27 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / In Search of Sam by Kristin Butcher

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 16th June 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.




Raised by her mother, eighteen-year-old Dani Lancaster only had six weeks to get to know her father, Sam, before he lost his battle with cancer. It was long enough to love him, but not long enough to get to know him especially since Sam didn't even know himself.

Left on the doorstep of an elderly couple when he was just days old, and raised in a series of foster homes, Sam had no idea who his parents were or why they had abandoned him. Dani is determined to find out. With nothing more than an address book, an old letter, and a half-heart pendant to guide her, she heads into B.C.'s Interior to Kamloops, Barriere, Merritt, and finally to a small, forgotten town teeming with secrets and hopefully answers."
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25 May 2015

Book Review / The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter by Kate Winter

Falling in love is never simple. Especially when you're dead.

When Rosie Potter wakes up one morning with what she assumes is the world's worst hangover, the last thing she expects is to discover that she's actually dead. With a frustrating case of amnesia, suspicious circumstances surrounding her untimely demise, and stuck wearing her ugliest flannel PJs, Rosie must figure out not only what happened last night, but why on earth she's still here.

Slowly the mystery unravels, but there are many other secrets buried in the quiet Irish village of Ballycarragh, and nobody is as innocent as they first appear. Aided by the unlikeliest of allies in her investigation, Rosie discovers that life after death isn't all it's cracked up to be, particularly when you might just be falling in love . . .

In this hilarious, life-affirming and romantic journey through Rosie Potter's afterlife, she shares the ghostly tale of how she lived, she died, and she loved (in that order).


Published:     21st May 2015
Publisher:  Sphere
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



My Review

What I loved about this book...
This was a really fun book to read.  I felt that this story was more centred on Rosie and what she does and who she follows and tries to speak to after she died rather than what actually happened to her when she died.  I have to admit that I read this book in one sitting.  It was really well written and easy to read I could just sit back, relax and enjoy the story.  My favourite character has to be Charles, which is a character that is a fairly main character in this book and does play a bigger part than what you realise when you first meet him.  

What I did not like about this book...
I wasn't sure what age range this book was aimed at when I picked this book up to read.  After finishing, I would say that this book would be great for any age but if you were looking for a specific age bracket I would say young adult but on the middle grade/young adult age bracket.  The story was very simple (in a good way), nothing too complicated.  When reading the description I had hoped that there would be a few more twists and turns but the story was definitely very fun to read.  When reading the story I did wish that there would have been more about the investigation into how she died rather than concentrating on the characters but it does become clear why it is written that way when you get to the end. 


About the Author
(from LBA Website)

Kate Winter is a journalist, novelist and storyteller from the North West of Ireland who was lucky enough to grow up with no TV (though she didn’t consider it a lucky break at the time) and lots of books. After graduating from University of UIster with first class honours and the Ulster Television Award for her BA in Media Studies, Kate promptly forged a glittering career for herself in waitressing.

Her first novel, The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP), will be published by Little, Brown Publishers in August 2014.



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Author Interview / Hannah Fielding


A young woman's journey of discovery takes her to a world of forbidden passion, savage beauty, and revenge.

Spring, 1950. Alexandra de Falla, a half-English, half-Spanish young writer abandons her privileged but suffocating life in London and travels to Spain to be reunited with her long-estranged family.

Instead of providing the sense of belonging she yearns for, the de Fallas are driven by seething emotions, and in the grip of the wild customs and traditions of Andalucia, all of which are alien to Alexandra.

Among the strange characters and sultry heat of this country, she meets the man who awakens emotions she hardly knew existed. But their path is strewn with obstacles: dangerous rivals, unpredictable events, and inevitable indiscretions. What does Alexandra's destiny hold for her in this flamboyant land of drama and all-consuming passions, where blood is ritually poured on to the sands of sun-drenched bullfighting arenas, mysterious gypsies are embroiled in magic and revenge, and beautiful dark-eyed dancers hide their secrets behind elegant lacy fans?

"Indiscretion"is a story of love and identity, and the clash of idealsin the pursuit of happiness. But can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away?






Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean. 

