The Accidental Honeymoon by Portia MacIntosh / Blog Tour + Guest Post

Hello, hello, and happy Thursday – we have holidays today so really, it couldn’t be better. Well, it could, as our barbecue has just gone kaput and the time I thought I am going to spend with my feet put up high, I’ve just spent in the kitchen. Oh well. Typical.

Today I am a part of a new blog tour and I have a review of The Accidental Honeymoon by Portia MacIntosh – guys, believe me, if you need a bit of cheering up than go and grab yourself a copy. This story is so light – hearted, funny and easy to follow, it was just what the doctor ordered for me at the moment, as June is full of not so nice news and events here. There is also a guest post from Portia – a perfect way to spend your afternoon, no?

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The Accidental Honeymoon by Portia MacIntosh

34472959Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 16th June 2017

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

Number of pages: 384

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

Buy the Book:Kindle

 

Synopsis:

What happens in Vegas…
When Georgie discovers that her fiancé has been cheating on her, only a few days before her cousin’s wedding, her whole world explodes. Facing a romantic trip to Vegas alone, she decides to go out and have some fun…

…but Georgie never expected to wake up wed! And even worse, she can’t remember who to. So when gorgeous Jack reveals himself as her husband, she can’t believe her luck – he’ll act as the perfect wedding date!

Even if it is their very accidental honeymoon, surely the newlyweds can keep their emotions in check for just a few days more?

Don’t miss the laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Portia MacIntosh, author of It’s Not You, It’s Them. Perfect for fans of Rosie Blake, Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk.

Rating: five-stars

I’ve read The Accidental Honeymoon just at the right moment – when I needed something light – hearted and uplifting, and I know that if you’re in need of those ingredients, Portia MacIntosh is your person in charge. I know that whatever she writes it’s my kind of read and really, I don’t need a lot of coaxing to request her books.

I bought this story as it was written. Probably some of the reviewers will stress that the accidental drunk wedding and then meeting on a plane are this tad unrealistic, but sometimes you just need this little bit of magic showing that impossible is nothing, and so I enjoyed the whole story, from the start to the finish. It was so easy to get over the slightly unrealistic beginning as it was written in such convincing way – Portia MacIntosh really knows how to pull it off.

As usually with Portia MacIntosh, her characters were brilliantly outlined. Georgie was great, however she also came across a little as a doormat, especially when it comes to being with John and the way she allowed her cousin and aunt to boss her around and decide. When Fliss told her to leave her wedding I wanted to shake – but Georgie, not Fliss. Also, her makeover confused me a little – which was Georgie’s true face? The totally Stepford Wife that she had when being with John or the totally opposite, almost slutty appearance – because judging on the descriptions of hair extensions and one number smaller tight dresses it looked like this, and so it was like Georgie has hidden her real face from us. However, she was so warm and lovely and she had her heart on her sleeve, and she had one of the best one – liners and I really, truly fell for her and warmed to her actually from the very beginning. She was very accident – prone and she’ll stay in my memory as the one who often meant well, with the things turning out wrong in the end.
And Jack, mmmm, I think I won’t be disappointed if I accidentally married Jack myself, guys. The tricks he knew, and nonono, I mean the cards and casino tricks, not the other ones, honestly I beg you, what were you thinking about…? Absolutely loved how laid – back he was and how he treated Georgie and that he was always honest with his plans – doesn’t happen often with guys that they are so honest, right? Also, and oh my god, I laughed so much, it was so nice to see how devoted he was to his newly found aunt (I really thought I will NEVER use this word in my review but here it is – it was just LOL).

The Accidental Honeymoon was an easy, quick and entertaining read, just what I expected from this author. It was lovely, it was charming, it had a great dose of humour and swear words and it just felt so natural and genuine. Nothing was pushed there, or too forced, one thing resulted from the other and I also quickly found myself rooting for the characters. Altogether, it was a read that made me smile and even laugh out loud. I totally enjoyed how Portia MacIntosh took the well established idea of the drunken wedding in Vegas and turned it into something else. There were enough turns in this light – hearted story, there were characters to die for or to slap. It was great to see how Georgie was with her family, the great relationship with her older brother and the way they treated the younger one. So really, give me Portia MacIntosh book any time, you can be sure that will lighten your mood and make you look little differently at the word. I love her stories and I can’t have enough of them, and I highly recommend The Accidental Honeymoon to you!

GUEST POST:

I’m not sure whether or not I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was younger. When I think about it, I was always making things up. I’d tell…let’s not call them lies, let’s call them tall tales. So if an ornament were to get smashed while I was playing with my friends, I’d come up with a story that got everyone in the least trouble possible. If a neighbour overheard me swear and told my parents, well, they were obviously mistaken, because I was obviously saying ‘stick’ or ‘duck’ or ‘plastered’ – all the hot topics 10-year-olds talk about. As a teen, I’d tell little white lies so that my parents didn’t worry about me – well, nothing appeases the worries of an overprotective dad like telling him that your boyfriend is your gay best friend. I’d find ways to get out of PE, excuses for not doing my homework, kind ways to decline the advances of boys in my year that I didn’t like… And funnily enough, I don’t think any of my teachers would have guessed that I’d be a writer when I ‘grew up’. I don’t imagine they had high hopes for me, because what might have seemed like a kid who just didn’t want to do PE was obviously a storyteller in the making. Being one of those kids who left school and never looked back, I don’t imagine any of my teachers know what became of me career wise. It’s probably for the best though…because I feel like this blog post is a pretty clear admission of a whole lot of guilt.

Invisible Women by Sarah Long – Blog Tour + Guest Post

Hi guys, hope you are all doing great. Today I have a great guest post for you from the author of “Invisible Women”, Sarah Long. The book sounds totally like my cup of tea and I am looking forward for it being published in paperback in autumn – right now you can treat yourself to an ebook. She’s writing about Facebook addiction – rings a bell, no? Put your feet high and enjoy!

 

Blog by Sarah Long

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 Facebook Addiction

It makes you unhappy. You are forced to compare your ordinary existence with far more glamorous lives. You‘ve been to the supermarket and put some chops in the oven, while everyone else is on a tropical island or a ski slope, pouting at the camera to convey just how fab a time they are having.

And yet most of us are addicted. We pick up our phones the moment we wake up to check what our Friends have been up to. Marvelling at the person who posted his opinions on Brexit at four in the morning. Four in the morning!! The bragging of the proud grandmother, the international business jetsetter, the manic gardener. All of them shameless show-offs, even though we were taught as children not to blow our own trumpet.

There’s another purpose to Facebook, aside from keeping up with family and friends. Sorry, that’s Friends with a capital F. It’s a buffet against loneliness. You can dip into other people’s lives the way you might have leant over the garden gate in a former age to have a good old nose around.

In my novel INVISIBLE WOMEN, my heroine Tessa is feeling the emptiness now her youngest child has gone away to university. Or ‘uni’ as she has trained herself to call it, not wanting to appear old-fashioned. Every day, she stalks her daughter on Facebook, examining her photos, scrutinising all the boys and wondering which one she may be ‘seeing’ and which one she may have ‘friend zoned.’ She worries that Lola’s looking a little the worse for wear, you do hear terrible stories about Freshers’ Week, and teenagers overdoing the drink and falling into the river.

But it’s not her daughter she should be worried about. Social media is a notoriously convenient tool for stoking up old fires. You never really ‘move on’ from your past any more. Not when your teenage boyfriend can track you down so easily, even though you are now both in your fifties and one of you is married.  When Tessa receives a message from John, her world is turned upside down. Her Facebook addiction brings unexpected consequences in the form of a hot, illicit romance. Or maybe that is what she was looking for all along. If you’re bored with your husband and living life at one remove, as an online  spectator, why wouldn’t you embrace the chance for something as real and insistent as your former admirer who’s come all the way from America to claim you for his own?

 INVISIBLE WOMEN by Sarah Long is published by Bonnier Zaffre

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The Reading Group: April by Della Parker + Guest Post

Hi guys. Today I am finally reviewing the fifth part of  “The Reading Group” series by Della Parker and as a special treat I have a guest post from the author on one of the inspirations behind the series. It’s brilliant, so make sure to read it!

The Reading Group by Della Parker

 

32919832Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 30th March  2017

Series: The Reading Group #5 (read my review of #1,2 and 3 here)

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

Number of pages: 93

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

‘Brims with laughs, love, family and friendship. You will love this heartwarming read!’ Trisha Ashley. Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley and Holly Martin.

Serena, the ambitious young Headmistress of Poppins Private School, has just begun reading Jane Eyre alongside her friends in the Reading Group. She would never admit it out loud, but she’s half hoping that reality might once again echo fiction. Will she perhaps meet her own Mr Rochester?

