I am delighted to share my thoughts on Coming Home To Winter Island by Jo Thomas. I love this authors books so I was so excited to grab a spot on the Blog Tour arranged by Anne at Random Things Tours and thank you so much for my advance copy of this fantastically fabulous book 🙂
Let me show you what it is all about…
Wrap up warm and explore the breath-taking beauty of a remote Scottish island and an old house waiting to unlock enchanting family secrets.
Fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will love this irresistible new winter novel from Jo Thomas.
Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?
Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.
But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.
City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.
But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.
There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …
Praise for Jo Thomas:
‘Magically romantic…best read in front of a crackling log fire’ Milly Johnson
‘The characters went straight to my heart’ Katie Fforde
‘A sparkling, heartwarming hug of a story’ Miranda Dickinson
‘Like the best kind of holiday’ Lucy Diamond
What happens when you mix a remote island, a voiceless singer, a sitting tenant, and a unknown grandfather and a lost gin recipe? You get the most amazing story by the fabulous Jo Thomas that is what you get! This is the third book I have read by this author and every time she transports me with her descriptions, story lines, characters and theme of the story.
Coming Home To Winter Island is a stunning read as I followed the devastating and catastrophic bad luck that fell on Ruby Mac, she lost her voice as she and her band are on the verge of being signed by a record company. She then gets a mysterious phone call and changes her plans ending up on a wintry Scottish island.
The author weaves in a story that takes quite a few surprising turns and I have to say they were brilliantly executed. Music, gin, recipes, dementia, local community and family history are all fabulous additions to Ruby’s story. There are a couple of other main characters of Hector and Lachlan, they are again so well developed and give a heartwarming and also a nervous and tentative feel to the story.
The descriptions of Christmases past and memories that are intertwined in the story add an extra special feeling to this story. It has a definite foothold in memories and these then help the progress forwards to the future. There are also some wonderful setting descriptions that definitely added extra sight, sound and smell senses to the story.
I will admit to not being a big fan of gin, I’m more of a whiskey drinker, but I have to say the sound of the gin mentioned in the book sounds amazing.
This is yet another book I absolutely devoured as I have with the previous books I have read by this author. If you are a fan of books that have a wonderful story, fabulous characters, sumptuous settings, that has many surprises, unexpected friendships and that does not take a direct route then I think this is the book for you. If you have already read Jo’s books then you will know where I am coming from because she is a fabulous author.
Coming Home To Winter Island is yet another book by Jo Thomas that I would Highly Recommend.
Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.
See what other Book Blogger think by following the Blog Tour…
I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Coming Home to Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and also for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.
Let me show you what its all about…
No matter how far you go, home is where the heart is…
Beth Williams hasn’t been home for ten years. After falling pregnant at sixteen, she ran away from the imposing Scottish estate where she grew up rather than risk her family’s disapproval, working hard to build a life for herself and daughter Isabelle – but now she’s finally returning to Glendale Hall.
As Beth tries to mend her broken family ties, and fights to bring the community of Glendale back together, she realises that the story she has told herself for a decade might well be a very different one from the truth. Even though she ran from Glendale it has never left her heart. And, she soon realises, neither has Drew – Beth’s first love.
Will Beth be able to forgive her mother and grandmother (and herself) for what happened ten years ago? What will Drew say when he discovers the secret she’s been keeping from him for so long? Can a festive trail bring the village back together?
Will Christmas work its magic on Glendale – or will Beth be forced to run away from it all over again?
A charming, uplifting novel that will warm your heart – the perfect read to curl up with this autumn. Fans of Trisha Ashley, Debbie Johnson and Cathy Bramley will love this gorgeously romantic read.
I have to say I am not normally a reader who reads festive fiction out of season but as there is a definite autumnal chill in the air I found that the season did a great job of adding the right seasonal atmosphere!
Beth Williams left Glendale Hall in Scotland at 16 thinking she had no other option but to leave her home and family. 10 years later she gets a call from her father to say that Beth’s Grandmother is ill and that Beth should return home. Beth brings her daughter, 10 year old, Izzie who will visit her mums childhood home for the first time.
Within a few pages I was hooked as the author introduced me to Beth and her daughter Izzie. It wasn’t long before I then got to see Glendale Hall and meet the rest of the family. From their meeting up after Beth’s long absence I was aware of an underlying anger and frustration as old feelings of sadness and rejection crept into the conversations as feelings of things being unsaid stood like a shadow around the adults.
Beth’s shock at how things had changed in the area after her decade away really did home for her and gives her a sense of motivation. People from her past come into her life once again, her best friend and also her first love. This adds for more tension between some of them and misunderstandings are rife. Yet another emotional twist is woven into an already emotional story.
Izzie is such a wonderful character and she is like glue, she has the ability through her childhood innocence to see things for what they actually are. She injects a great sense of fun and also the author uses her character to give others the ability to take part in Christmas activities that help put the sad feelings to one side for a moment.
This is a glorious read that brings out all the hurt and pain from the past, the author has brought everything to the forefront again and foces her characters to deal with things that have gone on in past. It is a personal journey for not only Beth but for others as well. As adults there are things that have happened and they have sat and festered, now is the time for them to be revisited.
This is not just a story about the family at Glendale Hall, it also encompasses the local village as well. The changes in the community have not been for the best and it has left the village feeling a loss of identity and is threatened. Its story works so well and compliments the one with Glendale so well and is perfectly woven.
This is a wonderful read that had me guessing and kept me on my toes right the way through. I was never sure how the author was going to work through the threads and there were several moments when I had that fabulous will they/ wont they feelings as I read. Nothing was guaranteed to work and it kept me addictively turning pages.
A wonderful read from the first to the last page that dealt with the past and the present and also the future, and it made for the ideal “snuggle down and read” book. It is one I would definitely recommend 🙂
Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. Her moving debut novel THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE was chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for an RNA award. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star. Her heart-warming new novel SUMMER AT THE KINDNESS CAFE is available to download now.
As well as being an author, Victoria also works as a Waterstones bookseller and buys far too many books there. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry (named after Harry Potter). Victoria is not only obsessed with books but loves buying slogan tops, mugs and notebooks, and posting them all on Instagram.
I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Letters To My Daughters by Emma Hannigan. This book is another read for the Readin Challenge #20 Books Of Summer that I took part in this summer.
Let me show you what this book is all about…
Her three girls were her world. It was time to let them know.
To sisters Bea, Jeannie and Rose, the death of their beloved childhood nanny is a devastating loss. As the girls grew up, Nanny May had become so much more to them all: confidant, advocate, comforter, friend.In whom will they confide their hopes, fears and failures now she has gone? Especially now each sister needs a mother’s wisdom more than ever…
Martha cannot understand why her daughters are so upset about losing their childhood nanny. Yes, Martha was always in demand as a busy midwife, but that doesn’t mean she loved her own children any less. But why don’t the girls realise that? And has she left it too late to let them know…?
I think this is such a nice title for a book. The daughters are Bea, Jeannie and Rose, their parents are Jim and Martha. As both parents worked it fell to Nanny May to help raise the girls. Nanny May was an invaluable part of the household and they all kept in touch over the years as the girls grew up and left home to begin their own lives. The death of Nanny May hit the girls and Jim hard, but Martha isn’t quite affected in the same way by the death as the others.
Over the course of the story the author built up and developed a story that delves into all their pasts. It is told in the Now, with glimpses back in time. The author has created a story about a family that appears perfect from the outside, I say appears because there are cracks and some of those cracks are widening.
The story weaves its way at a pleasant pace and it was quite suprising how time just simply passed by as I was immersed in the book. I gradually got to know each of the main characters and found myself warming to them as I discovered more about them as a family as well as individuals. I discovered their secrets, their dreams and their wishes, what made them scared and what made them anxious.
It’s a story of a family, and with that came so many emotions as I read, anger, frustration, joy, hope, exasperation and doubt. As it progressed I did wonder how this family could stop the cracks from widening, if they could find compromises and if they could pull things back. By the end of the story I was surprised at the ending, I did not expect that, but at the same time it did feel right and so worked well.
It is one of those stories that I want to say is a delightful and lovely read. It has some tense moments that lead to distrust and dismay but also has a solid glimmer of hope and is heartwarming.
Letters to My Daughters is a book I would happily Recommend!
Book #18 of 20
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my thoughts for False Flag by Rachel Churcher. This is #2 in the Battleground series. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and also to Rachel Churcher for my e-copy of the book.
Let’s see what is is about…
Ketty Smith is an
instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning
sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s
determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the
arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to
handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to
make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself
safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.
Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was looking forward to seeing what happened next. I started reading and thought ‘hang on, this sounds familiar and yet different!’. It is the same timeline as the previous book but from a different perspective and it worked really well for me.
This is a Young Adult dystopian book that is set in the near future, post-Brexit. The series pits ‘terrorists’ against the government, but it is not as basic as that, nothing is black and white in the series.
In False Flag I discovered, as I have mentioned, a similar story to the first book. The timeline and the people are the same, but it is from the perspective of the trainers in the Training Camp. The camps are for 16 year olds recruited from schools, the trainers are basically there to kick the newcomers into shape.
I liked the perspective reversal a lot as it challenged my thoughts that I had built up from the first book. Originally I thought Ketty was a glory hunting bully, and yes while she is a bully there is something more to her. I started to reassess her cold hearted persona and discovered reasons and motives in her.
Reading this book was a retelling of the first and it gives the reader a chance to sit on the proverbial fence and see things from both sides. For a book aimed a YA Readers it gives definite food for thought and is a way to challenge preconceptions and that there is always two sides to a story.
This is again a fast paced book that is full of action conspiracy and has a challenging reader dilemma. I liked the way Kitty his put on the spot on several occasions and has to not only think on her feet, but also think about herself.
Another great read that had me thinking about how I originally saw and thought of the characters. Can’t wait to see what the author has lined up next, or which way she is going to go. It gets a Definitely Recommended from Me.
If you want to see my review of Battleground #1, then please click HERE.
was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital
Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1,
and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell
in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she
discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she
wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other
qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural
Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.
She has worked as
an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and
as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several
properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous
electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling,
stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing
makes her as happy as writing fiction.
published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the
Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in
East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full
of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s
allowed to bring her books.
I am delighted to share my thoughts on Silent Scream by Angela Marsons. This is a series I have been seeing and hearing good things about from other readers. It has taken me a while but I have finally started the series.
Let me show you what it is all about…
Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever …
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally murdered, the first in a spate of gruesome killings which shock the Black Country.
But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.
As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?
This author has created a fabulous and feisty character in the form of DI Kim Stone. Along with Stone, there is a brilliant team supporting her. Her main sidekick is Bryant and seems to be a “voice of reason” to Stone’s abrupt, “bull in a china shop” approach. The banter between these two is so good and there is a strong sense of friendship and respect between them. There are strong characters in this story and with this strength there is going to be the odd clash, especially with her superior. Luckily for Stone she delivers results so she does have a bit of leeway.
The case itself is that of the discovery of a body that has been found on a local dig site. These requires a different skill set and a specialist team are called in. I love the way the author has used Bates, one of those brought in, and almost painted a bulls-eye on him for Stone’s sarcasm. It is actually something that is a good thing as this sarcasm is usually when a discussion about a body is due to be dealt with. It kind of breaks the tension before the nitty gritty details about the body takes place.
During the case I was able to learn some interesting stuff about Stone, they came in little snippets that were scattered through the story. I have a feeling she is a complex character from what I have learnt about her so far and I think there is a lot more to come.
This story was one that once I started I had problems putting down. It was immediately engaging and really did keep my attention. There is a good amount of detail in the various aspects of the investigation that for me worked really well and these were balanced wonderfully with the more personal side of Stone’s life-history.
This is a series I am so happy about finally beginning, and the best bit is… there are several more books in the series for me to catch up on.
Silent Scream is a book I would Definitely Recommend!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous 🙂 xx
I am delighted to welcome to my thoughts on Under A Cornish Sky by z Fenwick. I recently read my first book by Liz, it was her latest book A Path To The Sea and adored it. I have a few of this authors books and had not quite got around to reading them. It is slightly embarrassing really especially she only lives a few villages up the road from me! But at least I am getting there, first steps have been made and I have not been disappointed 😊
So then, let me show you what this book is all about…
Demi desperately needs her luck to change. On the sleeper train down to Cornwall, she can’t help wondering why everything always goes wrong for her. Having missed out on her dream job, and left with nowhere to stay following her boyfriend’s betrayal, pitching up at her grandfather’s cottage is her only option.
Victoria thinks she’s finally got what she wanted: Boscawen, the gorgeous Cornish estate her family owned for generations should now rightfully be hers, following her husband’s sudden death. After years of a loveless marriage and many secret affairs of her own, Victoria thinks new widowhood will suit her very well indeed . . .
But both women are in for a surprise. Surrounded by orchards, gardens and the sea, Boscawen is about to play an unexpected role in both their lives. Can two such different women find a way forward when luck changes both their lives so drastically?
In Under a Cornish Sky Liz Fenwick weaves another deliciously irresistible tale set in the heart of her beloved Cornwall.
There are two main female characters in this book and that are the focus of the story, Demi and Victoria.
Demi is a mouselike character who lacks confidence. She has been passed over and generally ignored, and would rather be invisible than the centre of attention. She is in a rut and as she makes her way down to her Grandfathers house in Falmouth, Cornwall.
Victoria is the very opposite, she is confident and definitely knows what she wants and how to progress to get it. She is a woman who knows her own mind and is not afraid to add her voice to her thoughts.
Although the women are complete strangers they have a connection that neither knows about. When a revelation in the reading of a will comes about, well knocking the wind out of their sails, is a phrase that comes to mind. A bombshell is delivered that rocks the world both women think they know. It leaves them confused, dumbfounded and questioning what they believed. A chance for a fresh start for both of them? Well, maybe, maybe not!
This author has a fabulous way of creating interesting and complex characters, she develops there personalities and their traits, she explores their weaknesses and chips away at their strengths and wraps them in a well woven story. The characters have to do some real soul searching and dig deep for their outcomes, it’s not easy for them and there is a magic word called “compromise” that does not come easy, and is hard to do.
Using the Cornish landscape is another thing that the author uses to great effect. It is obvious from her writing alone that she has a connection to the area because it really shows in her stories. At times the landscape can mirror the characters, rugged angry cliffs and calm tranquil creeks!
There is a lot of family history in Cornwall, some families have lived in the same house, or on the same farm for generations. The buildings have altered or been added to over the years, but the land has always been. This means traditions, history and pride have a large part to play and the author nailed that sense of belonging, the feel of that is how it should be and also of things being done right.
This story is captivating and once again the author has effortlessly drawn me into her story. Fabulous descriptions of scenery and setting, wonderful characters who have more than a few surprises up their sleeves all brought together in a fabulous story line that flowed and wove it’s way to a very satisfying conclusion.
Under a Cornish Sky gets a “Definitely Recommended” from Me!
Many thanks for reading my post, likes and share are always appreciated 🙂 xx
I am delighted to be finally sharing my review for Raven’s Wand by Steve Hutton. I say finally because the publishers, Boddington & Royall sent me a copy of this book several months ago and it has taken me until now to read it, many apologies to them for the lateness of the this review. And to also add, Yes you were right, I did enjoy it! 😊
I have included this book in the #20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge. It seems quite appropriate, and definitely unplanned, that this is the 13th book I read in the challenge! 😲
So, let me show you what it is all about…
Raven’s Wand sees two opposing secret societies waging a war of belief behind the skin of Victorian Britain. One uses magic to heal the world, while the other twists it into abominations and war machines. It is 1886 and a battle is about to be waged; Knight Superior Krast of the Illuminata is prepared for victory but fate is not wholly on his side.
Many years later, the survivors of that dreadful day will meet again. Kolfinnia has a great task set before her and, with the aid of the Raven wand, she dares more than she ever dreamed possible. A tale of two clashing worlds. The world of Kolfinnia and those who wish to eliminate her and all of her kind. Raven’s Wand is Book 1 in The Dark Raven Chronicles. Book 2: Flowers of Fate will be published Autumn 2016
The setting of 1886, Victorian Britain is absolutely spot on for this story. It is an era that still believes in the mysteries of the occult, witchcraft, superstition and traditional beliefs, it gives the perfect platform for witches and magic. On the flip side of the era coin is the the progression of industry, power, politics and propaganda. This is where the Illuminata come in, rounding up witches and destroying covens.
The story is focused around the Wildwood coven and of Knight Superior Krast. They both value the two sleeping dragons, the witches to protect them and Krast to possess them and their power.
I loved the contrast of the two sides to this “good ‘v’ evil” style story. The witches are very much at one with nature and is in harmony with living things, they nurture the young to understand their position in all things and their role in the world. Krast and the Illuminata however, well they want to possess and control things. The witches and the two hidden dragons have a power that can be harnessed and controlled, this has a double whammy as such, it means that Krast gets stronger and also the witches are destroyed. He builds great machines that cause devastation and destruction giving an almost steampunk vibe to the story.
The author has woven a fabulous story that just has a fantastic feel to it. He has successfully mixed in various things like, superstition, tradition, legend and folk lore into his tale. A nature ‘v’ man-made element is quite strong and so are the beliefs and politics that come with that, both believing they are right. It is one of those books that simply drew me in from the very beginning and had me eagerly turning the pages.
The characters are just wonderful, a maniacal power hungry Krast against the gentle coven, but don’t think for a moment that the witches are a walk over, they are most certainly not! The characters are very memorable and there are a few, but honestly, I found them easy to keep up with. the other thing I liked was that there were no strange names that I had to try and get my head around, this was great and also fitted with the time and setting of the story. The characters have traits and characteristics and as you get to know them you soon work out which side of the fence they sit, well most of them you do!
The setting is again another great contrast, the busy hustle bustle, smoke filled and noisy city of London is very different to the more rugged, tranquil, natural setting of the South West, an area that is full of legend, myth and folklore.
This is the first book in the series and it definitely wowed me. It is such an easy book to disappear into with a story that captured me and kept it’s hold. It moves along at a good pace and has a good amount of tension, intrigue, mystery and surprise.
In case you had not yet worked it out… Yes I loved this book a lot, a fantasy with wonderful characters, story-lines, settings and contrasts. These made it wonderful reading and has definitely left me wanting to know what happens next.
Raven’s Wand get a Definitely Recommended from Me!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my thoughts with you for My Lemon Grove Summer by Jo Thomas. This is the 2nd book I have read by this author, the first being Sunset Over Cherry Orchard. Because I loved her that one so much I was not going to leave this sat on my shelf too long before picking it up.
Let’s see what it’s about…
Could the lemon groves of Sicily be the perfect place to start over? The irresistible new novel from Jo Thomas, the author of Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard, will transport you to the island of mountains and sparkling blue seas.
When life hands you lemons … is it ever too late for a second chance?
Zelda’s impulsive nature has got her precisely nowhere up until now. A fresh start in a beautiful hilltop town in Sicily looking for new residents, together with her best friend Lennie, could be just what she needs. And who better to settle down with than the person who knows her best?
But the sun-filled skies and sparkling seas can’t hide the shadow hanging over Citta d’Ora, which means not everyone is pleased to see their arrival. The dreams Zelda and her fellow new residents had of setting up a new life might be slipping away. But a friendship with restauranteur Luca could be about to unlock the possibilities that lie in the local lemon groves. And there’s a wedding on the horizon that might be just what the town needs to turn it around…
Could a summer in Sicily help Zelda learn to trust her instinct and follow her heart?
Zelda and Lennie are best friends. When they were teens they made a pact. If they were not in a relationship with their respective Mr or Mrs Perfect by the time they were 40, they would marry each other. Both are stuck in a rut and single when Lennie pulls the “pact” agreement out and suggests to Zelda that they up-sticks and move to Sicily. A fresh start, a new adventure beckons.
This is such a wonderful book that I happily lost myself in for an afternoon. The author once again successfully created wonderful imagery with her words. I was able to imagine the village and more importantly the surrounding area and the lemon groves. I have not been to Sicily, but the author made me feel as if I had glimpsed it through her story.
