Cover Reveal: Fortune Cookie by Cathy Cassidy

01.08.2014
11:35

9780141_CocoCaramel_JKT.indd

I am really excited to be taking part in the cover reveal today for Fortune Cookie by Cathy Cassidy.

Move over Chocolate Box Girls, there’s a new boy in town…
After the amazing twist at the end of Sweet Honey, the sixth and final book in
Cathy Cassidy’s Chocolate Box Girls series follows Jake, the Tanberry sisters’
newly discovered half-brother…
As if the bombshell that he had three half-sisters wasn’t enough, Jake’s life in
London is turning into a nightmare. He has nowhere to run – except for maybe his new
family in Somerset… But Jake knows next to nothing about the Tanberrys. Will he be
welcome there? And even if he is, can anyone really help him turn things around?

You can pre-order Fortune Cookie here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chocolate-Box-Girls-Fortune-Cookie/dp/0141351837

Guest Post by Lucy Lord – Author of A Girl Called Summer

30.07.2014
15:38

A Girl Called Summer

I am delighted to welcome Lucy Lord to Bookbabblers today. Lucy’s latest book A Girl Called Summer is out now and we have reviewed it today. Here are Lucy’s top writing tips…

MY TOP FIVE WRITING TIPS
1. The best writing tip I’ve ever read is to enjoy what you’re writing – chances are that if you’re not enjoying writing it, the readers won’t enjoy reading it. Kill that scene that kills you with boredom!

2. Love your characters – you’ll be spending every day for the best part of a year with them! Mine have now become so close to me that I actually dream about them (which may say more about my mental state than I’d care to admit, but I bet I’m not the only author who does).

3. Be prepared to make changes to your masterpiece. When I was trying to get a deal with my first book, Revelry, I was told by my agent’s then assistant that I had to make the sex scenes much more graphic. Eeek – especially considering that the book is written in the first person and present tense (think about it!). Having duly upped the filth content, I was then told by my new editor that the heroine was much too slutty, and none of the characters were likeable enough (which was fairly difficult not to take personally, given the somewhat autobiographical nature of the novel). So I spent several weeks taking out half the sex scenes I’d just put in and adding random acts of kindness. There will be rewrites galore and you just have to deal with it – the end result will be a much better book.

4. There’s no such thing as writer’s block. When faced with a blank screen, and absolutely no inspiration for what your characters might do next in a particular scene, start a new chapter. The final chapter, if necessary! Any words are better than none, and even if you’re writing utter tosh, there’s bound to be something salvageable in there.

5. Persist, persist, persist. By all means listen to criticism, and take it on board. But ultimately, you just have to have faith in yourself, and carry on writing.

Thanks, Lucy!

Review of A Girl Called Summer by Lucy Lord

30.07.2014
08:46

A Girl Called Summer

I loved Lucy Lord’s previous novels Revelry and Vanity and I had been really looking forward to reading her latest book A Girl Called Summer.

Bella and Poppy are back and this time in Ibiza. Bella has bought a beautiful property in Ibiza with her partner Andy and they now have a beautiful daughter called Daisy. They are excited about leaving their hectic London life behind and working hard to refurbish their new house.

Summer Larsson is a fantastic character and I particularly enjoyed the the way that Summer and Bella’s friendship developed over the course of the book.

I loved meeting up with Bella, Poppy and Andy again, it felt like being reunited with old friends. The setting of Ibiza is so vividly described that I felt like I was there enjoying the summer sun and relaxed lifestyle. Like the previous two books there is lots of partying and scandal, which is what makes this such an exciting book.

This is a fantastic summer read that I highly recommend.

5 stars.

A Girl Called Summer is available to buy now.

Thank you to Harper for sending us a copy to review.

Review of The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley

29.07.2014
14:19

Italian Girl cover

I love books set in Italy and I had had The Italian Girl on my wish list for a while, so I was delighted to receive a copy to review.
 
When Rosanna Menici is 11 years old she meets Roberto Rosini at a family party and her life changes forever. Roberto is an opera singer studying at the world famous La Scala Opera House in Milan and recognises Rosanna’s extraordinary talent. With Roberto’s recommendation, Rosanna finds a tutor in Naples and her journey to Opera stardom begins. This is a fantastic love story that takes the reader from Naples to Milan , London and New York. This is a stunning read and a real page turner – I didn’t want to put it down and felt like I knew the characters by the end of the book.
 
I fell in love with this story and felt completely swept away by it – I didn’t want it to end. It is the first book by Lucinda Riley that I have read, so I will definitely be looking out for more from this author.
 
A fantastic, five star read that I highly recommend.
 
Thank you to PanMacmillan for sending us a copy to review.

Review of Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

27.07.2014
18:00

Love Letters cover

Love Letters to the Dead was a moving read, full of melancholy and at its heart, hope.

It began as an assignment for English class – write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because he died young, like her sister May. Laurel begins pouring her heart out to him and soon she isn’t just writing to him, she’s writing to dozens of other dead people.

Laurel communicates with us solely through these letters. There are no chapter or scene breaks, just letters. It is brilliantly written and though she is essentially ‘telling’ us her story, she is showing us so much more. Laurel’s pain leaps off the page. It is pretty clear fairly early on that she is harbouring some deep secret, getting clearer as the book continues.

There is so much for Laurel to deal with – starting high school, first love, growing up, dealing with the loss of her sister.

With a title like Love Letters to the Dead, it’s obvious this isn’t going to be a feel good book. But it’s still an amazing read. The words come alive in front of you as you fall down Laurel’s rabbit hole. This book is something in the vein of 13 Reasons Why and Lovely, Dark and Deep.

Reviewed by Pamela.

Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending us a copy to review.

Guest Post by Faye Bird – Author of My Second Life

23.07.2014
20:26

My Second Life cover

I am delighted to welcome Faye Bird to Bookbabblers today. Faye is the author of My Second Life, a fantastic book that we will be reviewing on Bookbabblers in the next week. Here is Faye’s guest post…

Identity and Second Lives
The central notion underpinning Ana’s story in My Second Life is that it is possible to have lived before, and as I am unable to explain Ana’s reincarnation, this notion absolutely presents the reader with a challenge: can we believe that Ana has lived a life before this one as Emma, and if we do, who is Ana?

Dr Ian Stevenson, a respected psychiatrist and scientist certainly believed the stories of the children he interviewed who spoke of having lived past lives, and so much so he set out to prove that reincarnation existed. His work in this field is documented and discussed in Tom Shroder’s book Old Souls, and within that book Dr Stevenson supplies some compelling evidence in the shape of common features that those children he interviewed shared.

Most of the children who spoke of past lives remembered excruciatingly ordinary details of their first life, made statements about their first life as soon as they started to speak and were able to recognise and name people from their previous life.

One child said, “I want to go home. This is not my house. You are not my mother. I don’t have a father. My father died.” He would not call his ‘second life father’ Daddy. He called him by name. And this was a detail I used when I wrote Ana’s story; Ana calls her second life mother Rachel, not Mum, because Rachel simply does not feel like her Mum.

Many of the children Stevenson interviewed displayed phobias that were related to traumatic experiences in their first life, and were able to speak matter-of-factly about their death. Some remembered how they died, but for some it was just the feeling or the action of their death that they remembered. One child described her death as ‘falling from above.’

And it is these sorts of sparse details, expressed so simply, that all of the children interviewed by Dr Stevenson shared in the telling of their stories, which brought home to me the feeling of displacement that they all so clearly felt.

These children did not feel like themselves. They were sure they knew things that the people around them did not seem to know or even recognise. They were conflicted, and they were alone, because when they spoke of their previous life and what they knew, they were mostly ignored.

One man Stevenson interviewed explained how his sister had asked him why he had never spoken of his previous life to her or their parents until now, when he was an adult. I did speak about it, he said, when I was 4, but our parents never listened to me.

And of course all of these feelings – the sense of loneliness, of being ignored, of being displaced – are not a world away from how I know I felt as a teenager.
No – I didn’t believe that I had lived before, and I didn’t experience a trauma during my teenage years that contributed to my feeling this way. I think I simply felt this way because of the emotional transitions my teenage years demanded.

Certainly, like most teenagers, I aspired to adulthood, but the reality of that aspiration – the reality of trying to work out who I was and where I fitted in the world – was a challenge. And that challenge, I realised in the writing, was no different to that of a child, whether we believe her or not, who tells us that she has lived before, and who is battling both with herself and those around her to be the person she wants to be. By the end of the book Ana knows herself better, and I hope that the reader too, whether he or she believes in past lives or not, will understand the precious value in this.

My Second Life by Faye Bird is out now. Read the first chapter online now at www.usborne.com/readmysecondlife. Follow Faye on Twitter @faye_bird. You can also search for #mysecondlife on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Faye Bird_website

Review of The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

22.07.2014
20:14

Assassins Blade cover

We first met Celaena Sardothien when she was imprisoned in the flithy mines of Endovier and have been steadily getting to know her over the two books Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of five novellas that show us an amazing glimpse into Celaena’s life before she became the personal assassin of the king of Adarlan.

Each novella is action packed and slowly begins to answer some of the many questions we as readers have asked ourselves about this feisty heroine. I am a massive fan of the series and really love Celaena’s swagger and sassiness. But these novellas stripped her back to her raw essentials and I fell for her story all over.

This collection of novellas will take you on an awe-inspiring journey across blistering deserts and remote islands, meet pirate lords and healers. It is a pulse-pounding, tender and dramatic read that will make you pick up Throne of Glass and ache for book three in this amazing series.

Reviewed by Pamela.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending us a copy to review.

Blog Tour: Giveaway and Review of Lawless by Jessie Keane

18.07.2014
20:58

Lawless cover
I am delighted to be hosting the Lawless blog tour today. This is the first book by Jessie Keane that I have read and I absolutely loved it.

Beginning in 1975, Ruby Darke is struggling to come to terms with the murder of her lover, Michael Ward. Her own business empire is starting to fall apart and, at the same time, her children Kit and Daisy are facing their own problems. Kit has reached an all time low after the revenge killing of Tito Danieri. However, things soon get a lot worse when it becomes clear that the Danieri’s will stop at nothing to get back at the Darke family.

This is a fantastic gritty and gripping read that I didn’t want to put down. There is so much suspense that I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through and the characters are brilliantly drawn. It is the sequel to Nameless, but read equally well as a standalone novel. Keane really brings the 1970s underworld to life and I found myself swept away with the fast paced plot, which is full of twists and turns.

5 stars

Thank you to PanMacmillan for sending us a copy to review.

We have 3 copies of Lawless to giveaway. To enter, retweet this post or leave a comment below. Giveaway is open to UK residents only and closes on the 31st July 2014.

Review of The Ties That Bind by Erin Kelly

13.07.2014
20:41

The Ties That Bind

Luke is a writer on a mission – he wants to write the ultimate true crime story. His first attempt, in his home town of Leeds, ended in disaster and he needs to rebuild his reputation. Having acrimoniously broken up with his rich, unbalanced and overly possessive partner Jem, he decides to get as far away from Leeds as possible. Brighton beckons, especially as a good friend of his, Charlene, works in an estate agent`s in the town. Charlene`s boss is a reformed gangster lord from the 1960s, Joss Grand, who now owns swathes of Brighton – the perfect subject for Luke`s masterpiece. He would write about the underworld of Joss and his sadistic partner Jacky Nye, who was killed in mysterious circumstances in 1968. He needs to persuade Grand to allow him to write a book about his life, thus allowing some digging into the details of Jacky`s murder.

He succeeds in persuading Grand to write his life story, but this comes at a price. The deeper Luke delves into Jacky`s unsolved murder, the more it seems he is putting himself in harm`s way. He needs to find the girl in the red coat who was seen running from the scene of the murder by the West Pier, believing her to be the key witness to the crime – that is, if she is still alive. He is constantly warned about the dangers of sifting through forgotten secrets but he is obsessive. Will he end up being part of the story himself? Not only that, but will Jem ever leave him alone? As Luke is pursuing the past, Jem is pursuing him.
An amusingly written, delightful read. I love the twists and turns of the plot, the surprises and the heartbreaks, the secrets and the revenge all together in a great book. A book not to be put down until the final word!

Reviewed by Liz.

Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for sending us a copy to review.

Blog Tour: Head over Heart by Colette Victor

08.07.2014
08:07

Head over Heart jacket

I am delighted to be today`s host on the Head over Heart blog tour. Here is an exclusive extract from the book…

Head Over Heart Chapter 1 extract

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