#BlogTour! #Review – #YouMeEverything by Catherine Isaac (@CatherineIsaac_) @SimonSchusterUK

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Thrilled to be taking part in Catherine Isaac’s blog tour for #YouMeEverything! Huge thanks to Jess Barrett from Simon & Schuster for asking me to be involved! Here is my review:

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You Me Everything is a heartfelt and unforgettable story about the lengths we are prepared to go to for those we love. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry, this is novel you will never forget.

You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.

What does TWG think?

Oh…..I don’t even know where to begin. How do you even review a book like this? I hadn’t even reached the halfway point before my heart decided to start breaking.

‘You Me Everything’ is a story which managed to capture my heart almost straight away. As a single mum myself, it was pretty clear that I was going to side with the main character and relate to her point of view a lot more. Yes, I’ll even admit that I was annoyed with the father of the baby and marked his card straight away. However, as more heartbreaking topics came to light as the story progressed, my opinion of the father changed drastically because I was aware of the uncertain future that lay in front of them.

I’m trying not to say too much about the storyline as I don’t want to give anything away, but believe me when I say that ‘You Me Everything’ is extremely emotional. At first I thought the emotion was going to be because of Jess and her baby, William, but that really was just the tip of the iceberg.

This book has one of the best blurbs I have ever read as it is so vague, yet it makes you wonder what on Earth is behind the front cover of the book. I was not expecting the complex storyline, colourful characters, or the heart-wrenching situations Jess and her family found themselves having to face.

‘You Me Everything’ makes you think about what you would do in Jess’ situation. It makes you realise that life can change in the blink of an eye, pushing you to make decisions about things no parent should ever have to make. Jess knew deep down that she had to live in the moment and enjoy her life, but how could she when devastation could land on her doorstep at any moment? What would you do if you had to live in fear every single day, preparing your loved ones for things that nobody can actually prepare themselves for?

Catherine Isaac has written her characters very, very cleverly, enabling her readers to become in tune with their own emotions and adjust their viewpoints towards certain characters without actually doing anything.

The levels of friendship in this book isn’t ‘typical’. It’s more than that. It’s….real. The themes which run through the storyline are bold yet devastatingly beautiful, capturing the true essence of love, life, friendship and being a mum. At first the book is simple where the author gently eases us into Jess’ life. As the storyline progresses, the author naturally brings another part of Jess’ world to life, making me feel as though I wasn’t just reading the book, I was also living it.

My reaction to Catherine Isaac’s, ‘You Me Everything’, was a reaction I wasn’t prepared for. A reaction I never knew existed until then. Even though my heart was breaking, it took a long time for the tears to fall. I soon realised that my body was breaking with the shakes, feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest, and a sense of loss, was my own way of reacting to the book – from the inside out. I was utterly broken, utterly devastated, yet full of hope due to the incredible and enchanting words my eyes devoured.

I lost myself in William’s discussions. I lost myself in Jess’ emotion. I lost myself in every part of the storyline in a way that I will never, ever forget. Catherine Isaac talks to you via her characters, she brings them to life and showcases them in the most powerful way imaginable. If you’re picking up this book to just ‘read’ then be prepared to live and love alongside it.

Near the end of the book, I had to read several of the pages more than once as my eyes were pouring a waterfall of devastation, grief, passion, and hope.

I lived the lives of Catherine Isaac’s characters. I felt the love of Catherine Isaac’s characters. I believed in the hope that Catherine Isaac’s storyline covered me. This book is an unmissable, emotional, fulfilling, and untouchable novel which will hold your heart hostage in the most powerful way.

There isn’t just Jess, William or Adam – there is ‘You Me Everything’ and I will hold onto the power this book has given me for a very, very long time.

Buy now from Amazon

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#TWGDiscusses – Please STOP saying that e-books aren’t REAL books – it’s offensive! #authors #publishers #ebooks #paperbacks #lovebooks

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I feel like I’m stuck on repeat where this topic is concerned, yet STILL people continue to offend hundreds of authors, and readers, out there with comments such as ‘e-books aren’t real books’. How aren’t they real? An author spends the same amount if time writing a book whether it’s published in e-book, paperback, hardback or on a slate -eye roll-, so why do people continue to say that other formats of books aren’t real?

Let me ask you this….

You know those ‘friends’ you’ve made online yet haven’t currently met offline, would you say that they weren’t ‘real friends’ because they were made online? Probably not, so why is it okay to say that a book, published in a digital format, isn’t as real as those friends you have made using technology?

Think about it.

Authors can spend anything from a few months to a few years, perfecting their manuscript ready for publication, going through various steps such as multiple edits, restructures and so forth – it’s not like they wake up one morning, sit at their computer for an hour and produce a book. It takes time and a lot of patience. Once that manuscript is given to their publisher, it’s then digitalised and printed. Yes, contrary to popular belief, the same manuscript is used for a digital book AND a print book. Who would have thought it?! Obviously with a paperback/hardback you are physically turning the pages and holding the book with two hands, yet with a kindle you’re holding it differently and using one finger to change a page. BUT, have you thought about the different types of readers that are out there in the world? No?

Well you should.

Some readers can’t hold paperbacks/hardbacks due to illnesses.
Some readers can’t read books full stop because they’re blind and rely on audio.
Some readers are chronically ill and they require various different options, depending on their pain on that particular day.
Some readers have various different reasons as to why they would choose one format over another.

All of the above have one thing in common – they all want to read!!

I’ll be honest with you here. Several years ago I would have given you a filthy look if you had said about reading an e-book, but after realising that I was missing out on such fabulous books, I decided to give it a go. Not only that, several years ago I became a lot more ill and holding things for a long period of time was becoming impossible. E-books helped me to feel ‘normal’ and read books just like everyone else, on days where I felt like I couldn’t do anything like everyone else.

I appreciate that not everyone likes e-books and that they prefer paperbacks/hardbacks – that is totally fine! But what isn’t okay is when people say that they prefer ‘real’ books which is insinuating that a digital version of an authors book, is in fact fake. Can’t you see how offensive that is to the author? Just because a book is digitalised instead of being printed on paper, it doesn’t make it any less of a book!

Those ‘real book’ comments are not only offensive to the author who has written them, it’s also offensive to a reader reading them as if the 100 kindle books read last year shouldn’t be included in their Goodreads challenge because they’re ‘not real’. And yes, someone has said that before. If you don’t like e-books, fine! If you don’t like paperbacks, that’s also fine!

But please, please, please STOP saying that e-books aren’t real when they’re as real as the money you paid for them.

Oh, and as those comments are being made on a DIGITAL website, I can’t help but think ‘well isn’t that ironic’. Put your nose where it belongs, remove your snobbery and let people read the books they choose, in the format that they choose without offending a truck load of people in the process.

ALL books are real.
Instead of bashing people with the stupid ‘they aren’t real books’ comments, be happy that people are actually reading and supporting authors in any way they can. Surely that is more important than your snobbery?

#TWGTurnsTwo! Happy 2nd birthday The Writing Garnet! #blogbirthday #blogaversary #blogger #TheWritingGarnet

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Happy birthday to TWG!!!! I cannot believe that my little blog turns two years old today, what a corker of a year it has been! When I started The Writing Garnet back in 2016, never in a million years did I think it would blow up like this, nor did I think I would win awards for my blog. I started my blog as a way of saying thank you to authors who continue to allow me to escape my every day hell with stories that make me laugh, make me cry, give me chills – you name it. I’m not even being dramatic when I say that off the blog, my life is a challenge. In this last year, my health has taken even more of a nosedive, with little things like standing up in a queue, starting to become impossible. But, aside from my daughter (obviously), the only other ‘thing’ that helps me keep going is my blog and the community which surrounds it.

In 2016, I was a newbie. I knew nobody yet everyone else knew somebody and, whilst there are still cliques around, I have the most supportive bloggers, publishers, publicists etc around me, I feel like I can do anything with these people beside me. This last year has seen friendships blossom even more so and I am so, SO grateful that I can call these people my friends. I just want to say a massive thank you to Lucy Vine, Katie Marsh, Darcie Boleyn, Jo Robertson, Clair Boor, Katherine Sunderland, Mary Jayne Baker, Vicki Dickinson, Jules Wake, Sarah Hardy, Anne Cater, Noelle Holten, Betsy Reavley, Isabelle Broom, SJV, JB, Linda Green, Sam Carrington, Mairead O’Driscoll Hearne, Nica Hawkins de Koenigswarter, and many, many more, for always having my back, giving me advice, supporting me and giving me a well needed pep talk when I feel like I’m about to give up. I also want to say a massive thank you to all of the publishers and publicists I work with on a day to day basis, for allowing me to read such wonderful books and embark on a journey with them and the author. I also want to say thank you to all of the bloggers who share my posts daily and who continue to make me laugh with their squirrel antics and goodness what else! Also, a big thank you to everyone else who continues to share my posts, like my posts on the facebook page/instagram, and supports me. All of you mean the world to me and I wouldn’t be here without your support. Thank you all for believing in me and being the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I will forever be grateful for your friendship.

So, what has happened this last year? Well, SO MUCH! I was crowned the winner of ‘Most Inspirational Blog’ at the 2017 Annual Blogger Bash Awards – thank you so much to everyone who voted for me! Such an honour!

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I also turned into a mushy mess at the Edinburgh Book Festival where I got to meet one of my idols, Jenny Colgan (yes, I nearly cried). Jenny has been one of my favourite authors for as long as I can remember so it really was a dream come true to finally meet her, AND be quoted on a graphic in support of her new book!

Last year I also got to meet one of my blogger besties, Jo Robertson! You might know her as ‘MyChestnutReadingTree’, and my daughter now knows her as the person who plays Shopkins!

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You know on book covers there is usually a quote from a best selling author? Yeah? Well, HarperImpulse and Mary Jayne Baker made my dream come true last year by putting my quote on the front of MJB’s book. Yes, ON THE FRONT!

