Review of Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson

Published: 31st July 2014
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 438


Ben Lawrence seems to have it all – the hot job, the flashy car, the luxurious apartment. But one tragic day in his past mars his future. Since the events of that day he hasn’t truly got close to anyone. He made a promise that love was the price he would pay for his mistakes. When Effy Jones – a bright, ambitious charity founder – walks into the PR firm where Ben works, neither realise that their lives are about to be turned upside down.


Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for kindly sending me a review copy.

From the opening chapters, we learn a lot about Ben. He’s handsome, he’s very successful, he’s single (and has been for a while), but he’s a worrier. More importantly, he worried that he’s not pleasing his arrogant boss Dermot. When we learn of his “relationship” with Marina, it’s just all about being a booty call – and she’s not the first one to be crawling into his bed at silly am. But I liked that about Ben – he’s young and he’s having fun. Your 20’s allow you to do that.

Feelings would change, someone would want more and suddenly there would be expectation and with expectation came disappointment and ultimately anger.

Our attention then turns to Effy (love the name!) who quite cleverly introduces the meaning behind the title, Paper Swans and I found myself in awe of her creativity. Her boyfriend Frank was a pain in the ass! My god. He was an attention seeking sigher and I’ve met a few of those in my time. He seemed very “ohh, everyone look at me all the time” and it didn’t surprise me that Jessica mentioned he used to be a model.

Jessica’s writing style is very unique. I fully enjoyed how the chapter titles were lines from the upcoming paragraphs. Her use of the date, time and place is her stamp of author individuality and I always look forward to her captivating plots.

Ben and Effy have one thing in common – work. They work 24/7 and barely have time for anything else. True to Fiction, I bet you can guess what brings them together. I’ve read a lot of “professional to sexual” books before and I really hoped Jessica would make hers stand out above everyone elses and with Ben’s back story, she does just that. He’s troubled and it’s not until the very end that we realise why. The way in which Jessica brought the book to an end was shocking, emotional yet captivating. The ability to love someone despite all their mistakes is a fantastic message which shines throughout.

Twitter: @Jthompsonauthor

Review of A Place For Us (Part One) by Harriet Evans

Published: 31st July 2014
Publisher: Headline


The day Martha Winter decided to tear apart her family began like any other day.

The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside. The hall is cool after the hot summer’s day. The welcome is kind, and always warm. Yet something makes you suspect life here can’t be as perfect as it seems. After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret. But wouldn’t you pay any price to have a glorious place like this?

Welcome to Winterfold. Martha Winter’s family is finally coming home.


Thank you to Lizzie over at Headline who kindly sent me a letter, inviting me to be part of the special publicity campaign for this book. I’m absolutely honoured.

Martha and David Winter are an elderly couple who live at Winterfold. Their family consists of their children: Bill, Daisy and Florence. As well as their two grandchildren, Cat and Lucy. The narrative spreads across  several characters point of views, some of who are in relation to the Winters and some who are just part of the village. In the beginning, we know that Martha is hosting her own 80th birthday party soon and invites have been sent out – all family must attend. A big secret has got to be revealed, right? RIGHT! Oh and believe me, it’s a secret like no other. Bear in mind, this is only Part One. I have the other three parts to read so the narrative has truly only just begun.

Harriet’s writing style is very easy to get addicted to. I’m addicted, I’ll happily admit that now. Trust me, spending £1.49 on your Kindle for this book is 110% worth it, I can promise you that much. The plot is calm when it needs to be, romantic when people need bringing together and dramatic when we’re drawn into the last page. I simply can’t wait to read more.

Twitter: @HarrietEvans

Review of Written In The Stars by Ali Harris

Published: 5th June 2014
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 464


One decision + two different paths = how many happy endings? Have you ever wondered ‘What if…?’ What if you’d taken that other job, gone on a date with that sweet guy, moved to a different city? Would an alternative life path have led to a happier ending? Now imagine if you could have taken both paths…When Bea Bishop slips while walking down the aisle on her wedding day, she is momentarily knocked unconscious. And in a flash, her world splits and two separate parallel lives take her on two very different journeys. In one, Bea flees back down the aisle and out of the church. In the other, she glides blissfully towards Adam, her intended. Each path will take her on a very different journey. And each will see her life change for better and for worse. But which story will lead to her happy-ever-after?


Thank you to my lovely friend Sara at Simon and Schuster for kindly surprising me with a signed copy of Ali’s new book.

The narrative begins in April 2014 when Bea has made her decision of who she wants to spend her life with. The trouble is, we don’t know who the groom is and in true Fiction style, the chapter cuts off. Is it Adam, the man of her dreams or someone else? We’re then taken back to the first wedding day (don’t worry, there’s only two!) and she’s walking down to the aisle, about to marry Adam. Please note that this is NOT a spoiler as it’s in the now. But then, she trips over in true clumsy style and blacks out. That’s when the narrative truly begins…

The entire book is split into two subconscious thoughts – she marries Adam in one and in the other, she runs away. The plot screams drama. What I loved the most is that we witness these two subconscious dreams back to back. Amazing technique Mrs Harris. We go along with Bea down the two paths and I actually prefered the one where she doesn’t marry Adam because it focused purely on her career which I loved reading about. As much as I liked Adam’s character, he lacked a little bit of excitement for me.

In both subconscious dreams, the same event happens – AMAZING! I was completely drawn into Ali’s fictional world and had zero idea how what would happen at the end. Soon enough, the two dreams flip completely and they both change dramatically – WOW! Ali has thought of everything that a reader would love happen and she’s put it into her narrative. I can’t stop fangirling over Written In The Stars. It’s my go-to novel now when I’m having a life crisis.

In true book blogger fashion, I won’t spoil the ending but what I will say is expect nothing and you will truly be amazing. With Ali’s beautiful writing style, addictive plot and magnificent characters, you will definitely want to read this over a blissful weekend.

Twitter: @AliHarrisWriter

#Sunathon Wrap Up Plus An Exciting Announcement…


I very rarely do these posts when I sit down at my laptop and write directly to you, my blog readers. This week over on the crazy yet wonderful world of Twitter, I hosted a readathon called #sunathon – you may/may not have heard of it. If you have, you probably took part and made in into the success that it was. Thank you for that. I wanted to write this post because last week during the readathon, I woke up every day to hundreds of tweets from you all regarding #sunathon and due to that, I started to resemble this chap:

Yes, I am purple all over. Joke. No seriously…

Words on my blog won’t even come close to how overwhelmed I was last week. It was truly fantastic and I absolutely loved the fact that so many people came together and read. Within a week, people who I have never spoken to before became friends and that’s amazing. Twitter is a powerful place – in both good and bad ways, but thankfully, this time it was all good in the hood.

I was originally going to share a day-to-day diary with you all. I typed it all out but it was unbelievably long. So instead, I wanted to share a little information bit on how well I did plus when these reviews will be available.

Lola And The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – 384 pages – Review: 13th August
Operation Sunshine by Jenny Colgan – 320 pages – No Review
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – 336 pages – Review: 14th August
Boy 21 by Matthew Quick – 288 pages – Review: 15th August
Never Google Heartbreak (1) by Emma Garcia – 352 pages – Review: 18th August (Double Review Week)
OMG Baby! (2) by Emma Garcia – 448 pages – Review: 18th August (Double Review Week)
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige – So far; 70 pages – Review: 19th August (Double Review Week)

Grand Total = 2,198 pages


Due to the success of #sunathon, I’ve decided to continue with the theme of the seasons and next up we have #fallathon – and no, that does not mean you fall down the stairs or trip up whilst reading. #fallathon will be happening in October. I certainly hope you’ll all take part. Due to high demand, I will be doing a Christmas one as well.. It won’t be called #wintathon in case anyone is wondering. I’ll be announcing that in my #fallathon diary but I can confirm that it will be at the beginning of December.



If YOU would like to help me promote the next readathon, simply email me at with the subject title – #fallathon and any message you like.

Thank you once again. I’m extremely touched by all the tweets, blog posts, Youtube videos, Instagram pictures and Facebook statuses. I love you all and I can’t wait for #fallathon in October.

Emma Louise xx

Review of The Summer Guest by Emma Hannigan

Published: 31st July 2014
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 448


Lexie and her husband Sam have spent years lovingly restoring No. 3 Cashel Square to its former glory. So imagine Lexie’s delight when a stranger knocks on the door, asking to see the house she was born in over sixty years ago.

Kathleen is visiting from America, longing to see her childhood home… and longing for distraction from the grief of losing her husband. And as Lexie and Sam battle over whether or not to have a baby and Kathleen struggles with her loss, the two women realise their unexpected friendship will touch them in ways neither could have imagined.

In Caracove, there’s more than a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.


Thank you to Headline for kindly sending me a review copy. I recently became a fan of Emma’s after I read her previous novel Perfect Wives and I was incredibly touched by her own personal story. I fell in love with her ability to create such beautiful, realistic characters so naturally, I wanted to read more of her work.

The blurb had me very intrigued as to how these three individual women would form a bond over a house. I thought that the general concept of the plot was brilliant and that was before I’d even read the first page. Lexi has a morning ritual: coffee, the news, breakfast with her husband and then more coffee. I liked that the main character had stability and it showed how strong of a young woman she was. I also enjoyed that we were taken back in time a little bit to understand how Lexi and her husband Sam met. Their relationship was simple and I found myself easily falling into step with them. Their love for one another can at such ease and I could sense their admiration for each another a mile off.

When we met Kathleen and Amelie (Lexi’s niece) for the first time, I became fully involved with the narrative and allowed it to take over my mind. These three women are very strong in their own individual ways, despite them not even realising it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lexi, Kathleen and Amelie. When they grouped together with Kathleen, their bond got off to a fantastic start and soon enough, they became a wonderful trio. There are a lot of secrets to be told within the narrative and Emma delivers them at the perfect moments. The three women become each other’s support system and it was absolutely beautiful to see how a friendship between Lexi and Kathleen was created over a simple thing such as a house.

Emma’s writing style comforted me and I felt as if I’d known the characters for several years – it was almost as if I was their summer guest. The epilogue came at a surprise and I found myself gasping for breath – what a shock! The only problem I had with the narrative is that I thought the dialogue could have been cut short at times. I wanted to be shown the character’s feelings instead of being told how they felt. I wanted to imagine their faces for myself, rather than have the work being done for me.

Twitter: @MsEmmaHannigan

Louise O’Neill Talks Books..

Louise O’Neill is bursting onto the author scene this year with her debut novel, Only Ever Yours. You only have to glance at the cover to feel a little creeped out but don’t let that hold you back. With rave reviews and book bloggers talking, this is certainly one of the most anticipated and well regarded books of 2014. I sat down with Louise to talk books and life as a debut author…

Q. Firstly, thank you for taking time out of your crazy life. How have things changed since Only Ever Yours was unleashed into the world?
Thank you for having me! It’s been very surreal since Only Ever Yours was released. When I was writing the book I refused to allow anyone else to read it so I had absolutely no idea if it was anyway decent, or if it was the worst piece of writing imaginable. It was just me and my laptop, day in and day out, trying to do the story justice because I felt it was an important one. To have the book published and to see people connecting to it has been a very emotional experience.

Q. For those who have been hiding in the cupboard under the stairs, can you tell us a little bit about Only Ever Yours?
A. Only Ever Yours is set in a world in which women are no longer able to give birth to female babies. Faced with the extinction of the human race a decision is made to ‘create’ women, to breed them for their beauty, and then to train them in the arts of pleasing men until they come of age. It is ostensibly a dystopian story but is really more concerned with friendship, love, and the contemporary obsession our society seems to have with the female body.

Q. As a debut author, it must be scary coming onto the Literature scene but by the looks of Twitter, you’ve had a lot of support. How have you found your new life as a published author?
A. It’s been very hectic as there have been a lot of publicity requests but incredibly exciting as well. I’m just trying to go with the flow for as long as it lasts, and then get back to editing my second book. Ultimately, the work itself is what is important.

Q. If you could tell ANY male celebrity that he is Only Ever Yours, who would it be and why?
A. Good question! I think it would have to be a member of One Direction, I guess. One for every day of the week and then Harry and Zayn again on the weekends.

Q. Despite being a debut author, I bet you’re full of tips for budding writers out there. But what is the best tip another author has given you? Failing that, what is your best tip? Sod that, tell us both…
A. David Mitchell told me that as soon as I had finished one book, to start on the next one. I think he was trying to tell me not to get caught up in any of drama that might accompany the launch of your book, and to remember why I became a writer in the first place – because I wanted to tell a story.

My best tip for writers is to forget about writing a novel initially, it will just seem overwhelming. Break it down into manageable chunks. 500-1000 words a day a few times a week is a good place to start. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it adds up.

Q. Finally, how has social media and book bloggers in particular changed your writing career?
A. Social media is an amazing publicity tool. I’ve become one of those really gross people who retweets compliments and I’m constantly updating my author Facebook page. I want people to feel engaged with the book and social media is great for that.

Bloggers are wonderful for generating a buzz on twitter, and there is a wonderful sense of community from bloggers online. They are great for shouting loudly about a particular book that they feel passionate about, and that passion can be infectious.

Twitter: @oneilllo


Amanda Prowse: Short Story Part 10

I’m delighted to be bringing you something special today. Amanda Prowse’s PR company contacted myself and other book bloggers to bring you all a short story. I’m the final day but in case you’ve missed out, you can read the previous day here: and of course, you can read the other parts from the other sites. Please note that the PR company sent me the short story and gave me the green light to post on my blog. Nothing has been stolen from anyone. *Saying all this because of the new rules on WordPress.

Hot Chocolate and Teacakes by Amanda Prowse: Day 10

The next day with her pencil gripped in her fingers, Poppy remembered her Nan’s words. She smoothed the blank sheet and closed her eyes. She thought about Sonny and the way he smiled and sang as he popped the teacakes into the toaster, while she and Martin sat in the booth and watched the rain splashing on the pavement outside. She had watched as he dipped the old bone handled knife into the butter and swiped it over the hot surface, letting it melt over the teacake.  He had then whipped up two steaming mugs of frothy hot chocolate, maybe they were going off too, but to be honest, it all tasted lovely. She remembered the feeling of anticipation as her eyes roved the white china plate, her mouth watering. It had been a very good end to a really rubbish day.

Poppy raised her pencil and began. The things I love most about my dad are when he makes me hot toasted teacakes and a mug of hot chocolate when I am hungry after a long day at school. I like the way he makes them for my friend too. It makes me feel safe and warm and special.

PROWSE_Will You Remember Me_

Will You Remember Me? was released on the 17th July 2014 – watch out for my review!

Twitter: @MrsAmandaProwse

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

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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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 ( 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?
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


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.


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