#Simon & Schuster · #suspense · blog tour · book blogger · Crime/thriller · guest spotlight

#NationalStorytellingWeek – Interview with Novelry tutor, Jack Jordan (@thenovelry @midaspr @JackJordanbooks) #YourStoryMyStory

As a huge fan of Jack Jordan and his books, I just had to say yes when I received the email asking me to be involved in the blog tour for National Storytelling Week. For those who don’t already know, Jack Jordan is a tutor at The Novelry. Here is a little bit more about them and what they do:

Offering support for beginner and established authors at any stage of their writing career, The Novelry will take writers from the very kernel of an idea through to a polished manuscript ready for literary agent submission. With mentoring from bestselling authors and editorial advice from leading industry professionals, The Novelry is the writing school recommended by leading literary agents.

Enough of my talking, time to welcome Jack Jordan to TWG!

Picture shows a man with blonde hair, bright smile, wearing a black shirt, standing against a peachy background.
Photo credit: ©Andy Lo Po/ The Novelry

When did you first realise that you were a storyteller?
I’ve had a vivid imagination ever since I can remember, expressing myself through storytelling via various outlets, whether it be writing, acting, or childhood play. Still, it wasn’t until I was seventeen that I first sat down and wrote a full-length novel. I struggled with agoraphobia at the time, and it helped to escape through my old love of writing. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the story and realised that I had written 100k words of a novel that I had the eureka moment: I was a writer.

Do you remember when you came up with the first story idea that would ultimately go on to be published as a novel? How did you know this was the idea that was worth telling?
I believe that story ideas, however creative or outlandish, resonate from something deep within the teller. My debut novel, Anything for Her, is about a mother covering up a tragic accident made by her child, and how far parents will go to protect their children. I’m drawn to these kinds of stories due to the strong bond I have with my mum, who raised me as a single parent. So when people ask me how they might begin to come up with a story idea themselves, I often recommend that they look closer to home and the personal dynamics at play because they so often tell us who we are.

Do you have a story of yours that you are most proud of?
I have to admit, I have two! I love my novel, Do No Harm, which is out 26th May this year, due to the high stakes the hook brings, and how subliminally asks the reader what they would do in Dr Anna Jones’ shoes: a crime ring abducts the child of a leading heart surgeon and gives her an ultimatum: kill a patient on the operating table or never see her son again.

I have a deep personal connection to my novel Night by Night, which is about institutionalised homophobia within the police force, inspired by victims of serial killer Stephen Port. I’m proud to have a novel that centres around LGBTQ+ issues and have it resonate with readers.

Why did you decide to write novels, as opposed to telling stories in another format?
That’s an excellent question. When writing a novel, I find I have so much freedom to explore a character’s inner world, exploring who they are and how they grow when placed in a hostile or precarious environment. I like the long game of this: meeting the character on the first page and then slowly peeling back the layers of their humanity throughout the story, until we meet them at the end, often dramatically changed from who they were when the story started. I find that I get to explore this vividly with novel writing.

Why do you think stories are important?
I think stories are important because they reflect who we are as a society and all the beautiful differences from culture to culture. Stories can educate on a profound level and open people’s eyes to experiences they might never have encountered or people they might never have met. They also serve as an escape from life’s woes and inspire us to grow and change – and dream. I often write novels with moral dilemmas at the heart of them, and I love this because it gives the reader the gift of testing their own moral compass: what would they do in the character’s shoes? It’s like a workout for the soul.

National Storytelling Week is all about the oral tradition of storytelling. Do you think it’s important to keep this tradition alive when we have so many other ways of consuming and telling stories these days?
I believe that storytelling and expression, in whatever form, is the glue that holds us all together. Imagination and empathy bring people closer, especially during times of difficulty, whether it be global pandemics or politically challenging times. Whether it’s diving into a book to get lost in the pages or sitting around a campfire with friends exchanging ghost stories, storytelling brings out the humanity in us. It gives us ways to connect with each other in an often isolating world. I also believe storytelling allows us to explore who we are.

What do you think is different about writing a story down on paper as opposed to telling it out loud?
I think there is a real beauty to telling stories aloud because it blends with the art of acting, giving a sense of performance to a story that can really bring it to life. Spoken storytelling also derails any literacy hurdles a story-lover might have and allow a person to enjoy the art in a way that works best for them.

What I like about writing novels is the opportunity to delve into oneself. As the reader reads the story in their mind, they paint an abundance of pictures and ask themselves so many deeply personal questions, and the characters I create can often become deeply personal to them too.

How do you like to consume your stories? (Reading, listening, watching, etc.)
My two favourite methods of consuming stories are reading and watching. I love devouring novels and getting lost in a television series, and I love seeing shows too, whether it be West End shows or stand-up comedy.

What is your favourite story of all time?
The story that changed me as both a reader and a storyteller is Malorie Blackman’s novel Noughts and Crosses. I still remember that profound sense of shock I felt when I reached the last page as the last scene came to an end, and it completely transformed the stories I read and the ideas I had for my own thereafter. Whenever I pick up a book, I hope to have that same feeling, and when I write, I try my hardest to give the reader that same emotional reaction.

What do you hope readers will take away from your novels?
As a reader, there is nothing more enjoyable for me than when I pick up a story I love and never want it to end. It’s that warm feeling in one’s chest, the buzz of excitement in one’s gut as we pick up the book again and think about the story when life draws us away. If I can give at least half of my readers this feeling, I know I’ve done my job well.

If you had one piece of advice for someone wanting to tell a story of their own, what would it be?
Growing up, I had a poor education – I didn’t go to college or university, and I had to teach myself a lot of the basics of the English language. For many years, I subconsciously didn’t allow myself to fathom the career I have now because I didn’t think it was meant for people like me, nor a possibility open to me. Realising that storytelling is for everyone, regardless of education, background, ethnicity, sexuality or gender expression, freed me to tell the stories that would go on to be read by over one hundred thousand readers. So often, we hold ourselves back from what we want to achieve due to being led astray by other people’s ideas of the world and how it’s supposed to work. So I always suggest storytellers analyse the barriers they see before them and ask themselves if they too are partly the reason they are in the way. Storytelling is for everyone, and I think the first hurdle we have to jump is giving ourselves the permission to express ourselves and explore.

Thank you so much to Midas Pr, Jack Jordan and The Novelry for such an honest interview. I think Jack made a wonderful point regarding storytelling being for everyone, regardless of status, and I am so pleased that he found the confidence in himself to put pen to paper – I cannot recommend his books enough! Speaking of which, if you fancy getting your hands on any of Jack Jordan’s novels, check out the following links:

Anything For Her

Night By Night

Pre-order ‘Do No Harm”

Also, for more information on his work as a tutor for The Novelry, click here.

#psychological · #Simon & Schuster · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review

#TheHeights by Louise Candlish (@louise_candlish @TeamBATC @JessBarratt88) #BlogTour #Review #Booktwt #thewritinggarnet

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Louise Candlish’s latest novel, The Heights, as part of the blog tour. My thanks go to Jess and the Simon and Schuster team for asking me to be involved and for supplying a proof for me to read and review honestly.

He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you. 

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him. 

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.  You know this for a fact.  

Because you’re the one who killed him.  It’s time to confess what we did up there.

‘Kieran Watts has been dead for over two years when I see him standing on the roof of a building in Shad Thames…’

#CloseToTheEdge

What does The Writing Garnet think?

When I see people say that a book is ‘unputdownable’, I think to myself that they’re fibbing because surely you would put a book down to pee and what not. How could a book be read cover to cover without putting it down? My answer to that, after reading ‘The Heights’ and only putting it down once to grab a chocolate bar and then pick it up again, is ‘very easily’. Heck, my 2 second put down to grab an aero bar doesn’t even count as putting it down as the cover was still warm from my hands!

After I had finished reading the book that literally took me 2 hours to read, my daughter asked me how many stars I would give it, and, without missing a beat, a response of ‘five stars’ flew out of my mouth. There was no doubt in my mind at all as ‘The Heights’ had the marital uncertainty, the troublesome pasts of the main characters, secrets that were too damaging to reveal regardless of how long had passed. The story had thrill, it had a chase, suspense, characters which you just wanted to dislike yet weirdly liked and visa versa.

I loved the way the author let’s us see both sides of the situation from two characters point of view, allowing readers to work out on their own, indirectly, which was bad cop and which was good cop. Which character was the most trustworthy? Which character was seeing things clearer than the other? Which one wasn’t being honest with themselves? The storyline was a well crafted, well oiled piece of ‘machinery’ so to speak as it hopped from different events flawlessly, without missing a single beat or filling the storyline with unnecessary padding. Every single word in this book had its place and played a vital role in bringing ‘The Heights’ to life.

If you hadn’t guessed already, Louise Candlish’s novel blew my mind and reignited my love for reading. Its books like this, written by authors as talented as Candlish, that make me excited about the written word. If youre after a new book to read, I highly suggest you buy and devour this one as yes, it really is and un-putdownable read.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heights-Louise-Candlish/dp/1471183483

#Harpercollins · #psychological · #Simon & Schuster · #suspense · arc · aria fiction · blog tour · bonnier zaffre · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · BOTBSPublicity · childrens books · ChocLitUK · contemporary fiction · Crime/thriller · Faber Books · HarperImpulse · headline books · historical fiction · HQ · HQDigitalUK · humour · lifestyle · Little Brown Books · medical · mills and boon · netgalley · Non Fiction · orenda · Orion · Panmacmillan · Police procedural · Quercus · real life · RNA · romance · Transworld/Penguin · Trapeze · womens fiction

The Writing Garnet turns 5! Happy birthday TWG! #blogger #blogbirthday #TWGTurns5 #Awardwinningblogger

The Writing Garnet is officially 5 years old TODAY! When I started my blog back in 2016, I never envisioned it turning out the way that it has. It never even crossed my mind that my blog could turn into a multi award winning blog (yes, multi), nor did it cross my mind that my review quotes would make their way into physical copies of books or even on the cover of some. Without blowing my own trumpet, I am unbelievably proud of all of that. At the very beginning, my blog was created as my way of saying thank you to authors for writing their books which has allowed me to escape via their words, when things in my personal life have been difficult. It wasn’t created as a popularity tool (because clearly I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes had that have been the case), nor was it created merely to get free things because, in all honesty, I had no idea that that was even a thing when I first started.

Over the last 5 years I have met a wide variety of authors, met fellow bloggers, other like minded bookish folk, and found myself involved in a world that went beyond just loving books. I had never really had that before. I had never been able to sit and discuss books with people who had read the same book as I, nor would I have ever found the confidence to cart myself off to events such as Edinburgh Book Festival, Aye Write in Glasgow, or even more intimate events such as meeting the Orenda gang in Edinburgh (to name a few), if it wasn’t for a select few of people who, after ‘meeting’ through the online book world, have gone on to becoming real life friends (Jen, Mandie, Kelly, Joanne, Lainy, DC to name a few). Not only that, despite not having met them in real life yet, I have come to know even more people who I consider to be friends now, who one day I would love to be able to give them a hug (COVID permitting, obvs – special shout out to Liz B for being as true as they come). If I named each and every one of the people who I called friends and who I would do anything for, I would be here a while and would no doubt miss someone off so, to put it simply, if we talk, I adore you. Simple as, and I thank you for your kindness and support over the last 5 years.

For me, the highlight so far has got to be meeting Sue Perkins and Tom Fletcher as those were the times where I unintentionally embarrassed my little girl with my high pitched squealing and trampoline bounces. I think I was fair excited……. Would I have been able to meet them had it not been for my blog? Honestly? Probably not as I never knew events like that existed until I became a blogger. I have so many other authors, bloggers, publicists etc, that I would love to meet and I have everything crossed that that will become a reality.

I know blogging isn’t all about stats, but for the first time in ages I had a quick nose at the stats of TWG. In the last 5 years TWG has had:

160,424 views.
84,689 visitors.
1837 blog posts have been posted.


Also, I even worked out roughly how many books I have read over that time…..1270!!! Ermmmmmmmm, say what?

As I may have mentioned previously, 2020 for TWG wasn’t the greatest as, putting it quite bluntly, I was treated like dirt via the bookish community (not all of you, just to clarify), and it hurt me so much that I ended up retreating because I didn’t know what else to do because, as I have also said many times, I’m not the most popular of people and I don’t fit into the tight knit groups. I suppose my face doesn’t fit, so I knew that regardless of what I said and what I did, I wouldn’t have been believed which is unfair and incredibly hurtful. Because of that, my posts within the last year have been few and far between, however I still have been ‘here’ from afar and still able to keep my feet in the door so to speak. Again, I want to thank those who have stood by me, supported me, and been true friends during that time and continue to do so. I see you.

I am super shocked that my little, multi award winning blog turns 5 today. Yes there have been some ups and downs and confidence knocks along the way, and yes, at times I bit off more than I can chew and left myself over stretched. However the joys of anything in life is that you can learn from your mistakes and realise where you went wrong or what needs to change. There is only me running this blog and, even though I like to think that I can do everything, I physically can’t….I just wish it hadn’t taken me 5 years to realise that! Well, in all fairness it’s probably taken me over 20 years to realise that as I recently turned 31 but y’know, semantics.

Creating The Writing Garnet was probably one of the best, on the spur decisions I have ever made and I just want to thank every single author, publisher and publicist who have sent me countless books over the years and trusted me to review your books. I want to thank the organisers of book events of their hard work and dedication in bringing likeminded bookish folk together. I also want to thank each and every person I have come to know and admire for being true to themselves and becoming good friends of mine. I have your backs – you are all awesome. Major shout out to my fellow bloggers, and anyone who is thinking about starting a blog – you’ve got this! Just remember it’s okay to say no….

On that note, happy birthday to TWG! Heres to another year full of weird and wonderful books, intriguing debuts, and a truck load of reviews.

TWG x

#Simon & Schuster · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · On location · RNA · romance · womens fiction

#MessyWonderfulUs @CatherineIsaac_ @SimonSchusterUK @ed_pr #blogtour #bloggers

Next up is my review for ‘Messy, Wonderful Us’ by Catherine Isaac. Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and to Simon and Schuster for the ARC. Here is my review:

In late 1983, a letter arrives, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever.

More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.


When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family – and herself.

With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led far from home, accompanied by her best friend Ed.

But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future.

What does TWG think?

What would you do if you found out something that could threaten everything you have only ever known? Would you want to find out the truth despite being told to leave it? Or would you ignore what you had found out and carry on as normal?

I cant even answer that to be honest, and I dont think anyone could unless they were actually in that situation, and even then the answer could change multiple times!

Allie found a letter that took her breath away and left her questioning her entire upbringing, and she had to make the decision to either move on, or do a little bit of detective work. So, she decided on the latter….but at what cost?

As well as Allie’s dilemmas, her best friend, Ed, seemed to be beating himself up from the inside out. To him his marriage was on the rocks, but to his wife, Ed merely seemed ‘depressed’. It was pretty clear that Ed was joining Allie on her journey of self discovery.

‘Messy, Wonderful Us’ reminded me of a wood burner on a cold day; slow to heat up but when it was warm, it engulfed its surroundings in a powerful warmth that took my breath away and protected me in it’s own little fireball bubble.

The entire storyline was a magnetic force and beautifully written, and the fact that Allie’s job was researching cystic fibrosis was outstanding and gave the book even more of a unique edge.

Allie and Ed’s friendship is one that filled me with envy as it was just so genuine. I couldnt help but wish for a friendship like that for myself.

My heart was so invested in Catherine Isaac’s enticing story telling, I was bereft when the storyline came to an end! The attention to detail, scene setting, character development, relationship timelines were incredibly well thought out and made me able to envision all the finer details of the book as though I was there in person.

This was such a beautifully written, humbling, magical storyline which highlighted Catherine Isaac’s outstanding talent – I genuinely cannot fault this story at all. It has genuinely stolen my heart and soul. Such a stunning, stunning read.

Buy now.

#Simon & Schuster · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · humour · lifestyle · netgalley · romance · womens fiction

#SadieMcQueen is going to be a tough one to follow!! #TheRiseandFallofSadieMcQueen @julietstories @simonschusterUK @ed_pr #review @TeamBATC

Apologies for another late one, I hope my review makes up for it though! Huge thanks to EdPR for the tour invite and ARC – I am a HUGE fan of Juliet Ashton, so it’s an honour to be on the blog tour today.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but Cherry Blossom Mews is a miraculous place. It’s somewhere that finds you, rather than the other way around.

Sadie McQueen has leased a double fronted space in this small cul de sac in a culturally diverse corner of central London. The cobbles muffle the noise of double-deckers roaring past the arched gates. Turn right and you are in a futuristic maze of corporate glass monoliths. Turn left and you see a wide street with many different houses. Towering above the mews are the degenerating tower blocks of an infamous estate. The old folks home and the nearby school are both in need of TLC; the private members’ club that set up shop in a listed Georgian building has been discreetly refurbished at huge expense.

Into this confusion comes Sadie. She fell in love with the street the moment she first twisted her ankle on its cobbles. Her double-fronted unit is now a spa. She has sunk all her money into the lease and refurbishment. She’s sunk all her hope into the carefully designed treatment rooms, the calm white reception space, the bijou flat carved out of the floor above.

Sadie has a mission to connect. To heal herself from tragedy. Sadie has wrapped the mews around her like a warm blanket, after unimaginable loss and unimaginable guilt. Her hard-won peace is threatened, not only by the prospect of the mews going under but by a man aptly named Hero who wakes up her comatose heart.
Sadie has a lot to give, and a lot to learn, not least that some ghosts aren’t ghosts at all.

What does TWG think?

I feel so sorry for any books I read after this one as Sadie McQueen is going to be a tough act to follow! This was incredible!!!!! Emotional, humourous, romantic, dynamic, relatable….honestly, it had everything I could have wanted from a book and more. I was gutted when it finished.

Everyone who lives in Cherry Blossom Mews has a unique story to tell. If you sat down with any one of the residents, you’ll end up finding out much more than you bargained for. However, despite all of the individual heartache, despair, uncertainty and what not, every single resident has one thing in common; they want to belong.

Sadie McQueen is the main character of the book, and her story had my jaw hitting the floor in shock. How one person can pull themselves through what she did is just incredible. She doesnt see how strong she is, but, given the truth of her past, can you really blame her?

Family (both blood and self picked) is at the heart of this storyline. Juliet Ashton doesnt say that every family is perfect and without problems, nor does she suggest that every family can rival the ones on Eastenders, instead the author has made her characters relatable. She has made them endure things that one of us could relate, empathise with, acknowledge, or even learn from. You never know the full truth of what someone else is dealing with unless they come out and tell you themselves, and this book highlights that fact, and the way that people are so quick to come to their own conclusions, absolutely beautifully.

At times, #SadieMcQueen was quite a difficult book to read in terms of the deep rooted discussions, serious topics, and the way in which many of the characters had been deceived. On the other side of the coin, Sadie McQueen was also empowering, hopeful, full of strength. In other words, the storyline had the right mix of paths, and it all came together to create such a powerful story that warmed my heart.

I could sit here and say what all of the characters had gone through, but I won’t because, even if I did drop hints, it would take the shine away from the authors hard work. I’m basically saying to you that spoilers suck!

I absolutely adored finding out about all the different walks of life in the Mews, and I just loved the strength of the community spirit and the way spirit everyone came together to help one of their own. It didn’t seem to matter whether Fi was going through hard times herself, she would still be there for her best friend, Sadie, should she need her and visa versa.

The best part of the book for me, was the way in which Juliet Ashton came alive in her storytelling. I could feel the emotion behind the words when it was needed, yet I could also feel the elation and hope fulness too.

I truly couldn’t have asked for anything more from ‘The Rise and Fall of Sadie McQueen’ – it’s a story that has truly captured my heart and soul and, if I may say so, is probably the best book that Juliet Ashton has written so far.

What an empowering, insightful, emotional and spellbinding way to start the New Year. Juliet Ashton, you have done Sadie and co, proud. This was magnificent!

Ps. Is it too early to read it again?!

Buy now.

#Simon & Schuster · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · christmas · Coming Soon · contemporary fiction · humour · lifestyle · RandomThingsTours · RNA · romance · womens fiction

Uhoh! I’m #SnowedInAtThePractice! @CotswoldPenny @SimonschusterUK @AnneCater

Thank you Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to the publisher for the ARC of Penny Parke’s upcoming novel, ‘Snowed in at the Practice’. This book is set to be published by Simon & Schuster on the 14th November.

Larkford Surgery is the heart of a tightknit community in the Cotswolds, as well as a hotbed of drama, rivalry, resentment and romance – and that’s just the doctors …


Dr Holly Graham is finding life with two sets of twins exhausting. Even with husband Dr Taffy Jones and devoted friend Elsie by her side, she is completely outnumbered. Making the transition back to work will be no easy feat but a regular slot on Radio Larkford as their on-air doctor might be the perfect stepping stone, until an unexpected job offer changes everything.

Dr Alice Walker’s new canine clinic at Larkford Surgery with Coco, her assistance dog, has been a storming success. If only shipping her best friend, Dr Tilly Grainger, in from South America to cover for Holly had been such a smooth transition. It seems that Tilly isn’t finding life in the peaceful Cotswolds valley as rewarding as she’d hoped, and she is causing chaos …

What does TWG think?

Emotion? Check.

Heartwarming? Check.

Thought provoking? Check.

The perfect escapism? Double check!

What I love most about Penny Parkes’ novels is the way she captures the heart of her characters, whilst captivating her readers at the same time. In my eyes, that is a talent that you either have or you dont, and Parkes certainly has that talent!

Dr Holly Graham has swapped her scrubs and latex gloves, for nappies and dribbles. Holly loves being a mum and wouldn’t change it for the world, yet she cant help but miss her patients and the job she has temporarily left behind. Some people think that mothers cant have it all, yet Holly is determined to prove them all wrong.

Holly isnt the only one finding her feet, there is a new resident to the town who is finding it difficult to settle in and is worrying that she may have made the worst decision she has ever made.

In this story there is sunshine and rainbows mixed in with rain clouds and gales – you honestly get the best of both worlds in terms of uplifting storyline, and a storyline which makes your eyes close to leaking. The dynamics of the book were brilliant, and the variation between light and shade was incredible, as I felt that it kept me on my toes due to being unable to work out what to expect. I didn’t know what was going to be around the corner on the next page, and the fact that there were several characters with colourful personalities, made the element of surprise all the more addictive.

I thoroughly enjoyed the latest installment in the Larkford series. It was such a joy to lose myself in, and the festive frolics were an additional bonus in an already incredible read.

Heartwarming and memorable, ‘Snowed in at the Practice’ is THE perfect escapism for every single day of the year. I loved it.

Pre-order now.

#psychological · #Simon & Schuster · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · historical fiction · lifestyle · On location · Spy

This Halloween I’m dressing up as #TheGuardianOfLies – what about you? @simonschusteruk @KateFurnivall @ed_pr

Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and ARC, it is such an honour to be kicking off Kate Furnivall’s blog tour today!

1953, the South of France. The fragile peace between the West and Soviet Russia hangs on a knife edge. And one family has been torn apart by secrets and conflicting allegiances.

Eloïse Caussade is a courageous young Frenchwoman, raised on a bull farm near Arles in the Camargue. She idolises her older brother, André, and when he leaves to become an Intelligence Officer working for the CIA in Paris to help protect France, she soon follows him. Having exchanged the strict confines of her father’s farm for a life of freedom in Paris, her world comes alive.
But everything changes when André is injured – a direct result of Eloise’s actions. Unable to work, André returns to his father’s farm, but Eloïse’s sense of guilt and responsibility for his injuries sets her on the trail of the person who attempted to kill him.
Eloïse finds her hometown in a state of unrest and conflict. Those who are angry at the construction of the American airbase nearby, with its lethal nuclear armaments, confront those who support it, and anger flares into violence, stirred up by Soviet agents. Throughout all this unrest, Eloïse is still relentlessly hunting down the man who betrayed her brother and his country, and she is learning to look at those she loves and at herself with different eyes. She no longer knows who she can trust. Who is working for Soviet Intelligence and who is not? And what side do her own family lie on?

What does TWG think?

Revenge? Or family loyalties? Eloise has always looked up to her big brother, Andre. When they were children if he could do something, she would go to great lengths to prove that she could do it too. However, now that they’re older, do they know each other as well as they used to?

Andre has asked Eloise for help and his life, and possibly her own, are now in her hands. However, one bad move led them both to a hospital bed. With scars shining on their bodies like beacons, and the guilt eating at Eloise from the inside out, she is determined to put things right. But at what cost?

Accidents happen and, even though I could empathise with the frustration from both parties, Eloise didn’t do it on purpose so why was Andre channeling his anger towards her, and not the people who actually set out to end his life? Maybe maybe maybe she’s there and they’re not? Andre’s life has changed and it’s only natural for him to feel angry that he can no longer carry on with his duties. I just felt quite sorry for Eloise.

‘The Guardian Of Lies’ is such a devious and compelling novel, and I LOVED the addictive nature of the entire storyline! The way in which Kate Furnivall kept the secretive tendencies at the height of the story for the duration of the book was incredible. There were no slip ups, no pregnant pauses, no padding out the story with unimportant information – it was, in my opinion, utterly flawless.

Eloise’s journey definitely made me think as she had to choose between seeking revenge and being loyal to her family. That said, with her wanting to seek revenge, surely that was her being loyal to her family anyway? Personally, I thought that there were a lot of bad apples in the book and that Eloise was taking the brunt of their bad decisions! I cannot deny that it made for excellent reading though!

I am envious of anyone that gets to read this for the first time – you’re all in for a sublime, compelling treat that will question your own loyalties and integrity. Fabulous read.

The Guardian of Lies by Kate Furnivall is out now, published by Simon & Schuster, priced £8.99 in paperback.

Buy now.

#Simon & Schuster · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · humour · lifestyle · RandomThingsTours · RNA · romance · womens fiction

#BlogTour! #Review – #LivingMyBestLife by Claire Frost (@fabfrosty) @TeamBATC @AnneCater

It gives me great pleasure to welcome to TWG debut author, Claire Frost and her debut novel, ‘Living My Best Li(f)e. Many thanks to Team BATC for the ARC, and thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Here is my review:

Recently dumped by her boyfriend of ten years, Bell is struggling to move on with her life – and surrender the fleecy pyjamas she’s been living in since January. Haunted by #blessed on social media, she can’t help but compare her life to those she follows online, wondering where she is going wrong . . .

In the world of social media, Millie is the successful online influencer @mi_bestlife. But in real life she’s just a regular single mum trying to make ends meet, while fending off the younger competition and tenacious internet trolls. Her Instagram feed is far more #BestLie than #BestLife, and soon Millie begins to wish her life was more like her filters.

It isn’t until Bell and Millie’s paths cross that they begin to realise what they’re both missing. Can Millie prove to Bell that life online isn’t always what it appears to be? And in return, can Millie learn that she needs to start living for the moment and not for the likes?

What does TWG think?

Could this book BE any more apt?! How many of us have scrolled through social media, comparing the immaculate selfies with your bed head ones? Or what about the sheer happiness that oozes out of multiple faces on their Instagram grid, whilst you’re posting pictures of yourself looking bedazzled because your cat just threw up all over your child’s highchair, and your child chose that exact moment to reach for some food?

We have all been there. We are only humans after all so, ‘Living My Best Life’ is the story that is full of one liners that nobody ever dare say out loud. It’s the story which puts the human race under the spotlight, confirming that our insecurities are the norm and that faking our lives on Instagram isn’t frowned upon….to a point.

The hilarity throughout the story was impeccably timed. I loved the genuine humour and relatable factor of all of the characters, however Nick is an absolute end of a bell!!!! Seriously!!

It was refreshing to finally read a book that didn’t put single mums in a negative light, as though it’s something to be ashamed of. For that alone, thank you Claire Frost!

Usually when books are pre dubbed as ‘uplifting’, I find them to be anything but. However, i thought that ‘Living My Best Life’ really was the heartfelt and uplifting read that its being promoted as.

I am genuinely surprised that this is a debut novel, as the strength of the entire storyline has the calibre of an author who has been writing books for a long time. Bell and Millie’s friendship was an absolute joy to follow, and their journeys to self discovery was the antidote I never knew I needed.

A relatable, gigglefest, and heartwarming novel that is full of hope. I certainly was ‘Living My Best Life’ whilst reading this, that’s for sure! Loved it!!

Buy now.

#psychological · #Simon & Schuster · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · netgalley · real life · Uncategorized · womens fiction

#BlogTour! #Review – #IfYouWereHere by Alice Peterson (@AlicePeterson1) @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC

Huge thanks to the wonderful Simon and Schuster team for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Alice Peterson and ‘If You Were Here. Also, many thanks for the ARC. Here is my review:

When her daughter Beth dies suddenly, Peggy Andrews is left to pick up the pieces and take care of her granddaughter Flo. But sorting through Beth’s things reveals a secret never told: Beth was sick, with the same genetic condition that claimed her father’s life, and now Peggy must decide whether to keep the secret or risk destroying her granddaughter’s world.

Five years later, Flo is engaged and moving to New York with her fiancé. Peggy never told her what she discovered, but with Flo looking towards her future, Peggy realises it’s time to come clean and reveal that her granddaughter’s life might also be at risk.

As Flo struggles to decide her own path, she is faced with the same life-altering questions her mother asked herself years before: if a test could decide your future, would you take it?

What does TWG think?

If you could look into the future to find out how your life would pan out, would you do it? Honestly, I don’t think I could even answer that. Life is full of surprises, however if you knew what lie ahead of you, would you feel more confident about dealing with the negative things if you had warning?

Flo is faced with that very decision. Should she take a medical test to find out whether she is likely to succumb to the very illness that took her parents away from her? Before reading Alice Peterson’s latest novel, I had heard of Huntington’s disease but I didn’t quite know how devastating it could be. Just like many illnesses, it isn’t a one size fits all as many sufferers react differently to the symptoms and challenges they face.

Told as a dual narrative, ‘If You Were Here’ tells the story of Peggy and her granddaughter, Flo. Peggy finds out something which could like a fuse under her granddaughters life and, instead of biting the bullet and being honest with her, Peggy keeps that information to herself because she doesn’t want to hurt someone she loves dearly.

I could see where Peggy was coming from to an extent, however I could also see where Flo was coming from because it wasn’t up to Peggy to withhold that vital information about Flo’s health, from Flo herself.

The family dynamics and secretive notions, are very emotional and intense. It was incredibly difficult to form a solid opinion on the characters actions, having not endured what they have, yet finding a way to be empathetic is such an important mindset to have whilst reading this.

Alice Peterson writes stories about characters who are dealing with things that no-one hardly ever talks about. If the subject is likely to be seen as taboo, Alice Peterson is straight in there, bringing her characters personalities to life with such dignity, courage, poise and realism.

Getting to know Peggy and Flo was an absolute joy, however I was undeniably bereft when their story ended. I have a feeling that their emotional journey will stay with me for a long while to come, and I cannot wait to read another beautiful, uplifting novel from an author who knows, and understands, the power of empathy and emotion when it comes to hurdles involving illnesses.

Buy now.

#Simon & Schuster · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · humour · lifestyle · romance · womens fiction

#BlogTour! #Review – #LastOrdersAtTheStarandSixpence by Holly Hepburn (@HollyH_Author) @TeamBATC

Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence Blog Tour
Wheres better to shelter from the rain than the Star and Sixpence! Huge thanks to Harriet and the TeamBATC team for inviting me for a drink with Sam and Nessie, and for giving me something to remember them by in ARC form. It gives me great pleasure to have a natter about them on my blog today.

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Ice-cold drinks, summer sun and colourful characters – welcome to the perfect village pub!

Nestled in the quiet countryside sits the cosy village of Little Monkham, home of The Star and Sixpence, a renovated pub owned by sisters Sam and Nessie. As the locals welcome the new season, it appears that change is afoot in their tiny community, and not all of it for the better . . .

Nessie is moving in with her boyfriend, leaving Sam alone in the pub. But with the arrival of new chef Gabriel causing a flutter among the women of the village, it seems that Sam might not be so lonely after all. Having just recently come out of a relationship, Sam’s attraction to Gabe is inconvenient, but that’s the least of her worries when an unexpected visitor arrives at the pub, determined to stir up trouble.

As Gabe and Sam grow closer, Little Monkham’s latest arrival threatens to reveal a secret that will turn more than one world upside down. Can Sam and Nessie work through the fall out, or is it really last orders at The Star and Sixpence?

What does TWG think?

Without sounding at all corny, ‘Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence’ truly was a ‘pint’ sized perfection of a read. It’s not often I find myself frequent pubs…if at all to be honest, however I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world!

If you’re after a novel which delivers both romance and drama in one mouthful (sorry, I’ll stop with the puns soon….or will I?), Nessie and Sam can serve that up for you, no problem at all. Of course, being set in the local pub, you would have thought that the storyline would focus solely, if not mostly, on the ins and outs of the villagers who step foot over the threshold, right? Whilst it does to a point, there is a lot more to the villagers of Little Monkham than their favourite pint, and by golly the drama kept me going to the bar for more! (See, told you I wouldn’t stop!).

Nessie and Sam find themselves coming face to face with a visitor who could change their lives forever. Me being forever the cynic, had no faith in this person whatsoever and I smelt trouble a mile off. Obviously I couldn’t exactly shout through the pages to the characters to warn them, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to. And no, I’m not meaning Gabe here. He seemed to be changing lives without even being aware of it…if you catch my drift!

Ruby……my goodness, what a woman. I ADORED her character and I was so glad that Sam and Nessie had someone in the corner, determined to fight for them where necessary. I really don’t think that either of them would have been able to go through half of what they went through if it wasn’t for Ruby. I know that they had each other, but as the storyline will tell you further in, it wasn’t always easy for the sisters to approach each other about changes in their lives due to the turmoil it would have caused the other. I did feel for the sisters, I’m not going to lie. They were such fiery yet warm hearted characters, I couldn’t help but hope for a happily ever after for both of them.

‘Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence’ had such a cosy feel to the entire storyline – I really didn’t want the book to finish! I wanted to stay in the bubble that Holly Hepburn had created because, as weird as this sounds, I felt safe. I loved being able to escape to Little Monkham, and I will definitely remember Franny’s character. I mean, who wouldn’t?

Holly Hepburn never fails to deliver storylines which open your heart and soul to characters you could only wish to have in your own life. When certain events happened in the book, I couldn’t help but have a lump form in my throat, yet the author still managed to incorporate such heartache into the storyline in such a spellbinding and beautiful manner. To say I was captivated by Little Monkham would be an understatement. To say that ‘Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence’ stole my heart, would be absolutely bang on. I honestly urge you all to put this book in your shopping basket the next time you’re out. Like I say, it truly is a pint sized perfect novel.

Buy now from Amazon UK