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24 May 2015

Blog Tour: 'The Two of Us' by Andy Jones!

Falling in love is the easy part. What matters most is what happens next...

Fisher and Ivy have been an item for a whole nineteen days. And they just know they are meant to be together. The fact that they know little else about each other is a minor detail. Over the course of twelve months, in which their lives will change forever, Fisher and Ivy discover that falling in love is one thing, but staying there is an entirely different story.

I'm really excited to share my review of Andy Jones' 'The Two of Us' with all of you today as part of the blog tour for this new release! I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy of Andy Jones’ promising novel ‘The Two of Us’ a few months ago. The Kindle edition of the book was released by Simon & Schuster in February 2015 and the paperback version followed on the 7th of May. I mostly read fiction written by female authors, so I looked forward to picking up this one, a romantic novel written by a male author and with a male perspective! Since the Kindle release of 'The Two of Us' I've only heard positive things, so I definitely had my fingers crossed for an entertaining read. I've also had the chance to ask Andy some questions about his book as part of the blog tour, so be sure to scroll down and have a look!

Will Fisher and Ivy Lee have only known each other for a few weeks, but they find themselves in the middle of a whirlwind romance; completely crazy about each other and not really caring about anything else that's happening in the world around them. But then the excitement is suddenly taken away when, to Fisher's surprise, Ivy seems to lose interest. This is, however, just the start of twelve months in the lives of William and Ivy; filled with big changes, for the both of them, in which they will have to decide whether they want to tackle things together or go their separate ways.

I actually ended up starting and finishing this book in one day and that hardly ever happens to me. I instantly fell in love with Andy Jones' writing style, which is well-paced, flows easily and managed to hit me with the right emotions over and over again, from laughter to tears. I really enjoyed experiencing things from the perspective of the main male character, Fisher. He's a great guy; down-to-earth, crazy about a girl and trying to figure out what it is she wants and what he himself wants. All characters were really well-drawn, though, and realistic. I personally didn't particularly warm to Ivy, who is quite a complex character, but this definitely didn't stop me from enjoying the book. 

I liked the fact that there was a focus on the romance side of the story, but also a focus on the friendship between Fisher and his best friend El, who is suffering from Huntington's disease. This part of the book was incredibly touching to read and just heart-breaking in places. I don't want to give too much away about what happens in the book, but it deals with some contemporary and realistic topics in a moving and convincing way. This novel is actually a follow-up to Andy Jones' 'Girl 99', but can undoubtedly be read as a stand-alone. Overall, 'The Two of Us' is a touching, addictive and honest love story that will make you both laugh out loud and shed a few tears; a truly enjoyable read that is certainly worth picking up!
Rating:8,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.


Author Interview with Andy Jones!

Hello Spoonful of Happy Endings, thank you so much for inviting me to be on your blog. In case you’re wondering (and lord knows why you would be, but, hey…) I’m writing this at the kitchen table while Mrs Jones unloads boxes of spices into the new cupboards. We’ve had the builders in, you see, and, finally, we have our house back. It is a lovely spring evening; I’ve got a glass of white six inches from my right hand and Robert Plant on Spotify. It’s first time I’ve written at this table in this room; but I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot more – the light is lovely.
So, to the Qs:

Can you tell us something about your new novel, ‘The Two of Us’?
If I had to give you an elevator pitch, I’d tell you it was about what happens after happily ever after. Lots of romantic books (very good ones) deal with the getting together, but this one is more concerned with staying together. William Fisher and Ivy Lee are smitten. They have zero doubt that they have found their perfect partner; all they need to do now is spend the rest of their lives in a
state of perpetual romantic joy, waking up every day with a pair of big old self-satisfied smiles plastered across their faces. Or so they think. 

Normally, I’d leave it there. But it’s hard to talk further about the book without revealing what happens on page 50. It’s a good twist; a surprise that turns their worlds upside down, and for a while I thought that event was best kept secret. But … maybe you’ve already guessed, but if not, brace yourself, because here it comes: The very first time William and Ivy make love, Ivy gets pregnant. So the rest of the book deals with the way the couple deal with this bombshell. They have to move in, learn about each other (and there’s plenty to learn), and figure out if – when push comes to, well, push push push – they are meant for each other after all.
It’s a funny story, I hope. But I’ve made a point of keeping it honest and true-to-life, and as such there are surprises, disappointments and some deeply sad events. It’s told exclusively through William’s point of view, so the reader gets an insight into the way men feel about and deal with these situations.

Where did you get the inspiration for your novel? Is it in any way based on your own experiences?
Well the novel was inspired by another novel. I wrote a book called Girl 99 a few years ago and self-published it on Kindle. It was the ‘getting together’ story of William and Ivy. So I got to know the characters pretty well – they were very vivid to me. The book ends with the couple making love for the first time, and I always wondered: What if? And that’s where I started – I thought about all the
possible ways the next few days and months might play out for them and ended up with The Two of Us. It’s not based on my experiences, no. But me and Mr Jones do make a cameo: 

When Mrs Jones went into labour with our second girl at 2.00 a.m., things moved fast. I mean Holy-Shit fast. We got the hospital, I parked, ran around to her side, opened the passenger door and Mrs J just went down on her knees in the deserted carpark and came extraordinarily close to delivering our baby onto the tarmac (my friend joked later that we would have been obliged to call her Parker). I found a wheelchair and got Mrs Jones up to the delivery ward – and I’m not exaggerating – approximately four and a half minutes before our baby made her big appearance. I should add that this scene doesn’t happen to William and Ivy, but they do witness it.

Can you tell us a bit more about the main character, Fisher?
I don’t know why I keep calling him William in this Q&A; he prefers to go by his surname, Fisher. So let’s get back on track – Fisher. I could tell you lots of ‘stuff’ about Fisher: he directs commercials for a living; he likes to cook; he’s sincere but also a bit of a berk at times … but I think the important points are the aspects of his character revealed under duress. He has some growing up to do, and he’s been dropped into a tough spot so that process has to be accelerated. Also, Ivy is older than Fisher, she’s seen more life than him, she’s quieter and less demonstrative by nature, and it’s her carrying the baby – so they’re in very different places mentally and emotionally, and that creates a
great deal of tension. Fisher doesn’t always get it right, but he’s doing the best he can. 

There’s a great cast of supporting characters in the novel as well. Which character did you most enjoy writing?
Thank you. I loved writing Esther, Fisher’s old-aged neighbour and third-best friend. She’s wise but a little coarse around the edges, and she was great fun to write. I’d love her to live next door to me. But as much as I adore Esther, I love El – Fisher’s best friend since they were something like 11 years old. He’s dying. He has an awful degenerative disease called Huntington’s that is slowly and inescapably undoing him: he’s losing his coherence, acuity, motor control, and tact. It’s tragic, but at the same time, El is an incorrigible bugger. He has a wicked sense of humour, nothing is sacred and he loves to tease Fisher. He’s frightened about his future, he knows there is only one way his illness is going, and yet he clings to his sense of humour. He’s brave, tragic, comic and he pretty much steals every scene I’ve put him in.

Did you do any particular research for parts of the book?
I did. I talked to a film director, a midwife, an expert in Huntington’s disease and (Ivy’s job) a make-up artist. I’ve always dreaded research – I just like to sit down and make stuff up – but people love talking about the things that are important and interesting to them. And all of the people I spoke to were incredibly generous and helpful. And it always yields something unexpected. For example, I never knew that make-up artists were known as ‘the glamour squad’ in the film business. So I took that, made it the name of Ivy’s business and stencilled it across the side of her van. It’s a small thing, but it adds authenticity and flavour.

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you perhaps already working on a next novel?
You bet I am. I’m working on a new novel right now. I’m somewhere between (depending on how big the book ends up) a third and a half of the way through the first draft. This one is a two-header – meaning it’s told through the eyes of two different characters. So I’m enjoying pretending to be a twenty-nine-old woman for a few hours a week. It’s a free country, after all.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
I feel like a bit of a charlatan doling out advice, but, as you asked. Here are a couple of things that have helped me: Write often. I’m not going to say write everyday, because that’s not practical for everybody. But write at least twice a week; any less and it’s hard to stay immersed in the story and I think it shows in the final product. Find a routine that works for you, make time, and then protect it fiercely. 

Don’t write for anyone except yourself. You can’t second-guess trends, publishers, the market. The biggest asset you have is you – there is no one like you, no one who has the particular cocktail of experiences, opinions anxieties and passions that you have. If you can channel that uniqueness into your writing, then your work will be distinctive. And no matter the trends, readers and editor are always looking for something fresh. Besides, if you write what you love, you’ll have more fun while you’re doing it.

Oh, and get a copy of 'On Writing' by Stephen King. Read it and read it again.

What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
'Oryx and Crake' by Margaret Atwood. It’s original, inventive, wonderful writing, amusing and shocking. I was only a few chapters in when gave in to the urge to tweet the author, telling her how much fun I imagined the book had been to write. She replied along the lines that, yes, it was fun but in a grim kind of way. Approximately another 100 pages in, I realised what she meant and felt a bit of
a buffoon for describing her book as ‘fun’. But that’s kind of the book’s and Margaret Atwood’s power – you’re drawn in by the novelty and levity of the world she has created and then the backstory begins to bleed through and … well, there’s nothing ‘fun’ about it. Great book. 

Which book could you not live without?
I tend not to re-read books. So anything I’ve read once, I can live without. But I’d go crazy of I didn’t have a novel to lose myself in. So no one book, just the one I’m currently reading. If you’re asking my favourite book, then, depending on the day and my mood, it could be The Princess Bride, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Lullaby, The Book of Illusions, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The Book Thief, Cloud Atlas, A Clockwork Orange, Of Mice and Men … Ha! The list goes on.

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘The Two of Us’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
My debut novel.

Thanks so much, Andy!


22 May 2015

Exciting Release: 'The Lost Child' by Ann Troup!


Mandy Miller disappeared from Hallow’s End when she was just three years old. 

She was never found.

Thirty years on, Elaine Ellis is carrying her mother’s ashes back to Hallow’s End to 
scatter them in the place that she once called home. Elaine has never been there, but 
it’s the only place Jean talked about while she was growing up – so it seems as good a 
place as any.

As Elaine settles into her holiday cottage in the peaceful Devonshire village, she gets 
to know the locals; family she never knew she had; eccentric and old-fashioned 
gentry, and new friends where she would least expect them. But she is intrigued by 
the tale of the missing girl that the village still carries at its heart, and which somehow 
continues to overshadow them all. Little does she know how much more involved in 
the mystery she will become…

On the 19th of May Ann Troup's debut novel titled 'The Lost Child' was released by Carina UK and it's a release I am quite excited about! 'The Lost Child' promises to be an intriguing and mysterious novel which will have us on the edge of our seats. I have a good feeling many people will be talking about this book and I can't wait to pick it up myself! 


About Ann Troup


Ann lives in Devon in a small house just a pebble’s throw from the beach. She shares her home with her husband and a small white dog, both occasionally allow her to be inattentive to them so that she can write. Her many skills include an unparalleled ability to consume coffee and the gift of being able to kill houseplants by merely admiring them. 

In addition to that she is a great proponent of the Miss Havisham method of housekeeping, which includes regarding cobwebs and dust as nature’s ornaments. Her debut novel 'The Lost Child' will be published by Carina UK on 19/5/2015.


21 May 2015

Upcoming release: 'Coming Up Roses' by Rachael Lucas!


Would-be gardener Daisy can’t believe her luck when her parents announce they’re off on a midlife crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of their gorgeous garden. After a turbulent few months, a spot of quiet in the countryside is just what she needs.

A shoulder to cry on wouldn't go amiss either - so when Daisy comes across Elaine and Jo, she breathes a sigh of relief. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own…

As Daisy wrestles the garden into something resembling order, her feelings for handsome Irishman George begin to take root. Daisy’s heart’s desire − her parent’s garden − is under threat, and Daisy's forced to confront nosey neighbours and fight greedy developers. Village life is turning out to be far from peaceful.

Today is quite a big day with some pretty fabulous book releases which I'm all really excited about. I decided to pick one release which I can't wait to read to share with all of you today, which is Racheal Lucas' new novel 'Coming Up Roses'! I love the cover and the description of the story promises a captivating and lovely read. I'm lucky to have a review copy of 'Coming Up Roses' waiting for me and I really look forward to picking it up and checking it out as soon as possible!