Dot Scribbles


BLOG TOUR: Lost by Elle Field

I am very excited to be part of the blog tour for Lost by Elle Field today! I loved her last book, Kept and so I was really pleased to be able to share my review with you plus Elle very kindly wrote a guest piece about her writing day which I am sure you will all enjoy! 

I currently spend half my year doing consultancy work, and half the year writing books. When it's the part of the year I'm doing consulting work, I focus on the marketing side, rather than write. When I do get to write though, I treat my day as I would if I was with clients, working the same hours. As tempting as it can be to have a lie-in, I'm always up by 8a.m. - my cat wouldn't let me sleep in, anyway, as she wants feeding!  

I spend the first few hours in the morning catching up on emails and social media stuff, as well as ticking off all the things that I would never want to usually do. It's amazing how appealing cleaning the oven can be when you have a book to write! Once I have no more distractions, I settle down to write for the day. I don't have word targets for the day - sometimes I write a mere 50 words, other days I write 5,000 words.

I write the first draft straight on to my computer - I used to write it by hand but then deciphering my awful handwriting got too hard - and I never go back and look at the first draft until it's completely finished.

Once a week I try and meet a friend for lunch in central London so I'm not stuck in the house all day. I always switch off for an hour at lunchtime when I'm at home, treating myself to an episode of something on Netflix or a few chapters of the book I'm reading. I won't read chick lit books as I don't want them to accidentally influence my book in any way - I tend to read non-fiction, crime thrillers or YA dystopian books whilst I am writing.

I'm definitely most productive after lunch, and I'll join in and do "word races" on Twitter against other authors. It's a great way to knuckle down and crank out some words. A word race is basically a competition between authors where we see who can write the most words in an hour - it's highly motivating, plus it's great to chat to other authors.

I make sure I'm finished by 6pm so I can enjoy the evenings with my boyfriend, but the last thing I do before I finish work for the day is to adjust my writing plan to make sure I'm on track. I have two documents that I work from - one is a monthly timeline that has real-life events on one side (Kept and Lost take place in 2007 and 2008, as does Geli Voyante's Hot or Not); plot points are on the other side. I also have a document which has a one-sentence outline for the next ten chapters I'm working on. This is always evolving as I find that my characters can often take me off in an unexpected direction!

I definitely prefer my writing days to my consultancy days, but the consultancy days make it possible for me to take the time off to write. As an indie author, I don't earn that much money - scarily, the median annual income of all writers in 2013 was £4,000 - but, I write for the love of it, not the money! Maybe one day I'll get to write all year round - that would be lovely!

Here's my review of Lost by Elle Field

"I'm starting to realise that age is just a number, but Tabitha pointed out I'm only saying that because I'm twenty-five, engaged, and have my life together. (Touch wood things stay that way.)" 
Arielle is back! OK, she's not on her way to becoming the next Coco Chanel, her childhood dream, but she is one way step closer to running her very own shop with her business partner, Felicity. She's also planning her perfect romantic wedding to fiancĂ©, Piers, and Arielle is starting to believe that she's finally found her place in the world... Of course life is never that straightforward. With a new-found foe interfering with her shop decisions, not to mention haughty wedding planners and loved ones facing personal struggles, will Arielle figure out what's important before all is lost? 

 Lost is the second book in the delightful Arielle Lockley chick lit series following on from the number 1 best seller, Kept which was long listed in the Best Romantic Comedy Category Spa Book Awards, 2013. 
Arielle was floundering a fair bit when we met her in the first book but it feels like she has very much found herself in this instalment. She is now Tabitha's business partner and very focused on making a success of it all. They need a new, fresh location for the shop and Arielle is feeling the pressure to find the perfect spot. Things don't go to plan though and Arielle has to overcome several obstacles in order to get the shop open. Along the way she makes new friends and acquires new pets. The one constant in her life is her fiance Piers. He supports her in everything she wants to do and she doesn't want to depend on him financially forever. They are in the middle of planning their wedding but Piers becomes quite distracted and tired; Arielle is so busy with the business that she doesn't fully take on board that Piers is not right. Just as she is getting one part of her life in order; other parts seem to be going wrong. 
Elle Field has created such a lovely character in Arielle Lockley . She could be quite easy to dislike as she seems to have it all but she is also very humble. I like that she wants to do well and prove herself. She is warm and funny and extremely loyal to those she loves.
Elle Field has written a very entertaining book with some serious undertones. The author leaves the reader on a real cliff edge at the very end which is a fantastic idea as it has made me desperate the read the next in the series. Lost is a great read within the chick lit genre and will appeal to many readers. Elle Field's writing style is witty, open and warm and I can't wait to see what she has in store for Arielle next. 

Lost is available now! Elle Field also has a fantastic competition to win a £15 Amazon voucher, to enter simply follow the link below:


The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews, REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY!!!

Carole Matthew's brilliant new book The Cake Shop in the Garden is published tomorrow! I was extremely lucky to receive a review copy of this book very early and I LOVED it! Carole is one of the loveliest people I have ever met and the fact that she writes two fabulous books a year is astounding! I have re-posted my review below and I am also very excited to have a copy of the book to give away, simply leave a comment and I shall announce the winner (drawn randomly) in 7 days time! This give away is only open to UK residents, Good Luck! 

Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden, and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn't do all this then who will?
Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she's ever made.
When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay's entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn't know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life changing decision even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most? Life, love and family are about to collide in  The Cake Shop in the Garden.
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 432
Publication Date: Hardcover and Ebook available now, paperback published 23rd April

The Cake Shop in the Garden, in my opinion, is Carole Matthews' best book! I think it is possibly her longest at 432 pages but I devoured it very quickly.
Fay Merryweather is the central character, she runs The Canal Side Cafe from her childhood home with the help of her Russian assistant Lija. She loves running the cafe but it is also a necessity as she is the sole carer of her mother. There is not actually anything medically wrong with Fay's mum but she took to her bed several years ago and is refusing to budge

. Fay's sister Edie couldn't care less, she lives in New York and hasn't visited for years. She only really contacts Fay if she needs her to move some money to her ever dwindling bank account.So Fay has a lot  to deal with; she does have a long-term partner Anthony but he seems to be more interested in his hand-bell ringing hobby than putting any effort into their relationship.
Fay is just plodding along, she knows that she's not necessarily happy but she feels trapped by it all, especially her responsibilities to her mother. Danny Wilde turns up on his boat one morning at the bottom of Fay's garden and makes her realise that she deserves so much more. He quit his job in the city and is looking for work so he ends up helping Fay tidy the garden ready for the summer. The attraction between them is instant and palpable but Fay has Anthony and the business to run whereas Danny is just embarking on a new adventure. Fay's world is thrown into even more turmoil when tragedy strikes at the heart of her family. Will she be able to hold it all together and does she really want to?
I loved, loved, loved Fay! I could have shaken her at times but she is a brilliant character. You get a real sense of the weight of responsibility she has on her shoulders; she doesn't do anything without thinking about how it will affect everyone else first. Danny is exactly what she needs; someone to give her a jolt so she notices that life is just passing her by.
Lija, Fay's assistant is one of the best characters Carole has ever created. She is feisty, loyal to Fay and very, very funny. She provided me with many laugh out loud moments and was one of my favourite parts of the book.
There was a huge and brilliant twist at the end of the book which I in no way saw coming. I really couldn't believe what I was reading, Carole really pulls it out of the bag with this one!
I think people are going to love The Cake Shop in the Garden, it's a great story, good characters, a few surprises, humour, warmth and plenty of cake, what's not to like?

Don't forget to leave a comment below in order to be in with a chance of winning a copy of this fabulous book! 


Book Review: Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

In Boston, Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are investigating a bizarre murder. A man has been found gutted and hanging in his home. When the remains of another victim are found, it is clear that this murderer has been a work for years, and not just in Boston.
Six years ago, a group of travellers set off on an African safari. None of them are seen again- apart from one woman who stumbled out of the bush weeks later, barely alive. The only woman to have seen the killer's face.
Has the 'safari killer' resurfaced in Boston? Jane is sent to Africa to find the one link between the two cases- the only survivor- and convince her to face death once again...

Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 352

This is the 11th book in the Rizzoli and Isles series, it had a slightly different feel to some of the others but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. As with most in this series, some of the action takes place in Boston but a large part of this book took place in
Africa and this was really refreshing.
Jane Rizzoli is called to a murder scene where a hunter and taxidermist has been gutted and left hanging upside down. Maura helps with the investigation and when another body is discovered they soon realise that the victims are linked and that there may be many more. Jane is led to the disappearance of a group of travellers in the African bush more than six years ago. Only one woman survived and now Jane think she may hold the clue to identify the killer.
I felt that Die Again focused much more on Jane than Maura and in this particular book the author was looking at the pressures Rizzoli has out of work. She has a very stressful and demanding job and on top of that she is a wife, mother and daughter, all three positions pulling her in different directions.
I found Tess Gerritsen's writing style as gripping as usual; the plot was fast paced and very clever. I thought I had it all worked out at one point and I loved the plot twists along the way. This series of books never disappoints and I urge you to read this one.


New to Dot Scribbles' Shelves...

Here's a selection of what will be coming up for review on the blog over the next couple of months, if you have read any of them then please let me know what you thought!

A Mother's Story by Amanda Prowse (Head of Zeus, 368 pages) I deserve all this because I did the worst thing a woman can do. The very worst.
Jessica's wedding was like a fairytale. She looked radiant in a dress strewn with crystals. Her Dad conquered his nerves and made a tearful speech. And her gorgeous husband Matthew declared himself the luckiest man alive. Together, Jessica and Matthew feel like they can take on the world.
But when their beautiful baby girl is born, Jessica is gripped with panic and fear. She can't tell anyone how she feels. Even when her life starts to spiral out of control...
This is her story. A mother's story.

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (Sphere, 448 pages) Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn't be happier. Because Polly is in love: she's in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she's in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she's in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.
And yet there's something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that's floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend's fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he'd left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.
Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

Polly and the Puffin by Jenny Colgan (Little Brown for Young Readers, 96 pages) When Polly discovers an injured puffin, she and her mummy look after him in their cottage by the sea.
Slowly, Neil's wing heals and Polly must prepare herself to say goodbye to her new friend. Will she ever see him again?
Perfect for bedtime stories and early readers. From the author of The Little Beach Street Bakery.
The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne (Harper Collins 384 pages) One of Sarah’s daughters died. But can she be sure which one? A terrifying psychological thriller that will chill you to the bone.
A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.
But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity – that she, in fact, is Lydia – their world comes crashing down once again.
As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past – what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley (Allen and Unwin, 320 pages) Her time is running out. How can Daisy ensure that Jack will live happily ever after? On the eve of what was supposed to be a triumphant 'Cancerversary' with her husband Jack to celebrate three years of good health, Daisy suffers a devastating blow: her doctor tells her that the cancer is back, but this time it's unstoppable. Death is a frightening prospect - but not because she's afraid for herself. She's terrified of what will happen to her brilliant but charmingly helpless husband when she's no longer there to take care of him. It's this fear that keeps her up at night, until she stumbles on the solution: she has to find him another wife. With a singular determination, Daisy searches for Jack's perfect match. But as the thought of her husband with another woman becomes all too real, Daisy is forced to decide what's more important in the short amount of time she has left: her husband's happiness - or her own?


Book Review: The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish

My name is Amber Fraser. I've just moved in at number 40, Lime Park Road. You'll come to think of me as a loving wife, a thoughtful neighbour and a trusted friend.
This is a lie.
When Christy and Joe Davenport are handed the keys to number 40 on picture-perfect Lime Park Road, Christy knows it should be a dream come true. How strange though that the house was on the market for such a low price. That the previous owners, the Frasers had renovated the entire property, yet moved out within a year. That none of the neighbours will talk to Christy.
As her curiosity begins to give way to obsession, Christy finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery of the house's previous occupants- and the dark and shocking secret that tore the street apart.

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 500
Publication Date: May 21st

Ooh this book was good! Louise Candlish is so good at drawing you in and then not letting go. The story is told from Amber and Christy's perspective. Amber is the previous owner of 40 Lime Park Road and Christy the present-day owner with her husband, Joe. Joe and Christy are so excited and cannot believe their luck at getting the house for such a bargain price. It is one of the most coveted addresses in the area and they are full of excitement to have found their family home. However this all changes when none of the neighbours will socialise with them and none will explain why the Frasers left so suddenly. Christy become
s obsessed with finding out the truth, she convinces herself that she could be in some kind of danger and that something awful must have happened to Amber.
I loved the suspense that the author created. We gradually build up a picture of Amber through her chapters and the tiny snippets of information that the neighbours pass on to Christy. We don't get the whole truth until the very end though and I felt like I was holding my breath for the last few chapters.
The premise of the book is very clever, Louise Candlish takes an ordinary suburban street and turns it into a terrifying mystery. I loved Christy's chapters where she is watching everyone from her bedroom window; as she says so herself, it is very Rear Window.
As the saying goes, 'you never know what goes on behind closed doors'. The Sudden Departure of the Frasers is the perfect example of this. Louise Candlish has written a superb, modern day thriller and I urge you to read it.

Many thanks to Penguin for allowing me to review this book via NetGalley


BOOK REVIEW: Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

One dark secret. One act of revenge.
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six year old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie,
Then a stranger walks into their lives and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma's life no longer feels secure. Does she really know what happened all those years ago? Any why does she feel so frightened for herself and her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all of their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger, maybe they're right. 

Publisher: Black Dot Publishing
Pages: 356 pages

This is the first book I have read by Rachel Abbott but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Emma is happily married to David and they have a baby son Ollie. David tragically lost his first wife in a car accident; the same accident that saw his daughter go missing, more than 6 years ago. Until now, when Natasha reappears in their kitchen with no explanation of where she's been or why she's back. Emma has so many conflicting emotions; she is overjoyed to see David reunited with his daughter but on the other hand she doesn't trust this girl who seems so full of anger and who realistically is a complete stranger. When Natasha's reappearance threatens the life of Ollie, Emma feels she has nowhere to turn; she feels her only option is to call DCI Tom Douglas, he's an old friend but she feels sure that he will know what to do. She has no idea of the danger she is about to place him in,
Rachel Abbott sets a relentless pace from the very first page. I was initially worried that it would nose-dive at some point but she sustained the tension and I really struggled to put this book down.
The author plays on every parent's fear of their child being threatened or taken from them. There were times when I found this book quite uncomfortable to read as thinking of the same thing happening to my own daughter made it all very realistic.
All of the characters in this book are battling with their emotions and this made it all the more interesting. All involved have something to gain and something to lose and you do wonder who is going to come out the worst off.
DCI Tom Douglas is a good, solid character and I liked the way his story was woven into the case. It is clear that the case is personal for him but you just know that he is one of the good guys who always goes above and beyond.
Stranger Child is a gritty, fast-paced read which I would highly recommend. I am definitely going to read more from this author in the future,

Many thanks to Alexandra for providing me with a review copy of this book. 


BOOK TOUR: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

Two couples. Two love stories.
One epic tale.
Ninety-one-year-old Ira Levinson is in trouble. Struggling to stay conscious after a car crash, an image of his adored- and long-dead- wife Ruth appears. Urging him to hang on, she lovingly recounts the joys and sorrows of their life together: how they met, the dark days of WWII and its unrelenting effect on their families.
A few miles away, college student Sophia Danko's life is about to change when she meets the young, rugged Luke and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Sophia sees a tantalising future for herself, but Luke is keeping a secret that could destroy it all. 

Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 465

I was very excited to be asked to take part in this blog tour. The Notebook is one of my favourite films but I have to hold my hands up and admit that I have not read any of the author's books. I don't think I'm alone as one of the rea
sons behind this blog tour was to get people to read the book before the film comes out.
The story flits between Ira and Sophia and Luke. Ira has just been in a car accident, he is seriously hurting and waiting to be found. His wife Ruth, who died several years ago, appears to him and we gradually learn about their relationship and the love they shared. Sophia is mending a broken heart when she meets Luke, he is not her usual type but the attraction between them is instant . Love does not run smoothly for either couple but it is interesting to see how they overcome obstacles and also how their two separate stories come together.
Ira was my favourite character and I did enjoy his parts of the book the most. I felt that his love for Ruth was so genuine, I found his story really interesting and very believable too.
I particularly liked the warmth with which Nicholas Sparks writes. I felt that he really gets to the heart of the characters and shows them at their most vulnerable.
The Longest Ride is about love and also the way it doesn't run smoothly. The plot grabbed my attention and held it throughout; it is a book I would highly recommend.

Many thanks to Victoria at Sphere for asking me to take part in this blog tour, the book is out now! 


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