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Tag Archives: chick lit

Guest Blog: Sophie Pembroke

First Impressions

Thanks, Lucy, for having me here today!

I’ve now been a published author for two whole weeks. After a very long time trying to get there, this feels like quite the achievement. And as such, I thought I’d share the things I’ve learned since Room for Love came out.

  1. Don’t book to be on holiday the day your book comes out. This wasn’t actually intentional – the release date was brought forward, and I got to experience the fun of trying to promote a book on an iPhone from the middle of nowhere, with practically no reception, let alone 3G connection.
  2. Everyone you know will think it’s about them. Or you. Or some other, mutual acquaintance. I’d be worried, except no two people have thought the same character was based on the same person. But they’ve all got opinions…
  3. You know you’ve written a good hero when everyone wants one for themselves. My mother, my aunt, my friends… everyone wants to know where they can find a Nate. I have to keep reminding them that a) he’s fictional and b) they’re married/engaged.
  4. It won’t feel quite real for a while. It still doesn’t, really. But the weirdest thing was flicking through my kindle looking for a holiday read, spotting Room for Love and thinking, ooh, what’s that? Before realizing it was my own book.
  5. People can’t tell by looking at you. There’s absolutely no reason why anyone in the wider world should look at me and say, hang on, are you a writer? But somehow I keep expecting it. At the very least, I really want people to ask me what I do for a living!
  6. The work’s not done yet. There’s promotion to do. And a companion novel coming out in July. And, really, I should probably get working on the third book… The joy of being a writer is that the release of my first book is just the beginning. I have so many more to write, and hopefully many more opportunities to enjoy the release week madness. Hopefully not while on holiday.

So, those are my first impressions of being a real, live Published Author.  And here, for a glimpse into the world of my book, are my heroine’s first impressions of the Avalon Inn, after six years away…

*****

Room for LoveRoom for Love, Sophie Pembroke

The heavy, dark-wood front door, with its stained glass panel showering colored light onto the stone floor of the reception area, felt like another old friend to Carrie. She remembered being too small to even open it on her own; sitting on the step outside waiting for Nancy to come back from the garden to help her, or for a kindly passing guest to let her in. Today, Carrie’s hand hovered above the wood, suddenly reluctant to enter. What if it wasn’t as she remembered? Who was waiting inside?

Carrie sucked in a breath and shoved. The door fell open under her hand, easier than she’d remembered, and she stumbled before finding her feet.

Her favorite tapestry still hung above the reception desk and the sparkling silver threads of the unicorn’s horn caught her eye immediately. Her gaze moved lower. A line of senior citizens spanned the width of the hall, all standing straight backed and staring ahead, like the staff of a 1930s stately home, welcoming their master back from a long trip.

Exactly who had Nancy been hiring lately?

They looked faintly familiar from the funeral, but Carrie knew she’d been too upset that day to really take anything in. Plus, she’d spent most of the day arguing with Dad. Nothing much else had registered. Now she wished she’d paid more attention.

After a long moment of staring at each other, a younger man at the end of the line stepped forward out of the shadows. Even at a six-foot distance, she had to tilt her chin up to take in his cropped brown hair, accentuating a strong jaw. She let her gaze drop enough to linger on the wide, muscled shoulders that looked like he spent his days slinging oxen around, or something equally rural.

“Shall I do the introductions?” he asked, eyebrows raised. Carrie blinked. He wasn’t just gorgeous, he felt…familiar, somehow.

And despite his welcome, he didn’t look too pleased to see her.

 

BLURB

Can she make room for love? 

When wedding planner Carrie Archer inherits the crumbling Avalon Inn where she spent her childhood summers, she knows she’ll do whatever it takes to make it home. With no money for renovations, that means teaming up with her boss to turn the Avalon into a dream wedding venue.

But Carrie has been left more than the Inn–she’s also inherited its occupants, including three senior citizens, a single father chef with childcare issues, a panicky receptionist, and one very gorgeous gardener.

So when her cousin Ruth declares her intention to get married at the Avalon on Christmas Eve, Carrie finds herself juggling decorating with dance nights, budgeting with bridge games…and sabotage with seduction.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Waterstones

*****

Sophie PembrokeABOUT SOPHIE

Sophie Pembroke has been writing romance for years, ever since she stayed up all night reading Mills and Boon novels as part of her English degree at Lancaster University. She loves to set her contemporary romance stories in the places she has lived – from the wilds of the Welsh mountains, to the gentile humour of the English country village, or the heat and tension of a London summer. She also has a tendency to make her characters kiss in castles.

Currently, she makes her home in Hertfordshire, with her husband and daughter. She writes love stories in her little spare room office, while drinking too much tea and eating homemade cakes. Or, when things are looking very bad for her heroes and heroines, white wine and dark chocolate.

Sophie keeps a blog at www.SophiePembroke.com, which should be about romance and writing, but is usually about cake and castles instead.

LINKS:
Web & Blog: www.SophiePembroke.com
Twitter: @Sophie_Pembroke – https://twitter.com/#!/Sophie_Pembroke
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Sophie-Pembroke/134474999990027
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100003136928151
Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5111053-sophie-pembroke
Lyrical Press: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=authors&authors_id=206

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eBook Review: Build a Man by Talli Roland

Article first published as eBook Review: Build a Man by Talli Roland on Blogcritics.

