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Girls’ Night Out By Liz Fention and Lisa Steinke

Girls' Night Out‘Girls’ Night Out’ is the second book by writing duo Liz Fention and Lisa Steinke.

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together. Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies? As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

For the last few days, I’ve had my head stuck in ‘Girls’ Night Out’, a gripping story about the complexities and issues of female friendships with unexpected results.

The story is seen through the eyes of once best friends, Ashley, Natalie and Lauren as they all disappear to Mexico to try to rekindle the old friendship that they had, but life and jealousy has gotten in the way making them wary of each other. What should be an adventure and an opportunity to mend old wounds turns into a nightmare when Ashley disappears leaving both Natalie and Lauren wishing they had been better friends. The story floats between the past and present tense leading up the Ashley’s disappearance.

The three friends are interesting characters. They pretend to be best friends, but really they are all hiding something from each other. Ashley is quite obviously the leader of the pack, men want to be with her and women want to be friends with her, but her two best friends see another side of her that they don’t like. She’s domineering, self-centred and likes everything to be her way, much to the despair of Lauren and Natalie. Natalie is the peacekeeper of the group, always neutral and trying not to take sides, but she’s finding it hard to keep things together when her own marriage is falling apart, whilst Lauren will never forgive Ashley for not really being there for her when her husband died and thinks that this holiday will be the ending of the relationship.

A taunt thriler from the very beginning and riddled with tension throughout that made for dramatic reading, ‘Girls’ Night Out’ is a thrilling story of jealousy, that shows female friendship at its very worst.

You can buy Girls’ Night Out from Amazon

The Forgotten Guide To Happiness By Sophie Jenkins

The Forgotten Guide To Happiness‘The Forgotten Guide To Happiness’ is Sophie Jenkins debut novel

Twenty-eight-year-old Lana Green has never been good at making friends. She’s perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. Or at least, that’s what she tells herself. Nancy Ellis Hall was once a celebrated writer. Now eighty, she lives alone in her North London house, and thinks she’s doing just fine. But dementia is loosening Nancy’s grip on the world. When Lana and Nancy become unconventional house mates, their lives will change in ways they never expected. But can an unusual friendship rescue two women who don’t realise they need to be saved?

‘The Forgotten Guide To Happiness’ is a beautifully poignant and witty story that really grabbed my attention throughout. The story is seen through the narrative of Lana, a successful author who is struggling with her follow up second novel. Having suffered a recent heartbreak, she’s finding it difficult to write an upbeat story of love and positivity much to the dismay of her agent and bank balance. Finding herself not only broke but broken, she starts a new career as a romantic lecturer as well as becoming a carer for Nancy Ellis Hall, a literary icon on the cusp of dementia. Her step-son has stepped in as a reluctant hero to help Lana research her book as well as prove that heroes do exist.

This is a lovely story, Lana is a funny and regularly had been laughing at her anecdotes and crazy situations, as she relaxed into her new job as a lecturer and teaching others around her about love, even though she has given up on the concept after being left heartbroken. Nancy is a boisterous character that really lit up the pages of the story, outspoken, creative and deliciously kind hearted, it was hard not to fall in love with the old dear as she spoke frankly of love and her own experiences. She becomes across as quite a hardhearted character, but she’s actually quiet vulnerable and hides behind this facade. Scenes between her and Lana are wonderfully funny and occasionally tender moments. Whilst Jack, the budding hero of the story is quite a charismatic gentleman who is out to prove to Lana, that there are still some heroes in the world.

Wonderfully lighthearted but deliciously fun, ‘The Forgotten Guide To Happiness’, is an entertaining story of friendship and new beginnings.

You can buy The Forgotten Guide to Happiness from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 9th August 2018.

Chloe Esposito

Chloe Esposito author photo (c) Charlie Hopkinson.jpg

    Before putting pen to paper and writing the ‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know’ trilogy, Chloe Esposito was an English teacher. ‘Bad’ is the second book in the trilogy.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    I have always wanted to become a novelist and used to write in secret in my spare time. When I hit 30, I suddenly became aware of my own mortality and thought, ‘S**t, I had better get on with it! It’s now or never. I enrolled on the Writing a Novel course at the Faber Academy. When I had 21 literary agents offering to represent me and my work, I realised I had to focus on writing. I was beyond delighted to quit my job as a management consultant and become a full time author.
  2. Can you tell us about you latest book ‘Bad’
    ‘Bad’ is the second book in the ‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know’ trilogy featuring my badass anti-heroine, Alvina Knightly. Alvie has been described as uncensored, unhinged and unforgettable and she is an evil identical twin. Bad continues where Mad left off, and follows Alvie to Rome where she embarks on a life-or-death cat and mouse chase with her hitman boyfriend, Nino. I like to think of it as an x-rated version of Finding Nemo. It is a darkly comic and sexy thriller: ‘Fleabag’ meets ‘Kill Bill’.
  3. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    I love any story that begins ‘Once upon a time…’ I was a massive bookworm as a child and love reading bedtime stories to my daughters (if they are good).
  4. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Gillian Flynn and Stephen King. Oh and Patricia Highsmith even though she is dead (!?)
  5. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    I would start it seriously much earlier and bypass the boring years spent as a management consultant writing endless business reports.
  6. What made you write female fiction?
    Having my two daughters had made me a feminist. I wanted to write a novel with a strong, complex female character who breaks all the rules and stereotypes to prove that girls can be just as bad as the bad boys, if not more so.
  7. What’s your favourite book of all time?
    Wuthering Heights.
  8. Bad

  9. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Emily Brontë
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘Wuthering Heights’
    The complete works of Shakespeare
    ‘The Bible’ because I have never read it and I probably should have and it’s incredible long so will keep me busy…
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Reading. In order to write well, you first need to read everything. Then get a writing group for regular feedback on your work.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    My laptop. I am pretty low maintenance.
  13. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the of the website?
    I am writing ‘Dangerous to Know’ at the moment and am really excited about how the Alvina Knightly trilogy will end! I am also very excited about the movie of ‘Mad’, which is currently in production at Universal Studios!

Follow Chloe Esposito on Twitter Chloe Esposito for updates.

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

The New Girl Book Tour – Extract

The New GirlSit back and enjoy an thriliing extract from Ingrid Alexandra’s chilling new book called ‘The New Girl’.

The wine is cool and crisp as it passes my lips and, after a couple more sips, the familiar warmth curls in my stomach like a cat settling in for the night. Humming a catchy tune I heard on the radio, I flip through the mail.

An estate agent advertisement, the electricity bill and a letter, the one with the brown stain on it, addressed to someone named Sophia Gates. It’s the second time this person’s mail has arrived here; Sophia Gates must have been the previous tenant. I toss the letter into the recycling, take a long pull of wine and then pause, rubbing a finger along my lips.

I knew someone named Sophia once. Or Sophie, maybe. I think for a moment but my mind’s cloudy, and I can’t remember anyone specific. It’s probably no one important, yet I have that feeling I get at times, like I’m supposed to remember something but there’s a brick wall in my mind and my thoughts stop there. A blank space, as I’ve come to call it.

My wine’s nearly gone and no one’s home yet, so I top up my glass with a bottle from the laundry. I go to my room, sit at my desk and flip open my laptop. I check my email, trawl through my newsfeed. Without planning to, I google the name Sophia Gates. Images, Facebook pages and LinkedIn accounts pop up, but I don’t recognise anyone. I’m being stupid, paranoid as usual. It must just be a coincidence.

‘Any mail?’ Cat’s voice calls from the kitchen, startling me. I hadn’t heard the door.

‘On the coffee table!’ I tell her, gulping a mouthful before hiding the glass under the desk.

Just a short taster, that really leaves you wanting more.

You can buy The New Girl from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 4th October 2018.

The Lost Sister Book Tour – Extract

The Lost SisterToday’s book tour features an extract from Tracy Buchanan’s new book called ‘The Lost Sister’.

Mike shot me a disapproving glance. ‘Fruit or nothing,’ he said, grabbing his car keys. He gave Becky a kiss on the head then waved at me before letting himself out. There was once a time when he’d kiss me before leaving for work.

Not now though.

Should that have made me feel sad? Well I didn’t. I felt nothing. When I was sure he was gone, I went to the cupboard and got some chocolate flavoured cereal out, winking at a giggling Becky. ‘You have to be quick though, we have to leave for school soon.’

Five minutes later, we walked to Becky’s school. It was a breezy day, still warm though, the skies blue, the sun bright, the sea glimmering in the distance. People were either walking to work or coming back from dropping kids off, dressed in shorts and T-shirts, sandals and flip-flops.

The school lay at the bottom of a hill, five minutes’ walk from our new-build house. As I passed the newsagent, I noticed the headline: UK’s Economy at Historic Low. I peered towards where Mike worked with Greg at a large
financial advice firm in town.

There had been rumours of redundancies the year before but nothing had come of it. What if Mike was made redundant now?

Would I have to go back to working full-time again?

The thought sent a dart of fear through me.

Better if they made me redundant from my senior copywriter job. It wasn’t like I was pulling in much on my three-day salary anyway.

I put my sunglasses on, pulling up the straps of my silky red vest top to cover my bra straps, my black skirt skimming the back of my knees. Everyone else around me was wearing pastel colours, but I liked to be bold: blood reds and stark blacks, azure blues and emerald greens. I had earrings to match, necklaces sometimes too.

You can buy The Lost Sister from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th September 2018.