Saturday, 27 June 2015

Blog Tour: Author Q&A with Rebecca Pugh - Return to Bluebell Hill


Title: Return to Bluebell Hill
Author: Rebecca Pugh
Publisher: Carina UK
Publication Date: 18th June 2015

Twitter: @BeccasBoooks
Blog/website: beccasbooooks.blogspot.co.uk  

Morning all! Today is my stop on the blog tour for Rebecca Pugh's debut novel, Return to Bluebell Hill (you may recall that I was involved in the cover reveal a few weeks ago). If you've missed any of the tour stops so far, then check out the blog sites listed below!


For the purpose of keeping this post reasonably short, I've chosen not to include my review of REturn to Bluebell Hill, however I will make sure I post that asap!

Blurb

As sweet and satisfying as strawberries and cream! This British summertime, get out in the garden with Rebecca Pugh's sparkling debut novel.

Home is where the heart is...

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Book Review: Summer at Castle Stone by Lynn Marie Hulsman


Title: Summer at Castle Stone
Author: Lynn Marie Hulsman
Publication Date: 24 July 2014
Publisher: Harper Impulse

Twitter: @LynnMarieSays
Blog/website: http://www.lynnmariehulsman.com/

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis

This summer, lose your heart in Ireland…
 
Shayla Sheridan’s a New York native born into big city luxury, but she’s never really fitted in with the “it” crowd. Desperate to make it as a writer and to finally step out from her famous father’s shadow, Shayla decides to take on a tricky assignment across the pond…

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Book Review: The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham




Title: The Crime at Black Dudley
Author: Margery Allingham
Publisher: Vintage (part of The Random House Group)
Publication Date: 7 May 2015

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis

'Margery Allingham stands out like a shining light' - Agatha Christie

A suspicious death and a haunted family heirloom were not advertised when Dr George Abbershaw and a groupof London's brightest young things accepted an invitation to the mansion of Black Dudley.

Skulduggery is most certainly afoot, and the party-goers soon realise that they're trapped in the secluded house.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Food & Drink: Jazz Sunday Lunch at Pennyhill Park Hotel, Surrey

Photograph courtesy of www.getsurrey.co.uk
My husband and I both have birthdays in September and for a joint present last year, my husband's Grandmother gave us a gift voucher for a Jazz Sunday Lunch at Pennyhill Park Hotel in Bagshot, Surrey.
 
Pennyhill Park is part of the Exclusive Group of country hotels ran by the Pecorelli family. The hotel's website describes the venue as:
 
"Within 123 acres of rolling Surrey parkland lies a luxury country house hotel accompanied by the UK’s Most Excellent Spa.
 
Wonderfully located between Ascot, Sunningdale and Wentworth and only 45 minutes from the centre of London, our spa hotel in Surrey offers everything from tennis and unmatchable five-star spa breaks to its own golf course, superb dining and impeccable service."
 

Friday, 12 June 2015

Book Review: The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood



Title: The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance
Author: Kirsty Greenwood
Publication Date: 9 April 2015
Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Twitter: @KirstyBooks
Blog/Website: http://www.novelicious.com/

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis

Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Book Review: The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas



Title: The Olive Branch
Author: Jo Thomas
Publication Date: 26 March 2015 (paperback due to be published 2 July 2015)
Publisher: Headline Review

Twitter: @jo_thomas01
Website/Blog: http://jothomaswrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis

Escape to Italy with THE OLIVE BRANCH - the irresistible new novel from Jo Thomas, award-winning author of ebook runaway bestseller THE OYSTER CATCHER.

You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.

Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible.

But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.

First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his tempestuous family...and there's the small matter of running and olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

'Warm, funny, romantic with a terrific sense of place. I loved it!' Katie Fforde

Review

The Olive Branch is the second novel from English author, Jo Thomas.

