Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bad Sisters: A Review

Rebecca Chance - Bad Sisters

When Was It Released?: 4th August 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: Emily Baynard from Simon and Schuster UK was kind enough to send this copy in exchange for an honest review
Who Published It?:  Simon and Schuster UK

Bad Sisters, is a novel that as soon as I first heard about it. I knew I wanted to read. Just from the cover I could tell that it would be another of Rebecca Chance’s fun, glamorous novels. After reading and loving her two previous novels, Divas and Bad Sisters, I now see Rebecca Chance as a younger fresher version of Jackie Collins, looking into the celebrity world in England.



Three sisters have a deadly secret that they must keep hidden at all costs. First there is Deeley who is the fake girlfriend of a Hollywood star, who is trying to hide that he is gay. Problem is his cut throat publicist wants to trade up Deeley for someone younger, prettier and more talented. Dejected and with very little money left Deeley heads home, to London, where her two other sisters are living. Deeley hasn’t seen her sisters in years and hopes coming home again she can rebuild the bonds that have been broken. Next there is Devon, who is married to hunky rugby player Matt. She has her own TV cooking show and is able to turn heads wherever she goes. Despite all she has Devon is lonely and when a live cook-off show goes terribly wrong, Devon runs off to Tuscany alone, and learns a few things in and out of the kitchen from a sexy Italian. Last there is fiercly ambitious Maxie, a politicians wife, who will do just about anything to maintain the image she has created including adopting a Rwandan baby she doesn‘t want. When Deeley sells a story about their impoverished past, Maxie is furious, Deeley could reveal much more and the fallout could be devastating. What secrets are the sisters hiding? And most importantly, will they be able to keep it hidden?

Bad Sisters, is told in different narratives by all three sisters, which I enjoyed as I got to know each of the characters individually and exactly how they were feeling about the situations that they were in. Each character is really well written and I found that I wanted to know more and was involved in the lives of all three sisters. Even though all the sisters have such different characters they are still all believable and fun to read about. Maxie was my least favourite sisters, finding her to be very self-involved, and this was Rebecca Chance’s intention. Devon, was someone I enjoyed reading about, sympathizing with her ongoing battle with weight, but I did find her to be very selfish at times. When reading about Devon and her husband Matt I was reminded of the British celebrities Charlotte Church and Gavin Henson. I do not know if this was Rebecca Chance’s intention but I found it hard not to compare Devon and Matt to this now ex-couple. Lastly, I sympathized with Deeely’s situation but did find her to be spoilt at times. As all these characters have faults that I didn’t like and aspects which I did, I think this makes the characters more real and human. I also liked the way in which Rebecca opened the book by telling us the sisters secret. I enjoyed this as it showed us exactly why each sister behaves as they do and it made me really route for the sisters. I liked the way in which each sister is shown to take an emotional and psychological journey as the story progresses.

Bad Sisters, is set in London but also has some chapters which are set it Tuscany Italy and Jersey. I enjoyed that Rebecca was able to successfully change from each location as each place the novel is set is described in great detail. This made me feel as if at times I could have been in one of these destinations. The scandals also played out well within the novel, which is laced with secrets, making me want to keep turning the page to find out exactly what was going to happen.

If there was anything that I would change about the novel it would be to learn more about the character of Maxie. Maxie has the least narrative within the novel, particularly towards the end, we do not get to witness how she is feeling and what she is experiencing. Perhaps a few more narratives from Maxie’s perspective would have led to us understanding her character a little more. There are also a few very steamy sex scenes within the novel, which some readers may not enjoy. I felt that these sex scenes were a part of the story and was in no way offended by them. If you do not enjoy the use of steamy sex scenes within a novel, then it may be best to stay away from this book. Other readers may also be shocked by some of the things that the character of Maxie is portrayed doing. I think that these situations made Maxie as a character and showed us a darker side of what happens in politics for publicity. I actually liked the way in which she showed that people will do bad things in reality.

I would defiantly recommend this book for anyone wanting some escapism into a rich and celebrity filled world. It would make a great sexy beach read that you could easily bed devoured in one sitting or a novel that you could take your time over. Bad Sisters is filled with seduction, suspense, rivalry and intrigue which means there is never a dull moment. Throw in the glamour and glitz that Rebecca Chance is so well known for and you have a fabulous read.








Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Samantha Sotto: An Interview

Once I finished Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto I was intrigued to find out more about the lady behind the novel and about how the novel originated. I recently reviewed the novel and loved it (you read the review here ). With Before Ever After being Samantha's first novel, I was excited to find out what the futures holds for her. Read on to find out what she has to say.

Thankyou for taking the time answer my questions. I absolutly loved Before Ever After, as it seems does everyone who reads it. Where did the idea for the novel come from?
Thank you! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. Max popped into my head while I was stuck in traffic. I think it came about as a result of the Doctor Who marathon I had just emerged from and the "hangover" I had from reading The Time Traveller's Wife.

Did you visit all the places that you mention in Before Ever After?
I've been to all the countries in the book except Slovenia - which is probably why I had the most fun writing the chapter about it. My imagination had a bigger playground.


Where has been your favourite place that you have travelled to?
I love Venice. I have absolutely no sense of direction and Venice is the perfect place to get lost in.

Did you have to do a lot of research to ensure all the historical facts in Before Ever After were correct?
 The book took me about a year to write and half of that time was spent on research. It was one of my favorite parts of the process. And yes, I'm a nerd. ;-)

Why did you decide to make chickens and eggs a focal point in Before Ever After?
I thought that a character like Max would have developed some interesting quirks in the course of his life. His love for chickens just made him feel more real and charming to me. On a symbolic level, eggs have long been associated with the concept of life and rebirth.

If you were to make Before Ever After into a movie, who would be your dream cast?
As much as I'd love to answer that question, I have to bite my tongue. (Ow.) I want readers to be able to imagine Max and the gang without influencing them.

How did you celebrate getting Before Ever After published?
I was in Hong Kong when my agent called me at 4AM to tell me about the book deal. My hubby and I ordered champagne and omelets from room service right after I got off the phone.

Do you have a special place where you do your writing?
I wrote Before Ever After at the same table at Starbucks for an entire year.

Do you advice to aspiring authors wanting to get published?
Show up for work and write even if inspiration decides to play hooky.

Will there be another book, and if so can you tell us what it will be about?

I'm working on my second novel. I can't say much about except that chapter twenty four is trying to sip my brain out with a very small straw ;-)

Thankyou so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I, and I'm sure everyone else, cannot wait for your second novel!

Thankyou :-)

Thankyou to the beautiful and talented Samantha Sotto for stopping by Chick Litaholic


You can visit Samantha Sotto's website here

And remember you can purchase Before Ever After below:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Before Ever After: A Review

Samantha Sotto - Before Ever After

When Was It Released?: 2nd August 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: The library
Who Published It?: Crown Publishing


Every once in a blue moon a book comes along that grips hold and of you and never lets go. A book that transports you to another world that you never want to leave. Where fairytales might just come true and maybe just maybe you may get your happily ever after. Well that’s just what Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto did for me. I never expected to fall in love with a novel quite as much as I did with this one. Before Ever After is a modern day Romeo and Juliet, with more of a fairytale twist.

One day Shelley and her husband Max were madly in love and couldn’t be happier, the next Max dies and Shelley is left behind as his widow. It has now been three years since Max’s death and Shelley has still been unable to adjust to living without him. Until, suddenly, the doorbell ring and standing there is a man who looks just like Max in everyway. Shelley cannot believe her eyes and thinks she must be going crazy until the man introduces himself as Paolo and shows Shelley some photos from his childhood. He tells her that the man in the photos is Paolo’s grandfather, Max. Her Max. And it seems he is still alive! How could he be alive when Shelley knows he died? And the question Shelley wants the answer to the most - why has he not come to find her? Desperately wanting to find the answers to her questions Shelley and Paolo travel across the world, while Shelley recounts the European tour where they met and the stories Max told her along the way. Shelley comes to some astound revelations and comes to discover that her happily ever after may not be all it seems.


How do I convey to you a book that has completely changed my view on books forever? Before Ever After is a book that I will now compare all other books to, and I know that many will fail to come even close. There are so many elements to this incredible story - romance, history, a wide range of emotions from loss to hope and adventure throughout the pages, resulting in there never being a dull moment. The character of Shelley was so likeable that I found myself routing for her ’happy ever after’ and feeling her emotions the entire way through. I found all the characters to be important within the novel, playing a part in Shelley’s story. I particularly loved the historical stories that Max told throughout the novel, finding them to be not only interesting but intriguing too, filling the story with adventure. With all the emotion the story could have become sombre, however Samantha Sotto manages to throw some humour in with the use of chicken and eggs, making the novel much lighter and natural. I now want to find out how to make the perfect baked eggs. The magical realism within the novel was a welcome change, which I do not normally enjoy. I like my novels to have some elements of realism but they way in which Samantha brought this story together made it much easier to believe that Max could still be alive.

It is very hard to tell you anything I didn’t like about the novel! If pushed I would tell you that perhaps I would have liked to have found out more about Rose and Jonathon as well as Brad and Simon, feeling that their stories were never really looked at or completed.

As you can probably
tell I loved this novel! I borrowed this book from the library and because I love it so much will now be purchasing a copy so I can come back and read this book again. I would recommend this novel to everyone, and have been doing ever since I finished the book. You can’t begin to understand how incredible this novel is until you read it for yourself, and then you will be taken away with the story and laugh cry and hope along the way. I am eagerly awaiting another novel from Samantha Sotto and will be first in the queue for the next book.                       









Sunday, August 28, 2011

What's In My Mailbox?

I love opening my maibox and finding books waiting for me, it puts a big smile on my face :-D.
This week I received these books from lots of lovely publishers:


Jackie Collins - Goddess of Vengence - sent by Ann Marie Neives


Jane Loverling - Starstruck - sent by Liz at Choc Lit


Vanessa Diffenbaugh - The Language Of Flowers - sent by Quinne Rogers at Ballantine


Lesley Lokko - A Private Affair - sent by Gabby Young at Orion


Belinda Jones - California Dreamers - sent by Jaime Frost at Hodder and Stoughton


Nina Bell - The Empty Nesters - sent by Hannah Hargreave at Sphere

Saturday, August 27, 2011

From Barcelona With Love: A Review

Elizabeth Adler - From Barcelona With Love

When Was It Released?: 21st June 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: The library
Who Published It?:   St Martins Press

Do you ever just want to be transported away to a foreign destination, with summer breezes, sandy beaches, expensive champagne and decadent foods? Well don’t we all! Not all of us, though can afford to hop onto a plane and visit these countries ourselves. Well now to get that same feeling you don’t have to, because From Barcelona With Love will transport you to the historic streets and luscious vine yards of Barcelona without even leaving the comfort of your own home.

