Q&A with Kerry Fisher ~ BLOG TOUR!

Today on Becca's Books, I'm thrilled to be sharing my Q&A with Avon author Kerry Fisher for my stop on the fabulous blog tour! We chat about Kerry's latest novel The Island Escape!

 

Kerry, what was your journey to publication like? How long did it take you to get there?

It took me hundreds of rejections, five years and three novels. Two are now published – The School Gate Survival Guide and The Island Escape. The first one was a bunch of characters moving from the restaurant to the beach in Italy in search of a plot, so that won’t ever see the light of day!

Where were you when you found out about the book deal with Avon? How did you feel once you’d heard the news?

After five years of searching for an agent, I was offered representation by the wonderful Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson. When I got home from that meeting, there was a two-book deal from Avon in my inbox (I’d approached an editor there directly). I was astounded really – I couldn’t believe that after five years I’d got an agent and a book deal on the same day.

The Island Escape isn’t your first novel. Could you perhaps tell us a little bit about your previous novel, for any readers who are just now being introduced to you?

My debut, The School Gate Survival Guide, came out last year. It’s a funny take on school gate snobbery – a modern day My Fair Lady. A cleaner inherits enough money to send her children to a posh private school and it’s the story of how her family adapt to an über-competitive, incredibly affluent environment.

Your upcoming novel The Island Escape looks and sounds absolutely divine, and I’m seriously looking forward to escaping! Within the book, your character Octavia is curious as to how different her life turned out to be. Have you ever felt this way? Would you ever change anything if you had the chance?

One thing I’m so clear about is that any man ‘who got away’ in my life got away for a very good reason! Though I am slightly surprised to find myself living in suburban Surrey with a husband, two kids and a dog. I spent the whole of my twenties living in Europe, changing country or city on a whim. If anything, I do wish I’d settled down a bit sooner and had my kids a bit younger. On the plus side, I’d definitely satiated any need to go to a night club ever again so when I did have kids, I didn’t feel there was this massive social whirl I was missing out on.

Would you say that there’s a theme of second-chance love within The Island Escape? There’s definitely a hint to a past romance in the blurb!

Second-chance love definitely features. I suppose I became fascinated by the fact that the internet makes it so easy to track down random people from your past. If you were dissatisfied with your marriage, finding a long-lost love on Facebook could lead to all sorts of trouble.

I think if I could escape to anywhere, Hawaii would be my ultimate destination. How about yours?

I’m not a big sun-worshipper as I burn so easily but I do love Australia. It’s the sheer variety of things to do, plus the diversity of animals and plants that attract me.

Your cover for The Island Escape works so beautifully with the ideas presented within your novel. How did you feel when you first set eyes on it? Was it everything that you’d hoped for?

You could safely trap my artistic ability in a matchbox so I am always so relieved that someone has responsibility for coming up with covers – it is still a major factor in how well a novel sells. I thought The Island Escape cover was perfect for the summer market, the sort of book you’d want to pick up in an airport bookshop.

Do you believe that as we grow older we lose bits of our younger selves?

I think we get less carefree. It’s almost impossible not to because you gain more responsibilities, especially if you have children and your time/finances/freedom become more restricted. Having said that, I think you also gain a lot with life experience – now I don’t give a hoot about things I used to lose sleep over when I was younger. And I’ve also weeded out the people who make me feel bad about myself.

Have you travelled a lot, Kerry? If so, where have you been?

I lived in Spain, Corsica and Italy during my twenties, before coming back to Britain to retrain as a journalist. Pre-children I was a travel journalist and guidebook author – nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds. I wrote books about Corfu, Spain, Italy and Australia. Every year I try to go somewhere new - but more and more I’m falling in love with Britain – Norfolk, Cornwall, Suffolk…there’s so much to see on our own doorstep.

What other themes can we expect to come across in The Island Escape?

One of the basic premises of the book when I was planning The Island Escape was ‘Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce?’ I noticed that divorce often had an unpredictable knock-on effect in friendship groups.

How long did it take you to fully complete writing your latest novel?

 It doesn’t seem to matter whether I dawdle or fly along – the result is always the same – about a year.

How are you expecting readers to feel whilst lost in The Island Escape?

I hope that it’ll make them feel young, perhaps a bit nostalgic at times and remind them of what it’s like to be in love in that all-consuming, ‘can’t think about anything else’ sort of way…Ultimately I set out to write a feel-good novel about friendship and love, with the gorgeous location of Corsica as a backdrop, so I hope I’ve been successful.

If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only have one person with you, who would that person be?

