Friday, 28 August 2015

Guest Book Review: Kate Williams - The Storms of War

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

In the idyllic early summer of 1914, life is good for the de Witt family. German Rudolf and his aristocratic English wife Verena are planning the wedding of their daughter, Emmeline, while their eldest son Arthur is studying in Paris and Michael is just back from his first term at Cambridge. Celia, the youngest of the de Witt children, is on the brink of adulthood, and secretly dreams of escaping her carefully mapped out future and exploring the world.

But with the onslaught of war, the de Witts find themselves in danger of losing everything they hold dear. As Celia struggles to make sense of the changing world around her, she lies about her age to join the war effort and finds herself embroiled in a complex plot that puts her and those she loves in danger.

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Debut Spotlight: Katie Marsh

Today is publication day for one of the best debut novels I have read in quite some time so it's my absolute pleasure to welcome author Katie Marsh to the blog tell us a little more about her book My Everything.

Katie Marsh lives in south west London with her husband and daughter. As well as writing novels she has a career in healthcare, and MY EVERYTHING was inspired by the bravery of the patients she met while working in stroke services.

Katie loves strong coffee, the feel of a blank page and stealing her husband's toast.

To find out more about Katie and My Everything, visit her website or you can follow her on Twitter @marshisms.

On the day Hannah is finally going to tell her husband she's leaving him, he has a stroke . . . and life changes in an instant.

Tom's only 32. Now he can't walk or cut up his own food, let alone use his phone or take her in his arms. And Hannah's trapped. She knows she has to care for her husband, the very same man she was ready to walk away from.

But with the time and fresh perspective he's been given, Tom re-evaluates his life, and becomes determined to save his marriage. Can he once again become the man his wife fell in love with, or has he left it too late?

Can you give us a brief description of your debut novel, ‘My Everything’?
It’s the story of a young teacher - Hannah - whose husband Tom has a stroke on the day she’s going to leave him. He is only 32. It’s a warm, dilemma-driven story about two people discovering the things that are really important to them in life.

The subject of My Everything is an emotive one regarding a young wife Hannah having to change her plans when her husband Tom suddenly has a stroke, where did the inspiration come from? 
I actually thought up the premise the night before I got married. I was in the pub with my bridesmaids, playing skittles and enjoying slightly too much of the local Scrumpy cider, and we were talking about the wonders of my husband-to-be. At the time I was working with some inspirational stroke survivors in London in my job as a healthcare project manager, and the wedding and their bravery combined in my brain and I thought ‘What if..?’ 

How did you go about researching the effects of strokes to patients and their carers?
I talked to a lot of the patients and carers I was working with at the time, to learn more about how stroke had impacted on their lives. I also interviewed clinical colleagues to make sure I got the medical facts correct and attended a lot of stroke survivor and carer groups too. 

I haven’t had a chance to read My Everything yet but I’ve heard from others that it is an emotional read, did you find it as emotional to write? (I have now and it's a-maz-ing)
I’m so happy other readers found it an emotional read, and yes it was incredibly emotional to write. The situations Tom and Hannah face are so tough - Tom has to rebuild himself after his stroke, while Hannah is forced to give up on her dreams to care for the man she wanted to walk away from. I felt for them every step of the way, and their defiance, humour and bravery made me laugh and cry throughout the five years it took me to write the book. 

Describe Hannah in 3 words
Heartfelt, brave, kind.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Debut Spotlight: Liz Tipping

Today it's my absolute pleasure to welcome Liz Tipping to the blog for today's debut spotlight feature as it feels like I've 'known' her online forever although really it's probably been a few years but in that time I've enjoyed hearing about her writing journey via her blog.  And all her hard work has finally paid off as her debut novel Five Go Glamping is published this Friday by Carina UK.

Liz Tipping writes romantic comedy.

As well as reading and writing novels, Liz enjoys John Hughes films, science fiction box sets, reality television, Irish sausages and ginger beer.

Her debut novel Five Go Glamping is published by Carina and she is represented by Juliet Mushens. 

Twitter: @LizTipping 

Glamping Check list

Festival tickets
Double check best Instagram filter
Avoid thinking about work/Connor/five year plan!!

A four day break from her hectic life to relax in the countryside and hang out at a local festival (for free!) is just what Fiona Delaney needs. With her best friends, great tunes and a cool looking hat her Instagram shots are going to look A-Mazing!

Until suddenly glamping starts to feel a lot more like camping and Fiona’s in desperate search of a comfy chair, wi-fi and a chilled glass of wine. But when she finally makes it to the local pub she discovers this trip could be more than just a holiday, it might just change her life forever…

Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel Five Go Glamping?
It’s a romantic comedy holiday set over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Fiona is fed up at work and hasn’t seen much of her boyfriend lately and she feels things aren’t quite going to plan. September is approaching and Fiona and her friends feel like summer has slipped by without them having any fun, so they go on a glamping trip They meet some weird and wonderful characters-  but it’s not quite the relaxing getaway Fiona hopes for. 

I'm assuming that the inspiration for the book came from a love of camping, although if your holidays were anything like ours when you were younger they were far from luxury, so had you ever been glamping before?  If not, how did you go about researching the whole luxury camping experience? 
You would be correct! I absolutely love camping. I have so many happy memories of camping as a child, but you’re right, it was far from luxurious. And I was camping last year when I heard from my editor about my book deal for Five Go Glamping. 

When I began writing the book, I hadn’t been glamping before so I used twitter to research glampsites and I pinned lots of beautiful glamping images on my pinterest board

It wasn’t until I was in the very last stage of editing Five Go Glamping that I actually got to go glamping. I had a wonderful time at Worcester Glamping and it gave me that last little bit of inspiration to finish.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Guest Book Review: Paula McLain - Circling the Sun

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

As a young girl, Beryl Markham was brought to Kenya from Britain by parents dreaming of a new life. For her mother, the dream quickly turned sour, and she returned home; Beryl was brought up by her father, who switched between indulgence and heavy-handed authority, allowing her first to run wild on their farm, then incarcerating her in the classroom. The scourge of governesses and serial absconder from boarding school, by the age of sixteen Beryl had been catapulted into a disastrous marriage - but it was in facing up to this reality that she took charge of her own destiny. Scandalizing high society with her errant behaviour, she left her husband and became the first woman ever to hold a professional racehorse trainer's licence. After falling in with the notoriously hedonistic and gin-soaked Happy Valley set, Beryl soon became embroiled in a complex love triangle with the writer Karen Blixen and big game-hunter Denys Finch Hatton (immortalized in Blixen's memoir Out of Africa). It was this unhappy affair which set tragedy in motion, while awakening Beryl to her truest self, and to her fate: to fly.

Amazon links: Kindle or Hardcover

Monday, 24 August 2015

Guest Book Review: Michele Gorman - The Curvy Girls Baby Club

Reviewed by Kelly Spillane


Ellie is fresh back from her honeymoon and can’t wait to share her news with her best friends Katie and Jane. To everyone’s surprise, mother-of-two Jane has news of her own… The women are due a day apart and Katie can’t wait to be an honorary auntie to the babies. 

But it’s hard to keep your sense of humour, not to mention your self-esteem, in the face of hemorrhoids and elasticated waistbands. Add a clingy mother-in-law, a career in cardiac arrest and a sex life that makes Mother Theresa look lusty, and soon their lives are as out of control as their bodies.

As the co-founders of The Curvy Girls Club, where loving yourself is the only rule, will the friends be able to practice what they preach? 

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Guest Book Review: Michele Gorman - The Curvy Girls Club

Reviewed by Kelly Spillane

Can the curvy girls have their cake and eat it?

Meet best friends Pixie, Ellie, Katie and Jane. Fed up with always struggling to lose weight, they start a social club where size doesn’t matter. Soon it’s the most popular place to be – having fun instead of counting carbs. And the girls suddenly find their lives changing in ways they never imagined.

But outside the club, things aren’t as rosy, as they struggle with the ups and downs of everyday life.

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback