IN THE MAIL: Don't Tell The Brides-to-Be / Thoughtful / Once and Always

This week has been rather nice - not only was it this very blog's first birthday (Or 'blogiversary'? Hmm. Anyway, celebratory beverages all round!) but I also received some great new books in the post. One being the next novel in Anna Bell's Don't Tell series, which I couldn't wait to get my hands on! So, on with the newest reading-pile additions...

Don't Tell the Brides-to-Be by Anna Bell
Things are looking up for Penny Robinson. She's kicked her gambling addiction and even started her own business: Princess on a Shoestring, an all-inclusive service for brides-to-be looking to pinch pennies on their big day.

Between family rows and wardrobe calamities, wedding planning is no piece of cake... but Penny's got it all under control. That is, until a rival planner decides to take her down - one hard-won bride at a time.

Now Penny must fight to save her reputation and her livelihood before its too late. But when a romantic weekend away has some unexpected consequences, Penny's expectations for her career are brought back down to earth with a bump.

Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens
The only place Kellan has ever felt at home is on stage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around his music and his band mates, and that's the way he likes it. And then one woman changes everything...

Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting - she's smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction...until Kiera's own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, 

Kellan is sure of one thing: he won't let Kiera go without a fight.


Once and Always by Elizabeth Hoyt
Small town cop Sam West certainly doesn't mind a routine traffic stop: speeding ticket, stern warning, and sayonara. With a whopper of a blizzard closing in, that's all he has time for. But the lawbreaker he pulls over is anything but typical. From her mile-long legs to her razor-sharp wit, Maisa Bradley is like nothing Coot Lake, Minnesota, has ever seen . . . and she's about to take Sam on the ride of his life.

Whoever said blood is thicker than water probably wasn't related to a former Russian mobster. But an innocent mix-up and rumours of stolen diamonds soon have the Russian mob taking an unusual interest in the sleepy little town-and Maisa facing heated scrutiny from a certain tall, dark, and handsome deputy. Sam's dazzling blue eyes beg her to reveal all her secrets, but how much should she tell? Getting snowed in with the sexiest cop in the frozen north may not be the worst way to decide...

COVER NEWS: Cover for Sophie Kinsella's 'Finding Audrey' revealed

Sophie Kinsella, bestselling author of the Shopaholic series, has today released the cover image of her upcoming YA novel, Finding Audrey, which is to be published in June. The book has been described as 'a mix of family comedy, romance and personal discovery.'




You can read an exclusive excerpt from Finding Audrey over at USA Today.

BOOK NEWS: It Started at Sunset Cottage by Bella Osborne

What happens when Hollywood comes to the country? Kate Marshall is about to find out in Bella Osborne's debut novel, It Started at Sunset Cottage. In the book, which is released in February, author Kate heads to the Cotswolds to work on her screenplay, only to have an A-list star knocking on her door...

Kate Marshall is slowly getting her life back on track after losing her fiancĂ©. As an author she has been able to hide herself away from the world and its expectations – but now one of her books has been optioned for a film and Hollywood suddenly comes knocking on her door!

When Kate is given the opportunity to stay at a beautiful country retreat and concentrate on the screenplay, it’s an offer she can’t refuse. Encouraged by her best friend, sharp-tongued single mum Sarah, Kate sees it’s finally time to stop letting life pass her by.

Looking for confidence and inspiration in the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, the last thing Kate expects is for Timothy Calder, A-list actor and leading man in the movie adaptation of her book, to turn up on her doorstep, hoping to lie low after his latest tabloid scandal! But after a rocky start, with Tim narrowly avoiding death by watering can, they find they have a few things in common: a liking for Lady Grey tea, walnut whips and bad ‘knock knock’ jokes. Actually, the bad jokes are just Tim.
As an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, and with circumstances repeatedly throwing them together, is Sunset Cottage where both Kate and Tim’s lives will really start?

NEW RELEASES: Nanny Confidential by Philippa Christian

Readers who love glamorous celebrity tales might just love Nanny Confidential by Philippa Christian, in which Lindsay leaves her small-town life to become a nanny to the stars...

When Lindsay Starwood moved from her tiny home town to the bright lights of Melbourne, she had no idea that her after-school babysitting job would turn into a career.

Her boss was Steven Stavros, the nineties boy-band heartthrob more famous of late for his extramarital activities than his hit records. However, word soon got out about the Australian nanny who was great with kids, cool in a crisis and capable of keeping the secrets of the rich and famous tightly under wraps.

But being a celebrity nanny isn't the Mary Poppins fantasy you might imagine. When Lindsay finds herself caring for the six (yes, six!) daughters of fame-hungry reality television star Alysha Appleby, her patience is pushed to the limit. Will dashing pro-golfer Tommy Grant restore Lindsay's faith that wealth can go hand in hand with kindness? Or will she have to choose between the children she loves and her own happiness?

With a cast of millionaires ripped straight from the headlines, this is a fast-paced, outrageous novel for anyone who loves gossip, glamour and a sneak peek into the unbelievable world of a nanny to the stars.

BOOK NEWS: Once & Always by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once and Always is the new novel from bestselling historical author Elizabeth Hoyt (writing as Julia Harper). The contemporary romance will be published in late February. Maisa Bradley is on the run from the mob, and finds herself in the company of handsome cop Sam...

Small town cop Sam West certainly doesn't mind a routine traffic stop: speeding ticket, stern warning, and sayonara. With a whopper of a blizzard closing in, that's all he has time for. But the lawbreaker he pulls over is anything but typical. From her mile-long legs to her razor-sharp wit, Maisa Bradley is like nothing Coot Lake, Minnesota, has ever seen...and she's about to take Sam on the ride of his life. 

Whoever said blood is thicker than water probably wasn't related to a former Russian mobster. But an innocent mix-up and rumours of stolen diamonds soon have the Russian mob taking an unusual interest in the sleepy little town-and Maisa facing heated scrutiny from a certain tall, dark, and handsome deputy. Sam's dazzling blue eyes beg her to reveal all her secrets, but how much should she tell? Getting snowed in with the sexiest cop in the frozen north may not be the worst way to decide . . . 

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Katie Stephens

Happy launch day to Katie Stephens! Katie, author of 2011 Amazon bestseller Candles in the Sand, is back with Catching Lightning; a romantic tale set in Kenya.

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Forced to travel to Kenya for her parents’ funeral, Mel discovers life changing hidden truths.

What inspired you to write Catching Lightning?
I fell in love with Kenya on a trip back in 2001. On paper there is a lot not to like about Kenya, the poverty, dirt, corruption, and that got me thinking about whether the love for a man could outweigh your hatred for a country. On our trip we went to an orphanage just outside Nairobi and it was such an amazing experience. That orphanage gave me the setting for Catching Lightning.

Where do you do most of your writing?
I have my laptop set up in our dining room and that is where I do most of my writing. Some of Catching Lightning was written on holiday in Spain. I would get up at about 6am and go and sit out on the patio overlooking the pool and an amazing view down to the coast. I got so much done before the rest of the family got up, it was so easy to write there.

What is your favourite book?
That’s an easy one, Pride and Prejudice. I have just been given a new Kindle cover that is a beautifully bound cover of Pride and Prejudice and I love it. I can’t wait until my daughters (9 and 11) are old enough to really appreciate Jane Austen.

Which part of Catching Lightning did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing the part where they are on safari. It was great to get to relive my experience of safari and transport myself back to seeing the wonderful scenery and fantastic animals.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
It would have to be Elizabeth Bennet. I love the way she stands up for herself and her beliefs but is also not afraid to admit when she has things wrong.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Don’t give up. The more you write and read the better you become.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I am working on book number three and it is a bit different from the first two as it is set in England so I don’t get to escape to exotic locations like Italy and Kenya as I have done with my other books.

Thanks, Katie!

You can find out more about Katie and her books by visiting her website, Facebook page or by following her on Twitter.

Catching Lightning by Katie Stephens
You never know where or when lightning will strike but when it happens on a trip back to Kenya to bury your parents you know the timing isn’t great. 

Mel has spent the past 14 years resenting her parents for abandoning her at a boarding school in England while they went back to Kenya, a country she hates, to run an orphanage and school for their charity. A tragic accident forces her to return to Kenya for her parents’ funeral but meeting the gorgeous, English educated Sam was not part of the plan. Finding her mother’s diaries reveals a lot of unanswered questions and the discovery of a detailed itinerary of a trip round Kenya that her parents dreamed of making with her makes Mel realise that maybe she had things wrong. Will taking the trip make her fall in love with the man, the country, neither or both?

