Thursday, 31 July 2014

Book of the Month: July

 
 
No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday
 
by
 
Tracy Bloom
 
 


Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other again following a school reunion.

So all is forgotten ... until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy's baby.

Love and life are messy, but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot.

Never has a one-night-stand led to such chaos!
 
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I'd been looking forward to reading No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday for a while as I'd heard some really great things about it. I was expecting to enjoy it, but I LOVED it. It's such a fun read and I loved Tracy Bloom's easy, flowing voice. The characters are fantastic, especially Ben who I thought was hilarious, and the whole book was fun and laugh-out-loud from start to finish.
 
I'll be posting my full review here on the blog soon.
 
 
Click here to see all Books of the Month
 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Blog Tour: You Had Me At Merlot by Lisa Dickenson

Today I'm pleased to be taking part in the blog tour of Lisa Dickinson's You Had Me At Merlot, with a review of the book.
 
 
 
Elle has been single forever - but she likes it that way. She likes having her own space and never having to compromise. So when her best friend suggests they go on a singles holiday, Elle is more than a little reluctant. But while Elle is content with her single status, Laurie is unhappy and is eager to find the love of her life. For Laurie's sake, Elle agrees to go on the holiday. She'll laze in the sun and drink wine while Laurie finds the man of her dreams.
 
I'd been looking forward to reading You Had Me At Merlot as I had heard such great things about the book on Twitter - and now I can see why. You Had Me At Merlot is the perfect summer read; gorgeous Italian setting, hunky men and a fantastic set of characters. I thought Elle was a brilliant character and warmed to her straight away. She's a fun, confident woman who loves her independence and although she isn't interested in a relationship, she isn't a man-hater, which could have been a little clichéd. Elle is happy with the way her life is, but her trip to the Italian vineyard soon shakes that up!
 
There are loads of great characters in the book, from Elle and Laurie to the new people they meet while on holiday. It isn't a typical 18-30s holiday, so there is a broad spectrum of characters to get to know, as well as the gorgeous hero no romantic comedy would be complete without.
 
I loved Lisa Dickinson's style of writing. It was light and chatty with lots of humour. Although the book is split into four parts, I decided against reading it in small bite-sized pieces and devoured the whole lot in just a couple of days as it was just too tempting to read on. Each part ends on a bit of a cliff hanger, so I was eager (and greedy) and kept going until the end.
 
If you're looking for a fun read full of laugh-out-loud moments, then You Had Me At Merlot could be the perfect book for you.
 
 
You Had Me At Merlot is available in four parts. Parts 1-3 are out now, with the final instalment available on 4th August.
 

 
 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Blog Tour: Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

 Today I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Paige Toon's Thirteen Weddings.

 
Songs that inspired Thirteen Weddings

I listened to these songs a lot during the writing of Thirteen Weddings and many inspired scenes in the book. Hope you enjoy the playlist I’ve put together for you…

Love by Daughter

Because Thirteen Weddings is so bittersweet, with Bronte – a wedding photographer – falling in love with a groom, I found myself listening to a lot of slow songs while writing it. This one gets a mention in the book. It’s the song Bridget snaps at Bronte to turn off because she thinks it’s depressing. I think it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s about a woman who can’t forget the man she can’t have. He regrets something that happened between them, but she’s in love with him and believes he’s hers. It’s Thirteen Weddings down to a tee.

Love Is Blindness by Jack White

This song is on the soundtrack for The Great Gatsby, which I listened to a lot while writing. Baz Luhrmann is one of my favourite directors and always manages to pull together amazing, quirky soundtracks for his films. I imagined Lachie singing this dark and moody version on the evening of Russ and Maria’s wedding when he was really pissed off at Bronte.

Sex (The 1975 cover) by Luke Friend

Luke Friend was my favourite singer on The X Factor last year, and when I went to download one of his songs from the show, I saw that he had an EP out. I really like ‘Commitments’ and ‘Basically Older’, and I think this cover of The 1975’s ‘Sex’ is great. I also love the original, but it was this acoustic version that inspired the scene where Lachie is singing it and a drunken Bronte decides enough is enough: she fancies the pants off him.

Team by Lorde

This whole album inspired my writing – I would often listen to it while taking a walking break to help unlock the characters inside my head and get them talking to me. I remember traipsing through a field one day beside a hedge and imagined Lachie peeking through the hedge and scaring the hell out of Bronte. I often think of him when I’m walking beside that hedge now!

Red Red Wine by UB40

This is the song Alex and Bronte danced to in the 80s club when everything kicked off between them. I listened to a few 80s songs to get me in the mood for writing the hen night ‘prologue’. Cyndi Lauper, Kylie Minogue, Madonna – they all got a mention, as did Yazz’s The Only Way Is Up, but I’ve never been keen on that song!