To date, Hannah has published three novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya, 1970; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in turn-of-the-millennium Italy; and Indiscretion, her fieriest novel yet, set in 1950s Spain.

If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?

I am not sure how easy I would find it to co-write, but I would love to brainstorm ideas and learn from literary greats like Charlotte Bronte and Daphne du Maurier. My favourite writer of all time is MM Kaye, author of The Far Pavilions, so it would be wonderful to work with her. I can imagine us talking for hours in a scenic spot over cups of tea, sharing our experiences of travelling – she lived in Egypt, for example, where I grew up, and Kenya, a country I so fell in love with that I set my debut novel, Burning Embers, there.

What is the hardest part of the writing for you?

The most challenging parts for me are writing the opening paragraph and the closing paragraph. The first must encourage the reader to continue his or her journey into the novel, to want to get to know the characters and their story; and the second must leave the reader with a feeling of contentment and maybe a tinge of melancholy because the voyage has come to an end and it is as if he or she is saying farewell to a friend.

What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?

I write everyday. Writing is my life and also a job – a very enjoyable job.

I wake up very early, and do my chores first thing. After a cup of passion-fruit tea, in the morning I start off by looking at my online marketing on Twitter and Facebook for an hour or so. Then most days I sit at my desk and work through the day, with an hour for lunch and errands. I take some time in the afternoon for a long walk when I’m dreaming up a plot.

In my home in Kent, I write in a wood-panelled room, surrounded by books – we call it the library. In France, I write overlooking the most fabulous view of the Mediterranean from a large picture window in my bedroom, or if it is not too hot, outside in our gazebo. I really can’t complain!


When and why did you first start writing?

Stories and writing have always been part of my life. My father was a great raconteur and my governess used to tell the most fabulous fairy stories – I could listen to them for hours. When I was seven she and I came to an agreement: for every story she’d tell me, I would invent one in return. That is how my passion for storytelling began.

At school I consistently received first prize for my essays and my teachers often read them aloud in class. As a teenager I used to write short romantic stories during lessons and circulate them in class, which made me very popular with my peers (but less so with the nuns!). In addition, since a young age I have kept some sort of a diary where I note my feelings, ideas and things that take my fancy (or not).

My grandmother was a published author of poetry and my father published a book about the history of our family, so writing runs in my veins. I guess I always knew that one day I would follow in those footsteps and forge my own path in that field – a subconscious dream which finally came true.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

My romance with Spain began when I was in my early teens after I saw a film called Pleasure Seekers. The wonderful setting and atmospheric music made me dream and triggered my imagination. Then once I had visited that beautiful country, the seeds for Indiscretion were sown.

Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?

Apart from the longs hours of reading I do for my research, I read almost anything; but I love to read romantic novels most of all (the thicker, the better). I also enjoy reading mystery books, psychological thrillers, books about customs and traditions in various countries, books of quotations and dictionaries. I read every night before going to sleep at the rate of one chapter a night.

The last book I read was The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot – I love family sagas. I am now reading The Dressmaker’s Daughter by Nancy Carson.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

If the desire, the discipline and the time required for the project are all there, then:

First and foremost, write from the heart.  Be true to yourself and don’t compromise to please the market. Markets change, fads come and go; your work will remain.

Research your facts thoroughly. A writer today has no excuse for not getting his/her facts right. Use all the tools available to you. Travel, internet, books, films, documentaries: they’re all there to enrich your experience and make your writing journey easier.

Plan your novel down to the smallest detail. This will make your writing so much easier and therefore so much more enjoyable.  A plan is your map. Would you set out on a long journey by car without a map?

Read, reread and reread. Edit, edit, edit.  Go through your manuscript again and again and edit it. I know that it will break your heart to delete a phrase or even one word you have spent time agonising over, but sometimes less is better than more. Not easy advice to follow, but in the long run it does work. If you can leave the manuscript alone for a few weeks and revisit it at a later date, reading it as if it were someone else’s, than that’s even better.

Do not get discouraged. Continue to write whether you think your work is good or bad. There is no bad writing. There are good days and bad days. The more you write, the better you get.

