Monday 31 March 2014

Book of the Month: March


The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes

One single mum

With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it's hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn't. Because you have to . . .

One chaotic family

Jess's gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she'll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess's teenage stepson, can't fight the bullies alone.

Sometimes Jess feels like they're sinking . . .

One handsome stranger

Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it's like to be lonely. And he wants to help . . .

One unexpected love story

The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.

*     *     *     *     *
Although I've heard many great things about the author, The One Plus One was the first JoJo Moyes book I've read so I wasn't sure what to expect. So I was pleasantly surprised when I was immediately drawn into the story. Jess' family has its problems, but they stick together despite everything that is thrown at them and I really warmed to them. I thought JoJo's writing was warm, witty and heartfelt and I enjoyed every single moment of the book, so much so that I felt a bit lost when it was all over.
You can read my full review of The One Plus One here.
Click here to see all Books of the Month

Friday 28 March 2014

Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson

Every morning, Christine Lucas wakes up not knowing a thing about her past. She doesn't remember the husband lying next to her, the house they are living in or what caused her to lose her memory. Every morning, her husband, Ben explains, knowing Christine will have forgotten again by the following day.
But then Christine starts to see Dr Nash, and the pair slowly start to make progress with Christine's memory, piecing together fragments of her past.
Before I Go To Sleep has been waiting on my kindle for a long time but, as the film will be released soon, I thought it was about time I read it. I've heard lots of great things about the book, so I wasn't surprised when I was immediately hooked, drawn into Christine's bewildering world of lost memories. I was so desperate to find out what had happened to Christine that I read the whole thing in a day!
I immediately felt for Christine as she tries to adjust day after day. She doesn't remember anyone - friends, family or even her husband, Ben, which must be so frightening and frustrating. I wasn't sure how Christine's story would be told - would we see her waking up each day and having to learn everything from scratch, which would have been quite repetitive? - but I thought it was quite clever how the story was put across in a more fast-paced way. Almost right from the beginning, we know something isn't quite right, so I was keen to keep reading to see how the story would unfold and what memories Christine had lurking at the surface.
I thought the book was a fantastic read, with plenty of twists and intrigue to keep you guessing and turning the pages. And now I can't wait for the film!

Thursday 27 March 2014

Blog Tour: Hopelessly Devoted To Holden Finn by Tilly Tennant

Today I'm pleased to be taking part in the Hopelessly Devoted To Holden Finn blog tour, with an interview with the author, Tilly Tennant.

Can you tell us about your book?
Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn is about Bonnie, a thirty-five-year-old single mum who has dreadful luck with men and an enormous crush on the most unattainable man of all, pop megastar Holden Finn. In a bizarre quirk of fate, Bonnie suddenly finds herself on Holden’s radar and her life is tipped upside-down.
What was your inspiration for Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn?
I’m the first to admit that I suffer from the most inappropriate celebrity crushes and the question has often popped into my head of what would happen if I met one of them in a situation that enabled us to become friends. It was only natural that at some point I would write about it.
What has been your greatest experience of being a published writer?
The support from readers, bloggers, other authors and the bookish community in general has been far greater than I expected and a wonderful experience. I’ve made fantastic new friends both online and in real life and no matter what else happens, that alone has made all the long hours writing worthwhile.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
My advice is terrible so I would advise other writers not to take it!
What was the first book you ever bought yourself?
Moonfleet by J Meade Faulkner is the first book I remember buying as a young teenager. It sticks in my mind because I got it in the gift shop at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight where some of the book is set.
What was the last book you read?
Unwoven by Jack Croxall. I was supposed to be proofreading it for him but I adored it so much I got lost in the story and forgot to check for typos!
Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on another novel that is set in the town of Millrise where Hopelessly takes place but with a new bunch of residents. The protagonist, Ellie, is a journalist on the local newspaper who finds herself in the middle of a story that will change her own life forever. I can’t say a lot more than that right now so I’ll just be as enigmatic as I can at this point!

Friday 21 March 2014

Writing Book 2 - Part 3

Draft Three

I don't have any rules about how many drafts I'll do for a book. Each books takes as many drafts as it takes to make it the best it can possibly be. I did quite a lot of work during the second draft of the book, but I still wasn't happy with certain parts so moved onto the third draft. There were a few things I needed to work on, like the pacing in some places and the plot gets a little heavy at times, so I wanted to lighten it with a bit more humour, and I had little niggly bits to sort out, like the name-switching of a very minor character who was called both Mike and Mick (which, to be fair, are practically the same). But the main focus was on the ending. It was a bit wishy-washy for my liking, so a lot of the scenes were heavily tweaked or completely cut and re-written. The ending is a lot stronger now, with the main character moving it along rather than being a bit of a bystander.

I'm now happy with how the book reads at this stage, so I'll do another read-through (and no doubt tweak here and there), and then it'll be sent off to an editor.

Thursday 20 March 2014

A Beginner's Guide To Salad: The Playlist

Ruth, the main character from A Beginner's To Salad, is a massive fan of cheesy pop, so I've put together a playlist of some of her favourite hits. Enjoy! (I know Ruth will)

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?

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Guest Post: Katie O'Rourke

This Is How I Write

It was during my last semester of college that I was introduced to "creative nonfiction" and that was the bridge that led me to write fiction (after years of writing angsty, introspective poetry). People who know me well can find the sections in my novels that have been "stolen" from real life. The danger in writing autobiographical fiction is that people begin to make assumptions about the rest of the novel. All of my characters are created from fragments of actual people, but none of my characters are based on a single person. So if someone recognizes themselves in my fiction, the risk is that they will think everything about that character is based on how I think of them.

In my most recent novel, A Long Thaw, there's a section where Abby is creating a collage. It's an apt metaphor for the way I write:

This is her hobby. She pretends that it’s soothing to create collages on the covers of photo albums or journals. The truth is that she stresses over them, fitting the pieces together like a schizophrenic puzzle. A long triangle of a navy blue satin gown, the sun setting on a horizon, a pair of eyes clotted with mascara, a phrase usually from an advertisement for cosmetic surgery, something like be your best, disempowerment repackaged, out of context. She gives them as gifts, personalized.

It's funny; I didn't recognize the symmetry when I wrote this. It was not intentional. But this is the way I write, taking something true and repackaging it, changing the context so that it means something different in the story than it meant in my life.  

The other part of the metaphor is the way that I often present my writing as a pleasurable hobby -- and there is a significant element of pleasure that I get from it -- but the truth is more complicated. My writing is something I stress over, fitting the pieces together, peeling them apart, resetting the glue. The pleasure comes in fits and starts, sometimes only with the relief of having it done.

Right now, my current work in progress is eating at me. I think about these made up people all day. I decorate their kitchens and imagine their first heartbreaks and research their path through dental school. They're with me, always, nagging at me to finish their stories.

And on that note, I need to go write about a kitchen.

Available here

 my first book:

Available here


Tuesday 18 March 2014

Blog Tour: Keep Your Friends Closer by Paula Daly

I loved Just What Kind Of Mother Are You? last year, so I've been looking forward to Paula Daly's new release, Keep Your Friends Close. When the opportunity to take part in the blog tour presented itself, I jumped at the chance. I'm so pleased to be sharing the first chapter of Keep Your Friends Close with everyone, which you can read here

Natty and Sean Wainwright are happily married. Rock solid in fact. So when Natty's oldest friend, Eve Dalladay, appears - just as their daughter collapses on a school trip in France - Natty has no qualms about leaving Eve with Sean to help out at home.

Two weeks later and Natty finds Eve has slotted into family life too well. Natty's husband has fallen in love with Eve. He's sorry, he tells her, but their marriage is over.

With no option but to put a brave face on things for the sake of the children, Natty embarks on building a new life for herself.

And then she receives the note.

Eve has done this before, more than once, and with fatal consequences...

Monday 17 March 2014

Blog Tour: How Not To Be Starstruck by Portia Macintosh

Today, I'm pleased to be taking part in the How Not To Be Starstruck blog tour, with an interview with the author, Portia Macintosh
Can you tell us about your book?
After years of touring and working with bands, I wanted a way to tell my tour stories anonymously, so I decided to write a novel inspired by these real events. 'How Not to be Starstruck' tells the tale of Nicole Wilde. Nicole's life is one of sell-out gigs, bunking on tour buses, trashing hotels and partying with the band all night long. But she’s not in the band. She is a music journalist, paid to be the world’s greatest groupie. Thing are going well until she finds herself thrust into the limelight, and she finds out what it's like to be on the other end of bad press.

What was your inspiration for 'How Not to be Starstruck'?
I want to make clear that it isn't based on real events, but it is inspired by them. I have been touring with bands for years, and being friends with these people grants you a certain level of access. I would never tell my secrets, but writing fiction seemed like a great way to give people a glimpse into the lifestyle.

What has been your greatest experience of being a published writer?
I love the feedback. You can't beat the feeling when someone sends you a message telling you how much they enjoyed your book.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Be careful what advice you take. I've been given a lot of advice and people always mean well but it won't always be right for you individually.

What was the first book you ever bought yourself?
I can't remember which exact one I bought first, but the first book I bought myself was a Goosebumps book.

What was the last book you read?
The Only Way Is Up by Carole Matthews. Another great one.

Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
I'll have another book out in July - and this one won't be about the music industry, but I can't say too much about it yet.

When she was fifteen-years-old, Portia MacIntosh fell in with a bad crowd… rockstars. 

After disappearing on tour and living the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle for a few years, Portia landed a job in the music industry – but only so that she didn’t have to join the real world just yet.

Now in her twenties, Portia is ready to spill the beans on the things she has witnessed over the years. Well, kind of. If her famous friends knew that she was borrowing their lives to inspire her fiction, they would stop inviting her on tour and banish her from the inner circle. Then she really would have to rejoin the real world, and she’s still not ready.

Portia only started writing novels to share her secrets, but then she realised she actually quite liked writing – maybe even more than she likes living on a bus with a bunch of smelly boys – and has since tried her hand at writing about other things.

Thursday 13 March 2014

The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes

Single mother Jess is struggling to keep her family afloat. Her ex Marty moved away two years ago, leaving Jess with their daughter, Tanzie and Jess's stepson, Nicky. Marty neglects to support his family financially or emotionally and Jess is forced to take on multiple jobs to try to make ends meet.
Nicky doesn't feel like he fits in anywhere. His mother abandoned him when he was eight years old and his father moved away too, with their relationship now conducted through weekly Skype chats.
Tanzie is a young maths genius. Her teacher thinks she could go far and has helped secure her a scholarship at a local private school that has excellent results. The only problem is, the scholarship will only fund part of the fees and Jess can't see a way that she will be able to raise the rest of the money.
And then Jess meets Ed Nicholls, a man who wants to help her family. But Ed has problems of his own with a court case looming and a sick father he can't seem to face.
The One Plus One is the first JoJo Moyes book that I've read so, while I've heard many great things about the author, I wasn't sure what to expect. What I discovered was a wonderful rollercoaster of a read. My emotions were all over the place, with laugh out loud moments one minute and raw emotionally charged moments the next. I felt like I went on a real journey with each of the characters and couldn't wait to see what happened next in their lives.
I don't think I could pick out a favourite character from the book as I thought they were all brilliant, including the big drooling mass that was Norman the dog, but the children, Nicky and Tanzie, will probably stay with me for a long time. When Nicky came to live with Jess, he was quite a damaged boy, though he wouldn't admit it, and his life is pretty tough, first with his father leaving and then being subjected to horrific bullying from the local thugs, The Fishers. I felt for the whole family as the bullying continued, with both Nicky and Tanzie being afraid to leave the house and Jess feeling powerless to protect them. Tanzie is a wonderfully quirky character and I loved her observations.
I absolutely loved The One Plus One. It's jam packed with humour but it is ultimately the tale of a broken family struggling to piece itself back together. I can definitely see this book being in my top ten at the end of the year.
The One Plus One is the first book in Novelicious' brand new book club. If you've read the book or are planning to, why not share your thoughts on Twitter using #NoveliciousBookClub? There will also be a chat about the book on Twitter on 26th March. Full details can be found here

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Guest Post: Suz Korb

Suz Korb and I have something in common. Not only are we both writers, we have both written a book about dieting. So we decided to interview each other and post them on our blogs. You can see my interview on Suz's blog here

And now it's over to Suz and her novel, My Big Fat Low-Fat Wedding.

What was your initial inspiration for writing this novel?
I’m fat and I’ve tried every diet known to man. I wanted a way to express my diet fails and successes through the medium of comedy fiction.

Did your plot and characters stem from real life experiences, or do you create as you write?
Apart from the robots (lol), most of Emily’s diet shenanigans stem from my own real life experiences. I wanted a way to release my pent up frustrations with myself in a way that would enable me to look back on my diet driven past, and laugh my face off. Which I certainly did while writing this book.

Which character in your book do you relate to most?
I relate to Emily because of her weight loss mental sufferings, but I ended up really falling for Callum because he’s so good to Emily! I wanted his character to be real in the end.

What is your favourite aspect of your main character?
The fact that she learns a lot from her journey towards her wedding day. Even though she’s followed by a stalker and plagued by crazy robots throughout, she still manages to attempt at fighting the flab, and figure out if that’s even necessary by the end.

What was the most important thing your characters learned about themselves?
Both Emily and Callum learn things about themselves, their bodies, and each other, throughout the story.

Are twists and turns important to your plot line, or do your characters develop the story?
I’ll start with an initial novel idea and let my characters develop the plot as I write. It’s fun that way. I surprise myself with the twists and turns, or rather, my characters surprise me!

What was the best aspect of your novel?

The comedy and romance. Emily suffers a lot with her body size fixations in this book. By having a laugh at her diet mishaps she’s able to move on every time with support from her loving fiancĂ© Callum.

Will you write a sequel to thins novel, or what are your next fiction writing endeavors?
I must write a sequel to this novel! I’m pregnant at the moment and I need an outlet for all the morning sickness (etc) I’m enduring. First though, my Deities series for teens will be concluded with stories 5-6 in the next coming months.

My Big Fat Low-Fat Wedding is available in both
ebook and paperback from here
You can find Suz Korb's blog here

Monday 10 March 2014

A Beginner's Guide To Salad: Fun Facts

Ruth and Billy’s favourite sitcom was originally going to be How I Met Your Mother, but then I decided to have a bit of fun and make up my own, playing on the book’s title.

Ruth and Billy’s favourite tv show, A Beginner’s Guide To You, revolves around Meg and Tom, whose names were inspired by the main actors from You’ve Got Mail.

Billy and Theo were named after the characters in the Bill & Ted films. Theo even has the same surname as Ted.

The Roxy Fitness Centre was named after my old local cinema, which unfortunately is no more *sobs*

Ruth’s older brother, Stephen, is named after the American comedy singer/songwriter, Stephen Lynch.

Stephen lives in New York with his American wife. I wrote a Christmas short story about how they met and you can read it here

Poplar Ave, where Ruth, Billy and Stephen grew up is real. I grew up there myself and have some very fond memories of playing marbles, rounders and curby with the other kids on the street.

The school reunion was inspired when my own former high school was bulldozed and a new academy opened.

In the original version, Ruth and Zack were conducting a secret relationship. Zack dumped Ruth in the restaurant, which broke her heart and caused her to flee to Stephen and Billy.

When it was first published, A Beginner's Guide To Salad had a different cover, and there's a nod to the original cover on the spine of the paperback edition.

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?

Thursday 6 March 2014

A Chat With... Annabel Scott

Can you tell us about your new book?
My new book is the sequel to Millie and the American Wedding. It sees Millie returning to New York after her long term boyfriend Rob gets a job offer in Singapore. She catches up with her old friends including her ex-boyfriend Rob, who’s newly separated. As she grows closer to Rob, she starts to wonder who she’s really in love with.

What was your inspiration for Millie and the American Proposal?
When I originally published Millie and the American Wedding, I had lots of emails and tweets saying they wished the ending was different. It got me thinking about what would have happened in the story and whether it really would have been “the end”. When I had decided that the characters probably would meet again, it was just a matter of working out how and when.

What has been your greatest experience of being a published writer?
It’s hard to put it down to a single greatest experience, but I think knowing that people I don’t know are reading my books is amazing. One of my close friends was at dinner with some her boyfriends’ friends once, and the girls started discussing books they were reading, and one of the friends was reading one of my books. It was then that it hit me that strangers read my book.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. Launching a writing career is tough. People will say mean things about your manuscripts. You have to turn down social engagements to get enough time to write. You have to trust your gut - which is really hard to do when you’re confidence has been knocked down by rejection. In the end, I’m sure a lot of good authors don’t get discovered because they don’t persevere. If you believe in yourself (as cheesy as it sounds) don’t give up making someone else believe in you too.

What was the last book you read?
I’ve just finished Mhari McFarlane’s Here’s Looking at You. I absolutely adored You Had Me at Hello, and I’d been looking forward to reading it. I think Mhari’s got a great witty tone.

And what’s next on your to-be-read pile?
I recently gave birth to my first child, and my publishers very kindly sent me some parenting books, along with the new Dorothy Koomson book ‘The Flavours of Love’. I haven’t read any of her books before, and my friends have often waxed lyrical about how wonderful an author she is. I just need to find a quiet time to enjoy it! 

Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
I am currently in the thinking stage of the next (and final part) of the Millie series. It’s called ‘Millie and the British Wedding’ and whilst I know the ending and the basic plot, I’m trying to think up the bumps along the way! 

Millie and The American Proposal is out now

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Guest Post: Sarah Towne

Hello! Thank you for stopping by to my guest post. Jennifer was so nice to invite me to be a guest on her blog today. So let’s jump in - I’m here to talk about my writing experience. I have been writing in one form or another since I was in grade school. I would write short short stories, and then I’d add illustration or make a pamphlet about a story I’d just created. I was in love with all the different templates you can find in Word -- who am I kidding, I still am! I would pick one out and just start writing. 

When I got a little older, I started writing poetry. I kept all of my poems in a spiral notebook. I didn’t write anything on the first page so that just in case someone found my notebook they would perceive the rest of the pages to be blank.

It wasn’t until college that I started studying the craft of writing. I started off college as a journalism major, but I quickly found out that I didn’t connect to that kind of writing. Out of interest, I took an intro to creative writing my second semester of freshman year, and I was hooked from there. We read and wrote poetry and short stories. I took two more poetry courses before I ever enrolled in a fiction or creative nonfiction course; I ended up taking two more fiction classes and a creative nonfiction class.

This isn’t to just show you my education in writing because as we all know you have to write in order to be a writer - you can’t just have some courses under your belt. I was legitimately interested in everything these courses had to offer - the professors exposed me to literature and authors and poets who I might not otherwise ever know about. They helped me further explore and discover the life of literature. College was also my first experience being able to sit around a large table with a group of my peers and talk seriously about characters and motive and plot progression. We weren’t just memorizing Hamlet’s soliloquy; we were dissecting it and figuring out how to incorporate iambic pentameter into our own poetry.

So - then I hit graduate school. I attended a small (small) university in the Midwest with a small and growing MFA in Creative Writing. I had several unique experiences at this school of which I’ll expand on someday, but, out of everything, I think I appreciated the opportunities I had to interact with authors.

Having been in a program like this, I can see where people would get the idea that some who come out of these programs come out as cookie cutter writers because you’ve got a pool of writers in classes for entire semesters with professors with a certain taste. Some are writing to the professor’s taste and some are writing so they don’t get slammed by the girl who sits across from you and some are writing exactly what you want to write.

Either way, if you are in a writing community of some nature where you have the chance to share your writing in front of a group of people - I recommend it in some ways, BUT you have to know, that just because someone might not like your work doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. In fact, maybe that was the biggest lesson I learned. I learned how to sit in a class of anywhere between 8 and 20 people and not say a word while they critique your work - some will love your work, some will sort of like your work, and some people won’t like your work. That’s the case with anything.

I hope you’re still with me! Because, at the end of all of this, I’ve written my first novel titled, The Other Summer Girl. The book takes place at Indiana University. The story follows Melanie Collier, a freshman at IU, through her sometimes self-induced social alienation. Melanie is not an overly shy person, but she does have some social anxieties that are perpetuated by her roommate who parties excessively. It isn’t until she meets Lleyton Harris, the Australian tennis transfer, that she becomes distracted enough to let her guard down a bit. Lleyton and Melanie hit it off, but she begins to find out about things he’s hiding from her. Lleyton turns out to be a wonderful distraction, helping Melanie finally adapt to the college life, but the question remains whether or not their relationship can live through the test of summer.

I am working hard on the sequel. I haven’t titled it yet, but it will be A Melanie Collier Novel.

I hope you’ll check out my book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and please connect with me on my social media sites! I’d love to hear from you

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Monday 3 March 2014

Cover Reveal: Sidelined (Game On Book 3) by Kyra Lennon


 Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 31st 2014

At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

Sidelined is the third book in Kyra Lennon’s Game On series. Game On (Book 1) and Blindsided (Book 2) are available on Amazon and Smashwords.

About the Author:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall. And occasionally hanging out with rock stars, because that’s how she rolls!

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go in November.

You can find Kyra at the following places: