Friday, 27 May 2016

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Julia Wilmot

Julia Wilmot's novel, Where Is Emma Butler's Life Plan?, is a chick-lit story with a spiritual twist, in which a guardian is tasked in helping Emma complete her life's tasks. Julia joined us for the weekly Q&A to find out more!

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
It’s chick lit with a spiritual twist. Angels get involved with humorous consequences. God Watches!

What inspired you to write Where is Emma Butler's Life Plan?
I really wanted to explore spiritual ideas in a very easily accessible way and this story allowed me to cover many different ideas that I had. I love the idea that we have guardian angels helping us make progress in our lives but I also enjoyed injecting a bit of humour into the concept.

Where do you do most of your writing?
I’m very lucky that I have a study at home where I do my writing. But occasionally I will decamp to a local coffee shop with my computer if I need a change of scene. Then I eavesdrop on people’s conversations and make notes!

What is your favourite book?
Oh that’s a really tough one. There are so many books that I love. I suppose one that stays with me is “Love in the time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But more recently I really loved ‘The Hundred Year-Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared' by Jonas Jonasson.

Which part of Where is Emma Butler's Life Plan did you enjoy writing the most?
Although they are quite brief, the bits I really loved writing the most were God’s insights at the end of each chapter. I hope I didn't do him a disservice.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
Someone who I love to come back to time and time again is Mma Ramotswe from the Alexander McCall Smith series of The No1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books. She is sensible, clever and the style of the writing is delightful.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Well, I self-published and I’m really enjoying having the control over my book. I instructed a professional cover designer and loved what he came up with and I am enjoying working on promoting my book. I think a very important thing to remember in all this, whether it’s your editor, designer or just your friends' feedback - at the end of the day it is all just one person’s opinion and if you really feel strongly about something you should stick to your guns.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
(Also, if you have any website/Twitter links that you wish to be included, please add these.)
I am currently working on my second book. It is still early days and also has a spiritual aspect to it, but it’s not a sequel. I write a regular blog at justjulias.com on spiritual matters, inspiring stories, random thoughts, natural living, theatre and books.

Thanks, Julia!

You can find out more about Julia Wilmot and her books over at her blog.

Where Is Emma Butler's Life Plan? by Julia Wilmot
Emma Butler doesn’t know it but she is about to get bit more angelic help than she was banking on. Someone has messed up, or have they? It appears that Emma is about to be ‘recalled’ to heaven but has completed none of the tasks she had set herself for this life time. They must be completed before she is recalled and time is running out. Arch Angel Gregory decides to take over. He will be her Guardian Angel to ensure it all gets done. There’s a lot to do and a very short time to do it in. Gregory is determined that it will all be completed by hook or by crook. But where does that leave free will and what about Jack who has been chosen to be Emma’s love interest? How will this impact him? Jack and Emma have no idea what is going on, but it’s not going to be plain sailing.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

GUEST POST: Finding a Voice in Women’s Fiction by Lauren Westwood

Today, Finding Home author Lauren Westwood shares her insights into the world of writing.

It’s a good time to be a reader. Never before have there been so many books published and available in such a wide range of formats. When I was growing up, I spent hours in the library reading hardback books – and lamenting the fact that I was only allowed to take out ten a fortnight. I’d devour those ten books, and read them over and over, sometimes keeping them past their due dates and paying a fine just to read them again. And woe the times when I’d look for my favourite book and find that it was out on loan! Maybe that was a simpler, more innocent age. It certainly feels like ancient history.

A lot has changed even since I moved to the UK in 2000. Amazon, tablets, e-readers, millions of books published and self-published each year – as readers we are spoiled for choice. And as writers, it’s a brave new world full of opportunities and pitfalls. Traditional publishers have tightened their belts, and their lists. Some people believe that chick lit, along with many other genres, is in danger of becoming compartmentalised – is it romance? Is it humour? What about books that fall between the cracks?

When I wrote Finding Home, I knew I wanted to combine several different genres that I love: romance, mystery, humour. Some publishers saw this as ‘risky’ or they couldn’t figure out which ‘box’ it fit into. I was lucky to find a new publisher Aria (Head of Zeus) which was just looking for a good read, willing to take on new writers, and able to take a risk.

