Wednesday, 26 February 2014

BOOK NEWS: The Sweetness of Liberty James by Janey Lewis

Late March sees the release of The Sweetness of Liberty James by Janey Lewis, in which Liberty, who seemingly has the perfect life, sets out to rediscover it when things don't go to plan...

Sweet-natured Liberty believes the recipe for her own happiness is making others happy, and she sets about gathering the ingredients for the perfect life. She does well at school, makes glamorous friends and marries her university sweetheart Percy, the heir to the Radley Bank fortune. Now all that's missing is the icing on the cake: a baby. When a traumatic event changes everything, she finds herself on a journey to rediscover her love of food that takes her from Florence to the French Riviera and finally back home to the Sussex village of Littlehurst, with a crazy plan to open her own patisserie. With flirtatious Fred the blacksmith and the dark, brooding Edmund on her doorstep, will she finally find that elusive ingredient: love?

You can pre-order The Sweetness of Liberty James on Amazon.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

BOOK NEWS: You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Billy and Me author Giovanna Fletcher will be back on the shelves in May with her new novel, You're The One That I Want, in which bride-to-be Maddy thinks she may be making a big mistake...

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that's the problem.

Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it...

Saturday, 22 February 2014

INDUSTRY NEWS: Self-published Tracy Bloom signs four-book deal with Cornerstone

Self-published chick-lit writer Tracy Bloom has signed a four-book deal with Cornerstone, The Bookseller revealed.

Tracy published two e-books - debut novel No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday and Single Woman Seeks Revenge - in 2013. No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday reached number one in the Kindle bestseller list early last year, selling 220,000 e-books in six months.

No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday will be published in paperback and e-book this April, followed by a new Christmas-themed novel which will be released in October. In 2015, a sequel to No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday will be published, as well as Single Woman Seeks Revenge.

Tracy Bloom said: “I have learnt a huge amount during the process and I'm now delighted to be joining Arrow who I know have the skills and expertise to bring my writing to an even greater audience and help take my career to the next level."

Congratulations, Tracy!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot's new book, country music-themed Made in Nashville, was released last week. Mandy is currently working on her tenth novel and we love the idea of a Southern romance, so we just had to ask her a few questions!

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Scarred singer is put back together by hot redneck country rock star! Sparks fly!

What inspired you to write Made in Nashville?
I’ve had a life-long love for country music thanks to my grandad who played me the kings and queens of the genre when I was small – Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson etc. I also remember being taken to a record signing for Merle and Roy at a local Woolworths!

But the novel was really inspired by my visit to the Country 2 Country festival last year at the O2. Seeing all these great country artists performing live moved me and it was definitely the catalyst to producing the ideas for the book.

Where do you do most of your writing?
I have a desk in my bedroom but it’s not big enough and my laptop is on the verge of dying ! I would love a whole room just for me to write in, or one of those funky buildings in the garden. That’s my dream! I could fill it with Staedtler pens and put posters of half-dressed men on the walls.

What is your favourite book?
I don’t have a favourite book! I love reading contemporary fiction – romance, thrillers, women’s fiction – but there are so many great writers and stories out there I can’t possibly choose just one! But if I had to choose from something I’ve read over the last few years that stood out it was the Duke Becker Series by Gary Kassay. I adored Murder in Silence and Murder by Prophecy!

Which part of Made in Nashville did you enjoy writing the most?
The dialogue! I’m a dialogue girl, probably because I see everything like a film playing out in front of me. It was really nice to write another book set in America and get a feel for the accents. Jared Marshall is an Alabama boy so he has a strong Southern twang going on which I hope translates well in his dialogue.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Keep writing and keep reading. Get advice from other writers and readers but also listen and pay attention to your own feelings and gut reaction for your characters’ paths.  If you've written a story that you love and you've put your heart and soul into it and made it the best that it can be, then get it out there!

Consider all the options. Don’t be afraid to self-publish. Don’t dwell on any rejections you might get along the way. If you love writing and you have a dream to make it your career then do it – never give up!

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
Yes! I’m halfway through writing my 10th novel and as my very first book was set in Corfu I’m going back there for this novel. It’s very much a holiday read.

