#CoverReveal! #PoppysRecipeForLife by Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain) @TeamBATC

Cover reveal number two is here!! Some of you may remember this author from Nightingale Square, or even The Cherry Tree Cafe! Heidi Swain is back with a bang and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on her upcoming novel. So, without further ado, here is the stunning cover for ‘Poppy’s Recipe For Life’ by the amazing, Heidi Swain:

Treat yourself to a glorious novel full of food, sunshine, friendship and love

Things haven’t always been straightforward in Poppy’s life but her dreams are finally within her reach.
 She’s moving into a cottage in beautiful Nightingale Square, close to the local community garden, where she can indulge her passion for making preserves and pickles. She may not have the best relationship with her family but she is surrounded by loving friends, and feels sure that even her grumpy new neighbour, Jacob, has more to him than his steely exterior belies. 

But the unexpected arrival of Poppy’s troubled younger brother soon threatens her new-found happiness and as the garden team works together to win community space of the year, Poppy must decide where her priorities lie and what she is prepared to fight for …

How gorgeous is that!!!! I have every single one of Heidi’s novels in paperback,  and this one will look STUNNING beside the others!! If you are very eager and want to pre-order your copy of ‘Poppy’s Recipe For Life’, you can do so now via Amazon UK as it will be released into the wild on the 30th May.


#BlogTour! #Review – #AYearatCastleCourt by Holly Hepburn (@HollyH_author) @SimonschusterUK @TeamBATC

Finally my stop on the blog tour is here!!! I am super excited to be sharing my review today, of Holly Hepburn’s latest release, ‘A Year at Castle Court’. Huge thanks to Harriet from Simon & Schuster for the blog tour invite and the beautiful paperback. Here is my review:

Sadie is a single mum, nursing a broken heart. Her best friend from childhood, Cat, is burned out from working long hours as a chef in Paris. In need of a change, they decide to invest in their dream – running their own handmade biscuit shop in gorgeous Castle Court, a three-storey food court tucked away behind Chester’s bustling streets.
They soon discover that Castle Court has its own community – a little haven of delight against the stresses of the outside world. But not everyone welcomes the new business; the patisserie owner is less than pleased by what she sees as direct competition and Greg, who runs the fancy bistro that dominates one end of the courtyard, doesn’t think Sadie and Cathave the talent or business acumen to succeed. Luckily, there’s support in the form of the delectable Jaren, who owns the Dutch waffle house opposite Smart Cookies, and Swiss chocolate-shop owner, Elin. And if all else fails, the friends can drown their sorrows in Seb‘s cocktail bar on the third floor!

What does TWG think?

Oh my – if only Castle Court really existed!! Well, having said that I know I would be bankrupt and the size of a house, but at least I’ll be a content, bankrupt house!!

‘A Year at Castle Court’ follows the lives of Sadie and her best friend, Cat – two ladies who are trying to make their dream come alive with their delicious baked goodies. However, a perfectly baked biscuit isn’t everyone’s idea of happiness (I know, I reckon those types of people must be robots or something!!), and it doesn’t take long for things in Castle Court to get a little heated. Other businesses in the court feel as though their noses have been pushed out of joint, and they seem determined to make Sadie and Cat’s venture a bit of a burnt one.

I absolutely L-L-LOVED this book and every little thing about it! Firstly, I am the human version of Cookie Monster so the addition of biscuit heaven was definitely a plus. Secondly, Cat and Sadie are like chalk and cheese with their personalities, and I loved being able to follow their journeys both on a professional level as well as a personal one. Whilst I gelled with Cat from the onset, I couldn’t help but relate to Sadie a lot more due to her being a single mum, and my heart certainly went out to her when the storyline focused on her child’s father. That said, I couldn’t understand why she put up with it for so long and refused to listen to her heart. But that’s just me – everyone is different!

It was great to read about all different walks of life with each of the owners of the other businesses! Each character seemed to have their own journey to tell and I really enjoyed being able to get cosy and delve into their stories.

For me personally, ‘A Year at Castle Court’ ticked all of my boxes and more. The storyline was full of drama, yet was made level with the emotions behind Sadie and Cat’s heartbreak. Holly Hepburn writes from the heart in every sense of the word – she doesn’t half tell a story and expect her readers to make up the rest, no. She tells the full story in such a way that readers cannot help but get caught up in every little detail from the design on the biscuits, to the aroma of the other delicacies around the court.

I thoroughly enjoyed being able to lose myself in Holly Hepburn’s entertaining and magnetic story telling – hands down one of my most favourite books this author has written.

Buy now!

I am running a giveaway to win a paperback copy of Holly Hepburn’s novel, over on my Facebook page The Writing Garnet. If you live in the UK (sorry folks) and wish to be in with the chance of winning, check out the pinned post Here!!! Giveaway closes on Saturday 12th January at 11.59pm.

TWG’s #TopBooksOf2018! (@Bookouture @littlebookcafe @PanMacmillan @HarperImpulse @Headlinepg @TeamBATC @bwpublishing @MichaelJBooks @TransworldBooks @OrionBooks @AvonBooksUK @QuercusBooks @Aria_fiction) & more!

Oh my goodness me, what a PHENOMENAL year its been for books! I have had the pleasure of reading some truly amazing books this year, and whittling my 368 reads down to a selection of my favourites was incredibly difficult.

2018 has seen the growth of debut authors with debut novels, brilliant additions to intense series, and authors bringing out standalone novels which made me laugh out loud and my toes curl (clearly I mean two different genre’s…obviously!). Before I start sharing my favourite reads of 2018 with you all, let me just take this moment to say a MASSIVE thank you to all of the publishers who have sent me ARC’s in the post, approved me on Netgalley, asked me to be on blog tours – I am so honoured to work with every single one of you! Huge thank you to the publicists and blog tour organisers who also invite me to take part in some rather fabulous blog tours and who share my posts left right and centre, it is an absolute pleasure to work alongside you. Lastly, thank you SO much to all of the authors who continue to give me the escape and distraction I need from my everyday life with their incredible words – I am so excited to see what the new year brings for all of you. You are all amazing.

Actually, one last thing; thank you to all of my fellow bloggers for just being you and for supporting my posts, especially when I end up being on 6 blog tours in one day. Your support means the world to me and I cannot wait to follow your blogs again next year to see what fabulous reads have tickled your fancy.

So, let’s get to this list shall we? I’m cheating a little bit in my list as I have combined series as I couldn’t pick just one book from the series…so I chose them all. You’ll see what I mean when I get to it. This list is in no particular order, however when I get nearer the end, I will put a couple of the books in order to share my top read of 2018.

Ready? Let’s go!