Bibi Fortuna, singer/model/actress, was one of the most recognised and loved celebrities in Hollywood until her best friend and lover are killed and Bibi is arrested on suspicion of murdering them both.. Bibi was all over the front page, however the police were never able to prove that she had commited the crimes. Bibi was set free but with the cloud of suspicion still over her Bibi decided to run away to Barcelona and simply disappear. All is not so simple however, as Bibi has a daughter, Paloma, who she has to leave behind. When Paloma comes to private investigator Mac Reilley and his girlfriend Sunny Alvarez for help finding her mom, they cannot resist trying to solve this mystery and reunite a mother and her daughter. Did Bibi really commit the murders? Is Bibi even still alive? And if so where is she hiding?

From Barcelona With Love is the fourth novel in the Mac Reilley series, following on From One Of Those Malibu Nights, There’s Something About St Tropez and It All Began In Monte Carlo. Mac Reilley and Sunny Alvarez have shared their romance and travelled to many luxurious destinations. Unlike many other series though, do not worry if you have never read any of the other novels, as you can read these as stand along novels. Anything you need to know from the previous novels is already mentioned, therefore you will not feel as though you are missing information.

From first glance From Barcelona With Love may sound like a mystery, and in some senses it is. Don’t let that put it off, the novel is still filled with Elizabeth Adler’s trademark lush descriptions of both Barcelona and the foods experienced along the way. I love the way Elizabeth is able to transport you away to the countries she is describing, so that you feel as they you are right there along with the characters. Foodies like myself will also love the descriptions of the wine and food that her characters stumble upon on their journey through Barcelona. Make sure you read this novel after you have eaten as you will be craving everything Elizabeth mentions throughout the novel.

From Barcelona With Love, however, is one of my least favourites of Elizabeth Adler’s novels. I felt that the mystery element of this novel fell a little short with many details of the murder being brushed over. The story and the ending was also a little predictable with none of Elizabeth’s trademark twists and turns she usually splashes her novels with. If you have never read any of the Mac Reilley series of books you may find that you do not get to know the characters very well either. Elizabeth may have written the characters this way as if you have read the previous novels you will feel you know them extremely well but as a stand alone novel I feel readers would want to know more about the characters.

Overall, From Barcelona With Love light, fun beach read that you will want to throw into a straw bag and lay out in the sun reading. And if you are nowhere near a beach and the weather outside makes you want to curl up on the sofa then with this novel you will be transported to these far off destinations, making you forget about the cold weather outside, creating climatic scenes full of promise. Grab a glass of wine and you won’t feel as jealous of the characters sipping their expensive champagnes and decadent Bordeaux’s. If you love a good beach read this beach chic novel is defiantly worth a read, and if this is the type of book you enjoy you may want to check out her previous novels too.





Friday, August 26, 2011

Winners Of French Lessons

The winners of French Lesson's by Ellen Sussman were all chosen at random. The two winners are:

Caryn (Comment #4)
Dddiva (Comment #11)

Congratulations to all our winners. You will be contacted by email where you will have 48 hours to claim your prize.

We still have lots of giveaways so make sure you keep entering

And remember if you didn't win French Lesson's by Ellen  you can still buy it here:

An Interview With: Lisa Lim, author of Confessions Of A Call Center Gal

After reading, reviewing and loving Confession's Of A Call Center Gal by Lisa Lim (you can read the review here ) I just had to ask Lisa some questions and find out more about this talented and hilarious lady.

1. Thankyou so much for joining us at Chick Litaholic. I loved Confessions Of A Call Center Gal. What inspired you to write this novel? I'm a chick lit junkie and I've read countless of chick lit novels where the women all have fancy jobs, and they fancy men who hold fancy jobs. And I wanted to read about a woman I could relate to. A protagonist who is regular chick with a very ordinary job, who falls for a guy with an ordinary job. Although, the guy is anything but ordinary (I like to think).
And a reader who reviewed my book echoed my thoughts~ "So many traditional chick lit books tend to go off on a tangent to a life many of us will never have--Bond Street and Fifth Avenue are not a regular part of my routine."
Also, the story is essentially art imitating life. I’m an ex-call center gal myself and I served time in the trenches for several years. Suffice to say, my head was bursting with stories from the call center purgatory.



2. What are some of the worst jobs that you have ever had?
A call center gal and a waitress at a Chinese restaurant where customers would sometimes tip me 10 cents or .0001% instead of 15%

3. You worked in a call centre, is any of the novel based on your real experiences? 100% of the book is based on real experiences as a call center gal.

4. Did you have a close circle of friends at the call centre, like Maddie does with Mika, Kars, Troung and Ingeberg? You bet-cha. I definitely had a tight knit circle of friends like Kars, Truong and Inge; otherwise I wouldn’t have survived as long as I had in the call center purgatory/Gulag camp. And Troung's character is based on a close friend of mine, and he seems to have legions of fans. And he's been whining that I never mention him in my interviews. So Truong, this one's for you . . . let's lock and loll. ;-)

5. Are you in any way like the character Maddie?I’d say about 50% of Maddy is me. Like Maddy, I love The Office, Gossip Girl, Chelsea Lately and I wish I could speak Gaelic. Also, I share Maddy's love for all things Anthropologie . . . I simple adore their vintage inspired dresses. I'm an Anthroholic!

6. What would be your dream cast? Maddy would be played by Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer) and Zac Efron, Zac Levi or Henry Cavill would be cast as Mika—the Belgian stud. Rex Lee or Jo Koy as Truong Nguyen. Blake Lively as Ingeborg and Leighton Meester as Karsynn. Oh and definitely Sean Connery as Archie. I would DIE to have Sean Connery play a part.



7. Who are your favourite authors? Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, Chelsea Handler and Paullina Simons who wrote The Bronze Horseman . . . hands down my fave book ever!

8. What do you like to do when your not writing? I enjoy chillaxin with my pooches and my kids, shopping, reading and eating Mexican food.

9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors wanting to get published?
As the fabulous Sophie Kinsella once said, "Sometimes you don't need a goal in life, you don't need to know the big picture. You just need to know what you're going to do next!" So the same rule applies to writing . . . you don't need to know the big picture, just start writing and keep on writing and eventually, you'll have your book.

10. What did you do to celebrate becoming a published author? I went on a shopping spree at Anthropologie and J.Crew, and I gobbled up 5 bean burritos--in one day!

11. Whats next for you? YA chick lit. But the title is a secret. =)

Thanks again for everything and thanks for having me on your fab blog! You're a rock star!
Thanks to the wonderful Lisa Lim for answering all my questions. Don't forget you can follow Lisa Lim's blog here

You can also purchase Confessions Of A Call Center Gal:



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Confessions Of A Call Center Gal: A Review

Lisa Lim - Confessions Of A Call Center Gal

When Was It Released?: 25th February 2011 (Kindle Edition) 2nd May 2011 (Paperback)
Where Did I Get It From?: Lisa Lim, the author, kindly sent this to me in exchange for an honest review
Who Published It?: Giffin Press

 Confessions of a Call Center Gal was recommended to me by a friend and as soon as I heard the title it reminded me of two things. The first made me think about all the jobs I have had, which I hated and would love to be able to write a book about. And the second? Well unless you are British I doubt you will understand why I had this second thought but I thought of the TV show Confessions of a Call Girl with Billie Piper. Probably because the titles are so similar but also because they are both an hilarious look at industries we don’t get to see much of. Well Lisa Lim lets us delve right into the life of this Call Center Gal.

Maddy has just graduated from college, with a journalism degree and is ready to begin her career in print media. There’s just one problem Maddy seems to have no luck finding a job she wants. With unemployment being so high and the economy in such a state, Maddy has only two options left - working as a service rep at a call center in Pocatello, Idaho or staying unemployed. Maddy chooses the first option and is plunged into the wild and dysfunctional world of customer service at the Lightning Speed call center in ‘Spudsville.’ At the call center she must deal with obnoxious callers who abuse her all day long and an evil boss who won’t get off her case. Maddy manages to find a way to survive and that comes in her smouldering gorgeous co-worker Mika, who Maddy has an enormous crush on. Along with a close group of hilarious friends and a lot of patience. Don’t hang up on this novel, as Maddy learns about herself and just why everyone looks down on call center workers.
I loved the character of Maddy and found her so relatable. In fact Maddy reminded me of one of my closest friends, with her witty sense of humour, and unique dialogue. She is someone who I would be friends with very easily, and defiantly a lot of fun to be around. I found myself laughing out loud as well as cringing along with her throughout the novel. I also really liked Maddy’s unique quirky look at the situations she was placed in, finding that she sounded the age she should without coming across as immature. The way Lisa Lim brought in her own voice and views on call center’s and the way staff are treated by customers to be very refreshing and with her humour added in very entertaining. Even if you have never worked in a call center, you will be able to relate to the way Maddy is feeling. I have worked in hotels and restaurants and found many of the situations to ring true with these professions as well. Anyone who has ever worked in customer service will find something that can agree with from a personal standpoint. There are so many hilarious scenes in the novel which will literally have you laughing out loud, one of my favourites being the ‘how to speak Chinese’. Maddy’s group of friends in the novel are ones who I wish I could be friends with, everyone needs a friends like Troung, Kars, Ingeborg and Mika.

Even though this novel is hilarious, there are times in the novel where humour is used that some readers may find a little offensive. I personally didn’t find any of the novel offensive, seeing the humour for what it is and that no harm is meant. If you are sensitive to toilet, racial or religious humour then you may want to take caution with reader this novel, as a lot of this type of humour is thrown in. Lisa does state though that if you are offended by shows like ‘Chelsea Lately’ then you may not like the novel. In some places of the novel I did find that some of these types of humour could be toned down, especially the toilet humour, but so long as you take it with a pinch of salt you were laugh at almost all of this novel. The only other issue I had with the novel was the use of slang that Lisa sometimes used which made her characters appear younger than they actually were. If you are fresh out of college then this type of slang is perhaps relatable, if you are any older than that, you probably won’t enjoy it. I felt as though at type it made Maddy seem as though she was younger than she was.

What did I think of the novel overall? Well I have to say I really enjoyed it. Confessions Of A Call Center Gal, reads like a season of the Office (the British Office with Ricky Gervais, which I find a lot funnier than the American version) with a dash of chick lit thrown in. I could really see this novel being made into a sitcom on NBC, it would fit right in and I would be tuning in every week to watch. The characters are all hilarious while still being relatable, the storyline honest and Lisa Lim’s writing style witty. I was recommended this novel by a friend and have now been letting all my friends, who love chick lit and comedy, know about this novel. If you want to read something a little different from your typical chick lit novel then this is the novel for you. In Lisa Lim’s own words ‘don’t hang up on this novel.


Lisa Lim will be stopping by to talk about Confessions Of A Call Center Gal tommorow

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Winners Of Always Something There To Remind Me

The winners of Beth Harbison's Always Something There To Remind Me were all chosen at random. The three winners are:

JanBran (Comment #7)
Timshaun (Comment #38)
C allen (Comment #51)

Congratulations to all our winners. You will be contacted by email where you will have 48 hours to claim your prize

Beth Harbison will also be stopping by Chick Litaholic next week so stay tuned for that!

We still have lots of giveaways so make sure you keep entering

And remember if you didn't win Always Something There To Remind Me by Beth Harbison you can still buy it here:

Nicky Well's Author of Sophie's Turn: Interview and GIVEAWAY

Interview

Hi Georgina! Thank you for this opportunity for interview and the fabulous give-away competition. I will be really excited to see your readers' enteries. Now let's take a look at the questions......

1. What was your inspiration for Sophie's Turn?

I was watching a movie one night featuring on of my all-time favourite film stars. I dont recall exactly who it was (Mel Gibson? Pierce Brosnan?) but I muttered something along the lines of “hmmmm….if he ever proposed, how would a girl turn him down! My husband pretended to be offended… And there was the crux, the conundrum, the “what if” at the centre of Sophies Turn. It came back to haunt me in the middle of the night, and I just had to go and write it down. Then I started spinning a rudimentary tale around it… and the story evolved from there.

2. Why did you decide to self-publish Sophies Turn?


Self-publishing is a great avenue for independent authors to get their work out there and noticed. It gives you full control over when you publish, where you publish and at what price. It lets me market and publicise Sophies Turn in every which way I see fit. Whats not to like?

3. Would you ever turn Sophies Turn into a paperback novel or will it always be an e-book?

I would love to publish Sophies Turn as a paperback novel. Quite a few people have asked me for paper copies, and I can understand why. However, at this time, the cost involved in making a paper copy and shipping it anywhere but the US is so high that it is not an attractive proposition. I will revisit this issue in the future and you never know! Ill keep you posted!

4. Were any elements of Sophies Turn based on your own life experiences?


Ah… I wish! I might have hung around a dressing room or three in my time but sadlyno! Sophies experiences are all just one big fantasy, mostly! J
But answering your question more broadly… Obviously, Sophies Turn is a work of fiction and none of the characters or events in it are real. But how do I, how does any writer, come up with ideas? For me, the answer is that I draw very loosely on things that have happened to me, stories Ive heard from friends, read in the paper or seen on TV. The process of turning these nuggets into a story is not a straightforward one. I never take the real facts or names for my work, but I might draw on the essence, the idea. Very often, several ideas come together to make on episode. For example, the de-slugging incident that you enjoyed so much came about like this: I know of someone who collects old miners hats for a reason that I cant quite comprehend (thats one idea strand). My husband gets really annoyed by slugs eating our vegetables all the time (theres another idea). Slugs always seem to come out in the rain (fact, and another idea). Tim needed to do something really weird (that was a plot requirement). Throw these things in together and mix well…

 
5. With the band Tusk playing an important role throughout the novel, did you go to many gigs or speak with any bands during the writing of the novel?


I go to rock gigs wherever I can get to themwhich is not as often as Id like! I have met a few bands over the years and yes, that helped in writing Sophies Turn. But I was quite heavily pregnant while I was writing Sophies Turn so I didnt go to many gigs at that time. The one band I did see then was The Darkness during their Christmas Tour in 2004. They put on one of the best shows Ive ever seen and they made fantastic live music. I hasten to add that I wasnt moshing in the front row! In deference to my being five months pregnant, we had booked seats right at the top of the arena. Unfortunately, baby-in-tummy wasnt too impressed by the noise and vibration even though I wasnt even dancing! At one point I had to leave and get some quiet time because I thought baby would evacuate right there and then.

6. If you were in Sophies shoes, do you think you would have made the same decisions that she did?

Hmmm…. I was placing myself in Sophies shoes pretty much all through writing the novel, but I found she did quite a few things I wouldnt have done. For example, I dont think I would have had the courage to accompany Dan to the Royal, let alone his suite. I was glad about the decisions she made at the very end although I personally might have been inclined to do things slightly differently. I dont want to give too much away here for folks who havent read Sophies Turn yet!

7. If Sophies Turn were to be made into a movie, what would be your dream cast?


Meet: The Dream Cast for Sophies Turn

Featuring…

Dan the Rock Star…. Played by Ewan McGregor!

Sophie… Played by Keira Knightley!

Rachel … Played by Emma Watson!

Tim… Played by Jude Law!

8. In Sophies Turn, Sophie gets to travel all over Europe. Where is your favourite place to travel to?


I love going down to Cornwall and Devon because it is so unbelievably pretty and wild down there. In fact, I do need some seaside exposure every now and then just to get things in perspective! In terms of Sophie-style travelling, my favourite place to travel has to be Berlin. It is an amazing, vibrant city with lots to do, big open spaces, lots of water ways (amazing, given that its completely landlocked!) and its full of exciting, slightly eccentric people.

9. What books are you reading right now?


I just finished reading “Extra Virgin” by Annie Hawes. She describes her experiences of settling down as a somewhat exotic foreign (English) creature (and female, and single at that!) in 1970s Liguria in Italy. Its a fantastic, sun-drenched holiday read and always puts me in the mood for yummy Italian cooking. Now Ive started on “Sowing Secrets by Trisha Ashley. Its the first book of hers that Im reading and I havent got very far yet so I wont comment for now…

10. Do you have any plans for a second book?


Of course! Sophies story isnt finished, and Im planning the sequel right now. Sophie and Dan will feature (obviously), as will Rachel. Rachel will have a much bigger, very important role to play… and she might not always like it! I hope to finish it inside a year, allowing for resting time, editing, rewriting, proofing and publishing. Watch this space!

Thank you Georgina for these interesting questions, and good luck to everybody entering the give-away! XX

Find out more about Nicky Wells at here
Nicky is also on Facebook and Twitter

Giveaway

Following my review of Nicky Wells' novel, Sophie's Turn, (Check out the review here ), earlier this month, I am delighted to announce a give-away of an e-copy of Sophie's Turn. This give-away is part of the Virtual Book Tour of debut novelist Nicky Wells’ novel Sophie’s Turn (Check out Nicky here )

 Sophie’s Turn is a charming, honest and romantic take on chick lit. The novel focuses on one women's entaglement with a rock star .... and who wouldn't want to marry their favourite star given the chance? If you love chick lit, you will adore this novel. Make sure you don’t miss out on this opportunity to win a copy of this e-book.

Nicky has kindly provided one e-copy of Sophie’s Turn for one of my lucky readers. The lucky winner will get a free e-copy on their Kindle, or their Kindle Reading app for iPad, PC, Mac, iPhone or Android (Kindle Reading Apps are FREE to download from here ).

For the opportunity to win an e-copy of Nicky Well’s Sophie’s Turn, please leave me a comment telling me why you absoutely should win this novel. You must include your email address where you can be reached along with the comment.

This giveaway is open internationally.

Giveaway ends August 31st at midnight EST  

You can find Sophie's Turn on Amazon :
 








Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Susan McBride: An Interview

Susan McBride’s highly anticipated new novel Little Black Dress is released today (check out my review here )and to celebrate it’s release Susan McBride has kindly stopped by to answer a few questions and talk about the new novel.

Thankyou for joining us today and congratulations on the release of your new novel, The Little Black Dress. I absoutely loved the book. Where did the idea for the novel come from?

Thanks so much Georgina! The idea came from a few different places, starting with my mom's insistence that every girl should have a little black dress in their closet and then realizing that this is probably something all women have in common. I began to envison a black dress with peculiar qualities - like, giving it's wearing a glimpse of the future - and wondered, what if the dress was shared between two sisters and again with the next generation? How would it change their lives? Would it push them onto paths they had never considered taking? Would it tear them apart or bring them together? Once I started pondering all those things I was hooked.

Did you experience any writer’s block while writing Little Black Dress?

I think I have moments while writing every book where I feel like a scene I just finished isn’t quite right, and I can only move sluggishly forward. That’s when I sleep on it (really!), and I wake up with the solution floating through my head. Showers and the treadmill are good for figuring out where I went wrong so I can move forward, too. It’s not a matter of being stuck, but being off-track. So it helps to think outside the box until I can get back on-track again!

Why did you decide upon using a dress as the item which leads these women’s lives towards their destinies?

Not long ago, my mom gave me this lovely painted brooch that had belonged to my great-grandmother. I love the concept of family heirlooms being passed down from one generation to the next. I wanted the magical item in my book to be something other than a piece of jewelry, however. So I latched onto my mom’s “every girl must have a little black dress” credo and said, “Of course, it’s a black dress!” It’s a little like the jeans in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as it fits Evie, Anna, and Toni, even though they’re different shapes and sizes.

Do you own a particular item of clothing that makes you feel special?

I do have a dress that felt magical when I put it on: my wedding dress. On that one day nearly four years ago, in that particular dress, I definitely felt like I was glimpsing a wonderful future ahead of me with my husband. I still have my wedding dress, hanging in my closet! Although I don’t think I’ll ever wear it again; but I keep thinking I’ll get it shortened and dyed. 

Did you know as soon as you started writing Little Black Dress how it would pan out?

 Since so much of the storyline comes full circle, I did know each woman’s secret and what the end result would be. I just had to write the entire middle to connect everything (and the middle, for me, is the toughest stretch!). But I felt more compelled to write this book than any book before it. And it’s the only novel I’ve written that gave me chills. So no matter what happens with Little Black Dress, it will always be special.

Which character do you most relate to - Anna, Toni or Evie?

Definitely not Anna. She’s the complete opposite of me. Although I have to say that the older Anna is someone I find interesting, much more so than young Anna. I do relate to Evie, although she has this sense of calm that I’ve never possessed. I understand the depths of her responsibility and her love of home and husband. I relate to Toni in some ways, too, as she’s in her 40s and still single. I didn’t meet Ed until I was 41, and we married when I was 43. I could be friends with Toni and Evie easily.

You have said before that your previous books have been inspired by different aspects of your own relationship. Was this book inspired by your own life and experiences in any way?

The part of Little Black Dress that was inspired by my own life is my belief that things happen for a reason…and that they happen at the right time. When I look back at the past six years, particularly how I met my husband, I realize how many things had to happen first—like dominoes falling—before our paths could cross. There are so many events in Little Black Dress that reflect that belief. Do I think we’re in control of our lives? Yes, to a degree. Do I think fate or a higher power plays a part as well, putting us places we need to be at the precise moment to make some things happen? Yep, I believe that, too. 


Is there a message you want readers to take away from reading Little Black Dress?



Wow, great question! I hope they take away any number of messages, like the idea that sometimes when life doesn’t turn out exactly as we’d planned, maybe it’s because there’s a different road ahead of us; and that everyone’s life has a little bit of magic in it, but we’re all so busy we don’t notice. When wonderful things happen, we need to hold them close and not analyze them. We should just relish those moments because they never last long enough.

If the story of your own life was made into a movie which actress would you choose to play the character of you?

I would love to be played by Natalie Portman! She’s so lovely and elegant. I’m a big goofball, but I think she’s a good enough actress to pull that off.

What novels are on your reading list?

I am a bookaholic so my TBR piles are never-ending! I just finished reading Escape by Barbara Delinsky, Things We Didn’t Say by Kristina Riggle, and Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, all of which I liked very much. I’ve got The Help still to read (I know, I’m probably the last person on the planet to get to it!), Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, plus books by Jodi Picoult, Santa Montefiore, Nancy Pickard, Isabel Wolff, and so many more. I wish I had time to read more as reading keeps me inspired so I carve out a little time every night when it’s possible to sit down with a book.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read as much as possible and in a variety of genres. Write whenever you can and don’t worry about being perfect. Just start with observations, little bits of overheard dialogue, descriptions, whatever comes to mind. Understand what makes good books work, whether it’s the characters, the pacing, or the plot. Don’t expect the first thing you write to be published (although, these days, I know it’s possible to publish everything you write if you want to). Decide whether you want to write as a career or as a hobby. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble that way. Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s not a competition, unless it’s you against yourself, striving to be better with each new project. Learn as much as you can about the business online via blogs and web sites, as well as by attending writer’s conferences and workshops. And if this is something you need to do with your life, don’t let others discourage you. Rejection is part of the game. Rise above it, keep going, and find your voice. No one can tell your stories but you.

What’s next for you?

I just finished the first draft of a young adult mystery for Delacorte called Dead Address, and I’m about to start working on Little White Lies for HarperCollins, which will let me delve into the world of magical realism again. It’s about a woman raised by a mother who could tell nothing but the brutal truth; so she’s grown up softening her speech with little white lies. Only those lies could come back to haunt her—particularly a rather large one she’s told her daughter—when a man from her past is dropped back into her life by a tornado. Like Little Black Dress, it’s about love and fate and how our lives can change (for better or worse) in the blink of an eye.


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I can't wait to read your next novel

Thank you for having me! J


Little Black Dress: A Review

Susan McBride - Little Black Dress

When Was It Released? 23rd August
Where Did I Get It From? Stephanie Kim at William Morrow kindly send this to me in exchange for an honest review
Who Published It? William Morrow

As Coco Chanel once famously stated “every girl needs their little black dress." Well Susan McBride’s new novel Little Black Dress follows this premise but takes it one step further. What if that wonderful little black dress didn’t just make you look and feel amazing it did much more? How much more? Well it showed whoever wore the dress what their future holds. Would Coco Chanel still be telling us all we need our little black dresses if they all did this?



Antonia (also known as Toni), is a successful business women with her own thriving business and a relationship that seems to be going well. Life seems to be running along smoothly for Antonia, until her mother, Evie, suffers a stroke, forcing Antonia to return to her home of Blue Hills. Antonia, with the help of her mother’s housekeeper, stumbles across more secrets than she ever dreamed existed in her childhood home. Antonia vows to uncover these secrets and understand her mother’s life, before it is too late, including the story of her aunt Anna who disappeared fifty years ago the night before her wedding. Will Antonia be able to handle the secrets she reveals or are they just better left in the past? Antonia will not only learn about her family, and a little black dress that just may be magical, but she will also learn some home truths about herself too.

I can’t believe that I am admitting to this but I have never read any of Susan McBride’s previous work, although I have heard many great things about The Cougar Club. Well let me tell you that’s about to change, from now on I will be searching out everything written by Susan. After reading Little Black Dress I can’t wait to read more from her. I loved Little Black Dress from the first page to the last, with the concept of fate, the path your life takes and a little magic thrown in, being fresh and new in relation to many topics that chick lit authors tend to focus on. I fell in love with Evie and Toni almost straight away, and as the novel progressed I found myself hoping that Evie would recover in such a way that sometimes I forgot she was she just a character rather than a real person. I wanted to be friends with both of these ladies, even though they were both older than I am, I felt that I could relate to them in many ways. I particularly liked the way in which both the present and past stories are told in relation to each other, switching from one chapter being in the past to the next being in the present. The story flowed easily without losing track of what was going on with each character at any one time.

I am a firm realist and don’t tend to enjoy novels or movies with magical elements in them as I do not find them realistic to life. Some people enjoy novels about magical elements, finding that they transport them off to a different world, however I prefer my novels to have some realism to them. And while Little Black Dress is very relatable in many senses I found that I did not enjoy a large amount of the magical elements in this book. I feel that if more information was given as to where the dress came from before it came to be in the shop I would have enjoyed reading about it more. I would also have liked to have heard more of Anna’s story, where she was while she was gone and what she was thinking and feeling.

Overall I loved this book and would defiantly recommend it, even to those of you who don’t usually like magic mixed in with your chick lit (that would be me before reading the novel). Little Black dress is a sentimental look into family relationships and in particular that special bond between mother and daughter. This novel is filled with hope, magic and love, told with Susan McBride’s sparkling wit. This novel will leave you feeling like a child again, asking yourself the question, does magic truly exist?  



Monday, August 22, 2011

Girls In White Dresses: A Review

Jennifer Close - Girls In White Dresses

When Was It Released?: 9th August 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: The library
Who Published It?:   Knopf

Are all your friends around you getting married and having babies and your'e still figuring out what you want from life? Well your not alone, Girls in White Dresses follows this premise throughout. I love weddings, and bridal showers (maybe because I’ve always wanted to be a wedding planner) but I can totally relate to how these can become a chore once all your friends start getting married. Girls In White Dresses seems to be on everyone’s to read list at the moment, including my own, so I thought it was about time I started reading.

Girls in White Dresses, the debut novel from Jennifer Close, follows the story of Isabella, Mary and Lauren (as well as many of their friends) as they progress in life through different jobs, falling in love and getting their heart broken and the endless round of wedding showers. It seems like everyone in their lives is getting married and every weekend they seem to be at
someone’s wedding or bridal shower, wearing pastel dresses, cooing over toasters and drinking their champagne by the case load. Aside from everyone else getting married Isabella, Mary and Lauren have to contend with their own lives. Isabella is working for a mailing list company but is unsatisfied and wants more from her job. Every day Isabella has to contend with a boss who says she is on a diet every day, yet if Isabella does not bring her the morning chocolate muffin she turns into a monster. Mary is ecstatic when she meets the man of her dreams and falls in love. The only problem is, it seems he loves his mother more than he could ever love Mary. And then theres Lauren, working as a waitress she hates her job and swears she won’t fall for the sleazy bartender. Will that be a promise she will be able to keep? The three girls have to deal with how to live their lives after graduating college when everyone but them seems to have a plan that involves a great job, a suitable boyfriend, and impending marriages and babies on the way.


I really enjoyed Girls in White Dresses, finding Isabella, Mary and Lauren to be a breath of fresh air. Jennifer Close manages to create three likeable, hilarious, fun loving characters that you will be gripped by from the beginning. I loved the stories of their incredibly bad dates, that we have all been through, including Isabella being set up with a obese man and a gay guy. It brought back lots of memories of bad dates I have been on and that have been set up for me. I also like how each of the characters is relatable. I am currently at the time of my life where I have recently come out of college and am figuring out the path I am going to take. Whatever route you have taken in your life some elements of these girls will resonate with you. The stories of Isabella, Mary and Lauren are candid, honest and told with a tongue in cheek attitude that will have you laughing out loud and agreeing with them all the way through the novel. I also loved the message of friendship that resonated throughout the entire novel showing the realism of real friendship where sometimes you hate each other boyfriends and fight with each other but ultimately you will always have each others back through thick and thin.

The only issue I had with Girls in White Dresses was the way Jennifer quickly moved from narrating between different characters, sometimes ones we had not even met before. I found this confusing at times and in the beginning particularly was unsure of who the story was about and what relation they were to the main characters. The story also moved quite quickly not only between each character but sometimes many years would pass by without mention. I also did not like the way certain characters narrated once but then were never mentioned again meaning that we never really found out what happened to them or who they were.  



Overall I did enjoy reading Girls in White Dresses finding it to be a real page turner. With the candid dry humour and engaging characters you will find it hard not to fall in love with this book. I wanted to room with all these girls and spend hours chatting over a few bottles of wine. Isabella, Mary and Lauren reminded me in many ways of some of my own friends. For anyone who is in their twenties and thirties, or remembers these times fondly this is defiantly a novel for you. I cant wait to read more from Jennifer Close in the future.


Winner of Keeping Secrets

Darlene Fredette picked out a winner for her e-book copy of Keeping Secrets. The winner that she picked was:
Tamara Burks (Comment#21).

Congratulations Tamara! Darlene will be getting in touch with you regarding your prize.

Here is a message from Darlene:

Thank you to everyone who left a comment AND please note there's more chances to win a copy of Keeping Secrets on my web site: http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com

1. The week of Sep 5th I'll be hosting a blog tour with a giveaway. Check details under my Scorcher Blog Tour 'other features' tag. Draw date Sep 10 (midnight).

2. Follow my web blog and your name will be entered in a draw...just for my followers! Draw date September 12. Leave a comment (with your email addy) under 'Followers Contest'.

Good luck!


Thank you Georgina for the review and hosting me on your blog!

Dont forget that if you didn't win you can still purchase Keeping Secrets below:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Whats In My Mailbox This Week and What Am I Reading?

There is nothing better than receiving packages in the post. I love going down to my mailbox and finding something other than bills waiting for me. This week I received these books from lots of lovely pubishers:


This week I am reading:

Little Black Dress by Susan McBride, received this from Stephanie Kim at William Morrow Publishing. Susan McBride will be stopping by Chick Lit Aholic next week:



Confessions of a Call Center Gal by Lisa Lim. I received this from the author herself.  Lisa Lim will also be joining us on Chick Lit Aholic next week. Don't tell me I don't spoil you all :



 Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto. Got this one from the library as I really wanted to read it











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