Wednesday 30 March 2016

After The Last Dance by Sarra Manning

It's 1943 and as war rages on, teenage runaway Rose hops off a train at King's Cross, hoping the capital city will provide a far more exciting and glamorous life than the one she's left behind in Durham. Making her way towards Rainbow Corner, the famous dance hall run by the American Red Cross, Rose forges new friendships and falls in love for the first time. But Rose can't escape the war and the tragedies and heartbreak it brings.

Decades later, Jane bursts into a Vegas bar and ends up marrying the first man she sees. By marrying Leo, Jane is brought into the inner circle of the now old and frail Rose and they will both face up to the secrets of their past.

After The Last Dance is split between the war-ravaged 1940s and the present day and I was intrigued how the two female protagonists would be brought together. Rose is young and naive when she arrives in London but she also has a bolshiness that helps her survive those first few days as a stranger in a new, vibrant city. Fast forward to the present day and Rose is now a wealthy, powerful and often oppressive woman and I was intrigued by her change in circumstance and character. She'd transformed from a pleasure-seeking and hopeful girl into someone self-important and judgemental that I didn't like very much so I wanted to know why she had become so harsh and bitter. The other characters - newlyweds Jane and Leo - were also quite difficult to warm to at the beginning. Both are troubled and selfish but while Jane is superficial and money-orientated, there is obviously something dark lurking in her past that has caused her to behave the way she does and I was eager to keep reading to find out more.

I loved seeing the war years through Rose's eyes as she grows from a teenager to a young woman. Life with rationing and air-raids was harsh but Rose finds solace in Rainbow Corner, which is fun and glamorous and a world away from war-weary London. I'd never heard of Rainbow Corner before but the dance hall really came alive on the pages for me. I was fascinated by the jubilant home from home for the American soldiers and I could see why Rose would find herself drawn to it. Rainbow Corner is where Rose really starts to come alive and where she meets the people who will really shape her life and her future.

There is a lot packed within the pages of After The Last Dance, from a coming-of-age story to an emotional rollercoaster tale of family, friendship and love. The two women's stories are perfectly woven together and although I thought the start was slow, I ended up intently trying to find out what happened to both Rose and Jane to bring them to their present day selves.

Monday 28 March 2016

The Wedding Date: Publication Day Giveaway

To celebrate the publication of my latest book, The Wedding Date I'm giving away a love-themed prize pack.

The prize includes

A sparkly heart necklace
A mini notepad
Scented candles
Lip balm
A box of Love Hearts sweets

I'll also be giving away 2 runner up prizes of a wedding favour bag containing a lip balm, scented candle and a mini tube of Love Hearts sweets.

To enter, fill in the rafflecopter form below.

The giveaway will end on Wednesday 6th April and the winners will be notified by email.

Good luck!

About The Book

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…?

Publication Day: The Wedding Date

Publication Day is finally here! The Wedding Date is now available as an ebook from Amazon and other e-tailers. If you've already pre-ordered a copy, it should be waiting for you on your e-reader.

I hope you enjoy Delilah's story. She was such a fun character to get to know so I hope you love her as much as I do! If you read and enjoy the book, I'd love to hear what you think. You can leave a review (they really do make a writer's day) or give me a shout on Twitter or Facebook.

To celebrate the publication of The Wedding Date, I'm going to be running some giveaways here on the blog and over on Twitter and Facebook, so keep an eye out for those!

The blog tour will be starting on 11th April and over the next few weeks I'm going to be posting book extras here on the blog, with posts such as playlists, quizzes and fun facts. You'll be able to find all the posts using The Wedding Date tab on the main menu.

About The Book

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…?

Saturday 26 March 2016

Blog Tour: That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

Today I'm delighted to welcome Dorothy Koomson onto the blog with a Q&A as part of her blog tour for That Girl From Nowhere.

Can you tell us about That Girl From Nowhere?

This is my eleventh novel and it is the story of a woman called Clemency who is at a bit of a crossroads in her life. She’s just suffered a huge bereavement and her long-term relationship has broken down so she decides to up sticks and move from Leeds to Brighton to try to change her life. Clemency was adopted as a baby and was born in Brighton so subconsciously she is drawn there but she isn’t searching for her birth parents. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what her adoptive mother thinks she’s doing and decides to move with her. When Clemency gets to Brighton, through her work, she runs into someone who actually knows what happened to her birth parents and from then onwards Clemency’s life takes many shocking twists and turns.

What was your inspiration behind the book?