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20 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 7th July 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.




In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…
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19 May 2015

Book Review / An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and pulse-pounding read. Set in a rich, high-fantasy world with echoes of ancient Rome, it tells the story of a slave fighting for her family and a young soldier fighting for his freedom.

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


Published:     28th April 2015
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher



 

My Review

What I loved about this story...
I did enjoy reading this book but it was an OK read for me.  What I liked was the world and the divide between the people in the masks, the slaves, the Scolars etc.  I would have to say that my favourite character is Laia although if was being completely honest I did find her slightly annoying at the beginning of the story where we see her reaction to her brother being arrested where she was a bit of a coward rather than standing up and helping her brother.  I got to like her more later on in the story where she gets to investigate more her new surroundings (won't say where as that would be a spoiler). 

What I did not like with this story...
I usually have a golden rule where I do not read a book that is the 'most hyped book' of the time.  This book is definitely being hyped up a lot at the moment and because I had received an Arc very kindly from a publisher for review I decided to pick it up.  As I should have predicted, I 'bigged' this story up to probably a place higher than what it is so I was a little disappointed at this story because of that.  I think that with this book I am going to keep it to one side and maybe re-read it again at some point in the future (maybe next year when the hype has died down) and see how I feel then. 


About the Author
(From Goodreads)

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. 

There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. 

She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.





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18 May 2015

Author Interview / Andrew Joyce

It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.

Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.

We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.

Molly Lee is the sequel to the best-selling novel REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. It is the story of a woman who knows what she wants and starts out to get it. Molly is about to set off on the quest of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.


 
Amazon ... http://geni.us/2Tvg
Barnes and Noble ... http://geni.us/P2X  
Smashwords ... http://geni.us/1ZNZ       
 
  1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
John Steinbeck hands down because I believe him to be the greatest writer of all time.
"The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight. The bay became bluer and dimpled with shore-wind ripples. Those lonely fishermen who believe that the fish bite at high tide left their rocks and their places were taken by others, who were convinced that the fish bite at low tide." — John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
In Grapes of Wrath, he has one long paragraph that is just one sentence. It is beautiful writing. For those of you who are interested, it is the first paragraph of chapter three.

2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
I wake up around 2:00 a.m., then sit down at the computer and go to town. About the time the sun is coming up, I take my dog for his morning walk and shake the cobwebs outta my head. Then I go back to work for another few hours. I live on a boat and that is where I do my writing.

3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Writing is easy; it’s the marketing that’s hard.

4. When and why did you first start writing?
Five years ago, on a bright sunny morning, I threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story—140 short stories and three novels later, here I am. I started writing because I had to.

5. How did you come up with the idea for the book, your book?
My last book was REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. I had just finished reading Huckleberry Finn and was thinking about whatever happened to those two boys. Then I imagined them being twenty-four and took them on up to the age of sixty. My current book, MOLLY LEE, is about a character we briefly met in REDEMPTION. It’s not a sequel. It’s more of a parallel story, but the two stories do cross paths now and then.

6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I have read all my life. But I found that I couldn’t read a book during the writing, editing or marketing process. When I did so, I neglected my work to finish the book; especially if it was a Lee Child or Baldacci novel. However, between writing books, that is all I do, read.

7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
READ, READ, READ, and then READ some more and you can’t help but become a better writer. Oh yea . . . and throw your TV out the window.
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16 May 2015

My Week in Books - 10th to 16th May 2015

Its been a bit of a blah week this week but I am glad that I had still managed to read my usual two books  a week, which seems to be my normal at the moment.  I don't like to put a lot of pressure on my reading.  If I read more that's great.  If I read less, that's ok too.  Absolutely loved The Chateau on the Lake, that's my favourite of the week definately! 










The Crooked House by Cristobel Kent
Cheateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts










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14 May 2015

Book Review / The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts

1792. As a teacher at her parents' Academy for Young Ladies in the heart of London, Madeleine Moreau has lived her life sheltered from the outside world. But on the night of a dazzling Masquerade, tragedy strikes and she is left alone in the world. Desperate to find the family she never knew, Madeleine impulsively travels to France in search of them. But with war around the corner, and fearing for Madeleine's safety, the enigmatic Comte Etienne d'Aubery offers her shelter at his home, Chateau Mirabelle.

Chateau Mirabelle enchants Madeleine with its startling beauty, but it is a place of dark and haunting secrets. As the Revolution gathers momentum and the passions of the populace are enflamed, Madeleine must take control of her own destiny and unravel events of the past in order to secure a chance at future happiness.

The Chateau on the Lake is a breath-taking historical novel set during the time of the French Revolution; rich, evocative and immersive. If you love Philippa Gregory and Joanne Harris, you will adore Charlotte Betts.


Published:     1st August 2015
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




My Review

What I loved about this book...
Historical fiction is a genre that I dont' pick up very often and I should.  Nearly every historical fiction book that I have picked up I have loved and this one is one of those.  Absolutely loved this book.   What I loved the most was the depth of the characters.  My favourite character has to be the Compte Etienne d'Aubery who is a very mysterious character but seems very genuine in his motives.  The ending of this book was particularly shocking, I had a suspicion of what would happen but the level of the action at the end I was not expecting.

What I did not like about this book...
There were parts in this story that I could not 'feel' the history but that's probably the way I was feeling at the time of reading this rather than a reflection on the writing but I didn't let that affect wanting to read this book.  It was amazing! 

About the Author
(from Goodreads)
 
Charlotte Betts discovered a passion for writing after her five children had grown up and left her in peace. Demanding careers in hotel design and property force her to be inventive in finding time to write but she has achieved seven novels in eight years. One of her short stories was published in Scribble and others short-listed by Writers’ News and Real Writers’. She has won first prize in five short story competitions and wrote a regular column on interior design for The Maidenhead Advertiser for two years. She is a member of WordWatchers http://www.wordwatchers.net/ and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.




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13 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 21st July 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.




We Were Liars meets Heist Society in a riveting debut!

Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again. Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle. But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.
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12 May 2015

Author Interview / Alretha Thomas

Twenty-two years old with a journalism degree from UCLA and a promising entry level position at a television station, Madeline Patterson is ready to take on the Universe. Raised by two loving parents, adored by her grandmother, protected by her dog, Pepper, and supported by her best friend—Madeline has it all. There’s only one thing missing—literally missing—her identical twin, Melissa.

When Madeline and Melissa were three-years-old, their mother was carjacked in broad daylight while taking them to a doctor’s appointment. She was able to get away with Madeline in tow, but the assailants left the scene before she could rescue Melissa. A long and massive search ensued, but Melissa was never found and is believed to be dead. However, a dream Madeline has on her twenty-second birthday, wherein Melissa appears to her as a grown woman pleading for help, convinces her Melissa is still alive. Against her parents’ wishes, Madeline vows to find her twin. However, in doing so, she unknowingly stumbles upon a series of startling clues that point to her parents’ possible involvement in Melissa’s disappearance. Paralyzed by fear, Madeline doesn’t want to face what could possibly be the ugly and grim truth about her parents. However, her desire to find Melissa propels her forward—but nothing could prepare her for what she discovers.