Two sisters, Ellen and Lacey Brooks are staying at the Blue Vue Hotel tasked with planning Lacey’s wedding. However, neither of them account for meeting the animation team and being drawn romantically towards two members of it. Lacey is finding the Zumba instructor hard to resist, despite her engaged status, and Ellen is attracted to sexy silent type, Yan. However, two of this foursome have secrets and what will happen when these are exposed?

There’s a lot of humour in the book but also some harder issues – the usual Mandy Baggot mash up – crying with laughter one minute, sobbing into your hankie the next!

Thanks, Mandy!

About the Author: Mandy Baggot is a romantic fiction author. In 2012 she won the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance. Her self-published title, Strings Attached, was also short-listed for the Best Author Published Read award. Also in 2012 she signed with American publishing house, Sapphire Star Publishing, who produced her novels, Taking Charge and romantic suspense, Security. In June 2013 she signed a two book deal with Harper Collins' digital first romance imprint, Harper Impulse. She is a regular contributor to writing blogs and on-line magazine, Loveahappyending Lifestyle

Mandy loves mashed potato, white wine, country music, World’s Strongest Man, travel and handbags. She has appeared on ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and auditioned for The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two daughters and cats, Kravitz and Springsteen.

You can find out more about Mandy by visiting her website, Facebook, Goodreads page, or by following her on Twitter.





Saturday, 15 February 2014

INDUSTRY NEWS: Four Choc Lit titles on Romantic Novel of the Year shortlists

Women's fiction publisher Choc Lit is leading the nominations in the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year shortlist, it was recently announced.

According to The Bookseller, Choc Lit are leading with four novels, with The Gilded Fan by Christina Courtenay and Liz Harris's A Bargain Struck in the running for the Historical Romantic Novel category; Christina Courtenay's New England Rocks for Young Adult Romantic Novel, and The Wedding Diary by Margaret James up for The Romantic Comedy Novel award.

The Choc Lit novels will be up against titles from various other publishers such as Pan Macmillan, Piatkus and HarperCollins for the awards. The category winners will be announced in London on 17th March, as well as an overall winner who will scoop £5,000. Darcey Bussell will be presenting the awards.

Author Katie Fforde, president of the Romantic Novelists' Association, said: ""The RNA came into being to encourage good writing of romantic fiction in all of its many forms. This year we've seen a record number of books submitted for our Awards, and this clearly demonstrates that romantic fiction plays a big part in the UK book industry."

To read the full shortlist, head over to the RNA wesbite.

Friday, 14 February 2014

NEW RELEASES: Jellybird by Lezanne Clannachan

Lezanne Clannachan's debut novel Jellybird was released yesterday in paperback. First published in 2013, the book focuses on successful jewellery designer Jessica, whose new best friend Libby is about to change her life...

'I'm good at secrets,' Libby says. Yes, thinks Jessica, I bet you are...

Jessica should have everything to make her happy: a loving husband, a growing reputation as a jewellery designer, hope for a family of her own in the future. Then she meets Libby - flattering, attentive - and believes she has found the friendship she missed out on as a child. Until Jessica catches her husband and Libby alone, heads together in whispered collusion. With her life unravelling, Jessica flees home to the seaside town where she grew up. The discovery of an old postcard among her childhood belongings sends Jessica in search of her first love, Thomas, 'the ghost boy' who disappeared one night 17 years ago. The last time Jessica saw Thomas he was covered in blood and begging her to hide him. Now to find him, Jessica must confront the secrets that link her to Libby, the missing boy and a brutal murder.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

BOOK NEWS: Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff

Not only have we fallen in love with the cover of Isabel Wolff's upcoming novel, but we're very excited about reading historic tale Ghostwritten, which will be released in late March.

A lifetime of regrets. Jenni is a 'ghost': she writes the lives of other people. It's a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own. Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation - she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell. But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara's help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest? Gripping, poignant and beautifully researched, Ghostwritten is a story of survival and love, of memory and hope.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

IN THE MAIL: Beauty / The Key to It All

It's always exciting to receive new reads in the mail, and so we thought it'd be fun to share some of the great new titles on the to-be-read list. This week, we're rather looking forward to reading about Louise Mensch's heroine Dina, who's determined to remain a the top of the beauty game, and a group of people  who are about to be given a strange yet life-changing gift...

