Wednesday 27 June 2018

Author interview: Patricia Caliskan

Today I would like to welcome author Patricia Caliskan to The Burgeoning Bookshelf.
About the author 

Following a childhood spent writing her first books, most notably, Our Book about Jesus – a self-help guide for fellow young Catholics, and, The Sleepover – a compelling tale of a midnight feast, shockingly intercepted by fictitious parents with badly drawn hands, Patricia Caliskan always liked to play with words.
Patricia first saw her name misspelt in print aged 17, interviewing hungover rock stars and illegible actors for an Arts and Entertainment magazine. After graduating from the University of Liverpool, Patricia joined Trinity Mirror Newsgroup, working as editor across a portfolio of lifestyle magazine titles.
Patricia likes a good pair of boots, wearing perfume with her pyjamas, and laughter. Lots of laughter. Because without it life feels far too grown up for her liking. Told with mischievous humour, Patricia’s stories explore family dynamics, office politics, and the divergent roles of women throughout their lives.
Girlfriend, Interrupted is Patricia’s second novel: her first, Awful by Comparison, will be reissued by Sapere Books this summer.

So, let's get started and find out a little more about Patricia and her writing.

Hello Patricia, thank you for joining us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hello! Thanks for having me over! I write Comedy Romance novels. My first was Awful by Comparison, and my latest, Girlfriend, Interrupted, is out now. I write about Relationships, Family dynamics, and Office politics.

What inspires you to write?

The thought of taking my readers on riotous adventures, set within backdrops they recognise, and situations with which they can emphasise. That sounds quite promising, doesn’t it? I want to create entertaining escapes, mix in a little mischief, plenty to think about, and introduce them to a great bunch of characters. When I’m flagging on my final draft, those are the thoughts to take me across the finish line.

What is a typical writing day for you?

A typical writing day for me, looks like writing through the night. I've always been slightly nocturnal, that's when I seem to get a flurry of ideas and energy. During the night, I can be totally focused on my novel. I have a 4 a.m. cut-off, and if I feel I’ve had a productive night, I wake up completely zooped to read and edit the work.

Where is your favourite place to write?

I have a writing room, which is really peaceful and lovely, but also a few specs I gravitate towards. My latest project is basically happening in the kitchen, so there’s been a lot of snack breaks with this one. I have an old, leather recliner, I like to eat breakfast and edit in.

Do you have any writing rituals or good luck charms?

I drink coffee on-tap, and usually have my head-phones on the go with a playlist. No rituals, as such, but I light scented candles in the evenings. I’ve got Bourbon and Vanilla candles on my desk at the moment. They signify Writing time. That's about as ceremonial as I get.

What authors, genres do you like to read?

It's pretty varied. I read Contemporary and Literary fiction. Some is research-based in Psychology, Philosophy, Spirituality. Biographies are a treat, as are books about the Film industry. My latest discovery in Contemporary Fiction is Taylor Jenkins Reid. I love Rebecca Miller and Helen Walsh’s work. I’ll always read the latest from Megan Abbott, Anne Tyler, Jane Green, Candace Bushnell, Jay McInerney and David Nicholls, because you’re guaranteed a great, satisfying read.

What are you currently reading?

Bright, Precious Days, the last of the Manhattan trilogy, by Jay McInerney. I'm also re-reading some Arthur Miller, a selection of Eckhart Tolle, and a great, coffee table buy, The Body Book by Cameron Diaz, which is basically a Home essential for anyone female or with daughters.

How did you come up with the idea for Girlfriend, Interrupted?

I wanted to write a kind of coming-of-age novel for Relationships. That moment when Romance collides with Reality, whatever shape that takes, felt like a fun place to write my way out of. The idea of twenty-something, Ella, becoming a step-parent as a full-stop to her Single years, was influenced by my own experiences. Ella also finds her career shifting up a gear, and is trying to succeed at home, while needing to perform at work. Her life has drifted from pleasing herself, to focusing on greater emotional and practical responsibilities to other people. There’s a colourful troupe of characters in the mix, all with a sense of duality in their personas. It was a big mess of fun to write.

Your book is filled with humorous situations; How important is humour to you in your everyday life?