Thirteen Weddings playlist – a few more to add to the collection…


Lana Del Rey’s Summertime Sadness (both the Cedric Gervais Remix and the slower version from the ‘Born To Die album)

John Newman’s Love Me Again

Imagine Dragons’ Radioactive

Chvches’ The Mother We Share

Swedish House Mafia’s Don’t You Worry Child

The 1975’s Chocolate

OneRepublic’s Counting Stars

Icona Pop’s I Love It

Daft Punk’s Get Lucky

Arctic Monkeys’ Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High

Gotye’s Heart’s A Mess (Also from The Great Gatsby soundtrack)

Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball

Ed Sheeren & Taylor Swift’s Everything Has Changed



A note from the author:
 
Sign up to my book club, ‘The Hidden Paige’, at www.paigetoon.com for free short stories, competitions and the chance to find out more about me and my characters and what we’re all up to.

Follow me on Twitter @PaigeToonAuthor or visit me at www.Facebook.com/PaigeToonAuthor


Monday, 28 July 2014

#Sunathon

 
 
Just over a week, ago, I blogged about taking part in #sunathon, which took place last week. My plan was to finish reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell before moving onto The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland and No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday by Tracy Bloom. My three books look tiny in comparison to some of the other reading piles in the #sunathon challenge but that was the fantastic part of #sunathon - there wasn't a set number of books that should be read. It was a very relaxed readathon, with each person reading as much or as little as they wanted. It was all about the joy of reading, which made it great to take part in.
 
 
I managed to read all three of my books by Saturday evening and enjoyed them all, especially No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday, which I've no doubt will be in my top ten reads of 2014 by the end of the year. I'll be reviewing the books here on the blog soon and I'll be discussing Landline as part of the #NoveliciousBookClub on Twitter.
 
I'd like to thank Emma Louise for organising #sunathon. It was a lot of fun taking part and sharing the joy of reading with the other participants.


Friday, 25 July 2014

My Summer Reads: Suz Korb

 
Today I'm pleased to welcome Suz Korb onto the blog to take part in My Summer Reads. Suz is sharing an interview from a reviewer for her novel, Sun, Sea & Sabotage.
 
 


Where did you get the idea for Sun, Sea & Sabotage?

Well, I’m from Hawaii originally, but feel like a Brit as I’ve lived in the UK since 2001. I wanted to write a book from the perspective of a British lady who was looking to escape the cloudy English weather, because that’s what I’ve come to expect from the sky in this country! So I thought I’d stick a character into a book setting under the hot Hawaiian sun. The actual opening poem from this novel comes from my upbringing in Utah and being forced to attend church. It’s a primary class song that’s originally about popcorn and spring time. Mormons will know the tune.

What about the tone of the book? Where did you get the idea to make it like an adventure caper?

I pretty much do that with all my books. I like fast paced action packed comedy with an element of hot body romance. You know? Quick smooches, but not mushy gushy cry your eyes out power love! Although, if mega love feelings are what you get from my books, then that was my intention in the first place. Obviously.

So the characters Dax and Spence. How did you create their personalities? I love gap-toothed Spence and I want to punch Dax in his traitorous face!

Haha. Thanks? Yeah, I wanted to punch the inspiration for Dax too. Instead, I created Dax based on all of the horrible traits in every guy I’ve dated over the years. Spence’s character stems from the good things that men are capable of. At least while they’re in the initial stages of wooing a woman. Then they change, don’t they? Sheesh.

Chloe really takes a beating in your book. What made you want to send her on such a raucous journey through the wilds of Hawaii?

When I was a teenager I used to read adventurous lovey dovey Harlequin romance novels. I also watched a movie called Romancing the Stone. I always loved that film and I wanted to tell a grown up adventure tale of my own. Hence Sun, Sea & Sabotage! The sabotage bit being all the chaos that gets thrown at poor Chloe, when all she wants to do is find happiness in paradise.

Will you write a sequel to Sun, Sea & Sabotage?

If readers demand it, yes! I’d love to see what Chloe would be capable of if I sent her back to Hawaii to hang out with the local homeless crew again. I loved writing in the pidgin English accent. When I was adjusting to life on the mainland as a kid, after moving from Hawaii, I couldn’t understand why no one in Utah couldn’t understand the way I talked, brah! I’ll forever refer to my inny as a peko, not a belly-button.



