#BlogTour! #Review – Reach for the Stars by Colleen Coleman (@collcolemanauth) @Bookouture

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Absolutely delighted to be kicking off Colleen Coleman’s blog tour for her brand new book, ‘Reach for the Stars’, and on publication day! Huge thanks to Kim Nash for giving me this honour. I am thrilled to be sharing my review with you all today:

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When Evelyn Dooley married her high-school sweetheart, James, she thought she was set for life. Now she’s twenty-eight, single, and fleeing to Dublin from her hometown to avoid the gossip surrounding their break-up. And all because of a test-your-relationship board game.

This was not in her five-year plan.

Then a chance encounter with gorgeous musician Danny leads to an unlikely friendship, and soon the pair are running music nights together in one of the oldest pubs in Dublin. For the first time Evelyn is following her dreams rather than someone else’s – and sparks are beginning to fly between her and Danny…

But when her savings run out and home beckons, Evelyn has to choose. The safe, comfortable life she left behind, or a new adventure with Danny? Will Evelyn flee back to the familiarity of her ex, or reach for the stars and take a leap into the unknown?

A laugh-out-loud, feel-good story of friendship, second chances, and romance, perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Marian Keyes.

What does TWG think?

Having read, devoured, and loved Colleen Coleman’s debut novel, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, I really had no idea how the author was going to top that book going forward. But folks, she did and by golly did she do it well!!!

The thing I love about Colleen Coleman’s novels, is how she takes real life, relatable situations and turns them into storylines that will either make you nodding in agreement, or reaching for a second box of Kleenex. Some of you might be thinking ‘why would I cry at a situation I have already endured once or twice before?’ and, whilst that is a pretty valid question, my comeback to that would be ‘well, why wouldn’t you?’. Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in situations we can’t seem to find our way out from, and then Colleen Coleman comes along with characters just like us, who go through situations just like us, allowing us to see a different way of coming out of that dark situation unscathed.

Evelyn’s life hasn’t exactly gone to plan and, instead of staying to shut down the gossips, she flees the nest to try to make a clean break. What Evelyn didn’t account for however, was meeting a musician who was more likely to tinkle her ivories (or ovaries) by allowing her to see her life as sweet, sweet music instead of what it was; a failed marriage.

Have you ever watched or read ‘Ps. I Love You’ by Cecelia Ahern? If you have, part of this storyline might remind you of the musician character from the movie. Well, unless it’s just me, obviously! As soon as ‘Danny’ was introduced into the storyline, I couldn’t help but think of the musician in the film played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. If you have read this book, please put me out of my misery and say you thought the same!

Anyway, back to this book (sorry!).

I couldn’t help but let the tears fall out of my eyes whilst I was reading ‘Reach for the Stars’. There was something incredibly magical about each individual character within the book, the ever so heart-warming storyline which made me think about my own life, and a question which made me open my eyes; stay safe or reach for the stars? I just love how the author manages to incorporate such meaningful and eye-opening messages into each of her storylines, making me think outside the box instead of going down the same old route.

‘Reach for the Stars’ is everything I hoped for, and more. I was quite unsure as to how Colleen Coleman was going to beat her previous novel as it gave me all the feels, but she did. Coleman has managed to raise the bar even higher with this heart-warming and extremely touching novel which will make you look at life in a completely different way. I really have no idea how the author does it, but she manages to make me laugh and cry, whilst also making me feel as though I can conquer the world in my sleep, all at the same time. Not only does it require a talented author to be able to do that, it also requires an author with a heart of gold. Colleen Coleman ticks both boxes and more.

‘Reach for the Stars’ is an absolutely phenomenal read. From start to finish I was glued to Evelyn’s story and the chances she could take. I wanted her to be brave and reach for the stars. I wanted her to live her life for herself, and not for anybody else. Watching the character get to that point, however, made me crumble in the most beautiful way.

This book is everything I could have wished for in a storyline and, if I had to choose a book to live my life by; I would certainly have ‘Reach for the Stars’ as my life bible.

Touching, emotional, relatable, and absolutely beautiful, Colleen Coleman has done it yet again with this outstanding novel. Beautifully written and full of girl power, ‘Reach for the Stars’ is the book which everyone needs to read….now.

I truly cannot wait to see what the author comes up with next. If it’s anything like her previous novel and this novel, I am going to have to stock up on the Kleenex! Easiest five stars ever!

Thanks Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK 
Buy now from Amazon US

Author Bio:

Colleen Coleman is an Irish-Canadian novelist. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. She spent over ten years working as a teacher of English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching her eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words The End. As a result, her first novel was born. Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very, very chatty twin daughters. Don’t Stop Me Now, her first book was released in March 2017. 

 Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CollColemanAuth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CollColemanAuth

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colleencoleman101/


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#Review – #DareToDream by Izzy Judd (@Mrs_izzyjudd) @Transworldbooks #letstalkfertility

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Izzy Judd shares the story of her and her husband Harry’s fertility journey in this honest and heartfelt memoir.

