Hugest of thanks to Jenny Platt and Hodder for asking me to be involved in the blog tour today, and for the ARC.
Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.
Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.
But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.
Where do I even begin writing this review!
You would have thought identical twins would know each other inside out, wouldn’t you? You would also have thought that they would be able to trust and rely on each other more than anyone else in the world. Sadly, that wasn’t the case for Molly and Katie. Whilst one twin was an extrovert who lived life to the full, grabbing adventures by the who-ha’s, the other twin was an introvert, fiercely afraid of her own shadow and worrying about what could happen….about anything.
I wasn’t expecting the storyline to unfold the way that it did, not at all. When it got to the half way point of the book, loose ends were becoming tighter and I couldn’t understand why. Had I missed something? I hadn’t missed a thing because what came next completely caught me off guard. I think the thought of ‘what the actual f……’ went through my head like a conveyor belt for 10 minutes straight.
Now I know you’re probably wondering what on earth am I going on about, but I can’t give too much away!
I didn’t want to put ‘First Born’ down, although I had to once or twice feed my child…and the dogs. Let’s just say that it wasn’t my choice to stop reading the book! I was hooked on ‘First Born’ like a little kid in a sweet shop! I have no idea how Will Dean managed to keep the timeline so iron clad throughout the entire thing without giving anything away. I was bloody impressed!
Stories such as this, is exactly why Will Dean is one of my most favourite authors of all time. The suspense levels were flawless, the attention to detail was absolutely spot on, and the gritty nature was enough to rival a sandy beach! If Will Dean isn’t on your radar, he really needs to be. I cannot wait to find out what he’s got up his sleeve next!
Brilliantly written with such a clever and gripping storyline – a belter of a book and then some.
Apologies for the day late review, I hadn’t quite finished reading it yesterday! Huge thanks to Penguin Michael J Books for the tour invite, and for supplying me with a copy of the book to read and review.
In 1999, seventeen-year-old Tone Vaterland was killed on her way home from work.
Desperate for a conviction the police deemed the investigation an open-and-shut case and sent her spurned boyfriend, Danny Momrak, down for murder.
But twenty years later William Wisting receives a puzzling letter. It suggests the wrong man was convicted for Tone’s death.
And the real murderer is still out there.
Wisting is quickly thrown into a terrifying race against time where he must find the sender, decipher this mysterious letter and catch the real killer – before they strike again . . .
I’m just going to put this out there, straight to the point – WHAT A BLOODY BOOK! It’s very rare for me to not even finish reading a book before I purchase another book from the series, but that is exactly what happened here.
‘A Question of Guilt’ is the fourth book in Wistings ‘Cold Case’ quartet, so if you’re one for reading books in order, then you might want to stary with ‘The Katharina Code’, however, I thought this installment read perfectly well on its own. Saying that, like I said above, I had purchased another book from the series before I had even finished reading ‘A Question of Guilt’. Honestly, it really was THAT good.
The storyline tells the tale of William Wisting, a Norwegian police detective, who ends up delving into a cold case or two, after being put onto their radar from an anonymous tip off. Because the book is about cold cases, the timeline does switch between years such as 1999, when the investigation was started originally, the present time, and other subsequent years in order to keep the flow of the book. Personally I found it easy to follow and pretty seamless.
I really didn’t know what to make of ‘A Question of Guilt’ to begin with, but it wasn’t long before I was sucked into the gritty storyline, the unanswered ‘whodunnit’, and the excitement of wondering what was waiting for me when I turned the page. I honestly thought this was a brilliant, brilliant novel, full of suspense, high energy moments, and a storyline that just kept on giving.
Without sounding too macabre, seeing as this book was in fact, a Nordic crime novel, I was gutted when ‘A Question of Guilt’ came to an end. I just wanted more! I recommend you put Jørn Lier Horst on your reading list PRONTO. I’m going to go and spend more money by buying the rest of the books!
Many thanks to the Hodder team for inviting me to take part in today’s social blast, and for providing me with a copy to review on my own free will.
THE BONES COME FIRST… When single mother Alex arrives at her new home with her two children, she can finally breathe easy. Pine Ridge, a rural community near the Australian coast, is beautiful, peaceful and most importantly, far away from the trauma she left behind.
NEXT, A DOLL… Then unexplained boxes start arriving at the house, and Alex’s teenage son begins to retreat into himself more than ever. As rumours and legends swirl through the community, Alex realises that Pine Ridge is guarding long-held secrets of its own.
AND THEN THE BLOOD. Something is lurking in the shadows, and Alex and her family are in grave danger. She must protect her children from the darkness at all costs – before it engulfs them whole…
The Shadow House intrigued me. From the get go there were questions being raised, such as why did they move, why did Pine Ridge have a ‘cult’ like feel to it, why were the other residents acting as though they were under some sort of spell.
Maybe that was just me who thought that, but it certainly gave me food for thought.
I have read many suspense/thrillers that have been slow burners, and I would have to say that The Shadow House falls under that category for sure. It took me a good while to get into the throws of the storyline as, even though the questions at the beginning gave me that all important hook, I found it a bit tricky to really grab the book by its horns. I’m not sure whether that was because I was a bit impatient, or whether the storylines full potential was a bit delayed.
With all that in mind, I enjoyed the concept of the novel, the drip feeding of eery moments, and the authors way of creating her characters. A thumbs up from me!
The Shadow House by Anna Downes, is published today in e-book/audio and can be purchased now fromAmazon
A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper’s island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.
They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours. ____________________
What does TWG think?
If I were to describe this novel in laymen’s terms, I would say that it’s about a young girl who has an infatuation on a man who is nearly ten years her senior, and one who works on lighthouses on a secluded island, on his own, for a living. The young girl and the man build a life together which ends up breaking their hearts as well as the heart of someone they don’t even know exists…yet.
I will be extremely careful as to not spoil this book for anyone, so please forgive me if anything I say comes across like I am speaking in riddles!
I was blown away by the simplicity of the story in regards to Tom and Izzy’s relationship and where they built their life together, and I found the shell of the novel to be incredibly magnetic. Some may say that the novel was addictive, charming….words like that, and I would agree because it was. I couldn’t put it down, even though I knew in my heart of hearts that the storyline was going to end in a certain way. I saw it coming. The storyline gave hints that it was going to end in that way, however I had all my fingers crossed because I just wished it wouldn’t. Or did I?
I spoke about the shell of the story and how much I was drawn to that in particular. Now if I delve into the nitty gritty details, I had several dislikes. One of them being Izzy. Her immaturity really annoyed me. She never seemed to grow up, nor did she ever want to take ownership of her actions. I understand that things had happened to her which had made her view life differently, however, I felt as though she didn’t do herself any favours at all.
My second dislike was Tom’s ignorance. His job was to report anything that was wrong, right, or indifferent. He chose not to do that and wondered why things came crumbling down around him. Now I know that his relationship with Izzy was more important than his job, that said, I felt that it was quite selfish of Izzy to put Tom in the situation that she did. Also, if Tom felt so wrong about it, why didn’t he just go with his gut anyway? There were times where he couldn’t see further than his nose and it was a shame as, later in the story, his personality seemed to settle and I felt like I was seeing the real Tom. Too little too late perhaps.
For me personally, those dislikes weren’t make or break ones, because after all, it made the characters who they were, and the author clearly did a good job in creating them otherwise I wouldn’t have spent most of this review talking about two fictional people…but whatever!
It takes a lot to make me cry, however ‘The Light Between Oceans’ had me curled up in a ball sobbing my heart out because of what could have been and what was lost. This, in my eyes, was a life affirming, haunting, and tragically beautiful read.
As a huge fan of Jack Jordan and his books, I just had to say yes when I received the email asking me to be involved in the blog tour for National Storytelling Week. For those who don’t already know, Jack Jordan is a tutor at The Novelry. Here is a little bit more about them and what they do:
‘Offering support for beginner and established authors at any stage of their writing career, The Novelry will take writers from the very kernel of an idea through to a polished manuscript ready for literary agent submission. With mentoring from bestselling authors and editorial advice from leading industry professionals, The Novelry is the writing school recommended by leading literary agents.‘
Enough of my talking, time to welcome Jack Jordan to TWG!
