Category Archives: guest post
Today we have the pleasure to take part in Jon Rance’s Blog Tour for his latest novel ‘This Family Life’. It’s a fantastic rom com and perfect for anyone who wants to have a good laugh, so we strongly recommend it. It’s also currently just 99p for the kindle, so we don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t check it out:) Thanks Jon for visiting our blog today!
Hello and a big thank you to This Chick Reads for having me. This is stop number nine on the blog tour for my new book ‘This Family Life’. If you missed the last one you can find it herehttp://book-central.wix.com/bookshelf
On this blog I’m going to talk about the character of Emily. The book is written in a diary format from the point of view of Harry Spencer, a thirtysomething teacher, father, and husband to Emily. Emily was one of the more difficult characters to create and write. In the first book ‘This Thirtysomething Life’ she puts up with a lot from Harry, and the same again in this book. She’s definitely a long-suffering wife, but I never wanted her to be this weak, pathetic, needy person and hopefully what I’ve created is a strong, independent woman, who loves Harry to bits but definitely won’t put up with him being an idiot and will always speak her mind.
Being a man and creating female characters is always something I’m aware of. I think in all my books, I’ve tried to write really strong female lead characters and Emily is no exception. While Harry is often immature, definitely sometimes selfish, and is prone to making terrible decisions, Emily is the rock the relationship and the family. She keeps things together when Harry is doing his best pull them apart, and in ‘This Family Life’ she is the driving force behind her and Harry getting fit and eating healthier. Emily is always trying to improve their life and even when Harry has problems in the bedroom, she’s the one who takes the initiative. I think she’s rather a super wife.
Below is an extract from the book and it’s a conversation I’ve definitely had with my wife. It’s hard for men, especially when babies are very young, to feel that connection that mums just have. I remember worrying that I wasn’t a very good dad, that I didn’t love them enough, and that I was going to ruin their life. The saying is true that women are parents as soon as they conceive and that men don’t become parents until the baby is born. Harry definitely struggles, but Emily comes through once again.
Thursday 31 January 11.30 p.m.
‘Emily, can I ask you something?’
‘Do you think I’m a good dad?’
‘Why are you asking me?’
‘Because I was thinking about how hard I’m trying not to be like Steve, who is a great dad, even if he is slightly annoying. But what sort of dad am I?’
‘Harry, you’re a wonderful father.’
‘Am I though? I get annoyed by so many things parents do. I love William to bits, he’s the best thing in the world, but sometimes I don’t feel very, you know -’
Emily looked across at me with that stare. You know the one – the stare when you’re being a bit of a plonker.
‘Harry, just because you don’t carry around a spare pair of bongos in case your main set of bongos breaks, and you don’t know all the words to every Wiggles song, it doesn’t mean you’re not dad-like.’
‘But how am I dad-like?’
‘For a start we’re having this conversation,’ said Emily. ‘The fact you’re even worried about it means you’re dad-like. You spend a lot of time in the shed, you moan about the weather, you tell terrible jokes, and you dance as though you’ve been rogered by a hot stick. It’s the way you look at William, hold him, cuddle him, and tell him about bands he’s only going to grow up to despise just to annoy you. And you’ve recently started wearing cardigans. You’re a dad, Harry. You aren’t like Steve, but then again, most people aren’t and that’s OK.’
‘Oh, and FYI, cardigans are back in fashion.’
‘Sure they are,’ said Emily with a lovely smile. ‘Sure they are.’
Things that might happen during your first year of parenthood:
1. You’ll get covered in a ‘nuclear’ poo.
2. You’ll be convinced your son is talking with a Japanese accent.
3. You’ll worry that when your son waves, it looks like a Nazi salute.
Of course, this might just be Harry Spencer.
Taking up where This Thirtysomething Life left off, Harry Spencer and is wife Emily are back and trying to survive their first year of parenthood. It has its ups and downs (and a few bits in the middle), but along the way they begin to understand the true meaning of family and what it takes to be a parent.
Featuring a hilarious cast of extras including Harry’s father-in-law Derek, who has a unique problem with Scotch, Steve and Fiona, the parents from children’s entertainment hell, and a yoga instructor with a prominent camel-toe, This Family Life is the ultimate comedy for anyone who is a parent, has a parent, or is thinking about becoming one.
Today we have another fantastic guest on our blog, Kathryn Freeman. She’s recently published her novel ‘Do Opposites Attract?’ which was published by Choc Lit. She is also the author of ‘Too Charming’. Kathryn, thank you so much for visiting our blog, and we so look forward to reading ‘Opposites Attract’. The cover is stunning!
Thank you so much for having me on This Chick Reads and allowing me to talk about something I’m really excited about – my debut paperback, Do Opposites Attract? I could spend ages telling you about how much I love the cover, or how incredible it felt to hold a book with my name on it for the very first time. But maybe I should just cut to the chase and tell you a little about the book itself. The title is a great giveaway as this story centres around two people who couldn’t be more opposite. Mitch McBride, lead doctor for a medical charity, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and though he’s since put it behind him, there are times it comes back to bite him. Meeting the beautiful heiress, Brianna Worthington, is one of those times. Their lives couldn’t be more different. His has been rough, loveless and full of hard work. Hers has been charmed, with no purpose. He’s with the charity to work, she visits for a week as the patron’s daughter because she wants to see what they do. As Brianna knuckles down to life in the camp, Mitch begins to realise she’s not the spoilt rich girl he has her down for, but in the beginning both are guilty of making assumptions.
I hope the following excerpt will give you a flavour of what I mean by this. During a patient review meeting at the camp Mitch has to tell the team not to order an air ambulance for the hypothermic boy because it isn’t worth it. He meant because the boy was dying and moving him would only make his end more traumatic. Not realising this, Brianna gives him a mouthful and walks out of the meeting. He finds her a short while later at the child’s bedside.
Slowly he walked up to her. ‘Brianna.’
She looked up with a start, her dislike of him very much in evidence when her beautiful face turned from soft to haughty in the blink of an eye. ‘I know you believe he’s not worth any of your precious time,’ she told him in a voice so cold icicles seemed to hang off each word. ‘But you can’t stop me from being here.’
Frustrated, Mitch jammed a hand roughly through his hair. Then, acting on impulse, he reached out, grabbed her arm and dragged her off the chair and outside the tent. Although she protested, his grip was so tight she was unable to do anything but follow him.
‘Damn you, Brianna,’ he uttered under his breath. ‘You’re putting words into my mouth.’ He paused, fighting to control his temper. ‘I didn’t say he wasn’t worthy of our compassion, just that there was nothing else we could do to save him.’
Brianna looked down at the hand that gripped her arm. Mitch wondered what she saw. The strength? Or the fact that it was rough and calloused.
‘Let go, you’re hurting me.’ If she’d slapped him, he couldn’t have let go any quicker.
‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to.’ Angry red bruises marked the delicate creamy skin where his hand had been and he winced at his roughness. ‘I just wanted to make sure you followed me out,’ he tried to explain. ‘Although the boy isn’t conscious, nobody knows whether he can hear or not. I didn’t want to subject him to this conversation.’
Brianna nodded briefly, then turned away from him and disappeared back inside the tent. Mitch was left standing outside like a fool, annoyed and frustrated. It seemed nothing he did was going to please the lady.
Thank you so much for having me.
About the Author
I was born in Wallingford, England and have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. A former pharmacist, former pharmaceutical industry employee I’m now a self-employed medical writer who also loves to write romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…
I’ve two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises
Today we have a pleasure to welcome a lovely lady, Christine Stovell to This Chick Reads. Christine’s third book ‘Follow a Star’ has been published by Choc Lit just two days ago and is part of Little Spitmarsh series. Follow a Star is the sequel to Turning The Tide, but in Christine’s words ‘it can be read as a stand alone’. So, read more about Christine’s book in her post and make sure you visit our blog often since we’ll be reviewing this book soon.
Follow a Star is set in the present and begins with my heroine, May Starling, running away to sea in a vintage wooden boat bound for Little Spitmarsh, the location for my novel, Turning the Tide. That said, you don’t have to have read Turning the Tide to read Follow a Star as both May and the book’s hero, Bill, are completely new characters.
Here’s a snippet from the scene where they first set eyes on each other …
“Careful what you wish for, wasn’t that the saying? And oh, how she’d wished for her dream to come true. If only she’d realised that shooting for the moon would send her spinning back down to earth. If only someone had warned her about … May gradually became aware that she wasn’t alone any more. So far as an old Land Rover Defender could creep along, this one was. And right beside her. May took a quick sideways glance at a male face turned towards her then stared fixedly ahead.
