Book News

Book Extract: Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby

thalidomide-kid-sept-18.jpgA big lovely hello to Kate Rigby and the blog tour for her novel, Thalidomide Kid.

Daryl Wainwright is the quirky youngest child of a large family of petty thieves and criminals who calls himself ‘Thalidomide Kid’.

Celia Burkett is the new girl at the local primary school, and the daughter of the deputy head at the local comprehensive where she is bound the following September. With few friends, Celia soon becomes fascinated by ‘the boy with no arms’.

The story of a blossoming romance and sexual awakening between a lonely girl and a disabled boy, and their struggle against adversity and prejudice as they pass from primary to secondary school in 1970s Cirencester. The story deals with themes and issues that are timeless.

Kate has shared an extract today. In this excerpt, the headmistress Miss Bond reveals to Celia’s family that Celia has been seen skiving lessons school with Daryl.

****** start of extract******

When they got to the pudding – fruit salad with lychees, continuing the Chinese theme – Celia fought back tears as she racked her brain.

Her dad spoke first. “Was that you, Celia?”

“Was that me what?”

“What Barbara was just saying?”

Celia looked blank, whereupon Miss Bond repeated her question with due emphasis. “I thought I saw you yesterday, Celia, walking down the Tetbury Road during school hours with the young Wainwright boy.”

Shit bricks! Miss Bond had seen them.

“I wasn’t feeling well.” She said the first thing that came into her head. “I … had … I had a stomach ache. Daryl said he’d walk with me as far as town and I had to sit down so we went to a coffee bar. I needed to drink something.”

Her father had a look of restrained incredulity. “You didn’t tell your teacher or think of reporting to the sick bay?”

thalidomide-kid-full-tour-banner.jpgShe had no answer to this but to say: “I didn’t think. I just wanted to go home.”

“That doesn’t explain why the Wainwright boy wasn’t attending his lesson,” Dad said.

“A case of skivitis, I suspect,” said Miss Bond. “Though he shouldn’t really be treated any differently from anyone else who breaks school rules. That won’t do him any good at all.”

Celia wished they’d stop calling him the Wainwright boy. She wished they’d give him a chance instead of thinking the worst of him all the time, but the matter didn’t rest there. After Miss Bond had thanked them for a lovely evening and driven off in her Rover, her father’s smile evaporated, his face clouding over all serious.

“I mean, how d’you think it made me look,” he said, “hearing it second-hand from Barbara that my own daughter was absent from class?”

“It’s not fair. Other people don’t have to have the head telling their dads things. It’s like being spied on, isn’t it, Abby?”

But Abby was keeping out of it, collecting up the best glasses for Dad to wash, the best glasses being Dad’s department.

“Well, I want you to go upstairs immediately and write two letters of apology; firstly to the teacher whose class you missed and secondly to Barbara. Do I make myself clear?”

Mum started drying the glasses, dripping soap suds on the draining board as she picked them up. Then she said: “What were you doing with that boy anyway, Celia? We’d rather you didn’t keep that sort of company.”

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Book Review: Christmas Spirit by Nicola May

coverI am loving all the Christmas stories being released and I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour for Christmas Spirit, the novella from Nicola May. 

It’s two days before Christmas – and Evie Harris finds herself both manless and jobless. After a chance encounter with handsome Greg (and egged on by her toy-boy-eating friend, Bea) she agrees to work at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day.

Striking up an unlikely friendship with homeless Yves, Evie begins an unwitting journey of spiritual awakening, all set against the sparkling winter backdrop of London landmarks. 

A New Year’s Eve revelation is on its way . . . but will it leave Evie with a happy heart, or will she allow the pre-Christmas past to dictate her future?

Two days before Christmas, Evie has found herself without a job and without her boyfriend.

By chance, she meets Greg and ends up volunteering at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day.

This is also where she meets the mysterious Yves.

Evie embarks on a spiritual journey she doesn’t expect but could be the start of better things.

Oh my! This book.

From beginning to end this novella had me hooked. I don’t have anything bad to say about it. It’s not a long book but I devoured it very quickly because I did not want to stop reading.

Evie has many things happen to her. Still reeling from one thing something else quickly comes along. We’ve all had experience of that at one time or another.

Greg is a smashing love interest and the mysterious Yves adds some additional magic to this festive plot. Who is he? Where has he come from?

