Thursday 18 February 2016

#AmReading The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice

One of my most anticipated reads of 2016 is The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice. I read the duo's first novel together, The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me in 2014 (you can see my review here) and have been eagerly awaiting their next book ever since. And now I have it!

The book isn't published until 24th March but I couldn't resist diving right in. I'm already quite a bit into the book and I'm loving it so far. I'll be reviewing the book here on the blog nearer to publication day but I couldn't help having a little shout out about it now!

What are you reading? And are there any books you're itching to get your hands on?

About The Book

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn't cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They're a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Night That Changed Everything is a funny, feel-good and bittersweet story, told in alternate chapters by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Goodnight, Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson

Nova and Mal have been friends since childhood, their families so close they practically merged into one. Nova would do anything for her best friend, a theory put to the test when Mal and his wife ask Nova to be their surrogate. Nova agrees but a few months into the pregnancy, the couple change their mind about the baby.

Eight years later, Nova is raising the son Mal abandoned. Mal cut all ties with Nova and the baby but now seven-year-old Leo is seriously ill in hospital and Nova wants Mal to get to know his son before it's too late.

Dorothy Koomson has done it again. She's made me cry. In fact, I wanted to sob into the pages. Goodnight, Beautiful is a gorgeous but tragic tale of friendship, first love and the bond between mother and child. As usual, Dorothy's writing was beautiful, drawing me straight into Nova's life as she faces an horrific period in her life as she watches her son lying in a hospital bed. The writing manages to be both warm and raw, a powerful mix that gripped me from the start. Even when I knew I was going to be a blubbering wreck, I couldn't put the book down as I was completely hooked. I was desperate to find out everything; what happened in the past and how it was all going to turn out. I was quickly reminded why Dorothy Koomson has become one of my favourite authors.

When I read the blurb, I didn't think I was going to like Mal's wife, Stephanie very much as she is the instigator in Mal's decision to sever his friendship with Nova and sacrifice his relationship with his son. But surprisingly, I warmed to her (although not nearly as much as I warmed to Nova). I couldn't help it. Despite my prejudice, I found myself drawn into Stephanie's life just as much as Nova's and I was eager to find out what had happened in the past to make her hurt so many people. Dorothy manages to create characters you can't help but like and care for, despite their faults, and this happened with both Mal and Stephanie. To begin with, it seems like quite a simple story; Stephanie was jealous and lashed out, causing years of heartache. But all is never as it seems on the surface and slowly the layers of Nova and Mal's story was revealed.

Nova is such a strong woman, dealing with the unexpected destruction of her friendship and dealing with the consequences of Stephanie's decision. Although she is completely knocked down by her friends' actions, she somehow pulls herself through it and I admired her so much for that. She could easily have crumbled but Nova's character shone through throughout. I was captivated by her and her story from start to finish.

Emotional and powerful, Goodnight, Beautiful is a fantastic read. But be warned: you'll probably need tissues. Lots of tissues.

Friday 12 February 2016

Cover Reveal: The Wedding Date

Today I'm thrilled to be able to share the gorgeous cover of my new book, The Wedding Date. I absolutely love it and hope you will too!

Will you…date me?

Delilah James, singleton and smoothie-addict, has six months to find a date for her oldest friend’s wedding. Oh, and to prove to her ex, best man Ben, that she has totally moved on since he dumped her out-of-the-blue nine months, eight days and seventeen hours ago…

So, with her two BFFs playing Cupid, Delilah launches herself into the high-tech, fast-paced and frankly terrifying world of dating. Luckily there’s the hot new guy at work, Adam Sinclair, to practice her flirting on – even if, as a colleague, he’s strictly off-limits!

Yet time’s running out and date after disastrous date forces Delilah to tell a little white lie – and invent a fake boyfriend! But will her secret crush on Adam ruin everything? Does she even care about Ben anymore? And is it too late to untangle her web of lies and take a real date to the wedding…?

