Thursday, 31 October 2013

Review of The Shining Girls - Lauren Beukes


The bit on the back…

THE GIRL WHO WOULDN’T DIE

Kirby is lucky she survived the attack. She is sure there were other victims less fortunate, but the evidence she finds is…impossible.

HUNTING A KILLER WHO SHOULDN’T EXIST

Harper stalks his shining girls through the years – and cuts the spark out of them. But what if the one that got away came back for him?


I am definitely a chick-lit till I die kind of girl. I’ve read two crime-ish books in my lifetime but when a friend tweeted about the Cosmopolitan magazine book club looking for budding book bloggers (cue me) I counted myself in straight away. This was the first book - The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Lorna told me it was supposed to be awesome. My only other run ins with novels from the crime genre have been James Patterson books which I couldn’t take to at all so I was so unsure if I would even get into this. Turns out I did though – and loved it!

The story, based in Chicago throughout the 1900s, follows main character Kirby as she tries to track down the man, Harper, who attacked her, with the intent to kill. He didn’t quite manage it though and now she’s out to find him. Piecing together evidence from other murder cases through the decades and using connections built up through an internship with a Chicago newspaper she sets off on what seems like a wild goose chase to hunt him down.

Kirby is feisty, and challenges everything that crosses her path, made that way after the attack that left her fighting for her life. Her sheer determination pulled her through then though and is now carrying her through the ordeal of trying to find her attacker. With the help of sport reporter Dan she starts to investigate other femicides looking for similarities between those cases and hers. What she does find seems so impossible she starts to doubt herself the way everyone else has been.

Harper - hunter, killer - murders girls who have the potential to shine before they have the chance to realise it. The gruesome lengths he goes to are a bit hard to take at times and makes for an easy to hate character. He always seems to get some sort of comeuppance though which makes it a bit more bearable.

The story flows around both of the characters, showcasing their link to each other. It will have you between being on the brink of tears and hanging on to the edge of the seat. If you’re new to the crime/thriller genre this is a good choice for you. Although definitely not a typical romance novel there is some in there just to add to the fabulousness of it all!

When I put this book down, after finally finding enough me-reading-time I am pretty sure my jaw was hanging down. I was like – wow, totally stunned by the sheer imagination of the story. Seriously well done to Lauren.

Erin x

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Halloween Guest Post from Author Jack Croxall


I love Halloween. Not just because of the fancy dress and mischievous hijinks, but because of all the spooky stories that rear their creepy heads to give us goose bumps, shudders and, most importantly, that little something extra to think about. A gory supernatural horror is all well and good, but I find a spooky tale is all the more unsettling if it is driven by something real; by a theme or character we can relate to, or even by a situation we recognise from real life.
Throughout the beginning of this year, I’d been mulling a horror story over in my mind constantly. I had a character, a claustrophobic setting and an unforgiving menace, but no actual theme – no real point to the story. Luckily though, I got one idea and just ran with it. That true-to-life idea turned out to be the very thing that gave the story meaning, and turned it into a tale worth telling. The story is called X and you can read an extract from it below:



What follows is the contents of a journal, found in the basement of a farmhouse somewhere in the English countryside.

I spend all of my daylight hours in this musty old cellar now. It’s woeful, and I bet it smelled this bad even before everything turned to crap. Great. My second sentence and I’ve already resorted to swear words. When I decided I’d start this diary (five minutes ago) I thought it would be my poetic and deeply-moving goodbye to the world. Maybe I’d write about love and loss, or maybe even the splendour of nature. Then, if anyone ever found it, at least I’d have left something to be remembered by. As well as my corpse, of course.

This was a bad idea.

OK I’m an idiot. There’s nothing else I can do down here; I’ve rooted through every cardboard box a hundred times, organised and reorganised my supplies until I can recite the labels on the cans by heart, and even built a fort. So, I’m back. Hello. Again.

God this diary is going badly.

But there’s just enough light coming in through the boards I nailed over the cellar’s tiny window to write by. So I may as well. Stops me constantly staring up at the window waiting for a shadow to pass by.

Where to start? Well, my name is – actually, I think I’m going to refer to myself as X. That sounds mysterious. If you’re reading this and want to know my real name, I still carry my purse. Stupid I know. But my railcard is in there and, if you really want to know who I am, go find me and fish it out. I won’t bite.

Fifteen-year-old X thinks she is going to die. Shacked up in the cellar of an old farmhouse, she starts a journal to document her last few days. Much less than a few days if the things outside manage to get in.

A best-selling short story, X is available through Amazon UK and Amazon US now. Much more info at www.jackcroxall.co.uk

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Review of I Heart Hollywood - Lindsey Kelk


The bit on the back…

Angela Clark can’t believe her luck… she’s an English girl living in New York with a dream job at hip magazine The Look and a sexy boyfriend.

Her latest assignment takes her to Hollywood to interview hot actor and fellow Brit James Jacobs.Thrown in at the deep end she heads west with best friend Jenny dreaming of Rodeo Drive and Malibu beach.

Soon Angela discovers that celebrity life in Hollywood is not all glamour, gloss and sunshine. Despite his lady-killer reputation, the only person who seems genuine is James.

Then a paparazzi snaps them in an uncompromising position and suddenly Angela is thrust into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons…

Can she convince all those close to her – especially her boss and her boyfriend – not to believe everything they read? And will Hollywood ever win Angela’s heart?

So, this is the 2nd book in the I Heart series. The first is I Heart New York, and you can find my review here. If you’ve not read I Heart New York (why not?) you probably should but it’s not strictly necessary as Lindsey introduces everyone and gives you a bit of catch up throughout the story.

In this 2nd instalment we see Angela catching a break at work after she is requested to interview James Jacobs. Angela and best friend Jenny head out to LA for the week, it all seems quite simple really – interview James, shop, sunbathe and drink ludicrous (to some) amounts of alcohol. Really – how much trouble can two girls get into?

I loved I Heart New York, I loved Angela and I immediately could relate to her. Lindsey writes her in a way that makes you feel like a) you are right there beside her and b) like you’ve known her for years. It also feels like a lot of the sayings Angela has and a lot of the thoughts she has are similar to ones I use anyway so it’s really easy to relate to her!

Also, if you’re already a Lindsey fan, you will know how super awesome her book boyfriend writing prowess is. Angela’s relationship with boyfriend Alex is back on track, although the time apart and the celebrity lifestyle in LA look set to test it – especially given wily James Jacobs. However, is Alex and James aren’t enough totty for you, throw into the mix bar tender Joe and you have a trio of hotties to pick from (always root for the hot musician – always!)

The story is set mostly in LA and Lindsey’s description of the place sort of make you feel like you’ve been there. Descriptions of famous celebrity haunts and some other less well known areas like the lava pits (“Volcano” fans unite) make the story more interesting as this resonates with your memories as well as the characterisation.

I heart this series and I Heart Paris is next on my TBR!

Erin x

Monday, 28 October 2013

Paige Toon chats to Erin's Choice about Johnny's Girl - NEW EBOOK COMING SOON!!!


I thought I was privileged to get the chance to interview one of my favourite authors once, ONCE. But when Paige tweeted about promotion ideas, I got in touch with her and now have the most wonderful second interview to share with you.
Paige’s ebook exclusive short story Johnny’s Girl is out on the 7th of November. Here is my Q&A with Paige about the characters and her new short shotry!
Q1. Give us a quick summary of Johnny and Meg's history, where they started and where they are now.
In Johnny Be God Meg went to work for rock star Johnny Jefferson as his PA - he was the ultimate bad boy but she fell for him, hook line & sinker and made some big mistakes. In Baby Be Mine, Meg has a baby son who she believes is Johnny's, but she's living in fear because she's with Johnny's best friend Christian. She tries to right her wrongs over the course of the book...
Q2. Johnny's Girl is out on 7th of November; tell us what we can expect.
Meg and Johnny are happily married, but they're about to have a huge bombshell dropped on them: Johnny has a daughter by one of his first groupies. Life with Johnny is still a bit of a roller coaster...
Q3. What made you decide to write about Johnny again?
I had the idea for Johnny's secret daughter while writing Baby Be Mine, and then another author (Ali Harris) suggested I write Young Adult books. The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson (out in Jan 2014) is about 15-year-old Jessie who discovers her dad is rock star Johnny. The short story ebook Johnny's Girl, tells the story from Meg's point of view when she finds out about Jessie. These characters have so much mileage to them, and now I'll be writing a whole series about Jessie.
Q4. Do you feel sorry for Meg, after everything she's been through with the bad boy he is?
Of course I do. You can't help who you fall in love with, but Johnny loves Meg too and would never do anything now to intentionally hurt her. They'll get through it...
Q5. Johnny's Girl is an ebook exclusive, what made you decide to release for ebooks only?
It's just a short story, so my publisher wouldn't print it. One day maybe we'll be able to release all my short stories together in one book, but for now ebooks can be downloaded onto any device: smartphones, laptops etc. I'm glad to have a medium to be able to bring updates to my readers quickly, rather than waiting a year for a whole book to come out. I like the idea of being able to drop in on past characters without needing a huge plot for a full-length novel. It means you'll be able to hear from lots of characters in the future.
Q6. Another absolutely beautiful cover design, what was the thought process behind this one?
My publisher redesigned my backlist - you can see all of my new artwork on www.paigetoon.com - and this is in a similar style to my new look. The characters on the front are inspired by Johnny and Meg from Johnny Be Good, and also Meg and Christian from Baby Be Mine, with the addition of Johnny's motorbike (this idea was Emma Capron's from Simon & Schuster). I love it - I'm glad you do, too.
Q7. If you could cast Johnny as anyone, who would it be?
Chris Hemsworth - I saw him in Rush recently and thought he looked like a ring-in for Johnny in that part! Hot...
Q8. Johnny Be Good, and Baby Be Mine tell the full story of Johnny and Meg, and although favourite characters make cameo appearances in your other stories, Baby Be Mine is the only sequel. Are you especially attached to the characters and their story?
I am, yes. Funnily enough, these two are my least well-selling books. But they're also the ones I hear most about from fans. There was so much more to their story - my readers hated me for leaving them on that cliffhanger with Johnny Be Good, so I had to do the decent thing and write them a sequel ;)

Author Spotlight - Jack Croxall


Jack Croxall - Bio

Born in High Wycombe, Jack Croxall now lives in rural Nottinghamshire with his chocolate Labrador, Archie. He has a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Nottingham and currently toils away as a science and literature writer in between working on his books.

His debut YA novel, Tethers, is out now, as is his best-selling dystopian journal, X.

Tethers

In the wake of a cold Victorian winter, two teenagers discover a notebook filled with strange passages and bizarre scribblings.

The notebook soon draws them into a covert and sinister conspiracy, a conspiracy centred around an otherworldly artefact with the power to change everything …

Praise for Tethers

Reminiscent of the exploration stories of Enid Blyton and Arthur Ransome, the kids find themselves on a metaphorical roller-coaster cart racing down the tracks. And the brakes are off. Sword fights, pistols, unfortunate deaths and curious objects, the plot thickens with every twist and turn. Suddenly Blyton meets H.G. Wells, and a brilliantly paced steampunk tale of machinery and science-based magic unfolds. (MuggleNet)

Somewhere between Pullman's Sally Lockhart mysteries and Moonfleet sits Tethers, a rip-roaring debut novel. Sharply written with well observed characters that you can root for, Tethers has you turning pages faster that Ronald MacDonald can throw out burgers. (Sharon Sant – author of the Sky Song trilogy)

Jack tweets via @JackCroxall and blogs at www.jackcroxall.co.uk

Tethers is available as an ebook or paperback through Amazon now: http://amzn.to/WRf4vI

X is available through Amazon: http://amzn.to/15VsHSi

Review of Her by Carey Heywood


The bit on the back…

You know her side of the story, now learn his.

"It was useless. I felt branded beneath my skin by a girl who left without even saying goodbye."

When Will Price was assigned a partner for a sixth grade class project he had no idea she would become his best friend. After years of friendship, she eventually became so much more. Then, one day she left with no explanation.

Will’s life shattered right before his eyes and he was left alone to pick up the pieces. Floundering, Will must figure out a way to carry on, to find a way to exist without her.

Seven years later, a chance encounter leaves him desperate to get her back. He has one week to make her his again. Not everyone gets a second chance with the love of their life and Will is determined to never lose her again.


This book is the sequel to Carey’s novel Him, read the review here. I really enjoyed seeing Sarah and Will’s story when it was from Sarah’s point of view, so when I got to the end, and found out that Carey was planning to re-tell the story, but from Will’s perspective, I knew that I would be downloading this as soon as it was available. So I did.

Sarah and Will are best friends, but when Will realises that he feels something that isn’t strictly a friendly feeling and more of a loving feeling towards Sarah, he dumps his girlfriend and decides to let Sarah know exactly how he feels. They fall into their boyfriend/girlfriend relationship easily, as if it has always meant to be, that is until a text, meant for Will is read by Sarah and sends her running off to New Jersey.

Seven years later Will is sitting on a plane, ready to fly home, when he gets the feeling that someone is looking at him, turning round and finding Sarah sitting staring at him was what he was possibly least expecting. But this chance encounter could be Will’s chance to get Sarah back, or to at least understand why she left in the first place.

If you’ve not read Him, I would recommend you read that first, if only to get an understanding for the story, and for Sarah’s side of it. I liked knowing how the story played out already, even though that might have seemed repetitive, because it was told from Will’s perspective, it was totally different.

I liked how Carey told parts of the story word for word the same as she told it in Him, it really authenticated the story, and was a seamless continuation. I have a bit of a thing for hearing the guy’s perspective when it comes to romance novels. It’s something I discovered only very recently and I think it like it so much because it feels sneaky, like you’re in their head when as a reader you’re usually in the girls head.

Carey made Will’s point of view very believable. It felt like you were really living his side of the story with him. The sentences throughout are quite short which feels like it gives you an insight into Will, like he is always on to his next thought before he has finished his last.

The story extends past the ending point in Him, so it gives you a chance to see Sarah and Will in their future, and what it brings for them, meaning that this story isn’t only a retelling from Will’s perspective. A good sequel to Him.

Erin x

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Guest Review - Kiss Me by Kristine Mason


The bit on the back…

After a series of bad relationships, Jenna Cooper wants a sex buddy — no-strings, no emotional involvement, and absolutely no expectations of commitment. She sets her sights on Luke Sinclair. A player and commitment-phobe, he’d make the perfect boy toy. Only Luke’s tired of playing the scene and wants a serious relationship with Jenna, not a series of one-night-stands.

When Luke makes Jenna an offer she can’t refuse, the sexual tension between them combusts and their emotional chemistry becomes too hard for Jenna to ignore. They both end up with more than either bargained for, especially when Jenna’s wild past is exposed and threatens to tear their relationship apart. Now Luke will do anything to make things right between them, but knows it’s going to take more than a kiss…


I downloaded this book when I was on holiday in Greece at the beginning of the year, I read the first couple of pages however I didn't get  much of a spark from the book so stopped it and moved on to something else. Recently I tried it again because I couldn't remember if I'd read it or not. Reading the first few pages again I was convinced I'd read the full thing before, I felt like I knew exactly how the book ended. I persevered with it to find out if I'd read it or not. 

The story follows Jenna as she forges a relationship with Luke. We begin the story with Jenna only wanting a 'friends with benefits' type relationship and Luke desperate to create a meaningful relationship with his friend. From the outset the story is slightly predictable. I knew from the outset how the book would end. Most of the time that doesn't bother me in a book, I enjoy finding out how the story comes to that end. This wasn't that different. The story was pretty straight forward, no major twists or turns. The characters were likeable and easy to relate. Jenna has a dark past that's made her the closed off and reluctant to start the relationship. Luke has been a bit of a playboy in his past and is desperate to settle into something deep and meaningful with Jenna.

The story is set over a really short time frame which I found slightly unrealistic. Jenna goes from someone who wants nothing more than sex, to being engaged and in love in just over 3 weeks. It was a cute story line but not necessarily a realistic one.

I wouldn't race to read another by Kristine Mason, it was a nice easy read, decent story line but a bit simplistic.

Kirsty x

Friday, 25 October 2013

Guest Review - Maid for Love - Marie Force


The bit on the back...

Maddie Chester is determined to leave her hometown of Gansett Island, a place that has brought her only bad memories and ugly rumours. Then she’s knocked off her bike on the way to her housekeeping job at McCarthy’s Resort Hotel by Gansett’s “favourite son,” Mac McCarthy. He’s back in town to help his father with preparations to sell the family resort and has no intention of staying long. When Mac accidentally sends Maddie flying over the handlebars, badly injuring her, he moves in to nurse her back to health and help care for her young son. He soon realizes his plans for a hit-and-run visit to the island are in serious jeopardy, and he just may be “maid” for love.


Maddie Chester has been plagued by rumours for the best part of her life on Gansett Island - rumours which are only fuelled when she has a baby son and no father in sight. Since the nasty rumours began she has lived a quiet life, making ends meet to provide for her son with really only her sister for company. Then one day, on her way to work as a maid for his parents, Maddie is knocked off her bike by island golden boy Mac McCarthy.

Mac did the one thing Maddie has always wanted to do and got off the island. He's moved to Florida and built a life for himself, but when he returns to the island for a flying visit and literally knocks Maddie flying he finds himself taking on more responsibility than coming home to help his dad fix up one of his businesses.

Maddie was a character I quickly came to like. As an outsider on the island, she was a bit of a loner, and not your average blonde haired beauty that you usually find in novels. Her weight, in particular her huge boobs have plagued her with back ache and heart ache from the beginning. Although she is taken by Mac's charm and good looks she is reluctant to let him in, putting her son before everything in any decision she makes. She's been alone for a very long time and I was desperate for her to let her guard down and let Mac take care of her.

The book wasn't as plain sailing as I thought at first, with a few twists and turns along the way it wasn't always obvious how it was going to end. The characters were likeable and the plot lines were easy to relate to. Definitely worth the effort to click 'download'.
Kirsty x

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Review of Wicked The Musical - London Baby!




About the show, as can be read here at www.wickedthemusical.co.uk

If you think you know the Wicked Witch of the West, think again...

When Dorothy famously triumphed over the Wicked Witch, we only ever heard one side of the story. Gregory Maguire's acclaimed 1995 novel, 'Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West', re-imagined the Land of Oz, creating a parallel universe to the familiar story written by L. Frank Baum and first published as 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' in 1900.

Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba.

Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda's unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba's determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.


The website also says prepare to be spellbound. I can tell you from experience, having seen it 3 times in just over a year, that this is, and will always be, my favourite musical. I absolutely love everything about it.

I first heard songs from the Wicked soundtrack when my sister’s amateur dramatics club sang Defying Gravity in one of the shows. My love for it kind of grew from then, right up until about June last year when my friend and I booked a London citybreak and booked ourselves tickets to see a Saturday night Wicked show. I downloaded the entire soundtrack then and was completely mesmerised by each song, finding something different, including what seemed like hidden messages for how to live your life, within each one.

When we booked up for our most recent break to London, booking Wicked tickets kind of went without questioning, so on Thursday 3rd of October we stepped out onto Wilton Road from Victoria Station and found ourselves soaked in the green shadow of the Victoria Apollo Theatre. It’s the first thing that hits you, illuminates you really, and you immediately step into another world. Inside the theatre is an enhanced version of the outside, also lit in green but with Wicked merchandise lining the walls. If you fancy a drink before the show you can get yourself onto the guest list for the Elixir Bar where you can indulge in Wicked inspired cocktails, all reasonably priced.

Before we arrived in London I had checked the website to see the cast of the show that I would be seeing. I was extremely pleased to see Gina Beck would be playing Glinda and Ben Freeman would be playing Fiyero. I have seen them both playing the parts before so I knew how good they were, I was a bit upset that I wouldn’t be watching the talented Louise Dearman as Elphaba though, as she is the only Elphie I’ve not seen. However, regardless of which cast you see each and everyone of them is fabulous.

The lights go down and the leading notes of the opening number burst from the orchestra, immediately a hush descends over the crowd as Wicked’s magic is worked on them. Everyone enraptured by the spectacular score and if possible even more wonderful, spine-tingling, goosebump and tear enducing singers.

The story opens with the people of Oz rejoicing in the fact that the Wicked Witch is dead, Glinda is at the centre of the hubbub as the Good Witch. When someone challenge’s Glinda’s past relationship with Elphaba, you are transported back in time to the girl’s school years, and to where they first met. The story goes from there, following their relationship and ultimately ending back in the present time, at the start.

Glinda, played by Gina Beck, is a prim, pretty and popular princess. She is adored by her peers and when she “befriends” Elphaba she is seen as a martyr, being a better person than anyone has before her. Her kindness and selflessness is praised and if possible her ego gets bigger and bigger!

Elphaba, played by Hayley Gallivan, is green, it unmistakable, she’s green. She feels guilt ridden, as she holds herself responsible for her sister Nessa Rose’s condition, meaning she is in a wheelchair, but when she gets to school, and her “talent” is discovered, it could end up being the beginning of a new life, a life where being green doesn’t matter.

Fiyero, played by Ben Freeman, resident Prince, and all round hottie. His ego is as overblown as Glinda’s, making them the perfect pair, but he lacks her intelligence. That is, until it comes to doing what is right, instead of what is expected of you.

Gina Beck, has truly, one of the most wonderful voices I have ever heard, technically brilliant as well as carrying an incredible tone. In her role as Glinda she has to portray an egotistical, self-absorbed young lady, who turns out to be pretty perceptive and also funny to watch. Her portrayal of these things are really enjoyable to watch and will have you laughing along throughout.

I was a bit sad I didn’t get to see Louise, however, Hayley was absolutely fabulous. When you’re there, right in the middle of it all, feeling the magic, losing yourself in the music, you forget that you’ve ever heard the sound track, the voices you hear during the show makes it feel like it’s the first time you’ve heard the show, and so what I’m really saying is that hearing Hayley live was as good, if not better, than hearing the original soundtrack. Her voice is so rich and has an incredible range, gives me goosebumps!

Each and every member of the cast though, is fully invested in making each performance the best it can be. No expense has been spared when it comes to the set and costume design either.

There is something for everyone in Wicked. There is excitement as the story twists and turns, it will have you laughing out loud, possibly crying too and will have you feeling all nostalgic as you figure out the references to The Wizard of Oz. Definitely worth the price, and the best seats are in the front stalls.

Wicked.


Just as a p.s. I got to meet some of the cast – here are some pics!

Blog Tour Stop!! - So You Think You're A Celebrity...Chef? by Caroline James


The bit on the back…

Mix together…

A tough-cookie media agent who's clawed her way to the top, and a con-man who wants to open a cookery school.

Add in a washed-up celebrity chef whose career needs re-building…

Flavour with…

An aging rock star fresh from rehab, and a Sloane Ranger food writer who gets her own TV show…

Bring to the boil:

At a Gourmet Food Festival, in Ireland, where anything goes!

When media agent Hilary Hargreaves travels to Ireland to look at a campaign for a new cookery school, she meets a blast from her past - the romantic but feckless chef Mickey Lloyd, who is hell-bent on resurrecting his flagging career. Her tough demeanour is rocked as it becomes apparent Mickey's intentions involve more than a stint behind a stove in his quest to pursue her. But as plans for the school gain momentum, she realises that she's developing more than a passing interest in reformed alcoholic Long Tom Hendry, who owns the crumbling old mansion where the school will be homed. Hilary has many ingredients to juggle with her demanding client list - which looks set to boil over if she doesn't keep control. From London's bustling Soho, to Southern Ireland and the sunny shores of the Caribbean, has Hilary got too much on her plate and is she really prepared to risk it all for love?


So, this is my first book blog tour but it's also the first novel by author Caroline James that I've read. 

The story follows a whole host of characters as they move through the celebrity chef world. From Ireland to the tropical heights of the Caribbean, the characters lives are intertwined. Main character Hilary pulls the story together as her Publicity company is at the epicentre of it all. If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the celeb chef world then this might give you a flavour for it (pardon the pun)!

The story starts with most of the characters going out to Ireland to enjoy a food festival while being romanced by character Lenny, budding chef and a soon to be owner of a cookery school, which will be based in the village that the food festival takes place in. This gives a good introduction to all of the characters, and there is quite a lot of them so if you like a book bursting at the seams with different stories and characters within the main plot this is definitely for you! Each character is introduced and the links between the characters begin to show. 

As I've mentioned there are quite a lot of characters. Caroline has developed a story specific to each but each has their own part to play in one of the other characters lives. The character development is key here and Caroline has managed it beautifully as each of the characters are well rounded by the end of the book. 

We spend quite a lot of time with the characters in Ireland and just when you think everything is going to work out peachy for the gang, Caroline goes and throws in a whole bunch of twists! Some of the twists might be more obvious than others but the book is in no way predictable. 

This book will have you laughing at some of the predicaments that the characters get themselves into and also a bit emotional as you identify with some of their situations too. Definitely a book for you if you like them busy and you like a bit of insight into the celebrity world!!




Fantastic Giveaway!!


5 x Chocolate Brownies
In the book, gorgeous Gary from Bon Appetite! makes sublime melt-in-your-mouth brownies. We’ve commisioned award winning Brownie Queen, Justine Forrest to supply her amazing brownies, individually boxed as a giveaway treat!
5 x Bespoke Book Bags
The perfect little bag to pop your book or kindle in – don’t forget your glasses and a bar of chocolate! Individually designed for this tour by Leanda Peters Designs.
Signed Paperback copy of So You Think You’re a Celebrity … Chef?

Kindle Gift Copy of So You Think You’re a Celebrity … Chef?


About the Author...
Caroline James was born in Cheshire and wanted to be a writer from an early age. She trained, however, in the catering trade and worked and travelled both at home and abroad.  Caroline has owned and run many related businesses and cookery is a passion alongside her writing, combining the two with her love of the hospitality industry and romantic fiction.
Caroline can generally be found with her nose in a book and her hand in a box of chocolates and when not doing either, she likes to write, climb mountains and contemplate life.
She writes fun, romantic fiction and is a member of the RNA and The Society of Authors. She has had numerous short stories published and writes a regular column for a lifestyle magazine.
Caroline's debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me went straight to #3 on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun newspaper. Her next book, So You Think You're A Celebrity… Chef? Will be published on October 4th 2013 by Thornberry Publishing.
Web:                     www.carolinejamesauthor.co.uk
Twitter:                @CarolineJames12
Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/carolinejamesauthor
Blog:                      www.carolinejamesauthor.blogspot.co.uk



Monday, 21 October 2013

Guest Review - The Proposal by Lily Zante

The bit on the back…

Nadine Stefano is a high flying career woman. She has no time for relationships and having been recently promoted at work, she wants to make a good impression with her boss. At her sister's bachelorette party Nadine meets Ethan who is one of the performers. She finds herself strangely drawn to him, despite her initial reservations.
A few weeks later, the company Nadine works for are holding their annual convention at a luxury hotel away from home. Not having a date to take with her, and wanting to present the image of a settled and happy woman in a relationship, Nadine resorts to calling Ethan at the escort agency and asking him along. Theirs is a strong attraction, although there are various company politics and characters that stand in their way.
Will their meeting lead to love, despite seemingly different career choices, or will Nadine dump Ethan in order to pursue her career goals?



Sometimes when I finish a really good book and I'm too skint to buy a new one and just want a quick, easy read I have a trawl through the free reads on iBooks. I’ve experienced what Amazon have to offer and so far I've found I prefer what iBooks has to offer - only in the free section though!

The Proposal by Lily Zante was one of the most recent free books I downloaded. I've yet to come across a free book that I recognise or know so usually the first thing that draws me to the book is the cover. If it’s got a fun quirky cover then I'm half way there. Secondly I look at how many stars it has. Over 3 and a half and I'll give it a shot.

The Proposal begins with Nadine, a character I immediately liked. We meet her as her sister’s hen party rages on in her living room she is stuck at her kitchen table finishing last minute reports for work. After being dragged into the party when the strippers arrive her attention is caught immediately by tall and sexy stripper Ethan. The story is written in third person so there's no second guessing Ethan and we find out the attraction is mutual. However Nadine is a workaholic, giving up all hint of a social life and love life to be the best at her high powered career and after a promotion she is out to prove herself. When her new position requires her to attend a convention that requires her to bring a partner she panics and Ethan is the first person she turns to. What begins as a business arrangement soon turns into something more serious, something they both saw coming, but the one thing they both promised themselves wouldn't happen.

The story being told in 3rd person allows you inside Ethan's head just as much as Nadine's, but I found this really easy to follow. I enjoyed seeing things from both sides, at times wanting to bang their heads together in frustration.

As I find with most of the free books, there's usually a reason they are free. It wasn't spectacularly written, a few spelling mistakes and some sentences could have been worded better but on the whole it was a fun, romantic story. Moreover the relationship between Nadine and Ethan was well written and it was easy to like the two leads. A great, easy read.

Kirsty x

Sunday, 20 October 2013

YA Spotlight - All American Girl by Meg Cabot


I hope everyone has enjoyed having a look at some of the books I really enjoyed when I was a teenager. My final and favourite spotlight post is all about All American Girl by Meg Cabot.

The bit on the back…

Just as a general thing, when you have saved the life of the leader of the free world, most people really want to hear about that, and, sadly, don’t care to hear a long-winded description of your dog.

Sam Madison’s life used to be simple – if boing. After all, it’s not much fun being the totally forgotten middle sister between a perfect, beautiful older one (Lucy) and a genius, precocious younger one (Rebecca). And then there’s the weird art class Sam’s been made to attend. Er, hello, what is that all about?

But then comes the day that changes everything – when Sam stops a crazy psycho from assassinating the President of the United States and becomes an instant, world-famous, full-on celebrity. Dining at the White House sure isn’t easy for someone who only eats hamburgers and fries, and who lives in combat boots.

In fact, there’s only one compensation – David, the President’s son…


This book is by far my favourite book written by author Meg Cabot, and I’ve read almost everything she’s written. I’ve read it over and over since the first time and to be honest I would probably stop writing this blog and read it if I didn’t have so much to read already!

Sam is so easy to relate to. She’s a typical teenager, a little rebellious, fancies boys she shouldn’t and is kind of stuck in between her older and younger sister feeling a bit of a misfit. Although not every teenager will save a President from being assassinated, they will all go through their first big crush, their first relationship, falling out with their best friend, feeling like a misfit, handling the whole virginity thing. Everyone goes through all of that and I think that makes it really easy to identify with.

A great story plus some of the chapters have a top ten at the start which mixes it up a little and gives you more of an insight into Sam.
Erin x

COVER REVEAL!! - The Cheesecake Queen - Miranda P Koerner


My second cover reveal! When I got the e-mail from Fiction Addiction Book Tours about this cover reveal I accepted straight away as it looks like something I would definitely read! The book is due to be released on the 21st of November.

The Cheesecake Queen

The bit on the back…

Sugar Rule 1: Christmas is the perfect time for cheesecake.

Sugar Rule 2: Men are as useful as burnt cookies.

After losing her reporting job to layoffs at the local paper, Caeleah Turner’s pity party at the airport is interrupted by a woman claiming to know the location of the world’s best cheesecake. Intrigued, Caeleah trades plane tickets with the woman and finds herself in Chestnut, Colorado, a tiny town hiding a woman known as the Cheesecake Queen. The Cheesecake Queen not only bakes the best cheesecakes in the country, but her cheesecake is known to cure everything from infertility to baldness—one woman even loses 100 pounds on it! There is a thick batter of secrets behind The Cheesecake Queen and her two sisters, who operate all the bakeries in town.

But as the mayor’s efforts to shut down the Sugar sisters before Christmas gear up, Caeleah finds herself wanting to sample his own treats.

There’s a bigger secret than love to Cinnamon’s cheesecakes. And Caeleah is determined to find out what it is.

Published by Inkspell Publishing


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Miranda Koerner is a writer living in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and two Chihuahuas. A former children’s magazine editor and reporter for Prime Time Newspapers and the Express-News, Miranda has written for The Current, Taste, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Her YA novel The Butterfly Dress was published by Girl E books and is available through Amazon.com and Smashwords. She is anticipating her next novel, Blue Mermaid, with Turquoise Morning Press in April 2013.

For more information, visit www.wordsnwhimsy.com or her blog at www.aduckinherpond.com.

Find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mirandapkoerner or twitter @BlondeDuckie.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Review of Kitchin N1 London

Before we went to London, we had been scouting around looking for places to go to, restaurants and cafes near the hotel. My boyfriend found Kitchin N1 and when we realised it was just opposite the hotel we decided that we would have dinner here before we went to see Wicked the musical – which by the way is the best musical in the world.

So, the restaurant - it’s a buffet style restaurant but with a bit of a twist. It doesn’t only specialise in one cuisine instead taking inspiration from everywhere from Italy, China, Thailand and India, preparing fresh dishes every day.

The buffet is served surrounding the live kitchen, allowing you to watch the chefs as the cook the fresh food. Starters, mains and desserts from each menu are situated around the kitchen, featuring some favourite, well known dishes and some other tasty specialties. There was also a lovely selection of fresh salads, breads and dips.

If watching the chefs cook your meal wasn’t enough there are live cooking stations where you can choose the ingredients you want and have the chef make them for you in front of you. Phil opted for the live Wok station where a member of staff happily explained how the station worked and the chef gave him some tips on what ingredients went with what cooking sauces.

The restaurant itself has modern furnishings and although we had an early sitting it felt as if there would be a great atmosphere when the dining room was full. Everyone was friendly and eager to please even the chefs in the theatre kitchen were happy to chat and explain dishes.

You can visit the website here http://kitchinn1.co.uk/index.php

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Friday, 18 October 2013

YA Spotlight - Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman


My third spotlight is all about the YA dystopian novel Noughts and Crosses which is the first book in the series by Malorie Blackman.


The bit on the back…

Callum is a nought – a second-class citizen in a world run by the ruling Crosses…

Sephy is a Cross, daughter of one of the most powerful men in the country…

In their world, noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. And as hostility turns to violence, can Callum and Sephy possibly find a way to be together? They are determined to try.

And then the bomb explodes…


This was the first of the two YA dystopian series that I have read – the other being the Hunger Games trilogy. This was so different to anything we had read before that my whole group of friends passed the one book around, reading it one after the other.

It is basically the age old story, boy meets girl, boy is from the opposite side of the track, and trouble ensues. Shakespeare for the modern age, except, this story is not set in old Verona but in a racist dystopia. The book tackles many issues, in particular the racial segregation between dark skinned (Crosses) and light skinned (noughts) members of society.

Even if you are not a young adult this is a fantastic read and will have you hooked onto the whole series. The book is told from both Callum and Sephy’s point of view which makes the divide between the noughts and Crosses even more pronounced.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

!!Coming Soon!! - Her by Carey Heywood


The bit on the back…

You know her side of the story, now learn his.

"It was useless. I felt branded beneath my skin by a girl who left without even saying goodbye."

When Will Price was assigned a partner for a sixth grade class project he had no idea she would become his best friend. After years of friendship, she eventually became so much more. Then, one day she left with no explanation.

Will’s life shattered right before his eyes and he was left alone to pick up the pieces. Floundering, Will must figure out a way to carry on, to find a way to exist without her.

Seven years later, a chance encounter leaves him desperate to get her back. He has one week to make her his again. Not everyone gets a second chance with the love of their life and Will is determined to never lose her again.


This is the sequel to the fabulous Him by Carey. Now we learn Will’s side of the story. Click here to ready my review of Him and here to hear more from Carey as she chats with Erin’s Choice about her novel Him and herself!

Release Date: 9 days to go!!

London Baby!


If you follow me on twitter @erinschoicee you will have seen that I was in London a couple of weekends ago to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday. I’ve already been to London for a girly weekend this year, I stay near Glasgow, but almost as soon as we were back I was online booking up for my next London adventure.

Before we went, I had been busily planning our trip’s itinerary and had enlisted the help of my followers to recommend different places that we could visit. When I was researching some of the recs, I came across the whole world of lifestyle blogs, in particular London lifestyle blogs. So now I’m back from my AWESOME weekend, I thought I would share some of the experience with you all, but also so I can relive it!

I first fell in love with London last year when I went down for an overnight theatre break with my friend. I was totally bitten by the London bug and when we went again in March this year, this time with my mum – a London veteran – I was able to enjoy it more and see some more of the sights, and famous landmarks the city is known for. It is such a big place, and with all the things I wanted to revisit, and all the things I wanted my boyfriend – a London virgin – to see, I thought a comprehensive itinerary was necessary. It also was an outlet for some of my excitement so I wasn’t constantly harping on about it!

We had booked up for 3 nights, 4 full days in the city. Leaving on the earliest plane from Glasgow on the Thursday morning and returning on the last plane back from Luton on the Sunday night. I’ve planed it, trained it, and even when I was younger auto-mobiled it, but flying down is definitely the easiest option, and with a cabin bag, and capsule wardrobe, being perfect for a weekend in the city, checking in can be a hassle free experience! With a train service running from both Luton and Stansted (to St Pancras and Liverpool St respectively) and with tube services from the Heathrow terminals, getting into the city is a slick and easy process.

If you’ve ever been to London you will know that the easiest way to get around the city is by using the tube. The tube map can look daunting with a rainbow of lines going this way and that but in all honesty, once you brave it for the first time it actually becomes quite easy. The other consolation is, if you get on the wrong line, or find yourself heading west when you actually meant to head east, you just hop off at the next station and change onto another tube – easy as pie, and because you haven’t exited the underground the journey still counts as only one charge! It is definitely worth investing in an oyster card, which you can top up, especially if you are planning on hopping around quite a lot. Each trip (in and out of the underground) costs £2.10 and with a maximum charge of £7.00 per day this definitely works out as one of the cheapest options (besides walking!). To give you a comparison, one way from Euston to Victoria was £8.00.

So there you have it, my first lifestyle-esque blog post about the fabulous city that is London. Keep an eye on the blog over the next couple of days to find out what we got up to, where we went and what we enjoyed!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Coming Soon!! It Felt Like A Kiss – Sarra Manning


The bit on the back…

Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn't have fallen in love with?

Ellie Cohen has it all. A great job at a swank Mayfair art gallery, loyal mates, loving family and really, really good hair. Well, almost - there's the mega-famous, rock-star father who refuses to acknowledge her and a succession of challenging boyfriends (which she calls 'fixer-uppers', her friends call 'losers'), but nobody's perfect.

Then a vengeful ex sells Ellie's secrets and a pack of lies to the press. Suddenly she's no longer the girl most likely to succeed, but a girl whose world is falling to pieces. For the first time in her life, Ellie can't deal - she's fighting to keep her job, her reputation and her sanity. So it's a relief when David Gold, her father's ruthlessly ambitious lawyer, arrives to manage the crisis - and Ellie. David might be handsome and charming, but he thinks she's a gold-digger and Ellie thinks he's a shark in a Savile Row suit.

'Strategic damage limitation' aren't the three little words Ellie wants to hear, so it's just as well that falling in love is the last thing on her mind.


Really looking forward to this one! I’ve read Unsticky, You don’t have to say you love Me and Nine uses for an Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra and I’ve loved them all! When I saw author Paige Toon posted this on her Facebook page I knew I had to check it out immediately! Definitely one to be pre-ordered – I can feel the book hangover already!!

This will be released on the 13th February 2014 and is being published by Transworld Digital, a division of The Random House Group.