Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Family, Friends & Lovers (Boxed Set) by Sophie King (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Family, Friends & Lovers (Boxed Set) by Author Sophie King!

Author Guest Post

Small Talk

I’ve just come back from a big party of romantic journalists in London and my throat is sore! It’s not easy making small talk in a large crowded room where everyone is chatting. But the thing that I find most difficult, is finding someone to chat to when everyone else seems to know each other - apart from you!

There’s nothing worse than hanging around on the edge of a group of people, anxiously trying to break into their conversation without looking rude.

Luckily, this didn’t happen to me tonight because I knew everyone. But I did spot one woman at the edge of a room who was standing rather self-consciously, back against the wall, and glass in her hand.

‘Do you know many people here?’ I asked spontaneously.

She shook her head. ‘I’m from Canada – in fact I’ve just arrived.’

My heart went out to her so I offered to introduce her to a couple of my friends, including an influential publisher. Before long, she looked much happier and I was able to leave her to it. But it made me think of some other ideas on how to talk to others in an unfamiliar situation. Be warned – some of them are a bit devious!

Pretend you recognise a face. ‘Excuse me but don’t we know each other from somewhere’ can work wonders. Occasionally, I’ve found that it’s actually true! But even if it isn’t, it’s an ice-breaker and you might find some common ground.

Be honest. Catch someone’s eye and say ‘I’m really sorry to intrude but I don’t know anyone here. May I join you?’ Anyone who’s decent will immediately welcome you in. And if they don’t, you don’t want to be bothered with them anyway.

Compliment someone. ‘What a lovely colour,’ goes a long way. But do make sure you mean it. Otherwise everyone else will think you’ve got the same bad taste as the person wearing the offending garment.

Ask if anyone knows where the Ladies is. But check it’s not right next to you or you’ll look a bit daft.

Smile at someone. Anyone. People are drawn to happy faces.

Remember that others will be feeling like you.

Just because they look confident, doesn’t mean they are.

Sophie King

About The Author

Sophie King is the author of six novels and a collection of short stories about families, friends and lovers. Her first novel, The School Run, was a bestseller when first published in 2005, and it was a bestseller for the second time when republished by Corazon Books in 2012. Sophie also supports new romance writing through her annual writing competition The Sophie King Prize.

In between novels, Sophie writes short stories and has had hundreds published in magazines. She also gives regular talks/workshops at bookshops and literary festivals. For three years, she was writer in residence at HMP Grendon, a high-security male prison. Sophie lives by the sea, in Devon, England. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association; Women in Journalism; the Society of Women Writers and Journalists and the National Union of Journalists.


Book Review

Family, Friends & Lovers Boxed Set by Sophie King
Publisher: Corazon Books
Publication Date: June 4, 2014
Format: eBook - Kindle - 2260 KB
Genre: Romantic Comedy

BUY THE BOXED SET: Family, Friends & Lovers

My Book Review (Boxed Set

In Family, Friends & Lovers, author Sophie King has brought together three of her popular sassy romantic comedies that will tickle the readers' funny bone!

The School Run, Love is a Secret and Second Time Lucky are a trio of heartwarming stories filled with a large cast of characters who experience all the trials and tribulations that comes with life and love. Each book has its own spin of drama, humor, and romance that easily draws the reader into the stories, keeping them thoroughly entertained and turning the pages. This is the perfect set of contemporary romantic stories that the reader can enjoy while spending a day at the beach! 

RATING: 4 STARS (for each book) 

The School Run by Sophie King
Book 1: Family, Friends & Lovers Boxed Set
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (2005) / Corazon Books (2012)
Publication Date: August 1, 2005 (Paperback) / August 21, 2012 (eBook)
Format: Paperback - 352 pages
             Kindle - 801 KB
ISBN: 978-0340838365
Genre: Romantic Comedy

BUY THE BOOK: The School Run

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the boxed set from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Meet Harriet, Pippa, Evie, Nick, Kitty and Martine as they battle the daily school run. Share their ups and downs during one life-changing week, as they face relationship dilemmas, family dramas, secrets and lies...all leading to surprise events which cause their lives to collide.

'There is a lot for women to relate to here.' Katie Fforde

Harriet doesn't know whether she'll still have a marriage by the end of the week. But as she waits for her husband's decision about their relationship, does Harriet have more choices of her own than she realised?

Pippa is waiting too - for the results of medical tests that could bring devastating news about her health and future. But could it be Pippa's own actions that threaten all she holds dear? 

Evie is struggling with her high-pressure job on a magazine and dealing with two step-daughters who hate her. But when her husband disappears can she rise to her biggest challenge yet?

