5 Books I’ve Just 1-clicked…and 5 Books I’ll Soon Be 1-clicking

Now that autumn is well and truly here in Stockholm, it’s time for me to prepare for the looooong, dark Swedish winter.  Granted, Stockholm does not go through the same 24 hours of darkness during the winter as you get in northern Sweden (though when you have thick cloud cover for weeks at a time, it sure does feel that way), but I become rather hermit-like during the dark days. The Danes would call it ‘hygge‘ or this whole art of getting cozy and being comfortable and relaxed (or something like that). In Swedish, we’re more likely to say mysig.

So how to do I get my hygge/mysig on? With good books, a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, and a cozy blanket. I might light some scented candles, too. A cute pair of pyjama pants and a comfy t-shirt or sweater,  add to it my “If you can read this…bring me a glass of wine” socks. But in order to be truly prepared, I need to stock up on books for my dear old Kindle. I’ve already started stocking up for my autumn/winter reading.

Here’s what I’ve 1clicked so far.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.46.28Coffee Date by Nia Forrester

You can find out a lot about yourself during the course of a single day.

On the anniversary of the most tragic event of his life, Randall “The Rocket” Reese must face down paparazzi outside his house, a big sister who won’t stay out of his personal life, and a coffee date with an “old classmate” from high school whom he barely remembers.

His plan is to wallow in solitude, but Fate has plans of its own.

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.50.57Relationship Goals by Christina C. Jones

Everyone is a stranger at some point, right?

Pulled by an explicable, undeniable thread of… something… Nick and Noah find themselves keen on becoming more. Hashtags and flights and late-night text sessions lead to a connection neither has experienced, or expected. Beyond the shiny veneer of social media, further than the shallow depths of a good selfie, down to the real, for real stuff that relationships are made of… can Nick and Noah actually reach their prematurely awarded goal?

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.54.16The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake

The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

It’s autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It’s cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street – an adorable little toy shop – has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.

Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother’s shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?

Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life – naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.00.05Stay with Me by Ayobami Odebayo

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.08.16Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths.

 

And then there are 5 books that I’ve already marked for 1clicking…

 

Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.12.37“One day, we’ll be dead, and we still won’t have known each other. Not properly. Because no one ever does.”

When Catherine learns that she is dying, she remembers the words her husband once jokingly uttered and decides to leave him the ultimate, posthumous gift: a time capsule containing photographs of their life together along with tape recordings in which she recounts every secret she ever kept, every unspoken thought whether loving or treacherous; the things they never said.

Catherine’s recordings shake up many of Sean’s beliefs, sometimes enraging him and other times soothing with memories of the many joys that make up a life together.

But even as the tapes provide an emotional roller coaster of surprises, Sean prays that they’ll confirm the one thing he always secretly believed but never dared say out loud: that destiny exists; that their life together was not the result of mere chance.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.16.24Cherished by You: A Found by You Finale Novella by Victoria H. Smith

Life and love can take us many places.

For Roxie and Griffin, the journey has been the best part. The strength of Griffin’s love has tested Roxie beyond belief. It forced her to take a look at herself, expose herself, and fight for the man who cares so much about her. For Griffin, the love of a woman named Roxie allowed him to come into his own. He discovered things about himself he might not have known were possible if not for her. She helped him grow into the man he always knew he could be.

They’ve been through a lot and now that the struggles of the past are gone, they can move forward with the next phase of their lives. CHERISHED BY YOU is an extended novella that shows not only where the couple is now, but where they’re headed. The story takes place a few years after LOVED BY YOU and features many of the couple’s friends and loved ones who have been important throughout the series. There will be laughter. There will be heartache as well, but there will also be love.

So much love.

CHERISHED BY YOU is the finale to Roxie and Griffin’s story and was created for all those who wanted more with a few surprises along the way.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.19.51.pngThe Nearness of You by Sareeta Domingo

Falling in love isn’t a choice

Since the moment they met, Ryan and Taylor have shared an unspoken bond. Taylor’s drawn to Ryan more strongly than she thought possible and for some reason only he seems able to lift her out of the darkness in her past.

But Ryan is with Marcy – her best friend.

Marcy stood by Taylor when everything else had fallen apart, and Taylor refuses to risk their friendship now. Somehow she needs to resist what she’s feeling. Yet, when Marcy leaves for a few weeks just as Ryan moves in to their shared flat, the tension grows to unbearable proportions. As the line between right and wrong becomes blurred, Taylor will have to decide whether she can – or should – turn away from what might be the love of her life.