That doesn’t stop her from being slightly alarmed when her secretary arranges an appointment with one Mr Winchester, the handsome father of a troubled pupil in the midst of a messy divorce. But when the line between work and pleasure begins to blur, and troubles in her own family come to a head, Serena is left wondering if being a romantic heroine is all it’s cracked up to be…

Meet the Reading Group: five women in the seaside village of Little Sanderton come together every month to share their love of reading. No topic is off-limits: books, family, love and loss . . . and don’t forget the glass of red!

Rating: 4/5

“The Reading Group: April” is probably my favourite part of the series right now. I enjoyed it immensely and I think that with every part the characters feel much more developed, complex and the story is this little better than the previous one. In April it is Serena’s story and she’s chosen “Jane Eyre” for the Reading Group, so you can immediately ask – is she going to find her Mr Rochester?

Serena was close to my heart as we both are teachers and I could see that she’s maybe not over – passionate about her job but that she really likes it and that she has heart for her students and her job. I immediately liked her, she was strong – minded but also vulnerable and the way she coped with her life after her husband’s death was just so uplifting, giving hope that it really can be better sometime.

This lovely short story squeezes between the pages many, many issues. It is about family dynamics and feeling unappreciated and under – valued by your own family, it’s about mental health and children being made victims of parents’ misunderstandings. It’s about finding what you want to do with your life and finding peace with grief. Again, I truly liked how the author took elements of “Jane Eyre” and adapted for “Reading Group”. There were moments that the story dragged on a bit and there were moments that some of the events felt too rushed but altogether this novella had the right pace and the right amount of events happening. Altogether, it was a lovely, light quick read that don’t forget about the importance of friendship. Recommended!

GUEST POST:

One of the Inspirations behind the Reading Group

 By Della Parker

I really enjoy writing about friendship.  It’s a theme that runs through many of my books.  In the Reading Group series the focus is on female friendship. I have some amazing female friends. Some of them have been in my life for over forty years and some are newer, but they are all very important to me.  Although I don’t ever transport real people lock, stock and barrel into fiction I do use elements of them and I do write about the issues that affect them.

            Serena, the Main Character of April is a lady who struggles because she doesn’t fit into her family – she has always felt that she is not quite good enough.  I have one or two friends who feel like this – in fact it’s surprisingly common.

            And of course if your family aren’t supportive it makes friendship massively important.

            The Reading Group is about a group of friends who meet to discuss a classic novel each month and discover that – spookily – one of their lives mirrors the plot.

            In April they are reading Jane Eyre and Serena, who’s headmistress of Poppins Private School, is half hoping that reality will echo fiction, as it has before, and she will meet her own Mr Rochester.

This doesn’t stop her from being slightly alarmed when her secretary arranges an appointment with Mr Winchester, the father of a troubled pupil.

It would appear that Mr Winchester has an ex wife who is also rather troubled (or possibly completely deranged!). To add to the drama there is turbulence (as there usually is) in Serena’s own family too. Serena begins to wonder if being a romantic heroine is all it’s cracked up to be…

If Ever I Fall by S.D. Robertson

Hi guys, it’s Friday! FINALLY. It was such a long week, and having an awful cold didn’t help at all. Today I am very thrilled to be a part of S.D. Robertson’s blog tour for his new release “If Ever I Fall” and to share a guest post from the author on writing from different point of views. Enjoy, and have a great weekend, you lovely folks!

Writing from different points of view

by S.D. Robertson

I write from different points of view in my latest novel, If Ever I Fall. There are three distinct sections running through the book and each has its own voice.

First there’s Jack, who wakes up on a deserted clifftop with no memory of who he is or how if-i-ever-fallhe got there.

Next we have Maria, who is drowning in grief. She spends her time writing letters that will never be answered, while fighting to escape the pain of terrible memories.

And then there’s Dan, whose life has fallen apart at the seams. He’s lost his house, his job is on the line and now he fears losing his family too.

Taking on different voices was a new experience for me, since my first novel, Time to Say Goodbye, was written from just one perspective. Initially, it felt a bit daunting: particularly writing as a woman, which wasn’t something I’d ever attempted before.

So how did I approach it? Well, the first thing I did was to frame each of the voices differently. So the Maria sections are all written through the medium of personal letters, giving them a very confessional feel. Meanwhile, the Dan sections are written in third person past tense, while the Jack sections are first person present tense.

Doing this really helped me to keep on top of which character I was channelling at each stage of writing the book. I think it also helps readers in the same way.

Other than that, I suppose it was a bit like being an actor and trying to get under the skin of each of them, imagining what they, rather than me, would say and do in each particular situation. It’s not actually as tricky as it sounds, because as an author there’s a part of you – sometimes big, sometimes small – in every character you create. So it’s really just a case of tuning into that and building it up from there.

Before I wrote a word of the manuscript, I created character profiles for everyone in the story; those of Jack, Maria and Dan were particularly detailed. I referred back to them constantly at the start, adding bits and pieces along the way, but as the book progressed and each of them took firm shape in my mind, this became less necessary.

It’s like when you have family or friends that you’ve known for a long time. You know their mannerisms and habits. You have a good idea of what they love and what they hate. You get so you can predict fairly accurately how they will react in different scenarios. You know the sort of thing they are likely to say.

There were, of course, moments when I wasn’t sure about certain things, particularly when it came to writing from a woman’s perspective as Maria. It was at these times that I turned to my female family members and friends for advice.

That’s how it works when you write fiction. Your own experience is enough for certain things, and for others you do research, preferably by speaking to those with first-hand knowledge of whatever it is you need to know.

I must say that I really enjoyed writing from more than one perspective in If Ever I Fall. I think it’s a great tool to use as an author, which allows you to take your readers deeper into the world you’ve created. It’s certainly a technique I intend to employ again in future novels.

*Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his job as a local newspaper editor to pursue a xsdrobertson_jpg_pagespeed_ic_vytby7lz48lifelong ambition of becoming an author and to spend more time with his wife and daughter. If Ever I Fall (Avon HarperCollins, £7.99) is his second novel. A heart-rending story of family tragedy, it is published on 9 February 2017.

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The English Agent by Clare Harvey /Blog Tour + Guest Post

I am thrilled to be a part of Clare Harvey’s blog tour today! The author’s new release, “The English Agent” is out in paperback now and to celebrate this fact I have a lovely guest post from Clare herself! Enjoy!

The glamorous life? Five secrets about Clare’s life as an author that she probably 97814711505792b252812529shouldn’t tell you…

 

When I got published I think people expected me to sling on my stilettoes, hop in a convertible and head off for the glamorous life. Some of the school run mums might even have raised a quizzical eyebrow at the sight of me still trudging round Tesco in my mud-spattered dog walking boots and then driving off in my unwashed Vauxhall Corsa. But whilst earning a living as a writer definitely counts as ‘living the dream’, glamorous it ain’t. Here are five secrets about my life as an author that debunk the glamour myth (and that I probably shouldn’t be sharing!)

Talking to myself: Yes, I talk to myself. Whilst I was writing my debut novel The Gunner clares-furry-paGirl, I even found myself having conversations (‘D’you fancy a cuppa, Clare?’ ‘Oooh, yes, thank you, Clare, a cup of coffee would be lovely!’ etc.) Writing is a largely hermit-like existence, so I suppose talking to myself became inevitable. Eventually we got a dog, and I now talk to him instead (which is not mad at all, ask any dog lover). Oh, and I talk to my characters, too, especially when I want to discover their back stories – I interview them and get them to tell me all about themselves (I’m not sure if other writers do this, too – it would be interesting to find out). So that’s number one: talking to myself and/or my dog – not glamorous at all, as I’m sure you’d agree.

Family meals consisting of chips and chocolate biscuits: When I’m pushing myself to hit a deadline I do not have time to be a domestic drudge, let alone a domestic goddess. I resent the time it takes to go to the supermarket (or even do an online shop) or plan and cook a nutritious family meal, when I have those final few scenes to do before the weekend. I tell the kids to make sure they take full advantage of their school dinner that day because ‘…it will only be a snack supper tonight’ – which roughly translates as ‘….you can forget Nigella Lawson; the only woman in my kitchen today is Mother Hubbard, so deal with it, guys.’ Number two, then: chips and choccy bics for supper – glamorous? I think not.

