Connect with Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie

Featured

JulieValeriePressPhotoLet’s Connect!
Twitter: @Julie_Valerie
Facebook Author Page: JulieValerieAuthor
Facebook Personal Page: Julie.Valerie.165
Google+: gplus.to/JulieValerie
Goodreads: Julie Valerie
Pinterest: Julie Valerie

Book Review Status: I’m currently overbooked so commitments for book reviews have to be suspended until further notice. Please refer to “Seeking Coverage on this Book Blog?” for other opportunities for promotional coverage on this book blog. Thanks!

 

#BookReview: Secrets in the Sky by @PaulineWiles

Secrets in the Sky by Pauline Wiles

Great news! The prequel to Saving Saffron Sweeting releases today, February 26th, 2015. Congratulations, Pauline!

Here’s more great news: I’m giving away a copy of Secrets in the Sky to one luck blog reader. Woo-Hoo!

Want even more great news? Pauline is having a big celebration on her blog, too. Check out her Publication Week Kick-Off celebrations.

Now, let’s discover this great new book . . .

SecretsInTheSkyCover013Medium-641x1024How far should you go to keep a secret?

No-one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward. From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world.

But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream?

Featuring both new and familiar characters, this stand-alone romantic comedy is set two years before Saving Saffron Sweeting. With side helpings of British tea, cake and wit, Secrets in the Sky explores how finding the courage to be yourself can be the toughest challenge of all.

Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9889731-2-1
E-book ISBN:

Purchase links:

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Secrets in the Sky Book Review:

Yet again, Pauline Wiles has delivered a novel with warm characters in a delightful setting. In a story that begins two years before Pauline’s début novel, Saving Saffron Sweeting, this stand-alone romantic comedy is a showcase of romance, secrets and lies, bravery and courage. For me, the biggest takeaway is the importance of facing your phobias before they wrap around you, smothering your judgment and clouding your world.

I suspect many reviews of this book will focus on the energy between the characters. The cast and crew assembled for this novel is wonderful and they tangle and untangle themselves throughout the story. That said, I’m going to focus primarily on the value of establishing setting, as well as having a smashing great first five paragraphs.

Hands down, one of my favorite aspects of the novel was the chance to delve deeper into the world of Saffron Sweeting, an idyllic village I grew to love when reading Pauline’s first book. Since reading Saving Saffron Sweeting in 2013, I’ve often daydreamed about Saffron Sweeting. I’d like to visit it one day, but shucks, it’s a fictional village, so I’ll have to travel its streets in the pages of Pauline’s books. In keeping with this English setting, both books use British spelling and grammar conventions. (Love that!)

I loved the opening at the church and the use of certain town elements (like the church clock). I enjoyed it when the author planted a sense of color from the setting, fleshing out for me as a reader what living in the village of Saffron Sweeting must feel like to the characters. For example, a simple passage in which Sophie describes the difficulty of getting pizza delivered from Cambridge restaurants:

. . . Saffron Sweeting is a bit of a trek for the Cambridge pizza restaurants, and they seem to find the village extraordinarily hard to navigate. We’re not so far out of the way their sat nav won’t function, but they act like they’ve had to deliver a Hawaiian to Oahu itself.

These details, carefully crafted in something as “everyday” as pizza delivery, really anchored me in the location of story, a location I’ve craved returning to since reading the first book. I especially enjoyed the turn of events at the river’s edge and loved how this scene was first fleshed-out in a bit of setting before everything unraveled in dialogue and action.

I also really loved the opening of the novel as it relates to the rest of the story. Opening with the girls running late for their aunt Wol’s funeral service is brilliant for this story.

- CHAPTER ONE -

I race up the gravel path towards the village church and skid to an inelegant halt. I’ll be so glad to get these shoes off.

Kit is waiting in the arched doorway, shifting from foot to foot and looking from her watch to the sky. Thunderous clouds have been creeping closer all morning, and now they’re convening right above the steeple.

‘Where the hell’ve you been? They’re starting!’

As she speaks, I hear the solemn notes of the organ and recognise the first bars of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’. Beside us, a clump of yellow daffodils nods in time to the hymn.

Wol loved daffodils.

My closing remarks? Tackle your fears and reveal your truth. An enthusiastic 5-stars for what I know will be another smashing hit in contemporary women’s fiction.

Pauline, you go girl. You did it again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After reading Secrets in the Sky, a stand-alone romantic comedy and prequel to Saving Saffron Sweeting, why not add Pauline’s first book to your bookshelf? Read my April 29, 2013 book review.

Saving Saffron Sweeting by Pauline Wiles

Quarter finalist, 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
Number one Kindle best seller, April 2014.

Saving Saffron Sweeting

Grace Palmer’s British friends all think she’s living the American Dream. But her design business is floundering and when she discovers her husband is cheating with her best client, she panics and flees home to England.

The tranquil village of Saffron Sweeting appears to be a good place for Grace to lick her wounds, but the community is battling its own changes. Reluctantly, Grace finds herself helping her new neighbours as they struggle to adjust and save their businesses. However, not everyone has the same opinion on what’s good for the village. The charismatic new man in her life may have one speculative eye on Grace, but the other is firmly on profit. How will she navigate the tricky path between her home and her happiness?

With gentle humour and generous helpings of British tea and cake, Saving Saffron Sweeting explores one woman’s need to define herself through her career and community, before she can figure out who should be by her side.

Paperback, 294 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9889731-0-7
E-book ISBN: 978-0-9889731-1-4

Purchase:

Bonus materials

Find more information and bonus materials for Saving Saffron Sweeting here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Pauline Wiles

British by birth, Pauline moved to California eight years ago and, apart from a yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes, has never looked back. Her work has been published by House of Fifty, Open Exchange and Alfie Dog Fiction. Novels include Saving Saffron Sweeting and Secrets in the Sky. Join Pauline’s newsletter.

pauline wilesPHOTO

Connect with Pauline Wiles

Email
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Wattpad
Pinterest

Join the #HumpDay Blog Hop! #womensfiction

HumpDayBlogHop

HUMP DAY BLOG HOP

RUNS FOR ONE WEEK
WEDNESDAY (Feb 25, 2015) to WEDNESDAY (Mar 4, 2015)

Welcome to the Hump Day Blog Hop. Always the last Wednesday of the month, always a great time.

SecretsInTheSkyCover013Medium-641x1024FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY

New in 2015 – the addition of a free book giveaway with every blog hop. This month’s featured title? Pauline Wile’s Secrets in the Sky – hot off the presses – releasing tomorrow! Contest open to anyone and everyone. Win this great book by clicking on the first image in the blog hop below.

HUMP DAY BLOG HOP

Easy to join.

1. Link-up. Click on the blue “Add your link” button on bottom left side of this post to add your name and link. There isn’t a “theme” assigned to this hop, so feel free to use an existing post of your choice, but choose a post blog hoppers will enjoy. NOTE: No spamming or advertising. Please do not link to your book on Amazon.

2. Link back to the blog hop list. Add this sentence to your blog post so hoppers can find their way back to the blog hop list of links and keep hopping:

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

NOTE: If the embedded link in the above sentence does not transfer when you copy and paste it, the URL to use with this sentence is: http://www.julievalerie.com/feb-blog-hop/

3. Be social. If you add a link, please take time to visit others and comment on their posts. (Come on, folks. It’s good etiquette.)

So. Enough of all that. Let’s network. LET’S HOP! 

 Loading InLinkz ...

#Win this book: SECRETS IN THE SKY by Pauline Wiles

Thanks for hopping along the February 2015 Hump Day Blog Hop.

This month’s book giveaway is a copy of SECRETS IN THE SKY by Pauline Wiles - hot off the presses – releasing February 26, 2015. Want to read my book review? 

Register to win this great book at the bottom of this post. Good luck!

SecretsInTheSkyCover013Medium-641x1024How far should you go to keep a secret?

No-one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward. From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world.

But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream?

Featuring both new and familiar characters, this stand-alone romantic comedy is set two years before Saving Saffron Sweeting. With side helpings of British tea, cake and wit, Secrets in the Sky explores how finding the courage to be yourself can be the toughest challenge of all.

HumpDayBlogHop

Good Luck.
And thanks for Hopping.

Happy Hump Day. Wednesday. Halfway to the weekend. Woo-Hoo!

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Little House by @MaureenMGregory #FlashFiction

Love flash fiction? Micro fiction? How about teeny tiny fiction?
The following teeny tiny story (100-words or less) about a teeny tiny house is part of the “Home Sweet Teeny Tiny Home” Project.

Learn more at:
julievalerie.com/teeny-tiny-2/

tortoiseshell

My Little House by Maureen Gregory

Why do people need big houses?
I really could not say
They build those rooms
And stay indoors
Shutting out the day
My house is only as big
As I need it to be
And I am oh so tiny
You could easily tread on me
I never bother moving house
Because my house come with me
I carry it on my back
So simple, so easy
It suits me very well
My little home, my tortoise shell

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

MaureenGregoryHaving previously combined writing short stories with a career in psychiatric nursing Maureen now writes full-time. Her début novel, a romantic suspense entitled Beware the Seventh Wave has recently been published, with a second novel Killing Mrs Panama due for release some time soon. Maureen lives in the UK with her husband and a friendly assortment of creatures great and small.

www.maureenngregorybooks.com

Photo source: rpmmidwest.com

Twitter Content Strategy: Develop an Editorial Calendar

HUMPDAYLOWRES

Oh gosh. This isn’t good. I usually love Wednesdays, but this one? Not so much because I’m trying to write this blog post on my iPhone. My iPhone! Ugh.

Just got a snazzy new laptop computer. One of those MacBookPros with Retina display. Fifteen-inch screen. Turbo boost, blah, blah, blah. I’m psyched. Really, truly. It’s so fast and really purdy.

Right now, as I type on my iPhone, data from my old computer is being magically transferred to my new computer. The computers are “talking” to each other.

One problem.

Last night, before I went to bed, dialog boxes on my computer screens told me it’ll take 189 hours to complete the transfer of data.

189 hours! That can’t be right because that’s like, more than a week. Looks like I’ll be loosing another day of my life figuring this one out. A transfer of data should take a few hours, tops.

In the meantime, I need to get this Hump Day Post posted. A bit abbreviated, but hopefully you’ll understand. This iPhone screen is quite tiny…

Been talking Twitter every Wednesday in February. Harnessing the Power of Twitter (February 4th) and 15 Advanced Twitter Search Tips (February 11th). I’ll add hyperlinks to these posts once I free myself of this iPhone and can get to a working computer.

Today’s Twitter topic? Twitter Strategy: Developing an Editorial Calendar.

Editorial calendar?! What the what? Relax. Grab a sheet of paper and jot down some notes about what you’d like to say to further your author brand on Twitter.

Follow this list of topics as broad categories to use to develop your Twitter Editorial Calendar:

– Author brand statements (tweets that build/support your brand – NOT the “buy my book” tweets that couldlose followers because they’re spammy)

– Mentions showing appreciation; replies that incorporate others and build interaction; and retweets (your friends as well as influencers)

– Tweets that curate great content from elsewhere on the Web

– Tweets about breaking news; hot topics; trends

– Float an idea or concept asking others for their input; ask a question; make an observation

– Ask others for help and/or insights

– Famous (or not so famous) quote from others

– How to; unique knowledge; instructions

– Links to valuable (helpful, interesting, etc.) content produced by others

– Links to valuable (helpful, interesting, etc.) content on your social media sites. Be sure to vary the type of media links to build following across platforms. For example, include links to your website, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads and Amazon Author Pages, etc.

Okay. Honestly? I’m about to lose my mind writing this blog post from an iPhone. When I’m back online the proper way, I’ll come back to this post and clean it up a bit. Add some images, make it more fancy.

Hope the content was helpful. Hope your Wednesday is wonderful.

Hump Day. We’re halfway to the weekend. Woo-Hoo!

 

#BookReview: The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys

theeveningchorus us edition

The Evening Chorus
by Helen Humphreys
Mariner Books (Feb 3, 2015)
ISBN: 9780544348691

paperback & ebook

My first post about this book (February 5, 2015): 3 Book Cover Designs – 3 Different Markets: THE EVENING CHORUS by Helen Humphreys

My second post (today): #BookReview: The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys

My Book Review

The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys begins with a beautiful first sentence: James Hunter falls through morning. The quickest pace and the greatest action is in the first chapter when his plane is shot down and James parachutes into water which later leads him into captivity.

What follows is a quiet, emotional story that walks readers through James’s lonely time in a German POW camp where he observes birds, forms a friendship, and concerns himself with the tone in his wife’s letters.

At the time of his imprisonment, James and Rose have been married six months. To cope with his imprisonment, James falls further and further into his study of birds, and the subject fills his letters to Rose. A visit to view cedar waxwings changes James’s life forever.

Rose’s life is one of duality and is disrupted when she receives a letter from James’s sister, Enid. Enid seeks shelter with Rose, though the two know very little about each other. Both Rose and Enid’s story could fill another book and unfolds mostly through quiet moments, letters, and contemplative reflection.

The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys reminded me of . . .

theenglishpatientThe Evening Chorus is a quiet novel that traces lives affected by war. At times, it reminded me of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, although, you’ll find more desperation and passion in Ondaatje’s book. Ondaatje is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet. Humphreys is British-born Canadian novelist and poet.

secret_life_of_bees_grandeHumphrey’s use of the study of birds as the underpinnings of the novel reminded me of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees. Although, I fully recognize the two books are about two totally different topics (love, loss and escape set against WWII verses personal redemption during the time of the Civil Rights Movement).

Structurally, the story begins and ends with James. Rose and Enid find their voices in the story because their lives are woven with James’s life. In an earlier blog post that focused solely on book cover design, I wrote about three different book cover designs for three different markets for this book. Now that I’ve finished reading, the Canadian book cover is the clear winner – the most vivid depiction of the tone and style of writing, with the most accurate depiction of the story.

Did I wish for more action? Yes, especially after reading the first chapter. Did I wish for events to happen in the present life of the story and not so much in the backstory? Yes. But over all, I enjoyed it, look forward to reading more from Helen Humphreys, and would recommend it to readers.