Evocative, moving and heartrendingly romantic, this is a story about real life, true love and the power of friendship.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.23.23Then Came You (Accidentally in Love Book 3) by Nicole Falls

Damon Patterson is craving a new start and the opening of his pastry stop is just the beginning. He’s got something to prove and is hyper focused on being professionally successful. Damon isn’t seeking long term entanglements, which works perfectly for Patricia Payne—a single mother who is on the hunt for a man with a particular set of skills. A chance meeting puts them in each others orbit and they’re immediately attracted.

Both Damon and Patricia come with a little bit of baggage, but that is irrelevant as they become friends with benefits. What began as carnal needs being met eventually evolves into deeper feelings, which neither Damon nor Patricia are equipped to handle. Then Came You follows these two individuals as they journey through passion-tinged attraction, fighting to keep it casual, but eventually succumbing to that four letter word…

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.32.47.pngA Winter’s Tale by Carrie Elks

Struggling film student Kitty Shakespeare is determined to make the most of her new job as nanny to major producer Everett Klein’s son, Jonas. It might not be exactly the career she’d hoped for when she moved from London to LA, but thanks to her habit of freezing up in interviews, this is her last chance to impress a key player in Hollywood – if she can get this right, then surely he’ll take a moment to look at her work. However, what Kitty hasn’t allowed for is Everett’s sexy-as-hell brother, Adam – but love at first sight this is not.

Adam Klein may be sexy, but he’s also gruff and rude and in no way ready to make a fool of himself over the nanny – not after the year he’s had. All he wants to do hole up in his cabin and hide from the brother who destroyed his life. If only he could find it easier to ignore the way Kitty makes his heart race . . .

As Christmas approaches, Kitty and Adam come to realise that the course of true love never does run smooth – and just maybe, it’s more interesting that way…

 

Now it’s your turn: what books are you adding to your autumn hygge reading list?

Nick Alexander, you are brilliant!

ImageThose of you who follow this blog know that I stumbled onto Nick Alexander‘s books thanks to a tweet. Yes, Twitter actually introduced me to new books and I will never regret following the link that led me to Nick. His books are amazing. And now Other Halves, the sequel to The Half-Life of Hannah, is available. I started reading it today and I adore it already! I will post a full review soon, but all I can say is that Nick never disappoints. 😀

So what is the plot? Now that Hannah has discovered the truth and fielded through the lies her ex-husband told her, she faces embarking on a new life in Australia with James. But can she do it without losing the love of her son? Intrigued? You should be. 🙂

I am about halfway through the book and I am hooked. Nick, you rock!

I should be done reading Other Halves in a couple of days and then I’ll post a proper review. Until then, rest assured, you should read The Half-Life of Hannah and then read Other Halves. You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Review: The French House is a real pageturner!

ImageJust before I headed to Matera for the Brainstorming at the Spa, something wonderful popped up in my mailbox–Nick Alexander‘s new novel, The French House. Now you may remember I interviewed Nick a few weeks ago for Kim Talks Books and I mentioned that he had a new book in the works. Well, the wait is over. As of today, you can purchase your copy of the novel, which is a sequel to The Case of the Missing Boyfriend.

So while I was en route to Matera via Munich, I read The French House and found myself with a book I didn’t want to put down. Fellow book nerds, you know the feeling–when a book is so good you get annoyed when you have to set it aside to do other things–like talk to people, order coffee, say thank you to cabin personnel…that sort of thing. Well, The French House was just that sort of book for me.

The novel is a continuation of CC’s story. She’s found love with the very delectable Victor, who has inherited a farmhouse in the south of France and decided to make a go of it with renovating the house and living his dream of keeping goats and making cheese. CC goes to France to see Victor and, even though life in the mountains is not the south of France life she dreamt of, she is charmed enough to imagine moving there fulltime with Victor. Once she’s back in London, her job feels pointless and she misses Victor enough to make a snap decision to join him there and help him with the renovation.

What starts off as a dream quickly turns into a bit of a nightmare for CC as she realizes that getting things done in the French countryside is more difficult than she and Victor imagined and then there’s Victor’s eccentric aunt who gives CC the heebie-jeebies. Add to it a number of strange mishaps, CC’s mum and the new man in her life, and you have the makings of a story that keeps you hooked until the very last page.

So do I recommend The French House? You bet I do! CC and Victor’s story is not your picture-perfect romance–but who wants that? That would be boring! They are both flawed enough that you love them even when you want to shake some sense into them.

So what do I give The French House? Five stars! And I hope Nick’s got a new book coming out soon! 🙂

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Sorry for the radio silence (again) and off to Matera!

ImageI know it’s been mighty quiet here at Kim Talks Books and I can only blame it on having a lot on my plate at the office. When I come home, I end up either falling asleep on my sofa or working on Maybe Baby. 