Sun, Sea & Sabotage is available now as an ebook from Amazon UK here or globally as a paperback or ebook here

You can find out more about Suz and her books at her blog here


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If you'd like to take part in the My Summer Reads feauture, please give me a shout! You can email me at jenniferjoycewrites@gmail.com or click here for more details

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Short Story: The Beach House

 

Lara appeared on the sand like a goddess, her white-blonde hair flowing behind her in the gentle early morning breeze. Her long, golden limbs moved towards the shore, her feet leaving dainty footprints in her wake. Reaching up, she scooped her hair into a high ponytail, securing it with a band and creating the kind of messy but chic hairstyles you see in the magazines but can never quite replicate yourself. After a few elegant last-minute stretches, she was off, jogging along the shore, those golden limbs gazelle-like as they leapt across the sand. She made it look so easy and graceful.
It really wasn’t fair.
Emily stepped away from the window as her best friend disappeared from view and grabbed her wash bag from her not-yet-unpacked suitcase. She had to admire Lara’s dedication. As though it wasn’t enough that she went for a daily run back home, she kept up the regime even when they were on holiday. It was no wonder Lara had a smoking body and hoards of men queuing for the chance of a date. It was almost enough to have Emily reaching for her iPod and a pair of trainers and taking a jog herself.
Almost, but not quite.
It wasn’t that Emily was adverse to exercise. Okay, it totally was. Emily would exercise if she looked like Lara while doing it, but whereas Lara took on the appearance of a gazelle skipping along the beach with her easy in-through-the-nose-out-through-the-mouth breathing, it was a very different matter when it came to Emily. Emily was transformed into a sweaty, puce-faced spluttering mess by her third stride, which wasn’t a good look at all. No, she would stick to her trusty one-piece and sarong combo for the beach and pray there would be at least one flawless-blonde-aphobe in Mallorca that would turn his nose up at Lara’s perfection and latch onto Emily instead.
Hey, it could happen.
Wash bag in hand, Emily toed the not-yet-unpacked suitcase under her bed. They’d only arrived in Mallorca the day before and the girls had had much more fun and important things to do than unpack, like checking out their new abode – a three-bedroom house right on Alcudia beach that belonged to a friend of Lara’s cousin – and sinking cocktails at a nearby bar. They’d stumbled home during the small hours so, rather rudely, hadn’t even said hello to Lara’s cousin yet. Still, there was plenty of time for that. Lara had promised Emily two weeks of fun at the beach house, which was more than welcome after her breakup with Liam. She’d spent the past four months mourning the loss of their relationship – which seemed indulgent now considering how much of a pig Liam had been – but she was over that now and was ready to inject a bit of life back into her existence. Jessie, apparently, was exactly what Emily needed. According to Lara, her cousin was the life and soul and would soon make Emily forget all about Liam and his piggish ways, which was a little strange as Jessie had been pretty timid the one time they’d met. But that had been six years ago at Lara’s twenty-first birthday party and people changed, didn’t they?
Emily made sure she had everything she needed before she made her way across the hall to the bathroom. In hindsight, she probably should have knocked first before she turned the handle and stepped inside. But Emily did not knock first.
‘Oh!’
There was a flurry of movement as Emily squeaked and covered her face with her wash bag and the very wet and very naked male threw a towel around his waist. But it was too late. Everything had been a bit of a blur due to the rapid movement, but Emily had clocked a rather large blur before it had been covered.
‘I am so sorry. I didn’t know anyone was in here.’ It transpired it wasn’t only exercise that transformed Emily into a sweaty, puce-faced and spluttering mess.
‘Hey, don’t worry about it. I’m sorry I gave you a fright.’
Emily was about to point out that he shouldn’t be the one apologising when it occurred to her that she didn’t have the foggiest who he was. He could be an overly hygienic burglar. Or something worse than that. Something much, much worse.
Emily took a step back. ‘Who are you?’ She attempted to sound brave but failed miserably.
‘I’m Jesse.’ His smile was disarming. Any scrap of courage Emily possessed evaporated, along with her anti-drooling capabilities. ‘You must be Emily.’
Emily stared at him. He was who? ‘You’re Jessie?’ Wow, people really did change. The last time Emily had seen Jessica she had been petit with a curtain of brown hair used to hide her face. Now she was tall and broad with beautiful blue eyes and a stomach rippling with muscles.
‘Jesse Hawthorn.’ Ensuring one hand held his towel firm, he held out the other, taking Emily’s limp hand and giving it a steady shake.
‘You’re not Jessica.’
Jesse’s eyebrows were so bleached from the sun they were barely visible, but Emily still managed to see them knit together. ‘You mean Aunty Tracey’s daughter? No.’ He laughed, his sudden bark filling the small bathroom and making Emily jump. ‘Did you think that was who you were staying with?’
Emily gave a wave of her hand, forcing a laugh of her own. ‘No, don’t be daft.’
‘You did, didn’t you?’ Jesse was chuckling now, the movement inching down his towel. Emily should have warned him. But she didn’t.
‘I did not.’
