#BlogTour! #Review – Summer at the Little French Guesthouse by @helenpollard147 @Bookouture

Summer-at-The-Little-French-Guesthouse-Kindle

Summer sun, chilled, white wine, and a gorgeous fiancé. Nothing could upset pure bliss … Right?

Emmy Jamieson loves her new life in the gentle hills and sunflowers of the lush French countryside, managing La Cour des Roses, a beautiful, white stone guesthouse. With marriage to caramel-eyed Alain just round the corner, things couldn’t be more perfect.

The odd glass (gallon) of wine dulls the sound of Emmy’s mum in full motherzilla-of-the-bride mode, and the faint tinkling of alarm bells coming from Alain’s ex are definitely nothing to worry about. Guesthouse owner Rupert and a whole host of old and new friends are there to make sure nothing gets in the way of Emmy’s happiness.

But as Emmy gets close to the big day, a secret from the past throws everything decidedly off track. Will her idyllic French wedding go ahead as planned, or will Emmy run back home to England with a broken heart?

This summer, escape to the rolling vineyards of France for an utterly uplifting read. Fans of Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson and Nick Alexander will want to join Emmy for a pain au chocolatin the sun-drenched garden at La Cour des Roses.

What does TWG think?

I’m actually a little bit annoyed with myself as I didn’t realise that the ‘Little French Guesthouse’ series couldn’t really be read as standalone novels. Well, they can, nothing is stopping you from doing so, however, the full enjoyment wasn’t there for me because I hadn’t read the previous books. Bit gutted to say the least.

So, in my personal opinion, make sure that you have read the previous two novels in the series BEFORE you read this one. Trust me, the first quarter of the book will make so much sense if you do.

It took me a good 20 or so percent before I was able to gel with the storyline without feeling like I was missing something. But, after the rocky start, I became hooked on the storyline extremely quickly. Emmy is such a breath of fresh air when it comes to living life and grabbing the bull by the horns, especially as I from what I could work out, she hasn’t exactly had the smoothest of life journeys so far.

I loved how all the characters treat one another like family (if they’re not related, obviously), and how they all pull together in difficult situations. Without sounding daft, it really was such a beautiful thing to read, I was pretty envious I must admit.

Without giving too much away, there was one part of the storyline that made me extremely emotional. The whole situation completely caught me off guard, I think I spent that portion of the storyline with my hand over my mouth!

Helen Pollard certainly knows how to enchant her readers with her mesmerising, and eye-opening descriptions of La Cour des Roses and the French countryside. Such beautiful, beautiful writing which made me want to pack a suitcase, hop on a plane and fly to such a beautiful sounding destination. I wanted a piece of the serenity that Emmy had found. Honestly folks, granted I have never been to France, but I truly believe that the author has captured the true essence of beauty with her stunning words. At that point in the book, it no longer bothered me about my misunderstanding with this series, as Helen Pollard blew me away.

Full of heart-warming and emotional situations, care-free and spirited characters, and jaw-droppingly, beautiful surroundings; ‘Summer at the Little French Guesthouse’ needs to be devoured. How could you NOT want to read this book?

I’m off to go and buy books 1&2 in the series, and if I was you, go and buy this book. You’ll be a fool to miss out, just like I was.

Thanks Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Summer at the Little French Guesthouse - Blog Tour

#Review – The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please (@MaddiePlease1) @AvonBooksUK #ARC

Untitled-1
Lottie is about to discover that even when you think you’ve lost everything, hope and romance can be just around the corner . . .

It takes time to build your life. To get into a long-term (OK, a bit boring) relationship. To find a job (you don’t completely hate). Lottie might not be thrilled with the life she’s put together, but it’s the one she’s got.

So when in the course of one terrible evening, it all comes crashing down around her, Lottie has a choice: give herself over to grief at being broke, single and completely lacking in prospects.

Or, brick by brick, build herself a new life. And this time, with a little help from friends, a crumbling cottage in Devon and a handsome stranger, maybe she can make it the one she always wanted.

The Summer of Second Chances is an irresistibly funny read about never giving up, whatever the world throws at you. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Jane Costello and Christie Barlow.

What does TWG think?

If you’re in desperate need of a pick me up, or feel as though your brain has been working overtime and requires an urgent book shaped antidote – then this book is for you.

Lottie has lost everything; her money, her home, her relationship, but most importantly – she has lost her peace of mind. With an uncertain future ahead of her, Lottie needs to make a decision; wallow in self-pity from the discomfort of her car as a new home, OR make the most out of a bad situation and follow the only path that she can see. The only way is up…

What a fab little book! Don’t be fooled by the colourful cover as there is A LOT more to this storyline than meets the eye. Despite the fact that the storyline contains several deep themes, the author has ensured that those moments are laced with some rather unforgettable one-liners.

At the start of the book we see Lottie’s world crumble, but, by the end of the book it’s as though she is a completely different person. To see a character flourish so much in such a short space of time (for us), was quite similar to watching your child learn something new for the first time. I got a bit emosh ;).

