Latest Book Releases: 28th July 2016

The moment she left susan lewis

Century, 20th July 2016

It’s Thursday again. Is it me or did that week go incredibly fast?! It does mean that it’s time for some more book releases…

The first book is The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis which has been released today in hardback. The e-book version is also available.

Here’s the blurb:

Kesterly-on-Sea is full of secrets. 
Some are darker than others; many are shameful. One is even deadly.
Andee is an ex-detective whose marriage is breaking up. So when a young female student disappears without trace, she throws herself into the search.

Meanwhile, the town’s beloved Rowzee Cayne has just discovered that she is terminally ill, and doesn’t want to burden her family and friends with the news.
Andee and Rowzee don’t know it yet, but their journeys are going to help them uncover a secret. One that is going to affect them more than they could ever imagine.

This one sounds like I’d really enjoy it. It’s got a lot of mystery and sounds very compelling. I shall definitely be giving this one a read.


I See You

Sphere, 28th July 2016

I See You by Claire MacKintosh has also been released today. I think this cover is so pretty. I have to admit, I’ve not read I Let You Go which was Claire’s debut novel but reading the synopsis for I See You, it’s one I will definitely pick up at some point. What do you think?

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation, no website: just a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .


Truly Madly Guilty is the latest novel from the fantastic Liane Moriarty. 

Michael Joseph, 28th July 2016

Michael Joseph, 28th July 2016

Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you’d think.

For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.

But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.

Which is how it all spirals out of control…

It’s the week for suspense and thriller. There is something about Liane’s books that draw me in so I can’t wait to read this one.

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Stationery Spotlight: Literary Listography

22799111This journal is part of the Listography series. I’ve previously owned the Film Listography journal and loved it. The Literary Listography enables you to keep track of your literary life for past, present and future books.

There are over seventy list prompts ranging from favourite books to favourite reading spots.

I adore lists. Before settling down and doing anything productive, I must have a list. This is what makes this sort of journal perfect for someone like me… lists and books. It can’t go wrong.

This edition is beautifully illustrated. It has some fascinating suggestions for lists such as favourite classics, fictional characters I would go on a date with (for the record, I would like to have dinner with all the characters in the great hall at Hogwarts,) books that made me laugh, favourite book endings and authors to explore. It also has a big section for favourite quotes. I have lost track of the amount of times I’ve liked a passage in a book and not had a central place to keep everything.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Super Sibling Rivalry

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1.pngFiction 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: It’s Christmas Day. Your character is a superhero and has gone home to see the family for the day.

Their sibling is also there. This sibling happens to be an evil supervillain. Write about what happens over dinner.

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June/July Book Haul

MountI’ve acquired some fantastic books recently. My TBR pile has never looked so good. I wanted to share some of the titles with you.

Mount by Jilly Cooper (Bantam Press, 8th September 2016. Review copy received.) 

Rupert Campbell-Black is back!

I was so excited to receive this book in the post. Riders was such a guilty pleasure of mine and Rupert is the bad boy we all hate to love. He’s of course been in other novels but this is the first time he has taken centre stage for a while.

Mount sees an older Campbell-Black but is he wiser? This new book from Jilly brings together old and new characters and is set in the competitive world of flat racing.

Fans of Jilly Cooper… there is not long to wait.


The Lie TreeThe Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (MacMillan, May 2015) 

This book was recently a pick for one of the subscription boxes I subscribe to. The cover is so wonderfully atmospheric and almost gothic. The plot sounds so interesting I just couldn’t resist buying it.

Faith is searching through the belongings of her recently deceased father and discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy fruit if you whisper a lie to it. In return, once the fruit is consumed, it will deliver a hidden truth to the person who has eaten it.

The bigger the lie, the bigger the truth and the more people believe it.

This book sounds so ace and right up my street. I am looking forward so much to reading it.

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Book Review: Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

Imagine me goneIn 1960s London, Margaret’s fiancé, John is hospitalised for depression. At this point she has two choices; stay, get married and carry on with life together knowing what she knows, or leave to help prevent any heart ache and suffering, his condition may cause.

She decides to stay and this is where the story starts. The pair go on to have three children; Michael, who copes with life through his music and his use of parody; Alec; the smart son who is a high achiever and is devoted to looking out for his family and Celia, the daughter who lives to help other people succeed.

The story follows the highs and lows of this family from Michael’s struggle to cope in the real world to Margaret’s love and affection for her children and her willingness to do anything to help them, especially her eldest, Michael.

Imagine me gone is a wonderfully-written, at times heart breaking story of a family who are haunted by mental illness and their struggle to survive.

The topic of mental illness and especially depression is a difficult one to cover. For many it is such a sensitive issue and so is not written so much in books until recently. Adam Haslett has succeeded at an impossible task of portraying mental health in a sensitive, sombre way without completely lowering the morale of the whole book.

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My Writing Ramblings: Well Hello There Summer…

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225.jpgWelcome Summer. I’m pleased you could join us. I’d almost forgotten what you look like. Haven’t the last couple of days in the UK been absolutely glorious?

I do love winter. I love being able to come in out the cold, wrap up warm and snuggle. I love that chill in the air that carries with it the potential promise of snow and yes, I am a bit of a Christmas nerd.

However, I have to say that there isn’t much that beats lounging around midweek beside the sea in the beautiful summer sunshine with a cold drink, a notebook and a book which was pretty much my day yesterday.

This week has been a good one for me as I have tried to chill out a little, read, see friends and generally just watch the world go by. I feel I’ve not had much of a chance to do that recently. I’ve read some really great books (like Lying in Wait and I’m currently reading A Certain Age. Both are proving to be excellent although the jury is still out on A Certain Age as I am still reading it.)

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Writing Room: Musical Inspiration

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199.jpgWednesday 20th July 2016: Musical Inspiration.

Turn on the radio and listen to the next three songs that come on.

Whilst listening, take down as much as you can about the themes of the songs, whether they tell a story and what you think about when you listen to them?

Also think about the subject of the song. For example, if it’s a love song, what about the person being sung about?

Use your notes to begin a short story.

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Blog Tour: Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent – Liz’s Approach to Writing

Liz NugentI am pleased to be welcoming Liz Nugent to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her new book, Lying in Wait.

‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’

Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must – because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants …

I’ve reviewed the book below but first, Liz chats to us about her approach to writing psychological thrillers. Over to you, Liz….

I have always been interested in the psychology of killers. What makes them tick, how they deal with the horror of what they have done. Two books which were hugely influential were John Banville’s The Book of Evidence and Sebastian Faulks’ Engleby. Both were first person narratives about deeply flawed men.

I used to work on a TV soap opera and one day in a story meeting, we were discussing a character who had just killed somebody and I insisted that he must be extremely distressed and I said ‘You know the way when you dream you’ve murdered somebody and you wake up in the horrors?’ Everyone just stared at me and that was when I realised that I was the only one who had those nightmares. I kill people in my sleep!

Liz-Nugent-QC1-V2 (5)

In real life, I am a pacifist and actively avoid confrontation, so I’m not sure from where this murderous side of my psyche comes, but I hope it has given me an edge when writing from the point of view of murderers!

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Interview: Todd Lawton, Co-creator of Mobile Book App Litsy


Todd Lawton (left) & Jeff Leblanc (right) – Co-founders of Out of Print and creators of Litsy

Todd Lawton, along with best friend, Jeff Leblanc is the co-founder of Out of Print which has been selling literary themed merchandise to support reading initiatives for the past six years and has donated more than 1.7 million books to communities in need. 

Recently, the pair launched their new app, Litsy (which is a social community app for readers.) I’ve been talking a look at the app and it’s brilliant. On it you can discuss books with other readers, review books and you can even add quotes from your favourite books. Todd has joined me today to talk about Litsy. Welcome Todd,  can you tell me a little about Litsy, how it came about and how it works? 

Before Litsy, I helped create Out of Print—a literary lifestyle brand that sells literary apparel and accessories. We started Out of Print because we felt there was bookish conversation to be had outside the solitude of reading. Why not wear your favorite titles and authors for everyone to see? It’s invites a special kind of dialogue. Another inspiration for us were bookstore shelf talkers, the “staff picks” signs with personal recommendations and anecdotes. We wanted to extend these conversations; we wanted more people, from anywhere in the world, to join the conversation. That’s when we created Litsy. On Litsy, users can share any book moment on the go, and other readers, not algorithms, are there to engage and recommend your next favorite titles.


It’s been downloaded in over 119 countries. In your opinion, what is it about that is making it so popular do you think? 

I think users appreciate having one central place for all things book related. Rather than going to one platform to review, and then another to blurb, and then another place to write down a quote, and then another to post a picture, Litsy users can organize their reading stacks, post, and engage in the same place. There isn’t the noise of other content competing with the books—it’s only books.

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Competitions: The Choice on DVD Winners

The Choice DVDIt’s time to announce the winners of our competition. We had three DVD copies of the film adaptation of The Choice to give away. 

Congratulations to Cheryl Hadfield, Alexandra Crisp and Martin Turner who were picked at random and have all won a copy. An e-mail from me will be on its way shortly (make sure to check your spam folder.)

When feisty medical student Gabby Holland (Teresa Palmer) moves in next door to perennial ladies’ man Travis Shaw (Benjamin Walker), it sends them both on a romantic journey neither ever dreamed possible. After a whirlwind courtship, Gabby and Travis wed and build a family together, making every decision hand-in-hand until one of them is forced to make the most important choice of their life alone. A poignant and life-affirming celebration of love, marriage and family that explores the most heart-wrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

(The Choice, adapted from the novel from Nicholas Sparks was released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment on 4th July 2016. It stars Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Maggie Grace, Tom Welling and Tom Wilkinson. Certificate: 12.)


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Blog Tour: Hungry For Love by Lucy Beresford – Review

HungryforloveJax is about to cancel her wedding to Jonty. On the day. By text. A scrumptious celebration of survival for anyone who’s longed for love or felt unworthy of it, Hungry for Love will show you the importance of self-respect and that love can be found where you least expect it.

Jax is the daughter of Majella, famous British television chef and author of Food of Love, a best-selling cookery book due for re-issue. But if there s one thing Jax loathes more than her ex-fiancé, it’s cooking. So when her boss orders her to use the week she’d booked off for her honeymoon to attend a cookery course in Majorca, Jax fears her life cannot get any worse.

When tragedy strikes closer to home, Jax is forced to re-assess her relationship with food. As learning to cook inflames her desires, she must decide whether her plan post-Jonty to starve herself of men is such a great idea. Maybe there is a recipe for love out there, after all?

We meet Jax on the morning of her wedding. However, instead of it being the happiest day of her life, she’s about to cancel her wedding… by text.

Needless to say, she’s not in a happy place. She has support from her sister Caryl but not so much from her mother, famous TV chef, Majella.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Mirror Mirror…

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1.pngFiction 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: 

Your mirror begins to talk to you and tells you that you’re the fairest of them all. You believe it. It also says that it can grant wishes. You get a wish every day. All you have to do is say the words ‘mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?’

All is going well to begin with but then….

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Blog Tour: Eleanor Brown – Author Interview and Review

Eleanor Brown

Photo credit: Joe Henson

I’d like to welcome Eleanor Brown and her blog tour for her new book, The Light of Paris which was released yesterday (14th July) by The Borough Press. Hi Eleanor. Thank you so much for joining me. How do you approach the writing process? Do you do much planning and do you edit as you go etc?

