Friday 29 May 2015

May Wrap up-a reading slump?

Now I'm not normally the kind of person who believes that you can be in a reading slump, you just haven't found the right book for you or you just have other distractions and other things going on that take priority over reading. But I have had such a terrible time with reading over RH wpast few weeks that I am seriously worried that I am in a reading slump.

Or I would be in danger of being in a reading slump if I couldn't put this lack of reading down to just being too tired from working too much and doing to much to actually have a moment to sit down and read all the lovely gorgeous books on my shelves and on my kindle! I was worried about the fact that this might be a slump until I realised that I had read quite a few audiobooks this month and therefore this can't be a reading slump because I am still loving all of those, this must literally be my inability to stay awake long enough to read more than 2 pages at night and me not having any other time to fit reading into my life other than when I am in the car and driving, therefore making audiobooks my only option. 

I am also aware that I said at the start of this month I wanted to read certain books during May. I gave myself a top ten, something which would normally be totally doable and so therefore this post will also see how many of them I actually read too. 

Paperbacks I read in May:

Ebooks I read in May: I actually only read half, yes only half of this glorious beauty! I am loving it and can't wait to finish it though...

Audiobooks I read in May: 

So I only read eight and a half books. Of the books that I had in my top ten... I only read 3.5 that's pretty bad considering the fact that they were all books I was dying to read. At least I enjoyed all the books I read/listened to it's not all bad but I really hope life isn't going to be this manic from now until the end of term becaus I need to read more than this over the next 8 weeks!

Thursday 28 May 2015

Author Interview: Jane Linfoot author of The Vintage Cinema Club

I am very lucky today to have the lovely Jane Linfoot answering my probing questions. Jane is the author of The Vintage Cinema Club which was released in ebook this week! It is going to be released in paperback on 30th July here's the blurb: 
Meet The Vintage Cinema Club….
Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn’t have time to date. Could a fabulous French proposal change her mind?
Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, one night kind of woman – or so she thinks…
Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?
Three retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema. When that dream comes under threat, they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.

And now for the interview-don't forget the links to get yourself a copy of this novel are at the bottom of this post. Thanks again to Jane for answering my questions! 

First question-bit of a cliche-how did you get into writing?

Writing chicklit novels happened by accident when I got Kate Walker’s book on writing romance novels out of the library. I was meaning to get some exercises for a writers’ group, but I read the whole book, and I was hooked.

Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?

I used to work full time, doing up old houses, but after the property crash I suddenly found time to do the writing I’d always dreamed of. I write full time now, and for me writing is one of those things – the more of it I do, the more I want to do.

Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer?

I love writing books with a chicklit feel, although so far I haven’t written in the first person. My natural writing style is light rather than heavy, and seems to fit well within that genre.

How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?

My characters have a horrible habit of marching onto the page fully formed, which is great until they start to boss me about. If they have traits of real people I know it’s not usually deliberate.
Some writers sit and make lists about their characters to get to know them, but I tend to get to know mine as we go through the novel. We definitely know each other better by the end than when we begin, because we spend so much time together. I’m always gutted to have to leave my characters behind, and when a book comes to an end, I’m always very sad.

What was the inspiration behind The Vintage Cinema Club?

The inspiration first came from a trip around vintage shops in Brighton. I came home and decided a vintage shop, shared by friends, would make a great setting for a book. I used to go to furniture auctions in an old place in Matlock, which used to be The Palace Cinema, and that was a perfect space to choose for the location, especially since Matlock has unexpectedly become the vintage capital of the area lately.  

What is your writing process-do you map it out first? Write a bit at a time?

I like to have the framework of a book in my head before I begin, and I make a lot of notes about that. Then I start to write. Some people say you should write a first draft without stopping, but for me it works better if I go back and edit and add layers to the scenes as I go along.

How much of you is reflected in your novels?

It’s inevitable that there’s a lot of me woven into my books. I think if you write what you know, the writing is stronger, so I do that, but I do end up revealing a lot about my life along the way. But as no one knows which are the real bits and which bits are made up, that’s okay.

What kind of research did you do before/during writing your novel?

I tend to research as I go, and I do this more than I realise. I find that I can’t write in a wifi free zone, because I constantly refer to Google to check things. I like to write about places I’ve been to – I don’t over load my writing with descriptions, but when the small details I  include are real, the book feels more authentic.

Do you have any plans to develop your novel further, write sequels, turn it into a series?

Whenever I finish a book I miss that characters so much that I always want to write more.  Series are more difficult to write than you would imagine, because the continuity has to be spot on. I’m not sure my brain is big enough to hold all the information I’d need for a long series.

How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?

It’s great getting a fab review, because I love to hear that someone has enjoyed the book. When a review is critical, I definitely try to take note of that, and learn from it. As for the bitchy one star reviews, it’s best to ignore those. Hopefully they say more about the reviewer than the book.  

Are friends and family supportive of your writing?

I’m lucky to have a very supportive family, who cheer me on all the way, help me with a lot of techie stuff, and understand why dinner is burned again. It isn’t easy living with a writer, and my partner is very long suffering. My writing friends offer huge support too.

How did you feel leading up to your publication day?

When I first signed with Harper Impulse back in 2013, I hyperventilated for at least three months. This is my fourth book, and publication day is still really exciting, but it’s very tiring too, because of getting all the promotion posts in place.

Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?

I love anything that makes me smile. Jane Costello, Mhairi McFarlane, Helen Fielding, Tracey Bloom, Debbie Johnson and Zara Stoneley are my current faves

Jane Linfoot writes fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and lots of heart. She lives with her family and pets in Derbyshire, and loves hearts, flowers, happy endings and all things vintage.
Author Links

Personal Page Facebook Happy to have friends
Twitter @janelinfoot
Pinterest Lots of Vintage Cinema Club character pages on Pinterest


The Vintage Cinema Club

"A witty, warm-hearted romp through the lives and loves of three friends – with a cool retro vibe, and a sense of fun that will never go out of fashion." – Debbie Johnson, author of the best-selling ‘Cold Feet At Christmas’.
Fans of Lucy Diamond, Michele Gorman and Milly Johnson are going to love this heartfelt, funny story.
Buy Links:

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Plan To Have in my Beach Bag 26/5/15

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

A great top ten this week. Some of these may be fabulous beach reads that I have already read and some of them may be books that are due for release in the summer that I definitely want to have in there!

1. The Thirty List by Eva Woods. This comes out in June and sounds delish!

2. Mile High by Rebecca Chance. You've got to love a good bonkbuster in your beach bag and so this has got to be the one-looking forward to reading this in August!

3. A Better Man by Leah McLaren. This beauty is also out in august and I can't wait to read it already!

4. Summer at Shell Cottage by Lucy Diamond. Although this is out next week, Its definitely one to save for summer!

5. The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements. This is out in July and I really want to read this as I know its going to keep me warm even in the British summer we have!

6. Afternoon Tea at The Sunflower Cafe by Milly Johnson-so can't wait to read this one-Don't think it'll even make it as far as the beach bag before I dive into it!

7. The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain-so excited about this one having read an extract from it! Out in July. 

8. The Little Flower Shop by the Sea by Ali MacNamara-out at the end of June!

9. Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate. Out next week but definitely worth keeping for the beach bag!

10. No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham by Brigid Coady-out this week-eep!

And there you have it! I don't know that I'm going anywhere where I'll need a beach bag this summer but If I do end up lazing around doing any summer reading, then I have my list and I know what I need to read!

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Blog Tour: The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher

Today I am part of the blog tour for a very exciting new book which was released last week, The Island Escape by Kerry Fiaher. Now I have a gorgeous copy of this book on my TBR pile but I was thrilled when I was asked to be part of the blog tour for this title too because I'm really excited about picking up this book and escaping to another world, another time and another life. I'm very lucky to have a guest piece from Kerry today and so without further ado, I'll hand over to the lovely Kerry...

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog to talk about how I researched the settings in The Island Escape. I really enjoyed indulging my love of travelthrough one othe main protagonists, Octavia. She is very free-spirited and imagined that she would lead a bohemian life with barefoot kids on a beach somewhere exotic. Instead she ended up in suburbia, married to her unadventurous husband, Jonathan.  Her best friend’s divorce is the catalyst for setting her thinking about ‘the one that got away’, which leads her back to Corsica where she lived nearly two decades earlier.

When I was considering Corsica as a location, it started me thinking about the gulf between what you imagine your life will be like when you’re carefree at twenty and the reality when you’re forty. I’ve been very lucky – fortunately for me, the ones ‘who got away’ headed to the hills, dust and heels flying, never to be seen again! But it didn’t stop me wanting to write a story of someone whose ‘what if…?’ had a different outcome. 

I’d love to be able to say I took a luxurious research trip to Corsica to write that part of the book but actually I relied on Google images, my own photographs and my memory of teaching English there for a year when I was nineteen. I lived up on a hillside in a boarding school, which served all the surrounding mountain villages. The kids arrived on Monday morning and disappeared off on Friday night. At weekends, I was on my own in a hugeschool, with a myriad of doors, dark corridors and axe-murderish corners to navigate before I could escape back to the village. There, my companions were stray cats or old men playing cards in the bar. Thankfully, a French girl my own age came to work at the school and together we explored the island

Thirty years later, it’s astonishing how clear my memories areThe transparent sea where we caught and ate sea urchins. The wonderful rock formations, the sunsets and the strong perfume of gorse (the maquis). And a sense, at all times, of how small the island was, how claustrophic, how anyone you spoke to always had a cousin, aunt, brother who worked at your school or knew one of your pupils. 

The Island Escape also has several scenes in nearby Sardinia, where I travelled when my English friends came to stay. With the nonchalance of youth, we went on a camping holiday there, without a tent. We slept under the stars one freezing April, knocking ourselves out with some god awful rosé wine that we drank straight fromthe carton. I still remember the chill of the damp sand beneath my sleeping bag, though I wish that I’d appreciated my youthful ability to leap up the next morning without a creak or groan.

All that travel talk has given me itchy feet, so I’m off to research locations for a new novel – and this time, I think a little trip is in order…

And you can order this fabulous novel RIGHT NOW! Here's the blurb for you...

Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce? Fans of Veronica Henry and Erica James, this is the next book to add to your reading list.
It’s time to get back to where it all began…
Octavia Shelton thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow. But things didn’t turn out quite like that.

Married to safe, reliable Jonathan, her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and more loads of dirty washing than she ever thought possible. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself any longer.

So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it starts her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and get back to the person she used to be? Escape back to the island where she spent her summers? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her…?

Sunday 24 May 2015

Letterbox Love #8

Welcome to Letterbox Love, this is a UK meme, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This post is a means by which to highlight the books we get in the post and beyond, and especially to bring attention to those books which may be sat on our shelves for a little while yet that we love all the same.

I've been meaning to do a book haul for a while now since I've been to a few bookish events and been doing to book shopping with my waterstones points too. Recently I managed to get both Always Thw Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk and Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates using my waterstones points which was very exciting. I got Always The Bridesmaid four days early and I really wanted a paperback copy of Everyday Sexism because it's amazing! 

I went to an event with Lucy Robinson, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Holiday run by fabulous magazine, which was awesome! I bought a paperback copy of Lucy Robinson's The Day We Disappeared so I could get it signed...

And a copy of Lucy Holiday's A Night In With Audrey Hepburn which sounds fab and I can't wait to get a moment to read this one as it was released last week! 

I was also lucky enough to be sent some fabulous books in the post... I got a copy of The Dress by Kate Kerrigan from ahead of Zeus which looks fabulous. It's not out until September so I'm going to be saving this for my summer holiday reading! 

I also got a copy of The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon which came out last week. I read this one pretty quickly as I was invited to the launch of this one so you can already fund the review (and the launch write up) on my blog! 

Then I went to another bookish event and was lucky enough to get all of these fabulous books listed below. I'm excited to read The Piano Man Project by Kat French and No Place for A Lady by Gill Paul. 

I was also given a copy of the New Lucy Clark book The Blue. I have The sea Sister which she wrote and I've heard amazing things about it so I'm intrigued to get into this one, again I think it something for my summer holidays! 

The reason I didn't mention The Island Escape by Kerry fisher was because I also received an additional copy of this in a box full of goodies for the online launch last Thursday. It was such a joy to receive and I can confirm that I did eat and drink everything on Thursday specially for the launch and it was yummy, just the escape I needed from a long day at work! 

So there you have it, some very exciting books bought and received. If you've any suggestions as to what to read next, let me know. Thanks to all the publishers who sent me books, they all look and sound amazing and I'll hopefully have another haul for you sooner rather than later! 

Friday 22 May 2015

Paige Toon The Sun in Her Eyes book launch!

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to attend the launch for the fabulous The Sun in Her Eyes, the new novel from Paige Toon, which I review yesterday. The event was held in Drink Shop Do which is a lovely venue just near to Kings Cross station. 

Not only were there fabulous books and fabulous authors but fabulous cocktails to match the book as well. They perfectly encapsulated the tropical, warm aspect of the novel and basically they were just yummy!

Paige and her editor both spoke about the book, Paige's tenth, and about the journey of writing it. It was clear from her talking that Paige put a lot of feeling into this novel and it really shows on the page!

There were also a host of other bloggers there, Kelly and Amy from Compelling reads, Shaz from Shaz's book blog and Rachel from Rachel Reads. We chatted books and played author I spy all night as well as talking about The Sun in Her Eyes of course which we had all read or were part way through!

Ali Harris, Rowan Coleman, Lisa Jewell, Jenny Colgan and of course, Paige herself were all in residence and it was great to chat to them all again and find out what was coming next from them!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and to Paige Toon for the launch invite, I had a great time and if you haven't got the book yet, give yourself an injection of sunshine and go out and grab it now!

Thursday 21 May 2015

Review: The Sun In Her Eyes by Paige Toon

Blinding sunshine… A bend in the road… What became of the little girl with the sun in her eyes?

Amber was three when a car crash stole her mother's life. She doesn't remember the accident, but a stranger at the scene has been unable to forget. Now, almost thirty years later, she's trying to track Amber down.

Amber, meanwhile, is married to Ned and living on the other side of the world in London. When her father has a stroke, she flies straight home to Australia to be with him. Away from her husband, Amber finds comfort in her oldest friends, but her feelings for Ethan, the gorgeous, green-eyed man she once fell for, have never been platonic. 

As Ethan and Amber grow closer, married life in London feels far away. Then Amber receives a letter that changes everything. 'Before your mother died, she asked me to tell you something…'

Review: A new Paige Toon novel has now become a summer staple! Of course the fact that her novels perfectly encapsulate the true meaning of escapism and generally take you to warm and sunny climbs really helps with this...This novel lives up to all of these things and very helpfully i began reading this on a very sunny weekend. I began reading and did not stop until I was halfway through, half of the book in one sitting, I was so intrigued by this storyline and so attached to the lovely main character Amber. Now this book is just a little darker than Paige Toon's previous books but I really liked the fact there was a little hint of mystery and a lot of 'did she really just do that?' about it so don't worry, Paige Toon fans, the Paige Toon sparkle is definitely still there!

Amber was a great character because on the surface she seems to be a totally fearless female, changing her job, flying half way around the world and being confident with it, however, underneath there are a whole load of insecurities that she has stemming back from childhood and ranging all the way up to the present day! I love the fact that Paige Toon writes such deep characters with such back stories. This really shows in the fact that her characters tend to pop back in and out of her novels, if they weren't so well-established, they wouldn't be able to do that!

Now there were a couple of characters I didn't like in this novel and they were the males in Amber's life, and I'm not talking about her Dad! Ethan and Ned again both seemed like lovely guys on the surface but they both had sides to them that just didn't sit right with me. Ethan seemed inherently selfish and controlling and Ned seemed to be out for himself and nobody else. Of course these guys both have redeeming features and well and I didn't hate them quite so much by the time i reached the final page of the book but yet another example of characters who are so true to life and so well written that they can have these lifelike characteristics which would make you hate them!

Of course a Paige Toon novel has a fabulous setting... The sun in the hills and the heat of Australia contrasting with the rain and claustrophobic nature of London is so beautifully written yet again! I love the feeling of escapism that you get with a Paige Toon novel and it really makes me want to pick up another of hers right now, just to get away to sunnier climbs even for a mere 300 pages or so! Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a great form of escapism on a dull British day and I enjoyed getting to spend the 385 pages with these characters. If you're a Paige Toon fan, or if this is your first dabbling into this author, I'm sure you'll find something to keep you entertained in this novel!

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Review: Always The Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk

Everyone loves a bridesmaid - except Maddie, who’s perpetually asked to be one.

Everyone loves a wedding - except Maddie’s best friend, who’s getting divorced.

And everyone loves the way Maddie’s so happy behind the scenes - except Maddie herself.

One best friend is in wedding countdown while the other heads for marriage meltdown. And as Maddie juggles her best chance at promotion in years with bridezilla texts and late-night counselling sessions, she starts to wonder – is it time to stop being the bridesmaid?

Review: a new Lindsey Kelk book is always a delight and this one was no exception. This book is fairly different from her other novels and yet still has that fabulous Lindsey Kelk sense of humour and charm about it-fans will not be disappointed. One of the things I like most about Lindsey Kelk's writing style is that she says what we're all thinking. I particularly like a line in the novel where she references look at someones baby scan by pointing out that you're looking at the inside of someones uterus! This storyline in particular is incredibly relevant to those of us who are at the age when all our friends are getting married. The endless cycle of hen parties and weddings and often, the bridesmaids dresses too (my most recent one was red like the one on the cover!)

Maddie is an interesting character. I loved reading about her over the course of this book because she seems to be fearless. She just goes for what she wants and doesn't care how she looks doing it, she has no shame and I think that's an ace way to be in life! Her friends on the other hand, i didn't have so much love for. Lauren seemed incredibly spoiled to me and like the kind of high maintenance friend we all try and phase out eventually. Sarah seemed a little bit more sensible and I liked her a little more but I did feel that she was trying to put a brave face on her divorce and that if she had've just let herself wallow for a bit then her emotions wouldn't have gotten the better of her at pivotal points during the wedding planning. 

Of course there are some male interests in this book-it couldn't be a Lindsey Kelk novel without a delicious guy or two to lust over and there are males a plenty in this novel. I kind of don't want to mention how many or who because I don't want to give anything away but there is a moment where Maddie is romanced to the hilt, proper old Hollywood style, and this was just a joy to read. This book had me laughing hysterically in points. I read the majority of this at an airport or on a plane which was a little embarrassing but totally worth the laughs because I just relate to Lindsey's humour so much! Even if you haven't read any other Kelk novels, you should pick this one up. Its relatable, romantic, funny and so so true to life. I loved the ending and its just a great read!


Tuesday 19 May 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Will Probably Never read 19/5/15

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Now then this week was a little tricky a) because I don't like dwelling on books that I'm NOT going to read and b) because I wasn't sure whether to do books that are around and popular right now but that I had no intention of reading or go for ones sitting on my shelf that I know I'm not going to get round to reading any time soon... I think I'm going to go for books by authors that are pretty popular right now but that I will never read...

1. Anything by Cassandra Clare-very much hyped on Book Tube but really not my up of tea!

2. Anything by Stephanie Meyer. I've seen one film and that was enough for me, just not that into vampires! 

3. Anything by Stephen King. Again I've watched a lot of these movie adaptations but I'm not a fan of being scared when I'm reading-I need my sleep!

4. Anything by Lee Child. Whilst I have got a lot more into crime recently in the form of psychological thrillers, I don't think I'm going to go as far as one of these authors who has a litter of crime novels under their belt. I think I'd feel a bit like someone who turned up late at a party where everyone knew each otrher!

5. Anything by Ian Mcewan. I tried with Atonement but the writing style just wasn't my cup of tea so I don't think I'd get on very well with any of the other novels-as awesome as they sound!

6. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I've tried really hard to get into this book, I've tried it on audiobook as well but I'm just not that into it so I don't think I'm going to finish it!

7. A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin-just not my thing-sorry!

8. The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. I've seen the first film and that was enough for me to know again that I probably won't like the books!

9. Anything by Anthony Horrowitz. I'm not a fan of the Alex Ryder books. I've heard Anthony Horriwtz talk and, whilst interesting, it kind of convinced me that he's just not my kind of writer!

10. The Rest of the Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner. I own them but I wasn't enamoured with the first book so they're not going to be read my me!

I feel really mean saying I'm not going to read any of these books, there are soooooooo many books I am going to read though so they more than cancel out any of these ones. Apologies to those authors, they're all amazing writers but just not my cup of tea. 

Monday 18 May 2015

Avon Author Party

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a fabulous author event by Avon-my favourite Harper Collins imprint! I took fabulous Blogger Zarina with me and we set out for another evening in the impressive News Building (if you ever get the chance to attend anything here, I highly recommend it, the views are stunning! When we arrived we were greeted with wine and nibbles and goody bags filled with books!

And then came the best bit-the authors! There were so many fab authors at this party, it was great to get the chance to meet them and actually chat to some of them, ask those burning question we've always wanted to. Amy Lynch, author of Bride Without a Groom was just lovely and we chatted about all things book and non-book related!

Then we got to meet the lovely Claudia Carroll, who again was happy to chat about anything and everything. Her book Meet me in Manhattan sounds amazing and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

So many other authors too-Fiona Gibson, Michelle Gorman (who is writing a Christmas follow up to The Curvy Girls Club!!) Cally Taylor, Gil Paul, SD Robertson-such a fab literary evening!

And then there were the goody bags! They came in this wonderful branded tote bag and there was a selection of romantic comedy or crime novels. Zarina and I did a bit of a swap so I ended up with all of the titles-they all sound amazing!

See these fabulous titles below, all coming soon from Avon! Eep!

Thanks so much to Avon for the invite-it was a wonderful evening and so great to see you all again!