Sunday, 26 August 2012

Interview with Alice Peterson - Author of Ten Years On

Please tell us a little about yourself
I ’m thirty-eight, live in west London, love my Lucas Terrier, Darcy and our dog walking adventures, am competitive at all card games and finally I love my job! I began writing in my early 20s, after I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) aged 18 and on the verge of signing a tennis scholarship to the USA. There is no doubt that having RA has influenced my work. I love to write with compassion and humour about disability and people who don’t always fit into the crowd. 

Please tell us about 'Ten Years On'
 Ten Years On is a story about love, grief, friendship and second chances. I came up with the idea when a good friend of mine had to leave London and return to her childhood home. She mentioned how strange it was to be back near her parents, and to see people from her past. I think we have all, at some point in our lives, wondered what happened to an old boyfriend or old school friend. This is partly what Ten Years On deals with. Through tragic circumstances Becca moves back home temporarily with her parents, only to meet Joe, one of her closest friends from university days.  They haven’t seen one another for ten years, which of course asks the question, ‘why did they lose touch?’ 

What was your journey to publication like?
 My journey to publication was exciting. I wrote my own autobiography, A Will To Win, which was the story of my childhood passion for tennis followed by my battle to live with RA. I found an agent, Clare Alexander, and she secured Macmillan. Looking back, I hadn’t realized how straightforward it all was!  Since the publication of A Will To Win in 2001 my writing career has had many ups and downs – I like to think it’s all character building... !

What are you working on now? 
 I’m working on a new novel. I can’t say too much about it except that after finishing ‘Monday to Friday Man’ - a romantic comedy set in the dog walking world of Ravenscourt Park, I desperately missed writing about dogs, so one of the key characters in the next book is going to be an incredibly handsome and clever dog!

What do you like to do outside of writing? 
 Outside of writing, I love swimming, playing cards, I’ve just joined a choir (God, I sound boring). I love seeing my friends and family – I have an incredibly supportive mum and dad whom I am very close to. Finally I love reading. I love all kinds of books, but my favourite author will always be Jane Austen.

Thanks Alice!

To find out more about Alice, please visit: 

Review of Ten Years On by Alice Peterson

I have heard a lot of good things about Alice Peterson’s writing, so I was very keen to read her latest novel ‘Ten Years On’ and it did not disappoint.

The novel follows the story of Joe and Rebecca, two friends who lost contact after meeting at university in Bristol. Rebecca moves home to her parents' house in Winchester after suffering a terrible tragedy. She finds it hard to adjust to life away from London, but her biggest surprise is that Joe, who she hasn’t seen for ten years, owns a popular wine bar in the city centre.

I loved Rebecca’s character, she is very down to earth and seems easy to get on with. At first, I wasn’t sure about Joe as he seemed a little arrogant, but my opinion did change as the book progressed. The story follows the lives of Joe and Rebecca as they begin to get to know one another again. It is quite a fast paced plot that kept my attention from the very beginning. One of my favourite characters was Janet, Becca’s elderly neighbour who lived with her dog. It was also interesting to see how Becca’s relationship with her family changes over the course of the novel.

Ten Years On is a tear jerking, addictive and well researched novel. I found that I did not want to put it down and finished it in two evenings. I will be on the look out for more from Alice Peterson.

Review of Vampire State of Mind by Jane Lovering

Vampire State of Mind is the first book that I have read by award winning author Jane Lovering.

It is a paranormal romance, which focuses on the world of vampires. Jessica Grant works as a ‘council tracker’ in York watching the movement of vampires in the city. As part of her job, she comes into contact we lots of vampires and other-worlders and usually finds them to be arrogant and very attractive.

Sil, a vampire, is no exception and Jessica struggles to contain her feelings for him. When a demon causes problems for both the human and vampire world, Jess and Sil are forced to work closely together, but what will the consequences be?