  1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
I’d love to work with Stephen King. I find him to be very fascinating. Needless to say, he’s wildly successful and talented and has a body of work that’s iconic. Since I’ve made my foray into the mystery genre with Missing Melissa, it’s made me even more appreciative of King. Albeit, he writes horror, supernatural fiction, and suspense, there are elements of mystery in his writings. I think it would be interesting to get into his head, to experience his process. It just dawned on me that I reference one of King’s novels in Missing Melissa—Misery. Wow. Who knew? Lol.
  1. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
My dream is to one day be free to write fulltime, but at the present time, I don’t have that luxury. My day starts at 4:50 a.m. I drive thirty-five miles to the west side of Los Angeles where my job is located. Prior to starting work, I spend an hour on the elliptical machine. I spend this hour reading and editing the novel I’m working on at the time. Thank goodness for smartphones. They are a writer’s best friend. When I find errors or sections of a manuscript I need to work on, I can make notes on my phone and then resume reading. When I’m not working on a project, I’ll spend the hour reading someone else’s work. I’m known at the gym as the lady who’s always reading! After my workout, I spend eight hours on my day job. During breaks and lunch, I catch-up on social media, responding to requests and fans. A little after 5:00 p.m., I’m in the car on my way home. It’s a two-hour drive. I travel 350 miles a week. I’ve been doing this for sixteen years! Once home, I cook dinner or pick up something for my husband to eat. I’m able to put in a couple of hours of writing before bedtime. I love weekends, because I can really go crazy with my writing. I can spend eight plus hours a day writing without even thinking about it. Writing comes easily to me.
  1. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Getting it just right! As mentioned earlier, I have no idea what writer’s block is, but once I get that first draft done, I spend month’s fine tuning and polishing my work. It’s like a mirror. The cleaner it gets, the more dirt, i.e., plot holes, typos, etc. you see. It amazes me how our brains fill in missing pieces. The editing process is endless. Every time I think I have it right, I find something wrong! Missing Melissa is just short of eighty thousand words, that’s a lot of words to make right. LOL!
  1. When and why did you first start writing?
I wrote my first story in the fifth grade. My teacher gave the class a short story assignment. I got an idea to write a story about a bag bog in a supermarket who falls in love with a young customer. I guess you could say that was my first romance story. The following day our teacher congratulated the entire class on our work. However, she said there was one story that stood out. And that story was mine. I nearly fell out of my chair. I couldn’t believe it. She read it aloud and the class was riveted. While I was watching the expressions on the faces of my peers, I knew in that moment I wanted to be a writer for life.
  1. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I have always been intrigued by twins— the idea of having a duplicate is fascinating to me. The idea for Missing Melissa just came to me from within. All of my story ideas are conceived deep within. It’s like they’re given to me from above. Oftentimes people will approach me with a story idea. However, I’m hard-pressed to embark upon their story because it didn’t come from within me. I have to feel a story inside out. When Missing Melissa was conceived, it grew quickly and took over my every waking moment, from the time I came up with the characters, through the outline, and the writing process. I truly feel as though I know the entire Patterson family and that what transpires in the story really happened, perhaps in another lifetime or in an alternate dimension.
  1. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I’m an avid reader. I have been since childhood. I’m currently reading Gayle Forman’s “If I Stay.”
  1. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Write from your heart and not your head. In other words, don’t write something that’s trendy, be true to yourself and the story that you’ve been chosen to give birth to.
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11 May 2015

Blog Tour/ Book Review - The Crooked House by Christobel Kent

Alison is as close to anonymous as she can get: with no ties and a backroom job, hers is a life lived under the radar. But once Alison was someone else: once she was Esme, a teenager whose bedroom sat at the top of a remote house on a bleak estuary. A girl whose family, if not happy, exactly, was no unhappier than anyone else's - or so she thought.

Then one night violence was unleashed in the crooked house, in a nightmare that only Alison survived and from which she's been running ever since. Only when she falls for the charismatic Paul does Alison realise that to have any chance of happiness, she must return to her old life and face a closed community full of dark secrets.

As she seeks to uncover the truth of what happened that terrible night, Alison begins to question everything she thought she knew. Is there anyone she can trust?


Published:     23rd April 2014
Publisher:  Sphere
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:   Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


My Review

What I loved about this book...
This was a really great read for me.  What I loved the most was the thriller aspect of it.  Wanting to find out the truth was the aspect of this story that kept me glued to each page and keeping reading until the very end.   There were definitely a lot of twists and turns in this story and I Love that in a story. l

What I was not fond of with this book...
There is a lot of information to take in with this story there were some parts where I just had to backtrack a little to make sure I absorbed everything, so I actually ended up reading this book for longer than I probably needed to because of that but that did not spill the fact that I really enjoyed this book and I am definitely going to be checking out this author and what else she has written. .

About the Author
(From Goodreads)
 




Christobel Kent was born in London in 1962 and now lives in Cambridge with her husband and four children; in between she lived in Florence. #

She worked in publishing for several years, most recently as Publicity Director at Andre Deutsch. Her debut novel A Party in San Niccolo, was published in 2003.








 
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10 May 2015

My Week in Books / 4th to 10th May 2015

This week has been a bit of an ok week for me.  It started out ok with reading As Good as it Gets which was an ok read but not really my cup of tea and I have to be honest and say that it did slow down my enthusiasm to read a little bit.  The second read of the week, however, was Bite that really got me back inspired to read a lot more.  I have started by first book of next week, An Ember in the Ashes, and really enjoying it so far...











As Good as it Gets by Fiona Gibson
Bite by Nick Louth











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8 May 2015

Book Review / Bite by Nick Louth

Tomorrow should be the greatest day of Erica Stroud-Jones's life. The brilliant young British scientist has found a revolutionary way to beat a deadly tropical disease.

Millions of lives could be saved, a Nobel Prize beckons.


She is in Amsterdam. Tomorrow she presents her secret research to a scientific conference. Watching her will be sceptics and rivals, admirers and enemies. Erica's own eyes will be on sculptor Max Carver, her new American love, to whom she wants to dedicate her achievement.


Tomorrow never comes.


Erica vanishes during the night. Max, a tough former coast guard, is determined to find her. As he digs for clues he finds jealousy, malice and cunning. But even he is shocked by the dark terror he finds at the heart of the woman he loves.


Not only a page-turner, Bite gets to the core of the debate about pharmaceutical ethics.


Publisher:  Sphere
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




My Review

What I loved the most...
For me this was a very interesting read.  It has been a very long time since I have read something like this with some kind of medical spin to it.  I really enjoyed this.  The writing was very easy to follow; it was one of styles of writing that you can just easily read and let the story in.  What I loved the most about this story is the suspense and build up.  When starting this book I had the feeling that there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye...  I also particularly enjoyed the 'flash back' diary entries written by Erica which helped me understand more about the story from Erica's point of view.

What I was not fond of with this story...
Even though I enjoyed this book I did feel in places it was slow and I did have to put a bit of an extra effort into sticking with it but I am glad that I did. 


About the Author
(From Goodreads)

Nick Louth is a freelance journalist and author, based in Lincolnshire UK.

Before beginning writing fiction, he was a foreign correspondent for Reuters news agency, and a regular contributor to the Financial Times, MSN, and many financial magazines.



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6 May 2015

Book Review / As Good as it Gets? by Fiona Gibson

A warm, funny read for fans of Outnumbered and the novels of Fern Britton, Fiona writes about life as it really is.

“Midlife crisis? WHAT midlife crisis?!”

Charlotte Bristow is worried about her husband Will. With her 16-year-old daughter Rosie newly signed to a top modelling agency, and Will recently out of a job, things are changing in their household.

As Will dusts down his old leather trousers and starts partying with their new, fun neighbours, Charlotte begins to wonder what on earth is going on.

So when Fraser, Charlotte’s ex – and father of Rosie – suddenly arrives back on the scene, she starts to imagine what might have been…


Published:     26th February 2015
Publisher:  Avon Books
Author Website:  Click here
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




My Review

OK, so I gave this book two stars.  I didn't completely hate it.  The writing was really good and I really liked the characters but the problem I had reading this particular book was the fact that when I read the description of the book it read as though the main character Charlotte's life is not quite what she seemed and then her ex comes back into her life and things change but when reading the book the character of Fraser does not actually feature in the story until at least halfway through the book.  The first half I felt was a good introduction to the characters and the situations that were happening at that time but felt that it went on to long.  To be honest, it was the characters and the style of writing that kept me going until the end together with the fact that I was curious about how the story was going to end.

I am sad that I probably won't pick up this book again but I will definitely check out this author more to see if I get on better with one of her other books as it may just be this particular type of story that didn't suit me well.

About the Author
(From Goodreads)

Fiona is an author and journalist who has written for many UK publications including The Observer, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Red, New Woman, Top Sante and Elle. She writes a monthly column for Sainsbury’s magazine and is a Contributing Editor at Red magazine.

Fiona lives in Scotland with her husband, their twin sons and daughter. She likes to draw, run 10k races, play her saxophone and lie in the bath with a big glass of wine, although not all at once. 



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Waiting on Wednesday / Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 21st July 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.




22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .
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4 May 2015

My Week in Review / 25th April to 3rd May 2015

It has been quite a slow week for me reading wise.  I had my birthday on the 28th so there was quite a lot of birthday celebrations with friends and family.  I also has the added distraction of getting completely addicated to the TV show Mad Men.  Watched the whole of season 1 in about a week (which is good for me as I work a 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday job).  I haven't actually completed any books this week but did make a start on As Good as it Gets by Fiona Gibson so will be finishing that off next week, hopefully. 

Hope you all had a great week in books!








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30 Apr 2015

APRIL GIVEAWAY WINNER! Arc Copy of Cleo




CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNER

LAURA BANKS

I have sent the winner an email and book will be sent out as soon as possible.

Thank you all to enter.  Look out for the May giveaway coming soon!!!


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29 Apr 2015

Waiting on Wednesday / Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly memo that is hosted by Breaking the Spine Blog.

Expected Release Date: 16th June 2015
(Release date obtained from Goodreads)

Goodreads link is here.




If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to the Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
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27 Apr 2015

Author Interview / Tori de Clare

WHAT IF THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE TURNED INTO YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE?

When nineteen-year-old Naomi Stone is snatched from her husband at knifepoint on the night of their wedding and taken to a deserted cemetery, she knows her life is finished. Drugged and disorientated, she loses consciousness as she lies in an open grave with a gun to her head.

But the following day, she mysteriously awakes to find herself unharmed and secured to a bed. She's in a beautiful bedroom in a secluded cottage in open countryside. Only one person knows she’s there – the man in the balaclava who’s holding her, feeding her, revealing nothing. Naomi senses the unfolding of a plan. She should be on honeymoon in the Caribbean. Instead, she’s trapped with an emotionless psycho with no hope of escape . . . And his voice is chillingly familiar.

Who is he? What does he want? What's happened to her husband? Where is she? Will anyone find her before it's too late?







  1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
That’s a tricky question. My favourite authors are those who are particularly gifted with words. Ian McEwan and Sebastian Faulks spring to mind, though there are many others. Working with them would be awesome because I’d learn so much. On the other hand, I’d feel very small and inferior, so maybe I’m best working alone.

  1. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
There is no typical working day for me really. I teach piano for a living, so I generally teach a couple of lessons first thing, then I set about the housework (doing the bare minimum as it really doesn’t excite me) and try to create some space for my writing before my teaching resumes late afternoon. The days are very short. A chunk of time goes into promoting and social networking, so precious little remains for actual writing which can be frustrating sometimes. I have to carve out some time for writing which often involves late nights. I don’t know how people write in cafés or even with background music. I met one author at a festival who does his writing on the bus on the way to work. That wouldn’t work for me. I need absolute silence and solitude, hence the late nights. My thoughts need to be still; my house (ideally) empty. When I do write, I find a comfortable sofa, (choice of 4 in my house. We don’t do chairs) put my feet up and sit with my laptop on my knee and attempt to press on. My eyes can roll and I can drift sometimes. Did I mention my sofas were very comfy?

  1. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
Well the beginning is difficult. The middle can be excruciatingly challenging, and the least said about the agonies of the ending the better. It’s all difficult. Authors give birth to their books. There’s the conception of an idea, then the struggle through a long period of development which is a labour of love essentially, and culminates in the birth of a creative piece of literature. It’s all worth it in the end. You forget about the pain and dwell on it not at all because you have a little bundle of love in which you have so much hope, having invested a great deal of love and time. That’s how authors see their books. But – not to dodge the question – if I had to pinpoint the most difficult part, I suppose it is the plotting and planning. For me, I can only get so far with that before a) I get bored (I’m not the world’s greatest organiser. I’m quite impulsive and more likely to dive into the creative process prematurely) and b) I’ve gone as far as I can go with the planning part. The plot always changes once I start writing. I know instinctively if something is not working, and also, many great ideas occur to me once I’ve started the writing process that never would come to me with all the planning in the world. I have to get inside the heads of my characters by writing scenes. THEN I know what they would do in those circumstances and, sometimes, not before.

