#BlogTour! #Review – My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber (@byLizzyBarber) @arrowpublishing @Rachel90Kennedy #MyNameIsAnna

blog tour graphic final - my name is anna
I feel as though I’ve been waiting 475859483 days for my tour stop to finally be here (might be a SLIGHT exaggeration)! Can you tell I’m eager to share my review? Damn right I am, and I get to do that today! Many thanks to Rachel for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for the ARC. Here is my review of ‘My Name is Anna’ by Lizzy Barber:

51vdj9s8kdl._sx323_bo1,204,203,200_
Two women – desperate to unlock the truth.
How far will they go to lay the past to rest?

ANNA has been taught that virtue is the path to God. But on her eighteenth birthday she defies her Mamma’s rules and visits Florida’s biggest theme park.

She has never been allowed to go – so why, when she arrives, does everything seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives on the same day?

ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads. Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes in full flow, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth.

But will she find the answer before it tears her family apart?

What does TWG think?

‘My name is ANNA!’ Is it? Is it really?

Wow, this storyline did not disappoint at all! I won’t delve too much into how I digested the storyline so to speak, as I may end up giving something away unintentionally.

Reading about Anna’s life made my spine tingle as it was quite scary. It’s crazy to think that stuff like this actually happens in real life. I’m not saying that I will be rolling my daughter up in bubblewrap and fitting her with enough lights to rival the Christmas tree in New York, just so that I can see her, due to the contents of this story. No..its just every parents worry though, isn’t it?

‘My Name is Anna’ follows the journey of Anna, a young girl who is living the only life she has ever known, until one day something triggers her memory and snippets of 15 years ago come back to her. Why? Why now?

The book also follows the journey of another young girl, Rosie, and her family as they deal with the aftermath of their loved one disappearing off the face of the Earth. Surely someone must have seen them? Surely someone must know SOMETHING?!

It was quite hard to separate my emotions when the storyline switched between Anna and Rosie, especially as their situations couldn’t seem further apart if they tried. I mean, Anna didn’t know Rosie. She didn’t even know that Rosie’s sister was missing – it’s not like she was allowed to sit in front of the T.V. every day….her mother had very strict boundaries!

I loved how fast paced the storyline was – it kept me on my toes even when the storyline came across a little predictable. By the way, I don’t mean that the predictability was a negative thing as usually I would say that it would be, however Lizzy Barber made it seem intentional because the truth became clear early on in the book, yet it was as though us readers were the only one in on the secret. If that makes any sense!!

The conclusion of ‘My Name is Anna’ was very well carved out and fitted in with the aftermath very nicely. It was realistic, in keeping with the overall theme, and highlighted the fact that biology, in the grand scheme of things, means nada if the nurturing side is completely different. How could someone change everything that they believed in, just because that was intended?

Lizzy Barber has written a brilliant, brilliant novel which had me hooked from start to finish. If this is the strength of Barber’s debut novel, I eagerly await her second novel! A chilling, realistic, and addictive novel which gripped me tightly than ever before!

Buy now!

About the author.

Lizzy Barber studied English at Corpus Christ College, Cambridge University. After ‘previous lives’ acting and working in film development, she is now the Head of Brand and Marketing for a restaurant group, working with her brother, a restaurateur.
Her debut novel, MY NAME IS ANNA, was the winner of the Daily Mail crime writing competition, and will be published in hardbook in January 2019 by Century, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The North American edition, retitled ANNA IN THE DARK will be published in December 2019.

She is currently hard at work on her next thriller. Lizzy lives in London with her husband, George, food writer and strategy consultant. They are expecting their first child in January 2019.

Advertisements

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now!

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

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of #TheLiarsGirl, Catherine Ryan Howard (@cathryanhoward) @CorvusBooks @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours

Today I am delighted to be sharing a guest post written by author of ‘The Liar’s Girl’, Catherine Ryan Howard. Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and I hope you all enjoy reading the post. Before you get stuck in, here is a little bit more information about the book, as well as the all important ‘buy’ link:

Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.

Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.

