I’ll be able to read time and time again, and never become bored with anything that she writes. Her humour is insanely brilliant, delivered flawlessly throughout the entire book like its meant to be there. Not forced humour. Natural humour.

If you look up at the night sky when it is full of stars, just think that even that amount of stars wouldn’t be a high enough rating for my thoughts on ‘The Little Wedding Island’. Nowhere near.

‘The Little Wedding Island’ is a laugh out loud, romantic, and cosy read which puts a modern and hilarious spin on ‘The Sound of Music’ and an Enid Blyton classic (well, in my opinion!). I really do hope the author hurries up with book three as I am having bad withdrawal symptoms already.

What a belter of a book this is. I urge every single one of you to go and purchase this book right now – you really won’t regret it!

Amazon UK // Amazon US // Kobo
Also available from all other ebook retailers.

Giveaway!!

Giveaway Prizes
The Little Wedding Island themed goodie bag:
 The Little Wedding Island notebook
 The Little Wedding Island fridge magnet
 A signed postcard
 In honour of Puffin the dog, a pug fountain pen
 In honour of Edelweiss Island, a copy of The Sound of Music on DVD
 A ‘grow your own’ Edelweiss flower kit in a tin

Enter the giveaway now!

About the author.

Jaimie is a 32-year- old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to- spell name.
She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and
drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She
loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got
the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese &amp; onion crisps.
She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.
She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters,
The Little Wedding Island, and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult
romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform
School.

Author links:

Website
Twitter
Facebook