#BlogTour! #Review – #RelightMyFire by Joanna Bolouri (@scribbles78) @QuercusBooks @AnaBooks

Relight My Fire Blog tour poster
The fourth and final blog tour of the day is for an author who has me in stitches every time I read one of her books, Miss Joanna Bolouri and ‘Relight My Fire’! I had the honour of receiving a very early proof copy of the book, so I would like to say a massive thank you to Quercus Books for that! Here is my review:

51BklsfUxWL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

When Phoebe and Oliver had their happy ending, they thought the hard part was over. And now, with a five year old daughter, they are far from the blissful hedonistic lifestyle of when they first started dating.

Not one for giving up, Phoebe creates a sexy wishlist: a jar where they can ask the other for anything they’ve ever wanted in bed – or out of it. But with distractions aplenty, will they be able to relight the fire in the bedroom?

From mix tapes to ‘sex jars’, this is the naughtiest rom com you will ever read. From the bestselling author of The List.

What does TWG think?

RELIGHT MY FIREEEEEEE, YOUR LOVE IS MY ONLY DESIREEEEEEE, RELIGHT MY FIREEEEEEEE, CAUSE I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED YOUR LOVE

I am 100% positive that I am not the only one who has sung the title of the book – how could you not?

‘Relight my Fire’ is the sequel to ‘The List’, so whilst there will be definite character overlap, I think that you could get away with reading this book as a standalone. However, it might be beneficial for you to read ‘The List’ first, just so you can get a better idea of the characters backstories.

I really have no idea how she does it, but Joanna Bolouri had me snorting tea out of my nose in a matter of minutes, writing the types of things that you would really need to ‘be there’ for. You know, the ones where someone laughs so hard over something HILARIOUS, whilst other people look on like you’re growing a second head.

Although, judging by what Phoebe and Oliver put in their ‘sex jars’, I’m waiting for people to look at them like they’ve grown a second head. Well, if Phoebe has her wish then Oliver will but y’know!!!

If you’re a prude then this book would probably be the ‘naughtiest book you’ve ever read’, but for people who can turn any sentence into filth, I would say that the level of naughtiest isn’t as riskay as one would hope for. Don’t get me wrong, the contents of the ‘sex jar’ are raunchy enough and utterly bonkers, but I know the author has it in her to take those characters way beyond than what she did here. Not complaining by the way, I just thought that it was perhaps a little tame for Joanna Bolouri haha.

If you’re a parent with a young child, you’re probably going to relate to ‘Relight my fire’ a lot more than others will. I thought that the issues which Oliver and Phoebe faced along the way, were relatable and very black and white. I loved how Joanna Bolouri didn’t sugar coat any of the hurdles couples can face, especially those with young children.

Bolouri kept her entire story honest and real, and for that I applaud her because those types of situations aren’t easy, yet she wrote them in a laugh-out-loud and bonkers manner, catering for a wide range of readers.

Phoebe and Oliver are a brilliant couple to read about, and I loved how they seem to have gotten funnier since ‘The List’ – their sarcasm is brilliant!

I devoured ‘Relight My Fire’ in one sitting, making it the fastest book I have read of Joanna Bolouri’s. Whilst I do feel that the storyline had a lot more room for a lot more raunchiness, I still absolutely adored reading this book – I don’t think I have laughed this much in ages.

‘Relight My Fire’ is such a feel good and uplifting read which will make you laugh when the going gets tough, instead of holding your head in your hands and crying. Either that or it’ll give you the urge to create your own ‘sex jar’ – single or not!

Joanna Bolouri has delivered once again! Such a laugh out loud, bonkers, and enjoyable read from an author who says it like it is. I eagerly await her next novel!

Buy now!

Advertisements

#BlogTour! #WBP2018 #Extract – Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ @midaspr @wellcomebkprize

Shortlist Blog Tour Banner
It is an honour to be taking part in the blog tour for the WellComeBookPrize. For those  that aren’t aware of this, here is some more information about the book prize and the collection featured in the long list:

About the Wellcome Book Prize

Worth £30,000, the Wellcome Book Prize celebrates the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness, showcasing the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction.

Previous winners of the Prize include Maylis de Kerangal (author) and Jessica Moore (translator) for Mend the Living in 2017, Suzanne O’Sullivan for It’s All in Your Head in 2016, Marion Coutts for The Iceberg in 2015, Andrew Solomon for Far from the Tree in 2014, Thomas Wright for Circulation in 2012, Alice LaPlante for Turn of Mind in 2011, Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010 and Andrea Gillies for Keeper: Living with Nancy – a journey into Alzheimer’s in 2009.

 About Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is the free museum and library for the incurably curious. Inspired by the medical objects and curiosities collected by Henry Wellcome, it connects science, medicine, life and art. Through its exhibitions, live programming, and digital and publishing activity, it makes thought-provoking content which aims to challenge how we think and feel about health.

Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. Both politically and financially independent, it supports scientists and researchers, takes on big problems, fuels imaginations and sparks debate.

The book I am featuring for the blog tour is ‘Stay With Me’ by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀. Here is an extract, as well as more information about the book itself:

51E3T0mwX3L._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear.

Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, Stay With Me is a story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the power of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about the desperate attempts we make to save ourselves, and those we love, from heartbreak.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (30, Nigeria) stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded an international bursary for creative writing. She has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Hedgebrook, Sinthian Cultural Institute, Ebedi Hills, Ox-Bow School of Arts and Siena Art Institute. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2017 ‘Stay With Me’, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Extract

My parents-in-law lived in Ayeso, an old section of town that still had a few mud houses. Their house was a brick building, with a front yard partially enclosed by a low cement fence. When I arrived at the house, Moomi was sitting on a low stool in the front yard shelling groundnuts into a rusty tray that sat on her lap. She looked up as I approached and looked down again. I swallowed and my steps slowed. There was something wrong.

Moomi always greeted me by shouting Yejide, my wife. The words were as warm as the embrace that usually followed them.

‘Good evening, Moomi.’ My knees trembled as they touched the concrete floor.

‘Are you pregnant now?’ She said without looking up from the tray of groundnuts.

I scratched my head.

‘Are you barren and deaf too? I say, are you pregnant? The answer is either, yes, I am pregnant or no, I still haven’t been pregnant for a single day in my life.’

‘I don’t know.’ I stood up and backed away until she was not within the reach of my clenched fist.

‘Why won’t you allow my son to have a child?’ She slapped the tray of groundnuts on the floor and stood up.

‘I don’t manufacture children. God does.’

She marched towards me and spoke when her toes were touching the tips of my shoes.

‘Have you ever seen God in a labour room giving birth to a child? Tell me, Yejide, have you ever seen God in the labour ward? Women manufacture children and if you can’t you are just a man. Nobody should call you a woman.’ She gripped my wrists and lowered her voice to a whisper. ‘This life is not diffi­cult, Yejide. If you cannot have children, allow my son to have some with Funmi. See, we are not asking you to stand up from

your place in his life, we are just saying you should shift so that someone else can sit down.’

‘I am not stopping him, Moomi,’ I said. ‘I have accepted her. She even spends the weekends in our house now.’

She held her thick waist and laughed. ‘I am a woman too. Do you think I was born last night? Tell me, why has Akin never touched Funmi? He has been married to her for over two months. Tell me why he has not removed her wrapper once. Tell me, Yejide.’

I stifled a smile. ‘It is not my business what Akin does with his wife.’

Moomi lifted my blouse and laid a wrinkled palm on my stomach.

‘Flat as the side of a wall,’ she said. ‘You have had my son between your legs for two more months and still your stomach is flat. Close your thighs to him, I beg you. We all know how he feels about you. If you don’t chase him away, he won’t touch Funmi. If you don’t, he will die childless. I beg you, don’t spoil my life. He is my first son, Yejide. I beg you in the name of God.’