BOOK REVIEW: The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond

January always feels fresh and new; a brand new year, full of new goals and promises. When midnight arrives, when you leave December behind and leap into the very first minutes of the first day of the new year, people the world over are clinking glasses and making their annual resolutions. And admittedly, even if some of them don't last more than a few days (of course you'll get round to training for that marathon. Once you've watched all of Breaking Bad), making them is still habitual fun.

So when I heard about The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond (author of many novels including Sweet Temptation, The Beach Cafe and One Night in Italy, I was quite excited. In her new book, Lucy explores the new-year theme, with the setting of a small Suffolk village and with three women who are about to experience a new year full of unexpected changes.

Gemma Bailey and her husband Spencer are hosting a New Year's Eve party at their house. Among the drinking, dancing friends and familiar faces are two newcomers; Saffron, a PR executive from London who's renting the cottage next door, and Caitlin, who is in the village to pack up the house and of her recently-deceased mother. When the three meet and get to know each other over some cocktails and fortune cookies, they promise to make this year the best year yet.

However, things are about to change in the lives of Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin. When sport-loving Spencer is injured in a work accident, Gemma's life is turned upside down. Not only are the bills quickly mounting up, but Spencer isn't the same person he used to be. And the children, Will and Darcy, are finding the changes hard to deal with. With little money and an unhappy husband, she has to find a way to keep the family afloat.

Meanwhile, Caitlin is still trying to pick up the pieces of her broken relationship, and the death of her mother. Having to go through her mother's things is a task she finds hard to bear. But when she unearths a big family secret, life comes crashing down yet again.

And Saffron, who had rented the cottage for some peace and quiet away from the busy London atmosphere, is also keeping something from her family and friends. And overbearing boss and a client from hell to contend with certainly don’t make things easy for Saffron, who escapes to the village once again to determine her next move.

When the three women find themselves again reunited in Suffolk, it’s time to make changes and finally take some chances.

Due to its premise, The Year of Taking Chances was very appealing to me. It was a book I particularly looked forward to reading, and it didn't disappoint. Each of the women had their own story, and it was easy to get into the lives of Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin, and how they each help one another throughout the novel (though I'm trying not to give too much away!) Each chapter focuses on a different character, which made it so much fun to read (and so difficult to stop). Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin each have their own journey to make throughout the year, and I felt myself rooting for all of them throughout the book. Each of the girls are easily likeable; Gemma, who's worried that she's seen as 'just a mum', web designer Caitlin, who's having a difficult time with the loss of her mum and the end of her relationship, and Saffron, PR girl from the city, who's also having a tough time. Each girl has her own dilemma, and a host of characters too (including Saffron's irritating TV star client). This is a wonderful novel, and quite possibly my favourite of Lucy Diamond's books so far. It's the perfect new-year read!

Rating: 5/5

IN THE MAIL: The Rocks / The Anti-Model Agency / The Girl on the Train

Seeing as it's been a while since I last shared with you some of the latest novels I've recieved in the mail, I think it's time to do it again (and to make this a regular thing!) Getting a new book in the post, or even via email, never fails to brighten my day, so here are three newly-acquired novels on the reading pile...

The Rocks by Peter Nichols
When I was contacted by Quercus about The Rocks, I was rather intrigued. The Rocks is described as a darkly comic womens' fiction novel, from an author whose work I have not yet read, so this is quite exciting.

One summer’s day in 2005 an elderly couple meet by accident on a Mallorcan hillside. They haven’t crossed paths since their divorce over fifty years ago but during a passionate argument they plunge over the cliffs together to their deaths. 

As their grieving families plan the funerals a long buried history is revealed, unravelling over sixty years, amid the olive groves and bars, the boats and poolside parties, the lives and relationships of two intertwined families within an expat community of endearing and flawed characters. And as one story is revealed, another, sweeter one, a love story of a couple from the younger generation, arises in the wake of their elder’s failures.

The Rocks is a darkly comic, bittersweet, finally heartbreaking novel, that slips back in time to reveal the shocking incident that marked and altered these lives forever.

The Anti-Model Agency by Nicky Schmidt
I've been a big fan of Nicky Schmidt since her first novel, Naked in Knightsbridge. It was a quirky, unique chick-lit novel that I couldn't help but love, as was her next book, Marrying Out of Money. So I was excited to hear about The Anti-Model Agency - which is due to be released in February - and to receive a review copy. 

The moment Dizzy Kane is catapulted from her council estate to the catwalk, she promises herself there is no going back. However, when fate and the urge to feast on fries and booze step in, Dizzy is fired for failing to maintain her size zero figure, losing her agency and rockstar boyfriend along the way. Finding herself back in the airless little flat she grew up in, with a mother completely lacking in boundaries and a geeky neighbourhood boy who only has marriage on his mind, Dizzy sets about taking revenge on the industry that turned its Paris-thin back on her. 

