Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Book Review: Persuade Me

Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends, #2)Persuade Me by Juliet Archer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved 'Persuade Me'. Having enjoyed 'The Importance of Being Emma', I was slightly afraid that the novelty of modern Austen adaptations might have worn off, but if anything, I enjoyed this second book even more, though the reasons for that were largely personal.
Being a great fan of all things Antipodean, I relished the fact that Rick Wentworth had spent time as a marine biologist in Australia. Back in the UK, he reconnects with old flame Anna, now a lecturer in Russian Literature at... wait for it... Bath, where I studied for my MA in Creative Writing. Since Bath is also the home of all things Austen, there were plenty of opportunities for nods to the town's literary heritage as well as its unique style.
Even leaving aside the many personal connections, though, I would still have loved this fresh, modern take on a classic romance. Like Austen herself, Archer delivers a witty take on issues of class, alongside a sweet yet sassy tale of two lovers destined to be together but continually thwarted by circumstances. At times, the obstacles verged on implausibility, but the characterisation and storytelling, as well as the quality of the writing, kept me enthralled throughout.

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Monday, 23 June 2014

Amazing what you find on google

I don't at all remember seeing this review last Christmas, when it actually came out, but reading it certainly felt like opening a Christmas gift.  I was very happy to read how much MJ enjoyed (and recommended) 'The Santa Next Door', and I loved the cute picture which accompanied the review too.  Thanks, MJ, for making me smile, and sorry it's taken me so long to make this discovery! 

http://mjjoachim.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/book-review-santa-next-door-by.html

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Busy not writing

Well, it's been a busy month!  I had a fantastic time taking part in the Doncaster Literature Festival, both as a guest and a speaker.  I heard Matt Haig, Stephen Booth and Milly Johnson speak, as well as giving my own talk alongside Kate Walker.  As a result of the festival, I was contacted by Radio Sheffield to talk (with fellow romantic novelist Victoria Howard) about romance, and Doncaster's second year running as Amazon's romance reading capital of the UK.  So, basically, I spent most of the month being busy not writing... but I did manage to redress the balance a little, courtesy of Sheffield Writer's retreat in Crookes, where I got going again on the long-awaited sequel to Perfect Partners... I hope to be able to share some snippets with you soon.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Forthcoming Events: Doncaster Literary Festival

I'm excited to be part of the Literary Festival organised by Doncaster Libraries.  I'll be speaking alongside prolific Mills & Boon author Kate Walker, whose '12-point guide to writing romance' has long been one of my go-to reference books.  Details of the event are below, followed by a link to the rest of the festival programme - if you're in or near Doncaster in June, don't miss it!  

Wednesday 4 June, 3p.m. - 4.30p.m.
Authors Kate Walker and Stephanie Cage – Central Lending Library, Waterdale

Behind the Hearts and Flowers. Popular Mills & Boon author Kate Walker will be talking about being a romantic novelist and her latest book, which is released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of her very first book! Joining her will be new author Stephanie Cage who is a Doncaster-based romance writer and author of Perfect Partners (Crimson Romance).
Ticket Price £3

  
http://library.doncaster.gov.uk/web/arena/literary-festival

Book Review: Recipe for Love

Recipe for LoveRecipe for Love by Katie Fforde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This may possibly be my favourite Katie Fforde book to date. I loved the down-to-earth heroine, Zoe, and the humour that comes from the way her ordinary outlook clashes with the media frenzy surrounding the TV cooking competition she enters. With celebrities a-plenty (including the delicious hero, food writer Gideon Irving, who as judge on the show, should be thoroughly out of bounds, providing some vastly entertaining bedroom farce moments) and Zoe's love-to-hate roommate Cher, many aspects of the book are larger than life, but Katie Fforde's careful research ensures the story never strays too far from the bounds of believability.

If anyone ever invents a 'best supporting character' Oscar for romance novels, I'll be nominating the very charming, very pregnant, Fen, whose relationship with her husband Rupert and their terrible in-laws, as well as her developing friendship with Zoe, round out the story beautifully.

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