Just like Lottie, we have all been put into a situation where we have no idea how to get ourselves out of; ‘The Summer of Second Chances’ reminded me of that fact in a way that made me go ‘oh hang on a minute, I am quite proud of myself’. When we go through difficult times we don’t see our strengths working hard. We bluff. We shrug it off. It’s not until AFTER the event when we’re able to sit and gather our thoughts, and we are able to appreciate what we can do if we have no other option.

For me, this storyline was the perfect reminder of how NOT to give up, as well as advising me that eye-candy was the perfect distraction from any troubles. Obviously I’m not going to disagree with that, are you? Lottie’s new neighbour, Bryn, was such a hoot. He came across as such the opposite to Lottie in terms of mannerisms and traits, that when they were in a conversation, it was like a dog trying to have a chat with a cat. Yet weirdly enough, it worked. Well I think it worked anyway, I may have been too busy laughing!

‘The Summer of Second Chances’, for me, really is a sunshine after the rain type of novel. The storyline contains so much hope – some might mistake it for the gold at the end of a rainbow. I mean, there was nothing black and white about this storyline, at all. Every chapter was full of colour, humour and positivity; I loved it.

I adored this book, I’m not going to lie. I started this book in a bad mood and I finished it with a huge grin on my face. ‘The Summer of Second Chances’ is a diamond in the rough, but it’s a gem of a book that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Thanks Avon.

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please, will be released on the 17th July 2017. If you wish to pre-order your copy ready, you can do so here.

@DavidVidecette #Takeover Post 2 – #Review – ‘The Detriment’ @The_Detriment

unnamed

David Videcette is taking over TWG today! Well, indirectly! Does this mean I can put my feet up? No? Damn it, worth a shot! This morning TWG decided to interrogate the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’ & ‘The Detriment’, and if I do say so myself – it was such fun! In case you missed it, you can check it out here:
@DavidVidecette usually does the interrogating, but now it’s TWG’s turn! #AuthorInterview

As promised I now bring you my review of ‘The Detriment’, enjoy!

det2

“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”

June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.

From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.

We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…

What does TWG think?

‘The Detriment’ is David Videcette’s second novel which, just like his first novel, is based on real life events. Trying to differentiate between the real facts and the authors fictional work, is incredibly difficult. In my eyes, that just proves how consistent and realistic the author’s plot actually is.

Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan is a bit of a live wire. He has the knowledge, but he doesn’t quite understand the correct processes to be able to use his knowledge in the right circumstance. Put it this way, if Flannagan has a hunch, Flannagan will walk to the end of the Earth to ensure that justice is prevailed. Not all of Flannagan’s colleagues agree with his worth ethic, especially as it seems to ruffle a few feathers! After all, Jake Flannagan is a law unto themselves! Whilst reading ‘The Detriment’, I tried to see things from all different angles. I’m not inspector, granted, but I wanted to see if I could engage in the storyline in a completely different way by seeing each situation from all sides. Including Jake’s. Whilst I could appreciate the frustration that was coming from Jake’s team, I could also understand why he went about things in a certain way. Nobody could ever say that that man isn’t passionate about his job. Ever.

As for the events that unfolded, my poor heart couldn’t keep up with the sheer level of intensity! There were moments where I found myself so engrossed in certain parts of the investigation, my heart was close to pounding out of my chest. As readers, we are drip fed pieces of information at the same time the force are so it’s like we are investigating the events with the team, which I absolutely loved! I felt quite important…sad to admit I know, but oh well! Having said that, seeing as I was so engrossed in the moment, I ended up teetering on the edge of the sofa shouting ‘MOVE IT!!!’ whilst I was reading the bomb information. Just like Jake Flannagan at that time, I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. My instinct was to shout move…so I did. It didn’t seem to matter that A) I wasn’t actually IN the book, and B) nobody could hear me and it wouldn’t have made the blindest bit of difference. Yet I still did it.

I’m not going to lie, I tried to decipher the truth from the fiction, but seeing as the author has written the entire plot with such tenacity, every single situation and event seemed real to me. I remember seeing certain things on the news when they happened, similar to certain events in this novel, yet when I sat reading about those horrific incidents in black and white, I kept thinking to myself ‘did I see that on the news too?’.

In all honesty, I could have carried on reading ‘The Detriment’ long after it had finished. I hadn’t prepared myself for the book to end, and in actual fact, I didn’t want it to. I was involved, I was engrossed and I was in awe at the entire novel. Pardon the pun but it blew me away.

This book is severely intense. It’s severely hair-raising. It’s severely nail-biting. It’s severely unbreakable. Ever since I finished reading ‘The Detriment’, I haven’t found another book that matches up in the same way since. Yes, David Videcette’s book has given me a chronic book hangover.

In my eyes, ‘The Detriment’ is unmissable. An outstanding portrayal of such devastating incidents, all written with enough power to make you sit up and listen.

Absolutely fantastic, my most favourite book of 2017 without a doubt.

