Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publication Date: 2 July 2015

“One golden family. One fateful summer. Four lives changed forever.

Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family’s country estate where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, one stormy evening in 1968, it does.

The idyllic world of the four Alton children is shattered. Fiercely bonded by the tragic events, they grow up fast. But when a glamorous stranger arrives, these loyalties are tested. Forbidden passions simmer. And another catastrophe looms…

Decades later, Lorna and her fiancé wind their way through the countryside searching for a wedding venue. Lorna is drawn to a beautiful crumbling old house she hazily remembers from her childhood, feels a bond she does not understand. When she finds a disturbing message carved into an old oak tree by one of the Alton children, she begins to realise that Black Rabbit Hall’s secret history is as dark and tangled as its woods, and that, much like her own past, it must be brought into the light.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me this book to read and share my opinion. It had been sat on my ‘to read’ pile for such a long time and I had always been curious about it so I was glad to finally get round to reading it.

The prologue set the mysterious scene well, already I was imagining all sorts!

Reading from Amber’s point of view and learning about her family and life at Black Rabbit Hall really made me smile – the author created a wonderful atmosphere of happy days-gone-by. That was until things took a dark turn which left me holding my breath, wondering what had actually happened.

The modern-day perspective came from Lorna who was planning her wedding. I got chills when she found herself at Black Rabbit Hall although, at that point, I couldn’t figure out why.

For me, there was an overwhelming feeling of fate weaving its way through the storyline. It kind of felt like everything was happening for a reason, I just couldn’t work out what that reason was until the end.

A thread of romance lifted things and brought about a sense of anticipation which I particularly enjoyed.

The authors descriptions made each scene so easy to visualise. As I progressed through the book I was captivated by all the goings on at the house, both past and present.

This was a mysterious and addictive 5 star read. A puzzle to be pieced together bit by bit.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Website | Facebook | Twitter

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

kate1

Author Interview With Natalie K Martin

I am delighted to welcome Natalie K Martin to Me, My Books and I today.

In January 2014, Sheffield-born Natalie Martin decided to leave her corporate job in London and experience the world—heading off on travels that would take her as far as Cambodia, North India, Goa and Thailand, and would change her outlook on life for good. Whilst travelling in India, her debut novel, Together Apart, became a #1 bestseller on Amazon charts. Love You Better is her second full-length novel and also became a bestseller upon release.

Natalie’s base is now London, but she is very much a modern-day nomad, never quite knowing where she’ll end up next. A trained yoga instructor and lover of all things French, Natalie is still travelling and indulging in her three loves: writing, yoga and surfing.

Find out more:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon Author Page

Hi Natalie, 

Firstly can you give us a quick introduction to Love You Better?

Love You Better follows the life of Effie who, after a painful break-up, finds herself in a whirlwind romance and enjoying a perfect life with her new man, Oliver. But, what starts out as a dream descends into a nightmare as he shows his true, abusive colours. To make matters worse, she also has to deal with her ex who returns from his travels and shows her glimpses of what could have been, as well as the return of her wayward, hippy mum. It’s essentially a story about romantic and family relationships, and letting go of the past.

Where did the idea come from?

The idea of a story tackling domestic violence had been in mind for a long time, especially after watching Killed By My Boyfriend, which was aired on BBC3. I’ve also got friends who have been in abusive relationships before and wanted to write a book which dealt with the subtleties and complexities of subject in a realistic way without making it a caricature.

Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

I have the BEST cover designer – Najla Qamber. She did the cover for my debut, Together Apart, which I immediately fell in love with so it was natural to use her again. Both covers display inanimate objects placed in a way which hints at the storyline. Love You Better shows Effie and Oliver’s bedroom, along with cufflinks and a charm bracelet, which play important parts in the story.

I love your covers! Who was your favourite character to write and why?

It has to be Smith, Effie’s complicated ex. He was actually the hardest to write and for a long time I couldn’t even figure him out myself! He’s a perfect balance of masculinity and femininity and basically makes me swoon every time I think about him. He’s also a very good friend who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, and we all need one of those!

What makes Love You Better stand out from the crowd?

