Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Wedding Proposal - Sue Moorcroft

About the book...

Can a runaway bride stop running? 

Elle Jamieson is an unusually private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But when she’s made redundant, with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to a new life in sunny Malta. 

Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less from others. He’s furious when his summer working as a dive master is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking. 

Forced to live in close proximity, it’s hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas’s wedding proposal ended everything they had. But then an unexpected phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. 

Can he deal with Elle’s hidden past when it finally comes to light?

Buy Links: 

About the author....
Sue Moorcroft is a working writer. The Wedding Proposal is her tenth novel and seventh novel with Choc Lit – Starting Over,  All That MullarkeyWant to Know a Secret?, Love & Freedom and Dream a Little Dream and Is This Love?Love & Freedom won the 2011 Best Romantic Novel of the Year Award from the Festival of Romance and Dream a Little Dream was shortlisted for the 2013 Romantic Novel of the Year Contemporary Category Award.

Sue has also published over a hundred short stories, articles and several serials in magazines. She’s a creative writing tutor for distance learning and residential courses, and also for the University of Leicester, Northampton Centre. She has written courses for the London School of Journalism and, with her tutor’s hat on: LOVE WRITING - How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction.

Twitter: @suemoorcroft

Guest post...
When I wrote The Wedding Proposal the sea played a big part. Not surprisingly – the book’s set in Malta and how could I write about that small, sunshine-drenched island without writing about the sea that surrounds it? I’d decided to put Lucas and Elle on a small boat together for the summer (at the risk of causing friction. Neither of them knew the other was going to be there and they last met four years earlier when Lucas told Elle their relationship was over and Elle packed up and left) and much of the action takes place at a marina.
So, for this post, I decided to give you ten fun facts about me, sea, Malta and The Wedding Proposal.
1 The boat Elle and Lucas are living on, the Shady Lady, is moored in Ta’ Xbiex marina. When I was a little girl living in Malta I used to sit on our balcony and watch the boats in that marina. I wish I could go back and tell myself ‘You’re going to write a novel set there, one day!’
2 The Shady Lady never leaves the marina during the book. I suffer from seasickness and I just couldn’t bear to do the research. I did the boat part at Southampton Boat Show as a guest of lovely Fairline Boats.
3 Although I chose to write about being on the sea for this book, I’m more used to being in or under it. I snorkel whenever I can and I used to scuba dive. I’m fascinated by marine life.
4 I have a blue deficiency – that means I’m slightly colour blind between blue/green/grey and occasionally purple. When people say, ‘How can you not know the difference between blue and green?’ I tell them to look at the sea. The sea shows its moods with its changing colour palette. 
5 The Maltese have a lovely saying: The sea has a soft stomach but a hard head. In other words it can be fantastic but don’t think you’re stronger than it. You’re not. It’s mighty and will win any battle.
6 Lucas is a divemaster, which mean he assists scuba instructors. I could have made him an instructor but the friend helping me with research (a scuba staff instructor) told me the divemasters get all the fun. Lucas was due some.
7 Elle likes to swim. I let her go to some of my favourite swimming spots. I actually felt jealous when she was there and I wasn’t!
8 I learned to swim when I lived in Malta and got my bronze survival before I was six. But if Lucas was around to save me I might forget everything I’ve learned …
9 Lucas does save someone’s life in the book. It’s his brother, Charlie, who falls from the boat and hits his head. 
10 When I asked a fisherman how deep the water was at a certain point in the marina he dipped his rod down to the sea bed, brought it out again and showed me the wet part. ‘That deep.’ 

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Mexican Kimono - Billie Jones

About the book...
Samantha knows what she wants from life – and she’s got it! 

1.A loving family. OK, her Mum’s plan to marry her off to the world’s most metrosexual man might not be ideal… but it’s only because she cares!

