Book news: Blue by Lisa Glass

22 Apr

Regular readers of this blog will know how much I love books set by the sea. I’ve always had an ambition to learn to surf so I couldn’t resist adding this book to my wish list when I saw it on Twitter last week. Sounds fab doesn’t it and doesn’t this cover just make you feel summery?

Surfing is sixteen-year-old Iris’s world, and when the ultra-talented Zeke walks into her life, it soon becomes her passion. 

Over one amazing summer, as she is drawn into his sphere, she experiences love, new friendships, but also loss, with an intensity she never dreamed of. 

But is Zeke all he seems? What hides beneath his glamorous and mysterious past? When Iris decides to try for her own surfing success, just as her ex-boyfriend comes back into her life, she will test her talent, and her feelings for Zeke, to the limit…

Blue is released by Quercus on 29th May.

Find out more about the book and author Lisa Glass at: http://www.lisaglass.co.uk

Short story spotlight: Three Lovely Spring Reads

22 Apr

Over the Easter weekend I caught up on some fab ebook short stories that I’d downloaded. I thoroughly enjoyed all of these and they made me feel truly spring-like :-)

Finding Mr Rochester by Trisha Ashley

Budding author and die-hard Bronte fan Eleri Groves decides to escape from her disastrous love life to a remote farm cottage in Yorkshire.
Living in the land of the Brontes has got to be better than her life at home and she hopes that she’ll find some inspiration for her next book.
But what she doesn’t expect is to find her own Mr Rochester and much more than she bargained for …

I loved being whisked away to the Yorkshire Moors for this story of a novelist seeking inspiration. Eleri made me smile and is a lovely character and the romance in this story is spot on.

I’m a big fan of Trisha’s books but if you haven’t read one yet Finding Mr Rochester is the perfect place to start as it really shows the warmth and romance of her writing. The ebook also includes a preview of Trisha’s next novel, Every Woman For Herself which is out next month, and some delicious recipes from Trisha.

Find out more about Trisha and her novels at: http://trishaashley.com/

Ivy Lane: Spring by Cathy Bramley 

Friendship blossoms at Ivy Lane…

Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she settles in to a new town seeking peace and solitude, taking on her own plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution. But the vibrant, friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and endeavour to entice Tilly into seedling swaps and Easter egg hunts. Can Tilly let new friends into her life, or will she stay a wallflower for good?

Strictly speaking, this is the first quarter of a full length novel and not a short story but it reads perfectly well as a standalone story and I can’t wait to read the other parts as they are released. Cathy Bramley is a new author for me and after reading Ivy Lane: Spring, I can’t wait to read more from her.

I loved Tilly immediately; she’s such an honest and likeable character (despite trying to appear otherwise!) and I thoroughly enjoyed going along with her as she makes her new start. This story is filled with friendship, humour and genuinely loveable characters of all ages, shapes and sizes! I’ve never been a huge fan of gardening but Tilly’s allotment adventures might just make me reconsider. There’s a wonderful sense of community in this story and it really did capture the sense of spring and new beginnings so well. Hurry up July and part two!

Find out more about Cathy and her writing at: http://www.cathybramleyauthor.com/

The Three of Us by Cathy Woodman

Tessa and Jack live at the animal sanctuary in Talyton St George. They had been friends for years, but it wasn’t until Jack interrupted Tessa’s wedding that she discovered his feelings for her were stronger than she ever knew

Now, a year on, they could not be happier. And when Tessa discovers she’s pregnant, it’s as if all their dreams have come true.

But a scan shows that there are complications, and suddenly Tessa realises that Jack has always had doubts about having a baby. Supported throughout by Zara, the village midwife, Tessa and Jack have some tough decisions to make.

However, as the baby’s birth draws closer, Tessa and Jack grow further apart. Will he feel differently when the baby is born? Or will having her wonderful child mean losing the man of her dreams?

The Three of Us is set in the wonderful fictional Devonshire town of Taylton St George; home of Cathy’s seven previous novels and her new book, Follow Me Home which is out later this week. For those who haven’t read any of Cathy’s previous books this short story is a great introduction and introduces Zara, the village midwife whose story you is told in Follow Me Home. For fans of the series this short story also brings readers an update on Tessa and Jack from The Village Vet. 

I haven’t read The Village Vet but enjoyed this story as a standalone novella; it’s a gripping read as Tessa and Jack prepare for the birth of their first child and face some serious ups and downs. My heart went out to them both as I read. This story showcases Cathy’s gentle and sensitive writing style and the lovely world of Taylton St George. I’m really looking forward to reading Zara’s story now!

Find out more about Cathy and her books at: http://www.cathywoodmanbooks.com/

 

Guest post and giveaway! If You Can’t Beat ‘Em … Join ‘Em! by Tracy Bloom

22 Apr

Fabulously funny debut author Tracy Bloom is stopping off at One More Page today on her blog tour for the brilliantly named, No-one Ever Has Sex on A Tuesday. The book is partly inspired by the incredible people and stories she came across at her own antenatal classes. Tracy lives in England and  is chuffed to bits to have her dream job, making people laugh and sometimes cry through her writing. Welcome Tracy!

When our son was born my husband jumped for joy at the prospect of buying yet more Lego to add to the collection that my mother-in-law had kindly passed onto us from their attic. Lego mania in our household hit new heights however when my husband discovered a Lego Design App that allowed him to draw and plan our entire house in Lego. He then bought even more bricks so he could build it in all its 3ft x 2ft glory.

His addiction passed onto our son who loves to build but who is also is mesmerised by Lego clips on YouTube. Some are hilarious involving animated figures with voiceovers from Eddie Izzard and some are so dull you wonder at the future of the human race as you watch grown men describe in detail the merits of the latest Star Wars kit.

These clips did however give me an idea as to how we could utilise our growing Lego mountain for my own gain. I wanted to do a trailer for my romantic comedy novel, NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY, which was a no.1 ebook bestseller last year and launches into shops at the end of this month. Most book trailers are spectacularly uninspiring so I thought I’d do a funny one using Lego figures as the key characters. My husband set to work digging out the pieces I needed and I wrote a storyboard. By a stroke of luck an ex-colleague runs a video company and worked out how to do the animation. We then had a hilarious day filming particularly as we had to film a comedy sex scene! Different coloured heads were used with varying expressions!

The result is way beyond what I ever expected when I started and I’m so proud of it. I’ve also come to realise Lego has its uses apart from causing extreme pain when you step on it. My husband is also pleased his Lego house got a starring role and my son likes to see his Lego on film although he’s only allowed to see the version without the sex scene!

Thank you Tracy! Check out the fab book trailer that Tracy made below :-)

Giveaway!

No-one Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday is published for the first time in paperback format on Thursday (24th April) and I have one brand new copy to give away to a lucky reader!

To enter this giveaway just leave a comment in the box below and I’ll draw a winner using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Tuesday 29th April.

Good luck!

 

Giveaway! Three Carole Matthews five-book bundles to be won!

17 Apr

In celebration of the release of Carole Matthews’ twenty-fourth novel; A Place to Call Home, Carole’s publisher, Sphere have generously given me three bundles of her earlier titles to give away to lucky readers!

Each bundle consists of the five titles listed below which have recently been re-released with the beautiful new covers shown here!

To enter this giveaway just leave a ‘pick me’ comment in the box below and I’ll draw three winners using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Friday 25th April.

Good luck!

Book review: A Place to Call Home by Carole Matthews

17 Apr

Today is my stop on Carole Matthews’ A Place to Call Home blog tour. I’ve got two posts as part of the tour; my review of the book and a fab giveaway to win bundles of some of Carole’s previous releases so without further ado here’s my review and please do stop by again later for the giveaway.

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.

Uplifting and emotional, this is a novel of new beginnings, of discovering love and of finding A Place to Call Home.

I almost missed my stop on the train when I started reading this book on a journey home a few weeks ago, so engrossed was I in Ayesha’s middle of the night flight from her abusive husband. In A Place to Call Home Carole has written a beautiful story of new beginnings, heartbreak, love and friendship and right from the first pages I was captivated by Ayesha’s story and her fight to regain her life.

Ayesha and her young daughter Sabina are fleeing from husband and father Suresh who has made their lives a misery both physically and mentally for many years. It was heartbreaking to read the early scenes of the book where Ayesha recounts her reasons for leaving and the horror of abuse so bad that it has rendered her daughter speechless. This is a story packed with emotion and brought a tear to my eye on more than one occasion.

As with all of Carole’s books that I’ve read, the characterization in A Place to Call Home is excellent and I felt like a knew Ayesha and Sabina straight away. The way that Carole describes Sabina’s emotions even though she doesn’t speak is brilliant and I took both of them to my heart immediately. As Ayesha seeks refuge she finds herself in the impressive home of former pop star Hayden with two other women, Joy and Crystal. Hayden, Joy and Crystal are all wonderful characters too and one of the things that I enjoyed most about this book was the variety that the different characters brought to the story.

Ayesha and Sabina’s arrival in the house brings change to all three members of the house and as they rally round the new arrivals it was lovely to see the relationships between them develop. Many of my favorite moments came from reading how Hayden helps Ayesha with her reading and despite the sadness of the situation they both find themselves in there are many funny moments in the story, particularly as they start to read Brigit Jones’ Diary!

With lots of short chapters and several strong sub plots based around the supporting characters, I found that I flew through the book and didn’t want to put it down. Although most of the book in written in the third person, Ayesha’s story is told in the first person and makes it feel even more personal. The episodes covering Suresh’s hunt for his wife and daughter are a stark contrast and made for difficult reading at times – he really is a despicable character! Hayden on the other hand is wonderful and I found the scenes between him and Sabina particularly touching.

I love how Carole has struck the balance between the darker side of life (domestic abuse, lap dancing clubs, organized crime) and the themes of family, romance and friendship that we’ve come to love and expect from her novels. A Place Called Home made me think about the women and children who live with abuse every day and I hope it raises awareness and encourages everyone who reads it to support those facing similar challenges.

This is the second book I’ve read in a few weeks that has made me think about what ‘home’ really means. A Place to Call Home has a beautiful message and was so sensitively written as to be believable yet still a little magical. Highly recommended!

4/5

A Place to Call Home is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Carole and her writing at: http://www.carolematthews.com/

Please do stop by again later for details of a fab Carole Matthews giveaway and please do check out the other stops on the blog tour.

Event news: Rainbow Rowell to visit UK on tour in July!

16 Apr

I was very excited to see that Rainbow Rowell has announced that she will visit the UK on a book tour in July. Rainbow will visit Scotland, England and Wales during a five-day promotional tour.

The trip will include an appearance at YALC the first YA Lit Con at London Film and Comic Con, curated by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman. The full details of all of the events can be found below:

 

Thursday 10th July – 6.30pm
Ticketed author talk and book signing
Waterstones
153-157 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow
G2 3EW
T: 0141 332 9105
Tickets are available from the shop at £3/£2 Waterstones Cardholders

Friday 11th July – 6:30pm
Ticketed author talk and book signing
Waterstones
12 College Lane
Liverpool
L1 3DL
T. 0151 709 9820
Tickets are available from the shop at £3/£2 Waterstones Cardholders

Saturday 12th July – from 12noon
Author panel event and book signing
YA Lit Con at London Film & Comic Con
Earls Court 2,
Earls Court Exhibition Centre,
Warwick Road,
London
SW5 9TA
For tickets and further information visit: http://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com/

Sunday 13th July – 2pm
Book signing
Waterstones
2a The Hayes
Cardiff
CF10 1WB
T: 029 2066 5606
This signing will not be ticketed. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Monday 14th July – 6:30pm
Ticketed author talk and book signing
Waterstones
203/206 Piccadilly
London
W1J 9HD
Tickets available from: Waterstones.com/tickets £5/£3 Waterstones Cardholders (includes
refreshments)

Giveaway winners! A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke

16 Apr

 

The winners are …

Jo, Cheryl and Sue

Congratulations! I have sent you an email. Thanks to everyone who entered. Look out for more giveaways very soon!

Guest post: Romance for the Vampire by Berni Stevens

15 Apr

Please welcome Berni Stevens to One More Page today with a guest post about her love of Vampires in celebration of her Choc Lit UK debut, Dance Until Dawn. Berni lives in a 400-year-old cottage with her husband, black cat, two goldfish who think they’re piranha, and occasionally her son when he comes back for some TLC. She trained in graphic design, and has worked as a book cover designer for over twenty years.

Her love of paranormal fiction began at school when she first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and she’s been a fan of the fanged ever since. She is on the committee and the book panel of The Dracula Society – a literary society for fans of gothic literature and film. Welcome Berni!

