Archive | September, 2012

Book review: Debutantes by Cora Harrison

24 Sep

It’s 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresses, the excitement seems a lifetime away. Luckily the girls each have a plan for escaping their humdrum country life: Rose wants to be a novelist, Poppy a jazz musician and Daisy a famous film director. Violet, however, has only one ambition: to become the perfect Debutante, so that she can go to London and catch the eye of Prince George, the most eligible bachelor in the country. But a house as big and old as Beech Grove Manor hides many secrets, and Daisy is about to uncover one so huge it could ruin all their plans – ruin everything – forever.

The first thing that caught my eye about Debutantes was the gorgeous cover and the Art Deco style title. As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it; although I like all sorts of historical novels, I’ve developed a bit of a thing for the 1920s this year so it sounded just perfect for me!

Debutantes tells the story of four sisters whose family has fallen on hard times and so live a less than glamorous existence in the rapidly deteriorating and perpetually cold Beech Grove Manor. The wonderfully florally named, Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose have a lovely sisterly relationship and I loved the way that they all had distinct personalities and dreams whilst at the same time being a close knit group.

Although narrated in the third person and telling the story of all four sisters, Daisy felt very much the lead character. She was often the voice of reason amongst her sisters and she is also key to the main plot twists and turns throughout the book. I liked her ‘can do’ attitude and her sense of fun and she was my favourite character in the book. I also loved Rose’s ability to summarise everything into dramatic headlines which often made me smile.

The Derrington Family are a creative bunch with Daisy’s flair for film making, Poppy’s musical talent and Violet’s skill with a needle and thread which comes in very handy when the girls can’t afford new dresses!  I liked the fact that apart from Violet, whose sole aim in life is to be a debutante,  the girls were ambitious and although there is a romance element to the story, it was nice to read a novel where that wasn’t the only plot.

I felt that Debutantes captured the feeling of a ‘new age’ of opportunities for women well.  This is the perfect book to curl up with and to lose yourself in another time and place. I loved the descriptions of clothes, hairstyles, music and places – especially the London landmarks and could easily imagine myself stepping back to the 1920s as I read.

With the addition of a mysterious letter and a long lost family member, there was plenty to keep me turning the pages and I found Debutantes a quick but brilliant read. I’ve now added two of Cora’s other young adult books; I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend and Jane Austen Stole my Boyfriend to my ‘must read soon list’ and I very much hope that she visits the Derrington family again in future. A gem of a read!


With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy.

Debutantes is out now in ebook and paperback.

You can find out more about Cora and her books at:

Top picks: Ten Autumn releases to cosy up with!

21 Sep

It’s been a while since I did a ‘chick lit’ round up and there are so many lovely reads being released this autumn that I thought I’d share my favourites. As the nights draw in I love nothing more than snuggling up with a good book! I’m not including Christmas reads here – I’ll be doing a separate round up of those next month :-)

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd (September)

How’s this for an absolutely gorgeous autumnal cover? And I love the sound of this story too. Thursday’s in the Park is out now from Quercus.

What do you do if you’ve been married to a man for half your life and out of nowhere he leaves your bed – permanently? 

When this happens to Jeanie, she’s furious and determined to confront George, her husband of thirty years. Is he in love with someone else? What did she do wrong? He won’t tell her. 

The brightest day of her week is Thursday, the day Jeanie takes her granddaughter to the park. There, one day, she meets Ray, kind, easy to talk to, and gorgeous – he is everything George isn’t. 

But does she have the courage, while facing opposition from all sides, to turn her life upside down for another shot at love?

Uncoupled by Lizzie Enfield (September)

Another cover that I love! This sounds like such an intriguing story. Out now and on my ‘to read’ pile.

‘We are getting early reports of a train crash on the Brighton to London line…Emergency Services are on their way to the scene’. Holly knew that by staying with her he was putting himself at risk. But, as he held her in the darkness, she didn’t want to let him go.

Holly’s a mother with children, a husband she loves and a time-consuming job up in London. She copes, and life is good.

So when she is in a train accident on the London to Brighton line, Holly knows that it’s just a small chapter in her life and nothing has changed. But Holly can’t forget the younger man who comforted her in the chaos of the crash, and when she seems him again on her daily commute up to town, there’s a flash of recognition between them. Is it embarrassment? Curiosity? Or is there something more? And what of Anne-Marie, another passenger who has survived. Just what is her story?

Dearest Rose by Rowan Coleman (September)

I loved Rowan’s last book, Lessons in Laughing Out Loud, and this one sounds like a lovely read too. Dearest Rose is released next week!

‘You are a remarkable woman and you deserve all the happiness, contentment and love in the world. I, for one, know that I have never met anyone quite like you.’

When Rose Pritchard turns up on the doorstep of a Cumbrian B&B it is her last resort. She and her seven-year-old daughter Maddie have left everything behind. And they have come to the village of Millthwaite in search of the person who once offered Rose hope. 

Almost immediately Rose wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake – if she’s chasing a dream – but she knows in her heart that she cannot go back. She’s been given a second chance – at life, and love – but will she have the courage to take it?

Looking For Fireworks by Holly Cavendish (October) 

One of my favourite covers of the year so far and it sounds like a great read to cosy up with!

When her father becomes ill, single city girl Laney Barwell moves to the Cotswolds to look after him. She’s been looking for fireworks in her love life ever since she broke up with her predictable ex-boyfriend Giles, but she has no thoughts of kindling the spark she’s looking for here. If she can’t find love in a big city like London – with all its internet dating, singles nights, and socials – how can she ever hope to meet the man of her dreams in the tiny village of St Pontian? But there are two prospects when she gets there: Martin who can always be depended on for a kind word of advice. And Toby, who is distant, but who sets her heart ablaze. When it comes to love, should Laney trust the logic of her head or the racing of her heart?

 The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Green (October)

I’ve heard lots of good things already about this debut and I love the original premise for it.

At a car boot sale in Sussex, three very different women meet and fall for the same vintage teaset. They decide to share it – and form a friendship that changes their lives . . .

Jenny can’t wait to marry Dan. Then, after years of silence, she hears from the woman who could shatter her dreams.

Maggie has put her broken heart behind her and is gearing up for the biggest event of her career – until she’s forced to confront the past once more.

Alison seems to have it all: married to her childhood sweetheart, with two gorgeous daughters. But as tensions mount, she is pushed to breaking point.

Dream A Little Dream -by Sue Moorcroft  (November)

I really enjoyed Sue’s last book and Choc Lit books are always a romantic treat so I’m looking forward to curling up with this one.

What would you give to make your dreams come true?

Liza Reece has a dream. Working as a reflexologist for a troubled holistic centre isn’t enough. When the opportunity arises to take over the Centre she jumps at it. Problem is, she needs funds, and fast, as she’s not the only one interested.

Dominic Christy has dreams of his own. Diagnosed as suffering from a rare sleep disorder, dumped by his live-in girlfriend and discharged from the job he adored as an Air Traffic Controller, he’s single-minded in his aims. He has money, and plans for the Centre that don’t include Liza and her team. 

But dreams have a way of shifting and changing and Dominic’s growing fascination with Liza threatens to reshape his. And then it’s time to wake up to the truth …

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern (October)

I have to admit that my relationship with Cecelia’s books is a bit hit and miss but I think this one sounds like it has potential to be brilliant!

Journalist Kitty Logan’s career is being destroyed by scandal – and now she faces losing the woman who guided and taught her everything she knew. At her terminally ill friend’s bedside, Kitty asks – what is the one story she always wanted to write?

The answer lies in a file buried in Constance’s office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, nothing to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery. But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late.

With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life: to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty not only has to track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people’s stories, she starts to understand her own.

The Pollyanna Plan by Talli Roland (November)

My mum is a huge Pollyanna fan so the title grabbed my attention immediately. It sounds like another fab read from Talli :-)

Thirty-something Emma Beckett has always looked down on ‘the glass is half full’ optimists, believing it’s better to be realistic than delusional. But when she loses her high-powered job and fiancé in the same week, even Emma has difficulty keeping calm and carrying on.

With her world spinning out of control and bolstered by a challenge from her best friend, Emma makes a radical decision. For the next year, she’ll behave like Pollyanna: attempting to always see the upside, no matter how dire the situation.

Can adopting a positive attitude give Emma the courage to build a new life, or is finding the good in everything a very bad idea?

When I Fall In Love by Miranda Dickinson (November)

I’ve been a fan of Miranda’s books from the start and I’m already very excited about her fourth release. Guaranteed to be a heart-warming romantic read!

What happens when your happy ever after is suddenly and painfully taken away from you?

Elsie Maynard has a whole new life she never expected to have.

From inadvertently founding a choir like no other with former 80s rock star Woody Jensen, to daring to date again, Elsie steps out into an unknown future – a future that could include gorgeous designer Olly Hogarth, a man who seems intent on winning her heart. Overcoming problems, challenges and the occasional frustration – namely overconfident Torin Stewart who seems to be everywhere – Elsie believes she is making the most of her life.

But then a heartfelt request brings her to Paris – and the last item on a very important List.

Can Elsie take the final step and lay her past to rest? Join Elsie as she battles to start again, with the help of a disastrous, newly-formed singing group and her father and sister armed with dating hopefuls.

From Notting Hill to New York… Actually by  Ali McNamara (November)

One of my most anticipated reads of the year – I can’t wait to pick up Scarlett’s story and find out what happens to her in New York!

Scarlett O’Brien, utterly addicted to romantic films, has found her leading man. She’s convinced Sean is Mr Right, but the day-to-day reality of a relationship isn’t quite like the movies. With Sean constantly away on business, Scarlett and her new best friend Oscar decide to head to New York for the holiday of a lifetime. 

From one famous landmark to the next, Scarlett and Oscar make many new friends during their adventure – including sailors in town for Fleet Week, a famous film star, and Jamie & Max, a TV reporter and cameraman. Scarlett finds herself strangely drawn to Jamie, they appear to have much in common: a love of films and Jamie’s search for a parent he never knew. But Scarlett has to ask herself why she is reacting like this to another man when she’s so in love with Sean . . .

It’s going to be an exciting bookish autumn and I can’t wait to add these to my shelves. Which new releases are you most looking forward to this autumn?

Book review: Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner

20 Sep

What would you risk for the one you love?

It is love against the odds. There is his world, and there is hers. How can they feel so connected?

It’s 2218 and Zee McAdams is in her second year as a healing empath at a busy London hospital. When a mysterious young man arrives for treatment, Zee’s hard won calm is pierced. She will need all her courage if she’s to follow her heart. Especially when David reveals a devastating secret.

Neptune’s Tears was a real treat for me; it’s rare that I enter a competition on Twitter these days but when I read the summary of this book I couldn’t resist and I was so chuffed when I won a copy :-)

This novel grabbed me and didn’t let go until the very last page. Suzanne Waggoner has created a completely believable future world which is different but not completely removed from the one we live in and captured my imagination immediately. I loved that Susan painted such a vivid picture of London in two hundred years time and the little references throughout to events from ‘history’  and landmarks that will be familiar as current to readers were nice touches.

I liked lead character Zee straight away and found her job as an as a empath fascinating. I enjoyed learning about her healing skills and as she began to learn more about her strengths and powers the story took some unexpected turns in relation to her job. Although Neptune’s Tears is a romance, it was nice to see that the romance element wasn’t the sole focus of Zee’s world.

There are some great relationships between Zee and supporting characters throughout the book. I thought Mrs Hart was a lovely character with her own interesting back story and her relationship with Zee was really touching. It was nice to see an older character with a close relationship to the teen lead. Zee’s friendships were also well written, realistic and fun and I loved the loyalty that Zee, Rani and Jasmine had to each other. But it is Zee’s instant attraction to David that is the key relationship of the novel and their romance had me completely gripped!

David is quite literally from another world and this opens the story up to explore belonging and identity, love and prejudice without being preachy. The story is written in the third person so as readers we know that David isn’t telling Zee the whole truth and I thought that the mystery element built the tension in the book nicely. Together with the fast pace of action and events, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out how the story would end.

With some shocking twists at the end, as I reached the last page I found myself wishing this book was longer. At just over 200 pages, this is quite a short read but thankfully, the second part of  Zee and David’s story is coming in 2013 and I’ve already added it to my ‘most anticipated’ list!

Book news: The Perfect Treat by Claudia Carroll, Julia Williams, Miranda Dickinson, Liz Trenow and Mhairi McFarlane

17 Sep

What better way to start the week than with a free book? Subtitled Heart-warming Short Stories for Winter Nights, this sounds like the perfect ebook to curl up with and includes stories from some of my favourite authors as well as introducing two debut authors.  As well as the short stories, there are extracts of each author’s new release  … be warned – your wish list might grow if you read this!

 Love, Loss and Coffee Cake: Through tears, heartbreak and the undying hope of love, a tale of a pair of star-crossed lovers.

It’s A Wonderful Life: A comedy that proves you should be very careful what you wish for.

Driving Home For Christmas: A touching tale about a newlyweds desperate to spend their first Christmas alone.

Breaking The Spell: A moving story about the power of hope and love.

The Twelve Lies of Christmas: A hilarious feature that offers up the truth about the festive season.

The Perfect Treat is released today in ebook format.

Book review: The Dark heroine – Dinner with a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs

14 Sep

One moment can change your life forever…

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape… no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price…

If you’ve been following my blog this week you’ll have heard quite a lot about this book already. The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire started life on Wattpad when author Abbie Gibbs was just 15.  Over 17 million views and three years later those clever bookish types at Harper Collins’ Voyager imprint snapped it up and with the ebook release yesterday are in the progess of making Abigail Gibbs one of the hottest names in publishing.

So, ‘Is it any good?’ I hear you ask! Well, the answer is an emphatic yes from me. The Dark Heroine is a dark and seductive paranormal romance that had me completely intrigued. Abigail Gibbs gives us a dangerous, sexy and sometimes disturbing set of vampires and a heroine who quite frankly would wipe the floor with the likes of Bella Swan.

The story begins in London as Violet witnesses a group of vampires execute a bloody massacre in Trafalgar Square, with the consequence that she is kidnapped by the vampires and held captive at their estate in Kent. From the off there is an antagonistic tension between Violet and the ruthless and arrogant vampire prince Kaspar.

Violet’s perspective is different from that of the heroines in many of the vampire novels I’ve read; in her eyes, vampires are disgusting predators and murderers but little does Violet know the extent of the political minefield that she has wandered into. I liked Violet’s strength and forthrightness and her stubbornness and determination to show no fear; I didn’t agree with all of her actions but I liked that her character felt real and I loved her Britishness.

This book is much more than a straightforward paranormal romance and the multi-layered plot builds nicely with some excellent twists. There is also quite a shock factor with some very unsavoury scenes and a lot of death and destruction. Some of Gibbs’ descriptions had me wincing but I also enjoyed reading an altogether darker vampire story.

For me, the story really took off halfway through the book as more of the world that Gibbs has created was revealed. With a complex and varied set of characters and hints of other worlds and dimensions not to mention some nicely imagined legends and prophecies, I think The Dark Heroine series has exciting potential and I can’t wait to find out where the next book will take us.

Although most of the story is narrated by Violet, there are chapters also voiced by Kaspar and I loved how the change in perspective gave both sides of the story and a view into the minds of two of the main characters. There’s so much I could say about the other characters in the book; I was impressed by their number and diversity and again, I think there is so much potential to explore more minor characters in depth. I found child vampire Thyme chillingly fascinating and charismatic Fabian also captured my attention. Readers who like a bad boy will love Kaspar!

With perfect timing at the end of a summer where Great Britain has been centre stage, we now have our own vampire royalty to add to the mix. The story and dialogue feel very current and fresh and once I’d started reading I couldn’t put this book down.  Abigal Gibbs is an author to watch and I can’t wait to see how her writing develops. Grab a copy now – this is the book that everyone will be talking about this autumn!


The Dark Heroine – Dinner with a Vampire is out now in ebook format and will be available in papaerback on 25th October.

I’d like to thank Amy at Harper Collins for sending me a review copy of this novel.


Author interview: Abigail Gibbs

12 Sep

Today I’m very excited to welcome debut author Abigail Gibbs to One More Page. Abigail hit the headlines earlier this week when news of the publication of her debut novel, The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire broke. Abigail has been publishing the novel serially, chapter by chapter on, since she was just 15-years-old and the book and its characters have a massive online fanbase already but the ending to the story has never been revealed!  The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire publishes in ebook format tomorrow and it will be the first time that readers can see the final chapters. Welcome Abigail!

Your debut novel The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire has already been a huge hit on Wattpad and has a massive fan base but  for those who haven’t heard of it yet, please could you tell us a little about it? 

The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire is the story of Violet Lee, a seventeen-almost-eighteen year-old who witnesses a mass murder in the streets of London and is consequently kidnapped by the culprits – vampires. Held hostage, she is presented with a choice: remain human but captive, or gain her freedom by becoming a vampire. At the centre of a political game, Violet gradually comes to question her allegiance, especially as she draws ever closer to the dark, dangerous and arrogant Kaspar Varn…

What sparked your decision to write a Vampire book?

I was never a massive vampire fan until I read the Twilight Saga – which I thoroughly enjoyed – and the whole craze kicked off. But I didn’t feel that the recent interpretations of vampires were edgy or bloody enough, and decided to try and fill that gap; in other words, I wanted to take vampires back in time to the days of Bram Stoker, but retain some of the characteristics that have made fangs sexy.

What do you think marks The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire out from the other Vampire novels around?

The vampires! There are no holds barred with my vampires. Dinner With A Vampire opens with the slaughter of thirty men, so don’t expect any honourable restraint or Vamperic vegetarianism. But they are not inherently evil and crucially, they are born vampire, so they don’t know any different. They are quite comfortable with who they are and what they do, and often struggle to understand why Violet would object to becoming one of them. Violet, on the other hand, is perplexed by how human they are – they love, they lose, gossip and bicker – and can’t reconcile this side of them with their predatory nature. Just imagine being thrown into a completely alien world and experiencing some serious (and potentially deadly) culture clash!
Dinner With A Vampire also has a very British feel to it, in a genre that has recently felt quite American: the characters are British, it’s set in London and Kent, and there are plenty of quirky British moments.

Describe your leading lady, Violet Lee in five words.

Narrow-minded (that counts as one word, right?), vegetarian, survivor, feisty and human.

You’ve created a dramatic and sexy love triangle between Violet, Kaspar and Fabian; aside from your own characters, who are your favourite literary romantic hero and heroine?

I have a love/hate relationship with Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley from Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. A Hemingway hero, a static, hollow female character and Hemingway’s sparse prose, topped off with a sprinkling of tragedy. Yum.

And if you had to choose Fabian or Kaspar who would you choose and why?

Kaspar! I would absolutely love to get into some witty argument with him; I like guys who challenge what I think. Fabian is a lovely guy, but he is fickle and yet to realise it. Recognising faults in yourself is important before you get into a relationship, so I don’t actually think Fabian is ready for anybody, fictional or real!

You are scared of blood yet there are some pretty bloody scenes in the book; how did you get past your fear to write them?

I didn’t! When writing – in plenty of graphic detail – one particular scene in which a group of vampires are torn apart by other vampires, I actually vomited. However, in most cases I’m fine provided I don’t have to actually see the blood. So if The Dark Heroine was ever made into a film (which would be awesome!), I’ll be sitting near the doors of the cinema so I can make a dash for the toilets!

There are also some pretty unsavoury scenes and characters in the book. Who or what did you find most difficult to write?

The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire – as the series title suggests – is a macabre tale; however, two characters stand out for me: Ilta Crimson and little Thyme Varn, a child vampire. They are two characters who make me shudder, and even I’m shocked at the direction Thyme took; the idea of a child being so perverted is unsettling. There are also certain scenes in the book that are very adult and should have been difficult but weren’t. The thing I most struggled with was the amount of killing in the book, and more specifically the fact the offenders are characters readers come to adore. In the real world this would be extremely twisted, and anybody who felt the way I or any of my readers do would be sent to an asylum. Kudos to Violet for holding out on adoration for so long!

Which authors inspire you?

J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series. I have read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone no less than eighteen times! I love her writing, and though I know it will be different, I can’t wait for The Casual Vacancy. Her rags-to-riches story, as well as her modesty, is also extremely admirable.
Though not an author, I absolutely love the poet William Blake, and the way he twists seemingly innocent subjects and scenes into something very dark and reflective. One of his poems, The Sick Rose, is featured in the epigraph of The Dark Heroine, because I felt it described Violet and her situation perfectly.

What do you like to read when you’re not writing or studying?

Unsurprisingly, I enjoy young adult/adult fantasy and paranormal romance, such as Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Trilogy and Meg Cabot’s Insatiable. I also read a lot on Wattpad, and my favourite writer on there has to be blazing_dreams4, who writes the sweetest romantic fantasy I have ever come across! And, of course, being an English student, I read a lot of the classics: Austen (love!), Dickens (semi-love), Thackeray (love!), Brontë sisters (dislike, apart from Anne), Chaucer (love!), Shakespeare (hate!).

And finally … what can we expect next from Abigail Gibbs?

A sequel to The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire is in the pipeline, tentatively named The Dark Heroine: Autumn Rose. It follows the story of a minor character in Dinner With A Vampire, who’s life is inextricably tied to Violet Lee’s fate; it is a heavily woven story, and provides a lot of the back story and context to book one. And, of course, there is plenty of romance, and plenty more Violet and Kaspar. I’m currently halfway through writing it, and it will hopefully be available to buy roughly in the middle of next year.

Many thanks for answering my questions Abbie and enjoy your launch day tomorrow!

The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire is released in ebook format on 13th September and in paperback on 25th October.

The Last Summer Giveaway Winners!

12 Sep

The winners are …

Sharon and Kathleen

Congratulations! I have sent you both an email. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Book news: The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs

10 Sep

Calling all vampire and paranormal romance fans; I’ve had an early peek at this book and it’s one you will definitely want to read!


One moment can change your life forever…

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape… no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price…

There’s a huge buzz about this book at the moment. It started life as a serialised work on Wattpad and already has a huge number of fans. Author Abigail Gibbs’ road to publication is the stuff of dreams! I’ll be interviewing Abigail later in the week and will have a full review up on Thursday so please stop by again then to find out more.

The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire is published as an ebook on Thursday 13th September and in paperback on the 25th October.

Giveaway! Two signed copies of The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn

3 Sep

Happy Monday – let’s start the week with a giveaway! I’ve been raving about this book to anyone who’ll listen since I read it way back in February and as the year goes on it is still one of my favourite books of 2012. And now you have the chance to win your very own signed paperback copy!

To be in with a chance of winning just leave a ‘pick me’ comment in the box below and I’ll draw two winners using after the closing date. This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at Midnight on Sunday 9th September. Winners will be announced on Wednesday 12th September.

With thanks to Judith for providing this exciting giveaway.

Read my review of The Last Summer

Read my interview with Judith Kinghorn

You can find out more about Judith and her writing at:

Book review: It Happened in Venice by Molly Hopkins

1 Sep

(From the publisher’s website) Evie has a handsome fiancé who loves her unconditionally, and a fantastic job that takes her to fashionable Dublin, in-vogue Marrakech, cool Amsterdam and romantic Paris. But at home Evie is driven to despair: her fiancé hates her job and her flatmate hates her fiancé. And when an unexpected event strikes the epicentre of her happiness, Evie is driven to gin and tonic. If she doesn’t sort herself out, her liver and her bank manager will hate her.

So when she’s offered a luxury trip to the sensual city of Venice, with its shifting silver canals and rose and vanilla hued architecture, Evie jumps at the chance. Four days in the city of light and love is exactly what she needs. The sumptuous Grand Hotel, the gondolas, the wine, the Italian men . . . But within hours of Evie’s arrival, her life is poised to change for ever. Not even Evie herself could’ve predicted what would happen in Venice . . .

It Happened in Venice is the second book in the It Happened … series which follows tour guide Evie Dexter on her adventures around Europe (and occasionally further afield). My introduction to Molly Hopkins came through her standalone short story It Happened at Bootcamp featuring Evie from the series, earlier in the summer. I really enjoyed Molly’s warm and witty writing and Evie’s take on the world so I was chuffed when this novel arrived in the post and although it’s the second book in a series, it stands perfectly well as a novel in its own right.

It Happened in Venice actually starts in Barbados as Evie and her fiancé Rob jet off for a luxurious holiday. Rob seems to want to fast track Evie into a surburban housewife existence which presents Evie with a dilemma as she doesn’t really want to sell her flat or give up her job as a tour guide but she does want to keep things on track with Rob. I have to admit, I wasn’t very keen on Rob and had Evie been a weaker character, I might have had issues with this book. But Evie generally does what she wants in her own true style and as the book progresses the dynamic between them becomes very interesting with some really surprising twists!

Evie is a fun character and finds herself in a series of funny, embarrasing and difficult situations. Some are her own doing; some, like the trip member who had declined then turned up anyway forcing Evie into an uneasy room-sharing situation with her boss are just Evie’s bad luck but whatever the reason, the majority of the situaltions Evie finds herself in are funny. Hopkins writes with a wicked sense of humour and I imagine she had great fun deciding what difficult situation to throw at Evie next. There is a serious side to the novel and the ups and downs that Evie faces take her on an emotional roller coaster but even in the darker moments Hopkins’ wry sense of humour kept the mood light.

The action keeps coming as do the countries, within the first hundred pages we’d visited Barbados, Marrakech and Ireland. With Paris, Amsterdam and of course Venice also on the list, I’m issuing a warning – this book seriously made me want to book a city break! Despite the title, Evie doesn’t actually get to Venice until the latter part of the novel and this is where the story really took off for me. I loved the romance of Venice and the effect it had on Evie too.

There is a fun and full supporting cast in It Happened in Venice. I enjoyed the banter between Evie and her flatmate Lulu and Lulu’s adventures into broadcasting made me laugh out loud. Lulu could be guaranteed to make me smile whatever the situation. I also liked the character of John, a mega-rich business man that Evie develops a friendship with over the course of the book. Hopkins kept me guessing as to how their relationship would play out and it added an interesting sub-plot to the story.

I thought the ending to It Happened in Venice was fab and I’m already looking forward to seeing what happens to Evie next. This is a light-hearted and funny read and an ideal book to take with you on your late summer holiday (or any holiday!) or just to escape into for a little while.


It Happened in Venice is out now and I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy.

You can find out more about Molly Hopkins and her books at: