Monthly Archives: February 2014

Guest post: Julie Shackman finds the write time and shares her journey to publishing

Today I have the pleasure to welcome Julie Shackman to This Chick Reads. Julie recently published her debut novel ‘Rock My World’ and today is here to talk about her book and her journey to publishing. Thanks so much for visiting our blog Julie!

I’m one of those people who stands and stares at the glossy bookshelves in supermarkets and  bookshops, with a wistful smile on my face. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. When I was around nine, I remember going into  shops like Woolworths, gripping my pocket money for dear life and buying those cheap, bright orange exercise jotters. I would then rush home and fill them with my creative ramblings. Books too, form a young age, were an object of fascination for me, so that probably explains why I ended up training as a journalist. I also studied Communication & Media, but the longing to write for the romance genre was always there.

A number of years ago, I had two children’s’ picture books published but again, the longing to write romance was nagging away at me. Cue two sons, family matters, moving house and various other aspects of life and I finally decided to get on with it, do it and see what happened.

I wrote “Rock My World” whenever I got the opportunity to put pen to paper. When I finished the first draft, I felt that was an achievement in itself and spent time polishing it up. Then I lit the torch paper and stood well back – in other words, started submitting it to literary agents and publishers. Well, as any writer will tell you, this process is about as endearing as the common cold.

For months, rejections came tumbling in and although I received positive comments about my writing, there was no offer of representation from literary agents or publishers offering a contract. Feeling at times like I was swimming against the tide (well, several tides actually) I did contemplate giving up. But each time I was on the verge of saying “No more”, I’d read about other writers who kept writing, kept reading and kept going – and who ended up getting published.

Thank Goodness I heeded their advice.

In November, after having read an article about London digital publishers Not So Noble Books (NSNB), I heaved another sigh and e-mailed them my first three chapters, synopsis and query letter. Several days later, I received a reply from them, saying they enjoyed my first three chapters and  could I send them my full MS? As I had been in this situation before, I was pleased but refused to get my hopes up and immediately fired off my completed novel.

About two weeks before Christmas, I received an e-mail from NSNB again – this time, saying they were offering me a publishing contract. Imagine a hyperventilating Mother of two, obsessively reading and re-reading that e-mail – yes, that was me.

The saying “Published authors are unpublished authors who never gave up” has stuck with me and helped me through those times when I was all for destroying my notebooks and heaving the PC through the nearest window. And that was on a good day.

Good Luck, keep writing and keep reading!

Julie Shackman

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Author Bio

I trained as a journalist but writing romance has always been a dream of mine.

When I’ve not got my head in a book or drafting one, I write verses and captions for greetings card companies.

Writing at home seems to be incredibly difficult for me – I usually require coffee, music and noise. “Rock My World”  is my first contemporary romance novel .

I have just finished writing my second novel and am polishing that at the moment whilst beginning to do some research for my third. These are also contemporary romances with a good dose of humour (hopefully!)

I’m married, have two sons and live in Scotland.

Find Julie Shackman on facebook and twitter

Buy ‘Rock My World’ on  amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

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Book review: Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat + International Giveaway

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When I opened this blog, I promised myself I would be reviewing nothing but chick lit on it, but this time I have to make an exception! Because though this is a historical fiction, it’s definitely a book that’s very close to my heart. I do hope each one of you will check it out and fall in love with it same way I did. Now read on my review and make sure you enter the fantastic giveaway in the rafflecopter form bellow!

*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

WOW! Now this is what I call a powerful book! And not only that, it’s probably one of the best historical books I’ve ever read (right next to Pope Joan and Mistress of Rome).

This book is BEAUTIFUL! It’s the sequel to Spirit of Lost Angels and gosh, I loved that book so much( read my review here). To be completely frank, though my expectations were high (since I was already familiar with Liza’s writing style) I totally didn’t expect THIS! Now of course I mean THIS the best possible way, seriously, this book exceeded all my expectations and I don’t think I’ll be able to find another historical book that will top it..at least not any time soon.

Now those of you who have read ‘Spirit of Lost Angels’ know that Liza is a wonderful story teller and is so thorough in her research. She’s also very (VERY) good in creating kick ass heroines who are devoted to their country (France), who are willing to make a sacrifice for their loved ones and have BIG hearts.

