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Girls On Fire By Robin Wasserman

Girls On Fire‘Girls On Fire’ is Robin Wasserman’s debut novel.

Hannah Dexter is a nobody, ridiculed at school by golden girl Nikki Drummond and bored at home. But in their junior year of high school, Nikki’s boyfriend walks into the woods and shoots himself. In the wake of the suicide, Hannah finds herself befriending new girl Lacey and soon the pair are inseparable, bonded by their shared hatred of Nikki. Lacey transforms good girl Hannah into Dex, a Doc Marten and Kurt Cobain fan, who is up for any challenge Lacey throws at her. The two girls bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable. But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it’s a secret that will change everything…

‘Girls on Fire’ is one of those books that was hyped about on Twitter, pictures of proofs and hashtags were everywhere and as the book was compared to ‘The Virgin Suicides’, I was curious to see whether the book was worthy of all the attention that surrounded it.

In ‘Girls On Fire’, I was brought into a world where Kurt Cobain was King, the school halls were ruled by evil girls and Devil worshipping was a everyday sport. To be honest this book was an unsettling story from start to finish, which left me troubled in the end, as I wondered, did what happened in the story actually happen somewhere in the real world?

The story is mostly seen through the eyes of best friends, Hannah and Lacey, whose friendship was primarily based on their mutual hatred of Nikki Drummond, the popular, most bitchiest girl of the school, whose boyfriend committed suicide on Halloween night in the woods.

Lacey is new to the school, arriving shortly before Craig’s suicide, obsessed with Nirvana, she dabbled with the dark side and decides to befriend meek, loner Hannah Dexter, who she decides to call Dex. Together they travel on a journey of self discovery, as Lacey brings Dex out of her shell and introduces her to the wilder side of life. Meanwhile Lacey has to deal with her strict Christian step father, new baby brother and a mother who longs to return to her old life, before she had children and responsibilities. Together the troubled girls form a dark and sinister bond about their obsession with Nikki, who is a cruel and twisted character and gets a kick out of hurting people.

The story is seen through the narrative of both Lacey and Hannah and sees insights of their lives, before they met and how they influenced each other as their friendship blossomed.

It’s hard to go into too much detail about the story as it would be very easy to give something important away. The story is very atmospheric, set in the 1990’s when rock music was influential, the girls are outcasts of the school with their Doctor Martin boots and dramatic makeup. Hannah no longer shies away, as Lacey gives her a new found confidence and both girls believe that they invincible and will be friends forever.

Robin is a fresh new voice, whose writing is chilling and intense, her debut made for dramatically, dark and shocking reading and ‘Girls On Fire’ was a book that I did find very unsettling from the beginning. A twisted story about obsession, friendship and lust, this disturbing novel, had me gripped throughout and as much as it troubled me, when I reached the final page, it did leave me wondering “did that really happen?”

You can pre-order Girls on Fire from Amazon and will be avallable to buy from good bookshops from 5th May 2016.

Vanessa Ronan

Vanessa RonanVanessa Ronan was born in Houston and in her 28 years has lived in Texas, Mexico, New York, Edinburgh, and Dublin, where she now lives with her Irish husband. Among other things, she has been a dancer, a PA, a barmaid, a literature student, a dance teacher, and now, a writer. Home-schooled by her literature teacher parents, Vanessa began writing as soon as she learned the alphabet. ‘The Last Days of Summer’ is her first novel.

  1. To the readers of the blog, that may not be familiar with you or your writing, can tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
    Well, I just turned 29. I was born in Houston TX, but we moved around a bit, even living a few years in a colonial village in the mountains of central Mexico. I was home schooled till I left for university at 16 moving to NYC. My 1st degree was in dance and choreography (though I later received my Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh as well). After that first graduation in NYC, I subsequently got the travel bug, and, after a year working at the bottom of a totem pole of personal assistants to a multimillionaire, I left to backpack through Europe for six months. Eight years later, here I still am! And, long story short, that’s how I fell onto that path that lead to meeting my husband and Ireland becoming my home.

    Funny as it sounds, I started writing before I knew the alphabet. When I was three I had a black notebook I filled with squiggly lines. I brought the notebook to my mother and very proudly told her, “Mommy, I just wrote a book.” My mother swears that every time I read my “novel” to her I read the same story, word for word, as though I knew what each squiggly line meant. Nearly everyone in my family writes. It felt natural to start writing, too.

  2. Can you tell us about your debut novel, ‘The Last Days Of Summer’.
    ‘The Last Days Of Summer’ begins as the convict, Jasper Curtis, is released from the Huntsville State Penitentiary to move in with his sister and her two young daughters far out on the Texas prairie. It is a story about a dark soul coming home and how this affects the family and the community. Told from four different points of view, it explores the aftermath of crime more than the crime itself, while simultaneously examining themes of forgiveness, redemption, and revenge.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Let’s see… Living: Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, Liz Nugent, Isabel Allende, Markus Zusak, Dennis Lehane, Larry McMurty, Leslie Marmon Silko, Vince Gilligan.

    If I can resurrect a few dead members, I’d love Tony Hillerman and the poets, C. K. Williams and Franz Wright to join us, too.
    The Last Days of Summer

  4. From books and films, who has been your favourite bad guy?
    That’s a tough one… When I was in my teens I was quite taken with Iago from ‘Othello’. But I think I’ve outgrown him a bit. And who hasn’t been charmed by the pure evil intelligence of Hannibal Lecter at one time or another? Lately though I seem more drawn to grittier baddies. I quite admire Anton Chigurh, from McCarthy’s ‘No Country For Old Men’. The character Pooh Bear from the film the ‘Salton Sea’ is another one that gets my skin crawling.
  5. Why did you decide that you wanted to write crime thrillers?
    I wanted to write ever since my first early memories of loving the stories my mother read me. Writing a crime thriller just happened somewhat organically, I suppose. Personally, I like dark tales. That creepy, gritty element that makes your skin crawl is what gets me ticking. I like unpredictability. A few surprise twists. I was raised on the original Hans Christian Anderson and ‘Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tales’. ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Dracula’ and most of PD James’s Inspector Dalgliesh mysteries were all bedtime stories before I was nine.

    My dark side comes out in my writing, and I suppose that’s what ultimately lead me to crime. In everyday life I’m a pretty happy person. I smile a lot. I believe in good karma. I try to surround myself with positive energies, good influences, good friends. BUT, if I wrote novels about good people who try to be nice to everybody and do good things all the time I would bore my readers to tears. I’d bore myself to tears! Darkness can have a certain mystery to it. A certain dark beauty. That’s the type of darkness I hope I write. That’s my goal.

  6. What is your favourite book of all time?
    ‘The Fionavar Tapestry’, a fantasy trilogy by Guy Gavril Kay. Book one is call ‘The Summer Tree. I’ve never been much of a fantasy writer myself but I first read this trilogy as a child, and, no matter how many times I re-read it, opening the pages still feels like coming home.
  7. If you could rewrite any book, which one would it be?
    I really truly wouldn’t want to rewrite any book. I’m jealous of the concept behind ROOM by Emma Donoghue. What a brilliant POV to have written such a dark story from! Seeing that world through the child’s eyes is genius—a truly original concept through and through. But I still wouldn’t’ want to rewrite it. It’s like Cinderella—every country has a version of it, and now there have been so many remakes and spinoffs and retellings and films. Some of the retellings yes, are wonderful, but I’d rather wait and hope my own lightbulb moment comes.
  8. What do you think makes a good crime book?
    I think what makes a book good transcends all genres: strong, believable characters; descriptive, evocative settings; enough of a “secret” to keep the pages turning. A certain level of unpredictability. A certain level of relatability. In crime that extra element of danger needs to be there, too—just enough to keep the hairs on your arm raised as you read.
  9. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘The One And Future King’ by T H White, ‘Padero Paramo’by Juan Rulfo, ‘All The Pretty Horses’ by Cormac McCarthy.
  10. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Write as often as you can. Stay true to your inner voice. Don’t be afraid to write your own way.
  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    My cat, Bo. He tends to always curl up beside me, channelling the muses while I write. Hence his newest nickname—Edgar Allen Bo!
  12. And finally Vanessa, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I am writing my second novel. Another darkish tale set into the fringes of society.

Follow Vanessa Ronan on Twitter Vanessa Ronan for updates or check out her website at Vanessa Ronan

You can pre-orderThe Last Days of Summer from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 5th May 2016.

Cover Reveal – Four Weddings And A Fiasco By Catherine Ferguson

Four Weddings And A Fiasco PaperbackAvon Books are so excited about the release of Catherine Ferguson’s new book, ‘Four Weddings And A Fiasco’, that they have released two different covers for the paperback and ebook. The dark green cover is for the ebook whilst the pale green one is for the paperback, they are both such pretty covers, but I have fallen for the pale green cover, it’s just lovely.

The story of ‘Four Weddings And A Fiasco’ is –

Katy Peacock lives a life as colourful as her name.

As a wedding photographer, she spends her days making other people smile as she captures all sorts of fun and capers at celebrations that range from the wacky to the wild.

Four Weddings And A Fiasco eback

But her own life isn’t looking quite so rosy. Her mum is acting out of character, her menacing ex is back on the scene, and she is torn between two gorgeous men. And that’s before we even get started on the trouble her sister is causing . . .

As Katy weathers the ups and downs of the season, she revisits problems from the past, discovers new friendships and finds that four weddings and a fiasco have the power to change her world beyond measure.

Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Lucy Diamond.

You can pre-order Four Weddings and a Fiasco from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 16th June 2016.

Cover Reveal – Would Like To Meet By Polly James

Would Like To MeetI’m loving the cover to Polly Jamess new book, ‘Would Like To Meet’.

The story of ‘Would Like To Meet’ is –

Could the worst thing that’s ever happened to Hannah Pinkman also turn out to be one of the best?

She and her husband Dan have reached the end of the line. Bored with the same gripes, the same old arguments – in fact, bored with everything – they split up after a trivial row turns into something much more serious.

Now Hannah has to make a new life for herself, but that’s not easy. She’s been so busy being a wife and mum that she’s let all her other interests slip away, along with her friends. And when Hannah is persuaded to join a dating site, her ‘best match’ is the very last person she expects it to be . . .

A clever, funny and poignant novel about life after a long relationship, the importance of friendship, and rediscovering your identity.

Perfect for fans of ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and ‘Shirley Valentine’

You can pre-order Would Like to Meet from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 30th June 2016.

Cover Reveal – Escape To The Riveria By Jules Wake

Escape To The RiveriaI’m delighted to reveal the cover to Jules Wake’s exotic new book, ‘Escape To The Riveria’.

The story of ‘Escape To The Riveria’ is –

In St Tropez, anything can happen…

Carrie Hayes leads a perfectly nice life, with a perfectly nice job, and a perfectly nice boyfriend called Alan.

But Carrie’s life wasn’t always like this. As a young, wild drama student, she married fellow actor, Richard Maddox, after a whirlwind romance. Life back then was full of possibilities and when Hollywood beckoned, Richard followed, leaving her behind.

Now an A-list superstar, Richard’s life couldn’t be more different to Carrie’s, so when their paths cross in glamorous St Tropez, she can’t help but wonder what might have been.
But with lovely, sensible Alan in tow, Carrie knows she needs to do the right thing. The only problem is, Carrie and Richard never quite got round to getting a divorce…

Lose yourself this summer on the French Riviera – the perfect read for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jane Costello.

You can pre-order Escape to the Riviera from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 30th June 2016.