Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk - Sally Malcolm

About the book...
The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk – Sally Malcolm
‘Come then, and I’ll tell you the tale of the Gypsy Hawk and her wily captain – the infamous Zachary Hazard …’

To Amelia Dauphin, freedom is her most prized possession and she will stop at nothing to keep it. Daughter of a Pirate King and the youngest captain in her father’s fleet, she lives on the island of Ile Saint Anne, where pirates roam free and liberty reigns.

Zachary Hazard, captain of the Gypsy Hawk, hasn’t been seen on Ile Saint Anne for six years but his reputation precedes him. To Zach, liberty is the open water and he has little time for the land-bound pirate island.

But when he hears that Amelia’s people could be in danger, he has no choice but to return. And what begins then is a desperate fight for freedom and a legend in the making …

A swashbuckling pirate adventure. Pirates of the Caribbean for adults with a sizzling romance at the heart!

Buying links:

About the author...
Sally lives in London, England with her American husband and two children. She is co-founder and commissioning editor of Fandemonium Books, the licensed publisher of novels based on the American TV series Stargate SG1, Atlantis and Universe. 

Sally is the author of five of the Stargate novels. She has also written four audio Stargate dramas. And recently she completed work on three episodes of the video game Stargate SG-1: Unleashed which were voiced by Stargate SG-1 stars Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping and Chris Judge.

The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk is the first in the Pirates of Ile Sainte Anne series.

https://www. twitter.com/sally_malcolm

Guest post...
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

I’m in the lucky position of being able to split my writing time between historical romance and science fiction.  For the past ten years I’ve been writing and editing novels based on the US sci-fi shows ‘Stargate: SG-1’ and ‘Stargate Atlantis’ and this year my first historical romance, ‘The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk’, was published by Choc Lit UK.
‘Stargate’ fans will know that the franchise literally blends history with sci-fi – one of many reasons I love it.  Yet despite that, I couldn’t help thinking that science fiction and historical romance made strange bedfellows.  However, I’ve been delighted to find a huge cross-over between fans of ‘Stargate’ and fans of historical fiction.  This got me thinking about what I love about both genres and wondering whether sci-fi and historical romance are really as different as I’d first thought.  It turns out, they aren’t.   Here are five reasons why:

1. A whole new world
Whether a novel is set among 18th century pirates or in post-apocalyptic America, the first thing the writer has to do is bring that world alive for the reader.  The opening chapters of Suzanne Collin’s ‘The Hunger Games’ are a brilliant example of world building where we’re introduced to concepts like ‘reaping’, ‘tributes’, and ‘tesserae’.  Now think about a novel set in 18th century London where we meet ‘scavengers’, ‘Longshore thieves’, and ‘Scuffle Hunters’.  With clever use of language, both sci-fi and historical fiction can take you into a strange new world.

2. An undiscovered country
In these new worlds people think, talk and act differently.  They aren’t like us.  In ‘The Hunger Games’, society has reached a point where its chief enjoyment is watching twenty-four children fight to the death on television.  To the reader it’s abhorrent – just as abhorrent as hanging a child for stealing a loaf of bread, or gibbeting the rotting corpse of a pirate on the docks at Wapping.  As L.P. Hartley wrote, ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’   The same is true of the imagined futures of science fiction.

3. Timeslipping
The huge popularity of ‘Outlander’, both the TV show and Diana Gabaldon’s novels on which its based, is a perfect example of how sci-fi and historical fiction have literally merged; time-slip, as a sub-genre of romantic fiction, is increasingly popular.  But the alternate timeline has long been a sci-fi staple and it’s actually pretty common in historical fiction too.  Think about novels such as Philippa Gregory’s ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ or Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’ that re-imagine the past, creating possible histories, possible versions of events with which historians can (and do!) quibble.  Is that so different from imagining possible futures?  I don’t think so.

4. Holding out for a hero 
Every book has a protagonist, but in both historical and science fiction the protagonist can be truly heroic.  In both genres the canvas is broader, the stakes are higher, and the story is as sweeping as you like.  Katniss Everdeen ignites a revolution that changes her world.  So does Anne Boleyn.  The heroes and heroines of sci-fi and historical fiction have epic destinies to fulfil that can be literally world-shaking.

