The One Plus One By Jojo Moyes

Published by Michael Joseph in February 2014.

One single mum

With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to . . .

One chaotic family

Jess’s gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she’ll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess’s teenage stepson, can’t fight the bullies alone.

Sometimes Jess feels like they’re sinking . . .

One handsome stranger

Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it’s like to be lonely. And he wants to help . . .

One unexpected love story

The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.”

MY REVIEW

First of all I’d like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book to read and give my honest opinion.

For me the whole storyline gave off a homely feel so I found that I quickly felt comfortable with it. The characters were easy to become familiar with and this made me care about them pretty much from the start.  Jess and her family’s touching tale oozed realness and I followed their day-to-day ups and downs with interest.

Something I particularly enjoyed was the range of emotions I felt whilst reading, there were heartbreaking moments which had me in floods of tears but there were also lighter moments which had me laughing out loud!

Bullying and the effects it has on a person and those surrounding them was a prominent feature of this book for me, this was one side of the storyline which really pulled at my heartstrings and I felt that the author tackled it sensitively and with care.

My favourite part of the storyline had to be the entertaining road trip, it was so easy to visualise and had me giggling at the awkwardness of the situation.

This was a compelling read that drew me in and wouldn’t let go.

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Author Interview with David McGowan

Today I’m delighted to welcome David McGowan to Me, My Books and I:

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David McGowan is from Liverpool in the United Kingdom. He gained a degree in English Language & Literature from The University of Liverpool. He is a prolific reader, with Stephen King and Dean Koontz being two of his favorite authors. He lists Desperation as his favorite King novel, calling it the inspiration behind The Hunter Inside.  His favorite Koontz novel is False Memory. His all-time favorite novel is Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.

David writes fiction with a twist – page-turners that keep readers up past their bedtime and have the power to chill, inspire, frighten and amaze in equal measure.

A self-published author, David handles every aspect of his work, from writing to cover design to publishing and marketing. He is the author of many articles that aim to help other authors and bloggers reach their potential and find their niche.

David loves to connect directly with his fans and friends around the world, and responds directly to messages and questions on his Facebook author page and on Twitter.

To find out more:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest | YouTube

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Hi David,

Where did the idea for From The Sky come from?

The idea popped into my head while I was still writing The Hunter Inside. I had this image of a group of characters surrounded by hugeness and feeling very small, inadequate, and afraid. Automatically my sci-fi addicted brain thought “UFOs, definitely UFOs”, and I immediately knew it had to be set in California. There was also a very specific reason why it couldn’t be set elsewhere, but you don’t find that out until the end of Part 3!

Who was your favorite character to write and why?

That’s a tough question to answer. I’ve spent 2-and-a-half years with these characters before introducing them to other people. I could maybe narrow it down to three: Sheriff Jim Hoolihan is an amazing man. Being the sheriff of a small town means a lot of responsibility falls on him and people look to him for strength, even when he himself might want to crumble (like when massive UFOS come and send down beams that…well, I won’t give the plot away!). He is a massive Johnny Cash fan (like myself!) and he likes to compare himself to Johnny Cash, even though Johnny Cash loved the idea of being a rebel (and took the side of the prisoner most of the time) and Jim is the sheriff. It kind of doesn’t make sense, but to Jim it does, because he looks out for the beaten down man, the man in trouble, and he thinks that’s just like old JC! Then there’s Mirlo Thoms, a very feisty 23-year-old redhead who knows her own mind and thinks she’s got life all figured out, despite the fact she works a dead-end job and is single and hasn’t spoken to her parents for 6 years. She has a lot to work out, and she has very testing circumstances in which to learn about herself, but her journey and development is a beautiful one, and she’s a wonderful person. You can see that I think of these characters as real people, can’t you? Haha, I can’t help it. I put so much into making them real that they’re like my own multiple personalities! My third choice is Earl Buckley, for very different reasons. You see, Earl Buckley starts Part 1 of From The Sky locked in the John Clifton Center, a secure psychiatric unit, and he is there because it is believed he murdered his own two children in the woods surrounding Camberway five years previously. But we have a lot to learn about Earl Buckley!

Is any part of From The Sky based on your own personal experiences?