When I first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it fired my imagination more than any other book ever had before. I was only fourteen and I truly, had never read anything like it. I’d read Wuthering Heights at school of course, loved Heathcliff – hated Cathy – but Dracula really was something else. From that moment on, I read anything I could find with vampires in. From Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and Polidori’s The Vampyre, I then graduated to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and I loved Lestat of course. (Not Tom Cruise’s version!)

But Stoker’s infamous Count has always held me in his thrall. There really is no other vampire quite like him. He’s cold, ruthless, and incredibly intelligent, yet he manages to convey a certain melancholy sadness. Eternity is a long time to be around without the right company. The three vampire sisters in Dracula accuse him of being unable to love, to which he replies that they themselves are actually the proof that he could, and did, love. In a way, this was the starting point for my own vampire novel. I thought about the decades stretching ahead – the centuries of utter loneliness. At some point it would surely become unbearable?

I thought of someone existing for more than three hundred years, a lot of that time alone, without love or affection. The desire to find the perfect companion would turn to obsession, but would he ever find true love? Of course, I was writing a romance, so the chances are he would! Then I started to imagine the difficulties in such a relationship. When I wrote down the initial plot, I envisaged the story to be a vampire chick lit romance. Then the heroine annoyed me. She needed to be more 21st Century and a lot more feisty, and gradually everything became darker and a little bit scarier.

Over the last fifteen years or so, there have been a lot of vampire romances where  one of the couple is still human. I really wanted to avoid that. There is always the old cliché about whether the vampire will turn the human before the end of the book. A fair point, because if the human remains human, they will age, and then eventually die. So I decided my heroine should start off dead – well – undead. There were also a lot of ‘what if’s’ – what if Ellie, the heroine was scared of the dark? Why would that be? Supposing she refused to drink blood? How would she survive?

I think the vampire should always be a bit of a tortured soul. Shunning direct sunlight (for obvious reasons), keeping to the shadows, and forced  to prey on humans for sustenance. Yes, I know Louis from Interview With the Vampire and Angel from Buffy both survived for a while by feeding on rats’ blood, and the Cullens hunted deer, but I have always preferred my vampires to ‘play’ it by the book. Mitchell from Being Human was more resourceful and got a job in a hospital! Plenty of blood there.

So my hero, appears to have it all. He’s drop-dead gorgeous, more than used to women falling over themselves to get noticed by him, and he’s a billionaire to boot. I have always felt that an immortal being, if they had any intelligence whatsoever, should be able to make money in the modern world. Some contemporary vampire books have had the vampire still living in a dark crypt somewhere like a giant leech, as the modern world carries on above. Whilst I can see the point of maintaining the Gothic feel of the legend, I wanted my own vampire to have a better life, albeit a  secret life.

 

Money can buy most things, as Will tells Ellie quite early on in the book, but it can’t buy happiness – or love. He has watched her from afar for a long time and fallen deeply in love with a young modern woman he has never properly met. The women from his own era were groomed for marriage and not much else, and he has no idea how to relate to Ellie at first. She, of course, gives him a few pointers.

Do they make it? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Thanks Berni – I can’t wait to read it!

Dance Until Dawnis out now in ebook and paperback formats.

Find out more about Berni and her writing at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/berni.stevens.5

Twitter: @circleoflebanon

Blog: http://bernistevens.blogspot.co.uk

Follow Will on Twitter: @austen_will

Book review: The Quick by Lauren Owen

14 Apr

You are about to discover the secrets of The Quick -

But first you must travel to Victorian Yorkshire, and there, on a remote country estate, meet a brother and sister alone in the world and bound by tragedy. In time, you will enter the rooms of London’s mysterious Aegolius Club – a society of some of the richest, most powerful men in fin-de-siecle England. And at some point – we cannot say when – these worlds will collide.

It is then, and only then, that a new world emerges, one of romance, adventure and the most delicious of horrors – and the secrets of The Quick are revealed.

Before I start on my review of the content of this book I want to take a moment to say what a gorgeous volume The Quick is in hardback format – I love the beautiful owl print end papers and the cover conveys the sense of mystery surrounding the story perfectly.

The Quick is a difficult book to review because it’s key feature and twist in the tale have been kept secret and I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone. The mysterious Aegolius Club even has it’s own Twitter account which is shrouded in secrecy just like the club itself. I love the idea of readers discovering the truth about the club through the book and it certainly built the tension and made me want to find out more!

So I was surprised that the big reveal came so early in the story but secretly pleased to find out what the topic of the book really is as I love stories in this genre. The Quick is Gothic, suspenseful, intriguing, darkly romantic and horrific in equal measures and I was glad that I stuck with it as after a slow start I flew through the story.

This is a book that feels like many books in one as different narrators take the stage in different parts. Initially we meet siblings Charlotte and James who are children growing up in a once fine but now neglected rambling country home. We follow James’s life as he goes off to Oxford and then attempts to become a poet in London. As James meets aristocratic Christopher, the story twists and turns and we follow James as he learns the secrets of the Aegolius Club and The Quick.  I enjoyed the varied narration and liked the different writing styles including the diaries of Augustus Mould which were one of the highlights of the book for me.

The Quick felt very authentic as a Victorian Gothic novel so its not surprising to learn that author Lauren Owen has and MA in Victorian Literature and is completing a PhD on Gothic writing. A well written and impressive debut.

3/5

The Quick is out now in hardback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy of this novel.

Book review: The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements

13 Apr

Based on the real figure of the fascinating Elizabeth Poole, The Crimson Ribbon is the mesmerising story of two women’s obsession, superstition and hope.

May Day 1646. The Civil War is raging and what should be a rare moment of blessing for the town of Ely takes a brutal turn. Ruth Flowers is left with little choice but to flee the household of Oliver Cromwell, the only home she has ever known. On the road to London, Ruth sparks an uneasy alliance with a soldier, the battle-scarred and troubled Joseph. But when she reaches the city, it’s in the Poole household that she finds refuge.

Lizzie Poole, beautiful and charismatic, enthrals the vulnerable Ruth, who binds herself inextricably to Lizzie’s world. But in these troubled times, Ruth is haunted by fears of her past catching up with her. And as Lizzie’s radical ideas escalate, Ruth finds herself carried to the heart of the country’s conflict, to the trial of a king.

The Crimson Ribbon is a fab historical fiction debut from Katherine Clements. Set in England against the backdrop of witch hunts and civil war, the story is a dramatic and fast-paced adventure that sees heroine Ruth Flowers orphaned and cast out from the place that she has always called home and left to make her way alone to London to seek sanctuary. The opening chapter of this novel actually made me gasp out loud as Clements recounts the chilling set of events that leave Ruth alone in the world at such a young age.

Throughout the book I loved Ruth’s strength and determination which is illustrated perfectly in her first meeting with ex-soldier Joseph Oakes who leaps to Ruth’s rescue as she makes her way from Ely to London but is soon put in his place! Women’s rights are a key theme in the novel and I enjoyed how it soon became clear which character was really the one in need of rescue!

On arrival in London, Ruth is magnetised by the beautiful and charismatic Lizzie Poole, daughter of the man she has been sent to to seek sanctuary. The evangelical Lizzie is an intriguingly complex character and I was fascinated to watch Ruth’s relationship with her develop. Although I didn’t like her actions and was suspicious of her for most of the book I thought she was a beautifully written character who was the perfect catalyst for so many of the defining moments of this novel and I was even more intrigued by the fact that Lizzie Poole actually lived and that some of the events in the book are based around the historical records of her life.

Through Ruth, Lizzie and Joseph, Katherine Clements gives a vivid street-level view of London and society in Civil War England. From the establishment of underground printing presses to religious extremism and witchcraft, Clements’ characters show both the tensions and new-found freedoms of the time. This is an accessible and entertaining historical story that isn’t bogged down in details of battles and politics, but focusses on the social and personal impacts of events on those living through the period.

With plenty of mystery and romance I enjoyed that Katherine kept me guessing to the end what the outcome for the Lizzie, Ruth and Joseph would be. I also enjoyed the elements of magic to the novel and I would have liked more of this in the story. Joseph and his friends were my favourite characters in the book and I did find myself feeling quite sorry for him for the way he was treated by Ruth on several occasions. I’d love to read a sequel to this book as although all of the ends were sewn up neatly, I’d love to know what happens next!

The Crimson Ribbon is a lively, imaginative and very readable historical fiction debut and I’ll look forward to reading more from Katherine Clements in future.

4/5

The Crimson Ribbon is out now in hardback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Caitlin at Headline for sending me a review copy of this book.