Buy now from Amazon

Guest post.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

 

The question ‘where do you get your ideas?’ is a running joke among writers, partly because we’re asked it all the time, and partly because it takes so long to write a book and things change so much during the process that it can be hard to remember what exactly the original idea was. Its origins may be even trickier to pin down, because for many writers idea-generating is like looking for shapes in the fog: sometimes something emerges, and you’ve no idea how or why, but your deadline is in six months’ time so you don’t ask any questions and just go with it. (This analogy may have broken down somewhat… ANYWAY.) I, however, relish being asked this question – because I know the answer. I’ve written three books, the second of which, The Liar’s Girl, has just been published in paperback, and the idea for all three have come from the same place: real life. 

 

In July 2013, I read an article in GQ magazine called ‘The Serial Killer Has Second Thoughts’ by Chris Heath. Above the article itself was a little introduction:

 

In a remote psychiatric hospital in Sweden, there is a man known as Thomas Quick who has been convicted of unspeakable crimes. Over the course of multiple trials, he would tell his brutal stories—of stabbings, stranglings, rape, incest, cannibalism—to almost anyone who would listen. Then … he went silent for nearly a decade. In the last few years, though, he has been thinking about all he has said and done, and now he has something new to confess: He left out the worst part of all.

 

I immediately thought: if I was browsing for a book in a bookshop and I picked up one with that blurb on the back, I would RUN to the cash register with it – because I would have to know what the ‘worst part of all’ could possibly be, considering what this man had already admitted to. 

 

Flash-forward now to April 2015. I’ve written a novel about a serial killer on a cruise ship (Distress Signals, more on that in a minute) and got a 2-bookdeal with Corvus Books. I meet my editor for the first time over lunch and everything’s going great until she says, ‘What about Book 2?’ I mumble something vague about a half-baked idea of mine,but she doesn’t look too impressed and I start to panic slightly. Then I remember: Thomas Quick. I tell her about the article, about the introductory paragraph. I say I want to write a book where that is the blurb – and she says, ‘Wow, I just got chills.’

 

(Me too, especially when I got out onto the street afterwards and realised that the blurb was ALL I had, that I’d no idea what the plot of the book was, or who would be in it, etc. etc. so mine were different chills, of the panicky kind. But that’s another story…)

The idea for Distress Signals had, four years earlier, also come from an article – this one being ‘Lost At Sea’ by Jon Ronson, about cruise ship disappearances. It mentioned an organisation called International Cruise Victims. That stopped me in my tracks because I wondered what on earth was happening on cruise ships – happy, relaxing places, I would’ve thought – that was creating victims and creating so many of them that this organisation needed to exist. I started Googling…And an idea began to form. A cruise ship is the perfect place to get away with murder. 

 

I’m currently working on Rewind, my third novel which will be out next year, and the idea for that came from an image on PostSecret.com. PostSecret is best described as an art project; people write their secrets on a postcard, anonymously, and mail them in. A few years ago I saw a PostSecret that was an image of a hotel room, on which someone had written, ‘I trade hidden sex-cam footage with other Air B&B hosts.’ A thought struck me: what if you were doing that, not because you were a terrible person but because you were desperate, maybe financially or becauseyou were being blackmailed, and one night you captured a murder on tape? What would you do? What could you do, without getting yourself in trouble?

 

The actual plot of The Liar’s Girl bears no real resemblance to Thomas Quick. It’s the story of Alison Smith who, ten years ago, was a freshman in college in Dublin and in the throes of first love. But her boyfriend, Will Hurley, subsequently confessed to being the Canal Killer who’d drowned five girls in the waters of the Grand Canal. Now, there’s been a copycat murder and, out of desperation, the Gardaí go to visit Will in prison. He says he has information that can help them but will only give it to one person – Alison, who reluctantly returns to Dublin to face the man she’s spend a decade trying to forget. And that’s when she learns that, until now, Will has left out the worst part of it all… 

 http://www.catherineryanhoward.com

@cathryanhoward on Twitter & Instagram

 

#TheLiarsGirl

 

Link to The Serial Killer Has Second Thoughts:

https://www.gq.com/story/thomas-quick-serial-killer-august-2013

 

Link to Lost at Sea:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/nov/11/rebecca-coriam-lost-at-sea

#Review – The Quality Street Girls by Penny Thorpe (@PenThorpeBooks) @HarperCollinsUK

518j0hcptol

A seasonal delight, inspired by the true story of the Quality Street factory.

