#BlogTour! #Review – Some Old Bloke by Robert Llewellyn (@bobbyllew) @unbounders @annecater

Apologies for another late post, but today was spent with mumma TWG so I’m catching up now! Tonight I am delighted to be reviewing ‘Some Old Bloke’ by Robert Llewellyn, as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

When writer, comedian and Red Dwarf actor Robert Llewellyn’s son scrawled a picture of him at Christmas and titled it ‘Some Old Bloke’, Robert was cast deep into thought about life and what it means to be a bloke – and an old one at that. In this lighthearted, revealing and occasionally philosophical autobiography, we take a meandering route through Robert’s life and career: from the sensitive young boy at odds with his ex-military father, through his stint as a hippy and his years of arrested development in the world of fringe comedy, all the way up to the full-body medicals and hard-earned insights of middle age.

Whether he is waxing lyrical about fresh laundry, making an impassioned case for the importance of alternative energy or recounting a detailed history of the dogs in his life, Robert presents a refreshingly open and un-cynical look at the world at large and, of course, the joys of being a bloke.

What does TWG think?

I’m not a bloke, nor am I in the same age bracket, nor have I watched much of ‘Red Dwarf’ – with that in mind, I’m sure you’re probably wondering why I would read ‘Some Old Bloke’, right? Well weirdly enough, you don’t need to be a bloke to enjoy Robert Llewellyn witty book! Who would’ve thought it!

I thoroughly enjoyed Robert Llewellyn’s honest and hilarious portrayal of his life and life in general, plus the fact the book contained many eyebrow topics that would no doubt make a lot of people’s eyes go wide in terror. I on the other hand was in hysterics and felt that his delivery was incredibly refreshing.

Even though I haven’t watched many of the programs Robert has been associated with, it didn’t stop me from enjoying reading about his adventures, his misdemeanours, and his insight on a four legged animal. I may not not be an ‘old bloke’ but Robert Llewellyn is definitely ‘Some Old Bloke’ I loved getting to know.

Buy now!

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#BlogTour! #Review -Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer (@kelrimmerwrites) @headlinepg @phoebe_swinburn @annecater

Before I let you go (1)

I did promise you all another Kelly Rimmer post and, even though I’m a bitter than I would have liked (sorry!), I am delighted to share my review of ‘Before I Let You Go’. Huge thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and Headline books for the proof copy. Here is my review:

 

Before I Let You Go Cover

As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leatherbound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears…

As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a successful doctor and happily engaged. Annie is an addict – a thief, a liar and unable to remain clean. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?

 

What does TWG think?

Oh wow, Ms.Rimmer has done it again!! ‘Before I Let You Go’ is a devastating, eye-opening novel which made me feel things I had never thought before – and no, just to clarify, that isn’t a bad thing at all.

Annie and Lexie used to be extremely close before the big, wide world made its mark on them as human beings. Their earlier life was full of love from their mum and dad, as well as typical sibling rivalry. But, when one night changed their lives forever, the sisters knew that they needed to support each other even more, especially when a certain man walked through their door.

It’s clear that Annie’s past plays a big part in the outcome of her current life and the decisions she had made leading up to ‘now’, however the author doesn’t let us into the finer details all at once, instead being drip fed pieces of information as the storyline progressed. Whilst there was a part of me deep down which had a feeling about certain events once Lexie had left her childhood home, the black and white truth sent shivers up and down my spine. Annie is an addict and, seeing as she is living in a state where addictions whilst pregnant is a felony, her luck isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

It may seem as though the storyline is governed by Annie’s situation and bad decisions, yet Lexie’s character and her relationship with fiance, Sam, also get their fair share of the spotlight. Let me just say that people aren’t always as they seem – both Annie and Lexie prove that throughout the book.

‘Before I Let You Go’ has such a serious theme running through it, and once again Kelly Rimmer has shown just how versatile her story telling is as she highlights a topic which, whilst may be seen as ‘taboo’, is a subject which could be a lot more ‘popular’ than people may have thought. It was very easy for me to sit and judge Annie, even though I didn’t know her full story, purely because of her being an addict. It’s shameful on my part to an extent, but my reaction just proves that addiction is extremely serious illness and without knowing the full facts or how to deal with addiction, feigning ignorance will get us nowhere.

This book blew me away, and not just because of the addiction situation. There is a lot more to this book than that – I’m just refusing to give anything away! Kelly Rimmer is a phenomenal author who delivers storyline after storyline in such a majestic, poignant and seriously beautiful manner. I’m probably not conveying my opinions of the book properly, so please forgive me, just trust me when I say that the emotion in the storyline is raw, solid, yet incredibly tender. Feelings which magnified my whole experience of the book from start to finish, a book which I will NOT be forgetting in a hurry.

Spellbinding, heart breaking, and absolutely breath-taking, ‘Before I Let You Go’ will put relationships to the test, making even the simplest of decisions the hardest of them all. Outstanding!

 

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton (@JeanFullerton_) @Rararesources @CorvusBooks

Swooon!!!! Day two of the blog tour for ‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is here and I am so excited to be a part of it! Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, here is my review:

With Christmas approaching, the Brogan family of London’s East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe’s nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.

For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

What does TWG think?

If you aren’t aware of this fact already, I LOVE historical fiction novels, and I have always been fixated with ration books and the unfortunate circumstances which led to those books becoming a way of life. So you see, my excitement for this book was through the roof; history, romance, more history, ration books….what’s not to like?

The cover of ‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is rather pretty, but please don’t be sitting there thinking that the storyline is going to be all pristine and happy because it’s not. It’s far from it, and I do not mean that in a bad way at all. Yes, the storyline does contain happiness, but not the sort that comes with ease. It’s the type of happiness which breaks your heart because you have been championing a character to finally have some good luck, or you have witnessed a family reach their breaking point yet when something positive comes their way the sun seems to shine brighter than ever before.

This book is deep. Very deep. I mean, the storyline is based on events during the Blitz; an emotional, powerful time which saw thousands of people lose their lives. How couldn’t it be deep? It needed to be to convey that strong historical element. Okay, I did find it hard going at times because it is thickly laced with facts versus fiction, harrowing circumstances, and characters you wish you could do things for, yet all of that put together just worked.

I can’t even begin to imagine what life was like during that time, trying to save people in amongst rubble yet finding out later that they would be making their way to the mortuary instead of back with their families. Watching Jo and Mattie tend to those people made my heart sore in such an emotional manner. The community spirit in this book was second to none and would definitely put a lot of people in this day and age, to shame.

I loved how raw and poignant Jean Fullerton’s story telling was, as it brought the storyline to life on so many different levels and captured my heart at the same time.

‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is a book to be savoured, but it’s also a book which highlights the importance of ‘being’ and being able to find happiness in the little things in life despite the strong storms which may loom overhead.

A wonderfully written, heartwarming and poignant story. I cannot wait to read more from this author.

Buy now!

About the author.

Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer.  She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

Social Media Links

Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton-202631736433230/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_

 

#BirthdayBookBlitz! #Review – Oh! What a Pavlova by Isabella May (@IsabellaMayBks) @RaRaResources

We do like a celebration here at TWG! We take birthdays very seriously!! Happy book birthday to ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ by Isabella May! Massive congratulations. To celebrate, I am super excited to be reviewing the book as part of the book birthday blitz organised by RaRaResources – many thanks for having me on board!

Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation. 

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

What does TWG think?

With the theme of domestic abuse running through this storyline, there were times where I felt a little bad for enjoying the book because of what Kate was dealing with. I would like to take my hat off (well, if I was wearing one) to the author for covering a topic which is both devastating and relatable, without losing the vulnerability of the situation. I won’t lie, it is incredibly difficult to read at times because I ended up relating to it due to my own past, but I was glad for the upbeat and humorous one liners to break up that dark vibe.

Isabella May is brilliant at playing on words, and what better to showcase that talent than with food!

For me personally, I did enjoy the storyline and found myself giggling multiple times, however, the dark vibe was incredibly difficult to shuggle off and I couldn’t seem to go with the flow of the storyline as much as I would have liked. Like I said before, maybe that’s down to the fact that I was able to relate to Kate’s situation because I had been through similar, therefore becoming deeper invested than a reader who may not have experienced the similarities first hand. Either way, I was glad that the topic had been put in the spotlight!

‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ is a tantalising treat which mixes pleasure and pain together like a rocky road traybake.

Buy now!

Giveaway!! Win a signed copy of The Cocktail Bar (Open Internationally) 

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passedto the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter the giveaway now!

About the author.

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, andis having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Costa del Churros is her third novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensations, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar. 

Social Media Links

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

Instagram – @isabella_may_author

#BlogTour! #review – Where Has Mummy Gone? by Cathy Glass (@CathyGlassUK) @RosieMargesson @HarperNonFic

Blog tour poster
As a massive fan of Cathy Glass’ novels, I was over the moon to be asked to take part in the blog by the lovely Rosie from HarperCollins. Thank you so much for having me, and thank you for the ARC. Here is my review:

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The true story of Melody, aged 8, the last of five siblings to be taken from her drug dependent single mother and brought into care.

When Cathy is told about Melody’s terrible childhood, she is sure she’s heard it all before. But it isn’t long before she feels there is more going on than she or the social services are aware of. Although Melody is angry at having to leave her mother, as many children coming into care are, she also worries about her obsessively – far more than is usual. Amanda, Melody’s mother, is also angry and takes it out on Cathy at contact, which again is something Cathy has experienced before. Yet there is a lost and vulnerable look about Amanda, and Cathy starts to see why Melody worries about her and feels she needs looking after.

When Amanda misses contact, it is assumed she has forgotten, but nothing could have been further from the truth…

What does TWG think?

I have read many novels written by this author, and each time I read them I have to mentally prepare myself for what might be waiting for me underneath the front cover. Now, some people might take that as a criticism, however, if you have read a ‘Cathy Glass’ novel before, you will be well aware that every one of her books is based on the true story of a child she has fostered. It doesn’t take a visit to Google to cement the fact that fostering can be very emotional to read about (and very emotional to actually do), and Melody’s story is no different. With a title of ‘Where Has Mummy Gone?’, I could hazard a guess that a child would be asking where their mummy had gone, but what I didn’t expect, however, was just how eye opening that innocent question was.

Where did her mummy go?

I warmed to Melody straight away, even though she came across a little aggressive. There was obviously something deep-rooted within her to feel like that, but again, nothing could have prepared me for the storyline that unfolded.

‘Where Has Mummy Gone?’ is such an emotionally charged, heart-breaking and raw novel which highlights drug dependency, as well as the very emotional and devastating life changes which children in care have to endure. Bear in mind that Melody is only eight years old. Yes, children can be taken into care at any age, but even so, eight is still a very young age to have to deal with what Melody did. She really is a little gem and I am sure that all of the people around her are extremely proud of her. I know I am and I haven’t even met her!

Don’t worry if you haven’t picked up a Cathy Glass novel before, or if you have never read a book with foster care as the core theme, as Cathy Glass keeps the language very simple without coming across as patronising. For example, if a social work term is used, Cathy Glass ensures that that term is explained as an ‘off the cuff’ sort of comment instead of making the reader feel like they should know what those terms mean. You aren’t supposed to. Plus, I think the way in which Cathy Glass explains things is probably ingrained in her due to her many years as a foster carer.

Obviously I don’t want to bad mouth the system as they’re there for a reason, however I couldn’t help feel frustrated at one of the social workers attitude to certain aspects of this book. I understand that they have a right of care to the child and have certain boxes to tick, but I just think this person in particular could have been a bit….how can I put this…compassionate.

Once again, Cathy Glass has blown me away with a poignant story about Melody’s life, allowing her readers to watch the little girl spread her wings and have a life that all children should have. I won’t lie, this is incredibly emotional and pulled at my heartstrings something chronic, even the parts which were focused on Melody’s mum, Amanda. I couldn’t help but feel very touched by her story and how that was concluded.

A beautiful, heartwarming, and devastatingly raw novel – I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – I Give You My Heart by SarahJane Ford (@sjfordauthor) @RaRaResources


Oh my….I have no idea if my review for SarahJane Ford’s novel, ‘I Give You My Heart’ will make any sense, but I will give it my best shot. Today I am one of the bloggers reviewing this absolutely stunning book as part of the blog tour organised by RaRaResources. As always, big thank you for asking me to be involved in the blog tour and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Alice Richards looked forward to watching the seeds of love she and her husband planted bloom and
grow well into their old age. But her plans for the future shrivel up and die when she learns she has
an inoperable brain tumour.

Determined that she won’t die in vain, she decides to become an organ donor. With a few precious
months left, Alice begins documenting her fairytale romance—from their first meeting to the
children they dreamed of having. She’ll pass on every detail to her heart’s next owner… along with
careful instructions to send her husband reminders of her undying love. Before her time runs out,
Alice must find the perfect candidate to guide her husband through unimaginable grief and hold the
memory of their love in her heart.

What does TWG think?

‘If I just lay here, would you lie with me and, just forget the world….’

Yes Snow Patrol, I would indeed just forget the world because, after reading ‘I Give You My Heart’, I did not have the strength to think about anything else except this book. Period. Look, I don’t read blurbs and once again I am glad that I don’t because I went into reading this book with only my own assumption of what the book was going to be about. I mean c’mon, look at the title. For me personally, that was enough to whet my appetite for what I might stumble across as I read the book. However, I genuinely don’t think that anything could have prepared me for what lay beneath the cover of SarahJane Ford’s novel. Nothing at all. Yes, with a book about organ donation you would think the emotional parts of the storyline would be all mapped out, right? Wrong. I think I might be ill or something because my eyes kept POURING with water….what’s that all about?!

Due to what I assumed the storyline to be about (and being right), I had a slight inkling that ‘I Give You My Heart’ was going to be a very emotional read. I wasn’t wrong. However, what I didn’t realise was just how emotional the book was going to be. It wasn’t just VERY emotional, it was heartbreakingly beautiful, eyes pouring, limbs trembling, heart shattering emotional. Am I complaining? Not in the slightest. Why? Because it just goes to show that the author wrote every single word right from the heart. It proved that the author didn’t just google organ donation, she  researched it to the inch of its life. The emotion also proved that the author believed in her characters, that she believed in what Alice was doing, that she believed in the power of the heart. Love. Romance. Unforgettable memories. An author who writes like this cannot be taught – they either have IT, or they don’t, and SarahJane Ford certainly has IT.

I won’t go into detail regarding the storyline, however, as someone who has always looked at romance like a dog would look at a cat, this book made me want to feel love like Alice and Alex did. I want to be loved by someone so much that you emotions become in tune with the other ones. I want to feel the excitement of being in a relationship and loving someone with every ounce of my being. Daft eh?

Ryan is such a wonderful, genuine character who made me laugh out loud by injecting some much needed humour into the storyline. His strength throughout the novel was extremely admirable, yet it broke my heart to see him so vulnerable and in a position where he couldn’t expel his sadness because he needed to do right by his best friend. What an incredible human being he is.

As for Alice. I don’t think that I would be able to write my thoughts on her without bursting into tears once again. She may have given her heart in a time of need, but she made her way into my heart to stay.

‘I Give You My Heart’ is an incredible, beautifully written novel which took me on a journey I will never forget. From start to finish, Alice took over my thoughts, my emotions, and my logical thinking. There were times where I felt like screaming out, ‘NOOOOOO!!!!’ because I didn’t want her to die. Alice may have been a fictional character, but in the short amount of time I got to know her and her story, I felt like I had a newfound best friend and her death devastated me. Obviously I was relieved that she would no longer be suffering, but the journey surrounding her death was so vivid. So real. So…..life-like. I struggled to find the line between fictional and reality as it had become so blurred.

SarahJane Ford is an author to watch due to her phenomenal storytelling, and her outstanding ability at creating characters who end up leaving their mark on readers hearts. This book absolutely broke me in two, yet I wouldn’t have changed that feeling for the world.

‘I Give You My Heart’ is everything that is right with this world, with a hint of everything that is wrong with this world in terms of terminal illness. Even though I think that the book should come with a lifetime supply of tissues, I will be recommending SarahJane Ford’s novel until I’m blue in the face because it is absolutely stunning. Not only that, the author has put a very important subject at the theme of her book to give it the airtime it so rightly deserves. A subject which people don’t want to talk about because of how final it is. But is it?

A heart-breaking yet mind blowing read, I won’t ever forget Alice’s story because yes, she’s given her heart, but she is now stuck in my mine, being the little angel on my shoulder to show me the way. Beautiful beyond belief, ‘I Give You My Heart’ is…..perfect.

Buy now!

About the author.

SarahJane is the debut author of ‘I Give You My Heart’ which is due to be published on
September 1st 2018.

SarahJane was born in Scotland but grew up in the Cheshire countryside, which is home to her. After
a few years living in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, where she went to secondary school, she has
now settled back in Cheshire in a quirky flat surrounded by trees, birds and rolling fields.
A marketing professional since finishing her formal education SarahJane is delighted to be following
her writing dream. She still works part-time as a Marketing Manager, whilst furiously penning her
second novel.

Harbouring an adventurous spirit, SarahJane loves to travel, be surrounded by the wilderness or be
riding Cornish waves.

SarahJane loves to read (ideally by the sea!). She was raised on the greatest love stories, which is
where her romantic soul comes from. She is in love with love…Mr Darcy’s brooding looks in Pride
and Prejudice; Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s arresting chemistry in Runaway Bride; the intensely
emotional Titanic; going weak at the knees for Danny Zuko in Grease; Cecilia Ahern’s heartbreaking
P.S. I Love You and Patrick Swayze’s mega moves in Dirty Dancing. 

Facebook // Website

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from the author of ‘The Little Gate-Crasher’ Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer (@GabKaplanMayer) @RaRaResources

I am beginning to catch up with my delayed blog posts from the past week – apologies once again to RaRaResources, and the author, for my delay in posting this, but thank you for having me on the blog tour nonetheless. I have a guest post from author of ‘The Little Gate-Crasher’, Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer. Enjoy.

Mace Bugen might have been an achondroplastic dwarf, 43 inches tall with an average size head and
torso set on small, twisted legs—but that didn’t mean he was an idiot or a pushover. In truth, he was
smarter than most; over the years, he learned to effectively turn what society in those days called a
handicap into a powerful tool he could use to his advantage.

“When I was a kid,” he once said, “I’d ask myself, Why is that guy on the football team? Why can’t I
be on the team? Why didn’t God give me the height so I could be the hero?”
“Then at some point I figured it out: I gotta do something special to let ’em know I’m me.”
In The Little Gate Crasher: The Life And Photos Of Mace Bugen, I remember my amazing great-Uncle
Mace Bugen through his journey as a first-generation Jewish-American kid in working class
Philipsburg, NJ to becoming the first celebrity selfie-artist—way ahead of his time.

Featuring vintage photos of Mace with his exploits, The Little Gate Crasher captures three decades of
American pop culture, seen through the unique lens of Mace and his gate-crashing exploits.
Underneath his antics, we meet a complex man who continually defies others expectations and
meets life on his own terms. Mace becomes a successful businessman and devoted son to his aging
parents. But in his gate-crashing antics, we best get to see Mace’s unique combination of guile,
cunning and sense of entitlement, which he used to engineer photos of himself with some of the
biggest celebrities of his day. If people were going to stare at him all of his life, he would give them
something to see.

The Little Gate Crasher features over 50 vintage photos of Mace with celebrities, athletes and
politicians, including Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Muhammed Ali, Richard Nixon, Jane Russel, Joe
DiMaggio and more.

Buy: Amazon US  // Amazon UK

 Guest Post.

Understanding Through Memoir
By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

1 in 5 human beings has some kind of disability – including learning,
developmental, physical, emotional or a combination of disabilities. And yet,
while disability is such a common part of the human experience, some people are
uncomfortable and even afraid around people with disabilities. As a mom raising
a teenage son whose autism is very visible, I have reflected since his early
childhood on why disability can trigger this kind of reaction. I think it’s in part a
natural human fear of the unknown experience. Disability pushes our buttons
around vulnerability – it makes us wonder how would we react if someone in our
family – or we ourselves – needed supports or accommodations for daily living?
Society has largely allowed us to keep people with disabilities at arms length –
it’s only in the last generation or two that public schools have been mandated to
provide public education for all. Many adults with disabilities in the US don’t live
in community settings or work in places where the public gets to interact and
know them – they remain set apart.

This separation is changing – but it’s slow and requires all of us to move out of
our comfort zone to know about and respect the lives of human beings we may
have never seen as a natural part of our community. I believe that as educators,
we have a responsibility to nurture in our students a willingness and curiosity to
learn about life experiences that are different from their own and engage in
conversations and activities that help them to understand more about what living
with a disability is like.

My new memoir The Little Gate-Crasher  shares the story of another family
member who has a disability—and the incredible life that he lived.
The Little Gate-Crasher features the amazing story of my Great-Uncle Mace
Bugen – an unstoppable spirit, first generation Jewish American, self-made
millionaire, celebrity gate-crasher – who was 43 inches tall. Mace’s unstoppable
spirit defied the challenges of his own physical limitations and society’s
prejudices towards people with dwarfism. The book features Mace’s photos of
himself with the greatest celebrities of his era, including Muhammad Ali, Joe
DiMaggio, Sammy David, Jr. and more.

Books are powerful tools to help us understand lives that are very different from
our own—and in many ways, also very similar. I encourage you to use The Little
Gate-Crasher  to inspire conversation in your community through:
 Parent/Teen Dialogue: If a family isn’t personally touched by disability, parents
and kids may have never had an opportunity to discuss their feelings, fears and insights about Invite them to read together and use my discussion guide to
create interactive conversations for parents and teens.

 Partner with your Adult Book Club: are you part of a a book group or club? If so,
suggest reading The Little Gate-Crasher and I’ll be happy to Skype into your book
club to do a reading and lead a discussion with you! It’s lots of fun for us and
makes your job easy. Contact me to schedule.

My hope is that memoir can make life with disability feel not as far away or scary
from most of our lives, so that when we encounter disability personally, we can
be present with friendship, kindness and caring.

Many thanks to the author for the guest post. Purchase links are above.

About the author.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is an experienced educator, author and speaker. At
Jewish Learning Venture, she works as Director of Whole Community Inclusion and
leads disability awareness programs for the Philadelphia Jewish community. Her most
recent book The Little Gate Crasher, a memoir of her Great-Uncle, who overcame
society’s prejudices about dwarfism to lead a remarkable life, was one of the national
book selections for 2017 Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month. Gabby writes
for and edits The New York Jewish Week’s The New Normal: Blogging Disability and is
also a featured Philly parenting blogger for WHYY’s newsworks. Gabby holds a B.F.A. in
theatre and creative writing from Emerson College and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from
the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

Website

 

#BlogTour! #MiniReview – #WhileIWasSleeping by Dani Atkins (@AtkinsDani) @simonschusteruk @TeamBATC

While I Was Sleeping Blog Tour Banner
Today is my stop on the #WhileIWasSleeping blog tour! It is very rare that I do this, but today instead of writing a full review for Dani Atkins’ soon to be published novel, I am writing a mini review. Why? Because I completely underestimated how much this book would shred my emotions, so much so I actually haven’t finished reading the book yet because I have had to take time to pause and gather my thoughts before continuing. Now, before anyone says anything about me reviewing a book that I haven’t finished, I would like to state that I am reviewing the parts of the book I have read, aka Part 1 and Part 2, therefore turning this into a mini review. I will also be writing another mini review once the book is completed. Thank you to Simon and Schuster for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my mini review for part one and part two:

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What if someone else was living your happy ever after?

When Maddie wakes up in a hospital bed, she can’t remember anything about what happened to her or what has changed.

She just remembers she was about to be married and had everything to look forward to.
But it seems life has become a lot more complicated while she has been asleep …

What does TWG think?

I feel like I should be crying. I feel like I should be curled up in the foetus position, cuddling into my tear soaked pillow, waiting for someone to tell me, ‘it’s okay, it was only a dream’. Should I be concerned that when I look at my reflection in the mirror, a tear stained face isn’t staring back at me? You want to know something though? I am utterly, utterly broken. My emotions are a bit backwards, lets be honest. When I am devastated, heartbroken or similar, my body doesn’t release tears. In fact it doesn’t release anything. Why? Because it shuts down. My body shuts down to protect the rest of my emotions, my soul, and everything in-between. I guess to anyone who hasn’t read this book yet, or any of Dani Atkins’ other novels, you may think that I am being melodramatic. I’m not. Dan Atkins doesn’t just write stories about people who go to bed, wake up for work, and then go out on Friday nights to meet a partner of their dreams, just so that they can sit together every Saturday night to watch ‘oh what’s their name?!’ competing in Strictly Come Dancing. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that at all, yet this author fills her stories with raw, poignant, and naked emotion which will leave readers shivering due to unshed tears…

A bit like ‘While I Was Sleeping’.

Maddie was full of excitement. Hope. Love.

She had her whole future in front of her. Her marriage to her fiancé literally round the corner. A new life waiting for her to begin as the new ‘Mrs Turner’. Life can be cruel though, can’t it?

Forgive me for being vague here, but I owe it to the authors complex and beautiful storyline to be just that. Having been a fan of Dani Atkins’ writing for quite a while, nothing could have prepared me for what lay beneath the front cover of ‘While I Was Sleeping’. Nothing at all. And, you know what? I am so pleased that that happened as not only did I get a jaw dropping surprise, my reactions to the events within the story were one hundred percent natural and unguarded. We may think we know an authors writing style if we have read many of their books, but we don’t, and Dani Atkins proves that theory as, whilst her previous books were beautifully written, the calibre of ‘While I Was Sleeping’ went from strength to strength with every turn of the page.

You know, I struggled to even work out where real life ended and fiction began. Maddie’s life reached deep into my soul, allowing me to invest myself completely to her trials and tribulations, her fears, her worries, her hopes. ‘While I Was Sleeping’ wasn’t just a story to me, it was way more than that. I wanted to reach into the page and give Maddie a big hug, telling her that everything will be okay even though I had no idea if it would. I had high hopes that the puzzle pieces of her life will be put back together again – who wouldn’t? Dani Atkins, despite making me completely heartbroken, ensured that I kept the faith as the story progressed, sowing tiny seeds in other characters actions, ready for them to bloom in a later chapter.

‘While I Was Sleeping’ puts you in a position which you can only hope you would never, ever find yourself in, yet it also puts the reader in a safe, beautiful, and peaceful bubble thanks to the authors magnetic and enchanting story telling.

Dani Atkins is a one of a kind author who goes from strength to strength with every novel she writes, but with ‘While I Was Sleeping’, she has completely outdone herself and created a poignant, life affirming masterpiece which will not only stay in my mind for a considerably long time, it will also have a special place in my heart for the rest of my days. THIS is what its all about. THIS is why I love books. And THIS is definitely a one of a kind read – mesmerising and inspiring, ‘While I Was Sleeping’ is a book that I will forever treasure dearly.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Sky’s The Limit by Janie Millman (@ChezCastillon) @DomePress


Final blog tour for today ‘Sky’s the Limit’ by Janie Millman. Huge thanks to Dome Press for the blog tour and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:


Sky is devastated when she finds that her husband is in love with someone else, even more that it is her oldest friend Nick. She has lost the two most important men in her life and can’t ever trust either of them again.

To escape, she goes alone on a dream trip to Marrakesh and meets Gail, on a mission to meet the father of her child, a man she loved but thought did not want her.

In Marrakesh, Sky and Gail both find unexpected joys – and surprises. For Sky these lead to France, to a beautiful chateau and a family whose relationships seem as complicated as her own.

What does TWG think?

If you’re after a read which has the ability to transport you overseas quicker than you can walk upstairs and put on your pyjama’s, ‘Sky’s the Limit’ will definitely be your cup of tea. Now, I have to admit that I am not very well-travelled at all. Well, unless you count fictionally because in that case I am VERY well-travelled! The only places I have been to are England and Scotland, and seeing as I have lived in both of those countries, there is nothing like keeping it close to home, eh! Life recently as been extremely horrendous so the fact that I was able to jet off to Marrakesh and France without worrying about money, packing and what not, was a very welcome distraction, and one which kept my soul working overtime.

I think soul’s work, don’t they? Oh well, they do now! Janie Millman is a new author for me, but just as her book title states, the ‘Sky’s the Limit’ where this author is concerned, that’s for sure! Personally, I felt the elements of self discovery in the storyline the most poignant and the ones I was able to relate to completely. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Sky’s the Limit’ was jam-packed with romance, intensity, fresh starts, and complicated relationships, and whilst they were all executed incredibly well, I couldn’t help but use the escapism and self discovery as antidotes for my own selfish reasons.

Janie Millman is a beautiful storyteller who is able to transport her readers in the blink of an eye. I did find the storyline a little bit difficult to get into at first, but once I became accustom to Millman’s unique storytelling and enchanting characters, I soon found myself becoming part of the furniture where this story was concerned.

An entertaining, enchanting, and thought-provoking novel, an ideal read for anytime, anywhere, anyone.

Buy from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis (@EmilyGunnis) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater @Phoebe_Swinburn


I am so excited to be sharing my review of Emily Gunnis’ outstanding novel, ‘The Girl in the Letter’, which was published in e-book by Headline on the 1st August. Don’t despair if you’re more of a paperback lover, as the paperback is due to be released next year. It really is worth the wait! Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Phoebe Swinburn for the ARC via Netgalley. Here is my review:


A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away.  A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding
house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a
letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother,
begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late. 
Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the
woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece
together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for
ever…

Read her letter. Remember her story…

What does TWG think?

I am fully prepared for the fact that my review may not do the book justice at all, but I aim to give it my best shot.

-falls on the floor- If I could get away with a review merely stating, ‘OutFLIPPINGstanding – EVERYONE MUST BUY!’, I totally would. In fact, I couldn’t have summed it up better in four words if I had tried. Luckily (or unluckily, depends which way you look at it), I enjoy talking and I feel that ‘The Girl in the Letter’ deserves to be in the spotlight for as long as possible, sooooo, sorry to my four words, but even I know I’m going to need to do better.

Set in 1956 when mother and baby houses were around for unmarried mothers to cleanse their souls and deal with their ‘sins’, ‘The Girl in the Letter’ tells the emotional story of a young girl called Ivy, who had her path chosen for her against her will. Her life in St Margaret’s was very, very tough. She saw things that people her age and younger should never see, let alone have to deal with. But what could she do? The nuns were set in their ways, and their punishments were very severe – whichever way she looked at it, Ivy was well and truly screwed but, as always, she couldn’t help but hope for the best.

The majority of ‘The Girl in the Letter’ is set in the present day, as we follow the life of a journalist who is struggling to find the right balance between her work life, and her life with her daughter. However, without even realising it, something had been sitting under Samantha’s nose for a very long time. With her work hat on, Sam is determined to get to the bottom of the situation without thinking of the consequences. To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t help but wonder why she should think of the consequences when she didn’t know where the path would lead. How could Sam foresee the future? She couldn’t.

I finished ‘The Girl in the Letter’ in the early hours of this morning whilst trying to put my jaw back in its rightful position. I knew that my review would take some thinking about, yet despite having all day to formulate some sort of review, I am still struggling to get my opinion out in a way that makes perfect sense. I even demanded that my mother buy this book and, seeing as she isn’t much of a reader, i have to ensure that the books I demand her to read are ones that I feel cannot be missed. And this is certainly one of them.

Whilst the contents of ‘The Girl in the Letter’ makes for quite a hard-hitting, severely intense and emotive read, the entire storyline is written absolutely beautifully and does the theme justice. Emily Gunnis does state at the end of the book that the storyline is a work of fiction, with themes inspired by real life mother and child homes in Ireland. I think that because I knew that women actually endured living in those conditions, gave birth in those conditions, as well as being told that their unborn child was a sin, it hit home a lot more because it was real. I am in still in shock that conditions like these existed and, if the laws were to be the same now here in the UK and I were to think about my current situation as a single mum, I would be in the same position as the women mentioned in this book. Isn’t that scary?

I loved how ‘The Girl in the Letter’ had a historical feel to it, as well as a thick layer of something a lot grittier as it made the suspense level far more intense than I could have ever imagined.

Emily Gunnis’ literary skill blew me away and left me dumbfounded by its beauty. What an enchanting, heart-wrenching, beautifully written and intense read this is. This book gave me everything I could have ever wanted in a storyline, and then some. I fell in love with the story almost straight away and, whilst my heart shattered multiple times throughout, I still found myself loving ‘The Girl in the Letter’ and everything it stands for.

If I were to be asked to choose just ONE book that I think everyone should buy and read urgently, ‘The Girl in the Letter’ would fall from my lips (or my fingers) before the question had even been fully asked. I genuinely cannot recommend this enough, and I truly feel that everyone would be missing out on a diamond of a read if they didn’t get their hands on a copy.

By far one of my all time favourite novels, Emily Gunnis has swooped in as a new favourite author, and one who I will now be watching very, very closely for future releases. Incredible….absolutely incredible.

Buy now in e-book from Amazon

About the author.

Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is
one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.

Follow her on Twitter @EmilyGunnis
Instagram @emilygunnis
and Facebook @emilygunnisauthor.