#BlogTour! #Review – All The Colours In Between by @EvaJordanWriter @UrbaneBooks

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Delighted to be taking part in Eva Jordan’s blog tour for her latest release – ‘All The Colours In Between’. After hearing about this book from social media time and time again, it was lovely to finally be able to sit down and read it. Huge thanks to Urbane for the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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It’s not a life, it’s an adventure!

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And,
although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son, is now on his own tormented passage
to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of
his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her. Only, things are never quite as
black and white as they seem…

A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled.
And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son
acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband plus a new man in her life who quite
simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made. Gritty but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals, and coming of age.

Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.

What does TWG think?

After seeing post after post regarding ‘All The Colours In Between’ on social media, I finally began reading the book with two things in my mind. 1) it was going to be emotional and 2) it was going to be emotional. Do you have slight inkling that it was going to be an emotional read? A lot of those posts on social media said exactly that, so I couldn’t help but wait for the emotional moments to appear.

Lizzie’s life doesn’t seem to be going exactly to plan. Not only is she approaching the big FIVE-OH, her motherly intuition is beeping like goodness knows what and doesn’t seem want to settle despite constant reassuring from her partner, Simon. Lizzie’s isn’t the only life not going exactly to plan, her children’s aren’t either.

There is A LOT of storyline to this book. Each of the characters seem to play a vital role in the story, thus making the background information treble before you’ve gotten to the heart of the novel. I did feel a little overwhelmed by the extremely busy storyline, especially as I felt that it was a little bit patchy – like situations were missing. I couldn’t quite work out what had happened when the storyline seemed to do an almighty jump to a different part or a different character, whilst still having unfinished business with another character at that moment in time.

Several situations were incredibly difficult to read I have to say. The author approached those topics with the utmost sensitivity and professionalism, whilst also keeping everything as realistic as possible. Uncomfortable to read, but brilliantly written.

Despite there being a lot of characters, I found myself relating to one of them in particular; Cassie. Now I don’t know whether that’s because my nickname is ‘Cassie’, or whether her entire persona called out to me. Thinking about it, I would actually say both. There was just something so raw, yet gentle about Cassie which made me sit up and take notice. Well, that and her hilarious responses to certain things.

I did get emotional reading ‘All The Colours In Between’, but I didn’t get as emotional as I thought I would because of the preempting posts on social media. Nevertheless, I read the last few chapters of the book feeling as though I had a golf ball stuck in my throat. You’d have to be made of stone to not react to Eva Jordan’s novel one way or another.

I love how relatable the entire storyline was with the family dynamics, multiple problems and the real life situations. I thought it was clever how the author changed her writing style with each character chapter swap – I managed to learn some new words from a teenager! How peng! I don’t think I have ever seen an author change their style so dramatically for another character before, but it really was brilliantly done that’s for sure.

Overall? ‘All The Colours In Between’ really did make me giggle and nod in agreement when certain situations arose. Lizzie’s family is such a loveable bunch with a huge heart, which Eva Jordan has captured absolutely beautifully.

Full of relatable anecdotes and emotional situations; ‘All The Colours In Between’ is a thought-provoking read about every day life and making the most of every single minute you have on this planet. A heart-warming, poignant and unforgettable read from the delightful, Eva Jordan.

Thanks Urbane Books.

Buy: UrbanePublication // Amazon UK // Amazon US

About the author.

Eva Jordan, born in Kent but living most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town,
describes herself as a lover of words, books, travel and chocolate. She is also partial to
the odd glass or two of wine. Providing her with some of the inspiration for her novels, Eva is both a mum and step mum to four grown-up children. Her career has been varied
including working within the library service and at a women’s refuge. She writes a monthly column for a local magazine and currently works as a volunteer for a charity based organisation that teaches adults to read. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her passion. All The Colours In Between is Eva’s second novel.

If you want to know more you can find Eva at all the usual places. She loves to hear
from readers and reviewers so please feel free to contact her.
Website: evajordanwriter.com
Twitter: @evajordanwriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EvaJordanWriter/

Giveaway!

Prizes: 2 x signed paperbacks and 2 kindle ebooks of All The Colours In Between (UK only)

Enter now! Good luck!

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How ‘why are you only saying it NOW?’ is #notokay to respond to #sexualabuse posts with #MeToo

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Dear men and women of the world,

You may have seen the news overflowing with reports of abuse and harassment involving Harvey Weinstein. I mean really, who hasn’t? It really is everywhere.

You may have also seen the hashtag ‘#MeToo’ crop up once or twice on your social media, where some victims of sexual abuse or harassment try to come together under one heading whilst showing the world that it IS okay to speak out. Of course there probably was thousands of people who chose not to take part in that hashtag due to it reminding the victims of their abuse – that is okay too!

What’s NOT okay is the victim shaming.

What’s NOT okay is people commenting on posts with; ‘it was only just a kiss, stop throwing your teddy out the pram’.

What’s NOT okay is comment after comment with words along the lines of; ‘why are they just coming out with it now? or ‘yet another one jumping on the bandwagon to accuse someone of abuse – attention seeker!’ or ‘why didn’t they report it at the time instead of waiting years to say something?’.

I am hoping that if you’re reading this post, you know fine well why the above are far from okay. But if you don’t know why, then just this once I will humour you by saying:

Firstly, victim shaming is not okay. When people respond to a post asking what the victim was wearing, or what they did to attract the abusers attention in the first place etc, that’s pretty much telling the victim that they DESERVED their abuse/harassment.

Let me ask you this – if I were to walk down the street with a short skirt, high heels and a strappy top on and a man/woman decided to make non consensual advances towards me (e.g. groping, sexual talk, requesting sexual favours, rape, kissing etc), would you tell me that I DESERVED that because of what I was wearing? Would you tell me that I was ‘asking for it’ because I chose to not wear jeans and flat shoes and cover up every inch of my body?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re wearing religious clothes, party wear, your pyjama’s or even your birthday suit; if you have NOT consented to another person touching you or making advances towards you then it IS deemed harassment/abuse. No MEANS no. No-one is ever asking to be abused or harassed by another person, regardless of whether a 4×4 piece of skin is on show. No…just NO.

