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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful.

Buy now in paperback & E-book from Amazon

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#BlogBlitz #Review – Dating the IT Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager (@KrystenLindsay) @NeverlandBT

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Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues.

Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.

What does TWG think?

Being completely honest, the cover of the book is why I decided to say yes to reviewing this book today. Whilst I am quite a bit older than people in high school, I knew that I would need to open my mind and go back to my teenage years. Would I have picked this book based on the blurb alone? Probably not. Am I glad that I chose to read it? Surprisingly, yes.

I had an inkling that ‘Dating the IT Guy’ would be either hit or miss when it came to me liking the book. I don’t read that much YA, but when I do, I enjoy being able to not be an adult for the duration of the book. Adulthood is so serious, so when it comes to reading a book about high school boyfriends and friendship dramas, I welcome those situations with open arms as its much tamer than real life. Where were these sorts of books when I was growing up? We never had a book which held our hand when it came to a boyfriend/girlfriend cheating on us! Good on Krysten Lindsay Hager for putting that subject into her storyline to prepare YA’s for real (and highly unfortunate) situations.

I found this book to be pleasant enough. It didn’t blow me away yet I could appreciate the authors thought behind the storyline to a point. Personally, I do think that parts of the storyline come across as a little bit immature for high school students as it makes them appear whiney. That said, I still found the storyline enjoyable to a point and think that it is a good ‘in-between’ book for the younger generation, especially given the fact it covers the topic of confidence and self-esteem which, in my opinion, is an extremely important lesson for all ages.

Insightful, different, and pleasantly surprising, ‘Dating the IT Guy’ is a nice enough read which covers a lot of important themes.

Thanks NeverlandBT.

Purchase: Amazon // Barnes and Noble // iTunes // Kobo

Follow Krysten:

Website // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter // YouTube

Bio:
Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2), and Dating the It Guy. Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Best Sellers award. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Grand Blanc View, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster.

Pre-order right now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Promo – Blackmail, Sex and Lies – Kathryn McMaster @Truecrimenovels @Rararesources

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Here at TWG, it’s pretty clear that we like to shout about books whether they cost 99p/c or £99. Now, whilst price is irrelevant where books are concerned in my humble opinion, I would be lying if I said I didn’t get excited about 99p e-books (even though I do feel guilty about the minimal author return on said books). However, today I am bringing you information of a book which has had its cost lowered for the duration of this blog tour. Bargain!

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Blackmail, Sex and Lies is a story of deception, scandal, and fractured traditional Victorian social values. It is the tale of a naïve, young woman caught up in a whirlwind romance with a much older man. However, both have personality flaws that result in poor choices, and ultimately lead to a tragic end.

For 160 years, people have believed Madeleine Smith to have been guilty of murder. But was she? Could she have been innocent after all?

This Victorian murder mystery, based on a true story, takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, 1857. It explores the disastrous romance between the vivacious socialite, Madeleine Hamilton Smith, and her working class lover, Pierre Emile L’Angelier.

After a two-year torrid, and forbidden relationship with L’Angelier, that takes place against her parents’ wishes, the situation changes dramatically when William Minnoch enters the scene. This new man in Madeleine’s life is handsome, rich, and of her social class. He is also a man of whom her family approve.

Sadly, insane jealous rages, and threats of blackmail, are suddenly silenced by an untimely death.

If you’re into historical crime novels, then perhaps ‘Blackmail, Sex and Lies’ by Kathryn McMaster, might just be the book for you! For a limited time only, the author has lowered the price of the book to a mere 99p/c! To make use of this fantastic price drop, you too can purchase a copy today from Amazon UK // Amazon US.

Author Bio –

Kathryn McMaster is a writer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, and champion of good indie
authors. She co-owns the book promotion company One Stop Fiction, where readers can sign up to receive news of free and discounted 4 and 5 star reviewed books. She is also a bestselling author of historical murder mysteries set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Her debut novel, ‘Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?’ was well received. All her novels are based on true stories, and she melds fact with fiction, writing in the creative nonfiction style. She lives on her 30 acre farm in the beautiful Casentino Valley, Italy for 6 months of the year, and during the other half of the year, on the small island of Gozo, Malta.

