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

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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

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#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

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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

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

Pretty Little Things BLOG TOUR
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

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