Secondly, my next point is what prompted me to write this post actually. A newspaper reported that a lady has made an allegation about Patrick Swayze. Now we all know that he is dead so no, she wasn’t meaning that he abused/harassed her from the grave. This lady said how Swayze forcefully kissed her without her consent, just moments after discussing his wife on the show. The lady then proceeded to explain how she DID mention it to her boss (who was a woman) at the time and she was fired. Yes, you heard me correctly. SHE was fired. Whilst that story didn’t exactly prompt my post, it was a comment on that news report which did. A comment which said ‘it was only a kiss! stop throwing your teddy out the pram and let the man RIP’. Really? Tell me folks, how is that okay? How is making someone’s situation out to be trivial and ‘just a kiss’ deemed a suitable response? Yes the man is dead, and no he cannot defend himself. But should his death and status in Hollywood at the time, make the alleged abuse any less serious? If it was only ‘just a kiss’, does that mean anyone can walk into the street and forcefully kiss someone on the lips as it’s ‘just a kiss’, whether they wanted it or not? NO! If one person dictates a situation where it makes you any way uncomfortable, the other person should respect that and stop. One person agreeing to do something does not make the action consensual. So no random stranger, it isn’t ‘just a kiss’.

Thirdly, this one is getting my back up something chronic. In regards to the Weinstein case, there has been a flurry of victims coming out saying that they have suffered some form of abuse or harassment by that man. Many of those victims have openly said how their careers were then affected once Weinstein was told ‘no’. Many of those victims have said that they felt as though they couldn’t tell anyone because they were frightened, lonely and afraid of losing everything they have worked for. Many of those victims have admitted to burying their heads in the sand in fear that they wouldn’t be believed due to how influential Weinstein was in Hollywood. So of course the keyboard warriors came out in force, trying to outshine DreamWorks ‘Trolls’ movie in 0.5 seconds. (Note – they failed. Trolls is WAYYYYY better movie than their 0.5 seconds of fame).

At first I saw comments of solidarity, empathy and anger towards the victims and the situation itself. Then in no time at all I came across comments which began to make me feel incredibly sick. Comments such as ‘attention seeker! why are you coming out with it now?’ and ‘jump on the bandwagon why don’t you!’ and ‘why didn’t you say anything at the time instead of waiting years to say something just to get into the news?’. Those comments were found on the Reese Witherspoon abuse news report so I dread to think what others I had missed!

Let me tell you why comments like that make me feel sick. After getting sexually abused/harassed a victim is more than likely feeling ashamed, frightened, nauseous, emotional…you name it, they’re probably feeling it. Funnily enough, one of the top things on a victims list to do after being abused is going and telling someone. Your mouth becomes dry. You lose all feeling in your legs. You’re unable to form coherent sentences. All you want to do is hide away and sleep, hoping that when you wake up it all turns out to be a dream. Some victims may find themselves (depending on the level of abuse/harassment) having to get coached/therapy to build up the courage to tell someone about what happened. Multiple questions are likely to float around a victims head – ‘what if no-one believes me?’ or ‘what if they say I’m lying?’ or ‘what if they say I deserved it?’ or ‘what DID I do to deserve it?’, just to name a few. It is extremely scary to sit down with someone and say that you have been a victim of sexual abuse or sexual harassment. If in the unfortunate event the victim was raped, it’s not just a case of popping to your local police station for a brew and casually telling them what happened. They have a job to do and unfortunately, the victim’s body is their ‘proof’ as it were, so not only do they have to go through the chat, they also have to endure a physical examination after being non consensually ‘examined’ by an abuser.

When I read those comments asking why said person ‘didn’t come out with it sooner?’ it really did make my skin crawl because 1) for all we know the victim may have already done that and wasn’t believed at the time, therefore speaking out about it where a group of victims has already formed. Strength in numbers. And 2) we have absolutely no idea how the victim is feeling, what they went through and how emotionally (or physically) scarred they are from the event. Who are we to question someone’s abuse? Who are we to demand answers from a victim? Who are we to dictate when a victim should tell an authoritative figure about their abuse? Who are we to judge full stop?

Before anyone asks how I know all of the above, or decides to make an uneducated comment about what I have written; I am a #MeToo three times over. Not once. Not twice. But THRICE. Sexually abused at age 11 & 14, raped at age 21. The first two times I was a minor. Did I deserve it? No. Did I feel as though I deserved it? Of course I did. Do the scars still remain? Emotionally, yes.

Victims of abuse/harassment need empathy not judgement. If you have no idea what to say to a victim, admit that but give them a hug. Never, EVER pass judgement or victim shame a person who has found the courage to speak out their abuse, whether it was 1 year ago, 10 years ago, or 50 years ago. Abuse has no time limit. Abuse has no age limit. Judgement has a time limit and the time limit is up.

No means no. It really isn’t that difficult.

Love,

A victim of sexual abuse.

#BlogTour! #Review – #InvisibleWomen by Sarah Long @bonnierzaffre

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It’s my turn to host Sarah Long’s ‘Invisible Women’! Huge thanks to Bonnier Zaffre for asking me to be involved in the paperback blog tour!

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Tessa, Sandra and Harriet have been best friends through first crushes, careers, marriage and the trials of motherhood. After twenty years of taking care of everyone else’s every need, they’ve found themselves hitting the big 5-0 and suddenly asking themselves: ‘what about me?!’

Sandra has a sordid secret, and Harriet is landed with her ailing mother-in-law. Tessa is looking for something to fill the gaping hole left by her youngest daughter’s departure for uni, where it seems she’s now engaged in all sorts of unsavoury activities, if Tessa’s obsessive late-night Facebook stalking is anything to go by.

When Tessa impulsively responds to an online message from an old flame, she soon finds herself waiting at Heathrow Airport for The One That Got Away.

But what will the plane from New York bring her? The man of her dreams, or a whole heap of trouble?

And could this be the long-awaited moment for Tessa to seize her life, for herself, with both hands?

What does TWG think?

One day, as I was feeling so downtrodden and incredibly invisible, I decided to find myself a new book to get stuck into. After less than a minutes worth of searching, a book appeared on my screen which couldn’t have been more apt if it had tried; Invisible Women. Coincidence or match made in heaven? I’m going to go with the latter! I really was in a funk of a mood, so to find a book which seemed to fit the bill with how I was feeling right at that very moment, I just knew I had to read it.

So I did.

Even before I had had time to settle myself into the storyline, the book had already thrown me a curveball which left me somewhat curious and somewhat impatient. I wanted to know what the monkeys was going on but seeing as the question mark loomed at the very start, I knew that I had a long wait to find out what was happening. Three women, three very different lives, yet all three ladies have one big thing in common; they are all about to hit the big FIVE-OH. Now, I’ve always known the age of mid-life crisis’ to be 40 (no offence to anyone 40 or over, just what I’ve seen about!). To see a storyline focus on the age of fifty and the realistic issues that could crop up at that time, well, it was like a little breath of fresh air and an eye-opener all in one go!

Sandra, Tess and Harriett have all reached the times in their lives where their children have flown the nest, they release that they can’t stop defying gravity for much longer and they think about all of the things that they SHOULD have done. No, no, no, I don’t mean going on a family vacation to a different country, or eating different food in a restaurant when your staple is always fish, chips and mushy peas. No. Things for them. Things that would make themselves happier, boost their confidence or actually make them feel….visible?

Whilst it may seem all to easy to just go and do things for yourself, when you have husbands like Tessa, Sandra and Harriett’s, the only thing that you’re likely to do for yourself is….er…..

Oh, my, god. All three men were absolute PIGS! One husband is like the spokesperson for selfishness and gluttony, another husband seems to have gotten muck in his eyes and forgets that his wife is indeed his wife, and not his maid, and the third one seems to have had his own issues but is now hell-bent on using the ‘woe is me’ card. Even.in.the.aftermath. Man flu doesn’t seem as bad now when you compare it to those three!!

There were times where I found the book to be a little slow, but, I actually think the storyline needed those slow moments to make the realism of the three situations more evident. Sarah Long hasn’t made all of the storyline bubbly, optimistic and cosy; she has made a lot of it modern, realistic and bulshy. I felt really sorry for one of the ladies as they were treated like absolute shizzmanizzle and I found myself getting rather irate. I say ‘rather’, I think I may have shouted at the book once or twice. I hope we weren’t meant to like the husbands in this book, because I can assure you that I did not!

‘Invisible Women’ is very cleverly written, witty and the underlying message throughout the storyline is a very important one. I was really hopeful that all three women would manage to find their callings in life, their happiness and their reason to keep going. At times I was urging them to just go for it but as an outsider, it was easy for me to sit here and say that.

Sarah Long is very witty in her dialogue and knows how to keep her readers enthralled by her words. Whilst ‘Invisible Women’ didn’t blow me away, it really was the tonic I needed when I felt low myself. Lots of giggles, powerful friendships and bucketfuls of determination, this book will really keep your attention from start to finish.

Thank you Bonnier Zaffre.

Buy now from Amazon

About The Author:

Sarah Long worked in publishing before giving it all up to move to Paris with her husband and three children.

She is the author of And What Do You Do? and The Next Best Thing.
Following several years of the Parisian experience, she now lives back in London.

#BlogTour! #Review – What Goes Down by Natalie K Martin (@natkmartin) @NeverlandBT

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Delighted to be hosting Natalie K Martin on day two of her weekend blog blitz! Thank you to NeverlandBT for inviting me onto the tour. Here is my review of Natalie’s novel; ‘What Goes Down’. Enjoy!

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An emotional must-read of love, loss and second chances. Perfect for fans of Amanda Prowse and Julie Cohen.

Seph Powell has all she ever wanted: a close family, loving boyfriend and her dream career. A gifted artist with a highly anticipated exhibition just weeks away, life seems to be perfect. Until a man she’s never met claims to be her real father.

Laurel and Tony Powell are devoted parents. Having worked hard to provide everything for Seph, they’ve created a picture-perfect family. Until Laurel’s ex-boyfriend, Nico, comes back into their lives.

In the summer of 1987, Nico Papoulis stole Laurel’s heart with promises of adventure and excitement. But then he disappeared without trace, leaving her as a single, teenaged parent. Now, twenty-five years later, he’s back and keen to meet the daughter he left behind.

But Nico’s sudden reappearance shows that nothing is quite as it first seems. As long hidden truths are exposed, everything Seph thought she knew begins to unravel, and the one person who can help her the most is the very person Laurel has tried so hard to protect her from.

What does TWG think?

‘What Goes Down’ surprised me a lot to be honest. There were times when I thought the storyline seemed to angle more towards a romance, yet there were times when I thought the storyline oozed a contemporary feel. What I wasn’t expecting however, was the storyline to be as deep as what it was.

I don’t read blurbs of books. Having read the blurb of this book just now, I am super glad I didn’t read it beforehand as it gives far too much away. But, because I was none the wiser in regards to Seph’s family life, every event caught me off guard. I became more invested in the storyline with every emotional situation. Would I have felt that way if I had read the blurb beforehand and was told several of the shocking events? To be perfectly honest, no, I wouldn’t. I do feel as though the blurb lets the readers down by taking away that element of shock and surprise.

Now, like I said above, I don’t read the blurbs of a book so the book was ruined for me beforehand because of it. I do however, feel extremely strong about this blurb. For me the highlight of the storyline was how I didn’t see anything coming. I never expected certain events to happen as I was too invested in what the characters were doing at that exact moment in time. When those events happened, I reacted in various ways; shock, emotional, laugh out loud, you name it. My reactions were natural.

There is quite a serious theme linked to this book and, without giving anything away, I believe that the author should get a round of applause for such a realistic, relatable, and emotional display of such a ‘popular’ yet highly stigmatised situation. I’m not going to lie, it was incredibly difficult to read due to the heart-breaking information which came to light during the story. If you were to stop random people in the street and ask them whether they knew the topic Natalie K Martin used in her book, a lot of people would say yes. If you were to ask those same people whether they understood it, do you think the same amount of people would say yes again? I don’t. Why? Because, just like the author quite rightly describes; two people may have similar situations yet their outlook and reactions to certain events could be completely different once in that particular mindset. I truly am impressed at the lengths which the author went to, to get such a clear message across to her readers. I felt every emotion, and when one of the characters breaks down (yes I’m being vague), the terminology used in that scene made the tears fall out of my eyes. Nobody can teach you how to write like that, you either have it or you don’t – Natalie K Martin clearly has it.

Despite feeling aggravated by Seph’s mum, Laurel, multiple times throughout the story, I really did enjoy ‘What Goes Down’. It wasn’t at all what I expected yet on the flip side, it didn’t disappoint. I found Laurel to be overly blasé and selfish. Maybe that makes me sound harsh, but in the moment that’s how I felt. I couldn’t gel with her at all and I felt like she was definitely a weak link in the book.

Overall, ‘What Goes Down’ was such an insightful, emotional, and eye-opening read which kept my attention from the first page until the last. Natalie K Martin definitely has a way with words and I feel as though she has done people of a certain community, exceptionally proud.

Thanks NeverlandBT

Buy now from Amazon UK

About the author:

In 2014, Sheffield born Natalie K. Martin left her corporate job in London to experience the world – heading off on travels that took her as far as Cambodia, India and Thailand, and changed her outlook on life for good. Whilst in India, she self-published her debut novel, Together Apart, which became a No.1 bestseller on the Amazon charts. Her second novel, Love You Better, became a bestseller on release in October 2015.

Never one to shy away from tough subjects, Natalie’s books tackle issues that are relevant and relatable to the everyday woman, and all feature true-to- life characters – people who could easily be your mum, sister, or best friend. This is what she calls: Contemporary Fiction with Love. Natalie’s books have been
featured in The Daily Mail, Woman’s Own, Pride Magazine and Female First. She has been interviewed on radio including BBC Radio Sheffield and Manx Radio, and has also written articles for Kindred Spirit Magazine, Do What You Love and Your Wellness Magazine.

A trained Yoga Teacher with a love of surfing, Natalie’s backpack is now taking a short but well-earned rest. These days, she can be found in the historical city of Ulm in Southern Germany, where she’s settled with the charming Bavarian man who swept her off her feet in India. Natalie is represented by Jon Elek at United Agents.

For more information, please contact:

info@nataliekmartin.com| www.nataliekmartin.com| Twitter: @natkmartin

Giveaway!!

UK Only – 1 winner
Prizes: £10 Amazon giftcard, a Stag necklace and a copy of the book

To enter the giveaway click here! Good luck!

#BlogTour! #Review – Groomed by Casey Watson (@caseywatson1) @HarperNonFic

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Happy publication day to Casey Watson and her new novel, Groomed. As always, Casey Watson doesn’t disappoint with yet another eye-opening read. Here is my review, and thank you to Jasmine Gordon for inviting me on the tour:

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It’s late on Friday night when Casey’s mobile starts to ring. She is expecting it to be her daughter Riley. But it isn’t Riley. It’s a woman from the Emergency Duty Team. So begins Casey and Mike’s latest fostering challenge – a fifteen-year-old girl called Keeley who’s run away from her long-term foster home 25 miles away.

The Jonathan Ross Show has just started when Casey gets the call. She thinks it will be Riley – telling her that her favourite actor is going to be on TV. But it’s something far more urgent: a fifteen-year-old girl who has run away from her foster family and accused her foster father of sexual abuse. The family deny in vehemently, but such an allegation can never be taken lightly, so a new home must be found for Keeley.

Keeley is polite, but she’s sharp, and she has all the hallmarks of a child who has been in the system a long time, and knows how to play it. Whether the allegation is true or not, Casey knows there will be no winners here. If it is true, then a young girl’s life has been torn asunder. If not, then the heartache for the family will only be surpassed by the bleak outlook for Keeley.

In the short term, it’s a case of providing a safe, supportive home for a vulnerable child. But with the dangerous world of the internet at her disposal, it seems this strong-minded youngster has her own ideas of where that safe place should be…

What does TWG think?

I’ll be keeping this review short and sweet, purely because of the personal interpretation element that this book will highlight more so. Plus, the overall theme of ‘Groomed’ is one which needs to be digested from the black and white words of the author themselves, as opposed to second-hand black and white words from my own personal viewpoint.

I know of people who have been fostered and, whilst their experiences aren’t at all positive, it’s clear to see from this book that time has moved on a lot since then in regards to the care system itself. Whilst I have a lot of respect for foster carers with the selfless choice they make to bring a stranger into their home, care for them and nine times out of ten, try to get them back on the straight and narrow; I am more in awe than anything at the sheer level of determination and balls, foster carers seem to have. I know OF the system, yet I don’t know the ins and outs of the system. I guess both are incredibly different kettles of fish.

Keeley has run away from home. Keeley has brought something to light which is guaranteed to break the lives of everyone directly involved. Her long-term foster care home doesn’t seem to be the safe haven everyone imagined it would be. But, with a personality like Keeley’s, is it just her word against everyone else’s, or is she actually telling the truth?

