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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

Where did her mummy go?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now!

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


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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now!

About the author.

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

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

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

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

Facebook // Website

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy: Amazon US  // Amazon UK

 Guest Post.

Understanding Through Memoir
By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the author.

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

Website

 

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

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

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What if someone else was living your happy ever after?

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

A bit like ‘While I Was Sleeping’.

Maddie was full of excitement. Hope. Love.

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now!

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


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


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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

Buy from Amazon

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


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


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

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

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

Read her letter. Remember her story…

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now in e-book from Amazon

About the author.

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

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

#BlogBlitz! #Guestpost from author of Chasing Black Gold, Robert Stone (@rstonecbg) @RaRaResources


It is a pleasure to welcome to TWG, author of ‘Chasing Black Gold’, Robert Stone! As part of the one day blog blitz, I have a guest post to share with you all today. But first, here is a little bit more information about Robert’s book, as well as the chance to win a signed copy of Robert’s book!


ROBERT STONE was a serial entrepreneur – an enterprising individual, mostly on the wrong
side of the law, who spent twenty-five years operating all over the world, before being
arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime
Drug Enforcement Task Force. Over the course of his career, Stone earned and lost several
lifetimes’ worth of fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, saw
men die, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal
history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, trading fuel with generals, rebels and businessman, was
both his career high and, ultimately, what brought him down.

Purchase from:

The History Press
Amazon UK
Waterstones
Barnes and Noble
Amazon US

Giveaway!

Prize – Win 10 x signed copies of Chasing Black Gold (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the
Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all
valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all
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Guest post from author, Robert Stone.

I’m currently working on Chasing Deep Gold. It is a nonfiction tale of my career in the Commercial Oil
Field Diving Industry and a prequel to Chasing Black Gold

When I was working The North Sea I ended up being mainly involved in Hyperbaric Welding. There
were only a few of us in the world certified to do it. Taylor Diving and Comex were the leaders in this
field.

Hyperbaric Welding is welding (mainly pipelines) in a dry atmosphere on the ocean floor. The dry
atmosphere was created by lowering a SPAR or Submersible Pipe Alignment Rig with a welding
habitat in the centre. The SPAR was maybe 60 foot long and 20 foot wide weighing in around 80 –
100 tons.

You were either replacing flanged connections, joining newly laid pipelines together or repairing
damaged sections of an existing pipeline.
Because pipe welding was extremely difficult and took years of experience to get it right the bosses
at Taylor decided they would train pipe welders from the lay barges how to dive. The logic was any
monkey could learn how to dive but it took a skilled man to weld pipe.
The first winter they taught the welders how to dive in a 30 foot deep tank in Belle Chase Louisiana.
Clear water- breathe in breathe out – wearing a helmet- easy peasy- what was all the fuss about?
They then were put in saturation at a special hyperbaric facility where the depth and the welding
could be simulated. This was slightly more difficult for them to get used to as living in a 7 foot
diameter 20 foot long chamber with 5 other guys for a couple of weeks takes some getting used to but
they did. Welding arcs behaved differently under pressure as well but they were experienced hands
and adapted to it.

Everything went well, the welding procedures were certified and we mobilized in The North Sea
early Spring to go do some tie-ins in The Ekofisk Field in Norway.
The Offshore Industry and the diving business in general is much different today than it was in the
1970’s. Today personnel work shift of 2 weeks on 2 weeks off or 2 weeks on 3 weeks off. Divers have
to have double time off so two weeks in saturation means four weeks off. Back then our contracts
were for a minimum of 4 months. Ask to leave before that you would lose your 10% bonus.
You went into sat and basically didn’t come out until the year was done. You could opt out if
weather was on or they were doing a crew change if you wanted but I never did. This particular year
I spent 210 days offshore straight with 207 of them in saturation. It was 72 days in (my longest sat) 1
day out, 69 days in, 2 days out and the next 66 in before de-mobilising in Rotterdam.
(In my diving career I spent a total of 2265 days in saturation. That is over 6 years in a small tank
with 8 other guys. No wonder the time I later spent in prison was such a doddle.)
The regular diving crew went into sat and prepared the job for the welder divers. We lined up the
pipes, broke the concrete weight coating off using sledge hammers. Busting concrete for 4 hours on
the ocean floor is hard work. They estimated we burned up 7-8000 calories per dive. We set the
SPAR and lowered the habitat over the pipes and sealed it off then blew it down with a breathable
atmosphere. In this case a mixture of O2 and Helium.

Now it was time for the welders to come in and go to work. 3 divers went into the decompression
lock and the 6 welder divers came in. I was in the first bell run. The outside bell lights had fused and
were not working so when we got to the bottom and equalised all these divers saw in the mist was a
cold black hole and told me no F’n way and refused to go out. We ended up going up and changing
out the team. Next guys said the same thing. What we had was a barge costing $500,000 USD / day
doing nothing.

We ended up going down, running a line over to the habitat and taking the guys one by one by hand
over to the habitat. Wouldn’t be allowed today as we had to leave the bell unattended. They
managed to get the welds done but that winter the company taught a few of us divers how to weld
pipe!

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheMiddleAgedVirgin by Olivia Spring (@ospringauthor)


Thank you so much to Olivia Spring for personally asking me to review her debut novel, ‘The Middle-Aged Virgin’, and for asking me to take part in the blog tour as well! I am delighted to be today’s stop on the tour, and to celebrate I have a review for you all. Enjoy!


If you’d just come out of a long-term relationship and hadn’t been intimate for ages, how well would you cope with dating and having sex again?

Sophia Huntingdon seems to have it all: a high-flying job running London’s coolest beauty PR agency, a lovely boyfriend and a dressing room filled with Louboutins.

But when tragedy strikes, Sophia realises that rather than living the dream, she’s actually an unhappy workaholic in a monotonous relationship, with zero personal life. Her lack of activity in the bedroom is so apparent that her best friend declares her a MARGIN, or Middle-Aged Virgin—a term used for adults who have experienced a drought so long that they can’t remember the last time they had sex.

Determined to transform her life whilst she’s still young enough to enjoy it, Sophia hatches a plan to work less, live more and embark on exciting adventures, including rediscovering the electrifying passion she’s been craving.

But after ending her fifteen-year relationship, how will Sophia, a self-confessed control freak handle navigating the unpredictable world of online dating?

If she does meet someone new, will she even remember what to do? And as an independent career woman, how much is Sophia really prepared to sacrifice for love?

What does TWG think?

Snigger! Cobwebs….dry spell….so many things in this book that I would associate with myself, and not spiders or the weather. ‘The Middle-Aged Virgin’ is absolutely bang on in terms of its references to modern-day society. I mean, the main character, Sophia, is worried that she is merely settling. She may have confidence where her work is concerned, but if you were to put her personal life in the spotlight, Sophia would melt like Olaf from Frozen! I must say that I am incredibly envious of Sophia’s shoe collection, especially the Louboutins – shoe goals right there!!

I can see why Sophia chose to end the relationship that she has had for most of her adult life, but I can also see why she chose to settle. Not that that makes it a nicer thing to do, because it doesn’t. Settling just because, is not fair on all the people involved, but because starting again comes with a lot of uncertainty and fear, settling becomes the safest option all round.

‘The Middle-Aged Virgin’ will certainly have a lot of readers nodding their heads in agreement at some of the things Sophia’s best friends, Roxy and Bella, come out with. That said, I couldn’t help but feel that some of the storyline was a little bit padded with information that wasn’t overly relevant to the bigger picture. Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely to find out more about Sophia and what made her tick, but there were times where I did feel as though the storyline was missing the point.

I’m not saying this book wasn’t enjoyable, because oh it was! It’s also absolutely hilarious! I just think that some things could have been a bit more defined, but obviously that is my opinion.

It wasn’t until I finished reading Olivia Spring’s debut, that I realised that the author had incorporated an important message into it – don’t settle for second best, grab life by the youknowwhats, and refuse to life your life the way that someone else wants you to. Live life for you. Eat the last cookie. Spend all day in your pyjama’s. Remove toxic relationships from your life. Embark on new challenges, even if it is taking the stairs instead of the lift. But, most importantly, never give up on the things that make you happy, and never keep hold of the things which don’t make you happy, any longer than absolutely necessary.

So yeah, Olivia Spring is a very wise author, and yes I got all of the above from reading ‘The Middle-Aged Virgin’! I am incredibly impressed by how the author incorporates such important topics into a laugh out loud, chilled and magnetic story, making her characters come to life in such a relatable and realistic manner. The main character may be forty, but I think that the scenarios written in this book would be great lessons for women and males of all ages.