Beauty by Louise Mensch
Dream Big. No Limits. Be Bold. Manhattan is there for the taking . Blend it. Sculpt it. Shape it. Use it...There isn't a woman on earth who doesn't have her beauty secrets. But for Dina Kane, beauty is more than just business. It's power. And it is the secret. She's dragged herself up from poverty to Park Avenue. She's rolled with the punches. And she's learned how to win. Now someone is out to destroy her, and all she's built. They've underestimated Dina Kane. She's staying at the top - and she's happy to wait for the perfect moment to exact her revenge...


The Key to It All by Joanna Rees
When five random people simultaneously receive 'the key', they don't realize that their lives are about to change forever. Shrouded in secrecy, the mysterious silver key is delivered to each of them along with a code, a web address and a promise that - if used wisely - it can unlock a door to luxury and privilege beyond their wildest dreams. However, as each of them begins to use the key, they are propelled into a world of hazy moral choices, and soon start to question their enigmatic gift. Who is funding the key's lavish promises? And why have they been chosen to receive it? Only the bravest will use it to seek the truth...

Thursday, 6 February 2014

BOOK NEWS: Caitlin Moran's 'How to Build a Girl' (and tour!)

Author and columnist Caitlin Moran, responsible for the fabulously funny autobiographical books How to Be a Woman and Moranthology, returns this summer with fictional offering How to Build a Girl. Caitlin's debut novel will be released on 3rd July. Read on for the synopsis!

Also, Caitlin will be visiting venues across the UK for her How to Build a Girl literary tour, which will include highlights from not only the new novel, but from How to Be a Woman and Moranthology too. To see tour dates and book tickets, click here.

What do you do in your teenage years when you realise what your parents taught you wasn't enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes - and build yourself.

It's 1990. Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there's no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde - fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer! She will save her poverty stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer - like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontes - but without the dying young bit.

By 16, she's smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She's writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all the kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.

But what happens when Johanna realises she's built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?

Imagine The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease, with a soundtrack by My Bloody Valentine and Happy Mondays. As beautiful as it is funny, How To Build a Girl is a brilliant coming-of-age novel in DMs and ripped tights, that captures perfectly the terror and joy of trying to discover exactly who it is you are going to be.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

UNCOVERED PICKS: Five February Releases

It's February already, and this month will see more new releases from both new and well-known authors. Here are our five picks...

Diary of an Unsmug Married by Polly James
What happens to love when life gets in the way? A funny and perceptive book about real relationships. Perfect for fans of Dawn French, Sue Townsend and Bridget Jones' Diary. Meet Molly Bennett. Married to Max and mother to two warring teenagers, she's just 'celebrated' a significant birthday. Bridget Jones would call Molly a "smug married". So why doesn't she feel it? Is it because everyone seems to be having a better time of it than her? Or is it that Max has started showing more interest in 'business trips' and less interest in their sex life? Molly begins to despair. And then an old school friend starts flirting with her through Facebook...

The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
The One Plus One is the beautiful, poignant and utterly compelling new novel by the internationally bestselling author Jojo Moyes. One single mum. With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it's hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn't. Because you have to...

One chaotic family Jess' gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she'll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess' teenage stepson, can't fight the bullies alone. Sometimes Jess feels like they're sinking...

One handsome stranger Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it's like to be lonely. And he wants to help...

If You're Not the One by Jemma Forte
Jennifer Wright has a seemingly perfect life a husband, two kids, a lovely house. She also isn't entirely sure if she's happy. Frustrated with her lack of career and a husband who barely seems to notice her, she can't help but wonder, is this it?

At 38 she's hurtling toward middle age and a mid- life crisis. And she starts to think what her life would be like had she made different choices along the way...

Would she be happier if she'd stayed with sexy, carefree, unconventional Aidan? Or fabulously wealthy Tim? Would she be living happily ever after with sweet, kind, harmless Steve? Jennifer's about to find out. After a terrible row with her husband she has a life threatening accident, and, whilst unconscious, is given the gift of seeing what would have happened if she'd stayed with each of these men from her past. And then Jennifer's left with the biggest decision of all... 

The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman
'Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.'

Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life - until the night Rachel's heart stopped beating. Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can't forget her, Rachel can't quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.

As Rachel grieves for the life she's lost and the life she'll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.

