Rachel's Book Corner

24. May, 2017

It’s been two years since the release of my debut novel, Complicated Love, and in that time, I have been bombarded with requests for a sequel.

It’s taken me a while, but I am really pleased to announce that Coming Home will be released on Thursday the 3rd of August, where the story picks up two years on.

It’s been two years since heartbroken Ella ran away to the other side of the world, for a year of travelling with her best friend - where she met tall, handsome, hunky Sam, who asked her to go home with him, to LA. Of course Ella couldn’t refuse, she’d be wrong in the head to turn him down! Besides, she wasn’t quite ready to go back to the UK and face Adam - the man she ran away from, the man she’s desperate to put behind her.

After a year in LA, Ella is loving life, living with the gorgeous Sam, in his parent’s stunning house in Beverly Hills - the post code is 90210 for god’s sake - and she has no intention of giving that up any time soon. But a phone call from her best friend Sophie changes everything and she realises she has no choice but to return home.

 

Ella leaving, totally broke Adam but, over the past two years he’s worked hard to pick up the pieces, mend his broken heart, and get on with his life. Now married to the lovely Jess, the mother of his daughter and, with their second child on the way, he’s finally in a happy place and well and truly over Ella - or so he thinks!

With his brother’s wedding looming, and knowing that Ella is coming home to be a bridesmaid, all those emotions that he’s fought hard to push away for the last two years, start to resurface and Adam knows that his life is about to get complicated again as realisation dawns on him that maybe he isn’t quite over Ella!

 

Jess has never been so happy, she’s married to the man of her dreams - the man she’s been in love with since she was fifteen years old, the father to her daughter.  They live in a beautiful house in Chelsea and are about to welcome their second child into the world. Jess doesn’t think anything could spoil it . . . That is until the delightful Ella arrives on the scene and threatens to ruin everything Jess has ever wanted.

 

Things are about to get even more complicated for Ella, Adam and Jess!

Coming Home is now available to pre-order on Kindle

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071W1BS43/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1495630313&sr=8-2&keywords=rachel+strong

 

6. Oct, 2016

Marriage can be difficult. Especially when you've only just met. Meet Dan Fox, 34, an online marketing manager from Clapham, who was jilted at the altar two years ago by the love of his life and hasn’t dated since.

Nat Howard, 32, is living back at home with her parents in Dorking after her perfect boyfriend dumped her and she had to move out of his bespoke flat in Putney.

On separate Stag and Hen weekends in Las Vegas, Dan and Nat wake up married. Both too drunk to remember what happened, they return to England and try to get on with their lives. But there was something about Nat that makes the usually cautious Dan think they should give their marriage a go. Nat’s still in love with her Ex, but maybe Dan can help mend her broken heart.

Can marriage between two relative strangers really work? And when Nat's ex-boyfriend - the gorgeous Charlie - comes back into her life, she must decide - something old or something new?

Set in London, Dan And Nat Got Married, is a funny and full of heart modern romantic comedy about marriage, relationships, and giving love a second chance.

 

We’ve all been there, waking up after a heavy night with a monster of a hangover, unable to remember a thing about what happened the previous night? Well, what if you woke up with a stranger in your bed - and a wedding ring on your finger?

Dan and Nat are horrified - a one-night stand is one thing, but a one night-stand AND marrying a total stranger is another!

It’s ridiculous, right? Reckless and stupid!

Back in home in London, Dan gets thinking. What if they give this marriage lark a go? What’s the worst that can happen - divorce? That was the plan anyway, once the alcohol fog had lifted.

Both Dan and Nat are un-lucky in love. They’ve both been badly hurt by their respective ex’s and are still trying to heal their wounds, neither have anything to lose and so Nat agrees to Dan’s plan and moves in to his flat - what could go wrong?

Dan is a male version of Hyacinth Bucket, he likes things a certain way and is extremely house proud, whilst Nat has nick-knacks, a thousand pair of shoes and she’s messy when she cooks.

They’re the complete polar opposites and add on Nat’s very good looking, very rich ex that she’s still not really over, Dan and Nat don’t stand a chance, do they?

I absolutely loved this book! It was funny and emotional in all the right places. I was rooting for Dan and Nat from the moment they woke up in bed together, I really, really wanted it to work out for them.

I loved the supporting characters - Adam, Dan’s best mate and Ellie, Nat’s best friend - they were hysterical and really gave me a bit of a Gavin and Stacey vibe - Adam was Smithy to a tee!

This is the first book by Jon Rance that I’ve read, I loved his style of writing, his one liners and quips. It was one of those books that had me snorting with laughter - the situations that Dan got himself into were hysterical.

I enjoyed this book so much that as soon as I’d finished I immediately downloaded another book by Jon Rance.

A well-deserved five stars!

 

Meet The Author

Jon Rance is the author of four novels: the Kindle top ten bestseller, This Thirtysomething Life, Happy Endings (both published by Hodder and Stoughton), This Family Life and Sunday Dinners. He's also the author of the short story prequel, This Twentysomething Life and the Christmas novella, A Notting Hill Christmas. His fifth novel, Dan And Nat Got Married, will be out this October!

 

Jon studied English Literature at Middlesex University, London, before going travelling and meeting his American wife in Australia. Jon loves comedy (especially sitcoms), the films of Richard Curtis, travelling and tea. He just turned forty, which is a terrifying time, so his books might get a bit edgier and possibly angrier as a result.

 

Jon writes dramatic, romantic, comedy fiction similar to the work of Mike Gayle, Matt Dunn, Nick Spalding and David Nicholls.

 

Follow Jon on twitter

https://twitter.com/JRance75?lang=en-gb

14. Sep, 2016

Andrew Bennett has an idyllic life in Magnolia Creek, Australia. He runs a chocolate business he adores, is married to Gemma, the love of his life, and has a close relationship with his father, Louis. But when Andrew receives a message from his high school sweetheart, it sends his world into a spiral, and the relationships he holds dear will never be the same again.

Molly Ramsey is looking for answers. After her last attempt, she believes the only way to get them this time is to face her past head-on. But to do this, she has to fly to the other side of the world – and she’s afraid of flying. Her search for answers lands her in an emotional tangle, not only with her past but also with a man very much in her present.

Family is everything to Gemma Bennett and she longs to have a house full of kids, but it just isn’t happening. And when Andrew’s past makes an explosive impact on the family, Gemma must decide whether she can accept the truth and open her heart in a way she never thought possible.

In this story of love, family ties and forgiveness, will past mistakes be the obstacle to a Happy Ever After?

 

Review

After reading What Rosie Found Next, I knew that I had to read the second book in the Magnolia Creek series. I love Helen Rolf’s style of writing and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into The Chocolatier’s Secret.

When I read a book that I literally fall in love with and can’t stop thinking about, which is what happened with What Rosie Found next, I do get a bit nervous about reading another book by the same author, just in case I don’t have the same reaction. Though, deep down, I knew I didn’t need to be worried with The Chocolatier’s Secret as I have previously read two books by Helen which I’d loved. And I was right, I really had no need to worry because after just the first chapter I was hooked!

I found this book got to my emotions quite a bit, which is not a bad thing, if a book can make me cry then I know it’s a good one, and this book did make me cry more than a little bit.

Gemma and Andrew are happy, they’ve moved to a new town, set up a new business and are happily getting on with it. The only thing that could make it totally complete is a little family of their own.

When Andrew receives an email from an old girlfriend, and a lie is un-earthed from thirty years ago, things start to get a little frazzled for Andrew and Gemma, not helped by Andrew’s father being seriously ill. And then the mysterious Molly arrives which more than ruffles a few of the family’s feathers, especially Gemma’s

Molly is scared of flying, but she needs some answers to help her find out who she really is. So, with help from friends, she gets on a plane and finds herself in Magnolia Creek where she seeks out the missing pieces to the puzzle which is her life.

Again, the descriptions around Magnolia Creek had me lusting after jumping on a plane, not to mention all that talk of chocolate - my mouth has never watered as much whilst reading a book, it got to the point where I sent my hubby to the shop to stock up on chocolate!

Even though this book is part of a series, you can read it as a standalone - I loved the fact that characters from the previous book popped up here and there, it really drew you into the community spirit of Magnolia Creek.

Another five star hit from Helen Rolfe - roll on book three of the Magnolia Creek series, I really can’t wait to see what will happen next in the little Australian town!

 

12. Sep, 2016

An interview with Paula Smith

After Reading First There Was Pain, I was extremely intrigued about this book and its author, and Paula very kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

Thank you Paula for taking time out to answer a few questions.

And a big thanks to you Rachel for putting together this interview.

 

You’re very welcome. First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your new book, First There Was Pain?

I am very happily married with three girls, an ex-racehorse and a Staffordshire bull terrier. I am a mature student, about to start a biology degree at Blackburn College. I have worked with horses most of my life, but I have also worked in a secondary school. I am always extremely busy, and tend to juggle several projects at one time. Currently I am training my thoroughbred horse to compete in dressage, show-jumping and eventing. I am also writing novels, doing up a house and garden, in the middle of an extension, doing up a horsebox with hubby and renovating furniture. My husband and I bought and renovated an old farmhouse a few years back, spent a fortune in the process, and then lost everything. We have started over, and we’re doing okay. My first novel, First There Was Pain, includes many aspects of my own life, particularly the farmyard setting later in the book. Judith, the main character, begins life on the streets of Blackburn, and is later taken to a farm in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire.

 

First There Was Pain is a pretty harrowing tale, what was your inspiration behind it?

My father was brought up in Blackburn Orphanage, and it followed that I developed an affinity with children brought up in care. As a home/school liaison officer I occasionally visited dysfunctional families. What I found in some of these homes, shocked and upset me so much, that it made me realise just how lucky some of us are. Some of the pupils that were under my umbrella suffered from abuse, neglect and cruelty. As a result, they had psychological issues that were difficult to address, and even more difficult to treat. One particular girl had an awful lot of bad luck, and she never did learn to read or write properly. I was never able to help this girl enough, because just as we were making progress, she moved away. My first chapters are based on actual events, but then I wanted to lift my main character out of her abusive environment, and sent her on a journey. I created a bumpy passage, filled with intrigue, unusual relationships, murder and unrequited love.

 I have always loved the English countryside, and so I included animals and a farmyard setting for part of the novel.   

 

What three words would you use to describe your book?

Disturbing, menacing, hopeful,

 

 

How long did it take you to write First There Was Pain?

While I was doing an access course in biosciences last year, I did a rough draft over a twelve-month period. It was hard to give the novel much time because the access course was very fast paced. Once my studies finished in June, I started editing First There Was Pain. It then took me three months to make an idea into a novel.

 

If your book was made into a film, which actors would you have playing your main characters?

Alistair Bell - Jeremy Sheffield

Judith Foster - Kaya Scodelario

Vicky Foster - Daniella Westbrook

Kieran Pendlebury - Nick Robinson

Prissy - Judi Dench

When did you discover your love of writing?

I wrote poetry from a very early age, and often had my poems displayed on the school walls. I have always kept a diary, and I have always been a story teller. I used to make up stories for my brother and sister, and then later for my three little girls. I have always written long letters and emails to friends, and it was my sister-in-law that told me that I really ought to write something. That something was an autobiography, and I had a lot of fun writing it. That was the spark, and once I started, I couldn’t stop. I probably have eight or nine novels on the go at this moment in time, and until recently I had nothing completed. My daughters and my husband badgered me into completing at least one of them; so I did. It was just a case of being disciplined, and seeing something through to the end. I believe that writing is a process, and that one is always learning from it. I also believe that it is very addictive, because now I am itching to complete my next.

 

When starting a new story, do you plan out the route in which your story is going to take? Or do you just go with the flow?

I start with an idea and then I think it through in my head for a couple of weeks. I then decide on my characters, and I get to know them a little. I like to start a novel with impact, so that the reader is drawn in from the onset. Each novel is like a journey, and often takes different directions. I allow the characters to evolve and then they can determine where they should go and how they ought to behave. After writing, First There Was Pain, I realised that I needed to be more organised, and I intend to address this in my next novel. It won’t make any difference to the finished product, but it will certainly make my life a lot easier. Every time I write I learn something more about myself and what it is that I want to achieve. So my writing, like my novels, is a journey of discovery, and I don’t always know where I’m going until I get there.

 

What are your absolute must have’s when writing?

Music (love all genres), or complete silence, several cups of tea, chocolate.

 

Who are your top three favourite authors?

Thomas Hardy

Catherine Cookson

Victoria Holt

 

What is the last book you read?

Belle by Lesley Pearse

 

A hot summers day, or a cold, crisp winters day?

Hot summer’s day every time. I’m probably the coldest person I know

 

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items could you not live without?

Pen and paper to keep a log, and a warm jumper, just in case (practical to the end).

 

What advice would you give to any budding authors out there?

Write about what you know, what you are passionate about and what others may find interesting.

And finally, are you working on anything at the moment?

I have started to edit three potential second novels. I am still unsure which one to go with, so watch this space.

Thank you again, Paula, for answering my questions, I really enjoyed reading First There Was Pain and I really can’t wait for the next book!

 

Paula Smith’s debut novel, First There Was Pain, is out now on Kindle and is a must read!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-There-Pain-Paula-Smith-ebook/dp/B01L5JNUCE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1473668335&sr=1-1&keywords=paula+smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Sep, 2016

 

What Rosie Found Next - By Helen J Rolfe 

 One house, two strangers, one very big secret... 

 

A shaky upbringing has left Rosie Stevens craving safety and security. She thinks she knows exactly what she needs to make her life complete – the stable job and perfect house-sit she’s just found in Magnolia Creek. The only thing she wants now is for her long-term boyfriend, Adam, to leave his overseas job and come home for good.

Owen Harrison is notoriously nomadic, and he roars into town on his Ducati for one reason and one reason only – to search his parents’ house while they’re away to find out what they’ve been hiding from him his entire life. When he meets Rosie, who refuses to quit the house-sit in his parents’ home, sparks fly.

Secrets are unearthed, promises are broken, friendships are put to the test and the real risk of bushfires under the hot Australian sun threatens to undo Rosie once and for all.

Will Rosie and Owen be able to find what they want or what they really need?

 

Review

What Rosie Found Next is the second book by Helen Rolfe that I have read, and I can honestly say she is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

Australia is a place that I am dying to visit, it has been since I was a little girl, but with astronomical flight prices and a husband terrified of spiders, who regularly tells me that there are a lot of spiders Down Under, I can’t see us visiting anytime soon, and so I have become a bit of a sucker for books set in Australia. What Rosie Found Next, the first book in the Magnolia Creek series, drew me in right away, just because of where it was set, a little Australian town outside of Melbourne, and I found it hard to put down. I was on holiday and I devoured the story in just one day!

I loved the way that Helen described Magnolia Creek, it had me wanting to jump on a plane and visit it myself, despite the fact I know it’s a fictional place.

The story starts with Rosie arriving in Magnolia Creek, to house sit for the Harrison’s whilst they’re away in London for a funeral, and to start her new job at Magnolia house. Rosie is looking forward to having some peace and enjoying the fabulous house that will be her home for the next few weeks.

I found Rosie’s character easy to like, all she really wanted was her boyfriend, Adam, to come back from his job abroad and for them to buy a home of their own and settle down. But Adam was pretty blind to Rosie’s feelings and only thought about what he wanted, which made me start to dislike Adam quite a bit.

On her first night, alone in the house, Rosie is just settling down to sleep, feeling pretty nervous about being on her own in a new town, when she hears noises downstairs and discovers Own, the Harrison’s eldest son.

Owen knows there is some big family secret that his mother is keeping from him and, with his parents away, he decides it’s the perfect opportunity to have a snoop about. But what he didn’t bargain for was Rosie!

Neither Rosie or Owen are happy that other is there, they both just want to get on with what they’re there to do and for a while it’s extremely awkward. Once they both accept that this is the way it has to be, and Rosie lets her guard down, they settle in to a happy routine and rub along together nicely, and fast become friends.

The chemistry between the two soon starts to fizz, making Rosie question her relationship with Adam and, when he appears at the house, things start to get even more mixed up for Rosie.

I enjoyed this book so much, I think the speed at which I read it shows that! I loved both the characters, and Owen just sound so dreamy, and I really was rooting all the way through for a certain outcome.

Helen Rolfe is a fantastic author who draws you in with brilliant descriptive writing and What Rosie Found Next is must read, five-star book!!!!!

I cannot wait for more from Helen and Magnolia Creek!

 

 

Meet Helen

Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women's fiction with an emphasis on relationships and love. She enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Helen enjoys creating strong female lead characters and although her stories often deal with serious issues, they always have a happy ending.

 

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing articles for women's health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children's hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn't missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

 

After fourteen years of living in Melbourne and then Sydney, Helen decided to return home. She now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and children and they are slowly becoming acclimatised to the English weather.

 

Helen is a member of the UK's Romantic Novelists' Association and Romance Writers of Australia and blogs with The Write Romantics, a group of ten writers who met through the Romantic Novelists' Association.

 

To find out more about Helen and her writing, find her at:

 

www.helenjrolfe.com

https://www.facebook.com/helenjrolfewriter

https://twitter.com/hjrolfe

http://thewriteromantics.com

www.goodreads.com/helenjrolfe