I think its the reality of the situations covered and the multiple aspects of the story that make it different. Yes, it’s about domestic violence but its also about how complex friendships and maternal relationships can be, so there’s something in there for everyone. I wrote it pretty bluntly and nobody comes out unscathed, whether that’s Effie, her mum, Penny, or her best friend, Lou. Everyone has problems in life and the same goes for my characters. It’s also very multicultural, which is really important to me because it reflects real life, especially life in London.

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

I really love Dorothy Koomson. She doesn’t pull any punches with her storylines and I can devour her books in one sitting. I’m also a huge fan of Joanne Harris and she’s been very influential for me. I love the way she combines all five senses in her writing and it really made me determined to try and go deeper with my descriptions.

Which of your books is your favourite and why?

That’s a hard one! Of my two full length novels, I think it has to be Love You Better because it feels more refined. That being said, it’s a close call between Love You Better and Wanderlust. Wanderlust is a novella but it combines travelling (a huge love of mine) along with romance, which is a pretty perfect combination!

Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?

Lots! I’m a bit of a nomad and writing on the road is hard, especially when it comes to trying to find somewhere quiet, or missing out on socialising with new people. Plus there’s the active missing out of exploring wherever I am whenever I want! There’s also the issue of everyone thinking my books are about them, which I guess is a good thing because it means people can relate to my stories!

Heels or flats?

For wearing? Flats, especially Converse. For collecting and never wearing, heels!

Ha ha, I love this answer (I’m the same)! Early or late?

Early, always!

Any last words for your readers?

Apart from saying thank you to everyone who supports authors full stop, keep reading! And please give feedback. Even if you hate the book, it’s good for us to know what you think and reviews are so important, otherwise we never learn.

Thank you so much for answering my questions Natalie, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I already have Love You Better on my wish list so it was great to learn more about the idea behind the storyline!


Now check out the book:


Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 

Publication Date: 1 October 2015 

After a soul-destroying breakup with her ex, Smith, Effie Abbott has met the man of her dreams. She’s had the whirlwind romance and the fairy-tale wedding to the charming and suave Oliver Barton-Cole, and life seems firmly back on track.
 
Things were never simple between Smith and Effie, so when he forces his way back into her life, Effie knows he’s a complication she doesn’t want or need. After all, she has Oliver, a man who loves her better than Smith ever did.
 
But when cracks in her marriage begin to emerge and Oliver shows flashes of a darker side, Effie has to question just how well she really knows her husband, and whether Smith is back to derail her seemingly perfect marriage or save her from it.”
 
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com 

kate1

As Weekends Go by Jan Brigden

Publisher: Choc Lit

Publication Date: 4 December 2015

What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend?

When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something from her.

She never imagined that by the end of the weekend she would have dined with celebrities or danced the night away in exclusive clubs. Nor could she have predicted she would meet famous footballer, Alex Heath, or that he would be the one to show her that she deserved so much more …

But no matter how amazing a weekend is, it’s always back to reality come Monday morning – isn’t it?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. It sounded like a fast-paced, exciting romance and I couldn’t wait to find out if my expectations would be met.

I was definitely right about the exciting romance – the weekend scenes were full of fantasy moments. I read this over a sunny weekend in the garden with the children splashing water everywhere and it gave me a real sense of escapism.

When the weekend was over, the heart-pounding revelations just kept on coming and that’s when Rebecca’s dilemma became more complicated. Certain characters never failed to annoy me (I’m pretty sure this was the author’s intention so it was definitely not a bad thing).

The author’s natural style of writing meant that I fell into the storyline effortlessly. It was almost as if I had known Rebecca for years! I also enjoyed switching perspectives throughout because it gave me a deeper understanding of each character.

The ending left me smiling but it also left me wanting more – I would love to know what the future holds for Rebecca!

An interesting mix of fun, frolics and life-changing decisions. As Weekends Go gets 5 stars from me.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

kate1

The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee

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Publisher: Twenty7

Publication Date: Ebook – 3 March 2016 | Paperback – 28 July 2016

“Sarah is in a coma.

Her memory is gone – she doesn’t know how she got there. And she doesn’t know how she might get out.

But then she discovers that her injury wasn’t an accident. And that the assailant hasn’t been caught.

Unable to speak, see or move, Sarah must use every clue that she overhears to piece together her own past.

And work out who it is that keeps coming into her room.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Midas PR for sending me this uncorrected proof to read and share my honest opinion. The blurb really captured my attention and I wanted to know more.

The atmosphere was dark. Sarah’s confusion and frustration enveloped me as I was reading and my curiosity was piqued very quickly.

Straight-talking Kelly was a bit of a mystery to me, I assumed she was an important part of the storyline but, to begin with, I couldn’t quite figure out where or how.

However, as I progressed through the book I found my interest waning. There were times I found myself thinking about another part of the storyline whilst reading a different scene. My favourite perspective was always Sarah’s because her situation was just so fascinating.

For me it didn’t have the most satisfactory of endings either but I guess it did feel fitting for the storyline.

Although it didn’t manage to hold my interest throughout, I know people who would love this raw, dark read. So if thrillers are your thing then I’d definitely say give it a go!

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Deborah Bee studied fashion journalism at Central St Martins. She has worked at various magazines and newspapers including Vogue, Cosmopolitan, The Times and the Guardian as a writer, a fashion editor and later an editor. Currently, she is a Creative Director in luxury retail.

Twitter

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

kate1

Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

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Publisher: MIRA UK

Publication Date: 10 March 2016

“Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige is packing up her desk.

Her brother’s best friend Jake might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after, and Paige is determined not repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realises the one thing that was missing from her world all along: The perfect New York love story…”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me this book to read and share my honest thoughts. I was initially attracted by the gorgeous cover and when I moved onto the blurb I just couldn’t resist getting stuck in!

I loved the way I was introduced to Paige and her friends, it’s amazing what you can learn about characters on a simple walk to work. I was well and truly pulled into the storyline by the author’s fun writing style and the intriguing scenes unfolding before me.

Jake was absolutely my favourite kind of male character – soft inside with a tough outer shell that can be difficult to crack. I just loved reading from his point of view.

The romantic (and sometimes sexual) tension was palpable throughout the book and held my attention beautifully. A blissfully romantic ending left me with a contented smile on my face.

This was a fun read – fabulous friends who made me want to be a part of their group and hot male characters who made me fall for them. What more could I want!

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

kate1

I’m Pregnant… Again!!!

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t been around much recently. I’m here today to explain why – I’m expecting our fourth child in September!

12 Week Scan

It’s been a difficult few months with nausea 24 hours a day and some scary bleeding incidents. Add to that all the usual pregnancy ailments, throw in a crazy everyday life with three children (hubby has done as much as he possibly can but those bills won’t get paid if he doesn’t go to work so obviously he hasn’t always been at home to help me) and I’m afraid something had to give – in this case, my online life.

So here I am at 20 weeks pregnant, finally feeling a bit more human and I find myself sitting at my computer. It feels like a stranger after such a long break. I look at the mountains of emails, tweets and comments and to be honest I feel a little overwhelmed. I plan on taking baby steps to get back into the swing of things so please bear with me while I find my feet again. Blog posts and replies may not happen on a regular basis but I promise I will get round to them when I can.

I have a few reviews waiting to be typed up, firstly on Me, My Books and I:

  • Book review of Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
  • Book review of The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee

Secondly on V Family Fun:

  • Review of a mobile phone wallet from Tuff-Luv
  • Review of the Wicked Mega Bounce XL from Wicked Mania
  • Review of a personalised mixing bowl and wooden spoon from ijustloveit.co.uk

I’m hoping to get these posted over the next few weeks.

Now back to the pregnancy – we’re all extremely excited and nervous at the same time. For me, this will be my fourth c-section and although I’m trying to put that part of it to the back of my mind, it’s difficult not to think about it. This is also the smallest gap between our children with E being just 2 years old so that will be a new challenge for us.

I plan on writing some blog posts on V Family Fun exploring our experiences with this pregnancy further so keep your eyes peeled.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has had the same or similar experiences so feel free to leave a comment.

kate1

Guest Post by Gabrielle Mullarkey | A Tale of Two Sisters

I’m delighted to welcome Gabrielle Mullarkey to Me, My Books and I today with a fab guest post.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gabrielle MullarkeyGabrielle Mullarkey is a freelance journalist and author. She has written over 1,000 short stories for women’s magazines, ranging from Woman’s Own to that’s life! (Australia and UK), alongside writing opinion pieces for magazines. Since gaining her MSc in creative writing for therapeutic purposes in 2014, she works with writing groups for mental health charity Mind, and writes with and for patients at local hospices. For more on Gabrielle, visit www.gabriellemullarkey.co.uk

Praise for Gabrielle Mullarkey:

“Readers love Gabrielle’s fiction for its range – whether atmospheric mood pieces or contemporary slices of life, all revolve around imaginatively twisty plots packed with sassy dialogue, characters you feel you know and ‘I didn’t see that coming!’ moments.” best

GUEST POST

FORGET THE GRAPEVINE, I HEARD IT ON THE 453

Recently, someone asked me along to a pre-lunch writing workshop and launched into elaborate details about where I could park at the venue.

‘That’s OK,’ I said, ‘I’ll take the bus.’

I could tell by their surprise that they didn’t think this was very ‘writerly,’ prompting me to launch into a long, elaborate explanation about how I don’t have access to the car during the day, and so and so forth…

Which got me thinking about the writer in transit.

A big part of me thinks it would be quite ‘writerly’ to zip about in a natty runaround while composing sonnets at traffic lights.

But then, where would I jot down my inspired musings?

A bus or train trip isn’t about woolgathering for me. It’s about what Sigmund Freud called ‘paying attention to absentmindedness’. One minute you’re staring into space while someone else is responsible for watching the lights change, and the next minute, that space contains tiny tadpoles of ideas.

There’s something very restful about letting your mind and gaze wander, filing away images without even realising it – a person on a park bench, a woman pushing a bike uphill, a man crossing the road carrying a tuba…

There are pitfalls, of course. A friend of mine left a notebook of irreplaceable jottings on his local bus. And I can’t see Salman Rushdie or Barbara Taylor Bradford taking the 453 to Deptford bridge and reaching their destination with a fellow passenger’s drool festooning their shoulder.

But where else but public transport would you overhear so many gems? When I heard one woman tell another in scandalised tones, ‘but it’s always shepherd’s pie on a Tuesday!’, my brain duly filed away the remark, and a few months later, I sold a story to a magazine called Shepherd’s Pie Tuesday.

Now that is a very rich dividend indeed.

I doubt I’d be able to woolgather so richly while doing a fair impression of Chevy Chase trying to negotiate a roundabout in National Lampoon’s European Vacation. I’m what you’d call a nervous driver. Last time I reversed our modestly proportioned saloon car out of the driveway, I lost a wing mirror and gained a postman’s bicycle wheel, which didn’t do a whole lot for my nerves (or the postman’s).

That said, a friend did make an interesting point to me the other day – that they couldn’t imagine anything scarier than the blank screen or page waiting for the writer’s opening words.

‘Me too,’ I admitted.

‘So why put yourself through it?’ probed the friend.

I don’t have an answer to that, beyond reckoning that you might as well ask the same of actors who suffer stage fright before every performance, but feel compelled to follow their calling anyway.

Writing is a white-knuckle ride all the way to your destination, but you feel exhilarated when you arrive in one piece.

So for now, I’ll continue to eavesdrop on the 453 or shoehorned onto a Tube train in the rush hour – squashed toes and drool on shoulder being small prices to pay.

So be careful out there – somewhere nearby, a writer is listening!

Thank you for sharing Gabrielle, I love the idea of inspiring a writer without even knowing it!

Now check out Gabrielle’s latest book:

A TALE OF TWO SISTERS

A Tale of Two Sisters by Gabrielle Mullarkey cover

Bottom line – you don’t steal your sister’s boyfriend

Katie’s sister Flick is a mean girl. Whatever Katie has, Flick wants for herself. And she’ll take it just to prove she can. That’s why she stole Katie’s boyfriend, Steve, then dumped him two weeks later.

Now Katie is with Jack, and Flick is with Dan, so there’s no need for more sibling rivalry … but love and life between sisters is never that simple. If Katie and Dan hadn’t drunk too much that night, and if Flick didn’t make Katie so mad, maybe it would never have happened … if only Katie could remember exactly what had happened…”

A Tale of Two Sisters is a witty, heartwarming tale of romance, jealousy, the family we love, and the family we love to hate.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tale-Two-Sisters-sisters-boyfriend-ebook/dp/B01CBUPHR2/

kate1