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The London Book Fair Launches Inaugural UK Book Blog Awards

London Book Fair Book Blogger

The London Book Fair (LBF) is delighted to announce the launch of the first ever UK Book Blog Awards @ LBF – a new initiative designed to celebrate social media influencers and their important contribution to the book industry.

A new feature for LBF 2018, this will be the first time this community has been officially recognised and rewarded by the British publishing industry.

Bloggers, social media influencers, members of the publishing industry, and the general public are invited to nominate the best book blogs, bookstagrammers and booktubers across three categories:
· Book Blogger of the Year
· Bookstagrammer of the Year
· BookTuber of the Year

Once the shortlist has been revealed, a panel of judges will select one winner in each category, who will be honoured at a special awards ceremony at The London Book Fair. In addition, the Fair will introduce new seminars and networking events aimed at bringing the social media influencer community closer to the publishing world.

Jacks Thomas, Director at The London Book Fair commented: “Book bloggers are an increasingly important part of the book world. Their passion for authors, genres and books is integral in reaching new audiences. We’re really excited to be launching the inaugural UK Book Blog Awards @ LBF and recognising the crucial role social influencers play in the promotion of books.”

The awards are open to any blogger, YouTuber or Instagrammer that features books published in the UK and/or UK authors. To put forward a nomination, or to nominate your own blog/Instagram account/YouTube channel visit: www.londonbookfair.co.uk/UKBookBlogAwards

THE LONDON BOOK FAIR UK BOOK BLOG AWARDS – TERMS & CONDITIONS
1. THE UK BOOK BLOG AWARDS 2018 are open to any blogger, YouTuber or Instagrammer who features books published in the UK and/or UK authors.
2. The blogger, YouTuber or Instagrammer may be located anywhere in the world, but to be eligible to win they must be able to collect their award in person at The London Book Fair, or send a representative.
3. Blogs, Instagram profiles, and YouTube channels can be entered by the brand owners, affiliates, or members of the public.
4. The deadline for entries is 12pm (noon) on Friday 2 March 2018 (the “Closing Date”).
5. Judging: a panel of expert judges will decide a shortlist of three entries per category, one of whom will be the overall winner in each category.
6. The Judges’ decision is final on all matters and no correspondence will be entered into.
7. If the judging panel feels that none of the entries in a category reaches the standard outlined to them in guidance notes, The London Book Fair may (under exceptional circumstances) cancel the category.
8. The Winners will be announced at The London Book Fair, 10-12 April 2018

Blood Sisters By Jane Corry

Blood Sisters‘Blood Sisters’ is the latest book by Jane Corry.

Kitty lives in a care home. She can’t speak properly, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here. At least that’s the story she’s sticking to.Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it – this is her chance to finally make things right. But someone is watching Kitty and Alison. Someone who wants revenge for what happened that sunny morning in May. And only another life will do…

‘Blood Sisters’ is Jane Corry’s second book and is just as gripping and dark as her debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, with quite complex and difficult characters, this thriller was easily devoured in one sitting.

In the book, we meet sisters, Alison and Kitty, whose lives change dramatically when an accident happens when they are teenagers. The accident leaves Kitty in a care home with no memory and leaves Alison living with the guilt of the accident and feeling responsible for her Kitty’s disability. Alison tries to stay away from Kitty, as being with her reminds her of the guilt, so she keeps her visits to the care home to an absolute minimum, much to the despair of her mother. Alison loves art and finds a comfort and solace in creating, so when the unusual opportunity comes about to become an art teacher in a prison, she grabs it with both hands looking to make a difference to other people’s lives. But, it’s whilst she’s in prison, that she finds herself in danger not only within the confines of the prison walls but on the outside world.

The thing that makes this book so interesting is the mix of the characters, there’s the quiet, soothing presence of Alison with her tragic past and then there’s Kitty. Kitty is quite the wildcard, she’s boisterous, outspoken and is frustrated by her disability. She gets fed up when people don’t understand her. As the story is seen through the narrative of both sisters, I found Kitty fascinating. In my mind, everything makes sense but to others, she speaks nonsense, and this angers her making her lash out. With her disability, Kitty is a great character, she’s wild, witty, with a sense of humour and says what she thinks, unconcerned of the outcomes.

The story flows between the past and present tense leading up to the accident and gives us an insight into the type of person Kitty was before the accident and I found these scenes to be the most fascinating of the story. She was quite unlikable, spoilt and seemed to revel in making Alison’s life a misery.

Atmospheric from the very first page, the story is cleverly written with hidden twists and turns throughout that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Chilling, suspenseful with the addition of unexpected humour, ‘Blood Sisters’ is a gripping psychological tale of sibling rivalry and dark secrets.

You can buy Blood Sisters from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Diane Allen Writers Tip

Diane AllenAuthor of ‘The Windfell Family Secrets’, Diane Allen shares her writers tips for aspiring authors.

Plot building, so often I read a book that sags in the middle. A plot must be strong enough to continue to keep you intrigued with every turn of the page.

This Could Change Everything By Jill Mansell

This Could Change Everything‘This Could Change Everything’ is the latest book by Jill Mansell.

On the one hand, if Essie hadn’t written that letter – the one that only her best friend was meant to see – then she’d still be living like an actual proper grown-up, tucked up with Paul in his picture-perfect cottage, maybe even planning their wedding…On the other hand (if her true feelings hadn’t accidentally taken the internet by storm, that is) she wouldn’t have moved into the attic flat on the square. She would never have met Conor. Or got to know Lucas…And she wouldn’t have found herself falling in love with someone she really, really shouldn’t fall in love with…

Jill Mansell is back with a delicious new book that will warm the cockles of your heart with this happy story of karma, new beginnings and glamourous ladies.

In her latest book, the story is seen from the perspective of Essie, who’s life falls apart when her jokey Round Robin email is sent to everyone in her contacts list and this leaves her single, jobless and homeless. Fortunately, sophisticated Zillah takes her under her wing and offers her refuge in her home, in return for helping around the house. Now, that she has a home, Essie just needs to find a job and fortunately Lucas needs help in his bar. This would be great, if Essie didn’t hate Lucas for ruining her life and sending that email but she reluctantly starts working for him. Meanwhile, Conor Zillah’s other tenant is helping Zillah with her side project, helping people fulfil their last dying wishes.

From the start to finish, this book was an enjoyable read. It’s filled with entertaining and bubbly characters that made it impossible not to smile at. Essie is a great character, she’s fun, outspoken and isn’t afraid to tell Lucas what she really thinks of him. Moments between the pair make for entertaining and occasionally tense reading. Lucas is a charming man, who regrets getting on the wrong side of Essie and each time, he tries to right things between them, it’s thrown back in his face. I adored Zillah, she’s an elderly, flamboyant woman with a huge heart, she’s wonderfully witty and has such kind nature, that I found myself regularly welling up at her generosity for others.

With a striking cover, this book is wonderfully fun with dramas and twists throughout, ‘This Could Change Everything’ is a heart-warming story of friendship, love and starting over. Packed with humour, drama and tenderness, this romantic story is beautifully written and will have you smiling when reach the final page.

You can buy This Could Change Everything from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

A House Full Of Secrets Book Tour – Digital Detox

Zoe MillerI’m excited to have the wonderful Zoë Miller on the website for the book tour for her new book, ‘A House Full Of Secrets’ and today we talk about digital detox and our addiction to social media.

Firstly I’d like to say a big thank you to Bronagh for hosting me on her wonderful book blog, Handwritten Girl. I’m delighted to be featured here today. This post on the blog tour is all about digital detox, one of the story elements in ‘A House Full of Secrets’. I hope you enjoy, Zoë x

What would we do without our mobile technology? Without our phones and tablets and laptops, which have become almost like an additional, invisible vein attached to our bodies, carrying a constant drip feed of disparate information, updates, likes, comments, chit chat, news, fake news intermingling with global catastrophes, selfies and shout-outs, straight to our hearts and minds.

I’m as guilty of the addiction as anyone else. If I find myself in a beautiful location, the automatic reaction is to take a photo or a video to share with on-line friends. Out for a celebratory meal, it’s hard to resist capturing an image of the lovely food and wine, for future posting. Parties and events can seem incomplete without stamping a virtual record of it on some social platform. Our timelines could almost be called our lifelines.

Social media can be a great way of keeping in contact but like everything else, but there are times when life occasions are in danger of being viewed solely through the screens of our mobiles instead of us fully experiencing living in the actual moment and this can have a questionable impact on our wellbeing. Currently, the government, as part of the 2018 healthy Ireland campaign, is recommending that in the interests of mental wellbeing, we take a daily, 30 minute break from our mobile phone. 30 minutes? What does that say about how often we check them? Problem is, as well as checking our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter updates on a regular basis, many of us are always ‘on’ to email, work and otherwise, with the result that we’re never really away from our jobs or free to enjoy quality, genuine downtime.

Coming from an era – not so long ago – when moving to a new house meant waiting years for a connection to a land line, I think mobiles are a brilliant invention for ease of communication. However in view of the way our dependency on all things digital has taken over our lives in a few short years, when I was researching county Mayo as a suitable location for A House Full of Secrets, and discovered there are digital black spots in parts of the county – thanks to its spectacular landscape of towering mountains and deep valleys – inspiration began to fizz in my writerly brain.

Imagine if – you have a family get together, an estranged family no less, divided by old wounds and secrets, at odds with relationship issues and work problems, coerced to come together over a long weekend, in a beautiful and remote house that’s drenched with shadows and secrets.

Imagine if – that family are forced to go cold turkey on all things digital for the weekend because there is no Wifi or mobile coverage. But hey, as Lainey points out, it will be good for the family to have an ‘unplugged weekend’ and be more present to each other instead of communicating through their screens, and anyway, people pay a fortune to retreat to a digital detox weekend, don’t they?

A House Full of Secrets

But is it as easy as it sounds? Would a digital detox rank up there along with withdrawing from other kinds of addiction, where cold turkey is a chilly and difficult place to be?

‘A House Full of Secrets’ finds Vikki incommunicado for the weekend and unable to access an important London work conference, thus putting her job on the line. Jenna’s husband Alex is normally a slave to his phone and she can’t understand how his sister persuaded him to go cold turkey for the weekend when for him, ditching his phone is almost equivalent to losing a limb.

But as the weekend unfolds, it transpires that these are only small concerns. Having no contact with the outside world takes on a far more serious significance when there is a turbulent storm approaching, marooning them all, coupled with the realisation that someone inside that house is out to exact a painful revenge for past hurts.

There are times when a digital detox can be very refreshing and restorative, and there are times when you could do with having a powered up mobile to hand…

© 2018 Zoë Miller

You can buy A House Full of Secrets from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.