Widower Nick worries about his teenage daughter, Julie, as they approach the anniversary of her mother's death. Can Nick keep his guilty secret about how she died?

School teacher Kitty needs a man. At least that's what her friend Mandy tells her. Can she win Mandy's bet to find one by the end of the week?

Martine is unhappy as the au pair for a famous TV couple. Will she find her escape with a married man?

Meanwhile, Betty watches on, determined to find the hit and run driver who killed her young son...

Seven people living different lives, but their paths are destined to cross in ways they could never have imagined.

Sophie King's novel The School Run was a recent top ten Kindle bestseller and #1 in Amazon's Women Writers and Fiction chart. It was also chosen as one of Chick Lit Central's favourite novels of 2012.

Book Excerpt:

Pippa is worried about a lump she has discovered and has confided in Gus, a close male friend ...

He reached across the table for her hand and grasped it firmly. Pippa felt a knot of fear form in her stomach. If Gus was trying this hard, he was worried too. ‘Only way to do it, darling. Now come on, Pip, what’s this all about? Tell me everything, from the beginning.’

He listened attentively until she had finished.

‘But why hadn’t Derek spotted it earlier?’

Derek spot it?’

Gus took her hand again. ‘Doesn’t he touch you? I once had a girlfriend who put me in charge of her monthly breast checks.’ He grinned. ‘In fact, they became far more regular than that.’

Pippa looked away.

‘Sorry, that was crass of me. But, seriously, I can’t understand why he didn’t notice.’

She took a gulp of champagne. ‘Because we’re not always that close . . .’

‘Are you kidding?’

‘I don’t mean we’ve stopped. It’s just that . . . Oh, I don’t know. We’re always tired, and when you have children it’s different.’

Gus sighed. ‘That old excuse. Well, if I was married to you, it wouldn’t matter how many kids we had. I’d be “close” to you, as you so sweetly put it, all the time.’

Pippa took another large sip to quell her nerves: the conversation was getting deeper than their usual light flirtation. ‘It’s difficult for him at work right now. And he has to go through an appraisal this Friday – everyone has to, no matter how long they’ve worked for the company. I’ve been helping him fill in this ridiculously complex form, stating what he contributes to the company in his view and where he feels he’s going.’ She stopped, aware that she was twittering on.

‘Work’s tough nowadays. How’s your business going?’

She loved the way he called it her business instead of her ‘freelance work’, as Derek referred to it. ‘Busy. I should be working now.’

‘Everyone needs time off to chill.’ Gus topped up her glass and handed her the menu. ‘Take a look, Pip, and then we can talk properly.’

She scanned it quickly, settling on salmon and salad. ‘Just what I’m having,’ said Gus. ‘Now, seriously, back to Derek. He’s probably telling you not to worry because he’s scared himself. It’s the kind of thing men do.’

‘Would you?’

He looked at her, his eyes locking with hers. ‘No. I’d tell you outright that I was scared stiff for you. But, then, I’m not like many other men.’ His eyes took on a dreamy look. ‘I sometimes feel I go through life thinking completely different things from other people.’

‘So do I!’ exclaimed Pippa. ‘Derek never sees things the way I do. He just doesn’t understand why I worry. Neither does Harriet.’

‘The friend you were with the other day when I rang?’

Pippa nodded. ‘She’s lovely, but she’s not like me. No one is.’

‘Except me.’ Gus was challenging her with his eyes.

‘Like you,’ said Pippa softly.

They both looked at each other without saying anything. Then, as Pippa was beginning to feel really heady with the champagne (she hardly ever drank in the middle of the day and even a few sips did this to her), their food arrived.

Bon app├ętit,’ said Gus.

Pippa smiled weakly.

‘Know what you’ve got to do?’


‘Live a bit. None of us, even those without lumps, know what life has in store. And as long as we don’t hurt too many people it’s up to us to make the most of what it has to offer.’

Pippa ate a mouthful of salmon, then put down her knife and fork. ‘Gus, at university . . . do you ever wish – do you ever wonder what it would have been like if we had been, well, more than friends?’

There. She had said it.

Love is a Secret by Sophie King
Previously Published as Mums@Home
Book 2: Family, Friends & Lovers Boxed Set
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (2006) / Corazon Books (2013)
Publication Date: June 5, 2006 (Paperback) / September 5, 2013 (eBook)
Format: Paperback - 416 pages
             Kindle - 792 KB
ISBN: 978-0340838372
Genre: Romantic Comedy

BUY THE BOOK: Love is a Secret

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the boxed set by the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Caroline is finding it difficult to trust her husband Roger. Can a marriage really survive an affair? Then a chance meeting makes her wonder if it's time for a fresh start.... 

Susan is struggling to bring up her disabled daughter Tabitha on her own, and dreams of a better life for them both. But just when it seems things can't get any worse, a knock at the door changes everything. 

Mark is learning how to be a single dad while his wife Hilary is away. But as he wrestles with the secrets he is keeping from his family, he's blissfully unaware of the secrets they're keeping from him. 

Lisa is looking forward to the birth of her child. Will a new baby help her get over the past? Whatever that is... 

Sometimes you have to keep a secret from the one you love - and sometimes you have to keep the one you love a secret.

Book Excerpt:

Mark is finding it tough to keep his family together while his wife is away, and to keep a secret ...

Two months. That was how long she’d been gone. Another four to go.

‘Dad, when’s Mum coming back?’

‘I told you,’ said Mark, carefully. ‘Just before Christmas.’

‘I don’t see why she had to go to America.’

‘We’ve been through this before. It was a great opportunity and she couldn’t turn it down.’

Freddy kicked a Coke can along the pavement. Honestly, the rubbish problem in Oxford was getting worse, Mark thought.

‘If Mum was here, she wouldn’t have told me to go down that slide.’

‘How do you know?’ demanded Florrie.

Freddy spun the can so it landed in the gutter. ‘Just do.’


‘Do. Why can’t we ring her when we get back?’

Freddy was walking ahead. The back pocket of his shorts, Mark suddenly noticed, was ripped off, making him look uncared-for.

‘Because it’s difficult to get through. It’s easier for her to ring us, you know that. And what happened to your back pocket?’

‘He tore it off. It’s cool.’

‘Shut up, Florrie. Why can’t we email Mum instead?’

‘I told you that, too. She’s still getting her email address sorted. They’ve had big problems with the server.’

‘Anyway, you need to get on with your project,’ said Florrie sharply. ‘I’m doing mine. It’s on foreign holidays.’

‘I didn’t know you had holiday homework, Freddy,’ said Mark, ‘and you promised me you’d try really hard at school next term.’

‘What’s the point?’ Freddy scowled. ‘One of the richest men in Britain left school early so why should I bother?’

Thanks a bunch, Richard Branson. ‘He was unusual, Freddy.’

‘I want to be unusual too.’

Why couldn’t Mark ever win? ‘What’s your project about, anyway?’

‘Your anus.’


‘It is.’ He grinned wickedly. ‘It’s the planets. Uranus, Mars, Venus, that kind of stuff. It’s no big deal, Dad. I can download it from the internet.’

‘But you don’t take it in if you do it like that. In my day, we made notes from books and really understood it.’

‘My very envious mum just stole Uncle Ned’s underpants,’ said Florrie.


‘It’s how our teacher taught us to remember the position of the planets from the Sun. The first letter of each word stands for a planet. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars . . .’

‘Shut up, Florrie. You’re such a show-off. And it’s all crap, anyway.’

‘Freddy! You’re not to use words like that.’

‘Why not?’ Freddy glared at him. ‘What will you do?’

Refuse to take him on holiday, even though they couldn’t afford one anyway? Threaten him with a lifetime’s pocket-money deprivation?

It was at times like this that you wanted to punish them, but you had to carry out your threats. That was what some woman had said on What Mums Know today, and she was right. And occasionally, as someone else had added on the message board, you had to ignore bad behaviour so they took notice of you when you did get mad.

Besides, all things must pass. That was true too. One day Hilary would be home. So why didn’t that make him feel better?

Second Time Lucky by Sophie King
Book 3: Family, Friends & Lovers Boxed Set
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (2007) / Corazon Books (2013)
Publication Date: July 1, 2007 (Paperback) / September 28, 2013 (eBook)
Format: Paperback - 416 pages
             Kindle - 875 KB
ISBN: 978-0340922675
Genre: Romantic Comedy

BUY THE BOOK: Second Time Lucky

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the boxed set by the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Second Time Lucky: Another engaging tale of love and life from Sophie King, the bestselling author of The School Run. Meet the residents of Bridgewater House, once a grand stately home, but now converted into apartments which house a host of colourful characters, each with their own desires and secrets.

Louise thought she had everything, then suddenly finds herself as a single mum with an uncertain future. Can she build a new life for her and her children? And has real happiness been right under her nose all along?

Roddy was once the heir to Bridgewater House, but now he's a drunken lord who's fallen on hard times. Can he prove to his ex-wife that he has cleaned up his act, or is he about to risk everything in a desperate scheme to show how much he loves his kids?

Molly is a famous actress, coming to terms with retirement and the recent death of her actor husband Gideon. But dare she tell anyone that Gideon still comes to visit her? And how will she react to some unexpected messages from beyond the grave?

American Marcie always fantasised about marrying an English gentleman, just like one of her Jane Austen heroines. But will two resentful stepchildren, and failed attempts to have a baby of her own, get in the way of her dream happy ending? And what would her husband David make of her secret shame from the past?

As each of these neighbours faces their own challenges, their lives are about to become entwined in ways they never could have expected.

Second Time Lucky – doesn't everyone deserve a second chance

Book Excerpt:

Marcie is trying her best to deal with her husband's difficult ex-wife and moody children ...

The apartment was still gleaming by the time the children came over on Friday night. Sally might be a little weird but she did a good job. Katy’s and Robert’s rooms looked wonderful and Sally had even gotten rid of those cigarette marks that Robert, who shouldn’t be smoking at his age anyway, had left on the dresser in her bedroom.

‘Hi. How’re you doing?’ called out Marcie from the front doorstep as Diana’s red Saab convertible pulled up, scattering gravel at her feet. She had always been determined, since meeting David, that she was not going to be one of those second wives who resented their husband’s first family. It made it easier, of course, that David had been divorced for a couple of years before she’d met him, so no one could accuse her of being a marriage-breaker. Not that you would think so from Diana’s frosty manner.

‘Feel like a coffee?’ she called out as the kids unloaded their gear from the trunk.

Diana stared stonily ahead, without putting down the window. She’d had her hair cut into a spiky style that made her look even harder. Sometimes Marcie would feel a frisson of panic at the fact that she was so different. How could David have ever fallen for someone like that? Had he chosen her because she was different? And if so, or even if not, what did it say about her?

‘Ask your mom if she wants to come in, can you?’ she said to Katy who was already walking past her without so much as a hello.

‘Forget it,’ said Robert, slamming the trunk. ‘She can’t stand you. Doesn’t know what Dad sees in you. Says you’re young enough to be his daughter.’

Marcie tightened her lips. The weekend always started like this when David wasn’t around. As soon as he returned from work, the kids would stop being outright hostile and be cool but polite to her.

Well, as she’d told herself enough times already, if that’s how they wanted to play it, she’d go along with their game. It was an awkward age, seventeen and thirteen. She could remember exactly how she’d felt then. On the other hand, like Virginia said, she couldn’t let them go on being impossible for ever. If only they could be awful to her in front of David, then he would do something. But when she’d started to tell him about their nasty remarks, something strange flitted over his face and her gut instinct told her not to push it. He was their father, after all.

‘I’ve made your favourite supper,’ she said, standing at the doorway as they slung their bags on to Robert’s bed. Already, there were scuff marks on the carpet – maybe cream hadn’t been such a great idea after all – even though they knew they were meant to take their shoes off. ‘Spaghetti bolognese with gluten-free pasta.’

‘Ugh,’ said Robert, making a face.

‘Come again? Last week, you said it was your favourite.’

‘Yeah, well I’ve gone off it now.’ Brazenly, he opened a packet of crisps and proceeded to eat them, one by one, openly challenging her with his eyes to say something.

Katy threw herself on the bed, her shoes still on. ‘Me, too. Can I have one of those, Robert?’

Don’t let them get the better of you. Don’t. She took a deep breath. ‘Well, I could get a gluten-free pizza out of the freezer.’


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

June 9 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review 
June 9 – Shelf Pleasure – Guest Post 
June 10 – The Bookworm – Excerpt 
June 10 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt 
June 11 - Ski-Wee's Book Corner - Novel Spotlight 
June 11 - Ski-Wee's Book Corner - Excerpt - The School Run 
June 11 - Ski-Wee's Book Corner - Second Time Lucky 
June 11 - Ski-Wee's Book Corner -Love is a Secret 
June 12 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt 
June 12 – Relatively Yours – Guest Post 
June 13 – Karen’s Korner – Review 
June 16 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
June 17 – On My Bookshelf - Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
June 18 – Chick Lit Plus – Review 
June 18 – Karma For Life Chick – Excerpt 
June 19 – Leigh Bennett – Review & Excerpt 
June 19 – Cupcake’s Book Cupboard – Review & Excerpt
June 19 - Cupcake's Book Cupboard - Guest Post & Q&A 
June 20 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
June 23 – Karen’s Book Corner – Review


  1. thanks for hosting and Happy Friday!

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event. These are a fun trio of books to read, very entertaining! :)