‘All I ever wanted was to be a mum – I couldn’t wait and it felt as though my time was so close. But the months started to tick by, with each one ending in disappointment and frustration. And then the inevitable panic started to set in …’

Having been told by doctors that, due to Izzy’s polycystic ovarian syndrome, they would have difficulty conceiving – and after two years of trying – Izzy and Harry turned to IVF.

Izzy’s aim, drawing on her own experience, is to break through some of the taboos surrounding miscarriage, IVF and fertility issues. This brutally honest and deeply personal account will acknowledge the struggles that so many couples go through but will ultimately focus on the positive, life-changing and remarkable results that IVF can yield. One in seven couples in the UK have difficulty conceiving and although many babies are now born through IVF, there is still a sense of awkwardness around the subject.

Izzy hopes that this book will be a companion to those going through similar challenges to those she has experienced. As she herself says, ‘No couple should have to go through it alone and in silence.’

What does TWG think?

When it comes to books written about a real life person and their ACTUAL life, how on Earth do we begin to review the book? In other book reviews we may discuss the pace of the book, or how it was written…things like that. But let’s be honest, it would take someone with the character of a female dog to start reviewing this book in terms of ‘storyline’, ‘plot’, and how ‘believable’ the entire book was. So, whilst I am still calling this post a review, I sure as hell won’t be pulling apart anything except the thoughts from my mind. After all, who are we to judge someone else lifestyle and the harrowing situations which they had to face?

As most people are aware, Izzy Judd is in the public eye (just like her husband Mcfly drummer – Harry Judd). Because of that, certain parts of their lifestyle will make the media before they have had time to finish their morning cuppa, or, in Izzy’s case, write a book about it. We all know that the media can stretch things. We all know that the media can put two and two together to make five. However, the media is was brought Izzy’s journey to light in passing and luckily, all of us would have the chance of reading her story in her very own words thanks to this book.

Why did I choose to read ‘Dare to Dream’? Well, as a huge fan of Mcfly and Escala (Izzy’s old group), I wanted to know more about their real lives away from the spotlight. Plus, seeing as ‘Dare to Dream’ is about such a personal and sensitive topic, I knew that whilst Izzy’s journey was a different one, I knew that I would be able to relate with the overall topic of fertility itself. Back in 2011 I was diagnosed with a chronic illness which ended up making me think that I would never be able to have children or, if I did fall pregnant, I knew that the risks of miscarriage and such, were all extremely high. I may not have had IVF, but I have fertility struggles. For me, ‘Dare to Dream’ became the voice of unborn babies and ready wombs everywhere.

Naively, I always thought that IVF worked every time, literally being a case of doctors putting the fertilised egg back in the womb and away you go. Oh my goodness I couldn’t have been more wrong! Based on Izzy’s own personal experience, getting her body emotionally and physically ready for IVF seemed to be an extremely challenging experience, and that was before the IVF even started! Not only were the Judd’s dealing with a lot of negative emotions due to conceiving not happening naturally as it were, they found themselves (Izzy more so) having to completely change their mindset when it came to pregnancy. Having dealt with multiple blows, I am in awe at how Izzy turned her emotional wellbeing upside down, gave herself a little shake and climbed through the mud, despite not knowing what could be waiting for her on the other side. Whilst some people may say that if you truly want something you’ll walk to the end of the Earth to get it, I truly believe that it takes a certain amount of strength to keep going along a path when all you want to do is hide. Through the fear. Through the emotional turbulence. Through the hormonal and physical changes outwit your control. THAT takes, in my eyes, severe courage, strength, and power to be able to get you and your body through that. I am completely in awe at what I read –  I admire Izzy Judd so much after reading this.

Obviously, if you haven’t been through something yourself, or been indirectly involved with someone who has, understanding that situation can be quite difficult, if not impossible. How can you know how someone feels after having needles stuck into their stomachs? How can you understand someone’s pain that their body isn’t working how they thought it should? How can you begin to understand someone’s journey one hundred percent, if you’re not THEM? You…..can’t. Izzy made it perfectly clear on more than one occasion that, whilst multiple people go down the IVF route, her journey and everyone else’s journey are completely separate and personal to each person. That said, Izzy also included some rather lovely hints and tips should anyone feel that they wish to try something which they hadn’t thought of before, whilst embarking on their IVF journey.

What made me quite emotional (aside from Izzy and Harry’s journey), was how Izzy thought of other people whilst going through her own situations. It’s clear from the onset that Izzy wanted to write this book to bring awareness to fertility issues via her own story, however, I found my eyes leaking when I read how Izzy also wrote this book with other people in mind, whilst wanting to ensure that nobody ever felt alone whilst going through their fertility struggles.

I’ve said it before in this post, but I’ll say it again; Izzy Judd is such a remarkable woman with an extremely big heart. I loved how in ‘Dare to Dream’, we got to read Harry’s side of the story as well, especially as it’s clear that the women can only house the baby, their partners are involved in the emotional side from a soon-to-be father point of view, as well as a loving partner. Even though I am a single mum, it was refreshing to see the journey from both angles.

