Book news: The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements

1 Mar

I thoroughly enjoyed Katherine Clements’ debut, The Crimson Ribbon so I was very excited to see details of her next historical novel which will visit the English Civil War period again and shed light on another fab female figure from history. The Silvered Heart will be released by Headline on the 7th May and I can’t wait!

silvered heart

The legendary figure of Kate Ferrars, the infamous highwaywoman, is brought gloriously to life in this gripping tale of infatuation, betrayal and survival.

‘The distant thrum of galloping hooves conjures nothing but doubt and fear these days.’

1648: Civil war is devastating England. The privileged world Katherine Ferrars knows is crumbling under Cromwell’s army, and as an orphaned heiress, she has no choice but to do her duty and marry for the sake of family.

But as her marriage turns into a prison, and her fortune is decimated by the war, Kate becomes increasingly desperate. So when she meets the enigmatic Ralph Chaplin, she seizes the chance he offers. Their plan is daring and brutal, but it’s an escape from poverty and the shackles of convention. They both know if they’re caught, there’s only one way it can end…

Giveaway Winners! That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay

20 Feb



The winners are …

Kirsty Fox, Leigh Newton and David Reeves

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

Book review: Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens

16 Feb

thoughtfulThe only place Kellan has ever felt at home is on stage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around his music and his band mates, and that’s the way he likes it. And then one woman changes everything . . .

Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting – she’s smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction . . . until Kiera’s own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, Kellan is sure of one thing: he won’t let Kiera go without a fight.

It’s been a while since I read a New Adult novel so when the chance to review Thoughtful as part of a blog tour came up, I  grabbed it. It threw me a little that this is actually the fourth book in the Thoughtless series – Thoughtless, Effortless and Reckless make up the original series and this novel goes right back to the beginning to tell the story from lead male character, Kellan’s point of view. As I haven’t read any of the other books I was a little worried but I’m happy to say that Thoughtful stands perfectly as a book on its own.

Reading Thoughtful has definitely made me want to read the rest of the Thoughtless series and I’m sure this book will bring a whole host of new fans to the series and its leading man Kellan Kyle. Kellan is the lead singer in a Seattle-based band and as would be expected, gets more than his fair share of the attention from the ladies. I really enjoyed getting to know Kellan (he even has his own Facebook page!). It was nice to read a story written from the male perspective and as I read about the tough time he had growing up I had a lot of sympathy for him and right from the start of the book was wishing for a happy ending for him.

This wouldn’t be a New Adult romance book without a fair amount of angst and as Kellan is reunited with his old friend Denny and meets Denny’s girlfriend Kiera, the tension in the book jumps to a whole new level. The chemistry between Kellan and Kiera is undeniably hot yet they both have Denny at the heart of their good intentions. I’m not usually a fan of stories that involve cheating but the twists and turns of the Kellan, Denny, Kiera love triangle had me hooked.

Thoughtless is a substantial read at over 500 pages but I flew through it and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen in the end. As well as the main storyline, there was plenty to keep me turning the pages as the other band mates have their own story lines and the band pushes upwards to bigger and better things.

If you’re a fan of authors like Samantha Young and Tammara Webber then you should definitely add S.C. Stephens and her books to your reading list!


Thoughtful is out in paperback and ebook formats on February 24th.

Find out more about S.C. Stephens and her writing at:


Book review: Campari for Breakfast by Sara Crowe

10 Feb

campariLife is full of terrible things. Ghosts of dead relatives, heartbreak . . . burnt toast.

In 1987, Sue Bowl’s world changes for ever. Her mother dies, leaving her feeling like she’s lost a vital part of herself. And then her father shacks up with an awful man-eater called Ivana.

But Sue’s mother always told her to make the most of what she’s got – and what she’s got is a love of writing and some eccentric relatives. So Sue moves to her Aunt Coral’s crumbling ancestral home, where she fully intends to write a book and fall in love . . . and perhaps drink Campari for breakfast.

Campari for Breakfast is such an enjoyable read and a funny and heartfelt debut from Sara Crowe. I was drawn to this book by the quirky title and eye-catching cover and I wasn’t disappointed. Fans of The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets and the recently published Love, Nina will love the story of Sue Bowl and her adventures with relatives and new friends in a crumbling mansion in Egham.

Seventeen year old Sue longs to fall in love and become a writer. When her mum dies and her dad begins living with a new love, Sue can’t stand it and moves to live with her Aunt Coral and her lodgers in Green Place. The novel unfolds as a series of diary entries written by Sue punctuated by entries from Aunt Coral’s commonplace book, family letters and excerpts of Sue’s writing. Crowe has a clever way with words and Sue’s many literary mistakes made me chuckle as I read.

Sue is a character born out of time and is often traditional and naive in her views but always entertaining. The lighthearted nature of her character is balanced by the sadness of her mothers death and there are many heartfelt moments among the witty anecdotes. There are also a number of mysteries to the story and as the story jumps back and forward between Coral’s past and Sue’s story in 1987, I flew through this book eager to find out what secrets were to be revealed.

In the 1980s present there is drama aplenty as Sue finds her first job, develops a number of crushes and tries to save Aunt Coral and Green Place. The house is as much a character as its inhabitants and I enjoyed reading the background and history of it as the story played out. There’s a whole cast of wonderfully named characters – my favourites were Budlia and Cameo – and plenty of sub-plots and side stories to keep things interesting.

Campari for Breakfast will appeal to readers with a love of words and writing as aspiring author Sue forms a writing group and follows the teachings of Benjamin O’Carrol to refine her craft. The wonderfully named Egham Hirsute Group and their writing exercises never failed to make me smile and I learned many new words reading this book!

As Sue finds her place in the world I thoroughly enjoyed her story and could happily have continued reading about her and her new found friends and family. I look forward to reading more from Sara Crowe soon.


Campari for Breakfast is available in paperback and ebook formats now.

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


New books – February 2015 Hot Picks

3 Feb

Hello and welcome to February! I’ve had quite a slow start to my reading year – we’re moving house soon and there’s been lots going on at work so my reading and blogging had to take a bit of a back seat but I’m hoping to pick up the pace again this month! With that in mind, here are the books that I’m hoping to read this month – what’s on your list for February?

ivy laneIvy Lane by Cathy Bramley (12th February, Corgi)

I read this book when it was published as a four-part serial last year. I loved it so much that I can’t wait to get my hands on a paperback of the complete story to add to my favourites shelf. I’ll publish a full review near publication date but I can’t recommend this book highly enough if you’re looking for a lovely story filled with romance and great characters. Look out for the first part of Cathy’s new serialisation Appleby Farm on 5th February too!

From spring to summer, autumn to winter, a lot can happen in a single year . . .

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 seeks out peace and quiet in a new town, taking on a plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution.

But the friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and gradually draw Tilly in to their cosy, comforting world of planting seedlings, organizing bake sales and planning seasonal parties.

As the seasons pass, will Tilly learn to stop hiding amongst the sweetpeas and let people back into her life – and her heart?

The May Bride by Suzannah Dunn (12th February, Abacus)the may bride

I really enjoyed this historical novel, written in the first person from the point of view of the young Jane Seymour. Tudor history fans will love the new perspective on Jane’s life.

When Edward Seymour brings Katherine Filliol home to Wolf Hall, his sister Jane is captivated by his new bride. Over the course of a long, hot country summer, the two become close friends and allies, while Edward is busy advancing his career at court.

Two years later, the family is torn apart by a dreadful allegation made by Edward against his wife. The repercussions for all the Seymours are incalculable, not least for Katherine herself. When Jane is sent away, to serve Katharine of Aragon, she is forced to witness another wife being put aside, with terrible consequences. Changed forever by what happened to Katherine Filliol, Jane comes to understand that in a world where power is held entirely by men, there is a way in which she can still hold true to herself.

hurricane sistersThe Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank (12th February, Simon and Schuster)

I’m reading this book now and can’t believe I haven’t read a book by Dorothea Benton Frank before – great setting and lots of sassy characters!

Hurricane season begins early and rumbles all summer long – for three generations of one family, drama is headed in their direction too. At eighty, determined matriarch Maisie Pringle is a force to be reckoned with. She will have the final word on everything, especially when she’s dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz’s beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, dreams of a future that keeps them all at odds. This storm season, Maisie, Liz, and Ashley will deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. Can they establish a new order for the future of the family? This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (12th February, Orion)red queen

I’ve heard lots of good things about this debut fantasy and am looking forward to finding out more.

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .

vintage weddingA Vintage Wedding by Katie Fforde (12th February, Century)

A new Katie Fforde book is always a treat and this one sounds like a fab spring read.

In a small Cotswold country town, Beth, Lindy and Rachel are looking for new beginnings.

So they set up in business, organising stylish and perfectly affordable vintage weddings.

Soon they are busy arranging other people’s Big Days.

What none of them know is that their own romances lie waiting, just around the corner …

finn fancyFinn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson (13th February, Titan Books)

Randy Henderson’s debut has been likened to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline which I absolutely loved. Randy won the 2014 Writers of the Future Award so I’m looking forward to reading this one.

Found guilty of a terrible crime he didn’t commit in 1986, 15-year-old necromancer Finn Gramaraye was exiled to the Other Realm for 25 years. But now he s back in the mortal world and is disappointed to discover that he s middle-aged, DeLoreans can’t fly, and he s been framed for using dark magic, again. All Finn wants is to pick up the pieces of his life and patch things up with his family: his mad scientist father, the ghost of his mother, a sister who is allergic to magic, a younger brother who thinks he s a werewolf and an older brother who is most unhappy to see him. But with just three days to clear his name before he is sent back into exile forever, Finn will need all the help he can get to figure out who wants him gone, and why.

fire sermonThe Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig (26th February, Harper Voyager). 

I recently attended a launch event for this brilliant book and heard Francesca talk about her inspiration for it. Set to be a big hit!

When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. The complete set. They would have been disbelieving – nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.


Born as twins. Raised as enemies.

One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.

The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.

The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.

Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.

The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

The Dandelion Years by Erica James (26th February, Orion)dandelion years

I’ve not read any of Erica James’s novels before but I love discovering new authors and this story promises three of my favourite topics; books, history and romance!

Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.

Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible – and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own – Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love…

summer at beach streetSummer at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (26th February, Sphere)

I’m really looking forward to another seaside-set read from Jenny. This book sounds delicious!

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (26th February, Tor) rithmatist

As you may have gathered, I’m aiming to read a lot more fantasy this year and this crossover novel from Brandon Sanderson sounds right up my street!

Joel is fascinated by the magic of Rithmatics, but few have the gift and he is not one of them. Undaunted, he persuades Professor Fitch to teach him magical theory. Joel can’t infuse his protective lines and circles with power, or bring his chalk-drawn creatures to life, but he’s quick to master the underlying geometric principles. His unique skills will soon face an extraordinary test when top Rithmatist students are kidnapped from his Academy.

Since he’s not a magic user, Joel appears to be safe – but he’s desperate to investigate and prove himself. Then people start dying. However, can Joel really stop a killer alone? As even more students disappear, he realizes he’ll need the help of Rithmatist apprentice Melody. Together, they must race to find clues before the killer notices them – and takes them out too.

darker shade magicA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (27th February, Titan)

There’s been quite a buzz about this book on Twitter already and one of my favourite authors, Deborah Harkness described it as ‘wonderful’ which makes me very excited to read it!!

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There is Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There is Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…


Giveaway winners! Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye

1 Feb



The winners are …

Andy W, Joanne Thomas and Charlotte Mountford

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

Exclusive cover reveal! Chalet Girl Plays Cupid and Rebellion of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

28 Jan

I am a HUGE fan of the Chalet Girl series from HarperImpulse by Lorraine Wilson and am massively excited to be able to reveal not one but two covers for Chalet Girl releases coming in March! And as if that’s not enough excitement the first of these of the releases is going to be FREE! So without further ado I introduce you to …

Chalet Girl Plays Cupid (Free Short Story – 5th March)

chalet girl cupid

 A match made on the slopes…

After a messy break up that’s left her homeless, jobless and single, temporary chalet girl Emily needs a fresh start! So when best friend Holly asks her to help out before the start of the winter season at the exclusive Chalet Repos in Verbier, Emily jumps at the chance. What broken heart can’t be fixed by après ski cocktails?
Verbier seems like the perfect escape, until Emily meets super-sexy and darkly brooding winter athlete Jake. She’s meant to be avoiding men at all costs, but the spark between her and Jake is sizzling! As she finds herself increasingly left alone with Jake, Emily begins to wonder if Cupid has paid a visit to Chalet Repos…!

Rebellion of A Chalet Girl (26th March)

rebellion chalet

Always the Chalet Girl…

Year round chalet girl Tash doesn’t do attachments—she’s learned the hard way that relationships of any kind never last. But when self-made millionaire and hit TV star Nathaniel Campbell arrives to spend a month at Chalet Repos, she’s tempted to reconsider her no-strings rule…

Tash and Nate may be from different sides of the tracks, but the connection between them is undeniable! And Tash soon realises that one hot night with Nate will never be enough. But can Nate ever think of Tash as more than a fling, especially once the truth about her past comes out?

The Chalet Girls are back! Set in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier, winter playground of the rich and famous, ‘Rebellion of a Chalet Girl’ is the latest addition to the fabulous ‘Chalet Girl’ series.

You can find out more about Lorraine and the other books in the Chalet Girl Series at:

Follow Lorraine on Facebook at:

And on Twitter: @Romanceminx

Giveaway! Three copies of That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay to be won!

27 Jan

Earlier today I reviewed That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay and in celebration the paperback release of this lovely book Orion has given me three copies to give away to lucky readers!


When Eve Petworth writes to Jackson Cooper to praise a scene in one of his books, they discover a mutual love of cookery and food. As their letters criss-cross the ocean that lies between them, friendship and then romance blossoms despite Jackson’s colourful love life and Eve’s tense relationship with her soon-to-be-married daughter. Little by little, Eve and Jack begin to believe that they may have a chance to change their lives and possibly get a second chance at happiness. They just need to actually meet…

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

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Sunday 1st February.

Good luck!

Book Review: That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay

27 Jan

THAT PART WAS TRUE JACKET (1)When Eve Petworth writes to Jackson Cooper to praise a scene in one of his books, they discover a mutual love of cookery and food. As their letters criss-cross the ocean that lies between them, friendship and then romance blossoms despite Jackson’s colourful love life and Eve’s tense relationship with her soon-to-be-married daughter. Little by little, Eve and Jack begin to believe that they may have a chance to change their lives and possibly get a second chance at happiness. They just need to actually meet…

That Part Was True is a thoughtful and captivating story of friendship, family, love and loss. The story is set in the UK and US and I enjoyed reading about the very different lives of the lead characters, Eve and Jack. This is a novel that grew on me quickly as I read and although fairly slow paced, is an intriguing look at the lives of two people who make a connection through their love of food and cooking.

Narrated in the third person, this That Part Was True is really two separate stories linked by the letters and notes that the main characters send each other and I was carried along by the way that their relationship developed against the backdrop of all that was going on in their separate lives.

Author Jackson (Jack) Cooper  lives in The  Hamptons and is facing something of a mid-life crisis. His wife recently left him and he is questioning everything, including his career as a best-selling popular fiction author as a result. I loved the subtle glamour of Jack’s lifestyle and the contrast between his life and that of Eve Petworth, who is focussed on living a quiet life in the English countryside.

Eve writes to Jack to praise his latest novel and Jack responds. Little by little, their friendship develops through their correspondence. As this develops Deborah McKinlay begins to fill in the detail and history of their lives for the reader. From Eve’s domineering mother, her fraught relationship with her daughter and anxiety attacks to Jack’s attempts at romance and concerns over his career; what makes this book are the lead characters’ insecurities and the complexity of their emotions.

I’ll admit that I didn’t particularly warm to either as I started the book and actually disliked Jack in the beginning, but as their experiences come to the fore I began to see them as the fully rounded characters that they are and felt sympathy for Eve in particular and admired her bravery and determination to overcome her anxiety attacks.

The concept of romance developing through a series of letters is a lovely one and gives Eve and Jack’s relationship a timeless quality that marks this book as different. But That Part Was True is more than a love story; it’s also an inspiring novel about second chances, not just in love but in family relationships too as Eve helps her daughter plan her wedding and the pair try to negotiate their difficult relationship.

The ending to this book was a wonderful surprise and not what I’d expected but left me with a feeling of satisfaction; That Part Was True is a compelling read with honestly flawed characters who will find a place in your heart.

That Part Was True 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 Deborah McKinlay and her writing at: 

Guest post: Things I learnt at (my child’s) school … by Deborah Disney

24 Jan

My guest today is debut Australian author, Deborah Disney. Deborah grew up in the regional city of Toowoomba and now lives in Brisbane with her husband and two school-aged daughters. Deborah has a BA/LLB from the University of Queensland and practised as a solicitor for a number of years prior to having children. She chose to specialise in litigation law as that seemed like the best preparation for what is now her looming battle – mothering her daughters through the teenage years. Deborah’s first novel, Up and In, is a satirical look at the interactions of school and sporting mums. Welcome Deborah!

Disney-19 2.3MB‘What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally.’ And this is true even if Sally is a complete cow.

I posted this little oft-quoted phrase on my facebook page this week (not the cow part) because I think it is a perfect tie-in with my new book, Up and In, which is a humorous look at the often bewildering experience that comes with being a school mum.

What is it about becoming a school mum that seems to send otherwise accomplished and intelligent women back to the insecurities of our teenage years? What am I going to wear to drop-off today?  Why didn’t she invite my child to her child’s party? She didn’t wave at me this morning – did I say or do something wrong?

In between worrying about whether or not our children will find friends, this strange sensation of whether or not we will find friends among the other school mums somehow starts to creep in. Once again there is that feeling of wanting to ‘find your tribe’. And while it is only natural to want to surround yourself with like-minded people, plaguing yourself about trivial ‘school gate politics’ might mean that the most likely place to find your like-minded people is in the loony bin!

Postcard 8I have been a school mum for eight years now, and these are a few of the things I have discovered:

1. Some of my best friends are women I have met at my children’s school. I connected with them because we laughed at each other’s jokes. Not because we were wearing the ‘right’ clothes. There is no way they would be caught dead in some of my clothes.

2. There is no rule that says you need to become ‘besties’ with the mother of your child’s ‘bestie’. My mother never, ever hung out with the parents of my childhood friends. Being pleasant is a must. But ‘hanging’ is entirely optional.

3. Even if you feel uncomfortable or shy, it never hurts to smile and say hello. Unless you have had recent dental surgery. Or you are dealing with a burgeoning cold sore.

4. While you might come from different backgrounds, or have different current circumstances, you all have one thing in common, which is that your children attend the same school. And there’s every chance that at some point or other you will all have to deal with nits.

5. Any women past the age of thirteen who refer to themselves as belonging to some sort of club like ‘the A team’ or any other such BS collective are to be avoided like the plague.

6. The best thing you can do to help your child make the ‘right’ friends is to set an example of always being yourself. The ‘right’ friends are alwaysPostcard 1 the ones who are right for the real you. Making friends on behalf of an orchestrated version of yourself is just downright exhausting.

7. Everyone has their own sh*t going on. If they didn’t respond to your cheery smile today, try again tomorrow. They may have just had dental surgery.

8. Finally, don’t buy in to bitching or gossiping about other mothers. Sally might well be a cow, but talking about that isn’t making her any more or less cow-like. It just spreads around bad cow energy and if you are a school mum you know – you need every ounce of energy you have for signing notes and making lunches and washing socks and supervising homework and … :-)

Up and In by Deborah Disney is available in ebook formats now. Find out more at: