Book Review: Miss Wrong and Mr Right by Robert Bryndza

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Miss Wrong and Mr Right by Robert Bryndza
Release Date: 4th May 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Buy: Paperback |  Kindle
Rating:
5h

 

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Natalie Love has worked hard to have it all: she runs a successful theatre in Soho that’s about to host one of Hollywood’s leading stars. Her biggest supporter is her eccentric Hungarian Gran, and she even has the ‘perfect’ yoga teacher boyfriend – Namaste!

Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie’s escape from her chaotic country family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar 15 years ago. And then he turns up at her theatre door…

With rivalry clouding old feelings, events in Soho bring Jamie and Natalie together in hilarious ways. Gran is loose in the city once more, it seems to be raining sandwiches and records are broken for Burlesque flash mobs. If she can keep her world together, will Natalie discover who is really Mr Right, and that perhaps she isn’t Miss Wrong?

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Author Interview: Cathy Bramley

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I am thrilled to welcome the absolutely lovely Cathy Bramley to Bookaholic Confessions for a good old chin-wag today! Cathy has released a Christmas novella, Comfort and Joy and she has very kindly stopped by to tell us a little bit about it. She also spills the beans on Christmas in July, sausaage dogs (hurray!) and reveals her favourite books of 2016…

Cathy BramleyHi Cathy! Welcome to Bookaholic Confessions. As one of my favourite authors you need to introduction but for those readers who are new to your books, please could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Thank you for your kind words, Holly. I write light-hearted, feel-good stories which I hope my readers can lose themselves in. I used to run my own marketing agency but now I write full-time. I live in Nottinghamshire with my family and a cockapoo, Pearl.

 

As a big fan of your books and also a lover of Christmas novels I was very excited when I discovered your festive novella, Comfort and Joy. Can you tell us about it?

Comfort and Joy is a story about Verity and her boyfriend Tom and is set in the village of Plumberry, the location for my last novel The Plumberry School of Comfort Food. It’s their first Christmas together and they are planning on a quiet, romantic day, but when bad weather causes a power cut, they end up having to save Christmas for the entire village. The whole community of Plumberry rallies together to make it a Christmas to remember, but will everyone get what they most want this year…?

 

cmWhat time of the year did you write Comfort and Joy? Was it difficult getting into a Christmassy mood out of season?

I wrote Comfort and Joy in the hottest weeks of summer. It was odd writing about fairy lights, mistletoe and log fires, but I compiled a Christmas playlist and tried to conjure up my favourite Christmas memories. It was slightly surreal but great fun!

 

Now, seeing as we’re talking Christmas can I ask you a few quick-fire festive questions?

Favourite…

1) Christmas film – The Holiday

2) Christmas song – Fairytale of New York by The Pogues

3) Christmas food – chestnut stuffing

4) Christmas book – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

As a sausage dog owner myself, Comfrey and Sage were naturally two of my favourite characters in Comfort and Joy. Why did you decide that Dachshunds were going to be in your story?

I love Dachshunds! I think I saw your pictures on Twitter of your lovely boys just at the time I was trying to decide what sort of dogs should feature in the story. So your dogs are actually the inspiration behind Comfrey and Sage!

I am stupidly excited about your next full length novel, White Lies and Wishes (out in January 2017) Can you give us a hint as to what readers can expect from your next story?

I am VERY excited about this book and can’t wait to hear what my readers have to say about it. It’s about three women who meet for the first time at a funeral. They have a ‘Carpe Diem’ moment and decide to help each other to make their dearest wish come true. Unfortunately, they’ve all told each other a few white lies along the way. It’s a bit different to my usual stories, but I think people will enjoy it.

2016 has been a great year for fiction. What have been your favourite reads of this year so far?

Oh gosh such a tricky question! Here’s my top three: Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon and LOADS more besides!

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A huge thank you to Cathy! Get hold of your copy of Comfort & Joy here.

Book Review: Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley

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Comfort and Joy: A feel-good Christmas short story full of romance and surprises! by [Bramley, Cathy]

Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley
Release Date: 13th October 2016
Publisher: Transworld
Buy: Kindle
Rating:
5PUD

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It’s been a busy year for Verity Bloom at the Plumberry School of Comfort Food, but Christmas Eve is finally here. With delicious treats all wrapped up and the ingredients packed away, Verity is looking forward to a relaxing few days with her new boyfriend.

Good food, family and friends – it’s a simple recipe for true comfort and joy, and all Verity’s friends in the village are full of excitement about the holidays too.

But the weather has other plans in store… Relentless rain leads to a power cut that spells disaster for many of Plumberry’s residents. It’s starting to look like this year’s celebrations could be a total washout.

With dreams of a perfect Christmas dashed, will the last of the festive cheer be swept away in the downpour? Or can the cookery school create a Christmas miracle for everyone Verity holds dear?

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Free Christmas eBooks

It’s Christmasssss (nearly!) and what better way to celebrate the countdown to the big day than by downloading a fabulous (free!) festive read. Christmas has definitely come early…

From Paris With Love This Christmas by Jules Wake

From Paris With Love This Christmas by [Wake, Jules]

Just until Christmas…

That’s what Paris socialite Siena keeps telling herself. She’ll hide away in her sister Laurie’s cottage near London to escape her hot-tempered fiancé.

However, when Jason – gorgeous but a bit of a Grinch – picks her up from the airport, he reveals that Laurie hasn’t lived there for months, complicating Siena’s holiday getaway.

At first, Jason and Siena don’t see eye to eye. But after a weekend in the most romantic city in the world, experiencing all it has to offer – from the magic of a fir-lined Champs-Élysées, lit up by thousands of sparkling fairy lights, to the swoosh of skates on ice at the Eiffel Tower – Siena shows Jason her Paris, and a whole other side to herself. Suddenly Siena’s December deadline seems far too close…

This Christmas, jet off to Paris with Siena and Jason and experience the magic of the holiday season.

Click to download your copy.

 

A Fairytale Christmas by Melissa Hill

A Fairytale Christmas: New York Christmas Romance by [Hill, Melissa]
When Londoner Penny decides to visit her best friend Kate in New York for the festive season, the surprise appearance of a previous suitor sends her plans for a relaxing, carefree visit into complete disarray.
When she and Mike last saw each other, the timing couldn’t have been worse.

But when Mike decides to show Penny the very best of what a snowy, festive, New York has to offer – resolving to make it a fairytale Christmas – will she be able to resist his charms this time round?

And will finding one other again turn out to be the greatest Christmas gift?

 

 

 

Click to download your copy.

 

Celebrations and Confetti at Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin

Celebrations and Confetti At Cedarwood Lodge by [Raisin, Rebecca]

Clio Winters is finally fulfilling her childhood dream of renovating the gorgeous old Cedarwood Lodge in Evergreen. Turning it into the perfect destination for big celebrations, weddings and parties has brought her back home, but Cedarwood Lodge is in need of a lot of tender loving care.

Perhaps all the work will be the perfect distraction from the real reason she had to leave her glamorous New York life behind.

Will coming home be the best decision of her life… or her biggest regret?

Cedarwood Lodge is a delectable romance told in three parts – following Clio Winters journey back to her hometown of Evergreen. This is Part One.

 

 

 

 

Click to download your copy.

A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson

A Christmas Gift: Winter Romance (Four Seasons Set Book 1) by [Wilkinson, Stella]Holly and Caleb had been best friends as children, growing up on the same street, but as teenagers they couldn’t be further apart. When Caleb unexpectedly asked Holly to help him pick out a Christmas gift for his girlfriend, neither of them anticipated where it would lead.
A young adult romantic comedy, from Stella Wilkinson, acclaimed author of The Flirting Games Series.
A Christmas Gift is a “clean” romance, suitable for ALL ages.

 

 

 

 

 

Click to download.

The Reading Group: December by Della Parker

The Reading Group: December: A festive FREE short story (Part 1) (The Reading Group Series) by [Parker, Della]Meet the Reading Group: six women in the seaside village of Little Sanderton come together every month to share their love of reading. No topic is off-limits: books, family, love and loss . . . and don’t forget the glass of red!

Grace knows that the holiday season is going to be different this year. No turkey, no tinsel, no gorgeously wrapped gifts under the tree . . . how on earth is she going to break it to her little boys that Christmas is effectively cancelled? And can she bear to tell anyone her embarrassing secret? Enter the Reading Group: Grace’s life might have turned upside down but there’s no problem they can’t solve.

