Saturday, 1 August 2015

Extract: The Piano Man Project by Kat French

Today I am happy to be hosting an extract from Kat French's new book The Piano Man Project for the blog tour plus my review will be on the blog later.  But first here's the blurb to whet your appetite.

Finding love isn’t always black and white…

You: kind, piano-playing sex god

Me: hopelessly romantic charity shop manager

Honeysuckle Jones has a problem, and her best friends Nell and Tash are on a mission to help her solve it. She needs a man – a caring, intelligent, funny man. But most importantly, a man who’s good with his hands…


Luckily Honey’s new neighbour – moody, antisocial ex-chef Hal – fails on almost every count. Even though the chemistry between them is electric, he’s obviously wrong for her in every way.


But when Honey discovers the devastating reason for his moods she decides to give him another chance. And discovers that the best songs aren’t always in tune…


CHAPTER ONE

‘Don’t you think there’s something sad about buying your­self a new vibrator for Valentine’s Day?’ Honey picked up a lurid pink model and eyed it with distaste.

‘Why?’ Tash laughed. ‘My last one was the best boyfriend I’ve ever had. When it gave out I buried it in the back garden and planted a phallic cactus over it as a tribute.’

‘How the hell did you break it, anyway?’ Honey frowned at the hunk of neon plastic in her hand. It looked pretty indestructible.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Christmas in July: Rebecca Raisin - Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe

You are invited to the wedding of the year!

Snow is falling thick and fast outside the Gingerbread Café and inside, its owner Lily is planning the wedding of the year. Her wedding! She never dreamt it would happen, but this Christmas, she’ll be marrying the man of her dreams - in a Christmas-card-perfect ceremony!

The gingerbread is baking, the dress is fitted and the mistletoe’s in place – for once, everything’s going to plan. That is until her mother-in-law arrives... Suddenly, Lily’s famous cool is being tested like never before and her dream wedding is crumbling before her eyes.

In the blink of a fairylight, the Gingerbread Café has been thrown into chaos! Lily thought she had this wedding wrapped up, but with so much to do before she says ‘I do’, can Lily get to the church on time – and make this Christmas sparkle after all?

Amazon links: Kindle 

Guest Book Review: Claire Sandy: A Very Big House in the Country

Reviewed by Emma Crowley 

'Holidays are about surviving the gaps between one meal and another.'

For one long hot summer in Devon, three families are sharing one very big house in the country. The Herreras: made up of two tired parents, three grumbling children and one promiscuous dog; the Littles: he's loaded (despite two divorces and five kids), she's gorgeous, but maybe the equation for a truly happy marriage is a bit more complicated than that; and the Browns, who seem oddly jumpy around people, but especially each other.

By the pool, new friendships blossom; at the Aga door, resentments begin to simmer. Secret crushes are formed and secret cigarettes cadged by the teens, as the adults loosen their inhibitions with litres of white wine and start to get perhaps a little too honest ...

Mother hen to all, Evie Herreras has a life-changing announcement to make, one that could rock the foundations of her family. But will someone else beat her to it?

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Author Interview: Anna-Lou Weatherley

If you've read Emma's review this morning of Pleasure Island I'm sure you'll have gathered how much she loved this book so when she had the chance to ask author Anna Lou Weatherley a few questions she jumped at the chance.  So I'll hand you over to Emma and Anna...

Can you tell us briefly about your latest release Pleasure Island?
I’d be delighted to! Pleasure Island is a pacey, racy read ostensibly about three (minor and fading) celebrity couples who are invited to a holiday destination of a lifetime by a very powerful, rich and influential media mogul – only they don’t know exactly why, or indeed what is exactly in store for them!

It’s an idyllic setting, paradise on earth and their every whim catered for – literally, only not all is as it seems in paradise…as you will discover. The guests have history between them which makes for some explosive moments and strange things start happening to make them question McKenzie’s motives for inviting them. Only they can’t even imagine the diabolical truth….there’s plenty of twists and shocks, some you might see coming and others not (I hope!), scandal, secrets, sins, sex, betrayal, subterfuge, cat-fights, adultery, intrigue, glamour and an explosive ending with a big twist! 

When  Pleasure Island was revealed by Bookouture over on Twitter it was the cover that made me want to read the book not even having read the blurb. How important do you feel the cover of a book is in enticing readers to buy it ? Did you have much input into its design?
I loved the cover; it’s my favourite one to date and conjured up just the sort of feeling I had hoped; summery, idyllic setting, and with a hint of intrigue. Covers are, of course, important in getting readers to pick up your book and entice you in and personally I like a cover that gives you an instant reaction, the ‘oooh’ factor if you like. But like with any form of art it can be subjective. I prefer a cover that reflects what’s inside so you have a generally good idea of what you’re getting but I am also mindful of the adage, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’  I’ve read some wonderful books with unremarkable covers and vice versa. I suppose a book cover is a little like a person, in the end it’s what‘s on the inside that truly counts! But they are important. My lovely editor, Claire, had a strong concept in mind for the cover – I can’t take much credit for it -  but we discussed the fact that while we wanted it to look beautiful and convey the stunning setting, it had to hint at the mystery and a darker side too, which I think it does beautifully and am very happy with it.

Pleasure Island was brilliant and I found it really reminiscent of Victoria Fox and early Tasmina Perry. Both authors I love. What authors do you you enjoy reading that may not write in your genre?
I’m a huge Martina Cole fan and have been since the beginning, although I wouldn’t say our genres are so very different. I also love many of James Patterson’s novels too – both writers are gritty, produce strong characters and exciting plots. I like to think I’m glamour meets grime! There’s always a darker side to my novels and they seem to be getting darker each time! I love Daphne Du Maurier and Sidney Sheldon too. I also love David Nicholls, everything he has written has been so compelling. 

Guest Book Review: Anna-Lou Weatherley - Pleasure Island

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Three couples each receive an exclusive invitation to the fantasy holiday destination of a lifetime… 

The host: Martin McKenzie, global billionaire and media mogul. Charismatic, powerful and always gets what he wants. 

The location: A breathtakingly beautiful undiscovered island, nestled in the Aegean Sea. Private, secluded and not quite as it seems. 

The details: Seven days of pure hedonism, five-star luxury tailored to every desire, also includes… secrets, lies, and infidelity. 

As the guests begin to enjoy everything the luxury island has to offer, cracks begin to surface between the three couples. But that is not all. Someone is watching them. When they discover the truth – it will be explosive in more ways than they can ever imagine. 

Amazon link: Kindle or Paperback

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cover Reveal: The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

Today I have been asked to be part of the cover reveal team for Julie Cohen's new book The Day of Second Chances which is being published on 16th January 2016 (hint to family & friends... just in time for my birthday).    

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love - or the loss of everything that matters to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment.

Is it too late for second chances?

Author Interview: Rebecca Raisin

Earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting Rebecca Raisin when she and her family came to the UK as part of their European tour.  Bec is always so supportive of fellow authors, bloggers and readers so it's my pleasure to invite her to the blog as part of the blog tour for her latest book Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm to find out a little bit more about it.

In Secrets at the Maple Syrup farm we are taken back to Ashford, Connecticut, can you tell us a little bit about it? 
Lucy makes her sick mom a promise, to take one year for herself and go on an adventure. She gets on the very first bus out of town and winds up in Ashford. She’s desperate for work, and finds a job at the Maple Syrup Farm, and is determined no matter how gruff Clay the owner is to stick it out! She needs the money to further her travels, and to send some home to her mom. She didn’t think she’d unearth a range of secrets about the small town, ones that threaten to change her life forever! 

I'm assuming you didn't know much about Maple Syrup farming before you started writing so how did you go about researching?  
Haha no, I didn’t! I bought a book about Maple Syrup tapping and the traditions behind it. It was fascinating to read how it was made. The trees only produce for six weeks a year, so it’s sort of a magical process, and something so sweet nature provides. 

Describe Lucy and Clay in three words.
Lucy – artistic, loving, lost
Clay – gruff, sexy, deep

Have you got a favourite recipe featuring Maple Syrup?
I researched so many for the Sugaring-Off Festival in the book, but the simplest and best for me is French toast with HEAPS of maple syrup and cream! 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Guest Book Review: Sinéad Crowley - Are You Watching Me?

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Dear Elizabeth,


I've been watching you


I hope to see you . . .


Soon.


Liz Cafferky is on the up. Rescued from her dark past by the owner of a drop-in centre for older men, Liz soon finds herself as the charity's face - and the unwilling darling of the Dublin media.


Amidst her claustrophobic fame, Liz barely notices a letter from a new fan. But then one of the centre's clients is brutally murdered, and Elizabeth receives another, more sinister note.


Running from her own ghosts, Liz is too scared to go to the police. And with no leads, there is little Sergeant Claire Boyle can do to protect her.


Amazon links: Kindle or Hardcover

Books Read: Sinéad Crowley - Can Anybody Help Me?

It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name but she thought of her as a friend. Or, at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin.

Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to netmammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself.

When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismisses her fears. After all, does she really know this woman?

But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne's missing friend is found, Yvonne realises that they're all in terrifying danger. Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle, herself about to go on maternity leave, to take her fears seriously?

Amazon Links: Kindle or Paperback