‘Dare to Dream’ hit home in many ways from the emotional struggles, to the fertility struggles, to the feelings of self-doubt and failure. ‘Dare to Dream’ made me feel as though there is hope. I was lucky enough to become a mum the one time, however my fertility issues still continue and my body (and future babies) are forever at risk. Reading Izzy Judd’s honest and emotional story made me feel as though there was now a little angel sitting on my shoulder, ready to be the voice of hope, love, positivity and friendship. Honestly? I wish I had a friend in my life like Izzy Judd, I’m not going to lie.

A beautifully written, heartbreakingly poignant story about love, life, loss, but most importantly – faith.

‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain’ – my all time favourite quote.

‘Dare to Dream’ is available now from Amazon.

#TWGsThoughts – Sometimes you need to just take a step back & breathe… #lifestyle #choices

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What IS on your mind, TWG?

I have been trying to decipher my thoughts into a logical sounding blog post for, oh I don’t know, a couple of days maybe? Am I any closer to sounding like I actually know what I’m on about? Probably not. Am I going to try my best to air my thoughts? Of course I am. This is where I am lucky that my blog is called ‘The Writing Garnet’, because I can get away with writing blog posts that aren’t necessarily related to the book world.

So…these past two weeks have been rather emotionally draining health wise. The last time it was this emotionally draining was when I was diagnosed with my most recent illness. Usually, I can just get away with having physically stressful times with the odd emotional rollercoaster thrown in for good measure. Although, during those times, the emotional rollercoaster I go on, I have learned how to calm myself down quicker. When it’s an emotionally draining time, all I want to do is scream to the world ‘STOP THE WORLD I WANT TO GET OFF!!!’.

Last week I had to go for my third x-ray of the year, but this time it was for my left knee. I was already aware that the doctor was sending me for the x-ray as a formality as she couldn’t send me for another test until the x-ray was completed. Those of you who know me, know that I am absolutely petrified of hospitals and anything related to that (not ideal when you have seven chronic illnesses and think of your local GP/hospital as your second home). My GP confirmed this week that I will in fact have to go for the other test…and I have to wait six weeks for an appointment. Which if I’m honest doesn’t bother me overly. However, the other test I need to go for is an MRI….& not only am I claustrophobic, I hate being restricted without a choice. With this upcoming MRI, I have to go through both of those and I am absolutely shitting bricks. The waiting time itself doesn’t bother me as the longer I wait, the longer I don’t have to go through with it. But, on the other hand, the longer I wait, the longer I have to panic about it.

Before you say ‘distract yourself’ or ‘don’t think about it until it comes’, it’s not as easy as that when you’re absolutely shit scared of something, and your daily reminder of the upcoming event is a knee that is twice the size that it originally should be.

Yes, I am stressed out.
Yes, I am finding things extremely difficult.
Yes, I want the world to leave me alone.

With the above in mind, I made the choice to stop saying ‘yes’ as much when I get asked to do things. Granted I feel extremely guilty for saying no and not being a constant cheerleader 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but I needed to admit to myself (and everyone else) that no, I’m just not okay. What I didn’t expect from that choice was for the folk I called friends a few weeks ago, to then stop speaking to me or make digs because I’m not fluttering around like a positive little fairy. In my eyes, this basically means that if I don’t say yes, I’m no longer bothered with by people. Never mind the fact that I need my friends more than ever at the moment, but that doesn’t really come into it does it?

I class myself as an incredible selfless person; so much so that whenever I chose to do something for myself, I ended up feeling guilty for doing so. Why can other people get away with being selfish all day every day, and the one time I need to think of myself for once I get turned away by people who I considered to be friends. Tell me, how does that work again?

Despite wanting to scream at the world to ‘just shut up!!’, I realised that it was pretty vital to take a step back and just breathe. Sounds sooo simple doesn’t it? However when you’re in the moment of feeling as though you’re going to break down because you have reached your limit, thinking logically and rationally is usually the farthest thing from anyone’s mind. Not shit Sherlock! But weirdly enough, breathing is really quite important! Who would have thought it! These past two weeks though, I have most definitely reached my limit and because I decided to take that vital step backwards and breathe, I have seen multiple situations for exactly what they are. I have seen people for exactly who they are.

I can’t do the things I used to do. I can’t phone up friends when I need to chat, because honestly, I have no idea who I can. Just because I am sitting on the fence breathing, it doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings. Nor does it mean ‘out of sight out of mind’. If I can still bother with those I hold dear, even when I feel as though my whole life is crashing down…once again….

I’m sorry if I need to be selfish.
I’m sorry if I need to say no.
I’m sorry if I talk to you about random shit.
I’m sorry…for simply being me.

Don’t worry, I get annoyed with myself too. It’s fine. I get it.

#Review – #BigSexyLove by Kirsty Greenwood (@KirstyBooks)

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Olive Brewster is living a small, safe life. She’s happy enough with her job at the local market, it’s no big deal that doesn’t have boyfriend, she even likes that she still lives in her childhood home. No drama and no fuss means no problems! And that’s just how she likes it.

Except … Olive’s best friend in the world​, Birdie, is dying.