 

 

 

 

Click to pre-order, released 1st December 2016.

Guest Post: Lies my Teacher Told Me by Mary Jayne Baker

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Lies my teachers told me

I was in a primary school classroom recently looking at a huge display showing what the inmates – sorry, children – were learning in their Literacy lessons. Part of it was about the use of dialogue in stories. The kids had apparently been learning how to vary their dialogue tags – to have their characters exclaim, question, murmur, gasp, even smile, rather than to simply say. I remembered learning the exact same thing back in my own English lessons, which took place in what today’s schoolkids would probably think was somewhere around the reign of Queen Victoria.
And it got me reflecting on all the lessons I’d had to unlearn when I first started writing fiction. Varying dialogue tags was one of the first, because, as any good editor will tell you, the best dialogue tag to use in most cases is a nice, clean “said” – or no dialogue tag at all, if the speech can be attributed through action.
“Said” is unobtrusive, whereas “exclaimed”, for example, is more unusual and draws the reader away from the story. The author should be invisible, and by drawing attention to the mechanics of writing, “exclaimed” allows them to be seen. For example, in these four versions of the same line of dialogue:
“Absolutely not!” Joe said.
“Absolutely not!” Joe exclaimed.
“Absolutely not!” Joe frowned.
“Absolutely not!” Joe jumped from his seat, leaned over the table and glared at his son.
Personally, I’d favour the final one because it adds action to the static dialogue and shows us the character’s emotion at this point. The first version is fine though, if action isn’t appropriate at this point in the scene.
The second example is both more intrusive on the reader’s experience and entirely unnecessary. The reader already knows this is an exclamation from the punctuation so there’s no need to hammer the point home.
And on no account should characters perform the physically impossible by grinning, smiling, frowning or (as in one book I read) knocking dialogue – unless of course they know Morse Code.
Purple prose was another bad habit I picked up at school from the long descriptive passages we were often asked to write in English lessons. Mine were the most schmaltzy stuff imaginable, pure saccharin, possibly beginning “it was a dark and stormy night” and incorporating at least one use of what was then my favourite word, “vermillion”. Also “azure”. I’m sure everyone was very impressed. Too much flowery language of this kind in a novel can seem cloying and sentimental, bore the readers and slow the pace.

 

There are perfectly good reasons we’re taught this way of writing as children. It encourages young people to expand their vocabularies, to explore the world in a sensory way and to find a way of expressing themselves, all valuable life skills. But it doesn’t necessarily make for good storytelling, and one of the very first things any writer should learn is to forget everything they’ve ever been taught about writing. Personally I’m indebted to the book Self-editing for Fiction Writers for helping me with this. It’s not a big book but I found it really useful in improving my style. It’s the book on writing I most frequently go back to.
Finally, a quick reflection on the first rule of storytelling, one nearly everyone knows: show, don’t tell. I don’t remember ever being taught this at school, and I doubt I’d have understood it if I had, but I’ve been trying to internalise it ever since I first heard it. Very simply, it means the difference between your friend coming over and telling you over coffee about her break-up with her boyfriend, and you actually watching the couple break up through the window. It means being able to transport the reader into that scene, as if they were there witnessing it. Written dialogue rather than reported speech. Present action rather than backstory. It’s the one rule I really want to see shining out in my writing.
Mary Jayne’s debut novel The Honey Trap is out in paperback on the 3rd November 2016.

 

honey-trap-coverThe trap is set – but which one of them is the bait?

Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy exposé, Angel thinks what the hell? There’s a staff job on the horizon, and, let’s be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don’t want to, right?

After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story – and Seb – behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap.

But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a ‘kiss and tell’ becomes something real?

 

 

Mary Jayne Baker – bio
Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature in 2003, she dallied with living in cities including London, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales.
She lives with him in a little house with four little cats and a little rabbit, writing stories about girls with flaws and the men who love them. You can usually find her there with either a pen, some knitting needles or a glass of wine in hand. She goes to work every day as a graphic designer for a magazine publisher, but secretly dreams of being a lighthouse keeper.
More information can be found about MJ on her website at http://www.maryjaynebaker.co.uk. You can also follow her on Twitter, @MaryJayneBaker, or like her Facebook page by going to Facebook.com/MaryJayneWrites