Social Media Links –

Website // Twitter // Facebook

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The blog tour isn’t over yet, folks! You can follow the rest of the bloggers post on the dates above!

#BlogTour! #Review – House of Spines by Michael J Malone (@MichaelJMalone1) @OrendaBooks

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Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

What does TWG think?

Please don’t shoot me, but this is the one and only Michael Malone book I have read. I know, I know, it’s bad right? It’s not that I haven’t WANTED to read any of his books, I just haven’t gotten round to them on the forever growing ‘TBR’ pile. Well, until now seeing as this blog tour kicked me up the backside to get one read. I have to admit though (yes, again), that ghost type stories aren’t really my usual ‘thing’. I have never found myself gravitating towards them (pardon the pun). Hell, the only ghost I have had dealings with is ‘Casper’ and that’s only because my pale nature resembles him!

Upon starting ‘House of Spines’, I knew my mind had to be kept open. Now, seeing as I finished this novel with the fear of christ put up me, I’m pretty sure I managed to keep my mind well and truly open!

I was severely intrigued by the level of mystery that the author dosed the storyline in, for me that was the star of the show. Michael Malone managed to keep my attention with the mystery alone – anything else after that was an added bonus. In the ‘House of Spines’, there was so much interesting themes that I was able to sink my teeth into, regardless of whether I enjoyed the ghost element or not, I wasn’t at all bored by the rest of the storyline. Malone certainly has a way with words and, seeing as I have nothing to compare it to – with his literary talent alone, Malone has definitely guaranteed himself another reader for his next novel.

Despite keeping my mind well and truly open and ending up proper freaked out, I still didn’t quite manage to gel with the gothic/ghosts element of the overall storyline. It’s creepy, there’s no doubt about that! But, for little ol’ me, it still isn’t my ‘thing’ if you will.

As a Michael Malone newbie, I am suitably impressed with the skills that this author possesses, especially seeing as he kept my interest the entire way through despite not gelling with part of the storyline. Why? Because the man knows how to write, that’s why. I wouldn’t be surprised if his secret talent is selling snow to an Eskimo…

Impressive, bewildering, and weirdly addictive; I am thrilled to find another author to add to my ‘read again’ pile.

Thanks Orenda Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK

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#BlogTour! #Review of Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson (@ScorpioScribble) @AccentPress

SKIN DEEP FINAL COVER

It’s what’s inside that counts…

 Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

What does TWG think?

I am delighted to be today’s stop on, Laura Wilkinson’s, blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’. This book hit home in many ways and I really hope I am able to explain why, and how, in this review.

Do you remember, as a child, constantly being told that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, or ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’, or ‘beauty is only skin deep’? I remember getting told them SO many times. I would always ‘pfft’ every time I heard those phrases, especially ‘if someone is nasty about your looks, it’s because they are jealous’. Reaaalllyyy? Take a moment and think back to your childhood; were you ever told those phrases? If you’re a parent, do you ever tell those phrases to your children? Keep those thoughts in your mind for now…

Diana had a childhood of being pulled from pillar to post, pouting for all and sundry, and being on the receiving end of angry outbursts; she was a child model. Unfortunately, due to her rocky childhood, the emotional scars still run deep and her insecurity level has reached its maximum. Will Diana decide to channel her thoughts into her latest artwork? Or will history end up repeating itself?

After finding out what Diana endured as a child, I truly felt like she would become the best person to stand up for others in the same boat, or that she would be able to stand up for those whose looks make people gasp in disgust. I wanted her to stand with those people who had been ridiculed for what they look like, instead of being accepted for who they are.

When the Laura Wilkinson introduced character, Cal, to the storyline, my heart shattered into tiny pieces. Instead of a young boy being exactly that, young, the fickle people around him couldn’t (and didn’t want to) see anything other than their judgemental thoughts. Cal was born disfigured.

Right at the very start, I asked you to think about certain phrases and whether you  remember being told them as a child, or whether you tell your children (if you’re a parent) those phrases. I used to get told them growing up, and as a parent myself, I tell my three-year old daughter something similar; ‘it doesn’t matter what we look like, as long as we are happy and we are loved, that’s all that matters’. With all of that in mind, reading Cal and Diana’s journey was incredibly heart breaking, eye-opening, and unfortunately bang on. Society is extremely judgemental, and extremely unforgiving. If someone is deemed ‘different’, like Cal, people aren’t able to cope. They feel the need to either hide those human beings away, or parade them around like a popular animal in the zoo. Whether you have been brought up to love people for who they are, ‘Skin Deep’ will require a big bar of chocolate and a cosy blanket whilst you read it. Trust me. Now, if you have been brought up to believe that anyone with different looks are freaks, and that they deserve nasty comments; I can promise you that you will end up thanking Laura Wilkinson for opening your eyes and making you realise that just because skin is thick, it doesn’t mean it can take abuse.

‘Skin Deep’ had me feeling so many emotions, in such a short space of time. Whilst a lot of this storyline is quite difficult to read due to the subject it is centred around, ‘Skin Deep’ really is the type of novel you just have to finish, no matter what state you’re in. My opinion of Diana kept changing; one minute I felt sorry for her, the next minute she absolutely disgusted me. I can’t tell you my reasons for that as it will definitely give something away, but I will be intrigued to see what other think of her in particular.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Skin Deep’ contained multiple questionable characters, and I would be here ages discussing each and every one of them, BUT, whilst there were some characters who will no doubt receive a visit from the karma police in due course, there were a couple of beautiful characters who were worth their weight in gold.

Laura Wilkinson’s novel should be given out in schools, as a reminder of how much words can actually hurt. ‘Skin Deep’ is such a work of art; a beautifully written novel which literally speaks for itself.
Heart-breaking yet poignant, heart-warming yet powerful, emotional yet eye-opening; ‘Skin Deep’ needs to be read by everyone, and anyone.
This truly is a book to be remembered.

Thanks Accent Press.

Buy now: Amazon // Waterstones // WHSmith

About Laura

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.

Contact Laura Wilkinson:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Goodreads

 

Huge thanks to Accent Press for asking me to be involved in this blog tour, I am truly honoured to be part of the celebration for such a beautiful book. If you’re only just joining the blog tour, all of the previous bloggers, as well as the bloggers still to come, are all listed on the graphic below:

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#CoverReveal! Waking by Helen Richardson (@helen_r_writes) @AccentPress

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It’s c-c-c-c-over reveal time!!

Debut author, cover reveal and Accent Press – what’s NOT to like? The book cover I am about to show you, sounds ah-MAZING! Unfortunately we have to wait until September to get it -cries-, but it sure sounds worth the wait!

It is with great pleasure that I reveal to you……

Waking
Title: Waking
Author: Helen Richardson
Publication date: September 14th 2017
Publisher: Accent Press
ISBN: 9781786153449 (paperback) – 9781786153227 (ebook)

There are dark corners in your mind that even you can’t get to.

Anna Caldwell is terrified of falling asleep. A nightmare, her very own, will be there waiting for her. After sharing her bed with the same vision for fifteen years, she’s desperate to shake it. But it only holds on tighter.

Then Anna meets Jack. She’s drawn to the strange, alluring tension that she feels when she’s around him. It’s as though it’s meant to be. But creeping beneath the roots of their intimacy is darkness.

If you knew your dreams were trying to tell you something terrible, would you listen?

Helen Richardson is a producer for branded content and documentary productions. She lives in London. This is her first novel.

Pre-order link: PB http://amzn.to/2qYcQFe  EB: http://amzn.eu/8c5Wngz

Just want to say thank you to Accent Press for asking me to help reveal Helen Richardson’s book cover!

Does this book sound right up your street? Are you intrigued by the cover? Like always, let me know!!

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)

#TWG’s Wondering Wednesday – To pay for a review or not to pay? Erm, seriously? #reviews

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It’s Wednesday, which means TWG is back with another ‘Wondering Wednesday’! Last week saw the first instalment of the brand new feature, where I was discussing honest reviews. In case you missed it, you can check it out here: #TWG’s Wondering Wednesday – How far is TOO FAR when reviewing ‘honestly’? #review

Decided on a topic for this weeks post wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. No, really! All I had to do was look on social media, and, thanks to one of the book groups I am in on Facebook, I was able to get some inspiration for today’s discussion. So, I am fully aware that this topic could be deemed a little controversial. My bad.

Today I am asking you:

Should authors pay for book reviews?
&
Should bloggers ask for payment for writing a book review?

Without getting too personal, last week this topic was brought to light in a book group on Facebook. BOTH authors and bloggers said their piece, however, it’s one of those topics that will always be remembered as unfortunately, a lot of bloggers could be tarred with the same brush as the ‘culprit’. Let me just clarify one thing before I begin ranting; if you’re an author who wishes to pay for book reviews, that is your choice and I’m not going to stand in judgement of that at all. After all it’s your money, your book; your decision. Also, please remember that I am not talking about reviews written by people whose day job is to actually write reviews and publish them in magazines etc. That is completely different as it is their job and no doubt it would have been a marketing strategy decided by the authors publisher.

However, this post is aimed at Amazon reviews/Goodreads reviews/supermarket or bookshops reviews, written by bloggers. Not bloggers who get paid to blog; people who blog as their hobby which sidelines any existing external job. -breathes-.

As a blogger myself, I would never in a million years contact an author or a publisher and go; ‘Hi! I will review your books for you, but it’s going to cost you £££’. Don’t get me wrong, I am confident in my review writing abilities, but to ask someone to pay me for writing my opinion on Amazon? Where’s your conscience?! If any of my reviews prompted people to click the ‘to buy’ link at the end, and go and purchase the book in question; great! But asking for money for writing a book review, is pretty much guaranteeing the author sales. Yes? How can you guarantee an author sales? Well, unless you go cold calling and sit by strangers whilst they log onto their Amazon account, click on the book and purchase it right in front of your very eyes; I don’t see how sales can be guaranteed for paid reviews.

When I write reviews, as much as people seem to think that bloggers give glowing reviews ALL the time on blog tours, I write my honest opinion in a respectful manner. Of course there will be times where I dislike a book! If I loved every single book, I would be extremely poor. Therefore, my reviews aren’t always going to be 100% positive. They will be 100% constructive where necessary, but I cannot guarantee a fully glowing review. I also don’t charge authors for my reviews. If a blogger charges for their book reviews, how can they guarantee a certain type of review that is going to make someone buy the book? You might be sitting there thinking ‘but no-one said that they can guarantee sales’, which is true. They haven’t. BUT, if you’re paying someone for something, you are in theory paying for a service. You’re paying for results. You’re paying that person to write reviews for you, to generate a higher amount of sales as opposed to bloggers who don’t charge.

Here’s another question for you; what if a blogger who reviews due to their passion for books, creates more of a buzz about a book and generates more sales? Would you say that was luck? Or would you still prefer to pay your hard-earned money, for a book review, just because it’s ‘paid for’?

I just don’t get it. If you’re a blogger who writes reviews for payment and you’re reading this now; each to their own. But, why pay for something when there are tons of reputable bloggers out there, who review with their hearts and not their wallets? Personally, I would trust passion, heart and dedication over the size of someones wallet.

Up until recently, I had no idea that people were charging for their book reviews, nor did I have any idea that not all of those bloggers are upfront about the costs. Sneaky sneaky. What realllyyyyyyyy irks me about the whole situation is how the underhandedness of those types of people tars passionate bloggers with the same brush. Just because Joe Bloggs from BooksRUS* decides to be underhanded, charge for their reviews, not alert the author or make it clear on their blog about the costs, it doesn’t mean that ALL bloggers are like that. We aren’t. We are out there wanting to review your book because WE LOVE BOOKS, you just need to find us.
(*note: blog name was made up to serve a purpose and not to put a blogger in the firing line).

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Authors, what are YOUR reviews about paid book reviews? Have you ever paid for a book review? If you have and are willing to share, please do! If you have; how much did it cost? Did it generate a lot of sales? Positive/negative points. Plus, would you ever pay for a book review?

Bloggers, do YOU charge for your book reviews? What are your thoughts on the whole situation? Could you ever see yourself asking for money for the reviews you write?

I don’t think I will ever get my read around all of this. To me it just doesn’t make any sense, although this quote from Litreactor.com made me laugh: ‘One theory is the moral issue, that paying for reviews is like paying for sex. The perception being that, if you’re a good person with a good…product, you should be able to find sex/reviews without paying, and that this is the morally superior way of doing things.’

I dunno about you but if I’m not selling sex, I sure as hell won’t be selling my reviews!

Let me know your thoughts, I can’t wait to hear what your feelings are on this subject! If you have a topic that you would like me to wonder about next Wednesday, give me a shout!

#Review of Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon (@bryony_gordon) @headlinepg #MentalHealth

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THE NUMBER 1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER AND RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB 2017 PICK

A new Sunday Times bestseller from Bryony Gordon, Telegraph columnist and author of the bestselling The Wrong Knickers. For readers who enjoyed Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive and Ruby Wax’s Sane New World, Mad Girl is a shocking, funny, unpredictable, heart-wrenching, raw and jaw-droppingly truthful celebration of life with mental illness.

‘I loved it. A brilliant fast and funny and frank look at something that absolutely needs to be talked about in this way’ Matt Haig

Bryony Gordon has OCD.

It’s the snake in her brain that has told her ever since she was a teenager that her world is about to come crashing down: that her family might die if she doesn’t repeat a phrase 5 times, or that she might have murdered someone and forgotten about it. It’s caused alopecia, bulimia, and drug dependency. And Bryony is sick of it. Keeping silent about her illness has given it a cachet it simply does not deserve, so here she shares her story with trademark wit and dazzling honesty.

A hugely successful columnist for the Telegraph, a bestselling author, and a happily married mother of an adorable daughter, Bryony has managed to laugh and live well while simultaneously grappling with her illness. Now it’s time for her to speak out. Writing with her characteristic warmth and dark humour, Bryony explores her relationship with her OCD and depression as only she can.

Mad Girl is a shocking, funny, unpredictable, heart-wrenching, raw and jaw-droppingly truthful celebration of life with mental illness.

What does TWG think?

As I’m sure you’re all aware of by now, if I review a book that is based on real life or personal experiences, my review style changes dramatically. After all, I can’t exactly start saying that the book has an ‘uneventful storyline’ if it’s about the author’s life, it’s not like they’re going to tweet me back and say ‘OH SOZ that my life wasn’t exciting enough for YOU’. I mean, REALLY?!

I bought ‘Mad Girl’ from my local Tesco as I had just popped in for a few necessities (some might say milk, some might say books), and I was at the point in my life where I was an absolute mess with constant bad news related to my health. I needed some help and clarification without being judged, that’s where ‘Mad Girl’ came in.

Bryony Gordon has really had her fair share of shitake; OCD, drugs, depression…you name it, she has probably been through it. ‘Mad Girl’ seemed to be Bryony’s chosen platform to open up about issues that are often seen as ‘taboo’, misunderstood and are frequently hidden away (not through choice). In her novel, Bryony explains just how she felt when she was faced with a trigger or a judgemental person, absolutely perfectly and I am in awe of how black and white that she vocalises those emotions.

‘Mad Girl’ struck a chord with me as I have had to battle similar things as Bryony, just like a lot of people no doubt. But, on a personal level, the novel made me return to a time in my past and face it. Let’s just say that I now consider Bryony Gordon to be my new therapist! Bloody cheap therapy though!

Bryony’s writing is incredibly honest, real and exactly what everyone needs to hear. She says it how it is. She doesn’t feel the need to apologise for her thoughts and feelings or troublesome moments, even though a lot of us feel like we have to apologise to others for being unwell. What I loved the most about this novel was how the author challenged that notion and made me feel as though she was rooting for every single person with a mental illness, whether she knew them or not. It was like she turned into a little angel to sit on our shoulders, spraffing profanities to the judgemental bar-stewards that crossed our paths, or the nasty individuals who tried to make it their mission to make us feel smaller than what we already are.

I am in awe at Bryony Gordon’s story, and the amount of hurdles that she has had to jump over so far in her life time. Not only that, she has brought those extremely difficult moments to light, for thousands of people to read and relate to. The amount of strength that that must have taken to do…

Just like many (if not all) of us, there are sure to have been moments when we have felt worthless, unloved and misunderstood; I know that I have, and thanks to depression, anxiety and five other chronic illnesses, it is a regular occurrence.

Bryony Gordon and ‘Mad Girl’ made me feel as though I had someone rooting for me and wanting me to succeed. That probably sounds stupid seeing as she has never spoken to me personally, yet her written words spoke to me in a way that I will never forget.

The world needs a lot more people like Bryony Gordon, and your bookshelf needs a copy of ‘Mad Girl’ on it. Such an honest, eye-opening and inspirational story of one woman’s journey of self discovery and celebration. Full of hilarious moments and on point truths, ‘Mad Girl’ sticks two fingers up to the word ‘taboo’, whilst also being your best friend in a book.

Bryony Gordon, you are an inspirational, hilarious bad ass. If Marvel don’t make you into a super hero then there is something SERIOUSLY wrong!!

Buy ‘Mad Girl’ now from Amazon UK
Buy ‘Mad Girl’ from Amazon US

A little heads up on why I ‘disappeared’ for a week, as well as special thanks to a few folk.

noteI have a lot to say in this blog post, but I will aim to condense and attempt to ramble much less than usual. However, if I fail miserably, please accept my apology now and know that I tried my hardest, but I’m a rambler!

Little over a week ago I decided to take a take a step back from social media whilst I went to visit a very good friend of mine, after 14 years. You’re probably thinking ‘ooo big deal’, BUT, there was a reason why I decided to coincide my social media break with my break away. Well, if I’m being honest, the decision was only half mine. You see, for the last four or so months I have been on the receiving end of cyber bullying and my tolerance level had been smashed to smithereens. Not only that, it brought back horrendous memories of the bullying I endured as a child. Memories that I already hold the scars for to this day and really didn’t want to have surfaced once again. But they did. After weeks of constant bad news from the doctors and issues with my house, a break away could not have come at a better time, it was just a shame about social media.

Before I went away I scheduled all of my book reviews to go live whilst I was away which probably made it look like I was still about. I need to say a MASSIVE thank you to every single one of you who shared, liked, commented, tweeted and so on, my blog posts whilst I was away. The response to each review posted was incredible and it means a lot that you were all willing to keep sharing them for me. I also want to say sorry to all of you as I haven’t done any blog post sharing, but rest assured I will be playing catch up so if you find your notifications creeping up, you know it’s me.

As I mentioned above, I have been on the receiving end of cyber bullying and it started to make me resent everything I had worked my butt off for. The belittling comments, snidey posts, immature posts from people who should know better and a lot more that only a selected few know. It hurt, and it still does hurt, I’m not going to lie. No-one should be bullied whether it’s in person or online, it really is diabolical.

Whilst I was MIA I had one, very special lady message me to ensure that I was okay as I hadn’t been active online. That gesture itself made me well up as nobody has ever really done that for me, and it meant a lot that my presence was missed. Lucie Wheeler, you are a truly wonderful, inspirational and kind-hearted lady, and from the bottom of my heart I thank you for being there for me this week and every time before. You were (and are) the person I knew I could trust to message when I was feeling concerned, knowing full well you wouldn’t judge and just be the friend and support network you obviously knew that I needed. You truly are worth your weight in gold and I love you lots, thank you <3.

So yes, I am back. I received over 1,500 e-mails in the last week so if you have sent me an e-mail and I haven’t replied yet, sit tight and I will get to you. Thank you all again for the shares and fingers crossed the bully leaves me alone. Much love to you all <3.