#BlogTour! #Review – ‘Tis the Season to be Single by Laura Ziepe (@lauraziepe) @HQDigitalUK

As soon as I saw the cover of Laura Ziepe’s novel, ‘Tis the season to be Single, on social media, I just knew I had to read it! Many thanks to HQDigitalUK for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Rachel is in shock. She was sure that her boyfriend was about to propose – not break up with her! Even worse, it turns out he’s been cheating on her…

Grace can’t bear the thought of spending another Christmas with her lazy, unappreciative husband. Surely it’s time to shake things up a bit?

Amber knows she should be happy that her best friend Jack is getting married, but there’s a little part of her that can’t help think ‘it was always meant to be me’!

With Christmas fast approaching, surely there’s no better time to be single – yet will the three friends manage to keep their promise and ban all men until the New Year?

What does TWG think?

Oh this is super fun!! I have to admit that I was a little bit apprehensive at first because i just couldn’t work out what everyone’s fixation with being in a relationship was! I know that some people don’t like being single, but just because some don’t, it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to. Plus, why should there be emphasis on a woman needing a man to make her complete?

Anyway, before I go off on a rant, I am so pleased that Laura Ziepe allowed her characters to take a step back from relationships to find out where they truly fit in. Okay, one of her characters didn’t really have a choice (even if he did do her a favour, I mean what a bleeeeeep!!!), another character realised that she deserved better than to mother her husband who is more than capable of sticking his smelly boxers in the wash, and then there was the third character who would rather slap and tickle at an allotted time.

So you see, these three women all have their own outlooks on relationships, and they all have their own way of coping when things go baubles up. I adored the girl power element to the book and the whole sisterhood vibe – it certainly made a change rather than reading a book where all the women are knocking each other down with their Manolo Blahniks knock offs.

‘Tis the season to be single, is the type of story which doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Yes, it does have a few dramatic moments combined with some which require the reader to be a bit more empathetic than usual, but there is the perfect balance between all of that and the festivities.

Laura Ziepe made me giggle for a large portion of the book, certainly not disappointing me with her storyline that I was so excited to read. This is such a feel good, cosy Christmas read which shows readers that sometimes taking a step back and seeing things not covered in tinsel can help you realise that you too deserve to be the star of the Christmas tree.

A fun, festive and fabulous read – I cannot wait to read more from Laura Ziepe!!

Buy now from Amazon

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#BlogTour! #Review – Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner (@ronnie__turner) @HQDigitalUK

Apologies for the late one this evening, however, I am absolutely DELIGHTED to be welcoming blogger turned debut author, Ronnie Turner to TWG tonight as I review her debut novel!!! I am so, so proud of her! Many thanks to HQ for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review of ‘Lies Between Us’:

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together  with devastating consequences . . .

 John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

 Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

 Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he cant have.

 They all have something in common, though none of them know it  and the truth wont stay hidden for long . . .

What does TWG think?

I cannot believe that I am reviewing Ronnie Turner’s debut novel! How exciting!!

I couldn’t help but be highly impressed by the complex intensity of this storyline. From the very beginning, Ronnie Turner created an element of suspense which was incredibly intense and very gritty.

For me personally, I ended up becoming very confused by all of the different characters, the different names, and the multiple throwbacks to the past. Usually I am okay with storylines which contain multiple characters, yet I felt as though I was missing something. It was as though there should have been another book before this one. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just easily confused (which wouldn’t surprise me!) as I ended up losing track of the storyline which made me struggle a bit.

However, I would say that the multiple characters weren’t so overwhelming in the last third of book and I pretty much had a lightbulb moment when things started to come together! I was so pleased that I was able to get into the swing of things, it made the whole thing even more enjoyable!

Despite my confusion, I cannot fault Ronnie Turner on her dark and twisted concept! I had tingles up and down my spine all the way through, and I would definitely say that this author has the skeleton of darkness and grit at the end of her fingertips, ready for another book.

A heart in mouth, chilling, pitch black read which made me severely nervous. A very promising debut novel – I’m really looking forward to reading that Ronnie Turner comes up with next.

Buy from Amazon UK

About the author.

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel.

Ronnie’s debut novel, Lies Between Us, will be published by HQ Digital in October 2018.

 

Twitter:@Ronnie_ _Turner

Facebook: @RonnieTurnerAuthor

Instagram: @ronnieturner8702

Website: www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/RonnieT

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke (@VictoriaCooke10) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources #Bookbirthday

The Holiday Cruise
Happy book birthday to ‘The Holiday Cruise’!!! A year down the line and I am STILL recommending this book to everyone who wants a feel-good, truly fabulous read. I said it a year ago, and I’m still saying it now – THERE NEEDS TO BE A SEQUEL!!! If you don’t believe me, read it – you really won’t be disappointed.

I have the pleasure of re-sharing my review of Victoria Cooke’s novel, so again I would like to say thank you to HQDigitalUK for the copy of the book, and thank you to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in today’s celebrations. Congratulations Victoria!

The Holiday Cruise Cover

The high seas are calling!

As if it weren’t enough to be cheated on by her husband of ten years, Yorkshire lass Hannah Davis is losing her beauty salon business too. Luckily, her big sister is there to pick up the pieces, but Hannah is desperate to find some independence.

Impulsively, Hannah applies for a spa job…on a cruise ship! Christmas in the Caribbean, springtime in the Mediterranean, what’s not to like? But, despite being in her thirties, Hannah has never done anything on her own before, and she’s terrified.

As the ship sets sail, Hannah has never been further from home…or closer to discovering who she is and who she wants to be.

What does TWG think?

Take me back to this cruise ship!! Have you ever been so caught up in a storyline and its characters that when the story does come to and end, it’s as though you have lost one of your arms, whilst also wanting to run back to the book with your arms wide open screaming; ‘I’m sorry I left youuuuuuu. I’m sorry I had to finish youuuuu’? For those of you who have read Victoria Cooke’s novel, I am sure you’ll be nodding your heads in agreement right now. For those who haven’t read Victoria Cooke’s novel, your answer to my question will also be a yes once you pick up this book and read it!

I’m not even joking. Finishing ‘The Holiday Cruise’ was like having to leave my mum at the school gates when I was little! All I wanted to do was run back! I wholeheartedly agree with reviewer Rachel Gilbey – there has to be a sequel for this! Even though the main situation in this book reached its natural conclusion, there is oodles amounts of ways for old characters to reappear and new ones to make their presence known when it comes to a follow on book. I would be utterly devastated if we didn’t go back to visit some of these characters, I really would.

It’s clear from the onset that Hannah is pretty much sitting with her whole life broken around her. Not only has her husband decided to cheat on her, she’s also losing her business to a rival company after her so-called friend decided to be a loofah. Charming eh! With the list of people she can trust safely on the back of a stamp, Hannah decides to jump ship (literally) by working on a cruise ship. Lucky beggar…

I wanted to squish Hannah almost straight away! So much rubbish for one person, how can those people live with themselves after such betrayal? I loved how a person who loved routine, decided to do something completely against her usual values, and went to work in a spa on a cruise ship. I mean, there’s grabbing life by the starboard, and then there’s grabbing life for the starboard! I think…(yes, THINK), I may have maybe (ahem) yelped out loud ‘YOU GO GIRL!!!!’ whilst reading this book. Take away the ‘think’ and the ‘maybe’ and there is a definite chance that I did just that. Luckily my daughter was in bed at the time so I didn’t have to face the Spanish Inquisition from a four-year old. Those things are brutal!!

I have never, ever been on a cruise ship before but I can tell you now, after reading ‘The Holiday Cruise’ I would book a cruise holiday in a jiffy if I had the money. I never realised just how much there was on a cruise ship, as well as being able to stop in certain countries along the way for a bit of sightseeing. To be honest, it felt like the author was on a cruise whilst writing the novel as everything came across so realistic, pristine and pretty amazing.

I also loved how, despite Hannah’s earlier personality reservations, as soon as she found her feet on the ship, she got stuck in like a woman on a mission. To see such a broken character come out of their shell in such a short space of time was pretty emotional. It was as though Hannah was being given a second chance in life to find happiness, yet it was the first chance to do something for herself. Certainly makes you think eh?

Obviously I’m not going to go into detail about everything I loved about the book as I will end up giving spoilers, and I like to pride myself in not ruining an authors work by giving spoilers! However, I’m just going to say…..

I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK
VICTORIA COOKE COME READ ME A BED TIME STORY!

I fell in love with ‘The Holiday Cruise’ the moment Hannah stepped onto the ship. Everything about this book blew me away whilst also making me feel emotional at the same time. Throughout the book I witnessed a character find herself, new-found friends finding the courage to come out of their shells and start afresh, as well as taking notice of the underlying message the storyline contained; there are good and bad times in life, but through the bad times you must always do what is right for YOU and nobody else. Life your life YOUR way and not the way someone else wishes you would live your life. Find the courage to do things you wouldn’t usually do. Take the time out to just be, without feeling guilty. Most of all, just live…

Victoria Cooke has written such a stunning, thought-provoking and loveable read. I genuinely wish that I could read ‘The Holiday Cruise’ for the first time, every time. It’s clear that I found parts of the storyline quite emotional, but I also managed to laugh out loud multiple times. ‘The Holiday Cruise’ truly is one of the best books I have read so far this year, with author Victoria Cooke, cruising her way into my all time favourite authors list.

A majestic, inspiring, heart-warming and confidence boosting storyline – which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, tears in your eyes, fire in your belly and love in your heart. Absolutely fantastic. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Victoria Cooke for writing a book I didn’t know I needed to read, but for also being one I know that I could never be without.

You can buy you very own copy of ‘The Holiday Cruise’ now from Amazon.

NEW BOOK NEWS!

If you haven’t seen the news on social media already, Victoria Cooke will be releasing her brand new novel, ‘It Started With A Note’ on the 2nd December.

If you wish to read more about it and pre-order your copy now, you can do so via Amazon

About the author.

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love’ in 2016.

Social Media Links

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

#BlogTour! #Review – He Will Find You by Diane Jeffrey (@dianefjeffrey) @HQDigitalUK


Day four of the ‘He Will Find You’ blog tour and the tour stops with me, TWG! Massive thank you to HQDigitalUK for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

No matter where you hide…

Kaitlyn Best is stuck in a rut. So when she discovers she’s pregnant after a one-night-stand with Alex, her school crush, she throws caution to the wind and accepts his offer to make a new life together in the depths of the Lake District, far from her home… and her demons.

He will find you.

But Alex is not what he seems. And when Kaitlyn’s world begins to crumble before her eyes, she realises she barely knows the man she has agreed to spend the rest of her life with.

Since Alex won’t tell her his secrets, Kaitlyn vows to find them out for herself. But when she uncovers the truth, she realises she has made a terrible mistake…

What does TWG think?

Anyone know a locksmith who can put 2385869483 locks on my door like….now?

Oh my goodness – what a book! I actually think that ‘He Will Find You’ might just be the fastest full length novel I have ever read. No joke. This bad boy was started and finished within about 2.5 hours – I just couldn’t put it down. What would happen to Kaitlyn if I did? I know, this is fiction, but after losing myself in Kaitlyn’s story and investing myself in her emotions, the line between reality and fiction was pretty much non-existent. As far as I was concerned, Alex was going to be knocking on my door any moment. He wasn’t….clearly! Most people end up regretting a one night stand and Kaitlyn is just another person to add to that list as, after her one night stand, she finds out she’s pregnant and does what she thinks is the right thing. She moves in with her one night stand, Alex.

I couldn’t help but feel off about the whole Alex situation from the very beginning, I just couldn’t put my finger on why. Some people may say that Alex seems to good to be true, yet I felt that he was hiding a lot more than he was letting on.

‘He Will Find You’ is such a rollercoaster ride of a read which gripped me from the very start. Kaitlyn’s life was rather difficult and uncomfortable to read at times, yet that created a much higher level of suspense and intensity, pulling me into the hard-hitting situations a lot quicker than I had anticipated.

Despite becoming extremely nervous and very uncomfortable, I couldn’t stop reading and I thought that Diane Jeffrey did an incredible job at creating characters who were both highly unlikeable, and highly likeable. Putting domestic abuse at the forefront of a storyline, in my opinion, is a very brave move as every single human being has an opinion on the subject whether they’re involved or not. I would like to think that readers will side with the victim in this instance and not to what society seems good at at the moment by victim shaming, but I would be very intrigued to see why anyone, if any, would side with the culprit. I am being very vague with my review as there is a lot of scenes in the storyline with twist in with various others, however, I knew very early on which side I was on.

‘He Will Find You’ is such a gripping, dark, twisted, and highly uncomfortable read which highlights Diane Jeffrey’s outstanding story telling in the way that it deserves – outstandingly. If you fancy a read which will leave you needing an oxygen mask and questioning your personal information, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – Strangers On A Bridge by Louise Mangos (@LouiseMangos) @HQDigitalUK

StrangersOnABridge_BlogTour3
Second blog tour for HQ today, this time I have the pleasure of closing the blog tour for Louise Mangos and ‘Strangers On A Bridge’. Big thanks to the team at HQ for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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She should never have saved him.

When Alice Reed goes on her regular morning jog in the peaceful Swiss Alps, she doesn’t expect to save a man from suicide. But she does. And it is her first mistake.

Adamant they have an instant connection, Manfred’s charming exterior grows darker and his obsession with Alice grows stronger.

In a country far from home, where the police don’t believe her, the locals don’t trust her and even her husband questions the truth about Manfred, Alice has nowhere to turn.

To what lengths will Alice go to protect herself and her family?

What does TWG think?

I really didn’t know what to think of the storyline at first. My opinion about Alice’s actions was surrounded by a big question mark as, whilst I thought it was admirable, I couldn’t help but wonder why she did it. Maybe it was her job which gave her the nudge to take that step towards a stranger? Maybe it was her own conscience which enable her to put one foot in front of the other towards a stranger? I don’t know. Personally, the concept of suicide is extremely cut throat due to my own dad committing suicide two years ago, and the fact that someone got saved from that was pretty surreal.  But honestly, how many of us would do that for a stranger? Our first instincts may be to say a big, fat yes, but would that outcome change if we were faced with that choice one day whilst we were minding our own business?

I expected the stranger’s reaction to be what it was, and I also had an inkling that they thought they were going to find their new BFF in Alice. However, what I didn’t foresee was the extent of the stranger’s actions – they seemed to go from nought to one hundred in the blink of an eye! I was very impressed by the intricate details that were woven flawlessly into the storyline, there were times where I even found myself thinking ‘errrrrrr come again?’. Unfortunately the stranger did in fact, come again, but the longer he had Alice in sight, the more determined the stranger seemed to become.

I probably shouldn’t say this, but the stranger’s personality intrigued me greatly as I just wanted to delve into his psyche to find out the root of his actions, that’s even if he knew them himself.

The more the story progressed, the more I became accustom to the rollercoaster ride that was Alice’s life. She became so…what’s the word…obsessed with the stranger, her logical thinking was well and truly clouded. Did she bring on the family rift herself? Or did she end up unknowingly becoming the person she tries to stop her clients from becoming?

I loved the psychological aspect to ‘Strangers On The Bridge’ as it is a subject that greatly interests me, so I was very engrossed in how the author managed to make that theme the forefront of her storyline as though she woke up one day and decided to have a blueberry muffin instead of a chocolate one. It was made out not to be a big deal, even though it most definitely WAS a big deal and for that, Louise Mangos’ goes up in my estimations dramatically.

Overall I thought that ‘Strangers On A Bridge’ was a gritty, engaging, and psychologically addictive debut novel, which was written in a way that made me sit up and take notice. Very, very promising – I am rather intrigued to see what Louise Mangos’ brings out next!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Wedding Shop on Wexley St. by Rachel Dove (@writerdove) @HQDigitalUK @Brookcottagebks

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It gives me great pleasure to be kicking off the blog tour for ‘The Wedding Shop on Wexley St.’ by Rachel Dove! Many thanks to BrookCottageBooks for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:


Maria is ready to say ‘yes’ to the dress!

As owner of Happy Ever After, Maria Mallory is Westfield’s resident wedding planner,
spending her days making dreams come true for future brides.

Maria even has her own perfect day planned out too, she just needs to find the right man. So
when she falls in love with local celeb Darcy Burgess she can’t believe her luck – it was
finally her turn for her Happy Ever After. Or so she thought.

Jilted at the altar, Maria can’t believe that her fairytale ending hasn’t come true. She’s ready to
give up on love once and for all. But little does she know that once you stop looking for it,
love has a way of surprising you…

What does TWG think?

I may not be the marrying kind, but I can’t help loving books which revolve around wedding planners, bridal shops, wedding dresses etc. Weird, I know. ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ is even one of top programs that i’m most likely to binge watch!

Maria Mallory is the local wedding planner. A wedding planner who is about to say ‘I Do’ to the man of her dreams – who wouldn’t be excited about that? Getting married is all Maria has ever wanted but, unfortunately for her, her dream of becoming a ‘Mrs’ falls apart at the last hurdle. Men. Honestly. Darcy Burgess couldn’t be further from a ‘Mark Darcy’ if he tried!

Whilst Maria attempts to lick her wounds and work at the same time, ensuring that the wedding side of her business doesn’t fall flat on its face due to her being a jilted bride, Darcy seems to have come to his senses by removing himself from his mothers claws. Snigger.

Too little too late! What a dweeb!!!! Obviously I thought a lot stronger, I mean who wouldn’t? How can someone who claims to be madly in love with another person, then leave them hanging on what should have been one of the best days of their lives, only to then reappear when it suits them? A wombling cockerel, that’s who. A muffweed. A….you get the picture.

I loved how the story progressed, with Maria’s best friend, Cassie, being an absolute STAR of a character to read. Omg I haven’t laughed that much in ages! She honestly could not give a monkeys yet her heart was the size of a football pitch. People like that are extremely rare. Even Cassie got a piece of the action as well, even though the main portion of the storyline centred around Maria’s situation.

I also loved how relatable and real all of the characters were. Maria got herself into a sticky situation (pardon the pun), and whilst I feel that she should have been honest and put it out there at the beginning, I can see why she did what she did. To be honest, I don’t think anyone can judge Maria for what she did or what she didn’t do, as there were far worse decisions being made by some of the other characters in the book. Not naming any names…

Cassie’s character was incredibly relatable. She openly admitted that her outlook on relationships was rather dated, with her fear of commitment ruining things before they had even begun. I am so pleased that Rachel Dove chose to put Cassie at the centre…ish, of the storyline as I was able to see a completely different side to her.

‘The Wedding Shop on Wexley St’ surprised me on more than one level; I even found myself getting involved in the romance between the characters (I’m not the romantic type, honestly). I adored the humour that was laced throughout the storyline from start to finish, and I absolutely adored the vibe of the overall novel. Rachel Dove made her characters, especially Maria, incredibly strong, even when they found themselves sobbing their hearts out.

I thoroughly enjoyed every ruffle, every romantic notion, every laugh out loud situation, finding myself rather at home when Maria hugged the biscuit tin. I think I may have found myself in fictional form!

A huggable, humorous, relatable, heart-warming and thoughtful novel which will have you believing in anything romance, just as long as you have a biscuit tin. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Buy now!

Extract.

Two hours later, Maria found herself in Harrogate, squeezed into the red dress, heels pinching her
feet, wondering why the hell she wasn’t sat on Cass’s couch eating ice cream and crying. She said the
same to Cass as they walked on tottering heels to the nearest trendy bar, Ice, in the wine bar and
posh eatery part of Harrogate’s city centre, which, coincidentally, butted up against the legal quarter
of Harrogate, and no doubt the two sides kept each other in business quite well too. Walking into Ice
with Cassie, it was hard to ignore the stares that her friend attracted. Cassie Welburn was, let’s face
it, sex on a twenty nine year old stick. She was always tanned thanks to her meticulous salon
treatments, plucked and shaped to perfection, and tonight, as usual, was dressed to kill. Even
Maria’s daring red dress looked tame in light of Cassie’s black and silver dress, slashed to the thigh,
combined with sparkly silver heels that make Cassie even taller than her just under six foot frame.
Maria blushed and nudged Cass’s elbow with her own.
“People are staring Cass” Cassie shrugged.
“Let them stare, girl. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back” Maria belatedly realised that tonight, thanks
to that ridiculous article, the stares may indeed be for her and not her glamorous friend. She cringed
inwardly, and planted a smile on her face. She took her friend by the arm, and pushing her boobs
out and her chin up, she headed to the bar. “Let’s get smashed” she declared.

About the author.

I am a writer and teacher, living in West Yorkshire with my husband, our two sons, and our furry
pets.

In July 2015, I won the Prima magazine and Mills & Boon Flirty Fiction Competition, with my
entry, The Chic Boutique on Baker Street, out now in ebook and paperback. The Flower Shop on
Foxley Street followed this in 2017 and both books hit the Amazon top 200. Chic Boutique got to
#2 in the rural life humour chart and is regularly in the top 100 of that chart.
I am the winner of the Writers Bureau Writer of the Year Award in 2016 and I have had work
published in the UK and overseas in various magazines.

My next book, The Long Walk Back, is out in January 2018 and I am currently writing the last
book in the Westfield series. My first book with Manatee Books, Nice Guys Finish Lonely, is out
in April 2018 in ebook and paperback. I love to write romantic fiction, both rom-com and harder
hitting women’s fiction.

I am also a post 16 teacher and am undertaking an MA in Creative Writing at Teesside
University.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelDoveauthor/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterDove

Goodreads Author Page:
https://goo.gl/CPJkbr

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writerdove/
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RachelDovewriter

Giveaway!

Prize – A signed spiral bound paperback of the book plus bookmarks

(open Internationally)

Enter the giveaway now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Unicorn Gift Shop by Kellie Hailes (@KellieHailes) @HQDigitalUK


Kicking off a very busy day here at TWG, is my review for the very sparkly, ‘The Little Unicorn Gift Shop’ by Kellie Hailes. Thank you to HQDigitalUK for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:


Life’s always better with a little bit of sparkle.

Poppy and Ben have been best friends forever and now they’re embarking on a new adventure together – opening a joint unicorn gift shop and cafe. Ben has one rule; no unicorn paraphernalia is to cross into his tea shop. But Poppy has other ideas…

They’ve always been there for each other, at least until Poppy went travelling around the world – without Ben. But now she’s back and she’s determined to stay put, bringing a little bit of magic back into Ben’s life.

Can they go back to the way things once were or will the years of distance stand in the way of their new shop and blossoming romance?

What does TWG think?

I’m going to sound a bit bad here, but there was a little part of me that couldn’t help thinking that I wasn’t going to like this book, all because I don’t see the fascination with unicorns. However, before anyone asks me why I chose to read the book with that thought in my head, it was also the unicorns and the fact that they were going to be living in a gift shop (the unicorns, not the characters) which piqued my interest at the same time. I mean, why unicorns? Why a gift shop?

It didn’t take me too long to find out the answers to both of those questions, nor did it take me long to find out that my original opinion of the book was in fact a load of tosh, making me hold my hands up and shouting, ‘I FLUFFYUNICORN LOVE THIS BOOK’. I am not even exaggerating either. What a fantastic read this is and, in my opinion, it is Kellie Hailes’ finest book to date. ‘The Little Unicorn Gift Shop’ has everything I adore from a book in this genre; romance, humour, colourful pasts, a character who puts a spanner in the works, and two main characters who are trying to battle their own individual devils. The concept of Kellie Hailes’ latest release was unique, hilarious and so more-ish. In fact, I’d even go as far to say that unicorns have grown on me a tad too! I won’t be making my jammy dodgers glittery anytime soon though, and no that is not a euphemism! Oh god, now I have an image in my head that I really didn’t want!!

Poppy isn’t your ‘typical’ girl next door type of character, she is the type of character who was made in a broken yet fabulous mould. Basically one of us. Yes, she has her own emotional scars to deal with, but how many of us don’t? She isn’t perfect, but then again what constitutes as perfection where people are concerned? I loved her personality and I found her character to be extremely hilarious and totally genuine. I have everything crossed that Kellie Hailes brings Poppy and Ben back in another book as I would love to see what they get up to next.

