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

Blog Tour Banner for Shelley Wilson HIMMTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon UK
Amazon US

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

Author Bio:

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

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#BlogTour! #Review – Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul (@gillpaulAUTHOR) @headlinepg

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I am absolutely delighted to be today’s stop on Gill Paul’s blog tour for, ‘Another Woman’s Husband’. Huge thank you to Phoebe Swinburn for accommodating me on the tour! If you can’t tell already, I am so very excited to be reviewing ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ on my blog today. Keep on reading and you’ll find out what got me so excited. Enjoy!

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From the #1 bestselling author of The Secret Wife comes a gripping novel that commences with the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and journeys back to the fascinating world of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. ‘A triumph’ Dinah Jefferies on The Secret Wife by Gill Paul

Two women who challenged the Crown.
Divided by time. Bound by a secret…

1911
At the age of fifteen, carefree Mary Kirk and indomitable Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, separation and the demands of the British Crown until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal.

1997
Rachel’s romantic break in Paris with her fiancé ends in tragedy when the car ahead crashes. Inside was Princess Diana. Back in Brighton, Rachel is haunted by the accident, and intrigued to learn the princess had visited the last home of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the crash. Soon, the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world…

Richly imagined and beautifully written, ANOTHER WOMAN’S HUSBAND is a gripping, moving novel about two women thrust into the spotlight, followed by scandal, touched by loss.

What does TWG think?

As a huge history fan, I struggled to contain my excitement when the opportunity arose to read Gill Paul’s new novel. Even if you’re not a complete history buff, there is a high chance you’ll have heard of the name, ‘Wallis Simpson’. Also, if you remember a certain date in 1997 when ‘The People’s Princess’ lost her life, you may already find yourself knowing several of the key points of the storyline without even realising it.

Told from two different viewpoints – 86 years apart, ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ shines the spotlight on the two women whose names, and lives, will forever be imprinted in our historical timeline; Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana. Both women found themselves hugely popular with the media, with Princess Diana even being dubbed as ‘The People’s Princess’. Let’s be honest, we all know how Wallis Simpson managed to create a media frenzy, even in those days!

Whilst ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ is a work of fiction, the storyline IS supported by factual information surrounding Princess Diana and Wallis Simpson, as well as several other historical figures/socialites from 1911 onwards. Before I started Gill Paul’s novel, I was aware of Wallis Simpson and her not so glowing reputation in the world of history. I’m not going to lie, I did have Google handy on my phone so that I could double-check some of the storyline as I went along. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe the author’s research, it was because I became so invested in every word of the storyline, I ended up not knowing the difference between the facts, and the author’s fictional additions.  Everything just flowed seamlessly. Even though the story is told by Rachel in 1997, the time of Diana’s death, the years didn’t move forward which meant that particular part of the storyline was easier to dip in and out of, ideal for when the viewpoint changed to Mary Kirk’s from 1911 onwards.

What I found clever was how the book began in 1997, was set in Paris at first with Princess Diana being the main topic of conversation, in a book that is being published during the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death – when the topic of ‘The People’s Princess’ will be back in the media once again. Of course it’s going to be a subject at the forefront of royalists and Princess Diana fans all over the world, at this moment in time. So, to read the devastating event in black and white sent shivers up and down my spine. There’s one thing hearing the about it on the news or watching it on T.V, but then there’s another thing reading it in a book and letting your subconscious take heed of that piece of information, whilst mulling it over and digesting it in the only way your clever mind can; dramatically.

Don’t get me wrong, I was engrossed in the 1997 parts of the storyline but, for me, my most favourite parts were from 1911 onwards which were written with Wallis Simpson’s best friend in mind, Mary Kirk. I knew Ms.Simpson was scandalous, but eeeeesh! I loved being able to read the story as though I was back in 1911, watching the drama unfold with my very own eyes. Obviously, being predominately a work of fiction it can be quite difficult to differentiate between the fictional points of view and the facts, but luckily the author was one step ahead and included which parts were facts, right at the end of the book. I was incredibly intrigued by how one woman managed to make such a mark on history, yet she seemed to manage it as though it was the norm. I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t blunt, so I will admit that Wallis did get my back up on a number of occasions. It just goes to show how different society and ethics were back in those days with the way people responded to Wallis’ misdemeanours. Although, back then it was the case of ‘it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know’, which is also true for today’s society unfortunately. Maybe it was Wallis Simpson who coined that particular viewpoint? Who knows.

