Monday, 30 September 2013

Tess Oliver Week!

This week on the blog it’s Tess Oliver week!!

I first came across Tess a few weeks ago when I read Freefall. I absolutely fell in love with the story and also the style of writing. So after getting in touch with Tess I decided to dedicate a week on the blog to her! Here is her bio -

Tess Oliver is a USA Today bestselling author of young adult, new adult and adult romances. She lives in southern California on a mini-suburban ranch with her husband, kids and a lot of adorable animals. She’s also a teacher with a Masters in curriculum and instruction. She loves any movie set in 19th century England, any book written by Jane Austen, any food containing chocolate and any song sung by Eddie Vedder. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Author Interview - Milly Johnson

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming chick-lit author extraordinaire Milly Johnson to Erin’s Choice. I got in touch with Milly after I read It’s Raining Men, which you can read a review of here, and pretty much fell in love with it! Milly took the time for an interview and here are her answers!
Q1 - Tell us a bit about your latest novel It’s Raining Men
It's about 3 women who work too hard and force themselves to take time out to stop and smell the roses by booking into a luxurious spa.  But a mistake is made in the booking and they all end up in a back of beyond seaside town full of suspicious villagers and secrets.  A lot of people have said this book is very different to my others but I don't think it is. They all have a little magic in them somewhere - maybe this one has just a little bit more than the others though.

Q2 - The story features the 3 main characters Lara, May and Clare, all of them have been poorly treated by their partners. What inspired their individual circumstances?
Lara's story was inspired by moving into a ready-made family - as my partner has had to do.  Luckily he didn't have the experience Lara has as we all get on, but I did think what a horrific experience it must be to be a step-parent to a family who hate you.
May's story was just something I wanted to play with.  Deception by a partner you trust is crippling and the level of deception is this case is particularly cruel.
Clare's story, again, came from my imagination.  So many people find that the grass isn't greener after all and what you most want, you actually have. But occasionally, relationships need a jolt out of a rut.

Q3 - The book lives up to its title and is full of good and bad guys. Who was your favourite to write about?
Gene.  Physically he isn't your typical hero and is quite rough around the edges.  But he's a good guy really - just crushed and hurting.  I wanted to see him get back his faith in women as much as I wanted to see Lara get hers back in men.

Q4 - The story is set mainly in the little fictional village of Ren Dullem. Have you ever been anywhere similar to it that inspired the location?
I've lived in villages and it's a very different experience from living in a town.  People are much closer in villages and I wanted to take that to an nth degree for the book. Ren Dullem is purely from my imagination but it does borrow a little of the scenery from Robin Hood's Bay.

Q5 - The village has a secret, one that has been kept under wraps for many years, which comes under threat of being exposed. How did you find writing the book while knowing all your readers wouldn’t fully know what the secret was until the very end?
Well, I hoped I could eke out the secret for as long as I could.  I had to drop hints along the way as it was too big a secret to land as a lump on a reader, I thought.  It was a boundary-pushing storyline so I did hope that readers would go with the flow on it.  Most have - luckily!  I've had the best reviews for this book - and the worst!

Q6 - Finally, the story ends on a high note for the 3 girls, is this something you started out with in mind or something that happened naturally over the course of the writing process?
I always have a happy ending.  If that makes me 'predictable' - so what!  I want my readers to relax in the guarantee that they'll have an uplifting happy ending so they can sit back and enjoy the journey to it.

Now for some more fun questions...
Q7 - This is your 10th novel, how does it feel to have them all to your name?
Absolutely marvellous and worth all the initial years of struggling to be published. And my parents are no longer waiting for me to get a proper job.

Q8 - Do you remember what it was like getting your first publishing deal?
As if it were yesterday.  It really was like a dream come true.  I started crying hysterically on the staircase when my agent phoned me.  I thought that moment would be the absolute highlight of my career - but it only gets better with every book.

Q9 - What tip would you give to people who want to become authors?
You need BOTH talent and determination.  If you haven't got both in copious amounts - you won't get very far.  But if you have got them - don't take no for an answer because this is the best job in the world.

Q10 - What book are you reading at the minute?
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Q11 - Who is your favourite romantic hero?
Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre. Closely followed by Captain Wentworth from Persuasion. Swoon.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Review of No-One Ever Had Sex on a Tuesday - Tracy Bloom

The bit on the back...

Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union.

So all is forgotten… until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy’s baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthew’s highly-strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy’s much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.

Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot.

How will they navigate their way through this almighty cock-up?

This is another first for me and was also Tracy's debut novel. On Tracy's website she says the book will have you laughing and crying and I definitely agree with this statement. Just minutes before writing this someone on my twitter feed asked what the last book someone had cried at, this was mine. 

The story is about Katy as she has to face up to a one night stand resulting in a pregnancy, not only that but she is unsure who the father of the child is due to an old flame coming back into her life at the same time as she starts a relationship with another man, the man who happens to think he is the father of her baby. A chance meeting throws the lives of the two couples into disarray and the story follows how they cope with all of the upsets.

This book is really easy to relate to as the subject is something that happens in ordinary life. The characters are relatable as well, to both women and men, as they are down to earth and normal as opposed to living the life of luxury.

The prose is witty and will have you laughing at the situation that unfolds. It will have you crying too though, as Katy has to face the consequences of her actions. Katy is a great character and the story is told from her point of view only which is great because I felt like I read this really fast and only really had time to get to know one character properly and in depth.

I’d definitely recommend this as a light, weekend read if you're looking for something to lift your spirits for a little while!

Erin x

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Author Interview - Erin Kaye

Today I have the pleasure of introducing another Erin to the blog! Erin Kaye, author of Second Time Around (read my review here) took some time to answer some questions for the blog!

Q1 - Tell us a bit about your novel ‘Second Time Around’

It’s a love story about finding what you really want in life and having the courage to go for it. In Jennifer’s case, it’s overcoming the objections from family and friends to her relationship with Ben, sixteen years her junior. Ben faces similar opposition from his family too, but he also has to find the courage up to face up to the fact that, in following his father into the family business, he’s living a lie. Will he have the courage to follow his heart’s desire and break free of his father’s iron grip.  And then there’s Jennifer’s daughter, Lucy, an uncertain young woman searching for her place in the world. She falls under the spell of Oren, who isn’t, it turns out, everything he appears.

Q2 - The story embraces the idea of a cougar relationship. Do you think society frowns upon such relationships?

Yes, I do. I think it’s perfectly okay in most people’s minds for an older man to date a younger woman but when it’s the other way round (where the difference in age is noticeable) it’s all nudge, nudge, wink, wink and titters - and I think that’s so terrible unkind and cruel to the couple, especially the woman.

Q3 - What inspired you to write about this issue?

Listening to friends who were on the dating circuit and had signed up to online dating sites, where they’d lied about their age. They did date younger men but were slightly embarrassed about it and never admitted their true age to the men. Do you think Jennifer’s character and history lends itself to this type of relationship? Jennifer is warm and open and she likes Ben simply for who he is. She’s also done the conventional - marriage in her twenties, mortgage, children etc. etc. Now she’s in her forties with a failed marriage behind her, she more open to the unconventional.

Q4 - The story also covers religion in the character Oren. Tell us more about him and what inspired you to write about him?

I was inspired by Barbara Kingsolver’s Nathan Price in The Poisonwood Bible. Oren is more malevolent than Nathan who is simply misguided - and possibly insane by the end of the book. Hypocrisy interests me and, boy, is Oren a hypocrite! You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

Q5 – I loved how mature Ben’s character was. Was that down to his family history? What inspired his past?

Ben’s character is clearly moulded by the tragic events that result in the death of his brother, leaving him essentially an only child, on whose shoulders his family place all their expectations – they assume he will take over the family business one day and that he will marry a nice girl and supply much-desired grandchildren. These expectations weigh heavily on Ben, making him miserable and he longs to break free and live his life his way. Jennifer gives him the courage to do that. I’ve also lately become interested in the idea that some people are born “old souls”. We all know people who seem wiser and more insightful than their years. Ben is one of these characters.

Q6 - Lucy seems to be under constant pressure to conform to her parents ideals and also to Oren’s. Do you think this is something that is becoming more apparent in today’s society with the pressure to enter into further education?

Oh yes! And that phenomenon is what inspired me to write Lucy’s story. Jennifer and David try to do their best for their daughter and they aren’t bad parents but they do make mistakes. They don’t listen to Lucy enough, and they don’t pick up on the signals that she is not happy, David especially. They simply assume she will go to university because they did – without stopping to consider if that’s right for Lucy. Not all kids are suited to further education. Our job as parents is to find out what inspires our children and help them find their way in the world, whatever path that may take – and not to assume that they are like us. Lucy is so desperate for love and acceptance that she goes along with Oren to try and please him.

Q7 - The books ends on a happier note for the characters. Did you know from the start that this would be the ending or did it change throughout the writing process?

No, I pretty much knew from the start how it would all work out.

Now for some more fun questions…

Q8 - Tell us more about yourself.

I’m 46, a Mum to two boys and Murphy, our Border Terrier. I live a quiet, uneventful, small-town life on the east coast of Scotland. I love the contact our vibrant little community offers (and I like a good night out) but I also like spending long periods alone, inside my head.

 Q9 - What is your favourite book?

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Attwood. Such a talented writer.

Q10 - What are you reading at the moment?

Quiet by Susan Cain, a non-fiction book about introverts and their role in this world. Extrovert or introvert, if you haven’t read it, you should. It’s given me a fantastic insight into myself and helped me understand my kids and how to parent them better.

Q11 - What are you working on at the moment?

A synopsis for my next book.

Q12 - If you could swap places with any character, from any book, who would it be?

Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind, because she is so ballsy and feisty. She’ll do whatever it takes to get what she wants including her man. I’d like to know what it feels like to leave the moral compass at home and be utterly fearless. And of course, with hindsight, I wouldn’t let Rhett Butler slip through my hands...

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Review of It's Raining Men - Milly Johnson

The bit on the back...

Friends May, Lara and Clare are desperate for a holiday. They have been dreaming of a little bit of time away from it all at a luxury spa. But when they arrive in Ren Dullem, a small Yorkshire seaside town, by mistake, they have to adjust to a totally different kind of holiday.

May can't wait to get away from men after being cruelly deceived. Then in Dullem she falls hook line and sinker at first glance for one of the inhabitants - but he's already taken.

Lara is living with James and his awful step-children who taunt her with tales of his younger, prettier ex whom they adored - the woman who Lara walks in to find James in bed with despite all his protestations that he wouldn't touch her again with a barge pole. Reeling from the hurt, she needs some R & R to heal her. What she doesn't need is to be constantly in battle with the owner of the holiday cottage - a man who is every bit as bitter and resentful and untrusting of the other sex as she is.

Clare's kind, steady boyfriend Lud wants her to go and live abroad with him for two years, but she's just been offered the promotion of a lifetime which she can't turn down. In Ren Dullem she finds some single excitement which happens to turn up in the form of a very bad boy who is everything Lud isn't - impulsive, wild and dangerous.

this holiday be the break they all need? Or will the odd little town with all its secrets bring them all to breaking point…?

This is the first Milly Johnson novel I have had the pleasure of reading. I say pleasure because I really did enjoy it.  I had heard of Milly before I downloaded this and A Spring Affair has been on my TBR pile for a long time, as usual though, the pile gets bigger before it gets smaller!

The story is about three friends May, Laura and Clare as a holiday booking cock-up sees them visiting the quirky village of Ren Dullem, where instead of checking in to a luxurious spa for some well needed R&R, the girls are presented with a cottage belonging to possibly the most annoying and rude man on the planet.

Each of the girls has their own stories separate to their friendships, and each is told from their own perspective. The way Milly has told each of their stories has allowed each of them to develop but not be over shadowed by the story of the three friends taking a break together, and equally their stories do not form the overall plot.

Running parallel to the story of the holiday is the secret the village has kept from being discovered for decades. The village experienced a near loss of the life of several husbands and fishermen, the men were saved but their saviour has always been a mystery to anyone outside of the village. The secret is kept a mystery and there are a few hidden meanings which become apparent as the story unfolds.

As with most chick-lit novels there is a romantic interest, and as the title suggests there is no lack here. Milly has written in some great male characters that you will love or love to hate.
I would recommend for fans of Sophie Kinsella if you like chick-lit with something a bit different.

Erin x

Friday, 20 September 2013


Arrrghh!! So excited to be posting my first cover reveal!!! Also really exciting to be posting it for the amazing Karli Perrin!
April Fools

The bit on the back…
Love. Hate. Fear. Fate.
All four letter words.
All consuming.
Naked to the eye, they have the power to control the heart and destroy the soul.
April Adams is about to experience them like never before.
When everything in April's life goes up in smoke, she is faced with some life changing decisions.
Join April as she continues her journey of love and loss.

About the Author
Karli Perrin is a 25 year old English Language & Linguistics graduate from Manchester, England. She has always been a big lover of books and is the author of the 'April' series. 
She is a big believer of fate and is a sucker for a happy ending. She honestly believes that there is a reason why you are reading this right now (apart from the fact that you are awesome!) 
Her ultimate goal in life is to live in a house made entirely out of books with her best friend, who also happens to be her fiancé.
...Hogwarts is plan B.
If you want to read more about Karli then click here to visit her interview - also click here to visit my review of the first in the April series April Showers!
Author Links:
Twitter: @karli_uk

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review of One Hundred Names - Cecelia Ahern

The bit on the back...
Everyone has a story to tell…
Journalist Kitty Logan’s career has been destroyed by scandal, and she now faces losing the woman who guided her and taught her everything she knew. At her mentor’s bedside, Kitty asks her – what is the one story she always wanted to write?
The answer lies in a file buried in Constance’s office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, no explanation, nothing else to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery.
But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late.
With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life – to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty has to not only track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people’s stories, she uncovers Constance’s – and starts to understand her own…
This is the first of Cecelia Ahern's novels I have read since the release of P.S. I Love You. And it's not that I haven't tried, I did try to get in to a few but none of them were ever able to hold my attention. Before going on holiday this summer I added One Hundred Names to my TBR pile and started it on the plane journey home. 
The story follows Kitty as she attempts to save her career as a journalist after a story gone wrong threatens to end it. The death of Kitty's friend and mentor Constance sparks the story as a list of one hundred names is the story that Constance never had the chance to write. With no leads to go on and no connections established with any of the names Kitty must cold call and turn up on door steps in order to save herself.
The story starts quickly as Kitty's career meltdown is explored straight away, as well as her friendship with Constance. Their relationship appears believable and I think this in part is what held my interest; this along with the mystery of list of names kept me reading. 
Kitty's character is easy to like however, I felt like I never really go to know her properly, as although the story is told from her point of view there is a lot of narrative about the list of names, as you would expect, but this kind of left Kitty's character a bit under established. Her story didn't seem to shine and have an overall presence above the stories of the characters she contacted from the list of names.
Kitty manages to successfully contact 6 names from the list, as she meets each of the characters their stories begin to unfold. The stories of each character are different to the next and also to Kitty's. I think this is where some of her character gets lost. 
The idea in itself is interesting and the overriding message from the book is that everyone has a story to tell.  I agree with this but would have liked to see a bit more of Kitty and maybe a name from the list that had some connection to her own life. 
Erin x

Monday, 16 September 2013

Author Interview - Carey Heywood

Today I would like to welcome Carey, author of the fantastic romance novel Him (read my review here) to Erin’s Choice! I was recommended the book on twitter (I owe it for so many recommendations!) and got in touch with Carey about an interview, here are her answers!

Q1 - Tell us more about your novel ‘Him’

Him is a second chance romance told in alternating chapters of past and present. I wanted to show how the main characters fell in love real time as you read along to learn what drove them apart.

Q2 - What inspired the story?

I hate traveling by myself, hate it. I'm also extremely chatty and the whole don't talk to strangers concept never stuck so I made fast friends with the gal sitting next to me on a plane ride to Florida for my day job. We must have been driving anyone sitting around us crazy, we talked nonstop. She was flying down to Florida to visit an ex, a second trip to see him. I loved the idea of falling in love with someone you have already loved all over again. 

Q3 - I really enjoyed how the story is a mix of the characters past and present stories, did the story start out this way or was this something that happened over the course of writing the book?

This is the first time I've ever alternated between past and present in a story. It just felt like this was how the story needed to be told. It was not easy, finding that balance of enough past to match with the present.

Q4 - I think you captured the feelings of teenage love beautifully from the awe to the angst. Did you pull from your own teenage experiences when writing the story?

Him is a combination of every single guy I had a crush on growing up. I was a total tomboy, played lots of sports, and was friends with so many swoon worthy guys. I also had braces and coke bottle glasses so none of them ever looked at me that way. I knew what Sarah felt like crushing on Him, I've been there. 

Q5 – I thought that Sarah was a really strong character, especially as her story was revealed throughout the book. What inspired her traits?

I loved how independent she was, but that was also a huge weakness for her. She put blinders on and focused on making her way in the world instead of fighting for her relationship. 

Q6 - I love that I could feel what Will was thinking even though the story is narrated by Sarah. I was really happy to find out that ‘Her’ will be released in November, how are you finding writing from Will’s perspective?

I loved being inside Will's head! Just a warning, he is not as sweet as he seems, that boy has a bit of a dirty mind...

Q7 - Did you intend on having a sequel when you started working on ‘Him’, or is this something that came about after?

I'm not sure how conscious of a decision it was but it feels like I always knew there would be a Her.

Now for some more fun questions…

Q8 - What are you working on at the moment?

Sawyer's story! I also have another completed novel that is unrelated to Him and Her titled Better that will be released in Feb 2014.

Q9 - What are you reading just now?

I'm reading Beyond Control by Kit Rocha and a beta of Let Love Heal by Melissa Collins. 

Q10 - How have you found the self-publishing journey?

Just when I think I know what I'm doing I learn something new! It has been the most exhilarating and terrifying experience of my live.    

Q11 - What advice do you have for authors who are looking into self-publishing?

Don't be afraid to reach out to other authors and ask questions. If the first author you ask blows you off don't worry, that person is probably busy (or a tool) just ask someone else. There are so many groups of authors (myself included) happy to share advice.

Q12 - What do you get up to when you’re not writing?

I'm a big homebody. I have weird three day spurts (usually at book signings) where I like to stay up and be social. Normally, I'm just at home reading or annoying my kids, ignoring laundry and tripping over my dog. I wouldn't have it any other way :)

Thanks again to Carey for taking the time to answer some questions for us!

Erin x

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Stirling Book Festival - Samantha Young

On Thursday we attended our first ever book festival! Stirling Book Festival ran from the 8th of September and is finishing today, including authors like Samantha and Freya North.

As soon as I saw that one of my favourite authors was hosting an evening I had to go! So after a bit of speculation as to whether or not we had actually arrived at the right place we made our way inside and joined the rest of the women inside the library. 

I've been a fan of Sam's since reading On Dublin Street at the start of 2013 and then reading the rest of her adult series when it became available. I've also read, and can recommend, Into The Deep, her first dip into the New Adult pool, bridging the gap between YA and contemporary romance.

It was great to hear Samantha talking all about her writing journey and also her journey through self publishing her YA fantasy books. 

Samantha read from the 2nd in the series, Down London Road and spoke quite a bit about Jo and why she had chosen her as the focus of the book. One thing that Samantha spoke about which really stuck with me was that for novels from the romance genre, characters and their development are so important because they carry the story. 

Aside from her books and hearing all about her it was great to be supporting a Scottish author, and great to meet her! 

Reviews of her books and a fab interview with Samantha are all up on the blog. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013


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Review of Temptation Island - Victoria Fox

The bit on the back…

Welcome to Paradise. Only the rich are invited...only the strongest survive.

But is it heaven on earth or a devil s playground? Fame. Money. Success. Lori wants them Aurora is being destroyed by them, and Stevie s got them at her best friends expense. These three women are all drawn unwittingly to the shores of Temptation Island, all looking for their own truth. But they discover a secret so shocking there’s no turning back. It’s wicked, it’s sensational. Are you ready to be told? The island promises the one thing money can’t buy - but the glittering waters drown dark secrets... The price is devastating.

I had never read anything by Victoria until Temptation Island and I must say that I have really enjoyed the story, but not only that, the prose is funny and clever too. I am looking forward to the next in my to be read list which is Hollywood Sinners.

Temptation Island is about the island of Cacatra. A luxurious setting surrounded by jewel like waters, it belongs to Reuben van der Meyde and attracts the rich and famous from far and wide to relax in its healing environment. Cacatra has a dark secret held within the depths of its luxury though and as the story unfolds, told by Aurora, Lori, Stevie and Reuben himself the secret held so closely by those who are privy to it, threatens to be revealed.

Aurora, teenage daughter of two of America's most prolific country singers, is in danger of going off the rails completely. At a loss for how to help her, she is shipped off to an English boarding school where her story really begins. There she makes a friend in Pascale, cousin of JB Moreau a man with connections, but more importantly a man who thinks of Cacatra as his home. Aurora starts to uncover some truths about her family and their link to the Island.

Stevie has fled to New York in attempt to put her ex and their drama behind her. A chance encounter has her world turned completely on its head as she finds herself thrust into the celebrity limelight. A joint venture leads to marriage to Xander Jackobson, who has his own links to the Island. As secrets are revealed to Stevie, she and Xander travel to the island to uncover the truth and protect those they love.

Lori is the Spanish beauty, with the poor upbringing and evil stepfamily. She also finds herself tied to the island as she is picked up by a modelling agency scout in Murcia. Lori, finally getting her big break finds herself faced with luxury the likes of which she has never known. When bad publicity surrounding a faux relationship threatens to damage her reputation, she finds herself whisked off to the Island where she promptly falls in love and finds her past coming back into her future.

Secrets, sex and scandal sums this story up. Brilliantly written, you will be hooked from the beginning. The prologue kicks off the excitement as we see a snippet of what the future holds for the characters, the story then unfolds towards that moment, building each character up in their own right. Throughout the book the chapters drip with suspense as each time a little more of the mysterious Island is revealed. A great holiday read for anyone who loves a good bonkbuster with serving of thriller on the side.

Erin x

Coming Soon - Paige Toon

I’m not sure what I’m most excited about; the fact that I will soon be able to buy another release from Paige, or the fact that Johnny Jefferson’s back in my life!

Paige is releasing Johnny’s Girl, an exclusive ebook short story continuing the story of Johnny and Meg ahead of her YA release in 2014.

The bit on the back…

Meg's life has taken a turn for the perfect. She is the envy of millions with her drop dead gorgeous husband, their two beautiful sons and her new mansion in Henley. Her celebrity PA days are over. But desperate to keep up with her rock star husband, Johnny Jefferson, she uproots her perfect family and moves back to LA.

Meg has to learn to live with her new celebrity status and the insecurities of her old life, which keep reappearing. Under the paparazzi flash of an A-List party, complete with red carpet, champagne and canapĂ©s, Johnny's rock star past catches up with him and Meg's worst nightmare becomes a reality…

Release date: 7th November 2013

(p.s. if you don’t know who Johnny Jefferson is (your life is seriously lacking) then you can find my review of Johnny Be Good here. The sequel Baby Be Mine is also available!)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Author Interview - Danielle Bourdon

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Danielle Bourdon to Erin’s Choice. I was introduced to Danielle’s Latvala series by a friend and got in touch with Danielle and here is the interview!

Q1 - Latvala is a fictional country. Why did you decide to write about a fictional country, as opposed to somewhere real?

I wanted the freedom to make up the politics, military and general day-to-day running of the royal family.  By making up my own country, I was able to finagle the situations the way I needed to, although I did do a lot of research back through history regarding ascension to the throne and things of that nature. I didn't want to bog the book down in too much political detail, so I kept that part as light as I could.

Q2 - Latvala seems like a beautiful place, was it based on anywhere you have visited?  

I've never visited anywhere like it, at least not yet.   Part of the setting came from imagination, and part from research I did of the surrounding areas. I got it as close as I could, while still leaving a lot of room for my fictional situations. 

Q3 - The series follow the Latvala Royal family, the Ahtissari family. Did you have to spend a lot of time researching Royal families and their lifestyles?  

I've actually done a lot of research over the years about monarchies and royalty in general. It's always fascinated me, so I jumped at the chance to create a royal family of my own. Often during the writing of the series, I would stop and check this or that fact, just to make sure I was in the general ballpark of believability. 

Q4 - We are now at book number five, The Wrath of the King. Did you always intend for the first book to lead to a series?  

I knew there would be at least three books in the beginning.  That led to more when I got requests from readers wanting more books. They were directly responsible for it being a five book series instead of a three book series!  Pretty cool.

Q5 - There is a major plot twist at the end of the first book and the twist really grabbed our attention. How did you feel writing the story knowing that this twist was coming and that your readers were completely oblivious?  

I have a real love of adding plot twists to almost all my work. Even my other books have them.  I wanted it to work well for this particular story, and I think it did. The reactions have been fantastic.

Q6 - Each story sees another member of the family becoming a more prominent character, one character in particular caught our attention – Mattias. He is absent for the majority of the latest book, can you give us a hint as to what to expect next for the Prince?  

Yes!  That was a very nerve wracking thing to do, leaving Mattias out of book five. But I knew that the direction his story went required a book all its own, and since readers were asking for more of just Mattias, I went ahead and left the details vague in Wrath of the King.  Mattias (and Leander, and a few others!) have a secret. Recently, I divulged that the new series is called the Royal Elite. Mattias's story will be book one, and so on from there. I expect at least three books, probably more from different characters.

Q7 - Although it’s apparent that a lot of the next story’s focus will be on Mattias, will the story still see Chey and Sander as central characters?  

Chey and Sander will probably have cameos in this story. More of an 'update' situation rather than prominent roles. 

Now for some more fun questions…

Q8 - Tell us some more about yourself?  

Let's see!  I grew up in Southern California and now live in Texas.  I've lived on both coasts of the US, have travelled across the entire country by car, and sometimes wish I lived in a place where it rains more. I adore rain and snow. I also love to garden, dabble in photography, travel and mess with graphic art. 

Q9 - What inspired you to write?  

I've always had a big imagination.  Before trying to write books, I wrote poetry (or what passed for poetry!) at a really young age--like nine or ten years old. The really simple stuff. "roses are red" sort of thing.  That stemmed from a love of making words rhyme. Since I also started reading at a young age, it transferred over to the written word and when I was eleven or twelve, I 'started my first book'.  So there has always been a drive there to write, to make stories.

Q10 - Who is your favourite author?  

Dean Koontz! In my twenties, I read every book he had out at the time. I always thought that's where I picked up my love of suspense and plot twists.  Being the historical romance junkie that I am, I also read thousands of romance books back in the day. I've still got boxes upon boxes of them stored in my garage. It's hard to pick just one author out of so many greats, but Kat Martin, Jennifer Horsman and Victoria Holt are a few.

Q11 - Are you reading anything just now?  

I just started reading Mara Jacobs the Worth Series.  Looking forward to delving into her world and her characters!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Review of Woman Walks into a Bar - Rowan Coleman

The bit on the back...

A night out with the girls changes Sam’s life forever…

28-year-old single mother Sam spends her days working in the local supermarket and her Friday nights out with her friends letting her hair down at the White Horse. Life hasn’t been easy for Sam and her daughter, Beth (who always looks on the bright side) but she’s always hoped that one day she’ll break free from her past and meet The One.

But after a series of terrible dates with men she’s met through an internet dating site, that have all been as awful as her daughter's terrible jokes, she’s starting to lose heart - until her friends tell her they’ve set her up on a blind date. Sam’s horrified but finally she agrees to go. After all you never know when you might meet the man of your dreams; just maybe Sam’s happy ending is just about to begin….

But will Sam have to face up to her past before she can find a new future?

This is the first piece of work by Rowan that I've read. I downloaded it on it's release day (10th September) after hearing about it on twitter on the lead up to its release. Rowan has been publicising this book like crazy for the last couple of weeks all for one very important cause. The royalties made from this novella (which is also available on paperback as well as to download) will all be donated, 100%, to Refuge - the domestic abuse charity. So, even if your TBR is longer than the journey from Lands End to John O'Groats download now to be entertained but also to #supportafriend.

The story follows 28 year old single mother Sam. Sam has recently started dating after a good 9 years of being single, convinced to give internet dating a spin by her 12 year old daughter Beth and her best friends Joy and Marie. Sam has been single since her abusive ex made his final exit from their lives. Internet dating though, it seems, isn't all its cracked up to be and after a string of crappy dates with even more crappy men, Sam is at the end of her tether when Joy sets her up on a blind date.

I fell in love with Sam's character straight away. She is so impossibly down to earth and so easy to relate to that I think it would be hard not to like her instantly. As a single mum her daughter comes first and her relationship with her daughter is described beautifully, highlighted throughout the story as together they try to make each other laugh with the worst jokes.

The story flicks between Sam's past and present which really lends itself to building up her character, so that even though it's only a novella you come away feeling like you know her really well. 

The story is told in a really charming and endearing way and will have you feeling every emotion Sam does on her emotional roller-coaster walk through her past. 

A great read and for such a great cause its too irresistible not to buy it and #supportafriend

Erin x

Out Now! - Woman Walks Into a Bar by Rowan Coleman - ROYALTIES TOREFUGE!!

So, despite my self-imposed book buying ban, I downloaded this little beaut last night. Rowan's latest release - novella Woman Walks Into a Bar - was released yesterday and is available to download (and paperback).


The bit on the back...

A night out with the girls changes Sam’s life forever…

28-year-old single mother Sam spends her days working in the local supermarket and her Friday nights out with her friends letting her hair down at the White Horse. Life hasn’t been easy for Sam and her daughter, Beth (who always looks on the bright side) but she’s always hoped that one day she’ll break free from her past and meet The One.

But after a series of terrible dates with men she’s met through an internet dating site, that have all been as awful as her daughter's terrible jokes, she’s starting to lose heart - until her friends tell her they’ve set her up on a blind date. Sam’s horrified but finally she agrees to go. After all you never know when you might meet the man of your dreams; just maybe Sam’s happy ending is just about to begin….

But will Sam have to face up to her past before she can find a new future?

100% of the royalties from copies of this novella are going to be donated to Refuge - the domestic abuse charity. 

Buying a copy will #supportafriend who needs it right now, and if you are in that situation you can find advice on the Refuge website. Show your support by tweeting Rowan and Refuge on twitter - @rowancoleman and @refugecharity 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Guest Review of The Wrath of the King - Danielle Bourdon

The bit on the back...

Rocked by an unexpected attack, Latvala and its citizens find themselves at the mercy of a man whose sole intent is to shake up the monarchy. Queen for less than a year, Chey must choose between protecting the man she loves and protecting her unborn child. It's a decision that threatens to tear the fabric of her family apart. Determined to overcome the odds, an embattled Chey proves she can still be wily, unpredictable and hard to control.
Only time will tell if loyalty, trust and the strength of close friends can help overcome the chokehold of tyranny.