I have been known to invest myself in one character in a book, but it is rare that I ever invest myself in both of the main character from the same book. However, that all changed when I stepped foot into ‘Sparkle and Steep’. Goodness, I may have even found my most favourite duo yet – these two are fabulous and Ben’s lack of confidence is weirdly endearing. Okay, the unicorn aspect of the book makes the storyline what it is, yet I have to give the author a round of applause for creating two enchanting and memorable characters who completely and utterly stole my heart.

Well…..aside from Joe’s uniform…obviously. Hellooooo, envious!

‘The Little Unicorn Gift Shop’ is the perfect antidote to a rainy day. The perfect thing to turn a frown upside down. And, I can’t believe I am about to say this….but Kellie Hailes’ book is even better than a bar of chocolate. I cannot recommend this book enough, I want to read it all over again – utterly divine!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheHappinessList by Annie Lyons (@1AnnieLyons) @HQDigitalUK


Happy publication day to Annie Lyons and #TheHappinessList! I am so excited to be kicking off the blog tour today, so a big thank you to HQDigitalUK for allowing me to do so, and for the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

Life is about to change forever…

Heather is finally back on Hope Street after running from the memories for so long. She hasn’t bumped into many neighbours yet but with her upcoming wedding to plan there’s plenty to keep her busy!

Fran is still trying to get used to a life without her husband by her side. It’s hard enough raising two children on her own – she doesn’t have time to even think about dating…

Pamela is fed up with being taken for granted by her grown-up children and grumbling husband. She’s ready to shake things up a little, but will her family even notice?

So when the three women hear about a ‘happiness course’ starting on Hope Street, surely it’s the perfect opportunity to let their hair down, laugh with new friends and maybe even change their lives in ways they never expected…

What does TWG think?

I had a feeling that, based on the title, Annie Lyons’ latest novel was going to open my eyes and keep them open. What I never expected, however, was for ‘The Happiness List’ to not only keep my eyes open, but it also made me think about my life in a completely different way.

Heather, Fran and Pamela may be three completely different women, yet they’re all bound together by one coming thing; heartbreak. However, with all three women going through different types of heartbreak at different points in their life, their outlook on how they cope with it is incredibly different, with some of their family members being confused by how they seem to be dealing with the aftermath. The thing is, everyone copes with things differently, and just because someone else will do things one way whilst another person will do things in another way, it doesn’t make it wrong at all, so they shouldn’t be made to feel as though they’re not coping or get told that they should be ‘fine by now’. Is there a timeline for when heartbreak should be dealt with? No. And that’s where ‘The Happiness List’ comes in. When all three ladies have the chance to create a personal list to enhance their own happiness, it makes them realise that to truly be happy, they need to forgive themselves. I know, it sounds easier said than done, but once you’ve read this book, it will become clear that it is in fact an incredibly difficult thing and that you need to have a supportive group of people around you for when the going gets tough. Not people who are only there when they want something or who dip in and out of your life quicker than Justin Bieber’s relationships. True friends. The ones who turn up at your door in their pyjama’s to sit on your sofa, or the ones who answer your phone call any time of day, even if it is just to listen to you cry because you’re on your monthly/football team didn’t win.

Sorry, I have ranted a little bit, but this is such an important book to read and digest, I wouldn’t be doing it justice if I didn’t write my thoughts honestly.

What really hit home with #TheHappinessList was the way Annie Lyons made it clear how heartbreak is individual, and how nobody should invalidate how you feel all because they would do things differently. I found Heather, Pamela and Fran’s friendship incredibly heart-warming and made me wish that I had friends like that because to be honest, I never have. It made me quite emotional to read how the author made one of character’s happy on their own, proving that happiness doesn’t always mean being in a couple.

I loved the humour in this book as it made the storyline balanced when it came to reading the emotional scenes. Reading ‘The Happiness List’ is a journey in itself, one which is life affirming, powerful, and has the chance to put a spring in your step for the smallest things. To look at, you may think that this book is full of joy as the cover is incredibly colourful and, whilst I will agree to a point, there is a lot to this book than the cover divulges. A bit like a trifle (hear me out) – to look at you see cream/topping and sprinkles, but underneath that colourful and silky topping are multiple layers which will feel you with different kinds of joy. Is the jelly raspberry, blackcurrant or strawberries? Are there lady fingers at the bottom or fruit? So yes, Annie Lyons, for me, has written a book that resembles a trifle as, the more of the book I read, the more beautiful things I discovered and the larger my smile became.