Thanks DV.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#yearofsayingyes #BlogTour! Author Hannah Doyle talks hygge! @HannahShowbiz @headlinepg

Year of Saying Yes blog tour poster
So, SO excited to be today’s stop on Hannah Doyle’s blog tour for her fabulous book, The Year of Saying Yes’. If you are aiming to be part of a squad this year, the #YesSquad is the place to be! Before Hannah Doyle’s book was released as a complete book, it was released in four separate parts. I still have the fourth part to read, and as soon as I have, those beauties will be reviewed on here. The first three parts are amazing.

For my stop on the tour, author Hannah Doyle has written a guest post about hygge. Intrigued? So you should be….
Over to you Ms. Doyle!

Hygge by Hannah Doyle.

#SayYes to getting hygge

Okay, so it gets dark super early and the temptation to stay in is high when the thermometer hits zero, but there is a positive to winter. Getting hygge with it!

(In my head, that totally rhymes with getting jiggy with it. Sadly the Danes pronounce it hoo-ga so that doesn’t actually work.)

Hygge. You know, the Danish concept that loads of people are banging on about right now. It basically boils down to being cosy. Search for #hygge on Instagram and you’ll find over a million snaps of things like hot water bottles and cute cushions. What’s not to love!

To celebrate the launch of my new ebook The Year of Saying Yes, I thought I’d put together my top five ways to hygge the heck out of your life. Enjoy.

1. Develop a candle habit

Of course one solitary candle on a table won’t do! You need multiples. The more the merrier, and get them going as soon as daylight starts to fade to give your home a cosy glow. 

2. Get your mull on

Mulled wine is the ideal drink for hygge-lovers. You don’t even need to make your own, just buy a bottle and add a couple of slices of orange while it’s warming through. Breathe in that spicy smell and pretend that you’re by a frosty fjord somewhere Scandinavian. 

3. Cosy knits are compulsory

Curl up in your warmest jumper, grab a good book (*shameless plug* maybe try mine?!) and relax. 

4. Start obsessing over interiors

Especially things like terrariums (try saying that after a glass of mull!), cashmere throws and hand-printed ceramic bowls. Basically anything to your home a little extra cheer. 

5. Gather your best ones

Nothing spreads the love like hanging out with your favourite people in the whole world. My best friends have selfishly scattered themselves across our fair isle, the brutes, so we don’t get to hang out that often, but when we do we spend a whole weekend bonding and I come away feeling so blooming hygge about life.

Happy hygge-ing everyone!

Obviously folks, play safe with the candles. I know Hannah is talking about being cosy, but there is a difference between being cosy and looking like a roasting chestnut on an open fire! If you managed to spot the oh-so-hidden shameless plug by the lady herself, it might be useful to add a link and the book info for you. You know, just in case….

yosy

Hannah Doyle’s THE YEAR OF SAYING YES will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life’s magic – all thanks to one little word: ‘yes’. Fans of THE BAD MOTHER’S DIARY, Colleen Coleman’s DON’T STOP ME NOW, Anna Bell’s THE BUCKET LIST TO MEND A BROKEN HEART and Joanna Bolouri’s THE LIST, you’re in for a real treat.

Dear Readers,

I hold my hands up: I’m stuck in a rut. For three years and counting I’ve been hopelessly in love with the same guy – and the closest we’ve ever got is a drunken arse grab (NB: this doesn’t count). My favourite hobby is googling cats for spinsters and I’m sick of my shoestring salary that barely pays for my shoebox flat.

I need a head-to-toe life makeover. Enter my ‘Year of Saying Yes’, which is where you come in. To help me sort out my sorry life, I need you to #DareIzzy. For the next 12 months I’ll be saying ‘yes’ to your challenges, no matter how wild, adventurous or plain nuts they are. ‘No’ is not an option!

Here goes… Wish me luck! I’m going to need it.

Love,

Izzy x

Buy now: Amazon UK // Amazon US // Kobo

#BlogTour! #Review & #Extract – The Mothers of Lovely Lane by @NadineDorries @HoZ_Books

Dorries_LL03_THE MOTHERS OF LOVELY LANE
From the bestselling author of The Angels of Lovely Lane, The Four Streets and Ruby Flynn.

Noleen Delaney is one of an army of night cleaners at St Angelus hospital in Liverpool. Since her husband was injured in the war, she has supported her five children. With help from her eldest, Bryan – a porter’s lad – the family just about gets by.

When Finn, her youngest, passes the eleven plus exam, Noleen feels faint. Allowing Finn to attend the grammar will stretch her purse too far.

When Bryan steps in to help, the results rock the St Angelus community. As the nurses of Lovely Lane near their final exams, Noleen will find herself tested, and her heart broken. Just how far can a mother’s love stretch?

What does TWG think?

I don’t think I had ever read a Nadine Dorries book before this one. I had heard of the author and I was aware of her literary success, but still I hadn’t picked up one of her books. Shameful. Utterly shameful. 
Because ‘The Mothers of Lovely Lane’ is book number three of the ‘lovely lane’ series, I was a bit anxious about reading it just incase I should have read the previous books beforehand. Luckily there didn’t seem to be an issue, which meant that I was able to enjoy the storyline without feeling like I was missing something important. That said, there were a lot of characters to keep track of, and just like any other storyline with a lot of people, I did end up confused. Not that hard to do, to be honest!

Recently, sagas and historical fiction novels have been high on my list of favourite genres due to the complexity of knowledge that just oozes from every page. Reading ‘The Mothers of Lovely Lane’ made me feel as though I was constantly learning something due to the fantastic attention to detail, and the level of historical knowledge.

Set in Liverpool just after the war, ‘The Mothers of Lovely Lane’ is mostly  centred around the national health service, and the various changes surrounding the health care during the war and after. I found those parts quite hard to read as they were so raw and incredibly poignant. When you sit back and think about it, it’s crazy to think that our country was once like that. It really hit home. Just by reading the book, it made me realise exactly how difficult and emotional those times were.

On the other side of the coin, I was moved by the level of community spirit within this novel. I have never, ever, seen anything like it. It really made me quite emotional that the characters went to such lengths to protect their own, and support who they loved. Absolutely incredible.

Hats off to Nadine Dorries for creating such an incredible main character in Noleen. When you read this book, you’ll see exactly what I mean, but, hand on heart, Noleen is the type of person who would walk around naked just to ensure her children had clothes. Even now, days after finishing the book, Noleen still has a hold over me. If you have someone in your life like Noleen, treasure them.

Such a heart-breaking, poignant, and emotional read which will no doubt stay in your heart for a very, very long time. Wow.

Thanks HoZ.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Extract.

‘There’s a change, Lorraine. Is there any reason why you spend more time in the Delaneys’ kitchen these days than you do in your own?’ 

Lorraine had the good grace to blush. ‘Mam, Mary is my best friend, that’s why I go there. She has to help her mam a lot with all they have going on and her mam working nights.’ 

‘Don’t give me that, Lorraine. I gave birth to you, I know you. I think your attraction down at the Delaney house has more to do with their Bryan than your mate Mary.’ 

 ‘Mam!’ Lorraine almost shouted. ‘Don’t say that so little Stan can hear.’ 

Maisie wrung out her dishcloth and began clearing away the detritus of the Tanner breakfast table. She piled the bowls in the sink then took a packet of cigarettes out of her apron pocket. It might only be eight thirty but her hair was neat – hard from six days’ application of Get Set hairspray – and her lipstick fully applied. ‘Don’t be daft, love, I won’t. But I am right, aren’t I?’ 

She leant her back against the range and, tipping her cigarette packet upside down, tapped the bottom until one fell out. She lit it on the ame from the pilot light. Blowing the smoke upwards, she said, ‘Look, love, all I would say is take care. You are only young. Bryan has a lot of responsibilities and he is keen to get on. I don’t want you to be having a broken heart.’ She blew her smoke into the air. 

Lorraine placed her school books into her wicker basket. ‘Do you like him though, Mam?’ 

‘Lorraine, I’ve changed his nappy and wiped his nose enough times, of course I like him. I like all the kids around here. We are really just one big family. It’s not that. You are still at school and he is working now, up at the hospital, and he has his da to look after. I just don’t want you to go getting hurt, that’s all. Have you told Mary?’ 

Lorraine nodded. 

‘Well, love, if I can give you any advice, it is this, never let a fella know you fancy him. Even one who pushed your pram when you were in it.’ 

‘Oh, God, he didn’t, did he, Mam?’ 

‘Of course he did. We used to put you and Mary next to each other and send Bryan off to push you up and down Vince 

Street so we could get the washing done. Play hard to get, it’s the only way.’ Maisie turned back to the sink to ick her ash down the plug hole and looked out of the window. ‘Oh, here we go, your hairband is walking up the path. I bet little Stan swapped it for little Finn’s comic. Now let’s see what a good mate Mary Delaney is.’ 

Lorraine looked up from her basket and out of the kitchen window, into the back yard. ‘Stanley!’ she screamed at the top of her voice, as Mary Delaney walked in through the back gate, proudly wearing Lorraine’s hairband.

Mothers of Lovely Lane blog tour (1)

#BlogTour! #Review of Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson (@ScorpioScribble) @AccentPress

SKIN DEEP FINAL COVER

It’s what’s inside that counts…

 Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

What does TWG think?

I am delighted to be today’s stop on, Laura Wilkinson’s, blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’. This book hit home in many ways and I really hope I am able to explain why, and how, in this review.

Do you remember, as a child, constantly being told that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, or ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’, or ‘beauty is only skin deep’? I remember getting told them SO many times. I would always ‘pfft’ every time I heard those phrases, especially ‘if someone is nasty about your looks, it’s because they are jealous’. Reaaalllyyy? Take a moment and think back to your childhood; were you ever told those phrases? If you’re a parent, do you ever tell those phrases to your children? Keep those thoughts in your mind for now…

Diana had a childhood of being pulled from pillar to post, pouting for all and sundry, and being on the receiving end of angry outbursts; she was a child model. Unfortunately, due to her rocky childhood, the emotional scars still run deep and her insecurity level has reached its maximum. Will Diana decide to channel her thoughts into her latest artwork? Or will history end up repeating itself?

After finding out what Diana endured as a child, I truly felt like she would become the best person to stand up for others in the same boat, or that she would be able to stand up for those whose looks make people gasp in disgust. I wanted her to stand with those people who had been ridiculed for what they look like, instead of being accepted for who they are.

When the Laura Wilkinson introduced character, Cal, to the storyline, my heart shattered into tiny pieces. Instead of a young boy being exactly that, young, the fickle people around him couldn’t (and didn’t want to) see anything other than their judgemental thoughts. Cal was born disfigured.

Right at the very start, I asked you to think about certain phrases and whether you  remember being told them as a child, or whether you tell your children (if you’re a parent) those phrases. I used to get told them growing up, and as a parent myself, I tell my three-year old daughter something similar; ‘it doesn’t matter what we look like, as long as we are happy and we are loved, that’s all that matters’. With all of that in mind, reading Cal and Diana’s journey was incredibly heart breaking, eye-opening, and unfortunately bang on. Society is extremely judgemental, and extremely unforgiving. If someone is deemed ‘different’, like Cal, people aren’t able to cope. They feel the need to either hide those human beings away, or parade them around like a popular animal in the zoo. Whether you have been brought up to love people for who they are, ‘Skin Deep’ will require a big bar of chocolate and a cosy blanket whilst you read it. Trust me. Now, if you have been brought up to believe that anyone with different looks are freaks, and that they deserve nasty comments; I can promise you that you will end up thanking Laura Wilkinson for opening your eyes and making you realise that just because skin is thick, it doesn’t mean it can take abuse.

‘Skin Deep’ had me feeling so many emotions, in such a short space of time. Whilst a lot of this storyline is quite difficult to read due to the subject it is centred around, ‘Skin Deep’ really is the type of novel you just have to finish, no matter what state you’re in. My opinion of Diana kept changing; one minute I felt sorry for her, the next minute she absolutely disgusted me. I can’t tell you my reasons for that as it will definitely give something away, but I will be intrigued to see what other think of her in particular.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Skin Deep’ contained multiple questionable characters, and I would be here ages discussing each and every one of them, BUT, whilst there were some characters who will no doubt receive a visit from the karma police in due course, there were a couple of beautiful characters who were worth their weight in gold.

Laura Wilkinson’s novel should be given out in schools, as a reminder of how much words can actually hurt. ‘Skin Deep’ is such a work of art; a beautifully written novel which literally speaks for itself.
Heart-breaking yet poignant, heart-warming yet powerful, emotional yet eye-opening; ‘Skin Deep’ needs to be read by everyone, and anyone.
This truly is a book to be remembered.

Thanks Accent Press.

Buy now: Amazon // Waterstones // WHSmith

About Laura

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.

Contact Laura Wilkinson:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Goodreads

 

Huge thanks to Accent Press for asking me to be involved in this blog tour, I am truly honoured to be part of the celebration for such a beautiful book. If you’re only just joining the blog tour, all of the previous bloggers, as well as the bloggers still to come, are all listed on the graphic below:

skin deep blog tour

#BlogTour! #Review #TheThingsWeThoughtWeKnew by @mahsudasnaith @TransworldBooks @Thomassshill

masuda

Day nine of #TheThingsWeThoughtWeKnew blog tour, courtesy of Thomas Hill @ Transworld Books, is with me; TWG! It is such an honour to be able to share my review of such an eye-opening novel. Big thanks to Thomas Hill for asking me to be part of Mahsuda Snaith’s blog tour.

mahsuda1

Ravine and Marianne were best friends. They practised handstands together, raced slugs and went into the woods to play.

But now everything has changed.

Ten years later, Ravine lies in a bed plagued by chronic pain syndrome. And her best friend Marianne is gone.

How did their last adventure go so wrong? Who is to blame? And where is Marianne?

Heartbreaking, bittersweet and utterly unforgettable, The Things We Thought We Knew is a powerful novel about the things we remember and the things we wish we could forget.

What does TWG think?

This review may be brief as there isn’t a lot that I can say without giving anything away, but I will do my best.

The Things We Thought We Knew is centred around Ravine and her chronic pain syndrome, as well as a memory she just cannot forget. There seem to be a limited amount of books which cover chronic, invisible illnesses within their storyline. So, when I realised that Mahsuda Snaith had included just that, I actually became a little emotional.

Why?

Because it’s a subject which is severely misunderstood, yet a lot of people like to assume and judge. I have seven chronic illnesses and one of my branch off symptoms includes this, chronic pain syndrome. To see your daily battle (well, one of) written in black and white was incredibly surreal. ‘At last!’ I thought to myself, maybe people would stop the judgemental comments. Not only was it surreal, it was quite difficult to actually read. I mean, I was sitting there reading this book, reading about a topic I know all too well, thinking to myself ‘that.is.like.me’. That was quite hard. Whilst I applaud the author for approaching such a controversial subject and putting it out there, I found the latter part of Ravine’s syndrome to be a bit ‘that’s why we are judged’. I do apologise for being vague, but I really don’t want to give anything away. Let’s just say that a certain part of Ravine’s story ended up being a tad unbelievable in my eyes, unfortunately.

However, when the storyline took another direction involving Ravine’s best friend, as well as other complex characters, the book felt a bit like Pandora’s box! I wanted to know more yet I was unsure on what I might discover, yet I couldn’t resist delving deeper into the storyline. A Pandora’s box ft. a treasure chest style story. That is the only way that I can describe it without going ‘well what about the part when…’!

Mahsuda Snaith really has written such an eye-opening and emotional read. The Things We Thought We Knew is a book which requires attention, devotion, and an open mind. A book which you may relate to. A book which may leave you with a hand print over your mouth. A book that, despite some challenging circumstances, it would be incredibly difficult to put down and leave unfinished.

I want to thank the author for including the chronic pain syndrome in her storyline, and for being the voice of many.

Thanks Thomas Hill & Transworld Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review – The Deepest Cut by Natalie Flynn (@natalieflynn_) @AccentPress @AccentYA

natalie flynn

You haven’t said a single word since you ve been here. Is it on purpose? I tried to answer David but I couldn’t … my brain wanted to speak but my throat wouldn’t cooperate.

Adam blames himself for his best friend s death. After attempting suicide, he is put in the care of a local mental health facility. There, too traumatized to speak, he begins to write notebooks detailing the events leading up to Jake’s murder, trying to understand who is really responsible and cope with how needless it was as a petty argument spiralled out of control and peer pressure took hold.

Sad but unsentimental, this is a moving story of friendship and the aftermath of its destruction.

What does TWG think?

Big thank you to, Karen, from Accent Press for putting this book on my radar, and getting me involved in the #minitour today!

Every so often I like delving into a YA novel, sitting back and appreciating the unique storytelling of a YA author. ‘The Deepest Cut’ was no exception.

‘We never think it’s going to happen to us, do we?’

As human beings, we see things happening in the news and always think to ourselves that it won’t happen to us. The worrying thing is, we sound so confident with our declarations, completely oblivious that anything could happen to anyone, at anytime. But then again, as a teenager the last thing they’re going to do is sit down and work out the probability of getting knocked down by a car the next time they venture outside. Why WOULD something like that happen to a person of their age?

Adam and Jake have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Jake’s mum, Debbie, was like Adam’s second mum, and her house being Adam’s home away from home. Everywhere one lad went, the other one wasn’t too far behind. As the boys grew up, their group of two became a group of three, yet things weren’t always as hunky dory as they would have liked. One night, Adam and Debbie’s lives come crashing down when their boy, Jake, is murdered.

By the end of chapter one I was hooked. The attention to detail and the intensity that the outline of storyline contained within that first chapter, was enough to make me even more intrigued. The level of intrigue stayed with me throughout the entire novel, thanks to the uncertain atmosphere that seemed to linger on every page. As readers, we already know that Jake has been murdered, but what we don’t know is how or why. For me, the chapters leading up to the moment those questions get answered, made my heart pound, especially as we follow Adam’s heart-wrenching story.

Aside from the murderers (which I’m obviously not going to say), there was one character who made me rather angry; Adam’s dad. What a spineless man he is! Realistically thought out though, so that is a definite bonus!

‘The Deepest Cut’ is such an emotive read, but I was surprised to find myself unable to cry. It wasn’t due to the lack of emotion from the author, not at all! The thing was, this storyline ripped my heart apart and instead of bawling my eyes out, I became extremely numb and withdrawn. The numb feeling stayed with me a few hours after I had finished the book, too. Why was I numb? Because Adam’s story is incredibly heart-breaking. Not only is he dealing with grief, he’s also dealing with another loss, coping with change, AND having to deal with even more grief from way back when. The poor boy was so vulnerable, lost and in need of someone to hug him and tell him that everything was going to be okay, for once in his life.

‘The Deepest Cut’ covers several important topics such as murder, peer pressure, grief, mental health, and friendships. Natalie Flynn, via her characters, approaches the ways in which peer pressure can happen and the repercussions of that. And, as someone who has been on the receiving end of peer pressure to a detrimental effect, the author has hit the nail on the head in regards to this topic in her storyline. Even though Adam’s mental health situation is extremely emotional to read, it is also an incredibly important topic which requires the black and white approach, purely to get people to understand the aftermath of bad choices, and horrific circumstances.

As a woman who is much older than your average young adult reader, I found Natalie Flynn’s novel to be such a powerful, eye-opening and emotional read. I applaud the author for writing about multiple complex situations in such a sensitive manner, whilst also keeping it realistic and raw. I think that all YA’s and adults should read Natalie Flynn’s novel, as they might just learn a thing or two about mental health and its domino effect.

Thank you Accent Press.

Buy ‘The Deepest Cut’ by Natalie Flynn from Amazon UK, now!

#GuestPost by ‘A Secret Sisterhood’ authors @Emmacsweeney & @EmilyMidorikawa #literary

To celebrate the release of their new literary inspired novel, A Secret Sisterhood, authors Emma Claire Sweeney and Emily Midorikawa have written a guest post about their own ‘sisterhood’ style friendship. It is a pleasure to welcome Emma Claire Sweeney back to TWG, alongside Emily Midorikawa.

Before I share the guest post, swoon over the stunning cover of their book and read the blurb below;

Secret Sisterhood revised cover

Male literary friendships are the stuff of legend; think Byron and Shelley, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. But the world’s best-loved female authors are usually portrayed as isolated eccentrics. Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney seek to dispel this myth with a wealth of hidden yet startling collaborations.

A Secret Sisterhood looks at Jane Austen’s bond with a family servant, the amateur playwright Anne Sharp; how Charlotte Brontë was inspired by the daring feminist Mary Taylor; the transatlantic relationship between George Eliot and the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe; and the underlying erotic charge that lit the friendship of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield – a pair too often dismissed as bitter foes.

Through letters and diaries which have never been published before, this fascinating book resurrects these hitherto forgotten stories of female friendships that were sometimes illicit, scandalous and volatile; sometimes supportive, radical or inspiring; but always, until now, tantalisingly consigned to the shadows.

A Secret Sisterhood evolved from the authors’ own friendship. Their blog, Something Rhymed, charts female literary bonds and has been covered in the media and promoted by Margaret Atwood, Sheila Hancock and Kate Mosse, showing that the literary sisterhood is still alive today.

Guest Post.
Travellers on the Same Road
By
Emma Claire Sweeney and Emily Midorikawa

We got to know each other sixteen years ago, during a time when we were both living carefree lives as young English teachers in rural Japan. Emily lived in a tiny apartment surrounded by car parks and convenience stores; Emma in a tatami-floored house that looked out onto rice paddies and groves of bamboo. Here, each of us secretly picked up our pens.

We soon began to take the three-hour round trip between urban flat and country home, forging our friendship in both the ice cream parlours of the neon-choked city and in bath houses hidden up dark mountain lanes.

But it took almost a year of friendship before we shared our hopes of becoming published writers. Emma had decided by then to leave her mountain village, while Emily would be remaining for another twelve months.

When we arranged to meet for a farewell dinner, we had no idea that we’d come to look back on this evening as a key moment in our friendship. We chose a garlic-themed restaurant in Emily’s local shopping mall, which had become by then an eccentric favourite of ours. Seated at a table covered in a chequered plastic cloth, we talked about news from home, plans for the future, the books we loved. 

And then, over the course of the next hour, while twisting strands of spaghetti around our forks, we ‘came out’ to each other as aspiring authors. Neither of us had much to show for these aims just yet: diaries kept this past year, a few short stories. We understood next to nothing about the book industry either. Nonetheless, by the time we laid our cutlery down, we had something perhaps more precious: we knew that we had a friend with the same dream, and that by supporting each other, we could follow it together.

But we could hardly have predicted that our paths over the coming years would take such parallel routes. We got places on graduate creative writing programmes and secured agents at around the same time. 

While we felt grateful that we could share these celebratory moments with a friend, we each had a niggling worry that the literary success of one of us before the other might threaten the friendship we both held so dear.

 This proved a fear we would not end up having to face any time soon, since we’d spend a decade-and-a-half submitting books to publishers, and watching as the rejection slips racked up. 

Remembering that long-ago meal in a Japanese shopping mall, Emily wondered whether we’d have embarked on this literary journey at all had we known how little further forward we’d have come by now. Though equally downcast, Emma reminded us both that it wasn’t the writing itself that was getting us down, but the lack of improvement in our writerly prospects. 

Before the month was out, though, Emily would receive the news that she’d won a major competition for unpublished novels, and, to our delighted surprise, just days later, a publisher made an offer to bring out Emma’s novel, Owl Song at Dawn. 

Our early fears had proven unfounded. What’s more, not only did we join in with our friend’s celebrations, these felt less like individual achievements and more like moments of shared triumph.

We’d long wondered whether our favourite authors of the past had enjoyed such a sense of collaboration. Wordsworth and Coleridge came to mind, Byron and Shelley, Hemingway and Fitzgerald. But we struggled to name many friendships between female writers. 

Did Jane Austen forge a friendship with another female writer? Was there another woman to whom George Eliot turned to for literary support?

We discovered that Jane Austen benefitted from an unlikely friendship with a family servant, the amateur playwright Anne Sharp; Charlotte Brontë was inspired by the daring feminist Mary Taylor; George Eliot shared her experience of stratospheric literary fame with Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of internationally bestselling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and Virginia Woolf was spurred on to produce her best work by her rivalrous friendship with fellow modernist Katherine Mansfield.

