Friday, 24 February 2017

Guest Post - I Love The Colosseum by Jules Wake - Rome Week


When you’re writing a book set in Rome, the biggest problem is deciding how to chose which of the many amazing sights to include.  The Eternal City, as it is known, is like no other. Modern meets ancient in the most unlikely juxtapositions, first century aqueducts crossing busy ring-roads, the Colosseum rooted alongside speeding cars and the ruined buildings of the Palatine smack bang in the middle of a busy city centre. 

As I’ve been fascinated by the Romans since I was at primary school, the Colosseum was my must-see site in the city and I had to include it in the book.  


It’s one of my favourite buildings in the world, which is probably obvious to readers of From Rome With Love as I just had to take my hero and heroine there.  The Colosseum is the most amazing place, not just in terms of the vast structure, but also its complexity and history.  How on earth did the Romans build this huge edifice without the benefit of modern technology and power tools?

I also marvel at the sophistication behind the design, the features of which are still seen today in modern stadiums. The Colosseum was constructed with a series of 76 passageways behind the tiers of seats called vomitorium which enabled 50,000 people to reach and leave their seats in 15 minutes. Interesting fact: The word vomit comes from this, meaning to spew out. 



More importantly, whether you’ve seen the film Gladiator or not, there’s an incredible atmosphere when you stand on one of the tiers looking down into the huge oval arena.  It’s so easy to imagine the human history here; the Christians facing not just lions but any number of ferocious beasts, executions, animal hunts and gladiatorial combat with the audience, rich and poor, shouting and baying for blood. 

Sorry, as usual when it comes to the Colosseum, I tend to get a little carried away! Which brings home that one of the hardest things about writing this book was getting the balance right between describing the places and not sounding too much like a guide book. 

 My hero and heroine did also visit plenty of other famous tourist sites including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica but there are many more I could have included.  I hope I did justice to the city of Rome, with the ones I chose to feature, and that readers feel I’ve given them a brief glimpse of this wonderful city.  

Well Jules, I think it is clear to say that you definitely love The Colosseum! Thank you so much for sharing your passion with us.

Jules Wake

An avid reader, Jules Wake started writing when she ran out of books by her favourite authors. Her books combine some of her favourite activities, food, wine and travel.  She draws on her experience as a PR in the food and drink industry, where she had to go on lots of press trips to dreadful places like Paris, Milan, Turin and Amsterdam as well as the period she spent working (hic!) for several wineries and vineyards in Marlborough, the Sauvignon Blanc capital of New Zealand. 
She is allergic to dust, and finds writing the perfect alternative to housework.

www.juleswake.co.uk 
@juleswake
https://www.facebook.com/juleswake.co.uk/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rome-Love-perfect-feel-good-romance-ebook/dp/B01KVEXOJI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 

Amazon UK

If you can’t stand the heat…

Rome is the city of love and seduction, right? Not if you find yourself staying in a beautiful apartment with your childhood-friend-turned-arch-enemy, Will Ryan…no matter how hot he is!


Romance is the last thing on Lisa’s mind. She’s got more important things to focus on, like hunting down her estranged father. Except when her search falls at the first hurdle, Will doesn’t just help her get back on track, he also shares the romantic sights – and exquisite tastes – of the Eternal City, and Lisa starts to wonder if it’s not just Rome seducing her.


Only, as Lisa and Will dig into the past, neither of them is prepared for the long-buried secrets they reveal. Secrets that will turn both their world’s upside down …

Book Review - From Rome with Love by Jules Wake - Rome Week



Amazon UK
Title: From Rome With Love
Author: Jules Wake
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 13th January 2017
Rating: 5 Stars


If you can’t stand the heat…

Rome is the city of love and seduction, right? Not if you find yourself staying in a beautiful apartment with your childhood-friend-turned-arch-enemy, Will Ryan…no matter how hot he is!

Romance is the last thing on Lisa’s mind. She’s got more important things to focus on, like hunting down her estranged father. Except when her search falls at the first hurdle, Will doesn’t just help her get back on track, he also shares the romantic sights – and exquisite tastes – of the Eternal City, and Lisa starts to wonder if it’s not just Rome seducing her.

Only, as Lisa and Will dig into the past, neither of them is prepared for the long-buried secrets they reveal. Secrets that will turn both their world’s upside down …

Such a joy to be back reading the From ...with love series, and I feel as though I haven't been away, with the story telling just as brilliant as the others. There is just such a comfortable feel to this book, its as though you are reading about old friends, but in reality Lisa and Will haven't been the focus of the others in the series, so its just clever writing making you feel as though you know them rather fast. 

That being said, Siena and Laurie from the first two books do play a part in this one, but as From Rome With Love works as a standalone, you don't need to know them to in advance, but for anyone like me that has read them all, it is great to catch up with characters I love. 

I feel as though I have had a fantastic trip to Rome through this story, taking in not only some of the major tourist attractions, but thanks to Will wanting to setup an authentic Italian restaurant, there is a lot of bellissimo Italian food. Lisa isn't the most adventurous eater, so its lovely to see her trusting Will, with trying some new delicacies, despite the fact the pair of them don't tend to get on. 

Lisa is a lovely main character, she has a fear of heights, has never travelled alone before, and absolutely loves her Nan, and her guide book!  Lisa has only agreed to this trip to Rome, in order to meet her estranged father, and allows a friend to give her free accommodation in Rome to save on money. However Giovanni appears to have other ideas. 

Their first day sightseeing together gives important insights into both of their personalities, so its rather a relief that Will had managed to arrange his research trip to Rome, for the same dates as Lisa. Will helps Lisa with the search for her father, and I could see that the pair were growing closer over the days in Rome, even if they were denying it. There are definitely some surprises in store, as things are never as they seem. 

With Lisa's guide book obsession, I learnt a lot about the Colosseum and also the Sistine Chapel, and I would have loved to gone to the Trevi Fountain with her. Then again I'd have also been happy with Giovanni's first night choice of things to do, but Lisa and Will weren't as enthralled at watching Rome vs Lazio in a Roman bar! 

From Rome with Love blends in a perfect mix...Italian food, the city of Rome, romance, hidden family secrets, friendship and fabulous descriptive storytelling, in  a wonderful story that I loved every second of. 

Thank you to Harper Impulse and Netgalley for this copy of the book which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Book Review - The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts by Jennifer Joyce - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title:  The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts
Author: Jennifer Joyce
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital 
Publication Date: 8th February 2017
Rating: 4 Stars


From fairy cakes to first dates!

Maddie Lamington’s dreams are crumbling around her. If she doesn’t come up with a plan to save her little teashop on Sweet Street soon, it might be too late…

So when she sees how the perfect apple crumble brings together her lonely father and faithful customer Birdie, inspiration strikes: she’ll set up a dating night involving all her sweetest bakes.

Luckily, seriously gorgeous Caleb is on hand to help sprinkle a little magic – and a lot of sugar! Could one night of scrumptious first dates fix Maddie’s heartbreak and save her beloved teashop, too?

Having now finished reading The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts, I have just realised how hungry a large amount of the book has made me. There are so many mentions of delicious cakes being described, that I can only suggest you have some snacks ready, while you eat, as I suddenly have a large craving for cake, or maybe some of Maddie's apple crumble given her father, and also regular customer Birdie seem to love it so much! 

Or maybe I should eat some of the little servings of cakes that Maddie serves, during the concept that she really hopes will put The Sweet Street Teashop on the map - speed dating and cake! Maddie's tea-shop is wonderful and it has a whole set regular customers, with various quirks. 

There is Robbie who only ever wants Banana milkshakes, the builder who clearly fancies Mags who works alongside Maddie, Birdie who has a gorgeous son, Caleb, and very cute granddaughter Cara, there is also Nicky who is Maddie's best friend and works in the salon on Sweet Street, Neal, who is Caleb's best friend who may be interested in one of the women too, amongst others. 

However Maddie's small cast of regular customers, aren't enough to turn a profit at the teashop, hence her need to come up with the dating idea. 

There are so many scenes that just brought a large smile to my face, including a certain discussion about underpants with Caleb, when you get there I 'm sure you will agree! She occasionally speaks without quite thinking how it may sound, and thus has a slight foot in mouth problem! Regardless she is loveable and just trying to do her hardest for the employees, and be the best friend she can be, while being sworn off love. 

With its delectable combination of cake, friendship, heartbreak, entertaining characters and just a whole lot of fun, written in an easy to read style, The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts is a highly enjoyable story. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and HQ Digital for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Take a look at all my wonderful fellow bloggers, that are also sharing their thoughts on the blog tour for The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts. 



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Book Review - Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick

Amazon UK
Title:  Bad Little Girl
Author: Frances Vick
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 22nd February 2017
Rating: 4.5 Stars


‘I’m not safe – you have to help me…’

Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.

As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe. 

Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled? 

Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?

Due to the nature of this book, I spent a fair amount of time during the first half of the story utterly annoyed as to what I was reading. I was trying to work out just what was being conveyed could ever happen, and having done safeguarding children workshops, I was shocked at some of Claire's dialogue and behaviour. 

Unless I am mis-remembering what I've learnt in the past,  about how to handle potential disclosures and child protection issues, there is a fair amount of what Claire said to Lorna Bell at various stages that would be wrong. Of course some of her actions are incredibly questionable to, but I do appreciate this is a work of fiction and thus some liberties can be taken with real life situations. 

Yet despite of my frustrations, I found I wanted to know how the story ended, I didn't see the twist mentioned on the cover of the book, coming, nor the exact nature of it, and as far as I'm concerned a book that is keeping me reading to the end, and that I have such strong opinions about some of the content of, is clearly a well written book, and could be in fact expected to divide opinions. 

It took a while for me as a reader, to work out the true natures of some of the characters, so its no surprise it took them longer to size each other up. I had some suspicions the whole way through to various aspects, and none of those particularly surprised me. 

What did take me be surprise were my feelings towards Lorna Bell. She when we first meet her, is a five year old child in a playground, but she is from a family with a bad reputation, so it isn't before long that the other children can see her as different. At times I really felt sorry for the child, and at others as she grow up I started to suspect she was a lot more cunning then she appeared. 

Claire on the other hand is the soft hearted teacher who has been at the school for many years. She takes pastoral care perhaps more seriously than teaching her own class anything, and it's clear she has taken a shine to Lorna. At a time where Claire is feeling low, the pair's "friendship" as it is, seems to be mutually beneficial, but how staged is it and by who. 

The addition of a third main person for the second half of the story is where it started to get even more interesting, and I loved seeing how all the dynamics kept shifting around, between the main characters. 

There is a sense of danger in the story throughout, which is what I always tend to associate with psychological thrillers, and on the whole I was incredibly intrigued to find out exactly what happened.  Bad Little Girl is a cleverly crafted story, that had me fairly gripped throughout. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Book Review - Love Them and Leave Them by Sue Shepherd - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title:  Love Them and Leave Them
Author: Sue Shepherd
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied review copy
Publisher: Corazon Books
Publication Date: 27th September 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars


On his way home, Ed makes a split-second decision that changes the lives of all those who love him.

Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessie, is stuck in a job with no prospects, her dreams never fulfilled. It will take more than her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, and temperamental best friend, Coco, to give her the confidence to get her life back on track.

But what if Ed had made another decision? It could all have been so different …

Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessica, has a successful career, loving boyfriend, Nick, and a keen eye on her dream home. But when new clients, a temperamental Coco, and her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, walk into her life, Jessica’s perfect world soon starts to unravel.

Love Them and Leave Them is a story of love, families, friendship and a world of possibilities. Whichever decision Ed makes, the same people are destined to come into his daughter’s life, sometimes in delightfully different ways. And before they can look forward to the future, they will all have to deal with the mistakes of the past.

Unlike in real life where once you have made a split-second decision you have to live with the consequences and would never know how things turn out, in fiction you can see how one decision is made and follow both potential outcomes. 

Which is what Love Them and Leave Them is all about, showing that the same people may come into your lives not matter what, but the reasoning for them, and what they will mean to you could become radically different. This book shows just what weird ways fate operates. 

If you were driving down a road in a rainstorm and saw a non moving rabbit in the road in front of you, would you swerve to avoid it, or just continue forwards and hope it runs out of the way in time? Well this is the decision that Ed has to make right at the start of Love Them and Leave Them, which sets of two completely different chain reactions involving his family and more specifically his daughter Jessica. 

The story then picks up six years later, and once you have been introduced to the two different scenarios and outcomes, the book continues by alternating each outcome, so each chapter you alternating seeing the results of the swerve or the possibly rabbiticide! 

In one scenario Jessica's life has barely gone anywhere, she is waitressing and has trouble maker for a boyfriend who is generally unreliable. In the other she is a barrister, with a wonderful boyfriend and they are looking at houses.

As the story progresses you will see many similarities between the two halves and although you may expect it to be hard to keep track of both ways of life, I found it relatively simple and I was greatly enjoying elements from both of them. 

There is a great mix of action, drama, relationship woes, friendship problems, health scares, and generally a similar selection of characters in both lives. It is really hard to say much more in detail about the plot as  it really is more enjoyable to discover it from scratch but rest assured its very enjoyable. 

This was the first book I had read by Sue Shepherd and I was really impressed with the concept and execution of the story, as well as the easy to follow writing style. Love Them or Leave Them is a lovely novel that may get you thinking what if... in your own life. 

Thank you so much to Ian at Corazon for my copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

About Sue Shepherd
Sue Shepherd writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour. Her debut novel, Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret? was published by Corazon Books in March 2015. It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon in November 2015.

Sue’s second novel, Love Them and Leave Them, was published in September 2016.


Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you'll give her the heebie-jeebies. 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/thatsueshepherd





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Monday, 20 February 2017

Book Review - The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #53

Amazon UK
Title:  The Queen of Wishful Thinking
Author: Milly Johnson
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Goody bag from blogging event
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 9th March 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his  wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.

As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?

Simply indescribable just how much I enjoyed this book, and how brilliant it is. This is Milly Johnson at her very best, weaving a story that will want you wanting more. I was hooked from the beginning, in this heartwarming story of friendship, family, doing the right thing, a  couple of very different marriages and the most colourful cast of antique dealers you can imagine. 

The first thing I want to say is that I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit during the book, not necessarily at what Lew and Bonnie are up to, but more the short articles that crop up from time to time from the local Daily Trumpet newspaper, how have a great habit of misspelling vital words radically changing the meaning of what is being said. These just really matched my sense of humour and I have to believe that Milly Johnson probably enjoyed coming up with them. 

Bonnie is trapped in a loveless marriage, where every day is exactly the same. It is like she has become old before her time and she is desperate for escape. Her life starts to change when she loses her job with a hideous boss, and somehow gets a new one elsewhere in the same sort of field, in a much nicer shop. 

Pot of Gold is an antiques shop, that Lewis opened after is life changing heart attack two years ago. Before that he had a high powered job, but his wife still thinks he earns that level of money. He believes it is fate that brought Bonnie into his shop and she really does change the fortunes of the place. 

I thought the whole community of antique dealers was incredibly colourful and they all had brilliant nicknames, that usually described the sort of thing they were interested in. They have all known Bonnie for many years and will do anything for her, and there are a few touching moments when they prove it. 

Stephen is a character I had nothing but disdain for, he is Bonnie's husband, and is a cold hearted controlling sort of man. He managed to blackmail Bonnie into staying with him once before, and is convinced it will work again. He is an incredibly nasty piece of work, and I was just shocked how much I disliked him. 

Both Lew and Bonnie go on a rollercoaster ride of emotion in their personal lives . There are some elements that mirror in each of them, but on the whole they are quite different. 

I felt incredibly sorry for Bonnie for most of the second half of the book, and can't believe the amount of years she stayed with her manipulative husband. I loved the way she decided to earn herself some extra money, while feeling gutted at the nature of her biggest secret, which as a result of it being revealed, causes her to have an awful time. 

The Queen of Wishful Thinking is vintage Milly Johnson, it is incredibly comforting to read, I felt right at home with the writing style and characters, I love how the story was weaved together, and built from the start. There weren't any particularly slow bits and I felt that everything in the book had been well honed to become the gripping story that it was. 

Rachel Reads Randomly - Vote #54


 
Thank you everyone for your input last time. The results of the last vote were:

0 Votes - Trusting Jake by Lauren Giordano
2 Votes -  Hopeful - an autobiography by Omid Djalil
2 Votes - Mickey Take by Steven Hayward
2 Votes -  The Anniversary by Various
10 Votes -  The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson

Huge thanks to everyone that picked the new Milly Johnson for me, I am so glad it has meant I could fit in reading it, and its superb. Go check out my review later today! Also think this was the first time a non fiction book has picked up more than 1 vote in one of these features, so that was interesting, for the autobiography. 

On Friday I have my Rome Week starting, so in the spirit of all things Italian, and to add a bit of flavour to this weeks vote, we have a selection of books that as far I can tell from the blurbs should all be set, or have a section in Italy! 

Below is my initial theory for this feature, and then a bit further, what you are all waiting for... This weeks's vote! Enjoy!

I am also awful at deciding what book to read next, as I often have about 10 titles or authors jumping into my brain at any time, shouting at me to read them, and I tend to worry I have made the wrong decision while reading a perfectly good book. I am hoping this will save me having to make at least 1 choice a week, while possibly providing a review to the site of a book you all either love or are curious about yourselves. 

So what I am proposing, is my lovely loyal readers of Rachel's Random Reads, select one book for me to read a week, and I will post the review the following week. 

This week's random numbers are...



And the books these numbers correspond to are...


So the 5 choices with my gut feeling responses are:



1 - Save The Date by Allie Spencer - I have really enjoyed books I've read by this author in the past, and I know Italy features in it somewhere! 
4 - Head Over Heel: Seduced by Southern Italy by Chris Harrison - I believe this is travel writing book, and I love reading about Southern Italy. 
6 - Finding You by Danielle Ryan - A new author for me, however the tag line on Amazon says its a feel good love story set in Milan, so sounds like the sort of book I should enjoy
8 - Gardens of Delight by Erica James - Thanks to this feature only read a book by Erica James a couple of weeks ago, just hope if this wins that I enjoy it more. I also know this is set in Lake Como. 
12 - The Little Theatre By The Sea by Rosanna Ley - Set in Sardinia, this is a book that is out in a couple of weeks time. I have only read one book by the author before, but this one has intrigued me since I saw the cover and title. 

I think this could be a potentially interesting and very close vote this week. I know the books are all set in Italy, as that was kind of the point, I have read some of the authors before, and the others interest me. I am very much looking forward to seeing everyones thoughts on these books. 

Pick your favourite or the one you most want me to review, or just the one you are curious about, and leave me a comment below, before midnight on Wednesday. 

I look forward to seeing what I will be reading over the weekend, courtesy of you all.

The explanation if you haven't seen the feature before. 


How is this going to work?

Every Monday, I am going to have a post like this, which is going to have some choices on it. I am planning on using random.org to select 7 random numbers, to coincide with my spreadsheet of unread books.  

I will from that produce a list of hopefully 5 books, I reserve the right to veto any books, and will give reasons for them, if it occurs.

I will take screenshots and post them, of the chosen books, and also give you my instinctive reactions to the choices (without checking blurbs or any other info about them, which could be interesting as there are probably many forgotten about books on my spreadsheet!). 

Your task is to post a comment on this post, with the book you would like me to read this week. At midnight on Wednesday I will take a tally of the votes and the book with the most, I will read and review for the following Monday, where you will also get a new choice post. 

In the event of a tie, I will chose which one appeals most, for the Monday review, and possibly try and read and review the other to appear when I can. 

I am hoping this will provide some variety to the books appearing, and will let me potentially read or discover some great authors that I have wanted to read but not got around to yet.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Book Review - One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis - Fab Firsts



Fab Firsts is my new regular Sunday feature, that is going to be highlighting books that are firsts. When interviewing authors, it will be about their first book, as well as other firsts in their lives. When reviewing books for this feature, there will be a mix of debuts, first books in a series, the first time I read an author, and possibly other firsts depending on what I can think of!

If you are an author wanting to take part in Fab Firsts then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you.

I hope you enjoy this look at a variety of hopefully fabulous firsts, while making some sort of dent in my review and paperback TBRs which are my current main focus!

One Little Mistake is Emma Curtis' first psychological suspense novel, and given it had been staring at me since I won it from Dead Good, I figured I should probably read it!

Amazon UK
Title: One Little Mistake
Author: Emma Curtis
Format reviewed: Paperback 
Source: Competition Win
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publication Date: 23rd February 2017
Rating: 4 Stars


Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.

When she risks everything she holds dear on a whim, there's only person she trusts enough to turn to.

But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you're careless with those you love, you don't deserve to keep them . . . 

I'm still reeling from the finale of this book, especially having been convinced very early on how I was expecting everything to turn out, but the reality was far more dramatic and a lot more gripping than my imagination was ever going to think! 

The story is all about how one quick minor absences of common sense or judgment can affect your life in ways far outside of your control. With the mistake that Vicky makes, as she was making it I was cursing myself for picking up another of a certain subset of psychological thriller, so soon after reading others with similar themes, thankfully I couldn't have been more wrong if I tried, although there are elements present. 

The story is told both from Vicky's point of view, but also of a girl 18 years ago, who is going through a tough time. Unfortunately due to what I believe to be an error in my proof copy very early on, I pretty much knew how the stories were connected, but even with that info it still wasn't enough to prepare me for the details of the way they converge. 

As a warning - I'm not sure how related it is but the night after I read the first 200 pages of this book, I had a horrifically disturbing dream, and when I came to from it, I had the books name in my mind over and over. Perhaps don't read this too close to bed time. 

I found the story quite easy to follow and I liked the way that Emma Curtis portrayed the characters and the way the action ramped up throughout the book. The more I read the more involved I was, and the more I was thinking about the book, when I wasn't reading.  If it hadn't been for my commute I probably wouldn't have put down the last 100 pages or so! 

One Little Mistake will make you question your friendships, and just what you would do if you make a very small spur of the moment decision, knowing that it could haunt you forever. 

Fab Firsts - Q&A with Denise Deegan


Fab Firsts is my new regular Sunday feature, that is going to be highlighting books that are firsts. When interviewing authors, it will be about their first book, as well as other firsts in their lives. When reviewing books for this feature, there will be a mix of debuts, first books in a series, the first time I read an author, and possibly other firsts depending on what I can think of! 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Fab Firsts then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope you enjoy this look at a variety of hopefully fabulous firsts, while making some sort of dent in my review and paperback TBRs which are my current main focus!

Denise Deegan is an Irish author of eight novels. Her latest, Through the Barricades, is her first work of historical fiction. Prior to that Denise wrote a popular Young Adult trilogy called The Butterfly Novels. She also writes contemporary women’s fiction under the pen name Aimee Alexander. She has been published by Penguin, Hachette, Random House and Lake Union Publishing. Her latest Aimee Alexander novel, The Accidental Life of Greg Millar, has become an international bestseller. 
1) Can you tell us a bit about your first book?

My first novel was called Turning Turtle. It is the story of a woman who gives up work to follow her dream of writing fiction while spending more time with her two young children. It all goes terribly wrong when the balance of power shifts in her relationship with her husband. 

2) What was your original inspiration to become a writer, and to write your debut?

I was doing a literature review for a Masters in PR. I realised that a book didn’t exist that should. So I wrote that book of non-fiction. As soon as it was published I experienced an overwhelming urge to write a novel. I had no agent, no publisher and no idea for a novel but I gave up my PR business and went ahead anyway.

3) How long did it take you to write your first book?

Six months for the first draft.

4) If you could do anything differently in retrospect, what would you change about your debut, or how you went about writing it?

I sent the manuscript out without ever going over it, which was incredibly naïve. Luckily, an agent saw something in it and gave me editing advice.

5) Was your first book self or traditionally published, and how did you go about making that decision?

It was traditionally published. Back then it was the only option. However, when it went out of print and the rights reverted to me, self-publishing had become an option. Attracted by that adventure, I relaunched myself. I chose a pen name, Aimee Alexander (the names of my children combined). I edited the novel afresh and renamed it All We Have Lost. Self-publishing has been an amazing adventure. One of my novels, The Accidental Life of Greg Millar, was spotted by Amazon imprint, Lake Union Publishing. They republished it under their imprint. It became an international bestseller. 
6) Do you have any tips for other first time authors?

Love writing. Keep loving writing, no matter how many rejections you get. Remind yourself that you are doing this because you love it, because you can’t not do it. Keep going. Consider self-publishing. It is a legitimate option where you have full control. Still Alice was initially self-published, as was The Martian. If you decide on self-publishing, get your book as good as it can be; hire a professional editor and cover designer and get your stories out to the world. And: GOOD LUCK.

Tell us about your first…

7) Book you bought

Pride and Prejudice. I had a massive Jane Austen obsession in my teens. I read – and reread – all her novels. Incredibly shy, I experienced romance vicariously through the characters. There was a lot of sighing!

8) Memory

I remember falling off my tricycle, smashing my mouth, my lips becoming hugely swollen, being fed a scone and hating scones for years afterwards. 

9) Person you fell in love with

Joe. My husband. First love. Massive love. Recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows in Rome. It was where we wanted to marry all those years ago but succumbed to family pressure to marry at home. Which turned out to be lovely too. 

10) Holiday you went on

Family holiday in Benidorm, I think. 

11) Prize you won

I got some award or other for coming first in my PR class. 

12) Album you purchased

The Very Best of Leo Sayer. 

13) Sport you enjoyed participating in

Hockey. Tennis. Swimming. 

14) Embarrassing moment you can remember

As a teenager, to make small talk, I asked a friend of a friend if she’d washed her hair. (It looked wet.) She hadn’t. It was greasy. 

15) Pet

My Golden Retriever, Bashful. OK, he wasn’t mine per se. He was the family pet. But he loved me the most! Just don’t ask my brothers or sister! 

16) Time you were in trouble

As a teenager, I was caught sneaking out of school at lunch hour, which was against the rules. I’m sure I was in trouble with my parents many times before that but this is the memory that sticks.

17) Choice of alternative career if you weren’t an author

I’ve been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a checkout girl, a public relations consultant and entrepreneur and a college lecturer. 

18) Time you had any independence

At seventeen, I began training to be a nurse. I earned an income. And grew up fast. My independence has always been hugely important to me. 

19) Toy that you recall loving

An old teddy given to me by my grandfather. It had been his. Still have him. Even have a picture of him on my desk. 

20) Time you felt like an adult

When I started nurse training. 

21) Time you realised you were good at something

At school, I realised I could draw. This was a relief as my older brother was a bit of a genius. 

22) Dish you cooked

My friend and I cooked a stir-fry (of sorts) for our parents. Then the six of us sat down together. It’s a very happy memory.  

23) Time you were really scared

As a child, I was getting off a bus with my family. They weren’t quick enough and the bus took off with them still clambering down the stairs. I was left alone at the bus stop in a strange city. It was my first time on a bus and it never occurred to me that they would just get off at the next stop and walk back.  

Thank you to Denise Deegan for this enjoyable interview and congratulations on your best seller, I must say I'm impressed that you can fall off a tricycle, I thought those were very stable and very hard to fall from, and I say that as someone with no balance! 

Author Bio:

Denise Deegan lives in Dublin with her family where she regularly dreams of sunshine, a life without cooking and her novels being made into movies. 

Denise has been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a public relations officer, an entrepreneur and a college lecturer. Her most difficult job was being a checkout girl, although ultimately this experience did inspire a short story…

Denise writes for both adults and teenagers. Her novels have been published by Penguin, Random House, Hachette and Lake Union Publishing. Writing under the pen name Aimee Alexander, Denise's contemporary family dramas have become international best-sellers on Kindle.

Links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2htdtAm




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