Thursday 30 November 2017

Book Review - The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin - Blog Tour

Amazon UK 
Title: The Birthday Girl
Author: Sue Fortin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 14th November 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Dear Carys, Zoe and Andrea
Come and join me for my fortieth birthday adventure weekend, full of mysteries and surprises
the like of which you can’t imagine.

When Joanne’s friends reluctantly accept an invitation to her birthday party, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to this weekend than they are expecting.
One of them is hiding a secret.
And Joanne is planning to reveal it…

A weekend away in a cottage in the woods sounds like fun – until no one can hear your cries for help.

Four friends.
A party to die for. 
Who will survive? 

Creepy, eerie, atmospheric, baffling but utterly addictive are all words that I would happily use to describe The Birthday Girl.

This is a story that kept me guessing , and then something else came to light, andI started to guess in other directions, but at no point was I able to put 2 and 2 together. 

The first few chapters were a great introduction to the characters and also in giving a full idea as to just how excluded the croft that the friends would be staying in was. It was like a  magical mystery tour - only not magical in getting them to this incredibly remote location, and they had even handed over their phones for the weekend. 

Imagine being invited to a weekend away in the woods with your closest friends only the friend that invited you has had falling outs in the past year with all the other guests.  Ramp up the tension with an isolated location in the middle of nowhere, no means of communication with the outside world, and at least one person who seems to have an ulterior motive for the weekend. 

Well that is just the scene setting for Carys, Andrea, Zoe and Joanne, as they embark on a weekend that I doubt any of them will ever forget.   

There are outdoor adventure activities, guessing games and clearly plenty of secrets to be unveiled, From the second I fully got into the book, which was a bit further in than it should have been due to outside influences on my reading, I was hooked and didn't want to stop reading for any reason, although I am purely blaming the author if I have nightmares this evening. 

The descriptions conjured up such vivid pictures that I had a really good feel for the isolation the characters must have been feeling, plus all the confusion and all the other emotions. Some of the secrets were more troubling than others and Carys already had to go through far more in her past few years than anyone should have to deal with. 

The Birthday Girl crept under my skin to the extent that I had no idea whether it was the feeling of creepiness from the book that lead to me feeling like something was crawling up my arm, or whether there really was something there.  Sue Fortin is to my eyes becoming an incredibly accomplished author and pretty much a must read for me every time she releases a new book, simply superb. 

This was a birthday party that will stick with you for a long time, and if you do buy this as a Birthday present for anyone, I think it needs to be given with a disclaimer that you hope their celebrations don't turn out like they do in the story! 

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

Please do follow along with the rest of the blog tour. 

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Book Review - A Winter's Tale by Carrie Elks

Amazon UK
Title:  A Winter's Tale
Author: Carrie Elks
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: 30th November 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Christmas comes just once a year . . . but true love lasts a lifetime

Struggling film student Kitty Shakespeare is as bad at interviews as she is talented at making films. She's given herself until the end of the year to score an internship in LA, otherwise it'll be back to London with her tail between her legs. Unfortunately the only job offer on the table is as nanny to major producer Everett Klein's son, Jonas. It's not exactly the career she'd hoped for, but if she can get this right, then surely he'll take a moment to look at her work. However, what Kitty hasn't allowed for is Everett's sexy-as-hell brother, Adam - and love at first sight this is not.

Adam Klein may be sexy, but he's also gruff, rude and completely impossible. All he wants to do hole up in his cabin and hide from the brother who destroyed his life. If only he could find it easier to ignore the way Kitty makes his heart race . . .

As Christmas approaches, Kitty and Adam realise that although the course of true love never does run smooth, just maybe, it's more interesting that way...

Is it wrong that I want my first sentence of this review to include the words "wow that Adam is one of the sexiest main characters I've read for ages"? 

I mean of all the many glowing things I want to stay about this book such was how the story grabbed me, and how much I enjoyed the characters and getting to know the youngest of the Shakespeare sisters, the first thing I have to comment on is the male lead. 

Well lets continue in that vain then, he is living in a cabin by the lake of his parent's property, after a falling out with his brother led to him having to leave LA for a while.  Due to the dual perspectives we see that Adam is in therapy  and that there is more too him than his hermit like rugged good looks. 

Within the first couple of meeting between Adam and Kitty there are plenty of sparks flying and that is before they even think about liking each other. For the first meeting Adam rescues Kitty, but thinks she is not suited to life in West Virginia. 

Actually coming back to West Virginia, I believe this is the first book I have read that is set there, and I loved the remoteness of the Klein household.  I am going to blame Carrie Elks for putting the song Country Roads into a loop in my head - as its the only reference I knew to West Virginia! 

Kittie is a film student who is struggling to get an internship, but does end up being offered the job of nanny of the great Everett Klein's son Jonas. Jonas is a fabulous child but rarely gets much attention from his parents. 

One of the funniest scenes involved Kittie, collecting all of Jonas' christmas presents from the airport and being given an surprise extra one to take home. Not only take back to the Klein's house, but also hide so its a surprise for Jonas. Just one small problem, this present has 4 legs, is prone to barking, and really dislikes travelling by car. 

This is a book filled with laughter, good times, Christmas with a child, a rugged man that oozes sex appeal, some brotherly rivalry and just generally a great storyline. I was enjoying the book so much I genuinely had no idea what tube stop I was at...not sure what the person who was sitting next to me's excuse was though for also not knowing where we were! 

Where was I?,,, ah yes hooked on a book on a tube, and thinking how wonderful I found A Winters's affair.  This does read as a standalone but since these first two book are so great I would say make sure to read them all - and already looking forward to the third book and curious as to whether it is Juliet or Lucy's story next. 

Thanks so much to Piatkus and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Book Review - The Place We Met by Isabelle Broom

Amazon UK
Title: The Place We Met
Author: Isabelle Broom
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 30th November 2017
Rating: 4 Stars

Taggie is only a few months into her job as a tour guide in Lake Como. She's rushed off her feet, but distraction is what she needs to forget why she left England.

Lucy arrives at Lake Como with her perfect new boyfriend, Pete. Falling fast in love, she's sure that life is about to start for her, it feels so right with him.

But as New Year's Eve approaches and the women meet by chance, it becomes clear this isn't the perfect place of new beginnings. While Lucy is willing to do anything to keep hold of Pete, the past Taggie so desperately wanted to escape is catching up with her . 

Lake Como at around Christmas and the New Year is the setting for this book. The story alternates between two rather different women, and my feelings towards both of them changed regularly as the story progressed.  

I did though find the book felt a bit slow to start, and it took for the two stories to merge to really hold my attention at which point I really did want to know what was going to happen next.  

Taggie is working as a tour guide in her beloved Lake Como having escaped misery back in England. It is not clear for a long while exactly why she is in Italy, but I found myself drawn into her life there anyway  I loved the various towns that are visited and all the various Christmassy activities that are happening in the area. 

Lucy decides to take her new boyfriend Pete on holiday to Lake Como, a place she loved as a child. I loved their initial sight seeing, especially the Christmas market.  Yet Lucy is a very insecure woman and is convinced that Pete is hiding things in his past, little does she know yet what it is. 

I found though that I struggled to really like or connect with any of the main characters, in fact Elsie, Taggie's friend was probably one of my favourite characters and she wasn't even in the book that much.  

As much as I tend to love Isabelle Bloom's books, this one just left me slightly flat, and to me although is still a very good book, is missing the brilliance of her other work. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Michael Joseph for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday 27 November 2017

Book Review - A Rock'n'Roll Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #79

Amazon UK
Title: A Rock'n'Roll Lovestyle
Author: Kiltie Jackson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 26th September 2017
Rating: 4 Stars

So who exactly is Sukie McClaren?

A Christmas-loving Cat lover? A Sound of Music Fanatic? A Fiercely Independent Woman?

She is all of the above. And when she is sent to Salzburg for a business trip a few weeks before Christmas, she thinks all her dreams have come true. As she packs her suitcase, the only things on her mind are Christmas markets, lots of snow and finally seeing the Doh-Ray-Me steps. Becoming the new best friend of the world’s hottest rock-star doesn’t even get a look in.

Pete Wallace is a reclusive, reluctant, rock-star and the world’s Number One, best-selling, male solo artist. It’s been three years since his last tour and he’s now preparing to go back on the road again. A week in Salzburg, schmoozing with the music press, is one of his worst nightmares. 

He can’t wait for it to be over.

When Pete and Sukie meet, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Lonely for too long, he begins to remember how it feels to be happy and, for the first time in six years, Christmas feels special again. 

Eduardo di Santo however, whose kid sister suffered life-changing injuries at a Pete Wallace concert, is all set on getting revenge. When Pete’s new tour is announced, he begins to make his plans. Plans that will culminate in Pete's demise.

Will Pete and Sukie’s new friendship die before it has a chance to flourish?

A Christmas tale full of love, laughter, friendship and revenge.

I'm really not sure what I was expecting from this book, nor in fact how to describe it now that I have read it.  A Rock'n'Roll Lovestyle is not your typical Christmas romance,  nor is it your typical anything and for that I applaud it. 

It works so well as it is a bit different to other books that I have read in the genres, there is some absolutely fabulous banter between Sukie and Pete which was always amusing to read, there are some completely vivid descriptions of Austria and Salzburg in particular, and many characters. 

This is the first book I've read that features Austria so heavily, and it was the perfect setting for a wintery book and I really did feel as though I had a good taster of the country, and of Pete's Schloss (castle).   Austria isn't the only country featured and I enjoyed the section based somewhere else too. 

Pete and Sukie are fabulous, they are both quite fiery, and whenever they are in the same scene together its guaranteed to be quite fun.  Then there is Jordie, who it took me a while to like, Beth  who I couldn't work out why so much time was spent on initially, and a whole host of others. 

The character I would have loved to have seen more of is Eduardo, a man who is determined to protect his sister at all costs.  He is the wildcard as such in the story and had I seen more, well it probably would be a moving the story towards a different genre. Any time I had a chapter featuring him, I stood up and took notice though. 

Annoyingly I had read a review which featured a spoiler about the ending of this book which played in my mind as I was reading it so the finale lost some of the impact for me, although I was still left wondering at one point... lets just say as the book progresses you can see just how the myriad of characters will come together in incredibly gripping ways. 

There is so much I could say about this book but instead I would suggest you give it a try for yourself, you won't be disappointed.  An impressive debut novel that has clearly been written with a lot of love and I'm curious to see where the author goes on to write. 

Thank you to Kiltie  Jackson for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thanks to everyone that voted for this book you were all right it was great. Can you produce another fab book for me this week?

Rachel Reads Randomly - Vote #80

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

1 Votes -  Nine Ladies Dancing by Cat Lavoie
8 Votes - Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Carla Burgess
20 Votes  - A Rock'n'Roll Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

A rather conclusive outcome from last week for a really enjoyable book. Very glad that A Rock'n'Roll Lovestyle won, and thanks to Kiltie for energising her fans into voting. Was lovely to see some new faces. 

It's almost December!!! It's official, its the run up to Christmas, hence its time for us to do a few weeks of Christmas random reads, or until I run out of eligible books! This is purely as I only like reading them at this time of year, and never like having too many left over year to year! For the next couple of months, there will only be 3 choices each week due to the smaller pool to pick from. I have added in this year a few of the wintery sounding books too, just for a bit of variety!  

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 3 choices with my gut feeling responses are:

3 - The Present by Charlotte Phillips - I loved some novellas by this author a few years ago, so very curious as to what a full length Christmas book is going to be like. 
14 - The Wooly Hat Knitting Club by Poppy Dolan - Just how cosy sounding is that title. Very much looking forward to reading this one whenever I get the chance. 
17 - Christmas at Rosewood by Sophie Pembroke - Christmas isn't Christmas without a festive Sophie Pembroke book - so I probably should get around to reading this one! 

What a selection, I like all these authors and really do want to read all three of these books. Highly curious as to what the reaction from you all will be this week. 

And authors, if its your book up on this feature, feel free to take part, vote for yourself, or stir up excitement amongst your fans! 

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 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 26 November 2017

Book Review - The Best Little Christmas Shop by Maxine Morrey

Amazon UK
Title: The Best Little Christmas Shop
Author: Maxine Morrey
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital 
Publication Date: 3rd November 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Home for the holidays…

Icing gingerbread men, arranging handmade toys and making up countless Christmas wreaths in her family’s cosy little Christmas shop isn’t usually globe-trotter Lexi’s idea of fun. But it’s all that’s keeping her mind off romance. And, with a broken engagement under her belt, she’s planning to stay well clear of that for the foreseeable future…until gorgeous single dad Cal Martin walks through the door!

Christmas takes on a whole new meaning as Lexi begins to see it through Cal’s adorable five-year-old son’s eyes. But, finding herself getting dangerously close to the mistletoe with Cal, Lexi knows she needs to back off. She’s sworn off love, and little George needs a stability she can’t provide. One day she’ll decide whether to settle down again – just not yet.

But the best little Christmas shop in this sleepy, snow-covered village has another surprise in store…

So cute, so festive, so almost had me in tears but also laughing...simply fabulous! 

Easily one of my favourite Christmas books I've read this year, its full of family and Christmas and what really is the best little Christmas shop about. I loved this shop so much would have loved to work there myself.  And the shop is central to the story, as its Lexi's family business and also where she first meets Cal and George. 

Cal is the village heart throb, and not only that he is a single dad to five year old George.  The reasoning behind his single fatherhood status is not something I would have predicted and generally with what has gone on in Cal's past I have felt really sorry for him at times. 

George is the shining star of the book is is a bundle of cuteness, says some fantastic things and generally lightens up any scene. I absolutely loved him and his bear. 

Lexi is a bit harder to really get to know mainly as the things she is hiding from Cal are also hidden infuriatingly to the reader so although we can guess at what exactly is going on with her, I wasn't completely sure and it did take me a bit longer to really start rooting for her.   I think that is in part because is was a F1 race engineer but there is hardly any formula one in this book - with such an exciting original job I would have loved to have seen more about that life. 

Lexi has a huge family and I loved getting to know them all. She is the youngest with 3 older, protective brothers, and they really added to the story, especially some of the sub plots. 

This is a wonderfully Christmassy story, and its full of the warmth of the season. I loved pretty much every about this book and desperately hope this isn't the last we see of Cal, Lexi and George. 

Thanks to HQ Digital and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Saturday 25 November 2017

Book Review - Ours Is The Winter by Laurie Ellingham

Amazon UK
Title:  Ours Is The Winter
Author: Laurie Ellingham
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: 17th November 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.

Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.

Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.

Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.

Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.

As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.

I don't know about you but I have never read a book set in the Arctic before. I have never read a book that features an immense sledding challenge that will test everyone to their limits, I wasn't even aware such experiences existed.  It was because these elements of the blurb jumped out at me that I have been desperate to read it from the moment I first heard about the book. 

And... what an epic story, it may only take place over a week but what an action packed and gripping week it was. Even when I wasn't reading Ours Is The Winter my head was with the characters in The Arctic, and I suspect I will be dreaming of huskies and sledding this evening, as the book has got under my skin that much. 

I will admit at times I thought I had small inklings as to where the book was going, but even if on a few of those occasions I was right with the basics, the more important and relevant details were a complete shock to me. 

Everyone on the challenge has their own reasons for being there, but the book features three main characters and the focus keeps switching between the three. They are all hiding various things, but the specifics are initially left for the reader to speculate on themselves. 

Erica is hoping to reconnect with her half sister Molly on this trip. They haven't been close for a while since a tragic accident affected the whole family. Molly used to want to be an Olympic athlete but is now just lost.  Then there is Noah who has his own demons to face. 

The three of them form bonds in the most unlikely of ways over the course of the week.  Their backstories were all well thought out and I loved discovering more about them. 

Then there was the sledding itself, which was clearly incredibly well researched, I felt as though I was alongside the trio as they were sledding. I loved the various names of each team of huskies, as well as the descriptions of the landscape and cold. 

This is just one of those books that edged under my skin very early on in the story and I suspect will stay wedged for a long while to come.  This is the second Laurie Ellingham book I have read this year, and although I thought One Endless Summer was impressive and amazing,  I think that Ours Is The Winter is significantly better still, which takes some doing. 

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

Friday 24 November 2017

Book Review - Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found by Emma Davies

Amazon UK
Title: Lucy's Book Club for the Lost and Found 
Author: Emma Davies
Format reviewed: Ebook 
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 24th November 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Sometimes you’ve got to run away to find yourself… 

Twenty-four-year-old Lucy needs a fresh start. Forever single and frustrated with her studies she gives up everything to run a little library in the leafy village of Tilley Moreton. 

Lucy loves reading almost as much as she loves fixing other people’s problems, so starting a book club seems like the perfect opportunity to do both. As she meets her new members, it’s clear she’s going to have her work cut out for her. Handsome but silent Callum is the biggest puzzle of them all... 

But Lucy’s meddling begins to cause more problems than it solves, and no one is more surprised than Lucy when Callum steps in to help. Could there be more to him than people think? 

As Callum and Lucy start working together to fix the broken hearts of the library’s most loyal customers, the first sparks of romance begin to fly.

Can they right all the trouble Lucy has created, and might there be a chance for a happy ending of their own?

Simply fantastic, a wonderfully heart warming story about Lucy and the other people that attend her book club. 

Lucy is wonderful she besides being a book lover, also just wants to help her friends achieve their dreams. Some may see it as meddling but she had a good heart and really wants the best for everyone.  Somehow everything that happens in the story has Lucy as the catalyst to it. 

There is Lia who dreams of dancing and is currently her mothers carer, Hattie who is single mother to Poppy and having family troubles of her own. Oscar is a lot older than the others but he is hiding a secret and I was really touched by his story.  Then there is Callum, he is only 19, not from the best family in town, but is nothing like his parents or brothers. He has the signs of becoming a remarkable young man. 

In fact Callum is perhaps the surprise character of the group, and I loved seeing how he changed over the course of the story. Actually loved seeing all the characters development. 

It took me a short while to get into the rhythm of this book given it really has 5 main characters, and each gets a good amount of coverage, as the chapters change focus between a few of them. It does allow you to get to know all their situations really well. 

I'm becoming a huge fan of Emma Davies work, and this has made me even more impressed with her writing. It is a fabulous book and I'm so happy to have taken a break from my Christmas reading stacks to read it. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which  I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Thursday 23 November 2017

Guest Post - The Writing of Only One Woman by Christina Jones and Jane Risdon - Blog Tour

Hello, Rachel – lovely to meet you here on your fabulous blog, and thanks a million for inviting us both to have a chat with you on the – ta-dah! - publication day!!! – of  ONLY ONE WOMAN. You have no idea how excited we are…

Jane :  We’re excited and proud and a bit stunned to be honest, because this is a day we thought we’d never see, because… well, let me start telling you all about writing Only One Woman with Christina Jones – oh, and there aren’t any bodies...

Christina: *sniggers*

Jane: Ahem – right, for years Christina and I have wanted to write a book together, even when I hadn’t started ‘proper’ writing, we’d discussed it, and even though she was already a best-selling, award-winning author we often played around with the idea. We both felt we had a story to tell, a shared story, one which had to see the light of day.

But we all know how it is, life is busy, we’d our own agendas and finding time to write with someone else was a bit daunting putting it mildly, especially when there was a considerable distance separating us physically, not to mention the fact that I was working in the international music business and had not yet turned to a life of crime (writing) and Christina, known for her Bucolic Frolics series of books, was always busy with publishers and deadlines. Besides, she was a successful author – I worried I might wreck her career!

Christina: Oh pfffftttt, Jane! There was no way you’d wreck my career or anything else… you write brilliantly – the only problem was that as well as us being miles apart geographically, our genres couldn’t be further apart… because as everyone probably knows, Jane writes gritty crime, and I write froth-and-bubble rom-com…

Jane: You’re too kind… Anyway, maybe I should fill in our shared background here: Christina and I have known each other since the late 1960s when my then boyfriend – now husband – and his band came to England to record and tour and which is when we met. Soon after this, their manager recruited Christina as their fan-club secretary. She was a rock/pop journalist and short story author at the time and was perfect job the job.

Christina: *blushing modestly* I wrote for the teenage magazines… It was hardly Booker Prize material.

Jane: It was perfect for what they needed – so, during the years that Christina was their fan-club secretary we all had our own adventures, and it was these we promised we’d write about one day…

 Christina: It was an idea, that was all. We actually gave no thought to how we’d manage it – but as we were living through some of the most exciting and innovative years of the century, we promised ourselves we would write it down  if only as a piece of social history for our – as then non-existent - children and grandchildren.

Jane: More time passed and eventually we met up again and decided to stop talking and start doing it. But, by this time I was into the aforementioned crime/thriller writing and was concerned how I would fit in with Christina’s style of writing. Her books, as she’s said, are all fluffy feel good happy uplifting stories set in villages featuring comical and lovable characters – mine usually end up dead and far from fluffy. Would our writing styles meld?

Christina: We felt possibly not… So the co-authoring thing was dropped again.   

Jane:  A few months later, I’d just moved house and whilst going through boxes of memorabilia from my husband’s musical career I came across diaries, photos, tour schedules, posters, and fan letters, which I began to read. And before I was really aware of it, I began to make notes in diary format. A story began to form and I rang Christina and asked her – doubtfully - what she thought about turning our adventures into fiction with a huge dose of poetic licence of course.

Christina: If she’d been in the room I could have kissed her! It was honestly a lightbulb moment! Here was the subject we both knew and could write about and had discussed all those years before. We’d both experienced the late 60s’ music scene, we’d been there when world events rocked the globe, we’d worn the fashions, listened to the music, watched the bands - we could do this! We were both writing fiction - we’d turn our “social history” into a novel! So – now we knew what we were going to write about, and at last we had the opportunity – it just left the problem of how we’d make it work.

Jane: But it wasn’t a problem for long, was it? We decided to write a two-hander, with each of us assuming the character of our fictional alter-ego and writing the chapters as diary entries… That way we knew we could write a truly original book, using our experiences and knowledge of the music scene back in those heady, exciting last years of the grooviest decade ever.

Christina:  It was fun, choosing our alter–egos, and then knowing we could use our own memories for time-line authenticity, we couldn’t wait to let rip with our imaginations… Anyway, pretty soon Jane became Renza and I became Stella, and because it could only work by Jane writing her story first then letting me slot Stella into it, she started writing properly while I played about with notes, and plots and sub-plots and collected diaries and calendars and other archive information from 1968 and 69.

Jane: Yes, I scribbled away over a period of months, Renza took on a life if her own – and as Christina has said, although we decided to use some of our remembered experiences from that time, 95% of the story would be fiction. I sent what I’d written to Christina who then wrote Stella’s parts.

Christina: I’ve lost track of how many drafts we did – well, actually, no – there was only one version – we just kept adding to it – winging it back and forth as Stella and Renza – who, by the way, were in love with the same boy, sex-on-legs, Scott – lead guitarist with Narnia’s Children - had more and more adventures, and we came up with more and more exciting plotlines for them.

 Jane: *Laughing* - oh, yes, we are so very 21st Century – we wrote the entire book via email, text and Facebook messages. I think we spoke about it on the phone once, and met up once to chat about it. Otherwise our collaboration was long distance and very easy really. Christina had various documents to call upon to aid her research – as she’s just said - while I used all sorts of memorabilia I’d collected from back in the day.

Christina: It didn’t seem like work at all – it was just fun… I loved doing it and lost myself in the whole era all over again. And because I’d had a couple of years of not really writing anything much at all for various reasons, it kick-started me out of my writing doldrums too.

Jane: It started out as a pie-in-the-sky idea and turned into therapy!

Christina: It did. I really thought I’d fallen out of love with writing – but no….

Jane: Thank goodness! Anyway, once we’d reached the end of Only One Woman, we then went back and together checked the dates for this or that hit record, or which band was on the scene then and who wasn’t and which fashions were hip and who was on Top of the Pops or on Radio One and when. In fact many of the bands mentioned in the book have been interviewed by Christina at some time or other. You should ask her.

Christina: *chuckles* Yes, ok – I was very, very lucky to meet and interview many of the big names on the 60s’ pop and rock scene for Romeo and Jackie magazines. My husband now refers to this as my groupie period….

Jane: *laughs* Still, we wanted the book to be the authentic story of two girls living through those exciting times, calling upon real events in music, fashion, and the huge world-changing events at that time, to flavour our story. So our readers will find themselves immersed in music throughout. In fact both Renza and Stella have their own Playlists on YouTube featuring songs that they loved in the story.

Christina: But even after we’d got it all down on paper – er – computer screen – it wasn’t all plain sailing, was it, Jane?

Jane: Far from it. Since the book was started in 2012 we’ve had publication dates come and go many times during 2014, 2015, and 2016, which was hard to take, but at last Accent is publishing on 23rd November. Today! This last year has been epic. We have had several editors come and go since we began writing Only One Woman, and the last one got us to write additional chapters – still all in Renza and Stella’s diary format – and we moved from 120,000 words to 160,000 at the last count, before she too left her job, leaving us both to work on without an editor.

Christina: But we’d come that far, we weren’t going to let anything stop us now. We’d written the novel, we had a publisher and publication date – we were nearly there… And now – here we are!

Jane: Somehow we have completed what we think – and hope – is a fabulous story which those readers who lived through the sixties will love, and those who haven’t will discover what all the fuss has been about, and will enjoy the sixties through the eyes of Renza and Stella and their shared love, lead guitarist, Scott.

Christina: Yes, and we have publication day at last! *champagne corks popping in the background*.

Jane: Although it might seem a massive task to undertake, it has worked out brilliantly; Christina and I work well together and we remain firm friends. We’ve helped and supported each other throughout, and we’ve had hysterical giggles along the way as well as both going through our fair share of man-sized Kleenex too. Oh, and there aren’t any dead bodies; I managed to control myself.

Christina: *grins* Thanks a million for this chat, Rachel, and for allowing us both to ramble all over your fabulous blog. And we hope your regular visitors will be intrigued by the story behind Only One Woman and now dash off to Amazon to meet Renza, Stella and Scott and take a time-travel trip back to the 1960s…

Thank you so much ladies for taking the time to explain just how Only One Woman came about and how writing long distance can work. Having heard what you have had to say I am now really excited to start reading my copy, and really look forward to seeing just what Stella, Renza and Scott get up to.  And of course Happy Publication Day!

Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?

Purchase from Amazon UK -

About Christina Jones

Christina Jones, the only child of a schoolteacher and a circus clown, has been writing all her life. As well as writing romantic comedy novels, she also contributes short stories and articles to many national magazines and newspapers.

She has won several awards for her writing: Going the Distance was a WH Smith Fresh Talent Winner; Nothing to Lose, was shortlisted and runner-up for the Thumping Good Read Award with film and television rights sold; Heaven Sent was shortlisted in The Melissa Nathan Comedy Romance Awards and won a Category Award; Love Potions won the Pure Passion Award; The Way to a Woman’s Heart was short-listed for the Rom-Com of the Year; and An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding won The Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Christina has written 21 romantic comedy novels:
Dancing in the Moonlight; Going the Distance; Running the Risk; Stealing
the Show; Jumping to Conclusions; Tickled Pink; Nothing to Lose;
Walking on Air; Lavender Lane; Honeysuckle House; Forever Autumn;
Summer of Love; Hubble Bubble; Seeing Stars; Love Potions; Happy
Birthday; Heaven Sent; Moonshine; The Way A Woman's Heart; Never
Can Say Goodbye and An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding.

She has also written and/or contributed to 11 e-book-only novellas/short
stories/compilations: Those Lazy, Hazy Crazy Days; Mitzi’s Midwinter Wedding; Bucolic Frolics; Happy Ever After; Snippets; Shiver; Holiday Fling; Wishing on a Star; Chicklit Lovers Vol One; Chicklit Lovers Vol Three; and the Milton St John Box-Set.

Her latest novel – the love and peace and rock’n’roll 1960s story: Only One Woman – co-authored with Jane Risdon, will be published in November 2017 and is currently available to pre-order on Amazon.

Her next novel – Marigold’s Magical Mystery Tour – will be published in September 2018.

All Christina Jones’ novels are currently available, either in paperback or e-book format, and after years of travelling, she now lives in rural Oxfordshire with her husband and several rescued cats.

Twitter: @bucolicfrolics

About Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon has spent most of her life in the international music business. Married to a musician she has experienced the business first hand, not only as the girlfriend and wife of a musician, but later with her husband as a manager of recording artists, songwriters and record producers, as well as placing songs on TV/Movie soundtracks for some of the most popular series and movies shown around the world.

Writing is something she has always wanted to do but a hectic life on the road and recording with artists kept those ambitions at bay. Now she is writing mostly crime and thrillers, but recently she’s collaborated with award-winning author Christina Jones, on Only One Woman. A story they’ve wanted to write together, ever since they became friends when Christina became Fan-club secretary for Jane’s husband’s band.

Author Jane Risdon

Only One Woman Accent Press

Only One Woman Facebook

Please do follow along with the rest of the blog tour and show your support to these two lovely authors. 

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