Friday, 27 February 2015

Its my blogging birthday - so time for a giveaway!!



I cannot believe that its been a year since I came up with the idea to create a book blog. What an amazing year it has been. I feel so lucky to have come to know so many wonderful bloggers, authors, publishers, and people who like me, just love to read a great book.

I wanted to do something to mark my first anniversary, and to say thank you for all your support and laughs!

It seemed apt to do a giveaway of some of the books that made me want to scream about their brilliance so much that I set this up.

So, if you would like to win one of these prizes please click on the Rafflecopter link and enter.

A five pound Amazon Voucher






a Rafflecopter giveaway

A copy of Beyond Grace's Rainbow by Carmel Harrington





a Rafflecopter giveaway


A copy of The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman






a Rafflecopter giveaway


A copy of Take A Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinson






a Rafflecopter giveaway


A copy of The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman





a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run until 6th March.

Please do enter and I wish you the very best of luck and a massive thank you for making my world a happier place. I cant wait to see what great books we have ahead of us again this year.

Keep smiling

Jill







Monday, 23 February 2015

The Two of Us by Andy Jones


Out Now
Published by Simon and Schuster
Purchase from Amazon here



The Blurb:

If you loved One Day and The Rosie Project, you will fall head-over-heels for The Two of Us.

Falling in love is the easy part. What matters most is what happens next...

Fisher and Ivy have been an item for a whole nineteen days. And they just know they are meant to be together. The fact that they know little else about each other is a minor detail. Over the course of twelve months, in which their lives will change forever, Fisher and Ivy discover that falling in love is one thing, but staying there is an entirely different story.

The Two of Us is a charming, honest and heart-breaking novel about life, love, and the importance of taking neither one for granted.


My Review:

Welcome to the world of Fisher. Be prepared to enter a world of love, loss, family and friendship. I loved this book and it bought out many emotions in me. I laughed, I got frustrated and angry at times, and I cried (buckets).

The Two of Us is a fantastic book which focuses on the relationship between Fisher and his new girlfriend Ivy. They have only been together nineteen days, and when we meet them they are full on in those feelings of early relationship lust and thinking that the person they are with is just perfect and 'the one'. Quite quickly things change when Ivy discovers she is pregnant. The world and relationship changes quite dramatically from then onwards.  Do they know eachother well enough? Are they as perfectly suited as they thought they were? Is their love bullet proof and real? Does Ivy love Fisher or has he fallen foul of a trap?

As well as the relationship between Fisher and Ivy we also see into the world of his close friendship with El. El has a degenerative disease that is stealing his life from him. As his condition deteriorates he changes from a young man into someone who is totally reliant on others to do everything for him. He knows he is dying and wants to remain in control of the time he has left, and the timing of his demise. This friendship is pure, and beautiful, and very moving. Even though I knew nothing of them and their friendship before picking up the book, and even thought is a sub plot rather than the main story line, it drew me in. I felt emotionally attached to the characters and hated seeing the decline in El's health. I loved the way those around him still treated El as a grown man, and respected his dignity. And I loved the true friendship between them. It was at times very emotional reading, but handled beautifully by the author.

The whole book really tells the story through the eyes and perspective of Fisher, so I was naturally drawn to take his side and view on what happens. This caused me some internal debate and frustration as the book progressed. I grew to like Fisher and found myself get frustrated and angry with Ivy and her treatment of him. By the middle of the book I grew to dislike Ivy and couldn't fathom out why he was still with her and was almost leaping into the book to tell him what I thought. I wondered how I would handle the situation if this was really happening to one of my friends.

But then, as the second half of the book started everything began to change and so did my outlook. I can't even hint at events as to do so would definitely ruin the book for you, but I definitely warmed to Ivy and desperately wished to find a happy ending. The way the story is written is just beautiful and I could feel all the emotions jump out of the page as I absorbed them. The style of writing is wonderful and the pace of the book was just right. I felt I had enough time to get to know them and some of their characteristics well enough to appreciate the more emotional aspects that the second half of the book brings us.

The book was also clever in helping me challenge myself. I thought I had it all nailed. That I had summed up the characters and had my mind set on what I thought each person was like and what should happen. Then, bam...it changes and I have to admit that my preconceptions and judgements were wrong.

I absolutely loved this book. So much so that I found it hard to put down, and ended up cancelling my planned day of cleaning to sit down and be totally absorbed in it (ok, cleaning isn't glamorous or exciting, but this book gave me the perfect reason to avoid it).

The emotion of the book really grabbed me and I spent the last third of the book with tissues close at hand. It will move you to tears, I almost guarantee. But there is also lots of love, fun and warmth in the story that will also leave you feeling uplifted and in love with life. I am so pleased to have had to the chance to read and fall in love with the world of Fisher. I would highly recommend this book.  if anyone has loved Me Before You, One Day, Beyond Graces Rainbow or PS. I Love You, this book might just be perfect for you too.

Thank you for Simon & Schuster and Books and the City who provided a copy in return for an honest review.


 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Blog Tour: When Shadows Fall by Bruce Blake

Blurb: 

A hundred times a hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky, leaving the land to mankind alone.

For Prince Teryk, life behind the castle walls is boring and uneventful until he stumbles upon an arcane scroll in a long-forgotten chamber. The parchment speaks of Small Gods, the fall of man, and the kingdom's savior—the firstborn child of the rightful king. It's his opportunity to prove himself to his father, the king, and assure his place in history. All he needs to do is find the man from across the sea—a man who can't possibly exist—and save mankind.

But ancient magic has been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. Powerful forces clash, uncaring for the lives of mortals in their struggle to prevent the return of the banished ones, or aid in their rebirth.

Named in a prophecy or not, what chance does a cocky prince who barely understands the task laid before him stand in a battle with the gods?

Links:





Interview with Bruce Blake

Tell us a little about your new book, When Shadows Fall.

This is the first book in a new epic fantasy series called 'The Small Gods', and it's easily my most ambitious work to date. The main story line revolves around a prophecy found by Prince Teryk and his sister, Danya. It speaks of the rise of the Small Gods—who were banished by the Goddess a long time ago—and the fall of mankind. The story follows the siblings, who think Teryk is the saviour of mankind named in the prophecy, as well as following a priestess of the Goddess, a sailor who hates the sea, and a little gray fellow named Thorn. There's a lot going on.

A prophecy? Hasn't that been done to death? What makes your book any different from all the others?

I like to do what I can to take typical fantasy tropes and turn them on their ear a bit. In this case, there are some doubts about the prophecy. Does it actually refer to Teryk? Exactly who are the Small Gods? There are a bunch of other things mentioned in the scroll that don't even make sense. Trust me when I tell you I've got a few surprises up my sleeve.

I heard that it only took a couple of weeks for you to write the first draft of When Shadows Fall. Is that true?

Yes. If you include writing a prologue after I'd done the editing on the rest, there were fifteen days of first draft manuscript writing in all.

How did you write it so quickly?

Firstly, I was writing full-time when I wrote it, so I put in 5-7 hours every day, but even then there's more to it. I attribute the speediness of the first draft to two things: planning and planning. Not only did I spend a month developing the world and the story while I was finishing up some other things, I also spent five to ten minutes planning at the beginning of each writing day when I first sat down. It's amazing how much more can be accomplished when you have that kind of clarity. If I finished what I planned and still had time, I took another five or ten minutes and planned some more.

What are you working on now?

The second book of the Small Gods, The Darkness Comes, is out on February the 16th, so I'm busy working on book three (I have the title, but it's currently a secret...stay tuned).  The third book is going to bring together some of the story lines from the previous books, split some up, and add in some others. I'm having a great time writing it with some interesting voices and challenging points of view.

How long will the Small Gods series be?

I can't say for sure, but I'm expecting six books, possibly with a side adventure or two thrown in for good measure.

I've always been curious about longer series: have you already planned everything that will happen?

Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!! Not even close. I have some highlights and ideas that I know I want to hit, and I have some thoughts about the climax, but it will be as much of a surprise to me as it is to everyone else, at this point. The problem with planning something that's going to run long is that it changes on you...those darn characters tend to take over and go running off to do things you never expected. Teryk in particular is doing that to me right now.

Any final words to new writers out there?

Two, really. The first is to work on your craft...always. Do it by reading books you love and analyzing them to figure out what it is you like so much. Do it by reading books you don't love, and figure out why that's the case. Take classes if you can, go to conferences, read books on craft—lots of them—and learn from other authors you come in contact with.

The second is never quit. You're not really a writer if you don't finish, you're just someone who writes.



Author bio:


Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don't take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn't really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the "u" out of words like "colour" and "neighbour" than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l's). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of a burlesque diva.

Bruce's first short story, "Another Man's Shoes" was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon. Another short, "Yardwork," was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod. Bruce's first Icarus Fell novel, "On Unfaithful Wings", was published in Dec., 2011 while the follow up, "All Who Wander Are Lost", came out in July, 2012. The third in the series, "Secrets of the Hanged Man", came out in July, 2013. The first part of his Khirro's Journey epic fantasy trilogy, "Blood of the King", was released Sept., 2012, book 2, "Spirit of the King," in Dec., 2012, and book 3, "Heart of the King," in Feb., 2013.

The two books in the Small Gods series, "When Shadows Fall" and "The Darkness Comes", were released in 2013, after which Bruce took a year out to concentrate on his family and career. Book three in the Small Gods series is Bruce Blake's current project.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Blog Tour: Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Today I am so pleased to be joined by Angela Marsons, author of Silent Scream which has just been published. There are amazing reviews of the book out and it comes highly recommended by lots of book reviewers. I am half way through the book and absolutely gripped. I cannot wait to share my review with you. 

In the meantime Angela has kindly written about creating Kim Stone who is lead detective in her book. 





Published on 20 February 2015
Published by Bookouture
Purchase from Amazon here



Building Kim Stone

I have always been driven to write from a female point of view.  I am particularly drawn to characters that are in some ways damaged.

My earlier novels were character focussed stories that centred on the reasons why these characters were broken and the repercussions of these events and the journey towards healing.

The main character in Silent Scream is Detective Inspector Kim Stone who is no less haunted by the past than my other characters but with one key difference.  No-one knows what will happen if she ever tries to let it go. 

When the character of Kim began to build in my mind I didn't want a protaganist striving to examine the pain or explore her inner demons.  I wanted someone perfectly content to keep it buried within.  Despite the opinions and concern of the people around her, she knows the anger and hurt from the past is the glue that keeps her together.

I knew that with such a horrific past she could never be well rounded, balanced and sweet.  So we settled for driven, passionate, rude and rebellious.  She is not always a likeable character but I think that her defiance is understandable.  She is tenacious and determined to get to the truth.

Her refusal to follow instructions has extended even to me.  There is a scene in Silent Scream where Kim climbs a fence and gains entry into a building.  This was not my initial plan but when writing the scene I just knew it was what Kim would do.

And yet, while not always obvious, there is a warm heart beating in there somewhere.  She is drawn to people with spirit; to individuals that refuse to give up.


In Silent Scream Kim and I have started our journey and even I can't wait to see where that leads.

Blog Tour: My So Called (Love) Life by A.L. Michaels

Happy Friday!

I am so happy to be part of the blog tour for My So Called (Love) Life by A.L. Michael's. I have just finished reading it and really, really enjoyed this story of love, friendship and enjoying life. It made me laugh and smile throughout and left me on a feel good high.

If you would like to read my review please click here

I am pleased to be able to bring you an extract from the first chapter of the book....enjoy and I would love to hear what you think of the extract, and the book if you go on to read it.


Chapter Extract

Chapter One

I am really tired of being miserable, Tigerlily James thought as she marched out of Kings Cross Station. It was the last Thursday of the month, which meant the Misery Dinner at Entangled. She scanned the room for Dana and Ame, knowing that the likelihood they were on time was minimal, and headed over to her usual table.

‘Tigerlily!’ Ruby half ran over to her as she entered, pulling her in for a bear hug, all patchouli and cigarettes. Ruby was the owner of Entangled, but Tig had privately taken her on as a role model and personal saviour. Ruby had her shit together. Today her greying hair was tied back with a rockabilly red scarf, dangling ruby earrings getting caught on Tig’s hair as she pulled back. ‘Early for the Young and Bitter Club today, darling?’

‘It’s a Misery Dinner, not a club,’ Tig corrected, walking over to her usual table.

She knew there was no point arguing; the Misery Dinner was nothing if not a meeting of the Young and Bitter brigade. It was her fault. She’d decided after Darren left that if her love life sucked, her career had gone down the toilet and she was back to living with her uni housemate, well, there should at least be an excuse for monthly margaritas. The idea was to compartmentalise. Once a month they got together to talk about how shit their lives were, to wallow and enjoy moaning about it all. And then they got on with their lives. It made sense at the time, Clint had cheated on Ame, and she was going through divorce proceedings, fighting for the house and thanking whatever deity was responsible for her very modern decision to sign a pre-nup. Tig had yet to remind her that it was she, not God, who’d advised her to be careful about it all.

Which meant, a year down the line, that Ame had a beautiful house in Hampstead, but was still working for her ex-husband. And Dana had thrown herself into work ever since Elodie, refusing to move forward and look for love again, instead settling for working her way up and owning the PR company she worked for by thirty. She was twenty-eight, and almost killing herself to get to the top. It seemed better than the alternative, which involved the realisation that there might not just be one perfect person for everyone, that loves could be multiple and varied. Dana didn’t buy that.

‘You know, you girls will be old before your time if you don’t stop focusing on the negative,’ Ruby said, raising her eyebrows in what was probably meant to be a severe sort of expression. Which was pretty impossible, as Ruby radiated goodness. She was like Audrey Hepburn would have been if she’d run off with a biker and opened a cafe/bar in London at sixty. Ruby was pretty much what Tig wanted to be when she grew up.

‘We’re having dinner, Ruby. We’re not sticking pins into voodoo dolls, or cackling over cauldrons.’
‘You’re wallowing. Two months is pushing it. Seven is taking the piss. You could have almost grown a person in this time!’ Ruby raised an eyebrow.

‘Well, the whole “not growing a person” thing is definitely something to be thankful for. Can I have a margarita now?’

Ruby shook her head, clearly disappointed. ‘Madam, if you were my daughter I’d give you a boot up the bum. But as it is, I’ll settle for sending you death glares across the room until you give in and get over that idiot.’

‘I am over him,’ Tig challenged. ‘I’m just still ... in shock.’

‘Shock’s immediate,’ Ruby said severely, looking over the rim of her glasses. ‘Comas can last a lifetime.’

‘You know what this coma patient could use to wake her up? A tequila-based cocktail,’ Tig said pointedly.

‘Lucky for you, the new guy needs the practice,’ Ruby shrugged. ‘I’ll bring it over.’

‘New guy?’

Tig hated when the staff at Entangled changed. She liked it to be her haven, knowing that she could walk in and it would always be the same, only the art on the walls and the cakes on display changing.
‘Short term, four months. Really enthusiastic about bar work,’ Ruby winced as a crash sounded from behind the bar, ‘despite not having worked in a bar for about two years, and being excellent at breaking things.’

‘First days are tough ...’ Tig shrugged, trying for hopeful. Ruby looked past her to the door, seeing Ame and Dana come rushing in.

‘I’ll make that three margaritas for the moody madam brigade!’ Ruby chortled. ‘Oh, sweetheart, you left some bits and bobs here last week – a notebook, some letters ...’

‘Oh, crap.’ So that’s where her planner was, not under a pile of clothes at home.

‘Artistic people are often awful at life stuff,’ Ruby patted her shoulder.

Well, thanks, I feel much better!’

‘I just meant you’re clearly a creative genius!’ Ruby laughed. ‘Hi girls, drinks are on their way!’

Ame threw down her bag, and started unwinding her Hermes scarf, honeyed brown hair falling perfectly at her shoulders. ‘I’m sorry I’m late, I had the worst day, and you’ll never believe what Clint did today –’

‘Hi Tig, how are you? Well, I’m fine, Ame, thanks for asking before you launch into a diatribe about your ex-husband. I really appreciate that I’m more than just an aural punching bag,’ Tig sing-songed, honestly quite tired of hearing all the ways in which Clint was an arsehole. Especially considering she’d spent the year they were engaged and the six months they were married hearing about all the ways in which Clint was the most fantastic of human beings. She kind of just hated him for existing at this point.

‘Jeez, Tig, harsh.’ Ame frowned briefly, and then Tig saw her physically smooth down her brow to avoid getting wrinkles. Sometimes she wondered how they were friends at all. If she’d never started working at the student bar, she and Ame would never have been friends. At least then her friend was fun, silly and joyous. Now she seemed to walk around with a perpetual pinched look, eyes raised to the sky like she was waiting for a piano to fall on her head. Which would have been fine if it was just the Misery Dinners, but Ame’s misery was bleeding into every other part of her life, which, as her housemate, or lodger, was pretty damn difficult.

‘Well, Ame, you maybe should greet people before hitting them over the head with your emotional issues,’ Dana shrugged, then sighed as her phone flashed up. ‘Sorry, it’s a client, I have to take this.’ She shuffled over to an empty corner, coat still half on, long dark hair tied back in a bun. Dana was an Amazon of a woman, tall and powerful, her pinstriped suit perfectly pressed even after a long day. But she looked weary.

‘Well, Dana, maybe if you weren’t so emotionally repressed you’d hear where I was coming from!’ Ame hissed at her back.

‘This is getting off to a great start,’ Tig sighed.

‘Even when she leaves work she can’t leave work.’ Ame tried for a half smile and a shrug, looking at Tig hopefully. ‘I’m sorry, hun. I’m working on not being such a bitch all the time. How are you?’

Like an ant stuck in amber, Tig thought to herself, trying to smile back because Ame was making an effort.

‘I’m okay,’ she replied.

‘Do any work today?’ Ame prodded.

‘I worked with Petunia and Theo,’ she said in a huff, knowing that wasn’t what Ame meant at all.
‘Are you planning on getting back to photography any time soon? I know that teaching art to privileged four-year-olds in Hampstead mansions is good money, but it’s not really a career choice, is it?’

Ame had this way of throwing out hurtful comments like they were facts. Sadly, most of the time they were facts, so you didn’t feel justified in getting upset. It was just one of the many irritating traits Tig had noticed about her friend, living with her post-university. Back then they’d never had a problem. But Ame had been more fun then. They both had. Maybe it wasn’t just Tig, maybe they were all getting more bitter by the moment.

‘Ame. Shut up. She’s doing fine.’ Dana strode back over, phone tucked away, pulling her hair out of the tight bun and massaging her scalp delicately, wincing slightly. ‘You are, aren’t you?’

Tig nodded.

‘Then leave her the hell alone,’ Dana demanded, picking up her menu to signify the conversation was over. Dana was learning to become more demanding. She’d been reading a lot of personal 
development books, doing anything she could to get to the top. Tig suspected it was more a way of filling her time and avoiding getting on with her life than it was a result of particularly loving her job, but Dana was just quietly getting on, so you couldn’t really call her on it.

‘I’m just trying to be supportive!’ Ame was good at the outrage these days, too. ‘She’s a brilliant photographer and there are other gigs out there. You don’t have to be a wedding photographer anymore ...’

‘Ames,’ Tig held up her hand, ‘I really appreciate what you’re saying. And I’ll get there. I’m making enough money for rent and a gym membership and monthly margaritas, so unless you’re about to kick me out, I should be fine. Tell us about your day.’