I really enjoyed reading Vampire State of Mind and loved the setting of York – one of my favourite cities. There are a lot of vampire novels out at the moment, but Lovering has succeeded in creating a unique story with strong characters and a suspense filled plot. I was hooked from the very first page.

Thank you to Choc Lit for sending me a copy to review.

Vampire State of Mind is available to buy now:

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Review of The Wedding Diaries by Sam Binnie

The Wedding Diaries is the first in a new series from debut author Sam Binnie.

I love anything to do with weddings, so I was really looking forward to reading this book. The Wedding Diaries follows Kiki Carlow as she sets about planning her wedding to fiancĂ© Thom. From finding the perfect dress to planning the honeymoon – how hard can it be?

It is written in the format of Kiki’s personal diary, which I loved as it made me feel that I knew Kiki well. Binnie’s style of writing had me hooked straight away and I particularly loved the inclusion of lots of wedding ‘to do’ lists.

The wedding Diaries is a fun and addictive read. There are some hilarious moments that had me laughing out loud and quite a few times where I felt really sorry for Kiki. One of my favourite things was the inclusion of a famous wedding from literature at the beginning of each month – it is a lovely, fitting touch.

If you are looking for an exciting book chronicling the highs (and lows) of planning a wedding then look no further than this brilliant debut. Sam Binnie’s next book is The Baby Diaries, which is due out next spring. I can’t wait to read it!

Thank you to Avon for sending me a copy to review.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Review of Across a Bridge of Dreams by Lesley Downer

Across a Bridge of Dreams is the first novel that I have read which is set in nineteenth century Japan. It follows Nobu and Taka who meet as teenagers in Tokyo. Nobu saves Taka, her mother and her aunt from an attacker at a restaurant. As a thank you, he is offered a job at their house. Soon Nobu and Taka become very close and Taka begins to teach him lessons. However, Nobu is from the north of the country (from Aizu), whilst Taka is from the Satsuma clan in the south. As tensions between the north and south begin to rise again, Eijiro Taka’s brother, banishes Nobu from the house and forbids any contact between the two. Even without the differences in their status it seems like the two of them are destined to be kept apart.

The plot itself is full of twists and turns, which centre around real historical events including the Satsuma Rebellion. It is very gripping and I was reading late into the night, desperate to find out what would happen. I enjoyed the way that Japanese fairytales were woven into the story, giving it a magical feel.

I loved Taka’s character, she is a strong heroine who is not afraid to follow her heart. She is also caring and puts her family, especially her mother, before her own needs. There is a strong Romeo and Juliet feeling to this book, it felt like the two forbidden lovers were destined to be kept away from one another.

I really enjoyed reading ‘Across a Bridge of Dreams’ and was fascinated by the Japanese culture and the historical background of the novel. I will definitely be on the look out for more books by Lesley Downer.

Recommended for fans of historical fiction.

I read this as part of the Transworld Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Review of Tideline by Penny Hancock

Tideline is a chilling and beautifully written debut from Penny Hancock. The plot centres on the disappearance of fifteen year old Jez. At the heart of the story is the River House, an imposing house by the river Thames that Sonia grew up in, she is very attached to the house and cannot bear the thought of leaving it.

Jez turns up at the River House one afternoon looking to borrow some music. Suddenly, Sonia is swept up with an overwhelming urge to keep him there. The story then takes a turn back to her first love and this is a theme throughout the book. The Thames is a powerful theme in the book and it seems that the water, and the River House itself, seem to hold secrets

Tideline is written in the first person from Sonia’s point of view and gives the reader a real insight into her character. Parts of the novel are also written in the third person from the perspective of Helen who is Jez’s aunt. I was hooked from the very first page, this is a book filled with suspense and I had to find out what would happen to Jez and Sonia. It is strange that the closeness of Sonia’s thoughts actually had me feeling sympathetic to her at points.

This is an outstanding first novel, it is haunting and covers a disturbing subject, but is an addictive read at the same time. I cannot wait to read more from Penny Hancock.