It was pretty clear from the onset that this novel would be quite a challenging read, due to the overall theme of the storyline. Challenging – yes. Uncomfortable to read – yes. Regardless of how uncomfortable I felt, topics like these need to be discussed and brought out into the open so people can fully understand how devastating such actions can be. Unfortunately, I can relate extremely well to this novel based on the theme itself, and not the foster care part. It was a situation I never in a million years thought that I would be in, but when does anyone wake up and think; ‘oh you know what, today I am going to be….’, and so on. As for Keeley’s reaction further in the book when she is in her new foster home and left alone with a mobile phone; all I’m going to say to the system there is ‘REALLY?????’.

Casey Watson has such a captivating way of writing, regardless of what topic she decides to write about. The author made me sit up and listen with her words, and empathise with her ‘characters’ actions. Not that I had any trouble doing so anyway, but the fact I noticed the slight change in the writing style as the story progressed, really made me think.

Books like these are what the world needs to help explain things which vulnerable children can’t. Books like these put heart-breaking, devastating, and horrendous situations in the spotlight, purely to help rid the stigma associated with the victims of said events. Books like these are vital to help judgemental people to stop judging something that they have no idea about, until someone puts it in black and white and feeds it to them with a spoon.

Thanks Harper Non Fiction.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Extract from ‘The Note’ by Zoe Folbigg (@zolington) @aria_fiction

THE NOTE blog tour
It’s TWG’s turn to host Zoe Folbigg and her debut novel, ‘The Note’. For my post today I am delighted to share an extract with you. Enjoy!

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As featured on ITV’s ‘This Morning’…

Based on Zoë Folbigg’s true story comes an unforgettable romance about how a little
note can change everything…

One very ordinary day, Maya Flowers sees a new commuter board her train to London,
and suddenly the day isn’t ordinary at all. Maya knows immediately and irrevocably,
that he is The One.

But the beautiful man on the train always has his head in a book and never seems to
notice Maya sitting just down the carriage from him every day. Eventually, though,
inspired by a very wise friend, Maya plucks up the courage to give the stranger a note
asking him out for a drink. Afterall, what’s the worst that can happen?
And so begins a story of sliding doors, missed opportunities and finding happiness
where you least expect it.

The Note is an uplifting, life-affirming reminder that taking a chance can change
everything…

Buy links:
Amazon // Kobo // iBooks // Google Play

Extract.

Chapter One

May 2014

Maya has done it. She has delivered three sentences and a friendly sign-off, and now
it is out of her hands. She struggles to walk the incline of the seemingly uphill train
carriage because her legs are shaking, her mouth is dry, and putting one foot in front
of the other takes effort and focus her racing heart isn’t capable of at the moment.
Her legs buckle as Maya slumps into a seat on the other side of a grubby internal
door. Which is just as well because she wanted to linger with the last straggles of
bedraggled Train People disembarking reluctantly; to make herself invisible to all the
commuters she just embarrassed herself in front of. So, Maya lies low with the sleepy
people. The people who can’t stand their jobs. The people who are lost in someone
else’s life, frantically turning or swiping pages to find out if the girl got the guy, the
adventurer made it back to London or the heretic was burned at the stake.

Train Man isn’t a straggler. Every day Maya sees him stand up confidently at the
same point on the track, somewhere between the football stadium and the tunnel, as
the train snakes towards a new day and a new terminus. Equine legs, strong arms. He
throws a grey backpack with two thin brown leather straps onto his back, stands in the
doorway and, as the train comes to a stop and orange lights ding, he steps off with
pace and purpose. Maya usually walks a healthy distance behind Train Man, tiny
sparks flying from her heels, down the platform and through the barriers under the
canopy of a reverse waterfall bubbling white and bright above them. The intimate
huddle of a metal umbrella for thousands of people who don’t even look up. Train
Man always walks straight through the station and Maya wonders what he’s listening
to, trying to guess from his gait, not realising he was at four of the six gigs she went to
in the past year. Every day she sees him turn right out of the station and walk swiftly,
resolutely, into a mist of people down the road. Until she can’t keep up with his long
stride, he in Converse, she in heels – or ballerina flats if she needs to be nimble and get to a meeting – and Maya tends to lose him around the big crossroads at the artery by the hospital. But not today. Today Train Man has long gone.

When Maya’s legs buckled and she fell into a dusty seat, she put distance between
where Train Man had been sitting, where she had awkwardly stood over him, and into
this sanctuary of a cringe-free carriage. Catching her breath, she waits for three
minutes until she, Maya Flowers, is the last of the stragglers. Hot face. Thumping
heart. I did it!
In the empty carriage, Maya’s legs stop shaking and she flattens her wavy hair in
an attempt to regain composure for no one’s benefit. She takes long deep breaths and
calms herself by putting her fingertips against her ribcage to feel her lungs fill slowly.
A tall man in a bright blue short-sleeved shirt that sits pleasingly against Somali
skin steps on and starts to throw newspapers into a sack before passengers board the
train that will take them north. Maya stands and tries to stride with Train Man’s purpose. She knows she won’t catch him up today, to see whether he is clutching her note to his heart, whether it’s crumpled in his pocket, or whether he tossed it into a bin. It doesn’t matter for now.
What matters is she did it.
Spring sunshine looks down gently and tempers rise noisily in the gridlock of an
underpass, but all Maya can hear among the birds and the horns are the words of an
American woman in her head.
‘What’s the worst that can happen?’
Maya smiles proudly as she passes a bin and gives a cursory glance into it.

About the author

Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001
and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK,
Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the- world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. This is her debut novel.

Follow Zoe

Website: http://www.zoefolbigg.com/
Twitter: @zolington
Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor

 

#BlogTour! #Review – Losing Myself by Victoria Brown (@victoriajbrown) @bombshellpub

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Delighted to be hosting Victoria Brown and her novel, ‘Losing Myself’, along with fabulous blogger, Sarah Hardy! Huge thanks to Bombshellpub for asking me to be involved in this blog tour! Here is my review:

Losing Myself final blue
Since Kat made her decision, everything around her seems to be falling apart. Not only is she dealing with family’s secrets, lies and deceit but the salon, which is opening around the corner, threatens her livelihood.

To make matters worse her relationship with Max is on the rocks. Although her relationships with Max’s mother, her step-mother and her sister have grown stronger, are they strong enough?

Working tirelessly to save her salon and save her relationship with Max, she is battling everyday to stay focused on her future. But what will the future bring?

What does TWG think?

Before reading ‘Losing Myself’, I was advised to read the first book ‘Holding Myself’ as this latest book by Victoria Brown is a sequel to that novel. I told myself I will make sure I have the time to read ‘Holding Myself’ beforehand, but unfortunately time wasn’t on my side and I had to read ‘Losing Myself’ on its own. Now, the reason I was advised to read the first book beforehand was so that I was able to follow the storyline, without feeling as though I was missing out on any pieces of information. In all honesty, I didn’t feel as though I was lacking in any information, despite reading the sequel first. Obviously everyone is different, but just because I was comfortable in the book order I chose, it doesn’t mean it will be the same for everyone else. Seeing as ‘Holding Myself’ has had such glowing reviews, I will definitely get round to reading it, so watch this space for a review on that book!

Anyway, back to ‘Losing Myself’.

Kat should be feeling on top of the world, excited for her upcoming journey in a few months time. Unfortunately, she isn’t. It doesn’t matter which way she turns, Kat’s life is determined to make her question every little thing, whilst bombarding her with people whose dictionaries don’t contain the word ‘genuine’ and ‘trustworthy’. Just like a lot of people, Kat has worked hard to get where she is in her professional life, and ironically, her personal life as well. The thing is, in one teeny tiny swoop, Kat’s dream is about to be pulled from under her in more ways than one.

If life required a spokesperson, Kat would fit the bill perfectly. As heart-breaking and unsettling as her life is, Kat is one of the most relatable characters I think I have ever come across because of the way she’s faced with realistic, every day situations and tackles them just like us – in a panic. Well, Kat doesn’t tackle ALL of them in a panic, but it’s clear as the storyline goes on that she has reached her limit, and understandably so!

You’ve probably guessed by now that ‘vagueness’ is the main theme of this review – just like the blurb. I don’t wish to give anything away but, because the storyline contains a lot of heartache and emotional moments (which I related and feel that other readers might do as well), I have to keep my cards close to my chest and give you the bare minimum. I would love to sit here and say which parts I related to, but I can’t as it will give a large portion of the storyline away. All I can say is that Kat’s own personal struggles are very similar to what you, me, and Jimbob down the road deal with on a daily basis. Not only that, Kat’s emotions will resonate with quite a lot of us as well. She doesn’t attempt to deal with the themes of the book in a perfect, straight forward and organised manner. I’m sorry to say, but that’s not always realistic. Instead, Kat deals with them in such a way that will make you feel better the next time you slide down the wall in tears upon receiving bad news that could potentially change your life.

Even though there were moments where I just wanted to scream ‘GIVE KAT A BREAK!!!!’ as I was frustrated with the constant stream of negative happenings in her life, it made me realise that life doesn’t care whether you’re going through one thing before it gives you another thing to get emotional about. It doesn’t care whether you have reached your boiling point. So yes, whilst I wanted everything to stop happening to Kat, I had to appreciate that because the storyline has a lot of realistic tendencies, the author has had to make the events covered within the story, realistic and as prominent as everyday life. After all, we can’t exactly shout at our lives to give us a break now can we?

I really did appreciate the authors black and white writing viewpoint as it made me feel as though the writer behind the book was in tune with their feelings, whilst also being aware of their future readers feelings as well.

I’m not going to lie, I was emotionally drained when I finished ‘Losing Myself’, yet I also felt as though I gained something incredibly special because of the underlying message which the author conveyed throughout the novel.

‘Losing Myself’ is an emotional, thought-provoking, and touching novel about real life situations, as well as real life emotions. Full of realistic scenarios with a kickass main character; ‘Losing Myself’ is guaranteed to make you treat yourself more like a human and less like a robot with no feelings. If you think you have to go through life completely oblivious to any type of emotion or turmoil, think again. If you think you have to go through life and deal with situations in a different way to what’s natural for you, think again. ‘Losing Myself’ made me realise that whilst everyone is different and deals with things in a completely different manner, we are all humans who need love and someone to be present whether that’s in person, by phone or by a message.

Incredibly touching.

Thanks Bombshellpub.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review – The Season of Hopes and Dreams – Lynsey James @Lynsey1991 @NeverlandBT @HQDigitalUK

Season of Hopes

Delighted to be kicking off Lynsey James’ blog tour for her new release’ A Season of Hopes and Dreams’. Hugs thanks to NeverlandBT for inviting me onto the tour. Here is my review:

A Season of Hopes & Dreams_FINAL
It’s been a difficult year for Cleo Jones. The car accident that crushed her leg didn’t just destroy the village baker’s dreams of becoming a dancer, but crushed her confidence too. And recovering from that has been harder than healing from any number of broken bones…

But this summer is going to be different. Life is turning around for Cleo! Maybe it’s the invitation from her childhood bully to their high-school reunion that’s shocked her out of a ten-year slump. Or joining Carb Counters and finally starting to shed the weight she’d piled on during her recovery – or maybe it’s catching the eye of her gorgeous personal trainer!

Whatever the answer, this is going to be a summer she never forgets… watch out world, Cleo Jones is finally fighting back!

What does TWG think?

After reading Lynsey James’ latest offering, all I wanted to do was grab the author and give her an almighty big hug. Now, whilst I have enjoyed Lynsey James’ previous novels, I have always felt as though the author was holding something back with her storylines. Well folks, that certainly is not the case anymore! Everything I wanted the author to deliver from a reader point of view; she delivered and she delivered it well.

Cleo Jones has a dream, and Royal Mail seem to want to crush that dream with every letter they send her. Does she have the support of her family every time a rejection letter comes through the mail? Does she heck! Poor Cleo has next to no confidence and, as a sufferer of low confidence myself, my heart went out to the character because it can be quite an emotional time. Not only that, I could tell that Cleo just wanted to grab life by its tutu and live – but something always seemed to stop her from doing that, whether it was her mum, multiple rejection letters, her confidence or her past coming back to haunt her. Cleo needed a break let’s put it that way.

