Let’s Connect: Writers Tag

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I don’t often participate in tags but since I was nominated in this one by my good friend, Viola Bleu, whom I love dearly, and it looked interesting I decided I would do this one. It’s taken me a while to get round to doing it with all my blog tour commitments, but better late than never!

If you have never visited Viola Bleu’s blog, make sure you go over there and have a poke around, I am sure you will find plenty to interest you. It is the blog equivalent of one of those fascinating shops where there all kinds of seemingly unconnected but fascinating things stored and you can’t decide where to look next but you want to take it all home with you and you know it must be owned by the most interesting and extraordinary person. Viola (not her real name but I’m not going to out her here!) writes in such a warm, approachable and honest style that her personality really shines through every post. Her blog is just as she is IRL, I love it.

The tag was started by Lorraine Ambers and Ari Meghlen so I must credit and thank them too, as I have read some riveting stuff as I followed the tag through.

Here are the rules:

  • Post the Tag and Image on your blog.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Mention the creators of the award and link back to their blogs.
  • Nominate 6 bloggers and notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

To be honest, this is the reason I don’t do the tags, because I never know whether the people I tag will be cursing me under their breath for giving them extra work to do, or simply ignore my tag so I feel like Norman No-Mates so, to those other bloggers I’ve tagged, please feel free to ignore me if you don’t want to do it, I will not be offended at all! I have picked you just because I love your and/or your blogs. Here are my nominations, I apologise if you have already been tagged:

Jennifer Kennedy

Ronnie Turner

Jennifer Gilmour

Emma Cooper

The Renegade Press

Read, Write, Inspire

So, on to the questions:

Name one novel that inspired you to write.

The first question is an impossible one! Every book I have ever read has inspired me in some way, either because I would love to have written it or was sure I could do better. If I  had to pick, I’d pick almost anything by Maeve Binchy as she just has such an amazing way of capturing the beauty and importance of every day life which really speak to everyone.

What’s your favorite genre to write and read?

I love to read and write just general fiction, about the extraordinary things that happen to ordinary people, the things that make us who we are, that make us do the things we do. The motivations of every day people fascinate me.

Do you prefer to write stand-alone or series?

I’m writing a standalone but since I started, a couple of the secondary characters have taken on lives of their own and are shouting at me to tell their stories too, so it may develop into a loosely connected trilogy, who knows. Let’s get book one finished first!

Use 3 words to describe yourself.

Perfectionist, worrier, empathetic.

Reveal your WIP image that represents your MC or setting.

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How long did your first MS take to draft?

The first draft took the better part of 10 months, but it is very rough and I now hate most of it. It is going to take a huge amount of editing and rewrites to knock into shape. I’ve just had my feedback from the RNA New Writer’s Scheme which will help.

Who is your author idol?

Marian Keyes. She is picking up the baton of Maeve Binchy as finding the extraordinary in ordinary lives, and she is not afraid to tackle difficult topics in a very relatable and often humorous way. She is very honest about the demons she has to battle to write, and she uses her fame to promote the things she believes in. Plus she is hilarious! I absolutely love her – in fact, I wish I was her!

Share a writing memory that made you determined to carry on.

I lost someone close and precious to me last September who was not much older than me. She always believed I could write a book and encouraged me constantly. I miss her all the time and her belief in me motivates me when nothing else can.

Tell us something surprising or unique about yourself.

I don’t believe I am in any way surprising or unique. I am completely ordinary and what you see is pretty much what you get as far as I am concerned. You’d have to ask one of my friends that question, I guess.

Share the hardest part about being a writer and how you overcame it.

It’s fear of not being good enough, constantly, and not doing my ideas justice. I haven’t overcome it, I battle it every time I sit down to write.

What’s your favorite social media and why? Share your link.

I love Twitter, the good, the bad and the ugly. All human life is there. It isn’t always pretty, but it is illuminating.

Share some uplifting wisdom in six words or less.

You are enough. (Now I just need to convince myself of that!)

 

 

 

 

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer #BookReview #BlogTour (@KelRimmerWrites) @headlinepg @annecater #randomthingstours

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“Your sister or her baby. Who do you choose?

As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced toturn to her leatherbound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears…

As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a successful doctor and happily engaged. Annie is an addict – a thief, a liar and unable to remain clean. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?”

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer, which I have really been looking forward to reading. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

So, where do I even start with this book? It has completely blown me away in so many different ways. This book has given me so many things to think about, and aroused so many different emotions, I know it is one of those books that I may have closed the covers on and put back on the shelf, but it will remain open and alive in my mind for a long time to come.

This is the story of two sisters who are incredibly close despite being very different. This is the story about children robbed of their childhoods due to events and decisions of their parents over which they have no control. It is the story of how traumas inflicted on us early in life can send our lives spiralling off course in ways we cannot imagine. It is a story about how people need to open up and allow other people to help them if they are to survive and thrive in life. Mostly, it is a story about love and familial bonds that survive, no matter what.

This book deals with some very difficult topics – childhood loss, abuse, drug addiction, neo-natal addiction – but it does it with such empathy and tenderness and huge respect that, despite the terrible nature of the topics, they become easier to stomach some how, whilst still being shocking. The author has obviously done a huge amount of research for this book and introduces relevant and compelling facts about the subjects which are enlightening without being too dense to navigate. I found the parts dealing with the laws surrounding women and drug-taking during pregnancy particularly hard to believe and stomach and will definitely read up more on this topic.

The characters are beautifully written, particularly Lexie and Annie. I loved the way that we are able to clearly hear the voices of both women through the use of first person for Lexie throughout, and through Annie’s journal entries. It is a clever device, well executed and I really felt I got inside the minds of both women, who are both complicated and damaged. I came out totally understanding what was driving them both, and was very emotionally connected to both of them, to the extent that the book had me in tears in several places.

This book touches and tests the reader in a myriad of different ways – emotionally, intellectually, morally. It would be impossible to come away from reading this without asking yourself a lot of questions about what you believe about the subjects covered, and possibly like me, crying for the injustice meted out to certain sectors of society. It is particularly relevant, given the questions at the forefront of debate at the moment about how society views and treats women. Honestly, my head is spinning with thoughts and feelings about it all.

This book represents what good writing should do, and the kind of book that I would like to write if I thought I had the tiniest fraction of the talent it has taken to write this. This is definitely the kind of book we all should be reading – beautifully written, intelligent, thoughtful, provocative. Pretty much perfection.

Before I Let You Go is out now and you can purchase your copy here.

To see a range of views of this book, make sure you follow the rest of the tour as detailed below:

Before I let you go

About the Author

Kelly Rimmer Author Picture

Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Connect with Kelly:

Website: https://kellyrimmer.com

Facebook: Kelly M Rimmer

Twitter: @KelRimmerWrites

Instagram: @kelrimmerwrites

The Christmas Wish by Tilly Tennant #BookReview #BlogTour (@TillyTenWriter) @Bookouture #TheChristmasWish #NetGalley

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“Christmas is coming but it doesn’t feel that way for Esme. Jilted by her cheating fiancée Warren and mourning the death of her beloved grandmother she’s determined not to let life beat her and books a trip to Lapland, on a holiday that her grandmother had always dreamed of taking.

Beneath the indigo skies of Lapland, love is the last thing on Esme’s mind but she can’t ignore a spark with Zach, a broodingly handsome actor, also nursing a broken heart. But when Esme is bombarded by messages from Warren promising he’s changed and she discovers that Zach is hiding something-will her head be turned? And when a trip to the northern lights reveals the full extent Zach’s own secret past is there any hope that Esme will get the happy ending that her grandmother wished for her?”

