Wednesday, 16 November 2016

BLOG TOUR: The Dress by Jane L Rosen

The Dress is a beautiful new read by screenwriter Jane L Rosen. Festive and heartwarming, the novel focuses on nine women whose lives are changed by the perfect dress of the season. Jane has joined us as part of her blog tour, and gives us an insight into the novel and her inspiration behind it!

Please can you tell us about The Dress is 15 words or less?
A tale of one extraordinary dress and the lives of the nine women it touches.

What inspired you to write The Dress?
The impetus for this book came from an urban legend of sorts—

The story of a dress in the 80’s allegedly returned to Bloomingdales covered in formaldehyde. I have no idea if the story is true or not but it left me wondering, “What ever could have happened to that dress?”  I worked my way backwards from there and the story of Nine Women, One Dress was born.

Where do you do most of your writing?
When the words are coming easy to me I write at my dining room table in my apartment in Manhattan. When they’re not I force myself to sit in a New York Public Library. Although they are naturally supposed to be quiet places they are actually filled with hushed or silent distractions. There is something about the atmosphere that forces me into my work.

What is your favourite book?
It’s a tie between A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s really the writing that moves me most in both of them. I can read them over and over again.  I also love The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy and The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving. More recently, I was very moved by Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Which part of The Dress did you enjoy writing the most?
The story of Arthur and Felicia was probably the most enjoyable to write. It’s such a simple love story and it flowed out of me easily.  I enjoyed writing the characters of Tomàs and Ruthie who work in the dress department at Blookmingdales the most. Their personalities and thoughts made me laugh as I was creating them.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Jo from Little Women. She is strong, smart, opinionated and willing to do anything for her family. She reminds me of my three daughters rolled up into one.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Write your first draft as if no one is reading it then edit, edit and edit some more. Don’t get discouraged. Listen to the voice in your head that says you’re great, not the one that says otherwise.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
A novel called The August of Esmè Nash.

It’s the story of a 28-year-old Upper East-side socialite whose life is upended just as her long-time shrink leaves town for the month.

Thanks, Jane!


The Dress by Jane L Rosen
Natalie is a Bloomingdale’s salesgirl mooning over her lawyer ex-boyfriend who’s engaged to someone else after just two months. Felicia has been quietly in love with her happily married boss for twenty years; now that he’s a lonely widower, she just needs the right situation to make him see her as more than the best executive assistant in Midtown Manhattan. 

Andrea is a private detective specializing in gathering evidence on cheating husbands—a skill she unfortunately learned from her own life—and can’t figure out why her intuition tells her the guy she’s tailing is one of the good ones when she hasn’t trusted a man in years. For these three women, as well as half a dozen others in sparkling supporting roles—a young model fresh from rural Georgia, a diva Hollywood star making her Broadway debut, an overachieving, unemployed Brown grad who starts faking a fabulous life on social media, to name just a few—everything is about to change, thanks to the dress of the season, the perfect little black number everyone wants to get their hands on…

Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour!



Thursday, 10 November 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson

Now that it's getting ever closer to Christmas, there's nothing nicer on a chilly, dark evening than curling up with a festive read. One of which is Mistletoe on 34th Street by the lovely Lisa Dickenson.

Okay, so if you read this blog regularly, you might be aware that I'm a big fan of Lisa's books. Mainly because they're the perfect blend of romantic and fun, with great characters and some hilarious moments. Her novels include Catch Me If You Cannes, You Had Me at Merlot and The Twelve Dates of Christmas, which was a fantastic winter read. And Mistletoe on 34th Street is just as fun.

Olivia has never experienced a snow-covered, 'traditional' Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she's not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her colleagues are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in the Big Apple. 
Jon, Olivia's friend, on the other hand is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation, he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when handsome New Yorker Elijah is added to the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As 25 December draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

Olivia isn't really a Christmas person. Coming from a family that's rarely together during the festive season, Christmas for Liv normally results in a whole lot of 'me time' - just the way she likes it. But just as she's getting ready to relax, her manager at the charity she works for puts her in charge of running the annual conference in New York. Getting the company noticed at the conference could be huge for the charity, so Olivia is determined to make a good impression.

Meanwhile, Liv's friend Jon is also attended the conference representing his company, HeForShe. The pair have been friends for a while, and when the opportunity arises to explore a city so magical at this time of year, Liv can hardly refuse. It's just a work trip...right?

As Liv sets out to complete the task for her manager, she's pulled into the beautiful, fairytale of New York with Jon for company, and others too, such as the lovely Elijah. What Liv assumed would be a quiet Christmas alone soon turns into a winter adventure (and of course, with some hilarious mishaps along the way!)

I really loved this Mistletoe on 34th Street; it truly puts you in the festive mood, and Liv is such a nice, hardworking and wonderfully funny character. The novel contains all the ingredients for a perfect Christmas read; laughs, romance, a gorgeous setting, winter charm, a great cast of characters and an easily lovable heroine.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, 3 November 2016

NEW RELEASES: New Blood by Lorna Peel

Today is the release day of New Blood, the new novel by Only You author Lorna Peel. The novel focuses on Sophia, who heads back to Yorkshire for a new job, but gets more than she bargained for in new boss Baron Heaton...

Sophia Nelson returns to her home town in Yorkshire, England to begin a new job as tour guide at Heaton Abbey House. There, she meets the reclusive Thomas, Baron Heaton, a lonely workaholic.  
Despite having a rule never to become involved with her boss, Sophia can’t deny how she finds him incredibly attractive. 

When she overhears the secret surrounding his parentage, she is torn. But is it the attraction or the fear of opening a Pandora’s box that makes her keep quiet about it? 
How long can she stay at the abbey knowing what she does? 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Lucy Woodhull

Joining us this week is Lucy Woodhull, author of the wonderfully funny novel, 667 Ways to F*ck Up My Life. It's a witty, hilarious novel about twenty-something Dag, whose life takes a strange turn when she swaps her overly-responsible life for a series of fuck-ups.

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Goody-two-shoes
Uh oh:  jerks
Middle finger
Fuck up yay!
Uh oh:  again
WIN!

What inspired you to write 667 Ways to Fuck Up My Life?
Both my BFF and I have had some hard times beyond our control on and off in the last five years or so, and we would often observe that the more horrible the person, the more they seemed to win.  Assholes finish first, right?  We'd joke around that, in order to improve our luck, we ought to trip a puppy or something.  Now, of course, we would never!  We are very pro-puppy.  But it was kinda funny to think about just...giving up.  Not trying anymore to be perfect and good and responsible, because bad shit happens anyway.  That's where the book came from--the question of what would happen when a nice lady flips the finger at life?  It was very fun to execute, bwahahahaha! (<-- evil laugh)

Where do you do most of your writing?
On the couch at home.  My husband jokes that I will, some day, sink into the cushions, never to be seen again.  But I do take walks and stuff.  Does to the fridge count?

What is your favourite book?
A Room With a View by E. M. Forster.  It's got love, humor, satire, sexy Italians, wayward old ladies--anything you could ask for!  In fact, there are two chapter titles in 667 Ways to F*ck Up My Life that are Easter eggs for any A Room With a View fan.

Which part of 667 Ways to Fuck Up My Life did you enjoy writing the most?
(mild spoiler) I think the scene in which Dagmar gains success and revenge on her jerk ex-boss held the most fantasy fulfillment for me.  Everyone has that one boss you'd love to give what for.  The second most would be when she tried to seduce Hunter the Broista.  I've worn pleather.  It's not okay.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Amelia Peabody!  "Another shirt ruined!"  Fans of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series will get that--she's a Victorian Feminist Egyptologist with a seriously hot, also Feminist, husband.  They solve mysteries and hunt for treasures and are generally awesome.  I think Amelia taught me to expect a lot from a spouse--to expect true respect, without which, there cannot be real love.  I credit Elizabeth Peters for teaching me to hold out for my own amazing husband!  She was a fascinating woman in her own right, and I cried when she passed in the last couple of years.  I urge anyone to read these books--they're fun and funny!

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
I say write first and foremost.  Find your voice, find the stories that make you dance with glee to get onto paper.  Do a bunch of that, and then learn the "rules" of writing.  I think establishing what make you the unique and amazing writer you are is the most important thing, because the business and the rules will kinda try to beat that out of you.  The marketplace can be narrow.  But the more you know yourself and your own style, the more you'll be able to take some advice and leave the rest.  I've been told by more than one authority that I'm too weird, I'm too funny (I don't think they meant it in the nice way!), and I'm too different.  And that may be so.  But damn it, I'm me, and it only took one yes to set me on my path.  If you love who you are and what you write, then a thousand no's cannot take that joy away from you.  All you can control is the work, so love it.  Love yourself and advocate for yourself as you grow and learn...and the yes-es will follow!

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
This winter, I plan to release Super Forty, the tale of a forty-year-old divorced, barren, and penniless superheroine!  She lives with her parents, and wears sensible shoes and pajamas as her super outfit.  I am SO excited to release this book!  I got a little waylaid by buying a house (whee!!), but as soon as the literal dust settles, I'm going to finish editing and release it.  The theme of all my books boils down to wanting women to realize that we're all freaking superheroines, no matter how many lemons we've had pelted at our heads.  Super Forty is the book of my heart, and I can't wait for Shannon, the world's unlikeliest superheroine, to make her debut.  Her special power will make you laugh, I guarantee it.

Thanks, Lucy!

You can find out more about Lucy at her website, Facebook, or by following her on Twitter.

667 Ways to F*ck Up My Life by Lucy Woodhull

Twenty-something Dag has always been the ‘perfect’ woman. Responsible, honest to a fault, hard-working. Even her bras are no-nonsense. And for what? Her boyfriend dumps her for being boring, and her boss fires her for not sucking on his nether regions to get promoted. What’s a perfectionist overachiever to do? A complete one-eighty.

To heck with rules—Dag orchestrates a spectacular fall from grace by ruining her life exactly six-hundred-sixty-six times, and finally has a little naughty fun. Some scandalous Spandex and a few bar lies later, tame little Dagmar becomes Giselle, ballsy siren.

The wild thing is…it works! Dag gets a better job and meets the sexiest man she’s ever known. Well, Giselle meets him. Dagmar doesn’t exist. Except that she does, and her escapades just became a ticking time bomb, one that might blow her heart to smithereens.

Join Dag for her irresistible and hilarious fuck-ups, because every good girl needs to inject a little bad girl sizzle into her veins.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

COMING SOON: The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot

Bestselling author Meg Cabot returns with her new novel, The Boy is Back, next month! Meg is hugely well-known for her young adult novels, including The Princess Diaries and the Mediator series. However, she has also penned novels for adults which include Royal Wedding, Size 12 is Not Fat, and Every Boy's Got One. 

Reed Stewart thought he’d left all his small town troubles—including a broken heart—behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, ten years ago to become rich and famous on the professional golf circuit.  Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return . . . with a vengeance.

Becky Flowers has worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him when he returns—until his family hires her to save his parents.

Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another—or the memories of that one fateful night.  And soon everything they thought they knew about themselves (and each other) has been turned upside down, and they—and the entire town of Bloomville—might never be the same, all because The Boy Is Back.

Friday, 7 October 2016

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Penelope Jacobs

Playing FTSE is the new novel by Penelope Jacobs, in which a young graduate navigates work and relationships in her new life in the City. Penelope has stopped by for this week's Q&A to discuss her novel, her heroine Melanie and some useful writing advice...

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Ambition, friendship and sex. A brilliant but deeply-flawed woman makes it in the City.

What inspired you to write Playing FTSE?
I met many of my female friends during my early years in the City. The work was demanding, but we always had fun on weekends discussing our romantic lives. In such a male-dominated environment, there were endless amusing anecdotes about our male colleagues and office affairs. I wanted to capture the atmosphere of the City in my twenties. Although we worked under a great deal of pressure, we also enjoyed high-octane fun. My novel is fictional, but it is inspired by many true events.

Where do you do most of your writing?
I squeeze in my writing whenever I can. Mostly I work from home, in between school runs. This tends to be in short bursts during the morning and early afternoon. I hardly ever write in the evening, as I find it impossible to concentrate at night time. The school holidays are a write-off, as my children don’t understand the concept of space!

What is your favourite book?
My all-time favourite novel is “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A brilliant author, I only wish I could read it in his native language Spanish. The book delves into the madness of enduring love and the depths to which a person can fall. It is a story of delusion, despair and optimism, which manages also to be highly entertaining. If you have ever suffered unrequited love, this is a poignant novel to read.  

Which part of  Playing FTSE did you enjoy writing the most?
I wanted to create a flawed character, who is both a victim and a villain. It was an exciting challenge to mould this brilliant but romantically idiotic woman.  The dialogue with her best friend was fun to write and helped explain her dilemmas, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the prose, where I was able to immerse myself more fully into her inner thoughts.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
I have just finished reading two books by Elena Ferrante. My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name. The novels follow the lives of two young girls in Naples, through the eyes of Lena. A fascinating study of friendship, rivalry and love. I was gripped by the dynamic of their complex relationship and I can’t wait to read the next two books in the series.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Remember that your friends and family are not the best critics. The most helpful feedback I received was from an entirely independent editor. Her comments were hard-hitting but definitely forced me into making some significant changes to the storyline.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I am working on the sequel to Playing FTSE. My heroine is now in her thirties and has to face a series of new challenges in her romantic life and working career.

Thanks, Penelope!

You can find out more about Penelope Jacobs on her website, or by following her on Twitter.

Playing FTSE by Penelope Jacobs

When Melanie Collins joins an investment bank as a young graduate, she quickly discovers that femininity is an invaluable asset. But it must not be abused. She witnesses other women falling victim to office affairs and is determined to be taken seriously. In an industry where abilities are rewarded handsomely, she rises rapidly through the ranks. But her increased profile attracts the attention of a senior colleague and she is ill equipped to handle his advances. Balancing a demanding job with a confusing personal life proves difficult and soon their relationship threatens to jeopardise her career. As events move beyond control, her glamorous world becomes tainted by betrayal and bitterness. Set against London's financial markets, 'Playing FTSE' explores the dynamic of ambition, friendship and love in the City. A woman can reach the top, but at what price?

Thursday, 6 October 2016

NEW RELEASES: A New York Love Story by Cassie Rocca

As the festive period draws ever closer, I'm devouring some of the fab Christmas-themed books that are available! (Such as this selection - and this one too!)

A New York Love Story by Cassie Rocca is another I'm adding to the Christmas TBR list. Available now from Aria, the novel focuses on Clover and Hollywood actor Cade. Their very different lives are about to collide!

Giving a present is not always easy. Clover O’Brian knows that only too well: her job consists of helping people in the arduous task of choosing unusual gifts. Christmas is coming, New York is buzzing, and Clover, who has always loved the festive period, savours the atmosphere.

Cade Harrison already has everything in life. A Hollywood actor, he is handsome, rich, famous and popular. Success, however, has its downsides; having just emerged from a disastrous relationship with an actress, he feels a need to hide away in an area unfrequented by stars, in an apartment lent him by a friend, far from prying eyes – especially those of tabloid reporters. But as chance will have it, the apartment in question is right opposite the one occupied by Clover, who until now has seen Hollywood actors only on the big screen. Two quite different lives meet by chance, at the most exhilarating time of year...

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