25 November 2009
1. Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book, Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, is set in Longhampton's dilapidated dog rescue, and is the story of broken-hearted Rachel's mission to pair up her late aunt's collection of waifs and strays with new owners. Rachel starts off her rehoming drive just to get the rescue emptied, so she can sell Dot's house and move on, but by the end of the novel she's discovered that there was much more mystery in Dot's life than her family ever realised, and that her real future - and a real love - might lie in a very unexpected place. You don't have to like dogs to enjoy the story - there's a big cast of friends juggling romances, dramas and laughs - but it's the sweet, silent unconditional love between Rachel and her aunt's faithful collie, Gem, that made me cry (and smile!) most when I was writing it.
2. Your brilliant debut novel The Ballroom Class was based around dancing. Is this something you enjoy doing yourself? How did you come up with a plot around a dance class?
I absolutely love dancing - it's the best escape you can have from everyday stresses and worries. You feel glamorous, energised, uplifted - a bit like a night on the champagne but without the hangover next morning. And I'd really encourage anyone who loves Strictly to book some proper ballroom lessons: knowing the steps takes some of the 'fear' out of getting up onto the floor, especially for men. The lessons I took with my husband inspired the story - we had a fantastic teacher called Diana, who told us all sorts of great dancer gossip, and we met lots of different couples and professionals while we were stumbling about, getting our feet in a muddle. My husband was a bit like Ross to begin with - not that keen, but willing to give it a go - but after a month or two, he was the most majestic waltzer I've ever seen. It sounds a bit corny, because it's exactly what happens in the novel, but we honestly did see a whole new romantic side to each other, and now you only have to show us a dancefloor for us to get our foxtrot on.
24 November 2009
Lydia lives with Polish men Andrei and Jan, but can't stand either of them... not to mention the problems Lydia is having with her own mother as well. And Jemima lives with her lovely dog Gurudge, but is sure she feels the presence of something hanging around the house of 66 Star Street. Just what, or who, is watching these people? And will the secrets that bind them ever come out?
Marian Keyes is one of the most successful chick-lit authors of all time, yet strangely I have only read 2 of her books. I loved Watermelon, one of her earliest books, but her last release This Charming Man just didn't do it for me. So it was with trepidation that I decided to try out her latest offering which has probably been the most anticipated books of 2009. It's had numerous cover designs posted all over the net (some loved, some hated), but finally the book had its British release at the end of last month, and I couldn't go into a bookshop with seeing Marian's gold shiny book everywhere. I got my copy from the library as I don't buy hardbacks and quickly sat down to read it.
19 November 2009
I read and adored Lucy's debut novel The Ballroom Class when it was released last year, and I've been really eager for her to bring a second book out! When I found it was about dogs, I was a bit unsure as I'm not the biggest dog lover in the world, but the cover won me over with its lovely winter setting, and I think it's going to be a big seller in the run up to Christmas. The book is published on 26th November, and it's one that will be worth the wait and is perfect for the cold winter nights.
17 November 2009
Cathy Kelly is a very popular Irish author, and amazingly this is the 11th book she has released. She's been writing since 1997, but since I was only 11 years old then, I've only just really got into her work, my first Kelly novel being her previous release, Lessons in Heartbreak (reviewed of course). I wasn't overly impressed but hoped that this one would be more enjoyable for me. When I read the blurb, I wasn't too sure as it sounded like a lot of characters and would therefore require a bit more concentration that I liked to give a book but still I was willing to give it a real go and head into it with an open mind. It was a rather chunky book, so was one that would take me a while, and consequently give me a chance to really get into it.
14 November 2009
Tamara hates living in the back of beyond with no shops around or social life to speak of. When the travelling library pays a visit, Tamara decides to give it a go, and uncovers an unusual book. It's got no author or title, and it's locked too. Eventually Tamara manages to get the lock open and is shocked to her core by what she finds inside the pages. The book seems to be telling her what's going to happen in her life tomorrow... but can Tamara believe it?
This is one of the year's biggest releases in the world of Chick Lit in my opinion - Cecelia Ahern has really hit the big time with her writing since the success of her debut novel PS... I Love You written a few years ago now. Since then, she's been bringing out magical books one after the other, and The Book of Tomorrow is her latest release. I didn't like Cecelia's debut at all, although I loved the film, and then last year I devoured her Christmassy-themed book The Gift and adored it so was hoping for similar feelings toward this book. I finally got my copy from the library a few days ago and sat down to enjoy this book.
12 November 2009
But Harriet's past comes back to surprise her in the form of her ex-boyfriend James who's now a rather wealthy businessman. Is Harriet going to be attracted by what could have been, or will she stay with financially struggling Guy and their family?
According to the first couple of pages, Cristina Odone originally wrote the character of Harriet Carew for the Daily Telegraph newspaper in a series of columns called "Posh and Poor". The column was so well received that she was commissioned to write a book about Harriet, and this is the result. Now, I've never read either the Telegraph or Odone's column so I didn't know what to expect from either thing, but I presumed it must be quite good for a book to have come out of it. I therefore looked forward to good characters and a good writing style, and while I was satisfied on one account, the other sadly left me cold and somewhat annoyed by the time I finished my book.
10 November 2009
But when tragedy strikes, can Amy hold it altogether for the sake of their 2 young children? Will young vet Guy be able to help Amy not only with her animals but with rebuilding herself too? This is a tale of living the dream... but what happens when it's not your dream but someone elses?
Even though she has a very large catalogue of books, Carole Matthews' isn't actually an author I have read all that many books by! My first of her books, It's A Kind of Magic, was good but not really my cup of tea. So when I was sent this by the publishers for review, I hoped it was a little more down to earth as the plot sounded exactly like something I would like to read. Amazingly, this is Carole's 13th novel, and her latest (book 15!) is due out early next year entitled It's Now or Never. The pretty orange cover of this book gives an impression of summer but I actually found it to be a great winter read as there are some touching Christmas scenes in here!
7 November 2009
But when Grace is introduced to her sister Nancy's new friend John Cramer, Grace begins to find herself having feelings for him too even though she knows her sister adores him. As she woos both men, she finds they are bitter enemies but it isn't clear why. Can Grace discover the truth behind the animosity and will she be able be to choose between Dexter and John once and for all?
When I first saw this book, I adored the cover with its blue theme and foil highlights but I wasn't sure the story was my cup of tea. I'm not overly keen on books set in anything but a modern time, but I was really determined to give this a go as it sounded so interesting, and I am really glad I did because I think this is a real gem of a story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This is author Anna Davis' 5th novel - Anna used to work as a columnist for The Guardian newspaper and at a literary agency as well, so she has plenty of experience with writing and this really shows throughout the book.
4 November 2009
Martina Reilly is actually the same person as writer "Tina Reilly", she has just changed her first name to apparently appear more grown-up, and has changed the cover style of her books from loud and garish, to more mature and chic. I wasn't too annoyed at picking this up thinking it was a new author to discovering it was someone I'd read much before as I did enjoy her books but I was unsure whether she would have changed her writing style as well as her name....
2 November 2009
In the small village of Hope Christmas near to where Noel's engineering company is building an eco-town, the residents there are gearing up for Christmas. Marianne is still reeling after being dumped by Luke, her fiancée; and farmer Gabriel is helping his young son Stephen get over the abandonment of his mother Eve.
Will all 4 be able to get over their worries before the festive season is upon them once more? Or is their Last Christmas their last happy one?
When I heard that Julia Williams was bringing out a Christmas-themed novel, I was really excited because a) I love Julia's book and b) I absolutely adore Christmas. I was even more happy when I saw the cover of the book for the first time - it really captured the essence of Christmas in one picture and couldn't wait to read it. As soon as it came through my letterbox, I picked it up ready to devour and did so within a few days... I couldn't put it down! Suffice to say it's put me right in the Christmassy mood even though it's only early November, but there you go! This is Julia Williams' third novel following Pastures New (which I loved) and Strictly Love.