Friday, 31 May 2013

Book News: The Unbreakable Trilogy by Primula Bond

Avon Books, part of Harper Collins, has acquired three books from erotica author Primula Bond.  Adam Nevill, Editorial Director for sister imprint, Mischief, acquired world rights for The Unbreakable Trilogy for Avon.  Book One in the trilogy, The Silver Chain, will publish in ebook on 4th July and paperback on 15th August.

 Nevill commented: “Primula Bond invests so much energy, intelligence, wit, and authentic passion into her writing, her voice should distinguish itself in an overcrowded Erotic Romance field that needs new and stridently distinctive voices to evolve.”

Book Two in the trilogy, The Golden Locket, will publish in December, followed by the final instalment in June 2014. 

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Review of Wish You Were Here by Victoria Connelly

Wish You Were Here is the first book by Victoria Connelly that I have read and I loved it. I will definitely be catching up on her other books, as I didn’t want put this one down.

 Alice is in desperate need of a break, she has been slaving away at a job she doesn’t particularly like for years and can’t remember the last time she had a real holiday. So, she jumps at the chance of visiting the pretty Greek island of Kethos. There’s only one catch, she has to travel and stay with her demanding sister Stella. Stella is a very selfish character and I found her quite annoying at times, she just didn’t think of anyone other than herself.

In Kethos, Alice meets Milo, a gardener at the beautiful Villa Argenti. There is an instant attraction between the two and I must admit that I think it would be hard not to fall for Milo! I really looked forward to the parts of the story that were about Milo and his younger sister Tiana. Alice finds herself feeling more confident than ever around Milo, but is this just a result of relaxing on holiday or could something else be involved in this transformation?

The setting of Kethos was wonderful and Connelly’s writing is very evocative. I could just imagine the little white houses and sun drenched beaches. There is an element of magic in the storyline through the legend of Aphrodite.

This is a fantastic summer read that is packed full of romance, friendship, family and magic. It is beautifully written and was a delight to read.  I was so absorbed in the storyline that I feel as if i’ve been to a Greek Island and back...minus the sun tan!

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

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Review of Out of Sight Out of Mind by Evonne Wareham

I really enjoyed Evonne Wareham’s debut novel  ‘Never Coming Home’ last year and was looking forward to reading her second novel for Choc Lit.

‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ is a haunting novel that I found addictive to read.  Dr Madison Albi is a scientist with a special talent – she can reads mind. When she comes across a homeless man, Madison instantly feels a strange connection unlike anything she has experienced before. I really warmed to Madison’s character and felt like I knew her by the end of the book.

The homeless man is known only as Jay and has virtually no memory. You can feel the tension between the two characters straight away. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Jay’s character and kept wondering whether he was exaggerating his memory loss.

This is a passionate love story set against a world of secrets and technology.   I particularly loved the mind reading aspect of the book, as this is something that I have not come across in a novel before.

There are so many twists and turns in the storyline that I really had no idea what would happen next. This is a great novel that I would recommend to anyone who likes romance, mystery or paranormal literature.

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

Monday, 27 May 2013

Review of The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill

The Movement of Stars is a mesmerising novel by debut author Amy Brill. It is set in the Quaker community of Nantucket and begins in 1845.

Hannah Gardner Price has lived for her whole life in Nantucket. Her passion is astronomy and lives for her research on the stars. Hannah is a really unusual and dynamic heroine, who throws herself into a discipline which would have been virtually unheard of for women at the time. Hannah lives with her father Nathaniel in this very tight, religious community. She does not seem to have many friends and spends her days working at the library and waiting for news from her twin brother Edward.

The story starts off gently and soon picks up pace, I felt that this gentle speed allowed me to get to know Hannah as a character. Hannah starts to teach Isaac Martin, a black whaler stranded in Nantucket, lessons in astronomy and soon finds herself falling for him. However, theirs is a love that seems destined to be forbidden. Despite their hugely different circumstances, both Isaac and Hannah have very similar ideals and only want to create better and more equal lives for themselves.

Amy Brill has cleverly constructed a beautiful love story that is set against a backdrop of prejudice, hope and change. The setting of Nantucket is really brought to life and the book itself seems to be impeccably researched.