Ame rarely needed an excuse to launch into the tales of woe in her office, centred around her arsehole ex-husband.

‘He keeps shagging these interns in his office, and then sending them to deliver files to me, still smelling of sex,’ she raged, ‘and they look so embarrassed, because they know who I am and what he’s doing. Though, I mean, they should know better than to sleep with their boss –’

‘Ah!’ Dana pointed.

‘I heard myself say it!’ Ame said. ‘Okay, so we all make mistakes! Women are victims, men are evil! I’m not blaming the sisterhood! Okay!’

‘Um,’ a male voice said into the stilted silence, ‘three much-needed margaritas?’

Tig looked up to see the new barman, standing awkwardly with a tray in his hand. Dirty blond hair, stubbled jaw, blue eyes. He was wearing a smart white shirt, rolled up at the sleeves to reveal old-school sailor tattoos on his forearms. Exactly the type to bartend at Entangled. Friendly enough, but always with enough edge to remind you they’re out of your league. Not that she was in anyone’s league, or looking to play a ball game of any sort. Tig realised no one had answered him.

‘Hi, yes, thanks! Desperately needed!’ She unnecessarily tried to clear some space on the table for him to put the drinks down. He twitched a smile at her, which she twitched back. Ame and Dana seemed to be having a huffing match about feminist standpoints under their breath, so she turned back to the new guy. She might as well be friendly, seeing as she was at Entangled more than her own home these days. You always wanted the staff on your side.

‘How’s the first day going?’

‘I’ve only broken three glasses and spilled ice all over the floor so that Ruby tripped head over arse,’ he shrugged. ‘Not at all mortifying.’

‘First time bartending?’ she asked. Am I prying? Why am I forcing this conversation when he’s clearly hovering about like he needs to go? Shut up, Tig.

‘Nope, just out of practice. And I’m going to blame jetlag, and first day nerves, and anything else I can think of! Just yell when you want the next round of drinks. I can almost guarantee I won’t screw them up,’ he winked and strode off.

Tig smiled, remembering how awful her first day had been in the SU bar, where she’d dropped a pint of snakebite down her front and the rugby team had made her swear so effusively she was sure she’d get fired. Instead the manager had patted her on the shoulder, given her a towel and said, as long as she kept that mouth on her, she’d make it through alive.

Tig turned back to see if her friends had stopped arguing. They had. In fact, they were both looking at her like she’d morphed into some sort of terrible sea creature.

‘What?’

‘You ... him ...’ Ame pointed at the bar, and Tig felt a violent irritation stir in her chest.

‘I had a conversation with Ruby’s new barman, Ame. It’s called being polite. It doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly solved all my problems, will get into a relationship, go back to work, get married and have babies,’ she spat. ‘It means I was tired of you two bitching at each other once again, and made conversation elsewhere.’

They looked at her, this time like the terrible sea creature had revealed talons and a bad dye job.

‘Okay, Tig, calm down.’ Dana made soothing noises. ‘I think Ame was trying to point out, in a very positive way, that it was nice to see you making an effort to welcome a new person to Entangled. Especially a person who happens to have a penis, because you’ve spent the last seven months wanting to chop off all the ones in the immediate vicinity, regardless of who they’re attached to.’
Tig blinked. ‘And that’s why you work in PR.’

She took a deep breath and tried not to blush as she thought about her overreaction. ‘I swear I never used to be so mean. Or angry. I mean, I’ve always had the ability to be a bitch ...’

‘No, you haven’t,’ Dana smiled. ‘In fact, for the most part, you’ve always been a big hippie softie. 

Think you might have lost that somewhere along the way.’

‘Maybe Ruby’s right, maybe the Misery Dinners are making things worse,’ Tig shrugged, sipping her drink and sighing in relief.

‘They’re helping, Tig, honestly,’ Ame said forcefully.

‘So you’re done moaning about Clint? You’ve worked through that?’

‘He hurt me, Tig. That takes time ...’ Ame shook her head. ‘You just don’t get it.’

Tig closed her eyes and took a deep breath, tucking her red hair behind her ears. Living with Ame had been a bad idea. When Darren had dumped her on Valentine’s Day, and Ame found out Clint was cheating, it made sense for them to move in together. And whine (with wine) together. Tig had given up the wedding photography business and Ame let her stay in the Hampstead flat for minimal rent, which she’d really appreciated. But Ame had started to become ... difficult. She lived in a permanent state of outrage, and was getting more and more bitter. Which wasn’t helping Tig to become the glass-half-full type girl she’d been before, either.

You get hurt, you wallow, you move on. Those were the rules. Tig had spent the first few weeks after the break-up almost catatonic, permanently drunk and stoned, slowly eating her way through two hundred wedding cupcakes embossed with ‘Mr and Mrs’. The next couple of months she graduated to quietly drinking neat vodka, curled up on the sofa in front of romantic comedies, waiting until the final scene to shout, ‘Sure, it’s all great now, but wait until he leaves you because your tits got too small!’

But she was past that now. She was. She got dressed, she went to the gym. She could be trusted not to warp the world views of young children, and as of today she had interacted with a male without wincing. She was improving.

‘I know what it’s like to be hurt,’ Tig said calmly, ‘and I know what it feels like to get so bitter and twisted that you don’t really like yourself anymore. I want to be happy.’

Dana nodded, with that quiet, approving presence that she had. ‘That’s great. So are you going to start up the photography business again? Back to weddings?’

Tig’s stomach plummeted. Okay, so ... maybe she wasn’t so ready. She could grow, and be happy, but being around weddings again? She still couldn’t look at her portfolio without crying. Her wedding dress was hanging in the back of her wardrobe almost a year later, with the ‘five days to go!’ tag still tied around the hanger.

The problem was, she was good at wedding photography. She’d been planning her and Darren’s big day for almost three years, and during that time, meeting other brides, retailers, she’d accidentally started a business. Become an institution. The other brides liked her because she was in the same situation as them; she knew what they wanted, because she wanted it too. She’d paid for the wedding with their weddings. She was so happy those three years, meeting all these people, making plans. Finally being able to pack in the insurance job to take photos for a living, the dream she’d had since uni. It was hard not to blame Darren for taking all that away. It was harder to stop blaming herself for letting it stay that way.

‘I’m ... I’m going to find a way to use my skills without doing the wedding thing just yet ... maybe, at some point. Just, not yet.’

She tried not to let her positive attitude be knocked down by lack of a plan. Or any plan. She couldn’t deal with photographing babies, their pudgy little alien faces gumming at her as she tried to get them to smile without puking everywhere. What did that leave? Being a camera assistant at Harry Potter World, most likely. London was teeming with unemployed artists, and every year she felt her chest constrict as another wave of graduates flooded into the job pool.

Her friends shrugged, and thankfully Dana started moaning about her client list, and her obsessive boss who kept changing the brief every thirty seconds, and Ame went back to Clint and the bitches at work, so Tig could sit and let it wash over her. She looked at her two friends, taking in Ame’s perfect skin and flawless make-up, Dana’s expensive suits and towering heels, and wondered what had happened. Surely it was only weeks ago they were at uni, drinking pink Lambrini through jumbo straws and wondering why everyone was into dubstep? Yet here they were, prematurely middle-aged singletons, moaning about everything. At least Ame and Dana looked like adults, Tig thought sadly, looking down at her clothes. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d worn something that wasn’t tie-dye coloured or some sort of elasticated fabric. She was sure she used to wear clothes that weren’t yoga pants, once upon a time. When she’d first lost weight, she’d experimented wearing all those skimpy little clothes she’d never felt comfortable wearing, but the truth was, even a few stone lighter, she still didn’t feel comfortable. It just wasn’t her. So she’d reverted to her hippie clothing, and tried to ignore the fact that, more and more every day, she seemed to be turning into her parents.

The rest of the meal seem to pass easily enough, and Tig concentrated on focusing individually on their problems, but had long since stopped trying to offer solutions. Ame simply wanted to moan, and Dana seemed to offer up work problems because she didn’t want to moan about anything important, but didn’t want to be left out.

‘You coming?’ Ame asked, putting her coat on and leaving a tip on the table. Dana had already run for the DLR to get to Greenwich. Ame and Tig always travelled home together after the dinners, but tonight she just didn’t feel like it.

‘I’ve got to collect some stuff from Ruby, and then I think I might go to the studio for a few hours. All this talk about my photography has got me thinking,’ she lied, hoping Ame would just let it go for once.

‘You’re going to go now? How will you get home?’

‘Probably call Sergei for a cab, don’t worry about me.’ Tig hugged her best friend, inhaling the ever-present smell of Chanel No. 5 that had always defined her, even when they met in the bar during Freshers’ Week.

‘I’m not worried about you! What if I get attacked on the way home?’ Ame said, appalled. It took a second for that glint to appear in her eye, and for Tig to realise she was joking. It had been ages since she’d been able to properly read her best friend.

The minute Ame was through the door, Tig collapsed back into her chair, breathing a deep sigh of relief. It was the first time she’d felt able to breathe all night.

‘Here you go.’ The new barman reappeared with a large glass of red wine. ‘You look like you need it.’

‘I’ve been getting that a lot today,’ she frowned. ‘Do I look like an alcoholic?’

‘You look like someone sitting in a bar with a sad, wistful look. And when I bring women chocolate cake to cheer them up, they look at me like I’m the devil.’

Tig raised an eyebrow. ‘You need to hang out with better women.’

‘I’m trying,’ he grinned.

She tensed, then decided that maybe, yes, not every man needed the Wrath of Tig. Especially when they had green eyes and toned arms and tattoos. Not that he wouldn’t turn out to be a massive dick, and it wasn’t like it mattered, but ... well, he was quite nice to look at. And he brought her wine. And there was the possibility that he might bring her cake.

‘We didn’t do the name thing,’ Tig gestured between them.

‘Right. I’m Ollie.’ He reached out to shake her hand, whilst she stared at him before shaking back briefly.

‘Formal. Okay.’

‘You’re Tig. Ruby said you’re a regular,’ Ollie nodded. ‘What’s Tig short for?’

‘Tigerlily.’

‘Bullshit!’ He laughed, and watched as she raised an eyebrow, crossing her arms.

‘Um, and by that I mean, my name is Ollie and I’m new here and nervous and jetlagged and once again going to use every excuse I can to undo what I just said. Tigerlily. I like it.’ He made a face, wincing at her to see if her stern impression had weakened. ‘How about if I give you free chocolate cake and back away slowly? That sound good?’

She broke, smiling a little to herself. Somehow he was even more appealing chewing at his lip, nervously dragging a hand across his jaw. It was nice not to be the one saying the wrong thing for once.

‘It’s okay. I get it a lot. My parents are hippies.’ She paused. ‘Also, today is the first time in months I’ve managed to talk to a man without wanting to throttle him for things that my ex did, so, you know, congratulations on that. I’m afraid I don’t have a prize for you.’

Ollie tilted his head to the side like he was trying to tell if she was joking. ‘Okay, in which case, definitely cake. Let’s try and keep this whole “not throttling me” business going.’

He had a nice voice, she decided, warm, with a slight American lilt behind the London sharpness. She wondered what that was about, whether he was jetlagged from a trip back from America. And then Tig realised it was none of her business. But she smiled again, and shrugged, because you never turn down cake. A yell from behind the bar broke the moment, and he grinned, saluting. ‘Lovely to meet you, Miss Tigerlily, I’ll return with your bribe momentarily.’ He went to walk away. ‘Oh, wait, Ruby said you’d left these papers here?’

He placed a collection of letters and notes on the table, smiling as he rushed back to the bar.

Tig traced the mosaic tabletop with her fingers, riffling through the papers absentmindedly as she sipped her wine. Things were changing, she could tell. Everything was already starting to get better. Her positive attitude had created a positive situation. Maybe this rut was finally done.

There was an unopened envelope in the pile, thick and cream, her name written in royal blue ink. It looked official. Tamara was probably getting married, or Dahlia, or any of the other nice enough posh birds from uni that she had never really been close to, but who still insisted on calling her ‘bestie’ and crushing her ribcage whenever she ran into them on Essex Road.

She opened it, noticing the sweet lace edging, the soft feel of the textured paper. Expensive. She’d spent ages looking at invitations. She’d gone with a more informal feel, more shabby chic, laid-back. More like them ... like her.

She scanned through the parents to the names of the happy couple. She thought she would fall off her chair with the shock, and held tight to the table for fear the world was turning on its axis. Darren was getting married. The bastard.




Thursday, 19 February 2015

Review: My So Called (Love) Life by A.L. Michael






Out Now
Published by Carina
Purchase from Amazon here

Blurb:

Meet Tigerlily James: romance cynic, North Londoner and die-hard margarita fan.
Tigerlily James has been a member of the Young and Bitter Club ever since she was dumped on Valentine’s day. By her fiancĂ©.

Surviving on a diet of cynicism and margarita-fuelled ‘Misery Dinners’ with her best friends, she’s become a romance free zone…and that’s the way she likes it. Until an invitation for The Ex’s wedding arrives. Suddenly in need of a plus one, Tig has little choice but to bin the takeaways, ditch the greying underwear collection…and start pretending to view the opposite sex as something other than target practice.

Then, she meets Ollie – ie. the perfect solution. No sex. No strings. Fake boyfriend. The only catch is that she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for three whole months. Dating without the heartbreak: the best idea Tig’s ever had, right? Wrong!


My Review:

Welcome to the world of Tigerlily (Tig). Having been unceremoniously dumped just five days before her wedding to Darren, the only man she has been with since she was In her teens, Tig is trying to pull her world back together. As we meet Tig she is meeting up with her two best friends, having their regular weekly 'misery dinner'. Each of them is going through problems and are stuck in their own ruts. Meeting up gives them a chance to put the world to rights, and allows us to find out a bit about them.

Tig is a keen and great photographer and as part of her whole wedding preparations had started wedding photography herself, however since Darren dumped her she has lost interest in this, and anything wedding related. We find out that photography was a real passion for her, and she was due to fly off abroad just as Darren had proposed, and demanded she give this up for him. Yeah, can't you tell I don't like him at all!! Watch out for the scene of the themed wedding....I roared laughing at it!

To add insult to injury Tig receives an invitation in the post to Darren's forthcoming wedding! There is only one way to deal with the revelation that he has found someone and settling down, and that is of course to go out and get a drink. So she heads off to Enchanted, her local go to place. I get a feeling she is part of the furniture who often pops in for a drink or a cup of coffee.

Enter Ollie......Ollie is the barman at Enchanted who gets chatting to Tig, and whilst talking finds out what has happened. Ollie offers to go to the wedding as Tig's plus one if she decides to go. He is due to move to the Bahamas in a few months time, but proposes that until he goes he introduces her to the dating game and become a fake boyfriend to increase her confidence.

The rest of the book follows Tig as she learns to have fun, date and laugh again. Her relationship with Ollie is gorgeous. Not only is he hot, he is such fun and sexy as hell. Whilst they vow not to cross the line it isn't long before the inevitable happens. I loved the chemistry between them and the storyline went on found myself willing them to both realise how much they like eachother, and that they both feel the same way.

Whilst most of the book is about Tig and Ollie it would be wrong not to mention Ame and Dana, her best friends. I loved them both and found myself wanting to be part of their gang. I loved finding out more about their demons and just how close their friendships actually are. Whilst I love a good romance, what I really love in a book is a great, strong friendship and I could picture theirs really clearly. I could picture myself at the weekly misery dinners and moaning to them about my woes.

As Tig becomes happier she starts to expand her comfort zone and blossom. She becomes interested in her photography again and seems to get her mojo back. This also rubs off on her friends and after one particularly difficult scene with them, which became a turning point, I could feel the mood of the book lifting and lots of fun being had.

Of course, as with any good will they, wont they romance, towards the end of the book it all goes a bit wonky. Will they ever be brave enough to talk about how they feel? Will either of them make sacrifices to make it work? Do they really love each other? Aha....read it and find out!!

I really enjoyed the book. It is a great pick me up and motivate me story as well as feeling like you have met a bunch of people you would really like to hang out with and become friends with. Whilst being light hearted I felt there are some really important life messages in there too, and they certainly resonated with me. There is one particular part that I felt drawn to. Tig talks about it taking a special person who can come into someone's life, teach them to be better, make them feel safe enough to grow, and leave them in a better place than you met them. This is so true and so powerful. It is the greatest gift someone can give you and I feel blessed that reading this book made me reflect on how lucky I am to have people in my life that make me feel this way.

My So Called (Love) Life is a fabulous read. It is romantic, fun, sentimental and a story which reminds you how important friendship and love is. I loved it and it has left me appreciating life and feeling upbeat and in love with life.

Thank you to the publisher who provided a copy in return for an honest review.






How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie by Gina Henning



Out Now
Published by Carina
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

A warm pie. A tasty guy. Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Lauren Hauser is home for the holidays, and she’s been given a challenge: preparing her grandmother’s pecan pie. The problem? Lauren’s not famed for her baking skills. In fact, while her sister would win Star Baker every week, and her mom at least knows a sieve from a spatula, Lauren’s bakes have always been more dangerous than delicious!

Still, no Thanksgiving would be complete without dessert…which is why Lauren finds herself searching for pecans on Thanksgiving Eve. Stumbling into a gorgeous stranger laden down with bags of pecans seems like a holiday miracle…but despite Jack’s kissable lips he’s frostier than a snow cone…and out of sight before she can say ‘Macy’s Parade’!

As the clock counts down to Thanksgiving dinner, Lauren is running out of time. And without her grandmother’s perfect pecan pie it won’t be a very Happy Thanksgiving!
What Lauren needs is a knight in shining armour. And it might just be that the magic of Thanksgiving will find her one after all…


My review:

How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie is the first in the 'How to Bake' series of books by Gina Henning. This first one is set at thanksgiving, and follows Lauren in her quest to bake the perfect pecan pie for the family thanksgiving meal. Lauren is a bit of the outsider when it comes to family baking, with her Grandmother and Sister stealing star baker crowns. However, this year her Grandmother has entrusted Lauren with the special, secret recipe for the perfect pecan pie.

Determined not to let her down, and to follow the recipe to the letter and produce a lie to be proud of, Lauren sets off for her pecans, which must be bought from one special supplier. Cue the start of a comedy of errors. It starts badly when the van she has borrowed from her Mum is playing up, and gets worse when she reaches the suppliers in time to see that they have sold out of the exact amount of pecans she needs.

Enter Jack....laden down with so many pecans that Lauren is sure he will spare her some. Or maybe not! From the outset there appears to be a clear attraction between them, but there is also no chance that Jack will part with any of his stock.

Dejectedly Lauren drives away and just when she thinks she is done for, things all change again. The van breaks down and she is forced to start walking in atrocious conditions until Jack drives up along side and picks her up. Within the confines of his car they are forced to get to know eachother. Will be relent and help Lauren in her ambition to create her perfect pecan pie? Or will he continue to put scanners in the works?

First off, don't be out off reading this book because it centres around thanksgiving. I didn't read it at the time and it didnt make me enjoy the book any less. Thanksgiving provides the backdrop, but this can be easily enjoyed at any time of year.

I really enjoyed the story. It is easy to follow and has some funny moments that made me laugh and cheered me up. I don't want to give the plot away, but there is a twist that I didn't see coming invoking the Grandmother who is living in a nursing home that made me smile and bought the storyline together in a warm sweet way.

I had read mixed reviews about the book, so wasnt quite sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed it. I found Lauren a likeable character, if not a little naive. She wanted to make her family proud, and not be belittled by her sister who it seemed to me is a bit of the star. The plot is quite predictable. Lauren sees Jack, Jack is a nightmare, before becoming the knight in shining armour. The spark is there but will romance have a chance to blossom? To me these ingredients often make for a fun, romantic read, and this is no exception. I also really liked the family, who would be great to spend an evening having dinner with.

All in all a well written, fun, romantic story with talk of food included which is always a winner for me!! I will definitely be reading the next instalment 'How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake'.

Thank you to Carina for providing a copy in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Hope to Die by James Patterson




Out Now
Published by Randomhouse
Purchase from Amazon here


The Blurb

This is the mind-blowing sequel to Cross My Heart.

Detective Alex Cross is being stalked by a psychotic genius, forced to play the deadliest game of his career. Cross's family – his loving wife Bree, the wise and lively Nana Mama, and his precious children--have been ripped away. Terrified and desperate, Cross must give this mad man what he wants if he has any chance of saving the most important people in his life. The stakes have never been higher: What will Cross sacrifice to save the ones he loves?

Widely praised by the greatest crime and thriller writers of our time, Cross My Heart set a jaw-dropping story in motion. Hope to Die propels Alex Cross's greatest challenge to its astonishing finish, proving why Jeffery Deaver says "nobody does it better" than James Patterson.


My Review

I can't tell you how much I love the Alex Cross series. If you have read Cross My Heart you will know what a cliffhanger it ended on. Hope to Die is book number 22 in the Alex Cross series, and having read them all I feel a close affinity to the family, a bit like a fly on the wall who has watched them go through good times and bad, and become quite attached to them. So the cliffhanger really took my breath away and has left me on tenter hooks for twelve months, eagerly waiting this new book to find out their fate.

Hope to Die has certainly not disappointed me, and was, as always, filled with action and twists and turns. As the story starts we still don't know what has become of the Cross family. A couple of bodies have been found, but it is not confirmed who they are. I couldnt imagine that this was it, the end the Cross family, but I really wasnt sure where it was going at all.

The chapters, as you come to expect with James Patterson books are short, which allows us readers to quickly flit between scenes, and follow both the bad guys as well as Alex. For me this approach always makes the books feel more energised and fast paced, which adds to the tension.

With suspicion mounting in some quarters that he is to blame Alex takes to the road in a cat and mouse race against time as the search goes on. At the same time as following Alex as he closes in on the truth we also follow those who have taken his family. As we visit various locations we learn more about the serial killer who has taken his family captive. There are a few gruesome scenes amongst these as well, particularly involving pigs and alligators! The descriptions certainly had the imagination going.

The 'baddie' in this book is particularly nasty, and it takes a long time for Alex Cross and the others to work out who is behind it all. Throughout this time I could feel the clock ticking away on his family's lives and I really wasn't sure what the outcome would be.

I have always loved the relationship between Alex and his partner John. They would do anything for eachother and make a formidable partnership. However in this book I loved the partnership between Alex and his foster daughter Ava. She is one smart cookie, and with a gorgeous heart. I have come to really like her as a character and the way she forms part of the unofficial investigation team in this book is brilliant.

Will there be a happy ending? Oh, I can't possibly say......

But I love James Patterson books, and the Cross family in particular, and I hope this isn't the last we will see of them.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tied up with Love by Amelia Thorne


Out now
Published by Carina
Purchase from Amazon here

You can read chapter one of the book by clicking here



The Blurb:

‘We’re from KMW. Do exactly as you’re told and you won’t get hurt...'

Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kidnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his 'Kidnap My Wife' sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity…

Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous 'bad boy' Mr Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan's life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it?


My review

I loved Amelia Thorne's debut novel, Beneath the Moon and the Stars, so have been really looking forward to seeing if she could match it. And the answer is a resounding yes!! Tied up with Love is another smasher that I devoured. Full of romance and action Tied up with Love had me riveted from the start. Funny, compelling, warm sassy and fun characters, Tied up with Love really grabbed me and didnt let me go.

We kick off with quite a bang as the main character Izzy is kidnapped off the street and driven away to a big house. It sounds like a thriller right? Wrong! Izzy has actually been kidnapped by 'KMW' which stands for Kidnap My Wife, a company run by Ethan Chase and his family. The company works with couples looking to spice up their sex lives by indulging in some fantasy scenarios. They have taken Izzy in a case of mistaken identity, and in the kerfuffle afterwards Izzy ends up negotiating to temporarily come and work for the company until she goes off to Australia.

As readers we quickly see a spark of attraction between Izzy and Ethan, but neither of them initially acts on it. Izzy is aware of Ethan's reputation, a long standing feud between the two families, and Ethan's surliness. Whilst Ethan seems very reluctant to even consider having a relationship. This combines to make us readers think that neither of them will act on their attraction...well not for a while anyway!  As the story develops we find out more about their past and what is behind their reluctance. We particularly get to know more about Ethan's past, and as it is revealed it definitely changes my opinion of him.

I loved both the concept and the characters in this book. Kidnap My Wife is a brilliant, very clever and such a funny idea. Having your partner kidnapped in broad daylight and driven to a house where they can recreate fantasies could be viewed as sleazy, but it is written so fantastically that it is really funny. It adds a real feel of humour to the book that I laughed at and really enjoyed. I was drawn to Izzy and really liked her as a person. She has a gat mixture of strength and vulnerability. We see her falling for Ethan bit by bit, and I could feel all the angst that goes with it, as well as enjoying the lighter, and at times sexier moments!!That said I loved Ethan too, particularly as the layers were peeled away. He is a complex creature with a past that has moulded his present. Having two such likeable main characters made the book so easy to get engrossed in. The side characters also play their part and helped develop the storyline and empathy for Izzy and Ethan.

Amelia Thorne has once again shown that she is a rising star. I love her style of writing. Full of humour, emotion, and action, her characters are sassy but with a softer more loveable side too. I was flitting between laughing at a scene one moment, before flipping back to the more serious emotion of wanting to knock their heads together to give them the happy ending I wanted to see. Amelia is very talented in being able to draw readers in and keep them engrossed from start to finish. I am happily singing her praises and recommending her books to my friends.  I am already eagerly waiting for the next of Amelia's fab books.


Saturday, 14 February 2015

The List by Joanne Bolouri


Out Now
Published by Quercus
Purchase from Amazon here


The Blurb

Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn't feel fabulous. It's been a year since she found her boyfriend Alex in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution.

The List: ten things she's always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached.

Simple, right?

Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe's got her work cut out for her.



My Review:

I had heard so many great things about this book I was itching to read it, and was absolutely delighted to be approved for a review copy.

If you want a book that will make you laugh (alot) this could be the one for you to pick up. Phoebe and her exploits had me laughing throughout. A word of warning that it does contain lots of references to sex, and some scenes set in the bedroom (and other locations), but it is all written with great humour, and I wouldn't say in an offensive way at all.

We start the book on New Year's Day. Phoebe has been single for a year since she walked in and found her boyfriend in bed with another woman. She and her friends are at their annual New Years get together when she decides that she wants to come up with a list of things to achieve in the coming year. However this list is slightly less conventional than usual as they are all based around sex and things she wants to try, such as having a threesome etc.

The book is written in diary format, and we follow her throughout the next 12 months as one by one she works her way down the list. Her best friend Lucy is very encouraging of this and some of their conversations about making the list happen are hilarious. I loved the banter between the two of them.

Phoebes other best friend is Oliver.  They have been friends for a long while, but after many chats with Lucy, Phoebe wonders if Oliver might also be the perfect friend to help her tick off her list. Oliver of course is more than happy to volunteer his services for the greater good. Cue hilarious scenes of them as they work through the ten items listed.

But will they remain friends? Or will it lead to more? Or destroy their friendship? I loved watching how the intimacy impacted on their relationship, and I guess I liked seeing how it affected the way that Phoebe views Oliver.

Yes, this book is hilariously funny, and yes, it is rude. But it is also touching. There are some lovely scenes as well, and some twists and turns that you wouldn't necessarily expect.

I loved Phoebe. A bit of a Bridget Jones character in some ways. She has a great personality who I found it easy to click with and warm to. Her approach to her list raises a smile. But I also found myself feeling protective towards her and not wanting to see her get hurt. It is obvious that her ex-boyfriend hurt her alot, and because she is so instantly likeable I didnt want to see her embarking on her list unless she was totally happy with it.

I would love to be part of this friendship group. They have eachothers backs totally, and a 100% loyal. But they would also be great fun to hang out with. Nothing would be off limits and I think there would be alot of laughter.

This is a book that will have you laughing out loud, I raised a few eyebrows in public when I couldn't hold my laughter in. I found it hard to put down, and would like to see what happens after the diary ends. It's full of fun, sex, and friendship. You may want to read it first before giving it to a parent, aunt etc though!

Thank you to the publisher to provided a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Blog Tour: What Happens in Tuscany by T.A. Williams

,
Happy Friday!

I am so pleased to be part of the blog tour for T.A. Williams new book 'What Happens in Tuscany'. Thank you so much to Trevor for taking time to write a piece for my blog, and to Karan at Bliss Book Promotions for all her help.

I have been alucky enough to review and loved  What Happens in Tuscany as well as Trevor's last Book When Alice Met Danny.

Below you can read a bit about What Happens in Tuscany. What inspired Trevor to write the book, and a bit about Trevor himself.

You can enter to win a copy of What Happens in Tuscany by clicking here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway




Title: What Happens in Tuscany
Author: T.A. Williams
Release Date: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Carina UK
Genre: Chick Lit

Summary

From rainy England

Katie never imagined her life was perfect. But when she finds herself on a rainy street, soaked to the bone and with only a cheating boyfriend and a dead-end job keeping her in town, she knows something has to change. Which is what leads her to Iddlescombe Manor, to be companion to Victoria Chalker-Pyne the only 25 year old Katies ever met who hasnt heard of Twitter, thinks camisoles are de rigueur, and desperately needs an education in the 21st century!

to the Tuscan sun!

But it wouldnt be an education without a summer holiday and where better than Tuscany? Decamping to Victorias family villa, its soon clear that the valley really does have it all: sun, seaand some seriously gorgeous neighbours. The only question is: when the weathers this hot, the wine is this smooth and the local men are this irresistiblewill Katie ever want to make the journey home?
Buy Links





How did I come up with the idea for What Happens in Tuscany ?

   The honest answer is that I’m not sure. I can narrow it down to the beginning of July last year, but I’m not totally sure exactly what sparked it off.
   The premise, for those who haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, is that Victoria has been kept cooped up for years and years by her crazy, over-protective father. So much so that she needs to engage the services of Katie to help ease her into the 21st century. She’s never owned a computer, never been to the cinema, never watched television and, significantly, never been out with a man. She has grown up on a diet of classic authors like Emily Bronte and Jane Austen, and she sounds like one of their characters.
   When my previous book, When Alice Met Danny, came out in June last year, it got a lot of good reviews. The handful of critical ones mainly didn’t like the fact that the language of some of the characters was a bit “old fashioned”. Maybe it was that. Maybe that sowed the seed. You see, I can empathise with Victoria. Here I am, a 65 year old man, trying to think myself into the mindset and speech patterns of thirty year old girls. That in itself is not necessarily as unusual as it sounds. As any author will tell you, it’s all about imagination in this game. In a way, it’s not that different from writing about medieval monks or World War 1 soldiers. However, the historical stuff is a lot easier and safer, for one main reason. There aren’t any medieval monks or Tommies from the trenches left to read about themselves and object. There are, however, a lot of thirty year old girls who have been buying my books.
   So, last summer I found myself reading back through When Alice Met Danny, trying to pick out the anachronisms, looking for the words or phrases that don’t sit well on the lips of somebody half my age and of the opposite sex. I suppose that led me to the idea of writing a story where the same sort of translation exercise is taking place. So you will find things like this in What happens in Tuscany

   ‘So is anybody courting you at the moment?’
   Katie laughed. ‘No, Victoria, people stopped courting about a hundred years ago. I think you want to ask if I’m seeing anybody at the moment. Or if there’s somebody after me.’

   Or:
  
   Victoria was nodding. ‘I do think he’s really rather appealing.’
   Although she was tired, Katie couldn’t let that go uncorrected. ‘Vicky, we don’t describe men as appealing any more. You could try saying you find him dreamy or, if it’s more than that, you could always say you fancy the pants off him.’
   Victoria gawped and then dissolved into a fit of giggles. ‘Katie! I couldn’t possibly say anything like that.’

   The other reason why I liked the idea of somebody struggling with modernity was my own personal (and ongoing) struggle with social media. For an old man like me, being catapulted into the complexities of Facebook and Twitter has not been easy! So my sympathy lies very firmly with Victoria in her struggle to embrace all things modern. It’s a struggle I share with her.


Author Biography



Firstly, my name isn't T A. It's Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife...

I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isnt always very fair. It isnt always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know Ive done my job.

Ive lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. Thats why youll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador. 

I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.

Social Networking Links