Summer with the Country Village Vet by Zara Stoneley

 

Summer with the Country Village Vet by Zara Stoneley

34214939Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 26th May 2017

Series: Love in Langtry Meadows #1

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 404

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback(out on 01.06.2017)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Fall in love with a brand new cosy romance series from bestselling author Zara Stoneley

When Lucy Jacobs is made redundant from her inner-city teaching job she fears her career is over. Teaching is all Lucy knows and she’s determined to get back in the classroom as fast as she can.

Except the only job on offer is at an idyllic village school in the middle of nowhere – Lucy’s idea of hell. Where are the disadvantaged kids who need saving, where is the challenge?

But as Lucy finds herself welcomed into the warm-hearted community of Langtry Meadows, she begins to realise new challenges await – like frogs in the classroom, a rather difficult donkey, and a very brooding local vet…

Local boy Charlie Davenport has his own issues about living in the close-knit village of Langtry Meadows. His private life is already fuel for the well-meaning gossips and the very last thing he needs is to get close to the new school teacher…no matter how lovely she is.

But as summer days drift away Langtry Meadows weaves its magic, Charlie and Lucy both get the chance to turn over a new leaf and start anew…maybe with each other?

A fun, romantic story to make you smile and long for your own country escape.

Rating: five-stars

There is a popular saying at the beginning of “Summer with the Country Village Vet”: “Never work with children or animals”. Well, I work with both, ha, so this here plus the fact that it is Zara Stoneley that has written this novel, made me feel sure that I am going to love it. This book really has it all – beautiful, idyllic setting, more than likeable characters, funny animals with their antics so realistically written, adorable children with their belly – aching banter and the wonderful atmosphere. This all written with this lovely, warm and inviting Zara Stoneley’s writing style – it is already so recognizable, that I can bet if you were given this book not knowing the author, you’d guess it immediately.

I loved our main character Lucy’s passion to her job – the same as Charlie’s, to be honest. They were the right people in the right places. Lucy, just like most of Zara Stoneley’s heroines, was just my kind of a girl. She was a great teacher, she loved her job and she thought about her students and not the bureaucracy. She was clever, witty but she had her own demons and skeletons in the closet and this all made her character so beautifully complex and adorable. There is this brilliantly interwoven subplot of Lucy’s childhood, so we get a chance to learn where all her insecurities are coming from – I really liked that she finally started to ask questions. However, she didn’t let the insecurities to overwhelm her and on the outside she was a sunny, lovely girl that everybody loved and nobody could say “no” to her. Really. You’ll see for yourself when you read the book.
And let’s not forget Charlie, the moody and broody village vet. Oh my, he was GREAT! I’ve no idea how Zara Stoneley does it but with every new book her male characters are even more gorgeous, with a swoon – factor. Absolutely devoted to his job and also with past demons that suddenly start to surface… To be honest, there were moments that I wanted to bang his head on the wall, not too much of course, but that he stopped brooding and behaving the way he behaved towards Lucy because he made her feel so confused, and better don’t mess with me when you confuse Lucy, because Lucy is too nice to be messed with. So there. But apart from that Charlie was perfect, guys, but not perfect in this boring way, no, he was adorable, gorgeous and had a distance to himself and all the pets’ female owners.
I also adored the banter between Lucy and Charlie and the way they were around each other – it was so, so realistic! The will they/won’t they was brilliantly solved, you really couldn’t be sure what’s going to happen, as there were so many obstacles in their way, and even though there were moments that I SO wanted to bang their heads together, especially Charlie’s, I still could fully understand their reluctance and uncertainty.
But not only the main characters were brilliant, Zara Stoneley writes them all so well. The whole Langtry Meadow community, starting with the school staff, the nurse in Charlie’s surgery, the village busy body, knowing all and everything Elsie Harrington – they were all larger than life, warm, quirky and so true and genuine.

There wouldn’t be Zara Stoneley’s book without some gorgeous, mischievous animals. Next to newts we have all the animals that Charlie looks after in his surgery (the chihuahua. The chihuahua!) and also the bunch Lucy is baby – sitting. I absolutely loved the fact that each and every one animal that Lucy was baby – sitting was given a scene or two. We have Gertie the Goose who is very attached to very pink wellies, we have a pony Mischief, a pig that likes to be taken on walks, and many, many others. Again, they were written with so much heart and understanding, it was a real joy to read about them. Those animals have more than once stolen the show, really, but this all had such an authentic feeling to it. As much as they say “never work with children or animals”, we could advice some authors please don’t write about animals and children because it’s not as easy as we could think, but Zara Stoneley has mastered it, and both animals and children feel so authentic and genuine in this book.

I absolutely liked that everything was so neatly wrapped up in the end, that all things were explained, that Lucy had this huge talk with her mum and that she started to feel better after that. It was a fast – paced story and there was all the time something happening and I more than often found myself thinking, only one page more, and then, hours later, realised it’s time to bring the little one to bed.

I love all Zara Stoneley’s books, she really can do no wrong and I hope she’ll keep them coming and coming. There is always such a feel – good factor to them all, they so effortlessly transport you to the fiction world of the characters’ and you immediately want to move to the place where the book is set. It was the same with Langtry Meadows – I immediately fell in love with this place, with all the villagers and the author has so easily brought this place to life – with May Pole dancing, with the pub and cosy cottages, village greens and the cosy school. “Summer with the Country Village Vet” was so heart – warming and it was so easy to fall in love with the place and all the characters. I loved all the challenges they were facing, some of them very normal ones, such as what kind of animal are the children going to bring in their pockets to school, or more difficult ones, such like coming to terms with a difficult past, finding peace and letting the demons go. I had no problems to immediately feel a part of the Langtry Meadow community, they were all so easy to fall in love with. This story was a real breath of fresh air, it was as colourful as cover of this book but with a depth and some emotional moments.

But what is best is that this book is the first one in the series! I can’t wait to visit Langtry Meadows again as soon as possible!

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Just for the Holidays by Sue Moorcroft / Blog Tour

Hi guys! I am so thrilled as today it is my stop on Sue Moorcroft’s blog tour – she has just gone and written the ultimate summer book! “Just for the Holidays” has this all what I am looking for in a novel, it is funny and poignant, full of emotions and hilarious moments. If you haven’t had a chance to read this book yet – please do it immediately, you won’t regret it!

Just for the Holidays by Sue Moorcroft

34862126Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 18th May 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The #1 bestselling author returns for summer! Grab your sun hat, a cool glass of wine, and the only book you need on holiday…

In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy.

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together.

But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with…

A glorious summer read, for you to devour in one sitting – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

Rating: five-stars

I’ve only read a few of Sue Moorcroft’s books but all of them were absolutely gorgeous stories, and “Just for the Holidays” was incredibly feel – good, brilliantly balanced novel about family dynamics and dramas but written in a very good – humoured way. It actually had it all: wonderful setting, a normal family with issues and problems, great characters, some delicious food and was full of twists and turns.

The two of the main characters have probably one of the coolest jobs in the world – chocolatier – YUMMY! I mean, how great must it be to land such a job ( I am a chocoholic. I can’t live a single day without a piece of chocolate. Or two. Or much, much more. I was salivating at the descriptions of the lovely things Leah was producing with the children, all of them including chocolate), and helicopter pilot. Mmmm. And if we are with the characters – I immediately warmed to all of them, with all their problems and dramas. They were so well written, even the children, especially Natasha with her never – ending questions asked without a break, with their realistic banter and calling themselves names. Our main character Leah not only tastes chocolate for a living but she loves her Porsche and Formula 1. I loved how she went into her role of Deputy Mum, she was terrified but she never lost her coolness and she did really great. I totally fell for her, to be honest. The switch from “Cool Auntie” to “Deputy Mum” was a shock for her – a confirmed singleton, loving her independence, it was surely not what she has expected from the holidays. But she has done so well, and with the help of her cooking skills and being compassionate she has saved the day more than once. She was strong and independent and she knew what she wanted from life.

