Archive | June, 2014

Book review: A Gift To Remember by Melissa Hill

30 Jun

a gift to remember_Darcy Archer works in a small bookstore in Manhattan. A daydream believer, she refuses to settle for anything less than being swept off her feet by the perfect man…literally.

One day, when cycling to work, Darcy accidentally crashes into a sharply dressed gentleman walking his dog. He is knocked out cold, rushed to hospital and the poor pup gets left behind. Wracked with guilt, Darcy takes the dog and makes plans to reunite him with owner, Aidan.

As she discovers the mysterious stranger’s world of books, travel, adventure and all the wonderful things she’s ever dreamt about, Darcy builds a picture of this man and wonders if he could be THE ONE…

But does fantasy match reality? What happens when Prince Charming wakes up? Will Aidan be the happy ever after she’s always imagined?

A Gift To Remember is another charming and romantic novel from Melissa Hill with her special mix of New York, romance and a little mystery. This is definitely a book for book lovers and my attention was captured straight away by bookworm Darcy and the wonderful book shop that she works in, Chaucer’s. Melissa’s descriptions of Chaucer’s are fab and the little anecdotes about the customers who come into the store made me smile.

Each chapter starts with a little bookish quote and I loved the references to favourite books like Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights throughout the story. Despite being resolutely single, Darcy is quite a romantic at heart but hasn’t met anyone to match up to the heroes of her favourite novels in real life yet and would much rather spend the night curled up with a good book than out at the swanky events her very successful aunt tries to get her to go to. I could easily picture Darcy and her cosy apartment bursting with books in the middle of Manhattan and as I read I was really rooting for her to find her happy ever after.

Set at Christmas time, A Gift to Remember is a captivating read and as in her previous books, The Charm Bracelet and Something from Tiffany’s, Melissa again captures the magic of one of my favourite cities. That said, I was reading the book in the middle of the English summer time and it didn’t feel out of place as although there are Christmas references, the story isn’t really about Christmas, rather focusing on Darcy and her quest to help the man she knocks over remember his life and identity.

Darcy’s victim, Aiden is an interesting character and I thought the amnesia story line with him was very well done. It really made me think about the image that we present and what our clothes, belongings and where we live say about us. I thought Melissa did an excellent job of letting his personality show through despite the fact that he can’t remember anything about his life.

The secret star of the story though is Bailey, a gorgeous silver husky dog who Darcy feels it is her duty to care for following Aiden’s accident. I’m not normally much of a dog person but Bailey totally won me over and I also really enjoyed the sub plot with Darcy’s neighbour Grace; although she only had a small role in the book, her story really touched me.

As Darcy starts to try to figure out who Aiden is and how to reunite him with his loved ones there are more questions than answers and her detective works takes her on a fun journey into the world of New York’s blue blood elite. Who is the mysterious Mel, how do the clues fit together and what is in the beautifully wrapped package that Aiden was carrying at the time of the accident? I spent most of the book trying to guess the answers to these questions and work out what Aiden’s story was – this is a big part of the fun of Melissa’s novels and I enjoyed the twists and turns that the story took.

A Gift to Remember is a lovely, heart-warming modern day fairytale and is perfect for escaping with – I only wish I could escape to Chaucer’s for a cuppa and a chat about books with Darcy for real!

4/5

A Gift to Remember is out in paperback and ebook formats on 3rd July.

I’d like to thank Simon and Schuster for providing a review copy of this book.

To find out more about A Gift to Remember, read my interview with Melissa and do check out the other stops on Melissa’s blog tour and visit her website at: http://www.melissahill.ie/

Guest post: Character Inspiration by Jules Wake

30 Jun

Today I’m welcoming debut novelist Jules Wake to One More Page to talk to us about the question she’s been asked most since releasing her novel, ‘Are your characters based on real people?’. Jules loves to read and her specialist  Mastermind subject would be romance and its sub genres.  She blogs about all things romance on her fab blog Romantically Inclined. Welcome Jules!

Jules Wake_portraitHaving a debut novel is an exciting time of firsts but now that a few friends, family and colleagues have finished the book, I’m suddenly getting a raft of questions about the characters.

At first I thought it was healthy curiosity as to how I came up with the characters.    However, now I’m realising, having associated with lots of writers who completely relate to this idea that your head is populated with people you’ve made up, that many non-writers assume your characters are based on real people.

Suddenly an awful lot of people are studying my husband’s teeth … my hero is blonde – check, plays cricket – check and has an endearing chip in his front tooth – check.  However I can categorically state that Daniel the hero is absolutely nothing like my husband in looks or personality (much to the husband’s disappointment as Daniel is rather wonderful.)

Funnily everyone wants to know who Emily is based on? There’s a morbid interest in whether anyone could possibly be that horrible in real life.

The truth is that I developed her character from an acerbic one-liner that a girlfriend once said to me.  At the time I was so taken aback by her breath-taking rudeness, I didn’t respond.  We wouldn’t have been friends if that had been habitual behaviour but that one line lodged so deeply with me that I used it to create a character that’s able to say things of death defying directness.

When you write in first person, people assume the narrator is you.  Oh, I wish! Olivia is far more organised, savvy and confident that I ever was at her age. Although like Olivia I did work in a PR agency managing celebrity product placement.  As a result ex-colleagues have been avidly face-booking me trying to work out whether any of the characters in Talk To Me are based on them.TTM_packshot copy

There are least 24 characters in the book, so it’s inevitable that people think they recognise themselves or other people in the book but any similarity is purely co-incidental.   It’s never intentional.

I’m very fortunate with my main characters.  For this and the other books I’ve written, they pop inot my head fully formed.  They usually arrive complete with names and lodge themselves into my mind where they loiter for several months, even before I put pen to paper.  By the time I’ve finished a book they’ve become dear friends and I quite miss them when I start work on the new book.

I’m currently working on my sixth novel and the two main characters Macy and Jack are already shaping up to be fascinating people.

Thank you Jules – I’m always fascinated by how characters come to life!

Talk to Me is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Jules and her writing at: http://www.juleswakewriter.co.uk/

Book review: To Have and To Hold by Helen Chandler

29 Jun

to-have-coverFrom the outside, Ella has the happy marriage, the cute kids and the comfortable home – inside, she craves something more. But giving in to temptation will stir up a whole heap of trouble . . .

Imogen‘s relationship with Pete was once fun and carefree but since they’ve become parents, everything is different. Then an accident provides the catalyst for a life-changing decision.

Fifteen-year-old Phoebe is miserable at home and at school. And now her dad, who was always her ally, seems completely distracted by something – or someone. Maybe it’s time Phoebe took a stand, and took control of her own life.

As Ella, Imogen and Phoebe contemplate taking the biggest risk of their lives, marriages, families and friendships hang in the balance. Should they take the leap, or will they risk losing everything?

Having loved Helen Chandler’s debut Two For Joy, I’ve been eagerly anticipating her new release, To Have and To Hold and I wasn’t disappointed. Helen has once again created an intriguing and believable group of characters who are dealing with the ups and downs that life throws at them. Wheras Two For Joy focussed on relationships and becoming a parent, To Have and To Hold takes a look three more established relationships and what happens when things don’t work out as planned or hoped for.

Helen has created three complex and relatable characters in Ella, Imogen and Phoebe and her writing really resonated with me as a mum and wife. I could easily understand Ella’s frustrations and Imogen’s worries but it was Phoebe who stole my heart in this novel and was my favourite character in the story.

Phoebe is intelligent, caring and longing for love and acceptance, I wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that everything was going to be OK. Helen really gets to the heart of her characters, their thoughts and motivations. You will recognise yourselves, your friends and your children in this book. As I started reading I was immediately struck by the thought that Helen is an author who ‘gets it’.