5. Stepping beyond the horizon
And finally, there’s escapism.  Sometimes we just want to slip into a story that takes us away from the tedium of daily life.  We want to experience worlds more vivid, more exciting, and more epic than the one we inhabit, and whether those worlds are in the past, the future, or in a galaxy far, far away there will always be a sci-fi or historical novel to transport us there. 

These are just five reasons why I think science fiction and historical romance aren’t so very different.  But am I right?  I’d love to know how many other fans of both genres are out there and what it is about historical and/or science fiction you love most...

Thanks for visiting Crooks On Books to read Sally Malcolm's guest post.  Please leave your comments for Sally below.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

#CherryPieIsland - Jenny Oliver

About the books...
Welcome to the brand new Cherry Pie Island series from Jenny Oliver!

Home, Sweet Home….?

When Annie White steps back onto Cherry Pie Island, it’s safe to say her newly inherited Dandelion Café has seen better days! And while her childhood home on the Thames-side island idyll is exactly the same retreat from the urban bustle of London she remembers, Annie’s not convinced that Owner of The Dandelion Cafe is a title she’ll be keeping for long. Not that she can bear the idea of letting her dedicated, if endearingly disorganised staff lose their jobs. Plus café life does also have the added bonus of working a stone’s throw away from millionaire Matt and his disarmingly charming smile!

One (shoestring budget) café makeover, a few delightful additions to the somewhat retro menu and a lot of cherry pie tastings later, The Dandelion Café is ready for its grand reopening! But once she’s brought the dilapidated old café back to life, Annie finds herself wishing her stay on the island was just a bit longer. She always intended to go back to the big city…but could island living finally have lured her back home for good?

The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Café is Book 1 in The Cherry Pie Island series. Each part of Cherry Pie Island can be read and enjoyed as a standalone story – or as part of the utterly delightful series

Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Sophie Kinsella and Cathy Bramley


About the author...
Jenny Oliver wrote her first book on holiday when she was ten years old. Illustrated with cut-out supermodels from her sister’s Vogue, it was an epic, sweeping love story not so loosely based on Dynasty. 
Since then Jenny has gone on to get an English degree, a Masters, and a job in publishing that’s taught her what it takes to write a novel (without the help of the supermodels). She wrote The Parisian Christmas Bake Off on the beach in a sea-soaked, sand-covered notebook. This time the inspiration was her addiction to macaroons, the belief she can cook them and an all-consuming love of Christmas. When the decorations go up in October, that’s fine with her! Follow her on Twitter @JenOliverBooks

An Interview with Jenny Oliver...
Welcome to Crooks on Books Jenny.

Thanks for having me, Dawn!
  • Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My favourite things are probably Pilates, chocolate croissants, car boot sales and holidays! 
  • How and why did you get into writing?
I’ve really loved writing since I was little. I thought the first book (using the term very loosely) I ever wrote was when I was ten - it was a romance and followed four different characters and I illustrated it with pictures from a magazine. But when we were having a clear out the other day I found my real first book! It’s called Diddlypom and the Red Scarf and features a detective who likes to pause and have a cup of tea a lot! I must have been six or seven when I wrote (and illustrated) it and I’d cut all the pages down to the right size and stapled them together. When I told my parents I’d found it they both looked at me wistfully, they were great fans of Diddlypom. Maybe I’ll resurrect her… 
  • If you weren’t a writer what would your dream job be?
I always thought it would be amazing to be a cricket umpire. I don’t play cricket but I get jealous when I see them on a village green in the sunshine and there are tables of tea and cake ready for afters. It all looks so mellow and civilised. 
  • Describe a typical day in the life of Jenny Oliver the author.
If I’m in the middle of a book it’s basically get up and just start writing. It’s exciting to be back in the world. If it’s the start of a book then it’s probably watch a bit of TV, put the washing on, think about what to have for dinner… anything that involves procrastination. 
  • Do you read and write in the same genre?
Yes, but I tend to try and read a different genre every time I start reading a new book. So, for example, I’ll go from funny contemporary women’s fiction to a psychological thriller to an R&J bookclub read. 
  • Tell us a little bit about about your forth coming books -  The Cherry Pie Island series.
It’s really fun! All set on Cherry Pie Island - which is this lovely, quirky idyll just off the River Thames - we follow a cast of cool, interesting characters through the four novellas but also each book has its own heroine with her own personal journey and maybe a bit of romance ;)
  • Your books, really are delicious, I could get fat just reading them - are you a good baker/cook or ‘do you just write a good story’?
A bit of both! I love to cook but I’m probably better in my head than I am in reality - hence why I write about it. I do definitely love to eat though! I find it hard to walk away from a cafe with a good Victoria sponge. 
  • Do you bake and try out all the delicious recipes in your books to give realism to the novels?
I tend to use recipes that I have baked in the past - or that someone in my family has baked and I’ve sampled!
  • Is there a message for your readers in your book and what do you hope they take from them?
My hope is that they laugh and also have a moment where they are touched emotionally. I would like people to feel that the books give them a chance to escape into another world for however much time they have to read.
  • Describe the feeling when you held your first finished novel in your hands.
It was just really lovely! Exactly as you’d imagine. And completely bizarre. I made us all go to Sainsbury’s and just stared at the shelf. I think people thought I was very odd.  
  • Do all of your friends now expect free copies of your book and was having a novel published a bit like winning the lottery all your friends and acquaintances suddenly wanting to become your best friend?
I tend to just give my friends the free novels - thrust them into their hands as they walk through the door whether they want one or not ;-)
  • What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, there’s three more Cherry Pie novellas still to come and I always love a Christmas book so I’m trying to think Christmas at the moment which is always a treat. 

Now for a little bit of fun, a glimpse at 
the real Jenny Oliver:-

What’s your favourite tipple? 
Chilled white wine. Or, strangely enough, a Campari
Do you prefer savoury or sweet things? 
Sweet! Always sweet. 
Friends coming round  - cook or get a take-away? 
Do you prefer hot or cold climates? 
Hot. I love the sun.
Do you prefer a beach holiday or city break? 
Beach. Nothing beats swimming in the sea. 
Which would you prefer luxury cruise or fly long haul first class? 
First class long haul. I’d like one of those seats that reclines into a bed. 
Do you prefer to go to the cinema or theatre? 
Which do you prefer comedy or true stories when watching a film? 
Do you have any pets? 
No because our landlord won’t let us! I’d have a cat if I could. 
Tell us something we don’t know about you? 
When I was eighteen I rowed in the Junior World Championships. 

Thanks for visiting my blog Jenny :)

If your appetite is whetted, please enter the giveaway below for your chance to win Book 1 in the #CherryPieIsland series, kindly donated with grateful thanks by Sara at UK Carina.

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Soft Whisper of Dreams - Christina Courtenay

About the book...
Maddie Browne thought she’d grown out of the recurring dream that plagued her as a child, but after a shocking family secret is revealed, it comes back to haunt her – the same swing in the same garden, the kind red-haired giant and the swarthy arms which grab her from behind and try to take her away …
In an attempt to forget her troubles, Maddie travels to Devon to spend time with her friends, Kayla and Wes. However, it becomes clear that relaxation will not be on the agenda after a disturbing encounter with a gypsy fortune teller. Not to mention the presence of Wes’s dangerously handsome brother, Alex.
And then there’s the fact that Maddie’s dream seems to be coming true …
The Soft Whisper of Dreams is the sequel to Christina Courtenay’s novel The Secret Kiss of Darkness.
Buying Links:
Amazon UK -- http://goo.gl/m7fT6O

Amazon US -- http://goo.gl/YdQsgV
About the author...
As a child, I adored fairy tales and any story with a “happy ever after” (HEA) ending and I still love them to this day.  I grew up in Sweden listening to tales about fairies and trolls, witches and gnomes, elves and princesses.  Living next to the deep dark forests and lakes that abound in Scandinavia, it was all too easy to imagine that these creatures were real.

Now I write the fairy tales myself, albeit slightly more grown-up versions, and the HEA still rules.  I hate books with sad endings and have been known to sneak a look at the last page of a novel before buying it, just to make sure it doesn’t end in tears.  Life in the 21st century is just too full of depressing news – when I read, I want to escape to a world where everything comes right in the end and I hope you agree with me.

After a fairly non-eventful childhood in Sweden, my father was suddenly offered a job in Tokyo, so at the age of sixteen I moved with my family to Japan.  To a girl from a very small rural town, this was a huge shock, and it took me a while to adjust.  Once I did, however, I absolutely loved it and had the most wonderful time!  Japan is an amazing country and I fell in love with everything about it.  Although I was only there for three years, the impact this had on me was enormous, and when it came to writing, I simply had to set my first book somewhere in the Far East.  I couldn’t neglect my roots entirely though, so in the end, “Trade Winds” turned out to be a combination of both.

Guest Post...
Fortune telling and the paranormal
Are you the kind of person who loves anything to do with the supernatural and would absolutely love to meet a ghost? I’m not.  I’d be terrified if something like that happened to me, but that doesn’t stop me from having my poor heroines go through these things. (We authors can be mean sometimes :-D)
I would never consult a fortune teller either – the mere thought of someone telling me something horrible, even if I didn’t believe that they actually had second sight, would make me quiver. Just imagine having your fortune told with Tarot cards and the death one come up – I’d run away screaming! After all, who knows, the fortune teller just might really be psychic. You wouldn’t know until the prediction came true!
I’m very superstitious and have been since I was a little girl thanks to my Swedish grandmother’s who taught me all sorts of things, like spitting after black cats. (Don’t ask, it’s a Swedish thing and you have to say some special words as well.) Although I consider myself a very rational person in most respects, when it comes to superstitions, I just can’t let go of that “what if” scenario. What if I get seven years’ bad luck from breaking a mirror? What if not spitting after the cat will give me even worse luck? There’s no way I’d take the chance.
Maddie, the heroine of my new novel The Soft Whisper of Dreams has her fortune told by a gypsy, although she is very reluctant at first. She believes it’s all nonsense, but a small part of her is superstitious enough to believe there might be a grain of truth in it. When the fortune teller starts off with the usual “I see a tall, dark, handsome man,’ Maddie relaxes, but then the gypsy tells her something she doesn’t expect which rings very true. And it is also frightening, so not what she wanted to hear. But how can she not believe her?
Even if you are told your future, can it be changed? I’m not sure because most predictions seem to be told in riddles or are not quite clear enough to help you. Either way, I’ll be steering well clear of anyone with a crystal ball or a deck of Tarot cards. How about you?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Faerie Tree - Jane Cable

About the book...
How can a memory so vivid be wrong? 

I tried to remember the first time I’d been here and to see the tree through Izzie’s eyes. The oak stood on a rise just above the path; not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, daisy chains, a shell necklace, a tiny doll or two and even an old cuckoo clock.
"Why do people do this?" Izzie asked.
I winked at her. "To say thank you to the fairies."

In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart. 

In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right? 

With strong themes of paganism, love and grief, The Faerie Tree is a novel as gripping and unputdownable as Jane Cable’s first book, The Cheesemaker’s House, which won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. It is a story that will resonate with fans of romance, suspense, and folklore.

About the author...
Perhaps writing is in my blood. My father, Mercer Simpson, was a poet; my cousin, Roger Hubank, a novelist; Roger’s uncle, John Hampson was also a novelist and fringe member of the Bloomsbury Group. And it’s even rumoured that John Keats is somewhere back there in the family tree.

No wonder that I have always scribbled. But it took me until I was in my forties to complete a full length manuscript. And then another, and another... Writing stories became a compulsive hobby. I could lose myself in my characters, almost live their lives, and I started to long for readers other than my mother and a few close friends to be able to do the same.

It was reaching the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition in 2011 which made me take my writing seriously. The Cheesemaker’s House, a gripping romance-suspense, saw the light of day in September 2013 and I was delighted when it received great reviews from book bloggers and, just as importantly, from the people who bought and read it. My second novel, The Faerie Tree, is due out in March 2015 and is a suspenseful romance about the tricks memory plays.

Author interview...

Welcome to Crooks on Books Jane.

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself?
If I didn’t write I think I’d be pretty ordinary; married, no kids, running my own business with my husband and starting to dream about early retirement.
  • How and why did you get into writing?
I have always written. I had poems published when I was in junior school. My father always wrote too and ended up with several volume of poetry published, so I guess writing is in my blood. I started novel after novel but never managed to actually finish one until I was in my forties. That’s when everything changed for me.
  • If you weren’t a writer what would your dream job be?
I am lucky because, even outside of writing, I have my dream job. I’m a Chartered Accountant and work with family-owned businesses making the numbers make sense for them so that they can perform better. It’s so much more about people than figures and I love being able to make a difference.
  • Describe a typical day in the life of Jane Cable the author.
On a writing day I’ll get up as usual at 5.30, shower and make coffee then I will write for a couple of hours. This will be new work, fresh words on a page, and it’s absolutely the best part of being a novelist. What happens next depends on where I am in the life-cycle of a book; at the moment it’s very much focused on marketing The Faerie Tree but when I have another finished manuscript I will spend much of the day editing that.
  • Do you read and write in the same genre?
Although everyone says that writers need to read a lot I don’t have as much time as I’d like with my head in a book. It’s a real treat to be able to sit down and read for pleasure so I pick them as widely as possible. However sometimes I’ll read for research, for example Kate Mosse or Helen Dunmore ghost stories, because I’m interested in how other writers tackle things.
  • Tell us a little bit about your current book The Faerie Tree.
In 1986 Robin and Izzie are just beginning to fall in love when it all goes horribly wrong. They meet again twenty years later and try to grab a second chance, but very soon they realise that their memories of the time before are completely different. 
  • The Faerie Tree has folklore/pagan links as did your previous novel The Cheesemakers House - what is your connection to folklore?
My father was fascinated by folklore and a great deal of it rubbed off on me. When I was researching the historical aspects of The Cheesemaker’s House I found it really hard to find out anything about how ordinary people lived at the beginning of the eighteenth century so I turned to his folklore library instead. So many folkloric beliefs and practices are lost to us, but when I saw the faerie tree on the banks of the River Hamble I knew that some of them were surviving, albeit in a modern form.
  • How much research into the locations and the narrative of the story lines was required to give realism to the novel?

I think that if you are asking people to suspend belief – or at least stretch the boundaries of their imaginations – you need to have absolutely cast iron settings and characters for it to come off. It’s therefore really important to me to research locations well. For the faerie tree this was easy because I work close to the places where the book is set. What was harder was going back to 1986 because I didn’t come to Hampshire to live until the mid 1990s.
  • The story is told by both of the main characters Izzie and Robin.  This was the first time you used this writing style so why now?

I work with the point of view that best builds suspense. With The Cheesemaker’s House it had to be all first person narrative because if the reader – or Alice – had known what was in Owen’s mind there would have been far less of a story. The Faerie Tree hinges on the differences between Robin’s and Izzie’s memories so it needed to be told from both their points of view.
  • If The Faerie Tree was to be made into a film would you want to be on the casting couch and if so who would you put into the key roles?
When I found myself googling ‘tall actors in their 40s’ I knew I was far from qualified to answer this question!
  • Is there a message for your readers in your book and what do you hope they take from them?
If there is a message, it is that broken people can mend. When people are in the depths of despair they never believe it, but the fact of the matter is that most can – and do.
  • Describe the feeling when you held your first finished novel in your hands.
Bittersweet. The books were waiting for me when I returned home after my mother’s funeral. She has been a massive supporter of my writing over the years and missed seeing the finished version by so very few days. But she’d read early drafts and approved the cover design so still had a great deal of input.
  • Do all of your friends now expect free copies of your book and was having a novel published a bit like winning the lottery all your friends and acquaintances suddenly wanting to become your best friend?
My close girlfriends did get free copies of The Cheesemaker’s House and rewarded me by loving the book, recommending it to everyone they knew and buying it as a gift at every possible turn. So it will be The Faerie Tree rather than an Easter egg this year.
  • What can we expect from you in the future?

I am currently working on a novel set in Studland Bay in Dorset where a World War 2 tragedy comes back to haunt a mother and son.