Let me tell you now, ‘A Season of Hopes and Dreams’ isn’t all rainbows, candyfloss and wishful thinking; the storyline has quite a serious topic running throughout the storyline. A topic which a lot of people may find themselves relating to in various different ways. Without giving anything away, what I am about to say is a nod to the author and anyone who has read the book already; Cleo’s situation with her weight and the way the storyline approached on the other side of that situation via a different character – I used to be that person. Not Cleo, but the other character. Reading a story which covered such a taboo and stigmatic topic felt as though a huge weight was being lifted off my shoulders. I know that sounds selfish, but seeing as reading is such a personal experience as we will all read storylines in a completely different manner; I truly felt as though the author had done the topic justice by putting it into her storyline in the first place. Of course I could easily say that I would have preferred the storyline to be written more from the fleeting characters point of view, but that would only be because I connected to it more. Yet, the point of view in which the author chose to write the storyline still left me with a lot of admiration for Lynsey James.

Another part of the storyline which brought my past back to the forefront of my mind was the theme of bullying. All I’m going to say on that matter in this review is THAT is why I wanted to give the author a huge. THANK YOU for including that in the story. THANK YOU for making it clear that spiteful comments are still classed as bullying. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

All in all, ‘A Season of Hopes and Dreams’ ticked all my boxes and then some. I laughed, I smiled, and I empathised whilst tears pricked my eyes. This modern, relatable, romantic, and laugh out loud novel is by far Lynsey James’ best book to date. Not only has the author included serious themes which a lot of people choose not to talk about due to the stigma attached; the author also included loveable and heart-warming moments which are guaranteed to make you go ‘awwwww!’.

Lynsey James’ novel warmed my heart. THIS novel is exactly what I have been waiting for from this author, and what an absolute belter of a novel it is.

Touching, romantic, relatable and thought-provoking; ‘A Season of Hopes and Dreams’ has it all. A truly inspiring novel which is Lynsey James’ best book yet.

Thanks NeverlandBT.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Author bio:

Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name
ever since. She’s an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she’s sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left her job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since.
When Lynsey’s not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she’s daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

Twitter: @Lynsey1991
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lynseyjamesauthor/?ref=br_rs

Giveaway

3x eCopies of the book – 3 winners. International.

Enter the giveaway now!

#BlogTour! #Guestpost from author of ‘How I Motivated Myself to Succeed’ @Shelleywilson72

Blog Tour Banner for Shelley Wilson HIMMTS

Blog Tour Schedule - HIMMTS
Delighted to have Shelley Wilson, author of ‘How I Motivated Myself to Succeed’, on TWG today as she celebrates the release of her brand new book! We all know that we lack in motivation sometimes, we are only human after all and, because of that, Shelley Wilson has written a guest post about why she is a sucker for a good inspirational meme. Hands up who feels raring to go after reading one of those? Me!
Hands up who is going to buy Shelley Wilson’s new book to keep the inspirational and motivational momentum going? ME!

Keep on reading after Shelley’s guest post as I will give you the all important ‘to buy’ links at the end. Over to you Shelley!

Why I’m a Sucker for an Inspirational Meme. Guest Post by Shelley Wilson
(@ShelleyWilson72)

Following inspirational bloggers, authors, and gurus is part of the ‘day job’ when you write self-help books. I have learned so much from my teachers that I love to pass on to my readers in a way that they can relate to. Even though I call myself a spiritual person, I don’t wear a floaty kaftan or bells on my fingers. You’ll only find me running through a meadow of tall grass with flowers in my hair if there’s an ice-cream van at the other side!
There are billions of us on this beautiful planet, all with our own unique hang-ups, issues, and battle scars from life. What I love most about the personal development industry is the abundance of quotes that can heal, calm, and inspire someone in the space of ten or twenty words. Some quotes are motivational, some humorous, and others are very thought provoking.

My books encourage a sense of positivity, and well-being and I’m normally quick to share an inspirational meme with my social media audience. I don’t do this because it fits my personal needs, although, some days these affirmations have been spot on. I share them in the hope that they’ll help someone else in the same way my books can motivate or inspire readers. When I ran my holistic health business, my clients were always at the forefront of my mind. If I read an inspiring article, I would save it as I knew it might resonate with one of my ladies. When I heard about a new meditation class or spiritual workshop, I would forward the details to the people I knew would enjoy these events. Today, social media is the perfect platform to share our good intentions far and wide as you just don’t know who you might help along the way.

So, the next time you spot an inspirational meme, don’t scroll by and dismiss it, think about who you know in your circle of friends and colleagues who might just need to hear that message today.

In my new release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed I’ve included a series of lists at the
end of the book; 52 Things to Do, 52 Uplifting Quotes, 52 Affirmations for Success, and 52
Power Words – one each for every week of the year. I’m a great believer in ‘thoughts
become things’ and have witnessed a client spiral out of control when concentrating on the negative aspects of her life. On the flip side, I’ve also seen how a friend turned her life around by absorbing the positivity around her and choosing to embrace this. If one
inspirational meme can trigger a moment of optimism, hope, or confidence then I’ll keep
sharing and I hope you will too.

I’d like to finish with a huge thank you to my delightful host, Kaisha. Having won the Most Inspirational Blogger Award at the Bloggers Bash this year, I’m pretty sure she’ll be as obsessed with inspirational memes as me! Thank you for reading and be sure to check out the other host spots for more inspiration, motivation, and a sprinkle of fun.

