Archive | February, 2014

Event news: Girls' Night In author event at Brixton Library

27 Feb

Brixton Library is holding another fabulous event on Wednesday 5th March with a chance to meet four brilliant authors. The event, celebrating International Women’s Day will see the star line up of Rebecca Chance, Lisa Jewell, Rowan Coleman and Ali Harris talk about their books and stories of change with the chance to get books signed too! I’m so excited about this one and have already booked my ticket. Full details of how to book on the poster below:

Find out more about Brixton Library at: http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/places/brixton-library

Find out more about Brixton Live at: www.brixtonlive.com

Novella review: Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

27 Feb

Set in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier, the winter playground of the rich and famous, Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl is the fourth book in Lorraine Wilson’s fabulous Ski Season series. 

Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl is the fourth in Lorraine Wilson’s excellent Chalet Girl series for HarperImpulse. Although the books form a series and I highly recommend reading them all, each story focuses in on a different Chalet Girl and can be read as a standalone book. Secret Crush is Sophie’s story. I liked Sophie right from the start as we meet her reading a romance book!  In comparison to some of her chalet mates Sophie is quite shy and reserved and I loved Lorraine’s little homage to romance novels in this novella which I thought was witty and clever.

As her friend debate the possibility of real life ever being like a romance novel and discuss the merits of Mr Right Now over Mr Right, Sophie finds herself dreaming about her secret crush. Sophie has been badly burned in the past and as a result has absolutely no confidence in her love life, so when a mysterious red heart card is given to her on Valentine’s Day with a clue to be followed she is naturally distrustful and suspects a joke.

I’m not going to tell you what happens next but I thoroughly enjoyed following Sophie and her friends on the treasure hunt and once again Lorraine leads us on a host of amazing locations in Verbier. The romance is sweet but with Lorraine’s trademark darker undertone. So far Lorraine’s novella’s have addressed topics including domestic abuse and depression. This time Lorraine tackles another hard-hitting topic with her usual tact and diplomacy and I loved the way the story played out.

The novel ends with an excellent epilogue which not only fast forwards the story by one year but also gives a key update on one of the original Chalet Girls! Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl is my favourite of Lorraine’s novellas so far and this series just keeps getting better!

5/5

Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl is released today in ebook formats.

Find out more about Lorraine and her writing at: http://lorraine-wilson.blogspot.co.uk/

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

 

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Guest post: Researching The Secrets of Ghosts by Sarah Painter

26 Feb

Today I’m welcoming Sarah Painter to One More Page to celebrate the release of her second novel, The Secrets of Ghosts. Sarah writes contemporary fiction with a touch of magic. She lives in rural Scotland with her children, husband, and two enormous cats. She drinks too much tea, loves the work of Joss Whedon, and is the proud owner of a writing shed. Welcome Sarah!

The Secrets of Ghosts is the follow-up to my debut, The Language of Spells. It’s a standalone story, but I decided to give one of the supporting characters, Katie Harper, centre stage. Katie is fourteen in The Language of Spells but I jumped forward to her twenty-first birthday.

The women in the Harper family have strange abilities. Katie’s aunt, Gwen, has the uncanny ability to find lost things, while her Grandmother, Gloria, can tell fortunes. Katie is desperate to get her own power, to find out what it’s going to be, and to let it shape her life. Plus, her past experiences have taught her the dangers of magic and she is desperate not be a victim ever again.

I knew early on that Katie’s power was going to be dark; something she would struggle to come to terms with and something her beloved aunt, Gwen, would worry about. Plus, I’ve always been fascinated with ghost stories, so having Katie commune with the dead felt like a natural fit.

To research the book, I read up on mediums and psychics (and the fakery some mediums employ), real life haunted hotels, and accounts of ghost-sightings around the UK. I also did a lot of research on the 1930s, as some of my ghosts died during that decade…

I’ve always loved ghost stories and, despite being a real scaredy-cat, have always gravitated to supernatural tales. It was no hardship to soak up some more in the name of research! Here are a few of my favourites:

The Shining and the recent – excellent – follow up, Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King. I have only vague memories of reading The Shining (and even sketchier memories of watching the film – it scared me witless!), but I found Doctor Sleep utterly gripping. King is truly a master when it comes to creepy suspense.

The first two seasons of Supernatural. These episodes are fast, fun tales, which follow two spook-hunting brothers as they exorcise angry ghosts and demons. The dialogue is snappy and the brothers very easy on the eye, but the scariness-level is pretty high for my tastes. I had to watch them during the bright light of day (and, even then, I fast-forwarded some of the creepy bits).

The Sixth Sense. Yes, I know this is an ‘oldie’ but it’s brilliant. Just the right amount of creepiness and mystery. Plus, you know, Bruce Willis.

The Name of the Star. This YA book by the always-wonderful Maureen Johnson features a prestigious London school, a (secret) ghost-hunting department of the police and Jack The Ripper.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. This story is about a boy who is raised in a graveyard. His surrogate family and childhood friends are all ghosts. Friendly ghosts are my favourite kind (see the wussiness above) and I love the relationships between the graveyard folk.

Thanks Sarah and very best publication day wishes!

The Secrets of Ghosts is released in ebook formats today!

Find out more about Sarah and her books at: http://sarah-painter.com/

You can also find Sarah on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Book review: The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

26 Feb

Each summer, Jenn and her husband Greg return to Deia, on Mallorca’s dramatic west coast. This year the arrival of Emma, Jenn’s stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by Nathan’s youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly-charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. For Jenn, after this summer, nothing can ever be the same.

 From the opening pages this book transported me to a hot summer in Mallorca and was a welcome escape from a wet and dreary English winter. Beautifully described, The Lemon Grove had me longing for sunny days by a pool, quaint villages and Mediterranean food. Against this idyllic backdrop Helen Walsh sets a story of a family holiday, after which life will never be the same again.

The Lemon Grove is the story of Jenn and Greg who have been returning to a favourite villa in Deia for many years. This year they are opening the second half of their holiday to their daughter Emma and her boyfriend Nathan. As Jenn prepares for the arrival of an increasingly hostile teenage daughter and a boy that she hardly knows, she ponders how their presence will change the dynamic of the holiday. What Jenn can’t forsee is the dramatic impact that including Nathan will have on the whole family.

As Nathan and Emma arrive to join Jenn and Greg, the dynamic of the holiday changes immediately and I was fascinated by the impact younger couple had on the older pair. Jenn’s reaction to Nathan is surprising to her and it’s consequences certainly surprised me as a reader. I couldn’t put the book down as it became clear that the attraction wasn’t just one sided. Helen Walsh contrasts the beauty of the surroundings with no holds barred descriptions of the encounters between Jenn and Nathan and I’ll admit that Jenn’s actions shocked me!

The Lemon Grove is a story charged with lust and passion but also a gripping study of a modern family and their relationships. Jenn’s relationships with Greg and Emma intrigued me just as much as her encounter with Nathan. Nathan was actually the character I liked least in the book, but his interactions with the family really highlight their individual desires and insecurities and I thought the story was very well written.

Although set over a period of just a week, the history of the family and their holidays in Deia is woven into the story to build a picture of their lives and explain their complex relationships; particularly between Emma and Jenn. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in just a couple of sittings. I loved the final twist at the end of the story and thought it fitted the book perfectly. There’s a huge buzz about The Lemon Grove at the moment and it’s definitely justified. THE book to be seen with poolside this summer!

4/5

The Lemon Grove is published in hardback and ebook formats on 27th February.

Find out more about Helen Walsh and her writing at: http://www.helen-walsh.co.uk/

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

Book review: Where Dreams Come True – A Year in The Arcade by Kitty Charles

24 Feb

WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE: A YEAR IN THE ARCADE is as addictive as chocolate truffles from the Chocwaves boutique; as sexy as honeymoon lingerie from The Garden of Eden, and as scandalous as a night in Ernesto’s tango studio. And over the course of the first year in the Arcade you’ll soon find that it’s a place where dreams really do come true.

Previously released once a month, all twelve episodes are compiled here to create the bubbliest of soap-opera style stories. 

Written by six best-selling novelists under the name of Kitty Charles, WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE is a sexy, sassy tribute to the serials that kept readers turning the pages in Dickens’ times – with all the passion, the intrigue and the larger than life characters you could hope for.

So what are you waiting for? Time to sample the delights of Angell’s Arcade!

Step inside…

I was very excited to see this compilation of all twelve Arcade episodes released at the end of last year. The Arcade is a soap opera in book form and I found it an addictive read each month and loved being able to read all twelve individually released parts in one book – what an amazing year the residents of the Arcade had!

You can read my reviews of the January and February episodes to give you a little more detail but basically, The Arcade in question is a wonderful collection of Victorian shops with a rich and glamerous owner who carefully selects the occupants of her Arcade. The shops are all wonderfully different and populated with a brilliant mix of characters of all shapes and sizes! Each month focuses on a particular shop and the people that run it. The names of the shops are gems including Faith in The Past (Vintage Boutique), Chocwaves (Chocolate shop), and All That Glitters (Gift Shop) and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their occupants.

Episode 1 got the series off to an amazing (and dramatic) start back on January 2013 and as I read the final episode in December I really felt close to the characters having spent a whole year reading them. I have so many favourites that I didn’t want to leave so I was delighted to see that the gang are back for 2014 with another whole year of episodes coming our way. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Another aspect of this book that kept me intrigued is that author Kitty Charles is actually six best selling novelists. I have a few ideas about who these six amazing writers might be and enjoyed their different styles but despite having six authors, the book hangs together brilliantly and the plot threads all link beautifully. As the year went on I was very intrigued to see how some of the earlier threads (and particularly the mystery set in the first episode) would tie up and I thought the December ending to the year was a wonderful way to bring everything together.

With all the elements of a good soap opera including births, deaths, marriage, affairs and a whole lot of secrets, The Arcade is a seriously addictive read and if you haven’t read it I highly recommend reading this collection quick so you can follow the second year of The Arcadeas it happens!  

4/5

Where Dreams Come True is available now in ebook formats.

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

Book news: You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

20 Feb

Giovanna Fletcher revealed the cover for her second novel, You’re The One That I Want yesterday and isn’t it beautiful!! It’s gone straight to the top spot as my favourite cover of the year so far and I can’t wait to see it as a book – it’s going to look so pretty on my shelf!

It sounds like another excellent read from Giovanna whose debut Billy and Me was a huge hit last year. You’re The One That I Want will be released on May 22nd – add it to your wish lists now!

Find out more about Giovanna and her books at: http://www.giovannasworld.com/

Guest post: The Book You're Reading is Really A Movie in My Head by Nic Tatano

19 Feb

Today is my stop on the Boss Girl blog tour celebrating the release of Nic Tatno’s second novel for HarperImpulse. Nic spent fifteen years as a television news reporter and anchor. His work has taken me from the floors of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to Ground Zero in New York to Jay Leno’s backyard. His stories have been seen on NBC, ABC and CNN. 

Nic grew up in the New York City metropolitan area and now lives on the Gulf Coast where he will never shovel snow again! He’s happily married to a maths teacher and they share their home with our tortoiseshell tabby cat, Gypsy. Welcome Nic!

I sit back with my popcorn and soda, the lights dim, and the credits start to roll with some upbeat music under the video. The names of the stars flash across the screen, and the actors look suspiciously like the characters in my book.

That’s because the movie is based on my book. Or, in this case, my book is based on the movie. If that sounds confusing, it’s because the movie is playing in my head, and my muse is the projectionist.

Some writers storyboard their scenes. Some outline. Some have corkboards with index cards. I can’t be that organized. I have to wing it. I simply watch the scene in my head and then write down what I’ve seen. Sometimes I “watch” the scene several times before writing it, so that I become as familiar with it as I am with an episode of original Star Trek.

I’m sure this comes from my years working in television news, which is a visual medium. TV is basically show and tell, accent on the “show.” When you get an assignment, the first thing that goes through your mind is, “What video will I have for this story?” A reporter envisions a basic version of the story and organizes the possible video before he sets one foot out the newsroom door.

Same deal with my fiction. “What does this scene look like and what elements will it have?” And I’m not just talking about setting. That’s why I base a character’s physical traits on an actor, so I can see that character play out the scene in my head. In my new book “Boss Girl” the opening chapter features a scene in a bar between Scott and Sydney, or, in my case, Matt Bomer and Kate Walsh. I see the two actors working through the scene in my head, figure out how it works visually, hear their dialogue, then write it down. When Sydney comes on to Scott, it’s the tall redhead from Grey’s Anatomy seducing the dashing con man from White Collar. When a little guy comes into the picture, it’s Josh Hutcherson from The Hunger Games. Since I’m familiar with the actors, it’s easy to see them act out my plot. They’re doing improv in my head and I’m winging it on the laptop.

I think one of the reasons I enjoy writing RomComs is because I love watching them in the theater. People have often said my books read like movies, or would make good movies. And now you know the reason for that.

As for the answer to the age old question, “Is the book better than the movie?” the answer is, in my case, they’re the same.

Boss Girl is released in ebook formats tomorrow (20th February). To find out more and pre-order, click the image below:

Visit

 

Find out more about Nic and his writing at: http://thechannelingauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Please do check out the other stops on the Boss Girl blog tour!

 

Book news: RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Shortlists Announced!

18 Feb

It’s always a very exciting time of the year when the Romantic Novelists’ Association announces their awards short-lists. This years nominees are (again) a fantastic group of authors and it’s lovely to see many of my favourite books of the last year nominated. The full lists are below and I’ve linked to my reviews where I’ve read the book.

Contemporary Romantic Novel (mainstream romantic novels set post-1960 and includes genres such as chick lit, paranormal and romantic suspense)

Helen Chandler, Two for Joy, Hodder & Stoughton
Susan Elliot Wright, The Things We Never Said, Simon & Schuster
Veronica Henry, A Night On The Orient Express, Orion
Lisa J Hobman, Bridge Over The Atlantic, 5 Prince Publishing
Lisa Jewell, Before I Met You, Arrow
Pippa Wright, The Foster Husband, Pan

Epic Romantic Novel (serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories)

Jessica Blair, The Road Beneath Me, Piatkus
Mary Fitzgerald, The Love Of A Lifetime, Arrow
Emma Fraser, When Dawn Breaks, Sphere
Kate Lord Brown, The Perfume Garden, Atlantic (Corvus)
Jennifer McVeigh, The Fever Tree, Penguin
Lucinda Riley, The Midnight Rose, Pan

Historical Romantic Novel (novels set in a period before 1960)

Charlotte Betts, The Painter’s Apprentice, Piatkus
Christina Courtenay, The Gilded Fan, Choc Lit
Liz Harris, A Bargain Struck, Choc Lit
Joanna Hickson, The Agincourt Bride, Harper Collins
Carol McGrath, The Handfasted Wife, Accent Press
Annie Murray, The Women Of Lilac Street, Pan

Romantic Comedy Novel (consistently humorous or amusing novels)

Jenny Colgan, Christmas At The Cupcake Café, Little, Brown
Jenny Colgan, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, Little, Brown
Margaret James, The Wedding Diary, Choc Lit
Milly Johnson, It’s Raining Men, Simon and Schuster
Ali McNamara, Step Back In Time, Little, Brown
Fiona Walker, The Summer Wedding, Sphere

Young Adult Romantic Novel (protagonists who are teenagers or young adults)

Liz Bankes, Irresistible, Piccadilly Press
Christina Courtney, New England Rocks, Choc Lit
Alex Gutteridge, Last Chance Angel, Templar Publishing.
Imogen Howson, Linked, Quercus
Marie-Louise Jensen, Smuggler’s Kiss, Oxford University Press
Beth Reekles, The Kissing Booth, Corgi

RoNA Rose Award (recognises the best in category/series and shorter romance that focus on developing a love affair between the hero and heroine)

Louise Allen, Forbidden Jewel of India, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Caroline Anderson, Snowed in with the Billionaire, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Liz Fielding, Anything But Vanilla, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Joanna Fulford, His Lady of Castlemora, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Kate Hardy, Bound by a Baby, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Kate Hardy, Her Real Family Christmas, Harlequin Mills & Boon

The winners of each category excpet the RoNA Rose Award will compete for the title of Romantic Novel of the Year.

The winners will be announced by Darcey Bussell CBE at a sparkling ceremony in London on 17th March – good luck to all the nominees and have a fab night!

Find out more about the awards and past winners at: http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org

Book review: Just A Girl Standing in Front of a Boy by Lucy-Anne Holmes

17 Feb

‘My love story may not be the sort you read about in books or see in films . . . Love stories have glorious highs and ghastly lows. But when it comes to my own life, I’d have to say, you can keep your fabulous highs and I’ll happily steer clear of the terrible lows.’

After a rocky start in life, Jenny Taylor, 27, star receptionist at the local doctors surgery, has things all worked out thanks to a list of ten daily things she must do to keep the blues at bay. But her life is turned upside down when she meets aspiring musician Joe King. And reliable boyfriend Matt proposes. And then her mum leaves her dad and moves into Jenny’s flat determined to ‘bond’.

Just  A Girl Standing in Front of A Boy is funny, sad, heartbreaking and uplifting and a wonderful return for Lucy-Anne Holmes. I love Lucy-Anne’s quirky sense of humour and honest writing style and the two combine to create a set of characters and a story in this book that you won’t forget.

This is Jenny Taylor’s story. Jenny (known as Fanny) hasn’t had a particularly good time of it; bullied at school and with an overbearing Father who undermined any confidence she had left, Jenny has, as she puts it herself ‘a history of depression’. It’s so refreshing to see depression treated so openly and honestly and Lucy-Anne has absolutely got it right in Jenny as she does her best to keep her life on an even track and avoid the highs and lows. Despite it’s light-heartedness and laugh out loud moments this is a book with a serious message: it’s hard to avoid the highs and lows but with love and good friends you will get through it.

Jenny’s best friend Philippa is one of the key people getting Jenny through and I loved their relationship. Within pages we’re introduced to The Smiling Fanny Manifesto by Philippa Flemming; a list of ten tasks that Jenny must complete every day to keep her smiling. From simple things like calling a friend and giving yourself a treat to the challenge to ‘do a kind deed’ which leads Jenny and Philippa on some fab adventures. The list is brilliant and I plan to adopt it ss my own from now on and especially on down days.

We soon discover that Jenny’s love life is firmly in the comfort zone with sensible boyfriend Matt, but then she bumps into a boy named Joe and things begin to change. I loved the romance element of the book; it kept me guessing and despite Jenny’s wish for it to be otherwise, was a real emotional roller-coaster like all the best Rom-Coms.

As Matt proposes and Jenny’s Mum turns up on her doorstep having left her Dad, Jenny’s life gets a whole lot more complicated than she’d like. I love it when an author surprises me and I actually gasped out loud at one of the twists at the end of this book. Have your tissues handy!

Just A Girl Standing in Front of a Boy had me counting my blessings and determined to do a kind deed every day. This is a book about small things that matter a lot and love in all it’s guises. A brilliant read and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

5/5

I’d like to thank Jo at Little, Brown for sending me a review copy of this book.

Just A Girl Standing in Front of a Boy is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Fine out more about Lucy-Anne and her writing at:

Valentine's romance reads – hot picks!

14 Feb

There are some fab Valentine’s romance releases out this month – here are five hot picks to suit all moods!

Romance for Cynics by Nicola Marsh (Mills and Boon Modern Tempted) 

Another fabulous fun romance read from the Modern Tempted team!

Must. Not. Fall. For. Fake. Boyfriend. 

Cashel Burgess’s PR team have come up with a plan to salvage his reputation and show his ‘softer’ side by entering a Valentine’s Day competition to find Australia’s Most Romantic Couple. It’s so ridiculous it might actually work. The hitch? He doesn’t even have a girlfriend. But that’s not about to stop him…

Thanks to a good-for-nothing ex, gardener Lucy Grant hates Valentine’s Day. But when Cash makes her an offer too good to refuse Lucy finds herself half of the most cynical couple in Australia! The only problem is when a man fakes it this well, a girl might be tempted to turn fiction into fact…

Baby, One More Time (Unlocked Valentine’s Collection) by Esme Taylor (Hot Key Books

I loved this Valentine’s novella set in New York – guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face!

40% Sexy Guys, 50% Romance, 10% Valentine’s 

Cass has spent a long time trying to get over her first love Nick. But when they run into each other in the airport and end up on the same flight to New York, the chemistry between them is off the chart. But there is something that Cass is holding back. Will Cass finally get her revenge on the boy who broke her heart?

Be My Valentine: Short Story Collection by Nicola F Morgan, Nikki Moore and Brigid Coday (HarperImpulse)

A lovely little short story collection just perfect for enjoying over Valentine’s weekend.

“Happiness is our honeymoon, no matter what may come next.
And to think that I almost gave it all up…”

Fall in love with three fabulous new authors  and these gorgeously poignant short stories about love in all its forms.

The Redemption of Callie and Cayden by Jessicca Sorenson (Sphere)

I’m a huge fan of Jessica Sorrenson’s New Adult books and the latest instalment of Callie and Kayden’s story was released in paperback yesterday! Perfect timing for some page turning Valentine’s reading!

The dark secret Kayden has kept hidden for years is finally out. Worse, he’s facing charges for battery. The only way to clear his name is for Callie to speak up – something he’ll never ask her to do. Instead, he’ll do whatever he must to protect her, even if it means letting go of the only girl he’s ever loved.

Callie knows Kayden is going back to his dark place and desperately wants to save him. But that means admitting her own painful secrets aloud. The thought of breaking her silence terrifies her – but not as much as the thought of losing Kayden forever. Can she convince him they can make a fresh start together – or is she already too late?

Lose yourself in the New York Times bestselling sensation that is enchanting readers everywhere – discover an addictive story filled with unforgettable characters, intense passion and heart-stopping romance.

Follow Your Fantasy by Nicola Jane (HarperImpulse) 

Something a little different from HarperImpulse – perfect for if you’re feeling a little adventurous this Valentine’s weekend!

Your Erotic Adventure Starts Here…

Welcome to the thrillingly erotic world of Follow Your Fantasy – a world where you, the reader, chooses what happens next.

As the story deliciously unfolds, exciting, sexy and downright naughty adventures await your every decision…

You might end up in steamy encounters with one man or woman, or more! In hotel rooms or high class casinos, on porno sets or at bachelor parties. Or, if there’s just too much choice, you can always go back and try again.

Remember, even if you choose submission, the control is still all yours.

Follow Your Fantasy is a new type of Erotica which gives the power back to the reader. It’s a collection of short stories based around a central thread and with recurring characters. But the most important character is You – a daring, sexy, open to adventures You on a night where anything can happen. Where will your fantasies take you?