At sixteen years old, Irene ‘Reenie’ Calder is leaving school with little in the way of qualifications. She is delighted to land a seasonal job at Mackintosh’s Quality Street factory. Reenie feels like a kid let loose in a sweet shop, but trouble seems to follow her around and it isn’t long before she falls foul of the strict rules.

Diana Moore runs the Toffee Penny line and has worked hard to secure her position. Beautiful and smart, the other girls in the factory are in awe of her, but Diana has a dark secret which if exposed, could cost her not only her job at the factory but her reputation as well.

When a terrible accident puts supply of Quality Street at risk, Reenie has a chance to prove herself. The shops are full of Quality Street lovers who have saved up all year for their must-have Christmas treat. Reenie and Diana know that everything rests on them, if they are to give everyone a Christmas to remember…

What does TWG think?

We have all heard of and no doubt eaten, the iconic brand of ‘Quality Street’, right? I don’t know about you but whenever I hear those two words, I instantly think of Christmas and being able to delve into the purple tin of goodness, trying to find the green triangles and orange crunches before someone else fills the tin up with wrappers. We have all been there I’m sure! Although saying that, I remember the Quality Street tins to be much bigger than what they are now! Well, either that or I was a very, very small young person at the time of my memory….

Reenie Calder has, in her eyes, been given the gift of a lifetime when she’s told that she will be starting work in the factory which makes the Quality Street sweets, Mackintosh’s. With so many ideas filling her head before her feet even cross the threshold, Reenie’s mum has to reign her in very quickly before she finds herself getting too big for her boots and without a job. To be Frank, I could see why Reenie was getting agitated though – why should she be punished for bringing ideas to the table?

‘The Quality Street Girls’ doesn’t just follow the life of Reenie Calder, it also follows the life of another Quality Street girl, Diana Moore. A young lady whose face could turn milk sour if she stared at it too long. Before you start shaking your head at my analogy, there is a reason for it and it all becomes clear further on in the book. Poor Diana has multiple reasons as to why her face could make anyone run a mile. But, just like Reenie, why should Diana be punished for trying to protect her family?

Oh my heart did go out to those two young girls! Two very different, impressionable personalities who led two, very different lifestyles with two rather questionable outlooks on life. I don’t mean that rudely, but that’s how it was. I loved Reenie’s enthusiasm when it came to work. Heck, the job centres could use someone like her in this day and age, that’s for sure! I thought that Diana’s strength was incredible, but for someone who isn’t afraid to speak her mind when things are wrong, she sure seemed to keep her mouth shut at a time she, in my opinion, needed to open it the most. Obviously I won’t delve into the details of that reason as I don’t wish to give away spoilers.

I loved finding out how the iconic brand of Quality Street started, especially with the fact of ‘The Purple One’. I had absolutely no idea that that was the case, and I loved being able to tell my family that on Christmas Day….knowing full well I hadn’t just Googled it! Thanks Penny Thorpe!!

Historical fiction novels are one of my favourite type of genres to read, yet after reading Penny Thorpe’s ‘The Quality Street Girls’, I think I have now found myself a brand new, go to, historical fiction author!

I absolutely adored the energy that the entire storyline was laced with! It kept me on my toes and allowed me to speed read the book as though someone was dangling multiple orange crunches in front of my face. The history element was absolutely brilliant and kept my brain fed with knowledge from start to finish (even though, just like the author admits, some parts were stretched to fit in with the overall storyline). That didn’t even bother me, instead it just added a lot more character to the overall vibe of the story.

‘The Quality Street Girls’ tickled my taste buds, made me giggle, and allowed me to lose myself in Penny Thorpe’s chocolatey goodness (no, that isn’t a euphemism!). My only regret where this book is concerned, is that I wish I had started it sooner! I cannot wait to see what’s next for the girls at Mackintosh’s, and I hope that Reenie and Diana fill another story with their emotional and highly addictive drama.

Such a classic, cosy, and wonderfully written book which puts the nations favourite chocolates in everyone’s hearts once again.

If ‘The Purple One’ told me before I read the book, that I would need to point my ‘chocolate toffee finger’ at this ‘strawberry delight’, I would have told them ‘fudge’, and to jog around the ‘milk choc block’ because I, hand on ‘orange crunch’, think that ‘The Quality Street Girls’ is an absolute ‘toffee deluxe’.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – This Child of Ours by Sadie Pearse (@SadiePearse) @LittleBookCafe


Massive thank you to Millie Seaward from Little Brown Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘This Child of Ours’ by Sadie Pearse. I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on this thought provoking book – here is my review:

You know what’s best for your child.
Don’t you?

Riley Pieterson is an adventurous girl with lots of questions. There’s plenty she doesn’t know yet; what a human brain looks like. All the constellations in the night sky. Why others can’t see her the way she sees herself.

When Riley confides in her parents – Sally and Theo – that she feels uncomfortable in her own skin, a chain of events begins that changes their lives forever. Sally wants to support her daughter by helping her be who she dreams of being. Theo resists; he thinks Riley is a seven-year-old child pushing boundaries. Both believe theirs is the only way to protect Riley and keep her safe.

With the wellbeing of their child at stake, Sally and Theo’s relationship is pushed to breaking point. To save their family, each of them must look deeply at who they really are.

What does TWG think?

‘This Child of Ours’ is an incredibly eye-opening and poignant novel which delves deeply into the topic of being comfortable in your own skin. Whilst the media reports on males and females being uncomfortable in the skin that they were born in, especially in the New Year, it is incredibly rare and often seen as ‘taboo’ if the media reports on a child not feeling right in the body that they were given. I’ve seen people say ‘how does a child know that they’re in the wrong body?’, and to be brutally honest, before I read ‘This Child of Ours’, I asked the same sort of question. Did Sadie Pearse’s majestic and beautifully written story enlighten me? Of course it did! Did it help me understand that just because we are born one way, it doesn’t mean it’s the RIGHT way? Honestly? Yes AND no. Now that isn’t me choosing to be ignorant about the subject, not at all. In fact, weirdly enough, it’s the complete opposite.

Riley bravely admits to her parents that she isn’t comfortable being a little girl. Her parents, her father especially, can’t help but think that it’s a ‘phase’, as though she’s decided she no longer wants to play with My Little Pony toys and wishes to play with Shopkins toys instead. But is it that simple? How do you know that your seven-year old isn’t just wanting to try a new thing? How do you KNOW that when your child comes to tell you that being a girl has her devastated, that she isn’t merely ‘throwing her teddies out of the pram’. She’s seven. But then on the other side of the coin, how can you brush something like that aside? Likening it to a phase that she will ‘grow out of’? Children put their trust in their parents to do right by them. They expect their parents to be on their side no matter what. ‘This Child of Ours’ highlights the importance of having someone on your side. Having someone to sit there and say ‘I believe you’. In this case, that person is Riley’s mum, Sally. Her dad on the other hand, Theo, is struggling to digest what his little girl has told him. Can you blame him? No, not really. But could I blame his actions further on in the story? Yes, I could. I know I shouldn’t judge a situation that I’m not in myself, and I guess I’m not really doing that, however I found the way that Theo reacted highly emotional. I couldn’t understand why he chose to do what he did, especially as he didn’t stop to think about how his choices would affect his daughter. Being a parent is difficult. We are often stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea when it comes to conflicting emotions between ourselves and our loved ones – but when a child is concerned, surely the adult has to be the bigger person? The child is looking for direction, is it fair if the adult palms off their concerns like it’s an odd job to fix on a Saturday morning after the football?

I could see where Theo was coming from – what Riley came out with IS a big deal, and her age was a big thing in the situation. I could understand his upset, confusion, and uncertainty about the future. However, I couldn’t help but feel angry with the way he was pointing the finger. It was heartbreaking to watch his daughter battle with her own, confusing emotions, as well as watching her father react to them in such a cutthroat manner. As for Sally, I felt that her approach was more level as she tried to find solutions to ensure her daughter’s happiness was their number one priority. Sally was confused by the situation, but she dealt with that by finding people to speak to and not by unintentionally blaming her daughter for something she couldn’t control.

I will be honest and say that I don’t understand how a young child can say that they wish to be a different gender to the one that they were born. I won’t go as far to say that I mirrored Theo in his views, because I don’t and didn’t. I just don’t understand. Maybe if I was in that situation myself my outlook would be different. I’m not saying that children CAN’T feel that way, because it’s clear that they can.

I thought that Sadie Pearse’s storytelling was incredibly honest and thought-provoking, both emotionally and mentally. Pearse has looked at the topic from every angle, incorporating multiple, real reactions to the subject in her story, highlighting the fact that yes, a lot of people are going to view things differently where something like this is concerned. I am glad that the author chose to tell the story from both a positive and negative viewpoint as its realistic. Not everyone is going to throw a party to celebrate the lifestyle change, and not everyone is going to feel as though their lives are being torn apart. ‘This Child of Ours’ explores the true reality of admitting to yourself that you aren’t comfortable in your own skin, alongside the true reality of just how people, even loved ones, can react to an admission like that.

I didn’t know what to expect before I started reading ‘This Child of Ours’, but I can honestly say that now, having read and digested the storyline, my life feels enriched by the beautiful story I was able to read. I had the chance to delve into a situation I couldn’t understand, in turn finding my eyes opening widely to the black and white notions of each character in the story. I may still struggle to understand the bigger picture, but the fact that I can empathise emotionally with the situation just goes to show how much of an impact this story has had on me.

A beautifully told, enriching, emotional and thought-provoking story which will stay in my heart for a very long time to come.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Summer in the Orchard by Fay Keenan (@faykeenan) @Aria_fiction

I am so excited to be kicking off the blog tour today for ‘Summer in the Orchard’ by Fay Keenan – huge thanks to Aria for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Sophie Henderson loves her job at Carter’s Cider in the picturesque Somerset village of Little Somerby, but with summer dawning before yet another picking and pressing season, and her boss David showing no signs of wanting to hang up his cider jug, perhaps it is time to move on.

She’s all set to hand in her notice when Alex Fraser, an intern from Vancouver, comes to Little Somerby to learn everything he can about the cider business. With Sophie as his mentor, attraction between them starts to grow alongside the apples.

For Alex, however, being in Little Somerby is about more than cider, and as the summer grows warmer, and his relationship with Sophie blossoms, can he find the courage to tell her the truth before it’s too late?

What does TWG think?

‘Summer in the Orchard’ is the third book in the ‘Little Somerby’ series and, whilst it isn’t a necessity to have read the previous books in the series, I do think it would be advantageous as characters from previous books make appearances throughout, and it would save any unnecessary confusion if you already know who they are and where they fit in. Like I say that, you can read the book perfectly well on its own, so if you are okay with the not knowing every single persons backstory, you’ll get on just fine!

Personally, I bloomin’ loved this book! And no, it wasn’t because the resident dog had the same name as mine! Plus Barney is absolutely brilliant and I did miss him in the storyline when he was no longer in the spotlight (don’t panic – he’s fine, I checked 😉 ).

Sophie adores her job working with cider and, despite being around it all day, she still enjoys having several glasses off the stuff when she’s off duty. However, not everyone is as excited about cider as Sophie. Carter’s Cider is a family run business and the bosses really are keeping it in the family….for now anyway as an intern from overseas has made his way to Carter’s to find out about how cider is made from the best in the business. But why Carter’s? Why now? Why come ALL the way from Vancouver to talk about….apples?

This is such a drama filled storyline, and I loved the fact that I was able to sink my teeth into the story and not let go because of it. Sophie’s situation with her ex had me switching between anger and rolling my eyes – yes, her ex is an eejit and he just seemed to get worse!! I also adored her gran – she reminded me of my great grandmother, Waddy – you couldn’t get anything past her either! That woman seemed to have eyes everywhere!!!

‘Summer in the Orchard’ was such a delightful, energised read which kept me hooked due to the family dramas and animal antics. Fay Keenan has really gotten into the heart of the characters with this book! I think she has done a fantastic job of keeping the true meaning of the story close to her characters hearts without going off on an unnecessary tangent – I would even go as far to say that ‘Summer in the Orchard’ is my favourite book in the ‘Little Somerby’ series to date!

Such a free spirited, joyful and ideal read to lose yourself in – I adored it!

Buy now!

About the author.

Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling back in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband of fourteen years, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, which may or may not have provided the inspiration for Little Somerby.

 Follow Fay: 

Twitter: @faykeenan

Facebook: @faykeenanauthor

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheChestnutMan by Søren Sveistrup #SørenSveistrup @JennyPlatt90 @MichaelJBooks

Excuse my 1.5hr lateness, I have literally just finished reading it! I am very excited to be sharing my review of ‘The Chestnut Man’ by the writer of ‘The Killing’, Søren Sveistrup. Many thanks to Jenny Platt and Michael Joseph for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

THE DEBUT NOVEL FROM THE CREATOR AND WRITER OF THE KILLING

One blustery October morning in a quiet suburb of Copenhagen, the police make a terrible discovery. A young woman is found brutally murdered in a playground and one of her hands is missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts. 

Ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner, Mark Hess, is a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead – the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. 

The man who confessed to her murder is behind bars and the case is long since closed. 

Soon afterwards, another woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case, the murdered women and a killer who is spreading fear throughout the country. But what is it?

Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the murderer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

What does TWG think?

If you had said to me before I started blogging, that I would be reading a book about brutal killings, gruesome discoveries, and thrilling content which will make you hope that anything from your stomach stayed there, I would have burst out laughing. Seriously. I wouldn’t have wanted to read it, let alone enjoy it. It’s funny how things change though, isn’t it!! Fast forward nearly three years and I have read and enjoyed the exact book I said I wouldn’t read. Why? Because I like stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to books, and ‘The Chestnut Man’ certainly didn’t disappoint!

At just shy of 500 pages, ‘The Chestnut Man’ is quite a gutsy novel and, due to the intricate and detailed content throughout, the storyline does require a bit of brainpower and concentration. People usually associate chestnuts with Christmas time or as a snack in chocolate, whereas this author does not.

Chestnuts are heavily involved in this story (not just in the title), due to multiple killings where chestnuts are left at the scene of the crime in the form of a Chestnut man. Whilst it’s clear that no killing is a ‘usual’ killing, the fact that the sadistic ahem behind these killings enjoys amputating his victims, highlights the fact that they clearly aren’t textbook events. If there is such a thing, but I’m sure you know what I mean!

The details of the amputations are described very vividly early on in the book, as are the gruesome murders, both of which caused my face to contort in a very ugly manner. Usually said gruesome descriptions would have had me running for the hills, yet weirdly I couldn’t help but find myself gripping hold of the book even tighter. I was absolutely hooked. Who was ‘The Chestnut Man’? Why did he set his sights on particular people? Why were chestnuts even involved? Would Thulin and Hess ever reach the bottom of a case that just kept getting more and more complicated?

There are a lot of characters to keep tabs on in this book, and sometimes the too-ing and fro-ing between them all, as well as trying to remember who was who and who worked where, did end up making me a bit confused on more than one occasion. It took me a little while to slot all the characters into place in my mind, but once I did I found the storyline much smoother on that front.

I did struggle to gel with Thulin and Hess at times, but the fact that they were so different created fireworks in the story which were brilliant to read. I could understand their frustration though, as the case kept expanding quicker than they were solving it.

‘The Chestnut Man’ is a very in depth novel, but it is one that has been written in a way that made my jaw drop. The intensity through this book was out of this world, and the descriptions were brutal yet highly gripping. I couldn’t tear my eyes away even if I wanted to.

I had no idea what to expect from this book, however I have come away with a new author to watch and a storyline which I reckon I will be thinking about for a long time to come. Gruesomely thrilling – I’ll never look at a Chestnut in the same way ever again!!

‘The Chestnut Man’ will be published on the 10th January but is available to pre-order now from Amazon.

#BlogTour! #Review – Wildflower Park Part One (Build Me Up Buttercup) by Bella Osborne (@osborne_bella) @AvonBooksUK

Happy New Year!! What a fantastic way of kicking off a brand new year than with a blog tour! I am delighted to be reviewing part one of Bella Osborne’a new serial, ‘Wildflower Park’. Many thanks to Avon for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Escape to Wildflower Park with Part One of a brand new four-part serial from bestselling author Bella Osborne.

