Christie Chapman is a single mum who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It’s not an easy life but Christie finds comfort in her love of crafting, and spends her spare time working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed cards to personalised gifts, Christie’s flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it’s not long before opportunity comes knocking.
Christie can see a future full of hope and possibility for her and Finn – and if the handsome Max is to be believed, one full of love too. It’s all there for the taking. And then, all of sudden, her world is turned upside down.
Christie knows that something has to give, but can she really give up her dreams and the chance of real love? Will Christie find her happy ending in . . . Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses.
Knowing this story is based on a real-life person (Christie Chapman – look her up and also read her review on Amazon.co.uk) added a slice of intrigue to my reading. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t pretend to know any of Christie’s actual story, but if it was as heart-rending and inspiring as PH&SK portrays, then all hats should be doffed to the lady and her son.
Our main characters are Christie and her son Finn and it’s through Christie’s eyes that we see her struggle to support her son, whilst bringing him up as a single parent, not made any easier by the constant worry caused by Finn’s mysterious headaches, which never go away and keep him off school. Her parents are a wonderful source of support and when Christie finds herself jetting off to the USA for a crafting course by an up and coming US-based company, this is thanks to her mother.by
A lovely big massive welcome to S.D Robertson and the blog tour for his new novel, If Ever I Fall which was released by Avon on 9th February 2017.
Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. He’s lost his house, his job is on the line, and now he’s going to lose his family too. All he’s ever wanted is to keep them together, but is everything beyond repair?
Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered. Nights are spent trying to hold terrible memories at bay, to escape the pain that threatens to engulf her.
Jack wakes up confused and alone. He doesn’t know who he is, how he got there, or why he finds himself on a deserted clifftop, but will piecing together the past leave him a broken man?
In the face of real tragedy, can these three people find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through?
Stuart and Avon have kindly given me an extract from the novel to share with you today. I have also reviewed the book below. Enjoy.
Morning, Jack. You’re up bright and early.’
Miles is unloading a large bag of beans into the built-in coffee machine above the oven. I smile at him, say good morning and accept his offer of breakfast. But behind the facade I’m cracking up. How did I get here? I’ve no memory of waking, getting dressed and coming downstairs. And what happened yesterday? Or the day before? My memory’s all messed up: confused by shadows of half-remembered dreams.
The last thing I remember for sure is being in the car with Miles in the village and that weird incident in the hardware shop. Was it real or a dream?
I should tell Miles what’s going on. He is a doctor after all. But I’m not sure I trust him. I’m not convinced he’s ever taken me to the hospital. He says I’ve been there, but I’ve no memory of it.
There’s something off about all of this. What if he’s drugging me? Mind-altering substances could explain a lot. Maybe even what I saw – or thought I saw – in the shop. How has this not occurred to me before?
I wait until he’s finished with the coffee machine and then, as he looks at me, hold my hand to my stomach and wince.
‘Problem?’ he asks.
‘Stomach cramps. Think I’d better get to the toilet.’
‘Oh dear. Hope it’s not the crab we had last night.’
Crab? I’ve no memory of that. Shutting the kitchen door behind me, I head to the foot of the stairs. I wait there for a moment, to make sure he’s not coming after me. Then I slip out of the front door.
It’s cold outside this morning, another biting wind blowing in off the sea. Again, I don’t have my jacket with me, but there’s no time to find it now. I have to get out of here. As far away as possible. And it has to be now.by
Will must run from the gang that controls the estate where he lives or die. He has witnessed the murder of his Aunty and so he is running for his life. He needs to find somewhere to hide
In doing this, he ends up in the area outside the estate he has known all of his life. It’s all very different. People don’t walk around looking over their shoulder and businesses thrive.
He finds shelter in what he calls a ‘glass house.’
Soon after that, he meets Padma and falls in love. He feels he could actually make his life better. Then his past catches up with him.
This book is based around/ is an updated version of Beauty and The Beast. When I started reading, I did wonder how this was going to be achieved. The story is so well-known. It’s all be integrated really well.
