Book review: Christmas at the Little Village School by Jane Lovering

Christmas at the Little Village School (Choc Lit)Christmas at the Little Village School by Jane Lovering

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This arrived on my Kindle yesterday and I read it as fast as I could. Jane Lovering’s books are an auto buy for me.
Lydia teaches at a school in a tiny village, alongside her fellow teacher Jake. She’s prickly and sharp edged, especially when it comes to Jake. Jake is big and kind without being a pushover. They’ve been tasked with organising the school play at short notice. Given the kids, Christmas, plaster of Paris decorations, an old people’s home and a mysterious man called Gareth, things take a turn for the interesting.
There’s a twist. You find out why Lydia is so prickly part way through the book. It’s kinda hard to tell you about it without giving things away, so I won’t. You’ll just have to read it and find out.

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Amazon US buy link for Christmas at the Little Village School
Amazon UK buy link for Christmas at the Little Village School (Choc Lit)

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Two fantastic reviews

Just when things are starting to feel gloomy (we have frost and gloom, but no actual snow here), up popped two reviews which totally made my week.

Rachel’s Random Reads reviewed Girl In Trouble and gave it 5 stars:  http://rachelsrandomreads.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/book-review-girl-in-trouble-by-rhoda.html

The San Francisco Review of Books reviewed Girl At Christmas:  http://www.sanfranciscoreviewofbooks.com/2017/12/book-review-girl-at-christmas-by-rhoda.html

So all in all, happy me.

 
If you want to try a sample of Girl In Trouble – you can get it here:  https://dl.bookfunnel.com/upswdm2rdu

Or you could sign up to my newsletter and get Girl At Christmas for free!

Have a wonderful day, regardless of whether or not you have snow to play in.

 

It’s Christmas novella time!

 

It’s nearly December, so it must be time to break out a Christmas novella or two.

I have two Christmas novellas out this year. Girl At Christmas, which is set in the same world as the other ‘Smart Girls’ series books, and Snowed In, which is set in a fictional town in West Yorkshire. Here they are:

 

As you can see Milly Johnson and Jane Lovering have nice things to say about them, so you might like them too!

Both novellas have slightly geeky characters and at least one South Asian main character.

You can buy them separately or together in this handy ‘box set’. (Technically,  it’s an omnibus edition because it’s not actually in a box … but there aren’t any wheels, so I’m going with box set as a description). You save a quid on the box set compared to getting them separately. Aha, you say. But they’ll be dropping down to 99p soon… except they won’t, because the book promotion sites tend not to take novellas, so it’s not worth the hassle.

AChristmasDuet Box.jpg

Buy Snowed In

Buy Girl At Christmas

Buy the super duper box set

Happy holiday reading!

 

Girl At Christmas is out!

Hooray! Girl At Christmas is available to buy now.

Girl at christmas cover w quote

If you like your Christmas novellas with a side order of beta hero and warm humour, then this is the book for you.

Here are some (very) early review quotes:

“Fresh and Fun.” Goodreads review

” … real, ordinary people, with real, ordinary lives, they are honest and believable.” Amazon review

“Simple truth about your day to day life that any woman can relate with” Amazon India review

And of course, the quote on the cover from the fabulous Jane Lovering – who knows a thing or two about writing rom coms: “Warm, witty, cute and Christmassy. I just loved it!”

So, go buy:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Everywhere else (Kobo, Ibooks etc)

I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

It’s Christmas novella time! Girl At Christmas is out soon.

It’s that time of year when everyone starts thinking about Christmas. I’ve got not one, but TWO Christmas novellas coming out in the next month. The first one is out next week.

Girl at christmas cover w quote.jpg

Blurb

Tammy is normally at her happiest at Christmas when she has the flat to decorate and those perfect days between Christmas and New Year to relax. But when her long term partner dumps her with no real explanation, her Christmas starts to look very bleak.

Lawrence usually spends Christmas watching DVDs and catching up on his paperwork. At thirty one, he’s already stuck in a rut.

When Lawrence has a sudden heart attack, it is Tammy who comes to his rescue. It turns out a happy Christmas can be made from the most unexpected ingredients.

 

You can preorder it  now – or just order it in the normal way next week.

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Everywhere else:

Writing confidence vs the Fear

Just one week to go before the launch of my first indie published book, Girl In Trouble goes live. Until now, I’ve been working my way through all the things that have to be done – getting first and second round edits to/from the editor, sorting out the cover, making sure that the backmatter links work, getting everything formatted and uploaded to Kindle, Kobo, Apple etc, sorting out the launch week bonuses. But now. Now the fear is hitting me.

All my previous novels have been published by a traditional publisher. The publisher was responsible for making sure that the right files went to the right place and all things went smoothly on launch day. This time around, I’m responsible for it all. What if something goes wrong? Having all the control is great, but on the flip side, it’s also all of the responsibility.

Girl in Trouble cover (no quote)

I’ve put together a few incentives for people to buy the book. The earlier you buy, the more you get:

  1. It’s going to be 99p until the 11th of October. A bargain for a full length book in an established series.
  2. If you buy it in the first week of release (9 – 16th of October) you get some bonus material for free: Kisschase –a book of short stories AND A collection of Sri Lankan recipes (which you can’t buy otherwise).

Right. I’m going to go hyperventilate quietly in the corner now. 

Cover Reveal: Girl In Trouble

I’ve got a new book coming out! For those of you who have read Girl Having A Ball, this is the next book in the series and follows Tom’s best friend Og.

Here’s the cover:

Girl in Trouble cover (no quote)

Isn’t it fabulous? I think the woman encapsulates Olivia’s attitude perfectly.

Blurb:

What do you do when the things that define you disappear?

Grown up tomboy Olivia doesn’t need a man to complete her. Judging by her absent father, men aren’t that reliable anyway. She’s got a successful career, good friends and can evict spiders from the bath herself, so she doesn’t need to settle down, thanks.

Walter’s ex is moving his daughter to America and Walter feels like he’s losing his family. When his friend-with-benefits, Olivia, discovers she’s pregnant by her douchebag ex, Walter sees the perfect chance to be part of a family with a woman he loves. But how can Walter persuade the most independent woman he’s ever met to accept his help, let alone his heart. 

Girl In Trouble is coming out in all ebook formats on the 9th of October. Stay tuned for more updates (or better still, sign up for my newsletter – you get a free short story to keep you busy while you wait).

Book review: The Arrangement by Sonya Lalli

The ArrangementThe Arrangement by Sonya Lalli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up because, as you know, stories about modern Asian women/ second generation expats is totally my catnip. Also, I really like the cover.

Raina is nearly 30 and unmarried. Her grandmother (Nani) is trying desperately to find her a husband. But Raina doesn’t want to meet a nice Indian boy because she’s still in love with her ex… who is still stringing her along. There’s a lot going on in Raina’s life – apart from things with her ex, she’s not sure she loves her job anymore, her best friend Shay is having an epic Indian wedding and Raina herself is questioning why she made the choices she made.

Raina makes a seemingly small choice to lie to her Nani about something and this escalates, rippling out and affecting more and more people until she can’t come clean without hurting a lot of them.

There’s a lot of lovely description about the wider ‘family’ created by the other members of the diaspora. Turns out adopted Aunties in Canada feel just as much right to interfere are Aunties anywhere else. The wedding brings out the most extreme opinions in people anyway.

I loved Nani’s character. She is sweet and acerbic and complex (I especially like the flashbacks to Raina’s childhood where you get a glimpse of who Raina’s mother is like she is).

This is an interesting novel about how we live up to the expectations of other people and whether or not that’s a bad thing. It’s warm, funny in places, and entertaining. If you like Ayisha Malik’s Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged, then you’ll like this.

I received a copy of this via Netgalley in return for a fair review. Thank you Orion and Netgalley.

View all my reviews

Romantic Novelists Association Conference 2017 – a talk on writing about disability

Slide from @DisRomProject 'Writing Disability in Romance: Potentials and Pitfalls

A couple of weekends ago, I went to RNAConf17 in Telford. This was my 6th conference and, as always, it was fantastic. I was in a flat with the rest of the Naughty Kitchen and sat up until waaaay past my usual bed time, eating chocolate and drinking (tea in my case, because I’m sad like that) and chatting about all manner of things. My favourite moment was when a first time conference attendee suddenly said “It’s so nice to be in the company of so many women who UNDERSTAND what it’s like to have people living in your head.” Yep. We get that.

Oh, and I had a lovely fan girl moment when I ran into Sarah Morgan. I love her books. I babbled. She was very gracious and let me take a photo with her.

I attended talks on how to manipulate images, how to ‘do’ social media, the future of the industry etc. The most eye opening talk by far was by Dr Ria Cheyne who talked to us about her research project into the representation of disability in romantic fiction. Her talk about about things to be aware of when writing disabled characters in romance. This is something I’m interested in. I’ve written depressed characters before, which I’m comfortable doing because I’ve been there. I have an idea in embryo about a mobility impaired character, and, since I don’t have first hand experience of it, I know I need to do research to make her life realistic.

Anyway, here are my notes from the session. If you have time, please visit the DisRom Project and take their survey. Pass it onto friends who read romance.

Slide from @DisRomProject 'Writing Disability in Romance: Potentials and Pitfalls
Main slide

Dis Rom Project discussion with Dr Ria Cheyne 

They’ve only had 500 or so reponses to their survey so far, so not enough to draw conclusions from. But responses to the question ‘Would a disabled character on the cover or in the blurb make you LESS likely to buy the book’ were 1%! Most people said it made no difference. A few people (around 19% said ‘it depends’).
The advice for writing about disability was:
  • Do your research – look at forums, speak to people with similar conditions. Don’t assume anything. Eg. Wheelchair users aren’t ALWAYS in their wheelchairs. A person using a white cane isn’t necessarily a 100% sightless.
  • Don’t use disabled secondary characters as a way of showing how good a main character is.
  • Don’t make disabled characters mysteriously wise (make them real people).
  • Be wary of recovery narratives where the disability is suddenly cured by a bonk on the head or a new miracle treatment. 
  • Be mindful of language. Eg ‘She was a wheelchair user’ is different to ‘she was confined to a wheelchair’.
  • Remember hidden disability – not all disability is obvious or visible.
The questions at the end were also illuminating.
Covers from Scope's Romance Classics (2016)
Click on the image to go to the page on the Scope blog

We discussed why representation was important (everyone deserves a happy ending!) and talked a little bit about how people reclaim derogatory language and how someone in wheelchair calling themselves a ‘crip’ is potentially realistic and non-offensive, an able-bodied person calling them that would be offensive, just as it would be in real life. 

We also discussed how it was a good idea to have people familiar with the condition beta read the book before it goes out. This is a sort of ‘sensitivity beta read’ to check for mistakes or misconceptions rather than to check if anyone is offended by anything (people are offended by all sorts of things, you’d never write a book that doesn’t offend someone, somewhere).
It was a really interesting talk. It made me think about a lot of things.

Here’s the link to the survey again. Please do fill it in (and share). 

https://disrom.com/take-part/

The Disability and Romance Project