#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?’
‘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.

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#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.

THE BRAND NEW BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF OUT OF PRACTICE
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,

TWG x

#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.

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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.

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!

#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

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

Which books are REAL books?-2
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

The Writing Garnet-5
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

The Writing Garnet's
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!