Joanna Bolouri Talks Books..

With 66 five star reviews, Joanna Bolouri is one of the most talked about debut authors of 2014. Well, she is in my eyes. With her brilliantly hilarious book The List reaching above expectations, she’s got her readers eagerly awaiting for book number two. She’s constantly cracking us all up on Twitter, but I wanted to know how she felt about writing the dreaded second book. Joanna very kindly wrote a superb (and funny) piece for you all. If it doesn’t make you purchase The List *cough* £3.50 on Amazon *cough* then you’re CRAZY!!

Writing is a labour of love and just like labour, it can make you scream, sweat, shit the bed and cry, but at the end you get something that you created and will love forever, even if everyone else thinks it’s a bit weird or sounds funny.
When I wrote The List, I hoped that someone would publish it. That’s a stupid statement actually, I didn’t write a book so I’d have something hefty to wedge under my wonky garden table did I? What I mean is, I hoped that a publisher would see what I saw and that maybe, just maybe I’d see it in Asda one day and freak out, shouting – ‘I FUCKING WROTE THAT’ while someone nearby calls security.

I was a single parent when I wrote The List and I’m still a single parent, only now I’m one who’s a bit older and a lot more fucking tired…and sweary. Kids do that. There was no pressure when I wrote my first book but now that The List will be published in 14 countries and the reviews have been amazing (and even my mum liked it), I’m scared that the second book will be the one that violently boots me back into the queue at the job centre. But I still have hope.

People often say, ‘isn’t it easier writing your second novel because you know what you’re doing now?’ and the answer is ‘WHAT THE HELL MAKES YOU THINK I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING?’ Seriously, this writing stuff doesn’t come easily. I can’t type for shit and I’m still not entirely sure what syntax is but my burning desire to communicate through misspelled prose leaves me no choice but to dive in and hope for the best.

Don’t get me wrong, this pressure comes solely from me. My agent and editor are amazingly un-shouty (that’s a word) and supportive but I’ve now realised that this shit is realz, it’s both exciting and scary.

My next (soon to be renamed) novel I Followed the Rules is another rom com which sees journalist Cat Buchanan forced to date only by rules laid out in self help dating book The 10 Rules of Enticement. So what am I hoping for now?  Honestly? I’m hopeful my second novel won’t suck.

Twitter: @scribbles78
Website: http://joannabolouri.wordpress.com

Jessica Thompson Talks Books…

Jessica Thompson came into the author world in 2012 with her debut novel, This Is A Love Story: But Not Every Story Is The Same. It was then closely followed by her second novel Three Little Words: They Mean So Much. Now, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Paper Swans, out on 31st July – which I will have a review for on that day! I sat down with Jessica to discuss her writing life and of course, some fun questions were thrown in as well…

 

Q. First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your busy lead up to Paper Swans. You must be thrilled to have a third novel going into the hands of readers. For those who have been living under a rock, what is Paper Swans about?
A.
It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me! Paper Swans is essentially about a life-changing love… You can have different relationships over the years, but few of them alter you in a big way, or change the course of your life significantly. Ben Lawrence comes across as so carefree. He seems to have it all, but no one knows what’s really going on beneath the surface. He is haunted by a tragedy in his past, and is slowly being destroyed by the memories of it. It isn’t until he meets the kind of woman he’d never normally approach, that his life is transformed. The book explores the reality of mental illness too. It’s a subject I’m deeply passionate about.

Q. Ben Lawrence, the main male character sounds HOT! Do you ever base your male characters on a celebrity in order to bring that sex appeal across?
A.
I don’t tend to nowadays, though I’m sure I’ve been inspired by them in the past (ahem, Jake Gyllenhaal!). The characters and how they look, speak and behave, usually form clearly in my mind. It’s like they have a life of their own, so I tend to just take it from there, as that’s more than enough to work with!