Life’s not always a walk in the park…

When Anna is dumped by her fiancé, she moves in to her own place on the edge of the gorgeous Wildflower Park and pledges to stay off men and focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives an accidental text from a mystery man, could it be the new start she needs? Or someone she really shouldn’t be falling for?

Anna’s neighbour Sophie is a stressed-out mum-of-two with a third on the way. Her husband is a constant frustration, and their children are a regular source of newly-invented swear words and unidentifiable sticky surfaces.

Luckily, Anna and Sophie have each other – and Wildflower Park proves to be a sanctuary as they map out a path to find the happiness they both deserve…

What does TWG think?

Omg I love this series already!!!! What with ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ being part one of the new series, the instalments aren’t very long so, if you’re after a quick read to tickle your tastebuds – this would be ideal! Bella Osborne’s new series is split into multiple parts before the full length novel gets published later on in the year. Thankfully there isn’t too long to wait between each part!

I’ll keep this review sweet as I don’t wish to ruin this novella sized read for anyone, but can I just say that I have a feeling that this will be Bella Osborne’s best work to date. The humour in the story was incredible! I couldn’t stop laughing at the brilliant one liners written in at exactly the right time. Sophie and Anna, the two main characters, are very chalk and cheese and what one ‘lacks’, the other one certainly makes up for. Personally, there were things about both of them which I liked and disliked, but Sophie’s whinging aggravated me the most.

I thought that this first instalment was a fantastic way of starting a new series – there’s drama, humour, romance, lack of romance, questionable work colleagues and children who make you cringe whilst laughing hysterically. What more could anyone want?

Yes this read is short, however it packs more than the intended punch. I am addicted already!!!

Buy Part One (e-book) now from Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

Ready? Let’s go!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4194amC9ScL
I haven’t written a review of this book yet as I am on the blog tour for it next year. However, ‘The Day We Met’ by Roxie Cooper completely blew my mind and left tears rolling down my cheeks like a homemade waterfall. Stephanie and Jamie are two, highly complex, emotional and brilliantly written characters, I cannot see how anyone wouldn’t fall in love with them like I did. For me this book was everything I could have hoped for and more.

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

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

See you next year, folks!!

Kaisha x

TWG’s Top SIX #ChristmasReads of 2018! (@SarahWaights @Donnashc @Karen_King @SarahMorgan_ @RebeccaMascull) @Bookouture @OrionBooks @HQStories

Wow! How on Earth are we at the end of 2018 already? This has been an exceptional year for books and, although that is obviously excellent to hear, it has made my job of narrowing my favourite reads down, MUCH harder! Usually I would bung it all in one post, however, I felt that this year I would do something different and put my favourite festive reads in one post.

So, are you ready?

In no particular order, three of my top festive reads of 2018 are:

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by Karen King (@karen_king) @Bookouture

https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/blogtour-review-missmarley-by-the-late-vanessa-lafaye-and-rebecca-mascull-rebeccamascull-hqstories/#respond

#Review – The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan (@SarahMorgan_) @HQStories

I adored all three of the above books, each ticking off various different boxes in their own right. Now, there were three other festive reads which blew me away as well, and seeing as I cannot choose just ONE as my absolute favourite Christmas book of 2018, I’m being greedy and choosing all three.

Here are my most favourite Christmas books of 2018:

Just like the previous three, you can read my thoughts of my top three here:

#BlogTour! #Review – I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas by C.P.Ward (@imgladifoundyo1) @rararesources

#BlogTour! #Review – #25DaysTilChristmas by Poppy Alexander (@SarahWaights) @OrionBooks

https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/blogtour-review-the-little-christmas-teashop-of-second-chances-by-donna-ashcroft-donnashc-bookouture/

Have you read any of the Christmas books mentioned? If so, what did you think? If you haven’t, these books can be read any time of the year, they are just brilliant!

Thank you to the authors for writing such fabulous reads, and thank you to the publishers/publicists and blog tour organisers for allowing me to read them!