When did you first realise that you were a storyteller? I’ve had a vivid imagination ever since I can remember, expressing myself through storytelling via various outlets, whether it be writing, acting, or childhood play. Still, it wasn’t until I was seventeen that I first sat down and wrote a full-length novel. I struggled with agoraphobia at the time, and it helped to escape through my old love of writing. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the story and realised that I had written 100k words of a novel that I had the eureka moment: I was a writer.
Do you remember when you came up with the first story idea that would ultimately go on to be published as a novel? How did you know this was the idea that was worth telling? I believe that story ideas, however creative or outlandish, resonate from something deep within the teller. My debut novel, Anything for Her, is about a mother covering up a tragic accident made by her child, and how far parents will go to protect their children. I’m drawn to these kinds of stories due to the strong bond I have with my mum, who raised me as a single parent. So when people ask me how they might begin to come up with a story idea themselves, I often recommend that they look closer to home and the personal dynamics at play because they so often tell us who we are.
Do you have a story of yours that you are most proud of? I have to admit, I have two! I love my novel, Do No Harm, which is out 26th May this year, due to the high stakes the hook brings, and how subliminally asks the reader what they would do in Dr Anna Jones’ shoes: a crime ring abducts the child of a leading heart surgeon and gives her an ultimatum: kill a patient on the operating table or never see her son again. I have a deep personal connection to my novel Night by Night, which is about institutionalised homophobia within the police force, inspired by victims of serial killer Stephen Port. I’m proud to have a novel that centres around LGBTQ+ issues and have it resonate with readers.
Why did you decide to write novels, as opposed to telling stories in another format? That’s an excellent question. When writing a novel, I find I have so much freedom to explore a character’s inner world, exploring who they are and how they grow when placed in a hostile or precarious environment. I like the long game of this: meeting the character on the first page and then slowly peeling back the layers of their humanity throughout the story, until we meet them at the end, often dramatically changed from who they were when the story started. I find that I get to explore this vividly with novel writing.
Why do you think stories are important? I think stories are important because they reflect who we are as a society and all the beautiful differences from culture to culture. Stories can educate on a profound level and open people’s eyes to experiences they might never have encountered or people they might never have met. They also serve as an escape from life’s woes and inspire us to grow and change – and dream. I often write novels with moral dilemmas at the heart of them, and I love this because it gives the reader the gift of testing their own moral compass: what would they do in the character’s shoes? It’s like a workout for the soul.
National Storytelling Week is all about the oral tradition of storytelling. Do you think it’s important to keep this tradition alive when we have so many other ways of consuming and telling stories these days? I believe that storytelling and expression, in whatever form, is the glue that holds us all together. Imagination and empathy bring people closer, especially during times of difficulty, whether it be global pandemics or politically challenging times. Whether it’s diving into a book to get lost in the pages or sitting around a campfire with friends exchanging ghost stories, storytelling brings out the humanity in us. It gives us ways to connect with each other in an often isolating world. I also believe storytelling allows us to explore who we are.
What do you think is different about writing a story down on paper as opposed to telling it out loud? I think there is a real beauty to telling stories aloud because it blends with the art of acting, giving a sense of performance to a story that can really bring it to life. Spoken storytelling also derails any literacy hurdles a story-lover might have and allow a person to enjoy the art in a way that works best for them. What I like about writing novels is the opportunity to delve into oneself. As the reader reads the story in their mind, they paint an abundance of pictures and ask themselves so many deeply personal questions, and the characters I create can often become deeply personal to them too.
How do you like to consume your stories? (Reading, listening, watching, etc.) My two favourite methods of consuming stories are reading and watching. I love devouring novels and getting lost in a television series, and I love seeing shows too, whether it be West End shows or stand-up comedy.
What is your favourite story of all time? The story that changed me as both a reader and a storyteller is Malorie Blackman’s novel Noughts and Crosses. I still remember that profound sense of shock I felt when I reached the last page as the last scene came to an end, and it completely transformed the stories I read and the ideas I had for my own thereafter. Whenever I pick up a book, I hope to have that same feeling, and when I write, I try my hardest to give the reader that same emotional reaction.
What do you hope readers will take away from your novels? As a reader, there is nothing more enjoyable for me than when I pick up a story I love and never want it to end. It’s that warm feeling in one’s chest, the buzz of excitement in one’s gut as we pick up the book again and think about the story when life draws us away. If I can give at least half of my readers this feeling, I know I’ve done my job well.
If you had one piece of advice for someone wanting to tell a story of their own, what would it be? Growing up, I had a poor education – I didn’t go to college or university, and I had to teach myself a lot of the basics of the English language. For many years, I subconsciously didn’t allow myself to fathom the career I have now because I didn’t think it was meant for people like me, nor a possibility open to me. Realising that storytelling is for everyone, regardless of education, background, ethnicity, sexuality or gender expression, freed me to tell the stories that would go on to be read by over one hundred thousand readers. So often, we hold ourselves back from what we want to achieve due to being led astray by other people’s ideas of the world and how it’s supposed to work. So I always suggest storytellers analyse the barriers they see before them and ask themselves if they too are partly the reason they are in the way. Storytelling is for everyone, and I think the first hurdle we have to jump is giving ourselves the permission to express ourselves and explore.
Thank you so much to Midas Pr, Jack Jordan and The Novelry for such an honest interview. I think Jack made a wonderful point regarding storytelling being for everyone, regardless of status, and I am so pleased that he found the confidence in himself to put pen to paper – I cannot recommend his books enough! Speaking of which, if you fancy getting your hands on any of Jack Jordan’s novels, check out the following links:
I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Louise Candlish’s latest novel, The Heights, as part of the blog tour. My thanks go to Jess and the Simon and Schuster team for asking me to be involved and for supplying a proof for me to read and review honestly.
He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you.
The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him.
Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.
Because you’re the one who killed him. It’s time to confess what we did up there.
‘Kieran Watts has been dead for over two years when I see him standing on the roof of a building in Shad Thames…’
What does The Writing Garnet think?
When I see people say that a book is ‘unputdownable’, I think to myself that they’re fibbing because surely you would put a book down to pee and what not. How could a book be read cover to cover without putting it down? My answer to that, after reading ‘The Heights’ and only putting it down once to grab a chocolate bar and then pick it up again, is ‘very easily’. Heck, my 2 second put down to grab an aero bar doesn’t even count as putting it down as the cover was still warm from my hands!
After I had finished reading the book that literally took me 2 hours to read, my daughter asked me how many stars I would give it, and, without missing a beat, a response of ‘five stars’ flew out of my mouth. There was no doubt in my mind at all as ‘The Heights’ had the marital uncertainty, the troublesome pasts of the main characters, secrets that were too damaging to reveal regardless of how long had passed. The story had thrill, it had a chase, suspense, characters which you just wanted to dislike yet weirdly liked and visa versa.
I loved the way the author let’s us see both sides of the situation from two characters point of view, allowing readers to work out on their own, indirectly, which was bad cop and which was good cop. Which character was the most trustworthy? Which character was seeing things clearer than the other? Which one wasn’t being honest with themselves? The storyline was a well crafted, well oiled piece of ‘machinery’ so to speak as it hopped from different events flawlessly, without missing a single beat or filling the storyline with unnecessary padding. Every single word in this book had its place and played a vital role in bringing ‘The Heights’ to life.
If you hadn’t guessed already, Louise Candlish’s novel blew my mind and reignited my love for reading. Its books like this, written by authors as talented as Candlish, that make me excited about the written word. If youre after a new book to read, I highly suggest you buy and devour this one as yes, it really is and un-putdownable read.