The Wedding Date is published on 28th March 2016 but is available to pre-order now here

Thursday 11 February 2016

#AmWriting The 1st 'The End'

In fact, I'm not writing The End, I've just written The End! The first draft of my new book is now complete and it's quite a relief. It was a bit slow-going during the earlier stages but then I did publish The Mince Pie Mix-Up and complete the edits for my next Carina book (more on that one in a minute) at the same time as writing this book. Plus there was Christmas to contend with, which is a major time-vacuum.

But I got there (eventually) and a few minutes ago I typed those two glorious words. It won't be the only 'The End' for this book. There'll be at least another draft before it goes anywhere near an editor and then there'll be more The Ends after that but I'm so happy to have completed this draft. The story is there. The characters are there. They just need a bit more work to make them shine.

I wanted to finish this draft before half-term and I did it - just. Half-term begins when I pick Isobel up from school today! I'm going to have a week off to recharge my batteries (and entertain my kids/break up fights between them) and then I'll jump back into the second draft.

And now more about my next Carina book. The book will be published at the end of March but the cover is being revealed tomorrow and I can't wait to share it with you. I love the cover - it's beautiful and romantic with gorgeous colours. I'll be sharing the cover here on the blog as well as Twitter and Facebook so keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday 10 February 2016

#AmReading Goodnight, Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson

Back in 2011 I read Dorothy Koomson's The Woman He Loved Before - my first book by this author but definitely not my last. I loved everything about the book - the beautiful writing, the gripping storyline that had me hooked - and decided I needed to read more.

I read (and again, loved) The Ice Cream Girls next. That settled it - I needed to catch up on all of Dorothy Koomson's books and that's what I've been doing ever since. I bought the entire backlist but rather than gorge on them all at once, I've stretched them out, treating myself to one of Dorothy's older books as well as reading her newly-released books.

So far I've read:

The Cupid Effect
My Best Friend's Girl
Marshmallows For Breakfast
The Ice Cream Girls
The Woman He Loved Before
The Rose Petal Beach
The Flavours of Love
That Girl From Nowhere

And now I'm reading Goodnight, Beautiful. I started the book yesterday and I'm already hooked. I love Dorothy Koomson's writing and always find myself being quickly drawn into the lives of the characters and desperate to know what their stories are. I think it's safe to say that Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite writers. If she published her shopping list, I would read it!

About The Book

Goodnight, Beautiful
by Dorothy Koomson

Nova Kumalisi would do anything for her closest friend, Mal Wacken. She owes him her life. So, when he asked her to be the surrogate mother for him and his wife, in spite of her fears about how it would alter their friendship, Nova agreed.

Eight years later, Nova is bringing up their son alone, and she and Mal don't speak. Months into the pregnancy, Mal's wife changed her mind about the surrogacy agreement. Already suspicious of how close Nova and Mal were, Stephanie realised her strained marriage was in serious trouble when she found a text from her husband to Nova, saying, 'Goodnight, Beautiful'. She asked Mal to cut all ties with his closest friend and unborn child.

Now, seven-year-old Leo is critically ill and Nova, despite her anger and hurt, wants Mal to have the chance to know his son before it's too late. Will it take a tragedy to remind them how much they mean to each other?

Tuesday 9 February 2016

A Chat With... Elle Turner

Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for having me on your lovely blog.

Hi Elle. It's lovey to have you here. Can you tell us about your book?

Yes, I’d love to! My book is a collection of twelve short stories. I deliberated over the title, Tapestry, for AGES and went through many options before I chose it. Now, looking back, I don’t know why I found it so hard to decide. The stories are a tapestry, exploring the complexities of life and love through what I hope are moving tales, both happy and less so. I wanted to write about love in different guises, whether romantic love, familial love or obsessive love and took the opportunity to explore the darker, sadder sides of the emotion too. Some of the characters appear in more than one story – I wanted to see what happened to them before or after their first story in the collection. I hope anyone who reads it finds they want that too!

In hope, in pain

We lose, we gain,

But always and forever

The human heart braves life 

 In light and in shade.

A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love.

What was your inspiration behind it?

I had written a few stories that I knew I wanted to include in the collection and love was a common theme, particularly romantic love gone wrong. I didn’t want all the stories to be like that, though, and I wanted to include some happier ones too. I wrote a list of different “types” of love as a starting point and away I went!

When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

I started to properly pursue writing after my children were born. I’d always wanted to write, and did a bit, but thought I was being silly and should get a “proper” job. I returned to my “proper” job part-time after I had my twins and on my days off, once my boys went to pre-school, I had two hours with no one to answer to! I saw an advert in a newspaper for a Writers’ Bureau course, so I signed up. That course really helped me to figure out what I wanted to write. A bit later I took a short story course by distance learning with the London School of Journalism and joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, two decisions I’m very, very glad I made.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I still so new to this that I don’t feel I should be giving advice, but I could share a couple of thoughts about what I’ve learned so far.

If there’s something of this nature that you want to do, don’t think it’s silly, give it a go. Other people are doing it, so why shouldn’t you? As long as you’re meeting your responsibilities at the same time, who are you hurting?

You will learn a TON through making writer buddies online and these connections will stop you feeling that writing is an isolated process. The writing community is very supportive and lovely and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.

What was the first book you ever bought yourself?

Blimey, that’s going back a bit! I think probably one of the Famous Five books. I loved them for years, wanted curly hair like George and spent many a day dying to have some sort of adventure.

What was the last book you read?

I’m a fan and friend of the group of writers The Romaniacs. I’m sure many of your blog readers are too, Jennifer! I decided to make this #RomaniacReads month for me, so the last book I read was The French Retreat by Sue Fortin. I’m currently reading Truth or Dare? by Laura E. James.

Finally, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m about to re-visit the first novel I wrote now that I’ve written another three. I’m hoping I can see ways to improve it as a result of the experience I’ve now gained.

I’d love to have an agent and/or traditional publisher for my novels, so I’m making submissions just now too. Please keep your fingers crossed for me! I enjoyed the experience of self-publishing Tapestry, though, so I’d like to repeat this with other projects in the future.

Lovely chatting to you, Jennifer! Thank you so much again for having me. Very best wishes to you and all your readers. Happy writing!

Tapestry - Available now from Amazon

Elle Turner writes contemporary women’s fiction and lives in beautiful Scotland with her husband and two children. She loves scones, Coronation Street, all songs by Sara Bareilles and will happily admit to having little or no sense of direction. If you offer her a 50:50 she will ALWAYS get it wrong and, despite living in Scotland, she rarely manages to wear shoes that don’t leak. 

If you would like to find out more about Elle or her writing, she’d love to see you at on Twitter @ElleTWriter, Instagram elletwriter or she’s on Facebook as elleturnerwriter

Monday 1 February 2016

January In Pictures

The new year has got off to a good start! Here's how I spent January...

First days back to work after Christmas are always tough - so I treated myself to a 'Back To School' breakfast of a vanilla crown pastry and tea.

I kicked off my 2016 reading with Sue Perkins' Spectacles.

You can see my review of the book here

This month I also read:

Brown-Eyed Girl will be reviewed on Novelicious,
I'll add the link to the review when it goes live

Follow Me by Angela Clarke - click to see my review

A Home For Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman. I loved this book!

You can see my review here

The Secrets of Midwives is another book I'll be reviewing over on Novelicious

It was my birthday in January so my friend treated us both to having our nails done. I opted for a sparkly plum colour :)

To celebrate my birthday, I went out for a meal with my husband, Chris and our daughters, Rianne and Isobel

And finally, no month in pictures would be complete without a photo of Luna :)

I hope you all had a good January. What did you get up to? And did you read any books you want to shout about? Let us know in the comments!