Wearing a coat, hat and scarf at work: It seems an outrageous extravagance to put the central heating on if it’s just me at home. Sometimes I have vague thoughts about lighting the log burner, but it’s a bit of a pfaff, and I really just want to get on with writing, usually (the log burner is a good idea if I’m feeling the need to procrastinate, though). Being a southerner, I’m a bit of a wuss in the cold weather, too. So I often work in my coat, hat and scarf (in fact, as I write this I’m wearing a scarf and a woolly hat – no coat today as the weather is ‘unseasonably mild’, according to the weatherman). Number three on the list of unglamorous author things: freezing at your desk in your entire outdoor wardrobe.

Working’ in bed: Sometimes I work in bed because I’m cold (I take my coat off first – but I often leave the hat and scarf on). And if it’s a freezing winter day and I have some research books to read, why not read in bed? But I also find writing comes easier in bed, perhaps because I have left my ‘internal editor’ behind with the laptop at the desk downstairs (I always write longhand in the first instance). But sometimes I like to prepare a scene and then take a little power nap before writing it, because I find that writing flows so much better if you’ve just woken up. It’s just getting a tad embarrassing that the window cleaners always seem to come when I’m working in bed, and I’m so worried they think I’m a slacker that at the first rattle of ladders I leap up and run down to the desk again. Which isn’t exactly glamorous, either.

Sleeping in my clothes: I have only done this once. Oh, all right, twice. Here’s why: I was desperate to get the final draft of my work-in-progress finished by the school holidays, so I’d been up really late getting through it. By the time I’d cleaned my teeth, etc. it was already past one in the morning, and really cold. I remember thinking that I would have to take all my clothes off, get into my pyjamas and probably a jumper, too (my husband works away during the week, so I do tend to pile on the nightclothes without him next to me to keep me warm) and bed socks, and all the while the clock was ticking on, and I knew that I’d have to be up in a few hours to walk the kids to the tram stop in the freezing cold and…Yes, I went to bed fully clothed, and wore the same clothes the following morning. But it was only the once (well, twice, if I’m strictly honest). So there’s my final secret – I have slept in my clothes. Now, do you think I lead a glamorous life? No, me neither. But don’t breathe a word!

 

My new book The English Agent is out now in hardback, paperback and e-book. You can catch up with me and find out more here:

Twitter: @ClareHarveyauth

Facebook: ClareHarvey13

Web: http://clareharvey.net

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The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff / Blog Tour + Guest Post

Today I am incredibly honoured to be a part of Pam Jenoff’s blog tour for her newest release “The Orphan’s Tale”. This book is a very exceptional read, story that is for sure going to get under your skin and make you think some things over and over again. Next to my review I also have a wonderful guest post about the covers from the Author herself, so please just put your feet high and enjoy!

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

29239940Publisher: Mira / HQ

Publishing Date: 23rd February 2016

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

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Historical Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival .

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

Rating: 4/5

So now. This book. “The Orphan’s Tale”. I’ve read it in one day. Even though the subject is not the easier one, it is full of difficult decisions and choices to be made, of situations the characters couldn’t decide themselves, of things they couldn’t influence, it was just flowing and it was told in a way that made me glued to the pages. I must admit – I was not so sure about this novel at the beginning – probably you must be in a right mood for such a story – it was hard for me to get into this book and the scene with the babies in the carriage was so incredibly sad that I was so short of putting it away. However, I kept reading and I am incredibly glad that I continued, as the story was beautiful, sad and engaging.

There is a group of main characters in this book and they were all really well developed, although I had some problems with Luc – for me he seemed to enter the scenes too rapidly and settled down on the pages too quickly, it somehow didn’t sit with me. I had a feeling that the author herself isn’t sure what to do with him, how to interweave his role into the story. However, all the other characters were incredibly believable, their feelings were palpable through the pages and it was really easy to get the sense of their hurt, fear, pain, uncertainty. The story was told from Noa and Astrid’s points of view mainly, but the other characters had also got a fair number of scenes – enough to root for them, worry about them. Yes, I admit, I had some problems with the character of Noa. There were moments that I couldn’t stop thinking that she’s too immature, that she voluntarily looks for danger, that she’s naive but in the end I changed my mind – she was only seventeen, for God’s sake, and she has actually proven that she’s the most non – egotistical soul in the world, that she’s willing to take a risk to save others. And – Noa developed so much in this story, she learnt. She was determined and she really wasn’t afraid to risk everything to help and save others. Her dedication, capability to sacrifice so much was truly heart – breaking and convincing. She was much more mature than her age signalized – but I think it was the case with many people during the war times, they just had to grow up faster.

I myself am not a fan of circuses but I always enjoyed reading about the wings, about the artists, and I truly enjoyed this aspect of this story, especially as it was set in such difficult times when – you could think – people had other things to think and worry about. However, the author explained and showed that people just needed this little piece of normality in their lives. She also showed how seriously the circus people took their role to entertain, how honourable they were and that their words were what counted. She has also very well captured how the lives of the artists really looked like and how much hard work it was to entertain the audience for those few minutes in the limelight. There were many troubles, struggles and hardships the performers endured – especially during the war. But no matter if in war or not, it was amazing to see how protective they were about each other, and the – yes! – families they bonded and created. It was all incredibly well researched. The knowledge shines out of the pages. We know lots about people hiding and protecting Jews during the war but Pam Jenoff has revealed many less known facts and created an emotional, heart – breaking historical novel.

“The Orphan’s Tale” is my first book by Pam Jenoff and what intrigued me about this novel was the blurb itself. Then it was told to me that the story is based on facts that the author learnt during her researches, which only made the reading more interesting. Also for certain it is not going to be the last book by this author, I can’t wait to look into her backlist titles, as this novel, this story of survival, of adapting but also of bravery and resilience was incredibly beautiful. It is a book about good and evil people, a story that tug at my heartstrings. Story about taking incredible risk and being able to risk your own life to save others. This is a poignant tale of perseverance and friendship, showing that a true family is not only who you are related to but that you can earn a true family when finding the right people, people that you can trust in the hardest, harshest of times. Recommended!

GUEST POST:

Author Confidential:  On Book Covers and Titles

“I love your book cover!”  Although thrilled when someone says this, I’m never sure of the appropriate response.  “Thank you,” seems to suggest that I can take some credit for the work of art, which is the farthest thing from the truth.  “I agree,” sounds very smug.  The reality is that book covers are a complicated thing and I wind up with some mumble-mumble answer that is way more than the person who commented on the cover even wanted. The same can be said of titles.

So here are the things I would really like to say about book covers and titles.

I have no say (sort of.)  The truth is, I have very little to do with the creation of a book cover.  At some point I am asked for some key images or concepts from the story.  (This usually happens well before I have finished writing the book, which is really, really scary.)  I give my ideas and then many months later I am shown a cover concept.  By the time I have seen the concept, it has already been reviewed my many folks at my publisher and is pretty far along.  So while I get to give feedback, it is limited and late.

Titles are a little different.  I always have a working title, but it almost always gets changed.  Read on…

I never get attached to the original.  My books always start with the working title I create.  At some point though, my publisher decides this may not be the best title.  I am often asked for suggestions for alternative titles. I come up with some, they come up with some.  (But not always: I was once breastfeeding twins when my phone rang and a big editor – not from my current publisher — called and said, “We’ve changed the title to XYZ” and just hung up.)  A title may change two or three times in the course of producing a book.

Similarly, the first cover concept I am shown is almost never the final.   They almost always change.  And as you will see below, that can be a good thing.

I trust in the power of market correction.  There are times, I must confess, when an early cover concept is, well, just not right for the book.  I used to freak out about this, imagining revulsion and shame at seeing it on the shelves.  But I have since learned that covers go through many stages before approval.  If I think it is wrong, chances are someone else will also.  It may be marketing or the sales force.  Other times covers are shown to accounts (think bookstore chains and retailers) and they say it is not right.  We always get to something better.

I have also had the market correct titles.  A bookstore executive once said, “Love the book, hate the title.”  If it is a major retailer and it is the difference between the retailer taking a big order of books or not, a publisher will consider the change.

I understand that different covers work in different markets. My books also most always have different covers in the U.S. and U.K.  Sometimes they even have different titles. (Though this is not my favorite because with people reading across borders in the digital age, readers can be confused if it is the same book or different.)  Readerships are different in various countries and what may work in one market may not work in another.

All of this uncertainty and change in covers and titles can be overwhelming.  Ultimately, I just remember that I am part of a team and that we all want the same thing: to get the best possible package to you, the reader.

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Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man by Laura Kemp / Blog Tour

Hi guys, and happy Saturday! It is lovely here today, incredibly cold but the snow is here and the sun is shining – just what the real winter should look like! Also, today I am extremely thrilled to be a part of Laura Kemp’s blog tour – her new book “Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man” was released on 1st January and the ratings are raving! Next to the review I have a link to a Spotify playlist that Laura Kemp made of songs that she’d like to accompany the book, and there are some great titles there! Laura’s posted this a while ago with a link saying: ‘I’ve just spent a delightful half hour making a playlist all about suburbia and the songs that give me that maudlin feeling of teen angst. It’s collaborative so feel free to add yours to WHATEVER HAPPENED TO VICKY HOPE’S BACK UP MAN?’ – here is the link !

Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man by Laura Kemp

 

32183040Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st January 2017

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

Number of pages: 328

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

A tender, funny and haunting coming-of-age novel which asks if the past can ever be part of your future.

Twenty-one and insecure, Vicky Hope comes up with a plan on the eve of travelling the world with her high flying friend, Kat Lloyd: if she isn’t married by the time she’s thirty, she’ll marry her geeky best mate Mikey Murphy.

Fast-forward eight-and-a-bit years, Vicky, now Vee wakes up on her thirtieth birthday in Brighton, expecting a proposal of marriage from her arty boyfriend Jez. Instead he tells her their relationship is over and she has no choice but to return to her parents’ home.

Devastated and alone in her childhood bedroom, she decides she has nothing to lose and tracks down her two old mates. With shock, she discovers Mikey, now Murphy, is a successful app designer driven by his tragic upbringing. Kat, or Kate, never made it – but she hides a devastating secret, which threatens the happiness of all three.

Rating: 3/5

Having read and enjoyed Laura Kemp’s two previous books I was incredibly happy to see that “What Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man” is to be released. I love the title! I always thought that the shorter the title the better but lately I am changing my mind, the longer titles are really great, don’t you think? The cover of this novel is also so promising and it has such a happy feeling – and this is what I have expected from the book when I started reading it.

The story follows Vicky, Kat and Mikey, three friends who couldn’t imagine a world without each other. However, fast forward eight years and things look a little different. They’ve lost touch, in fact they split up not as best friends, and now Vicky tries to make amends with her – back then – best pals.

Laura Kemp has greatly described the characters and I think the best parts of the book were when they were forced by the author to made choices, because it makes you, as the reader, think what you’d do in such situation, how you’d behave. All of the three characters told us their own stories, explained what has happened and how their lives went. The most – maybe not hooking but touching – was Kat’s story, in my opinion, and while sometimes it felt too far fetched for me, it was also great to see how she’s been changing and how strong she became at the end of the story. Vicky working in a deli has lightened the story, I enjoyed the moments incredibly, especially as her new boss was lovely, full of humour and he believed in Vicky so much – liked the positivity there.

So, so far so good, right. For me, however, the book didn’t work as well as Ms Kemp’s previous novels. It took me a lot of time to get into the story and to be honest, till the end I wasn’t as engaged in it as I’d like. I had problems to warm to the characters, I had problems with the plot, I had problems with the way the story was organized. For me this novel was full of negativity and poor feelings. Mostly I had a feeling we are going in circles and the flashback chapters made me roll my eyes. The characters felt somehow immature and their problems so forced and so over – exaggerated, it was full of lies and secrets. Maybe my biggest problem with Vicky was the fact that she seemed not to know what to do with her life at all? After her relationship crashed she really didn’t know what she wants, what it is she wants to do with her life. I couldn’t understand the negative feelings between the friends, who they were coming from, and especially Mikey – he was behaving like a child who’s just lost his favourite toy, so moody and full of unnecessary sarcasm. The plot felt under – developed to be honest and it was so often hinted that something wrong happened in the past between the friends that made them go separate ways that I eventually lost hope and interest to see what it was. And I don’t know why, guys, but it took me a lot of time to warm to the characters, and while at the end I’ve started to accept Vicky, no, sorry – Vee *eye roll*, I think it was Kat’s fiancé that I liked most because I’ve never warmed to the others.

But I don’t want to blame the book for my feelings, perhaps it is the case of “it’s not you, it’s me”, and seeing the high ratings and raving reviews it must be it, so don’t let me discourage you to read this novel – just make yourself comfortable and enjoy “What Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back – Up Man” – it was a cute, cosy story about friendship and trust, about making mistakes, forgiving, leaving past behind and looking towards a new and promising future – or making the future promising for yourself, just – sadly – not so for me. However, I am already looking towards Laura Kemp’s new novel as I love her sharp dialogues and her sober way of seeing the world. If you are looking for a tender story, showing how friendship can evolve and change but that when it is a real friendship, it can stay so for your whole life then look no further and buy “What Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man”.

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