Christmas Spirit

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Novel Kicks Book Club: After You by Jojo Moyes

After you

Penguin, June 2016

Hello November. 

For this month’s book club, I’ve chosen After You by Jojo Moyes.

This is the sequel to the fantastic Me Before You. Anyone can take part in our book club at any point in the month and you can discuss books from the comfort of your armchair so you don’t even have to go out in the horrible weather.

As usual, I have posted a question below to kick off the discussion.

About After You: 

Lou Clark has lots of questions.

Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.

Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.

And will she ever get over the love of her life.

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Book Review: Roar by Cecelia Ahern

ROAR Jacket High resThere is much excitement here at Novel Kicks today. I am delighted to be the first stop on the blog tour for Roar. This is the new novel from the brilliant Cecelia Ahern. 

Have you ever stood at a crossroads, undecided…Have you ever had a moment when you wanted to roar?

From much-loved, international bestseller Cecelia Ahern come stories for all of us: the women who befriend us, the women who encourage us, the women who make us brave. From The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared to The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged her Husband, discover thirty touching, often hilarious, stories and meet thirty very different women. Each discovers her strength; each realizes she holds the power to make a change.

Witty, tender, surprising, these keenly observed tales speak to us all, and capture the moment when we all want to roar.

Roar is the latest novel from Cecelia Ahern. The book has thirty short stories that has something for every woman.

I have made no secret of the fact that I absolutely adore Cecelia’s novels. When I heard about this one, I was very intrigued to read it. Roar is slightly different to anything she has written before.

This assortment of stories carry a similar theme but all have something unique to say.

All the way through, it looks at women, our sense of self, self-esteem, our relationships with ourselves, with men and other women also.

It’s an interesting and very powerful look at how some of us look at the world and where we see ourselves within it.

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Book Extract: The Mischief Maker by Simon Maree

the mischief makerA big hello to Simon Maree who is here to share an extract from his novel, The Mischief Maker.

He’s just a soul whose intentions are good… Oh Lord, please don’t let him be misunderstood…

Joe has a problem. He is falling in love with his new housemate. Nothing unusual there, except for Joe is a poltergeist and this sort of thing just shouldn’t happen. Joe is suffering an existential crisis of no small proportion.

The object of his misguided affections – a feisty and self-assured teenager named Harriet. Will he be able to save her from something much darker than himself that lurks in the shadows of the Brighton house they share? Will she be able to help him on his newfound quest for redemption?

 

***** start of extract*****

I’d been waiting for someone like her for a great while. I had no idea how long. I’d all lost track of time. It could have been years, decades or even centuries. If I was given to clichés, I could say that it felt like an eternity, but nobody knows what that’s like (although I’m learning, slowly; one day at a time).

I knew that she was the one before I even laid eyes on her. I could feel the energy sparking off her like tiny shooting stars even as she turned the corner onto Westall Avenue and strolled past the terraced houses, gazing out at the small, grey strip of English channel visible across the main road at the bottom of the street, her blue eyes blazing with righteous indignation beneath that bible black fringe with the purple streaks, and her pretty little head all full of candyfloss and pop stars.

Her mother strode beside her; a handsome, confident looking, auburn haired woman with high heels and a briefcase, but I felt nothing. I had no use for her, except perhaps as a stooge of some sort.

They slowed as they got nearer to the house, studying digits on doors, the older woman checking and double checking the paperwork in her hand, until they found what they were looking for, the magical number 33 that hung upon the portal to my own little kingdom.

The wrought iron gate gave it’s usual grating complaint as Mummy Dearest pushed it open, walked past the tiny and somewhat forlorn front garden, and approached the door, my brand new obsession in her expensively perfumed wake.

I stared out at them from the downstairs front room bay window. I could barely control my excitement as Mrs. Businesswoman put her ‘A to Z’ of Brighton into her case and glared at her state of the art smartphone.

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Book Extract: Starlight on the Palace Pier by Tracy Corbett

Starlight on the palace pierA big hello to Tracy Corbett and the blog tour for her new novel, Starlight on the Palace Pier. 

After an injury derails her dream of becoming a professional dancer, Becca Roberts heads home to Brighton in search of a fresh start.

And, when a part-time dance teacher role becomes available at The Starlight Playhouse, it seems like her stars are finally aligning. The crumbling old playhouse might need a bit of tender loving care (and a lick of paint!), but Becca is more than up to the challenge.

That is until Becca’s first love (and first heartbreak), Tom, waltzes into the Starlight Playhouse, and she realises life by the sea might not be as simple as she thought…

I have reviewed the book below but first, Tracy and Avon have shared an extract with us. Enjoy.

*****Beginning of extract.*****

Becca was suffering with her second hangover in the space of forty-eight hours. She’d met up with a couple of old school friends last night and had ended up at Patterns. Why had she drunk so much? Her head hurt, her eyes hurt, even her hair hurt. But most of all her knee hurt. Too many gin cocktails coupled with dancing in high heels until the early hours had aggravated her injury…again. If she carried on like this she might never make a full recovery. But it was hard to remain focused on her rehabilitation when she knew her dancing career was over.

Still, she didn’t want to walk with a permanent limp, so she needed to dial down the abuse and let her knee heal, which was why she was sitting in the kitchen with an ice pack balancing on her knee. Two paracetamols and two ibuprofens had dulled the pounding in her head, but she still felt battered.

It wasn’t the best preparation for an interview. But then, she wasn’t even sure she wanted the job. Teaching was certainly an avenue lots of dancers chose after retiring, but they were usually the ones who’d had successful careers and had taken teacher training courses. She hadn’t done any of that. She’d never considered herself the teaching type. On the other hand, she needed a job. And Jodi was desperate for an ally, so Becca had contacted Carolyn Elliot-Wentworth and applied for the position.

She drank another glass of water and forced down a slice of toast, but she knew fresh air would be the only real antidote. A walk up to Preston Park would do her good, plus it would help strengthen her thigh muscles, something the consultant said was necessary to protect her knee from future injury.

Yesterday’s clouds had blown away leaving a lovely September day. It was warm enough that she didn’t need a coat, so she headed away from the marina up towards Victoria Fountain, reacquainting herself with her home town. Once a place filled with cheap housing, hippies and squatters struggling to make a living, Brighton had been transformed into a thriving town full of artists and celebrities.

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Book Review: ‘Tis The Season To Be Single by Laura Ziepe

Tis the season to be singleAll they want for Christmas…

Rachel is in shock. She was sure that her boyfriend was about to propose – not break up with her! Even worse, it turns out he’s been cheating on her…

Grace can’t bear the thought of spending another Christmas with her lazy, unappreciative husband. Surely it’s time to shake things up a bit?

Amber knows she should be happy that her best friend Jack is getting married, but there’s a little part of her that can’t help think ‘it was always meant to be me’!

With Christmas fast approaching, surely there’s no better time to be single – yet will the three friends manage to keep their promise and ban all men until the New Year?

‘Tis The Season To Be Single focuses on Rachel, Grace and Amber. They all work together in a big department store and have grown to be very close friends. When they all suddenly find themselves single at Christmas, they make a pact to go to the annual work ball together. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned.

This book is told from the point of view of all three women. Grace has realised she’s not happy in her marriage. Rachel has recently discovered that her boyfriend hasn’t been faithful and Amber says she actually doesn’t mind being single and doesn’t want a serious relationship.

Each character has a distinct point of view and voice. They were all very likeable, flawed yet wonderful characters and it didn’t take long before I got invested in their story.

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Book Review: I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

iinvitedherin‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’

When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge.

 

I Invited Her In is the new novel from best-selling author Adele Parks.

Mel and Abigail were friends at university. From the moment Mel met Abi, she was drawn to her. Even when nineteen year old Mel finds out she’s pregnant, Abi is right there with words of support.

Years later, the women reconnect after years of no contact. When Abi e-mails Mel telling her that she’s getting a divorce, Mel is quick to offer Abi a place to stay for a few days. It’s not long before Mel is as enthralled by Abi than she was at university.

Both Abigail and Mel have secrets and they are all about to be revealed.

This story is one of friendships, enemies, revenge, possible dark agendas and betrayal.

Mel is a contented mother of three, happily married to Ben. She doesn’t see the harm inviting her old friend into her home. It’s at this point that the twists and turns of the story begin to appear in quick succession.

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NK Chats To… Shari Low

sharilowHi Shari, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a little about your new novel, Because Mummy Said So and what inspired it?

Delighted to be here! Because Mummy Said So is a collection of columns and features I’ve written about the mayhem, chaos and hilarious bits of family life and imperfect parenting. It’s packed with embarrassing moments, mortifying disasters, amusing antics and there are a couple of tear jerking stories too. Don’t mention my oldest leaving home at 16 last year – it still makes me weep pathetically. Hopefully everyone from expectant and new mums to empty nesters will find something in there that makes them laugh or brings up a favourite memory of their own.

 

What is your writing process like from concept to editing?

This book was a little different from my usual novels, as it involved searching back though 15 years of writing about raising children and selecting all the stories I thought people would enjoy most. It was like reliving the big motherhood moments all over again and I loved every minute of it.

 

What’s the best thing about being an author and writing a book? What’s the most challenging?

The best thing is undoubtedly the moment it gets released. I’ve written 22 novels now and I still get every bit as excited as I did when my first book hit the shelves. The most challenging is the actual writing! My process tends to go along the lines of panic, type, eat a biscuit, panic, type, eat a biscuit, panic, type… until I finally write “The End”.

 

What’s your favourite word and why?

Most of them are rude, so I’ll stick with “mum”– because cheesy as it sounds (sorry!) it’s my very favourite thing to be. Continue reading

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Book Review: One Day in December by Josie Silver

one day in decemberLaurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist. After all, life isn’t a scene from the movies, is it? But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Laurie thinks she’ll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.

Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?

One evening, just before Christmas, Laurie is on the top deck of a London bus. When it stops, she sees a guy sat at the bus stop and they have a moment.

Before he can get on the bus/before Laurie can get off, the bus leaves the stop and Laurie misses her chance.

Despite looking for him for a year, Laurie is convinced that she will never find ‘bus boy.’ That is until her best friend introduces her new boyfriend.

One Day in December is not a typical boy meets girl story and this is one of the things I liked most about it (not that I am not a fan of the more conventional love stories.)

Told from the point of view of Laurie and Jack, I liked how I could get to know them and see the different thoughts, feelings and opinions.

The plot is compelling. The story builds at a good pace – it’s very much about the characters. All the twist and turns revolve around their story and behaviours.

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Book Extract: Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot

TA81E4FE9-D77C-442E-940F-2486B11862DFhe blog tour train rolls in today for Keep Her Silent, the new novel by Theresa Talbot.

Ooonagh O’Neil is back with another dark and chilling investigation… ͚Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you͛ That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large…

When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks.

Could Oonagh be the next target…? Authentic and gritty, Keep Her Silent is a gripping and page-turning thriller that will leave you breathless. 

 

Theresa and her publisher Aira have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

****** start of extract*****

Oonagh drove north along the coast road, the same one her dad took her on as a kid.

Maidens beach stretched out to her left, white horses crashing against the shore; the silhouette of Culzean Castle perched on the hilltop contrasted against the early evening sunlight. She turned left onto a single-track road and eased her car through the woodland area until she got to the clearing. It didn’t matter how many times she’d visited, the sight of the castle always made her catch her breath. Nestled in the crook of the Ayrshire coastline, the gardens enjoyed an almost tropical micro-climate from the Gulf Stream.

She’d arranged to meet Maura Rowinson at seven. The estate was part of a National Trust property, but Maura had assured Oonagh she could access the castle after closing as she had rented an apartment.

Oonagh followed the road round to the right of the main castle to the luxury holiday apartments and parked in the courtyard. There was only one other car there, an MG, British racing green. Oonagh parked alongside and switched off the engine.

She caught a brief glimpse of someone at the window, but her arrival would have been obvious for several minutes given the length of the drive. As she got out of the car a slight flutter of nerves played on her chest, but she’d left Gerry, her production assistant, in a pub less than three miles away with a mobile phone, access to a landline and instructions to call the cops if she didn’t check in within the hour.

A middle-aged woman with blonde hair tied back in a ponytail came out to greet her. She looked familiar, but Oonagh couldn’t place her. ‘Oonagh.’ She stretched out her hand; Oonagh smiled.
‘Maura? Good to meet you. In person,’ she added and allowed herself to be led inside and through to the main room, which looked out onto the Firth of Clyde.

There wasn’t much that still impressed Oonagh, but this view did. She stood at the window.

‘Wow, this is magnificent.’

‘Not bad, is it?’

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Book Review: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis

hauntinghattiehastingsHappy Monday all. I am pleased to be welcoming to Novel Kicks today, Audrey Davis and the Blog Blitz for The Haunting of Hattie Hastings…Part Three which has been released today.

Nothing lasts forever … Gary’s time on earth seems to be coming to an end. His visits are less frequent and his visibility is fading fast. But he still has a mission to accomplish, which involves Hattie and her ability to pass on a heart-rending message.

Best friend Cat’s ex-husband is determined to prove that he deserves another chance, but do leopards really change their spots?

Times are tough for Hattie’s mother Rachel, but where there’s life, there’s hope …
Meanwhile, is there someone already in Hattie’s life who can help her move on when it’s finally time to say goodbye?

 

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings: Part Three is the final book in the Haunting of Hattie Hastings series.

Hattie has recently become a widow after her husband, Gary was knocked over and killed by a drunk driver/hit and run.

Adjusting to life without him is something that Hattie is not finding easy. She does know that she wouldn’t have survived the first month had it not been for her son, Johnny, her mother Rachel, her brother Jack and his partner Ben and her best friend, Cat.

When Gary appears in front of her, Hattie can barely believe it. Gary doesn’t know why he’s still there but it’s not long before Hattie doesn’t want to let him go.

As this is the third book in the series, you need to have read the first two books to have a good sense of what is going on in this one. It doesn’t stand alone.

Told from the point of view from Hattie, Cat and Gary, (and Rachel for a couple of chapters,) it is like a modern day Truly Madly Deeply. Having it told from all these perspectives does give you an insight of how each of them is dealing with events differently. Gary appearing at inconvenient times leads to hilarity and awkwardness for the rest of the characters. Some parts of this book did have me chuckling a lot.

Hattie and Cat are both immediately likeable (although I did want to give Cat a hug plus a kick up the bum.) Both have been through a lot and these experiences meant I had a lot of empathy and connection with them. I wanted things to work out for them.

Gary is also a lovely character. I liked him a lot.

The rest of the supporting characters are also fantastic; Jack and Ben being personal favourites.

The style of the novel has a lot of warmth and humour. The characters and plot feel well-developed and not rushed.

The ending was great although I knew from the beginning that it was going to break my heart. Being split over the three books, it makes it very easy to fall into the story.

You do have to suspend realism but the author has cleverly mixed romance and paranormal. She has also tackled the subject of bereavement with grace and empathy.

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings is a great trio of books. I loved Hattie, Cat and Gary’s story and I think you will too.

 

FBprofilepicAbout Audrey:

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, fewer farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!’

After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce. It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in July. After which she might have a wee lie down …

Say hi on Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/audreydavisbooks and Twitter- https://twitter.com/audbyname

Click to view the Haunting of Hattie Hastings books on Amazon UK:

Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunting-Hattie-Hastings-Part-Three-ebook/dp/B07DT2P5Q3

 

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Book Review: One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk

one in a millionA big lovely welcome today to Lindsey Kelk. Her latest novel, One in a Million is due to be released in paperback by HarperCollins on Thursday. 

Everyone wants that special someone….

Annie Higgins has given up on love: she’s too busy trying to get her tiny business off the ground. Infuriated by the advertising agency across the hall making fun of her job, Annie accepts their crazy challenge – to make a random stranger Instagram-famous in just thirty days.

And even when they choose Dr Samuel Page PhD, historian and hater of social media, as her target, Annie’s determined to win the bet – whether Sam likes it or not.

But getting to know Sam means getting to know more about herself. And before the thirty days are over.

 

One in a million is ‘My Fair Lady for the digital era.’

It is told from the point of view of Annie Higgins who, along with her best friend, Miranda, run a digital marketing company.

Annie and Miranda bet a month’s rent that they can make an unknown person ‘instagram famous’ with twenty thousand likes in thirty days.
This is where Annie meets Sam who is very reluctant to say the least.

Annie has a very open, chatty dialogue that makes her such a warm and likeable character. In some aspects of her life, she is fearless. In her love life, not so much.

Miranda and Brian are perfect supporting characters. Everyone should have a Miranda in their life I think. Both she and Brian complement Annie well.

I have to say though, I did have a major soft spot for Wellington.

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NK Chats To… Riley Sager

pseudonymHi Riley. Thank you for joining me today. Your new book is called Last Time I Lied and was released in the UK on 10th July by Ebury Publishing. Can you tell me about it? 

LAST TIME I LIED is about an artist named Emma who went to a fancy all-girl’s camp when she was 13 and watched her three cabinmates leave in the middle of the night. They never returned.

Fifteen years later, she returns to that same camp as a painting instructor, hoping to learn more about what happened to her friends. Nothing goes according to plan. I think of it as my version of “Picnic at Hanging Rock.”

 

What’s your writing process like from idea, to planning, to writing and finally editing?

For me, it varies from book to book. FINAL GIRLS, for example, was a bolt of lightning. From writing to revising to finding it a good home, everything about that book was fast. I’m usually much slower. Once I get an idea, I spend a lot of time thinking, taking notes and trying to figure out how to turn it into a book.

LAST TIME I LIED took twice as long to write because I still didn’t quite know what to do with it even after I started written. Like some of the characters in the book, I spent a lot of time lost in the woods, trying to find my way out.

 

What advice do you have for when you’ve finished your book and want to try and get it published? 

The act of trying to get a book published can be so difficult that it’s easy to overlook the obvious—You’ve written a book! It’s such a huge accomplishment that quickly gets overshadowed by the rest of it. So I advise writers to remember to pat themselves on the back.

There’s a lot of negative involved in trying to get a book published. Rejections come fast and furious. At least they did for me. And I wish I had taken the time to be more proud of what I’d already accomplished instead of agonizing over what I had yet to accomplish.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet and why? 

Mary Poppins. She’d fly in, we’d go on a grand adventure and when it’s over I’ll hopefully have learned an important life lesson or two.

 

Do you have advice for someone who may be experiencing writer’s block?

I find reading helps. Just pick up a book, open it and start reading. If it’s good, you’ll be inspired to be just as good. But I’ve found it’s more helpful if the book is bad. Because I can tell myself, “If this dreck can get published, then what I’m doing also has a fair shot of making it!”

 

What are you currently working on? 

I can’t say very much. It’s still a work in progress and I’m still trying to figure it out. But it features a very ornate, very famous apartment building in New York City where horrible things happen.

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Book Review: The Letter – Kitty’s Story by Eliza J. Scott

F17B7F1A-9233-44AF-81E4-39F3C1BF8024Thirty-four-year-old Kitty Bennett is trapped in a loveless marriage to criminal barrister, Dan, who’s gradually isolated her from her family and friends. Until the day she (literally) bumps into her first love, the handsome and easy-going Ollie Cartwright – someone she’s done her best to avoid for as long as she can remember.

Looking into Ollie’s eyes awakens feelings for him she thought she’d buried deep years ago, and he clearly feels the spark, too. As she walks away, Kitty can’t help but wonder what might have been…

Dan senses that his marriage is on shaky ground and knows he needs to win his wife round. He turns on the charm, skilfully using their two children, Lucas and Lily, as bargaining tools. But Kitty’s older brother, Jimby, and her childhood best-friends, Molly and Violet, have decided enough is enough. For years they’ve had to watch from afar as Kitty’s been browbeaten into an unrecognisable version of herself. They vow to make her see Dan for what he really is, but their attempts are no match for his finely-honed courtroom skills and, against her better judgement,

Kitty agrees to give her husband one last chance. But, all-too-soon, a series of heart-breaking events and a shocking secret throw her life into turmoil…
Will she stand by Dan, or will Kitty be brave enough to take the leap and follow her heart to Ollie?

Life is anything but peaceful in the chocolate-box pretty village of Lytell Stangdale, where life unravels, and hearts are broken. Full of heart-warming moments, this book with have you crying tears of joy, laughter and sadness.

When Kitty first meets Dan, he is charming, attentive and loving. It’s not long before she is won over and they are married. Kitty’s family is not so convinced about Dan and try to warn her to be careful. Ollie is also heartbroken. He’s in love with Kitty and tries hard to move on but is always in the background of Kitty’s life.

Dan and Kitty have now been married for a few years. Dan is dominating and mostly absent from the family home. When he is there, he is emotionally abusive. This is where we find Kitty at the beginning of the novel.

Kitty, despite having the outwardly appearance of having the perfect life is in fact living quite a tragic one. I was torn between wanting to step into the novel to give her a hug and to firmly tell her to leave Dan behind.
Without giving too much away, something definitely shifts for Kitty throughout this book.

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

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