Page Links

Home      About      Reviews      Contact     

31 March 2014

Author Interview with Sophie King!

Today I'm really excited to have author Sophie King on 'A Spoonful of Happy Endings'! I've reviewed some of Sophie's novels in the past ('Love is a Secret' and 'Second Time Lucky') and I got the chance to interview her about her newest release, 'Your Place or Mine?'!

 
 
Can you tell us something about your new novel, ‘Your Place or Mine?’?
It’s about some friends who take it in turns to have supper at each other’s homes once a month. Some are couples when they set out – but they do quite a lot of mixing up! And I’m not just talking sauce combinations here ...

Where did you find the inspiration for ‘Your Place or Mine?’? Is it in any way based on your own personal experiences?
I read in a magazine that supper clubs were becoming popular because not everyone can afford to eat out. Then I mixed it with my imagination and some difficult dinner parties I’ve given – or been to!

Which character in the novel did you most enjoy writing about and why?
Chrissie because she worries about her baby – just as I used to. I’d like to say this gets better as the children get older. But it doesn’t.

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans as an author? Are you already working on a next novel?
Yes. I also write as Janey Fraser. My next novel is called ‘After The Honeymoon’ and is coming out in May.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Write every day about something you feel passionate about. Keep chapters quite short (3000 – 4000 words) and make sure that something big happens in each one. Create warm characters with problems. This will keep the plot moving. Read my ‘How to write your first novel’ book by Sophie King. It contains everything I’ve learned.

What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
‘The Husband’s Secret’ by Liane Moriarty. You have to keep reading to see what happens.

Which book could you not live without?
A book of wise sayings that my mother left me when she died aged 56. They keep me going.

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Your Place or Mine?’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Take away sex.

Thanks so much, Sophie! :)

Click here to order your own copy of 'Your Place or Mine?' right now!

29 March 2014

April 2014 releases!

The end of March is here which means two things: Spring has finally arrived (I think most of us have already experienced some lovely sunny afternoons!) and it's almost the start of April, a month filled with some fabulous book releases! Which books are you looking forward to reading? I'd love to hear about the releases you are most excited about!  

Riosin Meaney - 'After the Wedding' (3rd of April)

It's the beginning of May on the island of Roone, two years after Nell Mulcahy called off her wedding to the handsome Tim. Now she's preparing for another wedding - to Tim's brother - but as she sets off for an old church in County Clare, a disappearance on Roone throws the island into turmoil.

As the days pass and the search continues, the islanders cope as best they can - Nell adjusting to life as a married woman, Imelda and Hugh discovering the trials of fostering, Laura pregnant and under pressure and teenage Andy finding his first love.

Every summer on the island is eventful, but this year brings challenges that test everyone's courage. Will happiness be restored before autumn comes, or will Roone's magic finally run out?




Zoe Fishman - 'Driving Lessons' (8th of April)

Sometimes life's most fulfilling journeys begin without a map.

An executive at a New York cosmetics firm, Sarah has had her fill of the interminable hustle of the big city. When her husband, Josh, is offered a new job in suburban Virginia, it feels like the perfect chance to shift gears.

While Josh quickly adapts to their new life, Sarah discovers that having time on her hands is a mixed blessing. Without her everyday urban struggles, who is she? And how can she explain to Josh, who assumes they are on the same page, her ambivalence about starting a family?

It doesn't help that the idea of getting behind the wheel—an absolute necessity of her new life—makes it hard for Sarah to breathe. It's been almost twenty years since she's driven, and just the thought of merging is enough to make her teeth chatter with anxiety. When she signs up for lessons, she begins to feel a bit more like her old self again, but she's still unsure of where she wants to go.

Then a crisis involving her best friend lands Sarah back in New York—a trip to the past filled with unexpected truths about herself, her dear friend, and her seemingly perfect sister-in-law... and an astonishing surprise that will help her see the way ahead.






Joanna Bolouri - 'The List' (10th of April)

Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn't feel fabulous. It's been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.

The List: ten things she's always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right?

Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe's got her work cut out for her.





Carole Matthews - 'A Place to Call Home' (10th of April)


In the dead of night, Ayesha takes her daughter, Sabina, and slips quietly from her home, leaving behind a life of full of pain. Boarding a coach to London, all Ayesha wants is a fresh start. 


Hayden, a former popstar, has kept himself hidden away for years. He's only opened up his home to two people - Crystal, a professional dancer with a heart of gold, and Joy, an ill-tempered retiree with a soft spot for waifs and strays. 

When Crystal asks Hayden if Ayesha and Sabina can stay with them, he reluctantly agrees and, as different as they may be, they quickly form an unlikely bond. So when enemies threaten their peaceful home, they will do all they can to save it and each other. 






Nicola Doherty - 'If I Could Turn Back Time' (10th of April)

What if you found The One, then lost him again?

Or not so much lost him as became the neurotic, needy girlfriend from hell. The girl who tried to make him choose between her and his job, and got seriously paranoid about his relationship with his female best friend...

Zoë Kennedy knows she doesn't deserve another chance with David Fitzgerald. But if there's the tiniest possibility of making things right, she'll snatch it. Even if it means breaking the laws of physics to do so...




Cecelia Ahern - 'How to Fall in Love' (10th of April)

She has just two weeks. Two weeks to teach him how to fall in love – with his own life.

Adam Basil and Christine Rose are thrown together late one night, when Christine is crossing the Halfpenny Bridge in Dublin. Adam is there, poised, threatening to jump. Adam is desperate – but Christine makes a crazy deal with him. His 35th birthday is looming and she bets him she can show him that life is worth living before then. 

Despite her determination, Christine knows what a dangerous promise she’s made. Against the ticking of the clock, the two of them embark on wild escapades, grand romantic gestures and some unlikely late-night outings. Slowly, Christine thinks Adam is starting to fall back in love with his life. 

But has she done enough to change his mind for good? And is that all that’s starting to happen?





Lynn Montagano - 'Catch My Breath' (17th of April)

Lia Meyers’ plan for a relaxing Scottish vacation is short-lived when one uncharacteristic moment of clumsiness lands her in the arms of a dangerously attractive Englishman…





Beth Thomas - 'Carry You' (24th of April)


Daisy has lost her mum to breast cancer. She’s at rock bottom and doesn’t think she’ll ever get back up again. Her best friend Abi has other ideas – she tells it like it is and she’s determined to make Daisy remember the person she used to be.


What Daisy doesn’t know is that, thanks to Abi, her life is about to take an unexpected turn, when she signs them up to do a charity walk. Added to which, someone is about to burst into Daisy’s world in a riot of colour reminding her that life can be full of surprises.





Fern Britton - 'A Seaside Affair' (24th of April)

When the residents of the Cornish seaside town of Trevay discover that their ramshackle but much-loved theatre is about to be taken over by a global coffee chain, Café au Lait, they are up in arms.

It is up to Penny Leighton, hotshot Producer and now happily married Cornish resident, to come up with a plan to save it. Armed with her only her mobile phone and her enviable contacts book, she starts to pull in some serious favours. Trevay soon finds itself at the centre of the universe when more A-listers than you can shake a stick at arrive to take part in a charity season at the theatre.

The play throws out a chance to Jess Tate, girlfriend to TV heartthrob Ryan Roberts. His career is on the rise while hers remains resolutely in the doldrums. But when opportunity comes calling, it isn’t just her career prospects that are about to change.

Tevay is about to put on the show of its life – but can the villagers, and Jess, hold on to the thing they love the most?





Tracey Garvis Graves - 'Covet' (24th of April)

Claire Canton is at a crossroads in her marriage. Her husband Chris has recently taken some knocks from life, pushing him to retreat to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. She feels alone and with nowhere to turn...

Then Claire is pulled over by police officer Daniel Rush, a man with a tragic past. And a random encounter blossoms into a friendship, which brings much needed light into both their lives.

As their relationship intensifies it's not long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads and skating close to a line that Claire has sworn she'll never cross...

But is it too late to go back? And does she even want to?





Tracy Bloom - 'Nobody Ever Has Sex On a Thursday' (24th of April)

Never has a late-night stand led to such chaos!

Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other ever again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union.

So all is forgotten...until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy's baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthews highly strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy's much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.

Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot.

How will they navigate their way through this almighty pick-up?




Nikki Moore - 'Crazy, Undercover, Love' (24th of April)

Uber-feisty career girl Charley Caswell-Wright travels to Barcelona for a weekend assignment as PA to the gorgeous Alex Demetrio, CEO of Demetrio International.

But she's there under entirely false pretenses: to get her life back on track. Having lost the job she worked so hard to earn, she’s determined not to give it up so easily, especially when she didn’t deserve to lose it in the first place.

Mr Dreamy CEO is her only chance of clawing back her career – and her reputation. So she has to keep things strictly professional… boy, is she in trouble!





Samantha Birch - 'The High Street Bride's Guide' (24th of April)

Brides-to-be, this one’s for you!

You can say your vows in a catwalk gown so beautiful it reduces your mum to tears (and not because she paid for it).

You can style a reception so stunning your guests won’t believe you didn’t hire an A-list planner.

And you can sprinkle the day with personal touches that make everyone feel like you gave them special attention before they even got there. Without spending a house deposit on it. Honest.






Which releases are you looking forward to? I'd love to hear from you!

28 March 2014

Review: 'Single in the City' by Michele Gorman (2014)

Take one twenty six year old American, add to a two thousand year old city, add a big dose of culture clash and stir. 

To think Hannah ever believed that Americans differed from Brits mainly in pronunciation, sophistication and dentistry. That's been the understatement of a lifetime. She lands upon England's gentle shores with no job, no friends and no idea how she's supposed to build the life she's dreaming of. Armed with little more than her enthusiasm, she charges headlong into London, baffling the locals in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself.

At the end of last year I reviewed Michele Gorman’s Christmas novella, ‘Christmas Carol.’ I really enjoyed Michele’s writing, so when I was contacted by Notting Hill Press about reviewing her novel ‘Single in the City’ I was straight away enthusiastic. As soon as I started reading it, though, I realised the storyline seemed quite familiar to me and after checking my Goodreads list I discovered I actually read the novel in 2011. However, Notting Hill Press decided to republish the novel this year, including some small changes, and I remembered quite enjoying the novel the first time I read it, so was looking forward to re-reading and reviewing!

Twenty-six-year-old Hannah Cummings has gotten tired of her boring life in Connecticut. One evening, after a few glasses of wine with her best friend, she decides to take it all into her own hands and move across the ocean, to the city of London. Even though she has no job or place to stay, Hannah is willing to give it her best shot. Yet, being an American in England turns out to offer quite a few other unexpected challenges to Hannah, such as the language and the customs, while also trying to find and keep a job and searching for her own Mr. Right. Will Hannah make it in London or will she be forced to go back to her American life?

Michele Gorman’s novel has the basic recipe for an entertaining and trustworthy chick lit novel: a heroine who decides to make a big change in her life, to move to another country, where she has to build up everything from scratch. Even though Hannah is a bit naive at times, she is an enjoyable main character, and I personally really enjoyed joining her on her adventures within the city of London. Her struggles and search for the perfect man result in quite a few laugh-out-loud situations, such as the sandwich scene at the start of the novel. I also loved the conversations between Hannah and her American best friend, Stacy, which is a fitting example of that one great friendship a chick lit novel can’t do without, if you ask me!

I didn’t notice too many differences between the original novel and this version, except for one definite improvement. In the earlier version, footnotes were included to explain all kinds of American phenomena. The footnotes weren’t really necessary, so I’m glad the decision was made to leave these out. I’ve had some experience with Michele Gorman’s writing, and I really enjoy her personal style. The story flowed easily, was quick-paced, and funny. On the whole, ‘Single in the City’ is an entertaining, light and fun read that is perfect for a lazy afternoon or a day in the park or at the beach; I already look forward to reading the sequel, ‘Misfortune Cookie’!     

Rating:
     8
/10

For more information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads 
 
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
   

27 March 2014

Review & Giveaway: 'Tempting Fate' by Jane Green (2014)

When Gabby first met Elliott she knew he was the man for her. In twenty years of marriage she has never doubted her love for him - even when he refused to give her the one thing she still wants most of all. But now their two daughters are growing up Gabby feels that time and her youth are slipping away. For the first time in her life she is restless. And then she meets Matt...

Intoxicated by the way this young, handsome and successful man makes her feel, Gabby is momentarily blind to what she stands to lose on this dangerous path. And in one reckless moment she destroys all that she holds dear.

Consumed by regret, Gabby does everything she can to repair the home she has broken. But are some betrayals too great to forgive?

Jane Green is one of the most well-known and popular queens of chick lit and I am sure many of you will be familiar with some of her novels such as ‘Bookends’, ‘Jemima J.’, or ‘The Accidental Husband.’ Her latest novel, ‘Tempting Fate’, was released in the UK in September 2013, but the USA had to wait until the 25th of March 2014. At the start of this year I was contacted by the lovely people at Sarah Hall Productions about possibly reviewing ‘Tempting Fate’ for the US release and I couldn’t say ‘yes’ quick enough; any excuse to sit down with a Jane Green novel!

English born Gabby has been living in the USA for many years and she couldn’t be happier with the life she has built together with her husband of twenty years, Elliot. They have a wonderful home, two daughters, and while Gabby would have liked another child, she knows she has nothing to complain about. Yet, Gaby feels like she is leaving her youth behind and she no longer feels desired, which she is struggling with. So when hunky thirty-something business man Matt appears on the scene, flirting with her, making her feel wanted again, Gabby knows she has to be careful. But one night can change everything, and suddenly Gabby would give anything to just go back in time, back to her old life, but some decisions aren’t that easy to forgive and forget.

I’ve always loved Jane Green; I think she is an amazing author who has her own specific writing style that manages to captivate me every time, and ‘Tempting Fate’ definitely did not disappoint. The book managed to grab me from the first few pages, and especially the first part of the novel, where Gabby meets Matt and slowly becomes infatuated with him, made me not want to put the book down for even a second. The entire book is filled with so much emotion and the characters are incredibly lifelike; what happens to Gabby could happen to every single one of us. One of the absolute strengths of the novel is that you can’t help but feel for Gabby. Despite some of the decisions she makes in the story, I warmed to her and found myself wishing for a happy ending. Even though that is also one of the main messages in this novel; relationships aren’t always easy, and there isn’t always a guaranteed happy ending if you are not willing to work hard for it.

Like the other Jane Green novels I read, the plotline is completely captivating, the characters are fascinating and well-developed (I especially loved the relationship between Gabby and her mother, and the way the reader also gets to see how Gabby and Elliot’s teenage daughters deal with what is happening to their family), and I also particularly loved the setting and the descriptions in this novel. ‘Tempting Fate’ is an incredibly gripping and emotional read that will keep you captivated until the very last page. This novel once again proves why Jane Green is such an established and adored author, a position she undoubtedly deserves. 

Rating:
    9,5
/10


For more information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads 
 
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.



US/Canada Giveaway of 3 copies of 'Tempting Fate'!
 
This lovely book could be yours! I'm really excited to be able to give away 3 copies of Jane Green's fabulous novel 'Tempting Fate'!
 
This is an US/Canada giveaway only and all you have to do is comment on this post with your e-mail or Twitter account and the reason why you would love to win a copy of 'Tempting Fate' by the 8th of April 2014. There will be 3 copies of the book available and the winners will be contacted as soon as possible.
 
Good luck to all of you! :)
 

26 March 2014

Review: 'When I Was Young' by Mary Fitzgerald (2014)

'When I was young the war started. When I was young my father was a soldier. When I was young I moved to the country. When I was young I went to France and fell in love'

Eleanor is sixteen when she goes to the Loire Valley on a French Exchange. But the beauty of her surroundings are at odds with the family who live there. It is a family torn apart by the memories of the German occupation, and buckling under the burden of the dark secrets they keep.

Etienne, the dark and brooding owner is friendly, but his wife Mathilde's malicious behaviour overshadows Eleanor's days.

As the secrets reveal themselves one by one, Eleanor begins to understand the terrible legacy of war, and when death comes to the vineyard, she learns the redemptive power of love.

In October 2013 I reviewed Mary Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Love of a Lifetime.’ Mary Fitzgerald was a new author to me and I’m really glad I gave her book a chance because I ended up enjoying it much more than I had originally expected. Thanks to the lovely people at Cornerstone I received a review copy of another Mary Fitzgerald book a few weeks ago, named ‘When I Was Young.’ I immediately really liked the cover and was intrigued by the blurb, so I looked forward to sitting down with this new Mary Fitzgerald story, hoping I’d enjoy it as much as the first one!

In the 1950’s, sixteen-year-old school girl Eleanor lives together with her parents on a farm in the Pennines in England. Her mother doesn’t pay her much attention and her father has never been quite the same since the war. When Eleanor is given the chance to go on an exchange programme to France for several weeks, she can’t say ‘yes’ quickly enough. She ends up with a family living on a farm in the Loire Valley, and France is everything Eleanor had hoped it would be. However, Jean Paul, the French exchange student Eleanor is staying with, doesn’t want anything to do with her. Luckily, his family members are different and it doesn’t take long before Eleanor becomes close to them. Yet, the closer she gets, more parts of the darker side of the family come to the surface, and instead of staying out of things, Eleanor only seems to become a more integral part of it all...

When I started reading this book I hoped I’d enjoy it as much as ‘The Love of a Lifetime’ (the first Mary Fitzgerald novel I read), but it definitely managed to exceed my expectations. I was straight away taken in by Eleanor who leaves her dull and sober life in England behind to go to France. As the story continues, the reader discovers that this exchange trip is much more to Eleanor; it’s the chance to get away from it all, but also a period in her life in which she is forced to grow up, to no longer be a teenage girl but a young woman. I loved experiencing this development in Eleanor as a character, and really enjoyed reading her story, told completely from her perspective as if she is looking back at the events in her life at an older age.

The story is set in the 1950’s and this becomes clear in how fresh the memories of the war are to some of the characters. I loved Mary Fitzgerald’s descriptions, such as the difference in setting between Eleanor’s cold and bleak life at the farm in England and all the bright colours and sounds of the French countryside, and her character descriptions (I specifically grew very fond of Lisette, Jean Paul’s little sister who Eleanor becomes quite close with). ‘When I Was Young’ is a wonderful well-written, gentle-paced ‘coming of age’ story which I couldn’t put down and a novel I recommend to anyone looking for a nice piece of women’s fiction!

Rating:
    8
/10
For more information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads 
 
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
   

25 March 2014

Review & Interview: 'Looking for La La' by Ellie Campbell (2014)

In a recent survey 65% of mothers admitted feeling undervalued, over-criticised and constantly tired.

Cathy is no exception. Her dull, uneventful days as a stay at home, mother of two, are radically transformed however with the arrival of a heavily lipsticked postcard addressed to husband, Declan. Who is the mysterious La La? Could Declan really be having an affair? And is Cathy actually being stalked?

Whatever – it will definitely prove riveting gossip for the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, Cathy’s 'Mothers Restaurant Research’ group where scandal flows as recklessly as the wine. But what starts as a light-hearted investigation with best friend Raz, soon turns into something much more sinister.

With a possible murderer on the scene, a sexy admirer igniting long-forgotten sparks, and all her friends hiding secrets, it’s not only Cathy’s marriage that’s in jeopardy. Add in the scheming antics of Declan’s new assistant, the stress of organising the school Save The Toilet’s dance and the stage is set for a dangerous showdown and some very unsettling, possibly deadly, revelations.

A few weeks ago I was contacted with a review request for Ellie Campbell’s new novel ‘Looking for La La.’ I had already seen several messages on Twitter and within the book blogging world about this book and have to admit I was quite curious! Ellie Campbell is actually a pseudonym for Pam and Lorraine, two sisters who write novels together, and ‘Looking for La La’ is slightly based on Pam’s own experiences of her husband receiving anonymous postcards. I’ve also had the chance to interview Lorraine and Pam about their work, writing in general, and their plans for the future, so make sure you also check out the author interview below!

Housewife Cathy is getting a bit bored with her dull life as a stay-at-home mum. However, her life is suddenly shaken up a bit when her husband Declan starts receiving strange anonymous postcards from someone who calls themselves ‘La La.’ At first, Cathy is thrilled with the excitement and decides to investigate together with her best friend Raz. Soon, though, things get tricky as Cathy discovers she has her own secret admirer to deal with, her friends are hiding all kinds of secrets from one another, and the relationship between Cathy and Declan starts to tense up more and more…

This book was quite a whirlwind, but a pleasant one! While the story starts off with Cathy living the life of an average stay-at-home mum, as soon as a bit of spice is added in the form of these postcards from the unknown La La, everything is turned upside down and all kinds of things start to happen. One of the most wonderful things about the novel was that the authors managed to keep me guessing until the very last pages; I had no idea what was going to happen and I was really surprised by some of the twists and turns in the book. While the story might perhaps here and there be a bit too fast-paced to some readers, I did really enjoy that it was different and fun.

I’m not quite sure whether I really fell in love with the heroine of the novel, Cathy, but she was certainly entertaining and I got caught up in her story. Both the primary and secondary characters in the book were worked out very realistically; all of them were flawed in their own personal ways and especially the bitchy side of Cathy’s friends made me laugh out loud several times. I wouldn’t necessarily say this book is 100% chick lit, but more of an interesting mix of chick lit, a bit of women’s fiction, and a touch of mystery/detective novel. As a whole, ‘Looking for La La’ is a fast-paced and quirky read, filled with lots of entertaining moments and twists and turns you will not see coming!
Rating:
 7,5
/10


For more information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.



Author Interview with Ellie Campbell



I'm delighted to have Pam and Lorraine, a.k.a. Ellie Campbell, on the blog today for an author interview in which they tell us more about their book 'Looking for La La', their plans for the future and their career as authors!

Can you tell us something about your new novel, ‘Looking for La La’?
Looking For La La is the story of a bored frazzled mother-of-two who is initially excited when someone mails a love postcard to her husband.  As she enlists her best friend in a quest to discover the sender, secrets are exposed, suspicions rife, romance kindled and she ends up putting her marriage, her friendships and even her life in jeopardy.  It’s a humorous mystery and at the same time a look at that limbo stage in a woman’s life when her kids have returned to school, her marriage is well past the honeymoon stage and she’s suffering the frustrations of not quite knowing what her new role should be.

Where did you find the inspiration for ‘Looking for La La’? Is it in any way based on your own personal experiences?
Actually Pam’s husband did receive an almost identical postcard and they never did find out who sent it.  But instead of driving herself crazy the way our heroine Cathy does, Pam laughed it off and decided it would be a great opening scene for our latest book.  Plus she well remembers how bonded she and her girlfriends were in the days when they were all at-home mothers and children ruled their lives.  However, the postcard is the limit of actual events we used. There were no murderers in our neighbourhood.  (Or if there were, we weren’t involved in them.) 

Which character in the novel did you most enjoy writing about and why?
Well, Cathy was a lot of fun to write because while she has a lot of good qualities she’s not exactly the perfect wife or mother – she’s scatty, impulsive, sometimes jealous, often childish in good and bad ways and she gets up to some crazy antics.  But her neighbour Zena was also a favourite – a prissy, eccentric clean-freak with terrible dress sense.

