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Thursday, 24 March 2016

Author Q & A - Rebecca Pugh

There’s no place like home…

Enough is enough! The always perfect Laurie Chapman had jumped in her car and raced as fast as she could from London heading to Sunset Bay and (she hopes!) the open arms of her estranged sister…
Mia Chapman loves running Dolly’s Diner in the picture-perfect coastal Cornish town of Sunset Bay. Now that her and Grandma Dolly’s dream is finally a reality Mia has never been prouder! Until Laurie suddenly turns up on her doorstep… How can she forgive the sister who walked away?
Once upon a time Mia and Laurie were best friends. Back together after so long, the time has come for the sisters to figure out what went so wrong all those years ago – and whether they can ever put it right!
An uplifting romantic comedy about sisters, friendship and the love of good food.

Author: Rebecca Pugh
Title: A Home in Sunset Bay
Publishers: Carina
Publication Date: 9th Feb 2016
Link: UK Amazon

Today we welcome the lovely Rebecca Pugh to the blog to tell us a little about herself and her new book.

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
The seaside, of course! Alongside the bond between sisters, family ties and budding romance which you know I love writing about. I think sometimes, life can become overwhelming and the chance to escape is incredibly tempting, especially for Laurie who knows Sunset Bay could possibly be the place to disappear to. Being beside the sea, with the delicious delights of Dolly’s Diner and the pier to stroll along, it really was the perfect escape. Even I’d like to spend a week or two in the seaside setting. It was such fun to create.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Deep down, yes. Most definitely. The odd thing was, it was always such an impossible destination for me, so rather than torture myself with the what-ifs, I instead pushed it right to the back of my mind, only bringing it out to play with now and again when I was feeling ambitious. Stories and words are a combination I have always adored. Even now, it’s surreal to think that this is what I’m doing. I still have to pinch myself!

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
There are no words to describe how it felt. NO WORDS. Bizarre. Thrilling. Nerve-wracking. A million emotions all rolled into one. One moment I’d be feeling brave and capable, the next I’d be working myself up about whether anyone would like what I’d written, whether it had all been a mistake. I fell into bed that night physically exhausted, but my mind was buzzing long after midnight. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that way before.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
Usually, if the words won’t flow, I’ll take a break. My editor gives the best advice so I regularly follow it and she always turns out to be right. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need. To take a step back, to see the bigger picture, to plan your next steps. I haven’t encountered excruciatingly bad writer’s block just yet, luckily, but there’s still time!

What motivates you to keep writing?
Wow, what a great question! Hmm. Lots of things, I suppose. Coffee, positive reviews from readers who have enjoyed my previous books, knowing that if don’t write, there’ll be nothing for them to read next! It all adds up and urges me to keep going.

Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Funnily enough, yes! If my characters are in a particularly tense or emotional situation, then nine times out of ten, I’ll be tapping away, tensed up too. You grow so close to your characters throughout their creation, so it’s hard not to feel everything they feel. It’s a wonderful thing to experience, something that will never get old! One of my favourite parts to write is that thrill of a first kiss, I always get a little buzz as I bring a pair of lips together for the first time.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Don’t think that it’s impossible. That was my mistake. I spent so much time pushing and shoving my fantasy to the back of my mind, when it wasn’t as unreachable as I thought it was. No matter what your circumstances, where you’re from, what you do, it can still happen.

Be prepared. Becoming a published author is quite different to tapping away at stories on your laptop when the mood takes you. You’re going to need to stay on top of things, get yourself organised, and be aware of deadlines! None of this is bad of course, but it was an eye-opener for me, and it still is. I haven’t stopped learning yet!

Not everyone will love what you write. When bad reviews come, accept them and move on. My first bad review sent me reeling. In fact, I remember so clearly standing in the veg aisle in our local supermarket and wanting to fling myself into the potatoes, never to return. But, as time has gone by, I’ve learnt to accept that not everyone is going to love my books. For those that do, it sends me over the moon with glee, but for those that don’t, it’s something I now accept. Everyone gets bad reviews. Everyone. Even those incredible authors who you’ve always looked up to.

Which authors inspire you?
SO MANY! Holly Martin, Jill Mansell, Cathy Bramley, Cressida McLaughlin. I love their styles and the worlds and characters they create. I adore reading their work and they inspire me to work hard and give my writing my all.

What are you reading at the moment?
Well, as of right now, I have three books on the go, which is a completely new ability that has arrived out of the blue. I’m reading The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts, What She Never Told Me by Kate McQuail, and Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull. Alongside my current reads, I’m working through revisions for book three!

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Dolly’s Diner plays a huge role in A Home in Sunset Bay, my second book with Carina UK, and throughout writing the diner scenes, I had Chubby Checker’s ‘Let’s Twist Again’ playing on repeat in my mind. My imagination sees the camera crossing above Sunset Bay as this fabulous song plays throughout the opening, then finally zooming in on Dolly’s Diner and Mia working hard within. That would be SO WONDERFUL!

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
I think Mia was my favourite character. She’s always worked so hard and sacrificed her own sense of adventure to ensure Dolly’s Diner remains firmly open and a favourite of Sunset Bay’s locals. I think Anne Hathaway could play the role of Mia really well. She just has that look about her that I love, plus she’s one of my all-time favourite actresses.

What is your next book about?
I can’t say too much just yet but, being rather vague, it’s about a woman who, having her future firmly planned in her mind finds life taking her in a completely different direction. It’s a story about new friends, new surroundings, and being brave enough to let go of the past and finally move forward. It’s set in an idyllic location, which seems to be a popular aspect with my previous books, and I so hope readers love the title as much as I do! It could possibly be my favourite of the three! Although, actually, come to think of it, I’m incredibly fond of them all!

Quickfire, 'Which book' round

And now think about the books you've read and just give the first one that comes into your head for our quick 'Which book round.'

Which book has made you:

Laugh out loud?
Carry You by Beth Thomas. God, I remember absolutely crying with laughter as I read this book, and it’s still with me now. It was hilarious, but totally heart-warming at the same time. It definitely put a silly grin on my face.

Cry your heart out?
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I read this one back in college and it had me weeping uncontrollably. Such a beautiful novel that really struck a chord with me.

Want to read it again?
I Let You by Clare Mackintosh. Incredible writing!

Think more?
The Dead Mother’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman. I couldn’t stop thinking as I read this one. It offered up so many questions about what you’d do, think and feel if you were in the heroine’s situation, which was a tragic situation to be in.

Wish it would be made into a film?
Any of Holly Martin’s books!

Season to Taste by Natalie Young. Very… unusual. And strange. And about a woman who eats her husband. Yes, not my usual genre I must admit.

The House on Cold Hill by Peter James.

Thanks for joining us Rebecca, we can't wait to hear the next title and read the next book.

To read our reviews of Rebecca's books please click on the links below:
Return to Bluebell Hill
A Home in Sunset Bay

Book Angel x

About the Author

Rebecca Pugh
Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire, with a mind full of fairy-tales and happy endings. Enchanted by true love and Disney Princesses, she decided that no matter what life threw her way, she'd continue to see the world through a child's eyes. Through the pages of countless books, her adoration of reading blossomed, and it didn't take long for her to fall under the spell of hundreds of authors' words.

Now, Rebecca's own story has taken a fairy-tale like turn, and at 22, her dream has come true. With her faithful companions: Bonnie the dog, her partner, and her gigantic family by her side, Rebecca is ready to share her stories with readers who enjoy falling in love and losing themselves within beautiful, fictional worlds.

Rebecca Pugh is the author of women's fiction and romance, her all-time favourite genres. After all, who doesn't enjoy a good swoon?

Her debut novel, Return to Bluebell Hill, was published in June 2015 by Carina UK

Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel by Jane Costello

The Moonlight Hotel sits on the shore of England’s best-loved lake, Windermere, exuding vintage glamour.
Lauren loves the hotel, for hidden inside its faded walls is the key to her most precious memories. So, along with her best friends, Cate and Emily, she signs up to a new dance class in its gorgeous ballroom. They aren’t going for the men, they’re going for a laugh – although a little romance wouldn’t hurt . . .
But then a chain of events off the dance floor puts their friendship to the ultimate test, and makes Lauren question everything she holds dear.
Put on your dancing shoes and escape to The Moonlight Hotel, for Jane’s funniest and most poignant novel yet…

Title:      Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel
Author:  Jane Costello
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Date:      24th March 2016
Link:      UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

My Review

When you pick up a Jane Costello book you know you are in for a treat as her great sense of humour shines through in her writing.  

Who would have thought a salsa dancing class would have changed the lives of three single friends?

Lauren is the main character who I loved and could really relate to, there is no pretence with her as what you see is what you get, although she is easily swayed. When she starts salsa classes with friends Cate and Emily they meet the gorgeous Will and Joe. She however has eyes for no one else as she is head over heels in love with fellow teacher Edwin, which is pretty hopeless as he is with long term girlfriend Fiona.

Lauren loves the Moonlight Hotel as she has very fond memories of spending time there with her late dad as he was the general manager when she was younger. So her heckles are up when she meets the new manager Joe whom she thinks will destroy the essence of the place when he refurbishes it. He tries to convince her that it will all be good but she takes a dislike to him and refuses to listen to his plans.

Lauren's friend Emily takes a real shine to Joe but it transpires that her life has become more complicated than it seems.

Their other friend Cate falls in love with Joe's friend Will but her ex refuses to let her go and devastates her with his sickening actions.

Throughout it all the friendships remain solid as the girls help each other through their various problems.

Lauren is supposed to be going to Australia to spend time with her cousin until Edwin convinces her to apply for a job in Singapore which throws her lifelong dreams up in the air.

It was a lovely touch being shown glimpses of Lauren's job as a primary school teacher and listening to the funny things that the children come out with. Her little favourite, Tom was just adorable and his story was cleverly woven into the mix.

This book is a series of hilarious happenings including the Mr Miyagi scene which made me choke on my tea, you will laugh out loud a lot and be touched by the tender scenes but most of all you will just enjoy the ride with a host of colourful characters and steamy dance scenes.

Well done to Jane Costello for yet another quality hit.  

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Angels x

About the Author

Jane Costello is the author of nine novels, including Bridesmaids, The Wish List, The Time of Our Lives and her latest, Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel, which is published by Simon & Schuster in March 2016. Jane was a newspaper journalist before she became an author, working on the Liverpool Echo, the Daily Mail and the Liverpool Daily Post, where she was Editor. She continues to write for newspapers and magazines and has contributed articles to the Guardian, Marie Claire, Prima and The Times, among others. Jane has won several awards for her books, including the Romantic Novelists' Association Romantic Comedy Award, which she took home in 2010 for The Nearly Weds. She lives in Liverpool with her husband Mark and three young sons. Find out more at and follow her on Twitter @janecostello

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Blogger/Author Shenanigans 19th March 2016

When Kim Nash from Bookouture sent out an invitation to a blogger/author meet up I just knew I had to go, especially as it was on the 19th March which was my first year blogaversary. The various messages and tweets about the event created quite a buzz on social media and I thought it was hilarious when Kim decided to call it 'Shenanigans'

I got to the Waiting Room not long after twelve and there were about twenty to thirty people there already, I felt really comfortable when I arrived as I knew quite a few of the other bloggers there and had spent some time with them on Wednesday at the fab Simon & Schuster event. Then lovely Kim came over and introduced herself, I have to call her a wicked temptress as she is always suggesting great books for us bloggers to devour.

All of the people I met were so lovely, I sat with Kirsty, Laura and Adele at the beginning and lots of lovely authors came up to introduce themselves to us with postcards and bookmarks advertising their books, one even had a chocolate bunny on it which was yummy thank you Giselle Green.

Author/Blogger Vicki Bowles soon joined us and we were able to discuss the RNA's New writers' scheme with a lovely lady called Janet Gover who is an author and is responsible for maintaining the RNA's website. She told us all about the conference and was very entertaining and friendly, I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to her.

We were then joined by Heidi Swain who I first met last year at Simon & Schuster when she was a fledgling novelist with her first book, The Cherry Tree Café. She has since gone from strength to strength and has been signed up for three more books. It's been amazing watching Heidi on this journey and I wish her every success with the new books.
I also met up with two very sparkly ladies, Jan Brigden and Sue Fortin of the award winning Romaniacs

Other novelists included Kerry Fisher, Leigh Russell, Jean Fullerton, Tom Bale, T.A Williams, Holly Martin, Christie Barlow and so many more. I was so pleased to see Isabelle Broom join us near the end of the event. Her new book 'My Map of You' will be published on 21st April and I'm lucky enough to have read it and loved it.

There must have been over eighty people there in the end and it was pretty noisy, I only wish I'd been able to talk to more people but there just wasn't enough time.
Thank you so much to Kim Nash and Holly Martin for arranging this excellent event for us, it was the perfect way for me to celebrate my first year of blogging and I simply can't wait to do it all again.

Book Angel x

Author Q and A with Giselle Green

Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast.

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he?

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam - except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad ... only she’s about to meet Nate - her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?
Author:          Giselle Green
Title:               Dear Dad
Published by: Yule Press
Date:               31st March 2016
Links; Uk:  Amazon US:  Amazon

Giselle joins us on the blog to talk about the book and tell us a little about herself.

Welcome to Sincerely Book Angels blog.

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
I read a compelling piece in the newspaper about a guy who acted in loco parentis for a young child, who had mistakenly kept calling him ‘Dad’. I know these days we’re all primed to be vigilant around children and who has contact with them – not a bad thing – but we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater either. Not all children are privileged enough to have adults who are looking out for them. It set me thinking about all the great guys there are out there who are willing to step into the breach and act as someone’s father when, for whatever reason, the biological dad isn’t around.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Definitely – from about age nine, that’s what I decided I wanted to be. I was pretty clear about it – I sent my first ms off to a children’s publisher when I was eleven!

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
The best feeling in the world, because I’d waited for it so long – I was forty-eight when my debut novel Pandora’s Box came out.
Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
 That’s a tricky one to answer. When I’m in the middle of a book I do sometimes have panic moments when I think ‘Heck what is going to happen now, I have no idea?’ But those are never too long-lasting – I just have to let go of the fear of not knowing. My husband is a great cheerleader in that respect because he’s so unfailingly confident in my work. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating – writing takes a lot of faith – it’s such a leap into the unknown. Cultivating a strong sense of faith in your own ability to complete the task is essential.  
The bigger question for me is always; ‘what am I going to write about next?’ When you go for months without knowing the answer to that one, it can feel like writer’s block, but I don’t really ever think of it that way. I tend to feel that when the time is right, the right book idea will present itself and away I will go. Nowadays, I write when I feel the desire to do so. When I’m into a book that will be every day. In between books, I can go a while, but it doesn’t feel like writer’s block as such. 
What motivates you to keep writing?
Once I’ve started a project, I tend to have a strong inbuilt desire to reach the end of it. The further you progress into a novel, the more the characters become absolutely real to you. You want to see them through whatever situation you’ve put them in. One thing I never know at the outset is how I’m going to get them out of their dilemmas. What I do generally know how my characters are going to have to change inside, in order to find whatever it is they’re looking for. It’s a journey of discovery for me as well as the reader. It’s both scary and exciting!       
Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Some books definitely affect you more that others – it depends on the tone of the book. Writing Little Miracles – about a mother’s search for her child who’s gone missing - was horrendously stressful. I could only manage two hours at a time on that one. The follow-up Finding You was also pretty intense. I made a deliberate decision to go for a lighter tone in the current book, Dear Dad. It’s sad in places, but it’s got some humour in it too. Writing characters going through turmoil is exactly the same as living with them. You go through it vicariously, yourself ... so yes, it does affect your mood! I imagine it’s a bit like acting. You have to find a way to disengage.  
What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Write what you want to write, not what you feel you ‘should’ be writing.
Be perseverant - keep the faith in what you’re trying to achieve, however how long it takes (it took me 39 years!)
No matter what stage you’re at, be generous to other writers whenever you can.
Which authors inspire you?
Any author who writes beautifully – like Margaret Leroy, for instance. And anyone who can appear to make writing effortless – I’m going through a Jojo Moyes phase at the moment. I know that writing beautifully and apparently effortlessly takes an enormous amount of work, persistence and faith in your own abilities. Hats off to anyone who can do it consistently! 

What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes which I’m very much enjoying, and about to dip into Finding Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace which I promised to review – looks most intriguing!

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
It would definitely be something by Ludovico Einaudi. His piano pieces have inspired many scenes in my books! His music is so powerfully evocative and emotive.  

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
I’d love Emilia Clarke to play schoolteacher/tattoist Jenna Tierney. She’s got the perfect young-and-cheeky, feisty-but-vulnerable combination. She’d have to dye her hair red but I think it would suit her!

What is your next book about?
I wish I knew! It’ll probably come in as soon as I’ve put this current one to bed.

And now think about the books you've read and just give the first one that comes into your head for our quick -fire 'Which book round.'
Which book has made you:Laugh out loud? Believe it or not – The fault in our stars, by John Green
Cry your heart out? Nothing as extreme as that. But  Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes was definitely very sad.
Want to read it again? Me Before You.
Think more? A Little Light on Spiritual Laws by Diane Cooper. 
Shocked/Scared? I don’t read shocking or scary books – I like to read for pleasure!

Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today and good luck with the book.

To read our review of Dear Dad please click here.

Book Angels x

About the Author

Born in Chiswick, Giselle Green was brought up in Gibraltar where she has extensive family. She returned to the UK to study Biology at King's College London, followed by an MSc in Information Science at the City University. She is also a qualified Astrologer, with a particular interest in medieval astrology.

Her debut novel Pandora's Box won the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writer's Award in 2008. Her third novel, A Sister's Gift achieved best-selling number one slot on Amazon kindle in 2012.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Simon & Schuster Spring Blogger Evening 2016

I was delighted to receive the invitation for the Spring Blogger Evening held on the 16th March at Simon & Schuster HQ. I couldn't quite believe how fast the year had gone since the last one which I really enjoyed, details of this can be found here. What was even more amazing was that two of the authors from last year had won awards from the RNA, Milly Johnson won Best Romantic Comedy for her fabulous 'Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe', and Iona Grey won Best Historical Romance for 'Letters to the Lost' so I knew I would be in for a special evening.

The event started with a little mingling and soft drinks and nibbles, it was lovely to get together with bloggers I had met from the previous event and also to meet new people from groups such as book connectors and twitter etc, it was great to see these profile pics come to life. I also enjoyed catching up with Isabelle Broom, author of the lovely summer read, 'My Map of You,' who has named a character in her second book after me which is very exciting.
Myself and Isabelle Broom
L-R Myself, Author/Blogger Vicki Bowles, Author Isabelle Broom & award winning librarian Sam Everett  

Sara-Jade then called us into the other room where our four authors were sitting at the top table with editor Clare Hay.
Authors from left to right are Penny Parkes, Paige Toon, Holly Hepburn and Juliet Ashton, also another fab new author (not pictured) Georgia Clarke had just flown into the country and was introduced to us.

Clare welcomed us all and then each author read an extract from their book starting with Juliet Ashton and 'These Days of ours.' I have been lucky enough to read this book already and will be posting my review on paperback publication day which is the 7th April. The book is a love story about two people who have known each other since they were five but certain situations prevent them from getting together, the story is told through a series of events such as weddings, funerals and christenings which was a unique way of writing that I really enjoyed. Click here to buy.
Next to speak was Holly Hepburn about her new novella 'Summer at the Star and Sixpence' which will be published on 25th April. This is the second in the Star and Sixpence series and follows on from Snowdrops at the Star and Sixpence, I haven't read any of Holly's books before and am really looking forward to this romantic summer novella but will buy the first one before I read this as apparently a secret from the first one will be revealed in the second. Click here to buy/Pre-order.
Then it was Paige Toon's turn to read from her new book which is called 'The One We Fell in Love With.' I have met Paige before at her book launch for 'The Sun in her Eyes' and was able to tell her that one of her previous books 'Thirteen Weddings' inspired me to take up a photography course, I haven't finished the course yet because blogging is taking up so much of my time, I love it though. I'm really looking forward to reading this book about three triplet sisters who fall in love with the boy next door. This will be published on the 19th May. Click here to Pre-order.
Last but not least was the turn of Penny Parkes and her debut novel 'Out of Practice' which is about a Doctors' Surgery with not one but two dishy doctors. This book sounds hilarious and will be published on 28th July so this is a really advanced copy. Click here to pre-order.

After the readings, Clare asked the authors questions and the audience were invited to join in. Then we went for more mingling, a veritable feast was laid out on the table and champagne corks could be heard popping and delicious cupcakes were available for munching.
We were then given goodie bags which were bulging with lovely treats including to my utmost delight, a copy of each and every one of these amazing new books and we were also invited to help ourselves from the other wonderful books stacked on the tables. We were in booky heaven.
The authors very kindly agreed to sign the books including Georgia Clarke who signed the sample we were given of her new book entitled 'The Regulars'.

After more mingling the night was over so quickly and we were soon having to say goodbye. On my way out I was taking a picture of the lovely authors and they invited me to be in it so although it looks like I'm photobombing I am actually meant to be there.  Thanks once again to Sara-Jade Virtue and the Books and the City team for throwing another fantastic and memorable event. Here's to the next one.
Book Angel x

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick

Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all... love.

Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy.

“Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which until recently had seemed to be just what I wanted.”

Title:      Chicken Eat Pasta
Author:  Clare Pedrick
Published By: Matador
Date:      23rd July 2015
Link:      UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

My Review

Just looking at the beautiful cover of this book conjures up lovely summer evenings in Umbria, Italy.
This book is based on the experiences of journalist Claire Pedrick as she makes a new life for herself in Italy at the tender age of 26.
After the loss of her mum she is left some money and decides to buy a run down house in Italy. When she arrives there she meets a whole host of lively and colourful characters including the lovely Ercolino who becomes a father figure in her life whether she likes it or not, he was really funny and I loved the way he often got his words all mixed up.
I loved the interesting descriptions of the house and the countryside and the authentic Italian dishes and I enjoyed reading about the trials and tribulations that Claire encountered when trying to make the house her own.
I would have liked to have seen a little more of the development of the relationship with Mario but overall I found this a very charming and enjoyable read and I really admire Claire for having the gumption to do it.
Thanks to Claire for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Angels x

About the Author

Clare Pedrick is a British journalist who studied Italian at Cambridge University before becoming a reporter. She went on to work as the Rome correspondent for the Washington Post and as European Editor of an international features agency. She still lives in Italy with her husband, whom she met in the village where she bought her house.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Viral by Helen FitzGerald

So far, twenty-three thousand and ninety six people have seen me online. They include my mother, my father, my little sister, my grandmother, my other grandmother, my grandfather, my boss, my sixth year Biology teacher and my boyfriend James.

Title:               Viral
Author:           Helen FitzGerald
Published By: Faber & Faber
Date:               28th January 2016
Link:               UK: Amazon   US: Amazon

My Review

The first thing I heard about this book was the shocking first line. As this really happened to a girl and a video did go viral I thought it was an interesting premis to go with.
The story starts with Su-Jin who was on holiday with her younger sister Leah and her friends. Leah doesn't really like her sister but her mum forced her to let her go on the holiday.
Su-Jin is a very studious person and Leah is determined to get her drunk and encourage her to try other sordid things that Magaluf has on offer.
After taking part in a horrible event in a club Su-Jin is horrified to find that it was filmed and the video had gone viral. She is far too embarrassed to go home and needs to sort her head out.

Back home her mum Ruth is horrified but doesn't blame Su-Jin at all and she appeals for her to come home. As a Judge, Ruth is determined to find out that a crime has been committed and starts an investigation of her own, she also blames Leah for not helping her sister.
This book was really unexpected as although the main focus is the event that took place and the devastating repercussions that followed, it opens up to talk about the history of Su-Jin and where she came from. Also the difficult relationship that Ruth has with one of her daughters and how that came about.
The book is gripping and races along wondering what will happen next and with the horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach every time the number of views goes up or every time someone recognises Su-Jin or a member of her family. It was such a horrible situation for them to be in and there is such a strong argument for there to be laws about this sort of thing which is horrendous and ruins people's lives.
I completely agreed with Ruth about the crimes she insisted were committed.
I felt some of the scenarios that followed with Ruth were a little far fetched but they would be exactly the sort of things that you would want to do if this had happened to a member of your family so I still enjoyed those bits.
Character wise I loved Su-Jin she was such a resilient lovely girl who really didn't deserve any of what happened. I enjoyed going on her journey to fulfilment which helped her to understand what was important in her life and I absolutely loved the ending.
This is a great book with a lot of food for thought regarding social media and anti social behaviour which is treated like a game in some of these places.
Highly recommended for a fast paced controversial read.
Thanks to Faber and Faber for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Angels x

About the Author

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of Dead Lovely (2007) and nine other adult and young adult thrillers, including My Last Confession (2009), The Donor (2011), The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize, and The Exit (2015). Helen has worked as a criminal justice social worker for over ten years. She is one of thirteen children and grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children.