She did. And why wouldn’t she? Lara hadn’t specified that they were staying with her male cousin Jesse and not her female cousin Jessie. She’d been rather scant on the details, actually, but then Emily hadn’t been interested in anything other than the fact that she only needed to pay for her flights and spending money. She was in desperate need of a holiday after Liam, and a super cheap holiday had been more than welcome.
‘Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be making fun of you. It isn’t very gentlemanly of me, is it?’ Emily noted that Jesse, despite his words, still couldn’t wipe the grin from his chops. ‘Why don’t I make it up to you? I’ll make us some breakfast while you jump in the shower? Is Lara up?’
Jesse was already stepping past Emily and into the hallway. The man smelled good. ‘She’s gone for a run.’
Jesse paused in the hallway, turning back to Emily with his pale eyebrows knotted again. ‘But she’s on holiday. Is she crazy?’
After that comment, Emily decided to forgive Jesse for mocking her. She climbed into the shower and changed into her prettiest maxi dress (which was not for Jesse’s benefit. Not at all) and joined him in the kitchen. Jesse had made scrambled eggs and toast, along with coffee and juice. Emily tried not to pout about the fact that he’d covered his body in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. She’d quite enjoyed the tiny towel look.
Jesse slid onto a stool at the breakfast bar and poured himself a cup of coffee. ‘We didn’t get off to a very good start, did we?’
Emily thought it was quite a nice start, actually, now that she was over the shock of finding a stranger in the bathroom. She’d had worse introductions.
‘Shall we forget we met in the bathroom?’ Like Emily could forget about that towel and all that was underneath! ‘Let’s start again. I’m Emily Barlow.’
She held out a hand and, with the corners of his lips twitching, Jesse took it and gave it a firm shake. ‘Jesse Hawthorn. Pleased to meet you, Emily.’
‘You too. Thanks for letting me stay here.’
Jesse gave a one-shouldered shrug. ‘I’m always happy to play host to beautiful girls.’
‘Smooth-talker.’
‘Guilty.’ Jesse grinned at her. ‘But it’s my mate Harvey you have to thank. It’s his place. I’m just borrowing it for the summer.’
‘The whole summer?’
Jesse gave the one-shouldered shrug again. ‘I can work remotely, so why not work from here?’
Why not indeed. It was a beautiful house, set right on the beach, with the gate at the back opening straight onto the white sand. Emily could hear the lapping of waves beyond the kitchen and the sun was already filling the room with light and warmth.
‘But don’t worry, I’m not going to be a boring git, shut inside working all the time. In fact, I’ve got a few people coming over tonight for a barbecue and a few drinks. I hope you don’t mind. You’re welcome to join us if you and Lara don’t have plans.’
‘Plans for what?’ Lara strode into the kitchen, helping herself to a glass of juice and draining it in one go. Emily couldn’t help feeling a stab of irritation that Lara would arrive now, just as she was starting to feel slightly comfortable in Jesse’s presence. She’d been enjoying being the centre of his attention, but Lara’s arrival was bound to put a stop to that. It always did. But then Lara raised an arm and gave her armpit a sniff, pulling a face, and Emily was reminded that the pair were related. Lara would never have done something so uncouth in front of a possible suitor.
‘As ladylike as ever, I see.’ Jesse caught Emily’s eye and raised an eyebrow. ‘And I was just telling Emily about the party I have planned for tonight.’
‘A party?’ Lara’s eyes lit up and Emily could tell she was already planning her ensemble. ‘What kind of party? Beach? House?’
‘A bit of both, I suppose.’
Lara pursed her lips. This posed quite a quandary, but she was sure she’d be able to find suitable attire in her suitcase – she’d packed for pretty much every eventuality. In the end she opted for a pair of tiny white denim shorts and a cropped white netted top over a turquoise and hot pink bikini, which, even she admitted herself, displayed her bronzed body off to perfection.
‘I hope Jesse has some hot friends.’ Lara pouted at her reflection in the mirror before swiping at her lips with a tube of lip gloss. ‘I love a holiday fling, don’t you?’
Emily made a non-committal sound. She’d never had one. ‘If Jesse has friends here on holiday too, why are we staying here and not them?’
Lara gave her hair a scrunch. It had that just-got-out-of-the-sea look that she’d spent the last hour in the bathroom achieving. ‘Because I bagged it first.’ She perched a pair of designer sunglasses on top of her head, twisting this way and that to check the effect in the mirror before taking them off again. ‘Besides, Harvey and I go way back.’
Which translated as ‘we once had a torrid fling’.
‘I don’t remember you telling me about a Harvey.’
‘Sure you do.’ Lara gave the perched-sunglasses look another go, leaving them put this time. ‘He took me out on his yacht that time. I recreated the Titanic “I’m flying!” scene and then he –’
‘Yes, yes, I remember now.’ Emily was blushing. Lara never spared her any details of her escapades, unfortunately. ‘Do you think he’ll be here tonight?’
‘I hope not.’ Lara finally removed herself from the mirror and slipped her feet into a pair of wedged sandals. ‘He’s married now. Ugh. What a waste.’
Emily hopped off Lara’s bed and followed her downstairs, where Jesse was preparing the barbecue in the garden. She watched from the doorway as Jesse wiped his brow before peeling off his t-shirt, revealing the glorious body she’d spotted in the bathroom that morning. It was like witnessing a Diet Coke advert without the pesky television screen getting in the way.
‘Hey.’
Emily jumped back and averted her gaze when Jesse caught her ogling. ‘Hi. Do you need a hand with anything?’
‘Do you mind chopping up a bit of salad?’ Emily shook her head. She didn’t mind at all. She’d do anything Jesse asked her to. Anything. ‘Cheers. You’ll find everything in the fridge. Get Lara to help if you can drag her away from the mirror.’
