Author Spotlight: Interview with Stella Newman, and Giveaway!

seven-steps-to-happiness-book-coverI recently read and LOVED Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman, so I’m delighted to interview her today on Confessions of a Book Geek, AND host a giveaway for FIVE copies of the book (UK only). I’m also offering one eBook copy for all of my INT readers!

Seven Steps to Happiness is currently available on Amazon for £3.99 for the eBook, and the paperback is just £6.15 on Wordery with FREE international shipping. Who can say no to that? 😉 

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

R: Hi Stella, introduce yourself to Book Geek readers, and tell us a little about you – what do you do when you aren’t writing/blogging?

S: Hello fellow book lovers, and thank you, Rachel for having me. I’m Stella Newman, author of four novels including the best seller Pear-Shaped (woo hoo!) and two novellas.

I used to work in advertising, then at the BBC, then at The Observer newspaper; then I became a professional food taster and was paid to eat spaghetti (best job in the world, ever) and now I’m a full time novelist. When I’m not writing, I’m eating, reading or sleeping.

R: All my favourite things to do! So, what made you want to become a writer?

S: My grandma was a writer – not a famous one, but she instilled in me a deep love of books, as did my father. I grew up loving reading, writing and telling stories but never thought I could make a living as a writer, so instead pursued various alternative careers – some fun, some less so (looking after turkeys for a supermarket in the run up to Christmas being one of the latter.)

As I went through my thirties, I couldn’t shake the fear that if I never even tried to write a novel I’d regret it. So I tried, failed, tried again a little harder, and eventually signed my first book deal with Harper Collins.

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Review: Through The Barricades & Giveaway!

Through the Barricades Book CoverThrough the Barricades by Denise Deegan, published December 2016 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.

Read: February 2017
Genre: Historical/Romance/Action/YA-Adult
Source: Publisher/Purchased
#Pages: 356
Get It Now: Wordery – Amazon US / UK

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Goodreads Synopsis: She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country. He was willing to sacrifice everything for her

“Make a difference in the world” are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin’s largely forgotten poor.

“Don’t go getting distracted, now” is what Daniel Healy’s father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative… as downright infuriating.

A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin’s striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie realises that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms.

The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive?

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End of Year Book Survey 2016!

2016-end-of-year-book-surveyI complete this survey every year (check out my End of Year Book Survey 2014 and End of Year Book Survey 2015), and think it’s a great way to round off your reading and blogging year. Thanks to Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner for inventing this Survey, and THANK YOU to all of you who read my blog, comment on my posts, and visit me here in my cosy corner of the Internet! I hope you had an excellent 2016, and wish you all health, happiness and love in 2017!

reading-stats-2016

Number Of Books You Read: 

Every year I set my Goodreads Challenge to 52 books. In 2014 and 2015, I was able to achieve and exceed this goal, but 2016 was the first time I haven’t hit it since I started blogging. In the last week of the year I tried to squeeze a few more in (which was greatly helped by the super-easy-to-read and very addictive Selection series!). But in the end, I managed to read 48 books.

Number of Re-Reads:

Number 1This year, I reread just one book, which was The Time Traveller’s Wife. It’s still a goal of mine to reread more each year, but with my toppling TBR, I rarely manage to get around to it.

Genre You Read The Most From:

genres-read-in-2016

Contemporary (in all of its forms!) was definitely my most-read genre this year, followed by mystery-thrillers and fantasy, which is probably standard every year.

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I’m pleased that my YA and Adult reads are about even, but this year I’m really surprised and loving the fact that my Non-Fiction reads are higher than normal. I’m really wanting to keep that up.

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1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I did a Top Ten Tuesday post highlighting my favourite ten books of 2016, but for this question I’ve narrowed it down to my absolute favourite books from those ten. The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh (Historical, based on true story), A Court of Mist and Fury (Fantasy), Me Before You (Contemporary Romance), On The Other Side (Contemporary Fantasy), It Ends With Us (New Adult Romance), Empire of Storms (Fantasy).

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The Books that Built the Blogger with Rachel from Confessions of a Book Geek!

Today, I’m being featured on Cathy’s blog, 746 Books, where I’m discussing The Books That Built the Blogger! Pop over and check out my five picks!

746 Books

built-bloggers

This week on The Books that Built the Blogger, I have the fantastic Rachel from Confessions of a Book Geek. I had been following Rachel for a while before we realised that we both live in the same town in Northern Ireland! She is a font of all YA knowledge and I love her enthusiasm and insight.

rache

Hi! I’m Rachel from Confessions of a Book Geek, and I’m here to share with you five books that have shaped my reading, or had an impact on the kind of books I tend to gravitate towards. As a kind-of millennial (I think I’m just a little too old to be considered a “proper” one), it’s so tempting to shout “Harry Potter!” for any and all questions relating to my favourite books, books that made me, books that shaped me, books I’m obsessed with, etc. I’m not sure if it counts as…

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Review: The Lemon Grove

the-lemon-grove-book-coverThe Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh, published June 2014 by Tinder Press.

Read: January 2017
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance/Contemporary
Source: Purchased
#Pages: 288
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: Each summer, Jenn and her husband Greg return to Deia, on Mallorca’s dramatic west coast. This year the arrival of Emma, Jenn’s stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by Nathan’s youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly-charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. For Jenn, after this summer, nothing can ever be the same.

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Reviewing My 2016 Resolutions (and NEW bookshelves!)

reading-and-blogging-resolutions

Even though I rarely check in on them to see how I’m getting on, for some reason I still feel it’s necessary every year to sit down and write some bookish and bloggish resolutions. Occasionally, I’ll even do a couple for “real life” as well. Visualise it, write it, achieve it, and all that jazz! Without further ado, let’s review last year’s resolutions to see how epically I managed to fail in 2016!

1. Actually Get Some Bloody Bookshelves!

THIS one, I have achieved!

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We’re off to a good start. Finally, finally, I have beautiful bespoke bookcases to call my own.

new-bespoke-handmade-walnut-bookcases

These were designed by me, with a 3D visual of how they would look provided by my sister (to make sure I LOVED the design before I went ahead with buying the materials!), and they were handmade by my dad. A true family project! They’re walnut veneer, with solid walnut edging, and clear varnish finish. And I am IN LOVE with them. I’ll be doing a post all about them soon, with lots of pictures!

2. Revive Babes and Books!

This was a massive fail. I honestly can’t believe it’s been so long since we buddy-read a book! The group consists of me, Brandie @ Brandie is a Book Junkie and Stef @ Caught Read Handed. Check out previous Babes and Books reviews. What do you think girls, should we give this a go again in 2017?

Babes and Books Feature

3. Make Review Notes!

I did actually make some review notes in 2016, but definitely not enough! It SO helps to have notes when writing up reviews, especially if like me, you’re quite behind in getting the reviews posted for the books you’ve already read. I should really focus on this in 2017, it would make life much, much easier.

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Running Away From Reading Challenges!

running-away-from-reading-challenges

Reading Challenges are a hot topic, and there are A LOT to choose from.

There’s the super popular PopSugar Reading Challenge, and the equally infamous Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, then of course there is the Goodreads Challenge, as well as the vast number this community comes up with themselves, and this year I’m putting my foot down.

I’m saying “no” to reading challenges.

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Review: The Versions of Us

the-versions-of-us-book-coverThe Versions of Us by Laura Barnett, published June 2015 by Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Read: October 2016
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance/Contemporary
Source: Purchased
#Pages: 403
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: What if you had said yes? Some moments can change your life for ever. Have you ever wondered, what if…?

A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.

Eva and Jim are 19 and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva’s then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition, but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.

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