If it was a question of survival, I can’t say my husband because he’s not very practical. I’m the one who checks the tyres and oil, fixes the shower and unblocks drains. I’d probably say my best friend, Maria. We’ve had some terrible travelling disasters and always managed to see the funny side.

When you’re not writing, where else would we find you?

I do love to cook, so probably in my kitchen trying out more ‘superfood’ recipes. They usually engender a ‘yuk’ response in my children, though even I have to admit my recent avocado and mint ice cream and black bean brownies were pretty rank.

What are you favourite things to do when the summer months are upon us?

I used to think gardening was for people who had no social life or too much time on their hands, but there’s nothing I like more than pottering about, admiring my lupins and deadheading geraniums. I still can’t believe how much joy a £2.99 packet of poppy seeds can bring. We live on a big windy hill that’s a total mud pit in the winter so I do love to make the most of the summer and have lots of friends over for barbecues and wine.

Are you already working on your next book? Are we allowed any hints as to what we’ll be reading next by you?

I’ve finished my next book - it’s about how small secrets become bigger and more toxic as they pass down the generations, interspersed with a wry look at the challenges of parenting teenagers!

Do you have any top tips for aspiring writers out there?

Take classes, read books about writing, go to workshops to equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Be prepared to hear and act on the feedback from people you trust. Accept that rejection is part of the process of getting published. Network in real life as well as on line. Be generous-spirited and support other authors even if you’re wildly envious!

Where is your favourite place to write? Is there somewhere specific that you retreat to?

I’ve tried all sorts of places but as unglamorous as it is, I work best in Starbucks. I drop my kids at school and drive straight there so I don’t get distracted by the never-ending toffee pot of things to do at home.

Is the writer life the life for you?

That’s a very interesting question. Every time I’ve set myself a professional goal in my life, when I’ve reached it, I’ve always had a slight feeling of ‘Oh dear, I’m not sure this is what I really wanted to do.’ Now I feel absolutely convinced that novel-writing is my dream job, but I’m very realistic about how tough it is to be successful. Sitting down and getting words on a page is obviously crucial – but marketing, networking and building your brand are a fundamental part of a writer’s life as well.

Any parting comments?

 I’d just like to say thank you so much for having here today – book bloggers are incredibly generous in helping spread the word about authors and their books - and I want you to know how much I appreciate your time.


Kerry, I cannot thank you enough for being here on Becca’s Books today! I wish you every success with The Island Escape and I’m sure it will be accompanying many a holiday-goer this summer! 


The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher ~ BLOG TOUR!

Sometimes friends could see the things that blind us.


Title - The Island Escape 
Author - Kerry Fisher
Publication Date - May 21st 2015
Published - Avon
Format - Paperback (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 400

The blurb

Can one woman's marriage survive her best friend's divorce? 

It's time to get back to where it all began...

Octavia Sheldon thought she'd have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow. But things didn't turn out quite like that.

Married to safe, reliable Jonathan, her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and more loads of dirty washing than she ever thought possible. She's not unhappy. It's just that she can barely recognise herself any longer. 

So as Octavia watches her best friend's marriage break up, it starts her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and get back to the person she used to be? Escape back to the island where she spent her summers? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her...?

Becca's thoughts

First of all, I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to the marvellous team at Avon and the wonderful author Kerry Fisher for providing me with an absolutely divine copy of The Island Escape. Not only were Avon kind enough to send me a shiny paperback copy of this book, but they also sent a package my way which included a lovely bottle of Elderflower wine, popcorn, gorgeous looking chocolate biscuits and an invite to Kerry's online launch party! Honestly, book folk, it was bloody brilliant, and Avon definitely come up with the best marketing campaigns for their titles. As always, I was utterly delighted to be invited along onto Kerry's tour, and I'm equally delighted to be hosting the lovely author on Becca's Books today, not only with a review of her novel but with a fabulous Q&A too! So, without further ado, let me tell you why I adored The Island Escape.

To begin with, Kerry seriously starts off The Island Escape with a bang. The bang of a cell door in a police station, no less. I haven't read many books that begin in such an eyebrow-raising way and I was immediately curious to know exactly why and how Kerry's character Roberta had ended up in a police station. I love it when, after just a few pages into a novel, the author let's loose a thousand questions in my mind that I'm just dying to know the answer to and Kerry achieved exactly that with her opening pages. As the plot began to reveal itself, and the true extent of the events unfolded, my eyebrows were raised so high they were practically at the back of my skull. I wanted to know absolutely everything about Roberta and her circumstances, including her husband Scott who, let's be real, was a bit of an idiot (so much more than a bit of an idiot). As soon as Roberta rang long-time friend Octavia, I knew that there was something special between Kerry's two characters. More than just friendship, they shared their deepest, darkest secrets and were each other's sounding boards when things got tough in each of their lives. For me, this was touching in so many ways. The bond that the two women shared went way back and only intensified the feeling that there'd never been two friends like Roberta and Octavia before. Despite being so fond of each other, what surprised me was how different the two women were. They'd had differing upbringings, both providing the other with whatever it was that they were missing. I just ADORED how well each of the women fit into the other's life. They moulded perfectly together, a mish-mash of characteristics and backgrounds, yet they hummed so beautifully when side by side! As each woman's circumstances changed and the plot progressed, I could feel myself falling deeper and harder beneath Kerry Fisher's spell. 

This is the first book that I've read by Kerry, but I can assure you right now, it will not be the last. The sheer mystery, intrigue and beauty of the author's words had me absolutely enthralled. I found myself dying to know how the story would end, where the characters would end up. I found myself thinking back to where Roberta and Octavia were when the novel began, and I couldn't wait to see how their lives would change by the end of it. There were so many delicate intricacies within each woman's life, tricky situations, things that I'd have no idea how to deal with it had been myself dealing with them. Each woman became an important person to me by the end of this book. I cared about their welfare, their personal issues and whether they'd be happy or not. I was desperate to know that they'd be okay and that the rest of their lives perhaps turn out differently. 

The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher was exactly that. A gorgeously, addictive escape that I craved when not wrapped up in. The characters, the settings and the situations. I was captivated by it all and I wouldn't even hesitate in picking up another book by Kerry. She has such a beautiful way with words that makes me feel like I' dancing about between them on the page, lost completely to my own imagination. 

Becca's Books is awarding The Island Escape by Kerry Fisher with FIVE OF MY GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! You may have your cocktail, sunglasses and sun-cream this summer, but you're really not ready until you've got this book by your side, I can assure you.



    





Evil Games by Angela Marsons

'You wanted me in this game and here I am...'


Title - Evil Games
Author - Angela Marsons
Publication Date - May 29th 2015
Publisher - Bookouture
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 352

The blurb

The greater the Evil, the more deadly the Game...

When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.

Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time - it's personal.

Becca's thoughts

First of all, I'd like to say a MASSIVE thank you to the fantastic author Angela Marsons and her publishers Bookouture for providing me with a digital copy of Evil Games via NetGalley, in exchange for a fair and honest review. Bookouture are absolutely on the ball this year, publishing some truly sensational titles that I have loved, and I just know that signing with Angela Marsons was a move that they had to make. Can you imagine the world carrying on without the thrill of Angela's D.I. Kim Stone stories? I, for one, cannot even begin to imagine such a place and, quite frankly, what an unexciting place it would be.

I was originally introduced to Angela Marsons when I took a chance on the first novel in the D.I. Kim Stone series Silent Scream  (you can find my review here). If you know me well, then you'll know that I very rarely stretch my bookish fingers towards the crime genre. Romance is my first and last love, perhaps with a dash of horror and a sprinkle of psychological thriller from time to time, but crime? Previously, it was a complete no-go for me. So, you can imagine my surprise when Silent Scream bobbed along and caught me within it's grip. I was hooked, from the very first page to the very last. And so, Angela Marsons became Becca's Books' favourite crime writer. Once I'd finished Silent Scream, I couldn't wait to see what Angela provided her readers with next, and prayed that it would be just as good as Silent Scream, because I wanted to feel that tug and pull towards the plot that had kept the pages turning. Apparently, I'd had nothing to worry about, and I should have known better than to question the power and punch of book two...

Evil Games was phenomenal and I'm not using the term lightly here, folks. It was absolutely, without a doubt, even more grippy and compelling than the first in the series and I really didn't think that was possible. As well as this, Angela dealt with some pretty damn serious crimes that left me feeling shaky with disgust. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph came together to deliver one hell of a winning book that I now just want to slap into every reader's face. Angela's writing style, punchy and effective, won me over again and again throughout my reading of Evil Games and I could practically see and feel this tension within the plot building. My senses felt heightened, my breathing quickened and this experience of reading a novel by Angela Marsons will remain me, giving me no choice but to read EVERY BOOK EVER by the author. 

What I relished most about Evil Games was that in the second in the series, the secrets of Kim's past are slowly, finally revealed to the reader. I don't know about you (if you've read Silent Scream), but I was intrigued as to what had happened in Kim's past, and what had moulded her into the person that she is today. My impression of Kim is that, sometimes, she can come across as being very cold-hearted. Not that I don't like this, I think it adds so much bad-ass-ness to her character and she's wholly powerful, but I wanted to know why she was like that. What had happened for Kim to react the way she does in certain situations? Thankfully, my questions were seen to in Evil Games. This time round, we're not only faced with a compelling crime plot, but the truth behind Kim's past surfaces, and what a heart-breaking past it is.

