#BlogTour! #Review – Nineteen Letters by Jodi Perry (@JLPerryAuthor) @LittleBrownUK @littlebookcafe

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One day late, apologies! Should really pay more attention to the date when writing in my diary. However, better late than never is my review of ‘Nineteen Letters’ by Jodi Perry. Big thanks to Millie Seaward for the blog tour invite, as well as my copy of the book. Here is my review:

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Braxton

Nineteen. There’s something about that number; it not only brought us together, bonding us forever, it also played a hand in tearing us apart.

The nineteenth of January 1996. I’ll never forget it. It was the day we met. I was seven and she was six. It was the day she moved in next door, and the day I developed my first crush on a girl.

Exactly nineteen years later, all my dreams came true when she became my wife. She was the love of my life. My soul mate. My everything. The reason I looked forward to waking up every morning.

Then tragedy struck. Nineteen days after we married, she was in an accident that would change our lives forever. When she woke from her coma, she had no memory of me, of us, of the love we shared.

I was crushed. She was my air, and without her I couldn’t breathe.

The sparkle that once glistened her eyes when she looked at me was gone. To her, now, I was a stranger. I had not only lost my wife, I had lost my best friend.

But I refused to let this tragedy be the end of us. That’s when I started to write her letters, stories of our life. Of when we met. About the happier times, and everything we had experienced together.

What we had was far too beautiful to be forgotten.

What does TWG think?

19/01/96 was the date when everything changed for Jemma and Braxton. It was the day when they first clapped eyes on each other, both completely unawares to what lay ahead in their future. 19 years later, they became man and wife, but 19 days after that, Braxton lost the woman he fell in love with. The woman he married. His best friend. His one and only. His one true love. Jemma herself didn’t die that day, no, but her personality of the Jemma that Braxton once knew did die that day. It doesn’t really bear thinking about, does it?

The concept of ‘Nineteen Letters’ reminded me of the popular film, ‘The Vow’, starring Channing Tatum. I was as broken watching that film as I was reading this book, perhaps even more so where this book was concerned. My heart broke for the couple who had their whole life in front of them, but what Braxton did for his wife was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

‘Nineteen Letters’ is proof that love is unconditional and that marriage really is ‘until death do us part’. I’m not one for the whole marriage malarky, but Jemma and Braxton made me believe in it and everything it stood for.

Jodi Perry has written this book from both characters points of views, combining them both to create a showstopper of a read which makes you want to grab hold of your life and never let it go. I loved how raw and poignant the entire storyline was, and I especially loved how real the emotional was conveyed throughout.

‘Nineteen Letters’ is a book I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. ‘Nineteen Letters’ may have been the magic number for Jemma to fall in love again, but believe me when I say that you will fall in love with this book way before you get to number 19.

Buy now!

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#TWGDiscusses – Please STOP saying that e-books aren’t REAL books – it’s offensive! #authors #publishers #ebooks #paperbacks #lovebooks

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I feel like I’m stuck on repeat where this topic is concerned, yet STILL people continue to offend hundreds of authors, and readers, out there with comments such as ‘e-books aren’t real books’. How aren’t they real? An author spends the same amount if time writing a book whether it’s published in e-book, paperback, hardback or on a slate -eye roll-, so why do people continue to say that other formats of books aren’t real?

Let me ask you this….

You know those ‘friends’ you’ve made online yet haven’t currently met offline, would you say that they weren’t ‘real friends’ because they were made online? Probably not, so why is it okay to say that a book, published in a digital format, isn’t as real as those friends you have made using technology?

Think about it.

Authors can spend anything from a few months to a few years, perfecting their manuscript ready for publication, going through various steps such as multiple edits, restructures and so forth – it’s not like they wake up one morning, sit at their computer for an hour and produce a book. It takes time and a lot of patience. Once that manuscript is given to their publisher, it’s then digitalised and printed. Yes, contrary to popular belief, the same manuscript is used for a digital book AND a print book. Who would have thought it?! Obviously with a paperback/hardback you are physically turning the pages and holding the book with two hands, yet with a kindle you’re holding it differently and using one finger to change a page. BUT, have you thought about the different types of readers that are out there in the world? No?

Well you should.

Some readers can’t hold paperbacks/hardbacks due to illnesses.
Some readers can’t read books full stop because they’re blind and rely on audio.
Some readers are chronically ill and they require various different options, depending on their pain on that particular day.
Some readers have various different reasons as to why they would choose one format over another.

All of the above have one thing in common – they all want to read!!

I’ll be honest with you here. Several years ago I would have given you a filthy look if you had said about reading an e-book, but after realising that I was missing out on such fabulous books, I decided to give it a go. Not only that, several years ago I became a lot more ill and holding things for a long period of time was becoming impossible. E-books helped me to feel ‘normal’ and read books just like everyone else, on days where I felt like I couldn’t do anything like everyone else.

I appreciate that not everyone likes e-books and that they prefer paperbacks/hardbacks – that is totally fine! But what isn’t okay is when people say that they prefer ‘real’ books which is insinuating that a digital version of an authors book, is in fact fake. Can’t you see how offensive that is to the author? Just because a book is digitalised instead of being printed on paper, it doesn’t make it any less of a book!

Those ‘real book’ comments are not only offensive to the author who has written them, it’s also offensive to a reader reading them as if the 100 kindle books read last year shouldn’t be included in their Goodreads challenge because they’re ‘not real’. And yes, someone has said that before. If you don’t like e-books, fine! If you don’t like paperbacks, that’s also fine!

But please, please, please STOP saying that e-books aren’t real when they’re as real as the money you paid for them.

Oh, and as those comments are being made on a DIGITAL website, I can’t help but think ‘well isn’t that ironic’. Put your nose where it belongs, remove your snobbery and let people read the books they choose, in the format that they choose without offending a truck load of people in the process.

ALL books are real.
Instead of bashing people with the stupid ‘they aren’t real books’ comments, be happy that people are actually reading and supporting authors in any way they can. Surely that is more important than your snobbery?

#TWGTurnsTwo! Happy 2nd birthday The Writing Garnet! #blogbirthday #blogaversary #blogger #TheWritingGarnet

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Happy birthday to TWG!!!! I cannot believe that my little blog turns two years old today, what a corker of a year it has been! When I started The Writing Garnet back in 2016, never in a million years did I think it would blow up like this, nor did I think I would win awards for my blog. I started my blog as a way of saying thank you to authors who continue to allow me to escape my every day hell with stories that make me laugh, make me cry, give me chills – you name it. I’m not even being dramatic when I say that off the blog, my life is a challenge. In this last year, my health has taken even more of a nosedive, with little things like standing up in a queue, starting to become impossible. But, aside from my daughter (obviously), the only other ‘thing’ that helps me keep going is my blog and the community which surrounds it.

In 2016, I was a newbie. I knew nobody yet everyone else knew somebody and, whilst there are still cliques around, I have the most supportive bloggers, publishers, publicists etc around me, I feel like I can do anything with these people beside me. This last year has seen friendships blossom even more so and I am so, SO grateful that I can call these people my friends. I just want to say a massive thank you to Lucy Vine, Katie Marsh, Darcie Boleyn, Jo Robertson, Clair Boor, Katherine Sunderland, Mary Jayne Baker, Vicki Dickinson, Jules Wake, Sarah Hardy, Anne Cater, Noelle Holten, Betsy Reavley, Isabelle Broom, SJV, JB, Linda Green, Sam Carrington, Mairead O’Driscoll Hearne, Nica Hawkins de Koenigswarter, and many, many more, for always having my back, giving me advice, supporting me and giving me a well needed pep talk when I feel like I’m about to give up. I also want to say a massive thank you to all of the publishers and publicists I work with on a day to day basis, for allowing me to read such wonderful books and embark on a journey with them and the author. I also want to say thank you to all of the bloggers who share my posts daily and who continue to make me laugh with their squirrel antics and goodness what else! Also, a big thank you to everyone else who continues to share my posts, like my posts on the facebook page/instagram, and supports me. All of you mean the world to me and I wouldn’t be here without your support. Thank you all for believing in me and being the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I will forever be grateful for your friendship.

So, what has happened this last year? Well, SO MUCH! I was crowned the winner of ‘Most Inspirational Blog’ at the 2017 Annual Blogger Bash Awards – thank you so much to everyone who voted for me! Such an honour!

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I also turned into a mushy mess at the Edinburgh Book Festival where I got to meet one of my idols, Jenny Colgan (yes, I nearly cried). Jenny has been one of my favourite authors for as long as I can remember so it really was a dream come true to finally meet her, AND be quoted on a graphic in support of her new book!

Last year I also got to meet one of my blogger besties, Jo Robertson! You might know her as ‘MyChestnutReadingTree’, and my daughter now knows her as the person who plays Shopkins!

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You know on book covers there is usually a quote from a best selling author? Yeah? Well, HarperImpulse and Mary Jayne Baker made my dream come true last year by putting my quote on the front of MJB’s book. Yes, ON THE FRONT!

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Another highlight from the last year was getting an e-mail from a member of the RNA, stating that I was a nominee for ‘Media/Blog Star of the Year’ in the RNA Industry Awards. Yes, me. I had to double check the e-mail to check that they had sent it to the right person! Unfortunately I didn’t win, but it was still an honour to be nominated and then receive a ‘Runner up’ award – thank you so much.

The Writing Garnet seems to get busier and busier, the more time that passes and, whilst a lot of people think I’m bonkers for taking on over 40 blog tours a month (haha), I am in my element. I really do hope that this year is the year when all of my hard work pays off and I can find a job working from home – that really would be a dream come true.

Whilst all of the above are just highlights, there has been so many things which I am proud of – getting quoted on multiple graphics, having Fern Briton follow me on Twitter, winning multiple competitions via social media, receiving signed books in the post (as well as other amazing book post), and soooo much more. Sometimes I feel like I am dreaming, I really do. I really didn’t expect all of this when I first started my blog and, if I’m being perfectly honest, there are moments where I find that I don’t fit in with the community, and I worry that my words will never be enough, but my passion for books outweighs everything else and even though those worries continue to be there, I just think about how far I have come and why I started this blog in the first place.

Thank you for supporting me and TWG!!

You can ‘like’ my facebook page here!
You can ‘follow’ me on Instagram here!
Or you can ‘follow’ me on Twitter here!

#QuickReads! #LaunchDay2018 – #Review – Cut Off by @MarkBillingham and Clean Break by @MsTamarCohen @readingagency @ed_pr

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Quick Reads – the books which may be small, yet they pack a punch at only £1. So, what’s the catch? There isn’t one. Aside from the fact Quick Reads are that; quick, they actually serve an important purpose.

Here is some more information about Quick Reads and how they could help someone you know.
(Information taken from Quick Reads Press Release with permission)

Quick Reads was founded by Baroness Gail Rebuck DBE in 2006 to provide shorter, easier to read, accessible fiction for less confident adult readers. Now in its 12 th year, the programme has distributed over 4.8 million books since it was launched and introduced hundreds of thousands of new readers each year to the joys and benefits of reading.

One in six adults in the UK struggles with reading, whilst one in three does not read for
pleasure; Quick Reads are designed to break down the barriers that prevent people from picking up a book. 95% of literacy practitioners report that using Quick Reads has been effective at raising learners’ confidence in reading, whilst 91% say that the books have been effective at improving readers’ literacy skills.

Isn’t it amazing what just £1 can do? 2018 sees the release of six new Quick Reads written by; Dorothy Koomson, Tammy Cohen, Kit De Waal, Vaseem Khan, Mark Billingham, and last but not leas, Fern Britton. When the ReadingAgency got in touch asking me to promote these books on their publication day (today woo!!), I jumped at the chance. I think these books are absolutely fantastic, especially if they can help someone read, or even fall in love with reading. Despite being an avid reader myself, I sat and read two of these books and I absolutely loved them. So you see, whilst they play a vital role in helping adults read, they also are the light-bites of the book world. What more could you ask for?

Today I am sharing my reviews of two Quick Reads titles; Clean Break by Tammy Cohen, and Cut Off by Mark Billingham. Don’t fret though, I don’t do spoilers in my other reviews, so I won’t start now.

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Step into a thrilling Quick Read from number one bestselling crime fiction author Mark Billingham.

It’s the moment we all fear: losing our phone, leaving us cut off from family and friends. But, for Louise, losing hers in a local café takes her somewhere much darker.

After many hours of panic, Louise is relieved when someone gets in touch offering to return the phone. From then on she is impatient to get back to normal life.

But when they meet on the beach, Louise realises you should be careful what you wish for…

If you enjoyed Cut Off, try Love Like Blood, the latest novel in the series starring Mark Billingham’s detective hero, DI Tom Thorne.

What does TWG think?

What an absolute rollercoaster ride! ‘Cut Off’ grabbed my attention straight away with its focus on mobile phones. You know, the item that nobody leaves a room without, heaven forbid even leaving their home without it. I admit, I am glued to my phone, and the way in which Mark Billingham told his story sent shivers down my spine. Imagine if what happened to Louise, happened to you? How freaky!

For such a compact story, ‘Cut Off’ really does pack a punch, keeping the high level of intensity until the very last page. I was slightly disappointed with the ending as I was so hooked on the storyline, I felt that there were still some loose ends needing tied up. However, I would certainly recommend this if you enjoy your intense and chilling reads, or if you just want to try something new.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Mark Billingham (Cut Off, Little Brown):
Mark Billingham has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for Crime Novel of the Year, and has also won the Sherlock Award for the Best Detective created by a British writer. All of his novels featuring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne have been Sunday Times bestsellers. Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat were made into a hit TV series on Sky 1 starring David Morrissey as Thorne. A new series based on the novels In The Dark and Time Of Death was broadcast on BBC 1 in 2017. Mark lives in north London with his wife and two children.

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Marriage is complicated, especially for Kate. Her husband Jack has a temper on him, and has been an absent father for years. Kate knows it’s time for a divorce. The trouble is, Jack refuses. And now that he has found out Kate has met another man, his jealous rages escalate. Can Kate rid herself of her jealous husband before it’s too late?

What does TWG think?

Right, I know people say that nobody knows what happens behind closed doors, or don’t judge someone’s story until you know all of the facts, BUT, whilst they are extremely valid points, I am about to go against one because I am a reviewer (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).

What planet is Kate on? You either want something or you don’t. You don’t dangle the carrot in front of the horse and then moan because he grabs it! I mean, come on! Kate obviously had her reasons as to why she reached the decision she did, which of course is fair enough. On the other side of the coin, I can see WHY she reached that decision to a point (all becomes clear as the story goes on) and, whilst I don’t condone Jack’s behaviour, I did feel a teeny bit sorry for him.

My opinion did change though, as I’m sure you’ll find out when you read it. ‘Clean Break’ had my jaw dropping to the floor on multiple occasions, as well as ensuring every single hair on my arms stood to attention for the duration of the book. It’s not that this book is chilling as such, it is incredibly intense and psychologically shocking. I am extremely impressed at how much the author has made this book deliver in such a small amount of pages. Amazing story telling once again from Tammy Cohen. Highly recommend.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Tammy Cohen (Clean Break, Transworld):
Tammy Cohen (who previously wrote under her formal name Tamar Cohen) has a growing backlist of acclaimed novels of domestic noir including: The Mistress’s Revenge, The War of the Wives, and Someone Else’s Wedding. Her break-out psychological suspense thriller was The Broken, followed by Dying for Christmas, First One Missing and When She Was Bad. She lives in North London with her partner and three (nearly) grown children, plus one badly behaved dog.

About The Reading Agency:
The Reading Agency is the leading charity inspiring people of all ages and all backgrounds to read for pleasure and empowerment. Working with our partners, our aim is to make reading accessible to everyone. The Reading Agency is funded by the Arts Council.  www.readingagency.org.uk

For more information on all of the other titles in the Quick Reads 2018 collection, titles are available from today on Amazon and all good bookshops.

#Review – How to be Happy by Eva Woods (@inkstainsclaire) @littlebookcafe

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The smallest things can make the biggest difference.

Annie has been sad for so long that she’s forgotten how to be any other way. Until she meets Polly.

Polly is everything that Annie is not. She’s colourful, joyful, happy. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it’s that your time is too short to waste a single day.

Polly has one hundred days to help Annie find happiness. Annie’s convinced it’s impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey, Annie begins to realise that maybe, just maybe, there’s still colour to be found in the world.

But then it becomes clear that Polly’s about to need her new friend more than ever…and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk worth taking.

What does TWG think?

Oh for goodness sake! Does anyone know a plumber…for eyes, as my eyes seem to have sprung a leak. No, I’m being serious. If you’re needing proof just take a look at my pillow!   It’s still damp (yes, it was a big leak, ahem).

Polly, Polly Polly – whatever will we do with you!

I bet my very last chocolate chip cookie (brave!) that there will be a lot of readers relating to Annie and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be singing ‘Annie are you okay, are you okay Annie?’.

Poor Annie has had a heart-breaking time of it, but the nitty-gritty details don’t start becoming clear until further on in the book. Of course we get to know a little bit about what has happened to Annie and, to be perfectly honest, you probably could work out the rest of it yourself. Regardless of how Annie’s past becomes clear to you, it doesn’t make it any less heart-breaking. If anything, it probably made my heart break all over again, each time Annie delved into her past. You can’t forget things like this in a hurry.

On the off-chance, Annie meets a lady who seems to be determined to show people how to wear orange, red, bright purple….and cowboy boots, ALL at the same time. I know, I know – aren’t you jealous?! In all seriousness, Polly does a little bit more than that. ‘Little’ being a huge understatement. Polly turns out to be a lady whose shoes nobody will ever fill.

You’ve probably heard of the ‘100 Happy days’ tag on social media, yes? Well author, Eva Woods, has incorporated that hashtag into her storyline, giving it the attention it deserves in one small swoop. We all get days where being happy ends up being such a mammoth task. We all go through things which make us think ‘will I ever be happy again’ and, you know what? That is life and that is totally fine. However, whats special about this storyline and the characters in it, is how every chapter shows you how the little things in life really do make a difference. Obviously it won’t fix the problem, but for those ten minutes (or however long it takes to do something that makes you happy), you get to find the true meaning of happiness in such a simple task. If you’re all for spring cleaning and decide that cleaning your windows will make you happy – who is anyone to judge? If you think that laying on the sofa reading a book will make you happy – GO FOR IT! Everyone finds happiness in different things and ‘How to be Happy’ highlights that in such a beautiful, beautiful manner.

Not only that, this book highlights how important it is to just ‘be’, that it is perfectly okay to feel sad and feel like you can’t go on. For one an author has written a storyline which hasn’t made ‘sadness’ into a ‘must not do’ kind of thing, and for that I take my hat off to her.

There was nothing about this book I didn’t like, but Polly stole the show ten times over. I have never met a character with such presence, colourful nature, and a heart of gold  like Polly. I don’t think I will be forgetting this character in a hurry either. Why would I want to?

Yes, this book is extremely emotional and yes, the storyline covers topics which are very, very difficult to read. But you know what? Eva Woods hasn’t written anything in her book which life itself doesn’t cover. Can you close your life? No. Can you forget about a situation in the blink of an eye? No. You have to keep moving whether you like it or not, just like Annie and Polly. Through the tears, through the laughter, and through the endless nights of pain, these two characters found the type of strength that can only be found from deep within, but they never knew it existed if it wasn’t for what they had to go through beforehand.

I related to Annie a lot, even if I hadn’t gone through the same things as her. She has the type of personality which will become a voice for readers who are too afraid, too ashamed, or even too scared to speak up about certain things. That in itself is like MasterCard – PRICELESS.

‘How to be Happy’ is a book which just keeps on giving, every time you turn the page. It’s a book which is guaranteed to make you laugh, make you cry, probably make you think ‘you’re talking rubbish’, whilst also making you think ‘hang on, you might be onto something here’. A little bit of everything in one place; and they say the little things in life are the most important.

There is a lot of this storyline that I will be taking away with me and using to give the well needed kick up the youknowwhat. There is also a lot of this book which will forever be held in my heart.

‘How to be Happy’ is one of the most beautiful books I think I have ever read as it has taught me a very important lesson – to live.

From the bottom of my heart I thank the author for writing such an enchanting, beautiful and mesmerising read. A read which has become one of my most favourite books of all time. A book which made my eyes spring a leak. A book which I will remember for a long time to come. A book which teaches you life lessons in the most jaw-droppingly beautiful way.

Absolutely beautiful, I cannot recommend this book enough. You just have to go and grab yourself a copy right now.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review – The Endless Beach by @JennyColgan @littlebookcafe #TheEndlessBeach #publicationday

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On the quayside next to the Endless Beach sits the Summer Seaside Kitchen. It’s a haven for tourists and locals alike, who all come to eat the freshest local produce on the island and catch up with the gossip. Flora, who runs the cafe, feels safe and content – unless she thinks too hard about her relationship with Joel, her gorgeous but emotionally (and physically) distant boyfriend.

While Flora is in turmoil about her relationship. her best friend Lorna is pining after the local doctor. Saif came to the island as a refugee, having lost all of his family. But he’s about to get some shocking news which will change everything for him.

As cold winter nights shift to long summer days, can Flora find her happy-ever-after with Joel?

What does TWG think?

I will warn you now – my review of Jenny Colgan’s new novel will not do the book justice in the slightest. The only way you’re going to be able to appreciate such outstanding, literary craftsmanship, is by grabbing a copy for yourself, turning off every link to the outside world, and delve into a story which you will never want to leave.

I have been a huge fan of Jenny Colgan’s novels for as long as I can remember, with every new release raising the bar just that little bit higher in terms of brilliance. Until now. ‘The Endless Beach’ hasn’t just raised the bar of brilliance a smidge, no. It has completely sent the bar skyrocketing into space. ‘What do you mean by that?’, I hear you ask. Well my lovely readers, I mean that Jenny Colgan has written her best book ever with ‘The Endless Beach’, without a doubt.