I adore Annie Lyons’ story telling as she writes with such soul and magnetism, bringing joy to the reader’s heart like our good friend Winnie the Pooh. I will never get tired of Lyons’ tales and as far as I am concerned, this author and her books have their own bookshelf in my heart AND its under lock and key.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Summer at Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett (@Sarahlou_writes) @HQDigitalUK

Summer_Blogtour
Apologies for the lateness, but I am incredibly honoured to be kicking off the blog tour for one of my most favourite authors ever, Sarah Bennett! Many thanks to HQDigitalUK for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Love happens when you least expect it…

When Eliza Barnes said ‘I do’ to her husband all those years ago, she thought that they’d be together forever. Instead, he’s flown to Abu Dhabi to start a new life, and she’s returning to the little seaside town of Lavender Bay.

It’s finally time to chase the dreams she’s put on hold for so long, whipping up luxury bath products and organic soaps using local ingredients. Of course, she didn’t expect to meet local farmer, Jack Gilbert, or for him to be quite so gorgeous!

So when her husband turns up, she knows she must decide between the man she knows everything about and the man who makes her heart race in ways she’d never imagined – before it’s too late…

What does TWG think?

 You are in for a treat with ‘Summer at Lavender Bay’! It may be book two in the ‘Lavender Bay’ series, but it can easily be read as a standalone no problem. Of course, you know what I am going to say – I would highly recommend reading the first book as well.

Eliza is at the heart of this book as she finds herself picking up the pieces to a life she thought was certain, when she realises that her heart was no longer where she thought it was. (Metaphorically speaking, obviously…!!) Personally, I am surprised Eliza didn’t come to her senses soon enough. I mean, what on Earth! Everything about her situation made my blood boil not because of what she had done, but because of her husband. Well, she could have told him to do one way before then, but hindsight is a truly wonderful thing! At least she came back fighting!

If you have read the first book in the series, ‘Spring at Lavender Bay’, you’ll see some old friends popping up as Eliza’s story progresses. Don’t fret if you haven’t though, Sarah Bennett has written these books so that everyone can enjoy them in any way that they see fit.

For me, Eliza was such a breath of fresh and, seeing as she lived in the bay, it didn’t take her very long to slot back into life at home. Not only does Eliza manage to get back up again, she also finds herself making a new friend. He’s rather furry though, I wonder if she noticed ;).

What I love most about Sarah Bennett’s novels is how enchanting and magnetic they always seem to be. I don’t ever pick up one of this authors novels and go, ‘nahhhh, she didn’t write it from the heart’, because it is very clear that she does, and that is what I find really endearing. Yes, Sarah Bennett may give her characters emotional hurdles to jump over, and yes, she may have a theme running throughout her novel that could make tears fall from your eyes without realising it. But you know what? I love it because it shows that the author is real and relatable, allowing her readers to truly connect with characters like Eliza, or like Jack, a man whose situation made a lump form in my throat quicker than you can say ‘give me the cake’.

Never mind fairytale princesses such as Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, give me Eliza any day of the week. ‘Summer at Lavender Bay’ is a fairytale after my own heart. A book which not only tells a story, it creates a vision. A vision where the imagery of the beautiful words written, come to life making Sarah Bennett’s characters to become more than just fiction.

I absolutely adored every single page of this book, and my only disappointment is that it was in no way long enough. I have said this once before, but I am more than happy to say it again; Sarah Bennett has the literary talent of a literary angel, making my life just that bit happier every time I read one of her books. Is ‘Summer at Lavender Bay’ her best book yet? Honestly? Yes it is, and I know I say that about every book that she writes, but she just keeps getting better and better with every new book. Just look at Eliza – she may have started out being low like Cinderella, but it didn’t take her too long to find her special shoe (or in Eliza’s case, special oil) to allow her to fly her wings like she was meant to have done all along.

Flipping brilliant without a doubt.

Buy now!

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