Q. Effy Jones, the main female character seems very edgy. How did you enjoy writing about her and did you put any of yourself into her?
A.
Thank you! I like that description of her. I absolutely adored writing about Effy Jones, she felt like a friend to me by the end of it all and I was sad to stop writing. I think when I’m creating characters I always put a little bit of myself into all of them, whoever they are, so I can write from the heart. It’s almost inevitable to draw from experiences, thoughts I might have had, and observations about the world. They are all projected onto the page in some way, but not in the literal sense. I went to Uganda and volunteered for a children’s charity in my early twenties, so those sections are closely inspired by my experiences. Apart from that though, she is really quite different to me. (And much, much cooler!)

Q. Your books are Chick-Lit but they always come with some sort of unexpected twist. I can’t give an example without giving the plot of the other books away so readers go buy them and you’ll understand. Did you continue with the twist in Paper Swans or have you kept it mellow this time?
A.
I did continue with a twist yes… (Eeeek). That’s all I’m going to say!

Q. You’re published by Hodder and Stoughton, for the readers of my blog who wish to become an author, what tips would you give them in finishing the first manuscript and then finding an agent?
A.
Well, this is a tricky one because I met my agent, Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown, before I wrote my manuscript. I was a journalist at a local paper and was spotted by a gentleman who works for Hodder. I provided him with more examples of my writing, and he kindly sent them to my now agent Sheila, who invited me in for a meeting. That was when This is a Love Story was born! I do know however, that events and groups agencies and publishers organise (such as the Curtis Brown Creative Group), are fantastic opportunities. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for things to get involved in like that.

Q. If you could write a book with ANY other author, who would it be and why?
A.
That’s tricky! I would go for David Nicholls who wrote One Day. It was a masterpiece and I could learn so much from him. I’d have millions of questions, and I would take pages and pages of notes. He’s a legend.

Q. Is there any book in the world which you’d wish you’d written?
A.
Apart from One Day… hmmm… there are many I could name, but I’m going to go with Angel by Elizabeth Taylor. I wrote a long, rambling blog post about it here on my blog (http://jessicathompsonbooks.com/2014/05/04/my-new-favourite-book-angel-by-elizabeth-taylor/). In short, the writing is stunning. It’s all about a novelist who I admired for her strength and determination. I think she’s a fascinating character that you love and despise all at the same time. In my view, that kind of relationship with a character is the result of very good writing. It’s genius.

Q. How has social media and especially book bloggers changed your writing career?
A.
It’s tricky to know how it has changed my career, as I was published when Twitter was booming and the blogging community was already well established. I would say though, the support from bloggers has been unreal and has helped me so much. I’m hugely grateful to everyone who has got behind me. I was welcomed with open arms from day one, and that’s made a positive impact on my confidence and starting off my author social media ‘presence’. It’s also wonderful to hear from readers of my books who get in touch with me via my Facebook page and Twitter. Social media makes that more instant and much easier. That contact and feedback has certainly kept me going. It makes the long hours totally worth it.

Okay, now for the quick fire round…

Favourite ice cream flavour? Cookie dough

Best film you’ve seen this year? I Give It A Year

All time favourite character from Harry Potter? Errr… Harry?

Favourite book you could reread over and over and over again? Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Tea or coffee? Coffee (I’m totally dependant on it)

Cats or dogs? Dogs

Paperback or Kindle? Paperback

Cinema or DVD? DVD

Internet or TV? Internet

Favourite holiday destination? Paris

Dream job? Author

Twitter: @Jthompsonauthor
Website: www.jessicathompsonbooks.com

 

Jennifer Joyce Talks Books..

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. A Beginner’s Guide To Salad is available as an ebook now and Everything Changes But You will be published on 16th September 2014. I sat down with her to discuss her views on writing the second book…

 

I’ve written lots of books over the years (mostly terrible, terrible ones, but let’s sweep that fact away for now) but none have made me as nervous as Everything Changes But You. Prior to publishing my first novel, A Beginner’s Guide To Salad, my books had been mostly for my eyes, with only the first few chapters going off to agents. Now my books are going to be (hopefully) seen by other people. And that is scary.

I didn’t know A Beginner’s Guide To Salad was going to be self-published until quite a few months after I’d completed it, so the nerves weren’t yet present as I wrote it (although they would be later, believe me). I’d always hoped it would one day be ‘out there’, but it wasn’t definite.

Everything_Changes_But_You_Jennifer_Joyce

With Everything Changes But You, it was definite. I was writing a second book and I was going to publish it. And that is scary. Very scary. I was no longer writing for me. I was thinking about a wider audience as I typed, wondering if people would get my humour or like my characters and my writing style. It helped when I started to get positive feedback for A Beginner’s Guide To Salad, but would people like this new book? These new characters? Would they think the magical element was silly? I couldn’t answer those questions (and I’m still asking them now), but I do know that I like my new book and its new characters and I’ve enjoyed writing the magical element so I can only hope that others will enjoy it too.

I don’t think the nerves or doubts will ever get easier, no matter how many books I write. They’ll always be there because every book will be different, with different characters and storylines. I can only cross my fingers and hope that people enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

Everything Changes But You Blurb:

Ally Richmond is dreading turning thirty and bidding farewell to her youth. And when her husband says he wants to start a family, she begins to panic. Is this all that life has to offer from now on? Popping out babies and growing old gracefully? She wants a life crammed with glamour and spontaneous adventure, not one full of dirty nappies and night feeds.

When Ally makes a silly birthday wish for a new, exciting life, her wish is granted. But when Ally is presented with the freedom and opportunities she craves, she soon realises this new life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and that there really is no place like home.

Twitter: @Writer_Jenn
Website:  www.jenniferjoycewrites.co.uk

 

Review of What A Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk

Published: 17th July 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 416

Blurb:

Being arrested in your own bedroom is never a good start to the day. Tess Brookes really needs to sort out her back-stabbing flatmate – and her life.

Should she gamble all on the new photography job she’s landed, or snap up the offer from long-time crush and best friend Charlie to start up on their own – in more ways than one? There’s just one small thing she hasn’t mentioned. Or rather, one tall thing. He’s handsome, infuriating and called Nick…

For the first time, Tess has to choose between the life she always dreamed of and a future she never imagined possible. From London to Milan, with high fashion and low behaviour thrown in, she’s going to have to make up her mind what a girl really wants…

Review:

Thank you to Harper Collins for kindly allowing me to review. Today is my stop on the blog tour and as well as my review, I spoke to Lindsey about writing the second book in the Tess series.

In the prologue, Tess finds herself in trouble with the police and it’s not long before her best friend Amy joins her. I love that Lindsey begins the book bang smack in the middle of a situation and it really hooks the reader in. Instantly, I wanted to know what these two women have done in order to be behind bars.

In the first book, About A Girl, Tess is in love with her best friend Charlie but then she meets writer Nick in Hawaii. The love triangle continues and it’s a real roller coaster of a journey. Tess respects Charlie a lot, he helps her out in sticky situations and on paper, he’s her ideal man. But what about Nick? He’s beautiful and they have unbelievable chemistry. Despite Nick being a t-w-a-t (Amy’s words, not mine), I was always #TeamNick from the beginning but in this book, I found myself warming to Charlie quite a bit.

Lindsey has a brilliant way with words. Her writing style is funny and there is a lot of sarcastic banter between Tess and Amy which I absolutely loved. Their friendship is incredible and readers will find themselves instantly laughing along their journey. I loved that Lindsey kept quite a lot of the same characters from book one and I believe that that was really important for the reader, but we also have a few new ones which was brilliant. It just adds and adds to the ever growing Tess family.