It is my great pleasure today to be on the blog tour for The Christmas Wish by Tilly Tennant. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for my place on the tour and my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Anyone who is a regular reader of Tilly’s books will know she is the go to author for beautifully written, uplifting, cosy romance and the charm of her writing is doubled in her Christmas books, so I was delighted to get my hands on this beauty to review. Just look at that cover – if it doesn’t get you in the festive mood, nothing will, you old Grinch!

We meet Esme as she arrives at her Grandma’s house with her tail between her legs, having split up with her fiancé, Warren (and what a horrible character he turns out to be!), knowing that she is the only person who can help her pick up the pieces of her shattered life. but then, tragedy strikes, and Esme finds herself running back to Warren. After all, better the devil you know. But then, Esme finds her Grandma has booked her on the trip of a lifetime to Lapland, and Esme is offered the chance to get away and figure out what she wants from life.

Everything about this book is charming, the characters (except Warren!), the settings – both Derbyshire where her Grandma lives and Lapland- and the heart-warming plot of taking a chance and breaking free to find happiness. I really warmed to Esme and her dilemma, but her grandma was my favourite character, which made the events earlier on in the book very poignant and moving, and I could feel Esme’s loss and confusion, so I understood her subsequent actions to a degree. Although, I have to say that I did get the point where I wanted to slap some sense into her and get her to open her eyes and be brave, but I think Tilly’s way of waking her up was probably a better story!

Once the story reached Lapland, I was in seventh heaven. Having been there myself, the book brought back all the wonderful memories of that trip I took, particularly the sense of otherworldliness there is in the place where there is a perpetual twilight and constant sparkling snow. Everything seems that bit more magical and special and you are a million miles away from real life. Tilly does an amazing job of bringing this place to live and imbuing the story with that winter wonderland magic, it is fabulous writing.

This book is an antidote to everything cynical and depressing and doom-laden that might be dragging you down in the modern world, so I would prescribe a healthy helping of this lovely book as an entirely legal, and side-effect free, mood-enhancer. Take as large a dose as required at any time of day.

The Christmas Wish is out now and you can buy your copy here.

Please check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour for this charming book:

A Christmas Wish - Blog Tour

About the Author

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Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her next Tilly Tennant novel. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life, and Poppy Galbraith, where things get a little crazier.

Connect with Tilly:

Website: https://tillytennant.com

Facebook: Tilly Tennant

Twitter: @TillyTenWriter

Divide and Rule (Division Bell Book 2) by Rachel McLean #BlogBlitz #BookReview (@rachelmcwrites) @RaRaResources #DivisionBell

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Delighted to be taking part today in the blog blitz today for Divide and Rule by Rachel McLean, which is book two in the Division Bell trilogy. You may recall that I reviewed book one in the trilogy, A House Divided last month and you can find that review here. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the blitz today and to the author for my advance copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.

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“Jennifer Sinclair’s fight to save her political career, her family and her freedom has failed. Traumatised by prison violence, she agrees to transfer to the mysterious British Values Centre.

Rita Gurumurthy has betrayed her country and failed the children in her care. Unlike Jennifer, she has no choice, but finds herself in the centre against her will.

Both women are expected to conform, to prove their loyalty to the state and to betray everything they hold dear. One attempts to comply, while the other rebels. Will either succeed in regaining her freedom?

Divide and Rule is 1984 for the 21st century – a chilling thriller examining the ruthless measures the state will take to ensure obedience, and the impact on two women.”

Do you realise how many rights and freedoms you have as a citizen of Great Britain today, or do you just take them for granted? Do you ever consider what life must be like in countries that don’t grant the same protection of personal rights that we do? How powerless would you feel if, all of a sudden, those rights and freedoms were taken away from you? If these thoughts have never occurred to you, and you happily pootle along from day to day, grumbling slightly about the few restrictions we do live under in order to make life bearable for society as a whole (as most of us do), I suggest you read this book for a healthy wake up call, because things could be a lot, lot worse.

This book picks up from where A House Divided left off so, although I’m sure this book could be read as a standalone, you will have a much richer and more rewarding reading experience if you have read book one first. Besides, the first book is fantastic, so you should definitely read it. Jennifer Sinclair, former MP and Prisons Minister has found herself incarcerated in one of the prisons she was formerly responsible for, after hiding her son, who was suspected of terrorist affiliations, and you can imagine how popular she is in there. So, when she is given the chance to move to a new rehabilitation centre, with the chance of following a six step programme that will lead to her freedom, she decides to take the chance.

Unfortunately, the centre does not turn out to be what she was promised and, along with other women accused of similar ‘crimes’, she is subjected to a system of brainwashing designed to stop the women questioning a system which is becoming increasingly dictatorial, and the women find that all the rights they believed they had as a result of living in a democratic country have been severely eroded. How do you fight a system that doesn’t grant you any rights or protections? The book explores the different approaches taken by Jennifer, still thinking like a politician, and Rita, defiant in her beliefs and unwilling to conform, as they try to play the programme and earn their escape.

I read this book in a single sitting, late into the night, my body rigid with tension throughout. I was totally hooked on the story from beginning to end; I simply could not look away from the page. I was gripped with mounting horror as it became apparent that this scenario is frighteningly plausible and, as I pondered the questions posed in paragraph one of this post, realised that we take far too much for granted in this country, that we actually have little personal power and rely far too much on legal freedoms which could easily be taken away. In fact, in recent history there have been situations where internment without trial have been used (the Troubles in Northern Ireland being the most recent example) and were being mooted again as solutions to terrorism by certain factions more recently. When one considers this, this book becomes even more eye-opening. ‘There by the grace of God” is a phrase that springs to mind.

I have been concerned by the direction that politics is currently taking in this country, and by certain things that have happened over the past few years, certain headlines in the newspapers and rhetoric on social media. Reading this book has done nothing to quell my fears. If you are looking for a horror story for Halloween, forget Stephen King or M.R. James, this is it. A small part of me is banking on Rachel leaving us with a hopeful ending in book three, Divided We Stand, which I will be reviewing on 20 November, but I fear this may be wishful thinking.

Divide and Rule is out now, and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

A House Divided - rachel mclean

I’m Rachel McLean and I write thrillers and speculative fiction.

I’m told that the world wants upbeat, cheerful stories – well, I’m sorry but I can’t help. My stories have an uncanny habit of predicting future events (and not the good ones). They’re inspired by my work at the Environment Agency and the Labour Party and explore issues like climate change, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis and sexism in high places. All with a focus on how these impact individual people and families.

You can find out more about my writing, get access to deals and exclusive stories or become part of my advance reader team by joining my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub.

Connect with Rachel:

Website: https://rachelmclean.com

Facebook: Rachel McLean

Twitter: @rachelmcwrites

Instagram: @rachelmcwrites

Goodreads: Rachel McLean

Bittersweet by Veronica Henry #BookReview #ShortStories #Freebie (@veronica_henry) @orionbooks #Kindle

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A chance encounter on New Year’s Eve brings one woman’s dream alive; a woman begins her new life by the sea; and one strawberry tart can change everything…

From forgotten loves to second chances, new happiness and old friends, this is an uplifting and moving collection of short stories about how love changes, and how it changes us – from Sunday Times bestseller Veronica Henry.”

** Features an exclusive extract of her upcoming novel Christmas at the Beach Hut! **

Just a quick review today of Bittersweet, a delightful collection of short stories by one of my favourite authors, Veronica Henry. The book also has an exclusive extract from her new novel Christmas at the Beach Hut which will be published on 15 November.

There are seven short stories in this little collection, and everyone of them is delightful. It is really hard to write a short story but Veronica manages to imbue each of these with an impressive range of activity and emotion; I defy any of you to read them and remain unmoved. Despite the restrictions on the length of each, Veronica’s trademark warmth and empathy is obvious in each one, no one else could possibly have written these stories.

Each of these has a different twist on relationships, some of them happy, some more melancholy, but all of them ultimately uplifting. I think my two favourites were Escape to the Country, where I found myself inwardly cheering as Holly finally takes her future in her own hands, and A Certain Likeness, where we are left believing that it might never be too late.

I must admit, I didn’t read the extract from Veronica’s new book because I have it on pre-order and I didn’t want to have to wait three weeks to be able to carry on reading once I was drawn in to the story. However, if you haven’t read either of the two Beach Hut novels (and if not, why not, they are wonderful!), the extract will be a great taster of the seaside town of Everdene and I am sure you won’t be able to resist diving in to the series.

The best thing os all about this little collection is that it is FREE to download on Kindle. Yes, you heard that correctly – it is absolutely free to download, so what on earth could possibly be stopping you? You can download it here, then grab a comfy chair, cosy blanket and a mug of your favourite hot beverage and settle down for treat. You can thank me later.

If that wasn’t enough, Veronica will be guesting on my blog on Friday 16 November as part of my new Friday Night Drinks feature, to celebrate the launch of her new book, Christmas at the Beach Hut, so make sure you check that out. Veronica’s new book is available for pre-order here.

About the Author

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Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for THE ARCHERS, HEARTBEAT and HOLBY CITY amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD for A NIGHT ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Veronica lives with her family in a village in north Devon.

Connect with Veronica:

Website: www.veronicahenry.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/veronicahenryauthor/

Twitter: @veronica_henry

Instagram: @veronicahenryauthor

 

Tempted by…The Writing Garnet: The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse @kaishajayneh #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #Blogtober18 #TheCoordinatesOfLoss

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When Rachel Croft wakes up on her family’s boat in Bermuda, it’s to sunshine and yet another perfect day…until she goes to wake her seven-year-old son, Oscar. Because the worst thing imaginable has happened. He isn’t there.

In the dark and desperate days that follow, Rachel struggles to navigate her grief. And while her husband, James, wants them to face the tragedy together, Rachel feels that the life they once shared is over. Convinced that their happy marriage is now a sham, and unable to remain in the place where she lost her son, she goes home to Bristol alone.

Only when she starts receiving letters from Cee-Cee, her housekeeper in Bermuda, does light begin to return to Rachel’s soul. She and James both want to learn to live again—but is it too late for them to find a way through together?

Next up in my series highlighting books I have been tempted to buy after reading reviews by my fellow bloggers is The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse which I immediately ordered after reading this review written by Kaisha on her fabulous blog, The Writing Garnet. Kaisha’s blog was one of the first book blogs I discovered, long before I started my own, and it still one of my favourites. Her reviews are all really well-considered and balanced and wonderfully expressed.

The subject matter of this book is of great interest to me as it is something of which I have personal experience and something that is currently influencing my own writing so, as soon as I read the review, I knew I had to read it, although I suspect I will find it difficult and emotional. I think this is a good example of a situation where a review which is not a rave will not put off another reader. Although Kaisha says in her review that this is not her favourite book by this author, it did not deter me at all because she still highlighted a lot of positives about the book and reminded us all that sometimes, whether or not we connect with a story is a matter of personal taste and experience. A great example of a well-balanced review.

Make sure you visit Kaisha’s original post to read her review in full and if, like me, you then fancy picking up a copy yourself, you can find it here.

An Afternoon of Tea & Cake for the Soul with A Little Book Problem #bloggers #blogger #bloggerlove

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One of my favourite blogs to follow is Hazel Jackson’s wonderful, eclectic site Tea & Cake for the Soul. Hazel has a weekly feature where she chats to different people about the subjects that interest her and I was delighted to be invited to be one of those she is featuring.

Today is the day that I’m appearing as the guest on Hazel’s blog and you can check out our chat via this link: An Afternoon with Tea & Cake for the Soul with A Little Book Problem.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Hazel, it was great fun chatting to you and I hope there will be a return visit for Friday Night Drinks in the near future.