#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..

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#BlogTour! #Review – One Summer in Tuscany by Domenica De Rosa @ellygriffiths @QuercusFiction

One Summer in Tuscany blog tour poster

tuscany
Rivalries and romance in a Tuscan paradise. A relaxing writers’ retreat? If only! Perfect holiday reading from Domenica de Rosa, author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway series under the name Elly Griffiths. Previously published as SUMMER SCHOOL.

Patricia Wilson’s carefully composed ads for the writers’ retreat she runs at her thirteenth-century Italian castle promise so much. But while the splendour of their surroundings and chef Aldo’s melanzane never fail to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It’s make or break time for the Castello.

Each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with the inevitable baggage alongside their unpublished manuscripts. But this August something is different, and soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo’s vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.

As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with ghosts, scorpions, and some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing’s for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this.

What does TWG think?

Set in Italy, ‘One Summer in Tuscany’ is an ideal book to take with you on your holidays, lay on the sun lounger and just relax. With a not to strenuous storyline, this novel allows you to go with the flow without being too heavy, or too complicated.

Be prepared for a lot of characters to come your way though! Although, with a beautiful setting such as Italy, I don’t think the prospect of multiple characters will annoy you too much!

What I found endearing about ‘One Summer in Tuscany’, was the fact that it was set in a writers retreat, as well as Italy. I have only come across that particular setting once or twice before, so it made a nice change to be able to watch the storyline unfold in a writers retreat. For me, it gave the novel more of a unique feel. Not only that, the chef, Aldo, was able to make my mouth water with a minimal amount of effort! Out of the gutter…please.

Whilst I am all for a calm storyline, I do enjoy a bit of bite. Something to sink my teeth into. Something to keep my interest. Don’t get me wrong, I was entertained by ‘One Summer in Tuscany’, I just needed a bit more…oomph to the overall storyline. I felt that the characters were well written and realistically developed. The setting was beautifully described, I just wanted to pack my suitcase and go live there. THAT’s how realistically written it was. The storyline was full of bounce in terms of happiness, without anything majorly traumatic.

Overall, it was a lovely, lovely read. I just wish it had that little bit extra. I cannot fault the author on the feel of the book though, that’s for sure!

Thanks Quercus.

Buy now from Amazon UK (Paperback follows 29th June)

#BlogTour! #Extract – #SweetAfterDeath – Valentina Giambanco (@vm_giambanco) @QuercusBooks

sweet after death

In the dead of winter Homicide Detective Alice Madison is sent to the remote town of Ludlow, Washington, to investigate an unspeakable crime.

Together with her partner Detective Sergeant Kevin Brown and crime scene investigator Amy Sorensen, Madison must first understand the killer’s motives…but the dark mountains that surround Ludlow know how to keep their secrets and that the human heart is wilder than any beast’s.

As the killer strikes again Madison and her team are under siege. And as they become targets Madison realises that in the freezing woods around the pretty town a cunning evil has been waiting for her.

Extract.

Prologue

The woods pressed into the town from all sides. The bite of land that had been scooped out of the wilderness by the original residents was barely visible from above during the day,and at night – when the only lights were a few scattered street lamps – it was all but gone. The deer raised its snout, sniffed the cold night air and took a couple of steps. It paused by the line of trees and waited. Somewhere much higher up on the mountain the winds howled and shook the firs for what they were worth, but in the hollow of the valley the town of Ludlow lay silent and still. The deer ambled into the middle of the empty road and three others followed it out of the shadows. They made no sound as they padded on the veil of snow and their reflections crossed the windows of the shuttered stores on Main Street.

The town stirred in its sleep but it did not wake: a dog barked from inside a house, a porch light – triggered by a faulty motion sensor – came on and went off in one of the timber-frame homes, and one of the town’s three traffic lights ticked and flickered from red to green to marshal the nonexistent 3 a.m. traffic. And yet, tucked away in an alley, a thin shadow tracked the progress of the deer and matched them step for step. They didn’t pick up its scent because it smelled of forest and dead leaves, and they didn’t hear any footsteps because it made no sound as it wove between the houses. The deer followed a familiar route that would lead them to the woods at the other end of Main Street, and it wasn’t until they had almost reached their destination that they caught the ugly scent. It was a few hundred yards away yet sharp enough to startle them. For an instant they froze and then, one after the other, they bounded out of sight. The acrid smoke spread through Main Street, reaching into the alleys and the backstreets, under the doors and into the gaps of the old window-frames. But the car burning bright by the crossroads would not be discovered until morning, and by then the thin shadow was long gone.

A few miles away Samuel shifted his weight on the thin mattress and listened out for birdsong: he couldn’t hear any, and it could only mean that it was still pitch black outside. He sighed and tried to grasp the tail of a half-remembered dream. Something had woken him up, though, and it took him a moment for the notion to sink small, keen teeth into his mind – dulled, as it was, by sleep and the warm cocoon of his blankets. Then a rough hand grabbed his shoulder and Samuel flinched and understood. He sat up without a sound, eyes peering through the gloom. The bedroom – such as it was – was plain, with pallets for beds and a wooden stove in the corner. Embers from last night’s fire lit the bundles of blankets lying on the other pallets, and a cold draft found Samuel as soon as he threw off the covers.

He didn’t have much time, and he knew it. His heart had begun to race and his mouth was a tight line as he pulled on his boots and snatched his satchel from the side of the bed. The tip of the boy’s finger brushed against his good-luck charm, hidden in the folds of the satchel, and he felt a crackle of pleasure. Two minutes later, Samuel walked out into the night and the door closed softly behind him. He looked up: the sky was low with heavy clouds, and he could almost taste the snow that was about to fall. He ran across the clearing and straight into the forest. He knew each tree and boulder and rock, and the dusting of white on the ground showed him the way. They had always called him ‘Mouse’ because he was small for his age – fifteen years old the previous November – small and fast. He needed all the speed and cunning he could muster now. Speed, cunning and the spirit of the mountain on his side. He was three hundred yards away when the bell clanged and shattered the silence. They would be waking up then, rushing and scrambling after their things, and when the door opened to the night they would fall out and come after him.

And God forbid they should catch him. The black raven feather in the boy’s satchel would have to work hard to keep him safe.

Sweet After Death by Valentina Giambanco will be published by Quercus on the 15th June 2017. The book can be pre-ordered now from: Amazon UK

Sweet After Death Blog Tour Poster

#BlogTour! ‘I’ll Eat When I’m Dead’ – Barbara Bourland (@babsbourland) @QuercusBooks

9781784298562

RAGE Fashion Book is the world’s most dynamic, ambitious magazine.
Its editors ­- like Cat Ono – have the power to change minds and the market.
They’re savvy, sisterly and polished to perfection. Even the one found dead in her office.

Everyone thinks Hillary starved to death – but Cat knows her friend’s dieting wasn’t a capital P problem. If beauty kills, it’d take more than that. Hot-headed and fiercely feminist, Cat’s sure she can match the investigating skills of Detective Mark Hutton, solve the case, and achieve sartorial fulfillment.

But going undercover, Cat’s in over her head, and soon becomes snared in a very stylish web of drugs, sex, lies and moisturizer that will change her look – and outlook – forever.

Cat’s about to find out what it really means to be a fashion victim.

What does TWG think?

I have no idea where to begin with this one! -scratches head-.
Hmm. I guess I could start by saying how intrigued I was about this book after reading the title! I mean, with a title like ‘I’ll Eat When I’m Dead’, how on Earth could you be anything BUT curious? If I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book based on the cover alone, if it didn’t have that particular title. Why? Because the title is edgy, intriguing and incredibly eye-catching; ideal! That said, the book cover fits with the theme of the book which is really what it’s aim is, it isn’t going to care whether I like the image or not now is it?

I have never really been a trendsetter when it comes to dressing myself in the mornings. Let’s face it, if I was a celebrity I would find myself on the ‘worst dressed’ lists in magazines as I would be rocking the combats, trainers and cropped tank top look! When I realised that this book was going to centre around the fashion industry, I was half expecting myself to put the book down due to the reason above. But I didn’t. I became even more intrigued as I wanted to see the world behind the glossy pages and the enticing one liners of a magazine. Little did I know how colourful that world was going to be..

Pretty bonkers if you ask me, and that’s not in a sneering way! It really was like reading the modernised version of The Devil Wears Prada// NCIS collaboration! Hillary Whitney is dead. Her death isn’t obvious yet rumours fly around the office in regards to her death; after all, she worked in fashion and the first thing which people associate with that is body image. Sorry, BAD body image (eating disorders etc). Even though that subject was briefly touched upon in places, I still found it difficult to read due to it being rather close to home. However, it was a brave (yet clever) move on the authors part to include that topic as well as many others (drugs/alcohol), because it’s something that is ALL over social media these days. It really is everywhere. I really was impressed at how the author  managed to bring the storyline up to date with such a complex plot.

However, I struggled to find the gritty parts of the storyline, especially the investigation surrounding Hillary Whitney’s death. Personally, I felt as though the whole fashion, magazine, and glamour parts of the storyline overpowered the rest of the book. I would have enjoyed it more if the investigation took more of a centre stage, whilst also having that raw, intense feeling to the situation.

Don’t get me wrong, this book was pleasant enough read and it certainly kept me entertained in parts. It made me chuckle as well as making me want to find a job in fashion (I was sucked into the glamour!!)!

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead is such a bizarre, bonkers and entertaining read; completely different to anything I have ever read before. It’s unique, modern and full of enough glamour and fashion tips to turn you into Gok Wan by the end of the book. On that premise alone, I enjoyed it. On the other hand, the entire storyline didn’t gel with me as much as I would have liked it to, but, I don’t regret reading it at all.

Thanks Quercus Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

IEWID Blog Tour Poster

#BlogTour! #Review of #TheNightVisitor by Lucy Atkins (@lucyatkins) @QuercusBooks #TheNightVisitor

It’s my turn to host a stop on Lucy Atkins’ blog tour for her new book, The Night Visitor, which was published by Quercus Books on the 4th May! Huge thanks to Quercus for inviting me on the tour, I hope you enjoy my review!

Nightvisitor

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?

What does TWG think?

Well, well, well, I haven’t got a clue how I am going to review this one!! For someone who reviews a lot of books, the words for this refuse to put themselves onto my screen just now; soooo not helpful!

As over used as the following phrase is, it really cannot be more apt if it tried; ‘The Night Visitor’ needs to be read with your own eyes to be able to get the most out of the storyline. Just like other books, readers will interpret the storylines in a completely different way to, say, their neighbour for example. No two people EVER read the same book and I believe that Lucy Atkins’ novel sits comfortably under that heading.

‘The Night Visitor’ really got under my skin in more ways than one. Not only was the cover eye-catchingly intriguing, the storyline was so a complete head-funk! Even though I struggled following bits and pieces of the plot and found myself a little confused once or twice, putting the book down wasn’t even an option! I must have been put under a spell as soon as my eyes had clocked the first word on the first page, or something!

You know when you have things to do and you start to feel anxious or edgy about getting everything done and dusted, so your body and mind goes into over drive and speeds up? Well, that’s probably the only way which I can describe how I felt whilst reading this novel. My mind was no longer mine to control, the storyline had taken me prisoner and I just HAD to keep reading. I couldn’t do anything, not even go for a pee! The book wouldn’t let me!

I really do wish that I could explain it properly, but I can’t. There was just something so enchanting yet secretive, about the whole novel. Even the characters came across as though they were holding their cards close to their chests, yet in a good way! Does that make sense? So, so many layers to ‘The Night Visitor’, it really is one of a kind.

I am in awe at what the author has managed to achieve with ‘The Night Visitor’; her writing style is just incredible and very well thought out. I have a feeling that the book could end up being a ‘marmite book’ and will no doubt leave readers questioning multiple things; including how certain loose ends were managed within the storyline. Yes, okay, I struggled with the book in terms of using more of brain than normal, however, I cannot fault Lucy Atkins on the overall concept of the storyline as well as the execution of it. It’s not her fault that my mind can be a little bit slow!

‘The Night Visitor’ is such a beautifully written, thought-provoking, powerful and intense read that will have you questioning every relationship that you have ever made, as well as every professional decision. Believe me when I say that after reading this book, you will NOT look at things the same way as you did before you started reading. Atkins’ novel is in a league of its own. There really is no doubt about that.

Thank you Quercus.

Buy now from Amazon UK

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