My Deckchair Reading…

Summer 2017 is a mere 12 days away and as well as a juicy cocktail, a floaty floral dress and a nice tan, a Summer-TBR list is an essential. We all have a special summer TBR list…Y’know the one. When you have a week off work or go away somewhere you mentally compile a list of about 20 books you definitely WILL get through over your break. It never happens but the intentions are there which is all that matters.
I thought it would be fun to share a sneaky peak at my (ridiculously large) list of essential summer reading…Pass the margaritas.

Then she was Gone by Lisa Jewell
(Released 27th July 2017)

Click here to pre-order.

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.
NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.
Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.
What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

 

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne
(Released 27th July 2017)

Click here to pre-order.

Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.

 

 

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Extract: The Vets at Hope Green by Sheila Norton

Extract: The Vets at Hope Green by Sheila Norton

When I left for Hope Green, the wind was bitterly cold, but at least the sun was shining, making it feel comfortably warm inside my ageing little Polo as I headed down the M3. I’d waited until the nausea had settled before setting off. It seemed that now it had started, it was going to be a regular thing every morning. In the last few days at work I’d really hoped that I wouldn’t have any further episodes, or I’d have had to come clean about the pregnancy sooner rather than later. But fortunately my morning sickness was limited to just that – the morning – and I left London feeling at ease, if a little hungry. I turned on the radio and sang along with the music, trying to get myself into a happier frame of mind for when I arrived at Nana Peggy’s. I was supposed to be there to keep her company, and I wasn’t going to be very good company if all I kept thinking about were my own worries.

I realised Claire had been right when she’d said Hope Green wasn’t going to be quite the same at this time ofyear as when I normally visited in the summer. Then, it always looked like a picture postcard, with every little pink or white thatched cottage sporting hanging baskets of brightly coloured summer flowers – geraniums, lobelias, fuchsias, petunias. Front gardens were full of roses, mari­golds, dahlias and sunflowers; grass verges were sprinkled with forget-me-nots and wild basil. The village had either won, or been runner-up, in a Best-Kept Village contest for as many years as it had been going, and the residents worked hard to keep their lawns immaculate, the paintwork of their houses spruce and their roadsides litter-free.

I’d never visited outside of the summer holidays – for other family occasions, Nana was usually brought up to the family home in Norfolk – so I was used to the village having a festive atmosphere, with tourists strolling along the main street taking photographs of the church, the duck pond and the ancient stocks on the village green, and families relaxing in the pub garden or outside the tea room. Luckily, Hope Green never got completely overwhelmed with visitors as, although it was only a mile from the sea, that area of the coast was inaccessible except by footpaths. The nearest seaside town was several miles away and the one road in and out of the village consisted of a long, winding and very narrow hill, which was enough to put off all but the most intrepid drivers if they weren’t familiar with the area. So, despite the village pub and only guest house usually being fully booked for the season, a large proportion of the visitors were walkers, and none arrived in coach parties. It’ll probably be really quiet and a bit dreary at this time of year, I told myself as I eventually turned off the main road on to the lane that climbed up to the village. The sun had suddenly gone in, and there was a spattering of drizzle on the windscreen. But that’s OK. It’ll suit me to be quiet and dreary at the moment. I just need a bit of peace and a chance to get my head together.

But coming into the village, I was welcomed by bright, colourful daffodils and grape hyacinths clustered around the village sign on the green. Despite the weather, the village still seemed to exude a warm, welcoming feel and I let out a huge breath that I had unknowingly been holding.

 

Click here to get hold of your copy of The Vets at Hope Green.

Book Review: The Last Piece of my Heart by Paige Toon

The Last Piece of My HeartThe Last Piece of my Heart by Paige Toon
Release Date: 18th May 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Pages: 432
Genre: Romance, Humour, Chick-Lit, Women’s Fiction
ISBN: 978-1471162558
Buy: Paperback  Kindle Audio
Rating: Image result for pink hearts Image result for pink hearts Image result for pink hearts Image result for pink hearts Image result for pink hearts

 

What’s the Story?
Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change.

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Guest Post: Virginia Macgregor

Guest post: What was Virginia’s writing process in writing Wishbones?

 

I have a similar process for all the novels I write.

 

First, I’m inspired by a strong contemporary issue, one which affects everyday people, especially families. I thought it would be interesting to explore the problem of obesity through the eyes of a teenager caring for her mother – which, of course, raises another contemporary issue: the role reversal of the child carer which, sadly, is much more common than we realise.

 

Then I think of a character who I feel could carry the story and charm my readers: someone real and flawed but also someone who we can admire and whose company we’d like to share for three hundred pages. The character’s voice is very important to me so I work on that and I spend some time getting to know my character, like I would a real person: I ask her lots of questions like what her shoe size is and what she eats for breakfast and, if she had one wish, what it would be…

 

When I feel that I have a strong character, the next step is to plan a powerful opening scene which will plunge the reader right into the heart of my story: I never start writing a novel until I have a strong opening scene as I see this as a catalyst for the whole novel. And, of course, I want my readers to be gripped from page one. This is how the idea of Feather’s mother collapsing on New Year’s Eve came about.

 

I then think hard about where the novel is going to end. This isn’t as set in stone as the opening because I think it’s important to leave my imagination – and my characters – a bit of room for improvisation and flexibility, but, as I write, I do keep coming back to the question of where the story ends so that my story keeps a strong sense of focus and direction.

 

I don’t plan my whole novel in advance but I do plan each scene before I write it. Which is why I’m both a notebook and a laptop girl. In my much-loved Leuchtturm notebooks, I draw colourful mind maps of each scene (I like to think of my chapters a scenes, like in a film) and then I write the scenes up on my computer. I find that planning the scene ahead – rather than writing cold – makes my writing stronger and ensures that I stay focused on what really matters to the story and the characters.

 

I write the first draft quite fast and then do lots and lots of editing. I need to feel the momentum of the story while I’m writing it to ensure that my readers feel that pace too. I can’t imagine spending years and years writing a novel – I think I’d get lost and that the story would lose its energy.

 

Oh, and then I edit some more.

 

And some more.

A huge thank you to Virginia and to Sahina at HQ.

Click here to get hold of your copy of Wishbones.

Feather Tucker has two wishes:

1)To get her mum healthy again

2) To win the Junior UK swimming championships

When Feather comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother – one of Britain’s most obese women- in a diabetic coma, she realises something has to be done to save her mum’s life. But when her Mum refuses to co-operate Feather realises that the problems run deeper than just her mum’s unhealthy appetite.

Over time, Feather’s mission to help her Mum becomes an investigation. With the help of friends old and new, and the hindrance of runaway pet goat Houdini, Feather’s starting to uncover when her mum’s life began to spiral out of control and why. But can Feather fix it in time for her mum to watch her swim to victory? And can she save her family for good

 

 

Fiona Harper’s 90’s Playlist…

Fiona Harper’s 90s Playlist!

 

So there are some songs that just stand out when you think of the 90s. Here are a few of the hum-along tunes we all know and a couple of my absolute faves that I had to give a mention!

 

  1. Loaded – Primal Scream
  2. Love Shack – The B52s
  3. Don’t Speak – No Doubt
  4. Torn – Natalie Imbruglia
  5. Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer
  6. Rhythm is a Dancer – Snap! (mentioned in The Other Us!)
  7. Crazy – Seal
  8. Missing – Everything But The Girl
  9. Nothing Compares to You – Sinead O’Connor
  10. Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve
  11. Friday I’m In Love – The Cure
  12. Praise You – Fatboy Slim
  13. My Favourite Game – The Cardigans
  14. Ride On Time – Black Box
  15. There She Goes – The La’s

 

If you could turn back time, would you choose a different life?

Forty-something Maggie is facing some hard truths. Her only child has flown the nest for university and, without her daughter in the house, she’s realising her life, and her marriage to Dan, is more than a little stale.

When she spots an announcement on Facebook about a uni reunion, she can’t help wondering what happened to Jude Hanson. The same night Dan proposed, Jude asked Maggie to run away with him, and she starts to wonder how different her life might have been if she’d broken Dan’s heart and taken Jude up on his offer.

Wondering turns into fantasising, and then one morning fantasising turns into reality. Maggie wakes up and discovers she’s back in 1992 and twenty-one again. Is she brave enough to choose the future she really wants, and if she is, will the grass be any greener on the other side of the fence?

Two men. Two very different possible futures. But is there only once chance at happiness?

 

Click here to buy your copy of The Other Us.