Now for a little bit of fun, a glimpse 
at the real Jane Cable:-

What’s your favourite tipple?
A mojito made with Mount Gay white rum and mint from our own garden.

Do you prefer savoury or sweet things?
I have an unfortunately sweet tooth…

Friends coming round  - cook or get a take-away?
Cook – but I always cheat on one course and buy something ready made. And cheat on the others because my husband is fabulous in the kitchen.

Do you prefer hot or cold climates?
Hot… although I have to say a holiday in Iceland in January was one of my most memorable experiences.

Do you prefer a beach holiday or city break?
Beach if we can snorkel. Otherwise just somewhere quiet we can chill with a bit of sight-seeing thrown in.

Which would you prefer luxury cruise or fly long haul first class?
I tend to throw up on boats so a cruise would be wasted on me.

Do you prefer to go to the cinema or theatre?
To be honest we don’t tend to do either that often but the theatre is definitely more of a treat.

Which do you prefer comedy or true stories when watching a film?
Comedy – preferably British, like The Full Monty or Notting Hill.

Do you have any pets?
Our neighbours have four cats and characterful as they are that’s probably quite enough for one terrace!

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
When I was a freelance cricket writer I was involved with Cricket on Five – and despite his grumpy reputation I really enjoyed working with Geoffrey Boycott. He’s a true professional and absolutely charming.

Thanks for visiting my blog Jane :)

Monday, 23 March 2015

Cocktails in Chelsea - Nikki Moore

About the book...
Made in Chelsea?

Nathan Black is on a mission to prove himself. His family may be upper class and his cousin Matt might be a famous music producer, but he's going to make it on his own. So as soon as he has enough money set aside, he's quitting his bar-tending job on the King's Road and opening up his own cocktail bar. He hasn't got time for love, and definitely not with the spoilt Chelsea Princesses who flirt with him shamelessly every night. But is there something a bit different about the pretty blonde who's just walked in?

Bournemouth girl Sofia Gold is reluctantly visiting old childhood friends in London for Easter weekend. Keenly aware she's not part of their glamorous world, she's more comfortable riding a surfboard than wearing designer dresses and towering heels… although she's always had a soft spot for cocktails.

It's never really bothered Sofia that she's 'one of the boys,' and that her romantic experiences have been amazingly unspectacular, so when she meets gorgeous Nathan, why does she find herself faking an accent and pretending to be a London socialite? It can't be anything to do with impressing him, can it? After all, she's only in the capital for a few days…

But one impulsive kiss later, they both find themselves wishing for things they didn't know they wanted.
Spring in Chelsea – will love blossom?

About the author...
Nikki Moore lives in beautiful Dorset and writes short stories and touching, sexy romantic fiction. She's thrilled to be published by Harper Impulse, the digital first romance imprint of Harper Collins. 

Nikki's was a finalist in several writing competitions from 2010 onwards, including Novelicious Undiscovered 2012. A member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, she has contributed to their magazine 'Romance Matters,' has far too much fun attending the annual conferences and has also chaired a panel and taken part in a workshop at the Festival of Romance.

She posts about three of her favourite things - Writing, Work and Wine - on her blog and believes in supporting other writers as part of a friendly, talented and diverse community so she often features other authors and new releases on her blog.

My thoughts...
Cocktails in Chelsea is the fourth in the #LoveLondon series by Nikki Moore.  Short stories that have very clear messages, characters that'll get under your skin and leave you pondering.  

The lead character in this book Sofia, is staying with old childhood friends and biting her tongue because of their mothers - Sofia could live without Tori and Christie in her life but their mothers are close friends so she literally 'grins and bears it'.

The girls couldn't be more different, Tori and Christie are the WAG equivalent of Chelsea whist Sofia is a tomboy from Bournemouth - more comfortable in jeans and comfy boots than skimpy dresses and tottering heels.

She and the girls hit the cocktail bars on the Kings Road with Sofia having to look and act the part.  Here's where Nikki Moore's descriptive skills really kick in - everything about sisters Tori and Christie scream rich, spoilt brats, whilst everything about Sofia screams discomfort, she's like a fish out of water.

Add Nathan to the mix and we've got hormones flying everywhere, he is a cocktail waiter in the bar and the chemistry between him and Sofia is instant and palpable - although the charade they are both playing is like a brick wall between them. Sofia is drawn to him and he to her - yet he doesn't give an inch, Sofia is everything he despises in a woman, rich, spoilt, selfish and arrogant so despite the odd spark he is staying off limits.

Nikki reveals the true characters and feelings bit by bit - making Sofia in particular look at herself and as ever delivers a very clear message.  If you aren't comfortable in your own skin, if you are pretending to be someone you're not - your true character will not come across. Being true to yourself and your own values will give you confidence and happiness - and this will shine out. Self-respect comes from being true to who you really are and from acting in accordance with your fundamental nature.  When you respect yourself, others will respect you too.

As for Nathan we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, just because he was working in a bar mixing cocktails doesn't mean he had no ambition or drive - to get to where we want to be in life we have many hurdles to cross and if we have a plan each hurdle will have a purpose.

This was another quick easy read with characters that will grow on you with every turn of the page, I was looking for a happy ending and for Sofia to stand up for herself - which she does with pizzazz  the knock on effects of which are fantastic.  I'm not one to swoon at male characters in a book but there's something about tight black trousers, a white shirt and a cocktail shaker that does it for me!  

Another hit Ms Moore - next stop Chelsea for me - the bar bill may well be vast ;D

A giveaway...
How would you like to win a copy of Nikki's next book Strawberries at Wimbledon?

You Think You Know Me - Clare Chase

About the book...
Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell the good guys from the bad …

Freelance journalist, Anna Morris, is struggling to make a name for herself, so she’s delighted to attend a launch event for a hip, young artist at her friend Seb’s gallery.

But an exclusive interview isn’t all Anna comes away with. After an encounter with the enigmatic Darrick Farron, she is flung into the shady underground of the art scene – a world of underhand dealings, missing paintings and mysterious deaths …

Seb is intent on convincing Anna that Darrick is up to no good but, try as she might, she can’t seem to keep away from him. And, as she becomes further embroiled, Anna begins to wonder – is Seb’s behaviour the well-intentioned concern of an old friend, or does he have something to hide?

About the author...
Clare Chase writes fast-paced romantic mysteries. Her novels are inspired by what makes people tick, and how strong emotions can occasionally turn everyday incidents into the stuff of crime fiction. You Think You Know Me is her debut novel.

Clare wrote dodgy whodunnits in primary school, read English at London University, and honed her creative writing skills whilst working in PR. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Crime Writers’ Association.

She lives in Cambridge with her husband and teenage daughters.
In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, exploring new places and nosing into other people’s business. The PR professional in her calls it research.

Author interview...

Welcome to Crooks on Books Clare.

Thanks so much for having me - it’s lovely to be here!

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve always been fascinated by people’s motivations, and that goes well with my chosen genre, where they’re so crucial. And I love mixing mystery with a love story; it feels like a chance to double the intrigue! 

I’m inspired by places too. I love Cambridge, where I live, but also feel a strong connection with London, where I went to university, and the Lake District, where we escape for family holidays. I use both settings in You Think You Know Me.

  • How and why did you get into writing?

As a child, I quickly realised books let me go on adventures I’d never normally experience. I think writing’s the same. I can travel with my heroines through thrilling and scary situations and then experience their narrow escapes and happy endings. I also love plotting mystery fiction, and pondering the clues. It can keep me occupied for hours and is excellent if I can’t sleep!

  • If you weren’t a writer what would your dream job be?

That’s a tricky one! Am I allowed to say eternal student? I loved studying English Literature, but I’d also like to know more about psychology and criminology.

  • Describe a typical day in the life of Clare Chase the author.

Breakfast time is a scramble, as the whole family rushes to get off to work and school. I have a day job in the mornings. (So I guess that should be a half-day job!) The afternoons and evenings are a rich mixture of writing, family time and sneaking on to Twitter! If I’m on a roll, I’ll stay up late and write into the night. I never get up earlier than I have to! 

  • Do you read and write in the same genre?

I certainly love reading romantic mysteries. (I haven’t looked back since I discovered Mary Stewart as a teenager.) But I read just about every other sort of book too.

  • Tell us a little bit about your debut book You Think You Know Me.

It’s a murder mystery, set in the arts world: lies, passion and intrigue in London and the Lakes. 

The story opens when Anna, the heroine, meets a stranger in an art gallery. She falls for him on sight, but finds he’s given her a false name. Torn between backing off, and allowing him to explain, Anna gets drawn in. She becomes part of a history that’s already been written, up against a killer who has everything to lose.

Here’s a link to the book trailer: https://youtu.be/SBTPDqei1G4

  • You Think You Know Me has so many strings pulling the story together What is your interest in - journalism, crime and art?  Why include these topics in your book?

They’re actually all part of my background. My mother trained as an artist, and my brother followed the same route, so I grew up surrounded by people drawing, and the smell paint. We often went to exhibitions and watched art documentaries. Meanwhile, there’s overlap with my career and Anna’s. I trained as a freelance and feature writer, and wrote news articles for several years. And then there’s crime… Some time ago, I co-ran a prison reading group, which was fascinating. Its members were seemingly affable men, who loved their books, but who’d landed up inside. I couldn’t ask them about their backgrounds, of course, but I knew one of them was a lifer. I’d never have guessed it from talking to him.

  • How much research into the locations and the psychology of the story line was required to give realism to the novel?

I visit London quite regularly, but I had to go back to Hampstead, where I lived as a student, to see what had changed. We also visit the Lake District most years and I find it incredibly beautiful. I wrote those bits of the book from memory, but then went to specific locations, to be sure of the details. I found I had to re-check the café on the shores of Derwentwater several times. (Very good cake…!)

As for the psychology, I tend to see traits in public figures and then exaggerate them to create my criminals. So, it might be that someone in the news has been prepared to lie to safeguard their reputation. I might exaggerate that, so that they’re prepared to kill for it. It seems to me that the lengths people go to are on a sliding scale, and you can turn up the intensity, whilst keeping the motivation believable.

  • Is there a message for your readers in your book and what do you hope they take from it?

The book’s all about trust, and friendship, and how much you can rely on your first, and continuing impressions. I hope my readers will find that interesting. Most importantly, I want them to be entertained. Life can be quite pressured at times, and I do think escapism’s valuable.

  • Describe the feeling when you heard you’d got a publishing contract.
I was completely overwhelmed. I’m afraid I ran my mobile battery down on the train back home from London, which probably means I annoyed everyone with non-stop talking! 

  • What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve written the first couple of novels in a new romantic mystery series set in Cambridge. They’re with Choc Lit’s reading panel at the moment. Meanwhile, I’m working on a novella, which is a sequel to You Think You Know Me. It’s refreshing to alternate between the two.

Now for a little bit of fun, a glimpse 
at the real Clare Chase:-

What’s your favourite tipple? 
Red wine, but Bailey’s as a treat!

Do you prefer savoury or sweet things? 
That’s asking me to choose between crisps and chocolate… Can I come back to you?

Friends coming round  - cook or get a take-away? 
Cook – but something easy.

Do you prefer hot or cold climates? 
Hot. I live in a draughty Victorian terrace and spend much of the year craving warmth.

Do you prefer a beach holiday or city break?
City break – I love hubbub, history and people-watching.

Which would you prefer luxury cruise or fly long haul first class?
Two experiences I’ve never had! But if it’s a return journey, I could maybe do both? ☺

Do you prefer to go to the cinema or theatre?
The theatre. (I love cinema too, but the theatre’s a rarer treat.)

Which do you prefer comedy or true stories when watching a film? 
Ooh – maybe true stories? But only by a whisker, and depending on my mood.

Do you have any pets? 
None that we’ve invited into the house ourselves…

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I once got stuck on the wrong train and shunted all the way from Cambridge to London. There. That’s that off my chest.

Thanks for visiting my blog Clare :)

It’s been lovely, Dawn – thank you! 

International Amazon buying link: http://authl.it/B00PHXT8A8?d
Website/blog: www.clarechase.com