Book News

A Moment With… Julie Caplin

It’s finally the weekend. Julie Caplin joins me today with the blog tour for her novel, The Secret Cove in Croatia. 

Sail away to beautiful Croatia for summer sun, sparkling turquoise seas and a holiday romance that’s forever…

When no-nonsense, down-to-earth Maddie Wilcox is offered the chance to work on a luxury yacht for the summer, she can’t say no. Yes she’ll be waiting on the posh guests… But island-hopping around the Adriatic sea will more than make up for it – especially when Nick, her best friend Nina’s brother, is one of them.

Sparks fly when they meet on board and Maddie can’t believe self-entitled jerk Nick is really related to Nina.

But in a secret, picture-perfect cove, away from the real world, Maddie and Nick discover they might have more in common than they realise…

 

Talking about the value of research, it’s over to you, Julie…

As I set my Romantic Escapes series in interesting, overseas locations, I’m often asked how I research my books.

These days with the internet at the tips of our fingers, it is so easy for authors to do their research from the comfort of their own homes and it is amazing what you can find out without ever having to leave home. However, as a writer, I’ve found that nothing quite beats proper first hand research thanks to those interesting little facts and insights that you pick up when you actually visit a place.

I’ve been to Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany many times and I feel I have a reasonable understanding of the cultures of those countries, however when it came to writing my first book in the Romantic Escape series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, I had never been to Scandinavia let alone Denmark, so it felt really important that I visited Copenhagen to get a feel for the country and it’s people.

And it was exactly the right decision, I felt much more confident to write about the city once I’d been there.

With book five in the series, I decided to set the story in the beautiful country of Croatia. This was inspired by my lovely work colleague, Gordana, who grew up in Croatia. In our quieter moments (not many in a school office admittedly) she would show us the most wonderful pictures of the islands, the sea and the beautiful little towns. When my editor gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to Croatia as the next setting, I immediately knew that I needed a research trip to Croatia and specifically the Dalmatian Islands.

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Book Review: A Walk in Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne

Welcome back to Bella Osborne who is here today with the blog tour for her new novel, A Walk in Wildflower Park.

Life’s not always a walk in the park…

When Anna is dumped by her fiancé, she moves in to her own place on the edge of the gorgeous Wildflower Park and pledges to stay off men and focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives an accidental text from a mystery man, could it be the new start she needs? Or someone she really shouldn’t be falling for?

Anna’s neighbour Sophie is a stressed-out mum-of-two with a third on the way. Her husband is a constant frustration, and their children are a regular source of newly-invented swear words and unidentifiable sticky surfaces.

Luckily, Anna and Sophie have each other – and Wildflower Park proves to be a sanctuary as they map out a path to find the happiness they both deserve…

A Walk in Wildflower Park was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

 

Anna thought she had found the one in Liam until he broke off the engagement.

Hoping a change of scenery will do her good, she moves into a place of her own on the edge of the beautiful Wildflower Park.

With the help of her friend and neighbour, Sophie, a temperamental elderly man named Bert and a cat named Maurice, Anna quickly settles in and vows to put her career first.

A handsome new American colleague and texts from a mystery man don’t make her new plan easy.

Is this the beginning of something great for Anna?

A new novel from Bella is like catching up with a friend you’ve not seen for ages and yet pick up where you left off which starts with a warm hug – comforting but also exciting.

Told from duel point of views, Anna and Sophie, it was interesting to see the opposites when it comes to the lifestyles of these women. Their friendship was lovely to read about and the kind everyone wants.

As well as Anna and Sophie, other characters were great too. These included the handsome Hudson, the clueless yet loveable Dave and the brilliant Bert who added additional humour to an already funny novel.

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NK Chats To… Alex Brown

Thank you so much for joining me today, Alex. Can you tell me a little about A Postcard From Italy and what inspired it?

Thanks for inviting me. A Postcard From Italy is my eighth full length novel and it’s a love story that spans nearly ninety years. Connie is harbouring a secret at the onset of the Second World War and then we fast forward to today where Grace opens a storage unit containing a lifetime of treasured belongings.