I have personally never experienced giant UFOs appearing over the town in which I live and sending down terrifying beams. I feel very fortunate. I have always loved the old alien invasion sci-fi classics like War of the Worlds and I gobble up the remakes of classics like Independence Day. I also adore the work Spielberg has done in the alien invasion arena, particularly Taken, which I’ve watched several times. Then there’s Close Encounters. All amazing stuff and I feel very privileged to be able to mention myself alongside these great titles. Of course, I got to watch lots and lots of science fiction when I was preparing and writing From The Sky, because I had to make sure I did my research! It was great fun!

If From The Sky was made into a movie who would you like to play the lead roles?

Joel Gretsch would definitely have a role to play. He pops up in all the best alien stuff, and I would love to see him take on a role in From The Sky. There are a couple of characters he could play. Then there’s Dean Norris, who was amazing in Under The Dome and Breaking Bad. He’d be a cert for Sheriff Jim Hoolihan, no doubt in my mind. Except, maybe I’d like to have Stacey Keach. He was excellent as Henry Pope in Prison Break, and I remember seeing him in a TV movie about an asteroid hitting the Earth, but I can’t remember the name of it off the top of my head. He’d have the authority to pull the role of Jim Hoolihan off. I’d have to audition them both! I won’t even suggest who could play Mirlo, she’s already arguing with me inside my head at everyone I come up with!

How long did it take you to write From The Sky?

From The Sky is a trilogy, but it wasn’t always going to be a trilogy. When it was ‘finished’ it was 170,000 words, and I decided it would make a wonderful trilogy. So, to answer your question – it took 2-and-a-half years from starting to publishing Part 1. Part 2 is just being polished, and Part 3 is going to get some developmental work, as it is currently too short to publish as a standalone novel. Parts 1 and 2 are roughly eighty thousand words each, so I have a bit of work to do on Part 3. But the story is written to a finish, and it just needs a couple of weeks of editing.

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

The story chose the genre. My debut novel was only slightly science fiction. The Hunter Inside is more of a psychological suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, but I’ve heard it called science fiction. While I’m pretty certain I’ll never write a romance novel, I would never want to narrow myself to a particular genre. Look at Stephen King – people call him a horror writer, but he’s only actually written a couple of horror novels. His work covers ghosts, UFOs and mad dogs to name but a few – try fitting those into a single genre! Ironically enough, my next major novel, Addersley Hall, is a ghostly kind of novel, so again I choose genre loosely, and the story dictates. But EL James needn’t worry that I’m going to take her crown!

Who are your favorite authors and do you think they have influenced your own writing in any way?

Stephen King, as previously mentioned. I have read more or less everything he’s written (as has half the world), and I always have his new stuff on pre-order. Dean Koontz is another I read almost everything of up until the Frankenstein series where I felt his writing began to seem rushed and produced to satiate a market impatient for his work. I have a degree in English Literature, so I’ve read widely, from Chaucer and earlier through Victorian Literature through poetry, the revolution novels of the 1950’s and my favorite ever novel is probably Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. So, when you put all of those together it makes for an interesting combination, and I think we are always influenced by the sum of our experience.

Do you have any writing quirks?

I’m a note writer. I’m not a planner, as such, and I don’t meticulously work out the plot before I write a novel, but I keep reams of notes on characters and details about the plot as they come to me. I seriously go through rainforests, but notes don’t work for me typed on a screen, I have to have them hand written. I couldn’t begin to write the novels themselves by hand – it would be far too time-consuming and I’d still have to type them up – but my desk is normally strewn with scraps of paper with things like, ‘she wears a gold ring on her pinkie finger’, because otherwise I forget finer details. My memory is appalling!

Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?

Several! You live your created world 24/7/365. You never, ever switch off. Even after the book is complete, you have these characters with you and I believe they will stay in my head forever. That could get complicated as more take up residence! Also, as an independent author who takes responsibility for every aspect of the process, there is so much to do. Writing the book is the tip of the iceberg. There’s a list of a hundred things that all take just as much effort as the creative process, and there’s a lot of learning to do. It can be stressful, but ultimately I’m doing what I love and I feel very privileged to be making my dreams come true.

If you could travel anywhere in the world to do research for a book where would it be?

