Monthly Archives: July 2012

Andy McDermott’s new novel, Temple of  the Gods, is the eighth instalment in his internationally bestselling Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase series. 

 Ahead of its publication, Andy shared with us his love for all things adventure and why he enjoys writing novels of this genre so much!

Everyone would love to have an adventure. The problem is real life tends to get in the way. It’s hard to fit racing bad guys to an incredible treasure around work, school holidays and taking the car for its MOT. And all those plane tickets to exotic locations don’t come cheap.

Which was why I decided that if I couldn’t experience an incredible Indiana-Jones-meets-James-Bond adventure for myself, I could do the next best thing and write a book about it. That novel was The Hunt For Atlantis, starring archaeologist Nina Wilde and former SAS soldier Eddie Chase, which began a new and exciting adventure in my own life when I heard the magic words: “We want to publish your book”. (To a writer, that’s even better than being told “We want you to find the Lost Ark”!) It became an international best-seller, translated into over 25 languages, and kicked off an entire series of epic quests for Nina and Eddie. The latest, Temple Of The Gods, is their eighth adventure, and their biggest – and most dangerous – yet.

That’s the great thing about books compared to movies. Because they’re not limited by budgets, I can have my heroes go anywhere and do anything. Find El Dorado, the legendary city of gold? Simple. Discover an ancient civilisation buried beneath the Antarctic ice? Not a problem. Unearth a lost pyramid in the Egyptian desert or have a chase across Botswana involving house-sized dump trucks and tanks and airboats and killer hippos? Sure, and throw in a Zeppelin too!

But I discovered while I was writing the books that adventure is about more than chases, gunfights and finding incredible treasures. The developing relationship between Nina and Eddie became a roller coaster ride in itself, with as many thrills and fireworks as their globetrotting missions.

The seventh novel, Empire Of Gold, ended with them separated physically and emotionally. Will they choose to get back together, or even live long enough to have the chance to reunite? You’ll have to read Temple Of The Gods to find out!”

Temple Of The Gods by Andy McDermott will be available in store from Thursday 2nd August for just £3.86 – or as part of our 2 for £7 deal!

Dieting… the Bikers? What on earth is this? The Hairy Dieters is the Bikers’ brand new book and TV series, where Si and Dave try to work out how to enjoy your food and get healthy at the same time!

The Hairy Bikers have lost almost 6 stone between them and you can lose weight too…

Here, Si and Dave explain the forthcoming Hairy Dieters series, why they took on the challenge and the key to healthy weight-loss, Hairy Biker style…

“Everyone knows we love our food – nothing wrong with that, you might say. And, no, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little bit of what you fancy. But we were having A LOT of what we fancied, ALL the time, and the weight was creeping on. A few months ago, we were both told that we needed to think seriously about losing some weight for health reasons. The opportunity then arose to make a TV programme about weight-loss and it was just the push we needed.

Our core values about eating haven’t changed at all. We’re still as keen and as passionate about food as we have always been. The whole reason for doing the series was to get down to a safe weight and maintain that weight… but it certainly doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to eat pies, drink beer, bake bread or cakes and continue to share our passion for good, honest, wholesome food.

The recipes in our new TV show and accompanying book are great recipes in their own right. The taste and depths of flavours, and our Hairy Biker twist, are all there. It’s a big cheers from us to health, happiness, and great food.”

Here’s our top ten tips for a skinnier you!

1. Buy some good scales and weigh yourself once a week.

2. Once you’ve reached your target weight, keep checking regularly and go back on the plan if you find you’ve gained a few pounds.

3. Buy a full-length mirror, if you don’t already have one. Get your kit off, stand in front of it and take a good long look at yourself.

4. Rethink your eating habits with the help of our recipes. You can still enjoy lots of your old favourites if you cook them in a slightly different way.

5. Reduce the amount of fat you eat – and that means oil as well as butter.

6. Exercise might not take off the pounds by itself, but does make you feel healthier, fitter and more energetic.

7. Make carbs the smallest portion on your plate. Choose wholegrains and cut right down on starchy white carbs, such as white bread, pasta, rice and potatoes.

8. Spice things up. Spicy food is full of flavour so we reckon it helps you feel more satisfied.

9. Eat protein. It fills you up and keeps you going.

10. Be sure to eat breakfast, have a good lunch and a meal in the evening.

And remember, if you give way to temptation one day and overdo it, don’t despair and give up. Just be extra strict with yourself the next day to make up for it. It’s like your bank balance – if you slip into the red, it’s payback time!”

You could also be in with the chance of winning tickets to the Hairy Bikers ‘Larger than Live’ UK-Wide Tour! Click here to find out all the details of where and when. To enter the competition and be in with a chance of winning tickets, just answer this question in the comments section below:

What food could you not live without?

The Hairy Dieters is available in store from Thursday 2nd August!

Read more

Sunday Times Bestselling author Simon Scarrow is back with his new epic Roman novel – Praetorian! 

We recently caught up with him to find out where he gets his inspiration from to write these Roman military fiction novels. Here’s what he had to say…

What inspired you to start writing? Did you always want to be a writer?

I first became a storyteller when I was nine years old. Back then, I was at a boarding school, (Vernon Holme, about as lovely a place to be a child as you could wish) and, after lights out, each boy took his turn in making up a story. I enjoyed doing this and became quite good at it. Good enough to get the job full-time. It was great fun to think up characters, plot and setting and the tales were often quite bizarre and fantastical. I loved the way in which my audience got wrapped up in the tale. As the years passed, I began to set some of the stories down in spare exercise books and used others for homework exercises. That was always my favourite task in English lessons. In fact, one of my best ever pieces of work was the script for a radio play set during the revolt of Spartacus.

At the same time I was not alone in being a storyteller in the Scarrow household. Both of my brothers, Scott and Alex, were also keen on making up tales and we would often discuss ideas and build up stories over the dinner table. Sometimes we would think of them in terms of novels, but we also came up with a host of ideas for films as well. At one stage I had an idea for a science fiction film and went as far as building a full-scale set for a starship bridge complete with banks of lights, switches and computer screens (I shudder to think what the electric bill came to when it landed on my parents’ doormat), as well as several highly detailed miniature crafts for special effects shots. Alas, A levels got in the way of a directing career and I ended up at the University of East Anglia.

I continued to write short stories in my spare time and, having graduated in the middle of a recession, I decided that I would write my first novel while I waited for a job to come up. It was a post-apocalyptic tale set in the Bahamas and while it provided a useful training experience it was not good enough for publication. So I continued with two more novels, a comedy and a detective story, before realising that I was writing what I thought other people wanted to read, rather than what I wanted. At the time I was a big fan of the Hornblower and Sharpe novels, as well as the Roman crime novels of Lindsey Davis. It occurred to me that what I really wanted to read was a military series set in the Roman era. Not being able to find anything like that in the bookshops I started to write my own. Mainly for my own satisfaction. When I showed some of the material to my colleagues at the college where I was then working, they were keen and kind enough to encourage me to continue and a year or so later the first of Macro and Cato’s adventures had been written. I found an agent who found an editor and so began my career as an author.

How do you begin your research for each book? What discovery has particularly surprised you in the course of your research for Praetorian?

The starting place for the Roman novels is usually the original histories, letters and so on of ancient writers like Cicero or Tacitus. They give great accounts of the cut and thrust of Roman politics, as well the various campaigns and wars that the legions fought. Quite often an idea for a story will occur while I am working through one of these texts. Alternatively, I like to travel to the places where I think a novel could be set and scout round for any ruins, museums or settings that could form the backdrop of a novel. I find it very easy to imagine how things might have been back in the past and explored the streets with a modern guide book in one hand and an ancient Roman city plan in the other, and tried to superimpose how I imagined Rome might have looked over the modern buildings and streets.

Praetorian is your eleventh novel about Cato and Macro. How do you think that the characters have evolved during the series?

Cato and Macro are now like old friends and it is always a pleasure to meet up with them again when I settle down to write a new adventure. Because they are fully rounded characters, their dialogue flows nicely and their keen awareness of each other’s foibles means that there is a constant friendly banter that tips over into moody sniping from time to time. Some readers tell me that they are more like father and son than friends. I think there’s a degree of truth in that, and perhaps at other times they are like brothers. I prefer to see them as two aspects of my own character. Cato sounds to me pretty much how I used to be as a student – idealistic, fascinated by new sights and knowledge and very self-conscious and self-critical. Conversely, Macro is rather like how I have become as the years have passed – somewhat jaded, less interested in fine causes and more keen on the simple pleasures in life while still fit enough to do so. Most of all, impatient and unwilling to suffer fools (amongst many other demographics) gladly. So, their relationship is a dialogue of the ages really, and that makes it ageless and a lot of fun to play around with.

Of course, being in the military they have to deal with the realities of rank and for a long time Macro was comfortable being the senior officer of the two. For his part, Cato was happy to be Macro’s side-kick and learn his trade from an older, more experienced soldier. Inevitably, Cato had to outgrow this role and move out from under Macro’s wing to prove himself. So it has been fascinating to watch them adjust to the new arrangement now that Cato is Macro’s superior. Praetorian provides a short breathing space before they return to the army to continue the campaign in Britain, where Cato will assume the rank and responsibilities of a prefect while Macro serves as a centurion.

Buy Pretorian for just £3.86 or as part of the 2 for £7 deal in store and online now!

It’s time to get excited, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days’ film is out in August and the seventh book in the Wimpy Kid series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel, will be out in November! To celebrate this, Tesco, Puffin and Elite Island Resorts are offering you the chance to win a week’s holiday at St James’s Club, one of the Antigua’s best family-friendly all-inclusive resorts!

The paradise setting of St James’s Club, Antigua is the ideal place to inspire stories. With its stunning surroundings and a choice of swimming pools, places to eat and water sports, there’s plenty to keep all ages entertained.

‘Dog Days’, the third hilariously funny Wimpy Kid movie will be in cinemas from August 3rd. During his summer vacation, ‘Wimpy Kid’ Greg Heffley hatches a plan to pretend he has a job at a ritzy country club — which fails to keep him away from the season’s dog days, including embarrassing mishaps at a public pool and a camping trip that goes horribly wrong.

And if all this wasn’t enough excitement for fans of Jeff Kinney’s mega-selling series, there’s a new book to look forward to! Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel is out on Wednesday 14th November. Be the first to read it – order your copy today!

 To enter the free prize draw, simply click here and answer the following question:

Which number book in the series is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel?

Book 3, Book 7, Book 12

Preorder Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel online from Tesco Direct for just £6.49!

Read more

A half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned council estate in Dublin. This is the backdrop for Tana French’s new psychological crime novel, Broken Harbour, which is so compelling that it kept me up thinking until the small hours of the morning.

Here’s a video of the author herself, telling us about her inspiration for the story.

Buy Broken Harbour by Tana French online from Tesco Direct for just £6.46!

Last month Anne Lou Weatherley stopped by the Tesco Books Blog to give you a sneak peek at her fabulous new book, Chelsea Wives, and to launch a cracking competition giving all of you the chance to win one of five gift boxes full of wonderful make-up and beauty must-haves from Smooch.

A big thank you to everyone that took part and congratulations to our five lucky winners: Sabita, Rebecca, Joanne, Janie and Alison!

Chelsea Wives by Anna Lou Weatherley is available in store for just £3.86 – or as part of our 2 for £7 paperback offer!


Lee Child has three new books coming out in August – The Affair in paperback on the 16th August, the new brilliant novel A Wanted Man on the 30th August followed by the Tom Cruise film hitting cinemas at Christmas – Jack Reacher and Lee Child are really going for it this year!

As I’m sure you can imagine, all of this is keeping Lee very busy over the next few months, but luckily for us he’s agreed to spare an afternoon to meet some of our readers!

Yes, the man himself has offered to take you and a friend for a drink – and it doesn’t have to be a coffee as Reacher would have! The venue will be the impressive American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London, between 5:30pm and 6:30pm on the 4th September 2012. As a memento of the occasion Lee will also give you a signed copy of A Wanted Man.

To enter, simply leave us a comment and tell us which is your favourite Lee Child novel and why, using no more than 150 words. The winning answer will be the one which the judges deem the most persuasive!

We’re out to find Jack Reacher’s biggest fans so give it your best shot!

We’re standing by and can’t wait to read your answers!

Click here to browse the full range of Lee Child books available online from Tesco Direct

Read more

Jacqueline Wilson fans will no doubt remember that a couple of weeks back we gave our readers the chance to get their hands on a limited edition, signed proof copy of Jacqueline Wilson’s new Hetty Feather book, Emerald Star!

To be in with a chance of winning, you just had to tell us who your favourite Jacqueline Wilson character was and why – and if you’re interested, Tracy Beaker emerged as the clear winner.

We had loads of great entries but our winner, with their answer, Ellie from the Girls series, was Naomi! Congratulations!

Buy Sapphire Battersea by Jacqueline Wilson online from Tesco Direct for just £3.46!

In this video, Erica discusses the inspiration for her latest book, The Real Katie Lavender. When she caught an episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ Erica got thinking about identity, and being happy with who you are. This then became the main theme of her latest book.

To hear what else Erica had to say simply watch the video below!

Pre-order The Real Katie Lavender by Erica James from Tesco Direct for just £3.86! 

The fun-filled tales of Peppa pig and her family are a great way to introduce children to the exciting world of books and reading! 

We’ve put together some top tips to ensure your child learns to love reading from a young age!

  • Allow your child to choose what they want to read and when, that way they won’t see reading as a chore.
  • Share a sound book together; little ones will love pressing the ‘Oink’ button on Oink! Oink! as you turn each page or even creating their own noises for each character.
  • Allow them to create their own library of books in their room that they can reach. This will give them a sense of ownership and allow them to build their own library of books. If they can reach their books they will be able to choose a book whenever they want.
  • Activity books are great for encouraging reading in those children who are a little reluctant. They won’t feel like they are reading when they are completing puzzles and colouring in pictures in the Amazing Adventure Sticker Book, although we know different. Remember any and all interaction that your child has with a book is great!
  • As you’re sharing a book with your child make sure you ask questions about what is happening in the story or in the pictures on the page. This will keep your child engaged with the story. You could ask them to point to George or find something blue on each page. It’s also good to ask them what they would do if they were in the same situation, for example would they jump in muddy puddles like Peppa in The Biggest Muddy Puddle in the World Picture Book?
  • Books are a great way to reassure children about scary first experiences. So before your child goes to stay at Grandma’s without you for the first time make sure you read Peppa’s First Sleepover together. This will help to calm any worries that they might have about this new experience.

To encourage children reading regularly we’re giving away a set of Peppa Pig books, including all of the books mentioned above, and a Peppa Pig Sling Bookcase to keep all these new books in!

Just leave us a comment and tell us what is the most exciting activity you’ve got planned for your children over the summer holidays to enter the draw!

Click here to browse the full range of Peppa Pig books available online from Tesco Direct

Read more