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Take Mum Out By Fiona Gibson

Take Mum OutFiona Gibson is back with her latest book ‘Take Mum Out’.

‘You need to get back in the saddle…’ Alice despises that phrase. She’s fine being single – with two slothful teenage boys and a meringue business to run, she has enough on her plate without negotiating the troublesome world of modern dating.

However, Alice’s three best friends have other ideas. Each one will present her with an utterly delicious, eligible man – all Alice has to do is pick her favourite

Fans of Fiona Gibson will have become accustomed to the author’s laid-back and witty style of writing and with ‘Take Mum Out’, we expected another fun book and we certainly weren’t disappointed.

The story is seen through the perspective of single mum of two teenage boys Alice, who after years of having no relationships decides to dip her feet back into the dating scene, much to the delight of of her friends, who have long sought for Alice to find a partner and to the disgust of the sons, who are confused as to why she suddenly wants a boyfriend.

With much trepidation and excitement, Alice agrees to go on three dates organised by her three best friends and on these three dates, Alice discovers that the dating journey is not always a smooth path.

As Alice is set up with three unlikely candidates, this results in quite funny and entertaining dates that makes for warmhearted reading. From the romantic setting of a children’s pizza restaurant, a cougar loving toyboy to a whirlwind adventure to Paris (that I found to be the best of the three dates). As Alice goes on this date, the charming gentleman was quite an complex character who brought out a bold and rebellious side to Alice and this was wonderful to see, as she spent so much of her time stressed out about finance and her sons. This book probably has a date that everyone can relate to!

I particularly enjoyed Alice, as the protagonist of the story, I thought she was quite an inspirational woman, battling two jobs, two teenage sons and a never satisfied mother, she manages to look on the bright side of life and never letting the small things get her down.

I genuinely loved ‘Take Mum Out’. I thought it was a charming and upbeat story about how hard it is to find love later on life especially when people think that you are too old to be even looking and life is a bit chaotic. Filled with fun characters, unlikely suitors and plenty of meringues, ‘Take Mum Out’ is a guaranteed fun and frivolous story that is perfect to curl up with.

You can buy Take Mum Out from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Handwritten Girl Tour

Handwritten Girl Tour
Photographed from left to right: At the Headline offices with Elaine Egan and Frances Gough. Random House with Najama Finlay. Pan MacMillan with Sam Eades and selfie with Jane Fallon and Adele Parks.

As I’m based in Northern Ireland, it’s not always possible to attend every literary meet up that is organised. So one day, I took some time and contacted a few people and the Handwritten Girl Tour was planned.

The Handwritten Girl Tour was the opportunity to have an adventure. To go to London and to meet the people that have made my book reviewing experience so much fun and those who have provided me with fabulous books and introduced me to some marvellous authors. I wanted to thank them in person for helping me on my journey.

I travelled off to London and started tweeting about my adventure including the hashtag #HWGTour much to everyone’s bemusement. My first stop on the tour was at Headline, where I metFrances Gough, Elaine Egan, Georgina Moore and Vicky Palmer. It was wonderful to meet those ladies after tea, a lot of gossiping, brainstorming and a photograph, I was on my way to next appointment.

Next up was Random House and there I met Najma Finlay who brought me tea and a copy of the eagerly anticipated debut of ‘A Song For Issy Bradley’ (which has a beautiful cover by the way). We chatted and captured a selfie before I went on to my next stop of the adventure at Pan MacMillan, to meet Sam Eades, who recently moved there from Headline.

I loved the Pan Mac offices, airy with a huge image of the cover of Emma Donoghue’s new book ‘Frog Music’ in the reception, I immediately warmed to the place as it’s meeting rooms were named after typefaces. Sam came to meet me, a fellow Jo Nesbo fan and we caught up about our love of books and we did a selfie before running on.

Day two of the tour started at Simon and Schuster where Alice Murphy brought in croissants and danishes for us to share with Sara Jade Virtue aka Bookminx. It was so lovely to meet these two, as I already kinda felt like I knew them through the power of Twitter. After chatting for a while, Alice then took me on a tour of the offices and I met Mel Four, the creator of the cover for Melissa Hill’s, most recent book ‘A Gift To Remember’. It was wonderful to see the creation in all it’s stunning glory.

Next up I called into the Penguin UK, where I met the lovely Katie Sheldrake, Joe Yule and Francesca Russell. Katie showed me around Penguin’s mammoth office before taking me up to the tenth floor to show me the pièce de résistance. The offices show a breathtaking view of London. On one side, you have The Shard and The Gherkin and on the other side, there is the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.

After finishing at Penguin, I quickly bolted to my next appointment which was a meeting with two of my favourite authors Jane Fallon and Adele Parks. It was lovely to meet the ladies in the flesh. Over coffee and tea, we chatted about books, movies and the writing path.

Leaving the ladies to have their lunch, I then made my way towards Foyles (a huge bookshop in Leicester Square) for an event that was organised by Curtis Brown Creative.

The event was split into two parts. The first part was a Q&A with agents and publicists talking about writing and offering advice to budding writers. After a quick break, the second part started and this time, it was with authors. The author panel consisted of Nathan Filer, the most recent winner of Costa Coffee Book of the Year with his debut ‘The Shock of the Fall’, Adele Parks, Antonia Honeywell and Tom Rob Smith. This part of the event I particularly enjoyed, as the authors talked about their own writing journey’s, their thoughts on synopsis’s as well as tips. I started tweeting from this event, mentioning particular advice from the authors that I found useful and thought that it would help others. This seemed to be case as the tweets were retweeted and favourited.

My final stop on the Handwritten Girl tour was the Islington Design Centre, where Carole Matthews was appearing as part of The Chocolate Festival (which was bad for me, as I’ve given up chocolate for Lent). I was delighted to be able to meet her as I’m reading her new book at the moment called ‘A Place To Call Home’. At the event Carole read from ‘The Chocolate Lovers Club’ appropriate for the festival, whilst including some random chocolate facts before revealing that there would be a third book in the series called ‘The Chocolate Lovers Christmas’ set for release in 2015.

After signing my book and photograph, taken by the Lovely Kev, my adventure had come to an end.

Exhilarated that I had crammed so much in, I was genuinely sad when it was all over. Having met such a wonderful mixture of inspirational and creative people, I boarded my plane home with a head full of new ideas and already looking forward to Handwritten Girl Tour 2!

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to meet me, it was greatly appreciated.

Handwritten Girl Tour
Photographed from left to right: At the Simon and Schuster offices with Alice Murphy. Selfie with Katie Sheldrake at Penguin UK. Curtis Brown Creative event at Foyles Bookshop with Nathan Filler, Adele Parks, Anna Davis, Antonia Honeywell and Tom Rob Smith. Last stop of the day with Carole Matthews.

Handwritten Girl Takes Part In A Place To Call Home Blog Tour

I am delighted and excited to announce that I will be taking part in the Carole Matthew blog tour for the release of her new book,’A Place To Call Home’. Check out Handwritten Girl on Monday 21st April, for one lucky person to be in with a chance of winning a set of Carole’s books in their new reissued format. The set includes ten books.

A Place To Call Home

Afterburn/Aftershock By Sylvia Day

Afterburn/Aftershock‘Afterburn/Aftershock’ is the latest book by Sylvia Day.

Never mix business with pleasure. Never bring politics into the bedroom. I can’t say I wasn’t warned…Two years after I took Jackson Ruteledge as a lover, he was back. Walking into a deal I’d worked hard to close. Under the tuteledge on Lei Yeung, one of the sharpest businesswomen in New York, I had picked up a thing or two since Jax walked away. I wasn’t the girl he once knew, but he hadn’t changed. Unlike the last time we’d drifted into each other’s lives, I knew exactly what I was dealing with…and how addictive his touch could be. The inner circle of glamour, sex and privelege was Jax’s playground – but this time, I knew all the rules of the game. In the cutthroat business world, one adage rules all: keep your enemies close and your ex-lovers closer…

Sylvia Day is an author that I have heard a lot about but she was never an author that I looked into, as I am not the biggest fan of erotica fiction. But, as the lovely people at Mills and Boon took the time and effort to send me ‘Afterburn/Aftershock’, her first book as part of the Cosmo Red – Hot Reads from the Mills and Boon series, I thought I would give it a go.

The story is seen through the eyes of Gianna Rossi, an incredibly intoxicating and sexual business woman who falls for the charms of Jackson Ruthledge, a seriously sexy man who only has to growl at her and she has her panties off! It seems that Gianna met Jackson two years previous and fell madly in love with him for him to only disappear five weeks later. Heartbroken, Gia throws herself into her work and tries to convince herself that she doesn’t need a man to make her happy, but when Jackson returns to her life. Gia is torn between giving their relationship another chance, especially when Jackson lays his cards on the table or does she leave it and try to move on.

Like Gia, I was torn with this book. Part of me enjoyed it, I like Sylvia’s technique of writing and immediately warmed to it. It was short and snappy and flowed with a nice casual style, but I think it was the characters that I found it hard to deal with, particularly Jackson.

I found him much too intense and controlling and this I found extremely irritating. Having disappeared from Gia’s life for two years without any contact, it seems that he can pick up where he finished and command Gia’s attention or sex whenever he commanded. In true erotic fiction, Gia did drop everything for him, wanting to make up for lost time. Jackson reminded me too much of Christian Grey and that was why I didn’t enjoy the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ series, domineering, controlling, dictating her every move and never giving her space. I hated it!

‘Afterburn/Aftershock’ is without a doubt an extremely passionate and intense book filled with sexual and powerful characters but sadly it wasn’t the book for me. I can appreciate that Sylvia Day is one of the most successful authors of this particular genre, but as it’s not really a genre I enjoy, it would be difficult for me to entertained by it.

You can buy Afterburn & Aftershock (Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Mills & Boon) and is also available to buy from good bookshops.

The Vintage Girl By Hester Browne

The Vintage Girl‘The Vintage Girl’ is the latest book by Hester Browne.

When Evie Nicholson is asked to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive the family heirlooms, she jumps at the chance. Evie’s passion for antiques means that, for her, the castle is a treasure trove of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered.

But in each heirloom lies a story, and in the course of her investigations Evie stumbles upon some long buried family secrets. Add handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit ball to the mix, and Evie’s heart is sent reeling with an enthusiasm that may just extend beyond the Kettlesheer silver.

It’s unfortunate that I haven’t read any of Hester’s books in a while. I still have ‘The Runaway Princess’ to read from last year, so when I saw that ‘The Vintage Girl’ was next in my current book pile to read, I was delighted.

Beautifully presented with feminine cover, this book had my attention from the very start. Seen from the perspective of Evie, a girl who loves everything vintage. Sad that she didn’t leave in a time, of exquisite balls with tiaras, men who wear frilly shirts and women with heaving bosoms, she wishes 2013 was more like that. But in her job as an antiques dealer, she gets to deal with the past and enjoys nothing more than trawling through old boxes of mementoes, imagining the story that goes with the old trinkets, the stories of past loves and adventures. So when she is asked to go to Scotland for a personal favour to sort through the rooms of Kettlesheer Castle, she jumps eagerly at the adventure.

Set off for Scotland, she meets handsome and grumpy Robert (who by the description of him, made me imagine Proudlock from Made In Chelsea) who is a dashing character and a wonderfully witty lead male with a dry sense of humour that had me guffawing on regular occasions. He finds it hard to understand Evie’s obsession with the past and challenges her on what her love for everything vintage is. I particularly enjoyed these conversations with the two of them, as they passionately disagreed with things and he did leave Evie quite flustered with his confrontations and sarcasm. As well as handsome Robert, there was also Fraser who was the boyfriend of Alice, Evie’s older sister and an unwanted crush of Evie’s. Fraser was a soft spoken gentleman with a successful wine business and a sweet heart.

‘The Vintage Girl’ is an absolutely delicious story and one that I couldn’t put down. As on my first day of starting the book, I ended up reading it whilst walking back home from work! Wonderfully written with just the right amount of humour and romance and with the inclusion of a past sweet love story, this book had my whole attention throughout!

One of the nicest, magical and funniest of books that I have had the fortune of reading in the while, it’s great to see Hester back. Now, I just have to find the time to read ‘The Runaway Bride’!

You can buy The Vintage Girl and is available to buy from good bookshops.