Thursday, 31 July 2014

Guest Post: My Wedding Dress by Paige Toon

Today I'm delighted to be part of the #13Dates blog tour for Paige Toon's latest novel Thirteen Weddings.

I had to write about so many weddings and wedding dresses in Thirteen Weddings that it brought back plenty of memories about shopping for my own wedding dress.

For someone who usually wears black, I never thought I would look good in white or cream. I remember worrying that I would never find a dress that I loved – but there was no way I was going to go for anything other than a traditional gown. 

I still clearly remember the first time I saw The Dress. My husband-to-be and I were flicking through a bridal magazine together and when we came to this shot of the dress, we both froze and then stared at each other. 

Okay, so I know your husband-to-be is not supposed to see your wedding dress before the big day, but eleven years later, it hasn’t done us any harm. I have always trusted his judgement, and he does, after all, have excellent taste (not least because he picked me, ha ha).

Weirdly, my mum also saw the same dress being advertised in another magazine and she cut out the small ad to give to me – it was the only time she had done this, so it must’ve been fate.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway: Two Thousand Years of History by Nicola Griffith

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Nicola Griffith as part of her blog tour for her latest book Hild which has recently been published here in the UK.  

Yorkshire's history is stamped on its landscape, literally and figuratively, and it moulded the language that I absorbed with my mother's milk (and grandmother's whisky). A quick survey of Yorkshire place names (from natural features, to street names, to towns, to pubs) is like cutting a language core: in the sturdy bedrock of Anglo-Saxon there is the occasional gleam of Brythonic Celt heaved up from an earlier age, the pale glint of Norse, even strangely evolved fossils of Latin and Norman French. This hybrid and textured language is largely responsible for who I am. To explain, let me give you a few broad strokes of West Yorkshire history.

In the Iron Age, the place that was to be Leeds was an agriculturally various land enjoyed by the Brigantes, Brythonic Celts. In the first century the Romans arrived, and started building forts which became cities. Then they laid nature-defying roads across hill and dale between those cities, followed by armed camps to guard those roads. The Romans abandoned the region after about three hundred years and left the native Britons in charge again. Around this time, Angles, Saxons and other Germanic peoples started visiting Britain and staying, forming kingdoms and acquiring territory. A couple of hundred years later the Norse--Danes, mainly--arrived and the region lived under the Danelaw, with its own language and coinage and culture. Gradually, after battles and negotiations and marriages and so forth, the Danelaw melded with England. And then the Normans came.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Author Interview: Angeline M. Bishop

Today I'm happy to welcome Angeline M. Bishop to the blog as part of her South Beach blog tour.

Angeline Bishop writes contemporary romance fiction and has a growing fan base. Angeline’s novels are thought-provoking, refreshingly entertaining, fast paced, and with a strong romantic elements. She was born in Washington, D. C., but lived most of her life in New Jersey and considers the 'Garden State' her home. Her childhood passion for writing led to a degree in English Literature and a membership in Romance Writers of America.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book South Beach?
South Beach is the story of Laila Sheridan, the youngest sibling of the Sheridan clan. It picks up during her girls’ vacation with her best friends Sof├Ča and Marina. Laila has just finished celebrating her brother’s marriage and is taking a much needed vacation in sunny Florida. Things get a little hectic when her ex-boyfriend Malcolm decides to win Laila back and Gray is sent to South Beach Miami to keep an eye on everything. 

The readers of NORTH STAR will enjoy a better look at Laila and her life, while readers that haven’t read the first book will appreciate that this story can stand alone. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Guest Book Review: Sinead Moriarty - The Secrets Sisters Keep

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

The Devlin sisters rely on each other - but some things are just too painful to share, even when your sisters are your best friends ...

Mum-of-four Julie thought that if her family had more money, life would be easier. But now that they've inherited a fortune, her problems are only starting.

Lawyer Louise is used to having life go exactly as she wants it to. So accepting that she cannot control everything in her world is beyond her.

And former model Sophie can just about cope with getting older - that's until her ex-husband finds a younger model.

All three women think that some battles are best fought alone. Maybe they need to think again...

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Guest Book Review: John Dolan - John & George: The Dog Who Saved My Life

Reviewed by Janine Cobain

The incredible true story of how one man turned his life around through the companionship of his best friend.

For years, John Dolan had been living rough, trying his best to get by. Born and bred on the estates of east London, his early life was marked by neglect and abuse, and his childhood gift for drawing was stamped out by the tough realities outside his front door. As he grew older, he found himself turning to petty crime to support himself and ended up in prison. On coming out, with a record and no trade, he soon found himself on the streets, surviving day-by-day, living hand-to-mouth.

It wasn't until he met George, a tearaway Staffy puppy, that his life changed for the better. To begin with, George was a handful: he had been abused himself and was scared of human contact. But in a matter of weeks. John and George had become inseparable. It was then that John decided to pick up his long-forgotten gift for drawing, sitting on Shoreditch High Street for hours at a time, sketching pictures of George which he would sell to passers-by. With his best friend by his side, and a pencil in his hand, John suddenly found his life's calling.

Last autumn, John put on his first gallery show just across the road from where he had sat and sketched for three years. It sold out. Now, John and George are no longer homeless and live just around the corner from where they first met on the streets.