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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson

Tom fell in love with Alice the moment he saw her. He realises that being with her will not be easy, but she is a force of nature, a burst of sunlight in his otherwise ordinary world.

Some people might look at Alice and think she has everything, but Alice knows she is not like other women. Her life is complicated, unpredictable, difficult. Alice does not like pity. All she wants to do, has ever wanted to do, is sing.

Alice has been told not to follow her dreams. So has Tom. But when fate has already dealt a tough hand, it’s time to stop listening to everyone else and only follow their hearts.

Please follow or comment on the blog for a chance to win a copy of the book. U.K. Only 
Closing Date 5th Feb 2017

Title:         A song for Tomorrow
Author:    Alice Peterson
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 9th Feb 2017
Links: UK: Amazon   US: Amazon

Our Review

A beautiful story inspired by the life of Alice Martineau.
Alice was born with cystic fibrosis and this book describes in detail how the illness affected her day to day life and the lives of her close family.
Alice had always wanted to be a singer. But thanks to an obnoxious girl at school telling her she wouldn't live long enough to make it and an uncaring music teacher who stifled her ambition, she had long since given up on that idea and hadn't even confided in her mother or hospital consultant about her dreams.
After having a little success as a model she eventually found it too much of a strain to rush about to all the casting calls only to be turned away. She then decided to follow her original dream of becoming a singer/songwriter.

The story is told at a gentle pace and follows Alice's daily struggle just to stay alive whilst constantly fighting off infections. The main thing that shines through this story is her unwavering determination to achieve her dream. She is such an inspiring person and very lovable.
Her boyfriend Tom and her parents very understandably wanted to wrap her up in cotton wool to keep her safe and whilst she appreciated that she also fought against it too as she has decided that while she had a life she wanted to live it as fully as she could.
I loved the relationships she had with her brother and her parents they were a very close knit and protective family and they supported her as much as possible.
The description of her meeting Tom and their subsequent relationship was very loving and realistic. Especially the ups and downs they suffered when Tom was unsure of whether he was strong enough to cope with the life they would have together.

Alice has lots of friends too such as Cat who had always been there for her since they were little and Susie and Milly who both suffered with cystic fibrosis and along with Alice had rebelliously formed an anti support group. Their relationship was perfect because they each knew what the other was going through and could provide support for each other that they couldn't really get from anywhere else.

I think the author has managed to tell Alice's story beautifully whilst sensitively raising awareness of the devastating effect that cystic fibrosis has on the lives of those who suffer with such a debilitating condition and on their families.

It's a heartbreaking story yet full of hope, strength, love and determination.

Book Angel x

About the Author

I have published two non-fiction books, and eight novels, including the bestselling title, Monday to Friday Man. My latest novel, A Song for Tomorrow, published by Simon & Schuster, will be released in paperback 9th February 2017.

My writing is funny, romantic, powerful and emotional. At the heart of each novel is a love story but what I hope makes me truly stand out in my genre is my talent to write hard-hitting and thought-provoking themes within my storylines – such as addiction and disability. My protagonists often have to overcome adversity, based on my own experience of a professional tennis career cut short at the age of 18 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I have never played tennis again, a sadness that will always be with me, but I have very much filled that void with writing. I am very much drawn to true stories and aim to write with deep compassion, empathy and humour about issues that resonate with my growing readership and that have the potential of reaching and touching millions more.

I live in west London with my handsome Lucas Terrier, Mr Darcy.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

My Favourite Things by Carol Wyer, Author

My trouble is I have lots of favourite things. Much like a dog that’ll suddenly be distracted by a squirrel, the next favourite thing will distract me. There is so much choice!

Take food for example, I adore savoury food, like sausage rolls, crisps and cheese…mmm cheese. Now, you won’t know this but at that point in the interview I had to go downstairs and make a cheddar cheese sandwich with Lea and Perrins Sauce before I could continue because I was salivating too much. I adore pasta too. I have been addicted to pasta of any shape or size since I was able to eat solids. When I was young, my mother would make me pasta with butter and parsley and to this day I love it. Okay, you guessed it. I had to stop the interview to go cook pasta. At this rate I’ll never get finished.

Better move onto drink because that is easy. I am a champagne lover. Every time I hear a cork pop I get as excited as a child at Christmas. I have sampled some of the finest champagnes (thanks to a friend’s business expense account) and although I have drunk vintage champagnes, Bollinger and Louis Roederer Cristal along with other mightily priced champagnes, I prefer a glass of Veuve Cliquot. I only have to catch a glimpse of that orange-yellow label and I lurk near the stand/bar in the hope I’ll get a free sample. There’s something about the colour and the way the bubbles hypnotise me as they ascend in the shapely flute, keeps me mesmerised and that first taste…perfect. Being on an author’s budget, I tried to replicate the effect with a bottle of Highland Spring Sparkling water but it didn’t work.