Birdie has one final wish. She wants to track down her first love, her epic once in a lifetime love, her “Big Sexy Love”, Chuck. And because she’s stuck in the hospital she needs Olive’s help to do it. But there’s a teeny problem: Chuck is somewhere in New York and Olive has never even left her home town, let alone roamed the crazy streets of Manhattan!

As if the big city isn’t scary enough, Olive has to contend with Seth, a cocky comedy TV writer who thinks she’s a joke; Anders, a bored socialite who’s taken a shine to her; and the fact that no matter how hard she tries to track down Chuck, he does not seem to want to be found.

Can Olive learn to overcome her fears, abandon her old safe routine and fulfil her best friend’s dying wish?  It’s going to take extra bravery, one badass attitude and a whole lot of Big Sexy Love to make it happen …

What does TWG think?

Errrrrrrrr, nobody told me I was going to end up on a spin cycle with this book!!

With a name like ‘Olive’ I half expected her to resemble a dirty martini, weird I know. But, what was even weirder, was how she didn’t resemble it AT ALL. Not dirty. If anything Olive resembled a dry martini….emphasis on the dry.

Anywhoo, good ol’ Olive likes routine. Comfort. Organisation. Knowing her next move in life. No surprises, no fuss, just rou-snoreeeeeeeee. Each to their own, obviously, BUT Olive’s best friend is the complete opposite of her! I mean come on, her best friend is called ‘Birdie’!!

Before I started reading ‘Big Sexy Love’, I had seen on social media how readers were laughing their heads off because of this book, and I straight away thought ‘BRING.IT.OANNNNN!’. Truth be told, I genuinely thought that Kirsty Greenwood’s book was just going to be that; funny. Well, smack my bum and call me Mary because it wasn’t just funny. No sireee.

With the laughter aspect in mind, I couldn’t wait to see how the author was going to make me laugh. I wanted to laugh GOOD. No pressure, really. Bearing in mind that I was reading #BigSexyLove in my bed, with my daughter sound asleep beside me, I had to be on high alert to muffle my usual hyena/clapping seal/snorting style laugh so that I didn’t wake her up. I’m sure you can guess how devastated I was when my usual laugh never materialised. Sniff. I was merely minding my own business, totally invested in Olive’s fish, when all of a sudden my body started convulsing; I was all ‘wtf!’ because it started at my toes and worked its way up. Within seconds it dawned on me exactly what I was experiencing….a laugh like a poxy fast spin on a washing machine. Yes folks, good ol’ TWG didn’t want a clapping seal, loud hyena and a snorting pig laugh, because obviously it’s ohsoboring. No. TWG wanted a laugh like a poxy WASHING MACHINE. My whole body was shuddering with laughter and it wouldn’t stop! If I had known my body was going to laugh like that, I would have stuck a wash down my neck beforehand!

Absolutely fantastic, fantastic humour throughout the entire novel.

Near the start of my review I said that Kirsty Greenwood’s novel wasn’t just funny. Olive’s best friend, Birdie, is dying. Nothing can save her, and any operations available that could prolong her life, could actually kill her quicker. Luckily, Birdie has a fantastic sense of humour and knows that if she played the ‘best friend dying’ card, Olive would be putty in her hands.

Reader; it worked.

Now, obviously I don’t wish to give away so I will be as vague as I can, BUT, what Birdie sent Olive off to do was genius. Absolute genius. I had no idea how Olive’s jaunt would play out, but lets just say that the journey itself was a classic. Olive got up to so much in such a short space of time that, weirdly enough, her antics seemed to fit her character. I didn’t expect an organised, surprise-a-phobe to have such an addictive side to her personality; but she did!

So, I’m sure you can guess that I just kept laughing as the storyline progressed. I mean, how could I not? But then all of a sudden out of nowhere, I started holding my breath with arms full of goosebumps. No longer was I laughing like a washing machine on a fast spin. Instead I was #BigSexyUGLYCRYING. Oh.my.god! I could have sworn I heard my heart break into a million pieces, as well.

Wow.

‘Big Sexy Love’ truly is an inspirational, giggle-fest, gem of a book. I’ve never read anything like it, and honestly? I don’t think I ever will. I’ve read some brilliant books so far this year, but Kirsty Greenwood’s novel has swooped right in there and given me a favourite book of all time. I absolutely LOVED every single thing about this book. It was fun. It was flirty. It was original. It was written in an ingenious manner. It was emotional. It was addictive. Most importantly though, it highlights exactly how short life is, and how valuable our times are on this planet. Life is too short to NOT to do that thing that you’ve always wanted to do. As long as you’re happy, who cares?

Give this author an Oscar (or the book equivalent) because she is an absolute genius and, if wasn’t likely to get arrested for stalking behaviour and ABH, I would kiss Kirsty Greenwood all over for writing ONE OF MY MOST FAVOURITE BOOKS EVERRRRRRRRR!

Just go and buy this, like…now, okay?

