Here we are, into May already. This month, I have chosen One Last Summer by Victoria Connelly as the focus for our book club.
Harriet Greenleaf dreams of spending the summer in a beautiful ancient priory on the Somerset coast with her two best friends—but her dream is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a chance to reconnect three lives that have drifted apart; on the other, she has a devastating secret to share that will change everything between them forever.
First to arrive is Audrey—the workaholic who’s heading for a heart attack unless she slows down and makes time for herself. Then Lisa, the happy-go-lucky flirt who’s always struggled to commit to anyone—or anything. Ever the optimist, can Harriet remind them of the joy in their lives and the importance of celebrating good friendship before it’s gone?by
October is here. Autumn is arriving, the clocks go back and of course, Halloween is approaching.
It’s one of my favourite months (although I am a little biased with it being my birthday in October.) I am sad to be saying goodbye to summer but at the same time, I love the colder nights. It’s a great reason for the warm blankets, tea and books. Not that I’ve needed an excuse.
Our book club is open to everyone. It’s online so no need to step out of the warm socks or comfy sofa. I’ve posted a question below to get the discussion going. I hope you can join me.
This month, the featured book we shall be reading is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I have been really excited to read this book especially having watched some of the new tv series that is based upon it.
Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.
When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires.
Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist.by
A big Novel Kicks welcome today to Dean Mayes. His novel, The Artisan Heart is due to be released by Central Avenue Publishing on 1st September.
“Hayden Luschcombe is a brilliant pediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife Bernadette, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending the lavish parties organised by Bernadette.
When an act of betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees Adelaide, his life in ruins. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains, where he finds his childhood home falling apart. With nothing to return to, he stays, and begins to pick up the pieces of his life by fixing up the house his parents left behind.
A chance encounter with a precocious and deaf young girl introduces Hayden to Isabelle Sampi, a struggling artisan baker. While single-handedly raising her daughter, Genevieve, and trying to resurrect a bakery, Isabelle has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Likewise, Hayden, protective of his own fractured heart, finds something in Isabelle that awakens dormant feelings of his own.
As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future.”
Dean is himself an Intensive Care nurse and he is with us today to talk about how he portrays Medicine in fiction.
It is often said that, as a writer, our best writing comes from what we know. I’ve tried to buck that trend over the course of my published works, but there’s an inevitable truth I’ve come to accept – that maxim definitely holds true.
Having been an Nurse for over two decades now – with most of my career focused in Intensive Care – both Adult, pediatric and Neonates – along with Accident & Emergency – I’ve seen things and gained experiences as a clinician that translate well into the realm of gritty fiction. There’s compelling character moments to be found and situations that offer high drama. At the same time, I have to be mindful that I’m writing for a general audience who may not be well versed in the minutiae of medicine. There’s definitely a high wire act to master in writing engaging scenes.
My soon to be released novel “The Artisan Heart” is probably the most comprehensive example of me using my career experience to craft characters and situations.
In the story, we are introduced to Hayden Luschcombe, a brilliant pediatric emergency doctor who has an uncanny ability in diagnosing his patients quickly, efficiently and accurately. He has saved many lives as a result and, as a clinician, he is held in high regard – even if, as a person, he is seen as socially awkward and “on the spectrum” as some colleagues point out in their interactions with him. In one scene, early in the novel, Hayden’s acute sense of observation proves to be life saving for a new-born baby who presents with a stricture of the intestine. In another powerful moment, further on, Hayden correctly suspects a child has been deliberately scalded in boiling water by her parents. During the scene there is a highly charged confrontation between the child’s step father and Hayden that serves to illustrate the variation in presentations to the department and the dramatic circumstances that can spill off from those presentations.
While I won’t blow my own trumpet here and compare myself to Hayden Luschcombe, I did I craft Hayden as an amalgam of my own clinical experiences, working in a busy, inner city children’s emergency department. There are probably two or three other doctors in Hayden, medicos who I’ve worked alongside and watched over the past 10 years. The two examples I cited above are based on real clincial presentations, the latter of which was indeed as emotionally charged as it appears in the novel.by
I am not entirely sure how we’re already in May. The weather doesn’t help. It’s very confused right. To help escape this weather or enjoy basking in the sunshine (I can hope,) the list below is a few of the new releases coming this month.
The first book I want to feature is The Burning Chambers which is the new book from Kate Mosse. I haven’t read any of her books (and I am not sure why,) but this book is a great reason to start.
Carcassonne 1562: Nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE.
But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever. For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to get out of La Cité alive.
Toulouse: As the religious divide deepens in the Midi, and old friends become enemies, Minou and Piet both find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as sectarian tensions ignite across the city, the battle-lines are drawn in blood and the conspiracy darkens further.
Meanwhile, as a long-hidden document threatens to resurface, the mistress of Puivert is obsessed with uncovering its secret and strengthening her power . . .
(Released 3rd May by Mantle.)
The second upcoming release on my list is The Cast by Danielle Steel. It is due to be released by Macmillan on 31st May.
Kait Whittier has built her magazine column into a hugely respected read followed by fans across the country. She loves her work and adores her grown children, treasuring the time they spend together. But after two marriages, she prefers to avoid the complications and uncertainties of a new love.
Then, after a chance meeting with television producer Zack Winter, everything changes. Inspired by the true story of her own grandmother, Kait creates the storyline for a TV series. Within weeks, Kait is plunged into a colourful, star-studded world of actors and industry pros who will bring her vision to life, from the reclusive grand dame to LA’s hottest bad boy actor.
As secrets are shared and revelations come to light, friendships deepen. But in the midst of this charmed year, Kait is forced to confront the greatest challenge a mother could ever know and this unforgettable cast becomes more important to her than she ever could have imagined.by
A lovely big hello to Bella Osborne who is returning to the blog today with the blog tour for Ottercombe Bay: Gin and Trouble, part two in a four-part serialisation.
Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.
With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?
To celebrate the release of Gin and Trouble, Bella and Avon have shared an extract. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
**** Start of Extract.****
Jason was turning out to be a useful person to know. As the local bobby, everyone knew him and therefore he had a wide network he could tap into, particularly as he had a colleague with an uncle working in the local planning department. After a warm-up phone call from Jason he was happy to meet Daisy for a chat. She had made an effort, steered clear of both espresso and Bug’s furry patch on the sofa, and she felt ready for her meeting.
An older-looking gent with thinning hair and thick glasses collected her from the waiting area at the council offices and they did introductions.
‘Thanks for meeting me,’ said Daisy, starting to feel a little less prepared as she followed him into an office and saw a mountain of paper on his desk.
‘No problem but you will need to submit a formal application through the proper process. Anything discussed here today does not in any way constitute agreement of any changes to the property or land we are discussing. I hope you appreciate this?’
Daisy swallowed hard. With formal wording like that he would get on well with Great Uncle Reg’s solicitor. She hadn’t even suggested anything yet and she was being told off. ‘Yes, of course. I’m just looking for guidance. Some ballpark areas that may be worth exploring.’
‘This is the last application we received for the property,’ said the planning officer, passing Daisy a pile of papers. She had a quick flick through and spotted some blueprints – it looked like her grandfather had taken the whole thing seriously and spent some money in the process.by
It’s a very good day here at Novel Kicks. I was very happy when I was asked to take part in an exciting cover and first chapter reveal for The Things We Need To Say which is the upcoming release from Rachel Burton.
Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.
Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.
Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.
As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.
OK, first, the cover. Drumroll…….by
Well hello to you February. It’s good to see you.
I don’t know about you but I found January seemed to go on forever!
February is finally here. I always feel that February is quite a romantic month because of Valentine’s Day.
This month, I have chosen a book that has romance galore and it’s Dream a Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher. Even the cover is romantic. Aww, I love it.
Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she’s been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it’s really okay. She’s happy (ish).by
Close To Home is the new novel from Cara Hunter and her blog tour is stopping by Novel Kicks today.
HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?
Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying…
And that Daisy’s time is running out.
I have reviewed the book below but first, Cara and Penguin have shared an extract from Close to Home. Enjoy!
Phone interview with David Connor
20 July 2016, 6.45 p.m.
On the call, Acting DS G. Quinn and (listening)
DC C. Gislingham
GQ: Thank you for phoning, Mr Connor, and our apologies for disturbing your holiday.
DC: No problem – I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you before. It’s such a shock, hearing what’s happened. My wife saw it on BBC World News in the hotel room.
GQ: Were you aware that the flower costume your daughter wore at the party was the one Daisy Mason should have been wearing?
DC: I wasn’t but it seems my wife was. Millie had some of her friends round after school the afternoon before –
GQ: So Monday afternoon?
DC: Er, was it Monday? Sorry – I’m a bit jet- lagged. You’re right, it must have been Monday. Anyway, Julia says they all brought their fancy dresses over and tried them on. And then tried each other’s on – you know what girls that age are like. It seems that at some point in the ensuing chaos Daisy decided that she preferred Millie’s costume, and Millie said they could swap.
GQ: Do you know if Daisy’s mother was aware the costumes had been switched?
DC: I have no idea. Let me ask Julia . . . [muffled noises] Julia says Daisy assured her that her mother wouldn’t mind. But obviously she doesn’t know if Daisy actually spoke to her about it.
GQ: We found the tights in a bin on the estate but the blood on them doesn’t match Daisy’s
DC: Ah yes, sorry about that. Millie fell over and as it was getting late and she was a bit whiny we decided to call it a day. The tights were a write-off so we just ditched them. Apologies if it caused you a problem.
GQ: What costume was your daughter originally going to wear, Mr Connor?
DC: A mermaid, so my wife tells me. I never saw it but apparently it had a flesh- Coloured top thing and a tail with shiny blue and green scales.
GQ: And any sort of headdress or mask?by
A big lovely welcome to author Andreas Pflüger and the blog tour for his latest novel In The Dark which was released by Head of Zeus on 2nd November.
She lost her sight, but she can still see the truth…
Jenny Aaron was once part of an elite police unit tracking Germany’s most dangerous criminals. She was the best. Until it all went wrong. A disastrous mission saw her abandon a wounded colleague and then lose her sight forever.
Now, five years later, she has learnt to navigate a darkened world. But she’s still haunted by her betrayal. Why did she run?
Then she receives a call from the unit. They need her back. A prison psychologist has been brutally murdered. And the killer will only speak to one person…
Thanks to Andreas and Head of Zeus, we have an extract from In The Dark. Enjoy.
‘How old was Dr Breuer?’
The murder victim’s colleague has been crying a lot. Her voice is hoarse, dull, empty. ‘Thirty-three. Her birthday was in December. She invited all her colleagues to go to the cinema.’
‘How long had she been working in the correctional facility?’
‘Three years. We knew each other from university. Then I started here, for a bit of security. Melly always wanted her own practice. But it didn’t work. She waitressed part-time, it wasn’t a life. When the job here came up I was on at her until she applied.’
Tears start to come, but get stuck in her throat.
‘Did she like the job?’by
Could it really be possible that The Princess Bride movie is thirty this year? A staple of my childhood memories, I used to love watching this film. Many a time I would quote lines from the movie. Even now, as I reach my late 30’s, it still remains one of my top films.
OK, so it is a little cheesy but it’s brilliant.
Before I go on, I feel I do have to give a spoiler alert.
The cast is amazing. Of course, I can’t see Cary Elwes without also shouting ‘because unlike other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent,’ as well as quotes from this film.
Mandy Pitinkin (Homeland) steals the movie with his turn as Inigo Montoya.
I remember always being a little fascinated by Andre The Giant.
Peter Falk (seriously, Colombo,) and Fred Savage who was well-known at the time for the Wonder Years. There were so many brilliant people in this movie.
I also can’t believe that this is the film that ‘introduced’ Robin Wright who is of course now kicking TV butt in House of Cards.
The film has a whimsical feel to it that I loved even as a kid. Westley and Buttercup’s relationship was so romantic. I loved it. It had the sword fights yes but I adored it for the romance.
The movie is incredibly funny too. I watched it for the first time in a while and I still find it as comical as I did the first time I watched it.
When I think about my favourite element of it though, it has to be the quotable lines.by
A big hello to author Greta Horwood and the blog tour for her novel, Sun, Sea & Sex which was released by Author House UK in August.
About Sun, Sea & Sex:
The book tells of the trials and tribulations of Zeeta, who has overcome many obstacles and survived different relationships. A loving marriage led to a horrendous one. Her second marriage was to a man with a depraved sexual appetite.
