Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Friday Read, Friendship, Romantic Comedy

Suddenly Single – Carol Wyer -4* #Review #BlogTour @canelo_co @carolewyer #RomCom #Extract #SocialAnxietyDisorder #MentalHealth #FridayReads #FridayFeeling

When bestselling romance author Chloe Piper’s marriage implodes a week before Christmas, she flees her cheating ex and the village gossips for the solitude of the newly built Sunny Meadow Farm and the company of her hapless dog, Ronnie.

But Chloe is soon pushed out of her comfort zone. Because with a lively development building crew – headed up by charming Alex – and a larger-than-life neighbour determined to make Chloe’s love life her pet project, Chloe finds herself in a whole new world of chaos…

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Extract From Suddenly Single – Carol Wyer

Faith drained her glass and released a lengthy contented sigh. The log burner was still glowing orange, and shadows danced across the floor where Ronnie now lay asleep.

‘You made the right decision to leave Appletree and start again,’ said Faith, holding onto the stem of her glass and eyeing it as if it might magically refill itself. ‘This house is much nicer than your old one and William’s a complete tosser.’

Chloe didn’t respond. She was mellow thanks to the champagne and reality was replacing the excitement of moving. It felt strange being in a house without the memorabilia she’d been used to having around her – the funny animal sculptures she and William had bought together from a local artist, the teapot collection she’d started, the paintings and photographs on their walls she’d looked at every day for the last ten years. It was gone. The smell of the old place, the familiar creaks she’d become accustomed to: the birds that nested every year under their guttering, the crackle of the fire in their large open fireplace and the way she’d sink into the cushions on their old settee were now memories and she had yet to make new ones to replace them. It would take time. William was also memory now – a bittersweet memory.

‘It won’t last,’ Faith continued, referring to William’s relationship with Lilly, the Swedish bombshell who was now part of her soon-to-be ex-husband’s life. Chloe knew her friend was trying to be supportive but she didn’t want to discuss William’s latest girlfriend. Whether it lasted or not was irrelevant – the fact was he’d cheated on her and not just the once. Before Lilly, there’d been others and poor dumb Chloe had been too stupid to realise. She threw Faith a smile and pushed herself into a standing position.

‘Wine?’ she said.

Faith waved her glass in response.

Chloe caught sight of her reflection in the large windows as she walked through to the kitchen. She ought to draw the curtains but there was no one to overlook the house, and by the door, she halted. There was no light pollution at all. The sky was never as inky black as this in Appletree. There’d always been pavements illuminated by street lights or light from people’s homes leaking into the manicured front gardens, or car headlights strobing up and down the road. This was darkness like she’d never experienced before and yet it wasn’t dark. As her eyes grew accustomed to it, she saw the sky was dotted with thousands… no, millions of pinpricks of lights from stars, and the sudden realisation took her breath away. This was magnificent. Faith shouted out. ‘Oy, where’s that wine? You haven’t gone in search of the sexy carpenter, have you?’ She followed her comment with a hearty chuckle.

‘Coming.’

She turned from the door, catching again a glimpse of her face – pale, heart-shaped and framed with long dark brown hair – a face that had aged ten years in the last ten months. She’d never been what anyone would call pretty but she’d looked well and now-now she just looked drained. William had sucked all the joy from her, little by little at first and then towards the end, in huge amounts. If it hadn’t been for the success of her novel and Faith’s friendship, she’d have gone under. She turned away and grabbed the chilled wine from the fridge door, reached for a corkscrew in the top drawer and smiled: she’d gone to the drawer automatically, instinctively as if she’d lived here far longer than a few hours. She took it as a sign that she’d be fine and yanking the cork from the bottle she raised it victoriously towards the lounge.

‘You want a fresh glass?’

‘Damn right I do… fetch those ones that look like fish bowls.’

Chloe grinned. Faith was already semi-drunk and would soon be demanding they opened the karaoke app on her mobile and had a sing-along. And why not? The house would probably enjoy it.

I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A charming romantic comedy, with a sensitive and serious look at social anxiety disorder and its disabling effects. Christmas looms dark and dangerous for Chloe, whose husband has recently left her. A successful debut author, who suffers from anxiety, Chloe is horrified when she is identified as the author CJ Knight, and can no longer find the anonymity she needs in her village. Moving to a new development in rural Staffordshire appeals but is it too remote? Will she master her writer’s block? Can she survive Christmas with only Ronnie the dog for company?

The characters in the new development and those she meets in the singles club are complex, with their own emotional baggage but believable, there are no stereotypes here, only reflections of the people you may encounter in your daily life. The story charts Chloe’s battle against her anxiety, her courage as she learns to trust others and her emotional journey to rebuild her self-esteem through writing her second book.

There are lots of conflicts, as the genre demands, both internal and external, and many hilarious moments, especially involving Ronnie the dog. The story is gently paced and as Chloe is a likeable character you want her to find true happiness, and learn to live her life fully. There are elements in this story that many readers will relate to, which make this more than just a lighthearted love story.

A clever balance of romance, laughs and poignancy make this an enjoyable read.

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As a child, Carol Wyer was always moving and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

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Posted in The Dangerous Gift, Writing Journey

Paperback or eBook? #authorchat

 

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This weekend the paperback version of The Dangerous Gift went live on Amazon. This was a noteworthy moment for me. This is my third published book,  but it’s the first available as a paperback and that feels like a step forward.

I still think there is a misconception that an author is not properly published until they can hold a copy of their book in their hand. Is this how other authors feel?  It seems out of sync in this technological age. Where almost everything can be done in a virtual setting.

I hardly ever read paperbacks or hardback books now, for me its far more convenient to use my Kindle, which I can even read with the lights out, because it’s back-lit. 🙂 I do most of my reading at night and I often have insomniac tendencies, so an electronic reading device is perfect for me.

I was sent a paperback from a publisher just before Christmas for review and although it was great to look at the cover in colour, (not possible on my type of Kindle), I couldn’t honestly see any other reading benefits and now I’ve read it, I have to make space for it on my oversubscribed book shelves.

So for me eBooks are preferable to paperbacks both in terms of usability and storage. Yet the myth lingers that I am a ‘proper’ author now I have a paperback version of my book. What do other author’s think?

Comment below or chat with me on Twitter at @jolliffe03 #authorchat.

My  eBook version of The Dangerous Gift releases tomorrow 9 February , so I’ll leave you with my short and simple book trailer …

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I still need supporters for my #thunderclap campaign which has about 18 hours to run . Please sign up for a tweet, FB post or Tumblr post or all three at  https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/37283-the-dangerous-gift

Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: Cover Girl – Nic Tatano

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Blurb - Coastal

Powerhouse romance editor Keira Madison is known as “Cover Girl” – because she’s come up with the concepts for the covers of the best selling novels in history. But right now, she’s desperate to replace her best selling author.

Wannabe author Alex Bauer has given up hope of ever selling his military thriller, so he takes a shot at writing a romance and sends it to super agent Bella Farentino. She’s blown away by the book, but more shocked to find out the author is a man. So she decides it’s best to keep it a secret when pitching the novel – what does a man know about romance after all?

When Keira buys the book, Alex needs a cover story to hide the fact he’s the real author. So he invents a fictional cousin who’s an agoraphobe; too shy to ever leave the house. He agrees to work as “her” intermediary during the editing process while getting a friend to “play” the author on the phone.

One major problem. He falls hard for Keira, a spunky redhead who is a dead ringer for the heroine in the book. And she’s smitten with him, as he’s a clone of the novel’s romantic hero, a fictional Mister Right come to life.

You see where this is going.

As the release date for the book gets closer, their relationship grows stronger while the tale of the fictional author goes over the top. At some point Alex will have to come clean that he’s the real author of the book but worries he’ll risk losing Keira because she won’t be able to trust him.

Buy Links - Coastal

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My Review - Coastal

Cover GirlThis story has the distinctive, edgy realism of the other books in the series, even when the plot spins a tale of epic, fairytale proportions. The characters are believable and vivid, I could picture them and their expressions as I read the story and this made it an enjoyable read. The meeting between dynamic Keira and our gentle hero Alex is original and plausible.

Keira is a strong female character who takes no prisoners in her work life, romance is a different story but luckily she has her fairy godmother or editorial assistant Gretch who makes her believe in herself.

Alex isn’t an alpha hero but a rare male who appears to understand, what’s important to women. Despite this, he misses the obvious on numerous occasions with some comical and poignant results.

The story is perfect for romantic comedy. A career dream comes true for Alex and he finds a woman, who could be his soul mate but when the plot twists come into play, his dream career, perfect love life and his sanity are all in danger.

For me, the test of a good romantic comedy is the humour and the imagery it portrays. This story delivers both and was a pleasant escape for a few hours.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Cover Girl by Nic Tatano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Cover Girl by Nic Tatano

Nic Tatano

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Posted in Book Review, Writing Journey

Can Authors Be Book Reviewers Too?

Book Reviewer I’m a regular reader of Kristen Lamb’s Blog , her posts are full of useful information about writing and social media and her anecdotes are amusing.  Last week I read her post entitled ‘Three NEVERS of Social Media for Writers’ , it’s an interesting post  and one I recommend you read. The three ‘nevers’ appeared commonsense to me but a point she made in the ‘Never Write Bad Book Reviews’ ‘Our BRAND is AUTHOR, not “book reviewer”.’,was thought-provoking and got me thinking.

DSCN1097In her post, she refers us to an earlier blog post; ‘Is it FAIR for Authors to Review other Authors? Do we ruin the Magic?’ so I read this too.

Briefly, it examines the differences between critique and review. Paraphrased,  it asks the question,  do writers know too much about the logistics of story writing and risk unmasking the illusion that all story tellers weave, if they review books?

I personally don’t read reviews before I read a novel or watch a TV programme. I didn’t even before I wrote. I like to make my own mind up. Reviews for every product and service are popular now with the growth of e-commerce and many people like to read reviews before they read the book.

WellnessBadgebadge_80In a saturated market ,reviews seem key to a book’s success. It’s the quantity not the quality of the reviews that appears to sell books and that’s a shame but not something that’s likely to change.

If a writer reviews a book without allowing themselves to be immersed in the fiction,seeing only the mechanics of story’s creation. Any negative comments on point of view, grammar or flow they make, are likely to shatter the creative illusion for other readers.

My Review -1All reviews, like everything else in the publishing world, are subjective, an opinion. Useful reviews shouldn’t contain many if any ‘spoilers’ and should highlight the story’s positives.

DSCN1091I don’t offer a critique or review as a writer. I’m new to writing but I’m a reader of almost 50 years 🙂 I read  fiction and I reviewed over 130 books in 2014. I review the story and how it effects me. The feedback on my reviews from other readers and authors is usually positive. They find them useful and surely that’s a good thing?

Mystery Thriller My ReviewSo to answer my original question ‘Can Authors be Book Reviewers too?’One of the points Kristen makes is that there is a  conflict of interest. Authors that are book reviewers risk alienating their peers if they give critical reviews. Or their reviews are full of platitudes, so’s not to offend.

It’s a fine line to walk certainly, but I rarely find a book that I can’t say something positive about. You don’t have to be unkind. If you can only find a few positives, the review is short.The inference is, the book wasn’t for you but you are offering an opinion in positive terms, whilst still being honest. If  I find a book I don’t like, I don’t finish it and don’t review it.

Most authors that are also book reviewers, do it because they enjoy it. If that makes me less cutting edge, as an author that’s fine  I write because I love it and book reviews are writing too.DSCN1366DSCN1380

What do you think?