Readers, if you know Kim Stone at all, then you'll know that she would never willingly reveal these secrets, never share the horrors of what she'd been through with anyone, so what better to add into the mix than a cruel, evil, incredibly clever sociopath known as Alex, who is desperate to dig deeper into Kim's history and use her demons against her? I cannot even begin to tell you how EXCITING this was for me as a reader. I know that sounds slightly weird, but I was thrilled to find someone for Kim to go to battle with. I mean, Alex was a serious piece of work. Not only was she conniving and intelligent, but she also held an outstanding profession where she was able to take advantage of the people who she came into contact with in the most devastating way, resulting in the most dangerous consequences. I knew, without a doubt, that when Alex and Kim came face to face there would be fireworks, and lots of them!

The entire plot of Evil Games held me captive. When I wasn't reading this book, I was thinking about it. I was dying to know when Alex's madness would finally be extinguished. I wanted to know how far the games would go, and how far Alex and Kim would continue to push each other. I couldn't wait to see who tipped over the edge first. 

As I'd expected, Evil Games was truly epic. A nasty, twisting plot that dragged me under into a world of deceit and persuasion that refused to let go of my mind long after I'd finished reading. I feel like I know Kim Stone a hell of a lot better now, and despite her bad-ass-ness, I really just want to give her  a massive hug for everything that has paved the way to where she stands now. And after playing cat and mouse with Alex within the book, I think she definitely deserves a break before book 3! ;) *taps fingers impatiently* Or not. What do you reckon, Kim?

Five cupcakes from me. Without a doubt!




    

   









COVER REVEAL ~ Molly Ann Wishlade's A Rancher for Rosie

Today on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be helping to reveal the fabulous Molly Ann Wishlade's cover for the second book A Rancher for Rosie in Molly's The Duggans of Montana series. In case you weren't aware, Molly is the author of hot, sensual romance, so if you're a fan, then I'd definitely recommend that you check out Molly's books!

So, without further ado, here is the steamy cover for A Rancher for Rosie!

A Rancher for Rosie
By Molly Ann Wishlade
Published July 31st 2015

A course of true love never did run smooth but there's only one rancher for Rosie Duggan.

It's is Springtime, 1871, and Rosie Duggan is in love with Joshua Hampton, a handsome rancher's son.

Joshua is seven years her junior but they have fallen hard and hope to marry.

However, Joshua's parents have other ideas. Firstly, they believe that Rosie is too old for their son. Secondly, they do not want Joshua marrying into the Duggan family. They believe that the Duggans are tainted by their association with Catherine Montgomery and her mysterious past.

Rosie only wants the best for everyone she loves so she makes several difficult decisions, preparing to sacrifice her own happiness to protect those around her. 

But sometimes the people we love are prepared to make sacrifices too, so Rosie could well find the happiness she craves with her gorgeous rancher.

You can find Molly Ann Wishlade on Goodreads | Twitter | misswishlade.wordpress.com
This title will be available for pre-order on June 19th 2015.


Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas

"We may think we're tending our garden, but of course it's the garden that is nurturing us."    


Title - Coming Up Roses
Author - Rachael Lucas
Publication Date - 21st May 2015 (eBook & paperback)
Publisher - Pan Macmillan 
Format - Paperback (Provided via author)
Pages - 300

The blurb

Would-be gardening expert Daisy can't believe her luck when her parents announce they're off on a midlife crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of their gorgeous garden, much in need of her expert TLC. And coming just after a break up, some peace and quiet in the countryside is just what she needs. Only, village life turns out to be anything but - with nosey neighbours and greedy developers instantly stirring up trouble. 

What Daisy really needs is a good friend, or two. So when she comes across Elaine and Jo, she's relieved to have multiple shoulders to cry on. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own - a marriage in crisis, a family secret and managing the local gossips. 

As Daisy wrestles the garden into something like beautiful order, can she get a grip on her new feelings for handsome Irish rogue George and stop her parents selling up to a developer? 

Becca's thoughts

Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas is, by far, the prettiest flower in the bouquet. 

First of all, I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to the absolutely lovely author Rachael Lucas for sending a gorgeous proof of Coming Up Roses my way. I really cannot believe my luck sometimes, especially in regards to receiving the very thing that I love most in the post, and this joyous feeling is only heightened when I know it's a book that I'm extremely, extremely, EXTREMELY looking forward to. So, you can imagine my sheer excitement when I tore open the parcel and found this beauty inside!

There was a real community feel to Coming Up Roses and it smacked me in the face as soon as I began reading. What also became clear to me, from the get go, was that Daisy really didn't want to make friends. Staying at her parents' stunning home, Orchard Villa, Daisy's plans for the foreseeable future consisted of tending their slightly over-run garden and putting her green-fingered knowledge to good use. It felt to me, as well as to Daisy, absolutely perfect, and like the ultimate countryside escape. Steeple St John, the idyllic village where Daisy flees to, was something of a paradise to me. Those rolling green fields and peaceful surroundings made me feel as if I were on holiday myself whilst reading. I was whisked away by Rachael's words, and found myself watching Daisy as she pottered about her parents' garden, trying to whip it back into shape and gathering her scattered thoughts due to what had happened previously, relationship-wise. 

Despite Daisy wanting to keep herself to herself, it wasn't long until the friendly faces of Steeple St John swam into view, tugging Daisy right into the heart of the village. The transition of Daisy's feelings throughout the novel charmed me completely. A number of different issues crop up within the plot, too, and these really emphasised my concern for the characters. I was hoping and praying that they'd be okay, that their lives wouldn't get turned upside down, and the awful, awful property development people didn't get their own way! Among the many friends that Daisy made while in Steeple St John, two women became incredibly close and made Daisy feel less alone, which I think was exactly what she needed. Elaine and Jo seemed to come along at just the right moment within Daisy's story, and to watch their friendships bloom, rather like the flowers that Daisy tends to, was absolutely beauuuutiful! As well as Elaine and Jo, Daisy meets a handful of colourful, engaging characters who only help to bring this story to life in all of it's glorious, vivid, eye-catching beauty, as well as a very pleasing Irishman known as George. 

Of course, every story needs conflict to have the readers gripping the book with tension, and Rachael sure enough includes that within Coming Up Roses. From the previously mentioned property developers who are hoping to snatch Steeple St John's greenery away, to the snobby mum's up the school, Daisy begins to realise that life isn't as peaceful in Steeple St John as it first appeared to be. These problems that continue to crop up, like blooms pushing through soil, defined Daisy's determination and love for her parents' home perfectly, and I was rooting for her right the way through the book until the very last page. 

Beautifully written, with a fantastic plot that was full of surprises, I absolutely loved Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas. This is the perfect book to get your hands on this spring/summer time, to devour whilst sat in the garden beneath warm sun, with bumble bees buzzing away in the background. The theme of gardening only enhanced the light, airy atmosphere of the book, and it felt like a breath of fresh air whenever I sat down to enjoy it. 

Becca's Books is awarding Coming Up Roses with FIVE DELICIOUS CUPCAKES! I loved this book, from back to front, and Daisy was such a lovely, warm-hearted girl who I only wished nothing but the best for. I was so desperate for her to capture her happy ending, but did she? I guess you'll have to find out for yourself, bookish beauts! ;)



   












Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley

'A home is the most precious gift you can give to someone...'


Title - Conditional Love
Author - Cathy Bramley
Publication Date - December 2nd 2014
Publisher - Transworld
Format - Kindle Edition (Self-purchased)
Pages - 366

The blurb

A takeaway, TV and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets for thirty-something Sophie Stone. Sophie's life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much.

But when a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is one big catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen.

Saying 'yes' means that chance to build her own dream home, but she'll also have to face the past and hear some uncomfortable truths...

With interference from an evil boss, warring parents, an unreliable boyfriend and an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth, will Sophie be able to build a future on her own terms - and maybe even find love along the way? 

Becca's thoughts

This was wonderful!

I adore Cathy Bramley. Absolutely love the socks off the woman! Her writing is just a pure comfort to slip into, whether that be her FABULOUS Ivy Lane series, or her GORGEOUS Appleby Farm series, both of which I seriously enjoyed, Cathy has a sensational voice that I could listen to again and again and again, on repeat, all of the freaking time. If you haven't already treated yourself to Cathy's latest series, then I urge you to do so! You will not find another author who makes you feel at home as much as this one does. Ivy Lane (first published as a four-part series is now available as a full story), and Appleby Farm (currently published as a four-part series is being published as a full story in August 2015), are both the type of stories that will you make you want to stick your feet up, pop the kettle on and absolutely lose yourself to the words on the page. I promise you that!

Anyway, I'll stop waxing lyrical about Cathy, and return to the reasoning behind this post, and that would be Cathy's debut novel Conditional Love. I've probably done this completely the wrong way round, seeing as I've read her latest before her debut, but who actually cares? There are no rules to reading and that's why it's so fun! 

Before being picked up by the fabulous Transworld publishers, Cathy self-published Conditional Love. Once under Transworld's care, the novel was given a stunning new cover which caught my attention immediately, and I couldn't click 'purchase' quick enough. I'm ashamed to say that it's been sat on my Kindle for a while now, waiting for me to finally get round to it, but now, I'm thrilled to announce that Conditional Love has been moved from my to-read pile to my read pile, and I'm ready to present you lovely lot with my review!

In Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley, the reader is introduced to Sophie Stone. Immediately, we're launched right into a crucial scene, as Sophie wakes up beside her arse-hole (although she doesn't realise it at this point) of a boyfriend on Valentine's Day. Things rapidly go downhill for the lovable Sophie, as rather than revealing a beautifully-wrapped gift from behind his back or leaping atop Sophie to ravish her, Marc breaks up with Sophie and leaves rather swiftly. Perfect Valentine's Day gift, right ladies? So, Sophie, dealing with a heavy dose of heartbreak, forces herself onwards, hoping to forget about Marc as the lonely days go by. The plot really begins to thicken when Sophie receives a mysterious letter and is handed the responsibility of her Great Aunt Jane's cottage on Lilac Lane, in Woodby. Little does Sophie know, the bundle of money and the cottage which is in much need of some tender love and care is only hers on one condition, a condition which she must agree to...

Not only did I find Conditional Love gorgeously enveloping, but it also spoke to me on a personal level too, especially when Sophie's absent father becomes involved within the plot. There are some beautifully written, emotional scenes, a few which I've been through myself, and Cathy managed to hit the onslaught of warring emotions on the head perfectly. I found myself sitting there, staring at the Cathy's descriptions of Sophie's emotions, and thinking, "This is exactly how I felt, too..." and as ridiculous as it sounds, it was comforting to know that there was somebody else out there who knew exactly what I'd been through (even if that somebody was a fictional character). Including Sophie's absent father within the plot added a heap of intrigue to this story, especially since Sophie hadn't set on eyes on the man for God knew how long. There'd been conflict in the past according to Sophie's mother, and I was desperate to find out what exactly that conflict had involved. I had so many questions running through my mind, and Cathy had me holding my breath at numerous moments throughout my reading of Conditional Love. There was mystery, secrets and a whole lotta' Cathy Bramley at work. Quite simply, it was marvellous. 

Of course, as is the norm with any of the authors books that I've read, as well as succulent plot to really sink my teeth into, there were some excellent characters who I thouroughly enjoyed spending my time with. Sophie Stone, firstly, who Conditional Love is really all about. We follow Sophie through her journey of self-discovery, not only in regards to her family, but in regards to her heart, too. Alongside Sophie, we have her fantastic flatmates, Emma and Jess, two colourful, engaging sisters who added heaps of camaraderie to the atmosphere whenever they were present. Lots of girlish, friendly banter took place which is something that I always love to read. It always reminds me of my own sisters who never fail to make me smile. Also, I believe the sibling relationship between Jess and Emma highlighted how alone Sophie sometimes felt. With her mother living abroad, Sophie didn't really have anyone who she could call her own, but Emma and Jess didn't mind filling that gap for her, which made me love the three of them and their bond all the more. Moving away from the girls, we have Marc who I instantly took a disliking too, and who continued to grind my gears right the way through the novel. There were moments when Sophie was so blind-sided by her feelings for the man, I wanted to reach into my Kindle and give her a gentle shake of the shoulders because he was just SUCH an IDIOT! Marc didn't, not once, appeal to me at all. Sophie's architect however worked wonders, and you'll know exactly what I mean if you've read this book too.

All in all, Cathy Bramley's debut was FABULOUS! It had it all. The romance, the mystery, the girly chats... It was the perfect book for me to lose myself within after a long day at work. My troubles instantly vanished and I felt like I could step away from my own life and join Sophie Stone in hers for a little while. I sincerely hope that you'll do the same, too, bookish beauts! A delectable romance that will most definitely whisk you away!

Becca's Books is awarding Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley with FOUR GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! I'm thrilled that we have so much more to come from Cathy, and I can't wait to dive into each and every book that she shares with us in the future.


  



  

COVER REVEAL ~ Ellen Faith's Dear Darling

It's here, bookish beauts! It's finally here! 
Today on Becca's Books, I'm helping to reveal the gooooorgeous new cover of Ellen Faith's upcoming release Dear Darling. I cannot even begin to tell you how DAMN exciting this is, mainly because I am such a huge fan of Ellen's novels. From The Story of Us to Ellen's recent novella Learn to Love Again, I love everything that this author creates for her readers. Dear Darling will no doubt be just as fabulous!

**DRUMROLL**

Here is the FANTASTIC cover for Ellen Faith's upcoming novel Dear Darling...


Dear Darling
By Ellen Faith
Published July 31st 2015

'I'm 30 years old and sat celebrating with a greasy pizza and a bottle of cheap plonk.'

On her 30th birthday, Ellie Darling decides that it's time to start a diary. Mainly as a reminder for when she's old and living with cats that she once had a life that wasn't all bad. Even if it was one where at 30 years of age, she still refused to spend that extra £3 on the good wine instead of chocolate.

But when the only proposal she gets from her boyfriend on Valentine's Day is that of a threesome, she decides that enough is enough! With a new, improved job as Personal Assistant to one of the most feared Partners at her law firm - one that she doesn't seem to be able to stop dreaming about - Ellie decides that this will be her year. And if she has to run errands for her boss' neurotic Russian girlfriend or drag her best friend to a sponsored cycle with her now gay first love, so be it. 

~ Author Bio ~


Ellen lives in the wonderful county of Yorkshire, England where she spends most of her time baking, eating, baking, and eating. Occasionally she does leave the house to go to the cinema or do some food shopping though.

After spending years with an over-active imagination, she decided to put all the magic in her head to some good use and put finger to laptop where The Story of Us was born and became her debut novel.

She loves to travel, her favourite destinations so far have all been in America, hence the love of all things, and all people, American. The food rocks pretty hard too, she ate until her jeans begged her to stop whilst she was there. True fact.

Aside from daydreaming and eating, Ellen is a sucker for a lolcat, penguins and monkeys - she has never claimed to be normal.

You can find Ellen Faith on Facebook | Twitter | ellenfaith.com
You can find Dear Darling on Goodreads












The Secret of Us by Liesel Schmidt

When had the man who was supposed to love me fallen out of love?


Title - The Secret of Us
Author - Liesel Schmidt 
Publication Date - April 13th 2015 
Publisher - Carina 
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)

The blurb

When your other half leaves you...

After her fiance breaks up with her in 'their restaurant', leaving her with no explanation other than an apology scrawled on a napkin, Eira no longer feels at home in North Carolina. So she leaves for the Florida coast, hoping that rebuilding her life will be easier somewhere new. But while her new home may hold no trace of the past, life doesn't always turn out the way you planned...

...how do you know who you are?

Finally faced with the opportunity to ask her questions about love, lies, and the life she thought was hers, Eira realises that hearing the answers is going to hurt. Yet if she is brave enough to listen, finding the missing piece of the past might lead her to a brighter future than she ever thought possible...

Becca's thoughts

First of all, I'd like to thank Liesel Schmidt and her publishers Carina for providing me with a copy of The Secret of Us via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I absolutely fell head over heels in love with Liesel's cover when Carina revealed it over on Twitter, and it didn't take long for the need to know the story behind it to settle down and niggle at me from the back of my mind.

This is the second novel that I have had the pleasure of reading by Liesel Schmidt, the first being her debut Coming Home to You which was emotionally overwhelming from the get-go. I realised when I began reading The Secret of Us that Liesel is incredibly talented when it comes to writing emotion. It's powerful, it's heart-breaking and just so painfully raw, and just like her debut, that same talent was evidently at play in her latest release.

In The Secret of Us, Liesel focuses on the life of Eira Larson who, during the planning of her wedding to fiancé Matt and dinner at their favourite Italian restaurant, is abandoned with nothing more than a napkin, the words 'I'm sorry' scrawled on it, left behind on the table. With no explanation, no follow-up calls or texts, not even an apology, Eira is left in the dark as to what happened that night and where in the world her fiancé Matt disappeared to. As the novel progresses, Eira moves and starts life afresh, with new friends and new plans, until a strangely familiar face appears and knocks her for six. Suddenly, all of the questions that she'd so desperately wanted answers for begin to resurface and, even stranger, she might just have found the person who can provide those answers.

   Of course, things are never as simple as they first appear to be, and Liesel demonstrates that perfectly within The Secret of Us.

As soon as I was aware of Eira's situation, I couldn't quite believe it, almost as much as Eira herself. I felt confused, a little bewildered, and quite frankly, even I had questions that I wanted answers to! How was Matt able to just get up and leave Eira like that? To leave nothing but a napkin behind and not look back? This was a fantastically explosive way to begin Eira's journey and I couldn't wait to find out more, and this need to find out more propelled me surging onwards through the plot to finally have my answers, and I'm almost certain that Eira felt the exact same way. There was such a delicious concoction of mystery, betrayal and hope within The Secret of Us, as the title suggests, and all sorts of scenarios were popping up in my mind as to where Matt had disappeared to. Had he been leading a double life with a second family somewhere else? Had he just gotten bored? Had he acquired cold feet in regards to the wedding? I didn't have a bloody clue, but I can tell you one thing... I was just dying to find out. The possibilities for this novel were endless.

Accompanying Eira on her journey to discovery held some surprising moments for me as a reader, especially when unexpected turns began to change the things that I thought I knew, and I had no choice but to shift direction and go with them. There was so much depth to this novel, with all sorts of aspects which were approached tenderly by the author. From the military to intricate relationships, it could have been seen as perhaps a bit too much to take in, but I believe Liesel Schmidt handled it beautifully. With serious undertones running throughout the length of The Secret of Us, it made for a truly all-consuming read, it's tone and style completely enveloping in the best way.

Eira, to me, was a character who I warmed to immediately. I'm not sure whether it was because I felt like she deserved my sympathy or whether I respected her for picking up the pieces of her life and attempting to begin again, somewhere new. Either way, I became a firm supporter of Eira's decisions and only wished the best for her. I felt like I was right beside Eira whenever something new was revealed in the mystery of Matt's disappearance, watching her expressions flash across her features, so vivid were Liesel's descriptions. I really cared about Eira, about where she'd end up by the time The Secret of Us came to an end. I knew that what Eira had always wanted were the answers to her questions and it became incredibly important to me than she found them, so that she could put the past to rest.

As mentioned above, Liesel deals with emotions when writing in the most clear, real and raw way. She doesn't rinse her words or try to soften the blows. It is what it is, and that's how real life is. I was able to feel each of Eira's emotions as if they belonged to me, which is such a one-off thing to experience. Liesel's descriptions are stunning, so much more than words on a page, each one placed perfectly beside the next to create a sentence that knocks you off your feet. So powerful, so emotive and so damn hard to ignore.

There was so much more to this novel than I thought there would be. So much more than surprised me as my reading of it progressed. Surprises hidden around every corner, harsh truths and shocking realities, but still, at the end of it all, hope, love and the future overriding all else.

Becca's Books is awarding The Secret of Us by Liesel Schmidt with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! I was so pleased to find that Liesel hadn't lost that special touch of hers that I was first introduced to in Coming Home to You. In fact, if anything, Liesel has only honed that skill and hit me full force with it this time round. A beautiful, timeless, poignant novel that touched my heart completely.





  

    









HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY LAURA SALTERS!

It's here! It's finally here! Today is that day that Laura Salters' debut novel Run Away is published, and I am utterly delighted to be sharing my excitement for such a wonderful author! I know how long Laura has been waiting for this special day and finally, it has arrived! So, lovely Laura, I'm wishing you an absolutely FABULOUS publication day, & a ton of sales for Run Away!


"Ignorance is bliss... until there's blood involved."

Drenched in blood and sitting in the sweltering interview room of a Thai police station, Kayla Finch knows that Sam, the love of her life, is dead. It doesn't matter that there's no body. All that blood can mean only one thing. 

It isn't the first time Kayla's had blood on her hands. After finding her brother dead by his own hand, she tried to outrun her grief by escaping to Thailand. Heartbroken, the last thing she expected was to find love on the smoggy streets of Bangkok. But everyone Kayla loves seems to wind up dead.

Returning home to England, Kayla is left with a barely-functioning family, a string of gruesome nightmares, and the niggling feeling that nothing is as it seems. And as she confronts her brother's suicide, she starts to suspect that something is very wrong.

Three months. Two tragedies. One connection: there's more to both cases than anyone is willing to admit. And Kayla's determined to uncover the truth... no matter what the cost.


~ Author Bio ~


Laura Salters is a suspense author (represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media Inc) from Berwick-Upon-Tweed, the northernmost town in England. Her debut novel, Run Away, will be published by HarperCollins (Witness Impulse) on May 19. When Laura isn't writing, reading or thinking about writing or reading, she's a music lover (and terrible singer), pet cuddler, beach-goer, runner (*cough*jogger), passionate foodie, caffeine addict, tennis player, lipstick wearer, Harry Potter fangirl (yes, still), housework dodger and relentless chatterbox.

You can find Laura Salters on Facebook | Twitter | LauraSalters.com

WISHING YOU A WONDERFUL PUBLICATION DAY, LAURA!