Now I am on my way to Matera, Italy again for the annual Brainstorming at the Spa, which will take place at the Locanda di San Martino. I’m looking forward to brainstorming and discussing writing, to enjoying la dolce vita in Italy and avoiding wintry Stockholm for a while–yes, it’s snowing again. I feel like I live in a snow globe. It’s nice in December. It’s tiresome in March. I’m forever grateful to Elizabeth Jennings for inviting me to the Brainstorming–I think I went to the first one in 2011. It was amazing. 

When I return, I’ll post about the brainstorming sessions and which project I discussed with my writer buddies. 

Until then, hope you’ve all found an awesome book to read. I’m happy–I’ve got my hands on an autographed copy of Nick Alexander‘s new book, The French House. Yay! It’s going to Italy with me. Thanks, Nick! 😀

Happy Reading!

Review: The Case of the Missing Boyfriend had me hooked!

Image Every now and then you read a book featuring a character who feels like someone you already know or you should know. That’s how I felt when I was reading The Case of the Missing Boyfriend by Nick Alexander. CC, the main character, has a great job, an enviable flat in London (even if there is too much shade from her neighbor’s tree) and a group of friends she adores. But there’s something–someone– missing from her life, and that’s the boyfriend she wishes she could share her life with. So where is he? Like a lot of us, CC hasn’t had the best of luck on the romance front. She’s had the cad ex-boyfriend (who didn’t want to have a baby with CC but got someone else pregnant within two months of breaking up with her), she’s tried speed-dating but it hasn’t yielded any results. So CC’s wondering where is the elusive missing boyfriend–the Mr. Right   is because she’s ready to settle down.We follow CC as she journeys through the the emotional minefield of searching for that special someone–not an easy task since CC isn’t interested in casual sex and she hates the dating scene. Through it all, you’re firmly in her corner, rooting for her and hoping she finds the person who will make her feel complete.

What I love about this book is that it feels like CC is sitting beside you, confiding in you as she recounts these highs and lows of her personal and professional life. You could be sitting in your favorite wine bar, pub or café commiserating with her over a glass of rosé or a huge mug of coffee. I love the honesty of CC’s character. She isn’t shy about sharing her likes and dislikes, her foibles and her secrets. There’s a rawness to her that pulls you in and makes you care all the more about her, especially in the second half of the book, which has a darker feel to it. And CC’s spot-on humor made me laugh out loud on enough occasions that people on the subway gave me strange looks. 🙂

Nick Alexander has crafted a fabulous book that traverses so well the ups and downs of women’s lives, especially single women on the cusp of 40 who are caught in that limbo where their married-with-children friends aren’t so comfortable with their single friend and their single friends are too busy looking for love themselves. The Case of the Missing Boyfriend is a fun read that isn’t afraid to tackle serious topic, so if you like your women’s fiction to have an edge, then this is the book for you. I loved CC and her story, and I can’t wait to read the continuation of CC’s story, The French House, which is coming out in April. 

My rating? Image

 

 

Getting to know Nick Alexander

ImageA few weeks ago, I found out about Nick Alexander through some of his fans on Twitter. I was curious, so I picked up two of his books–The Half-Life of Hannah and The Case of the Missing Boyfriend–for my beloved Kindle. I wasn’t disappointed. Both books are great reads (get thee to Amazon or your fave bookstore and buy his books ASAP). I tracked down Nick and asked him if I could interview him for kimtalksbooks. Nick is a British writer who is nowadays based in Nice, France (lucky guy!), though he spends a lot of time in London, which he says is his favorite city in the world. 
 
Q: What inspired the story of The Half-Life of Hannah?
 
A: The initial idea came from an acquaintance who is married. At forty, though he has never slept with a man, he is beginning to have doubts that he might be gay, and talking with him about it, about his love for his wife and his children, about the effects it would have on everyone’s lives if he did take that leap, got me to thinking about his wife and how she would be affected. Because I wanted a certain balance (and because I like happy endings) I invented a long lost love from her past, and the more I worked on the book plan, the more it became about her and her lost love, and the less it became about him. But I intend to remedy that in the sequel.

Q: Your earlier novels have featured male protagonists. What prompted the  switch to female protagonists? Was it a conscious decision or did the characters decide for themselves?
 
In fact only my Fifty Reasons series of novels have a male protagonist. 
My short story collection 13:55 Eastern Standard Time has both men and women, and my last two novels, The Case Of The Missing Boyfriend, and The Half-Life of Hannah feature female leads, as does The French House (out in April).
I think there are a huge number of similarities in the lives and loves of women and gay men which is probably why they tend to get on so well.
In the end, I think it’s also simply easier for me to write a story from the point of view of a woman living in a male dominated environment than it would be for me to write it from the point of view of her a football loving, Top-Gear watching husband. I think if women are from Venus, then most gay guys must be too. Certainly anyone who can bear Jeremy Clarkson must be from a different planet to me.
 

