Thursday, 27 February 2014

Writing a Series- a guestpost from author Lorraine Wilson

Having never written a series before I had no idea how secondary characters would come to life and start demanding their own stories. I've also had readers contact me and ask when I'm going to write about certain characters and also what happened next to some of the main characters already featured. A series gives such scope for really developing story threads and I've found it far more rewarding than writing any stand alone stories.

In 'Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl' (publication date 20th February) I finally get to tell Sophie's story. Sophie has been in the series from the start but the more I wrote her, the more I wanted to know more about her.
Over Christmas and New Year I was in Switzerland and researched the places I use for a Valentine treasure hunt, featured in the story. Discovering Verbier has a ski dating event on Valentine's Day was a gift, giving me a great feature for the story. Writing the story was fun but also quite emotional. The result is possibly the most romantic story I've written so far and I hope you'll enjoy it.
Next I get to write Tash's story. Tash is probably the character I get asked about most and I have a feeling writing her story is going to be challenging but a whole lot of fun!

Buy 'Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl' (publication date 20th February, publisher Harper Impulse, division of Harper Collins):

Keep up to date with news of the Chalet Girl series:

Monday, 24 February 2014

Unsaid Things: Our Story - McFly

You lot have realised I am a bit of a fangirl by now, right?  Well, I am particularly nuts about One Direction, Take That and McFly, and in preparation for the McBusted appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show on Saturday night I read Unsaid Things.  It's been on my shelf for a while, but I had so many review copies to get through that it's been sat there, but I decided enough was enough-the fangirl in me won out over the reviewer in me and I read it in less than 24 hours.
It's fair to say that McFly/McBusted fans will get the most enjoyment out of this book, but anyone who has an interest in music and/or 'celebrity' (urgh) will learn a lot from this book.  The level of honesty from the boys is what makes this stand out from other biographies out there.  Between them they've been through mental health issues, addiction, and a LOT of women (Danny Jones, I'm particularly looking at you as I type this last bit).  They've also had a ridiculous amount of hits all over the world and have survived ten years at the top of their field.  They write songs for other artists.  They produce music.  They've done (and won) reality TV shows.  Tom is a youtube sensation.  They've even been played in space for crying out loud.

The boys take it in turns to tell the McFly story throughout Unsaid Things which makes for a pacey read and I defy anyone not to laugh as they read it.  Fans have always known they were exceptionally funny and this book just proves it.  Honestly, for a band that is made up of four very different guys (I want to say boys, but they are men I'll stick with guys as a happy medium) they are all hugely entertaining-different enough to have their own identities but similar enough to share the same daft humour and wordplay. 

I was close to tears at numerous points whilst reading.  Each member has gone through their own difficult times and the pride that I get as a fan seeing how genuinely happy they appear to be at the moment is immense.  On a personal level I was especially touched by Tom's descriptions of depression.  This is something I have gone through, and will probably always be going through, myself and his descriptions of the feelings he experienced really resonated.  The 'alien at the window' is something I can understand- my own depression and anxiety is worse at night- and the fear of bed because of the emotions you know are going to haunt you is something I can empathise with completely.

Reading Unsaid Things has made me even more excited for the McBusted tour and I cannot wait to be at the Sheffield gig on 19th May jumping around like a loon. 

And Danny, for what it's worth I can forgive you your playboy antics.  Even though I wish I had been part of them ;)


Unsaid Things is out now, published by Bantam Press.

The One Plus One- Jojo Moyes

The One Plus One is the story of Jessica Thomas, a single Mum working long hours in low paid jobs to provide for her mathematically gifted daughter Tanzie and her stepson Nick.  When the family meet Ed Nicholls, a handsome man of means, the four of them experience a life less ordinary and learn lessons about what is truly important in life.
I found The One Plus One a really interesting book.  It deals with many aspects of modern life- dysfunctional families, peer pressure, societal expectations and most overtly how our life chances are affected by our financial status, and is relevant and contemporary in the current economic climate. 
The characters are well created and I found myself empathising with Jessica throughout, as I am sure many working Mum's will.  The four lead characters are all intriguing and full of possibility, quirky without being outlandish, and I found that I was desperate to read on as I wanted to find out what would happen to them all.
Jojo Moyes writes in a way that is touching and thought provoking, and I found myself reassessing my own beliefs and preconceptions as a result of this book.  The One Plus One is romantic and beautiful, honest and true.  Fans of Jojo Moyes won't be disappointed.

Released on 27th February 2014.


I received a review copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

Friday, 21 February 2014

A Girl Called Summer- Lucy Lord COVER REVEAL


Island life is just one step away…
A new start…
Bella and Andy have escaped the rat race for the sun-drenched, relaxed lifestyle on the island of Ibiza. But with a run-down house to make habitable and a distractingly gorgeous neighbour, is their island idyll all that it seems?
A holiday adventure…
Tamara Gold has been Hollywood’s most notorious car crash since she was a child star. Now clean and sober, and engaged to Tinseltown’s hottest leading man, it seems like she’s finally conquered her addictions, if not her bratty behaviour. But a summer in Europe with all the hedonistic lures of Ibiza beckons…
A girl called Summer…
Summer Larsson has always known Ibiza as home: a haven of hippies, yoga and healthy eating – and loneliness. But in Bella, she’s found the friend she always needed, and when Bella’s glamorous Hollywood friends come to visit, it looks like she might have found true love as well…
This could be the summer that everything changes…
Author Website:

Amazon link:

Between a Rockstar and a Hard Place- Portia MacIntosh PART OF THE GG BOOK TOUR

The Blurb-
Being best friends with a mega-star has its perks and Nicole Wilde, music journalist, laps them up. But when said friend, Dylan King, gorgeous lead singer of The Burnouts, has zero sense of self-preservation – once a drop of alcohol hits his blood stream ‒ and an inability to keep ‘little Dylan’ in his pants, it also comes with responsibilities.

Now, Nicole has to track down Dylan in time to play a charity gig tomorrow. Half a dozen groupies, a haunted hotel, a tattoo parlour, a reality show runner-up and a crazy bed-hopping, sleepless night later – will she find him before the tour bus leaves town? And when she does, is it time to head home? Or to jump on the tour bus and go along for the ride!

The Review-
Regular readers of my blog will be full aware that I am the ultimate fangirl. I'm not that fussy- actors, footballers, but most especially boybands-if they are in my vicinity I will tune into my inner fifteen year old, batt my eyelids and drool before pouncing on them for a photo, hug, kiss, or whatever else I can get. 
Portia MacIntosh has herself spent a lot of time around bands, and it shows.  I could totally relate to this book- the craziness, the unpredictability, the absolute mayhem of being near stars that are on tour-I loved it.  I laughed out loud at so many parts of this book, as whilst it is humorous I have seen things like this going on when I have been in hotels with bands-hilarious!  Whilst this is a fiction book and could be enjoyed by anyone who likes a farce/comedy/romance, I do think it is a particularly perfect read for fangirls everywhere.
Portia writes in a colloquial fashion which makes this a really easy book to read- unfortunately I finished it in about an hour and found myself with a chronic book hangover which was hard to cure. 
So would I recommend it?  Absolutely.  This would be great holiday reading or entertaining light relief for when you need a giggle.  Perfecto.
Between A Rockstar and a Hard Place is out now, published by Carina.
With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Breaking the Fourth Wall- A guest post by Nic Tatano


There's a scene in the movie Trading Places in which the two rich guys are explaining commodities to Eddie Murphy, telling him that pork bellies are tied in with bacon, which might be used in a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Murphy turns to the camera, as if to say, "Do you believe these people?"


He broke the "fourth wall" which is that imaginary barrier between the film and the audience.


I've always thought stuff like that was fun. You see it in movies and on television a lot, even on stage, so why not in books?


Well, because some people consider it a "rule" that shouldn't be broken. Those people with "literary" tattooed on their foreheads who break out in hives if a comma is used improperly. You know the type. I once got a rejection from an agent who loved my book, but turned it down because I broke the fourth wall. The horror!


Upon reading said rejection letter I immediately put my wrists out, waiting to be handcuffed by the editorial police who would surely break down my door at any moment. I would be hauled away to literary jail and forced to deal with my seventh grade nun who would make me write "I will not break the fourth wall" thousands of times. (Oh, I can see from your cringe that you went to Catholic school. Sorry for the flashback.)


To me, occasionally talking to the reader makes the reader feel part of the story. Like I'm sitting across from the reader in a coffee shop and telling that person a story, but occasionally stopping to include the person. I see you nodding, so you're getting it.


In my new book "Boss Girl" my main character Sydney likes to talk to the reader. Sometimes she catches the reader rolling her eyes, or shaking her head, so she has to stop with the narrative and explain herself.


I used this technique a lot as a television reporter when I was doing feature stories. I did this little on-camera thing in which I'd give a "come closer" gesture to the camera. The photographer would zoom in, I'd drop my voice and let the viewer in on a little secret. It was my way of connecting with the viewer on a personal level, as if I was having a personal conversation with the viewer. I was simply following a concept in television known as "talk, don't read." Many broadcasters can read a teleprompter, but the best ones "talk" to the viewer. I'm just doing the same thing with my novels.


So if you pick up one of my books, please be aware that I'll be occasionally talking to you and not simply telling you a story. Because there's no need to put up any kind of wall between authors and readers. Ah, I see you agree! Here's a sledgehammer, take the first shot.
Click on the link below to find out more about Nic's new release Boss Girl...

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl- Lorraine Wilson

Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl is the latest instalment in Lorraine Wilson's glamorous ski resort romance series.  I've really enjoyed all Lorraine's previous novellas and was thrilled to be able to get a sneaky advance peek at her latest offering!  What an honour!

This time it is Sophie's turn to have a brush with romance.  When she is left a trail of clues to lead her to a secret admirer she has high hopes that it may be her crush...could he possibly be trying to woo her?  Or are some of our dreams never destined to come true? 

Verbier never fails to excite and delight, a perfect escapist setting full of romance for anyone who needs their heart warming up.  I never really wanted to go skiing before, but after reading these books I am itching to go!

Lorraine Wilson creates fabulous, believable characters, and I feel this is one of her major strengths as a writer.  I could empathise with Sophie, especially some of her self doubt and lack of confidence, and I'm sure many other readers will be able to see some of themselves in her. 

Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl is humorous, romantic, touching and heartfelt, and in true Lorraine Wilson style manages to touch on some difficult issues which adds an edgy, darker feel to her romances.  However, if you are looking for the traditional hearts, flowers and steamy scenes you won't be disappointed- there is plenty of that too!  The setting is glorious, the dates glamorous- all in all it is an opportunity to see how the other half live!

I feel this is Lorraine Wilson's best novella yet, it has pretty much everything I look for in a book!

Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl is available in ebook format from 27th February 2014, published by Harper Impulse. Available to pre-order now here.


With thanks to Lorraine for giving me the opportunity to read this book before release in return for my honest opinion.  I am honoured to be able to consider you a friend.

Click on the banner below for more info! Visit

The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson- Paige Toon

Last week I travelled to Manchester to meet bestselling author Paige Toon (you can read about it here ). 

I was incredibly excited to delve into The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson, Paige's first young adult book, convinced it would be an entertaining and gripping read.  I wasn't wrong.  From the first page I was hooked and although I had a very busy week I devoted as much time as possible to reading it as I was so keen to find out what would happen!  This book travelled with me on buses, to work, into the kitchen whilst I cooked tea... I couldn't put it down!

Jessie Jefferson is an ordinary girl, from an ordinary suburban town in Britain, part of an ordinary family.  Yet when her Mum dies leaving her living with her stepfather, Jessie decides it is time to find out the truth about her biological father.  Imagine her shock when she finds out it is none other than rock star Johnny Jefferson...

Although written for a YA audience, there is plenty in this book for the NA or wider adult audience to get excited about.  Firstly, it is written in a way which is highly accessible without being patronising or belittling.  The pace is quick which allows the reader to become quickly immersed in Jessie's life, and for those who have read Paige's other books you will love finding out a bit more about your favourite characters (although this is a stand alone read there is an overlap with characters from the Johnny books).  I adored Jessie-she is the typical teenager-full of selfdoubt one minute and sass the next.

This is a perfect book for anyone who has ever fallen out with their best friend/fallen in love/lost someone they love/wished they had a celebrity pretty much a perfect book for everyone.

Oh, and One Direction get a mention.  If you know me, you know that's a bonus.  Zayn and Harry get namechecks.  I can forgive the omission of Louis's name check just this once, seeing as it's Paige.

The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson is out now.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Name on Your Wrist- Helen Hiorns

I wasn't sure what to expect from this one.  It sounded part romance, part dystopia, part fantasy, part futuristic sci fi...almost as if it was a book with a split personality which didn't know which genre it wanted to be. 

However, I was totally wrong to try and judge it.  The Name on Your Wrist is one of the most truly original books I have ever read.  Set in the future, where life is lived within a strict set of rules, the major development within the human race is that everybody has a name permanently inscribed on their wrist.  It is hidden beneath a wrist guard and must remain a secret.  The name on your wrist (carpinomen) is that of your soul mate, the person you must search for in order to find love and happiness.

Corin doesn't want to be found.  She is cynical about love, about life, about society.  She's an angry teenager and hates the restrictions she is bound by.  Can she find a way to live happily within the expectations of her family and community?

Honestly, I was blown away by this book.  Marketed for the YA audience, there is definitely enough meat to it to appeal to a wider market and I really hope adults will read this book too as it has so much to offer.  There aren't enough books out there which are 100% original, but The Name on Your Wrist most certainly is.  It is also written in a way which draws the reader in, I honestly struggled to put it down as once I started it I could think of little else!  The only downfall for me was that the ending seemed a bit rushed, although there is the possibility of a follow up, which may (or may not) have been in Helen Hiorns' mind.

I just wish the YA genre had been so vibrant when I was the target audience.  This generation are totally spoilt with excellent reads!

The Name on My Wrist is out now, published by Random House.


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

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Guestbook- Holly Martin- Blog Tour and Extract

Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook.


As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider - whatever her colourful array of guests require.  A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.


This includes Annie herself - especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.


Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling!


Forget sending postcards saying ‘wish you were here’ - one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever.


There is a review today on


The story of The Guestbook is told exclusively through the entries in Willow Cottage’s guestbook. But what is really happening beyond the messages of The Guestbook; a sneak peek at the lives of Rosie, Jake and Annie at the beginning of the book.



Annie listened to the shrieks and laughter coming from next door as the newlyweds became acquainted with each other for what seemed like the hundredth time since their arrival at Willow Cottage.  Her and Nick had been that giddy when they’d first got married.  They couldn’t keep their hands off each other.  She missed that. 

She couldn’t say she was lonely because she was so rarely alone.  She had so many friends in the village of Chalk Hill and in Wells-Next-The-Sea. They popped in for coffee on a regular basis or invited her round for one.  There was the Frog and Rhubarb, the social hub of the village, there was always someone to have a drink with in there.  Apart from the last six months while Willow Cottage was renovated, the guesthouse was filled most weeks which always kept her busy.  And Nick’s family, his Aunty Sophia and his Dad, she loved them like they were her own.  But despite all that, there was a loneliness in her heart that never really went away.

Thuds and groans could be heard through the bedroom walls.  The boy certainly had stamina.  They’d hardly left the bedroom since they had arrived the day before. 

It was a constant reminder that she wasn’t getting any.  She missed the intimacy, the cuddles and kisses.  But the loneliness was more than that.  It was a hole that could never be filled.

As they reached a quick crescendo next door, Annie grabbed her keys and headed out.  She really didn’t want to be there for the encore.



Rosie watched the thin sliver of gold as it peeped over the top of the sea.  It was early morning and the only thing that had forced her and Jake from their bed was their empty bellies.

Sex was hungry work.

The breakfast was cooking nicely as Jake moved to her side.  He passed her a mug of tea and slung his arm round her shoulders, caressing the base of her neck with tiny circles.

Suddenly a banshee dressed all in white ran down the garden next door, screaming.  Long blonde hair trailed behind the woman like a banner.  She was wearing a long white nightdress, which although covered her body from neck to knee, in the early morning sunlight it was completely and utterly see through. 

Rosie was aware that the stroking of her neck had stopped.  She looked at Jake who was seemingly transfixed by the ethereal beauty. 

‘And there was me thinking you only had eyes for me.’

He looked down at her and smiled.  ‘I do my love, of course.  I was just wondering if we were watching a ghost.’

She smiled at the picture of innocence on his face.  ‘So you definitely weren’t checking out her tits?’

His eyes lowered to look at her own breasts.  ‘These are the only tits I need.’ He reached out to fondle one through her t-shirt, circling one arm round her waist, but she quickly wriggled from his grasp.

‘Don’t think you can get round me that way.  Make me breakfast and I’ll go and see if she’s ok.’

‘And will madam be wanting a sausage?’ He waggled his eyebrows saucily.

She deliberately ignored his innuendo.  ‘Yes I’ll have two.’

He quirked up a playful eyebrow.  ‘One for now, one for later.’


Rosie opened the door and ran outside just as a fox leapt over the connecting fence between the gardens.  She froze.  She’d never seen a fox so close before.  He froze too, his rusty fur glinting like bronze in the sunlight.  Then sleek and fast, he leapt over the outer fence and disappeared.

Rosie let herself through the connecting gate to see the banshee walking calmly back up the garden. 

‘Hey, are you ok?’ 

‘Oh yes, sorry, did I disturb you?  A fox was after my chickens.’

Rosie forced her eyes to stay looking at the other woman’s face, there was nowhere else to look.  Either the woman didn’t have a clue that her nightie was so transparent or she didn’t care.  There were plenty of women down Rosie’s gym that would strip naked quite happily in the changing rooms and even walk around on their phones with their bits hanging out.  Rosie was definitely one of those women that would hide under a towel or even better go to the toilets to get changed.  Would it be appropriate to mention to this stranger that she could see absolutely everything?  No definitely not.

‘I saw him jump over our fence, are the chickens ok?’

Such polite conversation when two nipples were standing to attention almost in front of her face.

‘Yes, they’re fine, I’m Annie by the way.’ She stuck out a hand to greet Rosie.

‘Annie Butterworth? Wow, I was expecting someone a lot older.’

Annie grinned. ‘It happens a lot. Are you enjoying the cottage?’

Rosie found herself blushing.  Did Annie know that they’d had sex in every room of the house?  ‘Yes it’s lovely and Wells-Next-The-Sea is such a beautiful place.’

Annie looked around proudly.  ‘It really is.  Well, it smells like your breakfast is nearly ready, so I’ll let you get back.  Do let me know if there’s anything you need.’

Rosie smiled and waved at the retreating naked bum that she could see and rushed back inside.


Annie walked back upstairs but as she passed a long mirror at the top of the stairs she stopped dead.  To her horror she realised that the nightie she had bought at a charity jumble sale the week before was completely see-through. Not only had she run outside wearing it, but she had stood and had a proper conversation with one of her guests.  She groaned, feeling her cheeks burn red.

‘Hey, I’m Annie, here are my breasts.’

She yanked her nightie off, slung it across the room then stepped in the shower hoping to wash away the feeling of embarrassment.

If Nick had been there he would have found the whole thing hilarious. 



Annie Butterworth, what a shock! With a name like Mrs Annie Butterworth I was honestly expecting some grey haired granny with half-moon glasses who would bring round homemade lemon drizzle cake. I didn’t expect someone so young and pretty. Jake thought you were a ghost at first, seeing you run through the garden with your long white dress and blonde hair flying theatrically behind you.  It was quite the entrance.

It was great talking to you today.  Where is Mr Butterworth?  You both must come round for dinner one night.

Love Rosie



Annie stood in the kitchen of Willow Cottage. The house was empty, she’d seen Rosie and Jake leave for the beach earlier that morning. She hadn’t seen the couple to talk to since her rather embarrassing encounter the day before, though she knew she would have to face them at some point. 

She saw the guestbook open on the dining table and flicked through, smiling at the messages that Rosie and Jake had written.  She read Rosie’s last message and felt her heart stutter.  Why did it always hurt when people asked about Nick? 

She was in a bubble here in Chalk Hill.  Everyone knew her business so no one ever asked about him.  Most of them would sooner chop off their own hand than mention his name in public.  In many ways Annie preferred that. So when a stranger did ask about him it always hurt.

She was much better lately, the renovations on Willow Cottage had felt like she was finally drawing a line under that part of her life and starting again.  But a simple, innocuous question like Rosie’s always felt like a brief stab to the heart.

She rubbed her wedding ring, took a deep breath and started writing.



Hi Rosie, it was lovely to meet you too.  I’m more than happy to come round with homemade lemon drizzle cake if that’s what you were expecting.  I don’t have half-moon glasses but I can wear my reading glasses if that will work.  As for the ghost, I was always cast as the angel in the school plays, being a ghost would have been much more exciting. 

Mr Butterworth – Ha, Nick would have hated been called that – died two years ago so he won’t be joining us for dinner. If the weather stays fine how about you two join me for a barbeque tomorrow night? 

Let me know if you want some eggs, Suzie and Doris, the chickens, are laying them faster than I can collect them.



There, that was casual.  And it hurt a lot less than it did a year before.

She replaced the towels with clean ones and walked back to her house, trying to ignore the loneliness that was gnawing away at her heart.  She absently flicked through her phone, her fingers hovering over one name in particular.

She scrunched up her eyes and pressed dial.

He answered on the first ring.


‘Hey Olly, you ok?’  She knew her voice sounded overly cheery.  She knew he knew as well.

He was silent for a moment.  ‘I was thinking of coming over actually, is Willow Cottage finished?’

‘Yes, but you can stay with me, you don’t have to stay there.’

He was silent again.

‘I need to work on my book so it would be good to stay in Willow Cottage.  I could come by in a few weeks if that works?’

‘It’s empty next week.’

She heard the rustle of paper and knew Olly was desperately rearranging appointments in his head.  She didn’t want him to put his life on hold for her but the part of her that wanted to see him now stopped her from saying that a few weeks would be fine.

‘Saturday?’ he said.

‘That would be great.  I’ve really missed you.’

‘Annie, are you ok?’

‘Yes, I’m fine.’

She resisted saying she was fine now he was coming.

‘I better go,’ he said. 

She hung up and knew Sophia would be getting a phone call from him in about two seconds time.  She left the front door open and put the kettle on, cutting two slices of carrot cake. 

Sure enough two minutes and seventeen seconds later Sophia breezed in as if she just happened to be passing.


Rosie re-read Annie’s message for the tenth time, dashing away tears from her eyes.  Annie was so young and already widowed.  She couldn’t imagine what that would be like to lose Jake.  Heart-breaking.


Annie, I’m so sorry, I really need to engage my brain before I speak.  I’m such a nosy cow. I just assumed that as you were Mrs Butterworth that he was still around.  I’m sorry.


‘Rosie, what’s happened?’

Jake crossed the room quickly and took her in his arms.

She leaned her head against his chest listening to his heart beating.  ‘Promise me you’ll never leave me Jake.’

‘Hey, what’s brought this on?  I love you, there is nothing that’s going to change that.’

She looked up at him and he gently wiped the tears from her cheeks, his eyes filled with concern.

‘Annie’s a widow.  Her husband died two years ago.’

His face cleared a little.  ‘Oh.  Oh I see.  Well I’m immortal so you’ve got no chance of losing me like that.’

She giggled.  ‘Do you have superpowers with your immortality?’

He suppressed a smirk.  ‘Would you like me to show you?’

She nodded and he swept her up into his arms.

‘Now I have one part of me that is hard as steel.’

‘You’re such a pervert Jake.’

‘What?  I was talking about my knees, you’re the one with your mind in the gutter.’

She laughed as he carried her upstairs.




Annie we have had the best time.  We are going to come again soon.  We don’t live that far away so we’re going to drive down when you have some free weekends.



Yes, I came here for a quiet week after the stress of the wedding, but we’re definitely going to be coming back on a regular basis.  Willow Cottage is beautiful. Thanks so much for making us so welcome.



Annie waved Rosie and Jake off, feeling deliciously nervous and excited about the arrival of her next guest.  It had been nearly six months since she had last seen Olly.  He lived in New York and he was always so busy so he didn’t get over as often as he’d like.

Nothing was going to happen between them.  She knew that.  He’d made that very clear.  But still, it’d be good to see him again.

‘I guess he’ll be here soon,’ Sophia said from behind her, as she ran a mop around the kitchen floor.

Annie closed the front door and watched her.  After Nick’s death Sophia had kind of taken over the maintenance and cleaning of Willow Cottage in between guests.  She had been a godsend.  Willow Cottage would have been closed down if it hadn’t been for Sophia. But even now, when Annie was on the mend and feeling so much more positive about life, Sophia still turned up after every guest left to clean the place from top to bottom. Annie had suggested that she could perhaps take this back over, but Sophia had been offended by this and Annie’s subsequent offer to pay her so the arrangement had stayed.

Annie focussed in on what she’d just said.  ‘I wasn’t watching out for him, I was just waving goodbye to Jake and Rosie.’

Sophia smiled as she wrung out the mop.

‘Stop smiling.’

‘I’m just smiling, nothing wrong with that.’

Annie suppressed a smirk. ‘I’m not excited.’

‘Of course not.’

‘He took an earlier flight.’

‘I know.’

‘I mean, he’s really busy so I guess I won’t see much of him whilst he’s here.’

‘No I guess not.’ Sophia’s eyes glanced over her shoulder.  ‘Well he’s here now, so I’ll go and change the sheets upstairs, leave you two to… well you know.’

She walked upstairs and Annie found herself ridiculously flattening her hair.  How to play this?  Casually would be good.  She would say hello and offer to make him lunch.  She watched as he strode up her path and felt a sudden yearning for him.  She rushed forward and flung open the door.

Olly stared at her and then put down his bag.  That little half smile, those olive green eyes that looked inside her.  Casual be damned.  She ran forward and threw herself into his open arms.

He held her tight, kissing the top of her head.

But the hug changed very quickly from being so happy to see him again to relishing the feel of his body against hers.

Flashes of him kissing her, touching her, looking into her eyes as he made love to her ran through her mind.  How could he deny something which had been so perfect between them?

She looked up at him, hoping he could feel the spark between them too.  But his eyes were guarded, his face closed as he gently pushed himself away from her embrace.

‘It’s good to see you too Annie, you look well.’

‘I feel well.’ They were never going to talk about what happened between them that night.  It was never going to happen again.  She quickly quelled the huge wave of disappointment.  ‘Come and see the new house, it looks brilliant.  Then I’ll make you some lunch.’

‘Sounds good.’ He picked up his bag and followed her into the house.


The blog tour continues tomorrow with and there’ll be a review on

Link to buy:
Now YOU can get involved too, here is our very own Guestbook online, take the time to visit and leave a comment, join in the fun and tell us what you thought of your experience. Meet new friends or be nosey and see what others have got up to before you! 




Friday, 14 February 2014

Be My Valentine- Short Story Collection from Harper Impulse


I'm not always a huge fan of short stories, but must admit that a bitesize romance always warms my heart.  This new collection from Harper Impulse was no exception.  There is something for everyone as Nikki Moore, Brigid Coady and Teresa F Morgan explore love in all its guises.  There is heartache, there is sweetness, there is romance. 

Whilst I enjoyed all of the stories, I particularly liked Nikki Moore's The Love Letter and  A Day in the Life -her voice as an author really resonated with me and I can't wait to read more of her work.

Be My Valentine is a great way to inject a bit of romance into your life this Valentine's day, and the perfect opportunity to try some new authors to boot.

Be My Valentine is out now, published by Harper Impulse.  You can find out more by clicking on the banner above.


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

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Memory Book- Rowan Coleman

I have always been a big fan of Rowan Coleman.  Her writing is exquisite, emotive, tender.  She isn't afraid to tackle difficult subjects.  Her characters are beautifully shaped, her plotlines are fresh, she writes with pace.  It's fair to say I had been quite excited about The Memory Book and it turns out I had good reason to be.

Claire is an ordinary woman.  She has two daughters.  A husband.  A sometimes overbearing mother.  She also has early onset Alzheimers.  Claire compiles a memory book full of memories and mementoes so her family will have something to remember her by.  The Memory Book tells not just Claire's viewpoint, but also that of her family, and it is this which makes it a captivating read.

There were moments when I laughed and (many) moments where I cried, right from the first page to the final crescendo.  Huge, gulping sobs, not just a silent tear which I could quietly dismiss.  I felt like my heart had been trampled on.  My stomach was churning.  I could barely swallow for the lump in my throat.  Rowan Coleman evoked all these emotions and physical responses in me through her wonderful storytelling.  Her characters were so real and true that they felt like friends, and the pain I felt for their situation was real.

It is a poignant, thought provoking and absolutely heartbreaking read, yet also incredibly uplifting.  The Memory Book is a reminder to treasure every moment with those you love.  It is incredible.  Go and read it.

The Memory Book is out now, published by Ebury.


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

Monday, 10 February 2014

An Autumn Crush- Milly Johnson

The Blurb
After a bruising divorce, headstrong Juliet Miller invests in a flat and advertises for a flatmate, little believing that in her late thirties she'll find anyone suitable. But along comes self-employed copywriter Floz, raw from her own relationship split, and the two woman hit it off. And when Juliet's twin brother Guy meets Floz, he is overcome with a massive crush. But being a shy, gentle giant, he communicates so clumsily with her as to give her the opposite impression.
Guy's best friend Steve has always had a secret, unrequited crush on Juliet. After a night of too much wine, Steve and Juliet end up in bed, after moaning about the lack of sex in their lives. Convinced that Juliet doesn't feel the same way, Steve agrees to a 'just-sex' relationship, until they can both find other partners.
Floz has never had much love in her life and is obviously thirsty for affection. She loves the whole Miller family, from Juliet and Guy's warm, loving parents, to their ancient one-eyed black cat. But can Guy turn Floz's affection for his family into something more – into love for him?
The Review
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed An Autumn Crush!  It had absolutely everything you could hope for in a book- good humour, likeable characters, romance, escapism...and of course being written by Milly Johnson it is obviously a top drawer 'chicklit' read.  Her books are always fast paced and snappy, and An Autumn Crush is no exception. 
For me the strength of this book lies in the portrayal of the relationships between characters.  As human beings we are ultimately affected and affecting by and of others, and Milly Johnson makes this very obvious throughout the book.  I was absolutely rooting for love to reign and there were moments where I had tears in my eyes-always the sign of a good book!
I liked how the plot was believable and 'real' and the characters were just ordinary people living their lives.  Sometimes authors seem to think they need to create outlandish characters, yet Milly Johnson's tend to be warm, caring, often vulnerable people in need of love and friendship.
Another wonderful read!
An Autumn Crush is out now, published by Simon and Schuster.
I am also happy to say that the winner of the rafflecopter competition from last week has now been contacted- thank you to everyone who entered-it was certainly a popular one!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Paige Toon Book Signing- Waterstone's, Manchester 8/2/2014


It isn't every day you get to meet a bestselling author (well, admittedly, I do it reasonably regularly, but you know what I mean) and meeting the lovely Paige Toon at Waterstone's in Manchester's Arndale Centre today was an absolute pleasure.  Paige happily signed copies of her novels, including her YA debut The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson and made time to talk to her readers and pose for photos.  It was also lovely that she remembered the Books with Bunny blog and that she had taken part in a Q and A with us last year (you can read it here).

Me and my boy meet 'Page Two'

My excitable six year old was also delighted to meet Paige, he was slightly obsessed with her name being 'Paige Toon' which he noted is exceptionally close to 'Page Two'...  That boy and his imagination...I wonder where he gets it from ?!  He also says she was very pretty and that he liked that he got to sit in her chair (whilst we were waiting he decided to sit in the author hotseat-warming it up for Princess Paige!), and she was incredibly patient with his attempts to foist pens, post its and protractors onto her!
Another lovely aspect of going to book signings is being surrounded by likeminded people, people who have the same passion for reading, appreciation for the hard work involved in writing a novel and who still value the importance of a 'real' book.  After all, you can't get an ebook signed, and if you could it wouldn't have that same physical presence.  Today I finally met my twitter friend @EmmaLouAuthor who is a fellow book blogger and who is also trying to get her own writing published.  We seem to be incredibly similar so it was really lovely to meet in person and be able to give each other a real hug rather than a cyber hug!   I also got to meet Gemma who was a sweetheart as well, the time waiting for Paige flew by as we were jabbering away about Lego, Harry Potter, One Direction and of course, books. 
It was a wonderful day spent with genuinely nice people, well worth an early start for.  I also had the opportunity to start The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson on the train home, and I have a feeling it could be Paige's best book yet.  I was immersed in Jessie's world, completely and utterly.  The gamble to expand and write for the YA audience has definitely paid off in my eyes!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Blackout- Emily Barr and Quick Reads launch day

Quick Reads are short books designed for adults who don't have time to read full length novels, or who have a fear of reading long books.  At around 100 pages each, Quick Reads are well developed, stand alone stories by best selling authors.  There are Quick Reads in many different genres so there really is something for everyone!  And at just £1 per book, they are a great way to try something different.

I was absolutely thrilled when Quick Reads sent me Blackout to review. I'd not read anything by Emily Barr since Cuban Heels, and I couldn't wait to try this one.

The blurb said...

You wake up in a strange room, with no idea how you got there.

You are abroad, in a city you have never visited before.

You have no money, no passport, no phone.

And there is no sign of your baby.

What do you do?

Without giving too much away (which is especially hard when reviewing a short book!) this psychological thriller had me gripped.  It had twists and turns and I never knew what to believe.  In some ways I do wish it had been a full length novel, purely because in just over an hour I had finished it.  There was definitely a sense of disappointment that it was over, it was exactly the kind of book I enjoy, full of intrigue and suspense. 

I'd recommend Blackout to anyone, but if you have read and enjoyed books by Paula Daly or enjoyed TV shows such as Broadchurch, this may well be something you'll love.

Find out more about Quick Reads at their website, and watching this beautiful video about books.  It totally encapsulates how I feel about reading.

Blackout is out now.


With thanks to Quick Reads for sending me a copy of this book to review in return for my honest opinion.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

The First Time We Met-Pippa Croft- Promo Blitz

I'm delighted to be part of Pippa Croft's promo blitz!  I've been patiently awaiting the release of this book for months, and now the day almost finally here-yippee!!!!  Keep on reading to get a sneaky peek at an extract and to find out more about the author... and then buy the book when it is realeased next week !

The First Time We Met by Pippa Croft

Blurb: When US Senator's daughter, Lauren Cusack, arrives at the enchanting Wyckham College of Oxford University she hopes to mend her broken heart by throwing herself into her studies.
But then English aristocrat Alexander Hunt walks into her life and everything changes. Handsome, brooding, and with his own dark past to escape, Alexander is exactly what Lauren doesn't need - but she finds herself helplessly drawn towards him.

Both Alexander and Lauren know that they should stay away from each other... but sometimes desire is so powerful that it conquers all else.

The First Time We Met is the first novel in Pippa Croft's Oxford Blue Series. Fans of Sylvia Day, E L James and Beth Kery will love this compelling romance series.

About Pippa: Pippa Croft is the pen name of an award-winning romantic novelist. After studying English at Oxford, she worked as a copywriter and journalist before writing her debut novel, which won the RNA's New Writers' award and was later made into a TV movie. She lives in a village in the heart of England with her husband and daughter.



Lauren Cusack is an American student, newly arrived to start her master’s in Art History at Wyckham College, Oxford. As she unloaded her luggage, she glimpsed a strikingly handsome guy, and has wondered ever since who he is...

In spite of my words, my pulse rate spikes as I take in the dark brown hair and those quarterback shoulders. I know him. He’s the guy from the Range Rover.

He can’t be that much older than me, but there’s something behind those eyes that makes me think he’s lived much longer and seen so much more than I ever have or will. He glares down at me as if I’ve committed a crime.

‘You’ve been crying,’ he says.

‘No, I have not.’ But damn, my hand brushes over my cheek as I deny the obvious.

‘Yes, you have. Your eyes look red and your face is wet.’

‘So my contacts are irritating. Is there a law against it?’

His nostrils flare slightly. ‘Of course not. Wait.’ He pulls a clean white square from the pocket of his suit and his voice softens. ‘May I? There’s a lash in the corner of your eye. I don’t want to smudge your mascara any more than it already is. Tilt your head up, please.’

 It may be a request but the way he says it, there’s no room for negotiation.  I tilt and my heart thumps like a road drill. Reaching out, he dabs at the tear tracks on my cheek with his handkerchief. I know I ought to feel patronised but it’s such an unexpectedly tender gesture from this granite-hewn guy that I don’t want to stop him. As his fingers brush across my damp skin, there’s a tightening low in my belly that I can’t mistake for anger or nerves. As he touches me, my skin prickles all over and not in a bad way.

‘Just relax,’ he orders and I’m in no position to disobey with my gaze turned skyward. I feel the cool of metal softly graze my cheek and realise he has a ring on his little finger. This close, he smells of freshly laundered linen. No cologne, no booze, just cool and clean and composed.

 ‘That’s it.’

There’s a moment where I don’t think I will ever be able to move again, then I glance down and the eyelash is the tiniest thing on the tip of his little finger. And there’s the ring. A gold signet ring like my grandfather used to wear.

‘Thank you.’

 ‘A pleasure.’ His expression doesn’t match his words but he adds, ‘That didn’t hurt a bit, did it?’

If he says it doesn’t hurt, I guess it doesn’t. The wind is blowing through the cloisters and has pasted my damp dress to my body like shrink wrap. I feel naked before him and throw my arms around my chest, not that it’s any kind of protection from a gaze that seems to penetrate my flesh and bones.

A smile flickers over his face and for that brief second, his austerely handsome profile is transfused with warmth. My God, he is beautiful. Scary but divine. What is he doing here at Wyckham?

‘Don’t look so scared. I don’t bite.’

You can also watch the promo trailer for this book (including my own fair self!) talking about the first time they met inspirational people in their lives.