 

Are e-books stupid? Should e-books be classed as ‘real books’? Director of @BloodHoundBook @BetsyReavley is in the hot seat with #TWG

E-book or not to e-book?
Last month, the head of one of the world’s biggest publishers, spoke to the media about e-books. Whilst I would usually celebrate anything from the book world making the media, I remember being quite flabbergasted by what I had read in said article. I am sure a lot of people read the article in question – it had quite a lot of shares on social media at the time! The comment which left a lot of people, including myself, reeling, was the quote ‘e-books are stupid’. Pardon? I am fully aware that people prefer one format over another, after all, we cannot all like the same things. Some readers may prefer to read hardbacks or paperbacks instead of reading e-books, or visa versa. Personally, I don’t see the problem with that, I am just thankful that we actually have a choice. Think about it – many years ago, the only type of book which could be purchased was a tree book. Digital books weren’t around then, nor were a lot of authors many people have come to love. Fast forward to now, there are a lot of authors being published by digital only publishers,  giving readers a lot more choice when it comes to choosing their next book. There are also a lot of books being published in multiple formats, sometimes all three (hardback, paperback and e-book)!

So, what is the problem? That’s a good question. In the article published by the Guardian, the head of a publishing company stated that he wasn’t against e-books, but believes that publishers and editors aren’t making the most of 3D and digitalisation, despite claiming that ‘ebooks are stupid’. The article rubbed several people up the wrong way, including Publishing Director of BloodHound Books, Betsy Reavley. I sat down with Betsy to find out why the article left a horrible taste in her mouth;

TWG – Hi Betsy! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. I understand you’re exceptionally busy! Before we get to the nitty gritty reason as to why you’re joining me today, could you please introduce yourself, what it is you do, as well as how long you’ve been involved in the sector for?
I started my journey as a writer. Twelve years ago I began writing my first novel. Six years later, when I finally completed it, I was lucky enough to have picked up by an Independent publisher. At the time I had an eighteen-month- old daughter. I knew then that I wanted to be involved with the industry. In 2013 eBooks were still quite a new phenomenon and my husband and I saw an opportunity to start a business we both felt passionate about.

TWG – If I said the word, ‘e-book’ to you, what does that word mean for you on a personal level, not on a professional level?
EBook to me means career. Without eBooks, and the independent publisher who signed my first novel, I would never have ended up on this path. I love my job and the people I work with. I am grateful for this every single day.

TWG – It has been very well documented that a chief executive from one of the world’s largest publishing companies, has stated; ’e-books are stupid’. In his discussion that has recently been published on The Guardian website, the chief executive also states that ‘e-books have no creativity’ and ‘no real digital experience’. As the head of a publishing company, which focuses on e-book sales, could you tell me what you thought of those comments? What would you respond to the claims which he has made?
Having read the article you are referring to, I can just about see the point he was trying to make. Yes, eBooks could be more interactive but I personally don’t see the benefit or need for this. An eBook is just the same as a print book but in digital form. My feeling is that there is room in this world for both and it is no bad thing that they are similar.

The ease of access and pricing of eBooks has made reading much more accessible for many readers who, otherwise, might not be reading at all. This is something that should be celebrated. I get sick and tired of the ‘us and them’ attitude that exists between traditional and indie publishers. As far as I am concerned, neither of these formats undermines the other, so I cannot see where the issue lies. Not only that, but Independent publishers, such as Bloodhound, have sprung up as a result of this revolution, which means more authors are getting published and writers have the opportunity to publish themselves if they wish.

TWG – Further down the discussion with The Guardian, said chief executive goes on to explain how publishing companies don’t have the skills to create 3D, digital content regarding manuscripts. On a professional level, how important is ‘3D’ content when it comes to the e-books you publish?
At the moment, 3D content is not a priority for us but as a young company that has benefited from new technology, we will certainly try and keep up with the trends as and when they change.

TWG – If books became more enhanced and digital on e-readers, do you think the format may end up suffering overall?
It is difficult to say. As a business, if Bloodhound Books wants to survive, we will need to keep up with the latest in technology. There is no point fighting progress. It makes far more sense to embrace it. In my opinion, this is something some traditional publishers are failing to do.

TWG – More often than none, I see a lot of discussions on social media regarding e-books versus paperback, with some readers feeling as though ‘e-books are not real books’. Even though everyone is entitled to their opinion, what is your response to those beliefs? Are e-books any less real compared to a ‘tree book’?
I am going to answer this question as a writer, rather than a publisher, if that’s ok! As a writer I wanted nothing more than to hold a copy of my book in my hands. However, I also wanted to make a living and put food on the table. EBooks have allowed me to do this. The money that goes into my bank account is the same currency whether I sell a paperback or an eBook and I make far more from eBook sales than paper books. If someone gave you ten pounds cash or transferred ten pounds into your bank account, what is the difference? I apply this logic to the argument that eBooks are not real. They are as real as the money that shows up in your bank account. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with people having a preference of one over the other. Each to their own.

TWG – Could you give us a bit more information regarding e-books and how they’re published, in comparison to tree books? For example, the costs involved in producing both, the time frame, how it is done, and so on.
With print on demand it is as easy to produce paperbacks, as it is eBooks, especially for Indie publishers. Not having to pay out for large print runs means that as a company we are taking less risk with our spending and have extra cash to inject into marketing, which is vital to our growth and survival.

TWG – Another big issue regarding e-books and paperbacks is the price. Whilst I personally appreciate that cost is a big issue for a lot of readers, do you feel that e-books and paperbacks are vastly overpriced?
This is a tricky one. Big name authors, who have publishing deals with one of the big five
publishers, will always be able to sell their books at a higher price because they know the fans will pay. Having said that I do think most eBook readers have an issue with expensive eBooks, no matter who the author is. At the same time, unknown authors stand a chance of being read because they charge less for their books, which means readers are more likely to give them a shot. Readers feel less cheated if
they have tried a new author and paid only 99p. It is common sense.

TWG – As an executive of a publishing company yourself, how does the pricing affect your company? I know that sounds like an extremely simple question, but do you find that 99p books sell easier than say, an e-book, which is priced at 1.99? Which do you sell more of?
The vast majority of our books are launched at 99p, whether the author is a debut or has had previous titles published. In our experience, this allows the book to climb the charts and gain exposure as a result. The majority of our profit is made when the price of the book goes up to £1.99, even though the novel may sell fewer copies at this price.

TWG – Do you believe, on a personal AND a professional level, that the book industry is moving with the times, accommodating all different types of readers and their needs? Or do you feel, just like said chief executive on The Guardian, that e-books are limited and lacking?
If eBooks are lacking in some way then so are their predecessors, paper books. Since eBooks are digital copies of paper books it seems ludicrous to suggest one is a lesser version. I think the introduction of eBooks has proved that the industry is able to change and move with the times, even though some may disagree. The Internet has revolutionized how we do so much, from watching films to looking at maps. No doubt the industry will change again at some stage and we will all need to adapt when that happens. I believe the key is to go with the tide and not against it if you have the best intentions for your authors and want to sustain a successful business.

I would like to thank owner of BloodHound Books, Betsy Reavley, for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions from a digital publisher point of view. The e-book VS paperback debate will no doubt continue, with a lot of readers being adamant that e-books are not ‘real books’. Yes, people have a preference over the format of books they read, but should we be insulting other people over the format which they choose to read? No, we shouldn’t. In my eyes, as long as people are reading, I couldn’t give a monkeys which format it is in. Would I say that one format is stupid? No, no I wouldn’t.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the above, so please do get in touch.

You can find BloodHound Books on Twitter here.
You can also get in touch with Betsy and the BloodHound Books team via their website here

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

Only_Child_Blog_Tour_v4
Today on TWG I am reviewing Rhiannon Navin’s heart-wrenching novel, ‘Only Child’. Big thank you to Jess Duffy from PanMacmillan for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

9781509855582

We went to school that Tuesday like normal.
Not all of us came home . . .

Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the close knit community and its families are devastated. Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach’s father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice — while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and drawing.

Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward — as, sometimes, only a child can.

What does TWG think?

Reading ‘Only Child’ was like opening a book with the latest news bulletins in it. No, I don’t mean that the book was written in the style of a newspaper or the ‘News at 10’ program. I simply mean that the theme of Rhiannon Navin’s book is one that is so close to real life, you would expect to see it on the news.

Oh wait. We already have…

Whilst some readers may find this book too close to the bone due to recent events covered in the news over in America, I silently applaud the author for being brave enough to write a book about something which just should not be happening in everyday life. But it is. I know that people choose to read books to escape the harsh reality of day-to-day life, and don’t wish to lose themselves in a book which highlights devastating events across the globe as they could have watched the news. I appreciate that, I really do. But when something happens which makes national news, breaking families in two with the reality of having to plan funerals for their own CHILDREN, why should we hide away from the truth? I’m not saying that this book is easy to read, because it isn’t. In fact, it’s far from easy to read – it is actually heart-breaking. Families like Zach’s, have had to live through the worst news of their life and, whilst I cannot even begin to imagine what they went through, nor can I rectify the situation for them, the least that I can do is read a book which is inspired by every day events. A book which has the chance to open my eyes to what actually happened to multiple families, and will no doubt happen again.

Told via six-year-old, Zach’s, point of view, ‘Only Child’ tells the story of a day which changed lives forever. A gunman has taken over the school. Children and teachers are staying as quiet as a mouse in their hideaway, ensuring that the gunman doesn’t hear them and come for them. Lives have been lost – nineteen lives in fact. Zach is afraid – he just wants to go home. But, when the children are escorted from the school building after the gunman had been detained, Zach’s nightmare is only just beginning…

Zach is a mere six-year-old boy. Six! Even though he can understand a lot of things, he can’t quite seem to understand why his mummy isn’t with him, or why his daddy is telling him to go and play on his own, or why somebody else is taking him to bed without singing the song he usually sings with his mummy….every single night.

Zach’s parent’s are going through a nightmare, working out how to cope with their life which now has a missing piece. I might sound incredibly harsh here, especially as I haven’t been in Zach’s parent’s situation, but the way they treated Zach was heart-breaking. I understand what they have lost and that they need to deal with their emotions, but I found it hard to watch their reactions to the son they have right next to them. It really was no wonder that little Zach went off the rails. How can a six-year-old understand anything if their parents aren’t giving them the time of day?

At around three-quarters of the book, I was sitting in bed wondering why I wasn’t crying. I know I am an ice queen but I didn’t realise I was THAT much of an ice queen. Why wasn’t I crying? Other people did. Then it hit me. Sometimes something can be far too emotional for tears. Sometimes a storyline can devastate you beyond belief, and tears just wouldn’t be enough to convey your emotion. That was exactly how I felt whilst reading ‘Only Child’. My heart was breaking over and over again for the parents, the families, Zach, loved ones – AND for those this had actually happened to in real life.

But then, nearing the end of the book, the flood gates opened due to a comment which Zach had said. The innocence of that comment, broke my heart all over again and I still can’t explain why..

‘Only Child’ is devastating. It’s heart-breaking, it’s emotional, it’s realistic, it’s every parent’s worst nightmare. But, it is also beautiful. It’s also heart-warming. It’s also incredibly eye-opening. Yes, I had issues with Zach’s parents, and yes I did become angry on behalf of that little boy as he had no-one in his corner. It hurt me greatly, but I truly think that whilst ‘Only Child’ is destined to be a marmite read, it’s a story which has to be told to educate people all over the world.

‘Only Child’ is real life. ‘Only Child’ is raw. ‘Only Child’ is devastatingly beautiful and I am in awe at the authors strength and determination when it came to writing this book.

Buy now from Amazon
Buy now from Amazon US

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

BLOG TOUR-3
I am thrilled to be today’s stop on Holly Cave’s blog tour for ‘The Memory Chamber’. I really wasn’t sure about this book at first, but I am so glad I persevered! Huge thanks to Quercus Books for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

51s0ouz86FL
YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
YOU CAN PRESERVE A HANDFUL OF SPECIAL MEMORIES FOR EVER.
WHICH ONES WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

True death is a thing of the past. Now you can spend the rest of eternity re-living your happiest memories: that first kiss, falling in love, the birth of your children, enjoyed on loop for ever and ever.

Isobel is a Heaven Architect, and she helps dying people create afterlives from these memories. So when she falls for Jarek, one of her terminal – and married – clients, she knows that while she cannot save him, she can create the most beautiful of heavens, just for him.

But when Jarek’s wife is found dead, Isobel uncovers a darker side of the world she works within, and she can trust no one with what she finds…

What does TWG think?

‘The Memory Chamber’ is a read which was so far out of my comfort zone, I honestly felt like I was on a different planet at times! Whilst I am all for psychological thrillers and crime, I have never really been a fan of science fiction, finding them far too outlandish for my tastes. However, Holly Cave’s new novel not only includes themes of a thrilling nature, it also includes themes which had a hint of Matrix versus Men in Black running through them. Like I said right at the beginning of this review, I wasn’t sure about ‘The Memory Chamber’ to start with because of the science involved. But, let me just say that I am so, SO glad that I decided to persevere with the book, stepping outside of my comfort zone to read something totally different. I would definitely recommend reading something you would never have picked up before – you might end up liking it!

I didn’t just LIKE ‘The Memory Chamber’, no. I absolutely loved it! Yes, I know, I surprised myself!! First of all, you have a main character who is a ‘Heaven Architect’, creating an afterlife for people with their memories and a good use of technology. You want a yellow, Bumblebee type Transformer car in your memories? Call Isobel. You want a selected few people to join you in your afterlife? No problem – Isobel can do that! Of course there are a lot of rules and permissions need to be granted, making the entire thing of a personally created afterlife, seem the norm. For the characters of this book, it is the norm. But that isn’t the be all end all of this book!

‘The Memory Chamber’ has such a jam-packed storyline, exploring clients personally built heavens, as well as finding out the true meaning of hell. Well, Isobel does anyway. As the storyline progresses, Isobel’s life becomes extremely difficult. If she thought her job was a matter of life and death before, she has absolutely no idea what she is about to be faced with.

I loved how the storyline was able to switch between the fluffy heaven, and the ever so dark ‘hell’, as it took me on a rollercoaster ride which was so unique, I couldn’t help but be addicted to every single page I was reading.

Yes this book is highly unusual, and yes, the storyline has a lot of themes which, written anywhere else, would seem incredibly outlandish and utterly bonkers – but it works, it really does. If you were to ask me what I disliked about this book, I would answer you with ‘absolutely nothing’, and I’m being completely honest. I could not put this book down, reading it in one sitting and feeling like I had lost my right arm when I had finished reading it.

Holly Cave turned my world upside down with her highly compelling, addictive and brilliant story telling. Reading ‘The Memory Chamber’ made me feel as though I was looking down on the Earth and everyone in it – a feeling which I have never experienced before whilst reading a book. This book blew my mind and left me wanting a truck load more, I honestly cannot recommend this enough.

Such a unique, thrilling, eye-opening, and brilliant book which will test your perseverance like never before. Bloomin’ brilliant!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

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

DRF_IfdVQAAhQmU.jpg-large
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:

61fIo5QrxjL
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

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

Banner-5

Book Cover-10
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

twitter_blog
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:

9781471164996
‘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

Blackmail Sex Lies Initial Banner
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!

Blackmail Sex Lies - Cover for advertising
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

Blackmail Sex and Lies - Full Banner-2
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

House of Spines front
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

House of Spines blog poster 2017