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Sunday, 27 November 2016

My Favourite Things by Sara-Jade Virtue, Project Manager at Books & The City


Back in the 70's women had very limited choices for when the sun was over the yardarm. A small (warm) glass of Blue Nun or Liebfraumilch. A Port and lemon. A thimbleful of Sherry on Christmas morning.

By the time I was 'of age', times, they were a changing. The exotic taste of paradise/smell of suntan cream that was a Malibu and Coke. Babycham poured from the smallest bottle ever mass manufactured into the prettiest branded glass ever mass manufactured. A Snowball on Christmas morning.

The options, as repugnant as they now sound to our developed and sophisticated palettes, had multiplied ten-fold, and even through the dark 90's days of so many Vodka Redbulls and Jager bombs that our collective hearts and brains exploded, we could taste the promise of better times ahead.

Then BOOM, in the early 2000’s the Botanical Era emerged. Like a whirlwind we were thrust into the fresh and fruity Golden Rein of The Cocktail. Overpriced and largely comprising of ice - oh, what a time to be alive my friends.


Forgiving and forgetting the early days of the Long Island Iced Tea, the Pina Colada and the Blue Lagoon, everyone remembers their first post Sex and the City Cosmopolitan, right? The minty sugary gingery suprising joy of their first Mojito. The first sip of bite-y, sour, so wrong-it’s-right and so sophisticated-it’s-a-joke Dirty Martini.



Most of us now have cocktails shaker's IN OUR OWN HOMES, like we live in Manhattan not Milton Keynes. We have a bottle of Baileys for Christmas morning in our kitchen cupboard. A selection of gins and Fever Tree tonic LIKE WE LIVE ON THE SET OF MAD MEN, and we think nothing of mixing up a daiquiri on a Wednesday night in our otherwise unused nutribullet.

And this is why, when Annette from Sincerely Book Angels Blog asked me to contribute to her My Favourite Things feature, I absolutely had to share my love of a cocktail above and beyond anything else. Because I do. I really really love cocktails. I love how they make me think I look when I’m drinking one. I love how they never taste like you think they are going to. I love how expensive and decadent and ridiculous they are. I love how I think they make me sound classy and refined and a tad gauche when I order them. I love the taste, even when they taste a bit odd. I love the accoutrement of silly garnishes you get with them. Oh, cocktails, how I love thee…



And anyway, as someone lucky enough to work in the book world, I talk, think, dream about books ALL THE TIME - it's my passion, my addiction, my job and my income - but it would be stating the bleeding obvious to list BOOKS as My Favourite Thing wouldn't it?

I've been shouting about my Laminated List of Top Ten Novels for years - and the world and his wife (OK, OK, just my colleagues, my husband and the late, great Jackie Collins herself) know about my Jack Python obsession.

And I constantly shout (via www.booksandthecity.co.uk and through twitter @BookMinxSJV) about books on my TBR Pile of Dreams, books on my shelves at work, books I’m reading, proofs of books I’m salivating over, books in the Top Ten, books not yet published, books published a month, a year, a decade ago… so NO-ONE wants to hear me wanging on about books again do they?

But, in the spirit of filling the brief Annette sent me, here are my Quick Fire Round answers:


Food - Savoury/Sweet

Savoury: the Dinner of Champions (and small children) - Fish Fingers and Peas

Sweet: there-isn’t-enough-time-to-tell-you-how-many-puddings-I-love


Drink

See above + Diet Coke



Film

I can re-watch the 1991 Bette Midler/James Caan classic For the Boys over and over again and still cry like a baby, ergo, that must be my favourite film


Book




Author


See above
             


Character

See above!


Song

Kissing You by Keith Washington for one reason, April in Paris performed by Count Basie in 1956 for a whole other reason - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCmcoZktZG4


Holiday destination

The Stoop or anywhere by the sea



Animal

Harley the cockatoo – this is why https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRsfOGJ5lZg


Person

@MrBookMinx – reader, I married him


Place to write

Erm….



Season

All of them, for different reasons


Tradition

Pancake Day?



Inspirational quote

Is it what it is. I don’t know if it’s an inspiration in the true sense of the word, but it sees me through days and days spent staring at costing grids!


Thing in the whole world

A breath-taking sunset and sunrise,Beyonce, iced fingers, mascara, gothic architecture (preferably in ruins), nail varnish, trainers, ballet, L L Cool J, whales, lightning… how long have you got?



@BookMinxSJV is the Project Manager of the Simon & Schuster Women’s Fiction Community www.booksandthecity.co.uk. She mostly tweets about books, buns and booze.

Cheers Sara-Jade and thanks for joining us.

