The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The LightAt a glance this story might seem like a long expedition into the self-absorbed meanderings of the main character. It is however much more than that.

Everyone lives in their head. In fact to be more specific, there are at least three versions of every person.

The version we show to the world, the version of us we show to our family, partners and close friends, and then there is the version that lives inside us. The one that lives in our head, the one we have internal conversations with, the version of us who voices thoughts nobody ever hears.

The Light we Lost is Lucy’s internal voice and inner version of herself. It is essentially the written dialogue of hopes, fears and desires we never share with anyone else.

I think this is a story a lot of readers will be able to identify with. If you think back upon your life you might be able to recognise certain moments you could call crossroads. Days or decisions that took you in one direction when you could have chosen another one in the same moment.

It’s the same sentiment as some of us meeting what one would call the great love of our life, but ending up letting them go or choosing a path different to theirs. In Lucy’s case this person is Gabe. Santopolo describes it quite accurately when she writes something akin to some loves are like a hearth fire, warm and cosy, and others are like raging uncontrollable bushfires. One of them is consistent and reliable, and the other leaves you breathless and disorientated.

Lucy and Gabe have a relationship filled with What-If’s and it never being the right moment in time for the two of them. A pocket full of regrets and bag full of imaginary scenarios that could have been.

I really enjoyed this book, perhaps because it is simplistic, and yet poignant. It’s like entering a secret door in someone’s head, and having a front row seat to their inner thoughts and a lifetime of emotions.

Santopolo makes you feel as if you’re sitting on your couch drinking a glass of wine listening to a friend talk about their secret love. It’s an intimate moment, and yet at the same time it is a universal one, and so is this story.

Buy The Light We Lost at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @JillSantopolo

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

the cowsSometimes when a celebrity writes a book their image conjures up certain expectations, so I was ready for something pleasant, warm and funny.

Instead I was surprised, in a good way I might add, by how gritty, feisty, hardcore and brutally honest it was. When O’Porter says cows she really means cows.

The reader follows the lives of Tara, Stella and Cam. Tara is a successful documentary maker, who has to put up with a misogynistic boss. Stella is grieving the death of her sister and trying to establish her own identity. Cam is a feisty blogger, who ends up becoming a bit of an online celebrity after she tells the world that she doesn’t want to have children.

The lives of these three women become linked when one of them becomes a viral sensation when she is secretly filmed during a very private moment.

Leaving aside the plot and multiple story-lines for a moment, I do think the author has managed to create a sort of megaphone for women, and their opinions, in this book. Women often aren’t aware that other women are actually their worst enemy and at the spearhead of the fiercest vocal opposition.

You kind of expect men to try to undermine, control and belittle women. It is unfortunately part of as yet unbroken ancient societal habits. However when other women try to bring you down, it often feels like more of an affront. Surely other women should know exactly how you feel, think and all about the problems one encounters as a woman?

One of the topics Porter sheds a light on to make this point is women who choose not to have children. You wouldn’t believe the amount of criticism a by choice childless woman encounters in her lifetime. They are accused of not fulfilling their duties, not contributing to the world as they should. More power to them I say. I have plenty of friends for whom no children was and is a life choice. It has never even dawned on me to try and point the finger, convince them otherwise or chastise them. Regardless of with or without children I admire anyone who has a clear view of what is best for them, and has the guts to live the way they want to.

Women should learn to empower other women. To support other women instead of trying to break them down in an attempt to justify their own life choices or mistakes.

The second point the author makes is about the hypocritical way women are treated when it comes to sexuality, to be more specific, their sexual pleasure. They are shamed and ridiculed for having wants and needs. In this case no one points the finger at the voyeur or the person filming Tara secretly. In one foul swoop she is treated like a pariah, an unfit parent and a very loose woman. All because of one moment of intimate pleasure.

As I mentioned before I was pleasantly surprised by the in your face brutal honesty and to be quite frank our painful reality. O’Porter is definitely a voice to listen to in a crowd full of noisy voices.

Buy The Cows at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @hotpatooties or visit Dawnoporter.co.uk

New York Actually by Sarah Morgan

new-yorkLet me start off by saying that in my opinion Valentine, and especially his buddy Brutus, are the unexpected stars of this book. They are the cherry on top of another literary ice cream sundae by Sarah Morgan.

Molly makes her money by giving advice to others. An anonymous agony aunt with about as much experience at successful relationships and love, as a badger at sunbathing.

This is actually a pet peeve of mine. People with zero practical experience giving advice based on theoretical knowledge.

Of course Molly seems to be blissfully unaware of this contradiction or rather the fact her inexperience may be causing others pain and conflict. It’s easy to dole out advice and have an opinion on the lives of strangers, especially when they all remain anonymous. The problem is that the eager agony aunt only ever hears a one-sided conversation.

Daniel meets Molly under what we shall call contrived circumstances. He tries to attract the attention of a beautiful woman in the most extraordinary way. Hmm so the problem is that both of them have buckets full of secrets, which means interactions based on misconceptions and half-truths.

Once again Morgan manages to tug on the heartstrings with a strong and passionate story, and yet at the same time she makes sure the reader gets quite a few laughs.

Buy New York Actually at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

You can visit Sarah online at her website: www.sarahmorgan.com on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahMorgan or on Twitter @SarahMorgan_

Read The Christmas SistersMoonlight over Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #6)Holiday in the Hamptons (From Manhattan with Love #5)Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan With Love #3)Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love #2)Sleepless in Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #1)Christmas Ever AfterFirst Time in ForeverMaybe This Christmas, Sleighbells in the SnowSuddenly Last Summer or The Notting Hill Diaries, all by Sarah Morgan.

Follow @SarahMorgan_@HQStories and @HarperCollinsUK

Blog-Tour: The Cosy Christmas Teashop by Caroline Roberts

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Caroline Roberts and her book The Cosy Christmas Teashop to the blog. I hope you enjoy my review and the fantastic Q&A with Caroline, it gives a lot of insight into her book and the author herself.

About the Author

Caroline Roberts lives in the beautiful Northumberland countryside with her husband, and has two children. The sandy beaches, castles and rolling hills around her inspire her writing. She enjoys writing about relationships; stories of love, loss, friends and family – stories to make you laugh, smile and sometimes shed a tear or two.

A slice of cake, glass of bubbly, and a cup of tea, would make her day – preferably served with friends! She believes in striving for your dreams, which led her to a publishing deal with Harper Collins (yippee!) after many years of writing. The Cosy Christmas Teashop is her third novel.

If you’d like to find out more about Caroline, visit her on Twitter @_caroroberts, Facebook  www.facebook.com/CarolineRobertsAuthor and her blog carolinerobertswriter.blogspot.co.uk -she’d love to hear from you!

Follow @_caroroberts and @HarperImpulse and look out for #CosyTeashop on Twitter.

Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call ‘Breaking the Ice.’
The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms want to know) I’ve just finished The Jacobite’s Daughter by Lorna Windham. It’s a fabulous historical romance set in 18th Century Scotland, with battles, love stories, intrigue, and I loved the beautiful Highland setting. It is the debut novel of a close friend in the Romantic Novelists’ Association. We have supported each other along the way to publication, so it’s wonderful to see her novel now available.

The last movie you watched, which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet…you name it)? I haven’t seen a movie in a little while now. But one of my romantic favourites is The Notebook with Ryan Gosling. It’s such a beautiful love story, and I love how the story takes you from the beginning of their relationship right through to old age.

Are you more of a Game of Thrones or Outlander gal? (Combinations are possible) Ooh, I have to admit I don’t really follow either, though I have seen the odd Game of Thrones episode when my son’s back home – it looks pretty dramatic. My favourite tv programmes at the moment are Poldark, and The Fall.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet? I’d really like to meet Emily Bronte. I loved Wuthering Heights when I first read it as a teenager. It is so passionate, and a touch wild, especially with brooding Heathcliff and that rural moorland setting. I’d love to know what Emily was like as a person and to chat to her about what it was like writing as a woman back in the Victorian age.

Something you treat yourself to, now and again? (Cream éclairs totally count) You can’t beat a slice of homemade cake – rich chocolate, carrot, Victoria sponge with cream and strawberries, lemon drizzle. I like a bit of variety. With a good cup of tea – that’s just bliss and a cosy, pick-me-up. It’s excellent fuel for writing!

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop.

Your Teashop books really are the perfect excuse to just curl up in a corner and spent a few cosy hours nose deep in a book. 

The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop takes place a while after The Cosy Tea Shop in the Castle. Ellie wants to take her life and family to the next level. Unfortunately it isn’t plain sailing for Ellie and her husband.

Was it important to you to mix serious topics with the fun and loving scenario of Ellie’s life? Yes, as a writer I want to make readers smile and get lost in a fabulous new world, but I also want to write about the things that matter, that can affect us all, and show that life isn’t always plain sailing. And real love builds itself around that, it supports you. I think Ellie and Joe’s relationship has grown–up in this novel and it was great exploring their longer–term love; we see them having to cope with some difficult times. Watch out, you may need a hankie here and there, but there’s still lots of humour and sexiness too.

Is it your way of infusing the perfect happy life with a dash of reality? Yes, I think we have to be realistic. My books are a little rom-angst. Life’s like that, happy times, sad times, times to laugh, times to cry, and love and friendship can see you through all that. It’s a journey; after the difficult times you really appreciate the happy times.

One of the aspects of the book I really enjoyed is the way all the employees are like a big patchwork family. Proving that we don’t always have to be blood relatives to be a family. Is that the element you were aiming for? Absolutely, I live a long way from my family, having moved from Cornwall (where my parents still are) hundreds of miles away to Northumberland many years ago. The sense of community and friendship here is wonderful. I think that would be particularly strong in a close-knit community like the castle estate.

I also have to ask whether you have a secret plan to make readers get the munchies whilst reading? I know I definitely had this strange urge to eat cake throughout the book.  It wasn’t a secret plan – I just love food, and cakes and bakes are such a lovely treat, so that probably feeds through into my books!

Of course the last and probably the most important question has to be whether we will be reading more about Ellie and her scrumptious baked goods in the future? The next book is a poignant and beautiful love story set on the stunning Bamburgh Beach in Northumberland with a whole new host of characters. But I am planning to write more “Cosy” style books in the future, so I’m sure we’ll be meeting Ellie and Joe again soon.

Thank you for answering all of my questions, even the odd ones! You’re welcome! Thank you for having me here on your blog, Cheryl!


About the book

From sleigh bells to wedding bells . . .

After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down teashop regained its old sparkle.

Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairytale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The teashop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?

Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve.

Will Christmas at the Cosy Teashop be a showstopper to remember?

Review

It’s been a while since The Cosy Teashop in the Castle, and Ellie and Joe have settled comfortably into married life. As far as Ellie is concerned it is time to add to their family and make their unit complete.

Not an easy feat when you’re as busy as Ellie and Joe. Now they are in the business of hosting weddings and dealing with highly emotional brides-to-be, so certain things have to take a back-seat for the time being.

One of the nicest elements of the book is the way all the employees are like one big happy family. From the reluctant unicorn right down to the poor staff run ragged by the occasional bridezilla. They all stick together no matter how difficult the situation or how obscure the request.

Roberts manages to create a happy atmosphere, a cuddle up in a corner cosy read, which she infuses with enough reality to make the story relatable. On top of that she has incorporated her love of all things cake into the book. You might find yourself needing a snack or feel your sweet-tooth calling, then again that might just have been me. I had cake on the brain after this read.

It is an emotional read, and yet at the same time it warms the heart and will make you smile now and again. Roberts is very adept at making the reader feel right at home within the story. The line between fiction and reality is so narrow that it is almost non-existent. Her characters are just like you and me.

Buy The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

17th till 21st of October: Blog-Tour: The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop by Caroline Roberts

Are you ready for scrumptious cakes, treats, a cup of tea and a delectable read? Well then you must be ready for the Blog-Tour of The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop by Caroline Roberts.

So you can read what my fellow bloggers have to say about The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop just click on the links below. Follow @_caroroberts and @HarperImpulse and look out for #CosyTeashop on Twitter.

17th of Oct at chicklitchloe.blogspot.co.uk

18th of Oct at bookmoodreviews.com

19th of Oct at starcrossedreviews.co.uk

20th of Oct at here and cherylmmbookblog.blogspot.co.uk

21st of Oct at withloveforbooks.com

Hope to see you here on the 20th for my review of The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop!

The Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

miraclemorgabThis is the story of Eva and Lucas and the third book in the From Manhattan with Love series.

I enjoyed the way Morgan left everyone else more or less out of the mix this time. The majority of the book is just Eva and Lucas interacting with each other. Just pure emotions and a lot of conversation.

Eva lives in a happy bubble full of unicorns and candy-floss dreams. As far as she is concerned everything can be healed or fixed with a little love and a lot of food. She is a wee hurricane of chaos and the complete opposite of Lucas.

Lucas has become a recluse since the death of his wife, and certainly doesn’t welcome the interruption caused by the incoming storm called Eva.

Eva manages to unintentionally start the great thaw of icy Lucas, which in itself isn’t a bad thing except for the minor issue of Lucas not wanting to be warmed up by anyone. The question is whether she can make a tiny crack in the ice around his heart or will this finally be the man to break Eva’s deeply ingrained belief in her happily ever after.

It’s sweet, savoury and quite delicious in places. Everything you would expect from a story by Sarah Morgan. Exactly the right kind of story in time for Christmas.

Buy Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

You can visit Sarah online at her website: www.sarahmorgan.com on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahMorgan or on Twitter @SarahMorgan_

Read The Christmas SistersMoonlight over Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #6)Holiday in the Hamptons (From Manhattan with Love #5), New York Actually (From ManHattan with Love #4) Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love #2)Sleepless in Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #1)Christmas Ever AfterFirst Time in ForeverMaybe This Christmas, Sleighbells in the SnowSuddenly Last Summer or The Notting Hill Diaries, all by Sarah Morgan.

Follow @SarahMorgan_@HQStories and @HarperCollinsUK

Today! Blog-Tour: Love Is.. by Haley Hill

Hey, it’s my turn on the Blog-Tour for Love Is by Haley Hill. It is a delightfully scornful and ironic look at divorce and relationships combined with the messy and eventful life of Ellie Rigby!

About the author

Haley Hill is a fresh new voice in romantic fiction who has previously found success in the self-publishing world. Prior to launching her fiction career, Haley launched and ran the Elect Club dating agency – and is an expert in all things dating! Haley lives in South London with her husband and twin daughters.

Connect with Haley at matchmakermusings.com  or follow @HaleyHillNow and @HQStories and look out for #LoveIs on Twitter.

Buy Love Is

About the book

Dating Agency doyenne Ellie Rigby always thought that helping people find love with the hard part. But now she’s all loved up with husband Nick and has hundreds of matchmaking successes under her belt, Ellie ought to know all there is to know about love.

As her struggles to get pregnant put strain on her marriage, and her matchmaking service starts losing clients, Ellie realises she has so much more to learn. So setting off on a global research trip, Ellie makes it her mission to find out what makes love last forever, and whether it’s enough to save her own romance.

Review

This is the continuation of Ellie Rigby’s story, which began in It’s got to be Perfect. In Love Is she is still pursuing the perfect life and trying to recreate the vision of her perfect dream. The house, husband, kids, career and the white picket fence. Unfortunately life is full of imperfections and unexpected twists.

Ellie and her husband Nick have been trying to get pregnant for quite a while and after another unsuccessful IVF trial they discover that the path to becoming parents has driven them apart. Suddenly Ellie is confronted with the hurtful reality that Nick doesn’t really want what she wants or at least not at the expense of their relationship. This sets her on the path for answers about marriage and divorce.

She wants to know why the statistical chances of couples divorcing are so high, and why are so many of her perfect matches heading down the same path. Ellie literally travels the world to meet alleged experts. A combination of wise gurus and pseudo scientists, to discover the truth or perhaps just her truth.

In the first book Hill gives the reader fun. laughter and rose-tinted glasses of love and new relationships. In this story we find an Ellie, who has gotten over the first butterflies, blushes and sweet moments of togetherness. The reality of marriage has crept up on both her and Nick.

This book is harsher, a little bit like shining a microscopic light on couples, relationships and divorce in general.The language is more graphic and the atmosphere is a wee bit more brassy. Hill has included some interesting parallels, statistics and facts on divorce.

Hill has an interesting writing voice. You can almost hear the smirks and the subtle sarcasm between the lines. Not a dreamer, but a realist with both feet firmly on the ground and she certainly isn’t afraid to write what she really thinks.

Hopefully we will see Ellie again in the middle of the next chapter of her life. I already know, but you will have to read Love Is to find out what comes next for her.

Buy Love Is at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read It’s Got To Be Perfect by Haley Hill (The beginning of Ellie Rigby’s story)

Blog-Tour: The Ex Factor by Eva Woods

Today is my turn on the Blog-Tour for The Ex-Factor by Eva Woods. Her modern and fresh voice knows exactly how to create the type of characters readers want to re-visit. A little bit like a guilty pleasure. When you need a fun read with attitude her books are exactly the right thing to grab!

About the author

Eva Woods/Claire McGowan is a writer and a lecturer. She writes contemporary women’s fiction as Eva Woods and crime fiction as Claire McGowan. She was born in Northern Ireland and now lives in London, where she writes and teaches creative writing.

According to her blog she also spends a lot of time tutting at slow people on escalators and dodging urban foxes. She likes wine, pop music, and holidays, and thinks online dating is like the worst board game ever invented.

To read more about Claire visit ink-stains.co.uk, visit her Facebook page or follow her  @inkstainsclaire and @HQStories & look out for #TheExFactor on Twitter

Buy The Ex Factor

About the book

Is it possible to freecycle love? Modern dating is hard, especially when all you meet are liars, oddballs, men who wear Superman pants and men who live with their mums.

So why not date someone who already comes pre-approved? Just because your friend’s ex wasn’t right for her doesn’t mean that he won’t be right for you. That’s Marnie’s new plan for herself and her three best friends, perennially single Helen, recently divorced Rosa and cynical lawyer Ani.

Through bad dates and good, the four friends begin to realise that there are advantages to dating pre-screened men…but there can be some serious pitfalls to falling for your friend’s ex.

Review

Can I just start this review off by saying that for me the real star of this book was Karl. Absolutely hands down, no contest at all. Woods had his character down to a fine art. The introvert with a sideline of extroverted geekiness.

The premise or the free-cycling your ex concept is the kind of idea you tend to read in a fashion or women’s magazine. Is it feasible? Realistically I don’t think so, because there will always be feelings of some kind attached to an ex. Handing them over to a girlfriend will probably awaken feelings of jealousy, resentment or possibly just doubts about whether you made the right decision to let them go. However, as these women soon discover,  an ex is an ex for a reason.

The story follows Marnie, Rosa, Helen and Ani, a close-knit group of friends who are willing to try the crazy re-cycle an old boyfriend idea. Their friend Marnie has returned from overseas and, as always, makes a decision for the whole group with her own personal agenda in mind.

Woods infuses her stories with her own quirky sense of humour and the complexities of women’s relationships.The support network of friendship is priceless in a society and era where it is easy to be completely alone in the middle of a crowd. However, nothing can tear down a friendship quite like the common denominator of a man.

I mean what could possibly go wrong? Looking for a soulmate in the crumpled up cast-offs of someone else’s black book of dating.

As if that wasn’t enough emotional distress and anxiety to go around, the girls also have their own personal demons to cope with. Helen has self-esteem issues, Ani has become a one date trick pony, Rosa is in the middle of a messy break-up and Marnie spends all her time pretending to be little Miss Perfect.

Dating in your early 20’s is easygoing, but after that it just gets a lot like the Hunger Games with less fatalities. Nowadays this is the reality, trying to find your jigsaw puzzle piece to complete your personal picture, but without knowing what the picture is supposed to look like.

It is a amusing read with fairly honest view of the harsh realities of friendship and love.

Buy The Ex Factor at AmazonUk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read The Thirty List by Eva Woods

Happening right now! The Blog-Tour: The Ex Factor by Eva Woods

This Blog-Tour is a humdinger, it is so big it needs two parts and two banners. Welcome to The Ex Factor by Eva Woods.

I have added links to all my fellow bloggers, so you can follow the tour and find out more about this great book.

1st Sep at bookbinge.com and bookreferees.org

2nd Sep at chicksthatread.com and bookmoodreviews.com

3rd Sep at wordsfromareader.weebly.com and spoonfulofhappyendings.blogspot.co.uk

4th Sep at metlinereader.wordpress.com and brizzlelassbooks.wordpress.com

5th Sep at bookaholicconfessions.wordpress,com and thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com

6th Sep at sincerelybookangels.blogspot.co.uk and onmybookshelfsite.wordpress.com

7th Sep at hannahreviewingbooks.blogspot.co.uk and cancersuckscouk.ipage.com

8th Sep at kellysbookcorner.blogspot.co.uk and bookishjottings.wordpress.com

9th Sep at reviewedthebook.co.uk and celiamoontown.com

10th Sep at Here and at cherylmmbookblog.blogspot.co.uk and thischickreads.com

11th Sep at reabookreview.blogspot.co.uk and gobookyourself.info

12th Sep at handwrittengirl.com

Follow Eva Woods @InkStainsClaire and @HQStories and look out for #TheExFactor on Twitter

I look forward to seeing you here on the 10th for my review of The Ex Factor!

Blog Tour: The Stylist featuring a Q&A with author Rosie Nixon

Today is is my turn on the Blog Tour for The Stylist by Rosie Nixon. There is a great Q&A with Rosie followed by my review of The Stylist. Enjoy!

About the author

Rosie Nixon has been joint Editor of HELLO! magazine for the past five years where she relishes the role of hands-on editor with a love of all things celebrity, royal and fashion-related.

She previously held senior positions at glossy women’s magazines including Grazia, Glamour and Red.

In her career she has been lucky enough to attend a multitude of glamorous award ceremonies, premieres and showbiz weddings all around the world. The Stylist is her debut novel.

Connect with @Rosie_Nixon and @Mira_BooksUK on Twitter to talk about #TheStylist

Q&A

Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call ‘Breaking the Ice.’

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms want to know) New Beginnings, a collection of short stories written by Adele Parks. I’m nursing my three month old baby at the moment, so this was perfect for night feeds and my fuzzy mum brain. Short stories are a great alternative when you haven’t got the time or the headspace for a longer read.

The last movie you watched, which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet…you name it)? I went to the opening night of Spectre – I love a bit of James Bond and especially Daniel Craig in the role. I saw it a few days before my son was born, thankfully the loud bangs and crashes didn’t bring on labour in the cinema – that would have left a mark on a number of people.

Are you more of a Game of Thrones or Outlander kind of gal? How about neither? I am a Homeland and The Affair kind of gal.

What do like to do when you want to relax? I bake a mean banana loaf, I always have music on and enjoy a jig around the kitchen to a classic dance anthem with my toddler, I’m a guilty internet shopper ( fir some reason new shoes relax me) and I always feel better and calmer after exercising.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet? I’d love to have a conversation with the Queen, preferably over afternoon tea at Balmoral. I think she is incredible – 90 years old and still doing so much in the public eye.

Something you treat yourself to, now and again? (Cream éclairs totally count) I’m a massive chocaholic and often have to ban chocolate from the house, because I ‘m not the kind of woman who can have one and put the rest away. Dark chocolate and mint is my absolute favourite – it might sound grannyish, but a new box of Bendicts Mint Collection choc make me very happy.That and internet shopping – I’m a magpie and particularly adore jewellery by Monika Vinader, she’s always top of my list for birthday and Christmas treats.

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about The Stylist.

The Stylist is certainly a full speed ahead non-stop event. From the very first page the main character is just a blast of energy swooping all over the pages. Fashion and accessories galore!

It seems as if there is even more pressure in our day and age for girls to be en-pointe with their clothing and style in general. Is there any kind of middle ground between dressing as a fashionista and just being fashionably comfortable? Yes. It’s imperative that you dress for yourself – when you feel uncomfortable or aren’t convinced about your outfit, it shows. Fashion should be about feeling good – your clothes should give you confidence and turn you into the best version of yourself that you can be.

The Stylist gives us quite a brutal insight into the celebrity endorsed fashion industry and into the lives of the so-called stylists to the stars. Just how accurate would you say your portrayal is? I think it’s very much rooted in reality – I’ve been lucky enough to observe many stylists at work and these days they are a central part of a star’s entourage. It’s not always the glamour and gloss you might imagine. I hope I’ve given a rounded insight although Mona Armstrong is a completely fictional character.

I have to say you surprised me with a twist at the end. Amber makes an unusual choice (I won’t say which one, so I don’t spoil it for any other readers)… what would you say was her true motivation for this? She never managed to get him out of her head, and they are so good together!

I enjoyed the way the focus was on Amber and satisfaction in her career choice, as opposed to a purely romantic plot. Was this a conscious choice on your part when you were writing The StylistIn this book Amber is at a stage of her life when getting on the career ladder is just as important as finding a man. I wanted her to be a full character, whose sense of self is not purely based around who she is dating.

Amber is such great character surrounded by a multitude of other solid characters with loads of potential. Will we be hearing more about Amber and Co. in the future? Yes, I’m currently woking on the sequel to The Stylist. I’m having a ball, it’s set in New York, and involves more fashion dramas, parties, hangovers and matters of the heart as Amber relocates to the city that never sleeps and navigates her first relationship.

I would just like to thank you for answering all of my questions, even the slightly odd ones.

Review

In The Stylist the reader gets a glimpse behind the curtain of fashion glam and glitz. How our perception of the fashion industry and celebrity lifestyle doesn’t necessarily match the reality of this particular industry and the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Nixon puts the emphasis on her character as a whole, as opposed to just her romantic escapades. She is strong willed individual with a lot of ambition, and she isn’t afraid to make right choices for herself, her career and her life.

A fashion faux-pas opens up a pathway for Amber straight into the high-end world of celebrities, award shows, fashion and fame. It must seem like a dream to be able to knock shoulders with the rich and famous. To be able to choose what global stars wear and are photographed in, which in turn means everyone suddenly also knows your name.

I have to say I felt completely mortified on behalf on Amber. Embarrassing isn’t quite the word for being at an awards show in a stinky onesie.

The reader gets to watch Amber grow into her role and then outgrow her boss in a matter of hours. She learns the ugly truth about what really happens behind closed doors in the world of celebs and stylists. Just because something sparkles like a diamond it doesn’t mean it is one. Cue Mona and her excellent ability to fake her way through every situation.

Nixon writes with a sarky sense of humour with a subtle romantic undertone. Her characters are strong and memorable, so I am looking forward to reading what happens in the sequel.

Buy The Stylist at AmazonUK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.