The sunny parts were when everything was going well. There were choppy seas between when things were not going right, not just in a relationship but in general life.
Also there were times when the sea was calm and all three women were coping well. The sex within relationships was, in the most part, good to excellent. In Zeeta’s second marriage, sex was a nightmare.
She endured and suffered.
Happy ever after on a Caribbean island. Zeeta survived with the help of two friends—one from her school days, Sheila, and the second one was Peggy, her boss and a very good friend. Their relationships and stories are part of this book.
Greta has very kindly shared an extract from Sun, Sea & Sex with us today. Here’s a brief introduction to the scene;
Zeeta was at college, a new life full of new experiences. A chance accident where Zeeta was pushed to the floor, by a revolving door, led to an unlikely friendship with an Arabian Prince, Armaan. He was to advise her about men and gave her a sex education without the actions. Her time with Armaan left her wanting more, but she did not know what more meant. Being kissed by Armaan led to more feelings of wanting more. It left Zeeta confused. He abruptly stopped his kissing, that led to more confusion, he was pushing her away. Zeeta could not understand, she loved him, but having no experience of love, she could only guess the feelings she had were love.
Armaan appears throughout the book, during other relationships. Meeting him at these other times, Zeeta knew she loved and wanted him.
(Warning: Adult content.)
Armaan was back. I can’t explain my feelings in seeing him. I was overwhelmed by them. Yes I missed him, but what I was feeling was more than that. We continued with our easy friendship and he said he was delighted to be back. He was now married and his wife was expecting their first child. He was a different person now, I think the worry of not having a wife was bothering him, but now he was married, life had suddenly became enjoyable. He said he enjoyed my company and although he was 14 years older than me, I was not empty headed like the gigglers. We continued our friendship and I often felt he was preparing me for the life I would eventually lead. He said my blue eyes and personality would attract many man, but I would know who was right for me. He said beware of false promises, men will say they love, but often it is a way to easy sex, so beware of false promises.
He said he had stones cast for my future and these foretold of a happy life with two children. He said choose a husband older than myself, he would be considerate. That happened my husband was older than me and he was considerate.
We had many of these talks, he was the perfect gentleman and I loved him. Well I thought these feelings I had for him were love, I had never felt like this. I had limited experience, but hoped the feelings I was having, were love, they were very pleasant.by
I am delighted to be saying hi to Liam Brown today and kicking off the blog tour for his new novel, Broadcast which was released by Legend Press on 15th September 2017.
The idea behind MindCast is simple. We insert a small chip into your skull and then every thought, every feeling, every memory is streamed live, twenty-four hours a day. Trust me – within a few months you’ll be the most talked about person on the planet.
When David Callow is offered the lead role in a revolutionary new online show, he snatches at the opportunity.
Rapidly becoming a viral sensation, David is propelled to stratospheric levels of celebrity. However, he soon realises the downside of sharing every secret with the world.
A prisoner to both his fame and his own thoughts, David seeks to have the chip removed, only to discover the chilling secret lurking at the heart of MindCast, and the terrifying ambition the show’s creator has for him.
Broadcast by Liam Brown follows David. He makes his living making videos and sharing every aspect of his life on the internet. When he is recruited to try a new technology that will take his videos to the next level, reluctantly he agrees.
Little does he know what he is letting himself in for and how much of himself he will reveal to the viewing public of the world.
The premise of this book interested me even before I started reading. It has been billed as a ‘Truman Show like nightmare for the You Tube generation,’ and that is a pretty accurate description.
This book explores the themes of the current social media obsession. The need to share aspects of our lives with strangers. When we meet him, David thinks he has the world at his feet. His videos make him a comfortable living and he seems to be happy sharing his life with the world.
Many of the characters in this book felt untrustworthy to me and like David, I didn’t know who was on his side. The doubt and confusion David feels comes across so well.
Like the internet, not a lot is as it seems. Broadcast also makes me think of the saying, ‘be careful what you wish for.’
Once he has signed himself up, it was intriguing to see how he copes with it and how much of his privacy he is really surrendering. This book, despite having finished it is one I just can’t get out of my head.by
Flora Phillips has an excuse for every disaster in her life; she was abandoned as a new-born on a doorstep one cold autumn night, wrapped in nothing but a towel. Her philosophy is simple: if your mother doesn’t want you – who will?
Now a thirty-year-old, without a boyfriend, a career or home she figures she might as well tackle the biggest question of them all – who is she? So, whilst everyone else enjoys their Christmas Eve traditions, Flora escapes the masses and drives to the village of Pooley to seek a specific doorstep. Her doorstep. But in Pooley she finds more than her life story.
She finds friends, laughter, and perhaps even a love to last a lifetime. Because once you know where you come from, it’s so much easier to know where you’re going.
For those that know me, you know that you won’t hear too much about the actual story from my reviews. If you want those, then there are plenty of other reviewers and other sites that will tell you all you need to know about the story. No, I believe in telling you my thoughts on the style of the writing etc.
I have made it a habit, a joy of life to follow debut authors from the Romantic Novelists Association and it was with great joy that I came across this young lady’s’ first release. Getting published is a very difficult thing to accomplish, believe me, I know, however when you come across a story of this quality you know that all the hard effort that the author has put in is worth it as we, the reader, get to enjoy the fruits of her labour.by
Happy publication day Lindsey!
I am so happy and excited to be a part of the blog tour for her new novel, I Heart Forever which has been released today by HarperCollins.
The day her husband Alex picks up a backpack and goes travelling, Angela Clark promises to stay out of trouble and keep both Louboutins on the ground.
So when her best friend’s boyfriend confides in her, it can’t hurt to help him pick out a ring at Tiffany’s surely?
And when her fashion magazine announces major changes, being terminally late and arguing with your boss isn’t that bad, is it?
Then suddenly there’s another big secret Angela’s got to keep – and the man she loves is still thousands of miles away. As the wedding of the year looms, and Manhattan switches on its Christmas lights, Angela is going to need her friends by her side as her old life looks set to change forever.
First, I want to take a moment to bask in the glory of this beautiful cover. It’s giving me the festive feels. One of my favourite covers of the year for sure.
I have long been a fan of the I Heart series so the idea that this could be the last one (a rumour I am hoping isn’t true,) makes me very sad. If this is the last we are seeing of Angela though, I personally was quite satisfied with the ending. That’s all you’re getting from me though in relation to the end of the novel. I don’t want to give too much away.
It’s been so great to catch up with Angela Clark. She’s like that old friend you don’t see for a while but when you do you’re immediately picking up the conversation where it left off. It was also excellent to see the supporting cast too- Jenny, Alex and Erin.
Angela is a flawed, funny, wonderful heroine to which many people will identify with. A character I’ve loved and will miss.
I Heart Forever sees Angela in New York (one of my favourite cities FYI,) working at Gloss Magazine and seeing Alex, her husband go off travelling for a while. Add to this a whole load of changes at work and Angela has a lot on her plate. She then has to keep a secret that is going to change her life. Angela certainly faces many challenges in this novel.
Lindsey’s writing seems so effortless and has such great humour that it was so easy for me to lose a day to this book, which I pretty much did. I couldn’t put it down. It’s the seventh book in the series so it is advantageous to have read the previous novels. However, you can read it prior to the others if you can’t wait as enough background information is given.by
Nat’s husband has just said the six words no one wants to hear – ‘I don’t love you any more’.
Caroline’s estranged mother has to move into her house turning her perfectly ordered world upside down.
Living on the same street these two women couldn’t be more different. Until the beloved local community centre is threatened with closure. And when the only way to save it is to form a community choir – none of the Hope Street residents, least of all Nat and Caroline, expect the results…
Nat’s husband has just told her that he doesn’t love her anymore. She is left alone in the family home with their son. Her life is an organised chaos and she is not sure what she is going to do next.
Caroline’s life is well-ordered until her estranged mother comes to visit and turns Caroline’s life upside down.
Nat and Caroline couldn’t be more different and under normal circumstances, their paths wouldn’t cross. These women are not the most compatible of friends. They are thrown together when the local community centre is threatened with closure.
The question is, can they put their differences aside for the greater good?
Nat and Caroline both have their own struggles and both are very quick to judge the other – something I’ve certainly been guilty of in the past.
This story is told from both the point of view of Nat and Caroline so you get a real insight into thoughts and emotions of these characters and the world in which they inhabit. I quickly became attached to them.by