Book Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

flora banks

Released: 12th January 2017, Penguin

Flora is seventeen and longs to be like every other girl her age. However, Flora can’t remember anything past being ten for more than a few hours. She has anterograde amnesia ever since she was ten.

When she goes to a party, she ends up alone with her best friend’s boyfriend, Drake. They kiss and he leaves. When Flora wakes up, she remembers Drake, she remembers the kiss. Her first new memory for seven years.

She must be with Drake and so sets out to find him alone hoping that she will find him quickly and they can be together.

I found Flora to be such an interesting character. She had such an innocence about her that I felt the need to protect her, hoping that no one was going to take advantage. As far as all the other characters are concerned, I didn’t know who to trust much like Flora. She’s an inspirational character. Many could learn a lot from her.

As I read, I tried to put myself in her shoes – getting myself to a place and then waking up a while later having no idea how I got there. It was a terrifying thought and yet, she embraces the adventure. She forgets, starts again and keeps moving.

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Book Cover Reveal: The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt

AlexandraEvening everyone.
I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend. It does tend to go too quickly.

It’s time for a cover reveal (we’ve not had one in a while.)

Today, Avon has revealed the cover for the latest book by Alexandra Burt. I really liked her novel, Little Girl Gone. I’m looking forward to reading this one. It sounds great.

It’s called The Good Daughter and it’s due to have its paperback release on 23rd February 2017 via Avon Books (you can follow all the lovely guys and girls at Avon on Twitter.)

Ta-dah. Here’s the cover for The Good Daughter. I think it already creates a pretty chilling backdrop. What do you think?

What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?

Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.

In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness.

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This Week’s New Book Releases – Jane Fallon, Danielle Steel and Jill Mansell

BeachcomberIt’s Friday. Yey!
I hope you’ve all had a great week and have lovely things planned for the weekend. If you’re looking for something to read over the next few days, there are some cracker titles out this week.

The wonderful Jill Mansell released her latest novel, Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay on 12th January 2017 by Headline Review.
There is love in the air in St Carys, not that you’d know it. The residents are good at keeping secrets.
The man that Clemency loves is in love with someone else. When she ropes into a friend to help, wires get crossed.
For the first time in Ronan’s life, his charms have failed him in getting him the woman he wants.
Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend but something isn’t quite right. A secret is also rising to the surface. The truth has a funny way of revealing itself and when it does, St Carys will be very different.

The new book from Jane Fallon is called My Sweet Revenge and was also released on 12th January, this time by Penguin. To read my review, click here.
‘I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.’
My Sweet Revenge. bonefieldPaula put her own acting career on hold in order for her husband to have his own success. Robert is now a regular on a popular daytime TV show.
Despite that, Paula is pretty happy with her life. It feels perfect to her. Until she finds out that Robert is having an affair.
Before she tells him it’s over, Paula wants Robert to be reminded just what he’s sacrificing. Then once she has won him back, she wants to break his heart. It will be her greatest acting role.

Next up is The Bone Field by Simon Keruick which was released by Century on 12th January.
There is a missing girl, a ruthless crime gang and a man so evil he must be stopped at any cost.

DI Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyce begin a hunt for the truth that will take them into a dark and terrifying world. One of corruption and deadly secrets.

The bones of a 21-year-old woman are found in the grounds of an old catholic school. This girl went missing in Thailand in 1990.
Her boyfriend at the time of her disappearance is now a middle aged university lecturer. He comes forward to say that he knows what happened. He knows who killed Kitty.

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Friday 13th January 2017: A Dangerous Adventure.

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-300x164-1-1-300x164-1.pngFriday 13th January 2017: It’s Time To Go On A Dangerous Adventure.

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

There is a group of five. Three boys and two girls. They find a map that claims to lead them to a vast fortune. They begin to follow it blindly. It leads them deeper underground and far away from the small town they live in.

Things are not as they seem though. One by one, something begins to happen to each of them.

Write this story. How does it end?

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My Writing Ramblings: New Year, New Goals.

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225.jpgHello 2017. I am hoping for a bit of snow. Building a snowman then going inside for hot chocolate, stew for dinner and then snuggling up with a book. I love snow provided I don’t have to drive in it.

Aside from the weather, this time of year always has me thinking about resolutions. I do try and make them every year. They usually last about a week and then I lose the plot with them. Thinking about it, I usually set resolutions that are unattainable. I set too many and then always end up disappointed. So, this year, I have only set three.

The first one is to write something positive and put it in the happy box that is sat on my desk. I did this the year before last and it really did make a difference to my frame of mind. I tended to add a thing a day toward the end of the day and this meant that I ended the day on a positive note. I got out of the habit over the last twelve months so I am pleased to be getting back to it. If this is something you’ve not done before, I recommend it.

The second resolution is to get more exercise. I love to swim. I find this form of exercise works for me so much more than going to a gym every day. I have never felt that comfortable at the gym especially since I did a Bridget Jones off a running machine when trying to pick up my water bottle. Yes, it was an embarrassing but funny sight! Swimming is much more my pace and it’s so great for thrashing out plot ideas and blocks as well as reducing anxiety. Also, if I manage to get healthy and loose weight, then that is a bonus too.

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My December Favourites

christmas-carol

Penguin Clothbound Classics

I know we are nearly halfway through January but I wanted to share some of my December favourites before we got too far into this month. I have not done a favourites post in a while so I thought I was a little overdue. Plus, I love reading these sorts of posts so I want to share some of my favourites from last month.

My first favourite from last month was this stunning version of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and other Christmas writings from the Penguin Clothbound Classics. I do have a paperback version of this book but there was something that drew me to this copy. The cover is so beautiful. It looks very nice on the bookshelf. I couldn’t resist treating myself to a copy prior to Christmas.
I adore A Christmas Carol and this puts me in such a Christmas like mood whenever I look at it. I can’t wait to read it at the end of the year.

My next favourite is a DVD of possibly my favourite Disney movie as well as one of my favourite films of all time. It’s the big sleeve edition of Beauty and The Beast. This is something else I may have treated myself to just before Christmas. It was one of those impulse buys. I knew that if I didn’t buy it, I would never see it again.
I, like many other fans of Beauty and The Beast were slightly disappointed that we were not going to be getting the 25th Anniversary special edition here in the UK. I believe this version to be the next best thing (I am so looking forward to seeing the live action version in March.)

This version includes the blue ray as well as the DVD version and there are four beautiful postcards of some of the characters in the movie. I love this and don’t regret buying it for an instant.

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Courses and Competitions: Writing Courses With The Writing Magazine

writingcoursesOpportunity to enrol on various writing courses with the Writing Magazine. 

It is the new year. If one of your resolutions is to finally write that novel, poem or short story then these courses could be what you need.

The Writing Magazine offers a selection of creative writing courses all of which are available online.

Their courses include fiction (novel-writing,) poetry, scriptwriting, short stories and writing for children. There are discounts on course prices if you subscribe to the magazine.

The advantage of these courses is that you can choose to receive course materials via e-mail or post, there is a 21 day money back guarantee and you get a welcome gift if you join one.

You’ll have up to two years to complete the course of your choosing. There’s a professional writing tutor and you’ll be able to connect with other students via a dedicated welcome page.

For more information on courses and how to enrol, visit https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-courses/

 

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News: Winner Announced For The Costa Children’s Book Award 2016

Brian Conaghan

Bloomsbury Childrens, January 2017

Brian Conaghan has won The Costa Children’s Book Award 2016. He won for his third novel, The Bombs That Brought Us Together which was published by Bloomsbury Childrens. His win was announced earlier this month.

Fourteen-year-old Charlie Law has lived in Little Town, on the border with Old Country, all his life. He knows the rules: no going out after dark; no drinking; no litter; no fighting. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the people who run Little Town. When he meets Pavel Duda, a refugee from Old Country, the rules start to get broken. Then the bombs come, and the soldiers from Old Country, and Little Town changes for ever. 

Sometimes, to keep the people you love safe, you have to do bad things. As Little Town’s rules crumble, Charlie is sucked into a dangerous game. There’s a gun, and a bad man, and his closest friend, and his dearest enemy. 

Charlie Law wants to keep everyone happy, even if it kills him. And maybe it will. 

When asked by The Scotman, Conaghan said “the book is about how a big power can overwhelm a less powerful country. In some ways it is an imagining of what would happen if Scotland went independent and England just decided one day as a big superpower that they were going to take it back.”

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Book Review: My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon

my-sweet-revenge

Penguin, 12th January 2017

I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.

Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.

I want it to hurt.

Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students.
She gave up her dreams so he could make it.
Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors.
And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair.

She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing.
And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers.
It will be her greatest acting role ever.

Revenge is sweet. 
Isn’t it?

Paula has been married to Robert for many years. They have a daughter who is about to become eighteen. Paula left her ambitions to be an actress to raise her daughter and to support Robert in his career. He’s a regular on a long running day time TV show.

Paula is pretty content with her life. She has no idea her marriage is anything but perfect. That is until she finds out he’s having an affair.

She decides to get revenge before she confronts him. She wants to make him fall back in love with her before she breaks his heart.

I loved Jane’s previous novels and I am a big fan of her style of writing. It is not hard to fall into her stories and this book was no exception. I was completely hooked.

There were many moments when my sympathy went from one character to another and back again. There were some chapters where I couldn’t believe the behaviour of some of the characters and I wasn’t quite sure how the end was going to go.

This book puts spotlight on the lack of communication within relationships. It will be a relatable plot in terms of how Paula deals with finding out her husband is having an affair.

It had me wondering what I would do in Paula’s situation. I am not sure if I am honest.

The plot and characters were engaging and there were a few twists and turns too. The writing is witty and I couldn’t put this book down to be honest. It certainly did not disappoint. As I was reading, I could see this making a good TV show or movie.
Well done Jane Fallon. Another great novel.

