Today I am part of the blog tour for Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer by Lily Mae Walters. I interviewed her today. There is also a giveaway going on if you live in the UK!
Josie James is an ordinary 13 year old until something extraordinary happens during her summer holidays. Whist staying at her Great Grandmother’s cottage in the country she finds herself swept into the cursed world of Suncroft where it is perpetual winter.
Her new friends believe she could be the Chosen One who it is foretold will lift the curse, but there are more pressing matters.
The Teardrops of Summer – magical crystals that render the owner immortal – have been stolen. Along with her telepathic husky-dog Protector Asher and her new friends, Josie must race to find the Teardrops and prevent catastrophe for their world.
Buy Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer here!
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m married with 2 teenage children. I was born in Coventry on April Fools Day. I have an older brother and trained as an accountant.
JRR: An April Fools Day baby! What inspires you to write?
Everything inspires me, from a song, something I see or overhear and even once an advert I saw on the TV.
JRR: You never know what may cause that inspiration! What does your writing process consist of? Do you research or ‘go with the flow’, do you handwriting or type, do you listen to music or have silence?
Most of my writing is go with the flow. I usually think about my next chapter whilst walking my dogs or as I’m drifting off to sleep. I always use my laptop now and tend to have silence or sometimes a movie I have seen over and over again that I don’t need to concentrate on.
JRR: I always think of things (not writing, but things I need to do) while in the shower. It just hits me! What kind of advice can you give to aspiring authors? I know the journey to become published and can be long and hard.
The best advice is to keep going. Keep writing, keep editing and keep querying.
JRR: Don’t ever give up! Who is your favorite author as an adult?
My favourite author is Philippa Gregory.
JRR: Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?
The Worst Witch book by Jill Murphy has always stuck in my head and I dreamed of going to Cackles. I suppose in a way it was wanting to go to this imaginary place that made me want to make up my own imaginary worlds.
JRR: If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?
I would love to have dinner with the Queen, not a state formal occasion but something small where you could see what she was really like. My late grandparents, I always spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day with them and would love to have just one more meal with them. But most of all I would like to have dinner with my dad before his dementia set in so I could tell him I loved him just one more time and he would know I was his daughter again.
JRR: Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?
Too many to list.
JRR: Too many books and never enough time! What’s the best advice you have ever received?
You can’t change the past. Why waste time worrying about something you can do nothing about? Instead focus on the future and what you can do to make it better for you and others.
JRR: For someone who has not read anything written by you, what do you recommend for a start?
As I only have one book out in each genre I can only recommend Josie James for children or people who enjoy a fantasy series. As an adult my time slip romance, Reflected Destinies is a must.
JRR: Where did you get the idea for the Josie James series? Is Josie based off anyone you know?
Josie came to me a few years ago. She just started to develop in my mind over a few weeks and months. She is very loosely based on myself and my friends as teenagers.
JRR: Josie James will be a series of five novels, do you already know how it will ultimately end? And what can you tell us about the husky Asher? How quickly do you think the complete series will be released?
I know how each book will vaguely pan out and how ultimately it will end. Asher is based on my own husky Aisha. She is absolutely loopy and many of the things that Murphy and Asher do in the books are things that Aisha and her brother Max have done. We are hoping to release a book every 9 months.
JRR: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you for taking the time to interview me and share on your blog.
JRR: Thank you for your time with this interview!
About the Author:
Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also star in the Josie James series. She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books.
Lily Mae lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local places and even her old school in her stories. Family and friends mean the world to Lily Mae and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series.
Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling.
Win a signed copy of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Today I am helping in the cover reveal for The Stepsister by Jenny O’Brien! Publication Day is October 29th. As an added bonus, I will be sharing the Prologue with you!
When a stranger leaves step-sisters, Victoria and Ness, a half-share in a house in Holland, they think it must be a mistake.
But there’s no mistake when Ness goes missing.
Desperate for the truth, Victoria heads to Holland to find out what happened to her. Has she, as her texts show, embarked on a whirlwind romance? Has someone abducted her or even worse?
But there’s someone watching, and that person wants her dead.
Can Victoria find out the truth before it’s too late?
What does the cover look like?????? First, read the Prologue then keep scrolling!!!
I died yesterday, or so I’ve been told.
Yesterday is the day my life changed but how or why is still a mystery. There are things I know and there are things that they’ve told me but I can’t seem to trust any of it.
I know I’m a woman but I don’t know my age. I know how to hold a cup in the same way I know it’s rude to stick the end of a knife in my mouth. So, somewhere along the way, someone cared enough to drill manners into me. Those are the things I know, the things I can trust but as for the rest…
They tell me I’m in Holland but can I believe them? I don’t remember if I’m Dutch but I also don’t remember if I’m not. I can’t speak Dutch. I’ve been trying all morning but can one lose a language overnight? I seem to have lost everything else. Who knows? Maybe I took the wrong train or something and just rolled up in the wrong city. That would make sense except that it’s not just my sense of place that’s missing. It’s my sense of everything. I have no name, no age and no identity. Yesterday I died and today I’m still here.
They’ve left me alone now while they try to puzzle out what to do and in the meantime I’m going to try to remember stuff. I don’t know how long they’ll leave me alone but I need to take this opportunity to come up with some answers to all the questions they’ve been throwing at me like who the hell I am.
Slipping out of bed I recoil as bare feet meets cold tiles, but that’s not going to stop me. Pulling the back of the hospital gown closed in an effort to retain some degree of dignity, I shuffle over to the bathroom and then the mirror only to stare into the face of a stranger.
It doesn’t matter what I look like or that I’m suffering from the worst case of bed-head known to man. It doesn’t matter that my eyes are green or that my hair is that shade of nondescript mouse that keeps colourists in business. The only thing that matters is my reflection, which holds no clues as to my identity. I’m a stranger to them. I’m a stranger to me.
My body holds a clue though – just one.
I push up my sleeve again to stare at the tattoo on my arm. The tattoo puzzles me. It’s not me, or part of me or who I think I am and yet it’s there, a large indelible letter V.
I have no idea what it stands for. Oh, I’m not stupid or anything or, at least I don’t think I am. I can’t quote which exams I’ve passed or if indeed I’ve ever attended school but I do know V stands for victory. But what does it mean to me? Am I victorious? Am I making a statement about something? It must be important because it’s the only tattoo I have. It’s also the only clue.
I’m tired now. My eyelids collapse over my eyes even as I struggle to shift them upwards as I remember the cocktail the nurse told me to swallow like a good girl. I want everything to go away. I want to hide under the blankets and forget. I’ve already forgotten…
Now that you have read the Prologue, let’s see that cover!
Here it is:
About the Author:
Jenny O’Brien was born in Ireland and, after a brief sojourn in Wales, now resides in Guernsey.
She’s an avid reader and book reviewer for NetGalley in addition to being a RoNA judge.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. She’s also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings – two of which you’ll always find in her books.
In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off.
Readers can find out more about Jenny from her blog.
The Fixer Upper
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrated by: Isabel Keating
Published: June 23, 2009
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Fixer Upper by a favorite of ours: MKA (better known as Mary Kay Andrews). We both really enjoyed this one!
After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father’s offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. All it will take, he tells her, is a little paint and some TLC to turn the fading Victorian mansion into a real-estate cash cow.
But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise when she arrives in Guthrie. “Bird Droppings” would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol-pink dump with duct-taped windows and a driveway full of junk. There’s also a murderously grumpy old lady, one of Dempsey’s distant relations, who has claimed squatter’s rights and isn’t moving out. Ever.
Furthermore, everyone in Guthrie seems to know Dempsey’s business, from a smooth-talking real-estate agent to a cute lawyer who owns the local newspaper. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the pesky FBI agents who show up on Dempsey’s doorstep, hoping to pry information about her ex-boss from her.
All Dempsey can do is roll up her sleeves and get to work. And before long, what started as a job of necessity somehow becomes a labor of love and, ultimately, a journey that takes her to a place she never expected–back home again.
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Mary Kay Andrews is easily one of my all time favorite authors. She has a way of capturing real Southern towns filled with real Southern people faced with outrageous, hilarious problems. Her characters are some of the funniest I have ever read about and the situations they find themselves in are unforgettable and crazy, yet totally believable.
Poor Dempsey Killebrew (MKA creates the awesomest names) finds herself in the middle of a federal investigation as the scapegoat for a rich and powerful DC lobbyist. She goes from sleek executive to house flipper in overalls all in a week. By the time I finished this book, I was ready to go flip a house. And you gotta understand, I am the least creative, crafty, construction minded, practical person you will ever meet.
Enter father-son, small town, legal team of Carter and Tee Berryhill and now you’ve got the elegant Southern gentleman factor. And, of course, Tee, fabulous man that he is, throws Dempsey’s world even more askew. But my favorite character of all, Ella Kate Timmons. Old, crotchety, and set in her ways Ella Kate and her yippy cocker spaniel, Shorty. If for no other reason, y’all need to read this book simply to meet Ella Kate. I normally listen to the audiobook, and the narrator brings such life to each character. Isabel Keating narrates several of MKA’s books, and if I see that she’s the narrator for a book, I don’t even read the synopsis, I just buy it.
This is such an awesome book and I recommend it to anyone who wants a fun, hilarious, heartwarming read.
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: August 28- September 8, 2018
Mary Kay Andrews (MKA) is a ‘go to’ author of mine; her books are always so much fun and The Fixer Upper is another of those! She really captured the genuine small town feeling for me with Fixer Upper. I could picture everything she wrote as I listened to the audiobook. Everything was very descriptive and even the descriptions of Birdsong (the house) are well written.
I felt for Dempsey in her situation that she goes through. She’s an innocent (situationally and in life) and you want her to pull through everything successfully. It is crazy to believe how quickly she goes from a high class junior lobbyist to an overall wearing ‘do it yourself’-er in a small town. She obviously missed her calling in life!.
The heart of the novel is Ella Kate! She is an older woman very much set in her ways and tells it like it is and does not care what you think! She was my absolute favorite character and I would love to read more books with Ella Kate! You just have to read Fixer Upper to understand….
As previously mentioned, l listened to the audiobook version of Fixer Upper. I would recommend listening to the audio version as the narrator, Isabel Keating, does a superb job. Her portrayal of Ella Kate is 100% spot on!
The Fixer Upper is recommended.
**If reading The Fixer Upper gets you in the mood to buy a house that needs fixing up, we would be willing to sell ours…..