BUY NOW BUY NOW BUY NOW

#BlogTour! #Review – Behind Her Back by Jane Lythell @janelythell @HoZ_Books

Behind Her Back Blog Tour
Delighted to be hosting today’s stop on Jane Lythell’s blog tour for her upcoming novel, ‘Behind Her Back’, which is set to be published by Head of Zeus in kindle and hardback on the 10th August! If you wish to pre-order either the kindle or hardback format, all you need to do is click the following link: Pre-order now!

Big thanks to Clare Gordon from Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, here is my review:

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Liz Lyon is a television producer and busy single mum to a teenage daughter. She works at StoryWorld, the UK’s favourite morning show. As both confidante and team leader, she is the person tasked with controlling the conflicts and tantrums that flare up off-air. Having just started dating again, she’s also having to deal with a few conflicts and tantrums at home…

Following a blissfully peaceful two-week holiday in Italy, Liz has returned to find a new colleague has joined the station. Lori Kerwell has been brought in to increase the show’s profitability. But Liz is not sure that’s the only thing on Lori’s agenda.

As Lori builds her power base with the bosses, Liz finds herself wondering what’s really going on behind her back…

What does TWG think?

What a corker of a main character!!

Liz is a working, single mum with a teenage daughter. Simple enough, right? Seeing as Liz’s daughter is of the age where tantrums and dramas are second to none, AND the fact that Liz works in the for a T.V show where tabloid stories and drama is what keeps the show on air; it soon becomes clear that poor ol’ Liz can only do so much and petty bickering is the least of her concerns.

When I found out that Liz was a single mum, I remember punching the air with delight as it’s rare (in my experience) to have a single mum as the main character in a novel. Well, from the books which I have read anyway. Because of that, I found that I warmed to Liz rather quickly. She came across as such a bulshy, level-headed and well-rounded woman who has set out to prove all the haters wrong. Women empowerment right there, without a doubt.

Before I read ‘Behind Her Back’, I had absolutely no idea that it was actually the second book in a series, whoops! In all fairness though, I was able to read ‘Behind Her Back’ as a standalone with no qualms whatsoever. I didn’t feel as though I had missed out on any vital pieces of information, luckily!

‘Behind Her Back’ not only concentrates on the dynamics of being a working, single mum; it also sheds light on the hidden side of working in T.V. production. Things aren’t as perfect as they come across on-screen and Lythell makes that clear with her realistic tale which involves deceit, mockery, and hidden agendas.

The storyline itself is set out in a unique way, which for me, took me a little while to adjust to. I thought it worked well with the overall concept of the book, especially the main subject, but it was certainly different.

In all honesty, there were times where I was sat on the fence with ‘Behind Her Back’, and there were times where the drama became too much for me. However, I loved how atmospheric the entire storyline ended up being; it really had me hooked on the characters antics and the underlying issues.

Dramatic, eye-opening, and extremely realistic – ‘Behind Her Back’ is a pretty darn good read which had me cheerleading for the main character, Liz, from the get go. Intriguing and most certainly different; Jane Lythell has left me wanting more..

Thanks HoZ.

#BlogTour! #Review – If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton (@Keris) @Bookouture

If-You-Could-See-Me-Now-Blog-Tour
Absolutely delighted to be one of the hosts kicking off Keris Stainton’s blog tour today, on her publication day! Huge congratulations to Keris on the publication of her new novel, ‘If You Could See Me Now’. I am truly excited to be able to share my review with you today, thanks to Kim from Bookouture for inviting me on the tour!

If-You-Could-See-Me-Now-Kindle
Izzy Harris should have it all – but her boyfriend has been ignoring her for months, she’s been overlooked for a promotion, and the owner of her local coffee shop pervs on her every time she has a craving for a salted caramel muffin.

Then her life is unexpectedly turned upside down.

Izzy dumps her oblivious boyfriend, and leaps on the chance to win a big pitch at work. Needing to work closely with gorgeous colleague Alex is an added perk…

But then her best friend has her heart broken, the pitch is way more complicated than expected, and Alex is keeping secrets. Does Izzy have what it takes to help her friend, save her career and get the guy?

A funny, feel-good read about finding yourself – and love – when you least expect it, for fans of Joanna Bolouri, Cate Woods, and Lindsey Kelk.

What does TWG think?

Uhhhhh hellooooo swoonerific book cover!!!

‘If You Could See Me Now’ completely caught me off guard! I had no idea what to expect before I read the book, yet what I got wasn’t at all what I expected! That make sense? I absolutely LOVED this book! The storyline is so unique and incredibly refreshing, my mind kept thinking ‘HALLELUJAH’ the entire way through! FINALLY something completely different!!

Without giving away too much, Izzy’s boyfriend is an absolute BLEEP!! What a twonk! How anyone in their right mind can go through life believing that actions like that are acceptable, realllyyyyy need to re-evaluate their mindset. Seriously! The need for girl power is rather evident in this storyline, thank goodness Izzy has such a good best friend.

About half way through the book, the storyline decided to take a surprising (but incredible) turn which changed my opinion of the novel completely. In a good way that is. Usually I would say that changes (such as the one in this novel), are a tad outlandish, but it wasn’t. Not at all. It actually worked. Understatement of the year actually…it worked brilliantly.

