Monday, 29 November 2010

Book Review: The Hating Game

I'm feeling a little bleary eyed at the moment as I stayed up way past my bedtime the last few nights reading Ms Roland's debut novel "The Hating Game".

The Hating Game
Talli Roland

Published: 15 November 2010 by Prospera Publishing
Format: Kindle ebook

Published: 9 March 2011 by Prospera Publishing
Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 1907504036
ISBN-13: 978-1907504037
When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy.

After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £50,000 prize?

Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes.

Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?
Think Blind Date meets Big Brother meets I'm a Celebrity and you've pretty much got the idea of the sort of game show hell Mattie Johns finds herself in.

She's asked to do some embarrassing things during the course of the game show. You expect her to refuse, but she's so determined to save her business she just takes a deep breath and gets on with it. Albeit, with some fabulous putdowns to anyone who annoys her.

I thought I knew how the story was going to unfold but I was wrong-footed by something that happens towards the middle of the book. Several twists and turns follow, which kept me guessing to the end.

Mattie isn't the usual ditzy, chick lit heroine. She is feisty with a capital F. She's also rude and abrasive. At the beginning of the story I found it hard to warm to her, but it soon becomes apparent the 'ball-breaker' image is an act to protect herself from getting hurt again and it wasn't long before I was firmly on her side. It's very hard to make a reader care about an (initially) unsympathetic heroine but Ms Roland pulls it off brilliantly, revealing layer after layer of Mattie's personality.

This is a delightful rom-com, full of wit and with some great, laugh out loud one-liners. If you like Marian Keyes then you're going to love Talli Roland. Remember the name, as I predict we'll be seeing a lot more from this talented new writer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give it 5 out of 5. However, I'll never be able to look at a cocktail sausage the same way again!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

NaNoWriMo Update

Unless I can write 10,000 words a day between now and Tuesday I think it's safe to say I won't be completing NaNoWriMo this year. But, rather than beat myself up about it, I shall do my own writing month in January, which is traditionally the time of year for reassessing goals and starting new projects. Plus there are 31 days in the month instead of the 30 you get during Wrimo.

A huge pat on the back to everyone who has completed or is on track to complete Wrimo. Well done!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

New Release: Carolina Pearl

Carolina Pearl
Sela Carsen
A family legend could lead to a treasure more precious than pearls…or get them killed.

Between babysitting her very pregnant sister-in-law and fending off her mother’s nagging about her marital status, Blair Moreau is going insane. Her only hold on sanity is her daily walk for a guilty peek at her crush, the sexy neighbor who’s fixing up the old Cotesworth place.

Conn Lucas, the bastard son of Culford’s leading family, got way out of town a long time ago. When the only relative who didn’t despise him leaves him her 250-year-old house, Conn plans to refurbish it, flip it, and get back to Connecticut as soon as possible. Until a local beauty with a rare talent for DIY gives him a hand with some stubborn siding.

When he makes her mad enough to swing a two-by-four at his head, he realizes Blair is better than perfect. Especially when his efforts to keep her from killing him explode into an erotic rush of adrenaline that unleashes desires they’ve both kept hidden.

Breaking through Conn’s tough shell isn’t as difficult Blair’s next hurdle—telling him she’s a werewolf. First, though, they’ve got to deal with meddling ghosts and a bad ol’ boy cousin who isn’t above taking what he wants at nail-gun point…

Product Warnings:
This book contains a smokin’ hot werewolf chick with serious DIY know-how and a man who thinks that’s sexy; illegal use of nail guns; things to do in a claw-foot tub; pirate references; piddling Dobermans and meddling ghosts. Which is better than meddling Dobermans and piddling ghosts.

Read an excerpt!

Buy now!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

New Release: Sleeping With The Wolf

Sleeping With The Wolf
Maddy Barone

ISBN 978-1-59578-777-4 Sterling Silver title
Rising country music star Carla boards a plane in the year 2014. But it crashes in the future, fifty years after Armageddon has destroyed technology and plagues have reduced the female population to a precious few. She finds herself offered as prize in a Bride Fight, where only the strongest and fiercest men are allowed to compete to win a wife. Alpha werewolf Taye knows Carla is his mate. He wins the Bride Fight and takes her to his den, ready to give her everything, even his heart. Will Carla ever be ready to give him anything?

Read An Excerpt Here

Word Count: 42500


Thursday, 18 November 2010

RNA Winter Party - Celebrating 50 glorious years and the New Writers' Scheme

After weeks of feverish anticipation the day of the Romantic Novelists' Association Winter Party finally arrived.

My friend Jules and I set off on the train excited about attending our first big RNA event. Finishing touches were put to hair and makeup enroute, so apologies to everyone for the smell of nail varnish on the 16:56 to Euston.

The beautiful IMechE Library

Number One Birdcage Walk is a very impressive building with an even more impressive library. The perfect (and extremely hot) venue for the party.

Organiser Jan Jones, Chair Katie Fforde,
President Di Pearson

I apologise for the lack of shoe photos. It was very remiss of me, especially as there was some gorgeous footwear on display.

It was lovely to meet so many Romna, blog and Twitter friends and I can't wait for the next RNA event to do it all over again.

Cara Cooper and friends

Unfortunately there were people I saw from afar who escaped my clutches left before I could get round to saying hello. 200 people attended, so even if the party had lasted another 3 hours it wouldn't have been possible to speak to everyone that I wanted to. As it was we were pretty much among the last to leave.

Even having to stand up for most of the journey home packed shoulder to shoulder with a lot of very subdued England fans (don't think the game went too well) could dampen our mood.

I feel privileged to be part of the New Writers' Scheme during the RNA's 50th anniversary year. The Winter Party was truly a fantastic evening, so thanks RNA. You are still 'Fabulous at Fifty'.

There are some lovely photos of the party on the RNA blog

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Book Review: Mistletoe and the Lost Stiletto

Mistletoe and the Lost Stiletto
Liz Fielding

Published: November 2010 by Mills & Boon
Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0263888479
ISBN-13: 978-0263888478
Lucy Bright can't believe it when she's plucked from secretarial obscurity and transformed into the pampered fiancée of a slick retail guru. But then she discovers it was all a publicity stunt! Rushing away from the media frenzy, she bumps - literally - into delicious tycoon Nathaniel Hart...

Spooked by their instantaneous chemistry, Lucy flees - but Nathaniel is determined to find his barefoot beauty. Though all he has is one very expensive red designer stiletto to help him!
Ms Fielding gives the Cinderella story a fun, modern twist with a social networking heroine.

Lucy Bright has everything. She thinks she's met her Prince Charming and after a whirlwind romance is planning a fairytale wedding. But a chance discovery exposes her Prince for the frog he really is and her new world comes crashing down.

She makes her escape into a large department store but loses one of her Christian Louboutin stilettos along the way and bumps into retail magnate Nathaniel Hart. She disappears again and hides out in his store, but neither of them can ignore the instant attraction they feel.

I love Lucy B - she's fresh, vulnerable and says what she thinks even though she knows she probably shouldn't. Nathaniel is a gorgeous tortured hero punishing himself for something that happened in his past. Together they are perfect - each one rescuing the other.

Ms Fielding yet again delivers a beautifully written story full of emotion, with characters I will remember long after finishing it. The final scene had me closing the book with that warm glow and satisfied 'aah' that all romance readers are looking for and all aspiring romance writers wish they could achieve. Frankly, I am in awe!

Thank you Ms Fielding for such an enjoyable unputdownable read and for a masterclass in how a romance novel should be written.

I give this book 5 out of 5. It is one of my favourites this year and now firmly on my keeper shelf. I recommend it to all romance fans who want a feel-good Christmassy read.

Thanks Liz for being kind enough to send me a copy of this book.

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