As usual, we were greeted on arrival with bubbly, gorgeous themed cupcakes (courtesy of Restoration Cakes) and nibbles. There were no hugs on offer due to the current virus situation, however everyone was having a great time elbow bumping!
After a quick catch up with some friendly faces, we made our way into the boardroom to take a look at the wonderfully artistic and very Instagram-able flat lays that had been set up to highlight each of the seven author’s latest novels.
On Tuesday 3 March 2020, I headed into London for the annual Books and the City Spring Blogger Evening hosted at the Simon & Schuster headquarters. This is one of my absolute favourite book events each year and I could not wait to catch up with some of my fellow book bloggers, the fabulous Sara-Jade (@BookMinxSJV) and the amazing Books and the City team (@TeamBATC), not to mention a select handful of the Simon & Schuster authors.
We then took our seats and had a quick rummage through the exciting goody bags, before being split into 4 teams for a literary quiz. We were fortunate to have the lovely Paige Toon (?) on our team which was a great help – particularly when the question was about her book! We didn’t win, but it was great fun.
The evening then progressed to the authors’ chat. Each author either read an extract from their book or pitched their novel to us. I will list all of the authors and their books below and I can honestly say they really did all sound marvellous!
Sara-Ella Ozbek – The High Moments (28 May 2020)
Scarlett makes mistakes – over and over again.
She’s not perfect, she has a tricky relationship with her mother and is desperate for people to like her.
She repeatedly goes back to the people that hurt her, no matter how badly.
She moves to London with no plan (of course), but manages to land a job at a modelling agency. Finally, she’s getting her life on track, but the fashion industry is a murkier place than she had imagined.
She changes herself to please others.
Just as she starts to find her place, Scarlett’s life begins to spiral. But at least people know her, she is starting to become someone. And surely it’s better to be someone – even if it’s someone you hate?
Santa Montefiore – Here and Now (9 July 2020)
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 . . .
Paige Toon – The Minute I Saw You (14 May 2020 epub, 6 August 2020 paperback)
When Hannah meets Sonny, she’s irresistibly drawn to him: he’s sexy and confident, but only in town on holiday. That’s fine with Hannah – she doesn’t do long-term relationships. And luckily for her, neither does Sonny. But before they can even so much as kiss, Sonny receives some shocking news and commits to making serious life changes – ones that can’t and won’t include romance.
With even a short fling now off the cards, Hannah and Sonny settle for being friends. But as summer hots up and their chemistry shows no signs of cooling, they start to question their reasons for shutting each other out.
Are they both too broken to find love? And if they tear down the walls between them, will they still like what’s on the other side?
Holly Hepburn – Coming Home to Brightwater Bay (21 January 2021)
On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.
Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?
Christina Pishiris – Love Songs for Sceptics (28 November 2019 epub, 3 September 2020 paperback)
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 . . .
Caroline Scott – When I Come Home Again (29 October 2020)
They need him to remember. He wants to forget
1918. In the last week of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. When questioned, it becomes clear 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?
Anstey Harris – Where We Belong (14 May 2020)
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?
The reading was followed by a ‘two truths and one lie’ game which cause much hilarity, both from some confusion as to whether it was ‘two truths and one lie’ or ‘one truth and two lies’ and from some of the amazing facts/lies that popped up. Anstey Harris certainly stole the show with her selection of truths and lies!!
After a quick signing session, we were then free to mingle and chat with our fellow bloggers before heading home.
As always, it was a fantastic evening and it was wonderful to catch up again with so many blogger friends, the lovely authors and the fabulous BATC team. Huge thanks again to SJ and the BATC team for a wonderful evening and the very generous goody bag!