‘If You Could See Me Now’ has such a heart-warming, and eye-opening underlying message about learning to be true to yourself and realising your worth. Coming from an Elsa impersonator, the message actually caught me in the feels, no joke. The way that Izzy had been living her life prior to the big change in direction, was extremely relatable to my own personal journey. I think that’s why I became quite emotional in all honesty.

Not only does Keris Stainton’s novel contain in-depth topics and romantic antics, it’s also filled to the brim with such fantastic and snort worthy humour. I laughed at things I never would have laughed at before, and you know what? It felt so flipping good to be able to do that thanks to a novel, I felt as though I was on cloud nine.

This storyline may dip its toes into discovering whether certain characters stay grey, or whether they turn rainbow, but the book itself does not blend in with the crowd at all. This baby has made itself known. It’s made me sit up and take notice. It’s been the book to make me think ‘I WANT TO BE MULTICOLOURED!’ instead of blending in and staying quiet. This book is a genius. No, wait; Keris Stainton is the genius and this book is her protegé.

Fun, flirty, and effing fabulous; ‘If You Could See Me Now’ is the most refreshing book I have read this year so far. I love it.

No.

Wait.

I absolutely-totally-completely-bloody LOVE IT!

Thanks Bookouture.

Buy now:

UK http://amzn.to/2r1zF9A

US http://amzn.to/2r9WFBC

About the author.

Keris lives in Lancashire with her husband and two sons. She’s written a bunch of books for young adults and children, and is obsessed with Twitter, tea, and 1D.

Instagram // Twitter // Website

#BlogTour! #Review – #IsMonogamyDead by @RosieWilby @AccentPress

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In early 2013, comedian Rosie Wilby found herself at a crossroads with everything she’d ever believed about romantic relationships. When people asked, ‘who’s the love of your life?’ there was no simple answer. Did they mean her former flatmate who she’d experienced the most ecstatic, heady, yet ultimately doomed, fling with? Or did they mean the deep, lasting companionate partnerships that gave her a sense of belonging and family? Surely, most human beings need both. 

Mixing humour, heartache and science, Is Monogamy Dead? details Rosie’s very personal quest to find out why Western society is clinging to a concept that doesn’t work that well for some of us and is laden with ambiguous assumptions.

What does TWG think?

What an intriguing question; is monogamy dead? Do you think it is? What is the definition of cheating? Can you go through life just loving one person? What about when you enter into a relationship with another person, can’t you commit due to your commitment to your previous partner?

So many questions, so many answers. Whilst all of us will have different answers to such questions, author & comedienne, Rosie Wilby, sheds light with her opinion of relationships in her non-fiction book, ‘Is Monogamy Dead?’

Rosie Wilby’s honesty, and black and white approach to the her sexual orientation, as well as relationships themselves, is rather endearing. The topic of monogamy is an interesting, yet quite complex, subject which as a 27-year-old single female, still confuses the bejeezus out of me. Reading Rosie Wilby’s opinions of the subject made me feel as though I was less alone whilst battling with my confusion as she explored romantic relationships in great detail, whilst admitting that she too was confused by its entirety.

I have to be honest, the scientific element of this novel went over my head, whilst cementing the fact that ‘Is Monogamy Dead’ is a novel which requires a lot of dedication and minimal distractions. This isn’t a book that can be read as a ‘quick read’ – the subject is far too complex and detailed that attempting to sprint through to the end, could make your head go ‘boom!’. I was exceptionally glad that Rosie Wilby included her trademark humour alongside the technical wording as without it, I don’t think that I would have made it to the end of the book comfortably.

I am pretty certain that ‘Is Monogamy Dead?’ will get a lot of people conversing and debating about the subject in hand. However, in my opinion, monogamy is a subject that only a few people will wholeheartedly understand and, whilst Rosie Wilby’s novel didn’t change my level of understanding, I love the fact that she has put this topic out there for discussion instead of hiding it away in case the marshmallow man got offended.

‘Is Monogamy Dead?’ is bang on trend and perfect for the modern world right here, right now. Monogamy should be discussed. Relationships should be discussed. After all, if you’re about to embark on a romantic relationship, surely it’s better if you were both on the same page; monogamous or not?

Highly recommended, Rosie Wilby’s – Is Monogamy Dead? is refreshing, modern and totally engaging, as long as you read it with an open mind.

Thanks Accent Press.

Is Monogamy Dead? will be published on the 3rd August and you can pre-order your copy now from Amazon UK.

#BlogTour! #Review – Till The Dust Settles by Pat Young (@py321_young) @Bloodhoundbook

BLOG TOUR (9)

 

til the dust settles FINAL
The lives of two women who never meet are about to collide.

Lucie married young. Her husband has become abusive, controlling and violent.  Having lost everything as a result of the marriage, Lucie decides it is time to walk away.

As she leaves the house on the morning of September 11th, heading to a job interview at the World Trade Centre and the promise of a new life, the unthinkable happens.

On a street in New York, choking on the dust, Lucie stumbles upon an opportunity for a new life.