There were times where I was quite glad to have google at hand, such as when a certain event shocked me to the core and I had to google it to see whether it was indeed fact, or whether the author had written it in herself. The author really is THAT good at combining all viewpoints and timelines flawlessly.

As weird as this sounds, I wasn’t emotionally ready to say goodbye to those moments in time which have put us on this path today. It’s crazy how one person’s choices can create such a damaging ripple for anyone or anything that ends up in its path. The thing about history is that people will remember it as it’s documented a million times over. Granted a lot of the people involved will no longer be alive, but their distant relatives might be. Can you imagine?

‘Another Woman’s Husband’ has given me the biggest book hangover I think I have ever had. I became annoyed when I had to stop reading due to having to embark on adult things, and I was absolutely devastated when the book came to end. Gill Paul’s storytelling was beautifully engaging, often leaving me in a state of trepidation as I became incredibly invested in several characters and their lives. Gill Paul invited me on a historical journey with ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ – a journey which made me feel as though I was constantly being fed such rich and succulent knowledge, changing my viewpoint of the world without me even knowing it at the time. I was hypnotised by the authors wonderful writing skills, her magnificent story-telling, and her second to none research skills.

I adored everything about this book. Utterly, utterly brilliant.
After reading 193 books already this year, I can say that ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ has managed to become my most favourite book of the year so far, whilst also being in my top three most favourite books of all time.

This my friends, is a work of art. Any reader (and non reader!) should be proud and fulfilled to have ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ on their bookshelf.

Phenomenal.

Thank you SO much Headline Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK

 

#BlogTour! #Review – The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper @toodletinkbaby @NeverlandBT

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I am delighted to be kick off Roxie Cooper’s blog tour today! Roxie Cooper’s debut novel, The Law of Attraction, was published by HQDigital on the 23rd June 2017. Although to be perfectly honest, after reading Roxie Cooper’s novel, I can hardly believe that it is only her debut. Wow. To kick off the blog tour, I am thrilled to be sharing my review of ‘The Law of Attraction’, as well as details of a giveaway! Not guilty….honest.

Book Cover-4
Amanda Bentley has always dreamed of being a barrister…

But as a platinum blonde bombshell from the wrong side of town, with a perfect tan and sleek high heels, she doesn’t exactly look the part – or fit in with the brash public school boys and cold posh girls of Newcastle Crown Court’s robing room. Amanda’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and so when she wins a prestigious pupillage following law school, she’s determined to make the most of her chance – and make all her dreams come true.

Only three things stand in her way: Sid Ryder – the sexy, irresistible barrister who she absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, sleep with. At all. Marty Gregg – her smarmy law school nemesis, who she’s in direct competition with for the top job. And her big, dark secret that could jeopardise everything she’s worked so hard for.

Who said that following the laws of attraction was going to be easy…?

What does TWG think?

I spotted Roxie Cooper’s debut novel (well, the cover) circulating on social media a while before it was released into the wild, and boy was I excited to read it! I honestly felt like I was squealing at the author about wanting to read her book, week in week out via Instagram. Let’s face it, the chances of that actually being the case are extremely high!

Anyway, it took me less than a day to read ‘The Law of Attraction’ and my heart broke when the time came for the book to end. I mean, how dare the author put ‘the end’? Personally, I wasn’t emotionally ready for ‘The Law of Attraction’ to end.

Amanda Bentley has the rather prestigious nickname of ‘Barbie’ – platinum blonde hair, a figure to die for, and a wardrobe that could actually beat Barbie’s hands down. Don’t even get me started on the shoes! Everyone automatically assumes that if your hair is blonde and your boobs are large, then you’re either as thick as two short planks or you spend your Friday nights shaking your ass to ‘I’m Too Sexy’ by Right Said Fred. When Amanda Bentley wins a pupilage once out of law school, she believes that the only thing she would need to worry about was the task in hand – winning the tenancy and getting the long-awaited dream job of becoming a barrister. However, it didn’t take long for Amanda’s dream path to be littered with hurdles, as well as people she would much rather forget than spend every day with.

I need to get one thing out-of-the-way; my opinion of Marty Gregg. What an absolute cockerel!!!!! How Amanda managed to not stick her fist through his face, I have no idea! What a smarmy little twerp! As soon as his creepy, smirking, dirty little face appeared in the book, I disliked him straight away. Naively I thought to myself ‘can this boy GET any worse?!’, and what does he go and do? He gets even worse. I absolutely despised him.

Right, onto the good bits! I LOVED how Roxie Cooper’s debut incorporated experiences from her own personal life, although I did spend a lot of time wondering whether any situations in the book were based on real life events. The author has made no secret of the fact that she was a barrister before she was an author, and I found that quite endearing because the storyline came across as being written from her heart, as opposed to being written from Google’s heart.

Whilst all of Newcastle Crown Court seem to judge Amanda on how she looks, the storyline itself runs a lot deeper than the contents of her make-up bag. I felt so sorry for Amanda as it was made clear early on how her childhood wasn’t worth remembering due to horrific emotional and physical trauma. When I say made clear, the readers are told that about her childhood, yet the reasoning behind her trauma doesn’t become clear until much later in the book. If you’re anything like me, you’ll put two and two together and come up with five. It’s lucky that I never wanted to be a barrister, eh!

‘The Law of Attraction’ is filled with some rather lovely characters, as well as some rather horrible characters who seemed to have popped over from ‘The Mean Girls’ as extras in Roxie Cooper’s novels. I cannot STAND people like that! I’ll admit, I found myself getting angry about those particular characters far too often, but I realise that the storyline required those colourful characters in order to get the point across. Of course, just like other books, I did have my favourite characters but I’m not going to tell you who, just incase I end up influencing your choices indirectly!

As soon as I had finished reading ‘The Law of Attraction’, I messaged the author and let her know about a part of the book which made me cry. Now, because I don’t want to give anything away, I won’t state which part it was, but let’s just say that it caught me off guard big time. I wasn’t expecting my eyes to leak. If you’re reading this book and end up crying at a part, let me know which part that was! Who knows, it might be the same one!

I absolutely loved every single thing about this book. It was gutsy. It was addictive. It was hilarious. It was kickass. It was deep. It had ‘errrrr come again?’ moments. It was intriguing. It made me feel a lot more emotions than I care to admit, in such a short space of time. I could tell a mile off that the author wrote ‘The Law of Attraction’ with pride, integrity, realism and a truck load of love. Yes, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think of ‘Legally Blonde’ whilst I was reading this. But, in all honesty, ‘The Law of Attraction’ beats ‘Legally Blonde’ hands down and, seeing as I am a huge fan of that particular movie, that is definitely saying something.

Heart-warming, addictively written with oodles of beautiful and shocking moments, ‘The Law of Attraction’ really is one of my Top Reads of 2017. I could not have asked for anything else in one book, it truly had it all. If not more. I laughed. I cried. I smiled. I became angry. I was empathetic. But most importantly, I found ‘The Law of Attraction’ GUILTY for being such a phenomenal read from start to finish; an all-round, pleasurable read which I will be remembering for such a long, long time.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book.

Thank you HQDigitalUK and NeverlandBT.

Buy now from Amazon UK

GIVEAWAYYYYYY!!!!!

UK ONLY!

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of ‘The Law of Attraction’, a copy of ‘Legally Blonde’ the movie, as well as a £10 MAC gift card, all you need to do is:

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE!

Good luck!!

AUTHOR BIO

Roxie was born and bred in Middlesbrough. After studying Classics at University, she
became a dancer in a nightclub for a few years, before going travelling and living in
Australia. When she returned, she swapped dancing on a bar, to practising at the Bar,
and became a barrister for 7 years.
It was after being constantly told “Ooh! You don’t look like a barrister!” by absolutely
everyone she met, that the idea for her debut novel was born.
Roxie lives in Yarm, a pretty little market town in the North-East. She’s a bit (lot)
obsessed with Prince and spends far too much time watching him on YouTube. Her
hobbies include watching musicals, making her hair as big (and blonde) as possible, and
wishing she was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Links:

Goodreads
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

#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.

#MeetElviraCarr #BlogTour! A Letter to myself – Frances Maynard @perkinsfran1 @mantlebooks

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I am delighted to be day two of the #MeetElviraCarr blog tour, courtesy of Mantle Books! Big thanks to Don Shanahan for inviting me to be a part of the tour! For my stop today I have the pleasure of sharing the author’s, Frances Maynard, letter to her younger self.

But first, here are the all important details of Frances Maynard’s new book, The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr, which will be published by Mantle Books on the 24th August!

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Funny, heart-warming and ultimately triumphant, The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr is the perfect story for anyone who doesn’t quite fit in – and for everyone who chooses not to.

Elvira Carr is twenty-seven and neuro-atypical. Her father – who she suspects was in the secret service – has passed away and, after several Unfortunate Incidents growing up, she now spends most of her time at home with her overbearing mother. But when her mother has a stroke and is taken into care, Elvira is suddenly forced to look after herself or risk ending up in Sheltered Accommodation. Armed with her Seven Rules, which she puts together after online research, Elvira hopes to learn how to navigate a world that’s full of people she doesn’t understand. Not even the Seven Rules can help her, however, when she discovers that everything she thought she knew about her father was a lie, and is faced with solving a mystery she didn’t even know existed . . .

Click here to pre-order your copy of the book.

A Letter to my younger self by Frances Maynard.

Dear Frances,

Don’t listen to them.

Don’t listen to your parents.  How can you be a carbon copy?  Family doesn’t have to be blood.

Don’t listen to your teachers.  Most of them will never teach you anything you need to know.  But keep learning.

Don’t listen to advice.  It will be unasked for, undeserved and irrelevant.  You’ll only learn, unfortunately, by doing.

Don’t listen to conventions that, at the time, seem set in stone.

Don’t listen to anyone who’s certain about anything.  Certainty is blinding.

Do listen to your friends (but not the drug-addled ones).  Wisdom is not confined to the old.

Do listen to your gut instinct.

Do listen to the little voice inside that is telling you: one day things will be different, one day you’ll have more power, one day your time will come.

Love from

Frances

Huge thanks to Frances Maynard for such an honest and empowering letter.

#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.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Lost Wife by Anna Mansell (@AnnaMansell) @Bookouture

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Fans of Sheila O’Flanagan, Amanda Prowse and Kelly Rimmer will love The Lost Wife, the compelling story of a woman’s deepest secrets, and the friends and family who must learn to live without her.

‘An incredible, beautiful story of loss, love, forgiveness, moving on, overcoming grief, redemption and above all, hope.’ Renita D’Silva

When Ellie Moran passes away, she leaves her newborn son and husband Ed behind her. Their marriage was perfect, their lives everything they had hoped for. So why was Ellie keeping secrets from Ed?

Knowing he can never ask his wife the truth, Ed is struggling to cope. When the secrets threaten to tear his whole family apart, Ed turns to Rachel, the one person who sees him as more than just Ellie’s widower.

But then Rachel discovers something Ellie was hiding, something that would break Ed’s heart. Can Rachel help Ed to find peace without the wife he lost – and a second chance at happiness?

What does TWG think?

Oh Anna Mansell, what have you done to me, woman!! -snivvels-.

Ed Moran lost his beloved. Their son lost his mummy. Everything Ed does, reminds him of his late wife. Looking at his son, reminds him of his late wife. He has no-one to turn to, no-one on his side. Ed’s mother believes that his strength means that he can cope. What advice can you give to a man who has lost his wife?

I don’t really know what I was expecting with Anna Mansell’s new novel, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting what I read. I’m not saying that in a bad way either. For a storyline which is 100% heart-wrenching; it is unbelievably beautiful and, in a weird sort of way, it kept on giving. As readers we see Ed go through grief, trying to come to terms with not only his wife, but the mother of his son. How on Earth does he keep her memory alive for a son who would have no idea who she was?

Whenever I read books with an extremely high sentimental value, I try to spend time working out the emotion behind the actions (can you tell I’ve studied psychology?), yet with this book, I couldn’t. I had to let the storyline carry me until the end. I had to let the storyline become my brain so that I could focus on my own emotions whenever the storyline prevailed. In other words, I was an absolute mess and lost all sense of logical thinking.

‘The Lost Wife’ doesn’t just focus on grief and moving forward after death, it also focuses on family relationships and, most importantly; trust. I could see why Ed felt at the end of his tether due to his family, and he dealt with the secrets just like any human being. Who could blame him if he dealt with it any differently, and went off the rails?

I cannot, (as much as I have tried), put into words what Anna Mansell’s novel did to my heart. As a self-confessed Ice Queen, I think I now actually feel…..things! I’ve gone from being Elsa, to then being Snow White, all in a wave of a magic wand.

‘The Lost Wife’ needs to be experienced and devoured with your very own eyes. Reading second-hand thoughts on such a beautiful storyline does not do it justice at all. You need to be amongst Ed’s devastation. You need to be amongst Ed’s attempt of moving forward. You need to be amongst Rachel’s outsider advice.

You NEED to read ‘The Lost Wife’ and get swept away in its fairytale beauty of life, loss and finding your place in life.

Thanks Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

Author Bio.

Anna had a brush with ‘fame’ as a magician’s assistant back in 1977. She later decided that being sawn in half by her father, at barely 6 months old, was too submissive a role, vowing to channel the trauma in to something much more pro-actively creative. Having failed at acting, singing and professional murder mystery parties (she was ALWAYs the one to die!), she fell to something much more solitary: writing. How To Mend a Broken Heart is her first novel and her life was not on the line in order to write it, or her second: The Lost Wife. Anna lives on a dairy farm in Cornwall with her two children, her husband, and her ex-racing greyhound, Olive Dog.

https://www.facebook.com/AnnaMansellAuthor/

https://twitter.com/AnnaMansell

https://www.instagram.com/mrsannam/

https://feelthefearandwriteitanyway.wordpress.com/


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#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 – The Forgotten Family of Liverpool by Pam Howes (@PamHowes1) @Bookouture

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The fighting has finished – but are their troubles just beginning?

It’s 1951 and rationing is finally coming to an end. But while Liverpool is recovering from the ferocity of war, a family is about to be torn apart…

Dora Rodgers is settling into a new life with her daughters Carol and Jackie, moving on from the betrayal of her husband. But then an unexpected knock at the door rips her family in two. Carol is taken away by a welfare officer to live with Dora’s estranged husband Joe. 

Dora is determined to fight for her child, but she struggles to cope when a tragic accident leaves her mother in hospital, and shocking news from Joe breaks her heart once more. 

With her family in pieces and her marriage over for good, will Dora ever manage to get her daughter Carol home where she belongs?

The Forgotten Family of Liverpool is a brave and tear-jerking story of one woman’s quest to protect her family. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Annie Murray and Kitty Neale. Discover Pam’s Mersey Trilogy today.

What does TWG think?

‘The Forgotten Family of Liverpool’ is book two in Pam Howes’ Mersey trilogy and, in my honest opinion, I believe that it can be read as a standalone. However, I would recommend reading the first book in the series, ‘The Lost Daughter of Liverpool’ beforehand, just so that you haven’t missed out on any vital information from the main characters back stories, before delving into the a new chapter of their lifestyles.

Having really enjoyed the first book in the series, I was super excited to read this novel. I couldn’t wait to catch up with some of the old characters, as well as creating new ‘friendships’ with new characters. Well, except Ivy of course, I would be lying if I said that I was yearning to meet up with her for a cup of builders tea.

Set in 1950’s Liverpool, Dora’s life showed signs of becoming even more complicated, especially where her estranged husband, Joe, was concerned. Reading about Dora’s struggles opened my eyes to the reality of the past, especially how differently situations were dealt with in those days compared to now. There were times where my heart ached for Dora and the challenges she had to face once again. That said, luck most definitely wasn’t on her side throughout the majority of the storyline, I was getting a bit exasperated at how her character always seemed to have the negativity thrown at her. Why, for two novels, did Dora face such hardships? Why wasn’t she given a break? Don’t get me wrong I know that life isn’t all rainbows and kisses, but still, I couldn’t understand it.

I did enjoy ‘The Forgotten Family of Liverpool’; it had a plot which kept me engrossed, as well as being able to make me take a walk down memory lane in terms of the historical feel. I loved the community spirit of the storyline, it was so lovely to see people coming together in times of need, and even at short notice. For me, that was the most heart-warming part of the novel.

Whilst I did enjoy being back in Liverpool with Dora and her family, I didn’t warm to the overall storyline as much as I did the first book due to what I said previously about Dora,  and how I felt that the storyline was seemed to be missing something. What that missing something was, however, I’m not overly sure, all I can pinpoint is that I needed a bit more to sink my teeth into.

As ever, Pam Howes’ delectable writing style left me wanting more; I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next part of the series.

Thanks Bookouture.

UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2qIcCya

US 🇺🇸 http://amzn.to/2pOgsrD

Forgotten Family of Liverpool Blog Tour

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

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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…