When asked what suggestions I’d give to people who are writing their first book, I would definitely say to read everyday and write everyday (or, at least as often as you can). It’s also important to learn the ‘craft’ of writing and structuring a novel. When I was first starting out, I took an evening course which taught me some valuable basics, and more importantly, introduced me to other writers. We formed a critique group that still meets regularly almost ten years on. It’s important to get support in what can otherwise be a lonely pursuit. Eventually, even your family can get fed up with amount of time you spend with your ‘imaginary friends’!

Beyond the writing itself, even established writers need a thick skin to handle rejection, criticism, and the subjective opinions of others. It’s not possible to please everybody, so first and foremost – to paraphrase Toni Morrison – I suggest that you try to write a book that you would want to read. There’s a good possibility that there are others out there who would like to read it too!

Lauren Westwood’s debut novel Finding Home is published by Aria (Head of Zeus). Originally from California, she now lives in Surrey with her partner and three young daughters. She is working on her next book – working title ‘Finding Secrets’ – which will hopefully be published in spring 2017. She loves hearing from readers and getting feedback. You can contact her on: 

twitter: @lwestwoodwriter 
facebook: laurenwestwoodwriter 
website: www.laurenwestwoodwriter.com










BOOK NEWS: Magic by Danielle Steel

Magic is the new novel from renowned author Danielle Steel. Released in mid-July, the book focuses on a group of friends at the enchanting White Dinner, each dealing with decisions and issues that could potentially change their lives...

It starts on a summer evening, with the kind of magic found only in Paris. Once a year in the City of Light, a lavish dinner takes place outside a spectacular landmark. Selected by secret invitation, the guests arrive dressed in white, and when the night is over, hundreds of white paper lanterns bearing everyone’s fervent wishes are released into the sky. Amid this wondrous White Dinner, a group of close friends stand at the cusp of change.

Jean-Philippe and Valerie are high-flying, successful and devoted to their young family. But a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in China may lead to separation – and temptation.
Bernadetta and Gregorio run an Italian clothing empire in Milan, but Gregorio has a weakness that will ignite a crisis in their company, and their marriage.

Screenwriter Chantal and Indian tech entrepreneur Dharam arrive as friends, but their paths will be set on dramatically different courses before the night ends.

A transformative year of successes and heartbreaks is to come, until the next White Dinner...

Saturday, 21 May 2016

NEW RELEASES: The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher

New novel The Island Escape, in which one woman is about to change her life due to her best friend's divorce, is released on May 21st. The summery read, by Kerry Fisher (author of After the Lie and The School Gate Survival Guide) is perfect for fans of Veronica Henry and Erica James.
Octavia Shelton thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow.
Instead she’s married to safe, reliable Jonathan, and her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and mountains of dirty washing. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself.
So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it gets her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and rediscover the person she used to be? Escape back to the island she visited years ago? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her?





Thursday, 19 May 2016

BOOK NEWS: Falling by Jane Green

There are already plenty of great-looking books being released this summer, and one of them is the latest offering from Jane Green, author of Jemima J and Life Swap. Falling is released in July and follows Emma Montague, who leaves her life in New York in favour of a Connecticut beach cottage.

Eight years ago, Emma Montague left behind the strict confines of her upper-crust English life - and rather dull boyfriend - and moved to New York City, where she immediately found success in the world of finance. But her soulless, cut-throat, all-consuming job has only led to another life she didn't want. 

Answering an online ad, Emma finds a tiny beach cottage to rent in the small town of Westport, Connecticut. It needs work - lots of work. But it's the perfect project to satisfy Emma's passion for interior design and gardening, if her new landlord, Dominic, is agreeable to the small changes she yearns to make. 

To Emma, Dominic is also something of a fixer-upper. A local handyman with a six-year-old son, he's a world away from the men she should be interested in, but he's comfortable in his own skin, confident, quiet and kind. Slowly, over a shared garden, time spent with his son and late-night conversations, Emma finds herself falling for Dominic.

From friends to lovers happens as naturally as the changing seasons. But laying down roots doesn't come easily when two lives as different as theirs merge into one. And Emma will realize that the seeds of happiness must be nurtured and cherished to grow into something strong enough to shelter all their hopes and dreams...

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Elle Field on the 'B-Side' blog tour!

Today, Elle Field joins us for our Q&A as part of the B-Side blog tour. B-Side is Elle's latest novel - a spin-off to her previous Arielle Lockley novel, Lost.

So, what have you been up to since we last spoke to you?
I’ve gone from writing the last book in the Arielle Lockley series to writing that *and* a spin-off book – 2016 has been super busy. Oh, and I’ve also moved house, and been to Disneyland!

Can you tell us more about your latest book, B-Side?
B-Side is the spin-off to Lost and tells the events of Lost from the perspective of Etta, Felicity’s goddaughter. Etta has an amazing voice and a real passion for jazz, but she hasn’t made her musical dream come true – she’s like Arielle in that respect.

When Etta finally starts to get somewhere with her music career, it coincides with Felicity’s health deteriorating rapidly, and this has Etta trying to block everything out in a very unhealthy way… B-Side is definitely grittier than the previous two books in the series!

What inspired you to write this novel?
When I started writing Found, which I thought would be the next book in the Arielle Lockley series, a character kept whispering in my ear... so, I ignored Arielle’s voice and started writing Etta’s story! Originally my plan was to have Etta’s voice tell Part I in Found, with Arielle finishing the book off; when I reached the editing stage, I knew they both deserved their own books.

Arielle really vilifies Etta in Lost, but because the story is told in first-person, can we really trust Arielle? I had to share Etta’s side of the story though she, of course, can be an unreliable narrator – just like Arielle! I also wanted to share more of Felicity’s background, and Etta is the perfect character to give us those glimpses of Felicity’s past.

What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve recently read The Queen’s Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler, which I absolutely loved and can highly recommend. It’s a new fantasy trilogy and the story is superb. I’ve also read the last two Shopaholic books – it was like visiting an old friend catching up with Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood).

Are there any authors who have inspired you?
I’m a massive fan of Sophie Kinsella, Adele Parks, Dorothy Koomson and Maggie Alderson, who are all brilliant authors, and very inspiring.

What kind of research did you do for your latest book?
Whilst I enjoy music, I’ve never had much exposure to jazz music – Etta’s passion is jazz, so my research involved a crash course in how jazz developed as a music genre from its New Orleans origins to the jazz music we listen to today. I spent a lot of time listening to jazz, too.

I also learnt about the production side of the music industry, though I knew a bit about that from my first ever book, Torn, which has never been published. In Torn the main character, Lottie, works in A&R, and she pops up in B-Side… Maybe one day I’ll revisit that book!

What did you enjoy most about writing B-Side?
Writing a completely different character to Arielle. Etta is sweary, colourful and passionate with a not-so-legal recreational habit(!), but she’s also vulnerable and fragile. She was great fun to write.

What are you working on next? (If you can tell us of course!)
I’m currently editing Found, the final book in the Arielle Lockley series, which will be out this summer.

B-Side (Arielle Lockley Series Book 2.5):

"What do I honestly know about the music industry? I'm just another idiot with a dream who is naive enough to hope that I might be the next big star."

Etta Millhouse has always had big musical ambitions to match her big voice, but she's also got three very big problems - the addiction she won't admit to, her godmother's illness that she can no longer ignore, and her godmother's useless business partner (who she wishes she could ignore).

Keeping an eye on Arielle's poor business decisions is the last thing Etta wants to do when she's offered the chance to record a demo with a top producer. But, a promise is a promise, even if it has her reaching for another pick-me-up... And then another. And then one more.

When the secret she must keep for her godmother, Felicity, sends her drug habit spiralling out of control, can Etta battle her demons in time and make her dream happen? Or, will her music career be over before it's even begun?

B-Side sits between Lost (out now) and Found (out summer 2016) in the Arielle Lockley series - read Etta's version of events in this gritty Lost spin-off.

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01E8YYFFY
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01E8YYFFY
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29542411-b-side

About Elle Field

Elle Field writes romantic comedies, and is the author of the Arielle Lockley series and Geli Voyante's Hot or Not. She grew up in Yorkshire, then moved to Scotland to study International Relations and Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. Elle now lives in London with her boyfriend and their cat. She's a massive fan of sunshine, giraffes, The Killers, Audrey Hepburn movies, playing Scrabble and tea. Oh, and reading, of course!

You can buy Elle's books here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00CHIC1GE
Visit her website: http://www.ellefield.co.uk
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ellefie
Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellefieldauthor

Giveaway!

Elle Field is running a giveaway to celebrate the release of B-Side! Prizes are Amazon vouchers, a paperback set of the Arielle Lockley series (Kept, Lost and B-Side) and a set of vinyl coasters. To be in with a chance of winning, simply enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, 16 May 2016

UNCOVERED PICKS: Three New Thrillers

Being a big fan of psychological thrillers (and let's face it, there have been so many great releases recently that I've been spoilt for choice), it's always exciting to learn of new and upcoming novels - and May is a promising month. Here are three new thrillers for those who are up for a gripping read, from CL Taylor (author of The Lie), Louise Candlish and Laura Elliot.
The Missing by C L Taylor
When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She's not the only one. There isn't a single member of Billy's family that doesn't feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn't until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.
Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.
A mother's instinct is never wrong. Or is it?
Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…
Sleep Sister by Laura Elliot
Two childhoods destroyed. One story they will never tell. Until now. 
Beth ran away from her family when she was a teenager. She left behind a terrible evil that took her innocence. She also left behind her sister, Sara. 
When Beth returns home, she is shocked to discover her terrible secret is not just hers alone…she shares it with Sara. Under the shadow of a remote headland, the sisters make an oath they promise never to break. 
Eva’s birth is a mystery that remains unsolved. Years later with her marriage in ruins, and her future uncertain, she realizes that to move forward with her life, she must first understand her past. 
But while Eva is drawing closer to the truth about her roots, Beth and Sara’s lives are falling apart, crushed under the weight of the secret they carry. They must confront the past and face the darkness once more. But this time, their story will be heard. 
From the bestselling author of The Betrayal, Stolen Child and Fragile Lies, comes a breathtakingly tense and emotional story of the fierce bond between sisters, and a family destroyed by a disturbing secret. 
Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish
'I can't take my eyes off the water. Can you?'
It's summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele - wife, mother, teacher - it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.
Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn't know she'd been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away.
But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?


Friday, 13 May 2016

UNCOVERED INTERVIEWS: Jessica Goodwin

Jessica Goodwin’s romantic novel Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen, was released earlier this month. The book focuses on Claire Bradshaw, who returns to her small hometown when her relationship ends, being reunited with the life she left behind. It sounds like a great read, so needless to say, I asked Jessica to stop by for a quick Q&A…

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less. 
Girl returns home to small town, tries to fit back in, falls in love.

What inspired you to write Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen?
Social media. What really amazes me is that the people I talk to the most on Facebook are people that I didn't really hang out with or have a lot in common with in high school. I kind of wanted to write about how sometimes, the people you were mean to, overlooked, or ignored in high school can end up being some of the nicest people you come to know as an adult. You might not have had much in common as kids, but as you get older, you realize there are more important things that can bring people together. I'm a sucker for a "love where you least expect it" storyline.

Where do you do most of your writing?
My husband and I recently bought and remodeled our house so we have this great office with a massive desk that we share... but since #BabyGoodwin came along, I usually write during naptime wherever he is. A lot of times I'm just on the couch with my laptop!

What is your favourite book?
SO MANY. I'm so all over the place. I love authors like Emily Giffin, Jane Green, and Elin Hilderbrand. I like thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. And I love historical/biographical fiction like Loving Frank (Frank Lloyd Wright) and The Paris Wife (Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's first wife.) And since having a baby, I've been reading a lot of parenting books like Bringing Up Bebe and Strong Mothers, Strong Sons.

Which part of Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen did you enjoy writing the most?
Getting back into the writing groove. When I found out I was pregnant in the fall of 2014, writing went out the window. We bought a house, we moved, the baby came... Once everything settled down, I got the itch to start writing again, and haven't stopped. I recently quit my job as a teacher to write full time. It was a little scary and intimidating at first, but I am loving every second!

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
It all started with Bridget Jones. I remember being so excited to read about someone like me... someone who worried about dating and stressed about her weight and work and all that. It was nice to see her "grow up" in Mad About the Boy all those years later because I feel like I matured right along with her.

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Find writers online and on social media to buddy up with and learn from. Don't use social media as a big "BUY MY BOOK!" soapbox. Be a real person on social media. Befriend other writers, book bloggers, editors, and reviewers. Use a professional editor. And keep at it, even when it seems hard or your dreams seem out of reach. You can't be a writer if you don't write.

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
These days, I'm doing a lot of writing for sites like Baby Gaga, Scary Mommy, and Mommy Effect. It's gotten me thinking that I'd like to write some sort of humorous parenting memoir someday. Parenting can be exhausting and stressful and frustrating at times, but it's also so wonderful and beautiful, and there are some times where all you can do is just laugh and smile and soak it all in while you can. I'm also contemplating a sequel for Clarissa Jean.

Thanks, Jessica!

You can find out more about Jessica Goodwin at her Amazon author page, website, writing blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen by Jessica Goodwin
When Claire Bradshaw decides to end her dead-end relationship of several years, she only has one place to go - back home to the tiny town of Palmetto Park. Claire keeps bumping into people from her past as she struggles to shake her "better than everybody" reputation, make peace with her enemies, and even attempts to rekindle an old flame. Claire gets to know her old friends all over again and gets to know more about herself as she starts over - right back where it all started.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

NEW RELEASES: The Girls by Lisa Jewell

The Girls is the new novel from bestselling author Lisa Jewell (Before I Met You, After The Party). Published last year, the novel is now available in paperback. It’s a gripping story set in London which asks the question, just who can you trust?

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery and the games people play: the gripping new novel from the best-selling author of The House We Grew Up In and The Third Wife. You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people's houses. You've known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really? Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible? Utterly believable characters, a gripping story and a dark secret buried at its core: this is Lisa Jewell at her heart-stopping best.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon

Jane Fallon has remained one of my favourite authors ever since reading Getting Rid of Matthew. The novels which followed, including Got You Back and The Ugly Sister, were just as addictive (although I have yet to read Foursome - why haven't I read Foursome?!) and so I'd been looking forward to Strictly Between Us for some time.

Tamsin and Michelle have been best friends since their teenage years. Now in their thirties, and in varying stages of relationship (Tamsin single, Michelle happily married with the dream of soon starting a family), they still remain incredibly close. Pretty, sweet Michelle and handsome, confident TV exec Patrick appear to be the perfect couple. That is, until Tamsin hears a workplace rumour that Patrick is having an affair. It’s a rumour that she simply can’t forget about.

Willing to find out the truth behind the office gossip, Tamsin quickly confides in Bea - her incredibly loyal assistant - about the situation. Soon, Tamsin is hatching a plan to catch out her best friend’s husband, using (a very reluctant) Bea.

When Bea reports that nothing at all happens, it’s a relief for Tamsin. Until she does something unforgivable, landing herself in a situation that proves very, very hard to get out of.

Meanwhile, Bea has a plan of her own. And why would Tamsin suspect anything? Tamsin can trust Bea with her life…

What follows is a fantastic story that’s extremely hard to put down, though that’s to be expected of Jane Fallon. She has a real talent for witty yet dark novels with brilliant twists. Which is why it’s hard to review this novel fully – I don’t want to spoil the story. That said, at first I didn’t quite like Tamsin. However as the story continued, and I grew to like her. A bit of an anti-hero, if you will. Initially her selfishness was evident, and even more so through the eyes of Bea. However, later I started to like her, and figured that she learnt her lesson in the end.

If you like an edgy read full of secrets, then I would definitely recommend this book. Strictly Between Us is a great read – I finished it very quickly and then wished I’d paced myself a bit. I’m already waiting for Jane’s next offering.


Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

BOOK NEWS: The Week I Ruined My Life by Caroline Grace-Cassidy

The Week I Ruined My Life is the upcoming novel from Irish writer and actress Caroline Grace-Cassidy. Released in June, the book takes an interesting look at a failing marriage and realities one can face.

Ali Devlin never had any doubts when she glided up the aisle to marry her childhood sweetheart, Colin Devlin. But two beautiful children and twelve years can change all that. Ali can no longer relate to the man she fell in love with. He is there, everyday, a committed father but in her eyes, a failing husband. A civil word is hard to find and the vows she readily took are becoming more and more difficult to fulfil. When she decides to go back to work after being a stay at home mother for years, things in the marriage go from bad to worse.

Reigniting her passion for the arts, Ali finds her dream job at the City Arts Centre and despite Colin’s protests that she is neglecting her family and her perpetual guilt as a working mother, she stays in the job. And when she meets artist-in-residence Owen O’ Neill, she can’t help but compare him to Colin. He is everything her husband isn’t any more: attentive, funny, respectful, caring, charming and undeniably sexy. There is chemistry but Ali isn’t the type of woman to have an affair – or is she? Unsure of everything in her life, a work trip to Amsterdam brings it all to a head.  

Life can spiral on a moment with the realisation of what is truly important in our lives. As events dramatically and unexpectedly unfold in front of her, Ali realises what were the only important things all along. Now it’s time to stand on her own two feet, whatever the consequences.

Friday, 6 May 2016

NEW RELEASE: Mothers and Daughters by Minna Howard

Mothers and Daughters by Minna Howard is one of the exciting new releases from Aria. It follows newly-widowed Alice, who has to navigate a life full of new changes, and some secrets, too.

Alice finds herself suddenly widowed in her early forties, leaving her with an empty house and a lonely heart. 

Laura and Evie, her twenty-something daughters announce their separate and unexpected news, which ploughs Alice straight out of grieving and into the prospect planning a wedding and becoming a reluctant – yet glamorous – granny, to not one, but three grandchildren.

Frank, an old family friend returns to give his godchild Laura away at her wedding. 

A whole host of secrets unfold that rock the family's foundations and set Alice free to finally begin a new, exciting chapter of her life with no regrets. 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

BLOG TOUR: Faith Hogan

Today we're joined by the lovely Faith Hogan, whose novel My Husband's Wives was published on May 1st. The book focuses on four woman who are brought together in a rather unlikely way...

Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words or less.
Hi Elle, it’s lovely to be here, on Chicklit Uncovered to tell you a little about My Husband’s Wives!

It is a contemporary story of love lost and found, of jealousy, misunderstanding and new beginnings.

What inspired you to write My Husband's Wives?
The book began with the premise of what if? I liked the idea of a world turning on the opening of a front door. It is however very much a character driven book, so really, the four women of the story brought it to its conclusion far more than I did.

Where do you do most of your writing?
Now, I write in a home office. It is upstairs and surrounded by bedrooms and the only window is a sky light, which reduces the distractions. I had my choice of rooms when the kids were small and they didn’t have the where with all to choose where they wanted to be. For the novels, I need a quiet space to call my own. Planning and working on more than one project at a time takes the kind of organisation that could eat up my time if I had to set up fresh every time I came back to the desk.
I quite envy people who write in cafes, but I couldn’t see that working for me, I know too many people and I could imagine I’d spend my time chatting or worse eating cake all day!

What is your favourite book?
Where to start! The book I loved as a teenager was Ivanhoe. I also loved Emma and Pride and Prejudice. I grew up on mysteries mostly, so I devoured Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes.
In the last few years, I really enjoyed Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey and Eggshells by an Irish writer Catriona Lally. I adore Alan Bennet – then again, who doesn’t and my agent pointed me in the direction of Kate Morton, Frances Brody and Anne Tyler, all of whom I’ve really enjoyed recently.

Which part of My Husband's Wives did you enjoy writing the most?
It had to be Annalise. I had such fun with her. For me, her voice was so clearly in my mind that there were times when I knew I should get up and leave the book behind but she just would not let me go. Unfortunately, the publishing business is such that some of her had to succumb to the brutality of my electronic scissors, but still, I feel I know her and enjoyed her best of all. Would we be friends if she were real? We live in different worlds, but she’s one of those people that yes, I think when we’d meet we would laugh a lot.

Who is your favourite literary heroine?
This is easy – it has to be Emma. I think, she’s a little like Annalise… (perhaps that should be the other way round!)

Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
Like many ‘new’ writers, I have a stack of work that I felt ready to publish many times over the years. Again and again, my agent said that the right publisher would come along. It is (once the writing is half decent,) often a question of timing, but it is worth waiting for the right person to pick up your manuscript.

There is no greater joy than being told that a publisher wants to sign you and my advice is, if you have someone who knows the business, listen to them. If they know what they’re talking about and they have a track record, then pay attention to what they tell you. It’s worth waiting for a little while to work with good people – after all, it’s in your interest to place your book in the best hands possible.

On the other hand, don’t take to heart what people who haven’t the first clue about publishing have to say to you. There are more writer’s forums and courses and creative weekends out there now than you can shake a hat at. Make sure, if you’re spending money that the person giving the course has some track record, that they are published and have achieved some sort of success. Otherwise, you’re better off going out and purchasing a copy of Stephen King’s ‘On Writing,’ or Betsy Lerner’s ‘The Forest for the Trees.’

Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
I have Book 2 due with the publishers at the end of May. So it’s in good shape, but there’s always something to be done! I’m really excited about it. It’s a completely different story again with a back story that brings you to a different age!

And, I have an idea for Book 3… now, there’s a woman whispering in my ear and I have a feeling life is just about to get a bit more interesting for her…

Thanks for having me to visit on Chicklit Uncovered, I’ll be keeping an eye out for new releases and reviews!

Thanks, Faith!

My Husband’s Wives by Faith Hogan
Better to have loved and lost, than never loved.

Paul Starr, Irelands leading cardiologist, dies in a car crash with a pregnant young woman by his side.
United in their grief and the love of one man, four women are thrown together in an attempt to come to terms with life after Paul. They soon realise they never really knew him at all.

The love they shared for Paul in his life and which incensed a feeling of mistrust and dislike for each other, in his death turns into the very thing that bonds them and their children to each other forever.
As they begin to form unlikely friendships, Paul's deaths proves to be the catalyst that enables them to become the people they always wanted to be.

About Faith Hogan

Faith Hogan was born in Ireland.  She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.  She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Her debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wives,’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin. It will be published by Aria, (Head of Zeus) on 1st of May 2016.   She is currently working on her next novel.

Contact Faith Hogan

Faith Hogan’s debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wives,’ is published on 1st of May 2016 by Aria (Head of Zeus). It is currently available to pre-order on Amazon and all good E-reading sites. Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, children, a very fat cat called Norris and a selection of (until recently!) idle writerly mugs and cups.  Follow Faith on Twitter at @gerhogan or like her on Facebook.comFaithhoganauthor/ or, if you’re really interested, you can catch up with her on www.faithhogan.com.

NEW RELEASES: The Nearness of You by Sareeta Domingo

The Nearness of You by Sareeta Domingo is released today (review coming soon!) What would you do if the person you love was in love with your best friend?

Falling in love isn't a choice.

Since the moment they met, Ryan and Taylor have shared an unspoken bond. Taylor's drawn to Ryan more strongly than she thought possible and for some reason only he seems able to lift her out of the darkness in her past. 

But Ryan is with Marcy - her best friend. 

Marcy stood by Taylor when everything else had fallen apart, and Taylor refuses to risk their friendship now. Somehow she needs to resist what she's feeling. Yet, when Marcy leaves for a few weeks just as Ryan moves in to their shared flat, the tension grows to unbearable proportions. As the line between right and wrong becomes blurred, Taylor will have to decide whether she can - or should - turn away from what might be the love of her life.

Evocative, moving and heartrendingly romantic, this is a story about real life, true love and the power of friendship.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

COMING SOON: Danger, Sweetheart by MaryJanice Davidson

Having been a fan of MaryJanice Davidson's books for quite some time (I was hooked on her Undead series a few years back!), it was great to hear the news of her upcoming novel, Danger, Sweetheart. MaryJanice is back with a romantic tale about a rich party boy and a small-town farm girl. Danger, Sweetheart will be released on May 10th.

This city boy's about to get a taste of country life...

Blake Tarbell has a town to save. Rich, carefree, and used to the Vegas party lifestyle, Blake is thrown for a curve when his former cocktail-waitress mother pleads he go back to her roots to save the town she grew up in. Blake's used to using money to solve his problems, but when he arrives in Sweetheart, North Dakota, this city boy has to trade in his high-priced shoes for a pair of cowboy boots - and he's about to get a little help from the loveliest lady in town...

Natalie Lane's got no time for newbies. The prettiest gal to ever put on a pair of work gloves, there's nothing she can't do to keep a farm up and running. But when a handsome city-slicker rolls into town with nothing but bad farmer's instincts and good intentions, Natalie's heartstrings are pulled. She's about to teach him a thing or two about how to survive in Sweetheart. And he's about to teach her a thing or two about love.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Rebound by Aga Lesiewicz

I'm a fan of thrillers and was intrigued when I received a copy of Rebound by former TV producer Aga Lesiewicz. Published by Pan Macmillan last month, Rebound is Aga's debut novel.

Anna has an enviable life; a brilliant job as a media executive, a house in London. Best friend Bell. Freedom. Having just ended her relationship with boyfriend James, Anna focuses on work - especially with the big changes that are ahead - her best friend Bell, and her hobby, running on the Heath with beloved dog Wispa.

One evening she meets a mysterious stranger whilst out jogging, leading to an encounter that makes her question her own morals. And it doesn't stop - Anna can't seem to keep away from the unnamed man she dubs 'the Dior Man' - someone she can't stop thinking about, even though she knows that the whole situation is not only wrong, but very dangerous.

Especially when there's a sudden influx of crimes around the Heath.

Meanwhile, Anna meets some new neighbours, which is when things start to get creepy. It soon becomes apparent that Anna is not safe, but with no idea as to who is responsible for the recent goings-on, Anna seemingly has nowhere to turn.