I had the idea for the story of what would happen if an adopted person accidentally met her birth family, a few years ago but I remember at the time it didn’t seem to be flowing. None of the characters seemed real and it was like working through treacle to find a way for the story to gel. So, I made the difficult decision to put it to one side for a while and I wrote the book that became The Rose Petal Beach. When I came back to it, the idea and everything seemed so much clearer and I had a much better way of marrying the two different storylines together.

When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

I’ve always loved stories and storytelling. I decided to try writing down some of the stories that I had in my head when I was about 13. I read a series of books called The Garden Gang by Jayne Fisher who was also 13 and I decided if she could do it maybe I could. Once I wrote my first story – There’s A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, I got a real taste for it and I haven’t stopped since.

What has been your greatest experience of being a writer so far?

There are so many. So many: from seeing my first book – The Cupid Effect – on the shelves of Borders on Oxford Street, London, a shop I used to go into all the time to getting emails from readers saying that one of my books had helped to change their life. Being a writer has been a fantastic experience for me.

Do you have a favourite character from any of your books?

Female character – Ceri D’Altroy from The Cupid Effect as she is the most like me. Male character – Greg Walterson from The Chocolate Run. He is simply delicious.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

You need to read a lot so you have an idea of what stories are being published and how they’re being told. And you need to write. Many people are put off the idea of writing a story because they’re worried what their mum or dad or auntie’s second cousin will think but seriously, those are things to worry about when you’re about to be published. Until then, you are writing the story for you so write the story you want to write in the way you want to write it.

What was the first book you ever bought yourself?

I don’t actually remember since I have bought so many books over the years. Also, I’ve always been a heavy library user so I borrowed a lot books. I borrowed the entire collection of Jackie Collins books available when I was a teenager and almost inhaled them all.

What was the last book you read?

While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green and The Sudden Disappearance of The Frasers by Louise Candlish – both very different but great reads.

Finally, what are you working on at the moment?

I have three ideas that are currently battling in my head to be written. I haven’t settled on one yet but when I do, I’m sure I’ll let you all know.

Thanks for the questions, Jennifer. Tweet you soon. : ) Dorothy x

That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson is published on 24th March by Arrow, price £7.99 in paperback. Share your favourite photo and its story to #ThatGirlMemories to win a Fujifilm Instax 8 camera.

You can see my review of That Girl From Nowhere here

Blog Tour: The Magic Touch by Kelly Florentia

Hi Kelly. Can you tell us about The Magic Touch?

Hi Jennifer. Thank you so much for inviting me onto your fabulous blog today.

The Magic Touch is a romantic drama with a paranormal swirl. Emma King, a 39-year-old divorcee, isn’t keen on tying the knot with Harry, her partner of five years. She’s been there and done it and is in no hurry to go down the aisle again. So it comes as no big surprise when she turns down his marriage proposal, yet again. Harry seems to take the rejection in his stride. So all is well in the King/Georgiades household, despite a blip in the romance department, which she blames on a heavy workload. That is until she stumbles across a flirtatious text message on Harry’s mobile phone from a female colleague. Fuelled by suspicion and an impending fear of losing Harry, she goes on a quest to get to the bottom of his secret affair with the help of her best friend Ola, her ninety-three-year-old neighbour, Alistair, and Harry’s sister-in-law’s psychic app, The Magic Touch.

What was your inspiration behind the book?

It was actually mobile phone applications. I was intrigued by how much we rely on them these days – from keeping us entertained to booking a restaurant. There seems to be an app for everything. I actually plan my week around my weather app. Then I thought, what if there was an app that could predict your future with alarming accuracy, what then? And The Magic Touch was born. Of course, I had to create a story around the app. As with all my stories, my inspiration came from people watching, conversations, and paying attention. I was particularly curious about men who were eager to get married because usually it’s the other way around. So I did a bit of research and my story surfaced from there.

When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing. I used to write poetry when I was younger. I still have some of my poems stuffed in a drawer or in a box in the attic. But I suppose I started to take it a bit more seriously when I began writing and selling short stories to magazines. That was the start of it all and I’ve not looked back since.

What has been your greatest experience of being a writer so far?

Creating immortal characters and stories that will (hopefully) be around forever. But I do love all the research that goes into creating it all.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I suppose it’s a cliché, but don’t give up. Read a lot, join a writer’s forum, sign up to the RNA New Writer’s Scheme if your genre is romance. And don’t let rejection bite! I know it’s disheartening but it is a part of the process.

What was the first book you ever bought yourself?

To be honest, I can’t remember. But I think it was one of the Jane Austen classics.

What was the last book you read?

The Bones of You by Debbie Howells. It was very good.

Finally, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on my third novel, which is a sequel to Broken, out on 20th August 2016.

Find out more about Kelly Florentia at

Twitter: @kellyflorentia



Thursday 24 March 2016

Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel

When Lauren and her friends sign up for salsa lessons, it isn't to meet men - Lauren is totally (though unrequitedly) in love with her work colleague, Edwin and Cate and Emily are happily single (although romance isn't completely off the cards for them should the opportunity arise). 

The salsa classes will be taking place in the ballroom of the Moonlight Hotel, a building that holds many cherished memories for Lauren. So she's devastated when she learns that the hotel has been sold to a chain that will no doubt rip out the Moonlight's soul.

Over the coming weeks, as Lauren and her friends learn to dance, they're faced with events and decisions that could change the path they've chosen in life - and possibly crack the foundations of their friendship.

Having read some of Jane Costello's previous novels, I was looking forward to reading Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel. Jane writes with such warmth and humour, creating characters that are endearingly real. I warmed to Lauren immediately and couldn't help giggling at some of the situations she gets herself into. I have to admit that I found her fascination with Edwin a little odd but I was looking forward to seeing how it would all work out.

There are a great cast of characters within the book, from Lauren's best friends, Cate and Emily who are dealing with their own set of problems, to the new friends she meets at the salsa class. The classes sound like a lot of fun and I loved reading about them each week. Lauren is a teacher at a primary school and I also loved the scenes with the children as they brought a lot of humour to the book with the children's observations and comments.

It becomes a little clearer how the book is going to turn out as the story moves along, but I wasn't sure how some of the obstacles were going to be resolved to provide any kind of a happy ever after (a must for a romantic comedy, in my opinion) but I was happy with the outcome. In fact, I was happy with all of the book as it's such a fun read. There are some not-so-fun aspects to the book but I think these were dealt with sensitively.

I really enjoyed Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel and look forward to reading more from Jane Costello in the future.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice

Rebecca and Ben are complete opposites; Rebecca is messy and Ben is tidy, Rebecca is closed off, keeping her emotions to herself while Ben isn't afraid to show his feelings. But they seem to work and they're happy together. Until a secret is revealed and their relationship isn't quite as it once seemed. Can they put this revelation behind them and continue as they were or will it change their relationship beyond recognition?

After reading The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice back in 2014, I was looking forward to reading their next novel and I have to say I. Loved. This. Book. A lot. It has everything I want in a book; romance, intrigue, wit and a host of characters I quickly fell for. Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice have a way of writing fantastic chemistry between their characters - and not just the main guys. The supporting characters aren't merely background players. They're right there, at the forefront, being brilliant. I adored the different relationships and friendships within the book, from old, established bonds to brand new ones that we see developing throughout the book. There were a lot of laughs as the friends teased each other but also a lot of love and support through difficult times too. Of course I loved Rebecca and Ben but I also had massive soft spots for Jamie, Russ and Jemma too.

The book is told from the alternating perspectives of Rebecca and Ben, with the authors taking control of one character's viewpoint and this was done seamlessly. The characters (both Rebecca and Ben and the supporting guys) were true to themselves no matter who was relating their story, which meant the switch at each new chapter wasn't jarring at all.

The story wasn't what I was expecting but I enjoyed being swept along by the brilliant host of characters. I loved that there was a nod to the duo's previous novel with one of the characters appearing in this book too, which was brilliant for me as I adored her in The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me and she was just as hilarious this time round. There was also a little hint of what happened next for a couple of characters from The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me, which I loved.

The Night That Changed Everything was a fabulous read with an amazing bunch of witty, warm characters and a bittersweet story. There are some real heart-string-pulling moments as well as plenty of laugh-out-loud and snorting-in-public moments and I loved it all. I'm already looking forward to the pair's next book, so please hurry up with that one, Laura and Jimmy ;)

Monday 21 March 2016

The Wedding Date: Introducing Delilah and Friends

As there's only a week to go before the publication of The Wedding Date, I thought I'd introduce you to a few of the book's characters.

Delilah James

Delilah is in her mid-twenties and lives at home with her mum, dad and her younger brother Justin, though her living arrangements are due to necessity rather than firm apron strings. Delilah had assumed she would marry her boyfriend, Ben and create their own happy home together, complete with three children and an extensive collection of musicals DVDs. But Ben is no longer her boyfriend. Nine months ago, he became her ex and although Delilah still can't quite get over the shock of their relationship breakdown, Ben has no such trouble and has moved on to pastures new. The bastard. So with her oldest friend's wedding rapidly approaching - where Ben will be the best man - Delilah is determined to bag herself a new boyfriend to prove she's moved on too.

Lauren McIntosh

Lauren and Delilah have been BFFs since their first knee-quaking day at high school. Lauren has been single for a while (*ahem* aaaaaaaages) but she's picked up some helpful dating tips during her single days, which she's able to pass on to Delilah. Lauren encourages Delilah to dive back into the dating game, even if she's dated some stinkers in the past.

Ryan Ford

Ryan and Delilah have known each other for a big chunk of their lives having grown up living next door to each other. Ryan's mum is unbearable (and undeterred) in her quest to match-make her only son with a suitable young lady. Although Ryan can't seem to sort out his own love life, he's happy to help his best friend out - by any means possible.

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…?

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | iTunes

Thursday 17 March 2016

Blog Tour: Broken Faces by D M Carr

Today I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for D M Carr's novel, Broken Faces.

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: 15 December 2015

Publisher: Green Shutter Books

Freddie Chevalier, a wealthy farmer’s son, suffers a life-changing disfigurement in the Great War. He’s in love with his best friend’s fiancé and is determined not to miss out on the excitement of the Great War. Soon his life changes from one of idyllic days spent with his friends, Charles, Meredith and Lexi, staying at the Baldwyn’s ancestral home in Shropshire and working on his father’s farm in Jersey, to one of horror, pain and betrayal.

It doesn’t take long for Freddie to discover that the life he enjoyed before the war has vanished and that he is going to have to find a way to live with the consequences of the choices he and Charles have made.

Broken Faces beat 7000 other entrants to be a runner-up in the Good Housekeeping Magazine Novel Writing Competition (2012) they described DM Carr as as ‘one to watch’, They also added, ‘In Deborah Carr’s Downton-esque tale, Broken Faces, a soldier suffers a life-changing injury in the Great War’. The book also received a special commendation in that year’s Harry Bowling Prize. 




As the weight of the plaster of Paris slowly increased on his face, he tried to steady his breathing and not give in to claustrophobia. It would be worth it in the end. He concentrated on the gentle American accent of the woman clasping his hand. She had a kind face. Her lack of shock when he’d been unmasked was admirable. Or was it simply she had grown used to seeing men such as he? They told him she was a sculptor. Someone overheard her say she saw beauty in the men she helped and that those men with missing noses and shattered faces were like the sculptures she created.

All he could think about, apart from the suffocating pressure on his nose and mouth, was a poem he’d heard someone recounting back at Les Invalides. Was it by Yeats? He wasn’t sure. He recalled it was about Easter in 1916, but not referring to the Front, even so the words still resonated. How did it go? He couldn’t quite remember. He was now one of the gueules cassées. One of the broken faces and his life would never be the same again.




About D.M. Carr

D.M Carr lives in Jersey with her husband and three noisy but adorable rescue dogs. She writes romances for Accent Press under the pseudonym Georgina Troy. Broken Faces is her debut novel in her own name.







Monday 14 March 2016

#AmWriting: Second Drafts & Blog Tours

I'm always a bit daunted before I dive into the second draft of a book. What if it's absolute rubbish? So rubbish that no amount of drafts will change the fact it's poop? I'm usually firmly of this mind set by the time I finish a first draft. I've usually spent weeks if not months tapping away at my laptop, hoping that the words emerging on my screen are edging towards decent. I never edit as I go. Instead, I plough through to the end, ensuring I've got a complete draft to work on. It isn't always pretty (understatement) but, as the saying goes, you can't edit a blank page. So I'm not quite sure what I'm going to find when I open up the document again.

There are lots of things I wanted to work on during this draft. There were some glaring weaknesses so I created myself a nice list of what I knew needed changing before I jumped back in. That nice, typed up list has since been scribbled on as I've found new problems or things to work on. One of the major things I'm focusing on this time round is strengthening the relationships between my characters. I feel like I know my characters really well but I need to show the readers who they are on the page.

As well as working on my new book, I'm also gearing myself up for the publication of The Wedding Date, which will be released in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Please excuse me while I hyperventilate...

I've been busy planning the blog tour, which will run from 11th - 24th April and there are some fantastic bloggers who are taking part. There'll be a mix of reviews, guest posts and Q&As and I can't wait to get started, even if I do have major butterflies right now!

Did you catch the cover reveal The Wedding Date? In case you didn't I'll post it again (any excuse).

Isn't she a beauty? I absolutely love it. It's so pretty and the colours are gorgeous. The Carina team are a clever bunch! The book will be published on 28th March but it's available to pre-order here

Wednesday 9 March 2016

The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

1980: As graduation approaches, a group of friends set off for the countryside to escape the heat of the city during a hot summer day. When they discover an abandoned cottage by a gloriously cool lake, they start to imagine a life away from civilisation and the pressure life can bring. What if they stayed at the cottage, living off the land and enjoying the landscape?

30 years later, Lila is struggling with grief and a flailing marriage when she's offered a secluded lake-side cottage. Needing some time and space to work through her emotions of the past few months, Lila takes on the crumbling cottage, planning to renovate it to a habitable standard. The cottage hasn't been used for decades but the lives of the past inhabitants is evident, their possessions still in place. Who once lived in this remote cottage? And what made them flee, leaving everything behind?

The Shadow Year has been on my TBR pile FOREVER but I'm so glad I finally got round to reading it as it's such a fantastic, gripping read full of tension and mystery. While I did find the pace quite slow, I was hooked and fully immersed in the stories of Lila and the group of friends who arrived at the cottage during the early 80s. Kat and her friends arrived at the cottage full of vigour and an idealistic view of the year ahead of them and to begin with, life at the cottage is as wonderful as they imagined but their friendship is tested when their secret hideaway is discovered and a series of events unfolds that will change the group dynamics.

For me, Kat proved to be an interesting character because I could never quite get to grips with how I felt about her. At times I felt sorry for her and other times I couldn't help being frustrated with her thoughts and actions. My feelings towards her swayed throughout the book and I liked that she wasn't a perfectly rounded character. She has flaws which made her feel more real. She's easily swayed and although she seems quite tough and robust on the outside, inside is a different matter and I found her to be quite weak when it comes to her friend and housemate, Simon. Mind you, all of them were weak when it came to Simon and I was willing them to stand up to him more as he increasingly ruled their life at the cottage.

The book alternates between the 80s with Kat and her friends at the cottage and the present day, in which interior designer Lila discovers the cottage for herself. Sometimes when there is such a shift in perspective, I'm drawn to one storyline more than the other but in this case I think there was a good balance. While there's the mystery of what happened at the cottage three decades earlier, there are secrets in Lila's life too and I was intrigued by these and eager to discover more. Like Kat, I found myself swaying in opinion of Lila as I could understand her grief but it was frustrating seeing her pushing away her husband, Tom.

The Shadow Year is full of tension and intrigue. The mood is often dark and brooding as winter takes hold and we know that something happened at the cottage thirty years ago and I couldn't wait to find out what it was. There are loads and twists, turns and curveballs within the book and although I did spot some of them before the reveal, I thought it was a fantastic read that had me frantically turning the pages to discover their secrets.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Happy World Book Day!

It was lovely dropping Isobel off at school this morning and seeing the children in their World Book Day costumes. Last year Elsa was the popular choice but this year the school playground was full of kids dressed up as Wally (from Where's Wally). My favourite costume was an Oompa Loompa with full-on orange face paint and green wig.

Isobel's class topic at the moment is The Owl and The Pussycat, which she wanted as a theme for her World Book Day costume. Luckily we already had cat ears and a tail (plus some liquid eyeliner for a nose and whiskers) but we didn't have an owl. So out came the craft and sewing boxes and I made one!

He (or she - Isobel hasn't decided its gender yet) is a bit wonky but Isobel loves him and he's accompanied her to school today.

We don't have a pea-green boat either but we'll have to use our imagination for that one. My craft supplies won't stretch that far...

Are you (or your children) celebrating World Book Day?

Tuesday 1 March 2016

February In Pictures

Despite being a day longer than usual due to the leap year, February has whizzed by. I've been busy finishing the first draft of my new book - and am now working my way through the 2nd draft - as well as reading some great books, which I'll be reviewing either here on the blog (you can see all my reviews here) or over on Novelicious.

We've also survived half-term, enjoyed the delicious tradition of Pancake Day (I had banoffee pancakes, FYI) and celebrated Rianne's 13th birthday. Yes, I now have a teenage daughter - how did that happen???

As usual, I took lots of Luna photos in February and have put together a few of my favourites.

Don't forget you can see more of my photos over on Instagram!

Pancake Day!

Rianne's 13th birthday

The words every writer likes to see - The End