Books Beside the Seaside – summer reads 2014

29 Jul

There’s nothing better (in my opinion) than being by the sea! So to celebrate summer on One More Page I’ve put together a list of my favourite 2014 books set at the British Seaside. Grab a bucket and spade and join me at my (imaginary) beach hut for a holiday by the sea :-)

beach hut next doorThe Beach Hut Next Door by Veronica Henry

If there is one fictional place I would choose to spend my summer holidays it would be in one of the amazing beach huts in the gorgeous Devonshire town of Everdene! I’ve loved all of the stories that Veronica Henry has set there and hope there will be more to come!

Summer appeared from nowhere that year in Everdene . . . and for those lucky enough to own one of the beach huts, this was the summer of their dreams.

For Elodie, returning to Everdene means re-awakening the memories of one summer fifty years ago. A summer when everything changed.  

Vince and his brother are struggling to come to terms with the death of their father – but they have very different ways of coping.

And for Jenna, determined to put the past behind her, the opportunity to become ‘the ice cream girl’ once again might just turn her life around.

But this summer is not all sunshine and surf – as secrets unfold, and some lives are changed for ever . . .

Blue by Lisa Glassblue

Cornwall, surfing,  and summer romance – what more could you want?

Surfing is sixteen-year-old Iris’s world, and when the ultra-talented Zeke walks into her life, it soon becomes her passion.

Over one amazing summer, as she is drawn into his sphere, she experiences love, new friendships, but also loss, with an intensity she never dreamed of.

But is Zeke all he seems? What hides beneath his glamorous and mysterious past? When Iris decides to try for her own surfing success, just as her ex-boyfriend comes back into her life, she will test her talent, and her feelings for Zeke, to the limit…

unpredictable loveThe Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell

The cover of this book makes me smile every time I see it – it’s like a little ray of sunshine! Another lovely story from Jill.

In the idyllic seaside town of St Carys, Sophie is putting the past firmly behind her.

When Josh arrives in St Carys to run the family hotel, he can’t understand why Sophie has zero interest in letting any man into her life. He also can’t understand how he’s been duped into employing Sophie’s impulsive friend Tula, whose crush on him is decidedly unrequited.

St Carys has more than its fair share of characters, including the charming but utterly feckless surfer Riley Bryant, who has a massive crush on Tula. Riley’s aunt is superstar author Marguerite Marshall. And Marguerite has designs on Josh’s grandfather…who in turn still adores his glamorous ex-wife, Dot…

Just how many secrets can one seaside town keep?

Ice Creams at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brownice creams at carringtons

Mulberry-on-Sea is another fictional town I’d love to visit and not just for the seaside! This is the third book in Alexandra Brown’s Carrington’s series and is a fun, sunny delicious read!

Georgie Hart and Carrington’s Department Store have got the world at their feet. Since a reality TV series put them both on the map, life has been amazing! Carrington’s profits are in the pink, Georgie has carved herself a place in the nation’s heart and her romance with Tom, the store’s boss, has finally blossomed.

Now summertime has come to Mulberry-on -Sea and Georgie is in great demand. The town is holding a big summer festival and she and her mates from Carrington’s are planning on making sure that Mulberry puts on the show of its life!

But Georgie is about to get the offer of a lifetime – one that is just too good to turn down and something that will test her loyalties to their limits… Will Georgie be able to pull off it off once again, or has her luck finally run out?

seafront hotelSummer Evenings at the Seafront Hotel by Vanessa Greene

A lovely little short story set in Scarborough. This is just perfect for a quick holiday read and to fill the gap until Vanessa’s next full length novel, The Seafront Tea Rooms is published in September!