I'll stop before I go into any potential spoilers, but I will say that Rebound was an enjoyable read, apart from one thing - I didn't like Anna at all. I didn't from the start, which is why it took me a couple of chapters to really get into the novel, although I'm very glad I did. Anna comes across as an extremely shallow individual. The decisions she makes throughout the book are dangerous and rather unbelievable for an apparently intelligent individual; she doesn't seem to realise that she's risking her own life. Her attitudes and decision-making after a shocking event in the book (I won't spoil it, but it's very intense) made me sigh with disbelief. Not only that, but Anna seems to believe that every male she comes into contact with is attracted to her. It got to a point where I wanted to find out who was behind what was happening to her, but as for Anna herself, I didn't really care.

The ending was, for me, a bit disappointing, however in terms of pace and plot, Rebound is rather addictive - I soon found it hard to put down. This is Aga's debut and I would certainly read more of her work.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, 2 May 2016

UNCOVERED PICKS: Five May Releases

Uncovered is back from a short break, and to kick off the new month, here’s a selection of five new novels released in May…

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
Nightingale Books, nestled on the high street in the idyllic Cotswold town of Peasebrook, is a dream come true for booklovers. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open. The temptation to sell up is proving enormous - but what about the promise she made to her father? Not to mention the loyalty she owes to her customers. Sarah Basildon, owner of stately pile Peasebrook Manor, has used the book shop as an escape from all her problems in the past few years. But is there more to her visits than meets the eye? Since messing up his marriage, Jackson asks Emilia for advice on books to read to the son he misses so much. But Jackson has a secret, and is not all he seems...

And there's Thomasina, painfully shy, who runs a pop-up restaurant from her tiny cottage. She has a huge crush on a man she met and then lost in the cookery section, somewhere between Auguste Escoffier and Marco Pierre White. Can she find the courage to admit her true feelings? How to Find Love in a Book Shop is the delightful story of Emilia's fight to keep her book shop alive, the customers whose lives she has touched - and the books they all love.

The Santiago Sisters by Victoria Fox
Bound by blood. Separated by scandal. Growing up on a ranch in Patagonia, twins Calida and Terisita Santiago have never known a world without each other. Introverted Calida can't imagine life anywhere else but feisty Terisita dreams of fame and fortune. World-famous English actress Simone Geddes believes that her profile would benefit from a PR boost and has decided to adopt. A potential family has been identified in Argentina and Simone and her team are en route to a meeting when her driver takes a wrong turn and she ends up at the Santiago ranch. There she becomes enchanted by the beautiful 14 year old Terisita and makes an offer to Julia, the sisters' mother who has struggled to cope since the death of her husband. Without either twin knowing the truth, Terisita is whisked to a life of luxury in London with Simone. 

Soon her old life in Argentina is nothing but a distant memory and all she feels is hatred towards the sister who she believes abandoned her. Meanwhile Calida tries to understand how her beloved sister could have turned her back on them and left without a word. As the years pass, where the sisters were once connected by love, now it is a shared hatred that fuels them as each one vows revenge...

The Santiago Sisters is a story of the love, loyalty and betrayal which run through the lives of the rich and famous.

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin
Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals. 

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing… 

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day. 

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides. 

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?

The Summer Escape by Lily Graham
Amongst the beautiful olive groves and sea-front tavernas, summer has arrived on the sun-drenched island of Crete. 

After losing the love of her life, Ria’s life has been on hold. So when her boss becomes completely unbearable she makes the snap decision to run away to the Greek island of Crete, armed only with her passport. 

When Ria finds herself working for eccentric novelist Caroline, she meets handsome vineyard owner Tom. He’s charming, mysterious and Ria starts to wonder if it’s not just the beautiful Greek island that she’s falling for. 

But as Ria gets to know Tom better, she uncovers a tangled web of secrets. What is he hiding? Ria has some secrets of her own. Can she open up to Tom and learn to live again? 

This is Now by Ciara Geraghty
An ordinary day. An ordinary bank. An ordinary street in an ordinary town. Nothing ever happens, until, one day, a shocking robbery turns life upside down for five people: 

Cillian, a police detective,
Martha, the woman he thought was the love of his life,
Tobias, who came to Ireland after WWII and now lies in a coma, shot in the bank robbery,
Roman, the young Polish teenager who is suspected of pulling the trigger
and his mother Rosa, the cleaner, who dreamed of a better life for herself and her son...
...and things will never be ordinary again.

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