The adventure that Zelda and Lennie sign up for is a dream of local business man, to help -build the community he loves and get the passing tourists to stop rather than just drive past. On arrival though, Zelda and Lennie discover that things have not been planed and sorted as they had expected. They soon discover they are not the only ones who have decided a fresh start is the way to go.
I liked how the author brought in people from different backgrounds and for different reasons together, though she does not excessively dwell on those, she does give enough information about them so I got to know them a little. The main focus is on the key characters, and I have to say there is one I would quite happily focus on!…
Lemons feature in this story and does some fabulous food mentions, I am glad I read this after eating a Sunday roast or my stomach would have been growling. Along with the food, there is also a mentions about lemons, and the growing of them.
This is one of those stories that I think is delightful reading, it is perfect for loosing yourself in and makes you feel good. The author has woven a tale that has friendship, optimism, feuds, family, relationships and drama.
A fabulous summer read that I happily read in one sitting. It’s also one that I would definitely recommend!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx
I am very excited to welcome Stuart Reid onto my Blog today, I hope you are ready for bogies, snot, bottomburps and bums…I kid you not! If I say that this author has described as the “Billy Connolley for kids” that should give you some indication of how this post today is going to go!
Stuart is an author of the Gorgeous George books for Children, he is a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and tours schools bringing his books to children everywhere. . I admit I had great fun writing up this post. I hope you all enjoy it…
I don’t know about you, but for me I love Book Covers! Want to have a look at a couple of Stuart’s? (I apologise for reducing the synopsis for each book!)
Sneezing, sniffing, snoring and snots! Zombies, zebras and zits!
Bogies, baddies, bagpipes and bums! Farting, false teeth and fun!
A must read for children (and anyone else) who love crude, rude, exciting, silly, sometimes smelly and humorous books.
I must admit the kid in me is sniggering sssoooooo much 🙂 🙂
Okay now for the Q & A (aka – author interrogation!) – make yourself comfy…
1.When was the moment that you realised you wanted to write children’s books?
I’ve always loved writing. When I was 16, becoming a sports journalist would’ve been my dream job (basically being paid to watch football) but I studied Business Management instead because I thought it was sensible. After 25 years in business, I was running a 300-bedroom hotel in Dubai; I had a large house, a maid, a gardener, a swimming pool and two 4×4’s and I realised that I wasn’t happy. Work was unfulfilling and the credit crunch made things much harder. My wife persuaded me to start writing again… anything that would make me happy… and I began writing about people, situations and weird stories that I laughed at when I was 9 years old. I regressed back into my childhood and have never been happier.
I think being happy is your work is important, but still WOW…
2.Where did the idea of taking your books direct to your audience come from?
In 2009, I decided to give up my job… along with my salary, my car, my house, my healthcare and my pension… to start writing children’s books, so my family and I returned to Britain where I finished my first book. I was luckily enough to find a small publisher who agreed to publish the first book but he said “You’ll never make any money being a children’s author” so I started working as an area manager in retail again (which was soul-destroying). I realised that my target market meet together five days a week, forty weeks of the year… if I could tick the education box for the teachers, the reading inspiration box for the parents and the enjoyment and excitement boxes for the kids, then I might have a product that schools could benefit from. Six months after my first book was released my diary was so full with bookings from schools, libraries and book festivals that I was able to give up my proper job again and become a full-time children’s author. Since then, I have hosted over 1,500 events throughout the Uk and Ireland, as well as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, India, Hong Kong and Australia.
Finding your target audience was obviously important!
3.Is there a special standout moment from your books or from your performances?
Yesterday I was boarding a flight in Australia, returning from the Adelaide Festival, when an Emirates check-in staff member asked for my ticket and passport. She looked at the passport and then asked, ‘Are you the author? Were you performing at the Fringe? You asked my husband up onto the stage to be a lady elephant!’ – I nearly wet myself laughing. I also hosted an event in the Middle East with a group of boys from a royal family and almost started a riot. After one of my Edinburgh Fringe events last year, one of the parents described me as ‘Billy Connolly for kids’ – which is a massive compliment but one which I felt wholly inadequate to justify (didn’t stop me putting on my posters though). Writing scenes in my books where kids can help me bring the stories to life is great. Young volunteers help the audience visualise certain chapters by throwing false teeth at me, becoming snot zombies, enacting the water and the mountains and the tents around Justin Bieber’s campsite, as well as unleashing the two cheeky chimpanzees that amuse the crowd and terrorise the elephants.
Audience participation appears to be a key factor and also increases the fun!
4.Its obvious children love these performances from the video. I also noticed the adults loved it as well. Is this something you expected?
The more I’ve toured, and met mums and dads and teachers, the more I’ve found that most people still hold onto their inner child… the little person they once were that enjoys silliness, that laughs uncontrollably and helps them realise that it’s okay to have fun. Life can often be challenging but people need to laugh more, to enjoy life as much as possible and never take themselves too seriously. We’re only on the planet for a visit!
Yep, I have many silly, hysterical moments, and thats all I am saying about that lol
5.As I am a lifelong bookworm, I have to ask what were your favourite childhood books?
When I was about nine, I was hooked on a mystery series entitled Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators, where my love of an abstract adventure came from. Before that, the first book I remember reading by myself was Roald Dahl’s The Twits, and loved the monkeys gluing the furniture on the ceiling and Mr Twit pulling off the birds’ legs (which sounds a big gruesome nowadays). I also remember a hilarious book called Fungus the Bogeyman, as up until that point, I never knew you could put bogies in a book! And as a teenager, To Kill A Mocking Bird was the first book I ever read twice.
I remember The Twits and have heard of but never read Fungus.
6. And because I am nosy, what are your favourite books as an adult?
I am obsessed with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, and have recently started another Stephen King phase. My two teenager daughters are brilliant at recommending books too. I’ve just finished You by Caroline Kepnes, although it was a wee bit rude so I will be having words with that daughter! I couldn’t put John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars down, and it was the first book where I’ve actually cried buckets. Me Before You was very good and I shed a tear or two with RJ Palacio’s Wonder. I still enjoy reading children’s and young adult books, as I need to be aware of market and like to recommend books to little readers and their teachers.
Never too old to read children’s books!
7. And yes, I’m very nosy! What are your interests and hobbies away from books?
I love cooking and will always be experimenting in the kitchen – creating new tapas dishes is my favourite thing right now. My wife and I love to travel, so if she’s not joining me on my book tours, we try to squeeze in a cheeky wee holiday or weekend break every couple of months. And although my stage shows are quite energetic, and my fitness levels are okay, I don’t play football anymore, as I’m scared of breaking my leg and not being able to perform on stage. Playing FIFA on the PS4 is the best sport I can manage these days.
8. Apart from bringing stories to a younger readers, what are your future aims or dreams for your books?
If I was to allow myself to have a dream for my Gorgeous George books,it would be a movie or television series, with a young Rupert Grinch playing George, an older, balder Robert Carlisle wearing an enormous ginger moustache would play Grandpa Jock. A younger version of Letitia Wright (from Black Panther) would be Barbara and Allison would be played by the Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, if she had a time machine go back to being a kid again. The adventures would be a mixture of live action, bright animation and full-on CGI, with Simon Cowell as the villain in Giant Geriatric Generator. We’d need a cast of hundreds for the Zig-Zag Zit-faced Zombies story and Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright and Woody Harrelson would have feature too, with time-warp trouser trumpets, aliens, Loch Ness monsters, piles and piles of pink poo, a parody of A Christmas Carol would need to be the festive adventure and there’s also a love story for Grandpa Jock too. But to be honest, I haven’t really given it much thought.
Oh I agree no thought at all hahaha
9. If I could wave a magic wand what would you wish for?
Wow… you mean apart from the last answer? Well, I suppose I want every kid in the world to see one of my live events, and to feel inspired enough to want to read more books, more often. And not just my books, but any good book. And to learn to love reading, and to share that love of reading with their own children. My books are yucky… they are about boogers, bums and big bottom burps and my characters will never grown up… but I know that every little reader will, and they’ll leave Gorgeous George behind and read other books, better books and more intelligent books but I’d love it if my books were the inspiration for that. Oh, and world peace.
My love of reading started as a child and has been with me ever since!
10. Now the 3 W’s – What is next? Where Will it be? And When will it be?
It’s already shaping up to be another busy year. My diary is full for months with a short tour of N.Ireland, followed by my first gigs at the Brighton Fringe, then the launch of Book no.8 Gorgeous George and the Incredible Iron-Bru-Man Incident in July. My sixth year at the Edinburgh Fringe is in August with 60+ appearances there, more school events, Book Week Scotland and my first tour of schools in Qatar. There is also the possibility of hosting events in Australia again with Perth Fringe in January 2020 and back across to Adelaide again in February. It’s great to be so busy… I think I have the best job in the world!
Wowsers…very busy and I wish you all the very best. I agree, it does sound like you have the best job!!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be appreciated so much 🙂 xx
I am delighted to be sharing my review for Come Back to Me by Heidi Perks. My huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy for arranging my advanced copy of the book and accepting my request to join the Blog Tour.
Before I go any further, let’s have a look and see what this Psychological Thriller is all about…
A shocking discovery. An island wrapped in secrets.You can bury the body, but the truth will always surface…
A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body. For Stella Harvey, the news is doubly shocking, as the body is found in the garden of her childhood home. The home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.
Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the Dorset island.
But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets. But one thing rings true… You can’t bury the truth forever.
Fans of THE BAY, BROADCHURCH, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR and Lisa Jewell’s THEN SHE WAS GONE will not be able to put this novel down.
Stella loved living on the island of Evergreen, growing up in this isolated community was wonderful. She was heartbroken when her parents decided to suddenly move and Stella not fully understanding why! It is only years later that she begins to learn the truth as she returns to her childhood home to discover who the newly discovered body is! She discovers that it is not the place she remembered it to be, the secrets run deep as the naivety of her childhood is challenged.
This is a story with two timelines and told by two main characters, Stella and her mother and alternates between the present day and back to 1993 when Stella was 11 years old. From these two characters, I gradually learnt about the other family members and friends as the truth of the story began to emerge. The truth is not obvious and the author teased with details, just allowing little snippets and glimpses to be revealed. I was never sure if, or who I could trust anyone, and as this is a psychological thriller, this mistrust works well. Also adding to the psychological aspect is the isolation of the island and also the community. There are only a handful of residents mentioned and they do have their part to play, what they also add is the general feeling of the community.
The setting of this community on an island adds to the air of mystery. It sounds idyllic with its beaches, cliffs and wooded areas. Visited only by tourists in the height of the season, accessible only by boat. This mystery and intrigue is mirrored by the sparse smattering of characters. While I loved the idea of the setting the characters I just could not take to, they felt cold and aloof and, never once did I feel I could trust any of them.
I did think I had this story worked out early on, haha yeah right! Me and thinking I have things right … definitely not a strong point of mine! As I got further in I found I was adding to my original theory as the author gradually teased me with little reveals and revelations along the way. I like this continual seeding of self-doubt and it added to the general feeling of suspense.
If you like psychological thrillers that are all about discovering past truths and uncovering secrets then you will enjoy this one. It has plenty of drama and disfuntional families with a dramatic setting adding to the suspense-filled air.
It is one I would definitely recommend.
Heidi Perks’ debut novel Now You See Her twice
reached the Sunday Times bestseller list, first in hardback in July 2018 at
No.9 and again at No.6 in paperback in March 2019 where it was a Richard &
Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2019. Now You See Her has sold over
120,000 copies across formats to date and has received a staggering 200 five
start reviews on Amazon from readers. It has also been optioned for TV from the
production company behind BBC One’s ‘The Miniaturist’ and Channel 4’s ‘National
Heidi Perks worked as a marketing director for a financial company before leaving to become a full-time mother and writer. She is a graduate of the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative Online Novel Writing Course (the only creative writing school run by a literary agency). Follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiPerksBooks and join in the conversation with #COMEBACKFORME.