24-year-old Cally is a receptionist at the South Cliff, a beautiful hotel overlooking the South Bay. She once dreamed of becoming a midwife, but with funds in short supply and her father ill, Cally has abandoned her studies and is rapidly losing her sparkle. Then she meets Liliana, a chambermaid, and the two women strike up an easy friendship. Liliana’s stories of the hotel guests provide the light relief Cally desperately needs and soon they’re meeting every evening on the balcony of room 14 to feast on eclairs and discuss the latest comings and goings. When Cally catches the eye of charismatic chef Anton, they have even more to talk about on those summer evenings – but then Liliana learns something that could shatter Cally’s new-found joy . . .

The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan beach street

Another winner from Jenny Colgan; guaranteed to warm your heart as well as tempt your taste-buds!

Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.

And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

in the summer timeIn The Summertime by Judy Astley

I love the premise for this novel and the fab summery cover!

It’s twenty years since Miranda, then sixteen, holidayed in Cornwall and her life changed forever. Now she’s back again – with her mother Clare and the ashes of her stepfather Jack, whose wish was to be scattered on the sea overlooked by their one-time holiday home.

 The picturesque cove seems just the same as ever, but the people are different – more smart incomers,fewer locals, more luxury yachts in the harbour. But Miranda and Clare both find some strangely familiar faces, and revisit the emotions they both thought had disappeared.

Escape for the Summer by Ruth SabertonEscape for the Summer

I love Ruth’s books and this sounds like a lot of fun!

Can Andi Evans find the strength to start again? 

Betrayed and broken-hearted, Andi’s redundancy is one shock too many. Suddenly single and in debt, a summer working in the pretty Cornish town of Rock seems the perfect solution.Determined never to trust again, will a chance meeting with a stranger change her mind? 

Andi’s sister, Angel, is determined to find a man who can keep her in style. Heading to Rock, summer playground of the rich and famous, seems an inspired idea until a misunderstanding threatens to end a romance that has started to mean more to her than she ever expected… 

Actress Gemma is no stranger to diets and disappointments. As the future of her career hangs in the balance, Gemma hopes a summer in Cornwall solves her problems. With a reality TV show being filmed in the seaside town surely she can avoid the pasty shops and win herself a role. 

Arriving in idyllic Cornwall, all three girls are hoping for a holiday to remember. But will this be for the right reasons? Or, as emotions run higher than the tide, will the summer escape turn their lives upside down? 

hh and bwHigh Heels and Bicycle Wheels by Jane Linfoot

I’m reading this at the moment and loving it! A great summer escape!

Meet Bryony: she’s a fun-loving, very single TV production assistant whose idea of sport is the Jimmy Choo sales scrum.

Meet Jackson: Cycling’s bad boy superstar. Injured and out of a certain race this summer, without his training, he’s looking for another distraction…

Bryony’s facing a triple whammy – her last single friend just named the day, her mother’s offering to have her eggs frozen, and the guy she’s loved from afar, forever, has just got hitched. So she’s more than happy to accept the offer of a totally out of character but seriously steamy one night of no-strings fun. Especially when the guy in question is so attractive he even looks good in Lycra!

Jackson’s on the lookout for a new career but if the opportunity to work on TV means a fortnight with the most uptight woman in the world, he’d rather not bother. He never goes in for seconds – and who in their right mind would head off in a campervan, with a woman who irons her knickers?

Add in a tandem (yes a tandem) and fast forward to double trouble for a summer neither of them will ever forget!

Book review: Other Halves by Nick Alexander

27 Jul

Today my Mum joins me with her review of Other Halves by Nick Alexander.

other halvesWhen Hannah and Cliff’s fifteen-year marriage falls apart, it seems almost impossible to start again. While Hannah tries to reconcile the warring factions of her heart, torn between a pre-teen son and a romantic love half a world away, Cliff struggles to face up to issues he has suppressed since adolescence in the hope of finding happiness in a confusing world. Amid the turmoil of separation, and with their son, Luke, caught in the crossfire, both Hannah and Cliff face the challenge of rebuilding their lives. To make the other halves of their lives count, they will need courage and determination. To build new relationships, they will need to dare to love again. Other Halves beautifully maps the break-up of a couple, with all the tough choices and heartache it entails, but above all it is a touching story of self-discovery, finding new love and beginning life afresh.

This was a ‘ first ‘ for me. Other Haves is the first fiction book I have read by a male author, and I have to say I approached it with some skepticism! I don’t know why but I doubted the story would have depth of feeling that a female author could bring to a story of love and relationships. I couldn’t have been more wrong and very much enjoyed this novel.

Other Halves deals with some very delicate and some very ordinary issues, but each one and every page holds a refreshing analysis of the characters’ feelings. The book is set out in alternate chapters, expressing first Hannah’s views and feelings and then Cliff’s, the husband whom she has parted from. I found myself in the first instant empathising with Hannah, but then after hearing Cliff’s side of events I swung from one to the other, proving genuinely, as in real live, there are two sides to every story.

The story is fast moving and I liked the pace and as the characters dip in and out of the past, the reader can build a picture of how they reached the point they are at. I thought Nick introduced sensitive issues cleverly and challenged assumptions. I particularly liked the way, when called to their son’s school, it became clear that some issues are not covered by political correctness and with all the will in the world, even the supposedly adult and educated are human too.

Nick Alexander addresses the ‘ stereotype’ attitude we can so easily fall into – again I found myself saying, ‘ Well what do you expect, going to places like that?’ but then moments later realising along with Cliff that this was not the whole picture. At times I felt Hannah deserved to break her heart, especially after trying so hard to manipulate her son and the situation – but again Nick made me see both sides of the story and I was relieved when the outcome, although not necessarily a fairytale one, was at least a humane one.

Thank you for teaching me a lesson, Nick, I shall be reading more of your work in the future!

4/5

Other Halves is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Nick Alexander and his writing at: http://nick-alexander.com/

Book news: Three new books from Jessica Sorensen!

27 Jul

I was very excited to see Sphere announce three new books from Jessica Sorensen earlier this week and one of them is already available as an ebook!

jessica new

The Probability of Violet and Luke is out now and will be followed by The Certainty of Violet and Luke on 16th September. And finally, Callie and Kayden are back in The Resolution of Callie and Kayden which will be published on 30th September! Get your e readers ready!

All three books will be published in paperback in 2015.

Find out more about Jessica Sorensen and her books at: http://jessicasorensen.com/

Guest Post: Advice for my 18 year old self by Andrew Clover

17 Jul

Today I’m delighted to welcome author Andrew Clover to One More Page to celebrate the release of his new novel, The Things I’d Miss.  Andrew has always been a Jack-of-all-trades. As a comic he was Perrier nominated, as an actor he played the clown in Ashes to Ashes, his Dad Rules column was a hit in The Sunday Times.

But what he truly loves is books. A year ago, he moved to the remotest countryside, intending to produce a romantic comedy – a sequel to his Learn Love In A Week. Instead he found himself writing The Things I’d Miss. 

things id missIn the novel, Lucy revisits her past with the opportunity to do things differently so I asked Andrew what advice he would give to his 18 year old self if he got the chance to have a chat with him!

Ooh that’s a good question!   As an 18 year old, I was enjoying a pleasant patch when life was going well.  I had adventures in New York, then went to Oxford, where I won the prize as Best Actor.  This then lead to a happy creative period when I learned to act, dance, write.  The trouble was I was so excited by my progress, I wasn’t finding allies, people to work with…  Id want to get hold of that 18 year old me.  Id say to him: Relax, my friend.   All around are interesting, talented people… Hear them.  Help them.  Forget about writing your own story; concentrate on being part of theirs. 

