Friday, 22 May 2015

Guest Book Review: Kathleen MacMahon - The Long, Hot Summer

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Nine Lives. Four Generations. One Family.

The MacEntees are no ordinary family. 

Determined to be different to other people, they have carved out a place for themselves in Irish life by the sheer force of their own personalities. But when a horrifying act of violence befalls television star Alma, a chain of events is set in motion that will leave even the MacEntees struggling to make sense of who they are. 

As media storms rage about them and secrets rise to the surface, Deirdre the flamboyant matriarch is planning a birthday party for herself, and with it one final, shocking surprise.

Amazon links: Kindle or Hardcover

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Paige Toon's book launch and giveaway for signed copies of 3 of her books

Over the last year I've been lucky enough to have been invited to some great publishing events but most of them I normally cannot go to due to work committments.  So when I received the invite to go to the book launch for Paige Toon's tenth novel The Sun in her Eyes I knew this was one that I had to attend no matter what so just had to cancel all other arrangements so that I could go.

And it was so worth the 3 hours in train journeys to and from London (perfect reading time) as it was a fantastic evening where I had the chance to chat to Paige, enjoy a couple of glasses of The Sun in Her Eyes cocktail (it tasted as good as it looked), meet up with a few fellow bloggers and chat to some other fabulous authors who were there as well.

Sadly I didn't take too many photos as the room did get a little crowded and I'm a short arse so you'll need to squint in the last photo which was of Paige in distance giving a speech.

When I knew I was going to be able to attend the book launch I decided to buy three of Paige's books to get signed by her for giveaway prizes so three lucky followers will each receive one of the following, One Perfect Summer, The Longest Holiday or her YA book The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson.  

Cover Reveal: The Last Kiss Goodbye by Tasmina Perry

This morning it's my privilege to be able to share with you the gorgeous cover for Tasmina Perry's new book The Last Kiss Goodbye which is being published in September. 

The cover designers have come up trumps again, it's stunning and so romantic.  So between the cover which promises romance and the blurb below which promises mystery, I cannot wait to read The Last Kiss Goodbye to find out what the secrets are...  

From Paris to St Petersburg, this spellbinding tale of love, loss and long-buried secrets is guaranteed to break your heart...

Everyone remembers their first kiss. You never forget the last...

1961. Bright-eyed young journalist Rosamund Bailey is determined to change the world. When she meets dashing explorer and man about town Dominic Blake, she realises she has found the love of her life. Just as happiness is in their grasp, the worst happens, and their future is snatched from them.

Guest Book Review: Kate Winter - The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP)

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Falling in love is never simple. Especially when you're dead. 

When Rosie Potter wakes up one morning with what she assumes is the world's worst hangover, the last thing she expects is to discover that she's actually dead. With a frustrating case of amnesia, suspicious circumstances surrounding her untimely demise, and stuck wearing her ugliest flannel PJs, Rosie must figure out not only what happened last night, but why on earth she's still here. 

Slowly the mystery unravels, but there are many other secrets buried in the quiet Irish village of Ballycarragh, and nobody is as innocent as they first appear. Aided by the unlikeliest of allies in her investigation, Rosie discovers that life after death isn't all it's cracked up to be, particularly when you might just be falling in love...

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Author Interview: Kate Furnviall

When we were asked to be part of The Italian Wife blog tour it was a no brainer for me as to who to ask for some questions for Kate Furnivall, and that was Emma as she's read all of Kate's previous books and loved The Italian Wife which she reviewed last week. 

Hi Shaz and Emma, thanks for inviting me here today.

Your new book The Italian Wife is set during Mussolini’s time in power and the race to make Italy a self-sufficient country. What drew you to this point in history and did you make any surprising discoveries during your research?
I have always loved Italy. But it wasn’t until I heard about Mussolini’s extraordinary feat in the 1930s when he drained the Pontine Marshes, a huge malarial swamp, that it triggered a thrilling story in my mind. The reclamation was a massive undertaking and sparked fierce political power struggles, and into this cauldron of Fascist danger, I decided to place an idealistic but ambitious young woman. She is the only female architect working on the new town they are building on the drained land. I knew I had a dramatic and emotional story to tell as Isabella struggles to fight corruption. With the help of the official photographer, Roberto, she works to discover the truth about what happened ten years earlier to her husband who was one of Mussolini’s Blackshirt militia. It was an important and tense period of history that I feel deserves to be better known.

As for surprises, oh yes! It is one of the joys of research. I had no idea that under Mussolini’s dictatorship Italian men were excused from paying tax if they had ten or more children. Those poor wives!

Did you know how the book was going to go before you started the writing process or did the characters take over and change the direction of the novel? 
I always start a book with a skeleton plot in my mind, but it has to have big holes in it to allow the characters to climb out and drag me off in unexpected directions. I had no idea that Isabella would get herself arrested and interrogated! Or that Roberto would risk everything by helping a farming family escape to the mountains in the dead of night. That’s what makes it exciting for me. I never know exactly what is coming next. But I always make sure that I know how a book will end before I start it.

I thought Isabella was a fantastically written character. Powerful and strong despite all she had been through. Do you think she would have been a rarity for that time?
1932 was a bad time for women in Italy. Mussolini had launched his Battle for Births scheme to increase the country’s workforce, so women were expected to stay at home and make bambini and cook pasta. Isabella is the only female architect working on the project and has to prove herself time and again to be better than her male colleagues if she is to survive. So yes, she is a rarity, pushing doors open for the first time. And it is this that makes her clash with Mussolini himself.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Guest Book Review: Louise Candlish - The Sudden Departure of the Frasers

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

My name is Amber Fraser. I've just moved in at Number 40, Lime Park Road. You'll come to think of me as a loving wife, a thoughtful neighbour and a trusted friend.

This is a lie. 

When Christy and Joe Davenport are handed the keys to Number 40 on picture-perfect Lime Park Road, Christy knows it should be a dream come true. How strange though that the house was on the market for such a low price. That the previous owners, the Frasers, had renovated the entire property yet moved out within a year. That none of the neighbours will talk to Christy. 

As her curiosity begins to give way to obsession, Christy finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery of the house's previous occupants - and the dark and shocking secret that tore the street apart ...

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Monday, 18 May 2015

Guest Book Review: Rosanna Ley - The Saffron Trail

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Once, there was a girl who loved saffron. She loved its secrets, its mystery, and best of all, she loved its hint of magic.

After the death of her beloved mother, Nell travels from rural Cornwall to the colour and chaos of Marrakech. Her marriage may be on the rocks, but exploring the heady delights of Moroccan cuisine could help her fulfil her dream of opening her own restaurant.

It's there she meets Amy - a young photographer trying to unravel the story behind her family's involvement in the Vietnam War. The two women develop a close friendship and discover a surprising connection between their own pasts. 

This connection will take Nell and Amy on a journey to find their own 'saffron trail' - from the labyrinthine medina and bustle of Moroccan bazaars all the way back home to Cornwall and to the heart of their families' origins.

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback