Monday, 1 September 2014

Summer 2014

 
We've had a sort-of summer in 2014. It started off well, at least. And then by mid-August, autumn made an early appearance. Still, we've had some fun this summer (even if some of it had to be indoors).
 
At the beginning of August - before the over-eager autumn arrived - we had a trip to Chester Zoo. It did rain a little bit but we had a brilliant time.
 

 
We also sent off for some caterpillars to watch them transform into butterflies
 
 
and grew some sunflowers (although this is the only one that has opened so far. The others ARE on their way though).
 
 
We did some crafts:
 



 
And the kids took part in the library's summer reading challenge:
 
 
But mostly, summer 2014 in this house has been all about loom bands and the Frozen soundtrack. Yep, while the sun has (supposedly) been shining, my kids have been singing about building a snowman.
 
I hope you've all had a good summer (weather aside). I'm now looking forward to giving autumn a proper welcome (it's my favourite season) and once the kids are back in school (tomorrow and Wednesday), I'll be getting back into my writing routine!
 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Everything Changes But You Preview: Chapter Two

 
 
My second novel, Everything Changes But You will be published on 16th September (you can pre-order from Amazon here). Every Friday until publication I will be uploading a new chapter onto Wattpad to give you a taste of what is to come.
 
Chapter One was posted last week (view here) and Chapter Two is now available here
 
You can also add Everything Changes But You on Goodreads here 
 
 


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Book of the Month: August

 
Liberty Silk
 
by
 
Kate Beaufoy
 
 
One beautiful dress is the key to three brave women's destinies.

France 1919: Jessie is celebrating the last heady days of her honeymoon. But when her husband suddenly disappears she finds herself bereft. Until a chance encounter thrusts her into the centre of the intoxicating world of Parisian high life.

Hollywood 1945: Lisa has come a long way from her quiet, unassuming life in London and is taking Hollywood by storm. But all that glitters is not gold, and as the smoke and mirrors of the lifestyle she so longed for shatter around her there are some secrets she can never escape.

London 1965: Cat, headstrong and independent, drawn to danger and passionately opposed to injustice, has no idea of the legacy that precedes her. Once past secrets are unveiled, she has the chance to find out what liberty really means...

An evocative story of survival, betrayal and the invincibility of love.
 
*     *     *     *      *
 
Liberty Silk spans from the 1920s to the 1960s as we follow the lives of Jessie, Lisa and Cat. I devoured the pages and didn't want to put the book down as the stories of the three women unfolded. I loved the settings and felt fully immersed as we travelled from London and Ireland to France and Hollywood. Liberty Silk is a poignant, gripping tale that I would highly recommend.

 
You can see my full review of Liberty Silk here

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

My Summer Reads: My Book of the Summer

 
At the beginning of July I compiled my reading list for the summer. I've now read all of the books on the list so now it's time to pick my Book of the Summer.
 
The books on my summer reading list have been a mix of fun, romantic comedies to beautiful novels set in gorgeous locations. While I've enjoyed all of the books on my list, one book in particular stood out. For me, Liberty Silk was a real page-turner. I devoured the book, gorging myself on the lives of Jessie, Lisa and Cat. It was such a great read and I'd highly recommend it.
 
 
 
One beautiful dress is the key to three brave women's destinies.

France 1919: Jessie is celebrating the last heady days of her honeymoon. But when her husband suddenly disappears she finds herself bereft. Until a chance encounter thrusts her into the centre of the intoxicating world of Parisian high life.

Hollywood 1945: Lisa has come a long way from her quiet, unassuming life in London and is taking Hollywood by storm. But all that glitters is not gold, and as the smoke and mirrors of the lifestyle she so longed for shatter around her there are some secrets she can never escape.

London 1965: Cat, headstrong and independent, drawn to danger and passionately opposed to injustice, has no idea of the legacy that precedes her. Once past secrets are unveiled, she has the chance to find out what liberty really means...

An evocative story of survival, betrayal and the invincibility of love.


 
You can see my review of Liberty Silk here
 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

It Had To Be You by Ellie Adams

 
 
Lizzy Spellman is mortified when she is dumped by her boyfriend, Justin. Not only is it completely unexpected, it is in a room full of people and one of those people happen to be recording the dumping on their phone. With the footage uploaded to YouTube, Lizzy becomes famous overnight. Trying to shed herself of her woman-dumped-on-YouTube persona, Lizzy attempts to move on from Justin and find love again.
 
I was really looking forward to reading It Had To Be You as I was immediately drawn to the vibrant cover and the book sounded like the perfect romantic comedy. On the whole, I thought It Had To Be You was a good read. For me, it did take quite a while for the main story to kick in after the initial YouTube dumping, but the story is certainly fun with a great set of characters. I loved Lizzy's best friends, Nic and Poppet and while they have completely different outlooks on love and life, I thought they made a very believable group of friends. I really liked Poppet and her ideal Disney-type romance and I kept hoping that she would meet her Prince Charming.
 
It Had To Be You is full of fun characters and there were some great laugh-out-loud moments. Lizzy works in PR and some of her clients provided a lot of laughs but I did feel that some of these scenes slowed down the plot at times. I was waiting for Lizzy to meet Elliott and begin her mission to prove him wrong in the matters of love as promised in the blurb but, while they do meet briefly, this part of the story doesn't happen until quite late on.
 
Overall, I thought It Had To Be You was quite an enjoyable, fun read with a great mix of characters.

Monday, 25 August 2014

My Summer Reads: My Top 5 Summer Covers

 
Sunshine, sparkling seas, ice-creams. What's not to love about a summer book cover? I love the colours used in summer colours - pretty shades of pinks and blues or vibrant oranges and greens against a shimmery blue sea.
 
Here are my top 5 summer covers:
 
 
The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon
 
 
The Summer of Secrets by Alison Lucy
 
 
Sunlounger by various authors
 
 
Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements
 
 
Ice Creams At Carrington's by Alex Brown
 
 
What are your favourite summer covers?
 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Blog Tour: The Postcard by Leah Fleming

 

Today I'm pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for The Postcard with a Q&A with the author Leah Fleming.

Can you tell us about your new book?
My new book: The Postcard is a quest to find long lost family ties before it is too late. Melissa takes up her Australian father’s dying wish to find his uncertain ancestry in Britain. All she has with her is a shoe box full of photographs, a medal and a postcard. From a WW1 theatrical star, to a Special agent of the SOE, she finds each generation of women in danger of repeating the very mistakes of their mothers and fathers ( including herself). But a tough fighting spirit runs through this family. This overcomes many of the obstacles in solving this quest.

What was your inspiration for The Postcard?
The inspiration behind this book was how simple communication by letter, postcard or face to face confessions are so important. A lost postcard can change lives forever. A truth withheld can break relationships. I was also inspired by the bravery of the female agents of WW2 who sacrificed family life for patriotic duty and many paid a supreme price for their choice.

What has been your greatest experience of being a published writer?
One great experience of being a published writer is receiving letters and emails from all over the world. This gift of giving me feedback is so welcome . I love to hear how my stories have stirred up memories of the past or encouraged someone to start writing.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
To inspiring authors I would say, read, read and read above your level, respect your art by accepting it is a process that takes time to get right and trust your “own voice” it will show you where you sing best.

What was the first book you ever bought yourself?
The first book I bought for pleasure must have been Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn or Frenchman’s Creek back in the mists of time. What a storyteller!

What was the last book you read?
I am currently reading Peter Robinson’s Abbatoir Blues. I don’t read my own genre fiction when I am writing a book but a good crime fits the bill especially a series set in the Dales.

Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
The Title: The Little Shop of Pearls came to me in the middle of the night a few months ago so I am following where it leads and researching in Scotland , USA and York at the moment. It will be out next year if I can get a move on…

Thanks for asking me to join you here.

Leah