Hi lovely readers! Just a quick update to let you know that things will be a bit quiet around here throughout August and some of September. I've decided to take some time away from blogging as I'm currently getting my debut novel ready for release next month! (Eeek!)
I'll still be posting, but it'll be quite sporadic over the next few weeks. However, I'll be back with plenty of reviews and features from the world of chick lit. See you all soon!
Thursday, 27 July 2017
Daisy Hobson lives her whole life online. A marketing manager by day, she tweets her friends, instagrams every meal and arranges (frankly, appalling) dates on Tinder. But when her social media obsession causes her to make a catastrophic mistake at work, Daisy finds her life going into free-fall...
Her sister Rosie thinks she has the answer to all of Daisy's problems - a digital detox in a remote cottage in Cumbria, that she just happens to need help doing up. Soon, too, Daisy finds herself with two welcome distractions: sexy French exchange-help Alexis, and Jack, the brusque and rugged man-next-door, who keeps accidentally rescuing her.
But can Daisy, a London girl, ever really settle into life in a tiny, isolated village? And, more importantly, can she survive without her phone?
Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Can you ever rewrite the past?
Lydia and Theo face the unthinkable when a knock at the door changes everything.
As Theo lies unconscious, Lydia begins to pick up the pieces, but not every part of the puzzle fits together as neatly as it did before. And when Lydia begins to move on, what happens when Theo wakes up and realises she didn’t wait for him?
Theo and Lydia have a history together, but do they still have a future? Or has too much happened to be able to forgive and forget?
Friday, 14 July 2017
First off, I have to say that I had no idea who Vicky Pattison was before reading this. I hardly watch TV, let alone reality TV, and I've never seen an episode of Geordie Shore in my life. On receiving this book I learned Vicky is a celebrity with two more novels available (All That Glitters and The Christmas Kiss) along with some non-fiction titles.
Lizzie and Becky Ashworth are sisters, but so very different. Becky is sensible, focused, and preparing to get married to her fiance, the lovely Daniel Balfour. Meanwhile, Lizzie is a bit more wild, unable to keep a job for very long, and lacking the security and drive that her sister has.
Becky and Daniel are truly in love, and the wedding is set to be a lavish affair, especially seeing as Daniel hails from the uber-rich Balfour family, a big difference from the Ashworths' working-class roots. Becky has always felt that the Balfours do not approve of their son's decision to marry her instead of a wealthy socialite, which is causing tensions to run high in preparation for the big day.
Meanwhile, Daniel's sister isn't happy with the marriage, especially seeing as her friend has eyes for Daniel, and so the pair come up with a plot to try and split up the happy couple for good.
As Becky is planning to move into the next chapter of her life, Lizzie feels as though she's lagging behind, that her sister won't need her anymore. But as it happens, the sisters might just need each other more than they think.
My Sister's Wedding was very funny and quite hard to put down. The book is narrated by both sisters during the wedding preparations, and it's hard not to like both of the girls; even Lizzie, who may come across as fiery and less sensible than her sister, but has a heart of gold - especially when it comes to family! There are some great characters too, along with some rivalry and revenge. Admittedly I did feel that this book was for a slightly younger audience (maybe late teens/early twenties), but it's a great story. It's light, funny and feel-good, and I really enjoyed it.
Thursday, 13 July 2017
Sunshine Mackenzie truly is living the dream. A lifestyle guru for the modern age, Sunshine is beloved by millions of people who tune into her YouTube cooking show, and millions more scour her website for recipes, wisdom, and her enticing suggestions for how to curate a perfect life. She boasts a series of #1 New York Times bestselling cookbooks, a devoted architect husband, and a reputation for sincerity and kindness--Sunshine seems to have it all. But she's hiding who she really is. And when her secret is revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. What Sunshine does in the ashes of destruction will save her in more ways than she can imagine.
In our modern world, where celebrity is a careful construct, Laura Dave's compelling, enticing novel explores the devastating effect of the secrets we keep in public...and in private. Hello, Sunshine is a fresh, provocative look at a woman teetering between a scrupulously assembled life and the redemptive power of revealing the truth.
Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Catherine Rook takes her peaceful life for granted. Her days are spent at the village school and lending a hand on her family’s farm. Life is run by the seasons, and there’s little time for worry.
But rural unrest begins sweeping through Kent, and when Pa Rook buys a threshing machine it brings turbulence and tragedy to Wanstall Farm. With the Rooks’ fortunes forever changed, Catherine must struggle to hold her family together.
She turns to her childhood companion, Matty Carter, for comfort, and finds more than friendship in his loving arms. But Matty has his own family to protect, and almost as quickly as their love blossomed their future begins to unravel.
With the threat of destitution nipping at her heels, Catherine must forge a way out of ruin...
As part of the Half a Sixpence blog tour, Evie Grace has shared with us a character profile. Read on to find out more about Catherine Rook!
Half a Sixpence will be released tomorrow.
Character Profile: Catherine Rook
Thank you very much for hosting today’s stop on my blog tour with Half a Sixpence, the first book in a new series, a Victorian family saga set in East Kent. Half a Sixpence is the story of Catherine Rook, a country girl born in Overshill, East Kent in 1817, and I’d love to tell you a little more about her.
I took inspiration for Catherine’s character and way of life from my family tree, anecdotes passed down from my grandparents and great grandparents, and my experiences of the countryside. I was born in Kent and one of my earliest memories is of picking cherries with my grandfather in an orchard near Selling. He was a farm manager, and Wanstall Farm, Catherine’s home in Half a Sixpence has echoes of the place where he worked.
Catherine lives with Ma and Pa Rook and her brother, John. Her older siblings have already left home. She enjoys feeding the hens, collecting their eggs and looking after the pigs, especially when they give birth to their piglets. Pa is a great believer in the value of education, sending her to the village school where she learns the three R’s with her best friend, Emily. She aspires to marry for love one day, in spite of Ma’s rather embarrassing conviction that she should marry up.
Catherine’s life follows the seasons that come and go the same, year after year, punctuated by the regular sowing, harvesting and threshing of the corn, followed by rowdy harvest suppers and the hop picking. When Catherine needs new clothes, Pa Rook says she can have them ‘after ‘op-picking’, a saying that has been passed down through my family. My mum remembers her mother taking her, her brother and sister hop picking every summer to bring in desperately needed cash. My grandmother also went fruit-picking, taking a pram with a false bottom under which she hid apples to take home.
Catherine helps the Rooks’ maid in the kitchen, pickling and preserving the produce from the land, and learning to make the perfect pastry for plum pies. Living on the farm is hard, but in many ways Catherine leads an idyllic way of life that comes under threat when her father decides to invest in a threshing machine.
The fresh challenges facing the farm and her family serve to strengthen Catherine’s resourceful character, a recurring feature of my Victorian ancestors. One of my great-grandmothers had a reputation for being a particularly determined lady who brought up seven happy children in a tiny house on very little money with the help of her husband who grew and sold fresh vegetables from the garden to make ends meet. However, her background was tainted by rumours of illegitimacy, the consequences of which I have introduced into Half a Sixpence.
Catherine is resourceful, loyal and caring, and even at her lowest ebb, she finds the strength to carry on.
I hope you enjoy reading her story.
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Kate has stopped by for a Q&A on Skylarking, to tell about her new novel and the inspiration behind it.
Kate and Harriet are best friends growing up together on an isolated Australian cape. As the daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community.
When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. An innocent moment in McPhail's hut then occurs that threatens to tear their peaceful community apart.
Inspired by a true story, Skylarking is a spellbinding tale of friendship and desire, memory and truth, which questions what it is to remember and how tempting it can be to forget.
Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
A remote lighthouse. Best friends growing up. A fisherman. A gun…
What inspired you to write Skylarking?
While on a camping trip with my family and best friends, I stumbled upon an old grave. It belonged to a young woman who had lived at a nearby lighthouse in the 1880s and I was immediately captivated by the information that hinted at a bigger story, including her friendship with the daughter of the Head Lighthouse Keeper, and a terrible event that occurred at a fisherman’s hut nearby. I began to dig into the history of the lighthouse and eventually became obsessed with imagining the lives of these two best friends and what became of them.
Where do you do most of your writing?
I occupied a corner of the lounge room by surrounding it with bookshelves so I have a little nook with a sunny window and a desk amid towering piles of books. But, as I have two young children, I also write wherever I can – on the train, in the car outside dancing class, dictating notes on my phone while waiting at traffic lights!
What is your favourite book?
This question is like asking which of my children is my favourite! As a child, Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery, as a student Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, as a writer The Writer’s Room: Conversations About Writing edited by Charlotte Wood.
Which part of Skylarking did you enjoy writing the most?
In the beginning I had no idea I was writing a novel, let alone that it would be published – so that was incredibly liberating. I avoided writing the climax of the novel for many, many months, and when I finally did, I sobbed all the way through. That part wasn’t enjoyable but it was certainly an experience I’ll never forget.
Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Again, so many! But Anne of Green Gables and Grace Marks from Margaret Attwood’s Alias Grace influenced me both in my life and writing.
Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Keep reading widely and voraciously! And sit down and DO the writing. Your novel can sound wonderful in your mind but you’ve got to take the risk to actually put it down on paper. Be brave!
Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I’m in the middle of writing my second novel. It’s a more contemporary story and as part of the research I’m hitching a ride on a yacht from Darwin to Indonesia. I’m enjoying pushing myself to take new risks in this work!
You can find out more about Kate Mildenhall by visiting her website, Facebook, or by following her on Twitter.