Hand on heart, I have never read a book which I took me a couple of hours to read without stopping, due to me not wanting to break the hold which the author unknowingly had on me. The storyline pulled me in to a world I never knew existed. A place where friendships weren’t just friendships, they were lifelines. A place where helping each other wasn’t expected, yet the community helped those who needed it without question, or judgement. A place where a cafe wasn’t just a place to grab a coffee and a quick bite to it, it was a place where the community could go whenever they felt lonely, knowing full well that someone would be willing to have a natter. A place where romance isn’t determined by whats in your trousers, but what is in your heart.

Before starting ‘The Endless Beach’, I had absolutely no idea what sort of journey the book would take me on and, if I’m being totally honest, even after reading the book I couldn’t even begin to tell you what sort of journey I went on. All I know is that it was a journey I had never been on before. A journey which I will be remembering for a very, very long time.

I wish I could go into detail about what I loved about this book, but because I don’t want to give anything away, you’re just going to have to trust me when I say that you need to read this book without stopping. Seriously. Ignore everyone. Ignore your bladder, and just read. This enchanting storyline needs to be cherished without the spell being broken.

Not only did ‘The Endless Beach’ make me smile until my cheeks hurt, it made me cry tears of joy and tears of pain. I felt the pain which certain characters endured. I felt the joy within joyous situations. Everything about this book was perfection – I cannot recommend ‘The Endless Beach’ enough.

Never mind being a book about an ‘Endless Beach’, it’s a storyline with ‘endless’ possibilities, ‘endless’ joy, with ‘endless’ reasons to keep fighting when life throws you sand balls.

‘The Endless Beach’ has blown me away and ignited the fire in my belly which has been hidden for a very, very long time. This is, without a doubt, Jenny Colgan’s best book yet, and it deserves to be cherished like the magnificent book that it is.

Beautifully written, enchanting, heart stopping, and utterly poignant; ‘The Endless Beach’ will warm your heart like the sun on a summer’s day – absolutely incredible.

Thanks LittleBrownBooks.

‘The Endless Beach’ by Jenny Colgan is published today! You can grab your copy right now from Amazon UK

#Review – The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake (@RosieBBooks) @LittleBrownUK #ARC

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The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

It’s autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It’s cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street – an adorable little toy shop – has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.

Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother’s shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?

Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life – naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?

What does TWG think?

Having LOVED Rosie Blake’s previous novel; ‘How to Find Your (First) Husband’, I think I may have peed a little when she announced the release of her brand new book; ‘The Hygge Holiday’. Excited much? Errrrrr YAH! So excited in fact, I couldn’t wait until the 21st September to read it! #sorrynotsorry.

I’m sure a lot of you will recognise the term ‘hygge’. If you don’t, where on EARTH have you been hiding? I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what the definition of ‘hygge’ was, but now I feel ready to hygge everything!

Clara has a different outlook to life than most people. Gone are the days where her mobile phone is glued to her body like a third arm, her priorities involve work, work and more work, and her own personal life is completely non-existent. Clara didn’t want to live like that anymore. She didn’t want to be stressed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Something had to give before she lost her mind, so she got rid of her job, her mobile phone, as well as 99.9% of the stresses in her life. How? You’ll have to read the book to find out, won’t you!

Almost straight away, I found myself snlaughing. You know when you want to say something but are unsure whether you should incase it raises a few eyebrows? Well put it this way, Rosie Blake couldn’t give a monkeys about whether her humour raised a few eyebrows! There was no holding back, no ‘ahhh I probably shouldn’t say that’. Instead, the author seemed to write lines which the readers would probably relate to, or laugh out loud at. Trust me, I did both.

As the storyline unfolded, Clara seemed to make herself more comfortable in the village with the changes that she made. Oh my goodness, what changes they were! If you ever need an excuse to say ‘hi’ to your inner child, this storyline is it. Clearly I don’t want to give anything away, but wow – there were moments where the storyline became magical and even made me more excited to turn the page (well, if that was possible!). Of course Clara’s involvement in the village wasn’t going to be all plain sailing, someone’s nose just HAD to be pushed out of joint. However, there was a moment imprinted in my mind which meant I could no longer make Joe seriously, or even be THAT annoyed with him. One word; BATH. I was genuinely surprised my neighbour didn’t knock on my door asking me to turn the volume down as I was laughing so loudly. I mean, how could you NOT laugh loudly?

For me, the part of the storyline which stood out most was the involvement of hygge, and how important it is to breath, be in the moment, ensuring that you take that all important time out of your schedule for yourself, whether it’s lounging in a bubble bath, or laying on the sofa reading. Rosie Blake and her wonderful characters made it sound SO simple and, to be honest, it probably is that simple. But, when you’re in the middle of a constantly busy lifestyle, the last thing you’re going to think of doing is watching a Nicholas Sparks dvd whilst wearing a face mask, and pj’s with holes in.

‘The Hygge Holiday’ is exactly what the book world has been needing, what with its unique vibe and hilarious anecdotes. Rosie Blake’s new novel is EXACTLY what you need to forget the horrific new reports, people’s political posts on social media, and the new eye-brow raising craze of sticking pom poms to your face. Yes, really. ‘The Hygge Holiday’ is hilarious, cosy, heart-warming, fulfilling; pretty much everything you would want from a book.

Personally, ‘The Hygge Holiday’ has got to be my most favourite book of Rosie Blake’s, as well as being her best book yet. I have never read a book like this before, and to be honest, I don’t want to because I don’t think any similar books would match up to the authors unbelievably story telling and her magical way with words.

An absolutely phenomenal tale from the incredibly talented, Rosie Blake. If I could read ‘The Hygge Holiday’ for the first time every time, I would welcome it with open arms. Be prepared to be moved in a way you never thought possible. Be prepared to have your mind opened further than you ever dreamed of. Be prepared to find your inner child and the magic that it brings. Be prepared to laugh out loud and fall in love with every single character in this book (well, except Roz but shhhhh). Be prepared to devour ‘The Hygge Holiday’ in one sitting. Be prepared to love this book, because yes, it truly is THAT fabulous. Five stars for sure.

Thanks so much Little Brown Books.

The Hygee Holiday by Rosie Blake, will be available to buy in e-book and paperback formats on the 21st September. You can however,  pre-order it now from Amazon UK.

#TWGGetsTalking – How to tell the difference between being nasty & being constructive #reviews

Twg gets talking
You should all know by now that I like to talk, ESPECIALLY when I am passionate about something and believe that it needs to be spoken about.

Once again, opinions have been thrust into the limelight and definitions have been questioned. Before I explain further, I’m just going to paste the Oxford dictionary definitions of two words; nasty, and constructive.

Nasty: very bad, or unpleasant.
(definition of unpleasant is: Causing discomfort, unhappiness, or revulsion; disagreeable.)

Constructive: Having or intended to have a useful or beneficial purpose.

constructive

Two completely different word with extremely clear definitions, yet people are still getting confused by the two words.

Why?

As a reviewer, I have always been made aware that authors (or anyone who gets critiqued) tend to appreciate CONSTRUCTIVE reviews as opposed to NASTY reviews. With both types of reviews your opinion is given – that is NOT the issue. After all, every person on this Earth is entitled to their opinion. We are allowed to dislike something. We are allowed to express our dislike of something. We are allowed to jump for joy about something. What the issue is, however, is the WAY those points are put across.

Believe me, I open my trap before my brain connects sometimes, ending up with goodness knows what flying out of my mouth. But when it comes to reviews, I am extremely careful about how I voice my opinion.

For example; ‘Omg I hated that book, it was absolutely shit, the author bored me to tears.’

What’s wrong with that sentence?

Okay, so, the example above is someones opinion. They’re entitled to that. Answer me this; was it constructive, or nasty?

If you said that the example was a constructive comment: seriously? How does saying that a book was ‘shit’, come across as beneficial to the author?
It doesn’t.

It’s rude and it’s nasty. Imagine if you cooked a meal for a group of people and someone came up to you afterwards and said that they thought your cooking was absolutely vile, would you benefit from that?

To turn the above example into a constructive opinion, here’s an example:
‘Personally, this book wasn’t really my cup of tea as I couldn’t quite gel with the storyline. I felt that it came across as quite over the top and unrealistic, which in turn made me switch off.’

The different between the two examples is substantial. The example above still highlights your dislike, yet it also explains WHY you felt that way. It’s also not personally attacking the person who wrote the book, whilst still keeping your opinion entitlement intact.

Whilst authors are painfully aware that their books could end up with negative reviews and their book babies critiqued, it doesn’t mean that just because they have put something in the public eye, that they should expect nasty comments or personal attacks.

YES, they have written something which will get critiqued.
YES, everyones opinion does differ.
YES, readers are entitled to dislike their book.

Just DON’T be nasty about it!

In book clubs, you’re going to have the perfect opportunity to talk about various books whether it’s an online or offline. But, do you think that it’s respectful to openly blast and author and their book, in an online book club which they could be a member of?
Yes or no?

No it’s not!!! Go ahead and state your opinion about a book, but if you’re going to sit there and say that a book is so bad and how you wanted to ‘light a match under it’; that’s not stating your opinion, it’s called being nasty.

As we hear all the time, not everyone will like the same book. Well duh! I fully admit that I have read a book and disliked it. But instead of reviewing it nastily, I gave it a constructive review as there will always be something in a book that you’ll like. I explained what I didn’t like about the book, I also explained WHY I didn’t like those parts, how it made me feel, and so on. I also explained what I DID like about the book. I still managed to express my opinion on the book, without insulting a human being with feelings in the process.

So, if you’re ever in an online book group where the admin have asked you to talk about books in a constructive manner; respectfully do it. They aren’t taking away your freedom of speech. They aren’t banishing you from stating your opinion. They are just asking you to express your opinion respectfully and constructively. Authors have feelings too.

It really isn’t that difficult to do..

#Review! The Asset by Shane Kuhn (@ShaneSKuhn) @TheCrimeVault @LittleBrownUK

theasset

In the dream, Belle was always the same age as when she died…

Fourteen years ago, the final words Kennedy ever spoke to his sister were in anger. That day was September 11th 2001, and Belle died when her plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Since then, Kennedy has dedicated his life to airline security. He knows more about planes than the airport authority, a fact which doesn’t go unnoticed by the CIA. After kidnapping him, Kennedy is inducted by the Agency into a programme called Red Carpet.

Now Kennedy is a civilian asset, an ordinary man working with extraordinary people to stop the world collapsing around him, just as it did for his sister so many years before.

What does TWG think?

I admit, I am one those readers who decides to judge a book by its cover instead of reading the blurb. Before you start thinking that I am a rather judgemental reader let me explain. I’m not (much), I just refuse to read a blurb and get told way too much before I have even read the novel! When I opened the package containing ‘The Asset’, straight away the cover had a lot riding on it, especially seeing as I had never heard of the author until that very moment! Luckily for me, the cover told me everything I needed to know; ‘One disaster took his sister and turned an ordinary man into a hero’.

Brand new author, intriguing cover, text with a hidden agenda that proposed the question; ‘why?’, in conclusion I couldn’t wait to begin reading.

The prologue is four pages long. Four pages was all it took to have me hooked line and sinker. FOUR PAGES! Kennedy harbours a lot of guilt after his final conversation with his sister, Belle, before she died. He will be living with that guilt and sadness for the rest of life, so what does Kennedy do? He puts himself in the firing line, literally.

‘The Asset’ was a book like no other I have read before. Not only does the storyline contain a truck load of crime, gorey details and kick ass characters, it also has a slight (understatement) spy influence throughout. Because the main character is seen as an ‘ordinary man’ (just a very, very, very clever one), he quite often got himself into a little bit of trouble from people ‘in the know’. As far as Kennedy was concerned, they weren’t ‘in the know’! Arrogant? Hilarious? Both in my opinion! At first I did think that Kennedy was so far up his own backside that he wouldn’t know the difference between night and day, but as the storyline spread its wings a bit more, he managed to change my opinion quite drastically.

You know when something happens and reality says that you shouldn’t laugh because it’s not funny, yet you end up finding yourself laughing anyway? This book made me do that! There was a situation, which had it happened in real life I probably wouldn’t have laughed, yet Kennedy’s reaction to it had me in hysterics! Yes, I’m being vague, but go and buy the book!

‘The Asset’ kept me on my toes the whole way through. Usually I try to solve storylines with complex plots, channelling my inner detective and failing miserably, but this time I was so engrossed in everything that was happening that I merely sat back and let the guys ‘in the know’ solve it! Plus, to be honest, I know I would have made a rubbish detective in this storyline as I was getting too distracted by the bonkers, other characters in the storyline. The jokers with hilarious one liners and questionable personalities (yet utterly fantastic to have in a storyline). I’m sure you know the sort.

Even though Shane Kuhn’s novel was out of my comfort zone to a point, I am so glad that I was given the chance to lose myself in such a dark, twisted and thrilling plot. Yes there were copious amounts of shocking moments with gorey details, but I really don’t think that the storyline would have been as good had they not have been included. It needed those short, sharp, shocking situations and dark conclusions as they gave the storyline enough depth to make it stand out from the rest.

Captivating, thrilling, twisted, yet unbelievably fantastic; ‘The Asset’ is THE type of book that needs to be devoured in one sitting. Full of complex characters and complex circumstances, Shane Kuhn’s novel will have you surrendering yourself to his dark and suspenseful way of thinking.
Absolutely fantastic.

Thank you Little Brown Books UK.

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US