The description of the green house and the plants are so vivid. I felt as though I was there. The writing is fast paced and page turning.
I read this in pretty much one sitting (it’s a hundred pages long) but it drew me in. I even like how Amanda included the roses.
Will has been told he is one thing all of his life. He assumes that all he has ever known is all he will ever be. Escaping shows him a different path. You’ve just got to want it. Also, first impressions and appearances are not always to be trusted.
This is a great addition to the Quick Reads library. I enjoyed it very much.
Finding the time to write can sometimes be hard to do. Work, school runs, bedtime routines… there are many things in life that can get in the way.
The other battle is once you’ve sat down to write, your inspiration disappears and that blank space on the page can be incredibly daunting. No matter how long you sit there, the words will not come.
This is why I like writing prompts. Your brain is like a car engine. It works better when it has warmed up. Today I wanted to share two books that I’ve found so helpful.
Form letters by Laura Olin is a series of letters where you fill in the blanks. In the form of a workbook, it has a series of pages that include a letter to an internet friend who you’d like to know better, a note of encouragement to yourself, a letter to your sibling, your valentine and the ex whose instagram you’re stalking.
‘Fill in the blank notes to say anything to anyone.’
If you need something to get the creativity going, this book could be perfect. You never know what these letters will spark.by
A big welcome today to John Marrs and the blog tour for his novel, The One which was published as an eBook in January with the paperback following in May 2017.
How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.
A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…
Chris’s verdict on The One:
Imagine a world where all it takes to find your prefect partner is a simple DNA test. Should you follow the science and seek out that person, or follow convention and see where your heart leads you?
The book follows the stories of several individuals who are drawn together because they have received a notice from the DNA match website identifying their match. The characters are a strange group – Intellectuals, officials and even a serial killer.
I found that the book asks various questions; if you find your perfect match will you love them? If you fall in love with someone other than your match then will it, or can it, work out? And if you have met your perfect match will they love you despite your flaws?
The stories all occur simultaneously, following linear time though out the book, with individual chapters for each character which works wonderfully so as to draw you though the book as you always want to know what is going to happen to X or Y next.by
A huge lovely welcome today to Helen Fields and the blog tour for her new novel, Perfect Remains (a DI Callanach thriller,) which was released by Avon on 26th January 2017.
On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.
In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…
Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.
It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.
Helen and Avon have kindly shared an extract from Perfect Remains. Enjoy!
Jayne Magee was about as unlikely a target as anyone could imagine. There was no suggestion that Elaine Buxton was a regular at any church at all, so religion wasn’t the link. The pathologist hadn’t been able to estimate Elaine’s time of death, meaning they had no established pattern to follow, only the knowledge that she’d been missing sixteen days before her body was found. This time, the abductor might keep Jayne alive for weeks or she could be dead already. The killer had become a male in Callanach’s mind. There was no evidence, nothing solid, only years of past cases and what was screamingly obvious. Maybe it was more than one person, he considered, but Ava was right about looking at personality first. He couldn’t see such an obsessive character working well as a team player.
Callanach met with Jayne Magee’s assistant, Ann Burt, that afternoon. She dropped a dripping umbrella into Callanach’s bin then removed and folded her headscarf before sitting down.
Callanach instinctively tidied his desk as she settled in. Stick thin, shrill and at the far end of her sixties, he guessed, Ann Burt told it like it was. She reminded him of his grandmother, distant though those memories were.
‘So I’m talking to the detective inspector, am I?’ she began. ‘You’re the third person I’ve repeated myself to today. Would you like to tell me what’s going on?’by
A new month. We’re already reaching the end of the first week of February. How is that possible?!
There are some wonderful authors releasing books this month and I wanted to share a few of the ones I am looking forward to getting my hands on.
Norse Mythology is the latest release by Neil Gaiman and it sounds amazing. It’s released on 7th February by Bloomsbury.
I am fairly new to Neil’s books (although I loved Stardust when it was released as a movie.)
I am also interested in the subject matter of this book.
The norse myths are woven into our story telling. Neil Gaiman reaches back through time to the original source stories. Norse mythology is a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great norse tales; Ragnarok, Twilight of the Gods, Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya. These are all irresistible in Neil’s latest book (although Tom Hiddleston as Loki is pretty irresistible already if I am honest.)
Backstabber by Kimberley Chambers is due for release on 9th February by Harper Collins. Kimberley’s books always sound like they would completely draw me in. I might have to pull this up the TBR pile a bit.
One of them has a gun to his head. Who will pull the trigger?
King of the underworld, Vinny Butler goes into business with respected villain, Eddie Mitchell. It’s a match made in East End legend.
Friends and Family are treated all, enemies like rats.
Then a mysterious package arrives; dead creatures and threats. Someone is out for revenge. Who the enemy is, no one knows. There are some people you should never cross, some who can’t forgive or forget.
Six exciting new Galaxy Quick Reads titles released on 2nd February.
These books are part of the annual campaign to improve adult literacy.
This is the seventh year Quick Reads has been sponsored by Galaxy and the second year it has been run by the Literary Agency.
One in six adults struggle with reading in the UK. This year, Quick Reads will continue its work to break down the barriers that prevent people from picking up a book.
From a re-imagining of Beauty and The Beast, to a road trip in search of Poldark, the titles include books from Jenny Colgan and a special edition of Feel The Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers.
There is also a crime collection featuring Harry Bingham, Clare MacKintosh and Mark Billingham.
The first Quick read is Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers. Released by Ebury, this is a specially adapted book drawing on the landmark self-help book by the late, Susan Jeffers. This is the first time a self-help book has been released in this series and what a great one to kick it off.
Everyone has fears and worries that stop them from progressing and going for the things they want in life. The simple life-changing exercises in this book will teach anyone to turn uncertainty into action.
The second, released by Orion is Dead Simple. This is a collection of short stories from some of the UK’s best crime writers.
Authors featured include Mark Billingham, Clare MacKintosh, James Oswald, Jane Casey, Angela Marsons, Harry Bingham, Antonia Hodgson and CL Taylor.
There are eight stories that will have many twists and turns; a man who attempts to commit the perfect murder, a widow who is about to lose more than her husband and a murderer who, when is he is about to be hanged realises that there could be worse things that happen to him.by
Who is Harry Dixon?
When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere. But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.
For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling – and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says …
But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time, just waiting to strike.
Recently, I’ve had the privilege of reading some novels before their published date; my thanks to those who’ve been so generous to allow me to do so, you know who you are. Around two weeks ago, I was accorded the honour of being sent a copy of the author Morton S Gray’s debut novel ‘The Girl on the Beach’, published by Choclit.
I’ve read a few debuts over the years and obviously some are better than others. If you’re lucky, you’re left doing a passable goldfish impression with your mouth simply repeating, ‘OMG! OMG! OMG! Whilst some honestly leave you wondering how on earth they got published. This novel sits firmly, as in set-in-stone firmly, in the former category. I finished it last night and just sat there enjoying a special feeling…you know the one where you know, you just know that you’ve found a special author and you’re going to be ticking off the days on your calendar until their next release!
Those who read my reviews will know that I don’t tend to give much away about the plot, it spoils the twists and turns – and there are plenty here – that a good author will sprinkle around their work. Ms Gray’s story is as much ‘Suspense’ as ‘Romance’ and considering the subject matter, this is just as well. Because of this, I have to explain what I mean and tell you a little more of the story than I normally would. I prefer to concentrate on how the writer…um, writes.by
How Not To Fall In Love Actually is the brilliant debut novel from Catherine Bennetto.
Emma has a job in television which is distinctly less glamorous and exciting than it sounds. She’s managed to claw her way up the ranks from Tea-Maker and Rubbish-Collector to 2nd Assistant Director (heavy on the ‘assistant’. Even heavier on the ‘2nd’).
So when she finds she’s accidentally very pregnant and at the same time accidentally very sacked (well, less accidentally: she did tell her boss to stick his job up his bum), she knows things are going to have to change.
Luckily she’s also accidentally the heir to a lovely cottage in Wimbledon, with a crazy Doberman-owning octogenarian as a neighbour and a rather sexy guy as an accidental tenant. But this baby is coming whether she likes it or not, and she needs to become the sort of person who can look after herself let alone another human being – and quickly.
Catherine shares with us today her top ten alternative romantic novels. Over to you Catherine…
I’ve not seen the movie but you’d have to be living under a rock in Snezhnegorsk (Russia) to not know Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger played the main characters. And regardless of sexual orientation you’d be a fool, A FOOL I SAY, to turn either one of them down. Sadly, the written characters are much less lust worthily depicted…. But it’s a fabulous story with unique characters and a satisfyingly heart-wrenching conclusion.
ME BEFORE YOU
This book was so fascinating I read it in one day. A romance develops between two unlikely characters: Louisa; who is relatively normal, and Will, completely paralyzed, wholly dependant and with a very genuine, and not unwarranted, death wish. And oh how I wanted it to work out in the end! Couldn’t he just miraculously recover? But I’d have liked the story less and would have called it unrealistic and twee. So die he must, be sad she was, and cry I did.
BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY
Instead of the typical mid 20’s heroine working in advertising and wearing amazing shoes, meet Bridget; thirty-something with an average woman’s body and an average woman’s job, bumbling around London in big pants trying to hook up with the bad guy while accidentally falling in love with the geek guy. It was a refreshing change to the romantic comedy trope and I (along with scores of others) adored ridiculous, kind, forever-willing-to-dust-off-and-try-again Bridget.by
Flora is seventeen and longs to be like every other girl her age. However, Flora can’t remember anything past being ten for more than a few hours. She has anterograde amnesia ever since she was ten.
When she goes to a party, she ends up alone with her best friend’s boyfriend, Drake. They kiss and he leaves. When Flora wakes up, she remembers Drake, she remembers the kiss. Her first new memory for seven years.
She must be with Drake and so sets out to find him alone hoping that she will find him quickly and they can be together.
I found Flora to be such an interesting character. She had such an innocence about her that I felt the need to protect her, hoping that no one was going to take advantage. As far as all the other characters are concerned, I didn’t know who to trust much like Flora. She’s an inspirational character. Many could learn a lot from her.
As I read, I tried to put myself in her shoes – getting myself to a place and then waking up a while later having no idea how I got there. It was a terrifying thought and yet, she embraces the adventure. She forgets, starts again and keeps moving.by
I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend. It does tend to go too quickly.
It’s time for a cover reveal (we’ve not had one in a while.)
Today, Avon has revealed the cover for the latest book by Alexandra Burt. I really liked her novel, Little Girl Gone. I’m looking forward to reading this one. It sounds great.
It’s called The Good Daughter and it’s due to have its paperback release on 23rd February 2017 via Avon Books (you can follow all the lovely guys and girls at Avon on Twitter.)
Ta-dah. Here’s the cover for The Good Daughter. I think it already creates a pretty chilling backdrop. What do you think?
What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?
Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.
In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness.by
It’s Friday. Yey!
I hope you’ve all had a great week and have lovely things planned for the weekend. If you’re looking for something to read over the next few days, there are some cracker titles out this week.
The wonderful Jill Mansell released her latest novel, Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay on 12th January 2017 by Headline Review.
There is love in the air in St Carys, not that you’d know it. The residents are good at keeping secrets.
The man that Clemency loves is in love with someone else. When she ropes into a friend to help, wires get crossed.
For the first time in Ronan’s life, his charms have failed him in getting him the woman he wants.
Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend but something isn’t quite right. A secret is also rising to the surface. The truth has a funny way of revealing itself and when it does, St Carys will be very different.
The new book from Jane Fallon is called My Sweet Revenge and was also released on 12th January, this time by Penguin. To read my review, click here.
‘I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.’
Paula put her own acting career on hold in order for her husband to have his own success. Robert is now a regular on a popular daytime TV show.
Despite that, Paula is pretty happy with her life. It feels perfect to her. Until she finds out that Robert is having an affair.
Before she tells him it’s over, Paula wants Robert to be reminded just what he’s sacrificing. Then once she has won him back, she wants to break his heart. It will be her greatest acting role.
Next up is The Bone Field by Simon Keruick which was released by Century on 12th January.
There is a missing girl, a ruthless crime gang and a man so evil he must be stopped at any cost.
DI Ray Mason and PI Tina Boyce begin a hunt for the truth that will take them into a dark and terrifying world. One of corruption and deadly secrets.
The bones of a 21-year-old woman are found in the grounds of an old catholic school. This girl went missing in Thailand in 1990.
Her boyfriend at the time of her disappearance is now a middle aged university lecturer. He comes forward to say that he knows what happened. He knows who killed Kitty.
I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.
Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.
I want it to hurt.
Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students.
She gave up her dreams so he could make it.
Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors.
And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair.
She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing.
And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers.
It will be her greatest acting role ever.
Revenge is sweet.
Paula has been married to Robert for many years. They have a daughter who is about to become eighteen. Paula left her ambitions to be an actress to raise her daughter and to support Robert in his career. He’s a regular on a long running day time TV show.
Paula is pretty content with her life. She has no idea her marriage is anything but perfect. That is until she finds out he’s having an affair.
She decides to get revenge before she confronts him. She wants to make him fall back in love with her before she breaks his heart.
I loved Jane’s previous novels and I am a big fan of her style of writing. It is not hard to fall into her stories and this book was no exception. I was completely hooked.
There were many moments when my sympathy went from one character to another and back again. There were some chapters where I couldn’t believe the behaviour of some of the characters and I wasn’t quite sure how the end was going to go.
This book puts spotlight on the lack of communication within relationships. It will be a relatable plot in terms of how Paula deals with finding out her husband is having an affair.
It had me wondering what I would do in Paula’s situation. I am not sure if I am honest.
The plot and characters were engaging and there were a few twists and turns too. The writing is witty and I couldn’t put this book down to be honest. It certainly did not disappoint. As I was reading, I could see this making a good TV show or movie.
Well done Jane Fallon. Another great novel.
(My Sweet Revenge is due to be released on 12th January 2017 by Penguin. Will be available in UK bookshops and online. Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy.)
A new year and new book releases. There are some great books out this week and I can’t wait to settle down and make my way through some of the books on this list.
Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin was released on Kindle on 6th January (the paperback version is due for release by HarperImpulse in April.)
This book is definitely going to be making its way up to the top of my to be read pile.
Alice is beautiful, kind, manipulative and a liar. Clare is intelligent, loyal, paranoid and jealous.
Clare thinks Alice is trying to steal her life. Alice thinks Clare is jealous of her return and place in the family. One is telling the truth, the other is a maniac Two sisters, one truth.
I can’t wait to read this one.
Also from HarperImpulse is the legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington. Its Kindle release was on 6th January with the paperback due out next week. I think this is my favourite book cover this week. It is very pretty.
For fans of JoJo Moyes and Kelly Rimmer, this book focuses on Maggie. She knows better than most that life can change in a heartbeat. Eighteen years ago, she got given the gift of a new heart and a second chance at life.
Maggie has never forgotten Lucy Harte, the girl who saved her life. As Maggie’s life begins to fall apart, she looses sight of everything she has to live for. Then an unexpected letter arrives which changes everything.
The Muse by Jessie Burton got its paperback release on 29th December by Picador. I am still totally in love with this cover. It’s a book that’s been on my pile of books to be read for a while and i am hoping I can pick this one up soon.
Odelle climbs the steps of the Skelton Gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change. Having struggled to find her place in the city, she’s been offered a job as a typist with Marjorie, who remains a mystery.
The Muse is a novel about aspiration, identity, love and obsession.