#BlogTour! #Review – #FiveStepsToHappy by Ella Dove (@EllaRoseDove) @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I hope I do this book justice today! Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton and Trapeze for the blog tour invite and ARC, I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for ‘Five Steps To Happy’.

Life can change in a heartbeat…

When struggling actress Heidi has a life-changing accident aged 32, her world falls apart. Stuck in hospital and unable to walk, her only companion is Maud, the elderly lady in the bed next to hers. Heidi misses her flatmate, her life, her freedom – surely 32 is too young to be an amputee?

But when Maud’s aloof but attractive grandson Jack pays a visit to the ward, Heidi realises that her life isn’t over just because it’s different. It might not look like the life she dreamed of, but it’s the one she’s got – and there’s a lot she still wants to tick off her bucket list. With Jack at her side, will Heidi take the first step back to happiness? Or is there one more surprise still in store…?

A feel-good read based on the inspiring true story of journalist Ella Dove. Sometimes all it takes is one small step..

What does TWG think?

How the hell do you review this?! ‘Five Steps To Happy’ may be fiction, however it is based on the true story of the authors own life, and all I can say it……wow.

Ella Dove is one helluva woman, and one helluva author. I knew, after racing through 10% of the book in a matter of minutes, that it was going to be a good’un. You know when you just get that feeling about something? I had that and then some. I mean, how does anyone even come back from a situation like this? I know that some people have no choice but to carry on, and others feel as though they cannot cope, but can you honestly blame them for being upset by what’s happened? I can’t. I felt like shouting at the book; ‘don’t tell Heidi to cheer up, you have no idea how she feels!’.

‘Five Steps To Happy’ tells the story of Heidi and her journey as she finds her ‘new normal’ after becoming an amputee after a freak accident. As well as Heidi’s emotions, the storyline sheds light on the domino effect of the accident and how Heidi’s loved ones are struggling to cope with what’s happened.

This was such an eye-opening and poignant read – I had no idea about the journey which amputees go on, nor how long the ‘rehab’ is before they can go back to living in their home. On a personal level, I was able to resonate with some of Heidi’s emotions as I am losing the ability to walk myself, with the prospect of being unable to walk completely by the time I’m 40. Now I’m not taking the owniss off Ella or Heidi by saying that, it’s just I felt comfort by the rollercoaster of emotions, the worry at finding a ‘new normal’, feeling guilty and such. Walking is something we take for granted and it’s not until that ability is hindered, do we realise just how much a part of us walking actually is.

Being based on a true story, the emotion and frustration was very genuine and, because I was aware of the authors story, I felt that Heidi’s emotions hit me a lot harder because someone had actually been in that position if you get what I mean. It wasn’t as though Ella Dove was writing the scenes based on second hand knowledge via other people’s stories.

Talking of other people, I LOVED Maud!!! I just wanted to wrap her in a huge hug and take care of her. Such a lovely, lovely character.

Towards the end of the book, I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried. I honestly couldn’t hold in my emotion any longer. ‘Five Steps To Happy’ is one of the most beautiful, uplifting, honest, and empowering novels i think I have ever had the pleasure of reading. You don’t need to be an amputee to appreciate the powerful words in this story, you just need to have a heart and be willing to listen. People who have found their whole life change over night aren’t expecting people to understand, they’re just wanting people to take the time to listen and be present.

Such a wonderful, wonderful book with a very important message within. I adored its beauty, and I adored the authors magnetic storytelling – I am jealous of everyone who gets to read this for the very first time.

Buy now.

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#BlogTour! #Review – #NobodysWife by Laura Pearson (@LauraPAuthor) @AgoraBooksLDN

Next blog tour today is for Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson. Many thanks to Agora Books for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

‘Of the four of them, only three remained. And there was no going backwards from there.’

Emily and Josephine have always shared everything. They’re sisters, flatmates, and best friends. It’s the two of them against the world.

When Emily has the perfect wedding, and Josephine finds the perfect man, they know things will change forever. But nothing can prepare them for what, or who, one of them is willing to give up for love.

Four people. Three couples. Two sisters. One unforgiveable betrayal.

What does TWG think?

Let me just put this straight out there; ‘Nobody’s Wife’ is so emotionally charged, I thought I was going to an electric shock whenever I picked up the book!

Emily and her sister, Josephine, are as thick as thieves. They have the close bond a lot of family members would dream of, yet there always seemed to be the not so typical sibling rivalry, threatening to put a spanner in their relationship.

This novel is definitely a drama filled, emotionally charged read. I thought that the concept of ‘not knowing what you want until it’s too late’, and the issue of being afraid to be true to your own feelings, was an insightful and poignant piece of writing. A lot of people, in my opinion, will no doubt be able to relate to Emily’s situation, or the emotion the author conveys throughout the storyline. However, I struggled to find what was ‘it’, if you exclude Emily’s situation, which would be pretty difficult to do as the whole book is based around the choices of two people.

There were quite a few things in the book which made my jaw drop as they seemed to come out of nowhere. You’re going to have to trust me on that opinion as I don’t want to give too much away and the shocking scenes would definitely be considered a spoiler. I was quite surprised by my reaction as I couldn’t believe how the character involved brushed the event under the carpet, despite the fact that their action is probably what led to it happening anyway. I mean, they reacted, but was it out of guilt or genuine upset? Too close to call if I’m honest.

I am on the fence with ‘Nobody’s Wife’. I appreciated the complexity of each of the relationships, and I thought the delivery of forbidden fruit was portrayed very well. It worked, it really did, but for me personally, I felt like something else was meant to have happened. I just can’t quite put my finger on what that could have even. I just know that I needed a little more than just drama.

All in all, Laura Pearson is, undeniably, an atmospheric author who brings intense situations to life with extreme ease and realism. I enjoyed having to sit and think about the storyline, and I felt that the drama in the storyline makes for such a juicy read.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Woman I Was Before by Kerry Fisher (@KerryFSwayne) @Bookouture

thumbnail_The Woman I Was Before - Blog Tour
It gives me great pleasure to be hosting Kerry Fisher today as part of the blog tour for ‘The Woman I Was Before’, where I will be sharing a review. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC.

thumbnail_The-Woman-I-Was-Before-Kindle
A new home can be a happy ending. Or a fresh start. Or a hiding place…

Of all the emotions single mother Kate Jones feels as she walks into her brand new house on Parkview Road, hope is the most unexpected. She has changed her name and her daughter’s, and moved across the country to escape the single mistake that destroyed their lives.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the street starting afresh. Warm, whirlwind Gisela with her busy life and confident children, and sharp, composed Sally, with her spontaneous marriage and high-flying career, are the first new friends Kate has allowed herself in years. While she can’t help but envy their seemingly perfect lives, their friendship might help her leave her guilt behind.

Until one day, everything changes. Kate is called to the scene of a devastating car accident, the consequences of which will test everything the women thought they knew about each other, and themselves.

Can Kate stop her own secrets from unravelling, or was her hope for a new life in vain?

What does TWG think?

Wow….just, wow.

Can I get away with just writing that for my review?

No?

Damn it! I don’t even know where to begin. I have the thoughts in my head but they just don’t want to spill out in a coherent manner, so I do apologise in advance if the phrase ‘wow, just wow’ appears multiple times throughout this review!

‘The Woman I Was Before’ is a drama filled, wow-tastic, mystifying, magnetic, thought-provoking read which made me say ‘oh my word….’ out loud more than once. Wow…(see, told you).

Three narratives, three different women, three VERY different lifestyles, all joined together by one little detail; they’re neighbours. A single mum, a mum with two children, and a lady who wants to be a mum, yet each of the women think that the other ladies in the street have much better lives than theirs. Why do they feel like that? Because of social media. Because of the ‘perfect’ lifestyles people showcase on their social pages, showing off to people that they are very happy and that they’re living a drama free life…..

If only it were that simple…right?