The ending of the narrative was my favourite part and I knew that Lindsey wouldn’t disappoint. The drama kicked off and Tess found herself to be torn between two men (lucky lady!), but who would she run after? The plot is very fast paced at the end and I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough as it was a real shock fest. When I reached the final page, my exact words were: KELK, YOU CAN NOT LEAVE A BOOK LIKE THIS! It was extremely well written, the dialogue was spot on, the humour had me giggling in all the right places and I desperately need more.

Lindsey On Writing Book 2…

When I started writing About A Girl, I’d already finished five I Heart books and The Single Girl’s To-Do List so I was itching to try something new. While I love Angela and Jenny and all the I Heart gang, as a storyteller, I was ready to try something new. It’s a strange urge because you know that people would readily eat up I Heart books until they’re down to I Heart That Dodgy Car Park Round the Back of Meadowhall and there’s a huge temptation to rest on your laurels and keep pumping out Angela and Alex stories like some sort of romcom cow but, eventually, that would have sent me mental and my imagination needed a break.

Writing different stories, or trying different styles of writing, is like flexing a different muscle. If all you ever did was lift weights, you’d end up with massively over-developed arms and skinny little legs. If all I ever did was write I Heart books, I’d lose the ability to write anything else. Not to say that it wasn’t terrifying. I knew there was a story I wanted to tell and I knew none of the characters in Angela’s universe were right to tell it but I was still very anxious about asking the general reading public to take on a new character, to accept a new girl, and care as much about her life as they already did about Angie and the gang.

Because I’d already written one standalone book, I thought I was ready for how hard it was going to be but dear god, I had completely forgotten. Every day in the first few weeks of writing, I would read over my work, freak out, panic that it wasn’t good enough, that it wasn’t as good as an I Heart book, that no one would like Tess and then close the computer, hide it in another room and curl up on the sofa to watch some terrible TV programme and pretend it wasn’t happening. Eventually, a friend offered to help by putting together a writing schedule for me which meant I had to deliver a certain number of words each week, whether I liked them or not. As a horrendously competitive human being, it worked. Ten weeks later, I had a finished book.

Writing What A Girl Wants slightly easier in that I’d already gotten to know the characters a little bit and I really couldn’t wait to hang out with them again but, of course, the universe conspired against me and even though I had given myself four clear months to write the book, in those months someone decided it would be fun if I broke up with my boyfriend, got very ill and lost my grandmother. Because just having a book to write wasn’t stressful enough. There were a lot of times during the writing of this book that I wanted to chuck it in the bin and pretend it wasn’t happening – even when I finished the first draft, I was absolutely certain of it’s shittiness and I couldn’t believe it when my editor and agent came back and said they loved it. Somehow, all of the drama and nonsense and heartbreak that had been going on in my life had woven its way into the pages. At the time, I’d assumed that was a terrible thing but looking back, I think What A Girl Wants is my most honest, genuine and probably funniest book yet. God help me if I have to go through all of that again to get the next one out…

Lindsey blog tour banner

Don’t forget to check out the other blog tour stops as there are plenty of reviews, blog posts and much more to come…

Twitter: @LindseyKelk
Website: www.lindseykelk.com

Review of High Heels And Bicycle Wheels by Jane Linfoot

Published: 17th July 2014
Publisher: Harper Impulse

Blurb: 

Meet Bryony: she’s a fun-loving, very single TV production assistant whose idea of sport is the Jimmy Choo sales scrum. Meet Jackson: Cycling’s bad boy superstar. Injured and out of a certain race this summer, without his training, he’s looking for another distraction…

Bryony’s facing a triple whammy – her last single friend just named the day, her mother’s offering to have her eggs frozen, and the guy she’s loved from afar, forever, has just got hitched. So she’s more than happy to accept the offer of a totally out of character but seriously steamy one night of no-strings fun. Especially when the guy in question is so attractive he even looks good in Lycra! Jackson’s on the lookout for a new career but if the opportunity to work on TV means a fortnight with the most uptight woman in the world, he’d rather not bother. He never goes in for seconds – and who in their right mind would head off in a campervan, with a woman who irons her knickers?

Review:

Thank you to Jane for kindly asking me to review her new book. I’ve always said that Jane doesn’t get the recognition she truly deserves. If you have a Kindle, treat yourself to her three books. You won’t regret it, I promise.

The hot naked tush alert… Well, if that opening doesn’t get your attention then I don’t know what will. I was immediately drawn into the narrative hoping that this tush belonged to a beautiful, sexy man and BINGO, it does. Bryony (not the owner of the tush) is a strong, independent woman who is a production assistant in the wonderful world of TV. I had a little sense of déjà vu while I read about Bryony. I constantly thought that I had already read her story in one of Jane’s other books. Soon enough, we learn that the tush belongs to sexy cyclist Jackson. Ding dong. Jane certainly knows how to write chemistry.

Throughout the plot, their spark grew and grew. I was begging for them to get together and Jane takes us on a complete roller coaster of a love journey. She’s hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s a fabulous girly read which can happily be read in an afternoon, just like I did.

Twitter: @janelinfoot
Website: http://www.janelinfoot.co.uk

 

Jenny Colgan Talks Books…

Jenny Colgan has been writing Chick-Lit since 2000 and since then, we’ve been overwhelmed with bestselling novel after bestselling novel. She splits her days between London and France. She’s a lover of Doctor Who and always makes time for readers and fans on Twitter. I sat down with Jenny (after the fan girl moment) and asked her a couple of questions…

Q. First of all, a MASSIVE thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Your recently novel, Little Beach Street Bakery was yet another hit for you. For those who have yet to read, what is the book about?
A. Well, I thought it was about a girl called Polly moving to Cornwall to reclaim her shattered life through baking. But actually everyone that has read it has banged on and on about the little puffin she rescues called Neil, so I guess it’s about bread AND rescue puffins!

Q. Why do you write Chick-Lit? Did you just begin typing one day or did you have a serious sit down think about it?I try to never read any reviews, it has too much influence on my day! I am always delighted when readers get in touch if they’ve enjoyed it but as a friend of mine said very wisely, if you don’t want to believe the bad stuff you don’t get to believe the good stuff either :)
A. I don’t, I write romantic comedy. I’m- if I’m being really honest and probably a bit annoyingly serious here- a bit stunned people still use that term: if you called a professional successful woman that in any other sphere they’d tell you where to stick it! So anyway, I was a comedy writer, did a bit of stand up- very very badly I will say, quite awful; wrote some sketches, and the novels happened and I was just over the moon.

Q. There are a lot of people in the world who aspire to be a writer. Receiving negative comments about one of your books can’t be a pleasant feeling. If you have any received any disappointing reviews, how do you deal with it?
A. I try to never read any reviews, it has too much influence on my day! I am always delighted when readers get in touch if they’ve enjoyed it but as a friend of mine said very wisely, if you don’t want to believe the bad stuff you don’t get to believe the good stuff either :) What I find amazing is that I can write a book I think is tremendous and the world just shrugs its shoulders, then some are a real struggle and everyone likes it and says “wow, that must have been so much fun to write!”. There seems to be no correlation between the experience of writing a book and reading it at all, and no-one can ever predict what will fly and what won’t. If I tell you I spent the best part of a year consoling my friend who was terrified her book about a non-sexual romance between a suicidal paraplegic and his companion was going to sink her career, you’ll know what I mean. And if you haven’t read Me Before You… nope, I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t read it :) So, there you go.

Q. What is the best part of being a writer?
A. I 100% love writing. A blank page is a joy to me. I utterly hate editing, it brings me out in hives but the quiet flow of the work day in my stupidly overstuffed and crazy life makes me very happy. Plus being able to work around my family must be the ultimate gift. Anyone who can earn without having to commute and /or keep office hours is lucky as hell.

Q. How has social media and the book blogging community changed your career?
A. With that I am very lucky because I enjoy doing it and can chat all day. But it’s true, if I love a book I love looking the author up on twitter and telling them and if they’re not there or they don’t reply I feel a bit wounded :)

Q. What is the best writing tip you’ve ever received from another author?
A. Before writing take a really long walk. Also someone once said, when asked if they got writer’s block, “all writing is writer’s block” :)

Q. Finally, what can we expect from you next and can you possibly come back and give my readers a sneak peak?
A. OOH really really exciting stuff. Next year is totally nuts. And yes, I will let you see something I think everyone is really going to like very very soon… :)

Emma: If you haven’t read Jenny’s latest book or any for that matter, what are you waiting for?
Well, thank you very much! Jenny xx

Twitter: @jennycolgan
Website: www.jennycolgan.com

An Evening With Rainbow Rowell

On Friday 11th July, I hopped on a train to Liverpool with two other book bloggers, Katie and Abbey. We eventually met up with another book blogger and my best friend, Clare. The four of us headed off for a quick bite to eat before an evening with who I believe is one of the greatest Young Adult authors in the world, Rainbow Rowell.

The event took place at Waterstones on the second floor and when we arrived around 6pm, the delegated area was already jam packed. We knew it would be as tickets had sold out very quickly. We took our seats and before we knew it, the bubbly American author whom we’d be waiting for arrived. What a hit she was. Rainbow never stopped smiling, not once – especially when she was fangirling over Benedict Cumberbatch. Our seats weren’t perfect but with her addictive American accent, we could hear and see her brilliantly. Rainbow talked to us a little bit about her trip to the UK so far – the previous night, she was in Glasgow and by accident, she managed to somehow injure both of her ankles but as the trooper she is, she stood for majority of the session so we could all see her. Rainbow then went on to reading a little bit of Fangirl, which was hilarious! When I read the book a month or so ago, I didn’t have the American voice in my head – obviously, because I’m British. So for me, I loved hearing the character’s voices being spoken by an American. The crowd laughed in all the right places and in between paragraphs, Rainbow stopped to talk about why she has her characters eat a lot. She never knows what to do with their hands; therefore, they ought to be eating.

After reading a segment from Fangirl, Rainbow addressed the crowd like a true profession for any questions – and there were plenty! The Q&A session was absolutely superb and I loved the fact that Rainbow said, “Harry and Hermione shouldn’t end up together. It shows how a boy and a girl can be friends without making out. What about Ron? What’s he done to anyone for this to happen?” There were a lot of laughs and nods of heads during the Q&A and very quickly, the time was up before the signing began.

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After a good forty minutes, it was my time to meet Rainbow and I honestly didn’t mind waiting. She was extremely friendly, bubbly and very polite. She took a true interest in who I was, what I read and she knew that I blogged about books. Her personality is very addictive and despite the very long queue, she didn’t stop smiling once. It’s one of the nicest book signings and author Q&A’s I’ve ever attended. She made everyone feel very comfortable and relaxed. I simply wish the UK would adopt her.

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Left to Right: 
Clare, Katie, Rainbow, Abbey and myself… All looking at the wrong camera!

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Thank you to Liverpool One Waterstones for hosting yet another brilliant event. I was a little bit annoyed at the beginning as we were told that only special edition copies would be signed. Rainbow never mentioned it once and she happily signed all my Paperback copies, including my ARC from the publishers.

Twitter: @rainbowrowell
Website: www.rainbowrowell.com

Review of You Had Me At Merlot by Lisa Dickenson

Merlot covers 4x1

Part 1 Published: 14th July 2014
Part 2 Published: 21st July 2014
Part 3 Published: 28th July 2014
Part 4 Published: 4th August 2014
Publisher: Little Brown

Blurb:

Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they’re single, they’re not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren’t filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine – she likes her independent life, she loves her job, and she has no desire to walk down the aisle anytime soon. But Laurie wants love and she wants it now.

So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. You Had Me at Merlot Holidays promises crisp sunshine, fun and a chance to stir up some sizzling romance. Elle has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else’s idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?

Review:

Thank you to Clara at Little Brown for kindly asking me to review and to kick off Lisa’s blog tour in style. Please note that the above blurb is for Part 1 only as the others kind of reveal what has happened in each previous part. I’ve decided to review each part separately with NO spoilers.

Part 1..

Elle introduces us to her happily single life where she doesn’t have to fight over what’s on the TV. Her best friend Laurie is desperate to settle down. The relaxed yet funny friendship between the two was brilliant and as the reader, you don’t feel like a third wheel or a gooseberry. You immediately feel like you’ve known both women for years. What I enjoy the most about Lisa’s writing is that she takes a little slice of her own life and magically works it into the narrative. For example: her love for Beyonce, Devon and cream teas. When readers meet Elle’s parents, I couldn’t help but immediately feel at home. Part 1 allows the reader to become really settled into You Had Me At Merlot and before we know it, the opening is over and we’re left with a surprising yet funny ending.

“Mayor, mayor, blondie hair…” << I should point out that that line isn’t the ending, just a favourite of mine!

Part 2..

Jamie, the gorgeous hunk of the book is sheer perfection. Lisa doesn’t give us much of a description of what he looks like and I loved that. By using beautiful sceneric words and creating a spark between Jamie and Elle, readers can’t help but love their friendship. Lisa allows us to believe that we’re in Italy, in the vineyard, getting “sloshed” on wine and munching on heavenly food. Despite all the love and happiness that was poured into the book, Lisa managed to write the world’s most annoying character, George. Oh my giddy ants. He was beyond annoying. If he said “baby” to Elle one more time, the book was going out of the window. A bit over dramatic but when you read the book, you’ll understand or maybe not… It’s very hard not to love Elle because she’s being true to herself and I absolutely loved her as a main character. She was an absolute delight to read about.

Part 3..

I found myself becoming very addicted to You Had Me At Merlot and I found myself to be desperate to read more. The spark between Jamie and Elle came across as very realistic and in all honesty, I believe that this could be made into a superb film. David Yates, give Lisa a call. Lisa’s witty writing was perfect for the book. In real life, she’s cracking jokes all the time and I’m always laughing at whatever comes out of her mouth next. I found that the narrative was funny, but not overly funny. The hilarious one liners were in the perfect places and when the time was right, I found myself chuckling at whatever had been said. Part 3 ends on a real “what the anti-pasti just happened?” moment.

Part 4..

Lisa writes the final part with a lot of wisdom. There are quite a few sentences which allows readers to step back from the humour for a minute and really think about their own love lives. Friendships are cemented even deeper through serious discussions in the kitchen and before I knew it, I was on the last ten pages. Lisa has the ability to make a lot happen in a short amount of time and I really like books which are like that. It was an incredibly addictive read.

Overall, this is my perfect read of 2014. I would happily read it over and over again. It was witty in the right places, filled with love, beautiful descriptions and sentimental wise words. Lisa, I’m terribly sorry for bombarding you with a gazillion text messages whilst I was reading but you know, I’m not all that sorry… PIVOT!

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Before you disappear, make sure you check out the other blog tour stops.

Twitter: @LisaWritesStuff
Website: http://www.lisadickenson.com

 

Review of Smart by Kim Slater

Published: 5th June 2014
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 240

Blurb: 

There’s been a murder, but the police don’t care. It was only a homeless old man after all.

Kieran cares. He’s made a promise, and when you say something out loud, that means you’re going to do it, for real. He’s going to find out what really happened. To Colin. And to his grandma, who just stopped coming round one day. It’s a good job Kieran’s a master of observation, and knows all the detective tricks of the trade.

But being a detective is difficult when you’re Kieran Woods. When you’re amazing at drawing but terrible at fitting in. And when there are dangerous secrets everywhere, not just outside, but under your own roof.

Review: 

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for kindly sending me a review copy. I’ve heard a lot about Smart from book bloggers and most of them said it’s a very interesting read. Well, they were right…

A lot happens in the first chapter such as bullying, death and asthma. When we first meet the protagonist Kieran, I immediately warmed to him. He is an exceptional young man; intelligent, creative, talented and incredibly sweet. He lives with his Mum, his poor excuse of a Step-Dad and his brother Ryan. He was the star of a miss-matched family and I loved his point of view throughout the entire novel.

I wasn’t sure of where Smart would go as I didn’t read the blurb before hand. People said it was a mystery, some said it’ll make you think about life but I thought it taught us not to judge people because of who they are. Kieran is different and it’s because he’s true to who himself that made me enjoy him so much. He was a superb main character. As I grew fonder of him, my mind absorbed the book very quickly.

If I’m honest, I thought the book would have more of a message. Yes, we learnt to treat Kieran with the respect he deserves and he was the hero, but I expected a lot more from this book.

Twitter: @Kimslater01
Website: http://www.kimslater.com

Review of The Atlas Of Us by Tracy Buchanan

Published: 31st July 2014
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 400

Blurb:

How far would you go for the one you love the most?

A stormy love affair. A secret. A discovery that changes everything…

Louise Fenton flies to a devastated Thailand to search for her mother, missing following the Boxing Day tsunami. The only trace she can find is her mother’s distinctive bag. Inside it is a beautifully crafted atlas belonging to a writer named Claire Shreve. But what is the connection between Claire and Louise’s missing mum, and can the atlas help Louise find her?

As Louise explores the notes and mementoes slipped between the pages of the atlas she learns the story of a life-changing revelation, a tragedy and a passionate love affair. And she uncovers a secret that nearly destroyed Claire and the man she loved – the same secret her mother has been guarding all these years…

Review:

Thank you to Avon for very kindly sending me a review copy. Fair warning to any book bloggers who are about to read this: Buy a large packet of tissues and towards the ending, whip them out. Believe me, you’ll need them. I owe a lot to the person who invented waterproof mascara…

The opening to the narrative is horrifically dramatic; a woman’s life is in danger. We know nothing about her – no name, no age, no personality description, nothing. The descriptions of Thailand are extremely vivid. I got a real sense of panic and fear when I continued reading about this woman, fighting for her life. It made me put down the book and do a few deep breaths. Fiction can do that to a girl…

It was very bizarre to read about the Tsunami which happened on my birthday. I love that Tracy took a real event which was all over the news and she turned it into a tragic yet beautiful piece of Fiction. With the flashbacks to the 90′s decade, we learn a lot more about who Claire is and what she has to do with Louise’s Mum. I was incredibly impatient with this book – I wanted to know all the details and I wanted to know them straight away. But that didn’t happen. Tracy delivers pieces of information when the time is right. The narrative is a real struggle to some characters as they have to decide what path to take next in their life. I had no idea how these characters would be connected, but when all was revealed, it was surprisingly shocking.

My favourite character was Louise. As much as I enjoyed reading about Claire, I found Louise easier to like. She was focused on finding her Mum but at the same time, she had to worry about her two daughters back at home whilst dealing with her ass hole of a husband. I’m sorry Tracy, but he was a jerk. Before I read the book, Avon warned me that I would quickly fall into step with the narrative and the characters. Oh boy, they were right. I loved the relationship between Claire and Louise, especially in the epilogue. It was truly beautiful and heartwarming.

I had to choke back the tears during the final chapter as it was true emotion being passed between the talented author, Tracy and the reader, you and I. This book is one which makes you think about life – don’t take anything for granted, live every day like it’s your last. In that case, read The Atlas Of Us…

Twitter: @TracyBuchanan
Website: http://tracybuchanan.co.uk/site/index.php