@DavidVidecette #Takeover Post 2 – #Review – ‘The Detriment’ @The_Detriment

unnamed

David Videcette is taking over TWG today! Well, indirectly! Does this mean I can put my feet up? No? Damn it, worth a shot! This morning TWG decided to interrogate the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’ & ‘The Detriment’, and if I do say so myself – it was such fun! In case you missed it, you can check it out here:
@DavidVidecette usually does the interrogating, but now it’s TWG’s turn! #AuthorInterview

As promised I now bring you my review of ‘The Detriment’, enjoy!

det2

“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”

June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.

From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.

We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…

What does TWG think?

‘The Detriment’ is David Videcette’s second novel which, just like his first novel, is based on real life events. Trying to differentiate between the real facts and the authors fictional work, is incredibly difficult. In my eyes, that just proves how consistent and realistic the author’s plot actually is.

Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan is a bit of a live wire. He has the knowledge, but he doesn’t quite understand the correct processes to be able to use his knowledge in the right circumstance. Put it this way, if Flannagan has a hunch, Flannagan will walk to the end of the Earth to ensure that justice is prevailed. Not all of Flannagan’s colleagues agree with his worth ethic, especially as it seems to ruffle a few feathers! After all, Jake Flannagan is a law unto themselves! Whilst reading ‘The Detriment’, I tried to see things from all different angles. I’m not inspector, granted, but I wanted to see if I could engage in the storyline in a completely different way by seeing each situation from all sides. Including Jake’s. Whilst I could appreciate the frustration that was coming from Jake’s team, I could also understand why he went about things in a certain way. Nobody could ever say that that man isn’t passionate about his job. Ever.

As for the events that unfolded, my poor heart couldn’t keep up with the sheer level of intensity! There were moments where I found myself so engrossed in certain parts of the investigation, my heart was close to pounding out of my chest. As readers, we are drip fed pieces of information at the same time the force are so it’s like we are investigating the events with the team, which I absolutely loved! I felt quite important…sad to admit I know, but oh well! Having said that, seeing as I was so engrossed in the moment, I ended up teetering on the edge of the sofa shouting ‘MOVE IT!!!’ whilst I was reading the bomb information. Just like Jake Flannagan at that time, I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. My instinct was to shout move…so I did. It didn’t seem to matter that A) I wasn’t actually IN the book, and B) nobody could hear me and it wouldn’t have made the blindest bit of difference. Yet I still did it.

I’m not going to lie, I tried to decipher the truth from the fiction, but seeing as the author has written the entire plot with such tenacity, every single situation and event seemed real to me. I remember seeing certain things on the news when they happened, similar to certain events in this novel, yet when I sat reading about those horrific incidents in black and white, I kept thinking to myself ‘did I see that on the news too?’.

In all honesty, I could have carried on reading ‘The Detriment’ long after it had finished. I hadn’t prepared myself for the book to end, and in actual fact, I didn’t want it to. I was involved, I was engrossed and I was in awe at the entire novel. Pardon the pun but it blew me away.

This book is severely intense. It’s severely hair-raising. It’s severely nail-biting. It’s severely unbreakable. Ever since I finished reading ‘The Detriment’, I haven’t found another book that matches up in the same way since. Yes, David Videcette’s book has given me a chronic book hangover.

In my eyes, ‘The Detriment’ is unmissable. An outstanding portrayal of such devastating incidents, all written with enough power to make you sit up and listen.

Absolutely fantastic, my most favourite book of 2017 without a doubt.

Thanks DV.

Buy now from Amazon UK

@DavidVidecette usually does the interrogating, but now it’s TWG’s turn! #AuthorInterview

unnamed
I am delighted to have author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’ and ‘The Detriment’, David Videcette, back for a visit today. So much so, he’s actually taking over The Writing Garnet today, as all of the blog posts published will be about him and his books -puts feet up-.
If you’re aware of David Videcette’s background, you’ll know that he is incredibly clued up on interrogation. So, instead of putting Mr Videcette to work and allowing him to interrogate TWG, I turned the tables and interrogated him instead!

I am SO excited about this interview it’s unreal, I got to interrogate the main man!
We had a good chat…hopefully I didn’t scare him off too much! Enjoy folks!

David Videcette, former detective with the Anti-Terrorist Branch.

  • Hi David, thanks so much for agreeing to a TWG interrogation! 

Thank you for having me back on The Writing Garnet, Kaisha!

  • Huge congratulations on the success of your first novel, The Theseus Paradox! Were you expecting the book to be received as well as that when you published it?

To be honest, no. The Theseus Paradox is based on a real-life case I worked on as a detective for many years. The book takes its name from Operation Theseus, which was the police investigation into the 7/7 London bombings. It’s a case very dear to my heart, and one which took over my life.  I wrote my thriller exactly how I wanted it. The original manuscript was read by all the major publishers who wanted me to alter the story to make fit whatever gap they had in their particular publishing list at the time, which I wasn’t prepared to do. Some of the publishers felt that I needed to make my main protagonist more likable, and tone down some of his wilder habits. One even wanted me to make it into a love story rather than a thriller. They said the book wouldn’t sell unless I changed various elements.

I guess all the conflicting voices condition you into thinking it won’t do very well, but the reality is – it’s been amazing. I’m glad I stood my ground and persevered with it. It’s a very personal, warts-and-all tale, which I suppose is why I didn’t want to sugar coat it. And I believe that readers respect the honesty, authenticity and integrity of it. They know it’s as close to crime fact as crime fiction ever gets.

  • David, some of my eagle-eyed readers may be wondering why they recognise your name from television, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself, and your background?

As a police detective with twenty years’ service, much of which was spent in specialist operations and counter units, I’m often asked to commentate on policing and terror operations for television and radio. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with Crimewatch, The Bill and a couple of TV documentaries over the years. On one police show for the BBC, I was followed by a camera crew every day for a year. People do sometimes say they’ve spotted me on the telly and moan at me if I’ve not go a suit and tie on!

  • I’ve noticed that your novels are also helping a rather special charity; the Police Dependants’ Trust. Could you tell us how your novels can make a difference for that particular charity, and why? 

Sales and downloads of The Theseus Paradox and The Detriment are supporting the National Welfare Contingency Fund which helps police officers who have been involved in a major incident such as a terrorist attack. The fund will provide assistance with personal care plans, welfare support officers and talking therapies – enabling officers and their families to better deal with the aftermath of a traumatic national incident.

There is a perception that police officers and emergency service personnel as a whole are immune to the events they have to deal with at work. Their mental wellbeing is often overlooked. Historically, post-traumatic stress disorder has been more commonly associated with combat veterans and sadly, there are few places that police officers can turn if they fall into crisis. That’s why the help that the Police Dependants’ Trust offers is so incredibly important and I’m very proud to support their work through sales of my crime thrillers. So please buy a book or donate directly to the PDT here!

  • Your new novel, The Detriment (published 29th June), is such an addictive read; how important was it to you to base events on real life situations/events?

I like to write what I know and know what I write, particularly around cases I’ve been involved in personally over the years. For the foreseeable future my books will always be based on real events. I try to immerse the reader in the investigation, as if they were there as a detective trying to solve each case. The reader gets the clues about what’s going on, just as I would as a police officer in real life. I enjoy providing an insider’s perspective and new insights into cases we all remember having seen on the news.

  • In case anyone is wondering, can ‘The Detriment’ be read as a standalone, or is it advisable to have read ‘The Theseus Paradox’ beforehand?

Detective Jake Flannagan’s journey in this series begins in 2005 with the 7/7 London bombings, and then moves onto the next major terrorist attack on home soil – the burning Jeep attack on Glasgow Airport attack in summer 2007. Chronologically and in terms of Jake’s relationships, it’s much better to read the books in order. Start with book one, The Theseus Paradox, and then read book two, The Detriment, as they are intended to be a series.

  • Jake Flannagan, what a character! Without landing yourself in any hot water, yet still being as honest as you can, was Jake based on a real person?

Let’s put it this way – I do all my own stunts…

TWG – well that’s one way to get the ladies to swoon!

– Have you ever found it difficult, whilst writing your novels, to differentiate between what’s real life and what’s made up? I mean, you have the knowledge to write 100% truth, why didn’t you?

I did set out to write an autobiographical, non-fiction book. However, the Official Secrets Act forbids me from actually writing a factual book. But what the law can’t do, is interfere with my artistic rights. So if I write something and say its fiction, then I don’t break any rules or any laws. The question is, how much of it is fiction? There are very few people who know the answer to that question, (even my editor!) and I leave it up to the readers to decide for him or herself…

  • What made you decide to make such a drastic career change, has it always been a dream of yours to write novels?

I used to read a lot of crime fiction as a police officer and I watch a lot of films. Often I’d see glaring mistakes in police procedure, in the plots – or know that things couldn’t happen in the way that they were being portrayed. This would pull me right out of the story and spoil my enjoyment. I guess for a lot of police officers or those in the emergency services, reading crime fiction is like taking a busman’s holiday. One of the reasons I have quite enjoyed writing books, is to cater to people like me. They say write what you want to read. I wanted to create a series that was so close to the truth, people couldn’t differentiate.

  • Not being rude or anything, Mr V, but I can’t quite see you penning a women’s fiction type novel in the future. That said, do you think you could write for a completely different genre? Show people your softer side maybe? 

Not many people know this, (*Writing Garnet exclusive reveal*) but many years before I started writing books, I wrote a dating blog, which was very popular with female readers.  My books do look at relationships, their dynamics, how these impact upon your life – so I do have a softer side, and I can alter my writing style to suit different audiences. But I love writing about crime and terrorism, so you won’t see me popping up on the women’s fiction, chick-lit or romance shelves just yet!

TWG – where can we see this dating blog? 😉 

– Which authors, if any, did you look up to as a child? Any favourite books from your childhood?

Danny The Champion of the World was my favourite book as a child. And it’s possibly responsible for my love of writing because I won a competition to meet the author, Roald Dahl. It was the first time I had read a book as a child where good people do bad things. I remember Roald making me feel completely at ease when I met him – so much so that it didn’t seem a big deal at all. I guess I have always had this experience in the back of my mind – never forget who your fans are!

– If you could put your name as the author of any book that has already been published; which one would it be and why?

Andy McNab’s Bravo Two Zero – it put fact/fiction crossover books back on the map and it shows that things in real life don’t always go according to plan!

– As an author of detective thrillers, how do you manage to switch off, especially as you’re reliving certain events?

I enjoy spending time with my girls, just doing the regular dad stuff like shopping, taxi driving or even the dreaded DIY! To really switch off, I love to watch films. It gives me an opportunity to empty my mind, and fill it with new stuff! I’m also a big fan of London’s fabulous museums and art galleries and will try to regularly catch whatever new exhibitions are showing when I can.

  • What is an average day for you (aside from showing your legs on social media)?

A typical day for me starts at 5.30am. Alongside my writing, I work as a security consultant for high-net-worth individuals based in central London, so much of time is spent trying to keep them safe from harm. I also regularly field calls from crime journalists asking for insights or opinion about this or that case, or asking me to write something for their newspaper or website. In the evening I might visit a radio or television studio to do interviews, or try to grab some downtime to write a scene for my latest book. I get home most days at 9pm, apart from the days I’m on after-school club pick-up duty!

  • What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a writer, with the aim of becoming published?

Look at the writing and publishing process as a series of small steps, because it can seem daunting at first. Keep putting one foot in front of another to get to the next destination, and don’t ever give up.

– Saving the best question until last so don’t let me down Mr.V! Will there be a third book? If so, when? I hate odd numbers so if there will be a third, will there also be a fourth? Do you have any exclusives for TWG? What do you have up your sleeve for the future?

There will be a third, fourth and many more books! I’m currently writing book three which has a much more international element to it and sees Jake working abroad just a short time after we leave him in The Detriment. I’m also working on a non-fiction investigation into a real-life unsolved crime which may turn into a book or a documentary. And I’d love to write a couple of prequels with Jake. I’ve got plenty up my sleeve, don’t you worry!

Thank you so much for answering all of my questions! It has been a pleasure to have you back on TWG!
It’s been lovely to chat to you, Kaisha.

Thanks for inviting me.

det2
“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”

June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.

From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.

We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…

The Theseus Paradox is available to buy on Kindle or in paperback at Amazon, or via The Book Depository with free international delivery.

The Detriment can be ordered on Kindle with a paperback to follow soon.

If you’d like the chance to win a signed copy of David’s latest release, you can enter your email address here, and you’ll go into the hat each time he has a new book out.

Note from TWG.

Big thank you to, David Videcette, for taking the time out of his schedule to allow me to interrogate him! Absolutely fantastic! Stay tuned though as later on today, David Videcette returns to TWG (indirectly) as I review his new novel, ‘The Detriment’.

#TWGGetsTalking – How to tell the difference between being nasty & being constructive #reviews

Twg gets talking
You should all know by now that I like to talk, ESPECIALLY when I am passionate about something and believe that it needs to be spoken about.

Once again, opinions have been thrust into the limelight and definitions have been questioned. Before I explain further, I’m just going to paste the Oxford dictionary definitions of two words; nasty, and constructive.

Nasty: very bad, or unpleasant.
(definition of unpleasant is: Causing discomfort, unhappiness, or revulsion; disagreeable.)

Constructive: Having or intended to have a useful or beneficial purpose.

constructive

Two completely different word with extremely clear definitions, yet people are still getting confused by the two words.

Why?

As a reviewer, I have always been made aware that authors (or anyone who gets critiqued) tend to appreciate CONSTRUCTIVE reviews as opposed to NASTY reviews. With both types of reviews your opinion is given – that is NOT the issue. After all, every person on this Earth is entitled to their opinion. We are allowed to dislike something. We are allowed to express our dislike of something. We are allowed to jump for joy about something. What the issue is, however, is the WAY those points are put across.

Believe me, I open my trap before my brain connects sometimes, ending up with goodness knows what flying out of my mouth. But when it comes to reviews, I am extremely careful about how I voice my opinion.

For example; ‘Omg I hated that book, it was absolutely shit, the author bored me to tears.’

What’s wrong with that sentence?

Okay, so, the example above is someones opinion. They’re entitled to that. Answer me this; was it constructive, or nasty?

If you said that the example was a constructive comment: seriously? How does saying that a book was ‘shit’, come across as beneficial to the author?
It doesn’t.

It’s rude and it’s nasty. Imagine if you cooked a meal for a group of people and someone came up to you afterwards and said that they thought your cooking was absolutely vile, would you benefit from that?

To turn the above example into a constructive opinion, here’s an example:
‘Personally, this book wasn’t really my cup of tea as I couldn’t quite gel with the storyline. I felt that it came across as quite over the top and unrealistic, which in turn made me switch off.’

The different between the two examples is substantial. The example above still highlights your dislike, yet it also explains WHY you felt that way. It’s also not personally attacking the person who wrote the book, whilst still keeping your opinion entitlement intact.

Whilst authors are painfully aware that their books could end up with negative reviews and their book babies critiqued, it doesn’t mean that just because they have put something in the public eye, that they should expect nasty comments or personal attacks.

YES, they have written something which will get critiqued.
YES, everyones opinion does differ.
YES, readers are entitled to dislike their book.

Just DON’T be nasty about it!

In book clubs, you’re going to have the perfect opportunity to talk about various books whether it’s an online or offline. But, do you think that it’s respectful to openly blast and author and their book, in an online book club which they could be a member of?
Yes or no?

No it’s not!!! Go ahead and state your opinion about a book, but if you’re going to sit there and say that a book is so bad and how you wanted to ‘light a match under it’; that’s not stating your opinion, it’s called being nasty.

As we hear all the time, not everyone will like the same book. Well duh! I fully admit that I have read a book and disliked it. But instead of reviewing it nastily, I gave it a constructive review as there will always be something in a book that you’ll like. I explained what I didn’t like about the book, I also explained WHY I didn’t like those parts, how it made me feel, and so on. I also explained what I DID like about the book. I still managed to express my opinion on the book, without insulting a human being with feelings in the process.

So, if you’re ever in an online book group where the admin have asked you to talk about books in a constructive manner; respectfully do it. They aren’t taking away your freedom of speech. They aren’t banishing you from stating your opinion. They are just asking you to express your opinion respectfully and constructively. Authors have feelings too.

It really isn’t that difficult to do..

#BlogTour! #Review of Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson (@ScorpioScribble) @AccentPress

SKIN DEEP FINAL COVER

It’s what’s inside that counts…

 Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

What does TWG think?

I am delighted to be today’s stop on, Laura Wilkinson’s, blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’. This book hit home in many ways and I really hope I am able to explain why, and how, in this review.

Do you remember, as a child, constantly being told that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, or ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’, or ‘beauty is only skin deep’? I remember getting told them SO many times. I would always ‘pfft’ every time I heard those phrases, especially ‘if someone is nasty about your looks, it’s because they are jealous’. Reaaalllyyy? Take a moment and think back to your childhood; were you ever told those phrases? If you’re a parent, do you ever tell those phrases to your children? Keep those thoughts in your mind for now…

Diana had a childhood of being pulled from pillar to post, pouting for all and sundry, and being on the receiving end of angry outbursts; she was a child model. Unfortunately, due to her rocky childhood, the emotional scars still run deep and her insecurity level has reached its maximum. Will Diana decide to channel her thoughts into her latest artwork? Or will history end up repeating itself?

After finding out what Diana endured as a child, I truly felt like she would become the best person to stand up for others in the same boat, or that she would be able to stand up for those whose looks make people gasp in disgust. I wanted her to stand with those people who had been ridiculed for what they look like, instead of being accepted for who they are.

When the Laura Wilkinson introduced character, Cal, to the storyline, my heart shattered into tiny pieces. Instead of a young boy being exactly that, young, the fickle people around him couldn’t (and didn’t want to) see anything other than their judgemental thoughts. Cal was born disfigured.

Right at the very start, I asked you to think about certain phrases and whether you  remember being told them as a child, or whether you tell your children (if you’re a parent) those phrases. I used to get told them growing up, and as a parent myself, I tell my three-year old daughter something similar; ‘it doesn’t matter what we look like, as long as we are happy and we are loved, that’s all that matters’. With all of that in mind, reading Cal and Diana’s journey was incredibly heart breaking, eye-opening, and unfortunately bang on. Society is extremely judgemental, and extremely unforgiving. If someone is deemed ‘different’, like Cal, people aren’t able to cope. They feel the need to either hide those human beings away, or parade them around like a popular animal in the zoo. Whether you have been brought up to love people for who they are, ‘Skin Deep’ will require a big bar of chocolate and a cosy blanket whilst you read it. Trust me. Now, if you have been brought up to believe that anyone with different looks are freaks, and that they deserve nasty comments; I can promise you that you will end up thanking Laura Wilkinson for opening your eyes and making you realise that just because skin is thick, it doesn’t mean it can take abuse.

‘Skin Deep’ had me feeling so many emotions, in such a short space of time. Whilst a lot of this storyline is quite difficult to read due to the subject it is centred around, ‘Skin Deep’ really is the type of novel you just have to finish, no matter what state you’re in. My opinion of Diana kept changing; one minute I felt sorry for her, the next minute she absolutely disgusted me. I can’t tell you my reasons for that as it will definitely give something away, but I will be intrigued to see what other think of her in particular.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Skin Deep’ contained multiple questionable characters, and I would be here ages discussing each and every one of them, BUT, whilst there were some characters who will no doubt receive a visit from the karma police in due course, there were a couple of beautiful characters who were worth their weight in gold.

Laura Wilkinson’s novel should be given out in schools, as a reminder of how much words can actually hurt. ‘Skin Deep’ is such a work of art; a beautifully written novel which literally speaks for itself.
Heart-breaking yet poignant, heart-warming yet powerful, emotional yet eye-opening; ‘Skin Deep’ needs to be read by everyone, and anyone.
This truly is a book to be remembered.

Thanks Accent Press.

Buy now: Amazon // Waterstones // WHSmith

About Laura

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.

Contact Laura Wilkinson:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Goodreads

 

Huge thanks to Accent Press for asking me to be involved in this blog tour, I am truly honoured to be part of the celebration for such a beautiful book. If you’re only just joining the blog tour, all of the previous bloggers, as well as the bloggers still to come, are all listed on the graphic below:

skin deep blog tour

#BlogTour! #Review #TheThingsWeThoughtWeKnew by @mahsudasnaith @TransworldBooks @Thomassshill

masuda

Day nine of #TheThingsWeThoughtWeKnew blog tour, courtesy of Thomas Hill @ Transworld Books, is with me; TWG! It is such an honour to be able to share my review of such an eye-opening novel. Big thanks to Thomas Hill for asking me to be part of Mahsuda Snaith’s blog tour.

mahsuda1

Ravine and Marianne were best friends. They practised handstands together, raced slugs and went into the woods to play.

But now everything has changed.

Ten years later, Ravine lies in a bed plagued by chronic pain syndrome. And her best friend Marianne is gone.

How did their last adventure go so wrong? Who is to blame? And where is Marianne?

Heartbreaking, bittersweet and utterly unforgettable, The Things We Thought We Knew is a powerful novel about the things we remember and the things we wish we could forget.

What does TWG think?

This review may be brief as there isn’t a lot that I can say without giving anything away, but I will do my best.

The Things We Thought We Knew is centred around Ravine and her chronic pain syndrome, as well as a memory she just cannot forget. There seem to be a limited amount of books which cover chronic, invisible illnesses within their storyline. So, when I realised that Mahsuda Snaith had included just that, I actually became a little emotional.

Why?

Because it’s a subject which is severely misunderstood, yet a lot of people like to assume and judge. I have seven chronic illnesses and one of my branch off symptoms includes this, chronic pain syndrome. To see your daily battle (well, one of) written in black and white was incredibly surreal. ‘At last!’ I thought to myself, maybe people would stop the judgemental comments. Not only was it surreal, it was quite difficult to actually read. I mean, I was sitting there reading this book, reading about a topic I know all too well, thinking to myself ‘that.is.like.me’. That was quite hard. Whilst I applaud the author for approaching such a controversial subject and putting it out there, I found the latter part of Ravine’s syndrome to be a bit ‘that’s why we are judged’. I do apologise for being vague, but I really don’t want to give anything away. Let’s just say that a certain part of Ravine’s story ended up being a tad unbelievable in my eyes, unfortunately.

However, when the storyline took another direction involving Ravine’s best friend, as well as other complex characters, the book felt a bit like Pandora’s box! I wanted to know more yet I was unsure on what I might discover, yet I couldn’t resist delving deeper into the storyline. A Pandora’s box ft. a treasure chest style story. That is the only way that I can describe it without going ‘well what about the part when…’!

Mahsuda Snaith really has written such an eye-opening and emotional read. The Things We Thought We Knew is a book which requires attention, devotion, and an open mind. A book which you may relate to. A book which may leave you with a hand print over your mouth. A book that, despite some challenging circumstances, it would be incredibly difficult to put down and leave unfinished.

I want to thank the author for including the chronic pain syndrome in her storyline, and for being the voice of many.

Thanks Thomas Hill & Transworld Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour #Review – The Truth About Gemma Grey by Sophie Ranald @sophieranald @BrookCottagebks

The Truth About Gemma Grey Tour Banner

Gemma Grey_PBƒ
Genre: Chick lit/romantic comedy

Release Date: 19 June 2017

Life isn’t working out quite as Gemma had planned. Her breakthrough job turns out to involve writing clickbait articles about cats. Her boyfriend Jack is off travelling the world with his glamorous BFF and her mum’s social life puts Gemma’s own to shame.

Then, after a late-night online rant, Gemma’s YouTube channel goes viral and everything changes.

Suddenly, she’s living the dream – only it’s not turning out entirely as she imagined.

Gemma realises she’ll have to choose between fame, real love and being true to herself – because she can’t have it all. Or can she?

What does TWG think?

I must admit, ‘The Truth About Gemma Grey’ really took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting the storyline to be quite as deep as it turned out to be, nor was I expecting the rollercoaster ride of various emotions.

Gemma Grey is  a vlogger. Instead of typing blogs, she video’s them and uploads them to Youtube. To Gemma, it’s a hobby. An escape. But when she started her new job, her vlogging seemed to take a completely different turn, leaving her wondering if her vlog is actually hers. Theres nothing like posting things out of your comfort zone…right?

As a blogger myself, I found myself agreeing with Gemma on various things. Is she posting things that she wants, or is she posting things because someone else wants her to? Personally, I thought that her boyfriend, Jack, needed a slap. What a bumhole!

Sophie Ranald seemed to include the topic of ‘ghosting’, in a roundabout way. It seems to be the most popular thing for folk to do these days. For those you don’t know what ghosting is, it’s basically being ignored by someone who you considered to be a friend and who considered you to be a friend, for no apparent reason. One minute they’re online chatting to you about contouring your bum cheeks, the next they have blocked you all over social media and disappeared into thin air. I’ve been ghosted multiple times and it bloody hurts. I’m glad that the author included it in her story as so many people seem to do it, yet so many people are completely oblivious to it.

Like I said at the very start of this post, the unexpected deep issues within the storyline, caught me off guard, and in a good way! A couple of sensitive subjects were approached by the author, and were handled in such a realistic yet sensitive manner. Don’t get me wrong, they were quite difficult to read due to the emotional factor, but the rawness of the whole situation was incredible to read as the author had done the topic justice.

‘The Truth About Gemma Grey’ reminds me of a modern-day ‘Julie & Julia’ (if you haven’t seen the film, definite must). Gemma Grey is unique. She is relatable. She has got a voice and she isn’t afraid to use it. For me, this book was a thoroughly enjoyable read as it kept me entertained and engrossed. The author has such a unique writing style, but what a way to showcase that style in ‘The Truth About Gemma Grey’. I definitely recommend this one!

Thanks JB.

BUY LINKS

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071KKJ5JL

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071KKJ5JL/

About the author.
Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself. Her second, third and fourth novels followed, and a fifth is due for release in Spring 2017. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SophieRanald/
Twitter: @sophieranald
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7233995.Sophie_Ranald
Website: https://www.sophieranald.com

There is also a giveaway associated with this blog which you can enter via the link below, good luck!
Enter the giveaway!

#TWG’s Wondering Wednesday – To pay for a review or not to pay? Erm, seriously? #reviews

OnlineReviews(pic credit – Design Extensions)

It’s Wednesday, which means TWG is back with another ‘Wondering Wednesday’! Last week saw the first instalment of the brand new feature, where I was discussing honest reviews. In case you missed it, you can check it out here: #TWG’s Wondering Wednesday – How far is TOO FAR when reviewing ‘honestly’? #review

Decided on a topic for this weeks post wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. No, really! All I had to do was look on social media, and, thanks to one of the book groups I am in on Facebook, I was able to get some inspiration for today’s discussion. So, I am fully aware that this topic could be deemed a little controversial. My bad.

Today I am asking you:

Should authors pay for book reviews?
&
Should bloggers ask for payment for writing a book review?

Without getting too personal, last week this topic was brought to light in a book group on Facebook. BOTH authors and bloggers said their piece, however, it’s one of those topics that will always be remembered as unfortunately, a lot of bloggers could be tarred with the same brush as the ‘culprit’. Let me just clarify one thing before I begin ranting; if you’re an author who wishes to pay for book reviews, that is your choice and I’m not going to stand in judgement of that at all. After all it’s your money, your book; your decision. Also, please remember that I am not talking about reviews written by people whose day job is to actually write reviews and publish them in magazines etc. That is completely different as it is their job and no doubt it would have been a marketing strategy decided by the authors publisher.

However, this post is aimed at Amazon reviews/Goodreads reviews/supermarket or bookshops reviews, written by bloggers. Not bloggers who get paid to blog; people who blog as their hobby which sidelines any existing external job. -breathes-.

As a blogger myself, I would never in a million years contact an author or a publisher and go; ‘Hi! I will review your books for you, but it’s going to cost you £££’. Don’t get me wrong, I am confident in my review writing abilities, but to ask someone to pay me for writing my opinion on Amazon? Where’s your conscience?! If any of my reviews prompted people to click the ‘to buy’ link at the end, and go and purchase the book in question; great! But asking for money for writing a book review, is pretty much guaranteeing the author sales. Yes? How can you guarantee an author sales? Well, unless you go cold calling and sit by strangers whilst they log onto their Amazon account, click on the book and purchase it right in front of your very eyes; I don’t see how sales can be guaranteed for paid reviews.

When I write reviews, as much as people seem to think that bloggers give glowing reviews ALL the time on blog tours, I write my honest opinion in a respectful manner. Of course there will be times where I dislike a book! If I loved every single book, I would be extremely poor. Therefore, my reviews aren’t always going to be 100% positive. They will be 100% constructive where necessary, but I cannot guarantee a fully glowing review. I also don’t charge authors for my reviews. If a blogger charges for their book reviews, how can they guarantee a certain type of review that is going to make someone buy the book? You might be sitting there thinking ‘but no-one said that they can guarantee sales’, which is true. They haven’t. BUT, if you’re paying someone for something, you are in theory paying for a service. You’re paying for results. You’re paying that person to write reviews for you, to generate a higher amount of sales as opposed to bloggers who don’t charge.

Here’s another question for you; what if a blogger who reviews due to their passion for books, creates more of a buzz about a book and generates more sales? Would you say that was luck? Or would you still prefer to pay your hard-earned money, for a book review, just because it’s ‘paid for’?

I just don’t get it. If you’re a blogger who writes reviews for payment and you’re reading this now; each to their own. But, why pay for something when there are tons of reputable bloggers out there, who review with their hearts and not their wallets? Personally, I would trust passion, heart and dedication over the size of someones wallet.

Up until recently, I had no idea that people were charging for their book reviews, nor did I have any idea that not all of those bloggers are upfront about the costs. Sneaky sneaky. What realllyyyyyyyy irks me about the whole situation is how the underhandedness of those types of people tars passionate bloggers with the same brush. Just because Joe Bloggs from BooksRUS* decides to be underhanded, charge for their reviews, not alert the author or make it clear on their blog about the costs, it doesn’t mean that ALL bloggers are like that. We aren’t. We are out there wanting to review your book because WE LOVE BOOKS, you just need to find us.
(*note: blog name was made up to serve a purpose and not to put a blogger in the firing line).

think

Authors, what are YOUR reviews about paid book reviews? Have you ever paid for a book review? If you have and are willing to share, please do! If you have; how much did it cost? Did it generate a lot of sales? Positive/negative points. Plus, would you ever pay for a book review?

Bloggers, do YOU charge for your book reviews? What are your thoughts on the whole situation? Could you ever see yourself asking for money for the reviews you write?

I don’t think I will ever get my read around all of this. To me it just doesn’t make any sense, although this quote from Litreactor.com made me laugh: ‘One theory is the moral issue, that paying for reviews is like paying for sex. The perception being that, if you’re a good person with a good…product, you should be able to find sex/reviews without paying, and that this is the morally superior way of doing things.’

I dunno about you but if I’m not selling sex, I sure as hell won’t be selling my reviews!

Let me know your thoughts, I can’t wait to hear what your feelings are on this subject! If you have a topic that you would like me to wonder about next Wednesday, give me a shout!

Summer with the Country Village Vet #BlogTour! @ZaraStoneley @HarperImpulse #Guestpost #Review

villagevet
Honoured to be today’s stop on Zara Stoneley’s blog tour for her latest novel, Summer with the Country Village Vet! I was lucky enough to read this book before it was published, and today I am able to share my review of the book with you all. Not only that, author, Zara Stoneley, has written a guest post just for us. Of course – it’s animal related!! Enjoy!

Zara
Seven reasons why an author needs a four-legged friend
by Zara Stoneley

A dog needs walks. Which are essential if you want to avoid writer’s bum, or an expanding middle.

Zara Pic1

People will stop and chat if you’ve got a dog – and after several hours with only a laptop for company it’s nice to talk. Plus you get some fresh air; the pale interesting look doesn’t work for everybody.

A four-legged friend will curtail any hermit-like tendencies. You’ll need to put down the laptop, get out of bed, brush your hair (bed hair only looks good on the very attractive) – oh, and dress. Your furry friend will need food and attention. A dog might bark, but a cat is master of the not-so-subtle hint.

Zara Pic2

Sometimes you just need a cuddle! Stroking a pet relieves stress. It’s proven. And talking to a pet isn’t crazy, some people think that talking to yourself, or even worse your characters, is a little bit loopy – talking to your guinea-pig is fine, more than fine. Totally acceptable.

Zara Pic3

Animals understand when you’ve just read a review saying somebody hates your book, and all you want to do is weep. Or you want to tear your hair out, because you’re halfway through writing the next and have just decided it’s the biggest load of rubbish you’ve ever read. They’re non-judgemental, they’ll listen, however long you drone on. They’ll never interrupt and tell you to get a grip. They’ll give you a look that says ‘you can do it, but how about we share some cake first?’

Zara Pic4

Your four-legged friend will give you inspiration. How many books have you read that didn’t feature a single animal? And even if Freddy the hamster doesn’t actually make it on to the pages, just watching him will make you smile, and remind you how lucky you are to be doing what you love.

Zara Pic5

Your cat won’t let you get above your station. Forget the fact that your editor loves your work – your cat has brought you a mouse. A live one. Your cat will remind you that even though a reader has just told you your book is fabulous, you still look stupid running round the kitchen in your pyjamas trying to catch a rodent. You’re a mere human being, not a soon-to-be-famous author.

Zara Pic6

A horse can give you a better workout than the gym – lugging bales of hay around is only the start of it. There’s the mucking out, the trudging across field knee deep in mud to bring your little darling in, and then of course there’s the riding. And the added bonus that you might meet a hunky farmer or farrier who makes the perfect hero!

Zara Pic7

So that’s my top seven excuses, sorry reasons, for having a four-legged and furry companion.

Why seven? It’s my lucky number! And now I’m heading back to a darkened room to grapple with my edits, but I will of course emerge briefly at 5pm. Saffy the cat will insist.

Ahhhh look at those animals!! I want to cuddle those dogs, how cuuuuteeee!!! Thank you, Zara Stoneley, for the extremely awww-tastic guest post!

Here is my review of Zara Stoneley’s brand new novel, enjoy!

villagevet1

‘All the ingredients for a perfect, summery read…it really captured my heart’ Cressida McLaughlin

‘Sprinkled with oodles of charm…I simply adored this book’ Christie Barlow

Fall in love with a brand new cosy romance series from bestselling author Zara Stoneley

When Lucy Jacobs is made redundant from her inner-city teaching job she fears her career is over. Teaching is all Lucy knows and she’s determined to get back in the classroom as fast as she can.

Except the only job on offer is at an idyllic village school in the middle of nowhere – Lucy’s idea of hell. Where are the disadvantaged kids who need saving, where is the challenge?

But as Lucy finds herself welcomed into the warm-hearted community of Langtry Meadows, she begins to realise new challenges await – like frogs in the classroom, a rather difficult donkey, and a very brooding local vet…

Local boy Charlie Davenport has his own issues about living in the close-knit village of Langtry Meadows. His private life is already fuel for the well-meaning gossips and the very last thing he needs is to get close to the new school teacher…no matter how lovely she is.

But as summer days drift away Langtry Meadows weaves its magic, Charlie and Lucy both get the chance to turn over a new leaf and start anew…maybe with each other?

A fun, romantic story to make you smile and long for your own country escape.

Praise for Summer with the Country Village Vet:

‘Beautifully written tale straight from the author’s heart’ The Writing Garnet

‘Like a summer breeze, gently warming your heart…be prepared for love, laughter and escapism’ My Chestnut Reading Tree

‘A zingy, romantic and fabulously heartwarming book … My ultimate summer read’ Petra Pippa Q.

What does TWG think?

Summer with the Country Village Vet, is one of those books where pretty much all of the storyline is linked, in one way or another. Cue ultimate vague review, and rightly so! Just like Zara Stoneley’s previous novels, they’re to be devoured with your own eyes so that you can appreciate every single thing, and no less.

At the time of reading Stoneley’s book, I was going through a really rough patch and I couldn’t wait to lose myself in Zara Stoneley’s majestic words. Now, before you start thinking that this book is all kittens, puppies, and glorious scenery (trees and people included) due to the colourful cover, be prepared to open your mind. Why? Because, whilst the storyline has light-hearted and fun elements to it, it also contains deep emotion, heart breaking circumstances, as well as deep and meaningful reminders.

Charlie, the village vet, seems to have all the women in the village tongue-tied and creating hefty vet bills due to their constant ‘need’ to see the vet. I don’t think that it’s their animals that are needing a thorough checking over either!

Lucy, the main character, is trying to get her foot back on the teacher ladder, and ends up making friends with several children in the local school. Oh, and their frogs.

Personally, the storyline ran a lot deeper than I had anticipated. I too, thought that the storyline was going to be fluffy and serene, but it wasn’t. And, to be honest, seeing as I was going through a situation at the time, just like in the book, I was able to relate to certain characters even more. Not only that, it made me quite emotional. I really wanted to reach into the book and give the characters involved, a really big hug.

As emotional as those parts were, they made me feel whole and gave me the support I needed which I wasn’t getting in real life. For an author to be able to unintentionally do that, just wow, incredible.

‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’ made me smile, laugh, cry, reminisce, and of course – go ‘awwwww’ more times than I could count. The entire novel had everything I could have ever wanted in a book! Zara Stoneley, once again, has written flawless descriptions that became vivid imagery in my mind. I have absolutely no idea how she does it, all I know is that she is absolutely brilliant at it.

There was nothing I disliked about it, at all. The pace was on point. The characters (albeit two who needed their heads banged together to see sense), were such fun to be around, especially the children. Hilarious! The vet, well, he was a lovely addition to the storyline. Cough.

But for me, the real star of the show was Zara Stoneley’s incredible story telling, she has completely blown me away with the mixture of cute, sassy, and heart-felt moments. This book, really is, a beautifully written tale straight from the authors heart. You can tell that the author has put her heart and soul into every situation, every character, the animal stars, and every emotion. It’s clear at the start, and it remains clear at the end; this is by far Zara Stoneley’s best book yet.

A beautiful, life affirming and heart warming tale about love, life and learning to have faith in your instincts. Not everyone’s life is picture perfect yet Stoneley, has proven in her new book that lives can be anything BUT picture perfect and yet still fill your heart with joy.

Thank you Zara Stoneley & HarperImpulse.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review – Hot Mess by Lucy Vine (@Lecv) @orionbooks @ElaineEgan_ #HotMess

1756536526

Hot Mess [n.] – someone attractive, who is often in disarray.

Have you ever shown up to Sunday brunch still smelling of Saturday night?
Chosen bed, Netflix and pizza over human contact?
Stayed in your mould-ridden flat because it’s cheap?

Meet your spirit animal, Ellie Knight.
Her life isn’t turning out exactly as she planned.
She hates her job, her friends are coupling up and settling down, and her flatmates are just plain weird.

Some people might say she’s a hot mess but who really has their sh*t together anyway? For fans of Fleabag and Girls, this is a fresh and funny coming-of-age story with a single-girl heroine that will speak to millennials everywhere.

What does TWG think?

OHMYGOD where has this book been all my life?!?! -puts back of hand to forehead dramatically-. I am over the moon that an author has taken one look at the ‘lovey dove sticking tongue down neck slurping bae’ type love stories, cleared them away like a totes dramatic clearing the desk scene in a Hollywood movie, and been all ‘just…no, time to get realistic!!’. Well, TECHNICALLY the author may not have done that, but in my mind she has (just to clarify before I get spanked).

I will reiterate; WHERE HAS THIS BOOK BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! Choosing to be single is the quickest way to get a bucket load of dirty looks, people don’t expect you to like your own company! Some folk just want to be selfish, get laid when they choose to and not when they get poked in the back with a morning love stick. Tell me, why is that so hard to believe?

Well ladies, times are about to change thanks to Lucy Vine and #HotMess! First of all let me just give you a little tip; don’t have a drink in your hand at the start of this book. Why? Because, (and trust me on this), you will no doubt laugh your booty off, end up spilling your drink onto your lap and watch it settle in the most unfortunate place. Yes,  you will look like you’ve done a little wee wee in your pants. Oh and yes, the first chapter (and the rest of the book tbh) is absolutely hilarious. I don’t mean ‘HAHA that’s funny’, I’m meaning full on snorting, tears streaming down your face, as well as realising that you have actual stomach muscles. It took me a while to stop laughing after that first chapter, even whilst cleaning up my fake piddle.

Ellie has had a few disastrous dates (understatement!). What makes it worse is how she doesn’t even WANT to be on the dating scene, but thanks to her best friends and the constant stream of pitying looks from all and sundry, she meets a few guys just to see if they can change her mind. If you hadn’t guessed it already, Ellie.Likes.Being.Single.
She doesn’t want to be tied down, but nobody seems to get that!

#HotMess is such a relatable read. Ellie’s antics will have readers covering their faces with embarrassment, laughing out loud, nodding in agreement, as well-being Ellie’s biggest cheerleaders. Not only that, the book contains several characters whose personalities are larger than life, and who are incredible to read about. Two words; Ellie’s dad. (Go and buy the book so you can find out what I’m on about!)

I absolutely loved everything about #HotMess! The humour was AMAZING. The storyline, in my opinion, is exactly what the book world has been missing. The relatable factor went above and beyond my expectations. The force of the girl-power was insane – fantastically written. Lucy Vine’s novel is like the modern-day Sex and the City, except the fact that there is only one woman and not four. See, modern day!!

If you’re the type of girl who would prefer to appear on Gladiators than Blind Date, #HotMess is your guardian angel. If you’re the type of girl who is all for the white picket fences, couple double denim, and pet names for each others private parts, then you’re going to see the side of the #singleladies in all its glory!

Laugh out loud hilarity from page one, through to page 304. #HotMess is filthy, fun, and effing fabulous, there is nothing about Lucy Vine’s book that I didn’t like. Honestly, this book is outstanding, I’m having withdrawal symptoms already. Roll on the next book from Lucy Vine, I want her as my new BFF! OHMGZ please -begs-.

Absolutely phenomenal. Hot Mess is the easiest 5 stars I have even given a book, even though it deserves the whole universe of stars!

One last thing, Hot Mess is 100% my MOST FAVOURITE BOOK EVERRRRRRR!!!!!
Go buy it, now!!!!!!

Buy right now from Amazon UK

#Review – The Deepest Cut by Natalie Flynn (@natalieflynn_) @AccentPress @AccentYA

natalie flynn

You haven’t said a single word since you ve been here. Is it on purpose? I tried to answer David but I couldn’t … my brain wanted to speak but my throat wouldn’t cooperate.

Adam blames himself for his best friend s death. After attempting suicide, he is put in the care of a local mental health facility. There, too traumatized to speak, he begins to write notebooks detailing the events leading up to Jake’s murder, trying to understand who is really responsible and cope with how needless it was as a petty argument spiralled out of control and peer pressure took hold.

Sad but unsentimental, this is a moving story of friendship and the aftermath of its destruction.

What does TWG think?

Big thank you to, Karen, from Accent Press for putting this book on my radar, and getting me involved in the #minitour today!

Every so often I like delving into a YA novel, sitting back and appreciating the unique storytelling of a YA author. ‘The Deepest Cut’ was no exception.

‘We never think it’s going to happen to us, do we?’

As human beings, we see things happening in the news and always think to ourselves that it won’t happen to us. The worrying thing is, we sound so confident with our declarations, completely oblivious that anything could happen to anyone, at anytime. But then again, as a teenager the last thing they’re going to do is sit down and work out the probability of getting knocked down by a car the next time they venture outside. Why WOULD something like that happen to a person of their age?

Adam and Jake have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Jake’s mum, Debbie, was like Adam’s second mum, and her house being Adam’s home away from home. Everywhere one lad went, the other one wasn’t too far behind. As the boys grew up, their group of two became a group of three, yet things weren’t always as hunky dory as they would have liked. One night, Adam and Debbie’s lives come crashing down when their boy, Jake, is murdered.

By the end of chapter one I was hooked. The attention to detail and the intensity that the outline of storyline contained within that first chapter, was enough to make me even more intrigued. The level of intrigue stayed with me throughout the entire novel, thanks to the uncertain atmosphere that seemed to linger on every page. As readers, we already know that Jake has been murdered, but what we don’t know is how or why. For me, the chapters leading up to the moment those questions get answered, made my heart pound, especially as we follow Adam’s heart-wrenching story.

Aside from the murderers (which I’m obviously not going to say), there was one character who made me rather angry; Adam’s dad. What a spineless man he is! Realistically thought out though, so that is a definite bonus!

‘The Deepest Cut’ is such an emotive read, but I was surprised to find myself unable to cry. It wasn’t due to the lack of emotion from the author, not at all! The thing was, this storyline ripped my heart apart and instead of bawling my eyes out, I became extremely numb and withdrawn. The numb feeling stayed with me a few hours after I had finished the book, too. Why was I numb? Because Adam’s story is incredibly heart-breaking. Not only is he dealing with grief, he’s also dealing with another loss, coping with change, AND having to deal with even more grief from way back when. The poor boy was so vulnerable, lost and in need of someone to hug him and tell him that everything was going to be okay, for once in his life.

‘The Deepest Cut’ covers several important topics such as murder, peer pressure, grief, mental health, and friendships. Natalie Flynn, via her characters, approaches the ways in which peer pressure can happen and the repercussions of that. And, as someone who has been on the receiving end of peer pressure to a detrimental effect, the author has hit the nail on the head in regards to this topic in her storyline. Even though Adam’s mental health situation is extremely emotional to read, it is also an incredibly important topic which requires the black and white approach, purely to get people to understand the aftermath of bad choices, and horrific circumstances.

As a woman who is much older than your average young adult reader, I found Natalie Flynn’s novel to be such a powerful, eye-opening and emotional read. I applaud the author for writing about multiple complex situations in such a sensitive manner, whilst also keeping it realistic and raw. I think that all YA’s and adults should read Natalie Flynn’s novel, as they might just learn a thing or two about mental health and its domino effect.

Thank you Accent Press.

Buy ‘The Deepest Cut’ by Natalie Flynn from Amazon UK, now!