We decided that the richness of these stories deserved to be written up in a book. And so, when publishers offered to bring out A Secret Sisterhood, we were offered the chance to celebrate a truly joint endeavor – the sort of collaboration that the two young writers who ‘came out’ to each other in that Japanese shopping mall could hardly have dared dream.

Joint bio:

Writer friends Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney are the authors of A Secret Sisterhood: The hidden friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf. They also co-run SomethingRhymed.com, a website that celebrates female literary friendship. They have written for the likes of the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday and The Times. Emily is a winner of the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, Emma is the author of the award-winning novel Owl Song at Dawn, and they both teach at New York University London. 

You can follow them on Twitter via @emilymidorikawa and @emmacsweeney, and Emma has an author page on Facebook.


I have their book ready and waiting on my TBR pile for review, which I aim to read as soon as I can so that you can swoon over the front cover year again! Or, seeing as the Jpeg doesn’t do it justice in the slightest (the real deal is shiny), you can buy your very own copy right now from: Amazon UK // Waterstones // Book Depository.

#Review! One Endless Summer by @LaurieEllingham @HQDigitalUK @HQStories

Laurie Ellingham

Three best friends.

Three continents.

Three months to live.

How long can you keep a secret?

Three best friends are embarking on an all-expenses paid trip of their dreams. The only catch? Every moment will be documented on film.

Lizzie’s battle with cancer is coming to an end, and now she’s ready to embrace adventure for the very first time. There are only three months, but it is Lizzie’s time to finally start living!

Jaddi is known for her stunning looks, flirtatious attitude and many conquests. But Jaddi has a secret and on this last trip together she needs to decide whether her best friends will ever know the real her.

Samantha has always been the ‘grown up’ of the group, the one with a five year plan. What Lizzie and Jaddi don’t know is that Sam is trapped, and her perfect life isn’t quite what it seems…

As they trek across the globe Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha must come to terms with loss, love and trusting one another. But will it all be too late…

What does TWG think?

I know I keep saying this, BUT, I am so glad that I tend to avoid reading the blurbs of novels before I read them. I have just read the blurb for Laurie Ellingham’s book; if I had read it before I started reading, I would have been a tad miffed as it gives a little too much away for my liking. I chose this book to read because of the three sentences on the front cover; ‘Three best friends. Three continents. Three months to live.’. Those words (and the beautiful cover itself), were enough to make me go and buy this book for myself. Why? Because Laurie Ellingham has written the type of book that needs to be left to do the talking, it needs to speak for itself. The magic needs to be read in the moment…and not before.

‘One Endless Summer’ pulled me in by my heart-strings nion straight away; there was absolutely nothing I could do to prepare myself for any eventuality within the storyline. Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha are three completely different women in terms of personalities and beliefs. One thinks with her heart, one thinks with her head and the other one leaves decisions to ‘fate’. I’m sure you can guess how problematic that would have been!

It didn’t take me long to focus on Lizzie’s story and everything else that went with it, including the camera man. Now, because my mind was focused on Lizzie’s hurdles, when another character was involved in a secretive situation, it completely caught me off guard. I had assumed that this storyline was going to centre around one circumstance in particular, so when the storyline spread its wings and took various different paths all at once, goosebumps covered my body from head to toe.

To be able to write a storyline containing several shocking situations involving most of the characters, as well as being able to maintain the high level of suspense and intensity, really does take a considerable amount of talent – Laurie Ellingham has done exactly that. Outstanding.

Throughout the entire novel it felt as though every time I turned the page, there was going to be even more shocking events, or rifts between characters, or something else utterly unexpected and bewildering. It most certainly kept my on my toes, but let’s just say that my emotions were becoming even more difficult to control.

As I said above, I assumed that this storyline was going to follow one path from start to finish, it didn’t; I am so, so glad that my assumption was incorrect as ‘One Endless Summer’ just kept on giving.

It’s incredibly difficult to write a vague review for a book that I adored, as all I want to do is go ‘OMG! Did you read the part where….’, and I can’t say anything along those lines.

All I can say really is that your own eyes need to read this mind-blowing, enchanting, heart-breaking, moving, spell-binding and emotional novel. I have never, EVER read a book like ‘One Endless Summer’; to be honest, I hope that I never read another book like it because it really is one of a kind. In my eyes, it’s going to take something completely flawless (of a similar genre) to be able to knock Laurie Ellingham’s book off my favourites list.

Words cannot describe how much I loved ‘One Endless Summer’, it really is THAT beautiful as well as thousands of other adjectives. Laurie Ellingham has blown my mind with this phenomenal storyline that’s for sure!

‘One Endless Summer’ is one of my MUST READ books of 2017 without a doubt. It’s also a book that will stay in my heart for a very, very long time.

Buy ‘One Endless Summer’ NOW!