Ronan spends his holidays in a house next to the gîte, together with his teenage son Curtis. He’s recuperating after an accident at work involving helicopter and emergency landing (and guys. Sue Moorcroft has really overdone herself in the name of research – namely at the end of the story she describes the real helicopter flight in which she went for a pretended crash – how cool is that, no?) Ronan was great, not only sexy as hell but also funny and clever and had tons of problems, and the way he dealt with them was brilliant. He was rather gorgeous, guys. Really, the characters were loveable at the first sight or unlikeable at the first sight, but all of them were believable. Sue Moorcroft has also portrayed all the teenagers in this book so very convincingly – their antics will make you wince at its familiarity. The family dynamic are brilliantly written and the story flies effortlessly from situation to situation. And there are quite a few situations in this novel, mostly unfortunate ones, that turn the dreamed – of  holidays in a beautiful place to holiday from hell – especially for Leah, but actually also for all involved.

My only problem was that somewhere around the middle the book went a little downhill for me. It slowed significantly down and started to drag on, even though there was still a lot happening! Not sure how it’s possible but it was like this. I had a feeling that we start to go in circles and even though it was entertaining and I kept my fingers crossed for Leah and Ronan to find a little alone time, I couldn’t help but sigh impatiently at the next interruption. But other than that the story was brilliant. Sue Moorcroft perfectly well knows when to drop the next bombshell and really, some of the surprise appearances were so, so unexpected – I more than once held my breath thinking oh no! Not this! Poor Leah.

“Just for the Holidays” was a lovely, full of feelings and understanding story about broken relationship and how they may affect all people involved, especially children – but don’t expect it to be a drama that is going to make you cry! If so, then with laughter. It is written in such a playful, humorous way and the author perfectly well knows how to break the tension with a joke or two. It is about love, forgiveness and friendship, about facing the consequences and being open to changes. There were so many emotions running through this story, from all of the characters. And even though it is humorous, it is not as fluffy as you could think. There is really a lot of depth to it, it makes you wonder and question, it has moments when it is truly thought – provoking and I just loved this mix. It touches upon many issues, such as late pregnancy, infidelity, exploiting and manipulating the others. It sounds serious, I know, but believe me, the author brilliantly lightened the story with her humour and with adding great romance. A perfect summer read, you should make sure that you have it with you, and not only just for the holidays! Highly recommended!

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Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan / Blog Tour

Hi guys! Hope you are having a great Friday. I am absolutely thrilled today to be hosting Jenny T. colgan’s blog tour on my blog today. Who doesn’t know Jenny Colgan? That’s right, we all know her. But do you also know that she likes to writes stories that are not necessarily set in a cafe or a bakery, and instead of introducing us to puffins she introduces us to superheroes wearing purple spandex. Yes! Sounds incredible, right? and “Spandex and the City”, her newest release, is incredible! Read my review to see why I loved this book so much!

Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan

34621504Publisher: Orbit

Publishing Date: 18th May 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

LOCAL GIRL SWEPT OFF HER FEET
Mild-mannered PR girl Holly Phillips doesn’t think much of costumed vigilante ‘Ultimate Man’ – and after his superpowered antics leave her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day, she’s embarrassed beyond belief.
But when Holly’s fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn – and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.
Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?
WOULD LIKE TO MEET: NICE GUY, LIKES DOGS, GSOH AND NO SUPERPOWERS

Rating: five-stars

Guys! Who doesn’t know Jenny Colgan and her loveliest chick – lit novels in the world, right? However, there is the other side to Jenny Colgan, the one where she writes about super – heroes, spandex, aliens… Sounds totally bonkers, right, and it is totally bonkers, but bonkers in a positive way! “Spandex and the City” is SO FUNNY, I couldn’t stop giggling and I finished reading it with a big grin on my face. It is a comical, farcical take on superhero stories and a girl caught up between the good and the evil and I know it sounds totally like not from this world but I think this is probably what makes this book work!

 

I was hooked right from the beginning. This book is written in a brilliant way. The chapters are ultra – short and I just had a feeling I am watching them like a kaleidoscope, on a dime. The storytelling was such relaxed and playful and the plot was so unusual and I just couldn’t wait to see what’s going to happen. You have to take this story with a pinch of salt but I think that it is mostly this unpredictability and impossibility of the things happening that make this book so unique and so outstanding.

 

The author has delivered the perfect mix of a rom – com with superheroes adventures. The whole story is told from Holly’s point of view – Holly works in a boring PR job in the mayor’s office of the fictional town of Centerton and has the ability to appear in places that are being robbed and then put herself in danger and into the attention of the bad guy. Holly is a brilliant character – she’s so engaging, with this great dry British humour. She is your ordinary girl from the neighbourhood, working hard in a boring job and never going on dates. She wears her made of gold heart on her sleeve and she is so much braver that we could expect her to be, and I simply loved her. Centerton also has its own superhero – Ultimate Man, who – basically – is a mix of all the good guys but dressed in a purple spandex, driving a purple bike, with a purple phone. He rescues Holly those few times that she’s being kidnapped by Frederick Cecil and this is when their brilliant, belly – laughing will they/won’t they begins.

I so loved what the author has done with the villain, Frederick Cecil. You know, there was a moment or two that I really truly felt sorry and fell for him, as I could understand his point of view. Yes, internet has done a lot of good but there is also this dark side of internet, and Frederick Cecil has pointed it out, spot on. And well, he was right about those dangers, no? So you know, yes, I felt compassion to our villain. And I fell in love with his island and the fact that the first thing he wanted to save was his library. With Frederick it was love and hate relationship. A man who thought he’s doing all those evil things for greater good and really, you will find yourself in debate if he’s really as bad as we initially thought him to be.

 

This is a book that is guaranteed to take you to a better, funnier place and give you the much needed break. Even if you’re not into super – heroes, or you think this book can be a little too sci – fi for you, just give a try – I am sure you won’t regret it and you’ll be surprised how much you’re going to like it.

This story was so absurd that it just somehow worked! It was so very well done, guys, there was the right level of humour and sadness, the exaggeration and irony and the dialogues are brilliant. It was incredibly clever and Jenny Colgan has made a point or two in this story! It was not only entertaining, but thought – provoking and insightful – Jenny Colgan brilliantly captured the world, showing how internet has shaped us and our surroundings. It was really so great to read something so different. It was so quick and easy to read, even if there were moments that it was so unbelievable. There are so many things happening – the drama, comedy, romance – that even the additional touch of science fiction didn’t bother me at all. There were so many things that usually and normally wouldn’t work for me because they were so impossible and ridiculous but they did work! I know it’s the usual type of book I – and probably you – read but I urge you to leave your comfort zone for a moment and read “Spandex and the City” – it is a hilarious, clever book. Highly recommended!

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Kiss Me At Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt / Blog Tour + Giveaway

kiss-willoughby-close-for-jenny2_orig

Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

 

34609812Publisher: Tule Publishing

Publishing Date: 25th May  2017

Series: Willoughby Close #4 (find my review of part 1 here , part 2 here and part 3 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 206

Genre: Romance, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

After her husband unexpectedly dies, Ava moves to Willoughby Close, trying to keep her chin up and herself to herself as she’s always done—not answering questions, not making friends, and not seeing much of a future. Her marriage was far from perfect, but it offered her a much-needed security that has now been ripped away. She’s not sure what to do now that she’s thirty-five, widowed, penniless… and unexpectedly pregnant with her late husband’s child.

Jace Tucker is the over-the-top sexy caretaker of Willoughby Manor, and he can see beneath Ava’s glamor girl act to the hurt she’s been hiding for so long. She has secrets for a reason—and so does he. The last thing she needs right now is a fling with a man who hides a past as regrettable as her own.

But with a baby to think about, and neighbors determined to be her friends, Ava finds herself starting to change and even more alarmingly, beginning to hope. Can Willoughby Close work its everyday magic on a woman like her? And when the past comes calling for both her and Jace, will they have to answer for their previous mistakes?

Rating:  three-stars

“Kiss Me at Willoughby Close” is the fourth part in the series and it introduces us to Ava – of course, we’ve already got a chance to cursorily get to know her in the previous part and – as usually – the first impression was not too optimistic and encouraging, but the author has already got us used to the fact that at first the new characters seem to be not likeable and then explaining their circumstances, which usually make us change our mind about them – and it was the same here with Ava – she’s starting afresh, Willoughby Close is her second chance. I’d say you can read this novel as a stand alone, of course, but I think that there is now too much insider info to really get into the heart of the story without reading the previous parts, and I would recommend reading the stories in the right order.

Each part of Willoughby Close focuses on a new character, however “Kiss Me at Willoughby Close” introduces us not only to Ava, but also brings us much, much more of the mysterious caretaker Jace and gives us a lot of insight into Lady Stokeley’s life – which I found really brilliant, as I think that adding all of them, as well as Alice later on, made the story this little bit more interesting. I think that dedicating this novel only to Ava would make it too one – dimensional, so it was really a great move from the author – highly appreciated 🙂

Ava moves to Willoughby Close after just having lost her husband. He was much older than her and she admits that she was more of a trophy wife but that she married him being aware of this fact. She has experienced a lot in her life and she just wanted to live comfortably, without any troubles and problems any more. However, after his death, she realised that she was nothing more to her husband as the trophy wife, and she learns it in a very painful way, seeing that he has left her the same amount of money in his will as he left to their cleaner – ten thousand pounds.

As much as I liked Ava, it was Jace’s story that stole the show in my opinion. This time we really get to know him and his background, what happened in the past and why he ended up in Willoughby Close. While it was not life – changing, it added some pepper and the way Ava reacted to this story made her this lit bit more human, so it was a win – win situation really.
There were not many twists and turns in this book, and I often found myself skim – reading. It was a little on the flat side, but it was still a story that is easy to enjoy. It was about being open and about second chances, about not judging and always seeing two sides of the story. There is a convincing romance, troubles in paradise and Kate Hewitt has a real way with words, having created a lovely fictional community that I have no problems to picture. Already looking forward to the next part in the series.

GIVEAWAY!

The giveaway is for:

1st prize: £10 Amazon giftcard
2nd prize: paperback copy of Find Me at Willoughby Close

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer by Sue Watson

Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer by Sue Watson

34595538Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 11th May 2017

Series: The Ice – Cream Cafe #1

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 334

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart? When life gives you lemons… make ice-cream!

Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her.

Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family ice-cream business: a clapped-out ice-cream van and a complicated mess of secrets.

There she meets gorgeous and free-spirited solicitor, Ben, who sees things differently: with a little bit of TLC he has a plan to get the van – and Ella – back up and running in no time.

Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer is a heart-warming and hilarious romance that will scoop you off your feet and prove it’s never too late for a fresh start. The ideal holiday read for fans of Lucy Diamond, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: three-stars

I’ve read all of Sue Watson’s latest releases and loved them all to the moon and back – they are all so realistic, with the right dose of the finest humour and wonderful heroines, heroes to swoon about and usually full of incredibly delicious sounding recipes. Ms Watson’s newest release, “Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer”, has been promising all of the above mentioned and as soon as I spotted the book on NetGalley, I pressed the right button and literally saw it whizzing to my kindle. I love the cover of this novel, guys, I just love it – I personally am not the greatest fan of ice – creams, but seeing this cover motivated me to make my own unicorn ice – cream. My daughter was on cloud nine.

But. Back to the book. Theoretically, it has it all what made me fell in love with Sue Watson’s novels: there is a mature heroine who has experienced something and more in her life and who’s about to start a new chapter in her life. She’s lost her job, her two children are off on their own adventures somewhere in the world, she’s been dumped with a lovely dog that she has to dress every day and who has more dresses and jewellery than Ella herself, her mother is right now living with her and has turned out to be a social media expert and she’s about to lose her house. But nothing is lost yet, as with the death of her beloved aunt she’s to receive something in her will – maybe it’s the ice – cream cafe?

This time however I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I was expecting to. I had a feeling the plot is very chaotic, it’s not neat, the things were suddenly happening but there was no connection between them, it was as if they didn’t belong to the story and more than often I found myself feeling very confused, not knowing what to do with a particular situation, how to handle it, wondering what does it have to do with the story. The beginning of the book was good – quick and straight to the point, and I adored it. But then Ella went to Devon and the story went downhill for me. Firstly, it slowed down very much. Secondly, there was almost nothing happening. Then the never – ending remarks of Ella’s mother, mentioning that something happened in the past but she’s not going to tell what it was started to make me feel annoyed and losing hope that we will get an answer any time soon, so I’ve stopped waiting for this. It was actually the only twist in this story, having it explained, and as I haven’t been waiting for it to happen, it took me by surprise exactly at the same moment as Ella. Having known what happened in the past explained a lot and you could start to understand why there was such a feud in the family and where all the wrong feelings were coming from. There were also many time spent on thinking about things instead of doing them.

The characters are, as always, really well developed. What I liked in Ella so much was the fact that she has finally decided to put herself first, after years of being your typical mum and daughter (OK, maybe not first. She did take Delilah after all 🙂 ), took a chance when it was given to her and followed the motto of “no risk, no fun”. And she had her fun, as well as problems, but she dealt with them all in a great way. Also, the background characters were all lovely.

I loved the descriptions of ice – creams, of course, and I do believe Sue Watson that researching this book was the best thing that could ever happen to an author 🙂 Reading about them made my mouth watering, and I am the one who’s not so into ice – cream at all, so just imagine those delicious descriptions and different flavours. Also, there are some great moments in this story, of course, some funny moments and some heart – breaking ones as well. Ella’s mother, with the exception of being so annoying with mentioning the secret and then stubbornly refusing to tell her daughter what the secret is (you know, it was like with children starting to say something and then deciding that they’re not going to tell you what it was they meant), was a real star of this story, with her no – nonsense life approach and being so fit around social medias.

Altogether, even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped – but still liked it, guys, so please don’t take me wrong! – “Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer” was an emotional rollercoaster ride and a great start to the series – I’ll be for sure reading the next book! There is something to make you laugh and something to make you cry, the perfect mix of feelings and emotions, with an extra bonus of Sue Watson’s wonderful writing style.

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead by Barbara Bourland / Blog Tour + Extract

Hi guys, and happy Monday! We are starting into a new week with a brand new blog tour for you – today I have an extract from Barbara Bourland’s shiny new novel “I’ll Eat When I’m Dead”. The title sounds so, so intriguing, don’t you think? So if you want to see what the author has in store for us, put your feet high and read an extract from chapter 1 – and enjoy!

9781784298562

Every weekday morning, as the sun rose above Sixth Avenue,

a peerless crop of women—frames poised, behavior polished,

networks connected, and bodies generally buffed to a high

sheen—were herded by the cattle prod of their own ambition to

one particular building. They streamed as if by magic from all over

Manhattan and Brooklyn, through streets and subways teeming

with sweaty crowds and heavy traffic, to work at Cooper House,

the only remaining major magazine publisher in New York.

Some, like Bess Bonner, a twenty-eight-year-old associate editor

at RAGE Fashion Book, arrived earlier than others. Though her

colleagues frequently staggered in around noon after long nights

spent drinking fistfuls of sponsored celebrity vodka in yet another

chartered barge or pop-up school bus, never Bess, who took

pride in being punctual. Monday through Friday she stuck to

the same routine: First, she walked her bike, a large Dutch commuter,

through the West Village streets to pick up her coffee at

Joe. Second, she stood on the sidewalk and drank half the cup, no

matter the weather; finally, she took diligent mental notes on the

outfits of pedestrians who were, like her, freshly pressed to meet

the promise of the day.

One Monday in July, in attire that was stylish but functional

 (trousers clipped back with midnight-blue leather bands, her buttery

navy kid-leather backpack stuffed in an orange milk crate

affixed firmly to the back with neon cable ties, and a waterproof

oilcloth bag that held an emergency poncho tucked beneath her

seat), Bess drank her coffee, took her notes, and hopped on her

bike, pedaling toward Cooper. After a few minutes of glorious,

uninterrupted speed through Chelsea, a rush of adrenaline kicked

in, and she smiled; that final mile of her morning commute both

boosted her mood and set the tone for the long day ahead, working

at the magazine she’d worshipped her entire life.

Today, that work meant sorting bracelets into velvet trays.

She hung a left on Thirty-Ninth Street, crossed Broadway, and

pulled smoothly into the Cooper garage. Gina, the usual attendant,

took her bicycle and wheeled it into the rectangle of her personal

parking spot, a privilege for full-time employees, as Bess took off

her helmet and shook out her tangled mess of dark blonde curls.

Shouldering her backpack, she walked up to the aluminum post

outside the service elevator and waved her phone in front of it. A

large blinking F appeared briefly on a previously invisible screen.

Ten seconds later, the F disappeared and the post became a mere

metal column once more.

Bess walked into the elevator and examined herself in its mirrored

walls. Not too bad, she thought, looking down at her electricblue

Pappagallo flats for rips, tears, or smudges, smoothing her

ankle-length silk tuxedo trousers, and tucking her deliberately

threadbare men’s white V-neck into the side of the waistband.

Her jewelry today was simple and bright: a stack of rose-gold

pyramid-stud bracelets from Hermès covered one wrist, and a pair

of dangling yellow-gold earrings—from the Egyptian section of

the gift shop at the Met, purchased long ago with her fifth-grade

allowance—hung casually from her ears.

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

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Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson / Blog Tour + Guest Post

I am thrilled to be hosting Patricia Wilson on my blog today. Her newest release – a debut novel –  “The Island of Secret”, has one of the most gorgeous and promising synopsis and with so many 5* reviews I am sure it’s going to be an excellent read! On my stop today I have a little teaser for you – an extract from the book. Enjoy!

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 ‘Writing about locations’

Location is the gift-wrapping of a story. When you set the scene, you also set the mood, and hint at the drama and tension that will follow. A sensitive description of a scene’s location presents the ambiance that surrounds the action, drama, and emotion.

Location is more than scene setting, it should involve as many of the senses as possible, sight, sound, smells, and even touch. Trying to avoid the use of clichés can be difficult. The turquoise water, cobalt sky, and lashing rain, are all over used, but occasionally still have their place.

If you can’t go to your story’s location, use YouTube, google earth, tourist information and travel books to soak up the topography and atmosphere.

When it is possible, there is nothing to compare with actually visiting the scene in your novel and absorbing every element of the surroundings. However, the location does more than describe where we are, it also mirrors the action. Ugly back allies are the places where dastardly deeds take place. Beautiful beaches await happy families. Candle-lit restaurants are filled with romantic couples. Breaking with these, and similar, expectations can increase tension and unpredictability in a novel, thereby keeping the reader hooked.

Background people can also accessorise the location. Physical traits of the ‘extras’ in a scene can add much to the image and mood picked up by the reader. Nothing beats physically spending some time in your novels location. Take a pen, a notebook, and a camera. Video if possible to capture the noise too. Jot down the smells. Eavesdrop. Go through all these things when writing the drama that happens in that same location.

Strengthen the location descriptions once your story is down. Start with the strongest aspect, expand with lesser images. That way, the reader is fixed in the location from the off. The stink of the fish market, rather than, the market stinks of fish.

Keep the reader informed as to where they are, close to the start of a new scene. Jog the reader’s memory with a few words, occasionally, and this is where your extras come in useful. A sweating bartender smears beer stains on a chipped granite counter. A uniformed bartender flicks a pristine white cloth before polishing champagne flutes. Just refresh our memory.

Let the reader sense the atmosphere. The smoke, loud music, greasy wine glass, men squeezing past, body odour, flowery perfume. The location puts us in the mood for scenes that follow.

Describe the location as if writing flash fiction. Keep it strong and evocative. Make every word count, and don’t forget to bring in some contrasts to grab, and hold on to, the reader’s attention.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Patricia Wilson lives in the village of Amiras in Crete where the book is set. She was wilson2c-patriciainspired to write when she unearthed a machine gun in her garden – one used in the events that unfolded in September 1943, and much of the novel is based on real stories told to her by the oldest women of Amiras. Women who’ve never spoken of their experiences before. This is her debut novel. #IslandofSecrets