(...and in my bag!)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Okay, so I wasn't sent this one - I've been hearing great things about The Girl on the Train on Twitter recently, so on a weekend shopping trip, I headed into Waterstones and picked this up. Just a few chapters in, and unable to put it down, I can see why this novel is gaining such praise. This is Paula's debut novel.

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. 'Jess and Jason', she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar. Now they'll see; she's much more than just the girl on the train...

COVER REVEAL: Dare to Dream by Carys Jones

Carys Jones is the author of First to Fall and Prime Deception, and her newest novel, Dare to Dream - a YA dystopian sci-fi story that's due for release very soon! Carys has today revealed the beautiful cover - check it out below!

The world was going to end. Of that, Maggie Trafford was certain.

Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths.

It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling.

No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.

Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief.

About Carys Jones
Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader's imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

When she's not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science-fiction films or playing video games.

She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.

To Carys, there is no greater feeling then when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

MOVIE NEWS: Love, Rosie released on DVD in March

Love Rosie, the movie adaptation of Cecelia Ahearn's Where Rainbows End, will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 2nd from Lionsgate UK. Starring Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1), Love, Rosie focuses on two childhood friends who are forced to be apart when the time comes to go to university.


Rosie and Alex have been best friends since they were six, but as they approach university, fate forces them to go their separate ways. Can their relationship survive the years and the miles? And at the back of Rosie’s mind is whether they were meant to be more than just good friends all along. 

Based on the bestselling novel “Where Rainbows End” by Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie is a fresh and heart-warming story about friendship, true love, and luck that shows how sometimes fate just can’t stop meddling...

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Ella Vincent

Ella Vincent is the debut author of recently-released novel Check Your Privilege, which is about single mother Nancy, who meets Jonny in a pub. Ella has joined us today for our weekly Q&A session!

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
A modern-day romcom where life-affirming funny girl Nancy meets charmingly flawed man Jonny.

What inspired you to write Check Your Privilege?
I wanted to write a chick lit novel that more realistically resembled the lives of women in their thirties; kids, friends, money issues, work, ex-husband's (in this case a gay one) etc. I also wanted to write about a woman who can cope with life and can see the funny side of it all.

Where do you do most of your writing?
I sit at an old writing table that my computer is set up on. Unfortunately it's in my lounge so there's usually Cbeebies or football on in the background (depending on what time of day it is).

What is your favourite book?
Ever? Blimey... It would have to be a toss up between Engleby by Sebastian Faulks and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of the world's best ever love stories.

Which part of Check Your Privilege did you enjoy writing the most?
The dialogue, notably the chemistry between Jonny and Nancy, which was really fun to write.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Hana from the English Patient is an amazing character; another great nurse like Nancy.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
I'm only self-published myself - come back to me when I get discovered!

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
Yes I am working on my second romcom novel called Out There Somewhere. It's about a woman who travels round the world hoping to find a man she once knew, with lots of comedy moments along the way.

Thanks, Ella!

You can find out more about Ella Vincent by following her on Twitter.

Check Your Privilege by Ella Vincent
From the outside Nancy’s life is pretty funny. Or anyway that’s how Jonny sees it when he meets her in a pub one night after her date doesn’t show up. As a single, working mother living in a happy home of chaos with a gay ex-husband and a band of demanding friends to contend with, can Nancy even fit anyone else into her life? Even someone as gorgeous and funny as Jonny...

NEW RELEASES: The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan - Trailer

Back in November, Uncovered had the wonderful opportunity to join author Kate Riordan and Penguin books for a blogger weekend at Owlpen Manor, Gloucestershire - the inspiration behind Kate's new novel The Girl in the Photograph.

The novel is released today, and to find out more, below is the stunning book trailer, which includes a Q&A with Kate.

When Alice Eveleigh arrives at Fiercombe Manor during the long, languid summer of 1933, she finds a house steeped in mystery and brimming with secrets. Sadness permeates its empty rooms and the isolated valley seems crowded with ghosts, none more alluring than Elizabeth Stanton whose only traces remain in a few tantalisingly blurred photographs. Why will no one speak of her? What happened a generation ago to make her vanish? As the sun beats down relentlessly, Alice becomes ever more determined to unearth the truth about the girl in the photograph - and stop her own life from becoming an eerie echo of Elizabeth's...



NEW RELEASES: What If by Rebecca Donovan

Rebecca Donovan, bestselling author of the Breathing series, has recently released her new romantic tale, What If. In the standalone novel, Cal thinks he is reunited with childhood crush Nicole, only to find that she is someone completely different...

What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?

Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.

Except this girl isn’t Nicole.

She looks exactly like Cal’s shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated—and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she’s hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.

BLOG TOUR: The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera - Review

The Awakening of Miss Prim is the newly-released novel by Spanish journalist and novelist, Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera.

Prudencia Prim is a precocious young woman of intelligence and achievement who finds herself at a cross-road in life. In a rare act of spontaneity, she decides to accept the post of private librarian in the far away village of San Ireneo de Arnois. Once there, however, Prudencia discovers that this idyllic place might contain more than she had anticipated.

You do not simply find yourself in San Ireneo de Arnois; you choose to live there. In every shop or street corner, the philosophies of life and how to live it is continually up for debate. As Prudencia becomes increasingly fascinated, and occasionally at odds, with the villagers' struggles to preserve their community in the face of the modern world, she also finds herself becoming compelled by the dashing yet contrarian intellectual who employed her.

When I was contacted about The Awakening of Miss Prim, I was intrigued; it seemed like a unique story, and inviting; something which I would not normally pick up. And I'm glad that I was sent this novel, because it was fantastic.

Beautifully written, The Awakening of Miss Prim follows Prudencia Prim - a young woman with numerous degrees to her name, from political science to medieval Russian art. When Miss Prim takes the job as a librarian for a man known only as The Man in the Wingchair, in the beautiful village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unsure of what to expect. The gorgeous, idyllic village is full of interesting people, including her mysterious new employer.

The library vacancy is a rarilty, as all the villagers know. So even when the highly-accomplished Miss Prim turns up (despite the ad stating that 'graduates and postgraduates need not apply'), she realises that life is going to be a lot different in San Ireneo.

The Awakening of Miss Prim is Natalia's first novel, and it is a delightful read. Even though I found Prudencia quite hard to like at the very beginning, I soon warmed to her character and found her quite charming towards the end of the story. This is a wonderful book; a tale of self-discovery set in a picturesque village, away from modern life, that was a pleasure to read.

Rating: 4/5

BOOK NEWS: Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

Liza Palmer's novel Girl Before a Mirror is due for release on 27th January 2015, in which account executive Anna discovers a self-help book that might just change her life...

An account executive in a Mad Men world, Anna Wyatt is at a crossroads. Recently divorced, she’s done a lot of emotional housecleaning, including a self-imposed dating sabbatical. But now that she’s turned forty, she’s struggling to figure out what her life needs. Brainstorming to win over an important new client, she discovers a self-help book—Be the Heroine, Find Your Hero—that offers her unexpected insights and leads her to a most unlikely place: a romance writers’ conference. If she can sign the Romance Cover Model of the Year Pageant winner for her campaign—and meet the author who has inspired her to take control of her life—she’ll win the account. 

For Anna, taking control means taking chances, including getting to know Sasha, her pretty young colleague on the project, and indulging in a steamy elevator ride with Lincoln Mallory, a dashing financial consultant she meets in the hotel. When the conference ends, Anna and Lincoln must decide if their intense connection is strong enough to survive outside the romantic fantasy they’ve created. Yet Lincoln is only one of Anna’s dilemmas. Now that her campaign is off the ground, others in the office want to steal her success, and her alcoholic brother, Ferdie, is spiraling out of control. 
To have the life she wants-to be happy without guilt, to be accepted for herself, to love and to be loved, to just be—she has to put herself first, accept her imperfections, embrace her passions, and finally be the heroine of her own story.

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Fiona Jane Collins

Having enjoyed The Anti-Ageing of Harmony Richards, the debut from Fiona Jane Collins (so much so that we awarded it Debut of 2014!), it was inevitable that our questions would be put to the lovely Fiona, to discover the inspiration behind forty-something Harmony's tale.

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
It’s about a fed-up forty-something whose marriage is shaken by a younger rival.

