Blog Tour & Review for “Need You Now” -first in the series of Cloud Bay novels by Emma Douglas

I was fortunate to be given an ARC copy of this book by the author and her publishers, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Imagine that you are the daughter of a legendary rock star, the lead singer of one of the biggest rock bands to come out of the USA. The same legendary rock star who gave you half siblings by different mothers, a dysfunctional yet privileged upbringing and his own brand of love.  An upbringing on an island that, since your father’s untimely death and the subsequent breakup of the band, has become the place of pilgrimage for fans wanting to visit a pivotal place in the band’s history – an island that is your home.

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Imagine that you are a tennis player, at the top of your game with sponsors and adoring fans following your every tournament.  But following shoulder surgery, it is becoming harder and harder to remain in those top rankings and you have announced your unexpected retirement during a press conference.  Now said press, management and fans are desperate to change your mind and you need somewhere to just be incognito and happy in your decision.

Faith Harper is the daughter of Blacklight frontman Grey Harper, and she continues to be the face of the Harper clan in Cloud Bay on Lansing Island as she is the organiser of one of the country’s most popular music festivals, CloudFest. Caleb White has gone to ground since announcing his departure from the tennis circuit until his friend Liam invites him to a music festival, CloudFest, with exclusive use of the home of a Blacklight bandmember.  Neither is looking for a relationship, much less love…..

This is an easy to read, romantic fiction novel that doesn’t always follow the path that the reader expects.  There is a rapport between Faith and Caleb from the moment that they first lay eyes on each other, but they each come with huge amounts of baggage and Ms Douglas does not give us a story where the course of true love runs simply!  Throw in a complicated family that encompasses blood relatives and band members, the attention of the world’s paparazzi and a festival full of music lovers, bands, not to mention surprise acts that fail to show,  what could possibly go wrong?!

The characters are easy to warm to and I felt that they developed into three dimensional people over the course of the story.  It is light – so not for those of you looking for deep literature – but not written in a saccharine or overly sentimental way. Great for a weekend away on a sun lounger or curled up at home for an autumn evening or two. I enjoyed Need You Now and I think that if you are a fan of romantic, contemporary fiction you will too.  This gets 4 stars from me and I’m looking forward to more in the series.

Available from Amazon  Need You Now (Cloud Bay), a Cloud Bay Novel by Emma Douglas – in paperback and Kindle, and other stockists.

Published by St Martin’s Press, 29 August 2017. Macmillan

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link

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To conclude her Book Blog Tour – Q&A with author Laura Trentham

Earlier this week I posted my review for new novel Leave the Night On and now to celebrate and conclude her blog tour, here is a fantastic Q&A with author Laura Trentham.

 

  1. What inspired the novel plot?

Plots are strange things for me…I can rarely pinpoint anything in particular that triggers an idea. They usually pop into my head when I doing something else entirely like making dinner of driving the kids around.

  1. What’s your favorite scene? Why?

I love the scene where Sutton gets drunk and finally propositions Wyatt for real. I hope it’s funny and sexy and the reader can feel her mortification when she thinks he turns her down.

  1. Who’s your favorite character? Why?

Wyatt. He’s sexy and tough, but also incredibly sweet. He loves his family and would do anything for them. My heroes are complex and most definitely not a-holes.

  1. Any other books in the pipeline?

Two more Cottonbloom books! WHEN THE STARS COME OUT (1/30/2018) features Wyatt’s twin brother Jackson. SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE (8/2018) is Mack Abbott’s book. Also, sometime in the fall of 2018, I’ll have a military themed romance/women’s fiction book releasing! I’m super excited about it too.

  1. What led you to write in this genre over others?

Actually, my first books were historical romances, and I’ll be re-releasing two and adding a new book in my historical Spies and Lovers series this fall (Sept/Nov 2017). But, while the historical books were on submission with publishers, my agent suggested I try a contemporary. It sold to St. Martin’s Press only a couple of months after my historicals sold. I’ve set all my contemporaries in the American south because that’s where I was born and have lived most of my life. I understand the way southerners talk and think.

  1. Do you have a favorite book and author?

I’m going to have to throw it back to Mary Stewart as my favorite author. I quite often reread her books. But as far as which book I’ve reread the most, it would have to be Julie Garwood’s The Bride.

  1. Why and how did you decide you wanted to write for a living?

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t even consider writing until five years ago. My daughter started preschool, and going back to work doing what I went to school for (chemical engineering) wasn’t feasible. I sat down one morning and started writing. At first, I didn’t even tell my husband what I was doing. I won’t lie, it took a lot of work and rewrites to get those first manuscripts good enough. But, eventually, I signed with an agent and sold them both.

  1. What’s your favorite way to relax?

Reading! (I know that’s a shocker:) I also enjoy the mindlessness of games on my phone.

  1. What’s your favorite food?

Fried rice! I just learned to make it at home. My rice cooker is my second favorite appliance (behind my coffee maker!)

  1. Sounds like Sutton’s fiancé’s a cheating…um…cheats.  Why did you decide to use that as an aspect of your story?

Andrew is a secondary character in the first Cottonbloom trilogy about the Fournette siblings. He’s kind of a slime ball in those books too.

  1. Tell us something about Wyatt that we don’t learn from the book.

He likes to wear women’s underwear. Just kidding!! Actually, I’m drawing a blank, he’s an open, honest kind of man.

  1. This book is set in Mississippi.  Does this location contribute to the story in some way?

It’s actually set half in Mississippi and half in Louisiana. I wanted a southern location. But, I also envisioned a twist on the wrong side of the tracks story. In Cottonbloom, the more affluent live on the Mississippi side and the blue-collar working class live on the Louisiana side. I wanted that push-pull and rivalry between the two. It informs the relationships between my couples.

Thanks Laura for a great new read!  I will be looking out for some of the other Cottonbloom books….quite fancy finding out what happens to those other Abbott boys!

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Blog Tour & Review for fab new book from Laura Trentham – “Leave the Night On”

Leave_the_Night_On_BlogBanner_v2I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest opinion.  All opinions are my own. The post does contain affiliate links on behalf of the author and publisher.

What would you do if the mechanic who is about to start work restoring your fiancé’s car pulls out a lacy thong from beneath the front seat of said car?  What if said tiny scrap of underwear didn’t belong to you, but you knew exactly who the owner was?  Not forgetting that you were about to send out your wedding invitations…..

This is precisely the situation that Sutton Mize finds herself in at the outset of the new romantic novel from Laura Trentham.  The garage is on the opposite side of the river to her own home and is a family business run by the Abbott brothers, all whom Sutton remembers from her childhood.  But today Sutton needs to keep her head held high having just realised that fiancé, lawyer Andrew Tarwater is having an affair rather too close to home.  So the obvious thing to do on confronting the guilty parties, if you are Sutton Mize, is to say that you have been having an affair yourself with…with…..the man who has just offered you support and comfort.  This man is Wyatt Abbott, mechanic.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers but…..put into the mixing pot the rich girl, daughter of local Judge; the grease monkey attractive, muscled and sensitive; the self-absorbed, double crossing lawyer and fiancé; the “best” friend; and a sprinkling of family histories with a run-away mother, a superstition about the family line of Abbott twins and some very extreme weather conditions – you have the makings of a perfect chick lit romance novel!

I love a good old romance as much as the next person, but I always worry that there will be no character development and that the lead figures (particularly the women) will end up annoying me.  Not meaning to sound too pompous here, but there are some of those English literature lessons that I can’t shake off!  But I am pleased to say that Sutton proves herself to be more than just the pretty faced daughter of the local states man!  She is a savvy business woman with a hidden talent that her estranged sister and Wyatt help to nurture and her personality goes from strength to strength.  Wyatt also develops through the course of the book and I loved the relationship with his slightly eccentric twin aunts, which ran alongside his with his own twin and brothers.

If you are looking for a book to stick in your suitcase for a great summer read, this could be the one!  There seem to be enough a loose ends for the story to continue……Ms Trentham, do you have another up your sleeve?

For me this was a light hearted, enjoyable 4 star read!Leave the night on

Summer Fun Giveaway

Author Laura Trentham is running a Giveaway for a beach bag prize pack with Cottonbloom books! Win signed copies of the Cottonbloom series with bookmarks, bath bombs, scented soaps, and a beach ready bag at a Rafflecopter giveaway

 and at http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/746772681/?

Watch out for a Question and Answer post with Laura Trentham during the tour!

Author Bio:

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.Laura Trentahm II

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

 

 

Social Links:

Facebook

Author Blog

Twitter– @LauraTrentham

Author Website

 

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound

Powells

 

 Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Blog Book Tour: Review “Calling Major Tom” by David M. Barnett – Part 1

This week has seen author David M Barnett on a book tour flying between the online world of blogs & social media and the real life world of book stores, as he publicizes his wonderful book “Calling Major Tom”.  You can meet David at The Grove Bookshop, Ilkley  gateway to the Yorkshire Dales on Thursday 13th July from 7pm, if you are in the area!

I first wrote a book review at the beginning of the year ahead of publication and later recommended the book to my local book club as our monthly read.  I would like to share my review with you again, before putting some questions from our book club to the author.

Warning: whilst the review does not contain spoilers, the subsequent questions might!

Book Review for Calling Major Tom by David M. Barnett

I was given a copy of this book(ARC) from Netgalley via The Book Club on Facebook in exchange for a fair & honest review.  All views are my own.calling-major-tom

I challenge you, whether Bowie fan or not, to read this book without constantly having Space Oddity going round your head!  Thomas Major is a lowly scientist working at the British Space Agency when he finds himself in a position to be the first man to visit Mars.  The only thing is that it is a one way mission, but Thomas has his own reasons for wishing to leave his life behind & entering a self imposed solitude.  Back on earth the Ormerod family are struggling to survive – teenager Ellie & younger brother James living with grandmother Gladys whilst their father is in jail. Ellie should be having the time of her life shopping & partying with her friends, but instead her mother has died, she is working 3 jobs, caring for her brother & worrying that social services will split them if they realise that Gladys has dementia.

It was difficult to see how these two very separate story lines could interlink and work, but they dovetail together beautifully from the day that major Tom tries to call his ex-wife from space and Gladys answers the telephone.  Their lives are linked through the most unusual series of events which see Thomas Major helping the Ormerod family overcome financial and social issues…and even come to terms with a few of his own demons.

I loved this book – it made me laugh and cry.  The view from the space ship window is described so vividly that I could see it, and the personalities of the individual main characters brim with life.  The comedy that the writer incorporated into the character of Gladys turns a sensitive situation into a human one.  She made me laugh out loud.  The back story for Thomas Major unfolds and he is surprised to find himself changing as his relationship with the family on Earth develops and makes him re evaluate.  These people were very easy to identify with and I wanted to know what life had in store for them.  Mr Barnett makes the reader care.

A feel good story showing the best in human nature without over sentimentality, and how communities can come together.  An uplifting read that I give 5 stars.

Review also on goodreads, Netgalley & Amazon

Questions for the author

Who was the inspiration for the Thomas Major character?
Why space? And specifically Mars?
If Calling Major Tom were to be made into a film, who would you like to play Thomas Major? Matt Damon of The Martian fame?
The family dynamics between Gladys and her grandchildren are tangible – has David had first hand experience of dementia and if not where did he gain his insight for Gladys’s actions that made us laugh and cry?
Did Thomas see in the Ormerod family what had been missing from his own upbringing? Could he have ever moved forward from this if he had stayed on Earth?
When you started the book, did you intend that it would be so humorous?
 I remember that at the end I felt it wasn’t particularly heartwarming because I didn’t see how Major Tom was going to survive on Mars. What did the author think would happen next – or is there a sequel?
And finally….the obvious – are you a Bowie fan?
Some of the comments from my book club included:
Just finished the book, laughed out load, and cried, loved it!
 
Not finding this easy and it is because I am not liking using the iPad to read. (Book club read it – at my suggestion – before available as a  paperback book)
 
very quick read after the initial few pages…very funny..
General consensus was that we all really enjoyed it!

Answers to follow in Part 2

The book is published by Trapeze Orion Books UK
 
Available from 29 June in paperback, currently £5.59 and ebook £1.99 on Amazon

Calling Major Tom and also from your local bookstore (prices vary).

This contains an affiliate link.

Adrenal Fatigue – Pin review from Cathy, Ty Siriol Ceramics & Crafts

Cathy at Ty Siriol Ceramics and Crafts recently posted a short review for this book on pinterest which I thought I would share with you.

The “blurb” from Amazon reads “This is an incredibly informative and reader-friendly book about a common debilitating medical condition that goes largely undiagnosed and untreated. ADRENAL FATIGUE: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome is a very empowering work cram-packed with vital information about a condition that very likely affects millions of people”

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Cathy writes “I’ve recently read this book to try to get to the bottom of why I’m so exhausted, among other things. It’s a really good read and helps you to assess if this could be a problem for you as well as giving really thorough advice….” Remainder of her short review is here:

http://pin.it/tyWipX2

On Amazon the book has received 151 reviews with an average 4.5 stars out of 5.

THE GIRL IN BLACK by Kathy Lauren Miller – A REVIEW

K. D. Dowdall

“The Girl in Black” by Kathy Lauren Miller is a hauntingly taut murder mystery as well as an awesome page-turner! The mystery begins with high school senior, Kate Mckenna who happens to live in an old Victorian manor that is also the Mckenna Memorial Funeral Home. Her father, Dr. Brendan Mckenna, happens to be the county’s Chief Medical Examiner. Shy Kate, whose social life as always been nearly non-existent until she is thrust into the limelight when the promiscuous prom queen, Ashley is found tortured and murdered.

Accusations run rampant in Kate’s High School concerning several male students that were involved with Ashley. To make matters worse, Ashley’s remains now reside at the funeral home where Kate lives. Kate and her best friend Cooper, a computer nerd, and Kate’s unattainable heartthrob, handsome Shane, all become involved in Ashley’s murder. Suddenly, Kate finds herself in the cross hairs of the sadistic…

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Book Review “The Girl at the End of the Road”

Disclaimer: I was fortunate to be given a copy of this book by The Book Club on Facebook in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Girl at the End of the Road by K A Hitchins

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Vincent has found himself in a situation that any self-respecting “City” boy would balk at.  He has lost his job, his rented home, possibly his high maintenance girlfriend and perhaps most humiliating of all, he is on his way home to his parents’ house in Suffolk.  Rural Suffolk.  At this point in his life, a decade or so after leaving school, he did not expect to find himself becoming reacquainted with his childhood bedroom or learning how to live with his loving, but in his eyes, staid middle aged parents.

But he is clear in his own mind that this is just a temporary glitch.  The downturn in the economy and his huge personal debts will not hold him back.  However adjusting to life in the rural village of Elmsford proves hard for Vincent, who assumes himself to be a city hotshot.  There is no immediate access to internet, the job offers that he expected to flood in are nowhere in sight and his social life is virtually non-existent – unless you count dog walks with his parents’ elderly dog.  A trip to the local library brings him face to face with a memory from the past in the shape of librarian Sarah Penny.  Having run into this old school friend once, he finds himself encountering her on dog walks and then actively seeking her out.

So begins what initially seems to be the most unlikely of friendships.  Sarah is the antithesis of friends who have featured in Vincent’s life as she is serious, quiet, slightly dowdy and happy to be in Suffolk.  She is certainly unlike the city girls who dress and make up to the nines, expecting champagne fuelled dates and expensive accessories.  Sarah, in her almost simplistic view of the world, makes Vincent accept some unpleasant truths about himself and his attitudes to life.

The story could be very clichéd, and at first Vincent is a pretty unlikeable character.  But it was with real interest that I watched his character evolve from spoilt young man to something altogether different.  Maybe there is an element of fairy tale to this, but as Vincent grows so does Sarah and the reader begins to have a glimpse into a simple world of an exceptional young lady.  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I believe that there is enough already written about Sarah’s autism not to be giving anything away.  I am not autistic so do not pretend to have any inside knowledge about this complex condition.  But I do belong to a community of chronic illness sufferers, some of whom are on the autistic spectrum and I have recently read articles by author Laura James, who has autism and my own condition, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  I feel that Sarah’s autism, which included her extraordinary intelligence, has been handled sensitively and with relevance to real life.  For instance, her coping mechanisms at dealing with life following her mother’s death and her growing relationship with Vincent.

This book made me think, made me sad and in parts made me laugh out loud.  Perhaps most importantly it made me examine my own attitudes to those we consider to be different to ourselves and also those closest to us.  In my disability chronic illness community we call ourselves “spoonies”, in the book Sarah and her friends call themselves “The Specials” – a fantastic name.  Of course there is a moral to the story for Vincent regarding what in life really makes you happy…..and sometimes you are unable to see it for trying too hard.

For me a great read, with a long review, but 5 stars all the way!

Book Review “My Husband’s Son” by Deborah O’Connor

Its been a rough couple of weeks and I’ve been unable to manage any writing – more of that in a life post!  But I’m trying to catch up with some of my book reviews in time for Christmas recommendations……

My Husband’s Son  by Deborah O’Connor

I was given a copy of this book through the Book Club on Facebook in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions & thoughts are my own.

 

Heidi and Jason, a couple who are flung together in the most heart breaking of 29908515circumstances.  They have both experienced the nightmare of any parent – a child abduction – and the emotional & physical roller-coaster that accompanies it.  This is a book that depicts a psychological drama, with suspense & investigation, whilst also being sensitive to the human relationships of all the characters.

Heidi, a single mother, and Jason, a divorced father, met at a child safety conference to which they had both been invited because their children had been stolen from them.  They found that here was someone else who not only understood but shared a need to talk over memories to the point of obsession; someone who had a love hate relationship with sleep; someone who understood the need to keep looking back when others wanted you to look forward.  Within six months Heidi had packed up her life in Rochester to move north and in with Jason, and later they married.