What is it like to write as a duo? How did the two of you decide to start writing novels together?  
We began by showing each other our short stories just for interest…which turned into sending stuff we felt needed some critical advice or a little help…which led to us deciding to write a book together – mainly because we both wanted to write about the sister thing and include some of our childhood memories and our mother’s stories.  We could hardly have two similar books using the same material to so we decided to co-write ‘How to Survive Your Sisters’.  It’s fun, challenging but mainly it removes the lonely aspect of being a writer.  We get constant feedback and can be quite put out if one of us writes a bit we think is brilliant and the other doesn’t rush to email us back and compliment it.   Well, maybe I’m not entirely serious there but it is nice to have someone to share the load.

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans as an author? Are you already working on a next novel?
Well, yes, funny you should ask.  We actually have a lot going on.  The sequel to ‘Looking for La La’ entitled ‘To Catch A Creeper’ is about to be published on March 24th this year.  We also have our fifth novel Million Dollar Question in the final editing stages and we are working on a third in the Crouch End Confidential Mystery series which is based on Cathy, the main character in ‘Looking For La La’ and ‘To Catch A Creeper’.  We’re hoping even more books about her sleuthing skills will follow.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Above all, sit down and write.  Many people think they have a novel in them but never get past the dreaming stage.  There’s much to be said for writing what you know about, what interests you, or what you yourself would love to read rather than what you think will sell.  Don’t waste creative energy discussing your ideas with others and don’t let people discourage you.  Enjoy the amazing changes the internet has brought to book publishing. It’s never been easier to self-publish and find readers.  But keep your standards high.   If you put your ebook up on Amazon, you’re responsible for the final product and at the end of the day people still get annoyed with typos and sloppy writing and don’t hesitate to show it with those killer one star reviews.  Finally, a great cover is your best publicist.  (That’s a lot, isn’t it?  Sounds very bossy.)

What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
Lorraine: I really enjoyed ‘The Affair’ by Colette Freedman.  A friend gifted me a copy when I was in Los Angeles recently and I read it all on the plane on the way home.  The story is written from the point of view of three different characters in a love triangle, starting with the wife, then the husband and then the mistress.  I liked the way there weren’t any blanket villains in the scenario, just ordinary people dealing with age-old issues and human weaknesses.
Pam: ‘Yours Truly’ by Kirsty Greenwood.  It was such fun and made me laugh out loud quite a few times.  Well done to her.

Which book could you not live without?  
Lorraine: OK, I’m going to try really hard not to say Pride and Prejudice although I know it almost by heart and pick The Famous Five by Enid Blyton.  Even though I haven’t seen a copy for years and they are kind of laughable, Blyton’s adventure series were the easily accessible novels that got me into reading at a very young age and made it an essential part of my life.  From there I became a total bookworm and went on to Swallows and Amazons, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe… I get chills just thinking of those childhood friends.
Pam: I have always loved Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.   It had everything – adventure, pirates, buried treasure, a talking parrot, Long John Silver.  It was the perfect novel , inspired me into wanting a life of adventure and I always used to think of it when Lorraine was off sailing around the Caribbean. So jealous.

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Looking for La La’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Funny,  Quirky.  Unique.

Thanks so much, Pam and Lorraine! :)

24 March 2014

Blog Tour: 'Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn' by Tilly Tennant (2014)

There’s only one man for Bonnie, and that’s Holden Finn.

The problem is that Holden Finn is a twenty-three-year-old pop megastar with his boy band, Every Which Way, and has no idea she exists. Not only that, but half the women in the world want to be Mrs Finn, including Bonnie’s teenage daughter, Paige. The real men in Bonnie’s life do nothing but let her down, but a man you can’t possibly have can never do that… right? She’s safe inside her fantasy bubble.

Then Paige wins a radio competition to meet Holden and the band, and Bonnie’s carefully-constructed world starts to unravel. She is about to find out that you should be very, very careful what you wish for...

Today I’m happy to be a part of the blog tour for Tilly Tennant’s novel ‘Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn’! Ever since the release of Tilly’s debut novel, I’ve seen numerous book bloggers and readers talking about it and most of them seemed to be really excited and positive about the book. So, when I was asked by Gosling Girls Book Tours whether I could fit in a review of Tilly’s book as part of the blog tour, I couldn’t pass up on the chance to discover this book and this new author everyone has been talking about!

Thirty-something Bonnie is a single mum to her 15-year-old daughter Paige who is obsessed with mega popular boy band Every Which Way. However, Bonnie has a little secret of her own, namely that she herself also has a big crush on one of the singers in the band named Holden Finn. She secretly fantasises about meeting him, knowing it is just a silly crush. But then Paige unexpectedly wins a radio competition to meet Every Which Way together with her best friend, and Bonnie will be there to supervise them. Suddenly, Bonnie’s fantasies of meeting Holden Finn aren’t just silly fantasies anymore...

I immediately warmed to Bonnie, the main character of this novel, from the first few chapters and really wanted her to get the happy ending she so deserves. Bonnie is a caring and warm person, and a single mum trying to deal with her teenage daughter Paige on her own. I think most readers will be able to relate to Bonnie in a way, because don’t we all have a secret celebrity crush? I know I do, and I loved reading about Bonnie’s secret obsession with Holden Finn and what happens when she actually manages to meet him. Next to Bonnie, the book is filled with wonderful secondary characters such as Max, the handsome deliveryman who seems to be kind of into Bonnie; Linda, Bonnie’s loud but loveable colleague; and Jeanie, Bonnie’s slightly eccentric but caring mother. A great bunch of characters who I instantly warmed to and wanted to learn more about.

Tilly Tennant’s writing is so easy to get into; it literally felt like I was flying through the pages of the novel, but definitely in a good way. I also want to mention the gorgeous and colourful cover, which I think will instantly attract any chick lit fan! If I have to mention one point of criticism, it’d have to be the choice of title for the book. I expected the story to be all about Bonnie’s infatuation with Holden Finn based on the title and the blurb, but the story was much more than just that and Holden was just one of the various aspects that is focused on. Overall, ‘Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn’ is a light-hearted, warm and fun debut novel, and I look forward to reading more of Tilly Tennant’s work in the future!

Rating:
   8,5
/10


For more information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads 
 
Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review, and thanks to Gosling Girls Book Tours for organising this blog tour!

23 March 2014

Review: 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' by Various Authors (2014)

24 short stories about romance.

From wedding days to special anniversaries, steamy one-night encounters to everlasting loves. Truly, Madly, Deeply takes you on an unforgettable romantic adventure where love is really all you need.

This collection brings together all new specifically selected stories from star authors from the Romantic Novelists' Association including international bestsellers Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews, Adele Parks and Miranda Dickinson, and many, many more and is edited by Sue Moorcroft.

I can’t really give a specific reason, but somehow I’ve never really been a big fan of short stories. I was always of the opinion that a tale consisting of just a few pages would never manage to grab me, would not provide me with the chance to get to know a character, and if it would actually be really good, I’d just be disappointed that it was a short story and not an entire novel. However, when I first heard of the release of ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’, a collection of short stories by some amazing authors, published by Mills & Boon, I immediately knew I wanted a copy (thanks so much to Cherish PR for providing me with a review copy!) and would grab the chance to give short stories another chance. And I’m really glad I did!

‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ is a collection of various short stories that all focus on the same key element: romance. From love at first sight to one-night-stands to wedding anniversaries, different kinds of love and romance are all placed in the spotlight in this second anthology of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. The book is packed with fabulous authors like Carole Matthews, Chrissie Manby, Miranda Dickinson, Fiona Harper, Kate Harrison and Adele Parks. 

This compilation of short stories is quite fittingly described as ‘the ultimate romantic treat’ and I couldn’t agree more. I honestly loved this so much more than I thought I would; I think I unexpectedly even developed a new and growing love for short stories! One of the main things I loved about this book is that it was so easy to just pick it up whenever and read a quick story. For example during the commercial break while watching television, while waiting for the train to come, during your lunch break at work... Each of the stories in the book is about love and romance, which is a topic I personally can’t get enough of, but every single author managed to do something different with it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all these different stories about different aspects of love, with captivating characters at their core and set in various places and time periods.  

I was amazed by the fact that some of the stories really managed to grab my attention and I couldn’t get them out of my head for a few hours afterwards, even though they were just a few pages long. I guess it’s true you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you also shouldn’t judge a story by the number of pages! I honestly think every single one of the stories in this anthology was enjoyable, but if I have to pick a few personal favourites I’d have to go for ‘Love on Wheels’ by Miranda Dickinson, ‘A Real Prince’ by Fiona Harper and Sophie Pembroke’s ‘The Fairytale Way.’ Overall, ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ is a thoroughly enjoyable, easy-to-pick-up, romance-filled collection of stories which especially chick lit lovers do not want to miss! (Oh, and a tip: if you get the e-book version, you get 11 bonus stories!)

Rating:
  9
/10


For more information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads 
 
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

22 March 2014

Upcoming release: 'If I Could Turn Back Time' by Nicola Doherty

What if you found The One, then lost him again? 

Or not so much lost him as became the neurotic, needy girlfriend from hell. The girl who tried to make him choose between her and his job, and got seriously paranoid about his relationship with his best female friend...

Zoe knows she doesn't deserve another chance with David. But if there's the tiniest possibility of making things right, she'll snatch it. Even if it means breaking the laws of physics to do so...

On the 10th of April the paperback version of Nicola Doherty's second novel 'If I Could Turn Back Time' will be released and it's one of the upcoming Spring releases I am really excited about! The cover of the book is simply gorgeous and I've only read positive reviews and messages about it, so I can't wait to read it myself!

Be sure to pre-order your own copy on Amazon by clicking here!

20 March 2014

Blog Tour: 'How Not to Be Starstruck' by Portia MacIntosh

Today I'm delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Portia MacIntosh's upcoming release, 'How Not To Be Starstruck', organised by Gosling Girls Book Tours!

Nicole Wilde’s life is one of sell-out gigs, bunking on tour buses, trashing hotels and partying with the band all night long. But she’s not in the band. She is a music journalist, paid to be the world’s greatest groupie– and she loves it! 

Nicole has the party lifestyle – and the hangovers to prove it – but no one stops her in the supermarket on a bad hair day. Until she is papped in an incriminating position with recently married mega-star Dylan King of The Burnouts and the tabloids start hounding her. This isn’t so fun. Especially when her make-up is a mess and she hasn’t yet had a chance to clean her teeth. 

Dylan accuses her of ruining his marriage. His handsome PR agent, Charles, calls her a tart. She has to take gorgeous Luke from Two For the Road to hospital after a drug incident. And she’s dropped her mobile phone in the bath! Too much celebrity lifestyle for one week? Time to slow down and take stock? Maybe for somebody else. But Nicole Wilde is going to come out fighting!




Thanks to Portia for writing this guest post to tell us a bit more about the characters in 'How Not To Be Starstruck'!

If there's one thing I want to make sure people know before they read my books, it's that they are fictional. When people find out that my novels are inspired by my time touring with bands and working in the music industry, they assume that everything is real and that I have just changed a name here or an instrument there, but that is not the case. ‘How Not to be Starstruck’ tell the tale of music journalist Nicole Wilde, and the situations she finds herself in thanks to her famous mates, newsworthy relationships and generally chaotic lifestyle.
 
I want my books to give people a fun yet honest insight into the music world so I took inspiration from real events and real people, but the thing I want to stress is that the people in my books are not based on anyone in particular, they are the embodiment of a particular type of person that I often encounter.
 
Here are some of the characters from ‘How Not to be Starstruck’ and the prequel ‘Between a Rockstar and a Hard Place’…
 
Nicole Wilde is the main character in ‘How Not to be Starstruck’. Like so many girls I meet, Nicole just wants to be in with the in crowd. She has grown up around rockstars, which is something she and I have in common, so I know just how messed up that can leave you. These people want to have fun, they don't want to grow up and settle down. If you spend enough time in a world where that is normal, you're going to get out of sync with the "real world" and that can be tricky to deal with.
 
Dylan King is a rockstar, and I don't just mean a star in the rock genre. I'm talking 1980s style, out of control. He thinks he can do what he wants, sleep with who he wants and drink as much as he wants, so long as he shows his face on stage every now and then, he can live his life in this fun blur. I know hundreds of Dylans in the real world, and they range from the truly despicable type that make your skin crawl, to the charming loveable rogues who you can't help but laugh at. I tried to make Dylan a mixture of both, just to show you what the Nicoles of this world are up against.
 
Troy Reeves was a character in ‘Between a Rockstar and a Hard Place’, who is briefly mentioned in ‘How Not to be Starstruck’. He represents TV talent show musicians, the kind that are thrust into fame after a stint on the likes of X Factor. Troy is such a down to earth and sweet person, because in my experience most reality stars are. I'm not sure if it's because they enjoy success very quickly, they don't have that smugness you often see in people who have spent years achieving their recognition, but they're the nicest people you could hope to meet. I have been fortunate enough to spend time with the likes of One Direction and Olly Murs (to give a few super-sexy examples) and they are just so enthusiastic and fun. They have so much love and time for their fans, and that's what you need to succeed in this industry. People complain about TV talent show stars flooding the market, but I'm all for them.
 
Luke Fox is your typical newly famous musician on the scene. There are two periods when a band member is at their worst – when they have been famous for a long time like Dylan, and when they are thrust into the limelight like Luke. Nicole was friends with Luke’s band before they were famous, so when they start doing well she can see how it changes them. Sadly, this happens a lot. Fame goes to their heads, they start overdoing all things sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and they often forget who their friends are. It often takes a bit of a reality check for them to level out, or they’ll stay that way and eventually turn into a Dylan.
 
‘How Not to be Starstruck’ is out 31st March (click here to pre-order it now on Amazon UK), and is Portia’s full-length follow-up to ‘Between a Rockstar and a Hard Place’ (out now)!