She thought the grass would be greener. But starting again is never that simple…

Sometimes, what lies ahead is even more deadly.

What does TWG think?

Wow, wow, wow and WOW! What a book! Set during the devastation that was September the 11th, Till The Dust Settles mixes realism with fiction as we follow the life of one character, Lucie, who was caught up in the horrendous attack. The news bulletins you watched on T.V on September the 11th hit home once again as the terror that the victims faced, are re-visited.

Lucie was running for her life. Her windpipe became narrower with every breath she took. Bodies were strewn here, there and everywhere as multiple lives were destroyed in a spineless attack. Who’s looking for Lucie? Will her husband, the man who restricted her breathing on more than one occasion, wonder if she was still alive?

Wowza. Just like millions of people, I too watched the devastation unfold on my T.V screen on September the 11th. Unfortunately, around 3000 people lost their lives. How can you even put into words what happened that day? Pat Young, I’ll admit, has been exceptionally brave taking on a storyline which centres around one of America’s biggest tragedies. But, without sounding at all macabre, the author has done a brilliant job. I often wondered what went through the minds of the people trying to escape that day, and now, thanks to ‘Till The Dust Settles’, I have more of an idea.

With Pat Young’s novel, it was really difficult not to sit and take notice of the storyline that was unfolding before my eyes. I went through a range of emotions even though I wasn’t involved in the travesty directly, yet the author’s gut wrenching descriptions, and eye-opening events made me feel as though I was walking the same path as Lucie.

I also feel that Pat Young deserves a pat on the back (pardon the pun) for putting domestic violence back into the spotlight, in such a realistic and black and white manner. I can’t lie, Lucie’s situation with her husband sent shivers down my spine, but it’s topics like those which need to be written about.

‘Till The Dust Settles’ is an intense, powerful and heart-wrenching read about love, loss and ultimate devastation. Pat Young has included two extremely difficult and heart-breaking topics in her storyline, both of which have been written with such poignancy and realism. I sat and took notice. My heart ached for the lives lost and the emotional scars endured.

I feel a bit odd saying this considering the nature of the book, but, I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it had me hooked the entire way through (even though my heart was in my mouth as well!). Fantastic book.

Thanks BloodHoundBooks.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – It Was Only Ever You by @KateKerrigan @HoZ_Books

Kate kerrigan
WINNER OF RNA HISTORICAL ROMANCE NOVEL OF THE YEAR.

This is the story of three women and one charismatic man. A glamorous historical romance, perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy.

It is 1950s New York, the time of dance halls, swing bands and the beginning of rock and roll. In The Emerald, Ava Brogan dances the night away, knowing that she will never be pretty like the other Irish girls there, wishing her mother wouldn’t keep plotting to find her a husband.

Here, too, Sheila Klein, Holocaust orphan, dreams of finding a star and making her name in the music industry. Tough and cynical, she has never let her heart be broken by any man.

Enter Patrick Murphy, with a sublime voice, a hit song in his back pocket and charisma to burn. Ava and Sheila‘s worlds are about to be turned upside down. They do not know that Patrick‘s first great love from Ireland is on her way to New York – determined to find and get her man at all costs. Beautiful Rose is used to getting what she wants in life and that’s not about to change any time soon.

What does TWG think?

I need to start this review by giving the cover some love; just look at how gorgeous it is! The picture does not do it justice at all! On the paperback version of this book, the lettering is embossed and the colouring makes the graphic pop; all that is quite difficult to see on a Jpeg version, granted. ‘It Was Only Ever You’ is my most favourite book cover of 2017, absolutely beautiful! It’s safe to say that as soon as I held the book in my hands and saw the cover, my excitement for the storyline grew immensely.

Kate Kerrigan is a new author for TWG, shamefully I had never heard of her before now so I never realised that she has quite a few books in her published backlog. On a positive note I now have a lot of new titles to binge read!

‘It Was Only Ever You’ is set in 1950’s New York & Ireland, when rock and roll was at its prime, and romance was fully appreciated. Patrick Murphy is our main character, with Sheila and Ava being two ladies on his radar. However, a certain ‘first love’ is about to get acquainted with Patrick’s new friends, much to the annoyance of everyone involved.

There is a lot to this storyline to get your teeth sunk into, which makes this review a little bit harder than usual as it means that a lot of the storyline is entwined and I don’t wish to accidentally give anything way.

All I will say is that the romance in this novel is beautifully described, enchanting and severely old-school. By ‘old school’ I mean old-fashioned; flowers, sweet words, gentlemanly behaviour and so on, instead of swiping right on Tinder and feeling like the most romantic person on the Earth. As a completely un-romantic sort of person, ‘It Was Only Ever You’ even managed to make ME feel nostalgic and ‘awwwww!!!!’ at the levels of heart-warming moments between certain characters. Readers; take note!

I love reading historical fiction/historical romance, and Kate Kerrigan’s novel was no different. I adored the fact that the storyline was set in the 1950’s as that is my favourite era (swing!). I thought Kate Kerrigan’s mesmerising writing gave the storyline such glittering depth, a depth that can only be achieved when, in my opinion, the author writes from the heart, truly believing in their characters and their lives.