Ruthie Collins wakes up one morning to realise that she has bought a house on Ebay and not just any house, but one in the Italian countryside! Coming out of a relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Ed, she decides that a new start is what she needs. Besides, she has a design job which allows her to work anywhere and she can speak Italian... On her arrival, she is met by torrential rain, a territorial goat, a run-down farmhouse and a pack of unfriendly Italian neighbours. Has Ruthie bitten off more than she can chew...?

The first thing to mention about The Olive Branch is the amazing setting in Puglia, Italy. The author evokes vivid images of an idyllic Italian town, beautiful rolling countryside, sunshine,fabulous food cooked by an Italian mama... everything that Italy should be! I could virtually smell the olives.
 
Despite the fantastic location, it is the characters that really bring the story to life. Ruthie is a great character - artistic and impulsive but a hard worker with a little bit of common sense lurking in the background. Marco is the hunky Italian neighbour, reserved and grumpy at times, but loveable underneath. The supporting characters are great, including Marco's large and opinionated family (mothers, sisters, brothers, grandmothers!), a dodgy Australian tradesman, a potential love rival and, my favourite, Daphne the goat - a real scene stealer!
 
The characters come across a host of obstacles - misunderstandings, unfriendly locals, dodgy tradesmen, a family feud and a trouble-making goat! However, at the heart of the Olive Branch is a love story, albeit one with an interesting storyline.
 
The story is written in first person narrative, interspersed with a bit of third person narrative from Marco. Whilst I usually prefer third person narratives for romance novels, this split-narrative style worked surprisingly well for me.
 
The Olive Branch is full of humour and giggles, a well-written, undemanding, uplifting and thoroughly entertaining read that will have you running to the computer to look for Italian holidays! The Olive Branch would make the perfect summer read, particularly if enjoyed whilst sat on the terrace, glass (bottle) of wine in hand and a bowl of juicy olives.

Buy Links

Amazon UK: Kindle - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00N9AVEJ4
                       Paperback - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1472223705

Amazon US: Kindle - http://amzn.com/B00N9AVEJ4

About the Author

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4'sWoman's Hour and Radio 2's The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.
 






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Author Q&A: Erin Lawless, author of SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW

 
 
Today I am delighted to welcome Erin Lawless to Curious Ginger Cat. In celebration of  today's release of her new novel, Somewhere Only We Know, Erin has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the book, the writing process and her experiences as an author. It's also our first Q&A on the blog, so two reasons to celebrate!
 

Hi Erin, a big welcome from us over at Curious Ginger Cat and thank you for taking the time to do a little Q&A for our readers. So, let's get started....

1.  To start with, please can you tell us a little bit about your latest novel, Somewhere Only We Know?

Somewhere Only We Know is the split-narrative story of Nadia, whose life is on the cusp of changing forever, and Alex, who hasn’t had all that much of a life to speak of since he left university. Nadia, social and vivacious - and about to be deported on account of her Russian nationality - strikes up an unlikely friendship with the downtrodden boy, and decides on a characteristic whim to take him under her wing while she tackles her “bucket list” of things she wants to see and do in her beloved London, just in case the deportation actually happens. Shenanigans ensue!

2.  How much research went into Somewhere Only We Know? And what particular parts needed more research than others?

I barely had to do any research for Somewhere Only We Know, for a very sad reason. My best friend - also Russian born - went through the whole rigmarole of applying for her Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom for years before and during the time I was writing the book, so I already understood the process from the inside. Of course in the book everything is extremely stream-lined and simplified - because who wants to read about hours upon hours of paperwork?? - but the general thread is true to life.

3.  Who was your favourite character to write in the book and why? 

I worried when I started writing the book that I would get bored - my first novel The Best Thing I Never Had has seven narrating characters! I thought going back and forth between only two would limit me, or that my supporting cast would get lost if we never went into their heads, but I needn’t have worried. It was probably the secondary characters I enjoyed writing the most - Nadia’s chalk-and-cheese best friends Holly and Caro, and Alex’s laddy flatmate Rory - they have some pretty epic one-liners between them.

4.  The story is set in London. What do you think makes London such an attractive place to Nadia? 

London is where I lived during my early/mid-twenties, and so there was nowhere else I could do justice. I really wanted to capture the timelessness of the city, versus the march of modernity, the intrinsic “Englishness” versus a growing multi-culturalism. It’s a city of contrasts, and so, in a way are Alex and Nadia.

5.  How do you plan to celebrate the publication day for Somewhere Only We Know? 

The truth is, I have a mock exam the day of the digital release! What timing! I am going to have just enough time over lunch to visit the HarperCollins’ offices to celebrate with my editor and the rest of the Impulse team, before running a virtual launch party between 11am and 2pm (everybody welcome!) before rushing off to take the exam (might only have the one glass of fizz…).

6.  When looking back over your experiences regarding being a published author, what has been your favourite moment to date? 

There have been so many amazing moments, and days, and experiences. One does immediately stand out. I was at a hen do dinner, one where the bride made us all sit all mixed up, rather than clumped in our already existing friendship groups. I was sat next to the groom’s cousin. We quickly discovered we were both voracious readers, and started making book recommendations to one another. She recommended my own book to me, having finished it a few days before and with no clue that I was the author. I almost spontaneously combusted. 

 7. What's your writing process? Do you plan/plot the story or just start writing and see where it takes you? If you plan, how do you do it - notebooks, Post-It notes etc...?

I spent ages mulling the story over in my head, getting a real handle on the voice of my characters. Once I have them talking for themselves and my basic A-to-B plot, I move on to the notepad stage, scribbling down specific ideas for scenes and secondary characters. By the time I open Word and start actually writing, I write straight and chronologically, editing as I go, and so as a result my first submitted drafts are pretty clean. None of my books ever change materially from first draft to publication, which I think comes down to the fact I wait for so long before starting. It means I’m quite slow - particularly because I have quite a demanding day job - but it works for me!

8.  Do you have any tips for aspiring authors who may be reading this? Anything that works well for yourself? 

You should write and read every day - it’s a writer’s version of an athlete exercising.

9.  If you were to dabble in a genre that you haven't ventured into before, which genre would you choose (i.e. sci-fi, horror, crime, fantasy, childrens etc...)? 

I would love to write a historical novel - I was ankle-deep in a Tudor novella when I was contracted to Harper Impulse for contemporary romance, so it was shelved. I also run a blog on British history and have won blog awards for my series of mini-biographies “Hidden Historical Heroines” - so that’s definitely the genre for me (one day!).

10.  Were you a big reader before becoming a writer?

I still am a big reader! About 150 books a year along side the day job and the writing job. I’m not sure how I manage it either.

11. Finally, what's coming next for your readers or is it top secret for now? 

It’s very early days for book 3 at the moment - we’re only on the first tentative pages of the notebook stage! - but it’s my first sole-narrator and first person point of view novel. It’s a romcom all about the fall-out after a couple decide to make a list of all the celebrities they’re allowed to sleep with. Let’s just say one half of the  couple takes it more seriously than the other…

Erin, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions for our Curious Ginger Cat readers. It has been great to find out more about you and your latest novel, Somewhere Only We know. Best of luck with the publication day! 

Thanks so much for having me!!

And now here's a little bit more for you:-

Blurb for Somewhere Only We Know

Boy meets girl...

Alex Bradley can't help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life - promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration Department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.

Girl meets boy...

Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she's got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back home.

Girl gets deported?

It's going to be a bumpy ride, one she's dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can't help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia's eyes.

From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho's basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he's got before it's too late?

About the Author

You'd probably like Erin Lawless; she's quite nice.

