Blog Tour: An Exclusive Extract From The Perfect Match by Katie Fforde + Give away!

Today I’m really excited to be welcoming Katie Fforde to Cosy Books as part of her blog tour to celebrate her 20th book, The Perfect Match, released on 13th March 2014

The wonderfully romantic new novel from the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of Recipe for Love.

Three years ago Bella Castle left her home town nursing a broken heart over Dominic Thane, the man she fell in love with but couldn’t have .

Now she’s made a new life for herself in the country, working as an estate agent.

Bella loves her job and she loves her boyfriend Nevil. But recently he’s been preoccupied, and she’s starting to question if his future hopes and dreams are a perfect match for hers.

And when Dominic turns up unexpectedly in search of his dream house, she begins to wonder if home is really where the heart is. But she’s over him, isn’t she? 

Below I have an exclusive extract introducing main character, Alice and the chance for two lucky winners to get themselves a copy of their own. Enjoy!

Chapter Two
Alice settled back into her seat on the train with a happy sigh. She had her Kindle, her things about her, and shortly someone would bring her a cup of tea. Or even a glass of wine. First-class travel – at least on the train – was within her budget at last and she loved it. When she turned sixty, Alice had resolved that she would stop suppressing her itchy feet and travel more. She just needed to work out how. Going up to London more often was a start.
As the train had obligingly been ready for boarding early, she was well into this month’s book-group choice before people who didn’t share her idea of punctuality began to board the train.
Alice had arranged her bags so she wasn’t taking up much space and carried on reading. She didn’t look up until she became aware of someone plumping down in the seat opposite and a briefcase landing on the table. Then she glanced up and smiled to indicate she didn’t feel she owned the entire four seats before returning to her book.
The man took a bit of time to settle and Alice stopped reading in order to look at him properly. She was an inveterate people-watcher and, she soon discovered, he was well worth a glance. He was, she reckoned, younger than her – fifties probably – but had an energy about him that was more youthful. He wore a very nice suit and a tie that challenged the suit with its flamboyant colours and slightly skewed angle.
Alice wondered if, at sixty, one was expected to stop looking at the opposite sex with interest. Probably, she concluded, which was rather a shame. Not that she was constantly on the lookout for attractive men or anything, but felt that if she did notice one, she should probably leave the looking to younger women.
Yet the man opposite kept drawing her attention away from her Kindle. He was restless, opening his briefcase, taking things out, shutting it again, looking at his watch. He caught her glancing at him and smiled apologetically.
‘I wonder when the trolley will come round,’ he said.
‘We probably have to set off for that to happen,’ said Alice, ‘but that’s due any minute now. Ah, here we go.’ She looked out of the window, enjoying the moment when you couldn’t quite tell if it was the train moving or the platform.
It was a while before the trolley did come, and when it rattled to a halt beside them, Alice’s travelling companion seemed excited. The attendant looked at Alice expectantly but as she wanted time to consider her options, this seat-side service being new to her, she suggested the man went first.
‘What can I have for nothing?’ he asked.
Impressive, thought Alice. She’d have been much more circumspect.
‘Tea or coffee, hot chocolate, cake, biscuits, crisps,’ said the man in charge.
‘Not a sandwich and a bottle of wine?’
‘No, sir,’ the attendant said firmly. ‘You have to pay for those.’
‘But I left my wallet in the office and I haven’t much money.’
Alice retired behind her Kindle. In spite of his insouciance it must have been embarrassing for this man wanting to stock up on free food and drink like this.
‘I’m sorry about that, sir, but I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do.’
‘And you’re sure I can’t have a sandwich if I don’t have any of this other stuff?’ he asked, gesturing towards the biscuits, cake, fruit and crisps with a disparaging hand. ‘The value of them put together must come to the same as the cost of a sandwich.’
‘I’m sorry, sir. Only the free things are free. The rest has to be paid for.’
‘But the sandwiches have a very short shelf life – you probably have to chuck them at the end of the trip. The other stuff lasts ages.’
‘I said I’m sorry—’
Alice could bear it no longer. ‘Can I buy you a sandwich and a bottle of wine? I’ve got my wallet.’
The man looked at her with eyes she now saw were blue. ‘I couldn’t possibly let you do that.’
‘Why not? It’s not exactly a four-course meal at the Ritz. The bottles of wine are tiny. Let me pay.’ Alice tried to sound authoritative. She felt her age should give her a bit of gravitas. Although maybe her newly highlighted hair would detract from that.
The man looked longingly at the sandwiches and then back at Alice. ‘No. It would be wrong.’
Alice decided not to argue any more. ‘OK.’
Relieved to be no longer dealing with the man who wanted everything for nothing, the trolley attendant turned to Alice.
‘Right, I’ll have two sandwiches, two bottles of wine’ – she glanced up at her companion – ‘red, I think. Oh and some crisps and a bottle of water.’
Once she had paid and the trolley had rattled off, she handed a sandwich and bottle of wine to her companion. He sighed.
‘I give in,’ he said, ‘because I’m starving. But I insist on introducing myself. I’m Michael McKay.’
‘Alice Aster,’ she said and took his hand. He looked at her intensely for a moment and she realised it had been a while since a man had really looked at her. She found she liked it.
‘Do you mind if I start?’ he said.
‘Not at all.’ She responded to the warmth of his smile and decided this sort of thing was not forbidden for women over sixty. Seventy might be another matter.
Michael McKay ripped open the package and consumed the sandwich in three bites. Alice, who had had lunch, didn’t open hers. She suspected Michael would want that too. She did open her wine though and a packet of crisps.
‘I can’t tell you how grateful I am,’ he said, accepting the second sandwich when she handed it to him. ‘I was so hungry. I realised as soon as I got to the front door of the office I’d left my wallet in my desk drawer, but I’d have missed the train if I’d gone back for it.’ Then he made a face. ‘Actually, I probably wouldn’t have missed it but I’d have worried that I would.’
Alice nodded. ‘I like to be early for trains too. We have that in common.’
‘So, where are you headed? Reading? Or the Far West?’
Alice chuckled. ‘Well, not the really far west but beyond Swindon. Stroud, actually.’
‘I get off at Kemble.’
‘Oh, posh Kemble,’ said Alice laughing. ‘Such a pretty station.’
‘The scenery around Stroud is lovely too,’ he said politely.
‘It is indeed. I’ve lived there on and off for over thirty years.’ She realised this made her sound terribly old but that didn’t matter. Did it? Briefly she wondered if buying French beauty products off the internet in order to look younger – as she did – was a bit pointless if you more or less told everyone you’d reached bus-pass age.
‘So, can I have your address?’ he asked.
Alice was not a fearful woman. She believed in people and felt that most of them were well meaning. But she knew that if she let slip to anyone she knew – particularly her god-daughter Bella, who had a slightly maternal attitude towards her godmother – that she’d given her address to a man on a train she would be in big trouble.
‘Why are you asking?’
He looked at her as if she was mad. ‘So I can send you a cheque.’
‘You’re surely not suggesting you write a cheque and post it to me for the price of a sandwich and travel-sized bottle of wine?’
‘But of course I am.’ He paused significantly. ‘It was two sandwiches.’
Alice couldn’t help laughing. ‘That’s ridiculous. Tell me how you’re going to get back to London tomorrow if you haven’t got your wallet.’
‘You’re changing the subject.’
‘Yup.’ She laughed gently. ‘You must see it’s ridiculous to worry about such a small amount.’
His blue eyes pierced hers. ‘I can’t owe money to people. I’m constitutionally incapable.’
‘Well, that’s just silly!’
She could tell instantly that he was not in the habit of being laughed at much, but felt it was good for him to experience it, all the same.
‘Is it? Most women I know are only too delighted to be paid for.’ He had stopped looking affronted and a small smile was gathering at the corner of his eyes.
‘And some are perfectly happy to pay for themselves and for other people – men even.’
‘So you’re one of these modern women?’
It was rather lovely to be described as being modern. She smiled warmly at him.
Just then the ticket inspector arrived at her side and – being law-abiding and unsure of the rules – she felt obliged to produce her Senior Citizen railcard, which Bella had insisted on referring to as her Old Person’s railcard in a very disrespectful way. This would teach her to flirt with younger men, she told herself.
‘Well, at least you’ll feel better about me buying you a snack,’ she said, ‘now you know I’m old enough to be – well, your aunt, at least.’
The intense blue gaze was back. ‘Oh I could never think of you as an aunt.’
Alice found herself blushing. It had been a while since anyone had chatted her up, and she wasn’t even sure he was. As she didn’t know how to respond she picked up her Kindle. ‘I think I ought to carry on reading now. It’s my book group soon.’
‘Are you enjoying the book?’
Alice thought for a moment. ‘Not awfully.’
‘Then don’t read it!’
‘That would be taking anarchy too far,’ she said sternly and turned her attention to the least accessible of last year’s Booker Prize long list. Inside, she was smiling.
Bella was there waiting for Alice when the train pulled into Stroud a little later than scheduled.
Bella waved as she caught sight of her godmother amongst the small crowd coming out of the station. Alice was easy to spot in her drapey turquoise silk outfit that managed to be elegant and casual at the same time. With good bone structure and well-cared-for skin, she was someone Bella felt proud to be associated with.
She kissed her godmother on the cheek. ‘Good day? Oh, no need to ask. I can see you had a lovely time! I’m afraid I haven’t cooked. Fancy fish and chips?’
‘Sounds lovely.’
‘So how was travelling first class?’
‘Brilliant!’ Alice said.
Bella frowned slightly. Had Alice done something different with her make-up, or was she actually blushing? 

You can follow the rest of Katie’s blog tour at these brilliant blogs over the next few days (click on the image to enlarge)

Courtesy of Katie’s Publishers at Random House, I can offer two copies of The Perfect Match to two lucky winners. 
To enter, simply fill in the form below. 
Winners will be notified by email within two days of competition ending. 
Copies will be sent direct from publishers.  
Entries close midnight 19th March 2014 (UK) 
Sorry UK only 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Belated Blogoversary/Relaunch GIVEAWAY!

I missed my Blogoversary on 26th January this year…two whole years of blogging. Wow, I can’t believe how it’s flown. There’s been a fair few changes over the last month or two…new name, new look. So to celebrate both and thank everyone who reads this blog I thought it was time for a giveaway.
There are two prizes up for grabs
Prize 1
Four proof copies of:
The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E Smith
The Catastrophic History Of You And Me by Jess Rothenberg
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Hollow Pike by James Dawson
Plus Swag including: Alyson Noel’s Immortals tote bag and t-shirt, Starcrossed mirror compact, Poison Diaries memory stick, nailfile, bookmarks, poppy seeds etc.

Prize 2

A (1) Book of your choice from The Book Depository up to a value of £10 (including pre orders)


Both giveaways are open internationally (for Prize 2 please check that The Book Depository ships to your country HERE)
You can enter both or just one
You MUST be a follower of this blog to enter
Ways to follow:
Google Friend Connect (find it in the sidebar)
Email Subscription (find it in the sidebar)
Facebook (
Closes midnight 31st March and winners will be notified by email. 
Good luck! 

Royal Mail Celebrates Roald Dahl…plus Giveaway!

I’ve been asked to let you know about Royal Mail’s new stamps celebrating Roald Dahl…

Royal Mail is celebrating one of the nation’s best-loved children’s authors, Roald Dahl, with its first stamp issue of 2012.
The presentation pack of six stamps celebrates six of Dahl’s most famous books that children and adults alike came to know and love, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits and Matilda.
The stamps themselves recreate the magic of the Dahl books, using the beautiful illustrations of Quentin Blake.

For the launch, Royal Mail Stamps is running a competition on its Facebook page,, to win Roald Dahl’s Scrumdiddlyumptious Story Collection featuring seven of his best-loved books, a pop-up book of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a Roald Dahl presentation pack.

I also have FIVE presentation packs to giveaway…and they are gorgeous! To be in with a chance just fill out the form below and let me know your favourite Roald Dahl book in the comments below. Contest closes midnight 24th January, open to UK residents only. Winners will be notified by email.

Blog Tour: Velvet by Mary Hooper + Giveaway!

Today I’m excited to introduce Mary Hooper on our stop of her UK Blog Tour to celebrate the publication of Velvet (if you haven’t read my review already you can here)




Babies often feature in my novels, because babies, especially if they‘re born to underage mothers, make good, involving, dramatic stories. This was true twelve years ago when I wrote the MEGAN books, and is still true now.

Many of my historical novels have babies in them (Grace, the baby lowered out of a window in a basket in AT THE SIGN OF THE SUGARED PLUM; the two new-born babies exchanged at the beginning of THE REMARKABLE LIFE AND TIMES OF ELIZA ROSE, poor Grace’s baby in FALLEN GRACE and now, in VELVET, a baby stolen to order. In my books, which are concerned with social history rather than crime or magic or science fiction, babies are a catalyst. They bring drama, love, conflict, shame and (usually) abject poverty into a story.
An underage, single girl having a baby these days does not have an easy time of it. Contrary to what some of the newspapers say, she will probably not get her own flat as a matter of course. She will be broke, she will have to decide between a packet of disposable nappies for the baby or a pair of tights for herself. She’ll be left behind when her friends go clubbing, go on holiday or even just to the shopping mall (they‘re not going to hang around while the baby is fed, changed, sick down itself and changed again). And what about the huge gap in the unmarried mum’s education? What about all those exciting things she was going to do?

Go back a hundred years, however, and the situation was very much worse. An unmarried mother was regarded as the lowest of the low. There was no welfare state, no health service – and most hospitals would only allow you through the doors to deliver your baby if you were married. If, later, your child was ill and you couldn’t afford to call in the doctor, then that was just too bad. And where would you live? Rooms were available, but how could you afford one when you had no money coming in?  How would you feed and clothe your infant? If you lied about the baby and managed to get a job, who was going to look after it while you worked? There were no registered child-minders and no properly run nurseries. If your mother didn‘t live nearby (and hadn‘t already disowned you for having brought shame on the family) then the only way you could get your baby looked after was to take him to a baby farm…


One lucky winner has the chance of winning a copy of Velvet plus Mary Hooper’s backlist including.. At the Sign of the Sugared PlumPetals in the AshesThe Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza RoseAt the House of the MagicianBy Royal CommandThe Betrayal and Fallen Grace! (I’m so jealous…I’ve read Fallen Grace too but would love to read the others!! 

All you need to do to enter is fill in the form below. Closes 21st September. UK Only  Winner will be notified by email.


Interview with Julia Green + Giveaway

Today, we are happy to host an interview with Julia Green, author of books such as Drawing With Light and Breathing Underwater. 

As we are focusing on summer romance this month, could you tell us a little bit about a summer romance you have had in the past?
A summer romance from the past: I’d have to choose a summer from my teenage years, with the beautiful boy who is the inspiration for my character Seb in Drawing with Light. It lasted longer than a summer, in fact, but summer was the happiest time when romance blossomed. He had finished his A levels and was working as an ice-cream seller at a local beauty spot in the countryside, but most of the day no one was buying ice creams and he filled the time by writing letters to me, on thin blue paper  with a blue pen… my first love letters!  We spent hours alone together in the long warm summer evenings  …  with a picnic rug, lying under the stars …

If you could pick any celebrity, who would you choose to have a summer romance with?
I’m  really not  into  the whole celebrity thing, so I can’t answer that question! I’d settle for someone I know now … but that’s all I can say!

Where would be your perfect summer holiday destination?
My perfect summer holiday destination is a Greek island away from the crowds … a beach backed by olive trees, with a small beach café where they cook fresh fish and serve iced coffee

What is you perfect summer read?
My perfect summer read : The German Boy by Patricia Wastvedt: a beautifully written, dark, troubling novel about two families in the period between the wars, with a love story at its centre which will make your heart ache.

Which three books would you choose to take on a beach holiday with you? 
Three books to take on holiday: I’m re-reading D.H. Lawrence The Rainbow at the moment, so I’ll take his Women in Love to read next.  Plus  my friend Moira Young’s  amazing debut novel  Blood Red Road, and a new novel by David Almond which isn’t published yet  called The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean.

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music etc. Do you have to do anything like this while you write?
I often listen to a particular piece of music to get me into the mood for the book I’m writing. For Hunters’s Heart, it was  Road to St Ives by John Surman;  Bob Dylan  was the sound track for  writing Baby Blue;  at the moment I’m listening to classical music ( Finzi’s clarinet concerto). Sometimes I just have the radio burbling in the background.

Do you have any songs that always remind you of summer?
Songs that remind me of summer:  Summertime, (this one has lots of romantic associations for me!);  Dream a Little Dream of Me ( Mamas and Papas: from long journeys down to the south of France on camping holidays);  Cara Dillon singing Lark in the Clear Air ( I listened to this a lot when I was writing Breathing Underwater).

What is your favourite, feel good, summer movie? 
Feel Good Summer Movie:  Little Miss Sunshine  : funny, life-affirming film about a family

What is your favourite book of all time and why?

Favourite book of all time:  sooooo hard to choose one.  In the end, I decided on I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith; because of the main character: funny, clever 17 year old Cassandra, who is writing the story in a series of notebooks. It’s about a family, and growing up, and falling in love, but in unusual and unexpected circumstances. Romantic, but not in a way you’d expect. Read it!

You can find out more about Julia and her books here:

With a big thanks to the publisher, we are giving away copies of Breathing Underwater and Drawing With Light to one lucky winner. All you need to do is fill in the form below by 3rd August when we will be picking a winner at random. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before we will pick another winner. Giveaway is UK only unfortunately. Good luck! 

Guest Post: Marcus Sedgwick On Horror In The Sun…+ WIN! A Signed Copy Of White Crow

Horror in the Sun

I’ve written a fair few books set in the dark and cold of snowy winters. It’s a simple, but effective metaphor to work against; the cold, the deep snow, and something’s out there, coming your way. With every book you write, there are such decisions to be made: when and where to set your story, and you have to ask yourself how and why you do what you do. And as much as I like the effects to be had from the snow and the cold, every once in a while I feel the need to do something differently.

When I came to White Crow, my intention was to see if I could write a Gothic novel, but one set in the modern world. I wanted to use all the tropes and conventions of the Gothic, but in a contemporary way, but perversely, I wanted to play a little with one of the most important ingredients in a Gothic novel, that of the setting, which should be appropriately mysterious and atmospheric.

I’d chosen the real village of Dunwich om the Suffolk coast as the basis for the setting of my book: Winterfold, a place that is literally falling into the sea, slowly. That seemed the perfect metaphor for the decay that should be present in a Gothic novel, but I decided that it would just be too obvious to then set in against the rains and mists of a dark wintertime. Instead, I wondered if a lovely, boiling, baking summertime could be made to be creepy in the same way, and that’s what I set out to do. I knew it could be done – I was thinking of novels likes Albert Camus’ The Outsider, or Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano as great examples of how searing heat can be made to be unsettling in just the way I needed, and I think extremes of weather of any kind can be fun to use in a story.

So the scorching summer of 2010 in Winterfold came alive. Whether I succeeded in making the sunshine creepy is not for me to judge, but I certainly enjoyed the challenge.


We Have Two Signed copies Of Marcus Sedgewick’s White Crow to giveaway. All you need to do to enter is fill in the form below with your name and email address. 

Contest closes July 31st 2011. Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email. Sorry..UK only this time.

Blog Tour: Gillian Philip…Part Two of Big Gype +Giveaway!

Today as part of Gillian Philips Blog Tour to celebrate the release of The Opposite Of Amber we have the second piece in an online exclusive 4 part short story. To read the first part head over to Book Babblers!
Hope you enjoy, we’ve also got 5 copies of The Opposite Of Amber up for grabs! Simply enter your name and email in the form at the bottom of the post.

Big Gype (Part 2)

The beach bar was not exactly a little piece of Caribbean on the Breakness shore. It was windswept – for which read bloody Baltic, some days – but it was out of the way, and it had charm. Jinn said it had charm like me: a bit sleazy, but fun.

I can’t say I was entirely unhappy with that.

After that first time, it became our regular rendezvous. Not too regular, mind, because it’s not as if I was going out with her. I was just, occasionally, going out with her. It was the next best thing to staying in with her.

Jinn didn’t drink much alcohol but she had a passion for those disgusting neon Molotovs, and I must have been keen on her because I kept her company and forced them down too, each one made tolerable by two shots of vodka. I’d sit there on the peeling wooden picnic table – cleaner than the actual benches – and hanker after a beer and Jinn’s body. Funny how I didn’t ever push it too far. But then I was sleeping with Annette Norton at least two days a week.

Jinn knew.

‘Poor Annette,’ she said one day, with a wrinkle of her nose.

‘It’s not like she’s my real girlfriend or anything. I’ll dump her if you like.’

‘I don’t like.’ An onshore breeze whipped her silver-blonde hair across her eyes, so I couldn’t quite see her expression. ‘Anyway, you needn’t think you’re getting in my knickers. Isn’t she jealous?’

I shrugged. ‘Nothing to be jealous of.’

‘Yet,’ muttered Jinn.

I didn’t think I could have heard her right, and I wasn’t sure I liked the way my heart tripped and rebooted inside my ribcage, so I said, ‘What?’

She smiled at the dazzling white-capped sea. ‘Nothing.’

I liked that even less.

She didn’t let me sulk. She nudged my arm and nodded at my barely-touched violent-turquoise drink. ‘Don’t know why you don’t just order a beer.’

She’d made me laugh. ‘Neither do I. I’ll just go and get one then. Want another?’

Grinning, she shook her head, and her hair glittered in the sunlight. ‘I’ll just have yours.’

I gave it to her, and went back to the bar. I took no notice of the two thickset guys who sat down at the next ramshackle table; they looked vaguely familiar but not enough for me to care. That was a mistake, but am I meant to be psychic or something? How was I to know?

They were sitting at our table when I came back with my beer, one on either side, Jinn trapped between them on the table top, smiling a nervous smile, knees pressed together and Molotov gripped tightly in two hands. She was laughing at their banter but she was trying not to touch either of them. They weren’t so reserved. The one with a silver ear stud put his hand on her ankle and said ‘Watch you don’t fall, love.’

I stopped and stared. ‘Oy,’ I said.

He gave me a glance, grinning. ‘Who’s the wee snot rag?’

The other one yawned. ‘Not recognise him? Jimmy Baird’s boy.’

‘Is that all! And I thought he was Captain America.’

I felt my ears go hot with fury. ‘Piss off,’ I said.

The one with the ear stud got to his feet, and I kind of wished I hadn’t said it, but I was angry enough to be glad I had. Just. Luckily the other guy intervened.

‘Ach, leave him, you big gype. We’re working, remember?’

‘Aye,’ said the big gype. ‘Right.’

I didn’t like the look he gave me as they swaggered off. I liked it so little, I sat down much closer to Jinn, and put an arm round her, and hugged her, because the breeze was that cold she was shivering.

Find out what happens next at The OverFlowing Library tomorrow!

The Opposite Of Amber by Gillian Philip ‘They found the fifth girl right after the snow melted …the place where he left her was winter water, crazed with ice-feathers and dusted with snow. The traces from her body were gone, the ones that said his name, but she had an extra skin of ice that protected her and she looked perfect, like Snow White’. Ruby and her older sister Jinn live together on their own, just about making ends meet. Jinn is beautiful, with glittering blonde hair, and makes it her business to look after Ruby. They are horrified by, but try to ignore, the local newspaper stories of prostitutes who are murdered, their bodies eventually discovered underwater. Then the no-good Nathan Baird turns up on the scene – again – and Jinn starts to change. First Nathan moves in with Jinn and Ruby, making Ruby feel an outsider, and then Jinn and Nathan move out, leaving Ruby alone. Jinn no longer has time to look after Ruby. And it seems to Ruby that Jinn herself needs looking after. Her beautiful glittering hair starts to lose its shine. And then Jinn disappears. A deeply moving, chilling, and incredibly powerful thriller that celebrates the love two sisters have for each other and mourns the events beyond their control that will conspire to drive them apart. (From Published by Bloomsbury April 2011


Thanks to the very good people at Bloomsbury we have 5 copies of The Opposite Of Amber to giveaway! Enter by submitting your name and email in the form below. Sorry but this giveaway is open to UK mailing addresses only. Closes 12 midnight on Tuesday 26th April. Winners will be drawn at random and notified by email and asked to provide addresses to pass on to the publisher. If we don’t hear back from you within 48 hours you forfeit your right to your prize and another winner will be chosen.

Good Luck!!

Author Interview: Karen Mahoney and giveaway!

Today, we are extremely happy to have Karen Mahoney with us on the blog, author of The Iron Witch, which was released in January.

Describe your book in 5 words.
Empowering. Dark. Hopeful. Exciting. Different.

Were any of the characters or their traits inspired by people you know?Yes, very much so. I know that authors often say “no” to this – or maybe that their characters are a vague composite of a few people they’ve known… But for me, Navin Sharma in The Iron Witch is totally inspired by my own best friend. My friend loves this, and is quite vocal about what he’d like to see happen to Nav in Book 2. 😉 They’re both Indian; they have similar humour and loyalty; and they both wear a fake leather motorcycle jacket. Heh.

What kind of research did you need to do for The Iron Witch?Lots of it! (Can I just get away with that as my answer?) Seriously, there’s too much to write about in depth here, but there IS an essay I wrote in the back of the completed book called “The Girl With Silver Hands,” which is the story behind The Iron Witch. You’ll learn all about the research I did on folklore (specifically The Armless Maiden tales) and alchemy.

Who would you like to see as the main cast if The Iron Witch got made into a movie/ tv adaptation?

Oooh… Nobody has asked me this, yet. I have to think about it. *thinks* Okay, I’m not sure because I don’t picture my characters with THAT amount of clarity. You know? I don’t cast them in my head. I have a general idea of what they look like, but they are more defined by their personalities and emotions as I write them. I do think that Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire would make a brilliant Navin, though. (He’s a bit too tall, but he’s got the boyishly cute looks down pretty well.)

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music etc. Do
you have to do anything like this while you write?
I don’t listen to much music while I do the actual writing, though I do listen to it to ‘get in the mood’ and while I’m researching, etc. My main pre-writing routine involves coffee. 😉 I also write best in cafes, which I know is sort of a cliché, but it’s definitely true in my case. I like the hustle and bustle around me, and I can work fine with the generic jazzy sort of background music they tend to play. It acts as a buffer, in a way, and helps me to focus on the words and the characters.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?When I was 12 years old. One of my teachers asked around the class what we wanted to do for a living when we left school, and I said, “A writer.” She said, “You mean, like a journalist?” And I replied, “No, like writing books and stories.” Unfortunately, she laughed at me – which encouraged the whole class to laugh. To this day I don’t understand what was so funny about that, but it made me determined to go ahead and do it!

Are there any other YA authors that you admire?Oh goodness, so many! Too many. I’ll name a few and then leave people out and feel bad… But just a handful would be: Holly Black, Richelle Mead, Sarah Rees Brennan, Melissa Marr, Francesca Lia Block, Dia Reeves and Charles de Lint.

What is your favourite book of all time and why?Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Because it is filled with gothic creepiness, (barely) restrained passion, Important Issues for Women in Society, a strong heroine filled with fierce loyalty and integrity, and a hot brooding guy who is kind to children (even if he DOES lock his first wife in the attic).

Which YA (human) character would you love to be and why?

Mae, from Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Lexicon books. Because she is totally awesome: strong, passionate, independent; she gets to kiss all the hot guys (especially Nick); and she has pink hair. What’s not to like? 🙂

Which YA (non human) character would you love to be and why?

Hmm… Good question. I’m not sure! Is it totally egotistical of me to pick one of my own characters? 😉 I’d want to be a vampire – I know that much – and my favourite vampire is the one I created: Moth, from my two published short stories. She’s kick-ass, plain and simple.

Thanks so much for having me!

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney. Freak. That’s what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna’s own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect. Published in the UK January 2011 by Random House 

As The Iron Witch was a book that we both loved, we decided to give away a signed copy! This giveaway is open to UK entrants only and you must be over the age of 13 to enter (get a parent/ guardian to enter for you if not though!). The winner will be chosen on 23rd March and will be notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to reply before another winner will be picked. Good Luck!


Guest Post: Julia Kagawa + Exclusive Giveaway!

‘So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ is a regular feature were we invite Authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.

Find out more and how to get involved HERE

This week we’re excited to introduce Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron Fey series (which having read the first book, The Iron king, I highly recommend!)


The earliest memory I have with books was my mom reading out loud to me and my sisters every night.  We would all sit on the couch as she read a favorite bedtime story or, as we got a little older, a chapter of a chosen book.  I remember waiting eagerly for bedtime so we could hear more about the story, and once I even snuck the book away to peek ahead myself.  Mom was more amused then angry, but I remember feeling I could not wait for evening to know how the story ended. 
Another early memory is myself as a toddler, when my dad brought me a “listen-and-read-along” record player.  I would listen to that plastic record player, reading along as it told the same story, on repeat, for hours and hours.  Or so Mom informed me later as an adult.  Apparently I drove her nuts with that thing, listening to the same book, at full volume, over and over, until she fantasized about hurling it out the window.
So, thank you to my parents, for taking the time to install the love of reading in me, however much trouble it caused.  My teachers were not quite as enamored, as I hid novels behind my textbooks during Math and wrote stories when I was supposed to be taking notes.  But though you lamented my complete and utter lack of interest in numbers and social studies, you still encouraged me to dream.  Thank you.  

My name is Meghan Chase. In less than twenty-four hours I’ll be sixteen. Countless stories, songs and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset. I don’t think it will be that way for me. Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical fairy king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. 

The Iron King (book 1 in The Iron Fey series) was published in the UK by Mira Ink February 2011 and will be followed by The Iron daughter in April ’11 and The Iron Queen in July ’11 

You can read my review here 

Find out more about The Iron fey series and Mira Ink’s other books here
Visit Julie’s website here or follow her on twitter @JKagawa



We have one stunning, not-for-sale Hardback edition of The Iron King (courtesy of Mira Ink) to giveaway to one lucky winner (I’m so jealous! I want it myself!)

Unfortunatly this giveaway is open to the UK only. Closes midnight GMT on 28th February. Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email. Please provide mailing address within 48 hours or the contest will be redrawn and another winner chosen.


1st Blogoversary Giveaway!

I can’t quite believe it but it’s a year since I started Blogging! Well, a little more than a year, because my first post was on the 26th January 2010. I had no idea then of what to expect from blogging, how many fantastic books I would read, new friends I would make or even that a year later I’d still be at it! And I have loved every minute of it! There’s been so many exciting things happen over the last twelve months and I was recently joined here on the site by Lyndsey and I’m looking forward to another fantastic year of books and blogging.

So to celebrate we have a giveaway! There’s two prizes up for grabs- One a pile of ARC’s which is open to followers only. The other prize is open to everyone and is a brand new book from the Book Depository chosen from the list of books we reviewed here on the site last month. 

Prize 1:  ARC Giveaway 
(followers only)

Prize 2: One New Book of your choice from our January reviews below
(open to everyone)

Both Giveaways are International and you can enter for both (though remember you need to be a follower of this blog for the ARC giveaway!) and because we want everyone to know about this giveaway, there are extra entries for spreading the word. Contest runs until February 28th 2011 and winners will be chosen by random,org and notified by email.

Fill in the form below to enter and Good Luck!