This is a captivating novel that I found my self completely enthralled by. I was fascinated to read that it was loosely based on the life of astronomer Maria Mitchell and I look forward to reading more by this author. I love the cover of this book too.

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

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Review of The Affair by Gill Paul

Last year I read Women and Children First by Gill Paul and loved it, so I was really excited to hear that Gill’s second novel would be set in Rome and based on the filming of Cleopatra,  which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Although, the main stars of the film were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the book actually focuses on people behind the scenes. At the forefront of the story there is twenty six year Historical Advisor to the film Diana Bailey, young English make up artist Helen and American journalist Scott. At first, Diana feels stressed at having to leave her husband in London for six months, whilst Helen longs to party and have a good time. Before they realise it, all three are soon swept away by the passion enveloping the city and each must face their own personal problems that have huge reverberations for all those involved.

I loved the setting of this book; both 1960s Rome and the dramatic filming of Cleopatra are vividly brought to life. With the use of the real film stars, this film was so well researched that I actually wondered where the line between fiction and reality crossed. The filming scenes were also fascinating; I was enthralled by the details of the different stage sets and costumes used in the most expensive film ever made.

 This is an amazing, passionate story that is full of romance, deceit, lies and movie star glamour. I felt like I was desperate to find out what would happen, but at the same time I did not want the book to end. I really recommend this fantastic read.

5 Stars

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

Scroll down to read my interview with Gill.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Interview with Gill Paul - Author of The Affair

I am delighted to welcome Gill Paul to the blog today. I am a big fan of Gill's writing and loved her novel set on the Titanic last year 'Women and Children First'. This year, Gill has written an amazing book called 'The Affair', which is published on Thursday. It is a romance set in Rome during the early 1960s on the film set of Cleopatra, which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. My review will be up on Thursday.

Please tell us a little about yourself

My mother (who died nine years ago) taught me a number of life lessons, some of which I listened to and most of which I ignored. One piece of advice I totally agree with is “Never miss a party”. You can always leave if you’re not enjoying yourself, but if you don’t go you’ll never know what you’ve missed… She also wanted me to get married as soon as I met “The One” and produce lots of little grandchildren for her. Well, I’ve met lots of “The Ones” but haven’t yet married any of them (thank goodness!), and I’ve been way too busy for little ones. I live in North London and am lucky enough to earn a living as an author of fiction and non-fiction, writing on history and health mainly, and occasionally ghostwriting for celebs.

Please tell us a little about 'The Affair' 
The Affair’ is a story set in Rome in 1962 when ‘Cleopatra’ was being filmed at Cinecittà and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were falling in love. It was a period of great change, when gloomy postwar society began to transform into the colourful 1960s. Elizabeth Taylor was an incredibly modern woman, and I’ve chosen a central character, Diana, who pursues a career in film against her husband’s wishes, something that would have been unusual for the day. Diana may be clever but she is not remotely streetwise and she is thrust into experiences in Rome that highlight her naivety and lead her into trouble and heartbreak. Another main character, Scott, is an American journalist on his first posting who reluctantly becomes part of the paparazzi pack pursuing Taylor and Burton. I love Scott. He’s a womanizer but not a totally heartless one.

What sort of research did you undertake whilst writing the book? Did you get the chance to visit Rome?
Of course I visited Rome! Tip to all novelists: foreign travel is tax-deductible if you are visiting locations for your novels! That sounds very materialistic… In fact, I love Rome and would go there at the drop of a hat. My research for ‘The Affair’ started with contacting everyone who is still alive who worked on ‘Cleopatra’, and I was lucky to find a wonderful man called John Gayford, who played a centurion in the film and has been invaluable in helping me to make sure every detail in the novel is strictly accurate. I also read books about the making of the film, biographies of the main protagonists, and Italian, American and British fiction of the era (which is useful for getting a feel for the way people spoke).

Are you working on anything now and, if so, can you tell us anything about it?
I’m working on two books just now: one is a novel I’ve always wanted to write, set in Paris in the 1920s. It’s about an Englishman who has been very damaged by his experiences in the First World War and the French girl who takes him under her wing. I can’t say too much, but it’s tragic and I often find myself crying at the computer. The other book is a non-fiction one called “World War Two Love Stories”, part of a ‘Love Stories’ series I write. I’ve been interviewing couples who met during the war about their stories – some with happy endings, some not. It’s fascinating stuff. 