Huge thanks to Emma from Damppebbles Blog Tours, for asking me to be involved in the latest tour for Carol Wyer. I’ve completely lost my reading mojo as of late, however it came back just enough to allow me to read ‘A Cut For A Cut’. Many thanks to the publisher for supplying me with an ARC. Hope you enjoy my review!
DI Kate Young can’t trust anybody. Not even herself.
In the bleak countryside around Blithfield Reservoir, a serial murderer and rapist is leaving a trail of bloodshed. His savage calling card: the word ‘MINE’ carved into each of his victims.
DI Kate Young struggles to get the case moving—even when one of the team’s own investigators is found dead in a dumpster. But Kate is battling her own demons. Obsessed with exposing Superintendent John Dickson and convinced there’s a conspiracy running deep in the force, she no longer knows who to trust. Kate’s crusade has already cost her dearly. What will she lose next?
When her stepsister spills a long-buried secret, Kate realises she’s found the missing link—now she must prove it before the killer strikes again. With enemies closing in on all sides, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to bring them down. But time is running out, and Kate’s past has pushed her to the very edge. Can she stop herself from falling?
What does TWG think?
Luckily for DI Kate Young, she has determination on her side, because, to be quite frank with you all, she would be rather screwed without it! Kate Young is an interesting character who likes playing with fire….not literally of course as that would make her a pyromaniac and probably unsuitable for her current job. Just saying! Anyway, DI Young lands herself in hot water on multiple occassions, and ‘A Cut For A Cut’ is no different. Having been a fan of Carol’s novels for many years, and associating her books with humour, it isn’t often that I read one of Wyer’s novels and think to myself, ‘what the fried egg is she on’, I mean, I wouldn’t like to cross her down a dark alley knowing full well what she could be capable of doing thanks to her research for books like this!
Despite hardly picking up any books as of late, I was fully engrossed in the latest DI Kate Young novel. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to work out the truth behind the murders, and watching the team trying to put all the puzzle pieces together before yet another body was found. In all honesty, the entire novel took me on a much needed roller coaster ride….in more ways than one! I’m still curious as to what the hell goes through Carol Wyer’s head though, because DAMN that lady sure knows how to write some stomach churning stuff!
I can’t fault ‘A Cut For A Cut’ – it certainly does ‘cut’ it for me, that’s for sure! With more uncertainty than going on a roundabout in the park after eating, this novel kept me on my tippy toes until the very last page.
Many thanks to the lovely Jen and the Harper Fiction team for asking me to be involved in Alex Brown’s blog tour for ‘A Postcard From Paris’. I am delighted to be hosting day two of the tour, sharing my review of this picturesque novel. Thanks to the publisher for also supplying me with an advanced copy.
Annie Lovell is keen to put the spark back into her life and when her elderly neighbour inherits an abandoned Parisian apartment she goes to Paris to discover more. Her curiosity takes an unexpected turn on discovering a bundle of secret diaries hidden within the walls, detailing the life of a young English woman, Beatrice Crawford, who volunteered in 1916 to nurse the soldiers in the fields of France.
Captivated by the romantic City of Light, Annie realises first appearances are not always as they seem. Following Beatrice’s journey from the Great War, through the Roaring Twenties and to a very different life in Nazi-occupied Paris, Annie must piece together the events from the past, if she is to fulfil the legacy that Beatrice left for her to find…
What does TWG think?
A book by Alex Brown which also contains historical elements? What’s not to love?
I adore losing myself in anything that Alex Brown has written, and this novel was no exception. There was quite a mysterious vibe to the story as main character, Annie Lovell, finds old diaries dating back to 1916 during the war in France. Having moved to a new country to add some variety to her life, Annie didn’t expect to become Miss Marple almost instantly, and neither did I for that matter. I was genuinely surprised by the direction the story took because of the diaries – which certainly was not a bad thing! Finding out about Beatrice and the volunteer work she was involved in, was both astounding and intriguing. I can’t even begin to imagine what Beatrice must have seen in those fields with the soldiers, nor can I even begin to imagine the pain and anguish that they must have felt in battle.