Awww thank you Shelley! Yes! I am all for the thought-provoking meme’s that make you stop and feel as though something has clicked. A bit like this one here;

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If you would like to read more about Shelley’s inspirational tips then take a look at her new release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed, out now in paperback and eBook, and packed full of information on self-care, freeing yourself from fear, organising your life, and much more.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Find out more about Shelley on her author blog http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com or via her personal development blog http://www.motivatemenow.co.uk.
She is also on Twitter www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72, Facebook
www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog and Instagram www.instagram.com/authorslwilson

Author Bio:

Shelley is a multi-genre author of non-fiction self-help and young adult fantasy fiction. Her latest release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed is being dubbed as the sequel-that’s- not-a-sequel to her bestselling book, How I Changed My Life in a Year. She writes a personal development blog (www.motivatemenow.co.uk) as well as an author blog
(www.shelleywilsonauthor.com) where she shares book reviews, author interviews, and
random musings about writing. Shelley was thrilled to win the Most Inspirational Blogger Award at the Bloggers Bash in 2016, and to scoop second place in the same category in 2017. She is a single mum to three teenagers and a black cat, loves pizza, vampires, and The Walking Dead, and has a slight obsession with list writing.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Woolly Hat Knitting Club by Poppy Dolan (@poppydwriter) @canelo_co

The Woolly Hat Blog Tour Banner (4)
What perfect weather for wearing a woolly hat! Good to know our author is keeping herself nice and toasty whist visiting all the blogs on the blog tour, that’s for sure! Speaking of which – I have the pleasure of hosting Poppy Dolan and ‘The Woolly Hat Knitting Club’ as we go into day two of the tour! Huge thanks to Canelo for asking me to be involved in the blog tour – here is my review:

woolly hat

Finding happiness one stitch at a time

When Dee Blackthorn’s brother, JP, breaks both wrists not only is he in need of a helping hand – or two – but the knitting shop he owns can’t function. Sisterly duties take Dee away from her demanding job and she is unceremoniously fired amidst rumours of inappropriate behaviour. Dee is certain that her hot-shot nemesis, Ben, is behind it all but has no proof.

When Dee bumps into an old friend who is new mum to a premature baby she convinces JP to enlist his knitting pals to make lots of tiny woolly hats. Then Ben turns up denying involvement in Dee’s sacking and she ropes him into helping the knitting cause.
But before long Dee’s good intentions backfire and she risks losing her friends, her family and Ben, who’s turned out to be not so bad after all…

A feel-good romantic comedy about learning what life is really all about, The Woolly Hat Knitting Club is perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Tilly Tennant and Carole Matthews.

What does TWG think?

TWG and knitting do not go hand in hand. I’m more likely to tie myself in a knot with the wool instead of knitting with it (and no, not in the kinky way either). I used to knit…a very long time ago, but I expected one of those Jean Greenhowe doll patterns to be completed a lot quicker than it actually was. Granted I was eight, but that’s not the point. As an avid reader, I have only read one other book which has knitting as its theme…surprisingly! As soon as I saw Poppy Dolan’s new novel I was rather eager to let myself loose into the knowledge of, er, purl stitch and such. Well, that and it looked so much fun.

To be perfectly honest, I really didn’t know what I was expecting ‘The Woolly Hat Knitting Club’ to entail (apart from the obvious), yet I was still rather surprised when the ‘drama’ bells rang within the storyline after several pages. I rubbed my hands together with glee thinking that I was in for a bumpy ride….and it was two broken wrists. TWO BROKEN WRISTS. I never knew knitting was such a dangerous sport! I jest….kinda. I will probably sound mean now, but as soon as the two broken wrists became part of the storyline in great detail, I couldn’t help but giggle. I could just imagine two arms stuck out like a snowman. Let me just say that if it happened to me, I wouldn’t be laughing, but it was just the way it was described in the storyline that made me chuckle.

Whilst I hoped I would laugh, I never expected to feel tears prick my eyes when the storyline went from jokey, to incredibly serious. Reader, it gave me all the feels and I’m not even joking. Two words – premature babies. That’s all I’m saying (it’s in the blurb so I won’t get told off). For me personally, the direction in which the storyline took after the emotional scene made the entire novel go up several notches. Instead of it just being about knitting and broken wrists; the storyline started to have meaning and incredible depth.

Now, as I admitted at the start of this novel – I am not a knitter. However, after reading about the woolly hats for premature babies, I have decided to re-learn how to knit and get some premature baby hats knitted for my local area. That whole situation hit home for many, many personal reasons and thanks to Poppy Dolan, I am actually going to give something back. Without the author’s important message in her storyline, I wouldn’t have been given the kick up the backside.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Woolly Hat Knitting Club’ as it was cleverly written and so unique. That said, I couldn’t really work out what the issue with Dee was later on in the book, I didn’t see an issue in her actions so I became a little confused by her brothers reactions. Maybe that’s just me I don’t know!

The highlight of Poppy Dolan’s novel (aside from the hats), was the 90’s references. I laughed out loud to several of the band names, even re-reading a previous page to see whether what I read was actually what I read! Absolutely brilliant.

All in all, ‘The Woolly Hat Knitting Club’ is a feel good novel which is guaranteed to make you giggle, whilst also preparing you for world dominance – knitting style. A perfect paced read from start to finish; Poppy Dolan has written a storyline with a heart of gold and never-ending hugs. The perfect pick me up book.

Thanks Canelo,

Buy now from Amazon UK

Author Bio:

Poppy Dolan is in her mid thirties and lives in Berkshire with her husband. She's a near- obsessive baker and a keen crafter, so on a typical weekend can be found moving between the haberdashery and kitchenware floors of a department store, adding to her birthday wish list. She has written three novels: The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp, There’s More to Life than Cupcakes and most recently The Bluebell Bunting Society. The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp made it into the Amazon top 100 bestseller chart, so clearly someone other than her mum must have read it. She’s currently working on her fourth novel – it’s about friends, siblings and crafty things – and drinking far too much tea.

You can get in touch with Poppy on Twitter @poppydwriter and on Facebook at
PoppyDolanBooks. She doesn’t bite. Unless you are a dark chocolate digestive.