Now films are another matter. I will basically watch anything but my all time favourite film that still brings tears to my eyes at the start of it is Disney/Pixar’s film ‘Up’. I really feel for poor old Carl Fredricksen when he looks longingly at the photographs of his deceased wife. My heart breaks for him and all the lonely older people in the world. Oh rats! Now, I’m hungry again. I want some champagne and I’ve started to snivel. This interview is going from bad to worse.

My favourite song will always cheer me. It is ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ by Monty Python. I have a horrible habit of whistling or humming it when I go shopping in the supermarket to see how many people are singing, humming or whistling it by the time they get to the checkout. It’s good fun, so go on, try it yourself. Sidle up to someone at the vegetable counter and surreptitiously hum it. Bet they are doing the same by the time they get in the queue to leave.

I am very lucky in that I travel a huge amount. My husband and I produce a series of YouTube videos entitled The Grumpy Travel Show and I also write for Silver Travel Advisor and do regular slots on the Wireless Radio on destinations we have visited. My book Grumpies On Board is a light-hearted, useful and hilarious travel guide with stacks of ideas of what to do and where to go. I have tried many of them out from quad biking in South African mountains and racing 4X4 s down volcanoes and over glaciers in Iceland to scuba diving in the Bahamas Holiday
but we both love a quiet region in the South West of France called the Tarn and Garonne that we visit 2-3 times a year. It is so peaceful and charming. It is the only place where I can actually unwind. And, is the place I go to write my books.

I am an animal lover and was obsessed with elephants for a long time. It was my dream to see them in the wild and when I finally did, I cried. There is something very graceful about the way an elephant walks but more importantly, the way they all look after a little one and tenderly care for it and gently hold each other’s tails when they walk, and look out for each other. Pity humans aren’t more like that.

I am a Leo so in theory I ought to love Summer but I actually prefer springtime when the first colours are appearing on the trees and eager flowers push up to greet the world. It’s magical.

My favourite quote is, well, actually two quotes and they form the backbone of all my writing. The first is “Smile while you still have teeth” and the second, by which I live my life, is “Carpe Diem”.

So, there you have a few of my favourite things. Now, I’ll go and sing to my grumpy old man and see what his reaction is!

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. More recently she has chosen to write for the "dark side" and embarked on a series of thrillers, starting with the gripping Little Girl Lost which will be out January 19th 2017.
Her book Grumpy Old Menopause won The People's Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.
Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing 'Irritable Male Syndrome' and 'Ageing Disgracefully' and on BBC Breakfast television. 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.
Carol is a signed author with Bookouture and Delancey Press.

To learn more about Carol, go to or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer. Carol blogs at and

Carol's new book is out now

Thanks for joining us on My Favourite Things Carol

Book Angel x

Blog Tour White Lies and Wishes by Cathy Bramley

What happens when what you wish for is only half the story...? Flirtatious, straight-talking Jo Gold says she’s got no time for love; she’s determined to save her family’s failing footwear business.

New mother Sarah Hudson has cut short her maternity leave to return to work. She says she’ll do whatever it takes to make partner at the accountancy firm.

Bored, over-eating housewife Carrie Radley says she just wants to shift the pounds – she’d love to finally wear a bikini in public.

The unlikely trio meet by chance one winter’s day, and in a moment of ‘Carpe Diem’ madness, embark on a mission to make their wishes come true by September.

Easy. At least it would be, if they hadn’t been just the teensiest bit stingy with the truth…

With hidden issues, hidden talents, and hidden demons to overcome, new friends Jo, Carrie and Sarah must admit to what they really, really want, if they are ever to get their happy endings.

A feel-good romantic comedy that's guaranteed to make you smile - perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.

Title:       White Lies & Wishes
Author:   Cathy Bramley
Published by:  Corgi
Publication Date: 26th Jan 2017
Links:     Uk: Amazon   US: Amazon

My Review

This is the first of Cathy Bramley's books that I've read and it certainly won't be the last.
The story is lovely about three women who meet at a funeral and find they get on really well. Whilst none of them are completely unhappy they all feel unfulfilled in certain areas of their lives. They come to the conclusion that life is too short so they each make a wish and decide to meet regularly to help each other fulfill them.
Carrie is an overeater and would like to wear a bikini in public, Jo is a business woman who would like to overcome her fear of heights and Sarah is a new mum who has gone back to work too early and is missing her baby but wishes to be a partner in the accountancy company she works at.
As their friendship deepens they each find out that the things they wished for are not quite what they really want in life and they've told little white lies. Their individual stories unraveled really well.
The characters are well developed and likeable and I liked how each brought a different element to the friendship. I also enjoyed going on their journeys with them as they found they could trust each other with their deepest darkest secrets as none of them had really had friends like that before. The business ideas were great and I would love something from the Josephine Gold collection as that sounded fab.
The main thing that shone  through this book for me was the author's sense of humour and there are a lot of really funny moments especially the breast feeding one. There were also a lot of tender moments and gorgeous men so what more could anyone want?
This is a book I would definitely recommend to a friend.
Thanks to Transworld publishing for the ARC which I've reviewed voluntarily.

About the Author

Follow the rest of the Blog tour here...

Book Angel x

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Blog Tour Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer

Her breath rose and fell in fearful gasps but it was too late. She could already see what she dreaded most. The back seat was empty.

Bye, bye, Mummy.

When a devoted teacher goes missing under suspicious circumstances and an actor is murdered at a local reservoir there’s no obvious link between the cases. But as DI Robyn Carter starts to delve deeper, her investigations lead her to Abigail, perfect wife and mother to beautiful little Izzy. What was Abigail’s connection to the victims? And why is she receiving threatening messages from an anonymous number?

Robyn’s instincts tell her there’s a connection between these deaths, that it’s personal, but the last time she acted on impulse her fiancĂ© was killed. To break this case and earn her place back on the force, she must learn to trust herself again – and fast.

As she inches closer to the truth, Izzy is abducted. Unless she can get to the killer in time, a little girl will die.

Title:  Little Girl Lost
Author: Carol Wyer
Published By: Bookouture
Publication Date: 19th Jan 2017
Links: Uk: Amazon     Us: Amazon

Our Review

This is the first in a new series for DI Robyn Carter and a complete change of genre for author Carole Wyer who has written lots of romantic comedies.
I have to say this book totally gripped me from start to finish. It is a very cleverly crafted thriller which leaves no loose ends.

Robyn Carter is a very likeable and well respected character who has been through the terrible trauma of losing her partner and unborn child. During this time she had taken a break from the police and was helping a friend called Ross in his private investigator business. I really enjoyed the relationship between these two characters as they were able to take the mickey out of each other. Especially as his wife had him on a strict healthy eating regime and Robyn teased him a lot about that.

We follow Robyn as she returns to her job in the police force and a job that starts as a missing person but escalates into a series of murders. It was interesting watching her solve the case bit by bit with the help of Ross and her team.

Abigail Thorne was the other main character, her life seemed perfect. She had a handsome husband called Jackson, a beautiful baby called Izzy, a lovely home and great friends. So it came as a shock to her to receive strange phone calls and threats about what happens to people who keep secrets. It transpires that she does have a secret in her past but she is frightened to tell her husband Incase he leaves her.

The story starts with the abuse of a young girl which is disturbing to read but does allow for a degree of sympathy with the character we meet later on.

This plot will keep you guessing and suspecting everyone until the killer is finally revealed and finds out some home truths.

If it wasn't for the fact that it was Christmas and I had to mingle with family and do Christmassy things I would have read this book in a day.

Well done to Carole Wyer for a brilliant leap into the world of crime.

Thank you to Bookouture for the ARC which I have reviewed voluntarily.

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. More recently she has chosen to write for the "dark side" and embarked on a series of thrillers, starting with the gripping Little Girl Lost which will be out January 19th 2017.
Her book Grumpy Old Menopause won The People's Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.
Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing 'Irritable Male Syndrome' and 'Ageing Disgracefully' and on BBC Breakfast television. 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.
Carol is a signed author with Bookouture and Delancey Press.

To learn more about Carol, go to or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer. Carol blogs at and

Follow the rest of the blog tour here..

Book Angel x

My Favourite Things by Julie Ryan, Author

Food  Savoury and sweet

I’m a real chocoholic so my favourite sweet food is absolutely anything to do with chocolate. If I had to choose then a moist chocolate fudge cake with cream is up there. For savoury food it’s hard to beat roast chicken with all the trimmings.


I can’t get through the day without tea and coffee. I have a cup of freshly brewed coffee first thing to kick me into gear then it’s tea all day long – must be something to do with being born in Yorkshire where the kettle was always on the boil. As for alcohol then my favourite tipple is a glass of red wine, French preferably!


When it first came out, I went to the cinema five times to see ‘Shirley Valentine.’ I loved the dialogue, the Greek setting and empathized with the desire to break out of the mundane – so much so that the following week I booked myself on a plane to Athens. I didn’t fall in love with a Greek though the experience did lend itself to the theme of one of my novels.


There’s a bit of a Greek theme to my life and one of my all time favourites is ‘The Magus’ by John Fowles. He captures the mystery and excitement of Greece perfectly and each time I read it, I find something new in it.


The Greek theme continues as I love Victoria Hislop. Along with a handful of other authors such as Philippa Gregory, she’s one of the few whose books I’ll buy without even reading the blurb and I haven’t been disappointed so far.


I have long admired Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone with the wind’, partly because she’s so annoying but at the same time she’s so full of life and has to deal with some real tragedies. Beautiful, sulky, generous, selfish, outspoken – she portrays the characteristics that all of us possess to some degree, a woman born in a time to which she doesn’t belong or fit in.


Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen fascinated me when I was growing up and is the first pop video I remember. I defy anyone not to join in the lyrics or start pulling funny faces. It’s my feel-good factor song even though when you actually listen to the words it isn’t what I’d call a ‘happy’ song – nevertheless I think it’s brilliant.

Holiday destination

Bet you can’t guess this one, right? My favourite holiday destination has to be somewhere in Greece – anywhere in Greece in fact. With its miles of beautiful beaches, friendly people, good food and magical light what’s not to like? One of my favourite islands is Aegina, easily reached from Athens but I have a longing to return to Crete as I hardly scratched the surface on my first visit.


I am most definitely a cat person. I currently have two of them, Gizmo ( Gizzie to his friends) who was rescued from a farm ten years ago and Smudgie who adopted me a couple of years ago. They both have very different personalities and although they don’t really like each other, they tolerate each other.


Whilst there are many people I admire, my favourite person has to be my son. When I met my husband, I didn’t think I would be able to have children so when this little bundle came into the world nine years ago, he was and is very precious. He is not only kind and sensitive but has an other-world quality about him as if he’s been here before. Naturally he can also be the most annoying person in the whole world and knows just how to push my buttons.

Place to write

A couple of years ago, my husband bought me a writing desk. The intention was to create a writing nook in the space between the bathroom and the bedroom. Time and money haven’t been on our side and the space is still waiting to be plastered and the desk sits reproachfully in its box waiting for its moment of freedom. Meanwhile I can only sit and dream of what might be as I write this perched on the end of the dining room table amidst all the breakfast things.


I love Spring – mainly because it’s a sign that the dreary dark nights of winter are coming to a close. I love seeing the trees and flowers being reborn and there is the element of anticipation of what summer might bring. Perhaps because I got married and my son was born on beautiful spring days, this is the season that resonates with me most.


In my view, Christmas is the only redeeming feature of winter so we try to make the most of it. The tree goes up during the last weekend of November and it’s a family tradition to decorate it together. We also buy some new baubles to add to it each year. Then it’s time for the first Christmas film as we sit and watch old favourites like ‘ A muppet Christmas carol’ or ‘Elf’ and open the first box of Christmas chocolates. Every year I have to go out at the last minute to buy more – why do I never learn?

Inspirational quote

“Carpe diem’ – seize the day. Life really is short and we should make the most of every minute.

Thing in the whole world

The book I made about my son’s infancy full of details of his first steps, birth weight and so on. It’s amazing how quickly you forget the key moments and looking at this makes me realise how lucky I am. It has a lock of his hair after it was cut for the first time and his first baby tooth. I’m just a big soppy mum.

Purchase Links 

Author bio and links

Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles. 
Jenna's Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far, and now as a newly released edition in the USA from Booktrope, it promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles. Pandora's Prophecy and Sophia's Secret make up the rest of the trilogy.

In a totally new departure, Julie's latest release is a romantic Christmas comedy, Callie's Christmas Countdown, is a fun, light-hearted read that you can relax with if you can grab a few moments amidst the hustle and bustle of all that the season entails.

A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.
You can find Julie on her websites:
Website/blog for book reviews

Twitter @julieryan18

Thanks for joining us on My Favourite Things Julie
Book Angel x

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Extract from The Lost Daughter of India by Sharon Maas

One woman. One impossible choice. Her daughter or her happiness …
When Caroline meets Kamal the attraction is instant. He’s enchanting, charismatic and she can’t wait to set up a new life with him in India. Both their families are against the union but Caroline is convinced they’ll come round, especially when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Asha.
Asha is an adorable child but Caroline, homesick and beginning to hate the remote Indian village they live in, struggles with motherhood. Kamal is hardly ever there and she feels more and more isolated. In the grips of severe depression Caroline flees back to America, leaving Asha behind.
Ten years later …
Caroline recovered from her illness, is consumed by thoughts of the daughter she abandoned. Desperate to find Asha, she reunites with Kamal, intent on tracking her down. Will they ever be able to find their lost daughter? If they have any chance, they must confront the painful truths of the past and a terrible secret that has been kept for many years, until now.
A heart-breaking and beautifully written story of loss, secrets and the strength of a mother’s love against all odds. If you enjoyed Diane Chamberlain and Lucinda Riley then this book will find its way into your heart and stay there.

Title:     The Lost Daughter of India
Author: Sharon Maas
Published By: Bookouture
Publication Date: 9th January 2017
Links:  UK: Amazon   US: Amazon

We are delighted to be able to share an extract of the book

The Lost Daughter of India

 Chapter One

Caroline. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1970

Caroline snuggled deeper into Meenakshi’s lap, her favourite place in all the world. Meena’s whole body was a cushion, soft and yielding, and when you cuddled into her it moulded around you and held you safe. It was the best place for a five-year-old to spend a summer evening, swaying gently in the rocking chair on the back porch, Meena’s arms around her as she held the book.

The backyard smelt of summer: of sun and moist earth from the water sprinkler gently waving to and fro. The sounds were of summer too. Birds twittered in the chestnut tree in the centre of the backyard, squirrels scampered across the branches, chattering among themselves. The sights and sounds and fragrances of a leafy neighbourhood in Massachusetts, America surrounded them. Meena didn’t smell of America. Meena had her own distinctive smell, and Caroline breathed her in. She smelt of India, sweet and spicy all at once, a thousand secret aromas all mingled together. It was in the fabric of her saris, in her hair, in her very skin, dark as a hazelnut and shiny as silk. It wafted, too from the pages of that book, which Meena had brought with her from India when she was a little girl, the same age as Caroline was now.

It was a big book, the biggest book on Caroline’s shelf, with over a thousand pages. They had been reading it for months now, every day a chapter, and it might be a year before it was finished, and that was fine with Caroline. She hoped it would last for ever. It was that sort of a book, the kind that took you off on journeys with different characters to different places but sooner or later brought you back to the main story; and you would understand the main story a little bit better because of that little excursion. It was the sort of book that took you on a voyage far, far away and made you live in another place and another time and become another person while you were away. It was the sort of book that created vivid pictures in your mind so that you were actually there and then and among those people and even turned you into those people so that they weren’t foreign any more because you became them.

Meena’s voice was perfect for the story. It was languid but strong; Meena was never in a hurry to get to the end of a story and close the book. She read as if she had all the time in the world, and probably she did; and she could put on a man’s voice or a girl’s voice or a demon’s voice or the voice of a god and make you believe that very person was speaking. She could give you goosebumps, and make you quake in fear. She could transport you into that person’s soul.

Right now, Caroline was in India, a young prince disguised as a simple priest, and he was about to win the hand of the most beautiful princess in the world, Draupadi.

“Arjuna strode over to the bow, head held high,”’ Meena read, in her strongest book-voice – her royal voice, Caroline called it. ‘“As effortlessly as Karna had done before him, he raised it; the kings gasped. He picked up one of the glittering arrows, took aim at the fish spinning high above, released the arrow. With a silver streak almost invisible to the eye it pierced the eye of the fish, which tumbled to the ground. A roar as thunder filled the arena; furious, fuming, the assembled kings waved their fists and screamed insults into the arena; but Arjuna was unmoved.

“With three wide springs he leapt onto the royal dais and stood before Draupadi, holding out his hand. Dhrishtadyumna helped his sister to her feet and placed her hand in Arjuna’s. Conch moaned and trumpet blared as Arjuna led his bride away: like a young celestial with a heavenly apsara…”’ (‘What’s an apsara?’ asked Caroline, and Meena replied in her normal Meena voice: ‘a heavenly dancing maiden.’) ‘“…like god Vishnu with his consort, the goddess Lakshmi, like the sun with the moon by his side, the two left the arena, flowers raining down on them from heaven. Brahmins cheered, kings raged. Karna fell to the ground. The four remaining Pandavas looked at each other and they, too, left.”

Meena closed the book. ‘And that, my sweet, is enough for today.’

‘No!’ cried Caroline. ‘I want to know what happened next! Do the Pandavas get their kingdom back? Do they come out of hiding? Does Draupadi have to go and live with them in the forest? What happens, Meena?’

‘Well, you will just have to be a bit more patient, because tomorrow I will read to you some more. Your mommy and daddy will be home from work any time now and they will want to see you and hear what you have been doing all day.’

Caroline pouted. ‘I want you to read some more! I want

‘What! What are you telling me! What happens to little children who say I want all the time?’

‘“I want never gets,”’ replied Caroline, her bottom lip stuck out. ‘I know. But still. It’s not fair.’

‘Life isn’t fair,’ Meena said as she lifted her up and placed her on the ground. Laying the book on the porch table, she tilted the chair forward and slowly, with much effort, pushed her cushiony body to her feet, grasped Caroline’s hand and led her indoors, through the kitchen where Lucia was cooking the evening meal, into the hall and up the stairs to Caroline’s bedroom to get her ready for her parents’ homecoming. Her three older brothers were still outside, at friends’ homes, playing baseball on the street, climbing trees; the things boys do after school. They’d be in soon, too.

Caroline’s father was a lawyer; he worked very hard and sometimes he didn’t make it home for dinner. But her mother, a doctor, always did; and it was her mother who, after dinner, would give her her bath and put her to bed and read her a story. But those stories were never as real as the ones Meenakshi told from memory, or read from books: stories of Indian kings and queens, heroes and villains and gods disguised as animals or beggars; cows who could fulfil desires and deer who could speak and monsters who could change shape at will.

If you asked Caroline what she wanted to be when she grew up, she’d say, like many an American little girl, a princess. But Caroline would be no Disney princess. She’d marry a prince like Arjuna, and ride to her wedding in a howdah on an elephant’s back wearing a fabulous sari adorned with real jewels; and her palace would be in India.

Caroline was in love with India before she could even write the word. She could point to it on the globe, and she’d tell anyone who asked that that was where she’d live when she grew up. Adults would laugh indulgently, and pat her on the head, and tell her she was dreaming; but Caroline knew it was destiny. She would grow up to marry an Indian prince.

About the Author

Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1951, and spent many childhood hours either curled up behind a novel or writing her own adventure stories. Sometimes she had adventures of her own, and found fifteen minutes of Guyanese fame for salvaging an old horse-drawn coach from a funeral parlor, fixing it up, painting it bright blue, and tearing around Georgetown with all her teenage friends. The coach ended up in a ditch, but thankfully neither teens nor horse were injured.

Boarding school in England tamed her somewhat; but after a few years as a reporter with the Guyana Graphic in Georgetown she plunged off to discover South America by the seat of her pants. She ended up in a Colombian jail, and that's a story for another day...

Sharon has lived in an Ashram in India and as German Hausfrau--the latter giving her the time and the motivation to finally start writing seriously. Her first novel, Of Marriageable Age, was published by HarperCollins, London, in 1999 and reprinted as a digital edition in 2014. She now lives in South Germany and works as a Social Worker in a hospital. Watch this space for more books to come!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Blog Tour - Relativity by Antonia Hayes

Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy.

His single mother Claire is fiercely protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him forever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.

Now age twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life.  When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three together again.

Relativity is a tender and triumphant story about unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, and testing the limits of love and forgiveness.
Title: Relativity
Author: Antonia Hayes
Published by: Corsair
Publication Date: 19th Jan 2017
Links: UK: Amazon US: Amazon

My Review

This is a beautiful story about a twelve year old boy called Ethan and his mother Claire.
Ethan is being bullied at school, he sees the world differently to other people and is obsessed with physics and this causes the other children to call him Stephen Hawking.
When Ethan gets into a fight with his ex best friend Will, things come to a head and Claire and Will's parents are called to the school.

I felt very sad and frustrated for Ethan because he was curious about his dad but his mum had refused to tell him anything about him as she thought this would protect him. However this backfires when Will says something nasty to him which causes the fight.
I do also understand Claire's decisions too but I think it's much harder to protect your children from a hurtful truth if other people know about it.

Ethan finds out some more horrible things as a result of this meeting and I really want to be careful what I say as I don't want to give any spoilers away.
Suffice to say that this book surprised me completely by turning into a direction which I hadn't expected. The subject matter was quite shocking but written so very well and I really liked how the information unfolded.
When we meet Mark I found I was as completely torn as Claire was and this part of the story raised so many questions for me. Simply because when situations happen it's very easy to make a black and white decision about them, however when feelings and love are involved that makes those decisions so much harder to make.
The conflict in this book was brilliant as was the tying in with physics and the universe although I must admit I did have to skim read over a few of the paragraphs as they became quite technical.
The story raises issues about a situation which would be every parents nightmare and it was made even more interesting by the points of view of all involved. Very sad too because of what happens that love and forgiveness are just not enough.

Thank you to Corsair for the Arc which I have reviewed voluntarily.

About the Author

Antonia Hayes, who grew up in Sydney and spent her twenties in Paris, currently lives in London with her husband and son. Relativity is her first novel.

Book Angel x

Sunday, 15 January 2017

My Favourite Things by Shelley Wilson, Author/Blogger

One of my favourite musicals of all time is The Sound of Music, I’ve watched it so many times I know it word for word. I’ve also attended several Sing-a-long-a-Sound-of-Music events dressed as a nun! So, when I received my email from Annette about her ‘My Favourite Things’ feature, I couldn’t help but sing a certain tune to get me in the mood!

‘Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens…’ Come on; you know the rest.

Musicals are a firm favourite in my house. My daughter loves My Fair Lady, and although my three children are now teenagers, we did all enjoy Disney’s Frozen! (It counts as a musical doesn’t it?)

When I’m not glued to a sing-a-long, I will no doubt have my nose in a book, either as a book reviewer, or an avid reader. I’m a huge fan of YA fantasy fiction, which is probably a good idea as I also write for this genre! My favourite author is Sarah J Maas who I got to meet last year when she was on her UK tour.

I couldn’t possibly choose a single favourite book from the gazillions of YA titles I have on my bookshelves, but I can narrow it down to my top five:

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (YA)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (YA)
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (YA)
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (YA)
Forsaken by Jana Oliver (YA)

YA fantasy fiction tends to have a kick-ass heroine, and my favourite feisty female character would have to be Celaena Sardothian from Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series. She’s an assassin who is released from prison to do the bidding of an evil king – I’m sure you can imagine the trouble she creates!

Whether I’m watching TV, or reading a book, my favourite pet is never far away. Luna is a short hair black cat with honey coloured eyes and a mischievous nature – she fits in well with my family! She can cause me no end of problems when I’m trying to write though, and I’m pretty sure she once sent Ian Somerhalder a tweet!

I have a favourite place to write in my house, which is a converted garage that is now an office. It’s cold in winter, boiling in summer, but it’s all mine (No Kids Allowed). I call it my writing cave and have adorned the walls with film posters from The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. My pride and joy is the poster from my favourite film, The Lost Boys – I have a slight obsession with vampires, I guess you could call them another favourite thing!

There are so many vampire films and TV shows around, and my favourite actor, Johnny Depp, played a creature of the night in Tim Burton’s rather unconventional film, Dark Shadows, released in 2012.

It’s compulsory in our house to fill the coffee table with favourite snacks when we have our family film nights. Sweet and salty popcorn is always a winner, but marshmallows and dipping chocolate takes some beating. It’s the perfect comfort food for the winter months when the rain and sleet are hammering at the window. My favourite season, however, is autumn. The colours are beautiful, and I find it entrancing that a season can be so stunning and yet everything is dying. Autumn also has another huge attraction – Halloween! I’m worse than the kids at this time of year. The house is covered in cobwebs (not decorations, I just never clean!), pumpkins, and skeletons. It’s become a favourite tradition to dress the house in full Halloween attire. My children love to get involved in this which I find hugely satisfying. The older they get, the less time they want to spend with their old mum, so I’ll grab anything they give me – they are, after all, my favourite thing in the whole world.

Thank you SO much to Annette for creating this fun feature. There is something positive and uplifting about sharing your favourite things with the world.

If you would like to find out more about my wacky world, then you can find me on my blog at, where I post writing-related articles, book reviews, interviews, and random thoughts of a multi-genre author.

All my YA fiction and adult non-fiction books are on my Amazon author page

I also have a social media addiction so you’ll find me lurking on Twitter and Facebook A LOT!

Shelley Wilson
Author of YA Fantasy & Adult Self-Help

Writing Blog:
Motivational Blog:


Facebook YA:
Facebook Non-Fiction:

WINNER of Most Inspirational Blog Award 2016

Thanks for joining us on My Favourite Things Shelley

Book Angel x

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Author Q & A Bev Spicer - Memoir of an Overweight Schoolgirl

A prequel to the Bev and Carol adventures, this is a fun and funny memoir set in the sixties and seventies, in the market town of Bridgnorth. As a young girl, Bev is not as slender as she wants to be – she likes eating Curly Wurly bars, jam doughnuts and batter bits.
'Overweight Schoolgirl Poisoned by Lard Overload Slips into Coma'

Against the odds, she gains a place at Bridgnorth Grammar School, where she becomes interested in boys, French and netball (not necessarily in that order). Bev remembers her hometown, her teachers and her first kiss. She takes us to her first Motown disco – a mind-blowing experience of epic proportions. All of this is set against the background of her parents’ divorce, her unconventional family life and her penchant for unhealthy snacks. If you were born in the fifties or sixties, remember pineapple chunks, The Man from U.N.C.L.E and going to the cinema with sixpence in your pocket, you might enjoy Bev's brand of unsentimental nostalgia and her whimsical style of writing.

Title:  Memoir of an Overweight Schoolgirl 
Author:  Bev Spicer
Links: UK:   Amazon   US:   Amazon

Author Q&A

Today we would like to welcome Bev Spicer to our blog to talk about her latest book.

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
I wanted to write more humour as I loved working on the Bev and Carol series so much. So I thought of writing a prequel about Bev’s school days incorporating lots of 60s and 70s nostalgia.

Did you always want to be a writer? 
Not really. It was when I moved to France with my family that I started writing – finding a permanent teaching job was impossible so I just sat down at my laptop one day and found I really couldn’t get up again!

What other jobs have you had? 
I’ve been a teacher and lecturer for most of my life and enjoyed it very much. Other jobs I’ve had include secretary to the British Leyland Data Centre Manager (a woman called Pam Pell – Hi Pam x), Sunday checkout girl at Tesco, and a blackjack croupier for Playboy, London.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
I felt exposed, amazed and delighted.

Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story. 
Well, my first completed novel A Taste of Lemons, had interest from two of the three agents I submitted it to, who asked to see the full manuscript. This is a cinch, I thought. After waiting weeks and weeks, I received almost identical rejection emails stating that my novel was not ‘a good fit’ for their lists. Peeved, but undaunted, I began writing another book – Bunny on a Bike – the story of my adventures in London as a Playboy croupier. I submitted it to only one agent (submitting is a very time-consuming process), who said that memoirs about ordinary people were not viable for a publishing house. I thought this was a fair comment. Then I heard of Kindle Direct Publishing. My book was well received and I began another in the series – One Summer in France, which has done very well indeed. My third Bev and Carol adventure, Stranded in the Seychelles, was to be the last in the series. Then came the prequel…

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
Never had it. I have no problem getting the first draft down, it’s the next five or six drafts which involve savage editing and endless honing that are the biggest challenge for me.

What motivates you to keep writing?
I don’t know. I think it’s probably just an addiction.

Where is your favourite place to write? 
In my almost renovated kitchen/dining room. It’s light and has a view out onto my French garden. At the weekends my husband invades my space with power tools and DIY profanities.

Do your characters’ moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
I don’t know whether we affect each other in terms of mood, but I do know that sometimes I wish they would leave me alone and let me get on with real life.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Don’t be in a rush.

Let your writing rest for as long as you can between drafts (I have multiple ideas on the go at the same time, so I always have something to work on from day to day).

Listen to and learn from intelligent criticism but never let a crass comment get you down.

Which authors inspire you?
Margaret Atwood,
Arnold Bennett.
Annie Proulx.
These are my current favourites.

What are you reading at the moment?

(Just as I write multiple books at a time, so I read a variety of authors concurrently – my brain is a strange beast that must be fed variety.)

The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
The Perfume Muse by Alex Johnson
Prime Numbers and the Riemann Hypothesis by Barry Mazur and William A Stein

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Memoir of an Overweight Schoolgirl would open with David Bowie being played on an over-used and entirely scuzzy Sixth Form record player, amongst coffee making paraphernalia, and it would have to be Major Tom. Second choice would be You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman Turner Overdrive.

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book? 
It would have to be the funniest actress around at the moment (to play Bev). And that would be Melissa McCarthy. How about it, Melissa?

What is your next book about?
I have a finished second draft of my next DCI Alice Candy case. The first is already available – Locked Away. It’s more of a serial than a series, in that we follow the life of Alice Candy, ticking away in the background, as a new and complete crime is presented in each book. These stories are more plot driven than my more literary novels, but I still want characters with depth and individuality. Alice is certainly making me think and keeping me awake at night, but it’s all worth it. The more a character develops, the better. 

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? 

Charlie Brooker’s I Can Make You Hate – it’s much funnier than it sounds…

Cry your heart out? 
I don’t cry, but books like Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood hit me right in the solar plexus.

Want to read it again?
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx – I could never tire of her genius as a writer.

Think more?
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. I wish I’d taken sciences.

Wish it would be made into a film?
I wouldn’t wish such a thing on a good book…

Crash by J G Ballard (now that’s a film I don’t know whether I could sit through).

Ghost Story by Peter Straub – read on long nights between teaching equally scary students in Milton Keynes.

Thanks so much for joining us today Bev and good luck with the book.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Bev Spicer was born in Bridgnorth, a small market town in the Midlands. Her father was an Observer for the RAF and an experienced glider pilot (Bev spent many a weekend at the Midland Gliding Club, where she too learned to glide). Her mother was a local beauty queen and county hockey player, who still lives in Bridgnorth.

Bev was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, and became a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in 1997, moving to live in France with her husband and her two youngest children ten years later, where she lives in a lovely Charentaise house (in need of renovation).

She is widely read and has travelled extensively, living in Crete, where she taught English and learned to speak Greek, and in Seychelles, where she worked for the government and co-designed materials which were used to teach at secondary school level. She now writes every day and teaches English in her spare time.

Her humorous memoirs have been widely praised for their light-hearted but intelligent style, and hilarious, fast-paced dialogue. Her more literary novels and short stories have been equally well received for their complex characters, impressive prose, and imaginative settings.

You can find Bev's blog here:
Her Facebook page:
She's on Twitter: