Archive | April, 2013

Guest book review: Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd

29 Apr

This week Mum has been reading Hilary Boyd’s second novel Tangled Lives and she couldn’t put it down!

Annie Delancey is happily married with three grown children. But she guards a secret. Aged eighteen she had a baby boy, and gave him up for adoption.

Out of the blue, she receives an official-looking letter from Social Services. Her son wants to make contact.

As the son she has never known comes back into her life, his presence begins to expose the cracks in the family that Annie now has to try, desperately, to hold together.

I’m writing this review having finished reading this book only a few hours ago and my heartstrings are still quivering! It’s a compelling and very real story with no emotion spared and I felt that all of  the characters portrayed can be related to people we know.

This is the story of Annie; a dedicated and loving wife and mother to three grown up children.  Now in her early fifties, her happiness comes from her family. But there is one piece missing from the jigsaw of life – her first born son whom she gave up for adoption over thirty years ago.

This is a tale of a normal family surfing on the waves of life.  Lucy, the younger of Annie’s two daughters is still living at home and at twenty-two old she still hasn’t found her true destination in life but holds out that eventually her parents will support her to fulfil her wish to share her heart with the less fortunate in the world. Lucy is kind and thoughtful and is very good at reading the emotions of her close family. Ed age 26 and Marsha (known as Mash), 25 complete the cosy family picture.

I knew immediately I was going to like this book – the prologue, set in 1967, contains such a touching description of a very young infant, that you can almost smell the baby talc! Hilary Boyd has a wonderful way with words. Her descriptions of the simplest things in life, like cooking the bacon at breakfast, give this book another dimension and really take you into Annie’s world and her characters and their different personalities and feelings are beautifully and poignantly described making this a brilliant read.

As Annie’s first son comes back into her life, we see the effects of the long-kept secret on the family unit. Ed in particular, already suffering from insecurities underneath, has a devastating effect on the family with his actions and throughout the story Annie tries to hold it all together. There were times when I could have cried for her and other times when I admired her strengths, even to the point where my stomach was in a knot and I couldn’t find an appropriate place to stop reading so that I could go and cook tea! Even with the book closed, I found I was thinking of her and her family – their issues were so real.

This book is tears, tantrums and cuddles all rolled into one and I was on the edge of my seat until the end as it was impossible to predict how the story would conclude. Hilary Boyd is a very clever author who obviously writes from the heart and I thought this was a wonderful read.

5/5

We’d like to thank Margot at Quercus for sending us a review copy of this book.

Tangled Lives is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

http://www.hilaryboyd.com/

Author interview: Amy Bratley

28 Apr

It’s lovely to have Amy Bratley with us on this sunny Sunday to talk about her new book The Antenatal Group. Amy lives in Bournemouth and fits her writing around looking after her family. The Antenatal Group is Amy’s third novel and follows The Girls’ Guide To Homemaking (2011) and The Saturday Supper Club (May 2012).  Welcome Amy!

Your third novel, The Antenatal Group was released earlier this month, please could you tell us a little about it?

The novel is about a group of five very different women who meet at antenatal group, when they’re all heavily pregnant. It opens with the story of Mel, whose boyfriend decides to dump her, minutes before her first antenatal group and follows the stories of all five women through the trials and tribulations of becoming new mums.

 What was your inspiration for writing it?

It was inspired by my own experience of having children. I really wanted to be a mum, but when it happened I was pretty overwhelmed and unprepared! Suddenly I found myself in this bubble of breastfeeding, sleeplessness and worrying about whether I was doing the right thing. That’s when I really bonded with the women I met at antenatal group. We were in it together – and they really understood the highs and lows I was going through. It was such a significant chapter in my life – and in those women’s lives – I had to write about it.

How did you go about your research for this novel? 

Speaking to other mums I’ve met over the years was really helpful, plus thinking about my own experience and that of my close friends. Every mum seems to have a story  – hilarious or moving – up her sleeve. For the more factual side of things, I read information provided by the NCT, Birthwise and online. I also read The Rough Guide To Pregnancy by Kaz Cooke – a book I really rate for pregnant women.

The book is about impending parenthood and you are a mum; is  anything in the story based on your own experiences?

I think there is a lot of my own experience in there, in all the different characters. Though I never suffered anything like as bad as the character Erin who had a stillbirth in the past, I had three early miscarriages, so I probably drew emotion from that loss of hope. Plus with my first baby, my son, I had a c-section and couldn’t breastfeed, then with my daughter, I had a ‘normal’ delivery and could breastfeed, so that’s all in there too!

What is the top tip for parents to be?

I think it would be not to worry if you feel bewildered sometimes – everyone feels the same. And, of course, to reach out to other new mums/parents – those friendships will be invaluable!

 This is as story that celebrates female friendships; what do you think about the three key factors in true friendship?

For me, probably listening, love and laughter.

The women in the story are all very different characters, who was your favourite to write?

I loved writing Lexi, because I admired her so much for having a baby on her own by donor sperm, against the odds. I also enjoyed writing Erin because although at first she was withdrawn, she blossomed into a joyful character once she had her precious daughter.

And finally… what can we expect next from Amy Bratley?

I do have another idea that I’m developing, but for the moment, I really hope people will enjoy reading The Antenatal Group. It’s my favourite of the three novels I’ve written and close to my heart.

Thanks Amy!

The Antenatal Group is out now in paperback and ebook formts.

Find out more about Amy and her writing at: http://amybratley.co.uk/

 

The Secret of Ella and Micha Giveaway Winner!

27 Apr

The winner is …

Ceri

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

Guest post: Exciting news from HarperImpulse! by Charlotte Ledger

26 Apr

I’m excited to welcome Charlotte (Harper Impulse newbie) back to One More Page today with a very exciting announcement about HarperImpulse!

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while but, like the weather in London, things are definitely hotting up here at HarperImpulse…

I can honestly say this has been the craziest/most exciting/busy/exhilarating first month and a half but I am delighted to announce that our first two HarperImpulse Contemporary Romance books will be published on May 9th – in fact they’re already on Amazon to pre-order!!!

Everyone here is so excited about this new adventure (it suddenly feels so real!) and it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to our first two super talented authors and their sparkling debuts for HarperImpulse…

Waking up in Vegas by Romy Sommer

Feisty cocktail waitress Phoenix Montgomery wakes up in a Vegas hotel suite to find she has no memory of the night before and there’s a ring on her wedding finger – not to mention her ‘new husband’ is in the shower and he is certainly easy on the eye! Commitment-phobe Phoenix’s first instinct is to run but Max Waldburg is not what he seems and he’s going to use every trick in the book to keep the new Mrs Waldburg by his side and in his bed.

From the bright lights of Vegas to a fairytale European principality on the other side of the world, Romy’s sharply contemporary voice and sizzling tension really brings this fairytale romance alive.

Oh and did I mention that the delectable Max has two equally dreamy brothers? Look out for their stories in the very near future!

Your Room or Mine? by Charlotte Phillips 

The first in a sizzling trilogy of decidedly naughty novellas! Izzy has just dumped her cheating boyfriend and is determined to no longer be a doormat. Turning what should have been a loved-up mini break into a pampering night for herself, she embarks on a no-strings fling with a sexy stranger she bumps into in reception…

Short, sexy and seductive, Charlotte combines her charming chick lit voice with a sensuality that is quite simply off the charts!

I know I’m biased but I can’t say enough how fab these books are and it really has been such a dream to work on them with the authors and the rest of the amazing HarperImpulse team.

I hope you love them as much as I do!

Charlotte x

Thanks Charlotte and congratulations to Romy and Charlotte!

Book news: Faking It and Finding It by Cora Carmack

26 Apr

I really enjoyed Cora Carmack’s debut Losing It so was excited to see that the next book in the series Faking It will be out in the UK at the beginning of June (in ebook and paperback formats). The plot of this book sounds like a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to learning more about Cade (one of the supporting characters in Losing It).

Every girl likes a bad boy…

And Max’s current boyfriend is as bad as they come. She knows her family would freak if they saw his tattoos and piercings.

So when her parents turn up unannounced Max grabs the most wholesome guy she can to play her boyfriend.

But Cade Winston is so perfect that Max needs him to keep playing the part. And the more they have to fake their relationship, the harder it gets to just pretend.

And as if that wasn’t enough excitement, Cora Carmack revealed more details of the third book in the series, Finding It today! Head on over to Cora’s blog to read all about Kelsey’s story! 

Book review: Wait for You by J. Lynn

25 Apr

Some things are worth waiting for…

Travelling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape an event that changed her life forever. All she needs to do is keep her head down – the one thing she never planned on was capturing the attention of the only guy who could shatter her defences.

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is everywhere, with his charm, his banter, and that dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but ignoring their simmering tension is impossible…

When Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls, she realises that someone from her past is refusing to let her go. When the devastating truth comes out, will Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

I started reading this book last weekend and it grabbed me from the start. I found myself reading a few pages whenever I got chance and dying to get back to Avery and Cameron’s story when I was away from it! I’m so impressed by all the wonderful ‘new adult’ authors I’m discovering for their ability to write real page turning gripping romances and J Lynn goes straight to the top of the class with Wait for You.

The story is told by Avery and I loved her voice straight away. As the book opens with her heading to her first college class having planned the route and the timings and left early, she came across as funny, slightly OCD, quirky, honest and self-depreciating and I identified with her from the start. It soon becomes clear though that there is a deeper, darker side to Avery’s thoughts and her feelings of fear are much more than just walking into class late and having everyone stare. Lynn builds the tension in Avery’s story slowly, letting the reader get to know her and revealing hints as to the secrets she’s hiding and the past events that she’s trying to escape from.

Despite her best laid plans, Avery does end up late for class and in her haste literally runs into classmate Cameron. Their meeting happens within the first few pages of the book and from there on the sparks fly. What to say about Cameron? I think he might just be perfect! J Lynn has created a guy who looks like Adonis, is funny, charming  and just the right amount of confident … and bakes his own cookies! On top of this he’s really nice and so, so sweet and lovely with Avery. Quite frankly, I’m not surprised Avery doesn’t know what’s hit her *swoon*!

The chemistry between Avery and Cam is of course excellent and as the tension builds the scenes between them get hotter and hotter but underneath it all is the darker side to the story and every time I thought things were going well there would be a twist or new development and I was left wondering if they’d ever actually get together. The story of Avery’s past and her relationship with Cam in the present make this an absolute page turner of a novel and when the truth finally comes out I was still shocked even though I had a fair idea what had happened. What happened to Avery and the repercussions are heartbreaking and only made me love her character more.

The supporting cast for this book are also very well written and the banter between Cam, Avery and their friends is very true to life and readable. Avery’s two closest friends Jacob and Brittany bring a lot of sass and humour to the book and I loved Cameron’s family too. I really hope J Lynn decides to revisit some of these characters again in future novels.

For me, Wait for You has it all; great characters, a gripping story and the sweetest yet hottest romance. I can’t wait for J Lynn’s next book!

5/5

Wait for You is out today in ebook format and will be released as a paperback on 15th August.

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

Find out more about J Lynn and her books at: http://www.jenniferarmentrout.com/j-lynn/

Book news: Step Back in Time by Ali McNamara

23 Apr

Oooh I love this cover – definitely a favourite of the year so far! I’ve been a fan of Ali’s books right from the start but the time travel element of this one has me even more excited than usual. I can’t wait and can already imagine a fab soundtrack to this one :-) Step Back in Time will be released on November 7th!

How many lifetimes would you travel to find a love that lasts for ever?

When single career girl Jo-Jo steps onto a zebra crossing and gets hit by a car, she awakes to find herself in 1963. The fashion, the music, her job, even her romantic life: everything is different. And then it happens three more times, and Jo-Jo finds herself living a completely new life in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The only people she can rely on are Harry and Ellie, two companions from 2013, and George, the owner of a second-hand record store.

If she’s ever to return from her travels, Jo-Jo must work out why she’s jumping through time like this. And if she does make it back, will her old life ever be the same again?

Guest Book review: Country Loving by Cathy Woodman

22 Apr

I’ve created a blogger! My Mum is back with her third review and will be a regular contributor to the blog from now on :-) Today she’s reviewing Cathy Woodman’s latest novel Country Loving which is out on Thursday.

Successful city accountant Stevie receives two surprises in one week: a proposal of marriage from her boyfriend Nick and a phone call begging her to return to the family farm in Devon to help out after her father has a stroke.

But what she thought would be a long weekend in the country turns into much longer as she struggles to bring order to her father’s rundown farm. Finally, she decides to give up her job – and her fiance – and take on the farm permanently. She dreams of turning it into a tourist attraction, never realising it would be so difficult. But with the help of many of Talyton St George’s local residents, and the locum vet Leo, she is starting to make progress.

Until a life-changing complication throws all her plans into disarray, and destroys her growing romance with Leo…

Country Loving is a warm and gentle read that left me feeling content. I found the format of the story quite different from other books that I’ve read recently in that I was waiting for something to pull me in hard or have me sitting on the edge of my seat but even though there are crisis points, they come and go and are dealt with in a practical way making this an altogether gentler read.

I think this book and its style will appeal to readers who enjoy country life or who wish they could escape the rat-race of the city and lose themselves in a different world as lead character Stevie does. Stevie is a successful accountant, living in London but we only get a brief glimpse of this life before Cecil the farm hand is introduced into the story and calls her back to the family farm to help out following her Dad’s stroke.

I found Stevie’s acceptance of her ‘duty’ and her quick  change of lifestyle surprising. She seems to accept whatever comes her way, and because of her country upbringing she puts duty first. If the world were full of Stevie’s everything would be sorted, no matter how much work it involved. This is admirable but I didn’t connect strongly with her as a character and I would have liked to hear more about how the changes to her life affected others.

Stevie’s dad is a typical elderly man who through bereavement and illness has fallen into a frustrated, grumpy and almost reclusive style of life. He badly needs help, but cannot accept that things are not as they should be even when his rejected daughter arrives to save him and the farm. I felt quite sorry for him at times but also frustrated with his treatment of Stevie. I admired Stevie for her selflessness, grit and determination and her total commitment to country life. I never felt it was appropriate to shout at her to think of herself for once – but gave her my respect because there aren’t many people like her in the world.

Giving up her handsome, affluent, city boyfriend, Stevie decides that Talyton St. George is where her heart belongs, and it isn’t long before she realises not just where, but to whom she would like it to belong. Handsome but reserved vet Leo adds an element romance to the story and I liked the chemistry between him and Stevie. Events conspire to throw a spanner in the works and kept me wondering what the outcome for the pair would be.

Without giving away the plot, there’s a lot more to Stevie’s story than moving from city to country life and she has some tough decisions to make and I found myself rooting for her as the book went on. Overall a nice, warm read for spring in an idyllic setting.

3/5

Country Loving is released in paperback and ebook formats on 25th April and I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

This is Cathy’s sixth novel set in the town on Talyton St George and you can find out more about Cathy, Talyton and her writing at: http://www.cathywoodmanbooks.com/

Giveaway! Win a copy of The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

20 Apr

I have one lovely new paperback copy of this fab book to give away! 

To enter just leave a comment in the box below. I’ll draw a winner using random.org after the closing date. This giveaway is open to UK and Ireland residents only and will close at midnight on Friday 26th April. The winner will be announced on Saturday 27th April.

Good luck!

Book review: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

20 Apr

The girl he thinks he loves needs to disappear. I don’t want tonight to be irreversible, so I pull away, breathing him in one last time.

Ella and Micha have been best friends since childhood, until one tragic night shatters their relationship and Ella decides to leave everything behind to start a new life at college, including Micha.

But now it’s summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home. Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to win back the girl he lost, no matter what it takes.

At Christmas last year I read my first New Adult novel and I’ve been hooked ever since. If you’re a fan of New Adult books then Jessica Sorensen is certainly a name you’ll know. Jessica self-published The Secret of Ella and Micha  in October 2012 and it became an instant ebook hit, making it to number 2 on the New York Times  ebook bestseller list and leading to a traditional global publishing deal for Jessica. The book was released in paperback for the first time in the UK last week and is a brilliant place to start it you haven’t tried New Adult yet and an absolute must read for fans of hot romance!

The story is told from Ella and Micha’s perspectives and I loved the dual first-person narratives. Jessica Sorensen has done a fantastic job of really getting inside her characters heads making this a passion-filled and emotional read. Both Ella and Micha have had difficult upbringings; both have absent parents in different ways and as neighbours and best friends they’ve always been there for each other – until now. As the book opens on a dramatic rain-soaked night, Ella runs from Micha and she doesn’t return, deciding to start her life over at a college far away from her painful past and home town.

Eight months later Ella is forced to return home and confront her past including Micha and this is where the story starts as Ella and her room mate Lila arrive back in town. Sorensen is clever with her use of character perspectives in the book and although we’re just meeting Ella, it soon becomes clear that there are two Ellas; the one that Lila knows and has lived with for the past eight months  – a preppy, conscientious if very guarded and emotionally contained Ella and the wilder, angrier, car racing, complex Ella that Micha knows and loves.

I really enjoyed reading as both Micha and Lila react to learning about the new and old Ella and her own reaction as she tries to make sense of her two lives. I can certainly see why readers identify with Ella in particular and Sorensen has really captured the ups and downs of trying to come to terms with who you really are and how you are seen by the world.

Micha in a word is HOT!  He’s a musician, a daredevil and a bit of a bad boy and blond which makes a refreshing change from all the tall dark handsome heros around at the moment and I’ve always had a bit of a thing for blonds ;-) but on top of all that he’s passionate and cares deeply for Ella. The chemistry between Ella and Micha sizzles off the page and combined with the secrets they are keeping made this book a real page turner.

The Secret of Ella and Micha is in turns heartbreaking, heartstopping and heartwarming and I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. I’m so glad that the sequel is going to be released soon (28th May in ebook format) and will be followed by a third book in the series focussing on Lila and Ethan! I loved Lila and the way her character developed during the book so will look forward to more from her too.

Jessica Sorensen is definitely an author to watch and I’ve already got the first book in her other New Adult romance series The Coincidence of Callie and Kaden waiting for me on my Kindle!

4/5

The Secret of Ella and Micha is out now in paperback and ebook formats. The Forever of Ella and Micha will be released in ebook format on 28th May.

Find out more about Jessica and her books at: http://jessicasorensensblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Read my Q&A with Jessica Sorensen: http://www.onemorepage.co.uk/index.php/2013/04/author-interview-jessica-sorensen/

With thanks to Jo at Sphere for providing a review copy of this book.