Friday, 30 September 2011

Renovation, Renovation, Renovation by Nell Dixon

This week sees the e-publication of Nell Dixon's latest romantic comedy, Renovation, Renovation, Renovation by Myrmidon, with the paperback to follow 2012. Nell won Love Story of the Year in 2010 with Animal Instincts and having read her books, I can assure you this will be a fabulous read.

Kate insists she's had enough of her boyfriend, Steve. After seven years together she was hoping to settle down, get engaged and maybe start to think about having a few babies together. Instead, Steve invests in Myrtle Cottage, a rundown Elizabethan cottage with, it seems, occupants other than themselves from the English Civil War. Her sister suggests they sign up for Evening Classes and Kate agrees to join the course, Research The History Of Your House. If she's going to discover what's making the suspicious noises in her home, this seems like a good place to start.

This book is great fun and well worth reading. Here's an excerpt:

Overworked, over budget and just so not over him! Kate would like an engagement ring from Steve but instead he's lumbered them with a thirteenth renovation project, and doing up Myrtle Cottage disturbs a ghost from the English Civil War who has romance troubles of her own.
“This bloody door is stuck again!”

The door was old, possibly original and it wedged tight every time it rained. Steve had been promising to plane the edge ever since we’d moved in. My family usually used the back door when they visited, unless it was wet, like today, when picking their way through the weeds tended to be a slippery and soggy exercise.

Whoever was on the other side gave the door a helpful shove, and sent me scooting backwards straight into Steve who’d come into the hall behind me. He caught me in his arms and steadied me. He held me securely but gently around the tops of my arms.

“Kate?” My sister was on the doorstep clutching a bag containing what looked like a takeaway and a very welcome bottle of wine.

I jerked myself back upright away from the familiar comforting hardness of Steve’s bare chest. My heart thumped against the wall of my chest and I had become a little breathless.

Lou’s mouth was a round ‘o’ of surprise.

I glared at her. “Damn door, I nearly broke my neck.”

Lou raised an eyebrow and stepped into the hall. “Thought I’d better come in the front way to dodge the jungle you so fondly call your back garden. I bought us an Indian.” She gave a Steve a pointed look.

“Catch you later, LouLou.” He flashed her a smile and slipped past us both, disappearing up the bare wooden stairs of the cottage.

“I didn’t interrupt anything, did I?” Lou asked as she made her way into the kitchen.

I followed behind her clutching the mug I’d rescued from the stairs. “Puhlease, you know how it is between me and Steve. It’s over, done, finished. If we could get this bloody house completed and off our hands I would be so out of here.” I ignored the little voice at the back of my mind that tried to suggest that my statement wasn’t entirely truthful.

(C) Nell Dixon 2011

Available from October from all good e-tailers.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Pups First Day Outside

I went to my sister's house the other day to help her watch the nine puppies when she let them out into the garden for their first outing. As you can see, they were a little nervous, but were soon persuaded to give it a go and ran around, played and generally investigated the garden for about half an hour.

This picture is for James. He wanted this pup so much, but is about to start his third year at university, so it wasn't possible. He helped my sister when Mowgli was born and fell in love with the little chap. Mowgli is going to a family with two little boys who were beside themselves when their parents bought them to see the pup.

What? I haven't got anything in my mouth!

I think this one is Milo, he's the only blonde boy (the other boy is Mowgli) and is nearly 4kgs. He's adorable and is going to a friend of my sister's so she'll see him grow up, which is lovely.

Fun pulling Tigger across the patio.

This cheeky one, is Luna and the one my sister is keeping. She's the most placid out of the nine pups and is like a cuddly teddybear. I'm glad she's keeping one, so we'll be able to see her grow up. They're a handful now, but so adorable and I'm going to miss them when they go to their new homes in about three weeks.

However, as gorgeous and cuddly as the pups are - and they really are - His Grumpiness will always be #1 in the Plotting Shed and with me. He's had to stay away from my sister's house sine the pups were born and I look forward to being able to take him there again and introduce him to Luna.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Competitions at Novelicious

We've got two fantastic competitions over at Novelicious this week.

You can read my review of Persuade Me, Juliet Archer's second novel in her Darcy & Friends series published by Choc Lit. It's a fabulous book and I'm not just talking about the cover. To be in with a chance of winning a copy you'll need to go to Novelicious (from Thursday morning) and leave a 'Pick Me' comment.

Also, Novelicious has teamed up with the Festival of Romance and you can win a full day ticket, including access to all events, refreshments and a two-course lunch.

To find out more and to enter, please go to Novelicious from Thursday (22/9) lunchtime.

Good luck.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

If I Could Be Anybody I'd Like To Be...

Florence Boot (1863-1952). She was a Jersey girl, born in St Helier and her parents owned a bookshop. Florence met Jesse Boot (founder of Boots The Chemist) when he visited Jersey from Nottingham.

Florence worked with her husband and as Lord and Lady Trent they became great benefactors to the island. As well as F B Fields (sports fields in St Clement) they built Florence Boot Homes, La Motte Street School, Coronation Park (beautiful parks, with playground and paddling pond) and various other developments for the local people.

After her husband's death in 1931, Lady Trent commissioned Rene Lalique to design the incredible works of art in St Matthew's Church (aka The Glass Church). It's one of my favourite places to visit and if you ever come to Jersey you should definitely make the most of seeing so much Lalique in one place.

Today is Launch Day for Talli Roland's second novel, Watching Willow Watts. You can buy a copy of Willow on Amazon UK for £1.71, or on for $2.99. (Paperback coming in November).

Here's the blurb:

For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching TV, as the pension-aged residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image in a frame.

Instantly, Willow's town is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves.
But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village's newfound fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness?

So, who would you like to be?

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Puppies, Zumba & Reading

Isn't this the cutest little puppy?

Actually it's one of nine. Some short-haired, some long, six blonde and three black labrador x retriever puppies. They're four weeks old tomorrow and their mum (my sister's gorgeous bitch, Gyps) is the most placid dog I've ever come across - and the complete opposite of the Grump!

Zumba was great fun again on Monday night. I was still doing a pretty good impression of a tomato an hour after the class had ended. Talk about red-faced! I went with sis and sis-in-law and together with about 15 other women we had fun as we danced and tried our best to follow the zumba instructor. Such a relief that I enjoy it so much, especially as I've paid for a 12 week course!

Better get on, I have to finish reading The Generation Game so that I can review it for Women's Fiction Thursday over at Novelicious. All comments welcome and if you wish you can also vote for the site in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11 Anniversary

Remembering the bravery of those who were killed on that fateful day 10 years ago and the families and friends who've had to live with the consequences of the actions of a few. Also to those who've been killed since that date in the fight against terrorism.

I think what happened that day changed all of us in some way.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Give Me Sunshine

Aren't these delightful? I received them as a thank you recently and was so thrilled. I love sunflowers, although I have to admit that they terrified me as a small child. I must have been a bit of a wuss!

After a long, not so glorious summer - weather-wise - it's back to school for my daughter on Tuesday. She did very well in her GCSEs and is about to start her Alevels. She's taking Maths, Physics, ICT and History and was hoping she'd get a high enough mark in her Maths GCSE so that she didn't have to do English instead. When I asked her what was wrong with English, she said, "Er hello? I'd have to read all those boring books." I ask you how did I end up with a daughter who:
a) Doesn't like reading novels
b) Is not only good at Maths & Physics (she got As for both in GCSE!) but enjoys the subjects. *shakes head in bewilderment*

My son was lucky enough to get a placement for the summer holidays working in finance, but the twelve weeks have flown by and he'll be leaving on Sunday to return to Reading, where he'll meet up with his girlfriend and they'll go travelling in Europe for three weeks. *sniff*

I, on the other hand, will be waiting nervously to see what my RNA NWS Reader's report says about my WW1 novel, reading books to review over at Novelicious where today I've reviewed Christina Jones' fantastic new book, Never Can Say Goodbye and Nina Bell's also wonderful book, The Empty Nesters (both published 1 September) - please pop over and leave a comment . I also start my Zumba classes on Monday, so that should keep me quiet for a bit.

Right now, I'm going to forget that son is leaving soon and go back into the garden and make the most of the sunshine while it lasts.

Have a fun/relaxing/calm (delete where applicable) weekend. x