Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Blog Tour: Catch Me If You Cannes (Part 4) by Lisa Dickenson

As part of the Catch Me If You Cannes blog tour, I'm posting a weekly review of each part. This week I'm sharing my thoughts on the final part!


Best friends Jess and Bryony are in Cannes for the film festival, with Bryony trying to find a story that will help her break away from trashy Sleb magazine and forge a more respectable career. While Bryony is busy sniffing out a big story, Jess has been getting loved up with hunky yacht owner, Leo. But Jess and Leo haven't been entirely truthful about themselves and their tangle of lies are about to unravel themselves.

I've really enjoyed the Catch Me If You Cannes series, so I'm sad that it has to come to an end. The series has been such a fun, quirky read and I'm going to miss the characters, especially Jess and the delicious Leo. Lisa Dickenson has created some fantastic characters, from Jess and Leo to journalist Bryony and stylist Richard. The whole cast has been a joy to get to know!

I really like Lisa Dickenson's style of writing; it's witty and so much fun but it has an ease to it too so you can curl up and feel completely relaxed as her characters go off on their adventures. Each part of Catch Me If You Cannes is the perfect length for settling down in the evening and devouring the pages and I liked that each ended on a cliff-hanger, leaving me itching to find out what would happen next. The whole series was a pleasure to read and I'm looking forward to seeing what Lisa has in store for us in the future.

 
 
About the author
Lisa Dickenson was born in the wrong body. She was definitely meant to be Beyoncé. Despite this hardship, she grew up in Devon attempting to write her own, completely copyright-infringing versions of Sweet Valley High, before giving Wales a go for university, and then London a go for the celeb-spotting potential. She's now back in Devon, living beside the seaside with her husband and forcing cream teas down the mouths of anyone who'll visit. She is sadly still not Beyoncé.
Lisa's first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, won the Novelicious Debut of the Year award. Her second novel, You Had Me at Merlot, was also an instant hit with readers who were won over by her wit, charm and naughty sense of humour. Follow her on Twitter for all her book news and Beyoncé-related chatter: @LisaWritesStuff

Friday, 22 May 2015

Cover Stars: The Vintage Guide To Love And Romance by Kirsty Greenwood

Gorgeous covers. Gorgeous covers everywhere
 
The Vintage Guide To
Love And Romance
 
by Kirsty Greenwood
 
 

Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.

Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras.

When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads - by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.

The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda's guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off . . .
 
*     *     *     *     *
 
The Vintage Guide To Love And Romance has quite a simple cover, with just the image of Jessica Beam, the title and author name and the tagline but I love all the little details within the image; the vintage red-and-white polka-dotted dress with the modern shoes and mobile phone. The image of Jessica is so striking and the red of her dress and the title really pops against the pale blue background, making this book difficult to miss of the shelf. You can't help being drawn to this cover as it's so eye-catchingly gorgeous!
 
 
You can see my review of A Vintage Guide To Love And Romance here or click to see all Cover Stars
 
 
If there's a cover you're bursting to shout out about, let us know by joining in Cover Stars!
More details here
 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Blog Tour: Catch Me If You Cannes (Part 3) by Lisa Dickenson

As part of the Catch Me If You Cannes blog tour, I'm posting a weekly review of each part. This week I'm sharing my thoughts on Part 3!


Jess and Bryony are in Cannes. While Bryony is being kept busy as a journalist, Jess is soaking up the sun, eating crepes and spending time with the lovely Leo. Jess is loving hanging out with Leo, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that she doesn't actually know that much about him. Bryony is convinced Leo is involved in some shady dealings, but Jess is determined to prove her best friend wrong.

So far Catch Me If You Cannes has been such a fun and vibrant read with lots of witty dialogue and hilarious escapades. Jess and Bryony have told a few teeny white lies while they've been in Cannes and they're beginning to unravel. I love watching as they try to claw their way back out of each mishap, hoping each time that they'll be able to pull it off.

I've really enjoyed Parts 1 and 2 of Catch Me If You Cannes and Part 3 has proven to be just as fun and intriguing. Just what is Leo up to? And will it wreck the relationship he is building with Jess? I hope not because I adore the relationship between Jess and Leo. They make such a cute couple, but there is definitely something dodgy that Leo isn't telling Jess. I'm itching to get started on Part 4 so that all will be revealed - but I'm also a little sad as its the final part and I don't want the series to end.

 
About the author
 
Lisa Dickenson was born in the wrong body. She was definitely meant to be Beyoncé. Despite this hardship, she grew up in Devon attempting to write her own, completely copyright-infringing versions of Sweet Valley High, before giving Wales a go for university, and then London a go for the celeb-spotting potential. She's now back in Devon, living beside the seaside with her husband and forcing cream teas down the mouths of anyone who'll visit. She is sadly still not Beyoncé.

Lisa's first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, won the Novelicious Debut of the Year award. Her second novel, You Had Me at Merlot, was also an instant hit with readers who were won over by her wit, charm and naughty sense of humour. Follow her on Twitter for all her book news and Beyoncé-related chatter: @LisaWritesStuff


Monday, 18 May 2015

#AmWriting A New Book

 
Having finished Book 3, I dived straight into Book 4 - and more quickly than I thought I would. I'm a planner. Some might say an over-planner. When I plan a book, I plan the hell out of it. I start out with an outline and character profiles and end up with chapter plans, with each scene planned and even bits of dialogue. I've found this is what works for me.
 
Until now.
 
Book 4 has been completely different for me. I usually know the story pretty well in my head before I start planning. I've thought about my characters and what they'll get up to (some people may call this daydreaming. And it is. And it's fun) so I have a good idea about the plot before I even start to plan.
 
Not with Book 4. With Book 4 I had a main character and a few friends and family members and I had a title. But that's it. I had no plot. Nothing.
 
So it was time to start brainstorming. Who was Delilah James (apart from my character, that is) and what was her story?
 
 
I spent some time jotting down details about Delilah's life; how old she was, her hobbies, her family, friends and colleagues and slowly ideas for a plot began to form. I wrote these ideas down, expanded on them and suddenly there it was; Delilah's story.
 
With only three measly pages containing a flowchart of the main story (as opposed to the 40-50 pages of chapter outlines), I began typing Chapter One. I hadn't expected to start quite so soon. I thought I had lots more planning to do (chapter outlines, people) but it felt like the right time. So I went with it and now I'm 30,000 words into my new book.
 
I still can't help planning ahead and I've scribbled down ideas on my flowchart as they've come to me but I'm quite liking the freedom of not having a rigid plan in place. This may come back and bit bite me on the arse further down the line, but for now it's working.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Blog Tour: The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) by Kate Winter

Today I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour of the fabulous The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) with a review of the book
 
 
Rosie Potter wakes one morning with what she assumes is a humongous hangover, but she soon discovers that she isn't hungover at all. She's dead. Her death is suspicious, but Rosie can't remember what happened that night. But she's going to find out.
 
I absolutely loved The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter. It's such a fun, laugh-out-loud read and I found myself giggling away as I read about Rosie's antics. With the main character being dead, it's quite a unique read but it leads to some hilarious moments. Rosie is such a brilliant character and I warmed to her immediately. She's bright and funny and I adored her. Rosie is invisible (being a ghost) so she can let go and really tell people what she thinks of them, which led to some hilarious moments. My favourite part of the book takes place in the local pub and involves Rosie kicking a stool across the room - I'm just glad I wasn't reading in public as I laughed so much!
 
As a ghost, Rosie has access to people and conversations she wouldn't normally have so she gets to see the village she lives in in a new light. There are secrets in Ballycarragh - including Rosie's untimely death - and Rosie is going to unearth them and find out what happened to her. As the secrets begin to unravel, we see that some people aren't what they seemed to begin with and I was itching to find out what was really going on. Rosie's best friend, Jenny hated Rosie's boyfriend and she couldn't understand why. Jack is fun and charming (and gorgeous) but with her new perspective, Rosie can really get to the bottom of the problem between Jenny and Jack. Like Rosie, I too wanted to know what had happened between the pair to create such animosity.
 
With the book ultimately being about death, it could have been quite a maudlin read, but it really wasn't. It's so witty and surprisingly light and romantic. Rosie is quite a mischievous ghost and kept me entertained throughout. My chest was a little bit hurty by the end, but in a good way.
 
 
 
About the Author
 
 Kate Winter is a journalist, novelist and storyteller from the North West of Ireland who was lucky enough to grow up with no TV (though she didn't consider it a lucky break at the time) and lots of books. After graduating from University of Ulster with first class honours and the Ulster Television Award for her BA in Media Studies, Kate promptly forged a glittering career for herself in waitressing. Then one day, beside a swimming pool in Australia, Kate decided it was time to write a book. The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) is Kate's debut novel.

Follow Kate on @KatiCut
 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Blog Tour: The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall

Today I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog for The Italian Wife with a Q&A with the author, Kate Furnivall.

Welcome to the blog, Kate!

Hi, it’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Can you tell us about your new book?

The Italian Wife is set in Italy 1932 when Benito Mussolini was ruling the country with the iron fist of Fascism. It is an exciting tale full of conflict and ambition, about two people bound together by love and courage who face danger, ruthless ambition and corruption. Isabella Berotti is a young architect who has learned not to trust anyone after her husband was shot ten years earlier. She is working as part of a team building a grandiose new town to the glory of Fascism, when she has an unknown child thrust upon her. She struggles to protect the child, Rosa, from those in power who wish to use her for political intrigue and she enlists the help of the photographer, Roberto Falco. Together they search for the truth behind the secrets and the fear that cast their shadow over the town. It is a complex emotional story full of twists and turns.

What has been your greatest experience of being a published writer?

Without doubt it was my book tour of America. To be honest, I was green and virginal in the ways of authors when my first book, The Russian Concubine, came out in 2007 and shot on to the New York Times Bestseller list. I was stunned. And when I was invited by my wonderful American publisher to do a book tour of the US, it seemed to be the stuff that dreams are made of.

It started with a warm welcome in San Francisco, followed by stylish events in Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, New York and Boston, with a whirlwind of flights and limousines, of handshakes and smiles, of bookstores and restaurants. I was running on adrenaline and praise - it was intoxicating. A totally magical ten days that I will never forget.

What was the first book you ever bought yourself?

I didn’t buy books when I was young. I lived in the library instead. But I remember in my teens buying a book called ‘The Arrangement’ by Elia Kazan and holding it tight in my hands when I’d finished, thinking, ‘This is what I want to do one day. Write a book like this.’

What was the last book you read?

The last book I read was ‘Elizabeth is Missing.’ It is complex and totally compelling story of Maud, a woman with dementia. I was blown away by it. A brilliant debut novel. It is deeply harrowing but wickedly funny at the same time. I shall be looking out for more from Emma Healey.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

There is only one crucial piece of advice I would give:- read, read, read, and then write, write and write. Never stop doing both.

But other tips would be: be ruthless when editing and be prepared to kill off your darling sentences. Analyse what you read and work out what works for you, then go out and find a writing group to join – you’ll need all the support you can get. And ENJOY it!

Finally, what are you working on at the moment?

I confess, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave Italy. Not yet. So I am now deep into the story of Caterina Lombardi who, after her father dies, takes on his master-craftsman business and … No, I must stop there or I’ll say too much. It’ll be out on Kindle at the end of the year.

 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Blog Tour: Catch Me If You Cannes (Part 2) by Lisa Dickenson

As part of the Catch Me If You Cannes blog tour, I'm posting a weekly review of each part. This week I'm sharing my thoughts on Part 2!
 

In Part 1 of Catch Me If You Cannes, we are introduced to Jess and Bryony, two best friends who are in Cannes for the film festival. Jess and Bryony have concocted a few teeny white lies to fit in with the glamorous new friends they have made and Jess had met the lovely, yacht-owning Leo.

I loved Part 1 of the book as it was a lot of fun - and Part 2 is no different. Jess likes Leo and although they don't know that much about each other (yet), they're having a great time together. I really like the chemistry between Jess and Leo; it's fun and flirty but so natural too. The pair have an ease about them, as though they have known each other forever and I really hope things work out well for them. I get the feeling Leo is keeping something quite significant back from Jess and I'm looking forward to delving into Part 3 to find out what this may be!

As well as the chemistry between Jess and Leo, I'm really enjoying the strong friendship of Jess and Bryony. They're quite different in personality, but they work and obviously care about each other a lot. The have so much fun together (their conversations are so funny!) but you know that if either of them needed a cuddle or a good cry, the other would be there instantly to offer support (and wine).

So far, Catch Me If You Cannes has been an amusing read and I can't wait to find out what happens next!

 
 
About the author
 
Lisa Dickenson was born in the wrong body. She was definitely meant to be Beyoncé. Despite this hardship, she grew up in Devon attempting to write her own, completely copyright-infringing versions of Sweet Valley High, before giving Wales a go for university, and then London a go for the celeb-spotting potential. She's now back in Devon, living beside the seaside with her husband and forcing cream teas down the mouths of anyone who'll visit. She is sadly still not Beyoncé.

Lisa's first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, won the Novelicious Debut of the Year award. Her second novel, You Had Me at Merlot, was also an instant hit with readers who were won over by her wit, charm and naughty sense of humour. Follow her on Twitter for all her book news and Beyoncé-related chatter: @LisaWritesStuff