The author isn’t saying that people who update their social sites with pictures and updates, telling others what they’re up to and such, are falsifying their lifestyles. She’s not saying that everyone on social media is pretending to be something that they’re not. Instead, Kerry Fisher, along with help from Gisela, Sally and Kate, highlights just how flawed society is when it comes to social media, and how people are very quick to compare their own lives against a little snapshot which only gives a glimpse into 5 seconds of a person’s life. I’m sure we have all scrolled down Facebook, looking at people’s pictures and feeling a pang of jealousy at how happy people look, or how we wished our lives were like there’s, right? But how many of us have actually stood back and thought that we don’t know what else is going on in their lives?

‘The Woman I Was Before’ isn’t several chapters of women comparing themselves to each other, it’s wayyyy more than that and, to be honest with you all, I wasn’t expecting just how deep the storyline ended up being. I have to be careful of spoilers here, but there is a lot more to Kate, Gisela, and Sally which meets the eye. They all have their own reasons for the way that they come across, yet they are all so afraid of showing their flaws in case people no longer want to be around them. It’s a shame that we have reached a time where people are too afraid to be themselves because of how other people perceive them, and yes, I am guilty of doing that. We all are. However, when you read just how devastating it can be for a family involved in the constant pretending and uncertainty of who they actually are, it can be quite an emotional thing to read.

Kerry Fisher always amazes me with every story she produces, yet with ‘The Woman I Was Before’, this author has gone above and beyond and produced what I think is her best book to date. I was in awe at the complexity of each character and their journeys – they’re all so different yet still very similar. One character in particular was involved in a situation which put my heart in my mouth in shock. I guess part of me saw something like that happening, but it still came out of nowhere and left me flying through the pages to find out the outcome of the event. I mean, why does it always take a shock to the system for someone to realise that things aren’t right?

I went through a variety of feelings whilst reading Kerry Fisher’s latest novel, such as anger, devastation, empathy and of course sadness. I was hooked by the dramatic suspense and constant urge to find out more. Whilst I wanted everyone involved to be happy and have the ending that they deserved, I knew fine well that life really isn’t like that and, seeing as the author had written a story which was so in keeping with modern day society and the challenges that come with that, I knew that the conclusion would be a realistic one.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve, ‘The Woman I Was Before’ captured my heart and soul from the very beginning. The suspense was out of this world and the fact that the characters went through relatable things meant that I was able to fall into their lives as though they were really happening. I absolutely LOVED this book and I wish I could climb to the top of a hill with a megaphone and shout about it until I’m blue in the face. Honestly, wow – this book is everything I could have wished for and more. A stunning, addictive, and empowering read which made realise that I deserve to NOT compare my life to Jane Doe’s on Facebook because I am worth way more than that because I am me, and there is only one of you. What could be better than that?

Buy now!

About the author.

Kerry Fisher is the bestselling author of five novels, including The Silent Wife and The Secret Child. She was born in Peterborough, studied French and Italian at the University of Bath and spent several years living in Spain, Italy and Corsica. After returning to England to work as a journalist, she eventually abandoned real life stories for the secrets of fictional families. She now lives in Surrey with her husband, two teenage children and a naughty Lab/Schnauzer called Poppy.
 

#BlogTour! #Review – The Pieces of You and Me by Rachel Burton (@bookish_yogi) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources

I am a huge fan of Rachel’s books, so it gives me great pleasure to be reviewing her latest novel, ‘The Pieces of You and Me’. Its quite ironic that, being a book about illnesses, my post is late due to my own mental health and physical health issues. I do apologise and I thank RaRaResources for her patience and for asking me to be involved in the tour. Also, thank you to HQDigitalUK for the ARC. Here is my review:

They say time can heal all wounds…

When Jess and Rupert parted ways, it was the end of a great love story that might have been. Now ten years later, the very different paths they have taken in life will bring them back together for a chance meeting.

But with so much left unsaid about the break up neither ever recovered from and with each keeping their own devastating secrets, will they finally be able to make the fractured pieces of their love for one another whole again?

What does TWG think?

If I were to choose one voice which could speak on my behalf regarding my thoughts and feelings surrounding invisible illnesses, i would pick this book every single time. Not only does the author make it clear that she suffers from ME/chronic fatigue syndrome herself, she puts the reality of day to day life with illnesses, into the storyline in a way which non sufferers will understand.

Granted, there’s a character in this book which unknowingly ends up representing a percentage of people who invisible illness sufferers unfortunately come across (spoiler – shes a battleaxe), but the characters who mattered gave me hope for the future.

As I mentioned above, the theme of ‘The Pieces of You and Me’ centres around Jess’ journey with ME and Rupert’s journey with mental health, and I think a lot of people could learn a thing or two from every inch of this book.

As someone who has multiple chronic illnesses and who suffers with their mental health, I found the content of the story both emotional and hopeful. Emotional because it was hard reading the similarities between fact and fiction, watching Jess struggle with something that was so far out of her control and being able to empathise with her. Emotional because the author wrote the words which I struggle to speak. Emotional because I wanted to thank the author for doing justice for chronic illness warriors everywhere. Emotional because it made my own situation become more real. Emotional because it made me realise just how much people expect of me….

Not forgetting hopeful, I mean you only have to pay attention to Jess’ mum and the word ‘hope’s ends up being everywhere. Caro is like an angel – I want one!

There were several dislikeable characters in this book for me, and I will hold my hands up and say that Rupert, a lot of the time, fit that criteria well. I know he had a hard time, and still was, yet the way in which he conducted himself at times made me feel as though he was throwing a tantrum purely because of his personality. Some may say a bit marmite.

I thought the split narrative was done brilliantly and gave the storyline a great variation. That said, I did struggle to work out what the ‘IT’ was for the storyline. You know, what the hook was if you took away the illnesses. I mean, I could see what Jess and Rupert were trying to achieve, but if they didn’t have the illnesses they had, what would have been their final destination because I actually thought they didn’t fit that well together!

All in all, I loved the fact that chronic illnesses are being written about, and I adored how Rachel Burton conveyed the harsh truths alongside the hope and belief. I am in awe at the authors strength, as well as the strength of her characters and if I could reach inside the book and give them all a big hug, I totally would.

A beautiful portrayal of missing puzzle pieces, the power of hope and understanding, as well as the thought provoking realities of hidden illnesses – I would recommend Rachel Burton’s words in a heartbeat.

Buy now.

About the author.

Rachel Burton is the author of the international ebook bestseller The Many Colours of Us.

Rachel spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Yorkshire with her fiance and their three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or follow her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….

Happy birthday, The Writing Garnet! #TWGTurnsThree #TheWritingGarnet #BlogBirthday #ThankYou

Happy 3rd birthday The Writing Garnet! #TWGTurnsThree
Happy birthday TWG,
Happy birthday TWG,
Happy birthday to TWGGGGGG,
Happy birthday TWG!!

I cannot believe my little blog turns THREE today! Never in a million years did I think, three years ago, that I would be sitting here celebrating my blogs third birthday. I started TWG one night because I wanted to say thank you to the authors who continue to allow me to escape by reading their books, and because I adore books!

I am completely overwhelmed (yes, still) by the response to my blog and I would like to thank each and every one of you for supporting me, being my friend, cheerleading the good things, and being there through the bad. I have met such wonderful people through blogging and the book community, and yes, there have been times where I have thought to myself ‘is it worth it?’ in amongst the blogger bashing and what not. I’m only human. But, I adore my books and my blog too much to disappear now. Sorry – you’re stuck with me!

So, the last 12 months have been insane! I have found myself being quoted on the FRONT cover of a book, quoted in paperbacks and e-books, and found myself in multiple acknowledgements. Thank you to the authors, publishers and publicists for making that happen!

I have had the pleasure of meeting authors and bloggers at various book events, with the most recent one being the Orenda Roadshow in Edinburgh. I am a very anxious person but I am so proud of myself for taking myself out of my comfort zone to meet up with some truly wonderful people. Thank you, Karen!