Sincerely
Book Angel x





Thursday, 24 November 2016

A Stolen Life & Freedom by Jaycee Dugard


In the follow-up to her #1 bestselling memoir, A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard tells the story of her first experiences after years in captivity: the joys that accompanied her newfound freedom and the challenges of adjusting to life on her own.

When Jaycee Dugard was eleven years old, she was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in South Lake Tahoe, California. She was missing for more than eighteen years, held captive by Philip and Nancy Garrido, and gave birth to two daughters during her imprisonment.

A Stolen Life, which sold nearly two million copies, told the story of Jaycee’s life from her abduction in 1991 through her reappearance in 2009. Freedom: My Book of Firsts is about everything that happened next.

“How do you rebuild a life?” Jaycee asks.

In these pages, she describes the life she never thought she would live to see: from her first sight of her mother to her first time meeting her grownup sister, her first trip to the dentist to her daughters’ first day of school, her first taste of champagne to her first hangover, her first time behind the wheel to her first speeding ticket, and her first dance at a friend’s wedding to her first thoughts about the possibility of a future relationship.

This raw and inspiring book will remind readers that there is, as Jaycee writes, “life after something tragic happens…Somehow, I still believe that we each hold the key to our own happiness and you have to grab it where you can in whatever form it might take.”


Author                   Jaycee Dugard

Publisher               Simon & Schuster

A Stolen Life        UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

Freedom               UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

My Review


I remember seeing on the news about Jaycee Lee Dugard being found and thinking how miraculous it was that after eighteen years she would be reunited with her mother. However, although I was so happy for this family I also had to wonder how on earth does someone cope with finding out these awful things have happened to their daughter.

I felt so sorry for Jaycee at the time but having read the harrowing book A Stolen Life I  realised its not pity I feel for her but huge respect and admiration. Jaycee has been to hell and back through the sickening actions of two drug taking psychopaths whose names do not deserve a mention. Yet she is actually stronger than both of them put together .

In the first book Jaycee talks about what happened to her at the age of eleven when she was abducted on her way to school by  a paedophile and his wife. The details are extremely painful to read as Jaycee is subjected to eighteen years of being held captive and abused in the most unimaginably horrific ways.
After being continually raped over the years she actually managed to give birth, on her own, to two daughters whom she loves deeply. Despite who the father was, these children are her flesh and blood and she knew she would do anything to protect them, 

Jaycee has been asked why she didn't run away in the later years but she had been programmed to fear the outside world due to his manipulation of her and she also now had the fear of losing her daughters.

Thankfully they were eventually found and reunited with her mother, sister and aunty. This reunion was made easier by therapists, who have since become firm friends with Jaycee and also a family reunification centre which uses animals to help people to learn trust and confidence.

I found Jaycee's story very fascinating and while I obviously wish that she had never had to go through this ordeal, the fact is she has and nothing can change that. But the amazing thing about this situation is how resilient Jaycee was and continues to be.
She has not let hatred consume her and has a really positive outlook on life.

The second book, Freedom is very positive and shows all the wonderful things that Jaycee has been up to since she was freed. One of the most wonderful achievements she has made was setting up her own foundation to help similar families in need. It is called the Jayc foundation, the letters stand for Just ask yourself to care. Proceeds from the books go to this worthy cause. The foundation has won awards and they give talks at schools and to law enforcement officers to try and create a better understanding of these situations.

One of Jaycee's main aims is to dispel the term 'Stockholm Syndrome' which suggests that people being held captive begin to develop empathy  with their kidnappers and even fall in love with them.
Jaycee completely disagrees with this notion as she had to develop skills in order to survive and learn to read her captors moods and thought processes in order to keep herself and her children safe.

Jaycee reminds me of sunshine as her words seem to light up the pages full of hope. Despite the torturous life she had with them she has remained a ray of light in the world and her lovely gentle innocent personality shines though the books. I think she is an amazing person and her story has really touched my heart.

Message to Jaycee



Jaycee, I would just like to thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Those monsters may have stolen eighteen years of your life in the most cruellest way and many other things too, but one thing is for sure, they didn't take YOU. You are resilient, strong, beautiful, kind and a wonderful mum as your mum is to you.
I hope your light continues to shine brightly and wish you a wonderful and happy future. I think there is a handsome knight in shining armour for you one day and I know you'll be more interested in his horse at first but I wish you every happiness in life. If anyone deserves happiness it's you.

Sincerely
Book Angel X

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Author Q & A Nicola May - Love Me Tinder

Do not go on an internet date without reading this book!

Dull security or risky freedom - which would you choose?

With her marriage in pieces, shy Cali Summers is faced with this decision and hits the world of fast love on an internet dating app.

Using room 102 in the hotel where she works as her dating 'lair', she opens herself up to a world of sex, lies, deception, as well as personal discovery and passionate love.

With a charming F1 engineer, a handsome army officer and her adulterous ex all on the scene, a predictable love match is far from on the cards.

'Nicola May is a talent to watch' Milly Johnson

Title:               Love Me Tinder
Author:           Nicola May
Published By: Accent Press
Date:               July 31st 2016
Link:               UK: Amazon  US: Amazon


Guest Post with Nicola May

Hi Nicola, welcome to Sincerely Book Angels

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
I myself was looking for love so decided to try online dating.  My Tinder dates were a mixture of good, bad and hilarious and I suddenly thought it would make very interesting reading.

Did you always want to be a writer?
No, I didn’t have a massive desire to be a writer at all. I fell into it in my thirties. I was actually dared to run a half marathon. Being a big party girl at the time I thought it would be amusing to write a training diary. I finished the marathon, didn’t finish the diary but decided to start writing a novel.

What other jobs have you had?
Quite a few! Hence my first novel, Working it Out, about Ruby who decides to embark on twelve jobs in twelve months to find the one of her dreams. I’ve been an Events Manager (still am), a secretary, worked in a hardware store. I’ve even been one of Santa’s little helpers at Lapland.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
I self-published originally five years ago. The buzz of seeing my book in Waterstone’s window for the first time made me cry in the street.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
I’m pretty lucky that when a book starts flowing I stay up for silly hours writing. But, if ever I do need plot inspiration I go for a walk in Windsor Great Park. I’m the mad one shouting ‘eureka’ out loud when a great idea comes to me.

What motivates you to keep writing?
My ambition to reach the Sunday Times Bestseller List.

Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Sometimes. It’s more the case that I have trouble jumping back in to reality when I have been writing for long periods of time.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Don’t talk about, it do it! If I was given a pound for everyone who said they had a book in them I’d be a millionaires.
Don’t reread and edit as you go. Get it down then go back and edit.
Never give up

Which authors inspire you?
Milly Johnson in my genre and Patrick Gale who writes dark characters so amazingly, that I have learnt a lot about my own characterisation from him. 

What are you reading at the moment?
I’m actually rereading one of my own, The School Gates, as my new novel may well take on some of the same characters and I’m reacquainting myself with them 

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Now, if Bridget hadn’t already taken ‘All by myself’... J  So, I will go for Get Lucky by Daft Punk.

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
I would choose the gorgeous Patrick Dempsey to play one of the male suitors, just so that I could meet him!

What is your next book about?
It is about ‘bad’ mums and that’s all I can say at the moment. 

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

Which book has made you:

Laugh out loud?
Water Melon – Marian Keyes

Cry your heart out?
A Widow for One Year – John Irving

Want to read it again?
The Shell Seekers – Rosamunde Pilcher

Think more?
Notes from an Exhibition – Patrick Gale

Wish it would be made into a film?
The Yorkshire Pudding Club – Milly Johnson

Shocked?
The Island – Victoria Heslop

Scared?
I don’t read books that scare me 
Thanks for joining us today Nicola and good luck with the book.
Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author



Nicola May is a bestselling author of 8 successful romantic comedy novels. Her quirky sense of humour and ability to deal with real life issues in a comedic way has won her a steady fan base worldwide. Her books, The School Gates and Christmas Evie won awards for Best Author Read at The Festival of Romance in 2012 and 2014 respectively and Let Love Win was nominated in 2013.

Nicola’s eighth novel,Love Me Tinder is available now to download. Paperback out on Valentine’s Day!

Follow Nicola on Twitter @nicolamay1



Monday, 21 November 2016

Author Q & A - Kathryn Croft

You wake up to find the man beside you is dead.
He is not your husband. This is not your bed.


Tara Logan adores her perfect little family: husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer.

But her happiness is shattered when she wakes in her neighbour, Lee Jacobs’ bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them. And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee, Tara flees home and stays silent, holding her breath as the investigation grips the neighbourhood.
But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara starts to wonder if someone in her own life knows what really happened that night. And when the police turn their questions towards her, Tara realises she has to find out.

But what will it take to uncover the real story, and can she survive the truth?

A gripping, shocking psychological thriller, with a twist that will take you by surprise.
Will engross fans of Between You and Me, Behind Closed Doors, and The Girl on the Train.

Title:               While You Were Sleeping
Author:           Kathryn Croft
Published By: Bookouture
Date:               Nov 16th 2016
Link:               UK: Amazon  US: Amazon


Author Q & A with Kathryn Croft

Hi Kathryn, welcome to Sincerely Book Angels blog.

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
The idea actually came to me from a poem I read years ago in which a woman wakes up with a head on the pillow beside her. In the poem, the speaker knows that she's responsible for this murder, but I was intrigued by the idea of someone waking up beside a dead body and not knowing how they ended up there.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, I have always loved reading and writing and knew I just had to write a book one day. It took me a long time to finally get there, though!

What other jobs have you had?
Far too many to mention here, but I previously worked in management training and then I was a secondary school English teacher for six years before writing my first novel.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
It was one of the most exciting moments of my life, especially when I held my first paperback book!

Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story.
For me it was a long road to publication, and after finding my agent quite quickly, my first novel didn't manage to get a publisher so we self-published on Amazon. Somehow it did really well and then we did the same for my second book, before I finally got an amazing publishing deal with Bookouture.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
I haven't had writer's block as such, but I have completely scrapped a book and started again after completing it, and then I did the same with another book after getting halfway through. I just realised I could make them both so much better if I went back to the beginning and reworked them.

What motivates you to keep writing?
I am so passionate about writing and wouldn't want to do anything else. While it's extremely tough at times, the feeling of completing a novel is worth all the hard work. I have a baby now so I am even more motivated to keep writing for him.

Where is your favourite place to write? ( can we have a picture)
I always write in my study, unless it's a warm sunny day and I can go out in the garden. I would love to include a picture but we've just moved house so my study is a bit of a mess at the moment!

Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
I have actually been known to cry at some of the things my characters go through - even though it's all my fault!

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
1. Plan your novel in as much detail as you can, and at the very least try to know exactly how it will end.
2. Never give up. Be prepared for rejection, but don't let it deter you. If your first book doesn't sell then write another and another if writing is your true passion.
3. Write what you would love to read. In order for readers to enjoy your writing, you've got to feel excited about it.

Which authors inspire you?
Nikki French and Sophie Hannah write fantastic psychological thrillers.

What are you reading at the moment?
I'm currently reading When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen. I am a total thriller addict!

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
This is such a fantastic question! It's a bit hard to say but I love Chandelier by Sia, so perhaps that could work. Readers will probably have some better ideas!

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
I think Kate Winslet is an incredible actress so would love to see her playing Tara.

What is your next book about?
Book six is still only a seed of an idea at the moment (as I've just moved house!) but I will keep you posted!

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

Which book has made you:

Laugh out loud?
Bridget Jones's Diary

Cry your heart out?
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

Want to read it again?
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Think more?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Wish it would be made into a film?
The Magic Cottage by James Herbert

Shocked?
Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty had such a brilliant twist at the end!

Scared?
Anything by Stephen King


Thank you so much for having me on your blog, and for the fantastic and thought-provoking questions!

It was our pleasure Kathryn, Good luck with the book.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author


Kathryn Croft is the bestselling author of The Girl With No Past, which spent over four weeks at number one in the Amazon chart. Her other novels, Behind Closed Doors and The Stranger Within, and The Girl You Lost all reached number one in the psychological thriller charts.

Her fifth novel, While You Were Sleeping, will be published on 16th November 2016, and is now available for preorder on Amazon.

After six years teaching secondary school English, Kathryn now writes full time and has a publishing deal with Bookouture.

Having always been an avid reader, Kathryn believes in the power of words to entertain, teach and transform lives. She is also a firm believer in following your dreams and says anything is possible if you work hard enough and never give up!

Kathryn lives in Guildford, Surrey with her husband, baby son and two cats.

www.kathryncroft.com

Sunday, 20 November 2016

My Favourite Things by Tracey Sinclair, Author




Food Savoury and sweet

Cheese on toast (I’m a no frills gal!) and chocolate

Drink

Champagne, of course! (OK, I’m maybe a ‘some frills’ gal…)

Film

Ooh so hard – changes from day to day. But Star Wars, Aliens, In The Mood for Love and Die Hard are all faves.

Book

Another one it’s impossible to narrow down but Pride and Prejudice, Dangerous Liaisons, The Good Soldier and Jane Eyre all in my top picks.

Author

Terry Pratchett

Character

Sam Vimes, from the Discworld novels

Song

Art Teacher by Rufus Wainwright

Holiday destination

New York

Animal

I used to be a total cat person – and while I still am, I also love big dogs!


Person

I obviously love a lot of people in real life! Historical person I’d say Elizabeth I isn’t my favourite, but she’s fascinating – I love reading about that period in history.


Place to write

Nice cafes


Season

Autumn


Tradition

Scotland making January 2 a bank holiday! It’s nuts to me that it isn’t in England. Who wants to go back to work that early?


Inspirational quote

"Evil starts when you begin to treat people as things" – Granny Weatherwax (Terry Pratchett)


Thing in the whole world

Books


About me:
Tracey Sinclair is an author and freelance editor and writer. Her books include the romcom The Bridesmaid Blues and the Dark Dates/Cassandra Bick series, the latest of which, Angel Falls, is out now.


Click here to buy the book

Thank you so much for joining us Tracey

Sincerely
Book Angel x





Thursday, 17 November 2016

A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom


For Megan, visiting Prague with her friend Ollie is just business. Nothing more. Because if she admits the truth she might lose everything.

For Hope, this trip is a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she's struggling to enjoy the city when she knows how angry her daughter is. And that it's all her fault.

For Sophie, Prague has always been magical. And now she's counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her in the city that holds so many of their memories . . .

Title:                A Year and a Day
Author:           Isabelle Broom
Published By: Michael Joseph Books
Date:               Nov 17th 2016
Link:              To buy her brand spanking new book A Year and a Day please click here

                       To buy her fabulous debut novel My Map of You please click here

My Review

The first thing to note about an Isabelle Broom book is the title. They are so unique and meaningful and I always get an emotional shiver when I come to the part of the book that mentions the title.

The second thing to note is the wonderful descriptions of the countries where the book is set. This book takes us to Prague just before Christmas and I almost wanted to put a scarf on as I was reading it as I really felt I was there.

The story follows three different love stories and describes how they all meet whilst on holiday in Prague. The descriptions of the buildings and various places around the city were mesmerising and I loved the folklore and traditions that were also discussed.

The characters were both believable and lovable, there was an older couple called Charlie and Hope who had found love second time round but guilt and confusion ensured they would have a bumpy ride.

Ollie and Megan who were just friends despite once upon a time sharing a drunken kiss. The romance of Prague draws them into a complicated situation and Robin and Sophie who had first met in Prague years before and had planned to go back for the anniversary.

Another special character was Hope's daughter who was very angry at Hope for leaving her dad, the reason I say she was special was because her name is Annette. I was very honoured to have Isabelle name a character after me and as a book lover I have to say that is a highlight of my life.

These stories are beautifully told and Isabelle once again manages to bring the essence of each country she writes about into the book. The sights, smells, tastes, people, weather are all captured wonderfully.
I felt quite emotional to find out the story behind the title 'A Year and a Day'
This book has a mix of happy and heartbreakingly tender moments, and bravely reflects the utter despairing pain of grief.

If you can't get away this year then let Isabelle Broom bring the holiday to you. Sunshine or snowflakes her books are magical. Thanks to Michael Joseph books for the ARC.

Sincerely
Book Angel x


About the Author

Isabelle Broom is an author of escapist romantic fiction, which is very kindly published by Penguin Michael Joseph. When she's not writing novels, she looks after the book reviews at heat magazine and tries to get her dog to play chase in the parks of north London.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Searching for a Silver Lining by Miranda Dickinson

Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything . . .

When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.

Touchingly funny, warm and life-affirming, this is a sparkling story of second chances. Perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern, Searching for a Silver Lining will take you on a trip you'll never forget.

Title:               Searching for a Silver Lining
Author:           Miranda Dickinson
Published By: Pan MacMillan
Date:               Oct 20th 2016
Link:               UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

My Review

First of all, what an amazing title which filled me with intrigue before I even started reading.
The title is also very apt as the story is about Mattie Bell who is devastated at the loss of her beloved grandad Joe. Her loss is even more painful because she unfortunately fell out with him not long before he died and was unable to say a last goodbye to him.

As the owner of a vintage shop she throws herself into work and is invited into a retirement home to display some of her products to evoke memories of times gone by for the elderly residents. Whilst visiting she meets a lively 84 year old lady called Renee Silver whom she clicks with immediately. It transpires that Renee was the lead singer in a group called The Silver Five and they were Mattie's grandad 's favourite band, who split up acrimoniously almost sixty years before. This devastated their fans who were at the Palm Grove in London waiting to see them.

Mattie can see a sadness in Renee and feels if she could get the band back together to perform one last concert then she could make it up to her grandad for not listening to him.
This becomes the start of a road trip for Mattie and Renee who travel around the country and to Wales in order to reunite the rest of the band. The owner of the Palm Grove had sadly passed away but one of his grandsons, Gil, could see the potential in reviving the band but it meant a lot was at stake for him because the club wasn't doing so well anyway. He decided to protect his investment and ensure the gig went ahead that he would accompany the girls. However he wasn't as patient with Reenie as Mattie was.
Before she sets off on the road trip she is surprised to be given a box containing her grandad's diaries from when he was younger. Apparently he had wanted her to have them to explain his decision which led to their argument. I liked how the excerpts from the diary were interspersed throughout the story.
This book to me was like being snuggled up in a loving pair of arms. I've loved all of Miranda's books for lots of different reasons and I think this one is my new favourite. Firstly I was touched because of the loving relationship with her grandad as I could very much relate to that and I know how devastated I would feel if i had fallen out with mine before he died.  This feeling of guilt drives Mattie through most of the book and is so painful it's almost tangible.

I was very touched by Mattie's realisation towards the end of the book and her acceptance of the situation.

Mattie's shop, Bell Be-bop, was a joy to visit and was were she felt most comfortable.
I really liked how Mattie began to feel close to her grandad again through his diaries and also through talking to Renee. Also how she started thinking about opening her heart to love again. The road trip was exhausting but lots of fun and certainly not as easy as Renee thought it would be.
Finding out Renee's story added a whole new dimension to the story and what I loved about this is that it celebrates older people who are very often forgotten about. I have a few much older friends and I love talking to them because they are so interesting and fun. Deep down they are still the young women they used to be and they have pasts and still remember fun times. My grandad was eighty one when he died and he was one of my best friends.

Also I was touched by the fact that Renee's real name was Irene and she came from Liverpool as that was my mum's name and where she came from but sadly we lost her at the tender age of 63. I would have loved her to have reached Renee's age.

I loved reading this book so much and will be passing it to my eighty two year old friend as I know she will love it.

Thanks to Miranda and Pan Macmillan for the book which I have voluntarily reviewed.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author


Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. Born in 1973 in Wolverhampton, she grew up in Kingswinford and dreamed of one day writing a book that would reach the heady heights of Kingswinford Library... Her first novel, Fairytale of New York (2009) was discovered on Authonomy.com - HarperCollins' site for unpublished authors. Within three weeks of its release, Fairytale of New York had entered the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers List, where it remained for five weeks - making it the world's first crowd-sourced bestseller. The novel was also shortlisted for the RNA's Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2010 at the Pure Passion Awards.




Sunday, 13 November 2016

My Favourite Things by Heidi Swain, Author


Hello my lovelies! Thank you so much for inviting me to take part in this fabulous feature. I had thought sharing a few of my favourite things was going to be a breeze, but actually pinning things down is pretty darn tricky.


Food – Savoury and sweet

Easing myself in with an easy ‘favourite thing’ here because given the choice I would only ever pick a savoury favourite! Even my preferred scone is the cheesy variety. I would go for something salty over something sugary any day. Apologies to those of you who envisage me typing away, scoffing giant slabs of Galaxy bars all day.

Favourite savoury snacks would include plain crisps (I never buy them because they wouldn’t last five minutes) and ginormous slabs of Yorkshire pudding served with butter.

Of course if I did have to pick a favourite sweet thing, it would be that Galaxy bar, or perhaps a chocolate orange.


Drink

Again, not too tough to answer. British to the backbone, I don’t think there are many dramas in my life that haven’t been helped along by a good old mug of tea. Ironically I take a small spoonful of sugar. So much not having a sweet tooth! 


Film

OK so now we’re entering tricky territory. I’m going to give you my favourite current film so if you ask me in six months’ time, don’t expect the answer to be the same. Heading into Autumn (finally), top of the film pile has to be You’ve Got Mail starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. I mean, ‘bouquets of sharpened pencils’… how seductive is that one line alone?


Author

This one is simply impossible so I’m naming three, I’m sorry, but I just can’t choose between them. Dame Milly Johnson, Trisha Ashely and Carole Matthews, I adore them all. Quirky, real, feisty, fun, surprising…the reasons to love their plots and characters are simply endless.  
Milly Johnson and Heidi Swain

Holiday destination

Not unlike the film choice, this answer comes from my current state of mind, but it could all be different just a few days down the line. This year we took a short break close to home, just across the border into Suffolk and I absolutely fell in love with the countryside and coastline. It is such a beautiful county. The landscapes we visited were gently undulating and it was almost harvest time so the land was abundant and ripe. Simply stunning.


Animal

Our native brown hare. I adore them and here in our patch of Norfolk they are fortunately plentiful. There is something so wild about these elusive creatures. Their lives are intriguing, their looks, with that intense amber eye, feral but wise, and their babies are beautiful. I have an ever increasing art collection featuring hares in all guises. Majestic, magical and right on my doorstep, how lucky am I?


Place to write

As a published author I have discovered the art of being able to write almost anywhere. With a deadline looming you have to go with the flow. However, given the choice, I would pick my sofa at home. I write my first drafts in longhand now and curled up among the cushions with a mug of tea, a pencil and an A4 pad feels pretty perfect to me.


Season

Cheating again probably but I’m naming two here. I love Spring every bit as much as Autumn. There is something distinctly satisfying about beginnings and endings in my opinion. The first lush growth in the spring and the upsurge of birdsong after the long dark days is blissful, but then balancing that, the tang of the bonfire, conkers and leaves to kick through are also longed for after the summer heat.

Inspirational quote

Here I turn to Elizabeth Taylor to sort me out…

‘Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together’.


Simple as that and works like a charm.


Thing in the whole world

Curled up in bed with a good book. Reading is my absolute favourite thing, closely followed by writing of course! 


A bit about me…
Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.
She now lives in Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm and writes commercial fiction for Simon and Schuster.
Her debut novel, The Cherry Tree Café was published in June 2015 and Summer at Skylark Farm followed in July 2016.
Mince Pies and Mistletoe at The Christmas Market will be published on November 17th, but can be ordered now.
Click here for E-book:               

Click here for Paperback:








Christmas has arrived in the town of Wynbridge and it promises mince pies, mistletoe and a whole host of seasonal joy.

Ruby has finished with university and is heading home for the holidays to save up for her trip around the world in January. Against her father’s wishes, she takes on a stall at the local market, and sets about making it the best Christmas market stall ever. There’ll be bunting and mistletoe and maybe even a bit of mulled wine.

But with a new retail park just opened on their doorstep, the market is under threat. So together with all the other stallholders, Ruby devises a plan to make sure that Wynbridge is the first port of call for everyone’s Christmas shopping needs.

The only thing standing in her way is Ruby’s ex, Steve. It’s pretty hard to concentrate on saving the world when he works on the stall opposite, especially when she realises that her feelings for him are still there …

This Christmas make time for some winter sparkle – and see who might be under the mistletoe this year…

Thank you so much for inviting me to share a few of my favourite things.

Thank you so much Heidi for joining us.

Sincerely
Book Angel x








Thursday, 10 November 2016

Take a Chance on Me by Carol Wyer


A hilarious heart-warming read about friendship, taking chances and finding love, second time round.
When Charlie’s husband leaves after ten years of marriage, her spirits hit an all-time low. She just isn’t sure how to pick herself up again. So, best friend Mercedes makes it her mission to put a spring back in Charlie’s step with the perfect bucket list.
As Charlie bungee jumps and belly dances her way through an array of adventures, her love life also begins to look up and she’s soon enjoying a few dates as a newly single woman. She begins to realise that finding romance, might not be so hard, especially when you’ve got someone like journalist Jake who has an adorable little boy and is very easy on the eye.
But is Jake too good to be true? As Charlie’s challenges on the bucket list get bigger, so do her questions about Jake. Should she continue to hold out for the fairy-tale? Or is it only in rom coms that dreams can come true?
A witty romantic read perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Debbie Johnson.

Title:               Take a Chance on Me
Author:           Carol Wyer
Published By: Bookouture
Date:               Sept 20th 2016
Link:               UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

My Review


A lovely story following Charlie and her best friend Mercedes who work on a hospital radio station.

Charlie's life had fallen apart after the loss of her thirteen year old daughter Amy and subsequent divorce from her husband Gavin. The job at the radio kept her busy as well as baking cakes for a local art shop to sell.

Mercedes had been in an accident in which she became paralysed from the waist down and Charlie had helped her though her recovery so their friendship was pretty solid. One drunken New Year's Eve they both draw up bucket lists and Mercedes has the bright idea of swapping lists as she realistically couldn't do many of the things on her own list.

Charlie is a good sport as she endeavours to complete the list and when the radio station is under threat she reluctantly becomes the person to try and save it in the form of 'Challenge Charlie' she gets herself into some pickles as she attempts to tick off the items on the list and usually ends up making a fool of herself in front of a handsome man.

The book was comical and heartbreaking in equal measures lots of funny challenges to complete and an attempt to get back into the world of dating which goes horribly wrong but some very tender and heartbreaking moments as she thinks of her little girl especially when her ex brings her some news.

I loved Peggy the next door neighbour and her parrot Bert and thought they added a lot to the story.

A genuinely enjoyable read.

Thanks to Carol for gifting me a copy of the book which I've reviewed voluntarily.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author


Carol E. Wyer is an award-winning author whose humorous books take a light-hearted look at getting older and encourage others to age disgracefully.
She won The people's Book Prize Award in 2015 for 'Grumpy Old Menopause' and has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing 'Irritable Male Syndrome' and 'Ageing Disgracefully' and on BBC Breakfast television and Sky. She has had articles published in national magazines 'Woman's Weekly' featured in 'Take A Break', 'Choice', 'Yours' and 'Woman's Own' magazines and writes regularly for The Huffington Post.
In 2014, she took a crash course in stand up comedy and tours to sell out audiences with her comedy talk 'Smile While You Still Have Teeth'.
Carol is a signed author with Bookouture and Delancey Press.

To learn more about Carol, go to www.carolewyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer. Carol blogs at www.facing50withhumour.com and www.grumpyoldmenopause.com



Monday, 7 November 2016

Blog Tour - Frozen Minds by Cheryl Rees-Price



When a man is found murdered at Bethesda House, a home for adults with learning difficulties, local people start to accuse the home's residents of being behind the killing. The victim was a manager at the home, and seemingly a respectable and well-liked family man. DI Winter Meadows knows there's more to the case than meets the eye. As he and his team investigate, Meadows discovers a culture of fear at the home - and some unscrupulous dealings going on between the staff. Does the answer to the case lie in the relationships between the staff and the residents - or is there something even more sinister afoot?

Title:               Frozen Minds
Author:           Cheryl Rees-Price
Published By: Accent Press
Date:               Oct 14th 2016
Link:               UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

Guest Post with Cheryl Rees-Price
Welcome to Sincerely Book Angels
Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog today.

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
The inspiration for the book came from a conversation with a relative. She was having a tough time with her boss and was on the verge of quitting her job. To cheer her up I suggested I turn her boss into a character in my next book. The boss ended up becoming the murder victim and there were plenty of suspects! As it turns out the real boss got sacked having been the subject of a serious police investigation.

Did you always want to be a writer?
I get asked this question often and people seemed surprised when I say, no. I left school at sixteen to work in a factory making jumpers. I was always a bit of a daydreamer and this helped pass the monotony of the day, I guess this should have been a sign that there was a host of stories stuck in my head waiting to get out on paper.

I didn’t have a career plan or a future mapped out and was happy to go where life took me. Six months later I left the factory, I took on a job as a legal clerk without a clue how to type or use a fax machine so returned to education, studying in the evenings.

I worked hard to gain my A-levels then took a completely different direction and studied accountancy in university. When I married and had my children I continued to study but my favorite part of the day was reading the bedtime stories. As the children grew I progressed to making up stories which included my girls as characters, still I didn’t have the confidence to write a book or share my work. Years later I was asked to write a play for a local church. I enjoyed the process and the reaction from the audience so much that it gave me the confidence to write my first book.

What other jobs have you had?
As mentioned above before my writing career I worked in a factory, then as a legal clerk in a debt recovery department. When my daughters were young I worked as a part time book keeper. Now I work as a finance director for a project management company. Ideally I would love to write full time.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
It was the first time that I felt I could call myself a writer. Up until then I was full of self-doubt and at the point of giving up. It’s a wonderful experience to see your book out for all to see. I still sometimes feel like a fraud when I’m asked to give a talk or to sign a book.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
I don’t tend to get writers block. I get panicked at the start of the process when it is just an idea. It seems like a mountain to climb to turn that idea into a full length novel. To combat this I go back to the notes of my first book, and see that I had a lot less to work with.

What motivates you to keep writing?
My mind is always buzzing with ideas. I love creating characters and seeing where a story will take me. Sometimes I get days where I don’t feel like writing and want to spend the evening curled up with a book or watching TV. To get through this I set myself a word limit each day. This usually motivates me to keep writing.

Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Yes. I guess I put a little of myself into the characters so if they are in a bad mood you can guarantee that I’m not having a very good day.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
1) Finish that book.
2) Write for your own pleasure.
3) Never give up.

Which authors inspire you?
I’m an admirer of a great number of authors, among them, C.S Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. They have a wonderful ability to transport their readers into another world. I’m more than a little in awe of them and rather than inspire me to write I found that I was deterred, fearing that I could never write as well.

What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Accident by Linwood Barclay.

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Something by AC/DC I share the love of this band with my lead character.

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
I think Misha Collins would be a good fit for Winter Meadows. He is close to what I imagine the character to look like.

What is your next book about?
My next book centres on the investigation of a missing child.


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

Which book has made you:

Laugh out loud?
The man on platform 5 by Robert Llewellyn

Cry your heart out?
The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith

Want to read it again?
Before I go to Sleep by S.J Watson.

Think more?
The Shack by Wm Paul Young.

Wish it would be made into a film?
The Seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith

Shocked?
Flowers in the Attic by V.C Andrews

Scared?
Haunted by James Herbert

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

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author


Cheryl Rees-Price was born in Cardiff and moved as a Young child to a small ex-mining village on the edge of the Black Mountains, South Wales, where she still lives with her husband, daughters and two cats. After leaving school she worked as a legal clerk for several years before leaving to raise her two daughters.
Cheryl returned to education, studying philosophy, sociology and accountancy whilst working as a part time book keeper. She now works as a finance director for a company that delivers project management and accounting services and sits on the board of a local circus company.
In her spare time Cheryl indulges in her passion for writing, the success of writing plays for local performances gave her the confidence to write her first novel. Her other hobbies include walking and gardening which free her mind to develop plots and create colourful characters.                
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