Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Breakup Doctor By Phoebe Fox

Brook Ogden is a love guru. The person people turn to when their love lives are falling apart. She gives therapy, counsels through meeting one-to-one with her clients and through a weekly advice column. She has all the know how and experience and the licence to prove it. In her working role she is nothing but professional.

However things are the exact opposite in her home and personal life. While she is busy giving advice and helping her clients through their break ups, her own love life is falling apart and she finds herself engaging in the very behaviour she is advising her clients not to do.

This is one of those fantastic books that pulls you in from the very first sentence, with its fast flow and witty wording, your interest is immediately drawn into the story and you are kept fully entertained from start to finished. This is the first of the trilogy of books in this series by Phoebe Fox and I cannot wait to lose myself in book two.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

My Big Fat Christmas Wedding by Samantha Tonge (Games of Scones #2)

Following on from the first story, Pippa Patterson is now running a tea shop on a small Greek Island and living with her fisherman fiancé Niko. Having left her busy business lifestyle in London behind her she is starting to feel that her new life has become a little dull and different from the hectic busy life she once lived, when a chance to fly to her ex's engagement party in London comes up, she jumps at the chance to return to the bright lights of the big city. Could it be that the romance between her and Niko was nothing more than a long summer holiday romance? And it is now time for her to go back to reality?

A nice easy romance story that is not too Christmassy so can be read anytime of the year. The book does cover and show some serious up to date issues that the author really researched. There is also some good references to Greek traditional customs too, which add a dimension to the story that makes it more real and less fairy tale. Although this is the second book in the Game of Scones series it can be read as a standalone. Author Samantha Tonge knows how to tell a good story. This is a book not to be missed.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Squaring Circles by Carolyn Mathews

Following on from Transforming Pandora, we catch up with Pandora Armstrong, now happily married to Jay, she is shocked by the sudden death of her mother and finding out she has a secret half brother called Theo who was brought up across the Atlantic.

When her mothers grave is disturbed and broken into not long after the burial. Pandora decides to investigate to find out what happened. She discovers her mother belonged to a mysterious group called the Isis circle. What exactly went on at those meetings? Pandora is keen to find out and see if it holds the key to explain why anyone would go to extreme circumstances of breaking into a grave.

I like this book because it covers a lot of genres. There is a little bit of everything in the story, romance, crime, mystery, fantasy and just a little touch of the paranormal all go into the mix to create a wonderfully told story. There is a great cast of characters who bring the story to life and you can almost feel the words breathe off the page as you read. I do recommend that you read the first book Transforming Pandora before you read this book, there are a lot of characters and it is easier to know who everyone is, if you have the background from the first book.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Choosing the right name for your romantic hero in 6 easy steps! by Marie Laval

The start of a new novel is always the start of a wonderful adventure, and my very first step has to be naming my characters, especially my hero and heroine. As soon as I have done so, they become alive and turn into real persons I can talk to, dream of and shout at. Choosing the names of your romantic characters, like picking the name of your baby, can be a long and stressful process because names are full of meaning. They give the reader an immediate impression of the characters' personality and background, of their social status and physical appearance, and even of their age. A hero's name can be so attractive the reader is immediately drawn and falls in love with him, or so off-putting she will stop reading.

So, what do you need to consider when choosing a name for your hero if you write romance?

1. Consider the time period.

If you call the hero of your Regency Harley, Bailey or Zane, the reader will not find it credible and may be turned off (or indeed intrigued). On the other hand, names like Ethan or Micah which may sound at first too modern, were actually quite common in Puritan English families in the 17th century. Talking about Puritan names, you should however steer clear of Fear-God, Fly-Fornication or Die-Well for your hero!
2. Consider the setting.

If your novel takes place abroad, then it is logical to have a cast of characters with names from that country, and that includes your hero. However too may unfamiliar sounding names might put the reader off, so you may have to chose names which work well both in English and French, Spanish or Russian - or whatever nationality your hero is. For example, I think Gregor, Alexei, and Dimitri would work well for a Russian hero, whereas Ermolei, Evgeny or Miron may not work so well.

3. Consider also the letter your hero's name begins with.

I have read that it was better to give your hero a name beginning with a 'hard' letter like B, G, J, K, R, V, because a hard, tough man must have a hard, tough sounding name. Well, I may have got that right with Bruce McGunn, the hero of The Dream Catcher, but all my other heroes had names starting with supposedly 'soft' letters: H (Hugo Saintclair), L (Lucas Saintclair), and F (Fabien Coste) and yet there was nothing soft about them!

4. Consider the meaning of your hero's name.

There are many books or internet sites about the meaning of names and it's always a good idea to check first, especially when you want to use a foreign name. For example, you might find the following names lovely but be put off when you find out that Amos means 'troubled', Vaughn in Welsh means 'little', and Cameron in Scottish means 'crooked nose'!

Why did I choose Bruce? It just popped into my mind when I was thinking about my Scottish hero. I knew straight away it would be perfect for the kind of man I had in mind, and of course it was the surname of Robert the Bruce, the Scottish hero of the 14th century who achieved independence from England and became the king of Scotland.

5. That brings me to the hero's surname, which is just as important as his first name.

McGunn wasn't my first choice of surname for the hero of THE DREAM CATCHER, but then I thought it would be fun if Rose, the heroine, could make fun of him and of his dark moods by giving him nicknames such as 'McGlum' or 'McGrump'. So this is how Bruce McGunn was born!

6. Lastly, consider your heroine's name too, because the hero's and heroine's names must work well together. You should practice saying them aloud. I did and I really liked the sound of 'Bruce and Rose'.

Author Bio
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years. ANGEL HEART, her debut historical romance, has just been re-released by Áccent Press, together with award-winning THE LION'S EMBRACE. She also writes contemporary romance with A SPELL IN PROVENCE, which was published earlier in 2015. THE DREAM CATCHER, Part I of her historical romance Trilogy DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, will be released on November 26th by Áccent too.

You can find her at

Can her love heal his haunted heart?
Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.
Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land in the far North of Scotland. Discharged from the army where he was known as the claymore devil, haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad, he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn's ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable - a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.
But Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master - the man she calls McGlum.
DREAM CATCHER is the first of the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL trilogy and is followed by BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Special Guest - Bonnie Trachtenberg


By Bonnie Trachtenberg

 After the thrilling success of my two romantic comedies, Wedlocked and Neurotically Yours, I was a bit reluctant to write the novel that had been occupying my mind, because I knew I’d established a certain expectation from my readers. Something drove me to it anyway—despite the fact it has been a slower going process to write than I’m used to. The novel, Seven Minutes in Heaven, features some humor, as well as romance, but unlike my others it was inspired by more than twenty-five years of personal research into a topic that I find more fascinating than almost any other: What happens after we die?

I know many people may think that to be a morbid theme, but it really is quite the opposite. After all, what could be less dark and depressing than finding out that we never really die? That those who have flat-lined and been revived by medical doctors (sometimes after no brain activity was recorded for hours) often have amazing stories to tell us about what they saw, heard, and felt while detached from their bodies. These are not recalled dreams either; they are experiences that are often described as “more real” than our lives here on earth. Medical personnel have verified that some patients have detailed knowledge of events in and around the operating room that they could never have known due to their bodily perspectives and medical conditions.

After years of incessant and widely varied study on this topic, I’ve come to my own logical conclusion that the soul does indeed survive bodily death. Therefore, how could I ever discount the experiences of those who have crossed over and returned to us—especially because when they do, they are often transformed into very different people who radically change the way they live the rest of their lives.

That is the premise of Seven Minutes in Heaven. My protagonist, Lindsay Baines Davenport, is an uber-successful party planner in New York City who has, in a sense, lost her soul. She is controlling, callous, and cunning. Deep down, she is in pain. The woman who seems to have it all actually has very little of the things that truly matter. So when a near-death experience (NDE) reveals her life to her through an omnipotent and stunningly new perspective, she returns with advanced knowledge and amazing gifts that ensure her life will never be the same.

I hope the readers who enjoyed my other books will keep an open mind and check their expectations at the door when they read my latest. If they do, I don’t think they’ll be disappointed! Stay tuned for release dates.


 Bonnie Trachtenberg is the multi-award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel, Neurotically Yours: A Novel, and The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking. She writes a monthly relationship and advice column for Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle Magazine. Bonnie was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. She lives in New York with her husband, four cats, and a dog.

Learn much more about Bonnie at her website:
Follow her on Twitter: @Writebrainedny

Buy Wedlocked
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Buy Neurotically Yours
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Buy The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking
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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Dark Tides by Mark Piggott

This is the second book in the Forever Avalon series.

This is an epic fantasy adventure that can be read as a stand alone book, even though it is a follow on book. This book goes into full detail about everything that happens in book one. This story is like reading two different books at the same time. In part we learn about Bryan's life in medieval Avalon when he was separated from his family. We also then have the modern day story about how Bryan's family are now doing since joining him in Avalon.

With a mixture of magic, fantasy and lots of imagination, we see the dark forces rising in Avalon to fulfil a prophecy. They want to bring back and resurrect Morgana le Fay, a very powerful sorceress from the past. If they succeed, she will be able to unleash the Dark Tides to cause destruction so big. It would change the whole of Avalon forever.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

It’s A Kind Of Magic – Book Covers! By Linn B. Halton

I’m sure many readers wonder why authors sometimes change the covers of their books. As the author of 8 novels, 3 novellas and 1 true story, most of my books are traditionally published. But three of them are self-published at the moment. Now the pros and cons for self-publishing versus traditionally publishing is another topic in itself, but it can also be one of the reasons for cover changes. In fact, there are a whole host of reasons and as I’ve just gone through a similar process with three of my novels, it’s a hot topic for me to talk about at the moment!

It’s often difficult to get the cover right first time, even for those who have been working in the industry for a long time. Remember that a cover has to reflect the content of the book, appeal to the readers of that genre AND stand out from the crowd.

From my personal experience this is what I’ve discovered:

A. Traditionally published books:
1. If there is a cover revision it will most likely be because the marketing team feel a change will enable the book to appeal to a wider audience.
2. Seasonal covers are popular – my Harper Impulse ‘A Cottage in the Country’ has both a summer and a winter cover, and I love that!

B. Self-pubbed books:
Being self-published means that YOU are in the driving seat: which is great on one hand, but on the other you don’t have the benefit of a marketing team’s experience to help you make good decisions. Whenever I’ve changed any of my covers it’s for one of the following reasons:

1. It’s a steep learning curve and what seemed like a great cover at the time can quickly turn out to be a BIG mistake. Don’t beat yourself up over bad decisions, just learn from it and move forward.
2. Trends change and while your book has to stand out, you want it to be easily identifiable as a part of the genre it falls within.
3. A cover may be eye-catching, but it might not quite reflect the subject matter. This makes it difficult for readers to connect with it and easier for them to pass over it.
4. As an author you will, over time, find a way of presenting information about yourself that reflects your personality. This style will be conveyed via your website, Twitter and FB accounts etc. You might then want to have an element of that tying into your covers. This is more difficult if you write in more than one genre, but can still be achieved by use of the same fonts/style/colours.
5. Linking books together, not necessarily because they are a series but, in my case, to give my three self-pubbed novels a sense of linked identity.
6. Sometimes a book that has been traditionally published is only contracted for a set number of years. When ‘the rights’ revert back to you, whether you decide to self-pub it, or submit it to another publisher, a new cover has to be designed.

Two things are very important to understand:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
We’re all very different…

If you look at any bookshelf you will see covers you love, covers you hate, and those that make you feel indifferent. To some people it’s the cover first, when it comes to choosing their next read. To others it’s cover AND blurb. Some people will be influenced by online reviews and personal recommendations. We are each unique and another ‘plain truth’ is that you can’t please everyone all of the time. Me? I go with my heart and my gut instincts, tempered more and more by experience as time goes on.

My latest cover changes were triggered by getting the rights back for The Restaurant @ The Mill. It seemed the right time to give my self-pubbed books a sense of linked identity. But the new covers also reflect the way I’m feeling more comfortable with my own style. The important thing is to realise that nothing stands still in this fast-paced world and to embrace everything change has to offer – including new directions!
C:\Users\Linn\Desktop\Var Graphics\Promo graphics\Linn B Halton new covers med.jpg

If you want to read about the photo shoot for the new Never Alone cover, you can read the story here: It’s just one example of … let’s say ‘diversity’, for this writer!

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