(My Sweet Revenge is due to be released on 12th January 2017 by Penguin. Will be available in UK bookshops and online. Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy.)

 

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Poetry into Prose

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-300x199-1.jpgTuesday 10th January 2016: Poetry into Prose. 

Today, I thought it would be fun to look at changing poetry into a short story.

Pick a favourite poem (although it might also be interesting to pick one you don’t like.) The theme and the content can be up to you.

Convert the poem into a short story. Write up to 2,000 words. You can change the plot around as well as the characters.

Have fun with it.

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January: Win a Blind Date With A Book

img_2495It is very easy to judge a book by its cover. I know I do it. The cover is the thing that initially catches our eye in the book shop. It can sometimes completely sell the book or make you walk by it without giving it a chance. Our competition is one with a twist. It’s your chance to win a blind date with a book.

I’m not going to reveal what the title of this month’s book is nor will I reveal the cover or the author. All I will reveal is that it the themes include ‘Obsession, Relationships, Secrets and Loss.’

How to enter: 

All you have to do is comment below with your name and county (although county is optional.) The closing date for entries is Monday 30th January 2017 at 23.59. 

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Latest Book Releases – Sue Fortin, Julia Forster and Jessie Burton

sister-sisterA new year and new book releases. There are some great books out this week and I can’t wait to settle down and make my way through some of the books on this list.

Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin was released on Kindle on 6th January (the paperback version is due for release by HarperImpulse in April.)

This book is definitely going to be making its way up to the top of my to be read pile.
Alice is beautiful, kind, manipulative and a liar. Clare is intelligent, loyal, paranoid and jealous.
Clare thinks Alice is trying to steal her life. Alice thinks Clare is jealous of her return and place in the family. One is telling the truth, the other is a maniac Two sisters, one truth.
I can’t wait to read this one.

Also from HarperImpulse is the legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington. Its Kindle release was on 6th January with the paperback due out next week. I think this is my favourite book cover this week. It is very pretty.

For fans of JoJo Moyes and Kelly Rimmer, this book focuses on Maggie. She knows better than most that life can change in a lucy-harte the-museheartbeat. Eighteen years ago, she got given the gift of a new heart and a second chance at life.
Maggie has never forgotten Lucy Harte, the girl who saved her life. As Maggie’s life begins to fall apart, she looses sight of everything she has to live for. Then an unexpected letter arrives which changes everything.

The Muse by Jessie Burton got its paperback release on 29th December by Picador. I am still totally in love with this cover. It’s a book that’s been on my pile of books to be read for a while and i am hoping I can pick this one up soon.

Odelle climbs the steps of the Skelton Gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change. Having struggled to find her place in the city, she’s been offered a job as a typist with Marjorie, who remains a mystery.
The Muse is a novel about aspiration, identity, love and obsession.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Resolutions

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-300x164-1-1-300x164-1.pngFriday 6th January 2016: Resolutions

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt: The new year has rolled around but it is not the usual happy event people have got to know. After the war ended, a law was made that every new year, people should make a list of things they have done wrong throughout the year and for each one, a punishment is administered.

Write about one person who goes against the law and what the consequences are.

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Courses and Competitions: Travelex Team’s Up With Penguin To Find Aspiring Travel Writers

logo-travel-writerCalling all aspiring travel writers….

Travel can really excite the imagination. The best travel writing can transport us, make us feel as though we are there.

This is why Travelex and Penguin have come together. They want to find the best new writing talent in travel writing.

So whether you’re a student with writing ambition, a well-travelled person who likes documenting your adventures or spend days writing notes on your next trip, Travelex and Penguin are giving you a chance to win a session with a Penguin editor.

They are looking for travel savvy short stories inspired by ‘a travel experience unlike any other.’

What the experience is and how you tell it is entirely up to you as long as the story is up to 1,000 words.

One lucky writer will win an hour with an editor from Penguin and will be able to get tips, advice and feedback. The winner will also receive £1,500.

There will also be an additional £500 bonus prize for the best entry by a current university or college student.

There will also be a chance for the general public to vote for their favourite travel writer through social media. This will be for entries that make the short list.

If you’re planning on entering, you need to be over 18, and a UK resident (exc. NI.) The piece needs to be unique so not something that has been submitted elsewhere.

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January’s Novel Kicks Book Club: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

we-were-liarsWelcome to the Novel Kicks Online Book Club.

I love books and I love chatting about them even more. Every month, I pick a new book for discussion. I will post a question to kick things off in the comments box below. A good thing about this book club is that everyone is welcome to take part. It’s open to all. You can read the book at any point in the month or if you’ve already read it, tell us what you think.

The best part… it’s all from the comfort of your armchair/sofa/bed/comfy place.

It’s 2017 and I am kicking the year off with a great book. This month, it’s We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

We are the Liars.
We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.
We are cracked and broken.
A story of love and romance.
A tale of tragedy.
Which are lies?
Which is truth?

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