‘I heard that.’ Lara appeared in the doorway, a hastily created cocktail in hand. She stepped into the garden and plonked herself on a sun lounger.
Jesse stared down at her. ‘So you’re not going to give us a hand then?’
‘Do I look like the hired help?’ Lara nudged her sunglasses so they slipped from her hair and down to her nose expertly, conversation over. Jesse looked at Emily, but she simply shrugged her shoulders and retreated into the kitchen. Lara was her best friend but Emily knew she could be a lazy cow at times. It was the pitfall of being incredibly beautiful; Lara was used to people falling over themselves to help her and she was never expected to reciprocate.
‘You look gorgeous, by the way.’
Emily jumped yet again at the sound of Jesse’s voice, but luckily the fridge door hid her shock. Jesse seemed to startle her at every turn, but then she was jumpy anyway, intimidated by his looks. She’d been in a sort of bubble-like world while with Liam, so it had been a long, long time since she’d fancied anyone. And boy did she fancy Jesse.
‘Oh?’ Emily dumped the tomatoes on the counter and looked down at her floral sundress with its busy print that distracted onlookers from any misdemeanours beneath. She wanted to tell Jesse that he was being ridiculous. Emily knew she was no ogre, but she also knew she was far from gorgeous. But she kept her gob shut. If Jesse wanted to live under the notion that she was gorgeous, who was she to stop him? Instead, she channelled her inner flirt, putting into practice everything she’d learned from Lara over the years.
‘Thank you. You don’t look so bad yourself.’ Understatement alert! Emily had never seen anyone rock a pair of shorts quite so well in her life.
‘Yeah?’ Emily felt a swoon coming on as Jesse raised his pale eyebrows and she felt the need to crawl into the fridge to cool down.
Okay, Lara wouldn’t have done that.
‘Yes.’ Emily’s voice wavered, far from the confident minx she was attempting to emulate. ‘You look pretty hot.’
There. She’d said it. If only she could get her cheeks to calm down and stop battling with the sun for brightness.
But Emily didn’t have to worry about her cheeks as the kitchen suddenly erupted with a chorus of voices before it filled with bodies, all vying for Jesse’s attention. He was swept back out into the garden, but not before he’d glanced back to grin at Emily before he disappeared from view.
So, had Emily successfully flirted with an extremely good-looking bloke who was way out of her league? Or had she just made a complete fool of herself? The answer to that question would take a while as the party began in earnest. Meat was thrown on the barbecue, music was chosen and a game of volleyball was set up on the beach. A mishmash of chairs, sun loungers and beach towels were set up along the sand and the beer and cocktails were flowing. Lara lapped up the attention bestowed upon her by the fellow partygoers while Emily did her best to keep a low profile, either holed up in the kitchen or hidden behind a book on the outskirts of the group, afraid to face Jesse and the verdict of her clumsy flirtation attempt. Jesse was in the thick of it, playing the perfect host as he hopped from group to group. Emily tried not to feel too gutted as the girls flocked to him, their bodies barely concealed in their bikinis and tiny dresses. How could she compete? That’s if she was even in the running in the first place.
‘Hey, you. Didn’t anybody tell you there are no books allowed?’
Emily peered over the top of her paperback. One of Jesse’s friends loomed over her, grinning down at her with uneven teeth before snatching the book and tossing it down on the ground.
‘Do you know what the punishment is for being a book nerd?’ Emily didn’t have time to answer – or to tell him where to go – before he’d scooped her up from her seat and flung her over his broad shoulder. Her ribs rattled as he took off, sprinting over the sand and – oh no – towards the sea.
Emily gasped as she was flung, fully dressed, into the water. She squealed as she hit the cold water and felt it seep through her dress. She was going to kill him, slowly and oh so painfully. She was already unsteady on her feet as she rose, making an immediate lunge for the grinning buffoon, when a wave knocked her face first into the water. Her nosedive caused great hilarity for the beach full of holidaymakers but Emily was not amused. Rising from the water once more, coughing and spluttering and squinting through stinging eyes, Emily felt a pair of arms around her. She was about to kick out – swiftly and aiming for the nuts – when she heard a voice that did not belong to Jesse’s friend.
‘Here.’ It was Jesse himself and he was wrapping a towel around her shoulders. ‘Let me warm you up. Apparently, I’m pretty hot.’
Emily cringed and hid her face in the towel under the pretence of drying her eyes. ‘Is that so? What fool told you that?’
‘A very cold and wet but still incredibly beautiful fool.’
Emily forced herself to peep out of the towel and found Jesse grinning at her. Her legs started to wobble and it wasn’t entirely because she was thigh-deep in the sea. His grin dropped as he reached out to tuck a string of hair behind her ear.
‘Are you okay?’
‘No, I don’t think I am.’ She pressed her lips together to stop herself from giggling as Jesse’s eyes filled with concern. ‘I swallowed an awful lot of water. I could have drowned. I think I might need the kiss of life.’
‘Did you know that I’m a trained life guard?’
Emily was impressed. She bet Jesse would look great in a pair of tiny red shorts. ‘Are you?’
‘No, but let’s give it a go anyway.’
Jesse grasped the edges of the towel, tugging Emily towards him. She ignored the jeers and wolf whistles piercing the air from the beach as she tilted her head and closed her eyes against the still-bright sun. As Jesse’s lips met hers, Emily knew her stay at the beach house was going to be the best holiday ever.
 
