Inheritance Books: Clare Chase

This week I’m delighted to welcome Clare Chase to Inheritance Books. Clare writes for Choc Lit, but I’ve known her through the RNA and Twitter for years.

Hi Clare, welcome to Inheritance Books. (Have some carrot cake, go on. It’s good for you). Tell us a bit about yourself.

Clare Chase 1 (480x640)Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Rhoda. I write romantic mysteries and my debut novel, You Think You Know Me, was published by Choc Lit at the end of 2014. It’s set in the arts world, in London, with a denouement in the Lake District.  I’ve always had a passion for both mysteries and love stories, and relish doubling the intrigue by interweaving the two.

My non-writing ‘career’ has been, let’s say, eclectic… Amongst many other things, I’ve practised creative writing in the world of PR, and done some Miss Marple-style studying of human nature whilst running a prison reading group.

I live in Cambridge with my family, and my current day job is at the Royal Society of Chemistry. (I’m actually an English grad, but I sneaked in to work for their fundraising arm!)

Which book did you inherit from the generation above? Why is it special?

I Capture the CastleWhen I was about twelve, my mother started to ‘encourage’ me to read I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith. It almost didn’t become an Inheritance Book at all, she was so keen to get me to try it. I felt she must be over-egging its wonderfulness and didn’t think the title sounded that exciting. I’m so glad I opened it up and saw how right she was. Who could resist the first sentence: ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’? I’ve re-read it many times since: a wonderful, bitter-sweet coming of age story that’s both funny and touching. The feelings Smith deals with are universal, but the context she puts them in is out of the ordinary. The setting of a decaying house, grafted on to a fourteenth century castle, is just as memorable as the array of eccentric characters. From the major to the minor, they live on in my head in colourful detail. It was the perfect book to discover during my teenage years.

Which book would you leave to later generations? Why?

I’d like to pass on a classic of romantic suspense, Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart. For me, it has the perfect mix of love interest and mystery, and my spine still tingles when I remember the scene when Gianetta, the heroine, realises who the murderer is. Needless to say, she’s alone with him at this crucial moment… The final piece of the jigsaw slots in so chillingly. Stewart also made excellent use of settings, and you can travel the globe whilst reading her books. Wildfire at Midnight takes advantage of the rugged landscape of Skye, which is perfect for instilling a feeling of isolation. She made me fall in love with my chosen genre, and convinced me that escapism is good for you! I’d like to pass on that feeling of being drawn away from everyday life, into a world of excitement and adventure.

YTYKM_Kindle 150dpi (2)You can find out more about Clare Chase, and watch the trailer for her book, on her website. She’s also on Twitter (ClareChase_) and Facebook 

You Think You Know Me is available on Amazon Kindle. (International buying link is: http://authl.it/B00PHXT8A8?d). You can read my review of it here.

Goodreads Book Review: You Think You Know Me by Clare Chase

You Think You Know MeYou Think You Know Me by Clare Chase

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How well do you REALLY know your friends?
This book follows the heroine, Anna, as she tries to work this one out. She is at a gallery ‘do’ organised by her art-dealer friend Seb to showcase a new artist. Seb sometimes does her a favour and passes her some freelance work. She meets a guy called Max Conran, who isn’t who he says he is. He’s Darrick Farron, who does some sort of mysterious job involving sourcing rare art.

Seb thinks Darrick is shady (and he does seem a bit dodgy, what with the fake names and odd disappearances). But then Seb is a little creepy himself. Who’s a girl to believe?

I honestly did not know who the bad guy was until right at the end. When I found out, it wasn’t who I expected to be! This is a very tense book, which keeps you guessing right to the end. I thought Anna could do with a bit more cynicism in her life. Mind you, she gets so much conflicting information, she’d have been hard pressed to choose anyway.

A good, tense romantic suspense. Well done Clare Chase!

The usual disclaimer for Choc Lit books – we write for the same publisher. I read a lot of Choc Lit books (research, don’t cha know), but I buy them all myself.

View all my reviews

Inheritance Books: Jenny Holiday

This week’s Inheritance Books are from Jenny Holiday. I ‘met’ Jenny on Twitter after following her @tropeheroine account. I do recommend you check it out.

Hi Jenny, welcome to Inheritance Books. Biscuit? Great. Please, tell us a bit about yourself.

JennyHoliday_web (2)Hi, I’m Jenny. I write romance novels. My first books were contemporaries, but I have a Regency series starting later this spring, which is a thrill for me because Regencies were my first love as a reader—I call them my romance gateway drug. I grew up in Minnesota, but graduate school brought me to Toronto, Canada, where I still live.

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

Mary Katharine Reely’s Seatmates (1949) is an account of her life as a girl (“Kate”) in Spring Green, Wisconsin. One of the girls in her class is Tottie, “the girl who had no name.” The story went that Tottie’s parents had not been able to agree on a name for her, so they just used her baby-nickname Tottie, and they were going to let her choose her own name when she was fifteen. The girl who had no name was, in fact, my great-grandmother, and everyone called her Tot her whole life, even though she eventually named herself Margaret. The book was a gift to my sister and me from my aunt. As a girl, I felt famous by extension—I was related to somebody in a book!—and I once took it to show and tell. I still pull it out and read it every couple of years.seatmates (1)

Which book would you leave for generations below you? Why?

I am unsentimental about objects and virtually all my reading these days is in ebook format, so I’m afraid I don’t have much that’s heirloom-worthy. I will, of course, pass down Seatmates. I’m also reading a book to my son that came from my childhood—The Fourteen Bears in Summer and Winter (1969), by Evelyn Scott. As you might imagine, it’s a story about fourteen bears. They have the usual bear-ish summertime adventures involving honey farming and swimming in the pond. Hibernation would seem to put an end to all this fun, but not for our bears! The baby of the family wakes up one winter day (so what they’re saying is this whole non-sleeping baby thing is an interspecies truth?), so the whole clan bundles up and heads out to experience winter. It’s a charming book full of details: each bear has her own house furnished to reflect her personality and decorates her own tree for Christmas. It’s been a hoot to watch my son take it all in.

Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books with us, Jenny. All the best with your books.

41VorztEnWL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Jenny’s latest book Sleeping With Her Enemy is available to buy now. You can find out more about Jenny on her website, Facebook or on Twitter (@jennyholi). Do follow the @tropeheroine account. It’s hilarious.

Inheritance Books: Teresa Morgan

This week’s Inheritance Books are from contemporary romance writer and fellow cake fiend, Teresa Morgan. 

Hi Teresa, welcome to Inheritance Books. I’m out of cake, but I’ve got shortbread. Fancy a piece? So, tell us a bit about yourself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI live in sunny Weston-super-Mare, trying to hold onto my Surrey accent where I was born and bred.

I found writing in 2006 – and realised I would never be bored again. By 2009, I decided to take writing more seriously, in the hope it would work around my children. In 2013, I was blown away when Harper Impulse offered me a two-book contract.

When I’m not writing, I’m kept busy with my two boys (aged 10 & nearly 8), and in between, I work in a Post Office where I get to stamp things and count lots of money.

I’m at my happiest baking cakes, putting proper home cooked dinners on the table (whether the kids eat them or not), reading a good romance (with a glass of wine in hand obviously), or sitting at my PC emptying my thoughts onto the screen.

I love writing contemporary romance, stories with a touch of escapism and creating heroes readers will fall in love with. Men who in reality, let’s face it, just don’t exist.

 I love stamping things! My favourite is the sort that stamps the date on things. (Sorry, I’m a bit too keen on stationery). Ahem, where were we? Oh yes, which book have you inherited from a generation above?

072When I was twenty, my dad gave me Alive and Kicking by Beryl Kingston to read. (He likes historical women’s fiction, like Catherine Cookson). I took the book on holiday – my first holiday abroad to Spain. I remember reading it on the plane (once I’d got over the excitement I was actually flying) and it took a while to get into as I was used to reading books by Anne Rice at the time (I was going through the Vampire Chronicles).

The story is set around the First World War and is about a young woman who has played mother to her younger brother and sisters. I can’t remember the story hugely now, but I remember the romance in it (she falls in love with a soldier – her elder brother’s friend) and it was the first book to make me cry – I mean proper lump in the throat, blubbing tears cry (luckily this bit was not while on the plane). I loved the story so much I had to keep the book. It is still on my bookshelf to this day.

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

073I’m trying to encourage both of my sons to enjoy reading and I would like to hand down my Lord of The Rings trilogy to my eldest son. I don’t think he’s quite old enough to read them yet, but when he is, I know he will thoroughly enjoy the stories. He was enthralled with The Hobbit when I read it to him, but he needs to read the trilogy for himself. He’ll gain more from them and from reading generally. They will always be on my bookshelf, so when he’s ready, they’ll be waiting.

I didn’t real the LOTR trilogy until I was in my twenties… but I read The Hobbit when I was around ten. Excellent choices. 

Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books with us, Teresa. All the best with your books (and with getting your boys into reading).

One Fine DayTeresa’s book One Fine Day is available to buy now. You can find out more about Teresa on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter (@Teresa_Morgan10) and Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Review: And Then That Happened by Liam Livings

And Then That HappenedAnd Then That Happened by Liam Livings

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

And Then That Happened follows the hero Dominic as he realises that he’s fallen out of love with his husband and how he cautiously, oh so cautiously, falls in love with someone else. The end of one relationship overlaps with the blossoming of the other, but Dominic isn’t the sort of guy who’d cheat on his current partner, not physically anyway, so his infidelity remains emotional.

I loved Dominic. The description of his depression, his careful curation of his feelings to keep himself sane and the way he tries so hard to do what’s right by Luke and his mother, and his father, and his friend Matt, and the crazy Di-Anne woman at work all make him a very sympathetic character. He’s 28 and having a mini mid-life crisis. Those of us who’ve been there will recognise it!

I also liked Luke, Dominic’s husband. He and Dominic have fallen into a rut which both of them try, in their own ways, to fix, but it’s not easy to do. I didn’t like Gabe as much, but I can’t figure out why not. He’s exactly what Dominic needs and the way their friendship develops is charming (if a tiny bit too slow at points).

And Then That Happened is a lovely, well written slow burn romance. It would be called grown up ‘women’s fiction’ if it had been written by a woman. I really liked the polished writing, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for more by Liam Livings. Oh, and I love the cover too. It captures the feel of the book really well.

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Goodreads Book Review: The Soft Whispter of Dreams by Christina Courteney

The Soft Whisper of DreamsThe Soft Whisper of Dreams by Christina Courtenay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t know what to expect from The Soft Whisper of Dreams. I hadn’t read the first book in the series, so I was a little nervous about jumping right in at book two. I need not have worried – this book stands alone and there isn’t any of the telltale extraneous detail that sometimes creeps in when characters walk on from another book.

Melanie has a recurring dream that is laced with a sense of danger. This story is all about that dream and the very real danger from her past. There are some genuinely scary bits. The mystery storyline sits well alongside the romance.

It’s not my favourite of Christina Courtney’s books (that’s probably New England Rocks), but it’s still very good.

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Goodreads Book Review: Somewhere Beyond The Sea by Amanda James

Somewhere Beyond the SeaSomewhere Beyond the Sea by Amanda James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tristan and Karen are unusual for a main couple in a romance novel because they are already married – and it’s not a marriage of convenience or a plot to get a greencard or anything like that, it’s an honest-to-goodness, make-us-another-cup-of-tea-darling type marriage and they are already in love.
So, why bother reading it, you say? Well, the plot involves a mystery that has the potential to tear them apart. At first it does, but then… you’ll have to read it and see.

This is an intriguing and absorbing story. Tris is adorable. Karen takes a bit more time to warm up to, but her character gains depth surprisingly quickly. By the end I was so involved in their journey that I might have cried a little bit at the end (oh, okay, I did).

View all my reviews

Inheritance Books: Zara Stoneley

This week I’m delighted to welcome Zana Stoneley to Inheritance Books.  Hi Zara, welcome to Inheritance Books.

Hi Rhoda, and thank you for the invite, it’s lovely to be here.

ZaraStoneley_authorpicIt’s lovely to have you here! So, tell us a bit about yourself.

So, a bit about me… I spend most of the year in Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside which has a massive influence on my writing. When I’m not scribbling away I can often be found in the local wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery (all very inspirational and great for people watching!).

Every other weekend I normally head for our Barcelona apartment and enjoy some sunshine, long walks on the beach and afternoons sampling the tapas and cava! These days I seem to do an awful lot of my writing on planes, in airports or by the sea.

I write hot romance, fun-filled chicklit and bonkbusters. My most recent release, ‘Stable Mates’, is a fun romp through the Cheshire countryside and combines some of my greatest loves – horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars). I’m currently working on a follow up which has the same sexy men but even more scandal!

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

Rhoda Baxter -  booksMy parents weren’t particularly avid readers, but I always had my nose stuck in a book! In my early years the books had a common theme – animals. Ranging from ‘Black Beauty’ (horses were a favourite) to ‘My Family and Other Animals’ and a wonderful book called ‘Tschiffely’s Ride’. Then ‘The Hobbit’ and LOTR took over, followed by thrillers (James Bond and Dick Francis books topped the list). But one book that stayed with me, probably because it marked a stage in the progression from child to adult was my mother’s (now slightly battered) copy of Shirley Conran’s ‘Lace’, after that it was Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper all the way!

Sounds like those books inspired you a great deal! Which book would you  leave to future generations? Why?

I think I’d want to leave a book of our times, a book that has made a difference in my lifetime, and so that probably has to be Harry Potter. Whether you love it (and my son did), or not, JK Rowling has to be credited with reigniting a love of stories in so many of our children. My eighteen year old son is taking science/maths ‘A’ level subjects at school, like I did, but is also now writing a book in his spare time – and I’m sure that Harry Potter followed by LOTR played a huge part in kindling his interest in story telling.

Good for him (your son, I mean)! My Dad always said that I should do science to get a job and then write in my spare time. As plans go, it’s a pretty sound one.

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Zara. Please drop by again soon.

Stable mates coverZara’s book Stablemates is available to buy now. You can find out more about Zara on her website, or catch up with her on Twitter (@zarastoneley), Facebook or Google+.

Inheritance Books – Karen Rock

This week’s Inheritance Books are from the romance and YA author Karen Rock, who is on tour with her latest book His Hometown Girl.

Hi Karen, welcome to Inheritance Books. Tell me a bit about yourself.
Karen Rock Head ShotHello and thank you so much for hosting me on your wonderful blog. I’m a former English teacher turned Young Adult and Adult Contemporary Romance author. While I’m a huge fan of fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, horror, literary, supernatural, historical, and suspense thriller books, and not one for massive PDA and over-the-top romantic gestures, I’ve found that, as a writer, my talent is in telling love stories that move people. Go figure :-). Maybe the sentiment I have a hard time expressing has found an outlet through my characters. I have a wonderful husband, Greg, and a lovely daughter, Danielle, as well as a cat whom we mistakenly named Angel before we got to know his devilish soul and two, sweet, elderly Cavalier King Cocker spaniels- Lizzie and Little Bit- who now believe playing fetch means I retrieve the ball after I’ve thrown it while they bark madly *sigh*.

Lol. Sounds like those dogs have you well trained!

Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
lord of the ringsAs you can see, I am a huge book fan. Period. I will literally read/become engrossed/obsessed even with anything that is well-written. If I go to books from older generations, I would have to name J.R.R. Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RINGS series as having the greatest influence on me as a person and writer. As a kid, I spent more time in the worlds I made up in my head than the one I actually lived in. When I discovered Middle Earth, I felt as though I’d woken from a dream. This magical place was an escape and a confirmation that even grown people dream. That growing up would not mean an end to my imagination as I feared it would. This series encouraged me to tell stories that would transport people into experiences and places they’ve never been and won’t want to leave. A fan wrote me that she wanted to live in my book, HIS HOMETOWN GIRL. When I read that, I smiled, thinking of Tolkien’s worlds, and feeling that I’d done what I’d always wanted to do as a writer.
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?

the color purple I would like to leave Alice Walker’s THE COLOR PURPLE. It’s stunning, powerful prose about prejudice, feminism, and finding the beauty and power in yourself is a message I wish all young women (and men) would have the chance to receive.

 

Thank you very much for sharing your favourite books with us, Karen. Enjoy the rest of your tour!

 

his hometown girlKaren’s new book His Hometown Girl is available now. For news about Karen’s upcoming books, contests and appearances, please stop by her website at http://www.karenrock.com, ‘like’ her  Facebook page at  or follow her on Twitter (@karenrock5)