She lives a happy life full of wonderful friends, in love with a man who buys her books instead of flowers. To mix things up a little, she write books where friends and lovers hit obstacles and (usually) overcome them. When she's not doing that she's reading absolutely everything she can get her hands on, spending an inordinate amount of time in pyjamas and running a fun-but-informative blog on British history.

www.erinlawless.co.uk
@rinylou



If this interview has piqued your interest, a copy of Erin's exciting new publication, Somewhere Only We Know, can be purchased here. Don't forget to jump onto Twitter and visit Erin's profile to wish her a happy publication day and to read the other blog posts from my fantastic fellow bloggers celebrating today's release date!
 


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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

COVER REVEAL: Return to Bluebell Hill by Rebecca Pugh

I am unbelieveably excited today to help Rebecca Pugh (@BeccasBooks) with her cover reveal for the much anticipated Return to Bluebell Hill.

For all of you Twitter users, you will almost certainly be familiar with Becca and are probably as keen as me for her debut novel to finally be released.

Anyway, without further ado, here's the gorgeous cover...!!


Monday, 8 June 2015

Review: Floatworks, Canary Wharf - How do you fancy floating naked in a dark room for an hour....?


My husband and I recently had the opportunity to visit Floatworks. My husband had purchased tickets for me as a birthday surprise in September, however we were unable to use them until recently due first to our busy calendar and then due to a delay in Floatworks opening their new site in Canary Wharf. As such, we attended with much anticipation, having waited 8 months for the visit.
 
 
What is Floatworks, you may ask? Well, if floating naked in a warm dark room sounds good, then this may be for you...
 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Blog Tour - Crossing the Line (The Firing Line #3) by Kierney Scott


Title: Crossing the Line (The Firing Line #3)

Author: Kierney Scott
Publication Date: 2 June 2015
Publisher: Carina UK

Twitter: @Kierney_S
Blog/website: https://pinkinkladies.wordpress.com/


I am happy to be today's stop on the blog tour for the third book in The Firing Line series by Kierney Scott - Crossing the Line, published by Carina UK on 2 June 2015.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Book Review: Game of Scones by Samantha Tonge



 
Title: Game of Scones
Author: Samantha Tonge
Publication Date: 20 April 2015
Publisher: Carina
 
Twitter: @SamTongeWriter
Website/blog: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/ 
 
Rating: 4 out of 5
 
Synopsis
 
A story of icing and flour...and how love doesn't always go to plan!
 
Growing up,Pippa Pattinson's summers were spent in the idyllic Greek island fishing village of Taxos. There she spent many long hazy days determinedly ignoring thoughts of her life her parents had mapped out for her (a dreary-but-secure accounting job and obligatory sensible husband!) Instead she daydreamed of running her own tea shop - serving the perfect scones - with mocha-eyed childhood friend Niklaus by her side.
 

Friday, 5 June 2015

Book Review: Silent Scream by Angela Marsons



Title: Silent Scream (Detective Kim Stone crime thriller series - Book 1)
Author: Angela Marsons
Publication Date: 20 February 2015
Publisher: Bookouture

Twitter: @WriteAngie
Blog/Website: http://angelamarsons-books.com/

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis

Even the darkest secrets can't stay buried forever...
 
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dog. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood...

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Book Review: The Woman Who Fell in Love for a Week by Fiona Walker



Title: The Woman Who Fell in Love for a Week
Author: Fiona Walker
Publication Date: 8 January 2015 (paperback coming on 4 June 2015)
Publisher: Sphere

Twitter: @fionawalkeruk
Blog/website: www.fionawalker.com

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis

Dive into a summer of surprises...

Jenny loves to house-sit: looking after a stranger's perfect home and pretending to be someone else - just for a bit. Her latest booking is a beautiful rambling country house owned by the hugely glamorous Lewis family. Freed of teaching duties for the summer, Jenny plans to do nothing more exhausting than walk the (very naughty) dog and laze by the glorious pool.

Then Jenny discovers skeletons in the Lewis closet that further threaten to disrupt her idyll. That is, until a seductive new friendship offers her a second chance: to open herself up to love again and to finally live life on her own terms.