She then sets out to unravel the secret in a quest to right the wrongs meted out to Connie all those years ago and maybe find love for herself when she travels to the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera.

 

What’s your writing process like (from idea to final draft) and how has it evolved since your first novel?

I’m not much of planner so I usually have an idea which I brainstorm with my editor before writing a synopsis which I then use as a rough guide to get me started. I write Monday to Friday and aim for at least a thousand words unless my deadline is looming and then I’ll write every day and into the night too for a week or two until the book is finished.

I start the day by editing the previous day’s words before writing on. My writing process hasn’t changed much since my first novel, although I procrastinate a lot less these days, I don’t have the time, and I always end the day by writing the outline for the following day … I like to know what’s happening next.

 

Which elements do you think are important for a successful novel?

There are so many variations but if you have a good story with a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter, so your reader feels compelled to read on, then you’re off to a good start. If you have wit and a sprinkle of wisdom too then even better.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet?

Georgie Hart from my Carrington’s department store series. I love her so much and think we’d be the best of friends. It might sound daft but after writing four books she really does feel real to me and I miss her sometimes.

 

What other advice would you give to new writers like me?

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NK Chats To… Des Burkinshaw

Hi Des, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a little about your book, Dead and Talking and what inspired it?

It’s lovely to be here. Thank you for the invite. The novel is about a man who is forced to atone for the “sins” of his family by a sort of ghost – think It’s a Wonderful Life’s Clarence! – And he can only do that by righting some historical wrongs. He’s given the gift of being able to peer into the last moments of dead people’s lives if he’s near their remains. Which sort of helps. He’s a natural sceptic and thinks he’s going a bit mad but picks up some fellow travellers who help him. It quickly becomes an ensemble piece. Although set today, the first case he has to solve is of a private shot for desertion in WW1. He soon finds it is linked to his own family history.

It’s dark in places but is also funny because he and his helpers are all so reluctant to believe any of it is happening. There are some Ealing Comedy moments too. Tone-wise, it’s in the same ballpark as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Though, as I say, the dark moments are pretty dark.

It was inspired by a few actual events from WW1. After I started plotting it, I also had to make a film about the role of soldiers from the Empire who fought for the British. I spent some time in Ypres, at the In Flanders Fields Museum and at some locations not open to tourists. It all sort of fitted together. Actually, doesn’t this show how research doesn’t just adorn the plot, it can become the plot?

 

What’s your typical writing day like? Is there somewhere specific you like to write?

I nearly always get up and go to a local coffee shop to get started for an hour or two on my laptop. I like to see the world go by before I hunker down behind the closed doors of my office. I write between 1-4 hours a day because I’m a filmmaker by trade and that takes up a lot of time. I wish I could spend more time writing.

 

How did your background in journalism help with writing your book?

Many ways. Not having a fear of the blank page helps a lot. Knowing how to plan, how to sub, how to edit. Knowing the importance of drafts and revisions. Welcoming constructive criticism and actually acting on it.

But it’s also in the people I’ve met. I’ve spent a lot of quality time with Normandy veterans and other soldiers. Also, my starting point has always been a journalistic one of trying to see both sides of an argument and so, though a natural sceptic myself, I’m able to suspend that disbelief while writing, simply by putting myself in the mind of someone who does believe. Sceptic or not, who doesn’t love the idea that there are ghosts?

 

What would your reaction be to a ghost? It would scare the hell out of me.

I’m a journalist. A sceptical journalist. But not a cynical one. I will never, ever believe there are ghosts until I see one myself though. I don’t care who else tells me. But if I did see one, I would use it as a basis to explore how I’d been wrong all this time. Sadly, I haven’t seen one – though I’ve seen quite a bit of death and spent a ridiculous amount of my life in cemeteries when I was younger. Always been a bit morbid.

I’d kill to see one. Even if I was afraid, I’d be delighted.

 

What’s your favourite word and why?

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Book Review: The Wedding Planner by Eve Devon

It’s summer, the wedding bells are ringing and I am saying hi to Eve Devon and the blog tour for her latest book, The Wedding Planner. 

Wedding bells are ringing and gossip is spiralling in Whispers Wood…
Single mum Gloria Pavey has a bad habit of saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. Determined to make a positive change she can’t say no when her best friend, Emma, asks her to take on the role of her wedding planner.

The only problem? Gloria’s co-planner – best man Seth Knightley.
Gloria is on a self-imposed man ban but pulling together the most beautiful wedding Whispers Wood has ever seen alongside gorgeous Seth is pushing her to her limits.

As every interaction increases the tension between them Gloria finds herself wondering…could the happy ever after she never thought she’d have be in her future after all?

 

The Wedding Planner, the third novel in the Whispers Wood series focuses on Gloria.

After finding out her husband had fallen in love with someone else, she’s no longer buying into the happy ever after. In-fact, she’s even finding it hard to be nice to people.

Determined to change her ways though, even just a little bit, she is pulled into the world of weddings when her colleague, Emma, finally makes a decision about her wedding to Jake.

Not only has Gloria got to be a bridesmaid, she’s now working with Jake’s younger and handsome brother, Seth. Can she resist him like she’s managed to resist everything else?

This took me a couple of chapters to get into and then I couldn’t stop reading.

The relaxed and chatty writing style made it a wonderful book to read. I felt as though I was witnessing all this rather than reading it, if that makes sense.

Gloria is a wonderfully complex character. She’s been hurt in love and in life so she has self-preservation in spades. Even when the gorgeous Seth makes it clear he’s flirting with her, she tries to resist him. I shouted to the page on more than one occasion for her to stop being so silly.

The characters around Gloria are equally as wonderful and I don’t think there was one I didn’t like.

Although there is the old chapter told from various point of views, this is Gloria’s story.

This book is a real journey for Gloria. She has closed herself off to everything.

It’s about her relationship with Seth and I loved this but it was also interesting to see how her friendships develop with the other women in the story, Juliet, Emma and Kate. It was a close run thing with Seth (the perfect Jane Austen type hero,) but the friendship between the four women is my favourite part.

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NK Chats To: Mandy Baggott

Hello Mandy. Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me about your new book, One Last Greek Summer and what inspired it?

One Last Greek Summer is a perfect summer read set on the Greek island of Corfu. It’s the story of newly divorced thirty-something Beth Martin and her friend, Heidi, having one last holiday before they both re-evaluate the next stage of their lives. Except Heidi has picked the destination they both first visited when they were 21, and there just might be a few familiar faces waiting for them…

 

How has your writing process changed since writing your first novel?

*laughs* Seriously, it hasn’t changed that much! The only thing that has changed slightly is I now write two books every year as opposed to one when I first started out. I still initially come up with main characters and setting, the very bare bones of an idea, and then I literally start to write. I am not a plan it all and stick Post It notes around the room kind of writer, I just haven’t got that in me. I think if I knew the beginning, middle and end of each story I’d get bored writing it.

 

Where do you like to write? Do you have any writing rituals?

I have two main places I write. I have an office at home and I also visit my husband’s office at Numeric Accounting in Salisbury three days a week to give me that true ‘getting up and going to work’ feeling. It’s amazing how productive you can be surrounded by a team of accountants… As for writing rituals, I don’t really have any of those, just keep the coffee coming! Oh, and we always go to the pub at lunchtimes on a Friday! That surely counts, doesn’t it?

 

How important is it to pick the right names for your characters? 

This is SUPER important to me otherwise the characters don’t come alive or feel real to me. I remember one publisher (who shall remain nameless) at the very last moment, I think at the proofreading stage of things, wanted me to change the name and nationality of my hero. I was so shocked and I was absolutely not happy about it. I stuck to my guns and obviously I was right! It doesn’t usually take me long to come up with names but they do have to feel right for the characters.

 

What’s next for you?

I’m currently finishing writing Christmas! One Christmas Star comes out in e-book on 12 September and I am really excited about this book. It’s the story of schoolteacher, Emily and down-on-his-luck singer, Ray. It’s set in a festive London and involves a full-on school Christmas show – think Nativity meets A Star is Born – that’s how I pitched it to Aria Fiction.

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NK Chats to… Jenni Keer

Jenni Keer

Hi Jenni, it’s great to be welcoming you back to Novel Kicks.

Thank you so much for having me back. I can’t believe my second book is out already. I had a real thrill ride with The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker. The book had so many amazing reviews and I was delighted to get an Amazon bestseller flag. Let’s hope The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadowsis as enthusiastically received.

 

Which fictional character would you like to spend the day with? What would you do?

This is such a hard question. In fact, I left answering it until the end because there are so many characters I could have chosen. I considered people from historical novels where I would get the opportunity to spend some time in an exciting period of history – perhaps with a Regency lady or a certain Victorian cotton mill owner *wink*. I thought about characters with special powers, like Harry Potter and various superheroes (flying through the air with Superman would be a blast). I considered the simple rural idyll that would be spending a day with Anne Shirley at Green Gables, or Miss Marple in her beloved St Mary Mead. Perhaps I could pamper myself and spend the day with someone wealthy or influential, perhaps party with Jay Gatsby, or Holly Golightly? So many fabulous characters, so many choices…

In the end (wait for it…) it’s a toss up between Mr Daydream (who could give my imagination a boost and therefore some fabulous material for my novels) and Mr Impossible (so I can do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING) from the fabulous Mr Men. These were the very first books I read by myself and they have a special place in my heart. I’m sure I could have some up with something more intellectual but I’m embracing my inner child. Besides, I’m curious to see how they mange to drink a cup of tea with those stumpy little arms (Mr Tickle being the obvious exception).

 

Which songs would be on a playlist for The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows?

This is quite an easy question because Theo, who works with Maisie at the auction house, has a particular penchant for the 1980s. Although he is an expert in modern design (i.e. post-war) that’s the decade that really interests him, and this is reflected in his music taste. He plays a lot of The Jam, The Police, The Clash (late Seventies/Eighties) so a soundtrack would have to include these bands. This contrasts with the flamboyant Johnny (Maisie’s boss) who has more classical tastes, so perhaps some Mozart and a sprinkling of Shostakovich (as it is mentioned in the book). And then, to keep the author happy, I’d have to throw in a few recent dance tracks – which is largely what I listen to when I write. So it would be quite an eclectic mix.

 

How did your writing process differ from your previous novel?

In many ways it was quite similar. I’m a pantser, not a plotter, so apart from the bare bones of the story and a definite idea of the ending, I do tend to launch myself in rather randomly, not even writing chronologically. However, for Maisie I had to produce a synopsis for the publisher before I began writing and this did help me focus my ideas a bit more. There was also a time pressure for Maisie, whereas Lucy was written before I had a publishing deal so I had longer to play about with it. However, deadlines are Good Things. They help you focus.

The only thing I really did differently was a mid-book plan. I always refer to my first draft as the Bowl of Dropped Spaghetti stage – because in my head that’s what it feels like. After that, I need to pick all the jumbled spaghetti up and sort it out. Writing Maisie was the first time I’d produced a coherent plan but it was only at this post first-draft stage. I put all the scenes I’d written on Post-it notes and then planned the book – a bit backwards but it worked. My clever techie son set me up with two screens and I simply pulled across sections in order onto a blank document. I am at the Bowl of Dropped Spaghetti stage with Book 3 now so shall employ this method again.

 

Which authors have inspired you?

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Book Review: The Sentinel’s Alliance by Suzanne Rogerson

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. It is lovely to welcome Suzanne Rogerson to Novel Kicks today with the blog tour for her latest novel in the Silent Sea Chronicles, The Sentinel’s Alliance.

As the island of Kalaya and its people recover from civil war, a new threat surfaces. Invaders from the island of Elkena hunt the seas, butchering those who possess magic. Their scar-faced captain seeks the Fire Mage who it has been foretold will kill him and Tei and her people are in his warpath.

Tei and a band of Kalayans travel to Stone Haven, the home of their new allies, planning to restore magic to the dead island. But the Stone Haven Council have abhorred magic since their people were massacred by Elkenan invaders twenty years before. Commander Farrell must persuade his people to accept magic again, but his plans expose them to their biggest fear and he risks leading Tei and her people into danger, and jeopardising the safety of both their islands.

Under Farrell’s guidance treaties are forged, but is the newly formed Silent Sea Alliance enough to defeat the invaders and stop their bloodthirsty quest to destroy magic forever?

 

The Sentinel’s Alliance is the third part in the Silent Sea Chronicles, following the stories of Tei, Callisa and Farrell and their lives on the islands of Kalaya and Stone Haven.

If you are unfamiliar with the series then book three won’t stand alone, so I suggest that you start at the beginning.

For those of you familiar with the Silent Sea Chronicles, book three sees Kalaya’s Sentinel, Calissa, working with Farrell and the people of Stone Haven to build an alliance with the peoples of other islands in the Silent Sea to ward off the threat of the invaders from Elkena, bent on eradicating magic from the world.

I very much enjoyed reading this and as with the other books in the series, I feel it tried to hold up a mirror to our world.

It tries to show us, through communication and understanding, how we can build a better world for everyone and how, by working together we can solve problems which we all face.

The writing is relaxed and easy to read, the story is well paced and doesn’t dawdle; keeping you drawn through the book. The characters are likeable, if a little thin in places, but all in all they are well formed.

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Book Review: Bring Me Sunshine by Laura Kemp

Bring Me Sunshine is the new novel from author, Laura Kemp and I am very pleased to be a part of the blog tour today. 

Charlotte Bold is nothing like her name – she is shy and timid and just wants a quiet life. When her job doing the traffic news on the radio in London is relocated to Sunshine FM in Mumbles, she jumps at the chance for a new start in Wales.

But when she arrives she discovers that she’s not there to do the travel news – she’s there to front the graveyard evening show. And she’s not sure she can do it.

Thrust into the limelight, she must find her voice and a way to cope. And soon she realises that she’s not the only person who finds life hard – out there her listeners are lonely too. And her show is the one keeping them going.

 

First off, I want to say that it’s always lovely when I get to welcome another Laura to Novel Kicks.

Words can not describe how much I love the cover of this book. It’s so pretty.

There is such an ease to this book that I immediately got pulled in. I had not read any of Laura’s previous novels but I am wondering where the hell I have been. This will soon be rectified.

The story was told from the point of view of three people and I found this an interesting way to get to know these well-developed characters.

Charlie has just moved to Mumbles to begin a new job. She is terrified to learn that it will be an on air role at Sunshine FM .

Delme, Del to his friends, at the beginning of the novel is working as the health and safety officer at the station.

Tina is the station’s office manager who has a few secrets of her own.

I fell in love with Charlie straight away. She isn’t just black and white. She is fighting battles relating to her past, her confidence and the lack of belief in herself – something I think we can all empathise with on some level. I wanted to jump in and just give her a hug. She felt like a friend.

I felt the same about Del. He is this loveable chap who seems sure of who he is but like Tina, not everything is as it seems.

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Book Review: Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay by Ali McNamara

A big lovely hello to Ali McNamara and the blog tour for her latest novel, Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay. 

 

Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie – but money is tight and times are tough. When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can’t quite believe her ears. But it’s true!

She soon finds that owning a castle isn’t quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she’d first hoped: she can’t sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea.

Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there – and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most. It’s only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve…

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Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay focuses on Amelia. She’s a single mother who is trying to do the best for her young son, Charlie.

When she is told that she’s the last descendant of the Chesterford family and has inherited a castle, she doesn’t believe it at first. With a little convincing, she and Charlie arrive in Northumberland where most people are very friendly.

As she begins to make changes, strange things begin to happen, secrets are revealed and rumours about the castle being haunted may not be lies after all.

Ali McNamara is one of those authors for me. Whenever a new book of hers gets released, I read. Simple.

I pretty much devoured this book over a day. The story, the characters, the setting. It was all great; even grumpy Arthur.

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Book Review: Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

A lovely hello to Laura Jane Williams and the blog tour for her debut novel, Our Stop. 

Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.

Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.

One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:

To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.

 

Daniel knew there was something about Nadia from the moment he saw her talking to her boss. He couldn’t believe it when he then saw her on the commute to work.

Deciding to put an advert in the paper, Daniel is hoping that it won’t be long until he can talk to Nadia. He is delighted when she replies. Soon, they are writing back to each other through the paper, not realising that fate has its own plan.

I read this book in a day, desperate to know what happened between these two characters. How does Nadia respond to Daniel’s advert, do they meet and what happens next?

Nadia is a strong female character who, although has moments of doubt, knows who she is and that she deserves to be happy. It was good to see a main character act in this way.

Daniel is a lovely compliment to Nadia’s character and is the perfect love interest. He has a Mr Darcy vibe going on (without being the prat Darcy is at the beginning.)

The supporting characters were also wonderful. I especially liked Romeo. I thought he was a nice change in how male friends are portrayed in some novels.

Having the point of view go between Nadia and Daniel gave it such an interesting perspective. It was good to see the relationship unfold from both sides and to see the emotions and thoughts of both.

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Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

Welcome to Terry Lynn Thomas and the blog tour for her novel, The House of Secrets. 

Sarah Bennett has two secrets: she sees ghosts, and she is in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her.

As Sarah struggles to cope with the ghostly presence, she runs into Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is recovering from injuries suffered in an alleged accident.

But Zeke has secrets of his own, and when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead.

Unsure who she can trust, Sarah must solve the mystery of the soul determined to haunt her, and save Dr Geisler and herself from an unknown threat.

This book was previously published as WEEPING IN THE WINGS. 

 

The House of Secrets is the second book in the Sarah Bennett Mysteries and my introduction to its main character, Sarah Bennett.

I will try not to give anything away about what happens as I don’t want to spoil it.

I know I have been saying this a lot but from page one, I was well and truly hooked. My to-do list got abandoned for the day as I settled in and read this in pretty much one sitting.

I immediately loved Sarah. She is a strong female character who is also facing many internal conflicts as well as external ones. She’s very intelligent, has great instincts but is battling in the court of public opinion since the trial of her father ended.

Despite the fact that I have not read the first novel in the series, it is obvious she has been through a lot. Not reading the first novel, The Spirt of Grace, didn’t put me at too much of a disadvantage as all the information needed is mentioned at various points. However, reading the first one obviously means you know more about Sarah’s past when you meet her again at the beginning of this book.

This appealed to my interest in the idea of whether there is something beyond life. There is a real feeling of the gothic and it is captured so well in the description of the house and the ‘sightings’ Sarah has.

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NK Chats To… Jon Rance (Plus Book Review)

Hello Jon, welcome back to Novel Kicks. Congratulations on the new book Good Grief, which has been released today. What are you doing to celebrate?  

Firstly, thank you so much for having me! It’s always a pleasure. I don’t know about other authors, but I don’t do much to celebrate new books because I’m usually too anxious and worried about getting reviews and what people will think of it. I usually just have a meal with my family and a couple of drinks, and then it’s back to stressing about it! That’s the life of an author – 95% stress 5% enjoyment!

 

Can you tell me a little of what Good Grief is all about?

Good Grief is my eighth novel and it’s about two very different people trying to get over losing their partners. Holly Moon is twenty-seven and a year before the start of the book her husband died suddenly of a heart attack. Holly thought she had it all and suddenly her life is nothing like she had planned. Phil Turner is sixty and he’s been married to Bev for nearly forty years. She’s all he’s ever known. When she dies of cancer, he doesn’t know what life is about anymore. Holly and Phil meet at Good Grief counselling group and strike up an unlikely friendship. Together they help each other move on and find a purpose in life again. Good Grief is a love letter to the healing power of friendship. It might sound a bit sad, and it is in places, but ultimately it’s a feel-good, uplifting story.

 

Which songs would be on a playlist for Good Grief?

Haha that’s great. I actually made one on Spotify! Queen play an important role in the book and so definitely some Queen. I’d go for Another One Bites The Dust and I Want To Break Free. There’s the Snow Patrol song, What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get? Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division, Your Song by Elton John, Nothing Lasts Forever by Echo & The Bunnymen, Hey Jude by The Beatles and One Day by Kodaline. You can find the playlist on Spotify. It’s called Good Grief Playlist. Enjoy!

 

What’s your favourite word and why?

Ooo that’s a tough one. I think my all-time favourite word is bivouac. I’ve never actually used it in a book, but one day!  The way it just sort of rolls off the tongue.

 

When you are beginning a new project, how much planning needs to be in place before you decide it’s enough to begin? Do you use software like Scrivener or a notebook?

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Cover Reveal: The Secret – Violet’s Story by Eliza J. Scott

I am pleased to be helping reveal the cover for The Secret – Violet’s Story which is the new novel from Eliza J. Scott. 

The Secret – Violet’s Story is book 3 in the Life on the Moors Series.

It’s been two years since glamorous and ambitious Violet Smith fell head-over-heels in love with blacksmith Jimby Fairfax, and moved back home to the North Yorkshire village of Lytell Stangdale to be with him.

Life couldn’t get much sweeter. Their romance is blooming and Romantique – the business she set up with Jimby’s sister Kitty, designing luxurious underwear and burlesque costumes with the odd wedding dress throw in – is thriving.

But on a romantic weekend break, a face from her past triggers a series of events which send Violet into turmoil. She finds herself with no alternative but to reveal a secret she’s buried deep for the past sixteen years. A secret she hasn’t shared with anyone, not even her best friends, Kitty and Molly, and they share everything.

With the revelation forcing a wedge between herself and Jimby, heartbroken Violet fears that he won’t ever be able to think of her in the same way again and won’t want anything more to do with her.

As ever, Kitty and Molly rally round, offering their advice and support but Vi is worried that keeping her secret was just a step too far for Jimby.

Will she succeed in showing him their love is strong enough to overcome it?

OK, now for the cover…..three, two, one….

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Book Extract and Review: Stolen by Paul Finch

Hello Friday! It’s almost the weekend and what better way to celebrate its arrival than a visit from Paul Finch and the blog tour for his new novel, Stolen. 

How do you find the missing when there’s no trail to follow?

DC Lucy Clayburn is having a tough time of it. Not only is her estranged father one of the North West’s toughest gangsters, but she is in the midst of one of the biggest police operations of her life.

Members of the public have started to disappear, taken from the streets as they’re going about their every day lives. But no bodies are appearing – it’s almost as if the victims never existed.

Lucy must chase a trail of dead ends and false starts as the disappearances mount up. But when her father gets caught in the crossfire, the investigation suddenly becomes a whole lot more bloody…

 

I’ve reviewed the novel below but before that, Paul and Avon have shared an extract. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

Lucy was still in the thick of the action, though it was mostly over. On all sides, cautions were being issued, and the responses, mainly f-words and other more imaginative profanities, being recorded on dictaphone as the jostling, cuffed men were frogmarched to the farm cottage wall and held there, each by his individual arresting officer, while others commenced searching them. One resisted more than the rest, kicking out and spitting, and was given a backhander across the mouth for his trouble. Lucy wasn’t worried. When the evidence was finally presented, she doubted there was a magistrate in the land who’d be swayed by farcical complaints about police brutality.

Quite a bit of that evidence was on display inside the barn itself, when she went in there. The centrepiece was a purpose-built pit, squarish in shape, about ten yards by ten, dug to a depth of five feet and lined with brick, with a steel ladder fixed in one corner and a camera mounted on a tripod overlooking it, alongside an upright chalkboard scribbled with betting information. 

Two dogs still occupied the pit. One, an American pit bull, charged crazily back and forth, jumping up to snap and snarl at the officers, despite the excessive blood dabbling its jaws and jowls. The other one, whose breed was uncertain, lay in a quivering, panting heap, gashed and torn and spattered with gore.

‘We need one of the vets in here,’ Lucy said to a PC at her shoulder. ‘And a handler . . . to control the other one, yeah?’

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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