To Have and To Hold is essentially a family drama; the three leading ladies are loosely linked but their stories are all very different. I found that the three separate story lines gave the book excellent pace and the movement between Elle, Imogen and Phoebe (and the men in their lives) held my attention and had me turning the pages as quickly as I could to find out what would happen next.

There’s plenty of drama in the story but also love, romance and friendship and I think this book would appeal to a wide range and age of reader. This would be a fab novel to discuss over a glass of wine at a book group with questions like what would you do if your marriage hit a rough patch and you were confronted with your teenage crush?

Helen’s handling of the complexities of long term relationships particularly when children are involved was sensitive but also refreshingly realistic and I thought the book ended perfectly for each character.  If you enjoyed Jane Green’s Tempting Fate then I think you should give this book a try too! Helen is still a relatively new author but definitely one to watch and I’m already looking forward to her next novel!

5/5

To Have and To Hold is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

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

Find out more about Helen and her writing and check out her fab blog at: http://helenlchandler.wordpress.com/

Cover reveal: The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow

28 Jun

I’m delighted to be part of the cover reveal for Liz Trenow’s new novel, The Poppy Factory today.

Liz Trenow is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in East Anglia with her artist husband, and they have two grown up daughters.

Inspired by the upcoming anniversary of the First World War, Liz has written a story of two young women, bound together by the tragedy of two very different wars. Interviews with soldiers who have recently served in Afghanistan, along with an NHS paramedic and extensive research into the origins of the incredibly inspirational Poppy Factory which to this day helps returning soldiers to find work helped Liz to create remarkable characters inspired by real events. Isn’t the cover striking?

poppy factory cover

With the end of the First World War, Rose is looking forward to welcoming home her beloved husband Alfie from the battlefields. But his return is not what Rose had expected. Traumatised by what he has seen, the Alfie who comes home is a different man to the one Rose married. As he struggles to cope with life in peace time, Rose wrestles with temptation as the man she fell in love with seems lost forever.

Many years later, Jess returns from her final tour of Afghanistan. Haunted by nightmares from her time at the front, her longed-for homecoming is a disaster and she wonders if her life will ever be the same again. Can comfort come through her great-grandmother Rose’s diaries?

For Jess and Rose, the realities of war have terrible consequences. Can the Poppy Factory, set up to help injured soldiers, rescue them both from the heartache of war?

——————

The Poppy Factory will be released in paperback and ebook formats on 28th August and I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

Find out more about Liz Trenow and her writing at www.liztrenow.com

Follow Liz on Twitter @Liztrenow

Book news: Vowed by Liz de Jager

25 Jun

I was so excited to see this yesterday over on the TOR books blog – I loved the cover for Liz’s debut Banished but I think I love this one even more! I can’t wait to see it sitting on my shelf!

Vowed is the second book in The Blackhart Legacy trilogy and will be released on 6th November so you’ve got plenty of time to read (or re-read) Banished before it comes out and if you haven’t discovered this fantastic series yet, I’m giving away two signed copies of Banished at the moment so get your entries in!

Vowed-cover-visual-395x600

 

The Blackhart Code:
Don’t let the monsters grind you down

A Blackhart can see the supernatural behind everyday crimes. But some crimes hide even greater evils…

Kit Blackhart must investigate why children are disappearing from a London estate. However, their parents, police and fae allies claim to know nothing. And as yet more children disappear, the pressure mounts. Luckily, or unluckily, government trainee Dante Alexander is helping Kit with the case. Yet just as her feelings towards him begin to thaw, his life falls apart. As Kit struggles to unravel his problems and dangerous secrets, she meets fae Prince Thorn in her dreams – but their relationship is utterly forbidden.

Then Kit digs too deep, and uncovers a mystery that’s been hidden for one thousand years. It’s a secret that could just tear down our world.

Find out more about Liz and her writing at: http://www.lizdejager.co.uk/

Follow Liz on Twitter:  @LizUK

Follow Liz on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/lizdejagerwriter

Author interview: Melissa Hill

24 Jun

I’m very excited to be the first stop on Melissa Hill’s A Gift to Remember blog tour today. I love Melissa’s books and their blend of magic, mystery and romance and A Gift to Remember is a real treat for book lovers!

When Amanda met Melissa!

A couple of weeks ago I was very lucky to be invited to meet Melissa to celebrate the release of A Gift to Remember with afternoon tea at the wonderful BB Bakery in Covent Garden. Together with competition winners Nikki and Paula and the Bourjois team I chatted to Melissa about books, makeup and writing. It was a lovely afternoon and here are Melissa’s answers to my questions!

A Gift to Remember is out as a gorgeous paperback on 3rd July. Please could you tell us a little about it and your inspiration for it?

The story centres around a booklover called Darcy who works in a pretty NYC bookstore. One morning when cycling to work, she collides with a male pedestrian out walking his dog. The man is taken to hospital and the dog (a gorgeous husky pup) and a small gift-wrapped package is left behind.  In order to try and make it up to the man who she learns is called Aidan, Darcy decides to take care of the dog and ensure that the package reaches its intended recipient.  Through this, she is gradually drawn into Aidan’s life and becomes intrigued by what she finds.

The inspiration came from the phrase ‘You can tell a lot about a person by the contents of their bookshelves’ and mteauch of what Darcy deduces about Aidan comes from her examination of his books/belongings/lifestyle,  and as is the case in the story, this can either be a good or a bad thing!

Leading lady Darcy is a book lover and works in a lovely bookstore called Chaucer’s. What are three of Darcy’s favourite books?

Pride & Prejudice, Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, and I hope a sense of all three come across in the story.

The novel is set in Manhattan – what would your ideal day there be like?

photo (32)

Melissa with competition winners Nikki and Paula

Pretty much any day in NYC is an ideal one as there are so many wonderful things to do and see. But I think my ideal one was a recent trip there with my parents to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. My sisters and I secretly followed them to NYC from Ireland, and surprised them at the top of the Empire State building at sunset on the evening of their wedding anniversary.  It was a very happy family occasion and a fantastic trip.

Darcy is left with a mystery gift-wrapped package to reunite with its owner; what is the most mysterious gift you’ve received?!

My husband once wrapped up a huge box for me at Christmas that was so heavy it felt like it contained a lump of lead. I was totally bewildered as to what it might contain, but when I opened it, there was a pair of airline tickets hiding inside. To NYC of course!

And finally … what can we look forward to next from Melissa Hill?

My next book, coming in 2015, is about a movie-lover called Beth who anonymously receives a coffee cup along with a cryptic message suggesting a meeting at a famous NYC location. From there she is given a series of other clues directing her to locations of some of the city’s most famous romantic movies.  But who has orchestrated all this and what will she find at the end of the trail?

Melissa Hill Packshot

A Gift to Remember is out in paperbck on 3rd July with this lovely new cover. Look out for the brilliant competition that will be open on launch day for 10 lucky readers to win a year’s supply of make-up from Bourjois!

Please do check out the other stops on Melissa’s A Gift to Remember blog tour for more Q&A’s, Guest posts and extracts!

One More Page is 4!!

23 Jun

One More Page is four years old today!

Home made party cupcake with a number candle on top

 ‘Thank you’

to all the readers, authors, publishers and fellow bloggers who make discussing books and writing One More Page so much fun.

To celebrate I have four fabulous prizes to give away!

Prizes 1 and 2!

photo (28)

I have two copies of Liz de Jager’s fab debut Banished to be won. Liz has agreed to sign and dedicate them as the winners wish!

Prize 3!

photo (27)

photo (26)A signed copy of Ice Creams At Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown together with a fab HarperImpulse bag.

Prize 4!

photo (29)

A signed copy of To Have and To Hold by Helen Chandler plus a Wish List mug and bag.

To enter, just leave a comment telling me which of the prizes you’d like to win (you can enter for all if you wish) and I’ll draw four winners using random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only.  The closing date for entries is midnight on Monday 30th June. Good luck!