Mother of the Year by Karen Ross
'I often think my mother would prefer colonic irrigation to hanging out with me...'

Beth Jackson is a national treasure, celebrated for her television shows and winning the Mother of the Year Award three times in a row.

Only, her daughter just wishes that Beth would be more like a normal mum...


Monday, 3 February 2014

BLOG TOUR: Pricilla Bleik's 'One Little White Lie'

It's a new week, and joining us today is Pricilla Bleik, author of newly-released novel One Little White Lie, as part of her blog tour. One Little White Lie is published by Prospera Books, and focuses on a woman who conceals her age to compete on a talent show. On with the questions!

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Married woman lies about her age to compete with teenagers on a television talent show.

What inspired you to write One Little White Lie?
I love chick lit and am a secret devourer of all types of talent shows, so I thought it would be fun to combine these loves. I’d just taken a writing course and thought I’d give a novel a shot. My husband then suggested that I might add another element, something darker, and the publisher went for it.

Where do you do most of your writing?
Airport lounges, as I travel for work.

What is your favourite book?
I deal with sums in my day-to-day life, so I prefer light-hearted reads aimed at women. Most recently I've read One Glass Is Never Enough by Jane Wenham-Jones.


Which part of One Little White Lie did you enjoy writing the most?
The last line, which didn't appear until the very last edit (of about 8 drafts!). It contains a good dose of irony and – unsurprisingly – numbers.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
No sure heroine is entirely fitting for her, but I like Anna Karenina. There are quite a few personality traits of Anna in my character India Roman.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Do it because you love it, then keep doing it even though you hate it.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
Not yet, still have my thinking hat on.

Thanks, Pricilla!

You can find out more about Pricilla and One Little White Lie by following her on Twitter (@PricillaBleik), and checking out Prospera Books (@ProsperaBooks)/

ONE LITTLE WHITE LIE

Like any young girl India Roman’s sister Cylia dreams of making it big, and decides to enter the worldwide phenomenon that is the STAR competition. The only hitch is that Cylia suffers from a number of anxiety disorders and India is convinced that her sister won’t be able to join the winding open-audition queue without having a major breakdown.

A mother of two with a distant husband, India finds it difficult to feel sympathy for Cylia, particularly as her mother has always favoured her much younger sibling.

However, fate steps in and Cylia somehow ends up on the edge of the stage, about to audition for two of the toughest critics on TV. What happens next is both shocking and life-changing for the entire family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pricilla Bleik is 38 years old and works in Asia in finance and business. She began writing as a hobby after completing a diploma in creative writing, but decided to seek publication when an editor friend saw the synopsis for One Little White Lie and encouraged her to do so. In addition to spending her spare time writing, Pricilla is also an avid collector of art pottery, loves to travel with her husband, and has never once contemplated trying out for a talent show.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Elle Field

We're delighted to have Elle Field here for the very first interview of Chick Lit Uncovered! Elle's books - Kept and Geli Voyante's Hot Or Not - were released last year and being big fans of her writing, we just had to ask her a few questions about her novels and future projects...

So, what have you been up to since the release of Kept?
I was hard at work finishing the edits for Geli Voyante's Hot or Not. It was published last October in Kindle and paperback formats; happily, it's getting glowing reviews!

Can you tell us more about your latest book?
I'd love to! It's about Geli Voyante who works in the Gherkin as a newspaper's Hot or Not writer. As well as scoring plenty of freebies, her job also has the added bonus of sitting next to Theodore Bones, the very hot political columnist who Geli has had a crush on ever since she started her job.

When her arch-nemesis Tiggy Boodles gets engaged, Geli finally sets about to try and convince Theo that she's not as shallow as her light-hearted column suggests and, more importantly, that she's the one for him. Geli soon realises though that just like there are two sides to every story, that also applies to people too...

Set in wintry London and sunny South Africa, Geli Voyante's Hot or Not is full of twists and turns, glamour and glitz, as well as frolics and fashion. Make sure you read it to find out whether Geli gets her man!

What are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, which I am absolutely loving! When I'm working on my own fiction I'm very careful to read genres other than chick lit so I don't inadvertently contaminate my books.

Are there any authors who have inspired you?
Definitely! Maggie Alderson's Cents and Sensibility was the book that made me put pen  to paper and start penning my own chick lit tales. On the surface the book comes across as fluffy but, once you start reading it, it's clever and captivating writing - that's the type of book I knew I wanted to write.

Sophie Kinsella, Helen Fielding and Lauren Weisberger are other authors who have also inspired me - I'm a big fan of their work and it would be a dream come true if I achieved just a fraction of their success!

What kind of research did you do for your latest novel?
As I've never been to South Africa and that's where my main character is from and where the end of the book is set, I had to do a lot of research to make sure I did the country justice. Thankfully the Internet makes that job a lot easier - don't get me wrong, I would have loved a research trip there - but I also picked the brains of some South African friends to make sure that the book, and characters, were authentic as possible.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed it all, but the scenes where Geli and Tiggy are fighting are some of my favourites. It was great fun setting up their rivalry and then playing around with words to make them subtly horrible to one other - their characters have to keep a level of professionalism as they both work for the same publication family. I also really enjoyed taking the book out of my comfort zone by setting the ending somewhere I have never been. I'm keen to make sure that I don't just focus and write about what I know, so I really enjoyed researching South Africa and basing part of the book there.

What are you working on next? (If you can tell us of course!)
One thing I'm working on is the sequel to Lost, which is the sequel to Kept. You'll be able to find out how Arielle gets on now she's back in London, and whether she gets her happily ever after with Piers. I'm also working on another chick lit book called The Dirtification of Tabitha-Rose. You might remember the character Tabitha popping up in Kept... since she's quite a colourful character, I think it's time to share her story! I don't have the exact release dates yet, but I'll be sure to share them as soon as I do.

Thanks, Elle!

You can find out more about Elle Field by following her on Twitter (@ellefie), visiting her on Facebook and Goodreads, and reading about her literary, London and life adventures on her blog.

BOOK REVIEW: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

One of the first books I read this year was The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, author of Three Wishes and What Alice Forgot. Released last year, The Husband's Secret is a dark yet beautiful story of one secret that can alter lives. That is, if it's ever told...

Cecilia is in the attic of the house she shares with her children and husband John-Paul when she accidentally discovers an envelope addressed to her. An envelope, in her husband's handwriting, which states it should be 'opened only in the event of my death'.

Instantly curious, Cecilia puts off opening the envelope until her curiosity finally takes over. But when she finally reads the letter contained inside, a secret is revealed that will change her life forever.

In the same town, not a day goes by in Rachel's life without thoughts of Janie, her daughter, who was murdered in 1984. Despite never finding her daughter's killer, Rachel is adamant that he still lives, and that she has an idea of who may have been responsible all those years ago. When her son and daughter-in-law decide to head to New York, taking the grandson that she adores, Rachel might have to face the prospect of even more loneliness.

Then there's Tess, whose husband has just revealed he is in love with someone else - someone much too close to home, turning her world into one of loss and confusion. Tess's son begins at the school where Rachel works, the school that Cecilia's young daughters attend.

The lives of these three woman intertwine throughout the novel, with each of their personal stories coming together, and eventually linked by one secret - the secret in Ceclila's letter.

By revealing, Cecilia could change one life for the better - but ruin others. Can she go through life without telling, or is she willing to lose everything and confess?

The Husband's Secret is an addictive, clever tale of family secrets and consequences, which I found very hard to put down. It's full of suspense from the very beginning, which left me desperate to know what would happen next in the lives of each character. Admittedly, I found Tess's story to be not as gripping as those of Rachel and Cecilia - however, the way the three women's lives are linked eventually becomes very interesting towards the end of the novel. I finished this book very quickly as it was so hard to stop reading!

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 1 February 2014

NEW RELEASES: The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne

Having loved Hester Browne's previous books The Little Lady Agency and The Finishing Touches, we're excited to hear that Hester's next novel, The Vintage Girl, is now available on Kindle. The novel is out on February 13th in paperback and focuses on antique lover Evie and a Scottish castle...

When Evie Nicholson is asked to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive the family heirlooms, she jumps at the chance. Evie's passion for antiques means that, for her, the castle is a treasure trove of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered. But in each heirloom lies a story, and in the course of her investigations Evie stumbles upon some long-buried family secrets. Add handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit gala to the mix, and Evie's heart is sent reeling with an enthusiasm that may just extend beyond the Kettlesheer silver...

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