Friday, 16 February 2018

UK Book Blogger Awards

Exciting news!

The London Book Fair launches inaugural
UK Book Blog Awards

The hunt to find the most influential
book bloggers, bookstagrammers and booktubers is on

The London Book Fair (LBF) is delighted to announce the launch of the first ever UK Book Blog Awards @ LBF - a new initiative designed to celebrate social media influencers and their important contribution to the book industry.  

A new feature for LBF 2018, this will be the first time this community has been officially recognised and rewarded by the British publishing industry.

Bloggers, social media influencers, members of the publishing industry, and the general public are invited to nominate the best book blogs, bookstagrammers and booktubers across three categories:
·         Book Blogger of the Year
·         Bookstagrammer of the Year
·         BookTuber of the Year

Once the shortlist has been revealed, a panel of judges will select one winner in each category, who will be honoured at a special awards ceremony at The London Book Fair. In addition, the Fair will introduce new seminars and networking events aimed at bringing the social media influencer community closer to the publishing world.

Jacks Thomas, Director at The London Book Fair commented: “Book bloggers are an increasingly important part of the book world. Their passion for authors, genres and books is integral in reaching new audiences. We’re really excited to be launching the inaugural UK Book Blog Awards @ LBF and recognising the crucial role social influencers play in the promotion of books.”

The awards are open to any blogger, YouTuber or Instagrammer that features books published in the UK and/or UK authors. To put forward a nomination, or to nominate your own blog/Instagram account/YouTube channel visit: 

February Book Haul!

I'm going to share my february book haul a little differently with you, just to mix things up a bit. Rather than share each book on here, I made a video showing you the books so it's a little more interactive!

Here are all the links for the books I talk about:

The Sunday Lunch Club

The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One

Darcy Burdock Angrosaurus Rex

The Christmasaurus

Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

On Writing by Stephen King

Tell Me Three Things

Want a free audiobook? I am an audible affiliate!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Guest Review: The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton

As the sun sits high in the sky over Cornwall, and the sea breeze brings a welcome relief to the residents of the seaside village of Trevay, a stranger arrives in need of a safe haven.
The fact that the stranger is a Hollywood heartthrob makes villagers Penny and Dorrie even more keen to help. They both know what it’s like to feel that you need a break from life, and they bring the village together to keep their stranger’s secret. It’s not long before he’s helping some of the villagers find the answers to their own problems. In return, they find a place for him in their hearts.
Pendruggan: A Cornish village with secrets at its heart

Review: I do love a Quick Reads book; they are such a good idea for encouraging new readers or perhaps for  those with not a lot of time for reading to enjoy stories from established authors. When I saw that the latest batch of Quick Reads included this one from Fern Britton, I looked forward to reading it, as I have not actually read any of her work so far. I was not sure what to expect, but was quickly immersed in the story. 

The setting is the little Cornish seaside village of Trevay and the story harks back to one of Fern's earlier novels, A Seaside Affair. The person doing the getting away is a well known Hollywood actor in need of a break from the demands of a hectic life. The actor in question has been to the village before, his actions on that occasion gaining him many friends there. The villagers now rally round to protect his privacy and let him experience a more 'ordinary' lifestyle for a while. 

I found this a most enjoyable, if not entirely believable, short story with some really likeable characters. It would be nice to think that people could really be as helpful and welcoming as the villagers in Trevay. It sounds an idyllic setting for anyone who enjoys a quiet holiday by the sea. I would recommend the book itself for anyone looking for an entertaining and easy read. 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: YA Romance 13/2/18

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I decided to do a quick top 10 YA romance because I have read some really fabulous romance in t young adult books recently. As always, this list is in no particular order. 

Monday, 12 February 2018

Review: Our Little Secret by Claudia Carroll

A sparkling story about what happens when you let someone into your life… but they turn out to want more than you’d bargained for!
Sarah Dee has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?
When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is. But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And could this be a good deed that goes further than expected?


Review: This book was an absolute delight. I have always loved the witty way in which Claudia Carroll writes. She creates these funny women who are easy to love and puts them into settings we can recognise, but throws so much at them. We get to see how they handle everything that is thrown at them and then some. 

I expected this book to be a typical saga about women whose lives are interconnected and various things that happen to them, but this book was so much darker than I was expecting it to be (serves me right for not reading the synopsis!) Let me tell you though, Claudia Carroll can definitely do darker. She weaves some serious webs of deceit and intrigue in this novel and it was a joy to watch the characters try and unravel them. 

Sarah is a great character to read about. She is the kind of person we all want to be. She is good at what she does, she has an amicable relationship with her ex-husband and her daughter loves her. She is also the kind of person who will go out of her way to help people, even if that means putting herself out. Obviously we get to see her suffer the consequences of that in this novel. Daughter Darcy is also a really interesting character to read about. She is at that stage where not everybody takes things she says seriously and she is stuck in a kind of middle ground because of that. She is a very impressionable character and it was a joy to watch her develop in this novel!

And then of course we have Lauren, the girl with more sides to her than we can possibly imagine. I loved reading about the many facets of this character and she really does add so much intrigue to this story and ties the whole thing together. 

Every moment of this novel was believable and it was refreshing to have something a little darker that still has a family at heart and the humour that we have come to expect from this author. 

I listened to the audiobook of this novel and it was very well narrated, I highly recommend that format!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Gust Review: King Power: Leicester City's Remarkable Season by 'Richard III'

Another in my series of guest reviews of sport or history books. This one combines the two!
I had a hunch we’d be champions!
The most unlikely story in the history of sport, told by our greatest football writer
On 25th March 2015, when King Richard III, recently rescued from a municipal car park, was reburied in Leicester Cathedral, his beloved football team had just lost 4-3 to Tottenham Hotspur and were bottom of the Premier League, relegation certainties. With King Richard finally at rest, everything changed for Leicester City.
Here, in his own words, King Richard III tells this, the most remarkable sporting story of all time – how 5,000-1 Premier League outsiders became champions: the goals, the games, the dressing-room banter. He gives us the Jamie Vardy story, from prosthetic-limb factory employee to the most celebrated striker this side of the River Soar; Mahrez, the great Muslim dynamo from Algeria, once stuck in the French seventh tier; the dark days of the sex video and the late December wobble; Lords Drinkwater, Albrighton and the great Tinkerman from Italy, all of them heroes of Shakespearean proportions.
This isn’t a fairy-tale, this really happened. From the unsanctioned hand of a much-loved Royal, the greatest football book ever written.

Review: In 2012, an archeological dig at the site of what was believed to be the former Greyfriars Church in Leicester discovered an almost complete skeleton. Subsequent archeological and pathological examination of the skeleton, revealing a marked curvature of the spine and severe trauma injuries to the skull, and limited DNA testing looking at maternally-inherited DNA was carried out. The results of these combined examinations provided very strong support for the proposition that the remains were those of Richard Plantagenet, erstwhile Duke of Gloucester and King Richard III of England. Richard had assumed the role of King of England following the death of his brother Edward IV in 1483 and the subsequent declaration of Edward's son Edward V as illegitimate. Richard reigned for two years until Henry Tudor's rebellion in 1485 which culminated in the Battle of Bosworth near Leicester, in which Richard was killed. Henry Tudor subsequently ascended the throne as Henry VII, the first of the Tudor monarchs of England. Richard was the last Plantagenet king of England and the last king to die in battle. After the battle, his body was taken to Leicester and was said to have been buried in the choir of Greyfriars Church.

Following the discovery in 2012 and the completion of the various examinations, the remains of Richard III were re-interred on 26th March 2015 in Leicester Cathedral. Just prior to the re-internment, Leicester City Football Club were beaten 4-3 by Tottenham Hotspur and were bottom of the English Premier League, favourites to be relegated at the end of that season. What followed in the final nine games of the season was a remarkable turnaround of form that allowed Leicester City to escape relegation. The following season of 2015-2016 was even more remarkable as Leicester City, under a new manager, stormed to the top of the league and were crowned champions, having been quoted as 5,000 to 1 outsiders to lift the title at the outset of the season. Superstition plays an important role in most sports, and many people have attributed Leicester City's run of form during that year to Richard III's re-internment, less than a mile from their ground at the King Power Stadium. This book, purportedly from the pen (or should that be quill?) of Richard III, although given that he has been dead for over 500 years, is likely to be the work of a "ghost" writer, is an account of that year, from the relegation battle at the end of one season to being crowned champions at the end of the next.

The book is an exciting account of the football matches during that amazing year, describing the personalities involved, the back room politics of the football club and a few of the low points, together with many high points. There are also historical insights into the 15th century world of Richard III. For example, the author has few good words to say about William Shakespeare, who he believes gave him a very bad reputation in his play Richard III. However, there are some areas where the author's memory appears very hazy, as when he states he has no idea of the fate of Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, the so called "Princes in the Tower", who disappeared, never to be seen again, in the summer of 1483 following Richard's accession to the throne.

As one may imagine, this book is full of tongue in cheek humour and is written in very Shakespearian style (although whether that is William Shakespeare or Craig Shakespeare, who was Leicester City's assistant manager at the time, I shall not reveal). As a fusion of sport and history, I enjoyed this book very much and found myself laughing out loud (or LOL as Richard puts it on one occasion) many times on reading it.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Friday, 9 February 2018

Blog Tour: Q & A With Jane Lythell Author of Behind Her Back

Today is my stop on the Behind Her back blog tour. Author Jane Lythell has very kindly stopped by the blog today to answer my burning questions!

Buy links and author information are further down, here's what the book is all about...

In a TV station run by men, how do the women make themselves heard?
Liz Lyon is a television producer at StoryWorld, the UK's favourite morning show. Her job is stressful and demanding, but she is determined to show her teenage daughter that women can succeed.
Then a new female colleague joins the station. In this predatory climate of toxic masculinity Liz and Lori should be helping each other. But when Lori starts secretly building her power base with the bosses, Liz is desperate to know what's going on behind her back...

You can click here to order your copy now. But on with the questions...

1. First question-bit of a cliché - how did you get into writing?
I always wanted to write but I had a large mortgage and was on my own with a small
daughter. This meant I had to secure high paying jobs for 25 years. Had my
mortgage been smaller I would have been able to start writing earlier. I freed myself
in May 2011 which was when I started to write in earnest.

2. Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?
Now I am able to write full time.
Before 2011 I would squeeze in writing time around the margins of my very full-on
jobs. This was journals and short stories which no-one ever saw. But I did start to
draft The Lie of You and went on an Arvon Foundation week which helped me stay
focused on it.
My first fictional creation was when I was 7 or 8. I wrote a story for my younger sister
about Sally Dumpling, a fairy with curves who lived in a yellow rose and her best
friend was a robin.

3. Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer?
Not really. I read widely and am drawn to character driven books and those which
have a strong sense of place like Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News. In my novels I
prefer to write in the First Person as it creates intensity.

4. How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?
All writers are magpies and we pull together inspiration from the people we know, the
things we have overheard and our own experiences. But we transform these so that
they become something different.
I think a lot about my characters before I start writing. I have to know what they look
like, what they love to eat and do and also what they fear in life. I draft a page for the
main characters with these details.

5. What was the inspiration for behind Behind Her Back?
My own life! I had been a TV producer and a single parent mum. I had felt horribly
conflicted by the pressures of trying to be a good mum and working in television. I
wanted to capture this turmoil so I created Liz Lyon. She is not me but she has a lot
of my feelings.

6. What is your writing process-do you map it out first? Write in chronological order?
I’m now writing my fifth book and have become more organised with each one. My
debut The Lie of You grew organically and was not planned out in advance. Now I do
a detailed treatment. I do not write in strict chronological order. I write scenes as they
occur to me. I know the beginning and the end but the middle of the novel emerges
as I write. This is an exciting process when it goes well.

7 How much of you is reflected in your writing?
 A lot. As I said above the two StoryWorld books (Woman of the Hour and Behind
Her Back) drew inspiration from my experience of being a working mum at a TV
station. However I never worked for a man like Julius Jones!
After The Storm charts a sail on an old wooden boat from Belize City to the island of
Roatan in the Caribbean Sea. I did that very same sail and kept a journal at the time,
but the four characters on the boat are fictional.

8. How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?
I read them with great interest and sometimes a theme emerges in the reviews and I
learn from this. I am hugely grateful to readers and book bloggers for taking the time
to review my novels. You have to accept that there will be 1* and 2* reviews as well
as 5* ones.

9. Are friends and family supportive of your writing? 
Very; especially my partner Barry who worked as a TV script writer for 30 years. He
gives me masterly feedback. My daughter Amelia works in fashion and she checks
anything I write that relates to fashion. My agent Gaia Banks is enormously
supportive, a true champion.

10. How do you feel leading up to your publication day?
A mixture of excitement and trepidation. Most writers feel self-doubt at times.
Holding the physical book in your hand and seeing it in bookshops is a wonderful
feeling that stays fresh.

11. Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?
When I’m asked which writer influenced me the most I would have to say it is not a
writer but a film director: Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense. Film has been
very important in my life as I studied for a PHD in film theory at the Slade School of
Fine Art and worked at the British Film Institute. I didn't complete my thesis but my
study of cinema strongly influenced how I write scenes.
My favourite writers are Annie Proulx, Charles Dickens and John le Carre.

12. Finally...what are you working on right now?
I’m working on my fifth novel which is back in psychological thriller territory. This one
is entirely fictional. I feel I have written out the aspects of my life I wanted to explore
autobiographically in the other books. I am greatly enjoying letting my imagination fly.

Jane Lythell worked as a TV producer and commissioning editor before becoming Deputy Director of the BFI and Chief Executive of BAFTA (as Jane Clarke). She experienced first-hand the sexual and power politics of the TV industry which have hit the headlines recently.

This is her fourth novel, and the second title in the StoryWorld series. Jane lives in Brighton.