A heavily pregnant Chey’s world is rocked after a horrific attack, with no idea who organised the attack and if the rest of the family will be targeted next, Chey has no time to collect her thoughts as the sitting King has big plans for the country.
When Chey should be resting with her feet up awaiting the arrival of her first child she finds herself under more stress than usual. Being without Sander, Chey needs to do what’s right for her country, even if that means putting herself in danger. New relationships grow as Chey has to put her trust in her sisters-in-law and faithful friend Wynn. But Wynn’s faith is tested when she falls for the wrong guy, will this put Chey in even more danger?
This book introduces us further to the last remaining Atthissari sibling that we’ve yet to really know, Gunnar. He may be young and inexperienced but his loyalty lies in the right place. Up until now Gunnar had been mostly in the background, the role of Sanders right hand man being fulfilled by Mattias, but with Mattias absent through most of this story, Gunnar steps up to the plate to help save Latvala. But is Latvala salvageable, or has the damage already been done?
Book 5 in the Latvala Royals series was possibly my favourite, so far. From start to finish it is packed full of action, and as usual I couldn’t put it down, reading this one in less than 5 hours. I find myself so invested in the characters that I need to know how their story progresses. And with the action packed tumultuous story-lines I can’t put them down, I need to get to the end to see if Chey and Sander will ever get their happy ever after.
It is glaringly obvious that this will not be the last book in the series, much to my delight. There is a whole story, which is hinted at, at the end of this book, that’s still to be explored. Book 6 is definitely my most anticipated book of the year so far.

Kirsty x

Monday, 9 September 2013

Review of Fifty Shades of Grey - E L James

The bit on the back…

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

I first read Fifty Shades last year, before all the hype around the trilogy kicked off here in the UK. Fifty shades became, I’m sure, one of the most talked about reads of last year, with even those who wouldn’t usually read, picking up copies and becoming engrossed in the story. Shelves were empty while those of us with ebook devices rejoiced at the endless availability. I, like many others, have now read the trilogy more than a couple of times. At any point I have one of the 3 bookmarked on my kindle incase I find myself without a book to read. With the film and excitement around who will be cast as Ana and Christian mounting, I thought now would be a good time to write an honest review of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Above all else, Fifty Shades of Grey is a love story. If you’ve not read it, forget what you’ve heard about how this is a sexy and hot piece of fiction or that it is “Twighlight – the Adult version”, if you have read it, you are certain to agree with me that the overriding theme throughout the 1st instalment, and indeed the entire trilogy is love.

It is the story of Ana and Christian as they both learn the one thing they know nothing about – loving someone and letting someone else love them in return (which is a line I may, or may not, have pinched from a film). Sometimes it seems like the latter is harder than the first.

Ana, a young girl embarking on her journey into the grown up world of work, finds herself face to face, or face to floor rather, as she trips into Christian Grey’s office and his life. Christian, head of his self-built empire, is immediately taken with the shy, young girl in front of him. The story unfolds from their first meeting, which is surely fate in its finest form, as Ana explores the terms of the very specific and erotic arrangement Christian proposes, and as Christian explores the idea of the “more” that Ana seeks.

Ana is inexperienced, in more ways than one. She has her whole life infront of her and is due to graduate from university before starting work in Seattle. Her naivety and inexperience shines through as she meets and is completely bewitched by Christian right from the start. The intensity of her feelings for Christian, from their first meeting, grows more passionate throughout the book. Ana battles with her self-conscience as she tries to decide how to handle the situation presented to her. She is probably the summation of everything that feminism isn’t - weak in, and completely taken by, his presence, Ana agrees to attempt to fit in with Christian’s lifestyle. Although it may make her appear this way, it adds to Ana’s character as she truly is completely inexperienced when it comes to men and relationships.

Christian is mercurial, enigmatic, charming, domineering, handsome and dangerous, and as far as he is concerned everything that Ana should strive to stay away from. Christian is incredibly talented which has afforded him the luxury lifestyle he thrives in, Audis to make your head spin, property that MTV Cribs would envy and a private jet and helicopter to top it all off. He exudes charm and has a knack for getting exactly what he wants, the way he wants it, until Ana stumbles into his life, young, bright eyed and shy. He is swept away by his feelings for her, new to him as he doesn’t “do” girlfriends, or love.

It is easy to see why Ana is attracted to Christian. His personality leaves the reader in the same defenceless position as Ana, completely enchanted by Christian and his domineering attitude. It is easy to get carried along with the story, caught up in the emotions of both characters as they try to adapt the ways they have set themselves to allow for a relationship to unfold. Emotion pulses through the book as neither character are sure of their footing in their new relationship as it tries to blossom.

The story is fast-paced and it is easy to forget how quickly the story unfolds around the characters. If you haven’t yet read these fantastic books, I would strongly recommend them all. I read them all in quick succession and was totally engrossed from start to finish. I didn’t find them repetitive at all, and although sometimes the writing can be a bit on the weak side the story lends itself as an easy read.

Erin x

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Author Interview - Samantha Young

Today I have the immense pleasure of welcoming a fabulously talented author, who also happens to be one of my favourites, Samantha Young to Erin’s Choice. You can find reviews of Samantha’s excellent novels in the 2013 Reviews section of the blog.

Q1 - You have 2 adult novels and a novella to your name along with young adult titles, and your latest new adult release ‘Into the Deep’. What made you decide to move away from the YA genre?

I always wanted to venture into adult fiction eventually. A reader introduced me to contemporary romance and I fell in love with the idea of writing a novel so focused on strong character development, since characterization is my favourite part of writing. After coming up with a concept for an adult contemporary romance set in Edinburgh (On Dublin Street) I decided to write the book while the genre was particularly hot.

Q2 - All of your adult releases are set in Edinburgh with ties to The States. I haven’t come across very many books set in Scotland so I wasn’t sure how I would feel reading about somewhere so close to home. What motivated you to set the stories in Scotland and how did you think your readers would react to the location?

Contemporary is so different to the urban fantasy I was writing for young adults. If I set a book anywhere else it involves research, but for contemporary I knew it would involve a lot of research that might pull me out of the story too much. The saying is, ‘You should write what you know’ and I wanted my first contemporary romance to be as true to myself as possible. Setting it in a city I knew well, and writing characters I related to, eased me into the genre. I also enjoyed the idea that Scotland isn’t utilized so much in contemporary romance, more so in historical. It made On Dublin Street stand out in setting alone. My hope was that my American readers would like the setting but still feel connected to the story through Joss, the American heroine.

Q3 - I’ve heard your work dubbed as the Scottish Fifty Shades. How do you feel about this comparison, and has the Fifty Shades phenomenon had an effect on your writing style?

I’ve read Fifty Shades and I enjoyed it, but it hasn’t affected my writing style. I have a very different writing style from the fabulous E.L. James. The comparison was made by the Scottish media because my book has sex in it and it came out during the Fifty Shades fever. I don’t mind the comparison because who would? Fifty Shades is a global phenomenon. But I don’t agree with the comparison. I think they’re very different stories with very different heroines, heroes and issues.

Q3 - Before you started working on On Dublin Street, had you planned to take secondary characters and develop their own stories in Down London Road and Until Fountain Bridge?

Not at all. On Dublin Street was my first dip into the genre so I wasn’t even sure how readers would react to me as a contemporary romance writer. It wasn’t until its success that I was asked to write more books. I started thinking about the secondary characters and which ones had a story of their own to tell.

Q4 - One thing that I loved, and that has been consistent through your adult novels, is the male leads. Each book has featured a strong, sexy, totally enchanting guy, and I’ve fell in love with every one of them. Did you love writing about them, as much as I loved reading about them?

Oh definitely! They’re smoking hot and utterly charming. And they get to say things I’d never say in real life and those things are often followed by the heroine’s witty comeback. Writing banter between my hero and heroine is my favourite part. It’s brilliant fun.

Q5 - Who would you cast as you male leads, if your books were made into films?

Chris Hemsworth for Braden, Jamie Dornan for Cameron and James McAvoy for Adam. Ooh and Liam Hemsworth for Jake. Those Hemsworth boys…

Q6 - Another thing I totally loved about the characters Braden and Adam was that although always written from the Joss or Ellie’s perspective, I always felt that I knew exactly how they were feeling and the intensity of their feelings towards the girls. Is this something that you consciously made sure of or did it just happen when you were writing it?

No, it’s definitely a conscious thing. Since the reader can’t get into their minds, my heroes have to make it clear through actions and words that they’re devoted to the heroine. Words are great, and sometimes sexy as hell, but more often than not the readers respond to the hero’s actions, so how a hero reacts to different situations is always something I carefully think through.

Q7 - The protagonist in each of your books is a strong, feisty female. What inspired you to write about the women in this way?

After being introduced to the contemporary romance genre I made my way through a big pile of books to discover that only a handful of them included a heroine with spit and fire and equal standing to her hero. Don’t get me wrong, I love an alpha male, but I hate the kind that walks over their woman, and a woman who lets him. There has to be a balance. A reader should want to be best friends with the heroine, and the hero should find her challenging and fascinating. She doesn’t even have t to start out that way, but I believe in turning heroines into true heroines by the end of a story.

Q8 - What are you working on just now?

I am working on a secret On Dublin Street project, as well as Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3), Out of the Shallows (Into the Deep #2) and Sneak Thievery (The Fade #2).

Now for some more fun questions…

Q9 - What do you get up to when you’re not busy writing?

Super hero stuff. I can’t really talk about it.

Q10 - What are you reading at the moment?

Inescapable (Premonition #1) by the fantabulously brilliant Amy Bartol.

Q11 - Who is your favourite romantic hero ever?

Oh gosh, that’s a tough one. I can’t make up my mind between Barrons from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series and Dimitri from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series.

Q12 - Who, out of your own characters, do you feel the biggest connection with?

I definitely feel the biggest connection to Joss.

Q13 - If you could have written any book, what would it have been?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Both books make me drool with their awesomeness.

Q14 - If you could swap places with any literary heroine who would it be?

I’m going to have to go with Rose from VA. Girl is kick ass and has a hot Russian boyfriend. Yes, please!

Thanks again to the wonderful Samantha for taking the time to answer some questions for us. I’ve you’ve not read any of Samantha’s novels yet I would strongly recommend them – I love them!!