 
 
I hope you enjoyed reading The Beach House! Click here for more short stories.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Jersey Affair by Georgina Troy

 
 
Shoe designer Paige Bingham is devastated when she is jilted by fiancĂ© Jeremy, so she decides to take some time away from everything and go on their honeymoon to Italy alone. While there, she meets handsome businessman Sebastian Fielding. She spends the rest of her holiday sightseeing and getting to know Sebastian and they agree to meet up once the holiday is over.
 
But upon her return to Jersey, Paige discovers that Sebastian is taking over the store where her shoe concession is based and that some of the concessions are going to be closing. Paige fears her business will go under and doesn't think she will be able to forgive Sebastian if it does.
 
I enjoyed Georgina Troy's previous novel, A Jersey Kiss, last year so I was looking forward to reading A Jersey Affair. I thought the book really brought to life both Jersey and Italy with its vivid descriptions, so much so that I was ready to hop on a plane as soon as I'd finished reading it! I loved the story of Paige and Sebastian who meet and start to fall in love before they realise how their businesses are connected, and it reminded me very much of Kathleen and Joe's relationship in You've Got Mail (which is my favourite film) as they struggle with their feelings. Paige is attracted to Sebastian and has already started to develop real feelings for him, but she holds back because Sebastian's business is threatening her own so it's a real battle for her whether she can be with Sebastian or not.
 
One of my favourite parts of the book was Paige's friendship with her neighbour and work colleague, Olly. They're so close and really care about each other, but their friendship is a lot of fun too. I thought Olly was a fantastic supporting character and I thought his love of a good gossip was brilliant. I also liked the fact that we got an insight into Sebastian's thoughts too, so we could see his full character, even if Paige couldn't see it at times.
 
For me, A Jersey Affair is the perfect book to read in the sun and imagine you are in the beautiful settings within the book.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Introducing The Page Girls... Plus a Giveaway!


The Page Girls (www.thepagegirls.com) is a new online mag with an emphasis on books, cocktails, and female friendships. Each week, they publish a themed issue containing short stories, book reviews, personal and funny essays, videos, cocktail recipes, and more. Some sample issues include The Craziest Thing I Did For Love and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister).

From July 21-25, The Page Girls is celebrating its first official “birthday week,” which means a giveaway every day plus other goodies.




Sign up for The Page Girls’ weekly newsletter to get notified about new issues, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
 
 
The ladies at The Page Girls have kindly offered two prizes to give away here on my blog. There is an ecopy of Here For The Cake by Emily Poule (open internationally) and a set of custom Page Girl letterpress coasters (US only)
 
 
To enter, fill in the rafflecopter form below and leave a comment letting me know which country you're in so that I know which prize(s) you're eligible for.
 
The winner of Here For The Cake will be given a code to claim a free ecopy of the book from Smashwords
 
The winners will be notified by email before being announced on the blog
 
Good luck!
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 20 July 2014

3 Year Blogiversary Plus A Giveaway

 
Happy blogiversary to me!

It's hard to believe that I set up my blog three years ago 'to see how hard it would be' and I'm still going! It doesn't seem like a whole year has passed since I was celebrating my two-year blogiversary but quite a lot has happened since then.

I've reviewed some fantastic books, taken part in fabulous cover reveals and blog tours and interviewed some brilliant authors.

On a more personal level, I've self-published my first novel, A Beginner's Guide To Salad and am getting ready to release my second in a couple of months. I also wrote some short stories, which have been fun. I didn't used to be a fan of writing short stories but I've definitely got a taste for them now!

I hope the next year is going to be just as much fun!

And now onto the giveaway. I thought, since it's my 3 year blogiversary, I would give away 3 books. And what is a giveaway without a bit of chocolate? And a cute notebook?

One winner, chosen at random by Rafflecopter, will receive
  • The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson
  • Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent
  • First Sight by Danielle Steel
  • notebook
  • bag of Revels

 
To be in with a chance of winning, simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below and leave a comment telling me what has been your highlight over the past year. There is the chance to earn extra entries but these are optional.
 