Their individual stories unfurl within their joint story after Heidi spots a young boy in an off licence.  She is convinced that this youngster could be Jason’s son, Barney, who has never been found – but when she takes Jason to the shop he is certain that it is not his son.  “No matter how many years have passed……I’ll know him and he’ll know me.”  But Heidi is unable to put the boy from her mind and begins her own crusade to find out more about him.  As she goes “undercover” to investigate, she discovers secrets kept by people she trusts, relationships that are not all that they seem and that maybe a single life event does not have to define a person.  She is also forced to ask whether a parent will always instinctively know their own child.

I really appreciated Deborah O’Connor’s character development throughout the course of the book.  Heidi and Jason share a complex & often dysfunctional relationship which at times seems destined to fail.  At times it is difficult to see whether they have any connection beyond their children, Barney & Lauren, and there is always the elephant in the room – Heidi knows what happened to Lauren (no spoilers!) Jason does not recognize that Heidi is in turmoil – as she works her way deeper into the lives around the boy, her job suffers, relationship with family & friends break down and she finds herself empathizing and developing relationships in the most unlikely places.

The impact upon everyone touched by the cases of Lauren & Barney is enormous – from the parents, extended families & friends to the police officers investigating the cases.  It really is a heart breaking story with psychological twists & turns that I believe will see you in a very different mind set by the time you reach the staggering conclusion.  Is there always such a thing as the right course of action? Five stars!

 

Referrals, P.O.T.S & Books

Another week has flown by and here we are in the UK at May bank holiday & half term.  Where is this year going?  I have had 2 medical appointments this week and each of these have led to even more.  The first was my monthly visit to the GP and I actually owned up to
the pain in my right hip that has got increasingly worse since it “popped” sideways – subluxed to those in the know – a couple of weeks ago.  Rather unfortunate as this is my “good” hip!!  The pain is completely different to the nerve pain and definitely EDS induced – it is deep in the front hip crease and at its worse on walking, to the point of literally taking my breathe away.  Or that could be because my hip gives way and I fall over!!
So a referral is in the post foimages (29)r an ultrasound and orthopaedic appointment, and poor old Geoff, my very patient physio, is going to receive a call to ask for help with not just the shoulders any more.  I have also spotted a tube of ibuprofen gel in my latest prescription bag….I wonder which dodgy body part I’m supposed to apply it to?  There isn’t enough to cover them all!!  The second appointment was with the neurologist to check me out for seizures.  I am delighted to report – and just slightly relieved – that I passed muster and don’t have epilepsy.  But – and no great surprises here – the faints, dizzy spells, palpitations etc are probably due to the collagen issues of EDS within my blood vessels combined with the chronic nerve pain…so another referral is winging its way to a cardiologist to put me on a tilting table to attempt to play havoc with my blood pressure!!  And investigate POTS – no not another foray into drugs, but postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome!
Another couple of referrals and I will have stamps in my book for consultations with every body system.  Nearly a professional patient.  Something that did make me laugh is that the lovely doctor told me that I must lie down immediately when I feel the aura of a dizzy spell/faint gty_marijuana_plants_jt_120122_wblogcoming on – not sure how this will be received in the aisles of M&S.

We managed a trip to our book club this week – we meet in the pub, so Duncan isn’t going to miss this easily – and I have also been lucky to join The Book Club (TBC) on facebook.  For those of us who have “bad” days, reading can be a huge part of our lives from comfort to distraction to enjoyment.  539_10153914093796495_4475152326736141710_nThrough TBC I have joined a group called Netgalley, which is a forum for “professional readers” to read and review new books prior to official publication.  I’m not quite sure how I will get on with either of these sites – both ask for honest reviews to be published on goodreads and Amazon – but I thought that I would also have a go at posting some Book Chat on Painpals for my friends in the chronic community.  At the moment I have opened a new page at the top of the blog and my first review, which is for a new book on TBC, can now be found there.  Please stick with me on this, as I might find that I need to alter the theme of the blog if this doesn’t work out!  Guest reviews would be most welcome too.

We have a trip to Exeter later in the week for Olly to visit the university open day – Lucy and I plan a day shopping, but she is getting concerned in case I have a fall.  I did suggest borrowing a wheelchair – I know that I can’t walk very far and I have a feeling that Exeter is hilly – but I’m not sure that she fancies pushing her mum……to be continued!