TWG’s Top 24 Books of 2016! @Bookouture @headlinepg @HQStories @canelo_co @littlebrownuk &more

Seeing as the end of 2016 is nearly upon us, it seems to be the ‘in thing’ to share your top books from 2016, so of course I had to do it too! I have even come out of hiding to share just some of my top reads this year. I’m not going to lie, having read 153 books this year (will be 154 by the end of tonight!), narrowing it down proved to be such a difficult task! Let me know if one of your top reads of 2016 appear in this list! So many fantastic books were published this year, and already 2017 is looking dazzling in the book world!

In no particular order, here are SOME of my top reads for 2016:

A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn.B.Halton, published by Choc Lit.
Review: Blog Tour! ‘A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love’ by Linn B Halton (@LinnBHalton) @BrookCottagebks

Melody Bittersweet and the Girls Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French, published by Bookouture.
Review: Book review of ‘Melody Bittersweet and The Girls Ghostbusting Agency’ by Kitty French.

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan, published by HQ.
Review: #Review! Miracle On 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan (@SarahMorgan_) @HQStories

A Life Without You by Katie Marsh.
I realised that I hadn’t written a review for this one, BUT, I will change that asap.

All That Is Left Of Us by Catherine Miller, published by HQ.
Review: Blog Tour! Review – Catherine Miller’s (@katylittlelady) ‘All That Is Left Of Us’ @UKCarina

A Very Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn, published by Canelo.
Review: #Review! A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by @DarcieBoleyn @canelo_co @fayerogersuk

The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey, published by HQ.
Review: Release day frenzy for Maxine Morrey & The Christmas Project! (@Scribbler_Maxi) @HQStories

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower by Rebecca Raisin, published by HQ.
Review: Book review of ‘The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower’ by Rebecca Raisin.

The Paris Effect by K.S.R.Burns.
Review: #Bookreview – The Paris Effect by Karen Burns.

A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer, published by Bookouture.
Review: Publication day #review! A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer (@KelRimmerWrites) @Bookouture

The Day I Lost You by Fionnuala Kearney, published by HQ.
Review: Review: ‘The Day I Lost You’ by Fionnuala Kearney (@fionnualatweets) @HQstories

Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson, published by Little Brown Books.
Review: It’s publication day for Lisa Dickenson(@LisaWritesStuff) & ‘Mistletoe on 34th Street’!#Review

A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom, published by Penguin.
Review: #Review! A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom (@Isabelle_Broom) @MichaelJBooks

We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk, published by HQ.
Review: Review! ‘We Were On A Break’ by Lindsey Kelk (@LindseyKelk) @HarperCollinsUK

The Gift by Louise Jensen, published by Bookouture.
Review: #Review of The Gift by Louise Jensen (@Fab_fiction) @Bookouture #psychologicalthriller

The Stepmother by Claire Seeber, published by Bookouture.
Review: #Blogtour – The Stepmother by Claire Seeber.

My Husbands Wife by Amanda Prowse, published by Head of Zeus.
Review: Book review – My Husband’s Wife by Amanda Prowse (@MrsAmandaProwse) @HoZ_Books

Christmas at the Little Knitting Box by Helen Rolfe.
Review: #Review of Christmas at The Little Knitting Box by @HJRolfe @RNATweets #tuesnews #RNA

The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen, published by Bonnier Zaffre.
Review: #Review! The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir – (@Lesley_Allen_) @BonnierZaffre #antibullyingmonth
Also linked to the book is my personal story: How @Lesley_Allen_ & Biddy Weir gave me courage to tell my own story – #BullyingAwarenessWeek

The Perfect Gift by Emma Hannigan, published by Headline Books
Review: #Review – The Perfect Gift by Emma Hannigan (@MsEmmaHannigan) @HachetteIRE @headlinepg

Take A Chance On Me by Carol Wyer, published by Bookouture.
Review: Review – ‘Take A Chance On Me’ by Carol Wyer (@carolewyer) @bookouture #publicationday

Waiting For You by Catherine Miller, published by HQ.
Review: Book review – ‘Waiting For You’ by Catherine Miller (@katylittlelady) @UKCarina

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington, published by Avon Books.
Review: Guess who’s back, back again…TWG is! Review of ‘Saving Sophie’ by Sam Carrington.

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty, published by Penguin.
Review: Book review! Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty. @PenguinUKBooks #LianeMoriarty

24 books out of a 153 read is nothing. My list, like others, could have carried on and I would have been here for ages. However, if you didn’t end up on this list, doesn’t mean I disliked your book! Special shout out to Sue Moorcroft, Sue Watson and Heidi Swain for their fantastic books and fantastic friendship. All three of you would have ended up with ALL your books in the list.

Also, big thanks to all of the publishers and authors for allowing me to read their fantastic books (some of them early!)  Roll on 2017!

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#Tour #Review – The Silent Pool by @philkurthausen @NeverlandBT #giveaway @HQDigitalUK

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Brand new week with a brand new blog tour, what more could you want?! Today, the blog tour for ‘The Silent Pool’ by Phil Kurthausen kicks off! I am thrilled to be one of the blogs helping to kick things off! Sit tight as not only do I have a review for you, there is also a giveaway!

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How long can the past be kept secret?

It is a time of austerity. Financial cuts are biting hard and the once great City of Liverpool finds itself now almost bankrupt. At the eleventh hour funding is found in the form of enigmatic billionaire Kirk Bovind, a religious zealot, determined to change the moral and religious fibre of his old hometown and bringing salvation to the streets.
So when a man disappears without trace solitary lawyer, Erasmus Jones, agrees to track down missing Stephen, but quickly discovers that this is more than just a missing person case. Men are being brutally murdered across the city and Erasmus suspects the deaths are all linked. As the search for Stephen grows and the ripples from the past begin to spread Erasmus has to ask himself whether Bovind could be behind the killings or if someone is trying to frame him and weaken the strangle hold he has over the city?
Who will be the next to die…?

What does TWG think?

 I am probably not the only one to say this, or the last, but WHAT A NAME! The hero of this book is sure to be remembered with a name like ‘Erasmus’! Again, what a name! There is more to ‘The Silent Pool’ than just the main characters name. A lot more in fact; I did have to pay a lot more attention to the storyline and the information given, in case I missed anything.

Truthfully, ‘The Silent Pool’ is a book that took me out of my comfort zone. I had a feeling it might, and seeing as I do like to push my book boundaries, I kept going. Erasmus has been asked to take on a ‘missing person’ case; a gentleman named Stephen. Erasmus soon realises that it isn’t just a case of a missing person and is about to uncover a lot more than he bargained for..

As I said above, there is a lot of information to get your head round as the storyline seemed to branch off in every direction and uncover even more red tape situations. I found myself trying to work out what had happened and who was involved in things throughout the whole book. I wouldn’t make a good detective though; I became rather indecisive and at one point, I put the blame on myself! Yes, I questioned my own sanity multiple times reading this.

‘The Silent Pool’ is full of mystery, gritty circumstances and a treasure chest full of ‘whodunnits’, it is exceptionally hard not to involve yourself in the storyline. Poor Erasmus gets pulled everywhere as his list of hero antics becomes even longer! I enjoyed the too-ing and fro-ing of evidence, as well as the constant turbulence in regards to the disasters.

Even though ‘The Silent Pool’ isn’t in my ‘go to’ genre, I am glad that I took a chance on it as I did enjoy the nitty gritty parts, even though I struggled to absorb all of the information written.

A nail-biting, busy read, which will keep you on your toes and have you questioning everything that you thought you knew.

Thank you HQ & NeverlandBT

The Silent Pool is available to buy now from Amazon UK

About the author:

Phil Kurthausen was brought up in Merseyside where he dreamt of being a

novelist but ended up working as a lawyer. He has travelled the world working as a flower
salesman, a light bulb repair technician and, though scared of heights, painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Ken Dodd once put him in a headlock for being annoying.
He has had work broadcast on BBC radio 4 extra, published some short stories and his novel ‘The Killing Pool’ won the Thriller Round in the Harper Collins People’s Novelist Competition broadcast on ITV in November 2011 and appeared in the final. It was later
shortlisted for the Dundee International Literary Prize in 2012. He lives in Chester.

Giveaway:

The giveaway is for a £10 Amazon gift card (UK ONLY) and to have a character

named after the winner in Phil Kurthausen’s next book. It is for one winner. 
Ends 19th December 2016.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! Good luck!


#Review of A Pug Like Percy by Fiona Harrison (@Fionajourno) @HQStories @PuglikePercy

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Blurb.

A furry festive miracle who’s there for you with a helping paw. Percy definitely isn’t just for Christmas…

Percy is homeless, abandoned by his owner at an animal rescue centre on a cold winter’s night. So when he finds a loving new home with Gail and her family, his deepest wish is that this time, it’s forever.

Gail hopes that Percy will be the little miracle that her family so desperately needs. Her young daughter, Jenny, is in and out of hospital and she’s only just holding things together with her husband, Simon.

With the family at breaking point, and Christmas just around the corner, is Percy the furry friend they’ve all been waiting for?

What does TWG think?

This Christmas, there seems to be an influx of novels with animals as the main character, in the ‘voice’ of the animal. I have seen reviews of those books, even this one, where people say ‘how silly’ it is to have a dog ‘talking’ to the readers. WELL! Some of you say silly, I say GIVE ME MORE! I’ll be honest, I did originally think that these books were aimed at children or young adults, purely because of the covers and general assumption. However, once I actually opened the book and started reading, I quickly discovered that these books are in fact novels for adults yet they could suit young adults also.

‘A Pug Like Percy’ has such a gentle, yet bold looking cover, which will no doubt get many fans cooing over Percy’s cuteness! I did expect the book to be rather sweet and sickly, but oh my goodness, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

We meet Percy in an animal rescue centre where he is scared, lonely and worried that nobody will come and give him his forever home. Soon enough, Percy’s worries go out the window when he meets Gail, a lady who falls in love with him straight away. But, for poor Percy, things aren’t as they seem and it looks like the little pug will be doing more than just being a dog this Christmas..

Just like Gail, I fell in love with Percy straight away! He has got such a loveable personality which is laced with cheekiness. Some of the things that Percy got up to had me in absolute stitches, especially when we got to read his thoughts about certain situations. Felt a little powerful if I’m honest, I got to read Percy’s mind! No wonder he’s a smug pug!

Gail’s family situation is rather heart-breaking as her daughter, Jenny, is very poorly yet spends most of her time worrying about her parents constant arguing. The fact that Gail and Simon couldn’t put their issues aside during Jenny’s time of need, irked me. I know that in stressful situations people say and do things that are out of character, but I did find it to be a little selfish of them. However, Percy got to have a little fun with it and tried his best to fix things with his doggy pals, especially Peg.

Do not, under any circumstance, judge this book by its cover thinking that it is for children, as you will be missing an absolute treat of a book. With ‘A Pug Like Percy’, the storyline speaks volumes by highlighting exactly how much love pets have for their owners. I adored this story from start to finish; it had me smiling, laughing and going ‘aww’ as the storyline tugged at my heart-strings on more than one occasion.

Fiona has written such a cosy and heart warming read, bringing the loveable Percy into our hearts this Christmas. Such a cleverly written novel which will leave you feeling snuggly and full of love, trust me, it happened to me. Merry Christmas Percy, you loveable pug, you.

Thank you Fiona & HQ.

A Pug Like Percy is available to buy now from most supermarkets AND Amazon UK. The perfect stocking filler this Christmas.

Release day frenzy for Maxine Morrey & The Christmas Project! (@Scribbler_Maxi) @HQStories

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Happy publication day to you,
Happy publication day to you,
Happy publication day to Maxi,
Happy publication day to youuuu!!!

It’s a very special day here on The Writing Garnet as we help celebrate Maxine Morrey’s publication day! Alongside other bloggers, TWG is taking part in a publication day frenzy for Maxine’s new release, The Christmas Project. Of course, it is a super polite way of saying ‘oi, buy this’, but you really need to buy this book. Want to find out why? It’s review time!

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Blurb.

This Christmas fall in love in the snow with Maxine Morrey

Christmas in the city has never been more magical!

Professional organiser Kate Stone has never – NEVER – been tempted to hit a client over the head with a snow shovel, but Michael O’Farrell is the most obnoxious – and heart-stoppingly gorgeous – man she has ever met. If he weren’t her best friend’s brother, she would not have waited on his doorstep in the freezing cold for five minutes, let alone an hour.

Kate knows, however, that her job isn’t just about tidying up, sometimes she needs to be part therapist too, and Michael clearly needs her help to declutter his heart as well as his home.