ImageQ: I loved The Case of the Missing Boyfriend. I think a lot of people can relate to the idea of going through life knowing that the person you should be with is not the person you are with. Or holding out until they meet the right person instead of settling for the right-now person. Was this a story you’d wanted to write for a while? How did it come to you?

 
A: The idea for The Case of the Missing Boyfriend first came to me whilst on a train journey from Manchester to London with my best friend Rosemary. She was reading one of my Fifty Reasons novels and commented how universal the experience of dating hell is in these dreadful days of internet chatting. She told me about a friend of hers who had been going to speed dating, and the story made me laugh so much. My brain simply wouldn’t leave that anecdote alone, and by the time the train pulled into London the arc of the story had already taken shape in my mind.

 
 

Q: Have you got a playlist for writing? Or do you compile a soundtrack for each of your novels when you write? 

 

A: Though I listen to music pretty constantly outside work, I write in total silence. Only once, when I was writing Better Than Easydid a song become an essential part of the story. The denouement of the novel was inspired by a single song, Holcombe Waller’s Take Me With You. It was so important to the book that I got in touch with him to ask him if I could include the lyrics in full. In exchange for a first edition copy he agreed, which was a huge relief as the book had been written by then!
 
Q:  Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a dedicated space in 
your home where you always write, or are you the sort of writer who can write anywhere?
 
A: I write in a shed at the bottom of my garden. I take my daily commute across the grass every morning and work from ten till one and from two till five every day though if the writing’s going really well then I may work until eight or nine in the evening. I have occasionally managed to write elsewhere when circumstances dictated, but I find it twice as difficult to concentrate if I’m not in my little shed with my cats beside me. Routine makes anything that’s arduous that much easier whether it’s going to the gym or getting one hundred thousand words down, so I like to make everything about my working day as organised and predictable as possible to avoid distractions.
 
Many thanks to Nick for taking time out of his very busy day to chat with us! Later this week I’ll be posting a review of both The Half-Life of Hannah and The Case of the Missing Boyfriend. Until then, if you’d like to find out more about Nick, head over to his website/blog–don’t forget to check out his novels. 🙂
 
 

I love it when Twitter leads me to new books

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 10.59.48 PMA few weeks ago, actress Megan Fox made news by joining and then leaving Twitter. She said she thought this was the year she’d become a social media butterfly but it wasn’t to be. I know quite a few people who feel the same way. They say Twitter (and Facebook and every other social media site) is a waste of time, a waste of intellect, etc. One of the people who said this to me is also someone who watches reality shows and wants to discuss them with me. I try to avoid reality shows. They annoy me, especially the ones that do nothing more than pit women against one another so some fat cat producer can make money off them. Ah well, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. But the point is that a lot of people don’t like Twitter (or social media in general) and say it’s never given them anything useful.

I used to be one of those people who didn’t see the point of Twitter. I could never follow any conversation I joined or started. It was like walking in circles or getting stuck in quicksand. Then one day I realized I could make lists and keep track of the like-minded people I followed.

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 10.59.18 PMRecently, one the people I follow on Twitter raved about a book she was reading. I don’t always trust everyone’s book recommendations, mostly because lately people keep telling me to read Fifty Shades of Grey (which I already read and hated). But this Tweetie recommended Nick Alexander’s the Half-Life of Hannah and the Case of the Missing Boyfriend and said both books had great characterization and pacing. There was no mention of anyone called Grey and both stories sounded like what I was interested in reading–stories about women who were trying to figure out what and who they want, stories about love that didn’t candy-coat the trials of life with shopping and designer names. So, I was intrigued, I used my Amazon gift certificate (thank you, Tord!) to buy both books. I started reading The Half-Life of Hannah a few days ago and I love it so far.

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 11.28.55 AMTwitter also led me to the new book by Ali Harris, The Last First Kiss. Now, I knew this book was coming out–I read about it on Ali Harris’s website back in December–but my sieve-like brain had managed to forget about it. Then a Tweetie mentioned it and I made sure I purchased it.

So now I’ve got three new books to keep me busy for a while and it’s all thanks to Twitter and the Tweeties I follow. 🙂 Thanks, Tweeties! I’ll post reviews soon, as well as an interview with Nick Alexander.

By the way, I am going to follow a fellow writer’s lead (yes, Seumas, thanks for including me in your list) and I’m going to end every blog post from now on with new blogs and sites I’m following. Maybe you’ll want to follow too. So here they are:

Happy reading! 🙂