Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Review: The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson

Oh. Oh My. Aargh! Bleurgh! Argh! AARGH!!! Or at least that’s what I would imagine Sally to say in this circumstance… and probably Lucy herself for that matter.

See, thing is, I have a new girl-crush on Lucy Robinson. I’d not come across her fabulousness before a review copy from the lovely people at Penguin plopped onto my doormat – (Penguin- you have a lot to answer for- including a new crush, several sleepless nights and prune-making baths as I raced through this book).

The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me has caused much snuffling, spluttering, giggling, crying and mutterings of “Ha! Wazzok!” to escape my lips over the last few days. Lucy Robinson has a fantastic, irreverent style of writing that will instantly grab your heart and not let go.

Sally Howlett is the perfect leading lady – made more so due to her seeming lack of ability to be this in her own life. You can’t but help adore her. And Julian – well all I can say is that it’s been a long time since I’ve properly fallen in love with a literary hero, but this did it for me. They had better not get him wrong when casting for the inevitable film version, that’s all I’m sayin’ chicken! Ah, Barry from Barry Island… well, I can’t describe him- you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

Basically- I could wax lyrical about this book for pages and pages and completely jam up your screens- anyone that can write such a rich, juicy story, tightly packed with emotion but still manage maintain the most lovably ridiculous voice throughout earns my undying devotion.  And yours too – I promise. 

This one is going firmly on my favourites shelf- to be read again and again. Due out 19th June!

The Blurb:

The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson, author of A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger, is a wonderfully witty and gorgeously romantic story of facing your fears and falling in love.
Sally is an incredible singer but she sings only in her wardrobe where nobody can hear her. She'd rather join a nudist colony than sing in public.
That is until she ventures to New York where a wild and heady summer of love and loss changes her forever. No longer able to hide in the shadows, Sally must return home to London to fulfill a promise she cannot break - to share her voice.
But just as she's about to embark on her new life, a beautiful man turns up on Sally's doorstep bearing a sheepish smile and a mysterious hand-written message.
How did he find her? Why is he here? Does he hold the truth to what happened back in New York? And, with him back on the scene, will she still have the courage to step into the spotlight?
Laugh out loud and follow your heart with Lucy Robinson's The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Your Place Or Mine - Guest Post with Sophie King

‘What would you like to drink?’

It’s a question which I dread answering at dinner parties. As everyone knows, people who don’t drink alcohol are a boring lot who can’t fall around during the meal and act all silly. This completely spoils the enjoyment for everyone else because it means someone will remember exactly what happened the next day.

Not true. At least the first bit isn’t. I don’t drink alcohol but it’s not because I’m boring. It’s because I had an operation four years ago and found that the anaesthetic changed my taste buds for some reason that even my consultant couldn’t fathom. Tea now tastes metallic (even though I used to be the kind of person  who couldn’t get out of bed without a mug in her hand). Bars of chocolate are out too. And so is any kind of alcohol.

Believe me, I’ve tried. My favourite tipple used to be Bombay Sapphire but now I can’t look at the bottle. Wine (even the expensive sort) resembles turps. And as for champagne (which used to be a special treat), don’t let’s go there.

My boozy kids think it’s very funny. ‘Mum’s a reformed alcoholic,’ they tell anyone who’ll listen. ‘She isn’t allowed.’

To make it worse, my newish husband doesn’t drink either. At least he hasn’t done so since a very boozy lads’ holiday when he had too much and swore never to swig another drop of yeast again. Very strong-minded is my man.

So together, you can see why we can dampen the spirits of a dinner party at one fell stroke. ‘I’m sure we can find you something else,’ muttered a recent hostess as she scoured through the cupboards. She did. The kids’ lemon squash.

That’s another thing. It’s amazing in today’s day and age of not drinking and driving, there are an incredible number of fridges without an alternative to alcohol. Am I getting pious here? I hope not. Perhaps it’s because I’ve sat through too many dinner parties when everyone else is screaming hysterically at something that really isn’t very funny.

Still, at least it enables me to take notes.

One of my characters in YOUR PLACE OR MINE has too much to drink – with startling consequences. But make sure you read it when you’re stone cold sober or you might just miss the twist. As for me, I’m off to have one more go at the Bombay Sapphire just in case (by some miracle) my taste buds have come back.

I rather miss them.



Friday, 30 May 2014

Review: The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

I’ve been so excited to read Talli’s new novel – her first new work with her new publisher Lake
Union (otherwise known as the giants- Amazon).

Clare Donoghue is childless, and thoroughly intends to stay that way, thank you very much. Unfortunately, her stance on remaining child-free is causing her some discomfort- not due to any longings or body-clock tick-tockings, but because she’s finding it a bit lonely out there with her best friend pregnant, her peer group playing happy families and even her newly fledged relationship crumbling as her beau begins to tick-tock instead of her! And so the No-Kids Club is born. A safe haven for anyone without a body clock to worry about.

I can’t say I found this a particularly comfortable read to begin with- this is talking about my peer group and in fact, about a reality that is also creeping up on me as a child-free thirty-something (and yes, that’s the way I’m going to enjoy staying!!!). But I certainly recognise some of those awkward social symptoms that plague Clare.

But, very soon, the characters in this fantastic story swept me into their world. It became all about them and all about their stories.

In typical Talli style, this has humor and sass by the bucket load but it also has an underlying serious study of how the changes in society are affecting women and how they are viewed due to the personal lifestyle choices they make.

The No-Kids Club is Talli- but Talli all grown up- and I’ve got to say, I really like it. 

The Blurb:

At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.

Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it’s not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it’s time for people who don’t have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together—Anna, who’s seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive—Clare’s hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.

Will the No-Kids Club be Clare’s route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle?

Pre-order Now! Released on 3rd June

Amazon Uk          

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Sheryl Browne brings us something a little bit different. This time it’s a thriller!

Let me hand over the blog today for some exciting news about Sheryl Browne's new release - romance writer turned thriller author!...

Sheryl Browne’s latest novel ‘The Edge of Sanity’, released 30 April, tells the story of a psychological
battle between everyman Daniel Conner, who is forced into becoming a hero, after being tortured and forcibly drugged, and drug addict Charlie Roberts, who has taken Daniel’s wife and daughter hostage.
Asked whether she’s changed genres, Sheryl says, “Not really. I’m more exploring – as ever, the fragility of love, life and relationships. If a character calls to me, I simply have to write his story. My books will always tend to turn around the family unit, looking at family dynamics and the tenuous bonds that hold people together. My more recent books would be better described as poignant romantic fiction, usually having a strong, but flawed, male lead. I think The Edge of Sanity, though most definitely more edgy, does fall into that category. I am really excited that people will get a chance to read it because you do pour your heart and soul into your writing - women in particular have so much to juggle in their daily lives. Books are truly like your babies, going out into the world to be judged, so while it is ‘thrilling’ it is a bit nerve-wracking as well. I can only hope people enjoy! It has had some excellent feedback so far.
The Edge of Sanity
How far would YOU go to protect your family?
A decent, ordinary man, a man who has already suffered the loss of one child, Daniel Conner is forced by extraordinary circumstances into being a hero. Tortured, forcibly drugged—heroin still pulsating nauseatingly through his veins—his wife and daughter degraded, Daniel knows their kidnapper is beyond reasoning with.
But does being pushed one step beyond endurance justify doing the unthinkable?
High on drugs, indebted to his supplier, and desperate, Charlie Roberts takes Daniel's wife and daughter hostage. Daniel does everything within his power to rescue the situation bloodlessly. Eventually though, Daniel realises that with or without violent mood swings induced by amphetamines and cocaine, Charlie Roberts is a psychopath. He wants more than Daniel's money.
He wants him.
The Edge of Sanity: a harrowing story of hope amid loss and betrayal.

Daniel slowed the car in the lane, glimpsing the bedroom light through the gap in the trees. No surprise
there. Lights on the blink? Jo being fazed by the fuse box? About as likely as snow in June. She’d been forced to make that call. Daniel knew it with absolute certainty. He also knew she’d been trying to warn him. There was someone, maybe more than one, there with her.
So what the hell did he do now? Park the car and creep up to the house in the hope of gaining entry without alerting them? No. Whoever it was, they were obviously expecting him. And they were holding Jo. His blundering in not knowing how many they were, or where they …
Daniel stopped in his deliberations, swallowing back a hard lump in his throat as it occurred to him to wonder … Why was the only visible light, the one in the bedroom? Christ! Fear clutching at Daniel’s heart, he rammed his foot down, swung the car through the gates and skidded to a halt, full beams bouncing off the lifeless lounge window, and right outside the open front door.
BUY LINKS: Amazon  Amazon.UK
Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, a little Ohhhh la la! and thrills! Sheryl Browne brings you poignant, witty modern romance. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for Innovation in Romantic Fiction, Sheryl now has six books published with Safkhet Publishing.

FIND Sheryl Browne’s books via the links below:

Author LINKS:

Sheryl is a Loveahappyending Lifestyle Author and Feature Editor.  Twitter: @sherylbrowne

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Guest Post with Talli Roland

Morning! It's publication day for the lovely Talli Roland, with the Pollyanna Plan being re-released by her new publisher, Amazon, and I'm lucky enough to have the lovely lady herself here, talking positive thinking... over to Talli...

The Power of Positive Thinking . . . or Not? 

Training as an athlete for ten years, it was drilled into me that positive thinking could influence results. By visualizing yourself succeeding, my coaches told me, you could make it happen.

It was this exposure to positive thinking early on in my life that led me to write The Pollyanna Plan. In the novel, Emma Beckett is most certainly not a ‘glass is half full’ person – quite the opposite. To protect herself from any potential pain, she always predicts the worst outcome. I wanted to explore how – or if – positive thinking could change her life.

When I started writing, I wasn’t sure how I wanted my main character to end up. Did I want her to be blindly optimistic and deluded, like the athletes I encountered who thought they’d win the race, no matter what? In my opinion, that’s really no better than being constantly negative. I think it’s possible to have a positive outlook, while still being in touch with reality. By the end of the novel, Emma has found that balance . . . along with a new life.

Writing The Pollyanna Plan forced me to examine my own experience of positive thinking. Looking back, I’ve no clue if the constant visualization and positive self-talk helped me run faster, start quicker, and have better technique. But perhaps it’s not so much the practice of it all, but the belief in the power of positivity that makes a difference. If we think it works, chances are it will. And I’m all for a little optimism if it makes the world a happier place!

Do you believe in the power of positive thinking? Has it made a difference in your life?

About The Pollyanna Plan

Is finding true love as easy as an attitude change?

Thirty-something Emma Beckett has always looked down on 'the glass is half full' optimists, believing
it's better to be realistic than delusional. But when she loses her high-powered job and fiancé in the same week, even Emma has difficulty keeping calm and carrying on.

With her world spinning out of control, and bolstered by a challenge from her best friend, Emma makes a radical decision. From here on in, she'll behave like Pollyanna: attempting to always see the upside, no matter how dire the situation.

Can adopting a positive attitude give Emma the courage to build a new life, or is finding the good in everything a very bad idea?

Thanks for visiting, Talli, and good luck on your publication day!
Available on Amazon US and Amazon UK