At school, my best friend was called Derk Van Raaij.  I met him in a chemistry class, over a hot Bunsen Burner.  He was a lovely guy.  He was kind-hearted, playful, he had the gift of being able to  tease without a hint of malice.  We had loads of fun together.   I often slept in his room.  We once windsurfed round the Isle of Wight with our friend Callum.   Then a few years later, I bumped into Callum in town.   “How’s Derk?”  I asked.  I knew Callum had stayed in touch.  “Oh,”  he replied,  “I’m afraid Derk took his own life.  You know he had ME…”  I realised then I knew Derk had ME.  I realise that chapter of his life can’t have been so happy;   I still wished Id shared some of it with him.   I wish Id seen how happy were our times together, and how terribly limited. .. I did try to make contact with Derk after school.  Ididn’t try hard enough.   Id tell the 18 year old me simple advice:  Go and see DerkId say. Check he’s OK.

 I actually met my future wife as an 18 year old.  She was at college too.   I only talked to her twice, but  I admired her, and when I left I didn’t forget  her.  Aged 28, I was listening to a song “But When I Dream”…  Who do I dream of?  I wondered.  I realised it was the girl, from college, who I only spoke to twice.   I wrote her a letter, via a friend.   She only got it, months later, and she telephoned, and invited me to a party.  “By the way,”   she confessed,  “Iwrote you a Valentine Card when we were students.”  Gosh, I thought,  I don’t think Id got it.   So this is something else Id tell the 18 year old me.  Andrew,  Id say,  check your pigeon hole.

Thanks Andrew and very best publication day wishes!

The Things I’d Miss is published by Arrow today in paperback and ebook formats.

Please do check out the other stops on Andrew’s blog tour this week.

Book review: Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole

16 Jul

letters from skyeA letter isn’t always just a letter. Words on the page can drench the soul.

Elspeth Dunn, a published poet living on the Isle of Skye, answers her first fan letter from Davey Graham, an impetuous young man in Illinois. Without having to worry about appearances or expectations, Elspeth and Davey confess their hopes, dreams and fears, things they’ve never told another soul. Even without meeting, they know one another. But as World War I engulfs Europe and Davey volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait on Skye, anxious for his return; wondering if they’ll ever get a chance to meet.

Letters From Skye is a beautiful and romantic read that had me turning the pages as fast as I could to find out what would happen to protagonists Elspeth and David.

This is a novel entirely written in letters and I think Jessica Brockmole has made a brilliant job of what could be quite a complex format. I loved David and Eslpeth’s letters (particularly the early ones) and thoroughly enjoyed reading as their relationship developed over the years.

As a reader it was lovely to be swept back to a time long before mobiles, texts and tweets and Letters From Skye beautifully demonstrates the power and beauty of a handwritten letter. I couldn’t help thinking of the time between the letters and the romance of waiting for a reply and the wonderful sense of closeness to a person who has taken the time to sit and write. Reading Letters From Skye made me want to sit down and actually write to someone (in fact I just might do that this summer while I’m on my holidays!)

David first writes to Elspeth as a fan of her poetry and the two could not be more different on the surface. David, the daring, outgoing college boy joker living in America and Elspeth, the isolated wife, daughter and poet, afraid to step off her island in remote Scotland. I loved that their letters gave David and Elspeth the the ability to express themselves freely and to talk about their hidden fears and hopes because they were so removed from each other. It was lovely to watch the relationship develop and I loved the contrasts and similarities between the two lives.

Both David and Elspeth felt very real to me. Elspeth is a wonderful character and I liked her straight away. She has a wry sense of humour and despite her isolated upbringing (or perhaps because of it), a knack for getting to the point! I love the idea of this young woman tucked away on a remote isle but with a publishing contract and her poetry. David also won my heart with his subltle charm and honesty and I found myself reading with trepidation as to the future for the pair given the backdrop of war.

Surprisingly, there is another thread to the story that I hadn’t expected when I picked this book up and that takes place during the early years of the Second World War as Margaret corresponds with her fiancé Paul and tries to unwrap the mystery surrounding her mother who goes missing following a bombing in Edinburgh. It was fascinating to see how the two threads wove themselves together and this element of the story really kept me guessing!

I didn’t have the same depth of feeling from Paul and Margaret’s letters as I did from Davey and Elspeth’s but the two timelines gave the story good pace and added extra layers of interest. Although there is sadness and heartbreak in the book, they weren’t the overwhelming themes for me and this isn’t as dark as many of the other First World War novels I’ve read. The details of battle and horrors of war are not the focus of this story; rather the releationship between the characters is intensified by having war as a backdrop.

As you can probably see, I really enjoyed Jessica Brockmole’s debut and was fully caught up in the poignant romance of it. The letter format made it easy to read in short bursts and to pick up and put down which made Letters from Skye an ideal book for me and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to fans of historical romance.

4/5

Letters From Skye is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Jessica Brockmole and her writing at: http://www.jabrockmole.com/

Serial Spotlight! You Had Me At Merlot (part 1) by Lisa Dickenson

14 Jul

The first part of Lisa Dickenson’s fab new four-part rom-com novel, You Had Me At Merlot is out today and Lisa is embarking on a HUGE blog tour to celebrate! I’m delighted to be one of the first stops on the tour and to feature Part One in my Serial Spotlight today!

Lisa lives beside the sea in Devon with her husband and her first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas was winner of the Novelicious Debut of the Year Award! You can find out more about Lisa and her writing at: http://www.lisadickenson.com/ or follow her on Twitter @LisaWritesStuff

merlot1Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they’re single, they’re not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren’t filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine – she likes her independent life, she loves her job, and she has no desire to walk down the aisle anytime soon. But Laurie wants love and she wants it now.

So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. You Had Me at Merlot Holidays promises crisp sunshine, fun and a chance to stir up some sizzling romance. Elle has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else’s idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?

I’m absolutely loving all the serialised novels that are being released at the moment; so much so that I’ve given my Short Story Spotlight a sister feature … Serial Spotlight (original eh?!) And to celebrate this new feature on the blog, I’m very excited to share my thoughts on Part 1 of You Had Me At Merlot, which is released today.

It’s always exciting to discover a new author and Lisa Dickenson has jumped straight onto my ‘funny and fabulous’ list with part one of You Had Me At Merlot.  I loved Elle and her best friend Laurie straight away as their cheeky banter set the scene. Elle is as firmly committed to her single status as Laurie is determined to lose hers but as only best friends can, Elle agrees to go with Laurie on a singles vineyard holiday in Tuscany.

I thought Lisa did a great job of quickly establishing the girls’ friendship and setting the scene for the holiday and as the girls arrive in Tuscany, the descriptions are wonderful and really did transport me to another place! At around 50 pages, this is the perfect story to load on your Kindle as you set off on your holidays this summer and will just add to that ‘off on holiday’ buzz. Equally, if like me, you’re not off to a different country, You Had Me At Merlot will provide the perfect escape!

The fab thing about serials is that you can read them in one sitting and they give you the chance to try new books and authors without committing to buying (and reading) a whole book – I didn’t want this one to end as Lisa introduces a great group of characters in Tuscany. Villa owners Sebastian and Sofia are already favourites of mine.

Laurie and Elle’s other holiday companions are a varied group in personality and ages and I can’t wait to find out more about them as the story progresses.  There are some fab surprises as the other holiday guests appear and I love the possibilities that Part One of this series has already set up (including  a little hint of possible romance for both girls!)

Lisa’s writing is sassy, funny and easy to relate to and with the parts being released weekly, thankfully there won’t be long to wait to find out what happens next to Elle, Laurie and the other guests in Tuscany. This is a great start to a new summer serial and I’d highly recommend adding You Had Me At Merlot to your summer reading list!

merlot all

5/5

Part One of You Had Me At Merlot is released today in ebook format.

Part Two is released on 21st July 2014

Part Three will be out on 28th July 2014

The fourth and final part will be out on 4th August 2014

Look out for my full review of all four parts when Lisa’s blog tour returns to One More Page on 31st July and please do check out the other stops on the tour!

 

Guest post: My favourite ‘witchy’ films by Kerry Barrett

10 Jul

Today I’m delighted to welcome author Kerry Barrett to the blog with a post about her favourite films featuring witches and magic! Kerry’s second novel, I Put A Spell On You has just been released and is the second book in the Could It Be Magic Series, following on from her debut Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. Kerry is an author and magazine journalist. She lives in London with her husband and their two noisy sons. She likes chocolate, the soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and – when it’s going well – writing!

B_WThere’s loads of things to love about witches. They’re always fearsomely feisty female characters –something sadly lacking in so many films. They make the world bend and twist to suit their own ends. They wear stripy tights (okay, maybe that’s just the 1990s indie kid in me talking). What’s not to like?

When I started writing the Could It Be Magic series about reluctant witch Esme and her sassy cousin Harmony, I revisited my favourite films and books about witches. It’s hard to narrow it down, but after a lot of thought here are my top five witchy films…

Bednobs and Broomsticks

Lovely, lovely Angela Lansbury can do no wrong in my eyes, so this tale of three evacuees and trainee witch Miss Price doing their (slightly odd) bit for the war effort is a real winner.

Mary Poppinsspell on you_Cover-300x480

She may not be known as a witch but she totally is. Who else could snap her fingers to tidy up the nursery, fit a hat-stand into a carpet bag, make chalk drawings come alive and ride on a carousel horse. And she’s Julie Andrews. What more do you need?

Hocus Pocus

Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler as the sometimes scary, always funny witches terrorising Salem 300 years after their death is a classic. Check out Bette’s rendition of I Put A Spell On You – it’s the high point of the film.

bewitched-300x480Practical Magic

Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock star as Gillian and Sally in this adaptation of Alice Hoffman’s brilliant book, with wonderful Stockard Channing and Dianne West as their witchy aunts. I love how Sally stirs her tea magically! And of course gorgeous Goran Visnjic, who plays horrible Jimmy, deserves a mention. For his acting skills, of course.

The Witches of Eastwick

No list of witchy films would be complete without mentioning The Witches of Eastwick. Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Cher are brilliant as the three divorcees searching for the perfect man, and of course who better to play devilish Daryl van Horne that Jack Nicholson? Such is my love of Eastwick that I even went to see the (rubbish!) stage version starring Ian ‘Lovejoy’ McShane.

What are your fave witchy films? Let me know in the comments box below or over on Twitter @kerrybean73

You can find out more about Kerry and her writing at: www.kerrybarrettwriter.

One More Page (and family!) do The IBW Bookshop Crawl: 5th July 2014

6 Jul

BSC1A few weeks ago I posted about a fab new event that is part of Independent Booksellers Week 2014: The Bookshop Crawl! The aim of the event was to visit as many independent bookshops as possible in a day and blog, vlog, tweet and generally shout about it! So yesterday I put on my comfy shoes, packed a ‘Books Are My Bag’ bag with supplies and set off with my lovely family for a fun adventure around the book shops of South East London.

One of my biggest wishes for my sons Max (almost six)  and Sam (three next month) is that they grow up with a love of books and reading so it seemed right to do the crawl as a family and I purposefully chose local independent book shops that cater for both adults and children. We had so much fun along the way and the crawl led us to visit places I’d never stopped off at before, discover more of the wonderful city we live in and of course many many fabulous books!

Stop 1: Beckenham Book Shop (http://www.beckenhambooks.com/)

Our first stop was just a short walk across town. Beckenham Bookshop has been my local independent bookshop for the past 6 years and after a scary time where we thought we were going to lose it, is now thriving again! With a small but well stocked children’s section at the back of the shop, a great variety of adult fiction and non-fiction, bookish gifts and cards as well as two monthly book clubs, there’s plenty to keep me coming back for more and we received a very warm welcome from the shop staff who had baked cookies for the occasion (an unexpected treat that delighted Max and Sam almost as much as their new book!)

Stop 2: Dulwich Books (http://dulwichbooks.co.uk/)

bsc5bsc6

For our second stop we hopped on the train from Beckenham to West Dulwich and found ourselves at the award-winning Dulwich Books (Independent Bookshop of the Year in the Bookseller Industry Awards) and it’s so easy to see why this shop and it’s wonderful staff are winners! I’ve been following them on Twitter for a while but had yet to visit and now I have visited I will go out of my way to visit many more times!! Before we even mentioned the book shop crawl aspect of our visit, we’d been welcomed with a friendly smile and as soon as we said what we were doing the wonderful Chloe appeared with an amazing goody bag!

It was so lovely to meet a bookseller whose enthusiasm for books matches mine and I could have stayed and chatted about books all day! Max was delighted to find a section of I-Spy books to add to his collection and Sam was spoiled for choice too … needless to say, none of us came away empty handed and we left to cries of ‘more books’ from Sam! Having seen the amazing stock and events programme – I will definitely be back!

Stop 3: Herne Hill Books (http://hernehillbooks.com/)

BSC7

This is the little sister shop to Clapham Books and is a real bijou book shop in a beautiful collection of shops and cafes right outside Herne Hill Station. I think I gave the poor shop assistant a bit of a scare as I bounced through the door announcing that we were book shop crawling! There was yet again a lovely selection of fiction, non-fiction, cards and gifts and a small but well chosen children’s selection and it’s definitely worth a visit!

Stop 4: Tales on Moon Lane (http://talesonmoonlane.co.uk/)

bsc10

Another award winner and a shop that I’ve wanted to visit for a long time having heard so many good things. Tales on Moon Lane is a dedicated children’s independent book shop and can only be described as an absolute treasure trove! I’m very jealous of the children of Herne Hill after visiting this magical shop – if I’d had somewhere like this nearby when I was younger, I would never have left. Needless to say, Max and Sam were delighted by this stop on the tour and can’t wait to go back!

I had to exercise serious restraint not to buy up the entire collection of beautiful Ladybird hardback classics and Sam had to be torn away from the Gruffalo display! Max made a special new friend and I swooned at the Young Adult collection – amazing!

Stop 5 (and almost 6): Foyles Royal Festival Hall (http://www.foyles.co.uk)

We decided to end our day with a lovely walk along the river at the Southbank taking in a couple more book shops. Sadly I hadn’t realised that the National Theatre book shop is currently closed for refurbishment so we weren’t able to visit them on our crawl but you can still visit their online shop for all your theatre-related bookish needs (http://shop.nationaltheatre.org.uk) and the new shop is opening this summer so I’m looking forward to returning to visit then!

 

Stop five and our final stop on our tour was the ever awesome Foyles at Royal Festival Hall. It’s a lovely, bright shop with so much to look at and a brilliant children’s section and London section! And yes, I did buy two more books there (I was on a roll by this point!)

As we left the shop it started to rain but there was a brilliant brass band playing and Max and Sam couldn’t resist joining in :-)

So after 6 hours,  13,500 steps, a bus and three train journeys, we arrived home with this lovely haul! Max and Sam declared it ‘a brilliant day’  and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

bsc14

Book news: Book Break Episode 6

4 Jul

The sixth episode of the fabulous Book Break TV show has just gone live!

In this episode,  author Alexandra Heminsley (Running Like a Girl), is joined by Jessie Burton, an actress and debut novelist and Jonathan Harvey, the creator of Gimme Gimme Gimme, one of the star writers on Coronation Street and already an award-winning novelist.

Show 6 Guests.1

Jonathan Harvey’s The Girl Who Just Appeared is a poignant, funny read which follows Holly (who was adopted as an infant) in the present day and Darren (who is negotiating life with his errant mother and the younger brother he is bringing up) in 1981. Flitting between the present and the past we gradually discover how Darren and Holly’s lives become intertwined.

Jessie Burton’s debut, The Miniaturist, is a story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth set in 1686 in the home of the illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, told through the eyes of his new bride Nella.

You’ll also hear from Ellen Feldman in the writer’s room segment where she will delve into her writing rituals. The episode finishes with publishing insiders on their recommendations for summer reading- from those already on the shelves to books that haven’t even been published yet.

Follow #bookbreak on Twitter, subscribe to the Pan Macmillan’s YouTube channel or watch the broadcast right now here!

Guest post: My writing hotspots by Tracy Buchanan

4 Jul

I’m delighted to welcome debut author Tracy Buchanan to One More Page today on the latest stop of her blog tour for The Atlas of Us. Tracy is a journalist and web producer whose years of travelling have inspired her writing. She lives in Milton Keynes with her partner and dog. You can find out more about Tracy, her inspirations and writing on her gorgeous website at: http://www.tracybuchanan.co.uk 

——————————————————————–

Whenever I discover a new place, characters and plot ideas inevitably burst to life in my head and before I know it, I’m scribbling away (yeah, the hubby adores that in the middle of a holiday!). Here are some of the settings that have inspired my writing past, present and future…

Past:

It feels strange referring to The Atlas of Us as my past as it’s very much my present and future too. But I’m referring to those first heady days when I started writing it.

My husband and I decided to get away from it all by staying in a gorgeous cottage overlooking the Heddon Valley on the edge of Exmoor National Park. Brooks bubbling over pebbles; lush green valleys; wild tangles of bushes and purple heather and an angry frothing sea. Perfect writing fodder.

The moment that sparked the idea for The Atlas of Us came outside a local pub where I saw a farmer standing outside with his skulking dog. He turned towards us, his dark hair lifting in the breeze, and that was it: Milo, one of the main characters in The Atlas of Us, sprung instantly to life in my head. I hurried back to our cottage and started writing. Ten weeks later I had a first draft!

Present:

I’m currently working on my next novel, another story that takes the reader around the world… but this time beneath the sea too.

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to spend ten days in the beautiful Maldivian island of Kuramathi. By day, I swam over colourful coral with sharks, stingray and turtles for company. Then by night, I walked barefoot on baby powder sand, watching the sun set from the tip of the shark tooth-shaped island I was staying on.

As I snorkelled one day, I came across shards of ashen coral like tiny bones on the seabed. I discovered later they were the remains of coral destroyed by the 2004 tsunami. Did you know corals are actually living, breathing marine animals? This made it even more heartrending, especially considering the subject matter of The Atlas of Us.

It also made me think about how beauty can belie deeply damaged layers, and that led me to the plot for the novel I’m working on now.

TBuchanan_North_OMP

Tracy standing with one of the ‘Allendale Chimneys’ in the background, sadly no Heathcliff in sight.

Future:

Every time I’m writing a novel, the characters for another novel start whispering in my ear. The idea for yet another novel actually started whispering a year or so ago when I visited Allendale in Northumberland.

W.H. Auden once wrote of the area: “Derelict shafts, abandoned washing floors, decayed water wheels, solitary chimneys sticking up in the middle of nowhere … they had a melancholy fascination, and a quiet isolation.”

The ‘Allendale Chimneys’, which stand tall and stark atop the Pennines, embody this. I reached them by walking along flues built to channel fumes from a lead smelt mill. Now overgrown with wild flowers and grass, it made for a savage but beautiful journey.

When we got to the chimneys, I stood surveying the scenery around me, the Pennines stretching out lazily in the distance, knots of green land dotted here and there with grey stone. It made me think of one of my favourite quotes from Wuthering Heights:

‘My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees — my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath — a source of little visible delight, but necessary.’

I came awaThe atlas of us pb fonty from the north thinking of beautiful but damaged people, the idea for a new character coming to me.

What places inspire you? Let me know by leaving a comment. 

Thank you Tracy.

The Atlas of Us is out now as an ebook (just 99p!) and will be released in paperback on 31st July.

Please do check out the other stops on The Atas of Us blog tour and look out for my review soon!