I’m a non-planner by nature but I’ve trained myself to do at least some. With The Weird Sisters I just clanged around discovering the story as I went, but with The Light of Paris I worked quite hard to plan things out ahead of time. Consequently, it took me years to write The Weird Sisters, but once I had The Light of Paris figured out, I wrote the first draft in under two months.

I always say to my writing students that you’re going to do the organizational work sometime – whether it’s at the beginning, in the middle when you get stuck, or at the end is up to you, but you can’t avoid it altogether. I recommend a bare minimum of planning at the beginning, even if you consider yourself a free spirit – it saves a lot of pain and dead ends.

There is zero editing as I write! I just hurl it all on the page and tell myself I can make it pretty later. I hate drafting so much I just want it over with. Besides, what’s the point of making something pretty if I am just going to have to cut it later?


Can you tell me a little about your typical writing day and do you have any writing rituals (coffee before you begin, writing in silence etc.)

For a long time I thought if I could just figure out the perfect habit, I’d have this writing thing conquered. Now I understand that there is no perfect schedule – only what you can get done.

You have to write when you can, and that may change from year to year or week to week or day to day. I used to write in the mornings and took care of business in the afternoon. But lately it’s made more sense to do business in the morning and write in the afternoon. If I kept desperately trying to fit the way things are into my old schedule, I’d be frantic. Occasionally I just have to step back and say, “This isn’t working right now. What can I do differently?”

I believe writing rituals are dangerous. What if there’s a day you can only write while you wait for your kid to get out of soccer practice? If you’ve trained yourself to need your favourite pen and the perfect blend of tea, you’re out of luck. I just write when I can, where I can, as much as I can.

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Book Review: You And Me Always by Jill Mansell

Headline Review, June 2016

Headline Review, June 2016

Lily’s always been surrounded by love.

Ever since her mother died, she’s been cared for by friends who are as close as any family. 

Coral, her mum’s best friend; Patsy, her old babysitter – and even Dan, Patsy’s incorrigible younger brother – have always been there for her. 

But when she chance comes to meet the man who was the love of her mother’s life, Lily knows she has to take it. Getting to know him could change everything, and not just for Lily…

I really didn’t think it would be possible for this sparkling author to top ‘Three Amazing Things About You’. If you haven’t read that one of Jill’s yet, then make that the next one you read after ‘You and Me, Always’, before the movie comes out! Well, maybe not, but someone really should turn it into one.

Sorry, I digress. ‘You and Me, Always’ is top-notch writing and un-put-down-able reading. If, like me, you see a blurb that mentions a movie star or someone fleeing something, that always starts an alarm bell ringing, but no need to worry here. Jill’s characters are always well thought out and the character of Eddie is nicely believable, things don’t even veer towards pie-in-the-sky world when the story deals directly with the world of celebrities.

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Author Interview: Jane Green

Author, Jane Green

Author, Jane Green

Eeeeeek! I am so excited to be welcoming Jane Green to Novel Kicks especially as it is publication day for her new novel. Hello Jane. Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a bit about your latest novel, Falling and how has your writing routine changed over the time you’ve been writing? 

Falling is my first big, epic love story in a while. I wanted to narrow it down to two people, and draw from my own story, in that I met my husband three days after my first marriage ended, by renting his beach cottage. The story goes off in a very different direction, but I loved writing about these two people who I grew enormously fond of. My routine is much the same in that I still leave my house to write, and am still finished by lunchtime, but entirely different in that the landscape of the world has changed, and hours a day are spent maintaining a presence and building a following on social media.


Do you plan much prior to beginning and do you edit as you go?

I plan my characters, and sometimes my story, although I prefer to have a rough idea of the arc of the story and let the characters then tell it. I do a cursory read through every day of what was written the day before, and might make minor tweaks, but I save the major edits until I have finished.


Which fictional character would you like to hang out with for a while and what would you do?

Right now I would quite like to hang out with Claudette from This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell because I am immersed in her world.

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