Once the giveaway ends, Rafflecopter will select a winner at random and they will be notified by email before being announced on the blog.
 
This is a UK only giveaway 
 
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 18 July 2014

My Summer Reads: #Sunathon

 
 
A couple of weeks ago, I heard about a readathon organised by fellow book blogger Emma Louise (@EmmaIsWriting on Twitter) and thought it would be fun to join in. I've got quite a big TBR pile (Ha! Understatement) so I thought it would be good motivation to take out a chunk.
 
Sunathon is going to run from 21st - 27th July. There is no sign up sheet, you simply take part by using #sunathon on Twitter. You can find more details here
 
 
 
My aim for #sunathon is to finish reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell for the Novelicious Book Club, before moving onto two books from my Summer Reading List, The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland and No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday by Tracy Bloom. I'll be blogging about how I got on with my mission afterwards!
 
Will you be taking part in #sunathon?
 
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My Summer Reads is a blog feature celebrating reading in the sun (if we ever get any). If you'd like to take part, give me a shout! You can find out more about My Summer Reads here or see past posts here


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Giveaway Winner: Signed Copy of A Gift To Remember by Melissa Hill

 
Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and/or helped to spread the word via Twitter and Facebook.
 
Rafflecopter has selected a winner, who has been notified by email. And the winner is:
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you didn't win this time, worry not! I'm having a mega giveaway here on the blog on Sunday to celebrate my 3 year blogiversary. So make sure you come back and enter if you want to win some fab reads and chocolate (and who doesn't want that?)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Writing Book 2 - Part 7

 
Formatting & Proofreading
 
 
So I wrote a story. I completed the first draft, then a second and a third before I sent it away to be edited. Now it's time to make it look like an actual book.
 
Formatting my first book, A Beginner's Guide To Salad was quite difficult. I didn't have a clue what I was doing and relied quite a lot on Google so, having done it once, I found it much easier to get my head around second time around. I was no longer leaping into the unknown and knew a few tricks to prevent me from tripping up further down the line.
 
The greatest of these tricks was knowing not to use the tab button to indent. I didn't know that first time round. You're supposed to use the indent tool in word, but I didn't, which meant I had to go back through the document and remove the tabs and set my indents correctly. I've since discovered that you can remove the tabs all at once with a couple of easy steps. Again, I did not know this at the time *angry face*
 
I also knew how to set up a Table of Contents this time. It's actually pretty easy to do but I HATE setting them up. It's such a boring and repetitive process but it's something that has to be done and at least I can get through it a bit quicker now I don't have to keep referring to the step-by-step guide.
 
Last time around, I didn't know much about front matter (the stuff that becomes before the actual story in a book), but this time I had a template I could work from by referring back to A Beginner's Guide, which was helpful and definitely helped saved time and more Google research.
 
Once I'd formatted the book, I converted the file so I could read it on my Kindle (something else I'd had to learn from scratch last time) and it's at this stage it really looks like a real book. I was so excited about seeing it on my Kindle, I had to take a photo of it!
 
 
 
Now it was time for the proofreading stage. It always amazes me how much stuff gets missed the first, second, third, fourth time I go through my book. And I'm not just talking about the odd typo - characters can change name or swap bodies with somebody else. Or they can steal somebody else's food. I had one (male) character speaking to his (female) friend before tucking into her food instead of his. The cheek!


Monday, 14 July 2014

If I Could Turn Back Time by Nicola Doherty

 
 
Zoe Kennedy's life isn't going to plan. Her change of career hasn't worked out as well as she'd hoped and she threw away her chance of happiness with the wonderful David Fitzgerald by being needy and jealous of the bond he had with his best female friend, Jenny. But when Zoe makes a wish to be with David again, she finds herself travelling back six months in time, to when her relationship with David was still in tact. Zoe has the chance to do things differently this time so that she and David can live happily ever after.
 
I've been itching to read If I Could Turn Back Time as I love books (and films) with a sprinkling of magic and I wasn't disappointed. If I Could Turn Back Time is such a fun read and perfect for curling up and immersing yourself in a world where wishes can come true. Zoe felt her life took a turn for the worse when she broke up with David, a handsome and charismatic heart surgeon. By going back in time, she can pinpoint the moments that went wrong in their relationship and play them differently this time, and I loved seeing how the scenes changed with Zoe's new insight.
 
This is the first book I've read by Nicola Doherty but I loved the writing style, which is light and fun and drew me in immediately, so I'd definitely like to read more. There's a great cast of characters, from Zoe and her friends, to David and the villainous Jenny and Zoe's new flatmate. I think there was a little bit too much emphasis on clothing at times, but as Zoe works in fashion, it is something she would pick up on more, so I could understand why. Overall, I thought the book was a fantastic read. It is light and humorous and I would definitely recommend to any fans of chick lit/romantic comedies.

Friday, 11 July 2014

My Summer Reads 2014 by Heidi-Jo Swain

Today I'm pleased to welcome Heidi-Jo Swain onto the blog to take part in 'My Summer Reads'.
 


Hello everyone! My name is Heidi-Jo Swain, welcome to my Summer Reads post for 2014! Six sunny weeks of uninterrupted reading and writing time are drawing tantalisingly close and I can’t deny that for me the luxury of living The Writing Life for a month and a half is anything less than the ultimate job perk!

This year my Summer Reads are stacked up on my fit to burst Kindle carousel and amongst the dozens of as yet undiscovered treasures there are two in particular that I can’t wait to immerse myself in and an old favourite that I return to every September without fail.

First up this year is The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon. This highly praised novel has been sitting on my carousel since April when I downloaded it courtesy of one of many Galaxy Ripple bars I was consuming to help with the trauma of moving house. Unfortunately the expense of moving has denied me a holiday this year, but the thought of jetting off to Florida’s Key West and being knocked sideways by sexy Cuban scuba diver Leo is, I think, going to make up for it! 
 

Next up is A Summer To Remember by Victoria Connelly. I’ve long been a fan of Victoria; we live in the same part of the world and share a passion for chickens and Miss Read, and who hasn’t wondered what would happen if you stepped off the treadmill and went in search of an entirely different life? I’ve been reliably informed that the novel is packed with sunshine, blissful English countryside and a couple of rogues, who could ask for more? Lisa Jewell describes the novel as ‘sunshine on a rainy day’. Sounds like the perfect British Summer Read to me!
 
 
And finally I return to my old favourite Village School by Miss Read. Flip the calendar over to September and out comes the tatty but much loved paperback in readiness for the return to work and welcoming a brand new class. The halcyon days may be fading, but Miss Read reminds me why I love my job and sets me on the path ready to countdown to next July when I get to do it all again!

 
I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about my Summer Reads for 2014. If you would like to know more about me and my writing please use the links to Twitter, Facebook, my blog or Wattpad where a warm welcome awaits you. Many thanks to the lovely Jennifer Joyce for offering me the opportunity to share this post with you. I can’t wait to see who shares their Summer Reads next!


Happy Reading everyone!


Blog:
http://www.h-writersblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/HeidiJoSwain

Wattpad:
http://www.wattpad.com/user/HeidiJoSwain

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/WriterHeidiJoSwain?ref=hl
 
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If you'd like to take part in the My Summer Reads feauture, please give me a shout! You can email me at jenniferjoycewrites@gmail.com or click here for more details

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Giveaway: A Gift To Remember by Melissa Hill


To celebrate the paperback release of Melissa Hill's A Gift To Remember, I've been provided with a signed copy to give way to one lucky winner. To enter, all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below and leave a comment telling me what has been your favourite gift (a gift to remember, if you will).

I reviewed A Gift To Remember late last year. Here's what I thought:

 
Darcy Archer lives for books. She's the manager of a New York bookstore and loves nothing more than curling up and escaping into a book and even dreams of her favourite book heroes. Her aunt, glamorous events manager, Katharine, worries that Darcy is spending too much time holed up in her apartment with a book. Nothing exciting ever happens to Darcy. Until one disastrous morning when Darcy knocks over a man while riding to work on her bike.
 
Darcy is horrified by the accident and feels guilty. So when the man's dog is accidentally left behind at the scene while he rushed to hospital, Darcy feels responsible for it. As well as the dog, a husky named Bailey, there is also a beautifully wrapped package left behind and Darcy vows to reunite the dog and gift with their owner.
 
Darcy tracks down the man - a handsome and successful businessman named Aidan Harris - and from there she embarks on a journey of discovering who he is and just what is in that mysterious package.
 
I thought A Gift To Remember was a little slow to begin with and while the writing was engaging and well-written, it did take a little while to get going for me. However, once it did, I was pulled into Darcy's mission to find out more about Aidan Harris and I think I wanted to find out who he was just as much as she did! I was fully immersed in the story and the mystery of Aidan and the package and thoroughly enjoyed the book.
 
Darcy is a great character, if a little stubborn at times, and I thought she put great effort into her mission. I absolutely loved her world of New York and books and could understand her completely. My favourite character in the book was Darcy's friend and co-worker, Joshua, who is fun as well as kind and loyal. And Bailey is quite a lovable character too!
 
I thought A Gift To Remember was a fantastic festive book in a gorgeous setting and with a host of fantastic characters. The story is a perfect blend of intrigue and romance and I'd definitely recommend it.
 
 
And now for the giveaway! Fill in the Rafflecopter form below and leave a comment telling me what has been your favourite gift for a chance to win a signed copy of the book. There are chances to gain extra entries but these are optional.

Once the giveaway has ended, Rafflecopter will choose one winner at randon, who will be notified via email before being announced on the blog.

This is a UK only giveaway.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway