Friday, 31 January 2014

Book of the Month: January

 
 
Wake by Anna Hope
 
 
 

Five Days in November, 1920:

As the body of the Unknown Soldier makes its way home from the fields of Northern France, three women are dealing with loss in their own way: Hettie, who dances for sixpence a waltz at the Hammersmith Palais; Evelyn, who toils at a job in the pensions office, and Ada, a housewife who is beset by visions of her dead son. One day a young man comes to her door. He carries with him a wartime mystery that will bind these women together and will both mend and tear their hearts.

A portrait of three intertwining lives caught at the faultline between empire and modernity, Wake captures the beginnings of a new era, and the day the mood of the nation changed for ever.


*     *     *

I was looking forward to reading Wake, but never imagined how quickly it would draw me in - or how quickly I would devour the book. I was instantly hooked and didn't want to put the book down, finishing it within a day. I liked how the story was told over just five days without each day being drawn out. The characters felt very real to me and I warmed to each of them immediately, feeling the emotions and turmoil they were each experiencing.

You can see my full review of Wake next week.

Click here to see all Books of the Month
 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

A Beginner's Guide To Salad & Amazon Voucher Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway or shared it on Twitter and Facebook. Rafflecopter has selected the winners at random and they are:

First Place - ecopy of A Beginner's Guide To Salad, plus Amazon voucher:

Sheena


Runners Up - ecopy of A Beginner's Guide To Salad:

Sharon W &

Michaela B


Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your prizes.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Guest Post: J T Allen

Why Daisy Writes It Herself
by J. T. Allen

In the third chapter of the blog novel MY STUPID JOURNAL, Daisy Tannenbaum tells us this about arriving in Paris to live with her Aunt Millicent:

“My room had a window that looked out onto a cobbled courtyard, where black clouds, like a layer of tar, spread tight over Paris rooftops. It was raining, had been since the Air France jet touched runway. My own room. First time ever.” 


The Chapter is titled “A Room of My Own,” cribbed from Virginia Woolf of course, but it is doubtful whether Daisy, age twelve, knows that. She might. She’s a precocious reader from an academic family, but if she does know, she doesn’t let on.

She goes on to write:

“I’d always been thrown in with my sister, Clymene, as long as I could remember. It’s the most amazing thing, having your own room, your own desk, your own little desk lamp you can turn on and off without anybody biting your head off, even in the middle of the night; and nobody IM-ing all night with their toad boyfriend, keyboard clacking, and nobody sobbing under their covers when the toad doesn’t call; or playing some song over and over again because it reminds them of their toad and how lovely he is or how mean he is, or both, or neither.”

The romantic tribulations of her older sister hold no attraction for Daisy and tend to make her wary of boys, of sex, of growing up. But then she says this:

“That’s not to say I didn’t miss her. That’s the weird part. I really, really, really missed my stupid, messed-up family, including Clymene.”




Daisy is in exile. She is bitter and homesick and confused by her feelings. She wants to hate her sister and family but can’t quite bring herself to do it. As the story proceeds she’ll go on an immense adventure in a fantastic city, full of experiences she could never have imagined, growing into a person she could not have imagined becoming. She’ll never fully resolve this split in her feelings though—loving and missing her family while despising them for sending her away—but hopefully, and this is part of the fun of writing her story in first person, we the reader come to see some of the never-expressed wisdom of her parents, particularly her mother, who recognizes that Daisy is a girl who needs a room of her own.
 

•••• 
 
   


(MY STUPID JOURNAL, the second Daisy Tannenbaum adventure, to be released this summer, can be read in blog form at: http://www.daisytannenbaum.com/. Her first adventure, DAISY AND THE PIRATES, about being stuck on a remote island with her sister, divorced parents, and her dad’s new girlfriend, is now an ebook, available at Amazon (http://amzn.to/17paNuJ) and elsewhere.)

 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

A Beginner's Guide To... Ruth



Ruth is the main character from A Beginner's Guide To Salad. She's always been overweight and was bullied as a child because of it. When she receives an invitation to her high school reunion, she’s reluctant to go. Until she hatches a plan to lose weight and shock her former classmates.


Ruth’s parents are Louie and Vera. Her dad is overly enthusiastic about DIY. Her mum is not. Ruth has a brother, Stephen, who lives in New York with his American wife, Aubrey and their three children, Austin, Riley and Ryder.

Ruth works as a PA to Kelvin Shuttleworth, the General Manager of H. Woods Vehicles, a bus and coach manufacturers. She doesn’t always like her job so she takes every opportunity to have a skive and gossip with her friends and colleagues, Erin and Quinn.

In her spare time, Ruth loves nothing more than slouching on the sofa with her housemate and best friend, Billy and a family-sized bar of chocolate.


 
Here a few quick facts about Ruth:



·         Name: Ruth Lynch


·         Age: 28


·         Job: PA


·         Hair colour: Blonde


·         Eye colour: Blue

·         Favourite colour: Anything bright

·         Favourite film: You’ve Got Mail

·         Favourite food: Chocolate

·         Hobbies: watching TV, gossiping and shopping

·       Party trick: Can fit three digestive biscuits in mouth without breaking them


Ruth loves nothing more than curling up in front of the telly with a family-sized bar of chocolate. She doesn’t do diets and she certainly doesn’t do exercise. But all that changes when she’s invited to her school reunion.

Bullied at school for being overweight, Ruth’s first reaction is to rip the invitation into a million pieces. But then Ruth hatches a plan. She’ll lose the weight and arrive at the reunion looking gorgeous and glamorous, leaving her old classmates in awe. Especially her former crush, Zack O’Connell.

With the help of her friends and a new, unbelievably hot colleague, Ruth begins her transformation. With six months until the reunion, losing weight will be a piece of cake, right?

Monday, 27 January 2014

Cover Reveal: The Guestbook by Holly Martin

 
Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook!

As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider - whatever her colourful array of guests require. A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.

This includes Annie herself - especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.

Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling! 

Forget sending postcards saying 'wish you were here' - one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever.



The Guestbook is available on 14th February 2014


Cover Reveal: Millie & the American Proposal by Annabel Scott

Today I'm pleased to be part of the cover reveal for Annabel Scott's Millie & the American Proposal

 
Millie’s boyfriend James gets offered a job in Singapore, he accepts, thinking that she’ll give up her job and go with him. Only Millie gets offered a work secondment to New York which is too good an opportunity to turn down. When she arrives in the city, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one new in town; her ex-boyfriend, Rob, is back, and he’s separated from his wife. It’s time for Millie to work out what she wants from life. She’s got to decide whether she’s Team James or Team Rob as she gets her very own American Proposal.


Millie & the American Proposal is available on 11th February.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Cover Reveal: Hopelessly Devoted To Holden Finn by Tilly Tennant

 
'There’s only one man for Bonnie, and that’s Holden Finn.
 
The problem is that Holden Finn is a twenty-three-year-old pop megastar with his boy band, Every Which Way, and has no idea she exists. Not only that, but half the women in the world want to be Mrs Finn, including Bonnie’s teenage daughter, Paige. The real men in Bonnie’s life do nothing but let her down, but a man you can’t possibly have can never do that… right? She’s safe inside her fantasy bubble.
 
Then Paige wins a radio competition to meet Holden and the band, and Bonnie’s carefully-constructed world starts to unravel. She is about to find out that you should be very, very careful what you wish for …'
 
Please check out the cover reveal video...




About Tilly:

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset but now lives in Staffordshire with her slightly nutty family. Tilly is married to Mr Tennant (not that one, though a girl can dream). She likes nothing better than curling up in a quiet corner with a glass of wine watching the world go by, but can more usually be found taxiing her daughters to parties or taking them on emergency shopping trips. After a huge list of dismal and disastrous jobs over the years, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing, she began working as a temporary secretary in a hospital to boost her income whilst doing a degree in English and creative writing. This job lasted nine years. Not terribly temporary. But it does mean that she knows just what it’s like to make monumental admin cock-ups, spend the month’s wages in the hospital coffee shop and fall in love with all the doctors. As she’s a smug married, however, it’s fortunate that the doctors in question don’t usually feel the same way.

Tilly is represented by the wonderful, gorgeous Peta Nightingale at LAW.


 

Get in touch with Tilly:

Website:
http://tillytennant.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TillyTenWriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7204286.Tilly_Tennant
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TillyTennant?fref=ts

Competition:
WIN a £10 amazon gift voucher by commenting on Tilly's blog with your funniest celebrity crush encounter. Good luck to all who enter!
http://tillytennant.com/



Thursday, 23 January 2014

Giveaway Winners: A Beginner's Guide To Salad + Goodies


Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway or shared it on Twitter and Facebook. Rafflecopter has selected the winners at random and they are:

First Place - ecopy of A Beginner's Guide To Salad, plus goodies

Charlene W

Runners Up - ecopy of A Beginner's Guide To Salad

Kayleigh B &

Lindsay H



Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your prizes.

Don't forget, there is another giveaway still running at the moment to win an Amazon voucher here

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Calling All Authors and Book Bloggers!



Are you an author - either traditionally published or indie? Or perhaps you're a book blogger who'd like to have a jaunt around the blogosphere? Then I'd love to welcome you here.
 
I'm looking mainly for authors or fans of chick lit/women's fiction. If you're interested in appearing on the blog, simply send me an email to jenniferjoycewrites@gmail.com with your guest post and the images and links to your book and/or social media so people know where to find you.
 
As a vague guide, guest posts should be around 3-500 words and must be about books or writing. Possible topics could be:
  • inspiration behind your book
  • book titles
  • when you decided to become a writer
  • favourite books/authors
  • favourite childhood book
But feel free to be creative and write about your own topic - as long as it centres around books or writing!
 
If I'm going to use your post, I will email you with a date of when it will go up on the blog. Please make a note of it so you can let your friends and followers know when the time comes and you can also answer any comments that may be left for you.
 
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me at the above address.
 

Monday, 20 January 2014

A Beginner's Guide To Salad: The Blog Tour



Click to view the blog tour posts


[Extract: Spinning Class]

[Q&A + Extract: Cabbage Soup Diet]

[Q&A + Giveaway]

[Review]

[Inspiration behind A Beginner's Guide To Salad]

[Q&A + Review]

[Ruth's Top Ten songs]

[Choosing Character's Names]

[Guest Post: Deciding To Self-Publish
A Beginner's Guide To Salad]




Ruth loves nothing more than curling up in front of the telly with a family-sized bar of chocolate. She doesn’t do diets and she certainly doesn’t do exercise. But all that changes when she’s invited to her school reunion.

Bullied at school for being overweight, Ruth’s first reaction is to rip the invitation into a million pieces. But then Ruth hatches a plan. She’ll lose the weight and arrive at the reunion looking gorgeous and glamorous, leaving her old classmates in awe. Especially her former crush, Zack O’Connell.

With the help of her friends and a new, unbelievably hot colleague, Ruth begins her transformation. With six months until the reunion, losing weight will be a piece of cake, right?

Friday, 17 January 2014

Cover Stars: January





Every month I choose my favourite cover from my TBR pile. This month I have chosen It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning.

Feel free to comment or add your own suggestions for ‘Cover Stars’.



Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn't have fallen in love with?

 Ellie Cohen has it all. A great job at a swank Mayfair art gallery, loyal mates, loving family and really, really good hair. Well, almost - there's the mega-famous, rock-star father who refuses to acknowledge her and a succession of challenging boyfriends (which she calls 'fixer-uppers', her friends call 'losers'), but nobody's perfect.

Then a vengeful ex sells Ellie's secrets and a pack of lies to the press. Suddenly she's no longer the girl most likely to succeed, but a girl whose world is falling to pieces. For the first time in her life, Ellie can't deal - she's fighting to keep her job, her reputation and her sanity. So it's a relief when David Gold, her father's ruthlessly ambitious lawyer, arrives to manage the crisis - and Ellie. David might be handsome and charming, but he thinks she's a gold-digger and Ellie thinks he's a shark in a Savile Row suit.

 'Strategic damage limitation' aren't the three little words Ellie wants to hear, so it's just as well that falling in love is the last thing on her mind.


I was immediately drawn to the cover of It Felt Like A Kiss, not only because of the silhouette couple (silhouette covers are my favourite), but because of the little details; the London skyline, the pretty railing and the shooting star and aeroplane in the sky. The colours along with the silhouette couple create a cover that is romantic and full of promise.


Click here to see all Cover Stars

Thursday, 16 January 2014

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

 
 
Alice Love is happily married to Nick. They've just bought a house, which they are slowly transforming into their dream home, and are expecting their first child.
 
But then Alice wakes up on the floor of the gym after falling and banging her head during a class. Ten years have passed but Alice can't remember a single thing since 1998. Alice is now a 39-year-old mum of three and rather than being head over heels in love, her husband despises her.
 
Alice returns home, to the now completed house and the three children she has no recollection of giving birth to and attempts to piece together the last ten years of her life.
 
I was looking forward to reading What Alice Forgot after reading The Husband's Secret last year but I wasn't prepared to love the book quite as much as I did. I was hooked from the start and really couldn't put it down as it dawned on Alice just how much her life had changed over the last decade. I felt for Alice as she was thrust into motherhood and struggled to come to terms with the state of her marriage. Not only had she forgotten the birth of her children but every single memory of them since and she didn't even have Nick to lean on as he seemingly doesn't even like Alice, never mind love her.
 
As well as Alice, we get to know her sister, Elisabeth. Alice and Elisabeth were once close but there is a definite gulf between them now. Elisabeth has her own struggles in life, which she chronicles in a sort of diary, and my heart went out to her as she pored her fears and feelings onto the page.
 
What Alice Forgot is a rollercoaster of a book, with funny moments alongside more heart-wrenching and poignant ones. I warmed to the characters immediately and devoured the pages to find out what would happen next - as well as what had happened in the past.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Guest Post: Shannon

British Chick Lit

Growing up, my maternal grandmother was one of the most important people in my life. Raised in Canada by her British parents, she had a love for all things England and that is something she passed on to me. She raised me on a steady diet of British television that eventually took over my life, though that is an entire post to itself. We would watch endless hours of television, bond over the Royals, and she is the reason why so many British words are a part of my vocabulary (and continually confuse other people.)

So when I discovered the genre that is British Chick Lit, I felt like I was being called home to a place I’d never been. It opened up that lovely place across the pond even more and now has me constantly dreaming about picking up and moving there in an instant. Safe to say, I’m a little obsessed.

The only problem is, I don’t think I’ll ever be making it across the ocean, or at least not in the near future. So here are some of my favourite books, the ones that make me want to drop everything and run off to England. I only hope that one day when I do make it there, it lives up to the beauty that I’ve built up in my mind through these wonderful stories. 

 
Cupcakes at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown - Georgie Hart sells luxury handbags in a seaside department store which has a café in it that serves red velvet cupcakes with buttercream icing. This is what I imagine all department stores in England are like. Sheer perfection. 



The Beach Café by Lucy Diamond - Evie Flynn escapes her boring life in the city and ends up running her own café in a small village on the English Coast. Just as awesome as a café in a department store. Reading about a woman who runs off to small town definitely makes you want to do the same. 



Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews - Nell McNamara leaves her job at the chip shop to start her own handbag line. Set in a small town with a local market and chip shop where everyone knows each other, this sounds fantastic. This big city girl dreams of the quieter life. 



I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk - Angela Clark is loving her life in New York but now she has to return home to London. While most of the stories I love seem to be set in small towns or quaint villages, this one takes place in the big city and I loved it. All of the tourist spots are covered and it’s easy to fall in love with the city without having been there. 



Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements - Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel are living two very different lives. But circumstances have them switching homes, Rachel heading to London and Laurie off to the countryside. What better book for someone dreaming of starting somewhere new? And the idea of living in a little cottage in Yorkshire is very exciting. 



A Cinderella Christmas by Holly Kingston - Lucy Tilley has a role in the hottest Pantomime in town, with a hot soap hunk and reality television starlet. The only problem is, she’s playing the back end of the comedy cow. While we have Pantos here in Canada, they are definitely not as popular as they are in England. I have always wanted to see a British one, and this book got me as close as I can get (for now.) 



These are only a few of fabulous books I have read over the years that have made British chick lit one of my favourite genres to read. And until I can get there one day, the books and television shows will just have to keep me dreaming.


Shan


Curled Up with a Good Book and a Cup of Tea
http://goodbooksandacupoftea.blogspot.com

Faith Filled Reading
http://faithfilledreading.blogspot.com

@goodbooksandtea on Twitter and Instagram

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A Beginner's Guide To Salad: Release Day plus a Giveaway!



A Beginner's Guide To Salad is now out there! To celebrate, I've put together a goodie pack of Ruth-inspired items. The pack contains:

 
  • 3 x ladies socks
  • Mini 2014 diary
  • Mini notebook
  • Pack of Haribo Star Mix
  • Pink nail polish
  • Bar of Galaxy Cookie Crumble
  • Lip Balm
  • Box of Sweet Tarts
  • Pack of gel pens
  • Plus a copy of A Beginner's Guide To Salad (ebook)

There are also two runners up prizes of copies of A Beginner's Guide To Salad (ebook).

To enter, fill in the Rafflecopter form and leave a comment below.

In the book, Ruth would rather do ANYTHING than exercise (and who can blame her?) so fill in the blanks and tell me what YOU'D rather do than exercise:


I would rather ........ than exercise.



This is a UK only giveaway but I'll be running another competition next week that will be open internationally.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click here to find out more about A Beginner's Guide To Salad or click here to download from Amazon

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Guest Post: Emily Benet

Spray Painted Bananas - by Emily Benet

(Or "Rediscovering the Fun of Novel Writing")
 



Until I embarked on my romantic comedy, Spray Painted Bananas, novel writing had begun to feel too much like self-inflicted torture. "Why do you write if you don't enjoy it?" my husband would say, as I banged my head on the keyboard and complained how hard it all was.

I don't know when the transition happened. When I was 11, I'm sure I was very happy writing my novels about talking animals. If I hadn't been, I would have gone out to play instead. Somewhere along the way, the pressure of wanting to succeed in the industry had eroded away my enjoyment of the art. I was trying very hard, but I wasn't having much fun. 


Spray Painted Bananas brought back the fun for me. I wrote it as a serialised novel on the online platform Wattpad, after their publicist promised to feature it on their front page. I love romantic comedies, both watching and reading them, and I set out determined to create something upbeat and funny. 

The idea was inspired by an evening at a conceptual art gallery; one of those exhibitions full of random broken objects and paintings you'd easily mix up with those of your 3 year old child's if it wasn't for the price label. The main character is Amber, a broke temp working in a catering firm in London, who after years of scrounging free wine from wacky art gallery openings with her best friend Farrell, decides there’s no reason she can’t become a conceptual artist herself. A chance meeting with a wealthy, young art curator, Elliott Frinton-Smith, sets things off in a desirable direction, and all Amber needs is a brilliant idea to grab the attention of the nation. Enter bananas!

I won't tell you any more or I'll spoil it for you. But I am happy to share the news that it's been very well received online and after racking up over a million hits, attracted the interest of a literary agent who I signed with earlier this year. I think that might be a sign that I write better when I'm having fun!

Spray Painted Bananas is still available to read on Wattpad for free, so if you fancy a giggle and a warm, fuzzy feeling, over Christmas, check it out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it; without a doubt it's the most fun I've ever had writing a book. How I see it, you can't be a tortured writer if your novel features spray painted bananas, can you?


LINKS:


Spray Painted Bananas

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