Ohmigod! A kerb crawler. Here she was out in the middle of bloody nowhere and someone was after her body. He was probably some sex-starved farmer. She’d read about all these lonely men, forced to advertise for ‘housekeepers’, unable to attract girls from the city to their isolated acres. He shouted something. She caught the word ‘darling’ and hurried on. He roared ahead, stopped the car and, before she knew it, was blocking her path, six foot plus of lean muscle and broad-shouldered with it. May was not looking forward to running away from someone who looked as if he spent all his time wrestling bullocks to the ground. Especially not one with that hair colour. She whimpered.
‘I hope I haven’t got this wrong,’ he said, running his fingers through the offending mane. ‘Are you May Starling?’
Having conjured up an image of someone small and wiry, she was taken aback that her prospective skipper was so much taller, more energetic and, frankly, ginger-looking than she’d expected. Somewhere along the line, she’d also overestimated his age. The man in front of her was in his prime and bristled with vitality, like a Rhodesian Ridgeback eyeing up a rabbit. Slap in the middle of two hundred acres he probably wouldn’t look quite so strapping, but most boats would feel pretty confined with him aboard. ‘You must be Cecil Blythe,’ she said, recovering herself.
‘I’m Cecil’s nephew,’ he said, pulling on the Land Rover’s passenger door which opened with ominous groans. ‘We need to talk.’”
Bill’s astrapping red-haired builder trying to do his best for his ailing uncle and all May wants is to escape the smouldering wreckage of her burnt-out career and one very demanding ex. Neither of them needed any complications – which is why I trapped them together on a very small boat! I knew exactly how each of them would set the other off, and had a lot of fun creating sparks and misunderstandings between them.But when the pair of them arrive at the old boatyard in Little Spitmarsh, they quickly discover their troubles have only just begun.
About the Author
I live and write on the west Wales coast. I’m proud to be part of the Choc Lit selection box. I’m also published by Honno Welsh Women’s Press.
Today we’re honored to be taking part in Nick Alexander’s Blog tour for his two novels ‘The Half-Life of Hannah’ and the sequel ‘Other Halves’ published by Black & White Publishing. Many thanks to Nick for his lovely post and make sure you enter the fantastic INTERNATIONAL giveaway (rafflecopter found at the end of the post).
“If your first love came back to offer you everything you ever dreamed of, what would you do?”
Hannah is thirty-eight and the happily married mother of eleven-year old Luke, the diamond in her world. Her marriage is reassuringly stable, and after fifteen years she has managed to push the wild dreams of youth from her mind and concentrate on the everyday satisfactions of here and now. The first half of her life hasn’t been as exciting as she had hoped, but then, she reckons, whose has?
When she succeeds in convincing husband Cliff to rent a villa in the south of France for a summer holiday with her sister Jill and gay friend Tristan, she’s expecting little more than a pleasant few weeks with her family. But they each have their own baggage – their own secrets – ready to explode on this not-so-relaxing holiday in France.
When a phone call at the villa announces the imminent arrival of a ghost from her past, the ambiance is transformed into a raging sea of jealousy as Hannah is forced to question everything she thought she knew and believed.
But is she brave enough to take the life-changing decisions her future happiness requires?
Hannah and Cliff’s marriage is over. After a traumatic family holiday, Cliff’s lies have been exposed and Hannah has been reunited with her lost love, Cliff’s brother, James. But after fifteen years together, and forever bound by love for their eleven-year-old son, Luke, breaking free and starting again seems impossible.
A new life in Australia with James beckons for Hannah – but can she embark on this adventure without losing the love of her son? And can Cliff finally face up to issues he has suppressed since adolescence and find happiness in a confusing world?
Amid the turmoil of separation, and with Luke caught in the crossfire, both Hannah and Cliff face the challenge of rebuilding their lives. To make the other halves of their lives count, theyneed courage and determination. But perhaps it’s more than they possess…
Nick’s Guest Post: LIving Other Lives
Although I had planned to write a sequel to The Half-Life of Hannah from the moment I started planning the first book, the actual nature of Other Halves didn’t come to me until much later. In The Half-Life of Hannah, Cliff came over very much as the bad guy, and this was fine and intentional. The story was all about Hannah, and a large part of that story was how Cliff had let her down by keeping a couple of very major secrets from her. The book was written from Hannah’s point of view, so, of course, Cliff wasn’t going to come out of it smelling of roses. But once I had finished writing the first episode of Hannah’s life, and as the book reviews started piling up (frequently mentioning what a truly nasty guy Cliff was) I started to feel a bit sorry for him. Because, in my mind, Cliff had never intended to hurt Hannah. Nor had he intentionally let her down.
So it started to seem to me that book two would have to redress that balance a bit. It would need to explain just why someone would behave so badly.
At the time, a couple of my friends were in the process of divorcing. It was what people call “a messy divorce”, and often, in the same day, I would have both of them on the phone to me telling me what a complete and utter bastard the other person was being. I realised, fairly soon on, that I was going to have to cut loose one side of the couple, because being in the middle was an almost impossible place to be. But equally, I discovered that it was really very, very intriguing, exciting, almost, to be able to hear one side of a story and then another. I was constantly amazed how the utterly repugnant behaviour of one half of the couple would sound utterly reasonable half an hour later when described by the person who had been accused. And as I started to plan out the new loves and lives of Hannah and Cliff in Other Halves, I started to think, “Yes, that’s what I want to do!” I wanted to drag the reader back and forth between different points of view, to make them sympathise with Hannah, and then Cliff, and then Hannah again. And I wanted, above all, to get across the idea that unless you really know what’s going on inside someone else’s head (which pretty much involves having lived their entire life from birth to date) you’re in no position to judge them.
To push the concept to the extreme, take the serial killer. Had I been unlucky enough to live a serial killer’s entire life, being born when and where and to the same parents, and living every single unhappy experience he lived, I honestly believe that I would have ended up the same way – a serial killer! And had I been born Cliff or Hannah, I would very likely have behaved exactly the way they did. And with that understanding comes forgiveness. That doesn’t make anything anyone does acceptable, but it does make it understandable. Luckily, I was born Nick Alexander, so I get to live as many other lives as I want right here inside my head. Maybe I’ll write a serial killer next time! Hum. Maybe not.
About the Author
On leaving Margate, I moved to the Midlands and then Cambridge. In 1991, in need of adventure, I headed off with a backpack finally settling in Nice France where with the exception of a brief, exciting stint in New York, I have lived ever since.
After being refused by truly every publisher in the world, I self-published my first novel 50 Reasons to Say Goodbye in 2003. Encouraged by its success, I wrote and published four sequel novels: Sottopassaggio (2005), Good Thing/Bad Thing(2006), Better Than Easy(2009) and Sleight of Hand(2010) as well as a standalone novel, 13:55 Eastern Standard Time(2007).
My self published 2011 title The Case Of The Missing Boyfriend reached #1 in Amazon’s UK chart and gained me my first proper publishing contract with Corvus-Atlantic who also republished the entire 50 Reasons series and the sequel to The Case Of The Missing Boyfriend, The French House which sold more than 200,000 copies.
My 2012 novel The Half-Life Of Hannah, though mysteriously refused for publication by Corvus, again, once self published, reached number one and sold over 275,000 copies, and the paperback rights were subsequently purchased by Black and White Publishing. Black and White are also publishing the Hannah sequel entitled Other Halves in both ebook and paperback, so I seem, finally, to be on a bit of a roll. Long may it last!
I also edit and contribute to the gay lit website, BIGfib.com
I currently spend half my time in Nice, and the other half in a cabin in the French Alps where I get bored enough to actually concentrate on writing. But whenever I can, I jump on a plane or a train to London, my favourite city in the world.
The overall giveaway on tour is a paperback copy of both books and is open Internationally. Enter through rafflecopter and best of luck guys!
Today we have the pleasure to welcome Chineka Williams, the author of ‘Love Illusion’. We’ve been following Chineka’s updates for quite some time and were so excited to hear she published her debut in February this year. We’ll be reviewing it soon, so stay tuned. But in the mean time, read her post and make sure you enter the fantastic INT giveaway (details found bellow). Many thanks to lovely Chineka for visiting This Chick Reads and sponsoring this great giveaway.
Writing while having a personal life can be challenging, but it can be done. Both are important in a writers life and should be nurtured equally. For me the balance can get a little hectic, but through scheduling and being organized I have found a way to make it work for me.
Planning and making time for writing is half the battle. If you make time for it then you will be more likely to stick to the commitment of writing. My favorite planner to use is the Life Planner from Erin Condren.
At the beginning of each month I sit down and write down all of the events and things that I have to do for my personal life in my planner. Then I pencil in writing time. I at least schedule an hour of writing time. I’ve found that writing late at night works best for me. Nighttime is the quietest and most relaxing part of my day and I find that my words come pouring out effortlessly.
If I schedule writing during the day I will often go to the library. It is quiet and a place where I can think clearly. All of the writing inspiration being so close by doesn’t hurt either.
It is good to get some writing in everyday no matter how many words end up on the paper. Remember that any amount of words is more words than you had before.This will keep you in the practice of writing and keep your skills fresh.
Lucy is a confident PR professional, who is fearful of her troubled ex-boyfriend Charles. He is in denial about their breakup. With issues of alcoholism and abandonment, he spirals out of control.
Meanwhile, Lucy’s best friend Jade has found love and is about to get married. She is a loyal friend who is there for Lucy every step of the way.
Feeling trapped, Lucy is determined to fight back against Charles, but it won’t be without complication. After great debate, she optimistically accepts a new job offer miles away. Lucy soon embarks on an uncertain journey all connected to love.
About the Author
Thanks to lovely Chineka, we have two e-books of ‘Love Illusion’ to give away. The giveaway is open internationally. The winner will be contacted by e-mail and will have 48 hours to claim their prize by responding to our e-mail. In case we don’t hear from them in 48 h, we’ll have to pick another winner. This Chick Reads is not responsible for the delivering of your prize. This giveaway is sponsored by Chineka Williams. Enter through rafflecopter and best of luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hey guys, today we are part of another awesome tour. This time we’re touring with Cindy Arora, the author of ‘Heartbreak Cake’. This is Cindy’s debut and she’s also one of the authors of the ‘Merry & Bright’ anthology which was published last Christmas. Today, Cindy is here with her post and has an awesome giveaway for you (details to be found at the end of the post). So, make sure you visit the other stops on her blog tour, read on her post and make sure you enter the giveaway. Very soon we’ll be reviewing ‘Heartbreak Cake’ so stayed tuned! Many thanks to lovely Cindy for being our guest on the blog today!
Can Your Chick Lit Heroine Be A Mistress?
By Cindy Arora
I just finished watching the first two seasons of the show Scandal (http://abc.go.com/shows/scandal), and am completely hooked. Nighttime soap operas are not typically my wheelhouse. But one of the main things I love about the show is the heroine– a strong, brilliant, fiercely independent woman who also happens to be wrapped up in a complicated, messy, passionate, multilayered relationship with a married man.
Did I mention that he’s the President of the United States? It’s a delicious mess.
Since releasing HEARTBREAK CAKE in the fall one of the more poignant questions I get asked by readers is why I chose to tell the love story of a woman detangling herself from a relationship with a married man. It’s not always a popular topic and a lot of readers don’t always want to hear the story of The Other Woman. She’s not typically the character you root for, but in the case of Indira, her story isn’t just about infidelity. It’s about renewal.
Her story is weaves the classic tale of how one bad choice can lead to a negative domino effect that touches every aspect of one’s life. In Indira’s case, it’s her love life, friends, family and ultimately –her career, which was the one place where she felt safe, stable and in control.
Yet, taking chances (as illogical as they may be) when it comes to love is what we love about our Chick Lit heroines. They are feisty, spirited and don’t always make the best choices … but they always try to figure out how they can fix it so they can grow and become a better woman and at heroine to admire.
Feminist and author ― Simone de Beauvoir once said: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” Which is ultimately the journey I intended for Indira in order to become a better version of herself. She is undeniably flawed, but is ready for significant change for herself.
And like all good Chick Lit heroines, she does it with spirit, sass, her favorite pair of jeans and her best friends. Oh and chocolate cake. Always chocolate cake.
About the Author
The Dr Pepper Prophecies vs Emma
The Dr Pepper Prophecies is a modern version of Jane Austen’s Emma, but then Bridget Jones’ Diary is an updated Pride & Prejudice. So how faithful is it to the original?
The basic story of Emma is of a young woman who has set herself up as a matchmaker. I kept to that, although in TDPP Mel’s efforts extend to the rest of her victims friends’ lives. Mel’s chief project is Beth, who is the Harriet Smith character. In Emma, Emma Woodhouse uses their difference in social status to influence Harriet. In TDPP, Mel uses Beth’s natural reserve, good manners and her status as “replacement” flatmate. Rather than having a Mr. Elton character, Mel sets Beth up on a series of blind dates – each more horrible than the last.
Will Knightley takes the role of Mr. Knightley here (yes, I did a Helen Fielding and just nicked the name). As in Emma, Mel has known him all her life. While Emma and Mr. K are related by marriage, Mel and Will grew up living next door to each other. Like Mr. K, Will often has to (attempt to) restrain his over-enthusiastic friend. The crucial thing I left out was the age difference. Mr. Knightley is 16 years older than Emma, which would have been common at the time, but would be less acceptable to a modern audience. Also, I didn’t want Will playing too parental a role in Mel’s life.
The subplots in TDPP, however, deviate from Emma. Mel has a somewhat fraught relationship with her parents and sister, who always manage to make her feel second rate. While Emma shows no interest in dating at the start of the book, Mel has had a string of lousy boyfriends. In fact, the book starts out with her being dumped by the most recent just as he becomes her boss.
And Emma never had to try to improve her career at the same time as hindering helping her friends. In fact, the key thing Mel and Emma have in common is that they are underemployed. Emma is a wealthy and well-born young woman, in a time when they just didn’t work. She has charitable and hostess duties in the neighbourhood, but nothing like enough to use up her energy. Mel, on the other hand, has an extremely dull job inputting insurance claims.
While Emma is brimming with confidence – natural given her position – Mel lacks it in some areas of her life. This is partly due to her family – particularly her father – who have never valued her efforts to get a good education and career. Mel also suffers from spectacularly bad luck at times, especially in formal situations. There’s a reason the tag line of the book is ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ That brings the high comedy to TDPP that is missing in Emma.
What Mel and Emma definitely have in common, however, is their blindness when it comes to love. Although they are both convinced they know best when it comes to others, they both go a ridiculously long time before they realise that their own Mr. Right is right under their noses. It’s a good job he’s the patient type…
To celebrate The Dr Pepper Prophecies’ one-year anniversary since publication, Jennifer Gilby Roberts is giving away one paperback and five ebook copies! Enter on Rafflecopter.
Find out about her other great celebration offers, giveaways and extras on her blog.
25-year-old Mel Parker has a few tiny problems:
- Her job is terrible
- She’s been dumped yet again
- Her ex is now her boss
- Her parents think she’s a loser compared to her perfect younger sister
- All her efforts to improve her life seem doomed to failure
- Her best friend, Will, is in grave danger of being stolen away by his evil girlfriend
- There just isn’t enough chocolate in the world to make up for the above.
So what do you do when you’ve pretty much given up on your own life? Help others, of course!
After all, what’s the worst that can happen?
We’re so honored to be tour hosts for Daniela Sacerdoti’s Blog Tour for ‘Take Me Home’. We first heard about Dani when she published her debut ‘Watch Over Me’ which became a HUGE hit! (If you don’t believe me, just check the number of reviews on amazon). It is one of the BEST and most touching books we’ve ever read. We’re beyond happy to see ‘Take Me Home’ receiving so many positive feedback already and we do hope Dani is already working on a new book. Today, Dani is here to talk about Inary, the MC in ‘Take Me Home’, but there’s also a fantastic giveaway for you (rafflecopter link found bellow). So, enjoy Dani’s post and make sure you read her books! She’s a fantastic author who’s books are NOT to be missed!
Inary Monteith’s life is at a crossroads. After a stolen night with her close friend Alex, she’s just broken his heart by telling him it was all a terrible mistake. Then she has to rush home from London to the Scottish Highlands when her little sister’s illness suddenly worsens – and in returning she must confront the painful memories she has been trying so hard to escape.
Back home, things become more complicated than she could ever have imagined. There’s her sister’s illness, her hostile brother, a smug ex she never wants to see again and her conflicted feelings about Alex in London and a handsome American she meets in Glen Avich. On top of that, she mysteriously loses her voice but regains a strange gift from her childhood – a sixth sense that runs in her family. And when a voice from the past keeps repeating, ‘Take me home’, she discovers a mystery that she knows she must unlock to set herself free.
Take Me Home is a beautiful story of love, loss, discovering one’s true abilities and, above all, never forgetting who you really are.
Take Me Home is the story of a young woman who, after a trauma, stops speaking altogether. Although it took me a relatively short time to write this novel – nine months – the story has been growing inside me for a long time. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of not speaking, of letting yourself be sheltered by silence.
As a teenager, I read Kilmeny of the Orchard by Lucy M. Montgomery (the author of Anne of Green Gables) about a girl who, for some mysterious reason, can’t speak, so she expresses herself through writing in a notebook she carries around her neck. I very much saw myself in Kilmeny back then, because so much of what I wanted to say could only be conveyed by writing – so I found the idea of a girl who can’t speak, but instead writes, spellbinding.
The catalyst for Inary’s silence is her sister’s death – her grief is such that her feelings can’t be expressed with words, and her overwhelming emotions somehow choke her. As she loses her voice, she finds that silence changes her from the inside. Because she now has to write everything she wants to express, she can’t blurt out things any longer – they need to be filtered by the medium of writing, they need more time and effort to be said. Therefore she begins to say less and think more, to shave off layers of herself until she gets to her core. She begins to understand herself more, and realise what she really wants and needs from life. The deepest, most secret part of her – her Sight, the ability to see the dead and listen to their stories – springs back to life after years of dormancy. As she sinks into silence, people long gone begin speaking to her, and she’s able to listen and, in turn, tell their stories through her writing.
Inary’s journey to me is a metaphor of the writing process, of the necessity of silence to focus on the stories inside our minds – but in her case it’s also a journey through grief. The trauma of her sister’s death is such that she has to work through her pain and bewilderment in a way that’s almost physical – before she can find herself again. Having had two major bereavements in my life, I found it very hard, almost heartbreaking, to let myself remember those feelings so I could describe Inary’s. However, it was certainly cathartic to write the ending… but I won’t spoil it for you!
If you have any thoughts about this post I wrote, or about Take Me Home, or if you feel like a natter, do come and find me – @danisacerdoti. Thank you for having me!
About the Author
Daniela Sacerdoti is a mother and a writer. Born in Naples, but brought up in a small village in the Italian Alps, she lives near Glasgow with her husband and sons. She calls herself a thief of time – she steals time to write when everyone has gone to bed, or before they wake up. She’s a Primary teacher, but she chose to be at home with her children. She loves being with her boys, doing art with them, reading anything she can get her hands on and chatting with her girlfriends. But she also adores being on her own, free to daydream and make up stories.
The overall giveaway is a paperback copy of Take Me Home. Open Internationally.
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EXCITING DAY! Today we’re tour hosts for lovely Aven Ellis, the author of ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Waiting For Prince Harry’. We’ve read/reviewed and above all, LOVED, both of her books and we’re thrilled to welcome Aven on This Chick Reads today. Read on her post and make sure you enter the amazing giveaway (rafflecopter at the end of the post). Also, make sure you visit the other tour hosts for loads of more guest post, interviews and reviews. The stage is all yours Aven and thank you for being our guest today!
Twenty-four-year-old Kylie Reed has always been a rule follower. Organized and cautious to a fault, her dreams for life are often filed away for future use—when she has a house, when she meets her future husband, when she has been at her visual display job at a chic Dallas boutique longer…Kylie always has a reason for living her life in the future, not in the present, and not living her life to the fullest and reaching her dream of becoming a fashion designer.
The only exception to rules, of course, would be running away with Prince Harry—Kylie’s ideal man. A hot, fun ginger boy would be worth breaking all the rules for, of course. And Kylie is sure Harry just needs the right, centering woman to settle him down. But living in Dallas and not knowing Prince Harry make this a non-option.
Or does it?
Because when Kylie accidentally falls into the lap of a gorgeous ginger boy—yes, even more gorgeous than the real Prince Harry—all bets are off. Could this stranger be the one to show Kylie how to take a chance, to face her fears, and live in the present? And could this stranger be the Prince Harry she has been waiting for? Kylie’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns thanks to this chance encounter, and she knows her life will never be the same because of it…
The Setting in Waiting for Prince Harry
Setting is always so important to me when writing a story. It gives readers a new place to explore, or a familiar trip to somewhere they’ve been many times through the eyes of a character instead of their own. In Waiting for Prince Harry, I take the readers to my hometown of Dallas, Texas.
Dallas is a chic, fashion-forward city in the southwest. Summers here are sultry and hot, with temperatures often over 100F in the day. So I decided to place my story here, in the steamy summertime, to allow the heat to bring another element to the story. And we visit some fabulous places, too. So let’s take a look at some of these, shall we?
- The Ritz Carlton Hotel. The Ritz is gorgeous and the perfect place for a posh Dallas wedding reception as described in the opening scene in the book.
- The Rattlesnake Bar is where Kylie meets Harrison for the first time. It’s rugged sexy—just like our hockey hero!
- The lobby of the Ritz Carlton is where Kylie’s indecision costs her a chance to ask Harrison for his number. This scene happened right next to this table of vases.
- Kylie works at an outdoor mall in Dallas, and I modeled it after the famous Highland Park Village.
- Kylie lives in Uptown, a chic spot for shopping, dining out, and living.
- Harrison and Kylie enjoy nights out in Dallas, and this is the beautiful skyline of my hometown.
- Kylie attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
- Southlake, Texas is the Dallas suburb where Kylie grew up.
- Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Five Sixty is a favorite of Kylie & Harrison.
So I hope you enjoyed this visual trip through Dallas. And if you’ve read the book, I hope my descriptions gave you a good picture of my hometown.
About the Author
Aven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.
But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night. Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (New Adult romantic comedy) will be published this year.
Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.
The overall giveaway on tour is an ecopy of Connectivity and an ecopy of Waiting for Prince Harry. Open Internationally!
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Today we have the pleasure to welcome Ellen Faith to This Chick Reads. Ellen is the author of ‘The Story of Us’ and recently had a brilliant tour for her debut. Also, we’ll be reviewing her book soon so watch this space! Now Ellen, the stage is all yours and thank you so much for visiting us today!
They say you remember the things that trigger a passion inside you.
Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat triggered my love of musicals, so much so that I joined a performing arts school when I was 12. Macbeth triggered my love of Shakespeare when I was 14. Cookie Dough triggered my love of Ben and Jerrys haha
I remember vividly the book that encouraged me to start reading again, turning me into the chicklit loving bookworm that I am today, and that book was Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella. I remember my mums friend telling me how funny it was and how much I’d enjoy it if I bought it. After looking at the cover and reading the back of her book, I bought it from Waterstones that weekend.
I laughed til I cried. Seriously, I couldn’t put it down and just wanted more from this amazing author. So I bought the Shopaholic series. I signed up to find out when her new releases were out and bought them all – bit obsessive I know, please don’t judge me – I even managed to get lucky and buy a signed copy of The Undomesticated Goddess from one shop where she had done a signing and there were some that she had left for them to sell.
It was at this point that I realised just how much I loved ‘chicklit’.
For me, chicklit is about having a relaxing read where I get to laugh like a crazy lady in public, maybe have a cry if I’m feeling particularly emotional (not in public for this one!) but most of all, it’s an escape. We all know that the likeliness of the events that occur in a chicklit book happening in real life are pretty slim, but we all love a bit of romance and happy ever after right? For me, reading these books took me away to my happy place.
Right now, Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk are my go to girls, I don’t even bother to read the synopsis anymore, I just one click those babies. My new love is Alice Clayton too, I just can’t get enough.
Needless to say, my collection of books and my to be reads don’t just consist of these wonderful ladies (Fifty Shades of Grey anyone?) but they still remain my favourites. I’m so so weak for a pretty cover too. Sigh.
How about you? Are there any authors that you don’t even bother to read the synopsis for anymore because you just know whatever they write, you’ll love anyway? Do you fall for pretty covers too or is it just me that’s a sucker haha
I just want to thank the lovely Ananda now for letting me do this guest post, it’s been so much fun to write, I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings. I think I might have a reread of Can You Keep a Secret soon!
Alexandra Jones has a pretty peachy life. A gorgeous, stinking rich fiancé, her sleazy boss is retiring which means an imminent promotion in a job she loves, and she gets her best friends Jimmy Choos when she dies, although she would prefer her best friend to stick around as long as possible. Obviously.
But when a blast from the past turns up on her doorstep just as her world turns upside down, she decides to take her best friend, Rosie, up on her offer of a 10 day break in San Francisco. Whilst Rosie works on a fashion shoot and Alexandra becomes well acquainted with the photographer’s brother, it becomes clear that this trip is one that will change their lives forever.