#Review – The Endless Beach by @JennyColgan @littlebookcafe #TheEndlessBeach #publicationday

#BlogTour! #Review – #WeOwnTheSky by Luke Allnutt (@lukeallnutt) @TrapezeBooks

#BlogTour! #Review – #OnlyChild by Rhiannon Navin (@RhiannonNavin) @JessDuffyy @Panmacmillan

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans (@Be_the_spark) @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT

#BlogTour! #Review – The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @RaRaResources @HarperImpulse

#BlogTour! #Review – The Wildflowers by Harriet Evans (@HarrietEvans) @headlinepg @Annecater @Bookish_becky

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Next Girl by Carla Kovach (@CKovachAuthor) @Bookouture

#Review – You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac (@CatherineIsaac_) @TeamBATC @SimonSchusterUK @BookMinxSJV

#BlogTour! #Review – #LittleBigMan by Katy Regan (@katyreganwrites) @panmacmillan @MantleBooks @ChablisPoulet

#BlogBlitz! #Review – One Way or Another by Colleen Coleman (@CollColemanAuth) @Bookouture

#BlogTour! #Review – The Gravity of Love by Noelle Harrison (@NoelleHarrison) @bwpublishing

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Almost Wife by Jade Beer (@JadeBRIDES) @Bookouture

#BlogTour! #Review – The Island Villa by Lily Graham (@LilyGrahamBooks) @Bookouture

#BlogTour! #Review – No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister (@GillianMAuthor) @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90

#BlogTour! #Review – #NowYouSeeHer by Heidi Perks (@HeidiPerksBooks) @arrowpublishing

#BlogTour! #Review – Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman (@KathrynFreeman1) @ChocLitUK @RaRaResources

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheLightBetweenUs by Katie Khan (@Katie_Khan) @TransworldBooks @hannahlbright29 @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours

#BlogTour! #Review -Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas (@jo_thomas1) @AnneCater @HeadlinePG @Bookish_Becky @DavidHHeadley

#Review – My Mad Dad by Robyn Hollingworth (@MyMadDadStory) @trapezebooks @orionbooks

#BlogTour! #Review – In Bloom by C.J.Skuse (@CJSkuse) @HQStories

#BlogTour! #Review – Kiss of Death by Paul Finch (@paulfinchauthor) @AvonBooksUK #KissOfDeath

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

#BlogTour! #Review – Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne (@Raeannethayne) @MillsandBoon

#BlogTour! #Extract – Perfect Silence by Helen Fields (@Helen_Fields) @AvonBooksUK

I’ve popped one book here for Lisa Regan and D.K.Hood, but for me the entire series are absolutely brilliant and I urge you to buy them all!

#BlogTour! #Review – Her Final Confession by Lisa Regan (@lisalregan) @Bookouture

#BlogTour! #Review – The Crying Season by D.K.Hood (@dkhood_author) @Bookouture

#BlogTour! #Review -Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer (@kelrimmerwrites) @headlinepg @phoebe_swinburn @annecater

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Last Lullaby by Carol Wyer (@carolewyer) @Bookouture

#BlogTour! #Review – The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul (@GillPaulauthor) @Headlinepg @annecater

Right, we are nearing the end now so here are my favourite reads of 2018 numbers 11-2 (in no order)

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Moonlight on the Thames by Lauren Westwood (@lwestwoodwriter) @aria_fiction @rararesources

#BlogTour! #Review – I Wanted To Tell You By Anna Mansell (@AnnaMansell) @Bookouture

#Review – How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (@katherinecenter) @Panmacmillan @EllisKeene

#BlogTour! #Review – The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper (@ItsEmmaCooper) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

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

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

#BlogTour! #Review – The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave (@HollyACave) @QuercusBooks #MemoryChamber

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheConfession by Jo Spain (@spainjoanne) @QuercusFiction @AnneCater @QuercusBooks

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

#BlogTour! #Review – #MakeOrBreak by Catherine Bennetto (@cathbennetto) @Simonschusteruk @TeamBATC

I just want to say a special mention to Sarah Vaughan’s ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ – I read that book this time last year before it was released early 2018, and it’s a book I will forever be shouting about until I am blue in the face. I’ll even go as far to say that it is still a top book of mine a year after reading it. You can read my review here:

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

We have reached TWG’s Top Book of 2018!!!! I may be slightly cheating here as this book isn’t out until 1st February 2019, but due to the fact that I actually read this book this year, I felt that I was able to include it in my favourite reads of this year. I’m sure you’re wondering what that is……

I haven’t written a review of this book yet as I am on the blog tour for it next year. However, ‘The Day We Met’ by Roxie Cooper completely blew my mind and left tears rolling down my cheeks like a homemade waterfall. Stephanie and Jamie are two, highly complex, emotional and brilliantly written characters, I cannot see how anyone wouldn’t fall in love with them like I did. For me this book was everything I could have hoped for and more.

I will do a full review on the blog tour next year, but if you fancy pre-ordering your copy now based on my views above, you can do so now here!

That’s it folks! TWG’s Top Books of 2018! How many have you read? How many are you going to read? Let me know in the comments and keep me posted! Thank you all so much for sticking with me for another year, here’s to yet another fantastic year for books.

See you next year, folks!!

Kaisha x

#BlogTour! #Review – Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland by Heidi Swain (@heidi_swain) @simonschusteruk @teambatc

I am beyond honoured to be one of today’s stop on Heidi Swain’s blog tour as it’s publication day! Huge thank you to Harriett Collins for ensuring I got a space on the blog tour and for the ARC. Here is my review:

After calling off her engagement, Hayley, the Wynthorpe Hall housekeeper, wants nothing more than to return to her no-strings fun-loving self, avoiding any chance of future heartbreak. Little does she know, Wynbridge’s latest arrival is about to throw her plan entirely off course . . .
Moving into Wynthorpe Hall to escape the town’s gossip, Hayley finds herself immersed in the eccentric Connelly family’s festive activities as they plan to host their first ever Winter Wonderland. But Hayley isn’t the only new resident at the hall. Gabe, a friend of the Connelly’s son Jamie, has also taken up residence, moving into Gatekeeper’s Cottage, and he quickly makes an impression on Wynbridge’s reformed good-girl.
As preparations commence for the biggest event of the season, the pair find themselves drawn ever closer to one another, but unbeknownst to Hayley, Gabe, too, has a reason for turning his back on love, one that seems intent on keeping them apart.
Under the starry winter skies, will Gabe convince Hayley to open her heart again once more? And in doing so, will he convince himself?

What does TWG think?

I am probably going to sound like a worn out record here (if you’ve read my other reviews for Heidi Swain’s previous books you’ll know what I’m on about…), but I am just going to come out and say it anyway because as always, I 100% mean it:

Heidi Swain, you absolute gem!!!!

Can’t I just get away with Writing ‘beautiful!!!’ as my review? No? Okayyyy.

This book is absolutely beautiful though and, once again, Heidi Swain has delivered a deliciously festive novel which is set to rival Christmas Day itself. Seriously. I adore Wynbridge. Every time I go back there with new characters, I feel as though I’m catching up with old friends, making new friends, as well as feeling severely content when The Cherry Tree Cafe gets mentioned as that’s where Wynbridge began. I love how the author manages to include characters from her previous book, in the storyline for this book, bringing all of the stories together like a proper community.