2.A great job. Or at least: a job that leaves plenty of time to update Twitter and shop for designer bargains online…

3.A credit card, with a very generous limit. So generous that she’s just spent over $10,000 on an antique kimono… 

But suddenly Samantha’s charmed life starts to fall apart! From a hair-related fire to losing her job, Sam’s facing bad karma – and it all started when she bought that kimono… 

Sure, it’s ridiculous. How could a piece of silk ever bring bad luck? But it can! Because, whether Samantha likes it or not, someone wants to teach her a lesson: it’s what’s inside that counts

But will Samantha slow down long enough to listen?

About the author...
Billie Jones is a writer from Australia who enjoys imaging herself wrestling killer crocodiles and swimming with great white sharks. She thinks she may have to attempt base jumping so she can write about it and Bungee is on the list too. You can find her either in front of her computer writing about her fictional adventures or at the beach searching for the next perfect wave.

Guest Post...
I wrote Mexican Kimono six years ago now. It was one of the very first pieces of writing I did. It’s a novel length, and in my naiveté I thought I’d just write this really hysterical novel and instantly get it published. Well...that didn’t happen. Six years and many revisions later it’s finally out. 
My main character isn’t your usual chick lit heroine. She’s selfish, and narcissistic, and completely deluded about how her friends feel about her... but she’s also hilarious. That kind of non-PC humour, coupled with over-the-top scenarios made her such a fun character to write. And no matter what, I think if you’re enjoying what you do it does translate to the page. Yes, she’s a terrible friend, but she’s about to find out the hard way...
Sam is a mix of personalities, but deep down, it’s her own insecurities that drive her to say and do the things she does. She’s sassy and vibrant, and not very reliable when it comes to the truth. 
Will she learn her lesson, or are some people just made differently? I think there’s a whole lot more to Sam than meets the eye, but some people are better at hiding it than others. 
I hope you enjoy meeting Sam and her cast of quirky friends! 
An Extract from the book...
. The Hair Psychologist
I held my breath until I reached the taxi rank. Once I flagged an incoming taxi, I managed to relax and do a big old evil belly laugh. I pictured JJ finishing the bottle of chardonnay, ordering another perhaps even more expensive wine. He’d eat my main meal, then his. Then it would dawn on him. I was not coming back. He would have to leave his fake Prada sunglasses as collateral and make some frantic phone calls for cash to get out of there with any shred of dignity.
The taxi pulled up, and I jumped in without taking any notice of the driver’s details. I was too distracted picturing JJ’s handsome face trying to explain to Alberto why he couldn’t pay. Then, JJ takes Alberto’s soft manicured fingers in his strong warm hand, and convinces him he could pay in other ways. Alberto’s eyes light up and he kisses... eww, hang on. Damn it! That’s not the right fantasy. Bloody cheating bisexual men. It’s rife around here, I’m telling you.
I shook the image from my mind and glanced at the registration of the driver. I began to text it to my mum when a distinctive voice pipes up and says, “So, how was lunch, love?”
You’ve got to be friggin’ kidding me. Beer belly Bob. Of all the luck.
I was left unsatisfied, if you must know, Bob.”
Boy trouble, love?”
You could say that.”
What’s the trouble? He’s not a vegetarian too, is he?”
Hmmm, I’m not sure how to answer that, Bob. I’ve heard lesbians described as vegetarians, so does the same apply to straight men that turn gay, then straight, then almost definitely gay again?”
You’ve got me there, love. I have no idea. So, your boyfriend’s gay?”
Yes. He’s gay and the only slot he is interested in is the one that swipes my credit card.”
Beer belly Bob looked slightly shocked, but managed to change the subject back to himself, like most good cabbies do. “So, I called my sheil - I mean Val - like I told you I was gonna. I’m all set to take her out to this Indian vego place tonight. I was thinking of buying her some flowers and maybe some chocolates.”
Yeah. I thought I might get a hotel room, you know, with a spa. Get some of that non-alcoholic champagne she loves.”
Ew. Go away naked mental picture of Bob in the bath.
Yeah, then I thought I’d surprise her and scatter rose petals all over the bed, you know, all romantic-like.
You’re very original, Bob. Did you think of that all by yourself?”
No, love. I wish. Saw it on a movie.”
I just wanted to get home, but it’s the saint in me, I tell you. I had to, something literally forced me to. “Bob, what are you planning on wearing tonight?”
Well, my birthday suit eventually,” cue disgusting bawdy laugh.
Another mental picture I’ll need erased by regression therapy.
To the date, Bob. What are you planning on wearing on your date?”
Oh, I’ll just chuck a shirt on over this one I think, love. Maybe spray on a bit of Old Spice.”
Aptly named. Old.
Hmm. I was thinking, Bob, you really need a new look. You look like a truck driver that’s been on the road. For a few months. With sheep. Who have fleas.”
A new look? Val likes me just as I am.”
I bet she makes you take a shower before she kisses you. Am I right?”
He narrowed his bloodshot eyes at me.
I bet she bought you a ‘special’ toothbrush just for her house. Am I right?”
Well, yeah, but that’s only ‘cause...”
I bet she came to your house only the once and has never been back. Am I right?”
He hung his head and said, “Yes. You’re right.”
It’s like I have a gift. I had to help him. For the sake of his poor girlfriend.
Right, Bob. I’m very busy you know. Stop at these shops here. Bring your credit card and let’s go.”
Bob pulled in to a narrow car park and wearily followed me into the shop. He really was very shabbily dressed and I was risking my reputation just by being seen with him. What can I do, though? I’m just a good person. Saint-like.
Bob followed meekly behind me with his head hung as low as his thick neck would allow, like he was trying to hide his face in his chin folds. I filled my arms full of clothes and directed him to the change room. I sat expectantly on a blue and yellow striped chaise lounge. I knew Bob could be transformed from booze hound barfly to, well, one step up from that.
I’m ready, but I’m not coming out. I look ridiculous,” Bob whispered sharply over the change room door.
That’s an impossibility. You looked ridiculous before we came in here. Be a man for God’s sake and come out so you can see yourself from every angle.” Big tough men were all the same deep down. Sensitive and scared.
Bob walked out in loose fit denim jeans coupled with a navy blue long sleeved shirt that nipped in slightly at his waist. It had small white pinstripes running down the length of it. He looked like a different person.
What’s wrong with that? You look great. What size shoe are you?”
What’s wrong with my thongs?”
Bob. I’m on a schedule here. Things will move quicker if you just listen.”
The shadow cleared from his eyes. He had no fight left. “Size eleven.”
I walked to the shoe section, which sold genuine leather shoes in every colour imaginable. I picked a black, brown and beige and six pairs of matching socks. He could wear his thongs on Sundays.
Try these.”
The black boots fit perfectly and again I realised how gifted I was. I had a natural talent for shopping.
Bob stood in front of the mirrors and eyed himself cautiously. “I like it, but it doesn’t feel like me any more.”
Will you miss the grubby old polo, Bob? Now try on the rest of the clothes. We’re running out of time.” I shooed him back into the plush-purple carpeted change room and decided I’d call Kylieeven though she was a no good, gossiping liar, to see if she could fit Bob in for a mercy cut.
What now?”
I decided to ignore her curtness and get straight to the point. “I have an emergency client for you. He has a date tonight and he can’t possibly go looking like the Bee Gees. The dead ones. Bad hair coupled with pallid and pasty skin, it’s not nice to look at.”
What? Who is he?”
Bob. A taxi driver I met today. Can you meet at my place?”
You want me to cut the hair of some random taxi driver you met today and you’re taking him to your house?
God, when you say it like that it sounds creepy! Good point, though. Let’s meet at your house in half an hour.”
No, I’ll meet at yours. He’ll be the last client anyway.”
Ok, if I’m not there on time just make yourself comfortab ...
Samantha, this is not a social experiment, just friggin’ get there on time!” And with that, she hung up on me for the third time that day.
I glanced over at Bob, who was still looking at himself sceptically in the full-length mirror. “C’mon, Bob, we’ve got another appointment. Grab the clothes and pay. I’ll meet you in the cab.”
Five minutes later, Bob returned to the car. His face was devoid of all colour and his eyes seemed vacant, dead almost.
Bob, what happened? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
He glared at me and said, “Are you on commission for that shop? Jesus, that little bundle of clothes just cost me two months wages!”
God, is that all? I thought something serious had happened! Let’s go, my friend Kylie is going to try and do something with that hair of yours.” He looked at me and went to speak, but thought better of it.
During the elevator ride up to my floor, I explained to Bob how many CCTV cameras he’d been seen on today with me just in case he was some kind of homicidal maniac. He looked at me blankly and said something totally nonsensical: “I think I’d be let off once a jury of my peers met you.”
As if. I pictured myself flouncing around a court room, yelling, “Objection!” I’d wear those thick black spectacles so people would notice my intelligence and not just my looks. Then I’d wink at the cute juror, the one that looked like Keith Urban, but with shorter hair. Why oh why did he have to be married to Nicole?

I opened the front door of the unit and walked smack bang into hundreds of tiny little mirrorshanging from the ceiling on thick silver wire.
What the hell?” I said, as I tried to untangle myself from their tentacle-like clutches.
The house smelt like coconut. Hmm. I walked over to where my hall table usually sat, to find a row of three pot plants with round leaves. Hmm. There was some kind of waterfall music playing – the kind that stresses you out because you know it’s meant to calm you and the more you think about being calm the more stressed out you get.
I walked to the kitchenette and snatched up a hastily written letter.
I feng shui-ed for you. The mirrors should turn your fortunes around. Your front door facesyour back door and your money walks in and right out again. Dont forget to water the plants. Its badfeng shui to kill a living thing. (You might want to consider this when youre eating meat. Cows havefeelings too, you know.) Ive taken the liberty of moving your furniture around so you have good Chi.Please, please get rid of that dress! Heed my...
I screwed up the letter and boiled quietly on the inside. Crazy woman! I made a mental note to get my locks changed. My Mum was obviously practising some kind of occult ritual on me, her innocent daughter and guinea pig, so she could perfect her craft and charge unsuspecting customers.She was a crook, a charlatan, a swindler even.
Kylie knocked on the door and let herself in. “So, where is he?” she said as she walked into the mirrors and was momentarily blinded by the swirling prisms of light. “Whoa, your Mum’s been here, I take it.”
You’re late!” I screamed at her, maybe somewhat unwarrantedly (that goddamn waterfallmusic had me on edge), “Can you start on Bob here, so I can finally relax? It’s been a hell of a day.”
OK, OK. Don’t get your knickers in a knot. Geez, I’ve come all the way over here for the second time in two days!”
What do you mean ‘all the way over here’? You live next door!”
So? So, next door isn’t even two metres away!”
So?” Kylie kept going, she couldn’t let me get the last word in. “I could be relaxing too, you know!’
Fine, fine. Can you just get started then?”
Kylie huffed and puffed like she was the big bad wolf while she unpacked her tools. Bob was busy trying to look inconspicuous.
Hi, Bob, I’m Kylie. Have a seat for me here, will you?” she said, pointing to a dining room chair.
Hi, love. I just need a small trim, I think.”
Kylie nodded and summoned me. “Sam, what’s the plan for Bob today?
Well a metro-sexual style won’t suit will it?” I asked.
No, he’s definitely not sharp enough for that. What about retro-sexual?”
It’s gotta be better than bet-tra sexual! Hair style for the chronic gambler!”
Kylie laughed and then remembered the seriousness of the situation and became a little bit emotional.
She held Bob’s hair between her fingers and tutted, “Now, Bob,” she said in a soothing tone, “I can fix this, but we have to get to the source of this flagrant self-abuse. Your hair is a living thing too, you know. Why would you spend years hiding behind dirty unkempt hair, Bob? This is a safe environment, Bob. You can be honest. I won’t judge you.” Bob looked at me like he feared for his life. I guess he’s never had his hair cut by a hair psychologist before.
Ah, I’ve just been busy. It’s only hair, love.”
Oh, God. Wrong answer. Who says that to someone holding razor sharp scissors?
Kylie sucked in her breath so severely I thought she was going to pass out.
She shook her head and walked away from Bob. “Samantha, I’m going to need a minute here,” and she sat on the lounge with her head between her knees and concentrated on shallow breathing. She muffled through her red cotton skirt. “This is more serious than I thought!”
I walked to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of white wine, hoping a glass or two each, would help diffuse the situation.
Glass of vino, anyone?”
Kylie stood up and walked back over to Bob. “I can only have green remember?
Well, white wine is made from green grapes.”
Kylie smiled for the first time in a while and said, “Of course, I’ll have a big glass, then. This is going to get worse before it gets better.”
Bob lifted his knees up and hugged them into his body. He started rocking back and forth a little strangely. Kylie whispered to me, “This is all part of the process, don’t let it scare you.”
She put on her serious voice and said, “Bob, was it your Mum? She cheated on your Dad, didn’t she? It made you feel invisible didn’t it?”
Bob ignored her and continued rocking, only adding a small mewing sound like a lost cat.
Or, was it the kids at school, Bob? You were always picked last for sport weren’t you? You had asthma and couldn’t run fast, could you?”
I must say I was fascinated. I think we were getting somewhere here.
It was your ex-wife, wasn’t it, Bob? She started buying your clothes from K-Mart and cutting your hair herself, didn’t she? You kept quiet even though you started to resemble Bob Hawke, didn’t you?”
Bob’s eyes widened and his body stiffened. The rocking stopped as suddenly as it started. Kylie nodded to me and said, “It’s OK, Bob. It’s OK. There, there. We can fix this.” Bob started sobbing and cried, “Yes, please, I’ll do anything! I’m so sick of the Bob Hawke jokes. She did it on purpose, you know! She was evil, pure evil!”
Ok, you’re going to have to commit to a six week treatment plan. Every six weeks you need to see me. Now it’s not going to be cheap. Cheap is what got you into this mess, remember?
I can pay!”
Hallelujah, Bob. I’m going to start cutting now. Try to relax. This is a safe environment. If you need a break, you just let me know, ok?”
OK,” he sniffed, wiped away his tears and looked suddenly hopeful. I left them to it, it was becoming a little too Tyra Banks for me.
My phone started playing the Jaws theme song.
Hi, Mother. I noticed you did some redecorating.”
Darling. You sent me a message about Bob? And I just wanted to say …”
Oh, it was nothing, just the taxi I was in, for precaution.”
Right, so … you didn’t actually talk?”
No, not really,” I could see where this was leading, some kind of new therapy she’s designed targeting taxi drivers. Bloody con woman, she’d rob children if she could get away with it. “So, I noticed you broke into my house, again.”
Darling, I wouldn’t call it breaking in, I have a key you know, and I’ve been so worried about you. Tell me everything that’s happened since I saw you yesterday!”
Well, I think you of all people know exactly what’s happened to me since yesterday.”
Darling, what does that mean?” She used that mawkish mother voice that sounded very innocent, thus implying to me, she was very guilty.
I think you should use your powers for good not evil, Mum.”
Darling, are you on that sugar-free diet again? You sound a little on edge.”
I thought about all that had happened. Really, I was some kind of machine to keep going with all I’d been through, who wouldn’t be on edge? I decided to change the subject.
JJ is back in town. I escaped from a potentially expensive lunch date.”
Mum sighed. “I love JJ, darling. I think you get too caught up in that imagination of yours when you are with him. He loves you. I’ve done his numbers. You two are well suited.
Oh, please, Mum! He’s obviously gay!”
If you like the sound of the book and want to buy a copy visit Amazon

Friday, 5 September 2014

My Sort of Kind of Hero - Emily Harper

Blog Tour: My Sort-of Kind-of Hero - Emily Harper + Kate Spade Giveaway!

Emily Harper is back! The popular chick lit author is bringing fans another of her quirky rom-coms in the form of My Sort-of Kind-of Hero. Celebrating the publication with a blog tour, Emily will be hitting some top book blogs for reviews, a couple of guest posts and a fabulous giveaway, including a Kate Spade organiser! 
About the book...
'Etty Lawrence is a bestselling romance author. At least− she would be if she could just get someone to read her books. Apparently, Amazon doesn’t consider the 500 books purchased by your mother to be ‘bestseller’ material. When Etty’s given some simple advice from a friend − write what you know − she takes it to heart. But she’s never been in love before, and she doesn’t really have time to fall in love and write a novel at the same time. So, she convinces her slightly unwilling lifelong friend, Travis, to let her follow him around and witness real love, first hand. A third person memoir, if you will. Travis is the perfect hero for her story: he’s funny, smart, and good looking; only there’s one problem. He says all the wrong things. Does any girl really want to talk about the NHL trades? And his jokes would make a kindergarten class roll their eyes.
But the worst part is, Travis’s dates laugh at his corny jokes; the jokes he told Etty first. They touch his sweater; the sweater Etty bought him. And the way these women swoon and gush over him…they obviously aren’t leading lady material.

Now Etty has to take this love thing into her own hands if she has any hope of writing a bestseller that people other than her mother will buy.'


About the author...

Emily Harper has a passion for writing humorous romance stories where the heroine is not your typical damsel in distress.  Throughout her novels you will find love, laughter, and the unexpected!

Originally from England,  she currently lives in Canada with her wonderful husband, beautiful daughter, mischievous son,  and a very naughty dog.

Emily is also the author of the funny and charming novels White Lies and Checking Inn.

Follow Emily

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour organised by Candlelit Author Services, which I'm more than happy to do.

Etty the lead character knows she has a 'best seller' in her she just has to find a way of getting it onto paper and she thinks Travis, childhood friend and almost brother is the person who can help her do it.  She had been writing historic, romance novels - hoping for the big break when on the advise of Travis, switches genre to modern, contemporary romance and persuades him the best way for her to actually write about true love would be to follow him on his journey to finding love himself.

I just knew this book would hit the spot.  Emily has a style of writing that had me smiling inanely and laughing out loud whilst at the same time talking to myself.  She gave us a more than slightly, ditzy leading lady and a handsome, indulgent prince charming.  

It was obvious that both Etty and Travis have feelings for each other, both incredibly comfortable around each other, whilst both thinking their relationship and feelings were simply that of brother/sister.  Etty is impulsive and jumps in with both feet, whilst Travis is the sensible, thoughtful one who despite this ends up doing anything and everything Etty demands!

This was a lovely, light, frothy book that does what it says on the tin. An easy read that gives exactly what you'd expect from a modern chic lit author.  It's the sort of book that is quite predictable but in a good way.  Sometimes we need that fix and to know we're going to get a happy ending.  A perfect read to while away a Sunday afternoon and I can guarantee that if you enjoy this book you will definitely love Emily's previous two novels White Lies & Checking Inn.

I gave this book 4 / 5 stars.

photo 1-5

1st Prize 
Kate Spade Organiser, Batman Lego Keychain and signed paperbacks of My Sort-of Kind-of Hero, White Lies and Checking Inn
2nd Prize
Signed paperback of My Sort-of Kind-of Hero
3rd Prize 
E-copy of my Sort-of Kind-of Hero

Giveaway is international. Emily Harper and CandleLit Author Services reserve the right to cancel or amend giveaway details at anytime and without prior notification.