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Another highlight from the last year was getting an e-mail from a member of the RNA, stating that I was a nominee for ‘Media/Blog Star of the Year’ in the RNA Industry Awards. Yes, me. I had to double check the e-mail to check that they had sent it to the right person! Unfortunately I didn’t win, but it was still an honour to be nominated and then receive a ‘Runner up’ award – thank you so much.

The Writing Garnet seems to get busier and busier, the more time that passes and, whilst a lot of people think I’m bonkers for taking on over 40 blog tours a month (haha), I am in my element. I really do hope that this year is the year when all of my hard work pays off and I can find a job working from home – that really would be a dream come true.

Whilst all of the above are just highlights, there has been so many things which I am proud of – getting quoted on multiple graphics, having Fern Briton follow me on Twitter, winning multiple competitions via social media, receiving signed books in the post (as well as other amazing book post), and soooo much more. Sometimes I feel like I am dreaming, I really do. I really didn’t expect all of this when I first started my blog and, if I’m being perfectly honest, there are moments where I find that I don’t fit in with the community, and I worry that my words will never be enough, but my passion for books outweighs everything else and even though those worries continue to be there, I just think about how far I have come and why I started this blog in the first place.

Thank you for supporting me and TWG!!

You can ‘like’ my facebook page here!
You can ‘follow’ me on Instagram here!
Or you can ‘follow’ me on Twitter here!

#CoverReveal! Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain) @TeamBATC #ComingSoon

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)
If you’re not aware by now, I am a HUGE, HUGE fan of Heidi Swain and her beautiful novels. No, seriously, I am. I have every single one in paperback. Well, apart from this one but even I’m not THAT magical!! Now, because I am a huge fan of Heidi’s, I will always make time to support this author and her books, any way that I can. Today is no different.

Why?

Because folks, Heidi Swain has a new book coming out and she has asked me (alongside some other fabulous bloggers) to help reveal her new cover to you all!! How exciting!! This is such an honour, thank you Heidi!

It gives me great pleasure to reveal the cover of Heidi Swain’s upcoming novel; Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square. Feast your eyes on this beauty!!

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Kate is on the run from her almost-divorced husband who is determined to have her back, and she has found the perfect place to hide… a little cottage on Nightingale Square in Norwich, far away from her old life in London. But the residents of Nightingale Square don’t take no for an answer, and Kate soon finds herself pulled into a friendship with Lisa, her bossy but lovely new neighbour. 

Within a matter of days  Kate is landed with the job of campaigning the council to turn the green into a community garden, meanwhile all the residents of Nightingale Square are horrified to discover that the Victorian mansion house on the other side of the square has been bought by developers. But when all hope is lost, the arrival of a handsome stranger is sure to turn things around!  

Heidi Swain is the perfect summer read – you’ll want to find your own green space, stretch out in the sun and dive into life at Nightingale Square.

Ohhhhhhhh my goodness, isn’t it gorgeous!! This book is going to look beautiful alongside its other book brothers and sisters, that’s for sure!

‘Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square’ will be released in both e-book and paperback on the 31st May. If you’re super eager to pre-order your copy now in either format, you can do so here:

Pre-order the paperback HERE
Pre-order the e-book HERE

I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to read another one of Heidi Swain’s novels – I am having severe withdrawals symptoms!! Roll on the 31st May!

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)

TWG’s #TopBooksof2017! @Bookouture @TeamBATC @Headlinepg @HQDigitalUK @AvonBooksUK @ChoclitUK

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It’s that time of year again when most publishers, bloggers, readers, publicists, (you catch my drift) go through their ‘read’ books of the year, ready to compile a list of their most favourite books. A yearly ritual which sees ‘TBR’ piles growing even bigger, lists being compared, and readers finding new books they wouldn’t have dared to pick up until they read that particular list. A ritual where all the fabulous books us readers/bloggers have fallen in love with over the past year, get celebrated once again.

In lament terms, we get to gush. Having read a total of 318 books in 2017, I knew my #TopBooks list wasn’t going to be small. Have you SEEN the books published this year!? 2017 has been an outstanding year for books. So many debut authors have shone with their debut novels, whilst other authors many already love have upped their game with yet another novel. I have managed to get my list down to a Top 40 otherwise we would have been here until next year going through them, but, in all honesty, I could have happily put most of those 318 books on this list!

In absolutely NO particular order, here are TWG’s #TopBooksof2017!

 

1. A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson
(You can read my review here)
2. The Legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington
(You can read my review here)
3. Before You Go by Clare Swatman
(You can read my review here)
4. Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin
(You can read my review here)
5. The Quiet Man by James Carol
(You can read my review here)
6. The Second Chance Tea Shop by Fay Kennan
(You can read my review here)
7. The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle
(I am still due a full review for all parts of this book – watch this space!)
8. Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland
(You can read my review here)
9. The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton
(You can read my review here)
10. The Wedding Girls by Kate Thompson.
(You can read my review here)

11. Blink by K.L.Slater
(You can read my review here)
12. A Time to Change by Callie Langridge
(You can read my review here)
13. The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan
(You can read my review here)
14. Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman
(You can read my review here)
15. Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul
(You can read my review here)
16. The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper
(You can read my review here)
17. I’m Still Standing (previously titled ‘Reach For the Stars) by Colleen Coleman
(You can read my review here)
18. 37 Hours by J.F.Kirwan
(You can read my review here)
19. If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton
(You can read my review here)
20. Til The Dust Settles by Pat Young
(You can read my review here)

21. The Betrayed by Casey Kelleher
(You can read my review here)
22. The Detriment by David Videcette
(You can read my review here)
23. The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans
(You can read my review here)
24. Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson
(You can read my review here)
25. Trust Me by Angela Clarke
(You can read my review here)
26. Summer at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples
(You can read my review here)
27. Hot Mess by Lucy Vine
(You can read my review here)
28. It Started With a Tweet by Anna Bell
(You can read my review here)
29. A Little Christmas Faith by Kathryn Freeman
(You can read my review here)
30. A Little Luck, A Lot of Faith by Linn.B.Halton
(You can read my review here)

31. Dying Breath by Helen Phifer
(You can read my review here)
32. Dying Day by Stephen Edgar
(You can read my review here)
33. Scream Blue Murder by Tony.J.Forder
(You can read my review here)
34. The Little Clock House series (book 1&2) by Eve Devon
(Reviews can be found here and here)
35. Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell
(You can find my review here)
36. The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney
(You can find my review here)
37. The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen
(You can read my review here)
38. How To Be Champion by Sarah Millican
(I still need to write my review for this book – watch this space!)
39. Bad Sister by Sam Carrington
(You can read my review here)
40. The Other Mother by Judith Baker
(You can read my review here)

Phew! I’m knackered now! If any of the above books tickle your fancy, all purchase links can be found on the review link below each title. So many incredible books written by such fantastic authors – it has been an absolute honour to have been given ARC’s of a majority of the above books. I would like to say a huge thank you to:

Simon&Shuster // ChocLitUK // Harper Impulse // PanMacMillan // Bookouture // Aria
Headline // Bombshell Books/Bloodhound Books // HQDigitalUK // Faber Books 
Accent Press // Avon // Orion // Orenda & Bonnier Zaffre

for giving me the opportunity to read all of the above books. I would also like to thank all of the authors above for writing such jaw dropping and emotional reads! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – this year has been a fantastic year for books and I want to extend another thank you to every author and publisher behind each and every one of the 318 books I have read this year. Just like many readers, I use books to escape and without you writing/publishing those books, I truly don’t think that I would be able to cope.

Whilst 2017 has blown me away, 2018 is set to be another brilliant year for books as well – my number one novel to watch out for in 2018 is ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ by Sarah Vaughan which is due to be published on the 11th January 2018. I was very lucky to receive an ARC of this book before publication and you can read my review (as well as pre-order the book) by clicking here.

Did any of YOUR favourites pop up in my #TopBooksof2017? Let me know in the comments if any have, or whether you have decided to nab a few of these books for your own TBR piles!

2017, it has been a bookish pleasure. I cannot WAIT to see what 2018 brings in terms of books!

#BlogTour #Review – Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair @Heidi_Swain @TeamBATC

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Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening.
A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight,
Walking in a winter wonderland……

I reckon I am not the only one who sang that song after the read the title of this book, right?! It has been AGES since Heidi Swain last popped round to TWG for a visit. Sniff. But guess who’s come for a visit today!!! That’s right folks, Heidi Swain! With only 6 days until the big day itself, Heidi Swain is taking her ride in her very own sleigh as she goes and visits several bloggers about her latest festive treat, ‘Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair’. Huge thanks to the team at Simon and Schuster and Books and the City, for personally inviting me to take part in this tour. I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review with you all today:

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The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!

When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.

A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.

Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…?

Join Anna for a festive journey festooned with sleigh rides and silver bells and help her discover her happy-ever-after.

What does TWG think?

As a huge, huge fan of Heidi Swain and her books, I was over the moon to be asked to be involved in her blog tour for her second Christmas novel, as I actually have every single one of her books in paperback. I truly am fan girling right about now!

We are back in Wynbridge this festive season, as Anna finds herself there for a Christmas she would rather forget. Well, she would rather forget every single Christmas but, seeing as she got a job with a family who are able to make anything seem possible, whether Anna will actually be able to ignore the festivities this year remains to be seen.

I have such a soft spot for Wynbridge! It started off as a little village which nobody knew, yet in no time at all it has grown into a village which everyone is aware of and loves. It has been a pleasure to revisit the village after a little break away. I honestly don’t think I would get bored with that setting at all!

Poor Anna has had a rough time of it, but, just like most things, we are drip fed the information as the story progresses. When the truth of Anna’s past does eventually come out, it all came as such a shock as I wasn’t quite expecting it. Usually I find being drip fed information a bit annoying as I am too curious for my own good, but in situations like Anna’s, ‘drip fed’ is the way to go! The author kept me interested – I wanted to find out Anna’s story but the only way that I could do that, was to be patient and go with the flow of the story. Not that that was a hardship at all by the way! I mean, this book (and I probably have said it after every single Heidi Swain novel) really is the authors best book yet.

The entire storyline was jam-packed with secrets, colourful personalities, hilarious one liners, whilst also keeping family at the forefront of the storyline’s theme. Even though a couple of characters had stuffed things up for themselves, the family which Anna grew to be a part of, showed their strength by coming together as a family even when times were hard. It’s stories like this which make fixing every day situations seem a piece of cake.

Being totally honest, I did find myself getting quite emotional towards the end of the book as all the loose ends were getting tied up, sleigh bells were ringing, and memories were being brought to the present. Vague? I know, once you read the book you’ll see what I mean, but by golly it caught me! Not that I’m complaining by the way, I just didn’t expect to be overcome with such tender emotion. Heidi Swain really has outdone herself where this story is concerned, that’s for sure. There’s writing books from the heart, and then there’s writing books from the heart and believing in every single word on each and every page. This author has nailed the latter a million times over.

I adored how natural the relationships were. I adored how heart-warming the overall theme of the story was. I adored how beautifully the entire novel flowed. Would I change anything about this book? No, I would not. Although, I most definitely would love to be able to read it for the first time, every time.

‘Sleigh Bells and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair’ is by far one of the most magical books I have read this Christmas, if not ever.

It is beautifully written, tenderly executed, and enchantingly memorable. An absolute delight to read, this book deserves a truck load more than five stars. A book to be treasured, a book to be devoured, ‘Sleigh Bells and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair’ is a book to be loved, just like how you will feel once you reach the very end.

Beautiful.

Buy now in paperback & E-book from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – #AnatomyofaScandal by Sarah Vaughan (@Svaughanauthor) @simonschusterUK

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I am beyond delighted to welcome author, Sarah Vaughan, to TWG today as I review her highly anticipated novel, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’. Sarah Vaughan’s novel is set to be one of the biggest reads of 2018, which you can find that out for yourself when the book is published on the 11th January 2018. Huge thanks go to Simon Schuster & Jess Barratt for not only allowing me to read this book early, but for also inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Here is my review:

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‘The best courtroom drama since Apple Tree Yard … sensational’ Clare Mackintosh

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

What does TWG think?

When a book has a lot of hype surrounding it on social media, I usually sit back and worry ever so slightly, multiple questions running through my mind.
‘Will this book live up to the hype?’ ‘Would I be the only one to dislike the book?’ ‘What IF I dislike the book, would people come after me holding burning torches?’.

I am sure that a lot of bookworms, like myself, have been known to think that and yes, I’ll be honest, those questions above did run through my mind when I saw Sarah Vaughan’s, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ in the spotlight on social media. But, despite my worries, I felt a large surge of intrigue build up inside of me. I just knew that I had to read this book before it made it into the big wide world. I needed to see for myself what this book was all about and, you know what? In my opinion, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ not only lives up to the hype, it also surpasses it a million times over. This book blew me away and left me wanting more. Never have I ever read a book which not only ticks every box surrounding modern-day society, it also ignited a fire in my belly which hadn’t been lit for many, many years.

Without giving too much away, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ has a theme which is highly in tune with society right now. Yes, certain parts of the theme make for uncomfortable reading, but seeing as this sort of thing happens to thousands upon thousands of people, I am certain that us readers feeling a smidge uncomfortable reading it, is nothing compared to what the people involved felt.

There’s a scandal in Westminster (shock). A person who has a high status and probably thousands of pounds in the bank, alongside a person whose life has been governed by certain eventualities. Who would they believe? A person with status, or a person who was being perceived in a certain way due to looks and lower status? Of course, not every single person can work in Westminster, can they?

I could relate to so much of this novel. I can’t say WHAT I related to as that would give the story away, but let’s just say that I related to the overall theme itself, especially how one character in particular felt.

To be perfectly honest, I think that Sarah Vaughan is incredibly brave for writing a book about a subject which is staring everyone straight in the face, knowing full well that it could bring some rather questionable comments to light. Not only that, I think that this author is inspirational for writing this book as well as, probably without even knowing it, she has become the voice of reason for many people in a similar situation due to what she has written her book about.

Sarah Vaughan has hit the (albeit sickening) nail on the head with ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ because everything about this storyline screams reality. It doesn’t seem to matter what the truth is anymore, all that seems to matter is how much money people can throw at a situation, regardless of whether they’re in the wrong or not. Since when did honesty come with such a disgusting price tag?

I am going to put this out there and say that yes, ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ is a guaranteed must read for 2018 and beyond. I absolutely loved every single thing about this storyline. It was addictive. Intriguing. Honest. Real. Hard hitting. Emotional. Raw. Gritty. This is a book that I would be prepared to walk around my town with in the freezing cold, shouting loud and proud whilst also demanding people to buy it. I’m being serious!

‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ is everything I could have wished for and more. The storyline flowed like a waterfall – perfectly and utterly beautifully. I’ll even go as far to say that Sarah Vaughan’s novel should be made into a T.V. drama without a doubt. This book really needs to be on everyone’s book shelves, in everyone’s minds, in everyone’s hearts. Just…everywhere.

I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again – this book blew me away in more ways than I could ever imagine. Just, wow. It goes to show that I adored this book if I am struggling to convey my thoughts!

A phenomenal, beautifully written, hard-hitting and poignant novel which will leave a mark not only on your mind, but also your soul. A novel which highlights what is wrong with this world and some of the people in it, whilst also highlighting the strength of a lot of people in this world and how they go through life despite being on the receiving end of devastating situations.

If you need a confidence boost – this book is for you. If you’re needing a reality check – this book is for you. If you’re needing a book to lose yourself in – this book is for you. I really can’t recommending ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ enough. Everyone should go and pre-order this book right now because I’m telling you now, I am most definitely buying the hardback of this book when it’s released, because it is a book which everyone should put on their bookshelves with pride.

Out-flipping-standing. Sarah Vaughan is an author to watch in 2018.

Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster.

Pre-order right now from Amazon

#Review – Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by @Heidi_Swain @simonschusteruk @TeamBATC

heidiswani

From the bestelling author of Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market and The Cherry Tree Café comes a glorious summer treat of glamping, vintage tearooms and love …

When Lottie Foster’s grandmother’s best friend Gwen dies, she leaves Lottie her lovely home, Cuckoo Cottage.

Lottie loves the cottage but Matt, a charming local builder, points out that beneath its charm it is falling apart. Luckily he is always on hand to help with the problems that somehow seem to keep cropping up. But is he just a bit too good to be true? Certainly Will, Lottie’s closest neighbour, seems to think so.

Lottie plans to set up her own business renovating vintage caravans. She hasn’t told anyone about the project she has cooked up with Jemma from The Cherry Tree Café to repurpose Gwen’s old caravan and turn it into a gorgeous tearoom.

But before she can finally enjoy living with her legacy she must uncover who she can trust, and who to avoid. And with two men vying for her attention, will she also find love?

What does TWG think?

After a little time away from losing myself in one of Heidi Swain’s delectable novels (it wasn’t easy, believe me), I returned to Wynbridge with a spring in my step and copious amounts of excitement. After all, if you have read any of Heidi Swain’s previous novels, you’ll know that returning to Wynbridge is like catching up with old friends whilst making new ones in the process.

Lottie Foster is back in Wynbridge for a flying visit –  visit that is, unfortunately, surrounded by a lot of sadness and guilt. Just as Lottie was about to leave Wynbridge and make her way back to her mundane daily life, she is stopped dead in her tracks (pardon the pun) by information that could potentially change her life completely. Well, either that or she ends up being the most talked about woman in the village. Oh, wait…

Having adored Heidi Swain’s previous novels, I was so excited to see what the latest Wynbridge instalment would bring. How was The Cherry Tree Cafe thriving? Were the owners of Skylark Farm still living their dream? Whilst I was looking forward to catching up with some old friends, Lottie’s arrival in Wynbridge took over my thoughts in more ways than one. First of all, she didn’t exactly make a calm entrance back into the village, now did she? I probably shouldn’t have laughed at that, but I did, sorry!

As soon as the front door of Cuckoo Cottage was unlocked, I just knew that Lottie’s new life wasn’t going to be as plain sailing as she would have liked. I was waiting for the guy to come in and rescue the ‘damsel in distress’. It didn’t seem to matter whether she was actually ‘in distress’ or not but, sure enough, a male swooped in and popped himself on Lottie’s radar. Predictable? A teeny bit. However, what I wasn’t expecting was a second male character to swoop in and re-rescue the ‘damsel in distress’. Predictable? Not in the slightest, although he (Matt) seemed to appear out of nowhere like he was waiting for the right moment to pounce.

I wouldn’t say that I fell in love with Lottie’s character straight away but, because I had grown accustom to the closeness of the current Wynbridge residents as part of the previous novels, I felt as though Lottie Foster was a little bit of an outsider and I was hoping she hadn’t moved to Wynbridge, purely to cause trouble. Sounds a bit daft getting protective over a fictional village I know, but it’s a little bit difficult not to emotionally attach yourself to the village and its hardworking residents. I felt as though we have come such a long way already by overcoming such heart-breaking hurdles with various characters, I guess I just didn’t want their lives unraveling due to Lottie’s situation.

Matt annoyed me from the moment he stepped foot into Cuckoo Cottage. Obviously I cannot divulge the reasons why as it’ll give away the storyline but, he really needs to take a good hard look in the mirror and grow up (and yes, that’s the nice way of putting it!). As for Lottie and Will’s friendship, it seemed to me that she had only been back in the village a moment of minutes before she was dreaming of getting jiggy with her new neighbour. Whilst their friendship certainly was entertaining, I did feel as though they had reached 0-100 in the blink of an eye. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

Overall, I found that ‘Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage’ was such a joy to read, keeping me entertained from start to finish. Yes certain parts of the storyline came across as a little predictable, but, it didn’t take any of the Wynbridge away, nor did it ruin my enjoyment of the novel at all. The more I read of the book, the more I found myself warming to Lottie Foster and her little personality quirks – especially how she threw herself into emergency situations. For me, I preferred that side of her personality, and I truly believe that there is a lot more to Ms.Foster than we were shown. Hopefully she will return in later books (if any) as I really feel she is a gem just waiting to be discovered properly.

‘Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage’ was such a pleasurable read which was full of giggles, heart-warming moments, live rivals, and memories. It is so hard not to fall in love with Wynbridge but, once again, I fell in love with it one more time.

Wynbridge may be magical in itself, but it’s Heidi Swain’s energising and exquisite storytelling which makes it that way, as well as making me come back for more. Stunning.

Thanks Netgalley.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – Practice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes @CotswoldPenny @simonschusterUK

Penny Parkes

THE HILARIOUS AND HEARTFELT NEW NOVEL FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF OUT OF PRACTICE!
‘If dishy doctors, cute dogs, hilarious OAPs and idyllic country settings are your thing, you’re in for a treat with this second novel set at a GP practice in the village of Larkford. Funny, moving, romantic and full of characters you’ll love – it’s perfect in every way’ Heat

The Practice at Larkford has suddenly been thrust under the spotlight – and its nomination as a ‘NHS Model Surgery’ is causing the team major headaches. Dr Holly Graham should be basking in the glow of her new romance with fellow doctor, Taffy – but she is worried that the team is prioritising plaudits over patients, and her favourite resident, the irreverent and entertaining Elsie, is facing a difficult diagnosis. Add to that the chaos of family life and the strain is starting to show.

Dr Dishy Dan Carter’s obsession with work is masking unhappiness elsewhere – he can’t persuade girlfriend Julia to settle down. It’s only as Julia’s mother comes to stay that he realizes what she has been hiding for so long. Alice Walker joins the team like a breath of fresh air and her assistance dog Coco quickly wins everyone round – which is just as well, because Coco and Alice will soon need some help of their own. Can they pull together and become the Dream Team that the NHS obviously thinks they are?

Out of Practice won the Romantic Comedy of the Year category of the RNA Awards.

What does TWG think?

I am absolutely delighted to be today’s stop on Penny Parkes’ blog tour for her new novel, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’! Huge thanks to the oh-so-lovely, Jess Barrett from S&S for inviting me on the tour! Such an honour.

For the last year or so, I have seen Penny Parkes’ name everywhere. Whenever I hopped onto Amazon a thumbnail of her book, Out of Practice, made itself known. Yet, despite that, I put her novel on the forever growing ‘to be read pile’, adamant that I would get round to reading it. Shamefully, I didn’t. However, Ms.Parkes’ name kept cropping up. I saw reviews for her first book, social media posts; I was too busy fangirling the author instead of reading her work. Well, that was until Jess Barrett contacted me and I managed to make my three-year old come running into the kitchen with my squeals. The author says that ‘Practice Makes Perfect’, and after reading her new novel, I whole heartedly agree.

Why?

Because this was THE perfect time to fall under Penny Parkes’ literary spell, without any other books coming between me, and page numero uno. If you like the thought of a dishy doctor, a cute four-legged friend, as well as the ‘shouldn’t do that’ of a doctor’s surgery, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ will be right up your street.

If you haven’t read the first book in the Larkford Series, ‘Out of Practice’ – don’t fret. I haven’t and I found that I was able to slot into the lifestyle of the characters extremely easily, without feeling like I was missing out on any vital pieces of information which could hinder my enjoyment of this book.

This storyline is FULL of drama, drama and more drama! Who doesn’t like drama? Dan Carter and his girlfriend, Julia, seemed to be having a spot of bother, whilst the other doctors in the surgery were competing against four-legged friend, Coco, for attention. Not only does the storyline contain drama from the medical team, their patients were giving them a run for their money. After the practice was thrust into the spotlight, stress levels were raised and goal posts were moved. One moment the doctors were well aware of what their roles consisted of, the next moment they were unsure of every single detail in their lives. Personally, I LOVED watching everything unfold. I couldn’t foresee what was going to happen, at all. I just knew that I was looking forward to the rollercoaster ride.

For me, the characters of ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ is what made this storyline come to life. Their individual personalities and unique stories, in my eyes, gave the story an incredible amount of depth, as well as holding onto the relatable factor that a lot of readers look out for. As a person who should have their own seat in their local doctors surgery, I found it quite refreshing to read a novel from the ‘other side’ – the doctor side. Plus, this book has given me something humorous to think of the next time I have to venture to my surgery for even more tests. I mean, how could you not think of a certain dishy doctor, and an unhinged personality that is good ol’ Elsie? Would it be bad of me if I said that I wanted my doctor to be Taffy?

Penny Parkes’ latest novel is the type of book you need to invest time into. At 559 pages long, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ is a hunk-a-chunk of burning love…and then some. It is, quite possibly, the longest contemporary fiction type novel I have ever read. Can I let you into a little secret? It’s also one of my most favourite as well. Yes, really.

I just love the down to earth vibe that the book gives off. The bubbly, three-dimensional characters who were able to make me sides hurt from laughing. The firecracker, Elsie, who I will remember for a very, very long time due to her unbelievably personality. All of that, plus a storyline that kept on giving – I mean, how could I not rate this highly? Of course, none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the brains behind it, Penny Parkes. In such a short space of time, this author managed to turn the characters into ‘friends’, rather than just a name for the readers remember. I giggled. I snlaughed. I gasped. I awwww-ed. I said ‘what on earth’ more times than I care to admit. AND I wanted to give the author a hug after the tying of the loose ends.

TWG’s verdict? Enough talking, go and buy it. If an author can turn this Ice Queen into a warm, fuzzy mess – it’s definitely a winning book.

Thanks Simon and Schuster.

Buy now from Amazon UK

The blog tour isn’t over yet, so make sure you stop by the bloggers listed on the graphic below:

 

Practice Makes Perfect Blog Tour

#EarlyReview of The Last Piece of My Heart – @PaigeToonAuthor @SimonSchusterUK @JessBarratt88

Paige Toon

When life feels like a puzzle, sometimes it’s the small pieces that make up the bigger picture… Join Bridget on a journey to put her world back together.

A successful travel journalist, Bridget has ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog about the missing pieces of her heart into a book. But after a spate of rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition.

Nicole Dupré died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel. Tasked with finishing the book, Bridget is thankful to have her foot in the publishing door, even if it means relocating to Cornwall for the summer and answering to Nicole’s grieving husband, Charlie

What does TWG think?

I was lucky enough to have been given a copy of Paige Toon’s new book, long before publication date. The only downside to that was how I ended up having multiple arguments with myself about it. They went something like this;

Me: AHHHHH read it already!!
Me: Nooo, I can’t read it yet, I need to savour it for as long as possible!
Me: But you need to read it!!
Me: Savour it!! It’s PAIGE TOON FOR GOODNESS SAKE
Me: READ IT BECAUSE IT IS PAIGE TOON!!!
Me: But then if I read it, I’ll end up finishing it!
Me: Well yes, that’s the whole point!

Soooooo, much to the annoyance of…me, I read it. Now, I say annoyance like I didn’t want to read it, when I would have done anything TO read this book. As you saw by the argument with myself (above), I just didn’t want to read it and then end up being disappointed because it had finished, meaning I would need to wait for another book (which I’m going to have to do anyway!!).
Right, if you’re a bookworm, you’ll understand what I’m trying to get at here, right? I hope so!

Anyway, I did attempt to savour this book, so much so that I ended up reading 60 odd percent in one day. Yeah, totally savouring it! Even if I wanted to, I could not have put it down. Whilst I struggled to gel with Bridget at first, I automatically clicked with the general feel of the storyline, and I couldn’t put my finger on why that was exactly. It just felt…magic. Does that make sense?

‘The Last Piece of My Heart’ really came into its own, in my opinion, when the setting changed to Cornwall. It felt like the entire feel of the storyline, as well as the strength of the characters and their emotions, became settled and I was able to really get comfortable with the book. It was also at that moment when my emotions began to get the better of me.

Why?

Because, one of the characters in particular grabbed a hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go. It sounds pretty daft now when I think about how emotional that one character made me, but I’m just being honest. I’m trying to be extremely vague and not say too much here as I guess it could be seen as an interlinked spoiler, BUT, the character I’m referring to was by far my favourite character in the book. Such a beautiful, beautiful character.
(If you read the book when it comes out, you’ll no doubt see who I’m on about!)

Charlie and Bridget’s relationship truly was a breath of fresh air. Their banter was on point and the way their personalities complimented each other, really did make for excellent reading. Paige Toon certainly knows how to create such loveable, memorable  characters that reel you into the heart of the storyline like long-lost friends.

I have been a HUGE fan of Toon’s work for many, many years and I have to say that ‘The Last Piece of My Heart’ is definitely her best book to date, and one of my most favourite books of all time. She just has that skill of making a storyline come to life as though you’re living in the pages with the characters; a comforting author I would say. Whilst this novel delved deeper into some rather emotional and raw topics, it also made me laugh out loud and end up with sore cheeks from smiling so much.

Toon’s brand new novel, in my eyes, is flawless. From the moment I began reading, until the moment the book unfortunately came to an end, I was addicted to Bridget, Charlie and Nicole’s life. I would say that Paige Toon had me at hello, but the book didn’t start like that! You catch my drift though I’m sure..

‘The Last Piece of My Heart’ is yet another of Paige’s books which I could sit and talk about for an age, but I can’t. I am absolutely devastated that the book had to come to an end, I didn’t want it to! I wanted to keep on reading and stay in the safe haven of Toon’s delightful and exhilarating words.

An addictive, heart warming, thought-provoking, and beautiful read from the incredibly talented, Paige Toon. The Last Piece of My Heart is an outstanding tale of love, loss and having the strength to make the most out of your life, no matter what the circumstances are.

Paige Toon and her brand new novel now have a piece of my heart, and you know what? I don’t want it back either because I will remember this phenomenal book for a very long time.

P.S. Welcome to my list of top books ever, Paige. This novel flew on there. Amazing, truly amazing.

Thank you S&S!

‘The Last Piece of My Heart’ by Paige Toon, will be published by Simon and Shuster on the 18th May 2017. You can ensure your copy is secure by preordering it via the links below (you’ll be mad not to, honestly):

Pre-order now from Amazon UK
Pre-order now from Amazon US