What was your journey to publication like? 
This is the second novel I’ve written for Avon and we had agreed the subject in advance so all I had to do was sit down and write. What luxury! I feel incredibly lucky to get paid for writing stories I make up in my head. Of course, this is the tricky bit now. As I write, it’s three days before publication, my book has gone out to reviewers and I’m waiting to see if anyone likes it – so I’ve got permanent butterflies. Trying to make readers aware of your book’s existence and entice them to try it is hard when there is so much competition out there. That’s why I’m incredibly grateful to you, Sarah, for letting me make a guest appearance on your site.

What do you like to do outside of writing?
You’re going to think I’m a loony (my friends do) but I swim all year round in an open-air pond on Hampstead Heath. The water temperature went down to 2C this winter and there was ice on the surface, but you come out of the water grinning ear to ear from a huge endorphin rush. It’s addictive and if I have to miss a day I get withdrawal symptoms. I also travel as much as I can afford, cook my favourite spicy foods, go to movies and theatre, and go to parties (or throw my own). Hopefully Mum would approve – despite the lack of grandchildren.

Thanks Gill!

You can find out more about Gill and 'The Affarir' on her website:

Monday, 20 May 2013

Review of The Naughty Girls' Book Club by Sophie Hart

The Naughty Girls' Book Club is a fantastic novel by Sophie Hart.

Estelle is a single mother who runs Cafe Crumb, she spends all of her time wither working at the cafe or baking for it. When she finds out that the local bookshop is closing down she is sad, but also inspired to start up her own book club hoping it may also boost the cafe funds. It is meant to be a literary meeting and Estelle does, in fact, choose Tess of the D'urbevilles as the first read. However, when one of the members spies a copy of Ten Sweet Lessons, the hottest erotica book around, in Estelle's bag, they decide to choose it as the next read and before she knows it Estelle is running an erotica book club. I must admit I loved the choices of books for Estelle's book club and i'm now desperate to re-read some of my old Jilly Cooper titles!

As the book group begins to meet more frequently, you get an idea of what each character is like. There is shy student Reggie, newly retired Sue, Rebecca who is in a post marital slump, bold librarian Gracie and hard working Estelle. I thought each character was very likeable in their own way and my favourite was Reggie who I thought was very sweet.

I loved this book, it is very well written and makes you feel as if you know each character like a friend. I really enjoyed the way that you could see how each person changed and developed over the course of the novel, as their friendships grew. Although, the book group reads erotica, it is not an erotica story and actually deals with a number of issues including family problems, divorce, retirement and above all friendship. There are lots of naughty bits too though, which are great fun to read and had me laughing out loud in places.

I highly recommend this book, it is a fun, feel good, romantic story that I did not want to put down. I would rate it as a five star read.

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

The Naughty Girls Book Club is available to buy now on kindle and is released as a paperback on the 6th June.

You can find Sophie Hart on twitter @cafe_crumb

Interview with Bee Ridgway - Author of the River of No Return


I'm delighted to welcome Bee Ridgway to Today I'm Reading. Bee's debut novel 'The River of No Return' will be published on Thursday. Look out for our review coming, which is coming soon

  Please tell us a little about yourself

 Well, I never thought I would be a novelist, but then two years ago I found myself bashing out this big time-travel adventure novel.  I kept it a huge secret from almost everyone until after it had sold, but when I finally did tell my friends and family they didn’t seem surprised.  Apparently everyone else knew I was a novelist, and I didn’t!  I was born and raised in Amherst, Massachusetts, in the 1970s. It’s a small college town surrounded (then) by farmland.  In my twenties and early thirties I spent several years living in the UK, which I came to know fairly intimately because I found true love over there and brought it back with me to the States.  Now I’m an English professor at Bryn Mawr College, a small, all-women’s college in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   THE RIVER OF NO RETURN has turned my life upside down in the most delightful way, and I’m having more fun than I ever imagined possible.
Please tell us about ‘The River of No Return’ and your inspiration for the book
My working title for THE RIVER OF NO RETURN was “As I Like It.”  I wrote it to have everything that I like in a fun, page-turner of a novel.   It’s got time travel, romance, secret societies, spies, mystery, comedy, adventure . . . it’s like dessert for dinner.  A man named Nick Falcott, an aristocrat and a soldier,  jumps forward in time two hundred years from a Napoleonic battlefield at the moment that he is about to be killed.  He is met by an organization called the Guild, a brotherhood that controls time travel.  They tell him that he can never go home again . . . but as the plot unfolds it becomes clear that the Guild is lying to him.  When Nick makes it back to Regency London, he finds that a global conspiracy is threatening the future of the future itself.  Together with Julia Percy, a girl he thought he had lost forever when he jumped forward in time, he begins to unravel the truth about the Guild, and to realize that he, and the woman he is beginning to love, are in more danger than they ever dreamed possible. 

My inspiration came as a bolt from the blue.  I was in Vermont in a house built in the 1790s.  I was looking out the window at a moonlit pond and thinking about how incredibly old the house was, but how much more incredibly old the trees were that went into building it – the floorboards were over a foot wide.  All of a sudden Nick was in my head.  He was a time traveller from Georgian England, stuck in the present-day United States, in this very house, trying to make sense of his new life.  He gets a letter from The Guild, but he doesn’t want to open it, because he knows they are going to ask him to do something he doesn’t want to do . . .
I didn’t know what happened next, but Nick did.  He led me through writing the novel, scene by scene.  Sometimes I feel as if he was really the writer, and I was just a medium.
What are you working on now?
The next book!  THE RIVER OF NO RETURN ends on half a cliffhanger.  The love story is resolved, but there are many things about the universe I’ve invented that are left unanswered.  I’m roaring ahead on the sequel and it’s ridiculously fun.
What was your journey to publication like?
Basically I think I used up a lifetime’s worth of luck just getting an agent.  Her name is Alexandra Machinist and she is a force of nature, absolutely a genius.   She accepted my novel right away, then worked with me very closely getting it ready to sell.   She had me write 100 more pages that really developed the Guild and their ancient enemy organization, the Ofan.  And she had me work on Julia, my female lead, and alter her character a bit.  It was absolutely fantastic working with someone who understands so completely how books are built.  I’ve taught literature now for years, and I’ve spent my life analysing novels in my scholarships and in the classroom, but working with someone to actually make a novel was revelatory.  She sold the novel simultaneously to Penguin in the UK and the US, so I gained two editors, an English one and an American one.  Alex and Denise are both incredibly talented, and I worked on a further revision with them, developing the historical aspects of the novel.   I absolutely adore revising and it was such a privilege to do so with the help of such a stellar team.
What do you like to do outside of writing? 
Is there an outside to writing?  I don’t think so!  But when I’m not actually tapping away at my kepboard I love to walk around Philadelphia, which is the perfect city for me.  It was founded in 1682, so it’s about as old as post-fire London.  It has a huge Georgian core -- block after block of gorgeous old brick houses, many of them crumbly and fally-downy.  It’s a neighborhoody city, with marvellous BYOB restaurants on every corner, farmers markets, little shops – and it’s an affordable city.  I live near the Italian Market and I’m a cook, so that’s wonderful and dangerous!  I’m house proud, and my little brick row house is my pride and joy.   And of course I read read read read read.
Thanks Bee!

You can find out more about Bee Ridgway and The River of No Return on Bee's website:



Friday, 17 May 2013

Review of The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Set in the Lower East Side of New York in 1924 during Prohibition, the story begins with Rose, a typist in the local police precinct. She is no stranger to the confessions of gangsters and murderers whose confessions it is her job to type up. She herself is very straight-laced, having been brought up in a convent, so it is no surprise when she becomes mesmerised by the new typist Odalie, a very glamorous and “modern” young lady who exudes charm, mystery and money.

Odalie befriends Rose and introduces her to the highs and lows of speakeasies, alchohol and men. Rose is reluctant at first but inevitably falls under Odalie`s spell. Her one ambition is to find out who Odalie really is so that truth can cement their friendship forever – but is this a step too far?

I enjoyed this almost psychological study of two girls with completely opposing outlooks on life coming together and which ends in a startling denouement. Suzanne Rindell has a keen insight into character and beguilement which gives the book its fascination. An impressive first novel and an excellently well-written read.
Review by Liz.

