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

rosie blake
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.

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#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