Hmm, good question. Perhaps I would like to travel to Mars to research another science fiction novel. I’d love to get on one of those rockets and blast off into space. Part of the thrill would be watching Earth get smaller. I love the idea of Michael Collins taking the photograph of Earth in 1969 during the Apollo 11 mission where he was the only person, living or dead, that was not in the frame of the image. That blows my mind!

FUN QUESTIONS

Paperback or eBook?

Paperback – I get more fun from bending the spine and seeing my bookmark telling me I’m a third through, then halfway…

Laptop, desktop or tablet?

Desktop. I work on an HP desktop, with a 24-inch monitor. It replaced my old 15.5 inch Sony Vaio laptop that was running on steam (or something like it – it was so slow). I love my huge monitor, and with eyesight as bad as mine it’s certainly a great help!

Tea or coffee?

Coffee. But there was about two years that I couldn’t drink the stuff. I had quit smoking, and coffee was too much like smoking. So I drank tea for two years, but now I’m back on coffee, and I’m still off tobacco!

Telephone or face-to-face?

Face-to-face. I’m not a big fan of the telephone, and don’t use it very often. Except to call my Mum, every Friday morning, at 10.30a.m.!

Pen or pencil?

Pen. They take longer to run out than pencils do to snap.

Thank you so much for being here today David, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about your favourite characters!

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ARRIVAL is the first part of the From The Sky trilogy.

Part 2 – JOURNEY, and Part 3 – NEVADA, are scheduled for release late-2014, early-2015.

Take a look at the trailer:


Now check out ARRIVAL:

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“Camberway is like any small northern California town. An everyday community living everyday lives.

Until the arrival.

When the ground starts to shake beneath their feet…
When the noises crash through the skies above their heads…
When the giant UFOs appear and send down their beams, their terrible beams…

Everything changes in Camberway, as a series of bizarre events changes all of their lives, forever.

What will become of Camberway, and the people who call it home?

Will anyone survive? Why are the giant UFOs here? what do they want?”

Buy it from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Recipes For Disaster by Sheryl Browne

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Published in January 2012

“She’s a single. He’s a widower. She wants him. He wants her. She wants to impress. So does he. There’s just one catch – she can’t cook.

To get him, she needs to get past the big fish – his mother. Lucky her, she’s got an Ace up her sleeve and all she’s got to do is impress this one time. Bad luck, though, her new guy can’t cook either, her dog Rambo is on the loose and now they’ve got to pull off the big lunch at the club.

Will it be a match made in heaven? Will they be able to pull off a culinary miracle? Will their combined efforts result in love at first bite? Or is it simply a Recipe for Disaster?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Janice from Loveahappyending for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I always enjoy Sheryl’s books (previous reviews here) and the idea of this one thoroughly intrigued me. I was curious to see if a cookbook within a story would work for me and if Sheryl could achieve the right balance of both elements.

Other than the recipes, one of the stand-out parts of this book was the comedy  – I was laughing out loud after just a few pages at Lisa’s kitchen disasters.  Once again Sheryl’s sense of humour spoke to me and I found that I was able to connect with the storyline easily.  There were plenty of funny and, at times, crazy antics to keep me entertained and on top of all that were lots of yummy recipes and useful cooking tips which I shall definitely be using myself!

Reading from the perspective of different characters meant that I got a full picture of what was going on in each of their minds, this is something that I always find enjoyable when I read.

A pinch of lust and a spoonful of misunderstandings added yet more twists to this addictive book and I simply can’t write this review without mentioning Rambo the dog and Flint the parrot who were particular favourites of mine – their scenes were so funny!

This book was light-hearted, fun to read and full of delicious recipes. A big thumbs-up from me.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR 

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Update

Unfortunately since having our baby I simply haven’t been able to find as much time to read and I am not comfortable with putting anything but 100% into my blog. My plan is to review any books/ebooks I already have on my TBR list (as and when I can), but I’m afraid I cannot accept any new review requests as I will no longer be reviewing once that list is empty.

This means that there will still be reviews popping up here over the coming months so please keep checking.

Finally thank you SO much to everyone who has supported me and my blog over the past few years, it’s been a fun experience and I have met some lovely people.

The Wedding Diary by Margaret James

The wedding diary

Published by Choc Lit in December 2013

“Where’s a Fairy Godmother when you need one? 

If you won a fairy-tale wedding in a luxury hotel, you’d be delighted – right? But what if you didn’t have anyone to marry? Cat Aston did have a fiancé, but now it looks like her Prince Charming has done a runner.

Adam Lawley was left devastated when his girlfriend turned down his heartfelt proposal. He’s made a vow never to fall in love again.

So – when Cat and Adam meet, they shouldn’t even consider falling in love. After all, they’re both broken hearted. But for some reason they can’t stop thinking about each other. Is this their second chance for happiness, or are some things just too good to be true?”

MY REVIEW

I was lucky enough to win a paperback copy of this book from a giveaway on Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog. I was instantly attracted by the sparkly cover (I’m a sucker for sparkly things) and I was keen to find out if the story lived up to its glittery clothing.

Once I began reading I was grabbed by the excitable writing and characters who I quickly connected with.  There was a whirlwind of information which made me want to know even more about the situation so I had no choice but to keep flipping the pages!  There were lots of funny moments and the wedding competition itself was a great source of entertainment for me as it raised so many questions.

Although I had a pretty good idea how things would end up I have to admit that I found myself surprised on quite a few occasions – there were many unexpected twists which kept me on my toes until the last pages.  This book went deeper than I thought it would when I started reading.

My favourite part of the whole storyline was a trip to Italy, it had such a magical feel to it and in my mind this was where the glitter was at its strongest!

This was a warm, smiley read with characters you can easily care about.

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So, You Think You’re A Celebrity… Chef? by Caroline James

So you think...

Mix together…

A tough-cookie media agent who’s clawed her way to the top, and a con-man who wants to open a cookery school. Add in a washed-up celebrity chef whose career needs re-building…

Flavour with…

An aging rock star fresh from rehab, and a Sloane Ranger food writer who gets her own TV show…

Bring to the boil…

At a Gourmet Food Festival, in Ireland, where anything goes!”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Janice from Loveahappyending for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I think this is only the second book I have read about chefs so it was a refreshing change for me, particularly as this one involved celebrity chefs.

The descriptive writing brought everything to life, it made every scene so easy to picture in my mind and there was even a moment which was so beautifully described it made me seriously crave a bacon sandwich for the rest of the day!!  I loved reading from each characters point of view because it gave me a deeper insight into their lives and personalities.  It also meant that there were many different sides of the story so I felt like there was always something going on to keep me interested.

Romantic tension, criminal activity and unexpected twists were just some of the features of this book that made it so readable for me.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to end but I had a firm idea in my head of how I wanted it to go – as I read the final few pages I had a smile on my face so you can be assured I was pleased with the result.

This was a fun read full of interesting characters, who knew the celebrity chef world would be so fascinating!

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The Naughty Girls Book Club by Sophie Hart

the naughty girls book clubA quaint suburb.  A quiet little book club.  A very naughty reading list.

When Estelle sets up a book group in order to increase custom to her struggling cafe, what follows is more life-changing than she could have ever imagined.

As the first meeting flounders, Estelle suggests a spot of erotica to spice things up.  Inspired by their naughty novels, this group of shy suburban readers shake off their inhibitions and discover that their own lives can be just as scandalous…” 

MY REVIEW

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads, I was keen to read it as I had heard lots of good things about it.

I quickly became caught up in Estelle’s life and in particular her little cafe which, thanks to the clear writing style, was so easy to visualise. I could almost feel Estelle’s nerves jumping off the page at me as the very first book club meeting took place, this meant that I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to know exactly how it would go!

The author successfully held my attention with intriguing characters (I was interested in each of their lives) and a fun storyline. Seeing how each character was affected by reading ‘naughty’ books was highly entertaining for me and caused me to smile regularly whilst reading.  The real side of relationships was captured beautifully – I found myself nodding in understanding at some of the issues raised.

The growing friendships was another enjoyable part of the storyline, I could see the characters becoming closer and more relaxed with each other right before my eyes and as they settled into their friendships the ‘naughty’ chat increased!

In my opinion, examining the sometimes controversial subject of erotica (and the many variations of it) gave this book an interesting edge.  As a book blogger who will read pretty much anything I am fascinated by the good and bad reactions that this genre can create.

This was a fun, bubbly read – can erotica change your life?

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