I didn't set out to write Comedy, but my interior monologue has always been slightly off-kilter. I enjoy making people laugh and lightening the mood. Life is bitter-sweet and utterly ludicrous. The best way I’ve found to approach it, is by making the most of those moments, when we don’t have to take things too seriously. After my first book was published, hearing readers say I’d made them laugh, or describing characters and scenes with smiles on their faces, was an incredibly lovely feeling.

What’s next for Patricia Caliskan? Do you have a new WIP?

My third book is set in the fictitious suburbs of Fernleigh, and tells the stories of a great group of women in the midst of marriage. I hope you’re going to love them.

Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with us on The Burgeoning

My pleasure. Let’s do it again! 


A sparkling and hilarious romantic comedy! Perfect for fans of Jo Watson, Gill Sims and Kirsty Greenwood…

What do you do when the love of your life is already somebody else’s dad…?
Brown-eyed, brunette, 25.

Enjoys walking barefoot across shards of broken home. Likes loaded silences, resentment and insomnia. Dislikes romantic weekends, lie-ins and any chance of future happiness.

Former GSOH. Developing PTSD.

Ella Shawe was undomesticated, unattached and uninhibited.

Until she met Dan.

Sexy, charming and funny, Dan ticked all the right boxes and Ella threw herself head-first into the whirlwind romance.

But now she’s moved into his family home, complete with two demanding children and a hyperactive dog.

Throw in Dan’s impossibly perfect ex-wife, Ella’s interfering sex therapist mother and the snooty and dismissive mother-in-law from Hell, and Ella is almost ready to throw in the towel.

But, ready or not, Ella is part of the family now, and getting it right for Dan’s kids means getting it right for everyone. She just needs to figure out how to include herself in the mix…

Girlfriend, Interrupted will have you laughing-out-loud, gasping in embarrassment and rooting for Ella all the way. This British romantic comedy is packed full of humour and has a delightful contemporary heroine at its heart.

*Patricia’s novel Girlfriend, Interrupted is published by Sapere Books and can be purchased here

 Check out the other posts and reviews on the Girlfriend, Interrupted blog tour.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Book Review: The Greek Escape by Karen Swan

Title: The Greek Escape
Author: Karen Swan
Publisher: Pan Macmillan 
Publication date: 24th April 2018
Pages: 432
RRP: $29.99
Format read: Paperback
Source: copy courtesy of publisher


Before every new beginning, there must be an ending
Running from heartbreak, Chloe Marston leaves her old life in London for a fresh start in New York. Working at a luxury concierge company, she makes other people’s lives run perfectly, even if her own has ground to a halt. But a terrible accident forces her to step into a new role, up close and personal with the company’s most esteemed and powerful clients. Charismatic Joe Lincoln is one of them and his every wish is her command, so when he asks her to find him a secluded holiday home in the Greek Islands, she sets about sourcing the perfect retreat.
But when Tom, her ex, unexpectedly shows up in Manhattan and the stability of her new life is thrown off-balance again, she jumps at the chance to help Joe inspect the holiday house; escaping to Greece will give her the time and space to decide where her future truly lies. Tom is the man she has loved for so long but he has hurt her before – can she give him another chance? And as she draws closer to Joe, does she even want to? As magnetic as he is mysterious, there’s an undeniable chemistry between them that she can’t resist.
But whatever her heart is telling her, she’s in over her head - another client’s wife has mysteriously disappeared and seriously allegations about Joe threaten more than just her happiness. Who can she trust? And will Chloe uncover the truth in time?

 My thoughts

 The Greek Escape is the perfect summer read or even winter, as it is in Australia now, for that matter.

I was ready for a light summer romance read, ChickLit maybe. However this was so much more. As the story commences the reader is plunged straight into a mystery.

’This was not living. It was no life. She would be gone, yes. But she would also be free.’

Chloe flees England to recover from a broken heart and what better place to go than the company’s New York office leaving a whole ocean between herself and her hurt.
Chloe Marston is the corporate partnership director at Invicta, a high profile concierge company getting top-end clients their exclusive holidays and elusive chalets. Chloe’s job is to liaise with other companies, exclusive bars and 5 star restaurants but when life-style manager Poppy is unable to do her job Chloe must step in and is suddenly thrown into the whacky and extravagant world of the rich and famous as she takes on Poppy’s client base.