  1. When and why did you first start writing?
I started writing six and a half years ago. Why? It was the right time in my life. I’ve had four children. Parenting began at age 18 for me. I never regret my lost youth because I gained my children, which means that I didn’t lose anything. My children have been my life. I adore them. I stayed at home with them and taught piano for a few hours a week, increasing my lessons only as my children got older. The youngest one is fifteen now, so my life is more my own these days. I’m a creative sort of person I suppose. Music is a language and a creative form of expression. My abilities lend themselves to creative language. Words come as naturally to me as music-making, so writing was the one thing I had a desire to do. In their 40s, some women take up keep fit (I’d rather be trapped in a lift with an angry wasp than go to the gym – and that’s saying something) or gardening or cross-stitch. I took up writing and got completely hooked. To escape into a world of one’s own creation and spend time there every day, manipulating events, is a special kind of magic.

  1. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I came up with the plot for Either Side of Midnight in ten minutes. Literally. Without giving away spoilers, I thought, What if a bride is abducted on the best day of her life. And what if . . . and then what if . . . ooo and then what if it ends up like . . . That would be fun to write. And Either Side of Midnight was conceived. It turned out to be a fairly complex plot in the end. I had only the sketch of an idea in the beginning, and with that, I plunged right in as I did in those days when I didn’t have a readership and had no one to please but myself. But the interesting part is that my own feelings at that time mirrored the feelings of my protagonist. It’s taken hindsight for me to realise this; it wasn’t conscious. My first book at that time (ESoM is the second book I wrote) was in the hands of literary agents in London. 3 separate agencies read my book in full, one after the other (agencies demand exclusivity if they’re willing to go to the trouble of reading your entire manuscript). The total waiting time for me was 9 months. My future was in the hands of other people – faceless people I didn’t know. I felt unsettled and nervous and powerless. During this time of waiting, my subconscious mind threw up a plot where a girl is abducted and held by a masked man. She doesn’t know who he is, what he wants and what the future will bring. And so I wrote ESoM while I waited. You have to see the parallels.

  1. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I would be a big reader if I had the time. As things are, I’m a binge-reader. If I go on holiday (I went on 3 short-ish breaks last year), I do nothing but read. My husband tries to talk to me. Just rude; he really should know better!! I can get through 4 books in a week on holiday. I love reading, but – I hate reading poor books and I give up without any guilt at all if I’m not enjoying a story. Life’s too short. My favourite book of last year was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Fabulous. It did what all good books should do: reel you in on a large hook and not let go until the very last line. I wasn’t even on holiday when I made the mistake of thinking: I’ll just see what the beginning is like. Sucked right in. Finished in 24 hours when – between sniffs and snivels – I became aware of a messy house, starving children and a mountain of washing. The last book I read last month was called The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman. Another great book. Five richly-deserved stars.
 
  1. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Attend classes. Learn how to write from a technical point of view. You can’t guess how it’s done. Don’t write for money. Generally, for self-published authors, it isn’t lucrative. Be honest about your ability. Do you have a talent for writing and a way with words? Is this something that can be developed? In my experience, the most important thing a person can develop is their own unique writing voice. It took a long time for me to find my ‘voice’ – MY way of putting things. Don’t write well-used phrases. Don’t try to copy the style of others. Stay well away from clichés. Add humour to your writing, but with subtlety. No one wants to see a gag coming from four miles away. Surprise your reader. Get in a scene late and leave it early. Get readers turning the pages.

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26 Apr 2015

My Week in Books / 18th to 24th April 2015

What a mixture of a week in books.   I read a couple of good books this week.  One of them (California) I enjoyed but it was a slow read for me and the other (The Liar) had me on the edge of my seat right until the very last page.  OMG!  That book was so good.  I had never known that a Nora Roberts book could be so action packed!




California by Edan Lepuki
The Liar by Nora Roberts








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Debra has read 29 books toward her goal of 100 books.
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