What inspired you to write The Anti-Ageing of Harmony Richards?
I was forty-five and pondering a lot on ageing, especially as the media (yes, you, Daily Mail!) is always going on about it and making women feel ashamed of losing their looks or daring to look a day over thirty. I wanted to explore what it’s like for someone really affected by it, especially if I threw in a one-sided marriage and a husband with a young, hot ex…

Where do you do most of your writing?
At the kitchen table, mostly, with a hot chocolate by my side and absolute quiet around me.
When I first started writing, it was a secret from my family so I was scribbling down random things on bits of paper and shoving them in drawers. My daughter once had a friend over after school and they found some notes ‘about love’ in my bathroom cupboard. I remember going bright red and mumbling some rubbish about practicing my handwriting!

What is your favourite book?
Can I choose three? To Kill A Mocking Bird; May We Borrow Your Husband? (a collection of short stories by Graham Greene); and Playing Away by Adele Parks.

Which part of  The Anti-Ageing of Harmony Richards did you enjoy writing the most?
The girls’ night out! The one where Harmony gets really, really drunk and does something she shouldn’t… I’ve been on so many of those nights out, over the years, so I found it great fun to roll all my best and worst into that one scene. I also loved writing all the delicious flirty bits with Blake.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
For laughs and all those ‘whoops’ moments I can definitely relate to, I still love Bridget Jones, particularly from the first novel.  Pandora Braithwaite from the Adrian Mole books is also up there for her ambition and feistiness (and proving I must have a thing about diaries!).

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
My motto is ‘give it a go’. Decide you have nothing to lose, don’t worry about the finished product being any good or not, just write, write, write. Then, once it’s done, and you can no longer see the wood for the trees or recall your own name, get beta readers to read it. Complete strangers. It’s scary but it has to be done and is invaluable.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I’m working on a new novel about a single mum, the first to admit she’s never really done much with her life, who finds it transformed when she strikes up an unlikely friendship on the school run with an older, female rock star who was huge in the 80s. I’m cooking up lots of adventure and romance for my reluctant heroine who may find herself stepping into the spotlight of her own life for the very first time…

Thanks, Fiona!

You can find out more about Fiona Jane Collins on Twitter and Facebook.

The Anti-Ageing of Harmony Richards by Fiona Jane Collins
What would you do if you discovered the real reason for your husband’s proposal…and she was younger than you, prettier than you and out to get him back? 

Harmony Richards is forty-five, swallowed whole by a marriage she’s insecure in and a chore-ridden motherhood she can’t escape from, and dismayed that her looks are beginning to fade. If all that isn’t bad enough, she finds out her husband of twelve years has a Lost Love. A one that got away. Except she’s not away; she’s back. And her arrival makes Harmony feel her life is in faster free-fall than her face. 

Surely stalking the lost love, flirting with a man young enough to know better and taking on an unexpected new challenge can’t possibly make things worse?


CUTE COVERS: Kate & Alf by Carrie Stone

We're in love with the cover for Kate & Alf, the upcoming novel by Carrie Stone. Published on 5th February by Harper Impulse, the book focuses on Kate, who's thirty-two and hoping for a proposal from long-term boyfriend Alf.

Kate loves Alf. And Alf loves Kate… Doesn’t he?

Kate can’t wait for her long-term boyfriend Alf to propose. So he might be a bit of a control freak who’s obsessed with his career … and he also seems to have conveniently forgotten their two-year plan to get married, buy a bigger house and have children. But Kate’s sure that ring will be on her finger soon.

When her thirty-second birthday ends in humiliating, proposal-less disaster, even Kate is left wondering if Alf really is The One. Then Alf’s friend, Marco, needs a place to stay. With his dark eyes, easygoing manner and kind concern for Kate, Marco is everything Alf is not - and it's not long before Kate begins to wonder if there’s more to life than diamonds.

NEW RELEASES: The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond

The Year of Taking Chances is the new year-inspired latest novel by Lucy Diamond (author of One Night in Italy, The Beach Cafe and Summer With My Sister). Three friends, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin, are intent on having the best year yet, though things don't always go as planned...

It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember. Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet. But as the months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?

BOOK REVIEW: As Good As it Gets? by Fiona Gibson

As a fan of Fiona Gibson's novels since picking up Mummy Said the F Word in 2011, I've been looking forward to her latest offering, As Good As It Gets, for some time. Due for release on 29th January, As Good As it Gets? is a tale of modern motherhood, written in Fiona's wonderfully funny voice, and if you're a fan of her previous novels (which include Mum on the Run, Take Mum Out and The Great Escape) then you're bound to enjoy this one!