Yes, each one of Heidi Swain’s novels could be seen as a series, however due to the way each book is written, they can be read as a stand-alone with no problem at all. I will also say that each book is divine and you certainly wouldn’t be losing out if you chose to visit Wynbridge from the very beginning.

There is a lot of romance, humour, and festive delights in this book to warm your cockles ten times over, and whilst I would love to have a natter about each event in the book, I would hate to ruin it for everyone else. Basically that is a nice way of me saying to go and buy #SnowflakesandCinnamon, you really won’t be disappointed.

Despite being a light hearted, romantic, heartwarming read, Heidi Swain still incorporated an emotive journey into several of her characters lives. Journeys which I couldn’t help but be touched by. I adored the vibe in Wynthorpe Hall and couldn’t help but feel the love from every single character who lived there.

#SnowflakesandCinnamon truly is the perfect read to snuggle up with this Christmas and every single day of the year. My Christmas Wish this year is for more Wynbridge tales as my life wouldn’t feel complete without the books that allow me to escape to a place where everyone is loved, regardless of your past, present, future outlooks – anything.

A spellbinding, captivating, and outstanding novel which has the perfect recipe on how to do life for YOU – what more could you want? This is by far one of the best books I have read this year. Simply stunning!

Buy now!

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

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

What if someone else was living your happy ever after?

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

A bit like ‘While I Was Sleeping’.

Maddie was full of excitement. Hope. Love.

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Extract from #TheBookNinja by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus (@thebookninjas) @simonschusteruk

Second day of the blog tour for ‘The Book Ninja’, and the tour bus stops here at TWG! This book is on my TBR and I aim to get to it very soon, but until then I have an extract from the book to share with you all today. Before I do that however, here is a little bit more information about Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus’ new book:

‘Frankie, think about it. Literature is your life. You’ve been trawling Tinder looking for well-read intellectuals, but it’s not working. Let’s shake things up! Just use your favourite books to find a man.’ 

Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person. It’s not that she hasn’t tried – Frankie is the queen of online dating. But she has had enough.

With the help of her best friend and colleague Cat, Frankie decides to embark on the ultimate dating experiment. Inspired by her surroundings at The Little Brunswick Bookshop where she works, Frankie places her hope in her favourite books to find her the perfect man… Secretly planting copies on trains, trams and buses, Frankie hopes to find the man of her dreams through a mutual love of good books. The only flaw to the plan? That she may never get her books back!

But that turns out to be the least of her worries… In between crazy dates and writing them up on her blog, Frankie stumbles upon her perfect man. There’s just one problem…Frankie is strictly a Jane Austen kind of woman and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Seriously, obsessively into it…

Can Frankie overcome her book snobbery for the man of her dreams? Or will she be left searching the trains for her modern-day Mr Darcy forever?

You can purchase ‘The Book Ninja’ now from Amazon

Extract – chapter 1.

If Frankie’s life were a book, she would title it Disappoint- ment, named aptly after the disaster that was her career, her family and, of course, her love life.

Frankie’s alarm blared accusingly, declaring that she was already twenty minutes late to get out of bed. She sighed, rolled over, and buried her face in her shabby copy of Emma, which she had shoved under her pillow the night before. Then she bit her lip, thinking she would never be remarkable enough to have a book named simply after her first name.

But Frankie never judged a book by its title. Nor by its cover. She liked to judge a novel purely by its opening sentence, which she and her best friend Cat dubbed a ‘book birth’. InEmma’s birth, Austen described Miss Woodhouse as ‘hand- some, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition’. By contrast, the opening sentence of Frankie’s birth was her mother proclaiming, ‘She’s bald and has her father’s big nose.’

Frankie pulled her blanket over her head and drank up the words on the page in front of her. She knew she was approaching the proposal scene, and closed her eyes tight. Just like a good chocolate bar, she wasn’t sure whether she should indulge in its goodness right now, or savour it later. And just like that, the jarring ring of her phone solved the dilemma for her. Frankie picked it up and saw her mother’s name flashing on the screen. She rolled her eyes, clicked ‘ignore’ and slowly dragged herself out of bed.

Searching for an outfit that was easy to put together, she SY picked up a loose cotton dress from her floor and flung it on. Scooting through her bedroom door, she walked towards her pride and joy – her precisely colour-coded bookshelf. Filled with 172 of her all-time favourites, the bookshelf lined a full wall of her living room. Beginning with reds on top, the wall shaded into oranges, yellows, pinks, purples, greens, blues, greys and, finally, blacks. A rainbow of books. Her happy place. She dragged her fingers absently across the cloth-bound Austen’s, along the hardcover Fowlers, over the Brontës and then stopped haltingly at the muted green book with ‘Frankie Rose’ embossed on the spine. She picked it up cautiously, as if it were a snake about to bite, and peeled open the first page.

To Mum, Dad, Cat, Ads and, most importantly, pizza. For all the love, support and cheesy goodness.

Frankie slammed the book shut and threw it to the other side of the room. She grabbed her handbag, which lay beside the couch, slipped on a pair of red sneakers and ran out the door of her too-small Richmond apartment.

After digging for the keys in the bottom of her bag, Frankie let herself into The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop; her home away from home for the last year and a half, right about the time her dreams shattered and her life fell apart. Working at the bookstore had saved her, in so many ways. It reminded her of the three months she had spent working at the famous Parisian bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, before she returned to start her Masters of English Lit at the University of Melbourne.

Free of responsibility, Frankie had relished this time spent lost between bookshelves, writing, and eating almond croissants. That same carefree feeling washed over her every time she entered The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop. She loved watching people from the inside out, like a backwards kaleidoscope of literature lovers gazing into their beautiful front windows from vibrant Brunswick Street. She loved being surrounded by powerful women such as Angelou, Atwood and Adichie. And most of all, she loved working with Cat. Cat’s husband Claud had inherited The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop from his grandparents, and when he – an accountant at a small city law firm who maintained long hours and an intense knitting hobby – was unsure how he would juggle a second job, Cat had the genius idea of selling the books in the front, while he, occasionally, managed the books from the back. And when Cat offered Frankie a job, it didn’t take long for her to say yes, yes, yes!

Since the days spent penning love letters to Mr Darcy instead of practising algebra in Year 8 maths, their bond had endured even though Cat, pregnant with her first child, now spent Saturday nights watching reruns of The National Knitting Evening on Netflix with Claud, and Frankie, pregnant with last night’s pizza, spent hers on awful first dates. And now, with their days spent surrounded by, discussing and reading books (and of course appraising everyone else based on their book choices), Cat and Frankie were closer than Horatio and Hamlet.

Frankie wound her way through the shelves and unceremoniously flung her bag beneath the front counter. She cranked on the air conditioning, sank into the seat behind the register, placed her feet up on the counter and returned to her worn copy of Emma. She had just turned the page when the front door chimed open and Cat marched into the store. Her red SY frizzy hair was everywhere, sweat dripped down her face and she wore a hot pink knitted top, black lycra pants and bright orange sneakers.

‘Catherine,’ Frankie nodded from behind her book. ‘Frankston,’ Cat nodded back. She joined Frankie behind

the counter, grabbed her copy of Jasper Jones and propped her feet up next to Frankie’s.

‘What’s with the sweat?’ Frankie asked.

‘I had another K-Pop dance class this morning – which was amazing, by the way – but their showers are broken and I couldn’t be bothered walking home to change and then coming all the way back here, so I thought if I just stood outside for a while I would dry. But I forgot that it’s going to be thirty-two freaking degrees today! Plus, these knits Claud keeps making me do nothing for sweat absorption. Look at me dripping, I’m like an ice cream!’ Cat grabbed Frankie and tried to pull her head into her sweaty chest.

If Frankie was the queen of dating, Cat was the queen of exercise classes. From barre to one very confronting summer of pole dancing, Cat became obsessed and then unobsessed with every sort of exercise and health kick imaginable, before dropping it like Marius drops Eponine. It all started a few summers ago and, at first, Frankie thought the fixation on fitness was simply Cat wanting to be healthier and more toned, but lately she had wondered whether it tapped into a deeper insecurity. Cat used to relish watching heads turn at her overly attractive husband, but was she starting to feel overlooked?

‘What are you up to?’ Cat asked, glancing at Frankie’s battered book.

‘Almost at the proposal,’ Frankie gushed.

‘Aren’t you sick of reading the same books over and over?’

‘You’re reading Jasper Jones for the fourth time,’ Frankie countered.

Cat spread her arms as if to say touché.
‘So, something pretty weird happened at K-Pop today.’ ‘Oh?’ Frankie asked.
The front door opened, halting their conversation. Frankie

and Cat shut their books, dropped their feet to the floor and looked up, alert. A stout, slightly balding man walked in.

‘Sci-fi!’ hissed Cat.
‘War biography!’ spat Frankie.
The man, red in the face, smiled at Frankie and Cat. They smiled back sweetly and asked if he needed any assistance. He shook his head and then proceeded to walk excruciatingly slowly around the bookstore, scratching his head, not touching anything. The women stared at him, examining his every step.

‘Just make your move,’ Cat whispered at him.
‘He’s about to pounce!’ hissed Frankie.
After what seemed an age, the man stopped in the science fiction section and grabbed two Stephen King novels, placing one swiftly under each armpit.

‘Damn it! Shirt but no tie. Dead giveaway,’ Frankie said, disappointed.

‘Pay up, Frankston.’ Cat held her hand out in front of Frankie’s nose, wiggling her fingers in anticipation. Frankie slowly dragged a five-dollar note out of her wallet and slammed it into Cat’s hand.

‘Just these two wonderful sci-fi books, then?’ Cat said to her customer while smiling devilishly at Frankie.

‘Yes, I love a good Stephen King,’ said the man, dropping the books on the counter for Cat to scan. ‘I was actually going to try my hand at that war biog, The Crossroad, by Mark someone-or-other. You know the one I mean? But then ISY thought, why stop at a good thing? And King – well, he’s a very good thing!’ he chuckled.

Frankie stared, and Cat held back a laugh as she slid the two Kings into a paper bag.
‘Have a lovely day. I’m so glad you decided to go with

King over a war biography. King really is such a good thing,’ chirped Cat.

‘He really is! Well, toodaloo!’ the man trumpeted as he walked out the door, the bell ringing behind him.

‘Go you good thing!’ Cat shouted after him, pumping her fist triumphantly.

‘He was going to buy a war biog! Give me my five dollars back!’ Frankie grabbed at the note, but Cat pulled away.

‘He was going to. But alas, he didn’t! The fiver is all mine,’ said Cat smugly.
it.’ Frankie sighed. ‘You don’t have to sound so pleased about

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ Cat said, smiling, and sounding even more delighted with herself.

Frankie frowned. Balancing their legs back on the counter, they reclined in their chairs. The growing heat of the day pressed its way under the gap beneath the front door, only to be stunted by the harsh air conditioning in the store. Beads of cool sweat trickled down Frankie’s neck and into her cleavage.

‘Sorry, I’m in a silly mood,’ Cat said.

Silence. ‘“Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way,”’ Frankie quoted the Austen she was reading, to a tee.

Cat smiled as Frankie gave a little bow of her head.

‘So, why the silly mood, Kitty Cat? What happened at K-Pop? Are you moving to Korea?’ Frankie joked.

‘Oh, it was nothing. I’ll go get the coffees.’ Cat jumped up just a little too quickly and grabbed her bag.

‘Cat! Seriously? What happened at K-Pop?’ It was unlike Cat to be so evasive. Frankie usually got the lowdown from her about everything, from what she had for breakfast to the romance between the two buskers who sat opposite the bookstore.

‘Nothing. Nothing.’ Cat’s face bloomed even redder, and her eyes darted towards the door.

‘Catherine Adeline Cooper. Tell. Me. Now.’ Frankie squinted suspiciously at Cat.

Cat stared back just as intently, and for a minute – a record for them – they had an ice-cold stare-off.

‘Oh, all right, fine!’ Cat threw her arms in the air, defeated. ‘Yes?’
‘Well, at K-Pop … there’s this really cute dancer. A guy.

Called Jin Soo.’ ‘Jin Soo?’

‘Yes, Jin Soo.’
‘And … Jin Soo.’
‘What about Jin Soo?’
‘Well, I sort of, accidentally, slept with him a few weeks

back,’ Cat covered her mouth with her hand and bolted for the door.

‘WHAT! Cat? Cat, come back!’ Frankie shouted, refusing to believe what she had just heard.

Cat, cheating on Claud? No; Frankie knew it was impossible. Cat would never cheat on him. Cat and Claud’s marriage wasn’t perfect, but whose was? Cat loved Claud. In his stupidly good-looking, knitting-obsessed entirety. And she was four months’ pregnant with his child, for God’s sake.

Frankie jumped up from her seat and raced after her sweaty, SY recently adulterous friend. As she pulled open the front door she stopped. Instead of Cat, before her stood a man. Possibly the best looking man she had ever laid eyes on. He was tall; he was burly. He was, to her mind, the perfect mix of John Knightley, Mr Darcy and Edmund Bertram all rolled into one.

#BlogTour! #ChapterExtract – Best Practice by Penny Parkes (@CotswoldPenny) @SimonSchusterUK @TeamBATC

Delighted to be joining the blog tour for Penny Parkes and ‘Best Practice’! For my stop on the tour this evening, I have the pleasure of sharing an extract from Chapter 3 of the book. I hope you enjoy! Big thank you to Hayley from Simon and Schuster for the blog tour invite!

Chapter 3 – Extract

Holly watched in sheer disbelief as the bucolic scene around her dissolved, as though hit by a tsunami of sound. Only those who actually had the presence of mind to look upwards could identify the source of the flattening roar – babies and small children simply burst into wails of confusion and distress. Lizzie’s children and the twins clapped their hands over their ears in mute astonishment at the scene in the sky above them, pressing themselves instinctively against Holly’s legs, mouths open in matching O’s. Coco whimpered pathetically, craving security and comfort. But it was the intensity of the screams from the Main Arena that grabbed everyone’s attention, as beautifully polished ponies scattered in every direction, their riders clinging on for dear life or indeed bailing out onto the soft sawdust of the arena. Even Charlotte Lansing’s commands to her ‘gals’ were drowned out by the chaos.

As quickly as the biplane had arrived, it swooped up into the heavens again, leaving a trail of vapour and an aftermath of pandemonium. Holly instinctively looked around, assessing their immediate environment for casualties and breathing an enormous sigh of relief that everyone was still standing.
Everyone except the Major.

Dan was already guiding him towards a chair and loosening that ridiculous bow tie, as the Major’s face turned puce and he struggled for air. ‘He’s fine,’ Dan called over his shoulder to Marion, reaching for the Major’s nitro spray. ‘Just his angina acting up.’
‘That was close,’ Holly said to Alice. ‘That could have been so much worse. What was he even thinking’ It was only
then that the rhythmic hammering of hooves, punctuated by a gasping cry, caught her attention. A small bay-coloured pony, its mane and tail exquisitely plaited and shining with health and vigour, was bolting towards them. Charlotte Lansing was in pursuit, but the wide-eyed fear on little Jessica Hearst’s face was clear to everyone watching as she clung on desperately. Out of control, the pony was picking up speed, the prized rosette for Best Turned-Out flapping on his bridle only serving to escalate his panic.
Mothers grabbed their children, dogs were pulled abruptly to heel on their leads, nobody wanting to be caught in Jessica’s path as she gamely tried to slow their flight. Perhaps she would have succeeded, her petite frame was certainly stronger than it looked, as she managed to regain her balance and sit deep, anchoring her feet into the stirrups to give herself leverage on the reins. Perhaps, thought Holly for a split second, everything really would be okay.
And then the world seemed to blur and refract around them, as a stray string of bunting caught in the light summer breeze and snaked out into the air, a twirling multicoloured rope of flags tipping the balance out of Jessica’s favour. That one second felt never-ending, as the distracted pony’s front hoof folded into a divot in the grass, his whole body crumpling in on itself as it hurtled towards the ground, with Jessica propelled forward by sheer momentum.

The impact of their bodies hitting the ground in tandem was nothing compared to the sickening thud as a flailing hoof caught Jessica’s helmet. Hollow fear followed a heartbeat later, as the terrified pony staggered back to its feet and Jessica remained, motionless, on the ground. Her twins and Lizzie’s brood were all truly sobbing now and Holly froze, utterly conflicted as to where her attention should be focused. But Alice didn’t even hesitate in taking the lead, thrusting Coco’s harness into Holly’s hand and dashing over to Jessica’s side, as others tried to catch the distraught and flailing pony before any more damage could be done. Gently, so gently, Alice reached for Jessica’s wrist, looking to find a pulse.
‘Don’t move her,’ called Holly unnecessarily, torn between trying to soothe the children and keep an eye on Alice at the same time.
The crack in the little girl’s helmet was like a fissure through the resin, as though an axe had struck her, and Holly looked around her for support. Marion Waverly swooped in, gathering all five young children into her ample bosom and allowing Holly to run over towards the poor girl still lying prone and unresponsive. Teddy Kingsley was on his mobile only a few feet away,
calling for an ambulance and trying to convey the severity of their situation. ‘Teddy!’ Holly called in an urgent whisper, trying not to alarm the people around them, who were already panicking. ‘Tell them there’s a GP on site, an obvious head injury, loss of consciousness and we need a direct transfer to Frenchay Hospital. Tell them we need the Air Ambulance.’
She paused, ‘Tell them it’s critical, Teddy.’
She crouched down beside Alice, who was checking  Jessica’s vitals again, keen to ensure that she wasn’t missing anything in the stress of the moment – it had been a long time since her trauma rotation as a medical student, but Holly was impressed to see that Alice’s composure was absolute.

‘You’re doing fine,’ Holly encouraged her. ‘You’ve got this.’ Thank God.
Alice nodded, muttering, ‘ABC,’ over and over under her breath. She looked to Holly for reassurance. ‘Airway’s clear now. I did a modified jaw thrust because of the likelihood of spinal injury?’ It wasn’t really a question, it was a statement of fact, still it was obvious Alice needed Holly’s confirmation that she was doing the right thing. ‘She’s breathing on her
own and there’s decent capillary refill.’ Alice pressed the fingernail bed on Jessica’s tiny hand again and counted until the colour suffused the tissue again. ‘And her heart rate’s pretty
steady at sixty-five, but she’s still unresponsive. Pupils reactive though,’ she added, ever hopeful.
Holly placed a supportive hand on Alice’s arm. ‘You’re doing great, Alice. Keep an eye on her, tell me the minute anything changes, okay? I’ll talk to dispatch to get an ETA and make sure the team at Frenchay know she’s coming.’
Holly stood up and held out her hand for Teddy’s mobile. Holly noticed in her peripheral vision that Cassie Holland was trying, in vain, to corral people away from the scene. Charlotte Lansing had managed to catch the pony, now tiredly lashing out in fear, and Holly could only hope that this gloriously rustic afternoon was not going to end in tragedy for anyone.
She looked up, utterly appalled that the thought hadn’t occurred to her sooner. ‘The parents? Where are Jessica’s parents?’
‘I’m on it,’ said Teddy, gratefully thrusting his phone into
Holly’s hand, relieved of his post as ambulance liaison. He  jogged away across the show ground, heading straight for the VIP hospitality suite. There was no way that Jessica’s family would have been roughing it with the hoi polloi in the beer tent, but surely it wasn’t possible that the carnage outside their silk-lined cocoon had eluded them, thought Holly crossly. The vulnerable figure of their only daughter lying on the grass in such an awkward position would be horrifying either way, Holly realised, shrugging off her jacket and laying it over Jessica despite the warmth of the day. Even though she wasn’t conscious, her slight body would be experiencing all manner of shock reactions. There was a flurry of conversation behind them, as Holly methodically updated the trauma unit in Bristol as to what they might expect and Alice diligently checked Jessica’s vitals again – whispering, shouting, tears and a wailing sob that could only have been Lavinia Hearst. Quite why she was yelling at Teddy and the Major rather than rushing to her daughter’s side was not for her to say, thought Holly, but seriously? There would be plenty of opportunities for blaming and shaming later; herself included, for that awful moment of frozen indecision between her role as parent or doctor. With no helpful information about the Air Ambulance

ETA forthcoming on the phone, time seemed to expand and contract around her. Holly felt swamped. Somebody needed to talk to the parents and Jessica required absolute focus – there was no margin for error here. The slightest slip could mean paralysis or, with a traumatic injury to the head like this, there were any number of complications that Holly didn’t even want to contemplate. But she simply didn’t know whether Alice was up to the job of coping with an hysterical Lavinia Hearst, and Jessica had to be their priority.

The discussions around her grew more strident as Lavinia ranted.
‘Lavinia? Hi, I’m Dr Graham. Jessica’s vitals are stable at the moment but there’s help on the way to take her to Frenchay. She’s had rather a nasty bash on her head. Can you take a deep breath for me, because Jessica needs you to be calm right now. We need to focus on Jessica. Okay?’ Holly said with gentle but non-negotiable firmness, unwilling to leave Alice unsupported in such a challenging situation for too long, but aware that Lavinia was two ticks away from spiralling into a panic attack.
Dan arrived, slightly out of breath from his exertions with the Major, and knelt down in the grass beside them; it was obvious from his whole demeanour that he didn’t come bearing good news. ‘You’re doing a great job, guys,’ he said softly,‘but now I want you to listen to me and then we’re going to work together, okay? I’ve just spoken to dispatch. There’s no Air Ambulance available today. It’s not coming. This is going to be a longer journey for Jessica than I’d like.’
The commotion of voices and moving equipment broke over them like another wave, jolting Holly out of her focus, as the ambulance pulled up beside them and the doors were flung open. Discussions about the bumpiness of the track across the showground began throwing open a whole new set of problems. Holly and Alice were both swept aside as Dan took over, conferring with the paramedics and taking control. Holly gave Alice a hug. ‘You did such a brilliant job, Alice. But it’s time to let Dan step in. He really is the best person for this job now; the things he learned in the Army .. . ’
Alice nodded, her eyes never once leaving the tiny figure now being transferred to a backboard and swamped by the neck brace that the paramedics and Dan had prioritised before anything else. ‘It’s the right thing to do,’ Alice said awkwardly.
From this point though, as Holly remembered only too well from her years in A&E, ‘time was brain’ – it was a race now to stop any secondary swelling causing yet more irreversible damage. They might not see too many traumatic brain injuries at The Practice, but they all knew that Dan was no stranger to life-changing injuries, and his experience patching together survivors of roadside bombs gave him the obvious advantage. Holly turned her attention back to Lavinia Hearst, outlining in simple terms what would happen next and gently explaining the reality of the situation for her – a filthy concussion was actually a best case scenario for Jessica right now, as she still remained unconscious. Not that Lavinia appeared to be listening – whether from shock or sheer bloody stupidity, she swung from yelling at the Major to trying to reach her daughter ‘ just to hold her’.
Watching the paramedics gently transferring Jessica to a backboard was a lesson in caution all of its own; any benefit from rushing negated by the obvious risks of paralysis. Allowing Lavinia into the mix while she was so overwrought and unpredictable could have devastating consequences. Holly glanced up and saw that Alice’s face was now sheet white and her eyes were wide, as the shock of the whole accident began to catch up with her. ‘You okay?’ Holly said gently, grateful that Mr Hearst had finally turned up in time to comfort his wife in her transition from anger to terrified disbelief.

‘He was right to bench me,’ said Alice quietly, if a little begrudgingly. ‘I’m out of my depth.’ She waved a hand towards Dan, where he was intently discussing and implementing the optimum oxygenation rate for Jessica. It was all a question of balance to avoid the twin extremes of hypoxia and hypocapnea.
‘In all honesty,’ Alice confessed to Holly, ‘I’m not sure I would have remembered that, would I?’
Holly said nothing for a moment – it was a common rookie mistake: when it came to oxygen, the instinctive assumption was that more would be better. It was also much better that
Alice had come to this realisation on her own. ‘Don’t over think this, Alice,’ Holly said quietly. ‘This is why we have paramedics. Obviously we need to know the basics of trauma management, but we’re GPs, not A&E consultants. I can see you beating yourself up about this already, but we can’t all be everything. Or we’d end up being jacks of all trades and masters of none.’
Alice nodded, watching as Dan leapt into the back of the ambulance and the doors swung slowly shut. ‘You’re right, of course, but shouldn’t we have the best emergency training possible?’
Her plaintive question gave Holly the perfect opportunity to bring her back into the moment; whilst Jessica’s injuries were obviously life-threatening, there were still plenty of Larkford’s residents around them that needed their help. From cuts and bruises, to a shock-induced asthma attack, to the Major, who now seemed to be having some sort of nervous breakdown, aghast that his celebratory surprise might yet have such catastrophic consequences. Holly took a deep breath. ‘That’s certainly a conversation we should have. Another day. Right now, our patients need
us. You take the Major and I’ll pop Geoffrey Larch on the portable nebuliser,’ Holly said, surveying the damage.
Taffy had already established a triage system in the Main Arena and now had all the riders dismounted and under control. To Holly’s immense surprise it was Cassie Holland who was in her element. She was walking amongst them with her clipboard and a mobile phone, contacting relatives, handing out hot sweet tea to those in shock. She looked poised and in control – clearly someone who rose to a challenge. Alice nodded and walked over to the Major, Holly watching her closely. It was clear that Alice had always considered herself to be one of those people too. And, as with all high-achievers, she could only focus on her weaknesses, rather than her achievements. Holly was quite convinced that Alice couldn’t see the amazing courage that had propelled her forward to Jessica in those first few minutes; she would, in all likelihood, be focusing instead on the ambulance driving away without her on board. Replaceable, replaced and out of her depth. Alice Walker was a fabulous doctor, no doubt, but she was also her own harshest critic.
Holly sighed deeply, hoping that Alice’s confidence wouldn’t be yet another tragedy of this afternoon’s events.

Buy now from Amazon

About the book.

Love and laughter with the residents of Larkford is exactly what the doctor ordered!

Dr Alice Walker has become accomplished at presenting a façade to the world – to anyone watching, she is the epitome of style, composure and professionalism. But perhaps it was to be expected that the cracks might begin to show at some point. Thankfully Grace is on hand to offer both friendship and support when it’s needed most.

Meanwhile, Dr Holly Graham has her hands full both professionally and personally. Planning a wedding with Taffy Jones is challenging enough, even before some surprising news changes everything. At least beloved Larkford resident, Elsie, still has a few tricks left up her sleeve!

Dr Dan Carter, on the other hand, has decided to throw himself into his career – the best antidote he’s found to unrequited love. When tragedy strikes in the heart of Larkford, Dan makes it his mission to help the community.

Other books in the series:

‘Out of Practice’ – buy now!

‘Practice Makes Perfect’ – buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – #MakeOrBreak by Catherine Bennetto (@cathbennetto) @Simonschusteruk @TeamBATC

Apologies for how late in the day this is, but I haven’t long finished reading the book. However, I am very excited to be sharing my review of Catherine Bennetto’s fantastic novel, ‘Make or Break’. Big thank you to Harriett from Simon and Schuster for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

Jess, a 29-year-old Londoner with a Kate Beckett fringe and a tendency for dramatics, gets taken on a surprise trip by her long-term boyfriend, Pete, to attend her best friend’s last-minute wedding in South Africa. Jess imagines sun, sand, wine and safaris. And returning to London with an ethically mined diamond on her left hand…
But this holiday isn’t set to be quite the fairy tale Jess has planned… Suddenly she finds her world tilting on its axis, and things are only set to get worse when Jess returns home…

What does TWG think?

Ohhhhhh this book!!!! ‘Make or Break’ may be a fair size with approximately 480 odd pages, but it’s 480 pages of sheer gold. Not exaggerating in the slightest. I have enjoyed Catherine Bennetto’s previous novel, but in all honesty, ‘Make or Break’ is my favourite one so far as the humour is AH-MAZE-ING! Not only did I laugh out loud, I ended up sniggering behind my book in case my daughter asked me what I was laughing at, and I couldn’t exactly turn around and go ‘oh I’m just laughing at the fact that zebras have black cocks’. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be googling that round about……now! Yes, it’s jaw dropping – of course I had to check that the author had indeed researched said fact! What kind of reader do you think I am? 😉 Oh, and did you know that if you ask Google whether zebras do in fact, have black cocks, this book comes up in the search! How fab is that! Don’t worry, I’m not fixated on this one piece of information from the book, but I did enlighten my postman to this fact thanks to ‘Make Or Break’, so it’s pretty much a double whammy really, isn’t it?!

Anyway, yes, I flip-flopping LOVED this book! I also thought that Pete was a grade-A chocolate starfish! Yes, Jess is the type of character who resembles a life size tub of marmite due to her personality, but I really didn’t think she deserved to be treated the way she was. She should have chucked a dictionary at him so that he could learn the correct definition of ‘reconnect’! I couldn’t help but laugh at the things that Jess came out with, finding myself nod along to her random outbursts with ‘omg that’s me’ going over and over in my mind. You know the type of people who would find any reason to talk, even if they had just gotten up? Jess is like that, but more fun and more bonkers (even if she does have a tendency to go from 0-1000 in 0.000001 seconds).

The idea of going to South Africa for a holiday has never really crossed my mind….until I read this! I even found myself Googling South African safaris and then wondering which body part of mine will fetch the most money. Jokes. I wouldn’t sell a body part but ohmygoodness, the descriptions of the safari and the overall country just blew me away. Never mind researching from Google, I hazard a guess that Catherine Bennetto actually went to South Africa as her descriptions led to vivid imagery which were clearly written from own experiences.

I know that I keep saying how much I found ‘Make or Break’ funny, there is quite a deep theme running throughout the majority of the book. I won’t say what that is, obviously, but it is certainly a topic that will no doubt get readers talking amongst themselves. I had my own opinions on the subject whilst I read it, but even now I have finished the book, I still have no idea what I would have done in that situation. It is a rather complex one, but thankfully Catherine Bennetto has laced it with a bit of humour to keep the balance. I say ‘a bit’….you might say different!

‘Make or Break’ put a smile back on my face after a very difficult and stressful week. I loved how diverse the characters and situations were as it was like a breath of fresh air, seeming like the author had thought ‘stuff it, I’m writing it’. And I do mean that in a good way! For me personally, it was as though the author saw the line of what society finds acceptable, and built her own town over that line as if to say ‘ffffff………you’. I loved it, I really did.

Honestly, I cannot fault this book at all. I am gutted it had to finish, but I have everything crossed that Catherine Bennetto is writing another novel as I type – I’m having withdrawal symptoms already. Look, I loved it so much that I would quite happily re-read it multiple times, and I do not usually do that! I don’t think I’ll ever get bored with Jess’ reactions to the safari animals, Greta’s loose tongue and Bennetto’s humour.

You know the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? That is filled with stars I would love to give this book, unfortunately retail sites will only accept five, but you can’t say that the thought wasn’t there. ‘Make or Break’ is truly a fabulous, free-spirited, addictive, laugh-out-loud read that will make you feel as though you have won the lottery ten times over.

Buy now!

What a difference, a day makes – or in this case, the month of May! #MonthlyRoundUp #TopBook (@NoelleHarrison @bwpublishing)

The Writing Garnet's Book of the Month is......
It isn’t often that I do a monthly roundup, purely because I often forget. However, I felt the urge to do one for the month of May because I feel that I have to speak out about a few things, and what better way to do it than in a roundup post! #KillTwoBirdsWithOneStone

So, what happened in May?

The highlights!

– TWG was involved in 52 blog tours, the highest amount of blog tours in one month, ever!
– I met up with author, Mary-Jayne Baker, in Edinburgh for bookish chat.
– My TWG Facebook page  hit 1602 likes!
– I went over 5000 followers on Twitter, despite starting with around 100 or so when I started blogging two years ago.
– I found myself being quoted yet another book cover (thanks Bookouture!), as well as being quoted on Amazon itself!
– I received so many wonderful proof copies through the post, as well as being approved for other many awesome books on Netgalley. Big thank you to the publishers/publicists who have either sent me books or approved me. You’re all amazing!
– I have had many wonderful bookish chats with my fellow book buddies on social media – love you all!

There have been, I’m sure, many other highlights but it is quite difficult to remember them all when you make yourself do so! Like most things, there is always a downside:

The Lowlights.

May was the month where I was trolled on social media not once, but twice in the matter of one week. Now, despite being told that other people have had similar and just to ignore, for me that isn’t easy and I’ll tell you why. From the age of five, I was horrifically bullied, tormented for the hair on my arms to how I spoke, being pushed into brick walls to then having a metal sellotape holder slammed down on my knuckles. I was even told that I was fat day in, day out, where I ended up battling with anorexia and bulimia. Whilst I would love to say that the bullied ended quickly, it didn’t. For some, comments on social media are like water off a ducks back. But for me, when they come across as personal attacks, similar circumstances or not, I find them to be a trigger. It isn’t nice because it then sets off my mental health which in turn sets off my chronic illnesses. Thankfully I have drawn a line under that, but I just wanted to speak about that.

Another lowlight in May involved the entire blogging community and the idea of ‘paid reviews’. I won’t get into it again, but I am sick and tired of hard working bloggers getting thrown under the bus by people who can waltz in without giving a damn about integrity or hard work. I don’t charge for my book reviews, and I don’t intend on doing so. I review because I love books and because I feel that I am forever in authors debts for writing books which allow me to escape my daily hell. And yes, it is often hell.

Again, another one which involved the entire book blogging community was when it became known that someone was selling ARCs/proof copies on Ebay. The fact that it says somewhere on the proof ‘not to be resold or used for quotation’, is neither here nor there…..clearly. Seriously, receiving proof copies from publishers/publicists is an honour and I feel privileged to be able to receive some amazing books through my letter box. Would I then go on to sell them on Ebay? Like fuck would I. Respect is earned, not given. Respect isn’t an entitlement, it’s a privilege.

The following lowlight is a personal one for me and one which I have ummed and ahhed about saying. Those who know me personally, or those who have read my previous posts, will know that I am rather lacking in the ‘healthy’ area, with illnesses such as fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, joint hypermobility syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, IBS, anxiety and depression, under my belt. It’s bad enough dealing with all of that, but now, after years of battling with doctors who told me it was ‘all in my head’ and being looked at like I had two heads, I am now being treated for CFS otherwise known as ME. I was also put on a new medication, one which isn’t going to become my bestie anytime soon that’s for sure (amitriptyline). Coming to terms with yet another illness at the ripe ‘old’ age of 28 is heart-breaking, and once again I’m left feeling like I am grieving a part of me now gone. Although to be fair, I’m surprised that there is anything left of ‘me’ to grieve but y’know! I want to say a personal thank you to a person who has been checking in with my every few days despite going through their own issues, and that big thank you is for Abbie Rutherford – your friendship means a lot to me, thank you for being there for me <3.

Enough of the lowlights, lets talk books!

With 52 blog tours in one month, I got through quite a lot of books in May such as:

#Review – The Things We Need to Say by Rachel Burton (@bookish_yogi) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – One Summer in Rome by Samantha Tonge (@SamTongeWriter) @RaRaResources @HQDigitalUK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – What Holly’s Husband Did by Debbie Viggiano (@DebbieViggiano) @Bookouture

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Lead Me Home by CS Savage (@sarahsavage26) @BloodhoundBook

#BlogTour! #Review – The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @RaRaResources @HarperImpulse

#BlogTour! #Review – #SunshineandSweetPeas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain) @simonschusteruk

& many, many more.

It is such an honour to be involved in the blog tours/blog blitzes for incredible books, so thank you to the publishers who invite me to take part!

If I did have to choose just one book from May, it would have to be ‘The Gravity of Love’ by Noelle Harrison. That book blew my mind like nothing before, plus I managed to make the author AND the publishing team cry with my review. I loved everything about the book and everything it stood for, and I am sure that you will too. In case you missed my review the first time round, you can read it again here:

#BlogTour! #Review – The Gravity of Love by Noelle Harrison (@NoelleHarrison) @bwpublishing

The Writing Garnet is going from strength to strength and I can only thank you all for supporting me along my journey, sharing my blog posts/tweets, inviting me on tours, and involving me in a community that sometimes I don’t feel worthy enough to be in. It is such a joy to be able to share my love of books with you all, so thank you <3.

What’s coming up in June?

As it stands, I have 40 blog tours in my diary for this month already. I expect that to go up when I realise that I have included all of the tours by forgetting to write some of them down (it happens, but I do post them on time!). We are on the 5th June and I will have taken part in 11 blog tours by the end of today. Insane, but amazing. I don’t have many other bookish plans for June at the moment, well, apart from the usual, but I am looking forward to reading some fabulous books!

Lots of love and books,


#BlogTour! #Review – #SunshineandSweetPeas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain) @simonschusteruk

Heidi Swain Blog Tour Banner - FINAL
I am over the moon to be welcoming back to TWG one of my all-time favourite authors, Heidi Swain! Today is a very special day as it is also Heidi’s publication day – how exciting! I have followed this series from the get go and I am delighted to be sharing my review of ‘Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square’ as part of the blog tour. Huge thanks to Harriett from Simon & Schuster for the blog tour invite and the ARC.

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.

What does TWG think?

Someone please get me the bus times for a trip to Wynbridge and Nightingale Square, please!!

Whilst this book isn’t set in Wynbridge like many of the other books in the series, several characters you may recognise, do pop up now and again as the story progresses. If you’re anything like me, you may find that you end up squealing with ‘OMG I KNOW THEM!!!!’. Obviously, you don’t KNOW them as such, but due to the fact that Heidi Swain allows her readers to feel as though they’re catching up with a bunch of good friends every time, it is quite difficult to not get excited when places like ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe’ or ‘Skylark Farm’ pop up with your newfound besties in tow.

Kate, oh Kate – she hasn’t had the nicest of times recently. She doesn’t even share the truth with us into later on in the book! Poor Kate’s marriage has taken a nosedive and, despite the fact that the break up wasn’t actually her fault, Kate can’t help but feel guilty for wanting something in her life that her husband didn’t. With a new home to settle into, Kate is determined to make a new life for herself away from the drama of her past. However, moving to such a small village has it’s downsides – everyone wants to know your business and if you tell one person, the rest of the residents will find out by the time you’ve closed your front door.

I couldn’t help but laugh when Kate’s new neighbour, Lisa, waltzed into her new home as though she had known Kate for years. Her intentions were good then, but I have to say Lisa’s character ended up getting on my wick as the story progressed. She seemed to go from being a genuinely nice neighbour, to someone who couldn’t see further than her own nose and believed that she was right about everything. Lisa may have meant well, but in my eyes her interfering became stagnant very, very quickly.

I absolutely ADORED the historical feel to #SunshineandSweetpeas! What a brilliant idea to focus on something so grand, bringing all of the residents in the village together to see if they could get to the bottom of the unsolved mystery involving a certain house. I was probably hooked on the book way before the history parts of the storyline, but I have to say that those parts cemented my love for the entire storyline right there and then.

Just like any other Heidi Swain novel, this book contains a character who catches everyone’s eye as well as their intrigue. Who is this man? Why is he here? What is his story? As an honorary resident of Nightingale Square, I couldn’t help but feel protective towards the other characters and the history which surrounds the square, so when the new character appeared my barriers went up as I didn’t want Kate to come to more harm. Daft I know, but true.

What I love most about Heidi Swain’s novels is the way she brings her characters to life, tying them all together with relatable situations her readers would no doubt find themselves relating to in various different ways. Every visit to Wynbridge and the surrounding areas, in my eyes, is like going back home to a place where you feel safest, content, loved and energised. A place where more people are your friends, and fewer people are your enemies. I have everything crossed that Heidi Swain continues to write books which branch off from Wynbridge as I would be incredibly devastated to see this series come to an end.

I cannot fault #SunshineandSweetpeas at all. From the very first moment I started reading, I knew I was going to fall in love with the characters and Nightingale Square – and I was right, I did. I love this book (and the series) so much, it actually makes me emotional and I have no idea why. This book is utter perfection, beautifully written, thought-provoking, endearing, and beyond loveable.

Heidi Swain is a truly, truly outstanding author who delivers her stories with such magnetism, grace, and bucketfuls of hugs, never failing to deliver. Absolutely outstanding – I want to read it all over again.

Buy now!