Friday, 29 November 2013

The Janksters and the Talking Slug- Cid and Mo

I first became aware of Cid and Mo through the Making Them Readers blog.  They came highly recommended, and I was told that my son would love this story.

The janksters (a cross between a joker and a prankster, incase you were wondering) are Sam and Billy, two boys who forge a friendship at school.  They are fun but fair and determined not to let Dexter Slin, the school bully, have power over them or the other children.  With the help of a talking slug they take him on....

This book was a good read, and whilst suitable for boys and girls I imagine boys (particularly those who are reluctant readers) will be able to relate to this story.  The jokey, jovial style alongside some toilet humour (what is it about the word poo that makes young boys laugh?!) add to the appeal, and the photographs used throughout will allow older children to feel that this is less babyish than other books with similar content and reading level

I would have liked the photographs to have been colour as I think this would have added to the clarity, but have huge admiration for the work Cid and Mo are doing in creating contemporary, relevant books for children.

Although I have never met Cid and Mo I have heard that their workshops in schools are fabulous!  You can find out more about the authors at their website, or contact them via twitter @CidandMo.

The Janksters and the Talking Slug is available to buy now.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Exciting new titles from Harper Impulse!

As you know, I love a good romance and Harper Impulse are right up there as the frontrunners in promoting high quality romance for ereaders.  I can't wait to get my hands on these! The best bit is that if you click on the banners below you can get a taster of some of them- a perfect chance to try before you buy.

Visit Visit Visit Visit

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Echoes of Love- Hannah Fielding *blog tour*

I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for Hannah Fielding's latest novel The Echoes of Love.

Set in the romantic and mysterious city of Venice and the beautiful landscape of Tuscany, "The Echoes of Love" is a touching love story that unfolds at the turn of the new millennium. It is a tale of a lost love and betrayal, unleashed passion and learning to love again - and a terrible truth that will change the lives of two strangers forever.

The Echoes of Love is a sweeping love story featuring Venetia Aston-Montague, a woman who has suffered heartache in the past, and the devastatingly handsome Paolo Barone.  Venetia can't deny her attraction to Paulo, yet his reputation preceeds him- does he have a young mistress, a hidden wife, a string of lovers?  Should she guard herself against further pain or submit to her passion?
I absolutely adored the depth of the love story in The Echoes of Love, it felt almost voyeuristic to read.  Fielding encapsulates the overwhelming experience of falling deeply, completely, utterly in love beautifully, and the glorious backdrop of Venice, eloquently described throughout, is the perfect setting for this romantic novel.
It took me a while to get swept away by the story, but then I was desperate to know what would happen. It was definitely a book that was easier to read in large chunks and completely get lost in the story, and when I did it was magical.  It reads like a film, indeed I can totally imagine it as a Baz Luhrman epic with glorious costumes and elaborate settings. 

If you want to find out more about The Echoes of Love, the blog tour continues right through until release on 6th December.  The blogs hosting are listed below.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Cupcakes at Carrington's- Alexandra Brown


Georgie Hart loves her job--running the luxury handbag concession at Carrington's Department store in the pretty seaside town of Mulberry Bay, and treating herself (once too often!) to a red velvet cupcake with buttercream icing in Carrington's café.

But Georgie is thrown into disarray when Carrington's is plunged into a recession-busting makeover, cueing the arrival of femme fatale Maxine, who wields the axe in her immaculately-manicured hands.

It spells a recipe for disaster for Georgie and soon she is fighting not only for her job, but also for the attentions of her gorgeous boss, James. And when hot newcomer Tom arrives, who may or may not be the best thing since sliced bread, Georgie must decide where her loyalties really lie...


I do love books set in and around shops, which is pretty weird seeing as I'm not a particularly avid shopper myself.  There is something magical about an old fashioned department store though, how one moment you can be knee deep in toys and the next you're surrounded by a waft of pungent perfume that lingers for hours.  Alexandra Brown obviously feels that the department store is a special place too, and this introduction to the Carrington's series is a humorous, fast paced rom-com of a book.

Maxine is perfect as the woman you love to hate, and I was completely bowled over by beautiful Tom.  However, Cupcakes at Carrington's doesn't just rely on its big-hitters, some of the minor characters are also huge personalities which adds to the drama and high jinks.  However, there are some serious subjects tackled amongst the humour, particularly in relation to issues within Georgie's family which give the book an additional layer of depth.

If you enjoy the Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic books or Carmen Reid's Annie Valentine series I'm sure you'll enjoy Cupcakes at Carrington's. 

Cupcakes at Carrington's is out now, with the book 2 in the series, Christmas at Carrington's due to be released on December 5th.


Jack Sheffield giveaway!

Last month I went to the Off the Shelf festival and was fortunate enough to meet author Jack Sheffield. You can read about that experience here.

Jack's new book Silent Night is released on 5th December and Books with Bunny will be giving a copy away to one lucky winner!  My review of the book will be going live very soon.

If you'd like a chance to win, you can enter the rafflecopter giveaway below.

Good Luck!

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Saturday, 23 November 2013

Penelope's Toothache- Ariele Nolla

Penelope's Toothache is a cautionary tale warning what can happen to your teeth if you eat too much sugar.  Especially suitable for children age 4-7, the book offers an introduction to dental hygiene and the importance of looking after your teeth.

The only negative for me is how a visit to the dentist is portrayed as being a bit scary (although there is a section at the back telling children that dental practice no longer requires so many huge needles and urges them to go for regular check ups). 

Penelope's Toothache might well be a useful educational tool for supporting PSE and PD aspects of the curriculum in the foundation stage and KS1 or for parents to look at with their children to encourage good brushing and flossing.

Penelope's Toothache is out now in ebook format.


With thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Rowena's Key- AJ Nuest

Author AJ Nuest
I'm not going to lie, I really wasn't sure what to expect when I was approached to review Rowena's Key by AJ Nuest.  Described as fantasy romance, a genre I'd never considered reading before, I didn't think it would be my cup of tea (which is Earl Grey as it comes, incase you're wondering).  AJ Nuest is a passionate advocate of the genre (read the guest post she wrote for me here where she compares never experiencing romantic fantasy to never experiencing chocolate!)

The first book in the Golden Key Chronicles introduces us to Rowena, a restorer of antiques who discovers a hidden key and a magic mirror which draws her to another time and place. Handsome prince Caedmon is waiting to capture her heart, a vision in tight pants wielding swords and spears.  What's not to love?

I was completely out of my comfort zone reading Rowena's Key.  I love a good romance, but this was total escapism, completely other-worldly and different to anything else I have read.  I've read some mild fantasy before (think along the lines of Narnia and Harry Potter), but this was different- passion and longing wrapped up in the surprise combination of a bygone era and the cynical modern-day.  I loved being able to immerse myself in something entirely fictional, with no echoes of news stories or other books I have read.  I suppose this is one of the real strengths of the fantasy genre!

The characters were amusing (particularly Rowena's marvellous friend Ollie) and reeled me in from the start, and I would love to find out more about Ollie and his theatrical lifestyle.  I found myself chuckling at the language Caedmon used throughout and Rowena's responses to it, and the book has a lot of dry humour which kept me entertained. 

It did take me a while to adapt to reading a book so different to my usual reading material, but I found myself swept away by Rowena's Key.  If you haven't read fantasy romance before, give it a whirl-you might be surprised.

Rowena's Key is out now, published by Harper Impulse.  You can find out more by clicking on the link below.



With thanks to Harper Impulse and AJ Nuest for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Chocolate? No, never heard of it- a guest post on fantasy romance by AJ Nuest

Author AJ Nuest is amazed by just how many readers have never experienced fantasy romance.  Here is her fabulous guest post, and a review Rowena's Key will be coming tomorrow on Books with Bunny!

Chocolate? No, never heard of it.

I’m a geek girl. And while, over the years, some could argue being a geek girl has become the quintessential standard in coolness (insert shameless plug for Big Bang Theory), being a card toting member of the Star Trek fan club hasn’t always worked in my favor. For example, like the time I called in sick to work so I could commemorate Gene Roddenberry’s death by getting a Star Trek insignia tattoo, and my boss found out and docked my wages. Yep. True story.

*After disclosing the above, if any doubts remain about my geekness, I invite you to come over and take a look at the powder-blue Star Trek uniform and matching tricorder hanging in my closet. I even have the black go-go boots. No, really.*

As a young girl, I devoured the works of Theodore Sturgeon, C. S. Lewis, R. A. Salvatore, J. R. R. Tolkien…you get the picture…and can honestly say that, to date, my fascination with all thing fantasy has served me well (insert shameless plug for Chris Hemsworth as Thor). I mean, what girl wouldn’t swoon watching Viggo Mortensen portray Aragorn in high definition on a theatre-sized screen, a box of Raisinets and a gallon-sized soda in hand? To me, three hours of Lord of the Rings is the ultimate in geekdom bliss!

But, even better, not only has the genius of Stan Lee finally, thankfully, seen the light of day (insert shameless plug for Ironman one, two and three), prime time television has also recently taken a foray into the fantasy genre. Whoot! Sleepy Hollow, Once Upon A Time, Game of Thrones, Supernatural—the list of fantasy programming is endless, and I have the backlog of recorded shows to prove it.

So, you can imagine my complete and utter joy when not only was I granted the exciting opportunity to write my first fantasy series, I was blessed with the fulfillment of a lifelong dream by having it published by the amazing folks at HarperImpulseUK. Whoo Hoo! I inked that contract with fervor, dove headfirst into editing my prose, and anxiously awaited the release of the first installment in my four book fantasy romances (insert shameless plug for Rowena’s Key, Book One, The Golden Key Chronicles). Huzzah!

Aaaand that’s where things got tricky…

Since I’ve been a writer for about six years now—during which time I spent three years working as an editor for several romance publishers, landed an agent and saw three books through to publication—I like to think I have a good grasp of marketing and promotion. Utilizing this experience, I went about the task of contacting book bloggers, tweeting, FB partying and all around raising a hullabaloo about my latest release. However, what I didn’t count on was the small percentage of folks who held an interest in reading the fantasy romance genre.

Huh? Wait, what? You mean you don’t like guys with swords who charge into save the day? What do you mean, you haven’t read any fantasy romance? What about Disney movies? Have you seen Tangled or Beauty at the Beast (insert shameless plug for Flynn Ryder)?

To an avid fantasy fan like me, hearing someone had never read a fantasy romance was like discovering they’d never tried chocolate. Or wine. Or coffee.

*Danger, Will Robinson. Unknown life force detected.*

For days afterward, I stumbled along, trying to wrap my head around such an astounding revelation. But in the end, I realized I was left with few choices. Thankfully, I am surrounded by some of the most giving, wonderful, supportive readers in this or any known galaxy. I contacted these lovely folks, asked them to take a read and let me know what they thought of my story (shameless plug for those ladies, some of whom had already gone out and purchased their very own copy).

Here are some of the responses I got:

AJ, why do you have to write the most wonderful heroes? Aaaahhhh!!! Now I'm hooked and begrudgingly wait for Book 2. I can't believe this is happening! Thanks AJ for the enlightenment!

This is an awesome read, AJ! I don't normally read romance fantasy, but I devoured this book in one sitting. I was hooked from the first page.

Ok so for a non-fantasy reader, I really liked this book. I was struck by the originality but that's probably something more common to the genre than your typical romance and maybe I've been missing out all these years!

I haven't read any fantasy books for the longest time, but this author AJ Nuest has re-introduced me to a genre that I had forgotten I loved!

 I'm a first time-reader of this genre but I have to say I was hooked from the start. The story is rocking and gathers you in.

So, for those of you who, like me, have always enjoyed an epic fantasy romance fraught with swashbuckling heroes emerging victorious against insurmountable odds…as well as those of you who have not yet dipped your toe into the magical world of fantasy romance…I invite you to check out Rowena’s Key, Book One of The Golden Key Chronicles, available now from HarperImpulse UK.

*End transmission*

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Him and Me- Jack and Michael Whitehall

Him and Me is a book with a unique premise.  Actor/Comedian/TV show panellist Jack Whitehall and his showbiz agent father Michael reminisce about family holidays, school speech days and general, everyday life for a typically well-off, privately educated, Conservative-voting family.  Chapters are written by both Jack and Michael, with interjections in the form of side-notes from father and son which make entertaining banter.  The strapline 'A father and son remember it all differently' is pretty fair, as anyone who has ever been embarrassed by the actions of a member of their immediate family will be able to identify with some of the cringe-worthy anecdotes throughout.

Michael's namedropping of celebrities such as Nigel Havers and Mollie Sugden is second only to that of Tom Jones on The Voice, and is irritating after a point.  However, Jack provides a glossary of high profile actors of yesteryear to aid the understanding of young hipsters reading Him and Me, and I did enjoy the tales about Trevor McDonald, so I feel I can't be too negative about this. 

There are the obligatory photographs of cheeky smiles (Jack) and inappropriately chosen baseball caps (Michael), along with amusing comic sketches by Jack, who turns out to be quite the artist (who knew?!)

Overall, I thought this was a clever concept for a book which mostly worked well.  There were times where I was chuckling aloud to myself (particularly about Jack's missed opportunity to play Harry Potter!), and I found the obvious closeness between the two of them added a depth that I wasn't expecting.  A humorous memoir which fans will love.

Him and Me is out now, published by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin.


With thanks to the lovely Katya for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Yellow Cake- Margo Lanagan

As National Short Story week draws to a close, I'm sharing my thoughts on Yellow Cake by Margo Lanagan.  Highly regarded within the literary scene, loved by popular authors such as Jill Murphy and raved about by the press, I was excited to be experiencing Lanagan's writing for the first time.

I sometimes struggle with short stories, especially when they feel rushed or lack a solid conclusion.  The other downfall is that it is hard to build up an empathy for a character in so few words, much moreso than in a full length novel.

Yellow Cake is a diverse collection of short stories, magical and other worldly in both style and content.  There are ten stories in all, mostly 15-30 pages each in length.  I must admit that some of the stories in this collection were not to my taste, although in a selection such as this that is perhaps not surprising.  However, the stories I did enjoy, in particular The Golden Shroud based around Rapunzel's plight in the tower and Into the Clouds on High, a story of loss within a family unit, have made a lasting impression and I am sure will stay with me for a long time to come. 

Yellow Cake might not appeal to everyone.  The tales are fantastical and told through elegant prose.  The fairytale-like storytelling is original and quirky and there were points where I found myself craving more emotion from the characters- the stories where Lanagan explores intense feeling and longing are the most successful.

Enjoy the remainder of National Short Story week.  This genre is a great way to explore new authors, themes and writing styles and is well worth celebrating!

Yellow Cake is out now, published by David Fickling Books.

5/10 for the collection as a whole

With thanks to the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Until You're Mine- Samantha Hayes

You have something that someone else wants.
At any cost ...
Claudia seems to have the perfect life.
She's heavily pregnant with a much wanted baby, she has a loving husband, and a beautiful home.
And then Zoe steps into her life. Zoe has come to help Claudia when her baby arrives.
But there's something about Zoe that Claudia doesn't like. Or trust.
And when she finds Zoe in her bedroom, Claudia's anxiety turns to real fear ...

I do love a gripping psychological thriller and Until You're Mine is certainly that!  A discomfiting read which made my skin crawl, I was completely sucked into the story.  The characters were all irritating and had flawed aspects to their personalities, yet I was somehow compelled to keep reading. Claudia was portrayed as the typical neurotic Mum-to-be and I found her a frustrating character, although as a mother I did empathise with her fears about Zoe's erratic and unexplainable behaviour. 

Samantha Hayes writes in a way that makes you doubt yourself all the time, leaving you unsure of who to trust.  By telling the story from three different points of view (Claudia, Zoe and Lorraine, a detective) the reader is able to see the plot develop but Hayes never gives too much away.  I was engrossed right up to the final page and really didn't want it to end. 

Fans of Gone Girl and The Husband's Secret might well enjoy this one- I know I'll definitely be looking out for more books by this author.

Until You're Mine is out now.


Reviews coming soon on Books with Bunny

I haven't done an 'Incoming' post for a while, partly because I am needing to devote a day to organising my blogging!  However, I CAN tell you that I will be posting review for the following books very shortly....

Party Games by Jo Carnegie
Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
Expo 58 by Jonathan Coe
Him and Me by Jack and Michael Whitehall

and some romance from the fabulous Harper Impulse to heat up these chilly evenings!

Rowena's Key by AJ Nuest
Click here to download Rowena's Key

Summer of Surrender by Zara Stonely

Visit Click here to download Summer of Surrender

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Last Kiss- Brigid Coady

The Last Kiss is the first ebook in the Kiss collection.  It is a short story of approximately 1000 words, designed to be read on a tablet or phone, perfect for romantics who need a quick fix.  Timed to coincide with Short Story week, why not give it a try?

Katie has enjoyed a holiday romance with rep Ryan.  Everyone remembers the first kiss, but what about the last?  Focussing on an airport goodbye this story is short and sweet-a bitesize love affair for fans of short stories, those who don't have the time to commit to reading novels or for filling your commute or coffee break.  Brigid Coady manages to make every word count and pack emotion into a small wordcount.

I can't wait for more of these short stories from Harper Impulse!

You can find out more about The Last Kiss and how to purchase it from the link below.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Quercus Kids giveaway!

I have been promising another giveaway after the success of the Carmen Reid giveaway over the summer, and to thank you all for your huge support of my blog I am delighted to be giving away some goodies courtesy of Quercus Kids books!

The prize includes paperback copies of...

The League of Sharks- David Logan
In a world where humans have disappeared, sharkmen are the ultimate predators.
Junk's sister has been stolen.
Snatched from her bed in the dead of night, Ambeline doesn't stand a chance. No one believes Junk saw a monster take his sister. No one believes he's not to blame.
So begins Junk's quest to find Ambeline's kidnapper. His journey will take him to a future world where animal species have evolved, and where the cult of the League of Sharks - the cult that stole Junk's sister - is etched into folklore...

The Naturals- Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Cassie Hobbes is not like most teenagers. Most teenagers don't lose their mother in a bloody, unsolved kidnapping. Most teenagers can't tell who you are, where you're from and how you're likely to behave within moments of meeting you. And most teenagers don't get chosen to join The Naturals.

Identified by the FBI as uniquely gifted, Cassie is recruited to an elite school where a small number of teens are trained to hone their exceptional abilites.

For Cassie, trying to make friends with the girls, and to figure out the two very different, very hot boys, is challenging enough. But when a serial killer begins recreating the details of her mother's horrific crime scene, she realises just how dangerous life in The Naturals could be...

Monsters-Ilsa J. Bick
Alex is tough. She has survived the EMP blast, she has lived among the flesh-eating Changed, and she has been separated from Tom for months. And she hasn't given up.
But on the brink of starvation and in the grip of a winter that just won't end, Alex discovers a new and terrible truth:
The Changed are still evolving.
And... they've had help.

Plus a few other bookish delights!

You can enter the rafflecopter giveaway below- good luck!

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Property of a Gentleman- Catherine Gaskin cover reveal

I am absolutely delighted to be able to reveal the cover for the ebook version of The Property of a Gentleman by Catherine Gaskin, published by Corazon.  Available for the first time as an ebook, it sounds like an intriguing read and I can't wait for release day, Thursday 5th December!
The Property of a Gentleman by Catherine GaskinA poignant, thrilling tale, full of history, intrigue and romance.

Shortly after her mother's death in a Swiss plane crash, Jo Roswell is sent from the London auction house where she works to the remote Thirlbeck – stately home of the Earl of Askew. Jo's task is to evaluate the house's contents for a sale, but she soon finds herself drawn into the complex lives of Thirlbeck's inhabitants, each with their own secrets and desires.

Jo is absorbed by the tragic story of The Spanish Lady, whose young life was cut short at Thirlbeck many centuries earlier. She also encounters La Española, the brilliant diamond which, according to legend, brings disaster to all who try to possess it. And she is shocked to learn of her own mother's connection to Thirlbeck.

Meet the residents of Thirlbeck

Robert Birkett, the Earl of Askew: returning to Thirlbeck after many years abroad, a decorated war hero who also spent time in prison after a fatal car accident for which he was blamed.

Carlota, the Spanish Condesa: the Earl's sophisticated companion, who yearns to leave the cold of Cumberland for the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

Nat Birkett: the local farmer, and single father of two young boys, who is the reluctant heir to Thirlbeck. His passion is for the land rather than titles and possessions.

Gerald Stanton: Jo's wise mentor and friend, who is like a father to her.

George Tolson: the brooding keeper of Thirlbeck, who jealously guards it from unwelcome strangers.

Jessica Tolson: George's intelligent but fragile granddaughter, who must be protected from herself.

Jo will struggle with difficult discoveries as she unlocks the puzzles which link Thirlbeck's past and present residents.

About Catherine Gaskin
Catherine Gaskin's own life story reads like a novel. Born in Ireland and raised in Australia, she studied music at the conservatorium in Sydney, before becoming a bestselling author at the age of just seventeen. After moving to London she met her future husband, a US TV executive, on a blind date. The couple lived in Manhattan for ten years, before moving to the Virgin Islands, followed by Ireland, and then the Isle of Man. After her husband's death, Catherine returned to Australia where she spent the rest of her life.


Monday, 11 November 2013

The Echoes of Love trailer and blog tour announcement

It is always lovely to be asked to take part in a blog tour, and when I was approached to be part of Hannah Fielding's  tour for The Echoes of Love I was especially excited.  Secrets, tragedy and passion are promised and I for one am ready to be wowed by this Venetian romance. 

You can see the trailer for the book here , and visit Books with Bunny on 27th November to read my review!

Take A Look at Me Now- Miranda Dickinson

I am a huge fan of Miranda Dickinson, and find her books comforting and inspiring.  Her characters are full of drive and verve and the settings are always described so evocatively that you can immerse yourself in a place that you have never actually been.  I also love how the importance of a supportive family is portrayed in her books.
Take a Look at Me Now has been highly anticipated by fans.  It was one of the books I have been most impatient for during 2013 and I desperately wanted to love it.  And love it I did.  Once I started I couldn't put it down, I was captivated.
Nell has a nightmare day-not only does she lose Aidan, the man who has captured her heart, but she is made redundant.  Yes, she had been wishing for change, but this wasn't what she was expecting! Nell decides to throw caution to the wind and spend her redundancy money visiting her cousin Lizzie in San Francisco.  Whilst there Nell finds herself surrounded by quirky, kooky people living their dreams- can she take inspiration from them and make her own dreams a reality?
Take A Look at Me Now is a read that makes you believe anything is possible.  San Francisco sounds amazing and I am even more keen to visit there than I was before after reading this book.  Most of all I found myself willing for Nell, rooting for her to strive for her dreams and find happiness.
Miranda Dickinson is an author bursting to the brim with talent.  She creates characters that readers care about and her writing is infused with humour and romance.  Fabulous.  You can follow her on twitter, @wurdsmyth.
Take A Look at Me Now is available as a paperback and ebook, published by Avon, and imprint of Harper Collins.
With thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Telling Stories- Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess, lead singer and frontman with The Charlatans, has lead a life immersed in music. 

I was particularly interested to read Telling Stories because The Charlatans were a band I listened to a lot during my teens.  I grew up in Monmouth, in a midterraced house on Rockfield Road, just a couple of miles from where The Charlatans recorded.  I actually met Tim Burgess twice in the mid 90s, and was completely in awe of this beautiful man.  He had an ethereal quality, seeming much more introvert than his outer persona would suggest.  I still have his autograph on the back of a National Lottery slip.

Burgess talks about his teenage years clubbing in Manchester, particularly at the legendary Hacienda, and his early experiences of substance abuse.  As a vinyl collector he is knowledgeable about an eclectic mix of artists and bands, name-checking and recommending them throughout the book.  You'll be reaching for your music collection (or youtube for some of the more obscure recommendations) as you read.  Then of course there are his experiences as a musician.   The Charlatans are often referred to as part of the 'Madchester' scene and also the later Indie/Britpop genre.  However, part of the beauty of The Charlatans is their constantly evolving sound, and when you read Telling Stories and see the diverse list of influences, it becomes apparent just why their sound transcends so many genres.

Most music memoirs are chock-full of sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Burgess himself acknowledges that drugs and rock and roll were his focus, openly admitting to the methods he used to smuggle drugs across borders and his drug reliance which he refers to as self-medication.  The tragic death of bandmate Rob Collins, fraud scandal and armed robbery add depth and emotion to this compelling autobiography.

An honest, insightful look into the mind of a notable musician, Telling Stories is an interesting memoir which will particularly appeal to music fans of a certain age.

Telling Stories is available in paperback now, published by Penguin.


With thanks to Penguin for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Cupidity- Holly Hepburn

A rom-com with an original slant, read my full review here now!

You're A Rude Pig, Bertie!- Claudia Boldt

Bertie is the most vain, rude and outspoken pig you'll ever meet. He can't help offending his friends and pretty soon he doesn't have any left. But a beautiful bunny and a disastrous party all lead Bertie to a startling realization, and a change of heart.

We have all come across someone who is obnoxious and rude, full of their own self importance.  Bertie the Pig is a prime example-his lack of manners and respect mean he is friendless and alone.  Meeting Ruby the Rabbit influences him- he wants to be her friend yet why would she want to be friends with a rude pig? 

You're A Rude Pig, Bertie! is a lesson in social skills, complimented by amusing illustrations.  The artwork is a contrast of line drawings and bright blocks of colour.

A moral story which would be great to use with an infant class to teach them the importance of their actions and words.

You're A Rude Pig, Bertie! is out now, published by Jonathan Cape.


With thanks to Jasmine at Random House for providing me with a review copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

My Life- David Jason

David Jason is one of those actors that it feel like you know.  He has seeped into our consciousness through decades of portraying memorable characters and always comes across as an affable, charming man in interviews.  I was really looking forward to finding out more about him through his long awaited autobiography My Life.

The title is not a misnomer, this truly is a book about David's life from his childhood in London in and immediately after the second world war to becoming a household name.  I loved the stories about his family, particularly his mother (her explanation of the noises in wartime as 'just God moving his furniture around' made an impression on me) and the bygone age transmitted in these tales alongside his dry humour and jovial story-telling made this an interesting read.  Autobiographies can sometimes spend a long time talking about life 'pre-fame' without really giving any insight, but I felt this book grabbed my attention.  I could visualise London in this era, imagining David and his friends up to their escapades.

The story of his 'rise to fame' is also interesting.  Although he was thrust into the spotlight (reluctantly) in the school production, David showed dedication to a theatre group and pursued a career as an electrician before he got his big break. 

For those who admire his acting (both on the boards and the screen), which let's face it, most of us do, there are lots of amusing stories from his career, especially the ones concerning Ronnie Barker.  I admit there were a couple of points where I had a tear in my eye.

Overall, My Life offers a good insight into David Jason's life and history, would make a lovely Christmas present for fans.

My Life is out now.


With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Did Someone Order Room Service?- Charlotte Phillips

I seem to have been reading lots of romantic fiction recently, and Harper Impulse is right up there as the frontrunner in contemporary publishing.  Totally escapist romance, and with a diverse range, if you are looking for some books to woo you then I definitely recommend trying some of their titles.

Did Someone Order Room Service? is part of the Do Not Disturb series, and is an entertaining, light-hearted rom-com romp. 

When Layla Jones heads to work in an upmarket hotel the last thing she expects is to be requested as a personal assistant to American tennis star Matt Stanton.  Known for his playboy antics and love 'em and leave 'em mentality, can Layla resist his charms?

I found Did Someone Order Room Service? a lively book, not too long in length and with a sharp, snappy pace.  I liked Layla as a character and really wanted her to get the happy ending she deserved.  The only downside was the ending, which seemed a bit abrupt, but other than that it had everything I would look for in a romance-including Matt Stanton who I imagined being a real hottie!

Did Someone Order Room Service? is out now, published by Harper Impulse, and imprint of Harper Collins.


With thanks to Harper Impulse for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I have some very exciting Harper Impulse news coming soon.......

When the Rains Come- Tom Pow and Malika Favre

When The Rains Come tells the story of three children who must be looked after by their grandmother, while embedding within that real life story, a folk tale from Malawi. The folk tale was told to Tom Pow as he was being driven to one of the villages where the MUMs charity (Malawi Underprivileged Mothers) is involved. Everyone involved in the book determined that, while showing the work of MUMs, When The Rains Come would also be full of joy – dancing, love, stories, colour, laughter – for that too is Malawi. This is a lively story for children that highlights some of the challenges facing Malawi and how they are being met, simultaneously drawing on the folk tales of the country. It will be a response from the writer and illustrator to the situation in Malawi with the aim of raising money for MUMs’ work and raising awareness among children and adults everywhere.

When The Rains Come is a great children's book for answering questions relating to cultural and racial difference.  There is a story within a story, which adds to the interest and offers something different to many other children's books on the market.  The story is not the most fast-paced, but does offer the contrasts between the joys and challenges of life for the characters.

The artwork by Malika Favre is sublime and the real strength of the book; beautifully stylised and with a real African flavour.  Children will find it attractive to look at.

The map of Africa at the end is a lovely feature, showing Malawi in relation to the rest of the continent and adding a sense of place. 

That it supports Malawi's Underprivileged Mothers is an added bonus.

When the Rains Come is out now, published by Polygon.


Paige Toon Q and A

Today I am delighted to welcome the wonderful
 Paige Toon to my blog!  Paige writes fantastically entertaining rom-com books, and today is the release day of her ebook novella Johnny's Girl.

Do you find it easier to write a novella than a full length novel, or do both have different challenges?
It's definitely easy to write a shorter book, but that's probably because my two short story ebooks have been sequels, so I already know the characters inside out and it's easy - and so lovely - to step in and continue their story.

Did you always plan to write books that have an overlap of characters/follow a sequence?
No. I got the idea from Marian Keyes, one of my favourite authors. Rachel's Holiday mentions the heroine from Watermelon and I was so happy to have that little update. I wanted readers to know what happened to Lucy and Nathan, so I decided at the last minute to make a minor character the main character in my next book, Johnny Be Good - just so I'd have an excuse to have her mention Lucy and Nathan. I've done it ever since and I like that it keeps my characters alive - my readers do, too!

Do you base your characters on people you know, or are they entirely fictional?
They're pretty much fictional - sometimes someone will say something funny and I'll put the comment in a book, but mostly they're figments of my imagination - or sometimes inspired by other fictional characters I've loved from films, for example.

Which of your books was the hardest to write?
Looking back, it was probably Johnny Be Good because I was pregnant and couldn't get my head around the big changes that were happening. I was desperate to write my book before I had my baby, but I wasn't connected to the book. After my son Indy was born, I actually went back and re-wrote the first half of the book, then wrote the second half in about two months - and I loved it. It was like an emotional block had been removed.

Which was the easiest?
Lucy in the Sky - or actually, possibly One Perfect Summer, which I wrote very quickly. It was the first book since Lucy in the Sky that I had childcare for - my son was at school, my daughter had a few hours at nursery - and I could write again to music and lose myself in the story without worrying that my child was about to wake up from nap time!

Which is your favourite out of your books?
My favourite changes, but I think it could be Pictures of Lily. I'll probably read The Longest Holiday in a couple of years and decide that's my favourite - my readers think it could be my best.

What is the best book that you have read in 2013 so far?
I have been absolutely addicted to The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Can't wait for the last book to come out next year!

With huge thanks to Paige for answering my questions.  Johnny's Girl is out today and can be bought from Amazon here. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Boy Meets Boy- David Levithan

Paul is gay.  He has been open and honest about it his whole life, and is fortunate enough to live in a community where people of all sexual orientations are accepted.  He's had relationships before, but this time it's different.  Falling in love changes everything...

I loved this book.  I know I am going to fawn all over it and probably appear really annoyingly overkeen, but I can't help it.  There aren't enough books out there that encapsulate how it truly feels to fall in love for the first time-that acute pain, the overwhelming longing, the desire to please.  There certainly aren't enough books out there aimed at a YA audience which deal with being gay as beautifully as Boy Meets Boy does.  David Levithan is going to become a cult author with teens if this is anything to go by.  A lesson in acceptance and being true to yourself, Boy meets Boy is a school drama about friendship and love.  It is heartfelt and touching, and beautifully portrays the developments in the relationship between Paul and Noah. 

It does come across as idealistic, when in our world there is (unfortunately) still not the level of acceptance of diversity that there is in this book. But for anyone out there who believes a same sex relationship is incapable of igniting the same feelings as a heterosexual relationship I recommend they read this book, then they'll understand that isn't the case. 

Finally, if you are an adult, don't be put off because this is marketed for teens.  It has potential to be a crossover hit too.


Boy Meets Boy is out now, published by HarperCollins UK.


With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in return for my honest opinion.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You?- Paula Daly

There seems to be a real surge in psychological thrillers at the moment, particularly those in relation to motherhood.  Just What Kind of Mother Are You?  is a gripping book which will keep you guessing.

The plot follows Lisa, a busy Mum, struggling to balance all her commitments.  The juggling act is always a challenge, but this time there are serious consequences to her taking her eye off the ball- her best friend's daughter goes missing.  Riddled with guilt, Lisa is determined to do all she can to find the child...

I really enjoyed Just What Kind of Mother Are You? , it is a fabulously enticing read that had me desperate to turn the pages and uncover the facts.  It sped by at a tremendous pace and I was halfway before I knew it.  Paula Daly does a fantastic job at keeping you guessing-there are so many twists and turns and as a reader I was never sure who to trust.  The pain and horror of being responsible for a child going missing is portrayed eloquently and as someone who works with children I found this quite an upsetting read, imagining how awful it must be to bear the burden of responsibility for someone else's child disappearing.

Well written and with an interesting plot, I would recommend this book to fans of Gillian Flynn and Liane Moriarty.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You?  is out now.


With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

How long does it take to write a book?

As someone who is currently attempting to write their first novel, I can't stop thinking about how long this process might take.  The blank page is scary!  I asked some inspirational authors how long it took them to write their first book.  The variations between answers may surprise you...

Cally Taylor- It took me just under 4 months to write the first draft then another 6 months or so to edit it.

Lorraine Wilson- about 3 months for the first chalet girl novella, a lot longer for a full length because I had a brain injury mid book!

Lucy Dillon- Er, about five months? It is the re-writing, re-writing and editing that take the extra time!

Rowan Coleman- About nine months, delivered just before my first child!

Sara Sheridan- 14 weeks.

Kat French- Undertaking Love took about eight months I think.

Miranda Dickinson- I was writing it for fun over seven years and then when it was signed by Avon I spent another eight months editing it.

Rebecca Raisin- 2 months to write and about six months to rewrite!

Louise Douglas- The first took about six months working in the evenings.  It was the quickest!

Mandy Baggot- About a year.

Let's just say that these responses have really encouraged me and I am realising that it really is a 'how long is a piece of string?' type question!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Guesting and blogsitting!

My lovely friend Emma from the Emma Is Writing blog is fortunate enough to be in New York at the moment, and between now and the 12th November you will be able to find some of my reviews on her blog as well as here.  I'm calling it blogsitting....

So far my review of De-Ann Black's The Fairytale Tea Dress Shop has been posted here and today my review of Kat French's Undertaking Love has gone live- you can read the review of that one here.

I also wrote a short piece for the gorgeous Jenny in Neverland about the impact of first lines which was published last week, you can see that here.

There will be lots more on my blog when I catch up after my own holiday-I have some cracking books to review coming up soon!