The main story is about Chloe and how she handles this new lifestyle whilst trying to recover from a broken heart. Chloe is quiet and reserved. She doesn’t believe in her own talent and worries she’s not sophisticated or pretty enough for the job. Chloe is surrounded by plenty of flamboyant and effervescent characters. Her good friend Elle, six foot tall with model looks and of Ghanaian descent, comes in and out of the story encouraging Chloe to step out of her comfort zone. Her sister, Kate, although living in England is in constant contact and a wonderful support to Chloe and the office gossip, Xan, was a wonderful addition and a campaigner for Chloe.

Chloe’s high profile clients are amusing with their outlandish demands. They are all hugely rich and just a little bit scary. Then there is Joe who wants Chloe to find a secluded house on a Greek Island. He is gorgeous, young and very down to earth. Almost too good to be true!
There is plenty of chemistry between the two but Chloe knows never to fraternise with a client. However the more time she spends with Joe in Greece the more she realises this is where she should be, away from the technology and pressure, where no one can find her.

There is also a side story told in separate chapters. This story had an underlying ominous feel and I was eager to see where this and the main story would intercept and when they do the story takes a turn as there are sinister undertones lurking just below the surface of this sweet romance as Chloe is mixed up in corporate take-overs, corruption and nefarious activities.

The story wrapped up well with a few surprises along the way. The Greek escape is a recommended read and I was held captivated from beginning to end. I will be on the lookout for more Karen Swan titles.

Content: infrequent use of swearing. 

My rating 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

About the author

Karen Swan is a Sunday Times Top Five bestselling writer. She is the author of twelve other novels. She previously worked as an editor in the fashion industry but soon realised she was better suited as a novelist with a serious shopping habit. She is married with three children and lives in East Sussex.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Book Review: The Book Ninja by Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus

Title: The Book Ninja
Authors: Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1st June 2018
Pages: 337
RRP: $29.99
Format Read: Paperback (uncorrected proof)
Source: publisher supplied


Sometimes love means having to broaden your literary horizons.

Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person will do.

It’s not that she hasn’t tried. She’s the queen of online dating. But enough is enough. Inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop, Frankie decides to take fate into her own hands and embarks on the ultimate love experiment.

Her plan? Plant her favourite books on trains inscribed with her contact details in a bid to lure the sophisticated, charming and well-read man of her dreams.

Enter Sunny, and one spontaneous kiss later, Frankie begins to fall for him. But there’s just one problem – Frankie is strictly a classics kind of gal, and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Like really.

A quirky and uplifting love letter to books, friendship and soulmates.

 My thoughts

Ali and Michelle are the co-founders of the famed Books on the Rail Australia and what better way to express their love for all things books and Melbourne than to write a book.

Frankie works with best friend Cat at Little Brunswick Bookshop. She is a bit of a book snob, preferring classics to popular fiction and YA titles, she judges people by the books they buy at the shop.
Left broken hearted by Adam and not having any success with romance she decides to leave her favourite books on Melbourne trains, with a note at the end of each book to contact her for a date, believing the  best man for her would be someone who loves the same books as her.

This Rom Com is filled with hilarious situations and plenty of hijinks. Frankie and cat were a couple of crazy best friends who told each other everything, well almost everything. There are a few surprises that will be revealed.

An ex boyfriend, bad dates, a meddling mum and a crazy best friend; could anything get any more difficult? Apparently so, when Frankie becomes a recognisable face after an altercation with a beetroot latte and a pair of white pants goes viral on Instagram.

The story is told through third person narration, blog posts, texts and emails placing it solidly in the modern era.

With over 100 mentions of books throughout the story i can see The Book Ninja booklist being used for reading challenges in the foreseeable future.

I think this book would be perfect made into a movie as the humour is more of a visual humour which would suit screen adaptation. An example is with Cat and the new baby (no spoilers) but this scene would have been better as a visual, the humour was lost on the page.

Cat’s husband Claud’s character fell flat for me and I couldn’t quite get the reason for the inclusion of 17 year old Seb, a school boy who often visited the book shop.

The Book Ninja was a fun, easy read. One for the under 40’s.

In true book ninja style my copy was left on the train for the next person to enjoy.

Content: infrequent coarse language appropriate for target audience.

*I received my copy from the publisher

about the author

Ali Berg
Co-founder & Professional Aussie Book Ninja at Books on the Rail & Co-author of The Book Ninja (Simon & Schuster): "A clever, funny and well observed story." Hitting shelves June 2018.

This review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge 
and book #16 in the Australian Women Writers