A diverse, wise, poignant, and sniggerific novel which made me ensure that I kept my duster handy…you know, just in case!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogBlitz! #Review – #ForgiveMeNot by Samantha Tonge (@SamTongeWriter) @Canelo_co @RaRaResources #PublicationDay


Congratulations to Samantha Tonge on the publication of her brand new novel, ‘Forgive Me Not’, which is published by Canelo TODAY! How exciting! For those who are already a fan of Samantha’s previous novels and are a little bit confused, don’t be, there is no need to be. This novel isn’t as romance led as her previous novels, yet it is still the Samantha Tonge we have all come to know and love – she has just chosen to write a novel that has taken a slightly different direction to what people might be ‘used’ to. Me, however, I am a huge fan of Samantha’s writing and I know that I will continue to read her books in whichever direction she chooses to write them.

I am delighted to be taking part in the publication day blitz for ‘Forgive Me Not’, huge thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to do so, and thank you to Canelo for the ARC. Before I share my review, here is what is on the back of the book:

How far would you go to make amends?

When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her
most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.
But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people
she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to
reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.

Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten
her newly forged future…

Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough.

What does TWG think?

How many of you reading this, have made a mistake which later cost you the people you loved?
How many of you have found yourself stuck in a rut due to your own bad choices, have chosen to put yourself on the straight and narrow, yet people refuse to give you the benefit of the doubt?

Of course you have, we all have. We can’t all be perfect.

Emma has chosen to return to the place her life changed forever – her childhood home. Even though it took Emma a lot of guts to return to the ‘scene of the crime’ so to speak, she found herself underestimating her family’s reaction to her reappearance. Emma knows that she has made a lot of mistakes, she also knows that she has paid the price for every single one of them, but will her family see that she is being genuine? Or is it too little too late?

At first, Samantha Tonge keeps Emma’s mistakes under lock and key, building my curiosity every time I turned the page. What on Earth did she do for her family to turn their backs on her? Has she learnt from her mistakes, whatever they may be?

Emma’s story certainly made me sit up and take notice. At first, I couldn’t see much wrong with what she did, but as soon as the author went into detail about the bad decisions Emma made, my opinion changed and I could see why the outcome is what it is. That said, I couldn’t help but feel as though I was missing something as, instead of feeling as though I was reading a brand new novel with brand new characters, I felt as though I had walked into the storyline halfway through and couldn’t seem to work out why I felt as though I had missed out on a lot of things. Before anyone says anything, no, I didn’t begin the book halfway through, it just felt like that for me which was a bit of a shame.

However, I have to say that that was the only irk I had with the book! I loved how the authors change in direction was written from the heart, bringing the story to life on various different levels. Personally, I couldn’t really ask for more!. Samantha Tonge hasn’t just picked a theme from random and decided to write about it, she has chosen a theme which she knew needed to be written about to not only educate people, but to also make people take notice and think about their own decisions in life. I have to say that after reading ‘Forgive Me Not’, my opinion of one thing in particular has changed dramatically. Without giving anything away, I used to be like many of the characters in the book and look down my nose at people who had to set up camp where required, pretty much because I looked at it from a pessimistic and disbelieving angle. But now? Now I can’t help but look at them like one of us and, if I had to choose one important lesson to take away from this book, it would definitely have to be the vague lesson I just mentioned. How could it not be?

I will say one thing though, there were times where I felt that Emma was expecting far too much from her loved ones, yet there were times where I felt as though her loved ones were hearing her but refusing to listen. The phrase ‘I’m sorry’, is one of the most overused lines ever. Even though, as humans, we expect apologies, how many of us can truly say that we believe every single one of them? Saying that you’re sorry is all well and good, but for me it’s the actions that got alongside it is what I take more notice of. Reading ‘Forgive Me Not’ cemented the fact that I just can’t forget, but it has taught me the value of learning to forgive.

I am very proud of Samantha Tonge and this book, as I know it must have taken a lot to write a novel that is so close to home. It takes a lot of courage and determination to write something like this and personally, I think that the author has aced it.

A life-affirming, thought-provoking, emotional, and poignant novel which holds even more power than Iron Man himself. Such a pleasure to read.

Buy now from Amazon
Buy now from Kobo
Buy now from iBooks

About the author.

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and her passion, second to spending time with her husband
and children, is writing. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad,
including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.

When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many
dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.

In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins
and in 2014, her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of
Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK
Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.

Links

Twitter // Facebook // Website

#BlogTour! #Review – This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell (@JillMansell) @Headlinepg @AnneCater


It is an absolute honour to host Jill Mansell and her latest novel, ‘This Could Change Everything’, as part of the blog tour today. Jill has been one of my most favourite authors for such a while, I hope I do the book proud with my review. Big thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and a big thank you to publishers, Headline, for the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

One little mistake and nothing will ever be the same again!

On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…

On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…

And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…

What does TWG think?

I am just going to put this out here – ‘This Could Change Everything’ is my most favourite book of 2018 so far. What a phenomenally written, enchanting, and heart-warming read! Never in my life have I read anything like this before and, whilst I’m being perfectly honest, I really don’t think I will again for a while (well, until Jill Mansell publishes her next book!).

I have always been a reader who judges a book by its cover (sorry!), but on this occasion, the fact that it was a Jill Mansell novel was enough for me to think ‘OMG I NEED TO READ IT!’. The cover gives nothing away, with the title doing holding the weight of the storyline, and what a brilliant job it does. How could anyone not be intrigued by a title of, ‘This Could Change Everything’? WHAT could change everything? WHY would it change everything? And, more to the point, what exactly is ‘everything’? Thankfully after reading this outstanding book, I now have the answers to my questions. I may have started with copious amounts of curiosity, but now I feel as though my soul has been given a truly wonderful gift thanks to Jill Mansell’s storytelling.

Have you ever had a moment where your judgement has been clouded, you choose to do something which could backfire if it were to get into the wrong hands, yet you still do it anyway? Look, we are all human. I’d be more surprised if anyone sat there and shook their heads in answer to that questions. In the heat of the moment, a badly thought out decision is incredibly appealing. It’s not until logistics are added to it that things begin to look a bit less, how do I put this….exciting. Essie made a mistake like that, and now her ‘perfect’ life is threatening to fall apart around her. But is that honestly a bad thing? Was Essie just going with the flow because she wasn’t aware of her place in life? Or did she genuinely love her life the way that it was? Obviously, now that I have read the book I have my own thoughts on that. Don’t panic though, I won’t be divulging as there is a chance my opinions could be seen as a spoiler.

‘This Could Change Everything’ is such a multi-layered, three-dimensional, and emotional read – for once, I can’t even state who my favourite character is, nor can I state a character who I dislike as there was so many beautiful situations and characters to focus on, the less majestic ones didn’t stay in my mindset long enough to make too much of an impression. Well, there were definitely a couple of people who rubbed me up the wrong way and made my eyebrows shoot up to my hairline, but that’s neither here nor there ;).

You want to know something? I completely underestimated just how much I would fall in love with this book because for once, I allowed myself to surrender to the romanticism of a storyline and the romantic intentions of certain characters. I’ve always been the type of person who hides behind ‘I’m not a romantic person in the slightest’, because I get too embarrassed by lovey dovey feelings. However, Essie, Lucas, and Zillah, showed me that love can be shown in a multitude of formats, and it’s only embarrassing if you allow it to be. Take Zillah for example. A woman in her eighties who refused to let herself settle for second best where a man was concerned. Yes, she made many mistakes, and yes, she had to pay for them in the form of guilt, for many, many years. But now? Zillah shows just how beautiful love can be by embarking on a selfless journey which ends up filling other people’s hearts with utmost joy, all because she believes in love and happiness. Nothing embarrassing about that now, is there?

‘This Could Change Everything’ in its entirety, got under my skin on a level I have never experience before. I loved how the storyline started off calm, gradually building up to things the more characters Mansell introduced to her readers. Her storyline wasn’t just put together with her words in black and white, no. Jill Mansell wrote her story with such tender loving care, bringing her words to life with such magnetism, humour, and colourful characters. ‘This Could Change Everything’ is a book that is bang on the money, because it has certainly changed everything for me.

I love this book with all of my heart – it has everything I could want from a storyline, everything I didn’t realise I wanted, and everything in between. Jill Mansell is an outstanding author, but this is definitely her best book by far. I don’t often re-read books, but I will be re-reading this one time and time again. Out-flipping standing, powerful, and severely poignant – hello new favourite book!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers
including THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT, TO THE MOON AND BACK, YOU AND ME,
ALWAYS and MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY. TAKE A CHANCE ON ME won the
RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding
achievement award.

Jill’s personal favourite amongst her novels is THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU,
which is about cystic fibrosis and organ donation; to her great delight, many people have
joined the organ donor register as a direct result of reading this novel.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the NHS, after she read a magazine article that
inspired her to join a local creative writing class. Her first book was published in 1991 and
she is now a full-time novelist. She is one of the few who still write their books by hand, like
a leftover from the dark ages. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Jill keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter – @JillMansell – and Facebook –
/OfficialJillMansell. You can also visit her website http://www.jillmansell.co.uk/.