People usually associate ‘Titanic’ (Kate Winslet etc) as being a truly romantic novel but, in my opinion, I believe that ‘It Was Only Ever You’ needs to get film rights or something, as it blew me away in such a way that ‘Titanic’ the movie never did.

Kate Kerrigan is such a wonderful story-teller, who can bring her characters to life at the blink of an eye. Enchanting, beautifully written, and perfect to lose yourself in; ‘It Was Only Ever You’ truly is a romantic, glistening gem of literary beauty.

Thanks HoZ.

Buy now from Amazon UK

It Was Only Ever You banner

A year ago today I lost my Dad for the 2nd & final time… #grief #death

1year
24 and a half years ago, my dad chose a new journey in life. The type of journey that meant that he would no longer be involved in watching me grow up. A journey which meant that I had, in theory, lost my dad for the first time. Do I remember how I felt about that? No, I was a mere three years old. Between the years of 1993-2003 I saw him a handful of times, yet in 1998, he chose to send me a birthday card. However, what was written in that card has stayed with me ever since;

‘Dear Kaisha. I’m not sending you anything for your birthday as you haven’t bothered to write to Nanna. Dad’

Reader; I was 8 years old. I know exactly what I did with that card (after getting upset btw). I casually ripped it into little pieces, walked outside and threw it into the black wheelie bin. Wasn’t exactly the most mature thing to do, but y’know!

In 2004 I had reached an age where I wanted to give my dad one more chance (please be aware that I’m not typing out the entire story here, a lot more went on than what I wrote above). To say that I missed my dad that year would be a lie. To say that I missed the idea of having a dad…now that would be closer to the truth. I gave him that chance, and he blew it more than once during 2014.

In 2006 I saw my dad for the very last time, through chance, as he was walking out of Tesco as we were walking in. I didn’t want to talk to him. I had nothing to say to him. Over the years a lot of my early childhood came to light, such as how he wanted my mum to abort me when she fell pregnant, and so on. When I was older, I was able to speak for myself and form an opinion based on what he decided to spraff. I stood up for myself. I was called all the names under the sun, ridiculed beyond belief, pulled apart like I was scum. And yes, I did reply in a hateful and angry manner, I won’t lie.

In 2013, whilst I was pregnant with my daughter, it was agreed that I should contact him over Facebook and let him know that I was pregnant, same as when I gave birth. His response? He congratulated my mum on the birth of my baby..

So, whilst you’ve had a little history lesson of TWG, there is a reason why I have delved into my past. On the 25th July 2016 I received a phone call from my cousin. My dad was dead. I had to relay the news to my family, and yes, I was absolutely distraught. The next day I was contacted again by my cousin who told me that on the 23rd July (one year ago today), my dad killed himself by putting a gun to his head. Why did I find out two days after the event? Because he lived in America and, seeing as he had no contact details for his children, we weren’t notified directly…his sister was.

Despite the fact that my dad and I, had had a turbulent relationship over the years, and the fact that I despised him and didn’t want to be associated with him (I changed my surname), his death knocked me for six. I couldn’t stop crying. Even if I wanted to re-build our relationship, I no longer can. He doesn’t know his granddaughter. Hell, he didn’t even really know his 26 (at the time) year old daughter. Yet I was a mess. But then I thought to myself; ‘why are you crying? you didn’t like him?’, and quite a few times I was asked that question by other people. People couldn’t understand why I was so upset so, because of those comments, I started feeling like I shouldn’t be upset by his death. How I shouldn’t be feeling sad as we hadn’t spoken for years. How I should just get on with it and we didn’t really have a relationship. I felt guilty for being upset when I had had a step-dad for the last 8 years, why would I have needed my dad? I wouldn’t. My step-dad has been more of a father to me than my dad ever was. But I still couldn’t stop crying.

Even now, one year later, I still have moments where I can’t believe he’s dead. I wasn’t able to go to the funeral. My brother and I had to legally relinquish our next of kin rights due to cost. Even though my brother was happy to do that and wasn’t bothered by the circumstances, I didn’t want to do it, but I knew that I couldn’t afford to pay for the funeral myself, including the cost for bringing his body back to the UK. Even though he washed his hands of us many years ago, I felt extremely guilty by doing the same even though he was dead.

Regardless of my relationship with my dad, he was still that…my dad. I wouldn’t be on this planet if it wasn’t partly for him. When I look in the mirror I see him, obviously. I wish things were different. I wish we were able to have the father daughter relationship. I know I’m lucky to have my step-dad in my life, and of course my mummabear, but I guess I never expected my dad to kill himself. I am furious with him, but I do miss him. I have no idea why I miss him, but I do. He’s part of me whether I like it or not.

I never got to say goodbye to my dad the first time that he left us. I never got to say goodbye to my dad the second, and final time that he left us. I never got to say to him, ‘look at me now’. I never got to know HIM. HE never got to know me as an adult.

This is by far, the weirdest grief I have ever experienced. I guess that I just want my dad…even though I never really had him to begin with…