Charlotte Bristow is worried. After becoming unemployed, husband Will has changed. Not wanting to get in the way of Will's somewhat uneventful search for a job, Charlotte has decided to keep quiet. Working in marketing for a crisp company and being mum to sixteen-year-old Rosie and eleven-year-old Ollie, Charlotte's life is relatively normal - until, that is, her gorgeous daughter Rosie is scouted for a top model agency whilst shopping.

With a glistening career offered to her on a plate, Rosie is all set for life as a catwalk queen. But soon, partly due to a comment made at the agency's headquarters, part of the past is about to quickly make its way into the present. Will isn't Rosie's biological father - Fraser is. Posh Fraser, who Charlotte met while travelling. Who dumped Charlotte and their baby out of the blue, before Rosie was even born.

So when curious Rosie wants to get back in touch with her 'real' dad, how can Charlotte refuse? Especially when it turns out Fraser has been in contact too.

With some friendly new arrivals in their quiet street (and, hilariously, some leather trousers), the life of the Bristows is seemingly fine. However, some truths are about to be uncovered, along with an announcement from Will. With Rosie's modelling career to contend with, her secret emails with Fraser, neighbour dilemmas and colleagues making bad decisions, Charlotte's life, and her marriage, is becoming far from perfect...

Without giving away too much of the story, I will say that this is now my favourite of Fiona Gibson's books, and quite possibly the funniest yet in my opinion. Fiona's novels are always charming and fun, taking the realities of family life and portraying them in a unique, relatable way with down-to-earth characters that you can easily get to know. (I absolutely loved Charlotte). Even though I am not a parent myself, I have enjoyed every one of Fiona's tales to date, and I could not put As Good As It Gets? down until I had finished. Fiona tackles family issues, such as Fraser coming back into the life of her teenage daughter, Will's unemployment and the impact it has had on their fourteen-year marriage, with clarity, heart and a lot of humour, which is why I enjoyed As Good As It Gets? so much. I am eagerly awaiting Fiona's next book.

Rating: 5/5

BOOK NEWS: The Anti-Model Agency by Nicky Schmidt

Nicky Schmidt, author of Naked in Knightsbridge and Marrying Out of Money, returns in February with her new novel The Anti-Model Agency, in which model Dizzy's perfect career is about to take a turn for the worse...

The moment Dizzy Kane is catapulted from her council estate to the catwalk, she promises herself there is no going back. However, when fate and the urge to feast on fries and booze step in, Dizzy is fired for failing to maintain her size zero figure, losing her agency and rockstar boyfriend along the way. Finding herself back in the airless little flat she grew up in, with a mother completely lacking in boundaries and a geeky neighbourhood boy who only has marriage on his mind, Dizzy sets about taking revenge on the industry that turned its Paris-thin back on her.

UNCOVERED PICKS: Five new releases for the New Year

Now that the holiday season is over, we've been focusing on the new year. After all, new year - new reads! There are many exciting new novels due for release in January, and it's been difficult to select just five. But the reading list is certainly going to be full, with new releases from Jill Mansell, Fiona Gibson, and a haunting tale from Kate Riordan.

When I Met You by Jemma Forte
Marianne Baker is happy. Sort of. She's worked at the same job for years (nearly 15, but who's counting), she lives at home with her mum (who is driving her crazy) and sleeps in a single bed (yep, her love life is stalled). Playing the violin is her only real passion - but nobody like her does that for a living. Then one nighteverything changes. The father who abandoned Marianne over twenty years ago turns up on her doorstep, with a dark secret that changes her life forever. Suddenly Marianne's safe, comfortable world is shattered. If her father isn't the man she thought he was, then who is he? And, more to the point, who is she? It's time to find out who the real Marianne Baker is. 

The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan
When Alice Eveleigh arrives at Fiercombe Manor during the long, languid summer of 1933, she finds a house steeped in mystery and brimming with secrets. Sadness permeates its empty rooms and the isolated valley seems crowded with ghosts, none more alluring than Elizabeth Stanton whose only traces remain in a few tantalisingly blurred photographs. Why will no one speak of her? What happened a generation ago to make her vanish? As the sun beats down relentlessly, Alice becomes ever more determined to unearth the truth about the girl in the photograph - and stop her own life from becoming an eerie echo of Elizabeth's...

As Good As It Gets? by Fiona Gibson
“Midlife crisis? WHAT midlife crisis?!”

Charlotte Bristow is worried about her husband Will. Their fourteen years of marriage have been rather lovely so far, but things have been a bit odd lately.

With their stunning 16-year-old daughter Rosie newly signed to a top modelling agency and Will recently out of a job, Charlotte can’t help but notice that things are changing in their household.
As Will dusts down his old leather trousers and starts partying with their new, fun neighbours, Charlotte begins to wonder what on earth is going on.

So when Fraser, Charlotte’s ex – and father of Rosie – suddenly arrives back on the scene, Charlotte starts to wonder what might have been…

Don't Mention the Rock Star by Bree Darcy
They fell in love in an instant … so why have they spent a lifetime apart? 

As a teenager Kellie dated an American boy but circumstances meant they went their separate ways. Now he’s back and she’s so tempted to see him again. But two decades have passed and they are both married with children. 

And the last thing a celebrity reporter like her needs is the world finding out about her past relationship with a rock star. Especially as Kellie’s husband doesn’t even know she once dated AJ Dangerfield, lead singer of legendary band Danger Game. And she has no intention of him finding out. EVER. 

As Kellie deals with a demanding boss, a bullied son, an infuriating mother-in-law and a best friend who won’t act her age, she finds herself playing a dangerous game. What will happen if her two worlds collide? And is it possible that first love never fades? 

Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Hallie has a secret. She's in love. He's perfect for her in every way, but he's seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren't going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn't have long to live. Time is running out...

Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won't be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends - let alone anything more. Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she's afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong. THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU begins as Hallie goes on a journey. A donor has been found and she's about to be given new lungs. But whose?

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Amy Smolcic

Someone Like You is the recently-released, debut novel from Australian author Amy Smolcic. We wanted to find out more about student Amy and the inspiration behind Someone Like You - so on with the questions!

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
A supermodel and aspiring rockstar are challenged whether their love grows when they’re living apart.

What inspired you to write Someone Like You?
I randomly stumbled across a documentary called Picture Me. It’s about the inner world of modeling, in particularly the dark stuff that happens. It was interesting to see the challenges models go through. We assume they live glamorous lives when in reality they get paid poorly, get little sleep, and get exploited by the people who created them.

Where do you do most of your writing?
This is going to sound naughty, but I wrote a lot of my book in class. In lectures I would find a seat in the corner in the back row of the room so I wouldn’t get caught writing.

What is your favourite book?
I love Paige Toon’s stuff, all her books are perfect! Chasing Daisy is my favourite though.

Which part of  Someone Like You did you enjoy writing the most?
I enjoyed writing my second draft and every draft after. The first draft is always the skeleton. The second draft is where all the details are added. Plus, I felt less pressure writing the second draft as I had a finished story, it just needed to be tweaked

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
I always thought Angela Clark from Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart… series was awesome. She’s Fiery, witty and funny – the perfect trio.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Aspiring writers should always keep writing! It’s easy to stop when you run out of ideas, but you can’t. If you ever get stuck, leave it, and start writing something else.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I’m currently working on my second novel, Playing the Game. It’s a standalone novel from Someone Like You. I’m having a lot of fun writing it and should be ready to be published in early 2015.

Thanks, Amy!

You can find out more about Amy Smolcic and Someone Like You on Twitter and Goodreads.

Someone Like You by Amy Smolcic
She has walked on the catwalks of every major designer and earned enough money to live comfortably for ten lifetimes. Country girl, Chloe Jackson, has hit it big. 

However, all that glitters isn't gold and beneath the lights and glamour is a dark world.

Jaeger Colton dreams of greatness. He and his band relocated to New York City with the hope of making it big. But with their record contract being cancelled, his dream has been put on hold. With the disappointment, will he chase the dream he desperately wants?

When their worlds collide, can Jaeger help Chloe pick up the pieces? Or, will it be up to Chloe to transform her broken life?

BOOK NEWS: The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

Lucy Robinson has brought us some wonderfully funny and beautifully written novels, including A Passionate Love Affair With a Total Stranger and The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me, so it was exciting to hear about her next novel which is due for release in April. The Day We Disappeared focuses on two friends, Annie and Kate, who hold secrets that might just cause their lives to collide.

It's springtime in London and everything is about to change for Annie Mulholland. From the moment she meets Stephen Flint, things seem too good to be true as Annie abandons her customary cautiousness for a wild love affair.

In Somerset, Kate Brady is starting a new job. Fresh air, new faces and good old fashioned hard work is just what she needs to put everything that happened in Dublin behind her.

But what are these two old friends hiding, and for how long can they run from the secrets of their past before they come crashing into their futures?