Simon & Schuster #SpringBloggerEvening2020 |’The Magnificent Seven’ |#TeamBATC |3 March 2020

It’s always a pleasure to get an invite from the lovely SJV (@BookMinxSJV) at Simon & Schuster to one of their blogger evenings and when the ‘save the date’ email arrived a few months it went straight into the diary. ‘The Magnificent Seven’ authors whose books we were going to hear about were:

Anstey Harris
Caroline Scott
Christine Pishiris
Holly Hepburn
Paige Toon
Santa Montefiore
Sara-Ella Ozbek

I was a bit late leaving work and just made it to S&S HQ before the event began. Catching my breath with a drink and some nibbles, the evening began with a quiz to test our knowledge of S&S books and authors – we were each allocated a team which included one or more of the authors (unfortunately our team didn’t win although our performance wasn’t too shabby) before moving on to the authors either reading from their books, or talking about them. Christina did her own version of Reddit’s ‘Am I the Asshole’ by reading a letter from one of her characters, Zoe in Love Songs for Sceptics.

L-R Sara-Ella, Santa, Paige, Holly, Christina, Caroline, Anstey

Next followed a funny and outrageous round of two truths and one lie, or even two lies and one truth – it all got hopelessly confused but it was such good fun that no-one cared. Anstey Harris was voted the winner for the best lie. I’m not going to say what her lie was because everyone was quite shocked and grossed out at the thought that it might be true but I didn’t actually think it was that bad – I may have done something a little bit similar many years ago. 😳🤣

Now on to the books with the gorgeous flatlays provided. I thought I’d taken a photo of them all but had missed one. My thanks to Jo of Books and Lovely Things for allowing me to use one of her photos.

Santa Montefiore
Published 9 July 2020

Faced with losing everything, all that matters is Here and Now . . .

Marigold has spent her life taking care of those around her, juggling family life with the running of the local shop, and being an all-round leader in her quiet yet welcoming community. When she finds herself forgetting things, everyone quickly puts it down to her age. But something about Marigold isn’t quite right, and it’s becoming harder for people to ignore.

As Marigold’s condition worsens, for the first time in their lives her family must find ways to care for the woman who has always cared for them. Desperate to show their support, the local community come together to celebrate Marigold, and to show her that losing your memories doesn’t matter, when there are people who will remember them for you . . .

Anstey Harris
Published: 14 May 2020

One summer.
One house.
One family learning to love again.

Cate Morris and her son, Leo, are homeless, adrift. They’ve packed up the boxes from their London home, said goodbye to friends and colleagues, and now they are on their way to ‘Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World – to stay just for the summer. Cate doesn’t want to be there, in Richard’s family home without Richard to guide her any more. And she knows for sure that Araminta, the retainer of the collection of dusty objects and stuffed animals, has taken against them. But they have nowhere else to go. They have to make the best of it.

But Richard hasn’t told Cate the truth about his family’s history. And something about the house starts to work its way under her skin.

Can she really walk away, once she knows the truth?

Paige Toon

Published 14 May 2020

Some people believe that it’s possible to fall in love simply by gazing into another person’s eyes . . .

When Hannah and Sonny meet, a spark ignites that is hard to ignore and impossible to forget. Weeks later, their paths cross again, but Sonny appears distant and reluctant to meet Hannah’s eye. It soon transpires that Sonny is at a crossroads. He’s committed to making serious life changes – ones that can’t and won’t include romance.

Hannah has her own reasons for wanting to keep their budding friendship platonic. Plus, she’s only in town temporarily, housesitting for her uncle. But as the summer hots up and the chemistry between them intensifies, Hannah and Sonny discover that there’s more to each other than meets the eye…

Holly Hepburn

The paperback of all four Brightwater Bay novellas is published in January 2021

Caroline Scott

Published 29 October 2020

How can you know who you are, when you choose to forget who you’ve been?

1918. In the last week of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. When questioned, it becomes clear that he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there.

The soldier is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home. His doctor James is determined to recover who this man once was. But Adam doesn’t want to remember. Unwilling to relive the trauma of war, Adam has locked his memory away, seemingly for good.

When a newspaper publishes a feature about Adam, three women come forward, each claiming that he is someone she lost in the war. But does he believe any of these women? Or is there another family out there waiting for him to come home?

Based on true events, When I Come Home Again is a deeply moving and powerful story of a nation’s outpouring of grief, and the search for hope in the aftermath of war.

Christina Pishiris
Published 28 November 2019

My brother’s getting married in a few weeks and asked for help picking a song for his first dance. I suggested Kiss’s ‘Love’s a Slap in the Face’.

It didn’t go down well.

When she was a teenager, Zoë Frixos fell in love with Simon Baxter, her best friend and the boy next door. But his family moved to America before she could tell him how she felt and, like a scratched record, she’s never quite moved on. Now, almost twenty years later, Simon is heading back to London, newly single and as charming as ever . . .

But as obstacles continue to get in her way – Simon’s perfect ex-girlfriend, her brother’s big(ish) fat(ish) Greek wedding, and an obnoxious publicist determined to ruin her career – Zoë begins to wonder whether, after all these years, she and Simon just aren’t meant to be.

What if, despite what all the songs and movies say, your first love isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be? What if, instead Zoë and Simon are forever destined to shuffle around their feelings for each other, never quite getting the steps right . . .

With a smart, relatable central character and razor-sharp wit, Love Songs for Sceptics is perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lucy Vine and Lindsey Kelk.

 Sara-Ella Ozbek

Published 28 May 2020

Photo credit Jo Wright

NY RESOLUTIONS – THE PLAN Exercise 6 times a week
Have sex once a month min. (counts As exercise)
Delete Tim’s number
Move out of home TO LONDON (career??)
Make more friends
Be better

New Year’s Day is the ultimate cliché for Scarlett:
hangover, check
feeling weepy, check
broken sense of self, check check check

Jobless and stuck living at home with an academic mother who has no time for pep-talks, the one saving grace for Scarlett is that her friend, Billie, still works at the pub down the road. But even the pub is losing its appeal.

Desperate to do something, she moves to London with no plan, no money and nowhere to stay. Unsurprisingly, she finds herself crashing on her ex-boyfriend’s sofa with all of her terrible life choices for company.

It’s after Scarlett starts interning at a fashion agency that she takes her first step to becoming something – but it’s also her first step to becoming something else. Each terrible decision she makes leads to another and her life begins to spiral.

But people are starting to know her; she’s starting to become someone. And surely it’s better to be someone – even if it’s someone you hate?

With a vein of dark humour at its core, The High Moments offers an astute, often stark look at the fashion industry and the issues you can face as a woman in your twenties – fans of Girls and Emma Jane Unsworth’s Animals will love this.

Team BATC are always very generous with their goody bags, and I was thrilled to see early copies of a few of the above books. As I’d previously been sent a proof copy of Where We Belong, I took that with me in the hope of getting it signed by Anstey. I was able to get both copies signed at the event so watch this space for a blog giveaway for one of them.

Finally, I have to mention the cupcakes, made by @Restorationcake. As ever, these looked amazing and were themed to the book covers. 🧁

It was a great evening and my thanks to SJ and the BATC / S&S team for the invite and for all their hard work. Also my thanks to the authors for being so entertaining – and of course for the books!


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