Book Review: Girl In Red Velvet by Margaret James

Girl in Red VelvetGirl in Red Velvet by Margaret James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lily goes to Oxford and meets two boys – Max and Harry. She ends up falling in love with them both. She slightly prefers Max, but Harry is the sensible choice. So she ends up married to Harry while Max travels around the world trying to get into as many dangerous situations as he can.

I had trouble warming to Lily. Max and Harry were both likeable and, when things go horribly wrong towards, they act in ways that are entirely understandable given the circumstances. This is an epic story that spans several decades. It’s about love and trust and forgiveness. The ending is beautiful.

Oxford plays a large part in the book, which made me all nostalgic for Norham Gardens.

The usual disclaimer – the author and I know each other (we write for the same publisher). I enjoy reading her books, which is why I request ARCs of her books from Netgalley. Which is just a longwinded way of saying ‘thank you to Netgalley for a free book in exchange for a review’.

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Goodreads Book Review: Discord by Katy Haye

Discord (Echoes of Earth, #1)Discord by Katy Haye
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book because I’ve read Katy Haye’s other books and enjoyed them.

Beth is in a hospital that helps kids with brain damage recover from their trauma, with a particular emphasis on using music therapy. Right from the off, you realise that there’s something not quite right. The feeling of something being wrong grows through the book. Eventually, Beth and her boyfriend Toby find out what’s going on. I can’t tell you any more without giving it all away, sorry!

This is a very imaginative book, slightly creepy and quite dark in places. I enjoyed it.
So much so that I finished it and went straight on to read Dissent – the next book in the series.

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Inheritance Books: Kate Hewitt

Today’s Inheritance Books are from Kate Hewitt. I’ll go get the biscuits. While you’re waiting Kate, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

bio_pic3I am an American ex-pat living in Wales, with my husband, five children, Golden Retriever, and two newly acquired rabbits.

Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?

IMG_6246My mother gave me the book A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett when I was about eight years old and bored one summer day. I was enthralled, and it set me on a lifetime of reading. I’m so grateful to her for instilling that gift in me.

I love The Little Princess too. The bit when she comes to her room and finds a new things in it always makes me smile.

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?

There are so many great books, and I try to instil a IMG_6247similar love of reading in my children, no matter what the book. But I have a particular soft spot for the fictional diary Stepping Heavenward by the hymn writer Elizabeth Prentiss, because that book has inspired me so much.

Thank you for sharing you Inheritance Books with us Kate. I love the covers of your Willoughby Close series. All the best with the latest instalment.

FineMeAtWilloughbyCloseKate’s entire Willoughby Close series, including Find Me At Willoughby Close is available to buy now. You can find out more about Kate herself on her website or get in touch via Twitter (@katehewitt1) or Facebook.

Dear Microsoft: absolutely not.

As those of you who’ve read Doctor January will know, I agree with most of this. Science is often a confrontational sexist place.
I now work in academic support, which gives me the double whammy of being female and not being an academic. I once had a physicist try to mansplain genetics to me. I had to correct his knowledge at one point. Bless (rolls eyes).

monica byrne

And it has nothing to do with your software. It has to do with your new ad campaign, which I happened to see while I was at the gym last week. Here’s the gist: brilliant young girls express their ambitions to cure cancer and explore outer space and play with the latest in virtual reality tech. Then—gotcha!—they’re shown a statistic that only 6.7% of women graduate with STEM degrees. They look crushed. The tagline? “Change the world. Stay in STEM.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

Microsoft, where’s your ad campaign telling adult male scientists not to rape their colleagues in the field? Where’s the campaign telling them not to steal or take credit for women’s work? Or not to seriallysexuallyharasstheirstudents? Not to discriminate against them? Not to ignoredismiss, or fail to promote them at the same rate as men? Not to publish their work at a statistically…

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In conversation with Rhoda Baxter, romantic comedy writer

Today I’ve visiting Annmarie McQueen’s blog. Pop over and read the interview.

Annmarie McQueen

Today I’ll be shining the author spotlight on romantic comedy writer, Rhoda Baxter! 

Hi, please can you give a brief introduction of yourself?
Hi. I’m Rhoda. I write romantic comedies which are published by Choc Lit Publishing. I also write short fiction. In real life, I trained as a microbiologist but now work in university technology transfer (which is the most fun way to keep in touch with the science without having to do lab work). I drink far too much tea and am partial to a bit of cake.

When did you first start writing?
I’m not sure. Apparently I wrote a story about parrot when I was about seven. When I was in my early teens, the Sweet Dreams romance novels were incredibly popular. I wasn’t allowed to read them, in case they gave me ‘ideas’ and distracted me from my studies. So I started to write my…

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Goodreads Book Review: The Santa Next Door by Stephanie Cage

The Santa Next DoorThe Santa Next Door by Stephanie Cage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the run up to Christmas, I tend to read a lot of Christmas novellas. The Santa Next Door has been sitting on my TBR pile for a while and I finally got to it.

Sue is bringing up her daughter Trudi on her own. Bryn is the reclusive conductor who lives next door. A chance meeting with Sue and Trudi helps Bryn find the inspiration he’s been searching for to complete his latest composition.

All three main characters are well rounded and believable. It’s a lovely, warming Christmas tale. All the warm and fuzzy feelz you could want at this time of year!

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Want to write romance? Come to our workshop!

In all the excitement of Girl Having A Ball coming out, I’ve been a bit slack letting you know about the exciting pair of workshops that Jane Lovering and I are doing for Beverley Literature Festival (part of Lit/Up) this year. When I say ‘this year’, I meant NEXT WEEKEND!

Here’s the key information:

When: Saturday 8th Oct 10am – 1pm  and 2pm -5pm
Where: Beverley Library (Treasure House)
How much: £18 each or £30 for both workshops
How to book: Via the Beverley Literature festival website (or at the
library or tourist info centre)

But what are we going to be talking about?

Ah, well now… the idea of the first workshop is to demystify the writing side of things. We’ll talk to you about romantic conflict and characters and a little bit about comedy (which is very much connected to conflict and character, if you think about it). The second workshop is about plot. We’ll cover similar content in both sessions, but will concentrate of different aspects. If you come to both workshops, you should create a hero, a heroine and a central conflict in the first workshop and learn more about how to work that core into a proper book in the second.

That’s the plan anyway. In reality we always end up adapting the workshops a bit to suit the needs of the participants, so if you have something you really, really want to know more about, just tell us at the start.

See you there!




News! Please Release Me is shortlisted for an award

I’m a little over excited (and hyped up on cake) because Please Release Me has been shortlisted for a Love Stories 2015 award.

‘What the heck is that?’ I hear you cry. The Love Stories award is the new name for the Romance Reader Awards which happen at the Festival of Romantic fiction. They are chosen by real romance readers and, of late, have been fiercely competitive (in a ‘lots of great books entered’ way I mean, not a ‘watch out for people trying to break your legs’ way).

I’m thrilled to be on the shortlist, especially as there are several people whom I consider to be ‘proper grown up writers’ on the list. You can see the full list here (I recommend wearing sunglasses – the pink starts to strobe after a while). Here are the contenders in the best romantic ebook category:

Please Release Me by Rhoda Baxter (Choc Lit)
The Rest of My Life by Sheryl Browne (Choc Lit)
Catch Me If You Cannes by Lisa Dickenson (Sphere)
Do You Take This Man? by Sophie King (Corazon)
I Don’t Want To Talk About It by Jane Lovering (Choc Lit)
Game of Scones by Samantha Tonge (Carina)

There’s going to be a swanky ceremony on the 18th of November in London when the winners are announced. So, if you’re in town, go get your sparkle on.

Wheeee. I’m off to eat more cake and sugary things. If you want sensible conversation, you might want to wait a day or two until I come off the sugar high.

Five Random Things about Me by Rhoda Baxter

Taking Please Release Me on tour – today I’m telling Kirsty from Love of a Good Book some random facts about me.

Today I would like to welcome Choclit author Rhoda Baxter to The Love of a Good Book!

Five Random Things about Me by Rhoda BaxterHi Kirsty, thank you for having me on your blog. I was dithering about what to write about and thought I’d cheat and tell you five random things about me. I’ve brought biscuits as compensation. They’re still a bit warm from the oven, so you might want to blow on them first.

1> Rhoda Baxter is my pen name. I chose it because I used to work on a bacterium called Rhodobacter sphaeroides and I get all nostalgic about them sometimes. I looked up ‘Rhoda’ to check it was a real name before I started using it, because it sounded quite unusual. Turns out it’s a good old fashioned name – which, I found out yesterday, means ‘Rose’. There are a couple of other Rhoda Baxters…

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