While ‘Spirit of Lost Angels’ is placed in France during the French Revolution, in‘Wolfsangel’ Liza takes us to France during World War II. In the little Lucie-sur-Vionne we get to witness not only the cruelty of the German Officers but also see the lives of the villagers, their sacrifices and struggle. We’re transported in one of the toughest times the human history has seen, being lead by Celeste and the events in her life. Once again, Liza created a lovable character, a heroine we can all look upto, brave yet human, with one of the biggest challenges ahead of her. Two paths, one leading to the German officer she develops strong feelings for, the other towards the call to fight for her country.

Of course, once again we see the angel talisman she inherited from her mother’s side, and which is the source of her strength and the symbol of all the sacrifices the women in her family made.

I can only applaud to Liza for writing such powerful stories. I think even those who don’t enjoy historical fiction will fall in love with this series. The characters are well developed and the descriptions are so vivid, you’ll be immediately transported to France in those turbulent times. Amazing and deep, this is definitely a must read for everyone looking for a great book. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

My rating: 5/5

GIVEAWAY: Lovely Liza has kindly offered 1 signed paperback and 2 e-copies of ‘Wolfsangel’ to giveaway to you lovely blog readers. Best part – it’s open internationally! Giveaway closes on Feb 20th when winners will be selected and notified via e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize, or new winners will be selected. Now enter the rafflecopter form and best of luck guys!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Guestbook by Holly Martin – Blog Tour

Today we have a very special guest post by lovely Holly Martin, who’s kicking off her Tour for ‘The Guestbook’. Many thanks to the fab girls from GoslingGirlsBookTours for the chance to take part. Now here’s the blurb and read on Holly’s material. Oh, and make sure you visit the other blogs that are taking part. Cheerio!

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Blurb

Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook.

As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider – whatever her colourful array of guests require.  A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.

This includes Annie herself – especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.

Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling!

Forget sending postcards saying ‘wish you were here’ – one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever.

Link to buy:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00HVD8VX2?ie=UTF8&at=aw-iphone-pc-uk-21&force-full-site=1&ref_=aw_bottom_links

There is a fantastic review today on http://victorialovesbooks.wordpress.com/

Read on for an exclusive extract of The Guestbook, released on Valentine’s Day!

Dear Guests,

Welcome to Willow Cottage, I hope you enjoy your stay.  I’m only next door, so if there is anything at all that you need please don’t hesitate to let me know.

You may wish to use this guestbook to do a diary entry for every day you are here, tell us where you’ve been and what you’ve done. You may wish to leave helpful hints for other guests or you may just want to leave a short comment at the end of your stay telling me what you think of Willow Cottage.

I will come by Tuesdays to drop off fresh towels so if there’s anything else you need you can always write it in the guestbook and I will check on it then.

Annie Butterworth.

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1st – 8th March

Rosie and Jake Hamilton.

Saturday:

Thanks so much for the flowers and champagne, what a lovely surprise. The cottage is beautiful and Chalk Hill village is so cute. I’m so excited to be here. We’re on our honeymoon, one long delicious week with my beautiful hubby.  Yesterday I married my best friend.  I really am the luckiest girl alive.

Jake says we can go for long walks along the beach and explore the beauty of the Norfolk Broads.  Personally I don’t think we’ll be leaving the house much.  We’ve been here six hours already and we’ve only really seen the bedroom!  We’re getting a takeaway tonight, another excuse to stay in bed.

Can I just say for the record now, so it is here in black and white, I love my husband soooooo much.  He won’t read this so I’m safe.

Mrs Rosie Hamilton.  (Mrs!! I don’t think I’ll ever tire of that)

Sunday:

I’m in love, did I mention that.  I can’t stop staring at the ring.  It just hasn’t sunk in yet.  I’m married!! And to the most marvellous man as well.  Jake caught me watching him sleep last night, bet he thinks he’s married a right weirdo.  Still there’s no escape for him now.

We actually made it to the beach today.  The dunes are beautiful.  We had a picnic and even had a dip in the sea.

Mrs Rosie Hamilton

WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I WON’T READ THIS?  WHAT YOU FAIL TO REALISE IS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU TOO, EVEN THOUGH YOU SNORE.

JAKE HAMILTON. (HUSBAND TO CHIEF SNORER)

I do not snore.

YOU SO DO.

Monday:

Annie Butterworth, what a shock! With a name like Mrs Annie Butterworth I was honestly expecting some grey haired granny with half-moon glasses who would bring round homemade lemon drizzle cake. I didn’t expect someone so young and pretty. Jake thought you were a ghost at first, seeing you run through the garden with your long white dress and blonde hair flying theatrically behind you.  It was quite the entrance.

It was great talking to you today.  Where is Mr Butterworth?  You both must come round for dinner one night.

Love Rosie

AS ROSIE IS USING THIS AS HER OWN PERSONAL MESSAGE BOARD IT’S DOWN TO ME TO SAY THAT TODAY WE HIRED A BOAT.  SPEED BOAT WOULD BE TOO MUCH OF A GLAMOROUS TITLE FOR IT.  IT WAS A ROW BOAT WITH AN ENGINE STUCK TO THE BACK.  THOUGH EVEN CALLING IT AN ENGINE WOULD BE A STRETCH.  IT MADE A LOT OF NOISE AND PROPELLED US MARGINALLY FASTER THAN A SNAIL.  I HAVEN’T LAUGHED SO MUCH IN AGES.

WE ENDED UP ON SOME BIG LAKE AND FED THE SWANS OUR LEFT OVER PICNIC.  THE BOAT THEN FAILED TO START AND WE WERE QUITE LITERALLY UP S**T CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE.

THANKFULLY SOME LOVELY GERMANS CAME TO OUR RESCUE AND TOWED US BACK TO WHERE WE LEFT THE CAR.  THEY DIDN’T SPEAK A WORD OF ENGLISH, OR AT LEAST WERE NOT WILLING TO. THOUGH I DIDN’T NEED TO BE FLUENT IN GERMAN TO KNOW THEY WERE TAKING THE PISS OUT OF US ALL THE WAY BACK.

JAKE

Tuesday:

Hi Rosie, it was lovely to meet you too.  I’m more than happy to come round with homemade lemon drizzle cake if that’s what you were expecting.  I don’t have half-moon glasses but I can wear my reading glasses if that will work.  As for the ghost, I was always cast as the angel in the school plays, being a ghost would have been much more exciting.

Mr Butterworth – Ha, Nick would have hated been called that – died two years ago so he won’t be joining us for dinner. If the weather stays fine how about you two join me for a barbeque tomorrow night?

Let me know if you want some eggs, Suzie and Doris, the chickens, are laying them faster than I can collect them.

Annie.

Annie, I’m so sorry, I really need to engage my brain before I speak.  I’m such a nosy cow. I just assumed that as you were Mrs Butterworth that he was still around.  I’m sorry.

Rosie

Rosie, I just saw Jake, he said you wanted some eggs so I’m just popping them in the fridge.  Please don’t worry.  I’m not in the least bit upset or offended by you asking where Nick is.  It’s been two years and though I miss him terribly, I really don’t mind talking about him.

ANNIE, A BARBEQUE WILL BE LOVELY.  WE ARE TAKING A BOAT OUT TO BLAKENEY POINT TO SEE THE SEALS TOMORROW AND THEN GOING FOR A DRIVE DOWN THE COAST.  I IMAGINE WE’LL BE BACK AROUND SEVEN.  I’LL BRING BURGERS AND CHICKEN, THAT’S IF SUZIE AND DORIS WON’T MIND.

JAKE

Wednesday:

We went out to see the seals today.  It was amazing; we got so close to them.  Jake took some fantastic pictures, but he was always good with a camera. Many of them were swimming around the boat as curious about us as we were about them.  Off to a barbeque round Annie’s now, hopefully I won’t put my foot in my mouth again.

Rosie

WATCHING ROSIE GET SO EXCITED ABOUT THE SEALS TODAY, I THINK I FELL IN LOVE WITH HER A LITTLE BIT MORE.

Thursday:

My head hurts.

Annie is quite possibly one of the loveliest people I have ever met in my entire life.  I didn’t stop laughing all night.  She looks so sweet and innocent in her pretty flowery dress and huge Jesus sandals, looks like she goes to church every Sunday and probably sings in the choir.  So it comes as a bit of a shock when the stories she comes out with are so funny and sometimes even filthy.

We must have polished off at least two bottles of wine and too many bottles of cider to count between us.  That cider was potent, some obscure local variety I think.  By the end of the night Jake was a mess and I was even messier.  Annie, however, looked as fresh as a daisy.

Did I put my foot in it?  Yes probably about a hundred times.  I felt like John Cleese in Fawlty Towers when the Germans came; ‘Whatever you do, don’t mention the war.’ I just couldn’t stop mentioning her husband, death or funerals.  Luckily Annie saw the funny side.

I WAS NOT A MESS, AT LEAST I DIDN’T THROW UP IN MY SHOE THIS MORNING.  GREAT NIGHT ANNIE, THANKS FOR THE AMAZING CIDER, WE NEED TO GET HOLD OF A FEW BOTTLES BEFORE WE LEAVE.

JAKE

Just popped in to change the light bulb in the bathroom.  I’m definitely getting a change of wardrobe after that lacklustre description ;-).  I don’t go to church apart from weddings, christenings and funerals.  Oh no, I mentioned the funeral word!!!  I can assure you I wasn’t feeling as fresh as a daisy this morning, my tongue felt drier than Ghandi’s flip-flop.  I’ll get you some of the cider to take back with you.

Friday:

After recovering from our excessive hangover yesterday we spent the day in the garden reading.  Jake wears his big glasses when he reads, he thinks it makes him look clever, but he looks more like a nerd.  A loveable nerd though.  He was reading some big tome on codes used in WW2.  Geek!  Another day on the beach today.  Wells-next-the-Sea really is the loveliest place in the world, the beaches are spectacular.

GEEK? NERD?  HOW DARE YOU.  BESIDES I DON’T THINK I LOOK CLEVER I KNOW I AM CLEVER.  NEVER MIND THE FACT THAT I FELL ASLEEP FOUR TIMES READING THE CODE BOOK. IT WAS THE HANGOVER THAT WAS HAVING AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON ME.  ANYWAY, WHAT WERE YOU READING, THE THIRD BOOK IN THE FIFTY SHADES OF GREY TRILOGY WASN’T IT?  PERVERT.

I’ll have you know the Fifty Shades Trilogy has a very good storyline.  And yes you are a complete geek and a nerd but I still love you.

Saturday:

Annie we have had the best time.  We are going to come again soon.  We don’t live that far away so we’re going to drive down when you have some free weekends.

YES, I CAME HERE FOR A QUIET WEEK AFTER ALL THE STRESS OF THE WEDDING, BUT WE’RE DEFINITELY GOING TO BE COMING BACK ON A REGULAR BASIS.  WILLOW COTTAGE IS BEAUTIFUL. THANKS SO MUCH FOR MAKING US SO WELCOME.

**********

Tomorrow on http://fabulousbookfiend.blogspot.co.uk/  they’ll be another exclusive extract and join me on http://shelovestoread.weebly.com/ for another review.

Book news: Rock My World by Julie Shackman

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Blurb

Ruby Cameron is an ambitious reporter for a local paper where she is fed scraps of news, and lives with a man whose “idea of living dangerously is to leave the heating on when we pop out to the shops”. But after catching her squeaky clean boyfriend in flagrante delicto she ups sticks and moves into her own small home, only to discover the ghostly presence of a cheeky rock star who becomes her confidant as the dynamics of her small town, and her feelings about her dashing new boss, begin to throw up more questions than she can answer. Will Ruby discover who she really is, and perhaps more importantly, who she wants to be. 

‘Rock My World’ has been released today and is available to download from amazon

Book News:The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

 

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Blurb

‘Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.’

Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating.

Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.

As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the life she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.

Hannah Beckerman gives an unforgettable exploration of love and loss in her first novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook.

The ‘Dead Wife’s Handbook’ will be released on Thursday 13th February. (in just two days!)

And here is the special video for this book Hannah made, we love it!

Hannah’s website: www.hannahbeckerman.com

 

Book review: Dancing with Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

I’m a HUGE fan of Juliette Sobanet, but I have to admit I was a bit suspicious about this book. Now it’s not that I doubt Juliette’s writing skills, just I really had no idea what a mixture of romance, historical fiction, mystery, time travel (OH LA LA) would turn out to be like. Would I enjoy it? Will it keep me turning the pages?

Yes!

and YES!

All these elements fantastically interwoven plus Juliette’s magnificent writing skills make this book a real page turner. Juliette has already proven to me she’s a great chick lit author, but this time I saw a totally new side of her. I always appreciate when authors experiment with genres (though that can be bit tricky sometimes) and try to broaden their horizons. I appreciate their courage to step off the comfort zone and gain a new audience. It is a rather risky move yet very very brave.

Now if you’ve read Juliette’s earlier works you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t…WHY HAVEN’T YOU ALREADY? They are brilliant chick lits, witty and funny and you should all read them.

Now back to this review, sorry. The story follows Claudia Davis, 35 years old, single…and pregnant. After she faints in a dancing studio, she wakes up in Paris in 1959. She’s known as Ruby Kerrigan and is a glamorous star of a cabaret. And she’s got a body to die for! Cool e?
NOT! She soon finds out she’s the prime suspect in a recent murder of another dancer, whose role Ruby got. Naturally everyone suspects she has something to do with it, but Ruby has only 5 days to prove she’s not a murderer and get back to her old life in 21st century.

This is indeed a real page turner, full of twists and turns I totally couldn’t see coming. It kept me guessing till the very last page, and I loved the fast pacing. Claudia is a great character and I fell in love with her immediately, constantly rooting for her and wondering what’s gonna happen to her next.

I was afraid I won’t enjoy the time travel element, but you know what? I LOVED IT! This is a magical romance book, with mystery bits that will keep you glued to its pages till the very end. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Juliette.

My rating: 4/5

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Book review: The Biggest Lie by Lisbeth Foye – Blog Tour + Giveaway

ImageBlurb

The Hague, Holland 1976 
After a procession of hapless relationships, 23 year-old Lana Milton finds herself recklessly falling for a man who should be out of bounds, but despite fighting with her emotions the affair begins, an affair which can only cause pain and heartache; not only to Lana but – more importantly – to the innocent party. 

Coming face to face with the one person she is hurting the most, Lana has to make a decision which breaks her heart. She knows that she is the only one to make the choice, something she can only do by lying, a lie which betrays the truth. Lana’s distortion of the truth closes the door on the only real love she has known. 

In life’s ups and downs even her best friend Tess, is not what she seems. Tess turns on her, leaving her and their friendship in tatters.

From Holland, Lana moves on to a new start in London where she meets rich, tormented Howard Marshall. Howard is frustratingly aware that his love for Lana is not reciprocated. Slowly, over-time his attempts to control her with his furtive mind-games and calculated derisory tactics only serve to curtail the chance of her ever loving him back in return.

After nearly 20 years of manipulation, Howard’s desperate struggle to break the woman he loves finally backfires when Lana, now middle-aged and fuelled with the still-burning embers of her long-ago love, confronts Howard. She stands up to his bullying and devious malicious ways, her anger fills her with a renewed strength in which she finds the courage to leave him to start her life yet again.

Now in her late fifties and living in a calm, non-disruptive world close to her family, Lana is content and yearns for nothing more in life. 

But fate has other ideas as it smashes through the door to bring her life around, full circle.

The Biggest Lie – a tale of love, friendship, hope and strength is set in the era of glitter-ball discos which grows to maturity in the 21st century. Proof, that it’s never too late for anything…

The BIGGEST LIE is Available from Amazon UK, Amazon US and from Smashwords.

LUCA is a free download available from SMASHWORDS

Our thoughts

The plot centers around Lana, a young English woman living in Hague, Holland. The story follows her life from the time when she is a young woman with free spirit to the time when she is old an lady. Her lifetime is fulfilled with ups and downs, good and bad relationships, gaining and losing friendships.

I didn’t like Lana at the beginning. I couldn’t connect with her as a character. One thing that bothered me is Lana being “the other woman”. She loves Joe, he is the love of his life, but he is married. He was married even before their relationship started and she knew it. Spending so many years willingly being “the other woman”, is something that I cannot connect to. Spending an hour weekly somewhere hiding from everyone else, is not my idea of healthy relationship. But that’s just me and my issues. As the story continues, Lana grows up as a character. She shows that she has straight to be an independent woman with free spirit and no one has that right to take that away from her.

I also cannot connect with Joe. He seems like a nice guy, but he is indecisive He loves Lana, but he doesn’t leave his wife. They don’t have any children, so what’s his excuse? He always looks at his watch, the time is limited, he has to go back home to his wife.

The one character that I love most is Bini, young woman from Indonesia and great friend of Lana. She is that unique ad that gives the story a sense of freshness.  I admire her courage, straight and optimism. She always sees the best in people.  I love her spirit full of joy. Her sad life story really, really  touched my heart. I didn’t want her to end like that.

I loved the narration of the story. Well written, with few characters, it gives you a feeling that you know personally each one of them. Each character has his/her own issues.

It is not just Lana’s life that is described in the story. You can read about The Live Aid concert, the time from typing machines and gramophones to laptops, tablets and iPods. It’s a vivid description of an era of changing of technology.

Overall, The Biggest Lie is well written story of love, friendships and making choices. Everyone of us makes choices every day. Good or bad, the choices we make define us as people and persons. We choose to stay in or leave a bad relationship, we choose to gain respect or let some people disrespect us. It’s up to us.

My rating: 3.5/5

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About the Author

I’m the author of two fictional novels; The Biggest Lie and Luca.

I was born in York, England in the early 1950s and lived there until the 70s when I took off to go travelling around Europe. I spent the decade living and working in Paris – France, Spain and many years in Holland before returning to England in 1983 where I settled in London before moving to Cambridgeshire where I now live; close to my niece and her family. I believe that there’s still another location or two I have yet to move on to…

I’m a nomadic-hippy at heart; my experiences have been a big influence contributing to the colourful characters and incidents in my books.

JC, my OH lives in the States, we’re still working out how we will be together but as I’m a great believer in fate, I don’t worry. After all that we’ve been through, I know that the time will come. It’s not a problem for us being so far apart, we’re both secure in our love and I feel him with me constantly. Picking up the phone to each other is so easy these days with Skype – it’s as simple as calling your friend in the next town. The miles between us hold no intrusion into our relationship.

I like other people cooking for me, JC’s a much better cook than me and I love being in the kitchen with him, I wash up and make a salad as he cooks the dinner.

I get emotional at the most obscure things; when I see horses frollicking around a field, I well up with emotion…I look at pictures of our beautiful planet and I feel a strange kind of homesickness…I don’t like vacuuming though, the noise and the way that tube thing bangs against your leg, how it jams itself behind doors; I really cannot stand the things.

Gardening’s another thing I despise, despite my love of nature – I feel that all that weeding is a waste of time.

I look forward to the day when I pack up, move to be with JC and I can say, ‘Well, that’s no more mowing for me…’

Author Links

 Lisbeth Foye Blog: http://lisbeth-foye.com/

Twitter: @LisbethFoye

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LisbethFoyeAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/23729412-lisbeth-foye

Email: Lisbeth.foye@gmail.com

GIVEAWAY (UK ONLY)

Many thanks to Sharon and Lisbeth for the chance to take part in this Tour. And now for the giveaway part, it’s UK only (sorry INT peeps) and Lisbeth is giving away

2 x notebooks

4 x message plaques/note pegs

4 x message doves

1 x bird whistle

1 x stone engraved with bird paperweight

Entering is through rafflecopter, easy peasy. Good luck guys and make sure you visit the other tour hosts and check their posts too.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book review: The January Wish by Juliet Madison

Image*Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I’ve always been the one to say a 3* rating is not the end of the world and yet, here I am sad and almost brokenhearted for giving this book such a rating (It’s actually 3.5/5 to be more precise). I am a HUGE fan of Juliet Madison and have read all her works (except for the second one in this series ‘February or Forever’ which I will be reading soon) and I did have high expectations, naturally. Recently I read Fast Forward and undoubtedly that’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. So, after finishing it, I was dying to read the novels from the Tarrin’s Bay series. Now I know shouldn’t be comparing ‘Fast Forward’ with ‘The January Wish’ because while ‘Fast Forward’ is the typical chick lit with time travel elements, ‘The January Wish’ falls into the contemporary romance category with more drama elements. The topic is more serious and it’s deeper and more emotional book, and yet somehow I had the feeling I’m missing that WOW factor that I saw in ‘Fast Forward’.

Let me just go briefly over the plot. The story is quite an emotional one and deals with life and serious issues. Sylvia Greene, the MC in this book is a very down to earth person. But her normal and controlled life is about to change when she meets Grace, the daughter she had when she was only 16. Now as I said, this is a rather emotional book and there were parts where I seriously had to control myself not to burst in tears. Sylvia had to give up her baby because she was so young (only 16) and everyone was telling her a baby would only ruin her life. 18 years later she might be a successful doctor yet she realizes how much she misses that part of her she had to give away.

This was indeed a touchy story, yet I had some issues with it, the biggest being the MC. Sylvia is 34 years old and so am I, so it was really kind of awesome to read a book about someone who’s not in their 20’s. She has a career, so do I..and I really thought I would connect to her more. I know I’ve never been in her situation (thank god) but it was really hard to make a connection with her. It felt like she lacks some depth as a character.

The writing is good, it’s a fast read and a short one too. I also loved Tarrin’s Bay and think Juliet did an excellent job with the descriptions.

I’ll be reading the second one ‘February or Forever’ soon and already looking forward to March.

My rating: 3.5/5

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Love Is In The Air – International Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

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Hey hey lovelies, Valentine’s day will be here soon and as a thank you to all of you lovely blog readers for the support through out these months we’re doing a fantastic giveaway. And the best part is IT’S OPEN INTERNATIONALLY (to all countries The Book Depository ships for free)! We didn’t want anyone to feel left out, especially because no matter what part of the world you come from, we love you all the same! They say love is the universal language we all speak, so can you feel love is in the air? We sure can, so lots of love to you all and wish you a fantastic Valentine’s day!

So, now about the books you could win. Some of these we have already read and loved, and some are high up on our tbr lists. There will be TWO WINNERS and each will receive ONE book (PAPERBACK) from this list. Before entering, please make sure The Book Depository ships for free to your country. Giveaway ends on 14th February and once the winners are picked they will be notified via e-mail and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. In case we don’t hear from them, unfortunately we’ll have to pick another winner/s.

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Entering is easy, just follow the rafflecopter instructions and GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! Love each and every one of you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book review: Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson

Image*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

Do you believe in love at first sight? Well, I’m pretty realistic so I’d say that’s a big fat NO for me. But when it comes to books and their covers, OH LA LA! I fell in love with the cover of Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes head over heels! I saw it and immediately thought THIS IS THE BOOK FOR ME! The cover is so chic and girly, and the colors are so vibrant. I’ve seen so many book covers, yet this one is definitely my favorite.

But it’s not only the cover that is stunning and delicious, the content is even better! It’s one of those books that will lift your mood, make you laugh out loud and…ok, make you crave for food, yet you won’t be able to put it down.

The story follows Stella Weston, a TV producer who’s mighty good at what she does, but is suddenly transferred to work in another ‘area’. Ok, it might not be that suddenly, because Stella could foresee it coming, knowing MJ (her nasty boss) would do ANYTHING to destroy her. Working long hours, not being able to pick her daughter after school, missing out on family dinners etc, oh and the feeling of GUILT, that’s what Stella’s life suddenly turns into. I swear to God, MJ is worse than the devil itself, she’s evil, arrogant, lazy..BH with one word! I think Stella deserved a medal for working with her in the first place. It’s MJ that arranges this transfer for Stella, she’s to leave to work on another area, covering gardening and religion! She wants to see Stella go down, but the question is – will Stella allow her that?

Revenge is sweet my friends, and in this case, it was hilarious too! I laughed out loud and was so happy when I saw Stella transforming in front of my eyes. I was rooting for her from the start, she’s one tough lady! There were some parts, especially those when she had to leave home for a longer period that really made me sympathize with her. She’s not the cruel workaholic business type of woman, yet she loves her job and of course she has to make some sacrifice on the way. But my heart was breaking every time she’d feel left out, every time she thought of her daughter going to bed without her kiss, every time she had a fight with her husband Tom.

I also loved the baking part, though to be completely frank, I’m a lousy baker. No matter how hard I try, I always seem faster (and better) in eating than cooking or baking.:)

Overall, this was a fantastic book with strong feel-good factor. I loved each of the characters (even the crazy vicar’s wife) and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Sue. She’s definitely a talented chick lit author with fresh and unique voice and going on my list of all time faves.

My rating: 4/5

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