A post about themes to do with fathers – Happy Father’s Day!

Since it’s Fathers Day, I thought I’d talk about the theme of Girl In Trouble. This book is all about fathers – and their relationships with their daughters. After attending a talk about using theme to unify your story by the fabulous Julie Cohen several years ago (2013?) , I mapped out the main theme of Olivia’s story and then, as Julie suggested, looked at other ways to explore the same theme.

Olivia, the heroine in Girl In Trouble (as you’ve probably guessed) is a grown up tomboy. She has no intention of settling down. She is adamant that while men have their uses, she doesn’t need one to complete her.

When I sat down to think about it, I realised that the reason she behaves like she does is because of her relationship with her father. He left her (and her mother) when Olivia was a teenager. Olivia hasn’t forgiven him.

So I started with Olivia and her father who abandoned her. The hero, Walter,  has a daughter and he’s heart-broken because his ex is moving to America and taking their daughter with her. Walter is a father who is being abandoned.

There’s also the relationship between Olivia and her step father, the guy who was there for her during her teens. Olivia’s biological father comes back and she needs to work out how she feels about him and whether she can forgive him. To complicate matters further, Olivia falls pregnant by accident – to a man who doesn’t want to be a father.

By working out all the different father – daughter relationships, I could make sure that Girl In Trouble held together thematically. I’m quite proud of that.

If you want to read more about it and see if I’ve managed to pull it all together successfully (or even if you just want to see where I’ve screwed up), you can buy Girl In Trouble from all the usual ebook vendors.

Book review: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (Tales from the Chocolate Heart, #1)The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of my daughter’s friends is mad on dragons, so I often pick up dragon related books and check if they’re appropriate to give as presents. Which means, OBVIOUSLY, I have to read them first.

The Dragon with a A Chocolate Heart is a book about a dragon who gets turned into a human. Aventurine is still very much a dragon inside… and she’s passionate about chocolate.

This is a lovely story. It’s got dragons, adventure, chocolate and a touch of magic. My favourite character (apart from Aventurine and her brothers and sisters) is Silke, the Artful Dodger-type friend that Aventurine makes in the city.

I really enjoyed reading this book. That’s the next birthday present sorted for my daughter’s friend.

Buy links:

UK The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (Dragon Heart 1)

US The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

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Book review: Lily’s House by Cassandra Parkin

Lily's HouseLily’s House by Cassandra Parkin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I picked this book up. It was dark and compelling and beautifully written. There are secrets and twists, deftly revealed like cards being turned over. When I finished reading it, I felt like I was resurfacing from deep immersion. That’s a rare thing to find.

Jen’s grandmother, Lily, has died and Jen needs to sort out Lily’s house. A place with many happy memories, but somewhere she hasn’t visited for many, many years. Jen brings with her her 12 year old daughter Marianne.
Going through Lily’s stuff, Jen uncovers secrets and memories long buried.

Brilliant book. Dark and twisty without being a thriller.

Buy Link UK: Lily’s House
Buy link US: Lily’s House

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Box set of books: The Turners by Courtney Milan

The Turner SeriesThe Turner Series by Courtney Milan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this as a boxed set. I was going to review the book individually, but I found the link for the full set, so here’s a review of that instead.

I loved the Turner brothers, their complex back story and the strong bond between them.
I loved Ash and Smite’s stories best. The others were great too.
There are three stories in the box set, plus a novella and short story (and some additional content that I didn’t get around to, sorry). It cost about £6.99, which was an Absolute bargain for a week’s worth of entertainment.

Buy Link UK: The Turner Series (An Enhanced Box Set)
Buy Link US: The Turner Series (An Enhanced Box Set)
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A ROYAL WEDDING – zooming up the charts

A ROYAL WEDDING by m’alter ego Jeevani Charika is zipping up the charts at the moment. It’s #1079 in the overall Kindle chart in the US (which, given how many bazillions of books are on Amazon US, is pretty cool).

both cover side by side

AND it’s still a #1 bestseller in Weddings in Amazon UK!

I’m a very happy author!

If you read the book (thank you, thank you, thank you), please leave a review. It makes a huge difference to know what you thought (even if it’s a one-liner).

If you haven’t read it here are the links to find it. It’s 99p/99c on most sites this week.

USA Amazon site link.

And for everywhere else: books2read.com/u/38g8aa



Book review: Married to Her Enemy by Jenni Fletcher

Married to Her EnemyMarried to Her Enemy by Jenni Fletcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having just read a load of regency romances, I thought I’d try something different and read a book with a medieval setting.
Aediva hates Normans (she’s a Saxon). So when big, blonde Norman dude Svend comes crashing into her village, she’s not happy about it. Svend, incidentally, is a Dane and not actually Norman … but to all intents and purposes he is the enemy.

I liked that Aediva is a ‘Saxon wildcat’. Her conversations with Svend are interesting to read.
The medieval setting was really interesting and unusual. I liked that the characters were realistically young too. I really cared for them.
Good characters, great dialogue, interesting setting, lots of fighting with swords… what more could you ask for?

The usual disclaimer applies – I know Jenni Fletcher as we’re both members of the RNA. I took this book out of the library (because libraries are awesome and writers get paid a tiny amount for each book you borrow!). But if you want to buy your own, the links are below.

Buy link US: Married to Her Enemy (Harlequin Historical)

Buy link UK:Married To Her Enemy (Mills & Boon Historical)

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Rules to observe when you meet a member of the Royal family

In A Royal Wedding, each chapter starts with a newspaper clipping. Here’s the start of chapter 3. I did a ton of research for this book, so this is actually genuine advice, y’know, in case you should meet a senior royal.


Rules to observe when you meet a member of the Royal family

Don’t be like Kumari Senavaka. Know your royal etiquette

Rule 1. Don’t touch them. Don’t initiate a handshake. If they indicate they want to shake your hand, do so, but then let go!

Rule 2: No selfies. The royals are not allowed to take selfies. You may ask someone else to take a photo, but no standing up close.

Rule 3: Show respect. Gentlemen bow and ladies curtsey to the Queen. Although the younger royals don’t insist on bows and curtseys, you may still want to, especially if you’re meeting Princess Helena because she is the future Queen.

Rule 4: Use proper forms of address. No first names please. The Queen should always be addressed as ‘Your Majesty’ at first and then ma’am. The Princes and princesses should be addressed as ‘Your Highness’ in the first instance and then ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ as appropriate.

Rule 5: When the Queen arrives, stand up.

both cover side by side

Buy A Royal Wedding now.

A Royal Wedding is 99p in the UK today

The heading says it all, really.  A Royal Wedding is currently 99p in the UK.

Since this would looks like a really short post now, here are some extracts from reviews.

A Royal Wedding UK coverI was blown away. Such strong characters, and such a marvellously weaved story. It’s unpredictable, real, deep, and relatable.”  5 stars – Amazon review

It’s a beautifully written fairytale romance where a Prince meets an ordinary doctor from Leeds, a daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants, and falls in love, but it’s so much more than that.” 5 stars – Review on Goodreads
The perfect book to curl up on the sofa with!”  5 stars – Amazon review

Hope the sun is shining where you are!

Here’s the buy link again. books2read.com/u/38g8aa


Book review: The Magician’s Lie by Greer MacAllister

The Magician's LieThe Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Amazing Arden is a famous illusionist, who is well known for her trick ‘the halved man’, where she saws (or hacks) a man in half, with blood and gore and drama and then he reappears whole again. But when a dead man is found amoungst the props for the the halved man, Arden is the main suspect.

Virgil Holt is a small town policeman with a secret of his own. WHen he sees the main suspect for the murder on the run, he catches her and takes her to his local police station, which is a tiny single room, to hold her until he can hand her over to the authorities. In that time, he wants to get to the truth of her story.

The book tells two parallel stories – one of the single night where Arden tells Virgil what happened to her. The other story is the one Arden tells Virgil. It’s the story of her life. Virgil (and the reader) doesn’t know what to believe. As unreliable narrators go, Arden is brilliant and in the tradition of The Usual Suspects.

This is a desperately compelling book. Beautifully written. I raced through it. I got a review copy from Netgalley on a whim. I’m so glad I did.

Buy link UK: The Magician’s Lie
Buy link US: The Magician’s Lie

View all my reviews