Build A ManBuild a Man is a chick lit novel from Talli Roland – it’s not her first release, but I’ll definitely be checking out her backlist having read this one!

It tells the story of cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland. Being a receptionist is about as far from her dream job as it gets – she wants to be a tabloid reporter, which is why she left Maine, America, and moved to London. She didn’t get the job she wanted, but she did get a pretty comfortable life living rent-free after bagging her cosmetic surgeon boss, Peter. Serenity thinks that successful, good-looking Peter will help her become the cool, professional version of herself that she wants to be. Her best friend Kirsty thinks she’s nuts for hooking up with such a bore.

So, a few months down the line and Serenity feels she’s stuck in a rut. She’s in a job she doesn’t really want, and her tabloid dreams are no closer to coming to fruition. Until Jeremy Ritchie walks into the surgery. He’s decided that to get the woman of his dreams, he needs a complete makeover, with the help of various cosmetic surgery procedures. Despite thinking that Jeremy looks just fine as he is, Serenity knows she’s now on to a story that no tabloid editor will be able to resist – and the Build a Man column is born! She’s working undercover and nobody but the paper and Kirsty know what’s really going on.

Serenity is excited about her new-found success, and is determined to take it all the way and land a job on the newspaper she’s writing for. Things seem to be on track, until Jeremy’s surgery goes very wrong, and suddenly Serenity’s conscience pricks, big style. The paper want her to continue with the column, warts and all, but is Serenity really that desperate to achieve her dreams?

Build a Man is a fab book. I was interested in the brilliant plot from the beginning, and I quickly found myself rooting for Serenity, despite her poor choices. This is a really fun, engaging read, and without giving too much away, let’s just say the ending left me feeling very glad that there’s a sequel in the works – I want more!

Available from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Guest Blog: Elizabeth Kyne

IF ONLY I DIDN’T HAVE A LOVE AFFAIR WITH SLEEP

Author Elizabeth Kyne dreams about what life might have been like

if she’d been blessed with more hours in the day

 

One night a couple of years ago, I was just getting ready for bed when the phone rang. “Who the hell’s calling at this hour?” was the general reaction in the house. It turned out to be Ian. The conversation went something like this:

“Oh hi Ian, I was just going to bed.”

“Bed? But it’s ten o’clock. Why are you going to bed now?”

“Because it’s bed time.”

He had no concept of a person wanting to go to bed at ten o’clock. To him, it was the middle of the evening and there were four hours until his bedtime.

I wish I were like Ian.

Continue reading

Book Review: Wrapped Up in You by Carole Matthews

Article first published as Book Review: Wrapped Up in You by Carole Matthews on Blogcritics.

Wrapped Up in YouWrapped Up in You is the first of Carole Matthews’ novels that I’ve read. Based on how much I enjoyed it, it definitely won’t be the last. I read it in a couple of sittings, and had life not gotten in the way, I could have easily have done it in one. It’s that easygoing, not to mention a page turner!

This heartwarming romantic comedy is about Janie Johnson, a thirty-something hairdresser who’s pretty much given up on love. She doesn’t think she’s ever been in love, and isn’t hopeful that she ever will be. She’s just plodding along in life, aware that she’s missing out on something, but has no idea what to do about it. That is, until several things conspire at once to make her change her mind: too many nights in alone, a terrible blind date and the news that her ex is getting married. Before you know it, Janie has booked a ludicrously expensive holiday to Africa and is looking forward to getting away from it all. All her friends think she’s barmy, and by the time the holiday rolls around, Janie’s beginning to agree with them.

However, a flight and a very bumpy drive later and Janie’s being introduced to Dominic, her tour guide for the week. She very quickly forgets her misgivings, and by the time her holiday of a lifetime is over, she’s also convinced she’s found the love of her lifetime. Maasai warrior Dominic is a charming sex god who speaks very good English, and Janie is completely besotted. It appears Dominic feels the same way. Therefore when it’s time for Janie to go home, she really doesn’t want to. But she must.

Arriving home, all Janie can think about is the fact that the love of her life is thousands of miles away. Once again, her friends think she’s crazy and are convinced that Dominic is just trying to snare himself a rich British woman so he can come and live in England. Janie knows that isn’t the case, and continues to think of a way she can be with Dominic. But it certainly won’t be easy…

Wrapped Up in You really is a fab book. It’s an easy read, and had me speed reading to find out what happened next. Janie is a fab – if somewhat ditzy heroine – and Dominic is just… well. He’s not your typical romance novel hero; he’s big, he’s adorable, he’s hilarious and a total sweetheart. There were lots of twists and turns in the book and I wasn’t sure where it was going to end up, which is always a good thing. It’s all wrapped up in a satisfying ending which left me with a great big silly grin on my face. Call it a rom com, call it chick lit. Call it what you like – I’m calling it a damn good book.

Available from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Book Depository
Waterstones

eBook Review: Prime Time by Jane Wenham-Jones

Article first published as eBook Review: Prime Time by Jane Wenham-Jones on Blogcritics.

Prime TimeI’ve been acquainted with Jane Wenham-Jones’ work (both fiction and non-fiction) for a while now, and have always enjoyed her writing style. Her humour is such that she can even make non-fiction funny, as well as hugely informative. Previous novels of hers that I’ve read are Perfect Alibis and One Glass is Never Enough, both of which I enjoyed.

Prime Time is a romantic comedy about a middle aged woman who feels every bit her age. Laura Meredith is not having a good time of it: she feels old, fat, hormonal and is still incredibly bitter over the fact that her husband left her for a younger, thinner woman. Add to that a difficult young son, and it’s no wonder that Laura’s PMT is off the scale.

Things in Laura’s life take a dramatic turn, however, when her best friend Charlotte persuades her to appear on a daytime TV show to talk about PMT. Following the show, she’s head-hunted for another one and suddenly she’s being wined, dined and pampered, as well as having mad flirtation with one of the show’s directors. As things heat up in that department, however, other parts of Laura’s life become much more difficult. Charlotte’s husband Roger is up to no good, son Stanley is having trouble at school and she’s struggling to keep up with her day job.

As Laura juggles all the elements of her life, she struggles to keep her cool. Will she manage it, or will her crazy hormones take over and ruin everything? There’s only one way to find out…

Prime Time is a brilliant novel. It’s full of Wenham-Jones’ typical humour, and had me sniggering on more than one occasion. Laura Meredith is a great lead character and despite her faults you find yourself rooting for her throughout, and hoping everything works out for the best. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the book and it certainly kept me turning the digital pages until the very end – which was a stroke of genius in itself. So if you’re looking for a rom-com about real women and real lives, you should definitely check out Prime Time.

Available from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Book Review: The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson

Article first published as Book Review: The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson on Blogcritics.

The Woman He Loved BeforeAs a fan of Dorothy Koomson, I’ve been coveting this book ever since it was released – and with good reason. The Woman He Loved Before is a mystery right from the title – and has you asking questions right until the very end. This novel tells the story of Libby, a feisty young woman who falls for widower Jack. After initial resistance on Libby’s part, the two have a whirlwind relationship and get married. Libby couldn’t be happier, until a tragic event throws her life off course and makes her question whether Jack is really over his late wife, Eve, and whether he loves Libby at all.

The deeper Libby digs into Jack’s past, and the seemingly perfect Eve, the more fascinated she becomes. Libby starts to unearth devastating secrets, and she quickly realises that they are in fact very dangerous secrets, too. Soon, Libby wonders whether she, too, will end up like Jack’s last wife…

As I mentioned before, The Woman He Loved Before has you asking questions right until the end. Koomson’s powerful writing, and the way the book has been structured means that you’re drip fed information, which keeps you hanging on for more… and more. The book gets darker and mysterious as you keep reading, with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat right until the very last page. It’s a brilliant, gripping plot and possibly Koomson’s best book to date. I’d definitely recommend this to fans of light mysteries and matters of the heart.

Available from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
The Book Depository
Waterstone’s

eBook Review: Diamonds and Toads: A Modern Fairy Tale by K. E. Saxon

Diamonds and ToadsDo not be fooled by this book’s innocent looking cover. A modern fairy tale it may be, but innocent it is not. I knew this book was a romance, obviously, but from the cover and the blurb I was sent (I notice the blurb on Amazon mentions sexual heat), I wasn’t expecting the level of eroticism that’s in it. Naturally, this isn’t a bad thing for me as I love to read erotica, I was just surprised by it.

The premise is a fairly familiar one, that is, it’s a twist on the fairy tales we know and love. There’s a good sister and a bad sister, an evil stepmother and a fairy godmother. But that’s where the similarities to classic tales ends.

Diamonds and Toads tells the story of half sisters Delilah and Isadora, who are good and evil, respectively. Without giving too much away, both sisters have an encounter with a fairy within this book. The fairy blesses Delilah with wealth and the man she’s loved for as long as she can remember, and bestows a curse on Isadora which makes her come out with obscene and humiliating comments, whether she means them or not. To make it worse, the man that Isadora has long held a torch for comes back into her life just as the curse is placed on her.

So it seems that life is going swimmingly for Delilah, but of course it wouldn’t be much of a story if everything was straightforward. As the tale progresses, it becomes apparent that both Delilah and Chas have secrets. Ones that could tear them apart. On the other hand, it looks as though Isadora and Sam may get their happy ever after, but there’s just the matter of her evil mother…

I thought Diamonds and Toads was a good fun read. All the fairy tale elements are very tongue in cheek and made for a light-hearted, feel-good book. Like I mentioned before, I wasn’t expecting the erotic elements, but they were very welcome and extremely hot! There were some seriously sexy scenes in the book, including some BDSM. So, if you’re looking for a pure chick-lit/fairy-tale read which doesn’t get too steamy, then perhaps this isn’t for you. But if you enjoy reading erotica and erotic romance, then snap this book up like a shot. It’s well-written, pacy, sexy fun, and I’d definitely look out for more by this author.

Available from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Smashwords