Book news: Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw

22 Jun

I’m a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn so the cover for this book caught my eye immediately and it sounds like just my kind of read. Oh Yeah, Audrey! isn’t out until October but it’s already on my wish list!

audrey

It’s 5:30am on Fifth Avenue and sixteen-year-old Gemma Beesley is standing in front of Tiffany & Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her pastry and coffee held tightly in a brown paper bag—just like Holly Golightly. As the co-founder of a successful Tumblr blog—Oh Yeah Audrey!—devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled from Pennsylvania to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers and friends, Bryan and Trina, for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure for the trio in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans become quickly sidetracked when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the type of New York experience she’s always dreamed of. Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, “no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”

Oh Yeah, Audrey! is published on 1st October by Abrams & Chronicle

 

Giveaway winner! Falling Apart by Jane Lovering

22 Jun

9781781891131

 

The winner is …

Catherine Miller

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

Book review: Love Like the Movies by Victoria Van Tiem

20 Jun

love like the moviesKenzi Shaw knows the plot of her life down to the last line – the career she’s building as an up-and-coming marketing exec, the gorgeous fiancé (Bradley) she’ll marry in a fairytale wedding, the children they’ll raise in her dream home. But when heart-breaking ex Shane comes back into her life, life starts going off the script . . .

Shane tries to win Kenzi over by re-enacting all the rom-com movies they used to watch together – Sleepless in Seattle, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing to name a few. He’s just a guy, standing in front of a girl, asking her to trust him again. But has he really changed? Not only is her head in a spin over Shane, but now her job is on the line. And with her perfect sister-in-law showing up every tiny thing Kenzi does wrong, she feels like she’s permanently in the corner.

Should she risk her sensible life for the chance of a Happy Ever After? One thing’s certain, when Shane meets Kenzi (again), she’s suddenly not so sure who her leading man is . . .

Love Like the Movies is an absolute treat for fans of romantic comedies in both book and film forms! I love the way Victoria Van Tiem has incorporated so many little movie facts and snippets into her plot. Each chapter title is a take on a classic romantic film and with titles like, ‘How to Lose Your Mind in Five Days’, ‘Dangerous Dancing’ and ‘Confessions of a Rom-com-aholic’ you can see straight away how much fun this book is.

Leading lady Kenzi Shaw really is starring in her own rom-com (although I’m sure Kenzi wouldn’t see it that way for much of the book!) She’s surrounded by classic rom-com characters;  the sensible, handsome family approved fiancé who contrasts brilliantly to the gorgeous, talented but slightly rough around the edges, English ex who broke Kenzi’s heart when she was at college. Then there’s the high maintenance and uptight sister in law who outdoes Kenzi on every front, the best ‘frenemy’ and the true best friend. Not to mention the slightly distant mum and the heart of gold Dad.

The characters are instantly recognisable from rom-com plots and that makes them easy to get to know and to side with or against but as with any good chickflick, there are some twists along the way and the cast of Love Like the Movies have some excellent surprises up their sleeves!

As Kenzi’s ex Shane chooses her agency to come up with the design and concept for his new restaurant, he gives Kenzi a list of ten movies he wants as part of his concept and the idea is that she will live ‘Love Like the movies’ with him to create the campaign. I loved seeing Kenzi act out her movie moments with Shane. From what could be clichéd, the plot is actually very original and a whole lot of fun as Shane and Knzi bounce lines of each other and Kenzi’s indecision between Shane and Bradley gives a nice edge.

Who hasn’t dreamed of acting out the dress shop scene from Pretty Woman or learning to dance like Baby and Johnny? Victoria Van Tiem gives us classic movie scenes with a twist and they work really well within the plot. This book features some of my absolute favourite movies including My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sleepless in Seattle and How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days. It’s quirky, funny and its soooo romantic it deserves to be made into a movie itself.

A quick fun read perfect for giving you that feelgood rom-com buzz!

4/5

Love Like the Movies is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

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

Find out more about Victoria Van Tiem and her writing at: http://victoriavantiem.com/