Last November TWG won an award, making the blog a multi-award WINNING blog! Now I didn’t blog about it at the time because I was at the receiving end of a few not so nice things, which meant that I chose to hide away. In hindsight I totally regret doing that – why shouldn’t I be proud?! I was amazed to win Media/Blog Star of the Year at the RNA (Romantics Novelist Association) Industry Awards, and I won a glass award with my name on it. I cried. I was in complete shock. I never expected to win as I was up against two of the biggest names in the blogging community, so when Mandy Baggot facetimed me with the news I just couldn’t believe it. Thank you to everyone at the RNA for nominating me, making your winner and for being utterly fabulous. Thank you to Sue Heath for picking up my award on my behalf. I still look at the award on the window sill and think that they’ve made a mistake. Such an honour!

What else has happened in the last 12 months? Well, TWG became a fully fledged published writer, courtesy of the online Honeymoon Book Club and Brides Magazine (again, pinch me!). You can check it out here!

Blogging aside, the last year has been a rollercoaster for me and my health. I have had bad news after bad news, scan after scan….and I have still got a long road ahead of me as I push for diagnosis’ for more things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware ‘it could be worse’, but contrary to popular belief – I don’t post ALL of my health things on Facebook! I am very self-conscious by the fact that I am losing my mobility even more thanks to more muscle wastage in my legs, but because I am such a stubborn ass, limping is my thang. It gets me down, which is exactly why I turned to blogging. Of course, back then, I was nowhere near as poorly as what I am now, which is why you’ll probably find me with my nose in multiple books at one time!

So yes, TWG has now turned three and once again I want to thank you all for helping me make TWG what it is. Without you reading my posts, sharing them, commenting, liking my Facebook page, giving me book recommendations and so on, there would be a high chance of me sitting here talking to myself. Thank you for believing in me!

It’s crazy to think that next year when the blog turns four, I would have just turned 30!

Here’s to another year of fabulous books, fabulous book events, and just being ourselves – Happy birthday TWG!!

#BlogTour! #Review – This Child of Ours by Sadie Pearse (@SadiePearse) @LittleBookCafe


Massive thank you to Millie Seaward from Little Brown Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘This Child of Ours’ by Sadie Pearse. I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on this thought provoking book – here is my review:

You know what’s best for your child.
Don’t you?

Riley Pieterson is an adventurous girl with lots of questions. There’s plenty she doesn’t know yet; what a human brain looks like. All the constellations in the night sky. Why others can’t see her the way she sees herself.

When Riley confides in her parents – Sally and Theo – that she feels uncomfortable in her own skin, a chain of events begins that changes their lives forever. Sally wants to support her daughter by helping her be who she dreams of being. Theo resists; he thinks Riley is a seven-year-old child pushing boundaries. Both believe theirs is the only way to protect Riley and keep her safe.

With the wellbeing of their child at stake, Sally and Theo’s relationship is pushed to breaking point. To save their family, each of them must look deeply at who they really are.

What does TWG think?

‘This Child of Ours’ is an incredibly eye-opening and poignant novel which delves deeply into the topic of being comfortable in your own skin. Whilst the media reports on males and females being uncomfortable in the skin that they were born in, especially in the New Year, it is incredibly rare and often seen as ‘taboo’ if the media reports on a child not feeling right in the body that they were given. I’ve seen people say ‘how does a child know that they’re in the wrong body?’, and to be brutally honest, before I read ‘This Child of Ours’, I asked the same sort of question. Did Sadie Pearse’s majestic and beautifully written story enlighten me? Of course it did! Did it help me understand that just because we are born one way, it doesn’t mean it’s the RIGHT way? Honestly? Yes AND no. Now that isn’t me choosing to be ignorant about the subject, not at all. In fact, weirdly enough, it’s the complete opposite.

Riley bravely admits to her parents that she isn’t comfortable being a little girl. Her parents, her father especially, can’t help but think that it’s a ‘phase’, as though she’s decided she no longer wants to play with My Little Pony toys and wishes to play with Shopkins toys instead. But is it that simple? How do you know that your seven-year old isn’t just wanting to try a new thing? How do you KNOW that when your child comes to tell you that being a girl has her devastated, that she isn’t merely ‘throwing her teddies out of the pram’. She’s seven. But then on the other side of the coin, how can you brush something like that aside? Likening it to a phase that she will ‘grow out of’? Children put their trust in their parents to do right by them. They expect their parents to be on their side no matter what. ‘This Child of Ours’ highlights the importance of having someone on your side. Having someone to sit there and say ‘I believe you’. In this case, that person is Riley’s mum, Sally. Her dad on the other hand, Theo, is struggling to digest what his little girl has told him. Can you blame him? No, not really. But could I blame his actions further on in the story? Yes, I could. I know I shouldn’t judge a situation that I’m not in myself, and I guess I’m not really doing that, however I found the way that Theo reacted highly emotional. I couldn’t understand why he chose to do what he did, especially as he didn’t stop to think about how his choices would affect his daughter. Being a parent is difficult. We are often stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea when it comes to conflicting emotions between ourselves and our loved ones – but when a child is concerned, surely the adult has to be the bigger person? The child is looking for direction, is it fair if the adult palms off their concerns like it’s an odd job to fix on a Saturday morning after the football?

I could see where Theo was coming from – what Riley came out with IS a big deal, and her age was a big thing in the situation. I could understand his upset, confusion, and uncertainty about the future. However, I couldn’t help but feel angry with the way he was pointing the finger. It was heartbreaking to watch his daughter battle with her own, confusing emotions, as well as watching her father react to them in such a cutthroat manner. As for Sally, I felt that her approach was more level as she tried to find solutions to ensure her daughter’s happiness was their number one priority. Sally was confused by the situation, but she dealt with that by finding people to speak to and not by unintentionally blaming her daughter for something she couldn’t control.

I will be honest and say that I don’t understand how a young child can say that they wish to be a different gender to the one that they were born. I won’t go as far to say that I mirrored Theo in his views, because I don’t and didn’t. I just don’t understand. Maybe if I was in that situation myself my outlook would be different. I’m not saying that children CAN’T feel that way, because it’s clear that they can.

I thought that Sadie Pearse’s storytelling was incredibly honest and thought-provoking, both emotionally and mentally. Pearse has looked at the topic from every angle, incorporating multiple, real reactions to the subject in her story, highlighting the fact that yes, a lot of people are going to view things differently where something like this is concerned. I am glad that the author chose to tell the story from both a positive and negative viewpoint as its realistic. Not everyone is going to throw a party to celebrate the lifestyle change, and not everyone is going to feel as though their lives are being torn apart. ‘This Child of Ours’ explores the true reality of admitting to yourself that you aren’t comfortable in your own skin, alongside the true reality of just how people, even loved ones, can react to an admission like that.

I didn’t know what to expect before I started reading ‘This Child of Ours’, but I can honestly say that now, having read and digested the storyline, my life feels enriched by the beautiful story I was able to read. I had the chance to delve into a situation I couldn’t understand, in turn finding my eyes opening widely to the black and white notions of each character in the story. I may still struggle to understand the bigger picture, but the fact that I can empathise emotionally with the situation just goes to show how much of an impact this story has had on me.

A beautifully told, enriching, emotional and thought-provoking story which will stay in my heart for a very long time to come.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Cornish Village School – Second Chances by Kitty Wilson (@KittyWilson23) @canelo_co

Huge apologies to Kitty Wilson for the delay in posting my review for her ‘Second Chances’, the second book in ‘The Cornish Village School’ series. I am playing catch up once again this evening! Many thanks to Canelo for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

The Cornish Village School Second Chances Cover
Ex-ballerina and single mum Sylvie is in trouble. Juggling her ballet classes in
the nearest town, preparing shy Sam for his first day at Penmenna Village school and trying to finally move out from the farm she shares with her cantankerous Uncle Tom means life is anything but easy.

Television Journalist Alex is facing challenges of his own. Seeking a calmer environment for his newly adopted daughter, Ellie, he’s swapped reporting in war zones for the school PTA in quiet Penmenna, where his best friend Chase has persuaded him to start laying some roots.

Fireworks ignite when Sylvie and Alex meet but as Ellie and Sam become instant best
friends, will they be able to keep things strictly platonic for the sake of the children?

What does TWG think?

You have NO idea how relevant those fireworks are on the cover! Holy schmoly!!! If you’re after a novel which allows you to ignite a very well hidden passion, helps you realise that just because your heart has been broken once it doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed to happen again, AND makes you laugh out loud due to the sheer brilliance of the under 18’s in the book, then if I could I would shove this book right under your nose and go ‘THERE!’.

I’m sometimes weary about books which have a single mum as their main character because, more often than not, us single mums aren’t really portrayed in a positive light. Don’t get me wrong, there are clearly some out there who like their negative light and would do anything to keep it that way, but for those of us who like to think we aren’t doing so bad, books which show us negatively knock our confidence. Thankfully, Kitty Wilson didn’t do that at all and yes, I did breathe a gigantic sigh of relief!

Sylvie is a very hands on mum to her little boy, Sam. With ‘big school’ just around the corner, Sylvie does all she can to prepare her son for independence in a school environment when in fact, poor Sylvie is the one who needs to prepare as it doesn’t seem to sink in what Sam going to ‘big school’ actually means. Sylvie and Sam are used to life just them….until Alex comes to town. For such a shy boy, Sam hits it off with Alex’s daughter almost instantly, making Sylvie realise that her little dude is spreading his little wings!

Ohhhhhhhhhh, Alex’s daughter, Ellie, is a LEGEND! Omg, the things that came out of her mouth were absolutely brilliant! ‘Out the mouths of babes’ came to mind on more than one occasion! Honestly, I’m not even exaggerating! Ellie has such a powerful personality which puts a lot of adults to shame actually, and not because she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Well, the mind that she does have considering she is around the age of five! In actual fact, Ellie reminded me a lot of my little girl who is exactly the same age. It’s just the innocence which makes the things they shouldn’t say, end up seeming a lot funnier because they don’t fully understand what they’re spraffing. Anyway, I won’t ruin it for you, but definitely watch out for little miss firework!

I LOVED the first book in the series, ‘Breaking the Rules’, and ‘Second Chances’ is a brilliant addition. I was instantly hooked by the energetic yet thoughtful vibe of the storyline, especially as I was able to relate to the main character what with being a single mum myself. I thought that Kitty Wilson delivered her characters flaws in such a tender and relatable manner, and I felt that it actually added incredible depth to each individual character as well as the overall storyline.

I had everything crossed for Sylvie as I just wanted her to get the ‘happily ever after’ she deserved, so I am sure you can understand my frustration when the storyline did a bit of to-ing and fro-ing! Again, I won’t ruin it for anyone but this isn’t a case of girl meets boy and they live happily ever after. Not at all. ‘Second Chances’ is a book which may be fiction, yet is incredibly close to reality due to the actions and emotions of the characters. Life isn’t straightforward and I am so pleased that Kitty Wilson got that across in her story without making it as depressing as real life can actually be.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Second Chances’ and I believe that you will too – this book had me in absolute stitches one minute, with my heart soaring and having a mind of its own the next. A relatable, thought-provoking read which has characters anyone will fall in love with. Yes, even the not so great characters you’ll no doubt end up loving – Kitty Wilson just has that knack, and what a knack it is. I loved it!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Kitty Wilson lived in Cornwall for twenty-five years having been dragged
there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. She is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom – and that her own children aren’t as hideous. Recently she has moved to Bristol, but only for love and on the understanding that she and her partner will be returning to Cornwall to live very soon. She spends most of her time welded to the keyboard, dreaming of the beach or bombing back down the motorway for a quick visit! She has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.

#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!

#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_