But with the festive season just around the corner there isn’t much time to get Michael’s house ready for the O’Farrell family celebrations, but everyone knows that at Christmas anything can happen…

What does TWG think?

‘The Christmas Project’ has been on my radar ever since I spotted the cover on HQ’s Facebook page. I spent ages trying to figure out what this book could be about, (aside from the obvious Christmas reference), as I didn’t want to read the blurb! Thankfully, HQ got in touch asking me to get my frenzy on and read the book ready for publication date. I’ll tell you what though, Maxine’s book cover is a sly old fox!

Have you ever been in a position where you may have wanted to physically harm a client or customer, due to their pain in the bauble nature? Kate Stone has! Been in that position I mean, not actually done it, I don’t think anyway! Kate comes face to face, (an hour late I must add), with her latest client, Michael. A man who is so set in his way that he makes plaster of Paris seem like a walk in the park. No joke. Kate has been asked by her best friend to help him add a little organisation to his life, but there seems to be a slight issue!  Michael is phwoar, a total hunk yet his mouth seems to bring out the worst in Kate. Will Kate manage to organise Michael’s home AND tame his sharp tongue? Christmas Project indeed!

Oh my goodness, what a book!! The storyline was completely different to what I thought based on the cover, yet I am super glad that it was! Kate is a fiery, feisty type of woman as she knows what she wants and how to get it without shouting her mouth off. I instantly adored her character because of that. As for Michael’s character; well, he was most definitely a pain in the  Christmas pudding, yet somehow I felt quite drawn to him. Oh, that sounds weird haha. I mean, his personality is the type of personality that I go for in a guy (a real one) as it was clear that the man had good banter!

I must admit, I did find myself laughing out loud at a few of the situations in the storyline! One book that is mentioned within the story I now cannot read, or look at, without snlaughing and thinking of ‘The Christmas Project’. The humour throughout the book is absolutely brilliant; it all came across so naturally written and unforced. Cringy antics sometimes don’t get me wrong, but oh so fabulous!

There is absolutely nothing negative that I can say about ‘The Christmas Project’, aside from the obvious not wanting it to end. As soon as I picked up my kindle to read it, I didn’t put it down until I had finished. Completely hooked for a total of four hours. A truly majestic 4 hours thanks to Maxine Morrey and ‘The Christmas Project’.  I even went onto Twitter right after I had finished reading it, to talk about it with a fellow blogger (Hi Rachel Gilbey!), but she hadn’t finished it at that point! We agreed, however, that it was a truly hilarious book (even up to where she was at!).

The Christmas Project has organised itself into my list of ‘top books for 2016’, and quite rightly so. I am truly amazed at how one author can create such a beautifully written, hilarious novel with such ease. Reading this particular book it is extremely clear that Maxine loves what she does because of the joy that oozed from the words. It made me smile. It made me laugh. It even made me wish Michael was a real person!

A truly magnificent, gem of a book which will have you hanging onto every word that Maxine has written. Absolutely brilliant, a true joy to read. Maxine Morrey has set the bar high with this novel!

Thank you HQ and Maxine!

The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey, published by HQ is available to buy from TODAY (14th November), from Amazon

#Review! Miracle On 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan (@SarahMorgan_) @HQStories

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Blurb.

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. Even if she is spending it alone housesitting a spectacular Fifth Avenue apartment. What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

What does TWG think?

One thing that always makes me think of Christmas is the film ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, so when I saw that Sarah’s latest novel consisted of a title in the same vein, I couldn’t resist nabbing it to read. Plus, I ADORE Sarah’s books anyway so it was really a win-win situation before I had even begun.

Meet Eva, a Christmasaholic who loves nothing better than being amongst the festivities and ensuring everyone else is amongst them too, whether they like the season or not. Unfortunately for her, the owner of Eva’s latest job happens to be a tough cracker to pull and celebrating Christmas isn’t at the top of his to-do list. Will Eva be able to turn a 21st century Scrooge into a Christmas Elf, or will she have to admit defeat and realise not everybody wants to sing ‘Santa Baby’? It would be a miracle..

Oh my goodness, I LOVED this book!! Everything from the setting of the book to the decorations on the Christmas trees were written with incredible detail and filled with so much magic I started to think it was Christmas. I think Eva’s Christmas naivety put the book on another level because she oozed sass alongside it. In a few of the Christmas books I have read, I sometimes find that a few of the characters can be rather slushy. However, Eva was completely different. Yes, she had naivety when it came to Christmas and the assumption that everyone else should love it like she does, but my goodness that woman sure knows how to give as good as she gets. Such a firecracker! Eva has got to be one of my top favourite characters within a book, ever. Such a fantastic character to read about and get to know.

I did find some parts of the storyline to have the predictability factor but that didn’t bother me in the slightest as it still made for excellent reading despite that. Everything about ‘Miracle On 5th Avenue’ shouted Christmas as the storyline was very atmospheric and magical. I actually am starting to think that Sarah Morgan managed to put me under a spell with her words!

I must admit, I did get ever so slightly teary in the last half of the book when the storyline went in a different direction as, even though I had a strong inkling about the route the storyline was taking, I was still overcome with emotion.

Sarah Morgan has an incredible way with words and fills her stories with so much emotion, magic and enjoyment; how can you not feel on top of the world once you have finished one of her books? Miracle On 5th Avenue was such a joy to read and I felt slightly empty once I had finished reading it!

Such a magical and cosy read that will have you spellbound from the very first page. A definite must have and must read for this Christmas. Magnificent book!

Thank you HQ Stories!

Miracle On 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan, published by HQStories is available to buy now in both e-book and paperback from Amazon UK.

Blog Tour! #Review – Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall(@LisaHallAuthor) @HQStories #NoLies

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Blurb.

Don’t. Trust. Anyone.

It was supposed to be a fresh start.

A chance to forget the past and embrace the future.

But can you ever really start again?

Or does the past follow you wherever you go…

Steph and Mark have just moved house, trying to find a way forward after all the secrets, lies and betrayal.

But starting over isn’t always easy. Especially when someone will go to any lengths to make sure you never forget…

What does TWG think?

It is an absolute honour to be involved in Lisa Hall’s blog tour for ‘Tell Me No Lies’! Thank you to Lisa and HQStories for inviting me on the tour.

Tell Me No Lies has been one of the most talked about books of the last few months. Lisa’s first book ‘Between You And Me’ had a lot of people in the book world hungry for more, so when it came to light that Lisa was writing another book, everyone went absolutely nuts (in a good way obviously)!

Steph and Mark finally get their much longed for fresh start, but seeing as Mark broke Steph’s trust once before, what’s to say that he won’t break it again? What’s to say that history won’t repeat itself due to Steph’s past either?

This review has been quite a tough one to write as I don’t want to say too much and give anything away, yet on the other hand, I want to shout about this book from the rooftops.
Think that you can trust your own judgement? Think again. Think that you can calculate characters actions based on the information given? Think again.

I thought that I was going stir crazy the whole way through the story because Lisa’s writing managed to work its way into my mind, and grab it like a vice. The storyline messed with my mind one hundred percent; but I couldn’t put the book down. The fast paced storyline was exceptionally written and kept me on my toes the whole way through.
The overall concept of the book was simple in terms of the amount of characters and what you saw was what you got in terms of that. However, hats off to Lisa Hall for turning a simple concept into a complex, raw and nail-biting read. Lisa has worked the storyline in such a genius and creative way, making use of the bare necessities as it were and turning them into a storyline that completely took my breath away.

A truly fantastic, exciting and intense highly anticipated second novel from the creative genius, Lisa Hall.

Thank you to Lisa and HQStories.

Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall, published by Harpercollins will be published tomorrow (20th October), but is available to pre-order right now! Head on over to Amazon UK right now!

Blog Tour! Review of Losing it by Emma Rathbone (@EmmaRathbone) @HQStories #LosingIt

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TWG is back with yet another blog tour today, this time it is for Emma Rathbone’s ‘Losing It’ which is published by HQStories!

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Blurb.

Twenty-six year old Julia Greenfield has long suspected that everyone is having fun without her.

It’s not that she’s unhappy, per se. It’s just that she’s not exactly happy either.

She hasn’t done anything spontaneous since about 2003. Shouldn’t she be running a start up? Going backpacking? Exploring uncharted erogenous zones with inappropriate men?

Trapped between news of her mother’s latent sexual awakening and her spinster aunt’s odd behaviour, Julia has finally snapped. It’s time to take some risks, and get a life.

After all – what has she got to lose?

What does TWG think?

‘Losing It’ puts a whole new spin on the well-known phrase ’40 year old virgin’! Except none of the characters in the book are 40..although the last part is true! I’m sure many of us when we were at the age of wanting to explore sexually, were forever listening to the detailed tales of friends ‘losing IT’, or having friends that were getting geared up to. It always seemed to be a competition of who could lose IT before others in the group, regardless of the circumstances in doing so. Let’s think of that from another side, what if that competition turned into pressure? Maybe pressure from other girls with ‘omg why haven’t you lost it yet?’

That’s where Julia comes in, a 26-year-old virgin that seems to focus on the concept of ‘losing it’ day in, day out. By focus, I mean obsessed. She goes on the AWKWARD dates to try to find THE ONE, the one who she can settle down with and lose her virginity to. Julia stays with her Aunt Viv whilst she is on her mission to lose it, the thing with that though is that Aunt Viv is very similar to Julia..in more ways than one.

I think Emma Rathbone is rather brave in writing about such an important topic, even though some readers may find it all a bit too ‘cringy’. The topic of virginity and losing it is one that needs to be highlighted because some people DO get pressured to lose it just because their friends sisters boyfriends cousin did. But on the other side of the coin, you get people like Julia that feel as though it is the be all and end all to lose their virginity. Why is that though? Unfortunately, it does come down to one thing, media. Whilst I do feel that Emma has done such a brilliant thing by highlighting the topic, I did find Julia’s obsession with the whole thing a bit too much.

I also feel that there was much more to Julia’s personality that wasn’t explored fully, she is definitely character who will have a marmite reaction. The conversations she was having with her friends along the way were a mixture of hilarity and ‘omg you didn’t?’, and I found that to be rather refreshing and on point with today’s society. Everyone will have their own cringeworthy story when it comes down to sexual intercourse and virginity, and Emma’s book has shown that is okay to have those embarrassing moments, even if you don’t think so at the time.

Overall, I thought that the storyline in general was very different to the books that are out there just now, but also a funny read. However, I am sitting on the fence with this book as I didn’t gel with the characters at all, but I gelled with the basis of the storyline in general. Hats off to Emma Rathbone though for bringing out a book that will most certainly get people talking and hopefully more comfortable with the topic of virginity. Own it!

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publishers, thank you.

Losing it by Emma Rathbone, published by HQStories, is available to buy now from Amazon UK

About the author.

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Emma Rathbone is the author of the novel The Patterns of Paper Monsters. She is the recipient of a Christopher Isherwood Grant in Fiction, and her work can also be seen in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. She is also a writer for the upcoming Netflix comedy, G.L.O.W. She lives in Los Angeles.

Review: ‘Cupcakes at Carrington’s’ by Alexandra Brown (@alexbrownbooks) @HQstories.

cacBlurb.

A deliciously indulgent read from a hot debut writer and first in a series of books set in Carrington’s Department Store – where life is sweeter…

Perfect for fans of Meet Me in the Cupcake Cafe and Breakfast at Darcy’s.

Georgie Hart loves her job – running the luxury handbag concession at Carrington’s Department store in the pretty seaside town of Mulberry Bay, and treating herself (once too often!) to a red velvet cupcake with buttercream icing in Carrington’s café.

But Georgie is thrown into disarray when Carrington’s is plunged into a recession-busting makeover, cueing the arrival of femme fatale Maxine, who wields the axe in her immaculately-manicured hands.

It spells a recipe for disaster for Georgie and soon she is fighting not only for her job, but also for the attentions of her gorgeous boss, James. And when hot newcomer Tom arrives, who may or may not be the best thing since sliced bread, Georgie must decide where her loyalties really lie…

What does TWG think?

Anyone who knows me really well; will know that monochrome will catch my eye quicker than Cookie Monster will catch a cookie (and that is saying something!). As I was trawling through Amazon, trying to find myself a little cheer up treat, this beautiful book caught my eye. Not only did the monochrome look shout ‘elegance’, it also made me rather intrigued, especially with a title like ‘Cupcakes at Carringtons‘ and a sleek cover with no sign of a cupcake. It tickled my taste buds…

Oh my! Have you ever watched the TV show ‘Mr Selfridge’? As Alex Brown set the scene of the department store with the luxurious items, tip-top decor and workers badges that you could see your face in, it made me feel as though I was walking into the store in that TV show. I was incredibly impressed that Alex’s detailed writing made me visualise the store as though I was standing in it; and that was all within the first few chapters. Now that is talent!

Georgie Hart is the main character within the story, as readers, we follow her life and get an insight of the other characters personalities from a different angle. She loves her job (and the cupcakes in the cafe), but before long, she realises that she would rather be anywhere else than be at her workplace. I did enjoy trying to work out the characters who I thought were hiding things, things are definitely not as they seem to be in Carringtons!

As I am not one for reading blurbs (usually), my initial thoughts of the book were that I was entering a world of sweet treats, cupcakes and more cupcakes. You know, a book with cupcakes at its main focus. But, as I browsed Carringtons, it soon became clear that the cupcakes would be a tantalising addition to an already gourmet read.

The whole feel of the storyline was elegantly executed and written with such grace; I adored feeling as though I was being pampered. Pampered by an authors extraordinary writing mind. Pampered by the intense truth as the drama unfolded further on in the story. Pampered by a truly wonderful, exciting and charismatic read. I WILL be going to Carrington’s again with the next book in the series, but this time, I will ensure I wear a fascinator so that I can ooze elegance exactly like the author and her words.

Cupcakes at Carringtons by Alex Brown, published by HarperCollins, is available to buy now from Amazon UK.


Blog Tour! Review of ‘The Ex-Factor’ by Eva Woods (@InkStainsClaire)@HQStories #TheExFactor

The Ex Factor

Blurb.

Is it possible to freecycle love?

Modern dating is hard, especially when all you meet are liars, oddballs, men who wear Superman pants and men who live with their mums.

So why not date someone who already comes pre-approved? Just because your friend’s ex wasn’t right for her doesn’t mean that he won’t be right for you. That’s Marnie’s new plan for herself and her three best friends, perennially single Helen, recently divorced Rosa and cynical lawyer Ani.

Through bad dates and good, the four friends begin to realise that there are advantages to dating pre-screened men…but there can be some serious pitfalls to falling for your friend’s ex

What does TWG think?

TWG would like to thank the lovely Cara from HQStories for squeezing me on this tour and allowing me an ARC.

‘The Ex-Factor’, what a title! As soon as I saw the title I thought ‘uh-oh’, what could possibly go wrong!! Your best friend dating your ex, well, one of. The ex that may have been sent packing by yours truly, yet gets a chance with YOUR best friend? Totally not weird at all, waste not want not!

I may be a cynic, but recycling a sister from another mister’s ex-lover just screams ‘MAYHEM!’ That my friends, is exactly why I wanted to read the book. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about that sort of thing? Can you imagine the amount of secrets that could come spilling out? Four best friends choosing four exes to give to one of their friends to date and have a chance of getting their happy ending. Intriguing.

Well! All four ladies stand out in their own ways, completely different personalities each with their own fair share of heartbreak. Although, some of that heartbreak remains hidden, it is only a matter of time before it erupts, and it won’t be pretty.

I have to admit, it did take me a while to get into the swing of the book (pardon the pun), there was a lot of too-ing and fro-ing between characters and their emotions. I did warm up to the storyline though and found a couple of the ladies (Rosa & Ani) to be quite endearing and memorable; they quickly became my favourite characters after that!

I know it is good for the environment to recycle, but I definitely would not give any of my exes to my friends to date! Because of my own personal opinion on the matter, I loved how different this book was. A topic that will divide the readers and will definitely keep them talking.
Eva Woods has taken such a diverse topic and put her own signature twist on it that makes the book stand out from the rest. Not only was there romance, there were plenty of giggles throughout the book (aside from the men in superman pants obviously).

Despite my initial reservations, I enjoyed the concept of the story and the way that Eva brought it to life. Such a cleverly written book that will definitely spark many different opinions!
Eva Woods has the X – Factor in the book world for me, but she most certainly is not getting one of my exes, I’m not that mean!!!

The Ex Factor by Eva Woods, published by HQ Stories, will be released on the 8th September 2016. You can pre-order your copy from Amazon UK.