Thank you to Penguin for sending us a copy to review.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Book News: Free e-book Short Story Collections from Avon Books

THE PERFECT ESCAPE is a collection of short stories from some of the top names in women’s fiction.  Featuring irresistible tales of love, friendship, betrayal and passion, authors include Sunday Times bestsellers Claudia Carroll, Miranda Dickinson and Julia Williams.  THE PERFECT ESCAPE publishes on 27th June.
THE PERFECT MURDER is a spine chilling collection of short stories from some of Avon’s talented crime authors including Paul Finch and Jacqui Rose.  THE PERFECT MURDER publishes on 10th June.

You can pre-order both titles on amazon:

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Review of The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

The Rose Petal Beach is the first of Dorothy Koomson's books that I have read and I loved it. I'll definitely be stocking up on other titles by this author.

It is a fast paced thriller told mainly from the perspectives of the three main female characters. It is an effective and beguiling narrative that allows the reader to get to know each character. Tami Challey is happily married to Scott, they have two young daughters and live in a large comfortable home in Brighton. It's a perfect life for Tami until one evening when Scott is arrested for a dreadful crime and she watches her perfect life slowly unravel before her eyes.

This is a book packed full of emotion and suspense. It mainly follows the events through the eyes of Tami, Beatrix and Mirabelle. Each of these characters are very complex people and have their own story to tell. They all have big regrets in their lives, but it is not until the end of the book that you realise the extent to which they have gone to cover them up. Strangely, I felt attached to all three characters and was shocked by some of the things that happened over the course of the novel.

This is a book where nothing is quite as it appears and it is not until you're a fair way into the story that you realise something more sinister is lurking in the background. It's chilling, gripping and completely unputdownable. There are so many surprises in store for the reader.

This is a fantastic and compelling story that had me glued to the sofa until I had finished it. I thought the cover looked stunning too!

5 stars

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Review of The Professor of Truth by James Robertson

James Robertson has portrayed in this book the search of one man, Dr. Alan Tealing, a university lecturer in English Literature, for the truth about the murder of his wife and daughter in an aeroplane bombing over Scotland. He has never believed that the man brought to trial for the abomination, Khalil Khazar, was guilty of placing the bomb on the plane from London bound for the USA. Twenty-one years, much investigation and public shaking of theories later, he is still searching for the truth even though Khalil Khazar has recently died. This winter he is visited by Ted Nilsen, an American agent dying of cancer, who gives him the address of the taxi driver Parroulet, who testified to Khazar`s guilt at the trial and who is the last link in Tealing`s investigation. Will travelling to the other end of the world finally put his tortured mind to rest?

James Robertson depicts the hopelessness and helplessness of one man who refuses to accept the official line concerning the deaths of his family in the bombing. He hauntingly describes Tealing`s agony in following lead after lead which end at brick walls, making him feel that he is in a prison of both his own and the authorities` making and from which he feels he will never escape. A magnificent study exploring motives, beliefs and the courage of one self-effacing man in his pursuit of truth, not without high drama.

Reviewed by Liz.

Thank you to Penguin for sending us a copy to review.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Review of Good Husband Material by Trisha Ashley

I’m a big fan of Trisha Ashley and absolutely loved her last book ‘Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues’. As soon as I saw a copy of Good Husband Material, I immediately fell in love with the gorgeous cover and was eager to read it.

From the outside Tish has the perfect life, she has a husband that even her mother approves of, works from home and has just bought a beautiful little cottage in the countryside. So, why is it that Tish feels like something is not quite right? Then Tish’s first love Fergal moves into the manor house in the village and changes everything. Fergal is now a famous rock star and is someone whom Tish has not seen for years. I liked the way that we learn about Fergal through his comments in the media.

 Trisha Ashley delicately weaves marital problems into a fun storyline in a lovely country setting – the setting reminds me very much of a village close to where I live. Ashley’s style of writing hooks the reader straight into the storyline and I soon found myself trying to guess what would happen. This book was actually first published back in 2000 and there are parts where this is evident, such as the lack of internet but it didn’t make it feel dated at all.

This is another winner from Trisha Ashley. It’s warm, funny and addictive to read. I certainly did not want to put it down until I got to the very end.

 5 stars


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