I thought that Alex Brown approached the historically emotional subject with extreme grace. It was evident just how much research the author put in to keep the events and descriptions as close to reality as possible. As a history lover, I appreciated the dedication from the author, but on the other side of the coin as a fiction lover, I also appreciated the way that Alex Brown incorporated facts alongside fiction without making them stand out like a sore thumb. I loved how seamless the entire thing was, and the flow of the story was on point. I was gutted to reach the end as I was captivated by every word I was reading.
Alex Brown exceeded my expectations with ‘A Postcard From Paris’, from the characterisation to the factual information, to the emotional turmoil to the sense of belonging. Everything worked and it blew me away. I would read it all over again in a heartbeat.
Many thanks to Rachel and the Arrow Publishing team for asking me to take part in Heidi Perks’ blog tour for ‘The Whispers’, and for supplying me with an ARC to review. Today is day three of the blog tour, so let’s get on with it shall we?
A MISSING WIFE. FOUR FRIENDS. WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH?
Anna Robinson hasn’t been seen since she went on a night out with her four closest friends. She has a loving husband and a son she adores. Surely she wouldn’t abandon them and her perfect life. . .
But what has happened to her?
At the school gates, it’s not long before the rumours start. Anna’s oldest friend Grace is beside herself with worry – desperately searching for answers, and certain that someone is hiding the truth.
With each day that passes, Anna’s life is under increasing threat. And a the pressure mounts, it won’t be long before something cracks. . .
What does TWG think?
Anna, for me, was a conundrum. Her personality didn’t seem to match up with her actions or the friendship group that she kept around her. I couldn’t work out whether she was trying to convince herself of things, or Nancy. Something wasn’t quite adding up with her at all. When Anna’s childhood friend came back on the scene, it was as though Anna’s ‘boat’ became a bit rocky and she was afraid of something, but what? Whatever it was, her good friend, Nancy, didn’t seem to want her becoming close with Grace again. Maybe Nancy was afraid of something unduly coming out? But what in Anna’s past would make Nancy uncertain?
It didn’t take long before a number of questions started to build up in my mind regarding Anna’s life, her mum friends, and the way she refused to delve into the past when it came to talking about her mum. I wanted the answers to those questions right there and then, however with a thriller, the truth is often drip fed to you, which can sometimes be a bit frustrating if you’re extremely impatient and just want to get to the bottom of everything (I can neither confirm nor deny whether that was me or not……ahem).
Lets be clear; Heidi Perks did her job of keeping the reader hooked, incredibly well. I was hooked and very invested in the lives of Anna and Grace. Probably too invested as I wanted to know every minute detail of their individual lives, but without making me sound all stalkerish, I’ll just leave it as merely ‘invested’. Even though the storyline was slow and steady with the pace, it was abundantly clear that, upon reaching the end of the novel, slow and steady wins the race because all of those loose ends were tied up nicely with a nice little bow. As for the intensity of the novel, something that is rather important for a thriller, it did take its time to build up. Again, it’s good that a novel does that so that readers are left wondering what if, giving them the nudge to keep turning the pages. However, I felt that the intensity took so long to slap me in the face that when it finally built up to the level that was needed for extreme ‘oomph’ factor, it was a bit bittersweet for me. I’m not saying that the storyline wasn’t intense, because it was, it just piqued a little bit too late in my opinion.
Overall, ‘The Whispers’ is an intriguing, insightful, cleverly written novel. I cannot fault Heidi Perks’ ability at creating a storyline that makes you so invested, you feel as though the book is taking over your life (in a good way). I really enjoyed reading ‘The Whispers’ and it’s a novel that I highly recommend you all nabbing a copy of!
‘The Whispers’ will be published in e-book on the 18th March and can be purchased here. If you prefer reading hardbacks, you can pre-order a copy now as it won’t be released until the 15th April.
The Writing Garnet is officially 5 years old TODAY! When I started my blog back in 2016, I never envisioned it turning out the way that it has. It never even crossed my mind that my blog could turn into a multi award winning blog (yes, multi), nor did it cross my mind that my review quotes would make their way into physical copies of books or even on the cover of some. Without blowing my own trumpet, I am unbelievably proud of all of that. At the very beginning, my blog was created as my way of saying thank you to authors for writing their books which has allowed me to escape via their words, when things in my personal life have been difficult. It wasn’t created as a popularity tool (because clearly I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes had that have been the case), nor was it created merely to get free things because, in all honesty, I had no idea that that was even a thing when I first started.
Over the last 5 years I have met a wide variety of authors, met fellow bloggers, other like minded bookish folk, and found myself involved in a world that went beyond just loving books. I had never really had that before. I had never been able to sit and discuss books with people who had read the same book as I, nor would I have ever found the confidence to cart myself off to events such as Edinburgh Book Festival, Aye Write in Glasgow, or even more intimate events such as meeting the Orenda gang in Edinburgh (to name a few), if it wasn’t for a select few of people who, after ‘meeting’ through the online book world, have gone on to becoming real life friends (Jen, Mandie, Kelly, Joanne, Lainy, DC to name a few). Not only that, despite not having met them in real life yet, I have come to know even more people who I consider to be friends now, who one day I would love to be able to give them a hug (COVID permitting, obvs – special shout out to Liz B for being as true as they come). If I named each and every one of the people who I called friends and who I would do anything for, I would be here a while and would no doubt miss someone off so, to put it simply, if we talk, I adore you. Simple as, and I thank you for your kindness and support over the last 5 years.
For me, the highlight so far has got to be meeting Sue Perkins and Tom Fletcher as those were the times where I unintentionally embarrassed my little girl with my high pitched squealing and trampoline bounces. I think I was fair excited……. Would I have been able to meet them had it not been for my blog? Honestly? Probably not as I never knew events like that existed until I became a blogger. I have so many other authors, bloggers, publicists etc, that I would love to meet and I have everything crossed that that will become a reality.
I know blogging isn’t all about stats, but for the first time in ages I had a quick nose at the stats of TWG. In the last 5 years TWG has had:
160,424 views. 84,689 visitors. 1837 blog posts have been posted.
Also, I even worked out roughly how many books I have read over that time…..1270!!! Ermmmmmmmm, say what?
As I may have mentioned previously, 2020 for TWG wasn’t the greatest as, putting it quite bluntly, I was treated like dirt via the bookish community (not all of you, just to clarify), and it hurt me so much that I ended up retreating because I didn’t know what else to do because, as I have also said many times, I’m not the most popular of people and I don’t fit into the tight knit groups. I suppose my face doesn’t fit, so I knew that regardless of what I said and what I did, I wouldn’t have been believed which is unfair and incredibly hurtful. Because of that, my posts within the last year have been few and far between, however I still have been ‘here’ from afar and still able to keep my feet in the door so to speak. Again, I want to thank those who have stood by me, supported me, and been true friends during that time and continue to do so. I see you.
I am super shocked that my little, multi award winning blog turns 5 today. Yes there have been some ups and downs and confidence knocks along the way, and yes, at times I bit off more than I can chew and left myself over stretched. However the joys of anything in life is that you can learn from your mistakes and realise where you went wrong or what needs to change. There is only me running this blog and, even though I like to think that I can do everything, I physically can’t….I just wish it hadn’t taken me 5 years to realise that! Well, in all fairness it’s probably taken me over 20 years to realise that as I recently turned 31 but y’know, semantics.
Creating The Writing Garnet was probably one of the best, on the spur decisions I have ever made and I just want to thank every single author, publisher and publicist who have sent me countless books over the years and trusted me to review your books. I want to thank the organisers of book events of their hard work and dedication in bringing likeminded bookish folk together. I also want to thank each and every person I have come to know and admire for being true to themselves and becoming good friends of mine. I have your backs – you are all awesome. Major shout out to my fellow bloggers, and anyone who is thinking about starting a blog – you’ve got this! Just remember it’s okay to say no….
On that note, happy birthday to TWG! Heres to another year full of weird and wonderful books, intriguing debuts, and a truck load of reviews.