Monthly Archives: November 2012

It’s time to annouce the lucky winners of the Keith Lemon and Julia Williams competitions, so here goes…

Keith Lemon, host of Celebrity Juice and all round funny man stopped by the blog back in September to tell us about his new book Being Keith and to give all of you lucky Tesco Books Blog readers the chance to win one of his show-stopping shirts! To enter all you had to do was tell us who has been your favourite guest on Celebrity Juice and why. There were some firm favourites – Ant & Dec and Gino D’Acampo were amongst the top of the list – but, of course, there can only be one winner. The winning answer is…

It has to be Olly Murs, he really cheers me up and makes my day!

Congratulations Mae – enjoying your new shirt!

Author Julia Williams has returned to our shelves this year with another Christmas spectacular, A Merry Little Christmas. To celebrate we gave you the chance to win tickets to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, and £100 Hamleys vouchers! To win you had to tell us what your idea is of a merry little Christmas is – to say we enjoyed reading the comments is an understatement, it put us in such a festive mood!

So congratulations Kelly, we hope you and your family enjoy Winter Wonderland and a shopping spree in Hamleys!

If you haven’t been chosen as one of our lucky winners this week then fear not, there are plenty more chances to win great prizes here on the blog!

And why not join us on Twitter for some #FreeReadsFriday action today!


Published in January 2013, The Salem Witch Society is rich in history, mystery and witchcraft, and stars one of the most fascinating new detectives in crime fiction. K.N. Shields speaks to us about the appeal of the Salem Witch Trials, and where the inspiration for his detective, Perceval Grey, came from.

Although my debut mystery, The Salem Witch Society, is set two centuries after the infamous events of 1692, I’m often asked what was the appeal of making those witch trials a key element in the book. The obvious answer is the macabre fascination that comes with a tale of people actually being hanged based solely on bizarre claims of witches and specters.

But as I write this on Thanksgiving, a holiday when we Americans contemplate what we’re thankful for – then devour an entire turkey in minutes flat – I’m thinking about another aspect of Salem’s appeal, one it shares with many good mysteries. Moving beyond the primary questions of a how and why a crime occurred, it strikes me that a story can become truly memorable because of its fringe elements, those shadows lurking in the background, almost escaping notice.

The iconic image of the first American Thanksgiving, puritans and Native Americans celebrating in perfect harmony, is an overly rosy picture. Seventy years later, the images of the witch trials are strange, disturbing portraits of familiar grim-faced puritans. But whatever happened to those Native Americans generously sharing their bounty with the original English colonists? They’re still present at Salem, though they’ve become the shadows standing at the edge of the mystery. In the trial transcripts they’re demonized by the Salem accusers who envisioned not only witches but the devil’s own servant, “the black man,” who they saw as resembling a Native American.

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Hi Everyone,

Well, we’re now in the exciting festive party season and, in true Lorraine Pascale style, I will be rushing around, slightly disorganised and with the clock ticking away, having known for weeks that I’ve got people coming round and always leaving it to the very last minute to get everything together!

To help with the stress of Christmas entertaining I wanted to share with you some recipes for simple canapés, which are so easy to prepare and super-tasty too, with that ever-important ‘wow’ factor on the plate.

Give my crunchy black pepper halloumi dip sticks with harissa hummus a go and my recipe for crispy, crunchy chicken strips with honey mustard dip is so easy you can’t go wrong!

Enjoy and Happy Christmas,

Lorraine x

Buy Fast, Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale online and in store now for just £8.86!

With Christmas just around the corner, we’re all scribbling lists of presents for friends and family, thinking of what would bring some sparkle to their lives. We dream of getting it just right, picking out that something special that they will love – and of course our loved ones are doing just the same thing. Has anyone got it just right for you? Maybe chosen something you didn’t even know you wanted until you opened it under the tree?

One present I received from a friend was more than a lovely gift – it inspired my first novel and kick-started a writing adventure…

Two years ago, a friend of mine bought me a delicate vintage teacup candle from a local market.  It was really pretty, with a richly coloured anemone pattern on it, and the candle inside meant it would double up as a bathtime treat. But it wasn’t just that – attached to the candle was a luggage label with details of the company who made it in the 1950s, and the names of a couple who had owned it previously. The teacup had a history, a whole life before it came into my hands. As it sat on my bathroom shelf, I wondered about the people whose names were on the label, who they might have shared cups of tea and cake with, and what their lives in mid-century England were like.

Around the same time another good friend was planning a tea party-themed wedding on a shoestring budget – sourcing vintage tea sets from here there and everywhere – charity shops, eBay, people’s grandmas. The wedding itself was beautiful and the mismatched cups and saucers added a lovely, personal touch. So from the candle, that wedding – and a lifetime of relying on my own girlfriends for laughter and support – came the idea for my novel, The Vintage Teacup Club. Good friends see you through hard times and are there to celebrate the happiest ones too – I wanted to create female characters as fun, caring and strong as the women we all know in real life.

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As children we all loved LEGO® and as the years go on those little bricks prove to be as much of a hit with the new generation as they were with us.

We have an amazing array of LEGO® books online and in store, with exciting images, hundreds of stickers, collectible figures and thousands of great ideas, there is a LEGO® book to suit everyone! Our favourite picks at the moment are: LEGO® Ninjago Fight the Power of the Snakes! Brickmaster and The LEGO® Ideas Book!

We’re giving you the chance to win a bundle of LEGO® books and goodies for your little ones to enjoy, to win all you have to do is answer this question in the comments section below:

What was your favourite toy as a child?

Shop our huge collection of LEGO® books and toys online and in store now!

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What a great time we’ve been having here on the blog lately, so many great authors visiting to tell us about their new books and giving you all the chance to win some amazing prizes…

Street magician Dynamo contacted us from a secret location where he was filming the third series of his hit TV show, Magician Impossible. He told us about his new book Nothing Is Impossible and gave you the chance to win a Dynamo sweatshirt and signed playing cards. Here’s the winning answer from Donna – congratulations!

Dynamo is my all time favourite. There’s never been a magician to completely blow me away with his illusions like he does…………when he walked through plate glass and on the Thames, well, I was speechless! lol

Next up we had gold medalist Jessica Ennis tell us about her new book Unbelievable – From My Childhood Dreams to Winning Olympic Gold and then she gave you the chance to win an adidas kit bag signed by the Olympian herself. To win all you had to do was tell us which sport Jessica Ennis competed in during the London 2012 Olympics and so many of you got it right! There could of course only be one winner, so congratulations to Paul Rogers – enjoy your new kit bag!

Last up we had Superworm - the wriggliest, squiggliest superhero in the world gave you the chance to win a prize pack of Superworm goodies. All you had to do was tell us what your favourite insect is and why – who knew so many of you loved insects? Congratulations to our three winners: Charlotte, Ruth and Gwen!

If you haven’t won this time then then try your luck with some of the other competitions on the blog!

I have kept notebooks for years. They are scruffy books of various sizes, sometimes written neatly in fountain pen, whilst others are scribbled in pencil and barely legible. Some of my notes are on bits of paper and old envelopes and others are written on an iPad and even my phone.

I suppose the only thing that matters is that I write things down. There are shopping lists of course, and the occasional reminder about books I should read and television programmes I should see, the odd birthday or an interesting quote, but the majority of my notes are recipes.

It is these recipes that have formed two collections of cookery books: the Kitchen Diaries and now, five years later, Kitchen Diaries II. This latest book is a mixture of recipes, notes, diary entries and short essays on every subject from porridge to salad spinners, frying pans to pizza. It is my culinary life in diary form.

The backbone of the book are the recipes, and I have spent the last two years deciphering my scribbles, testing the recipes and working out which would be suitable to include in my BBC1 series Dish of the Day. My dilemma with the book, as always, is what to put in and what to leave out. The last thing I intended to do was to write a TV tie in, just a print and paper version of the recipes from the television series. No, I wanted more than that. A book that is as interesting to read, as it is to cook from.

Here’s my fish broth recipe to get you started…

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Hello Tesco Books Blog readers,

My new novel, When I Fall in Love, is out now and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with you! It’s about finding true love and second chances and I know you’re going to love it!

I’m a massive fan of true love stories. When people discover I’m a writer, they share the most amazing stories of real-life love and I’ve become a bit of a collector of these tales.

My favourite true-love story is one I found when I was researching true love stories for my last book, It Started With a Kiss. It was the story of teenage sweethearts who were separated when the boy had to move away. With no internet or mobile phones back then, they lost touch and the girl was heartbroken when he didn’t write to her with his new address.

Ten years later, she inherited her mother’s home and was renovating it when she found a letter from her teenage love that had fallen behind a mantelpiece. She found the number for the address and, amazingly, he still lived there. They met, found they still loved each other and ended up getting married!

For the chance to win a helicopter experience over London for two, with champagne, chocolates and photography, followed by a Parisian meal in the city OR one of ten copies of When I Fall in Love answer this question in the comments section below: 

What’s the best true life love story you have come across?

I’m looking forward to reading your true-life stories – good luck!

Miranda xx

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My trip of a lifetime was when I visited New York for the first time. Even though it was somewhere I’d always dreamed of visiting, I’d never managed to go: family holidays had taken priority over ‘dream trips abroad’.

So when I got the chance to go over to research my new novel, From Notting Hill to New York . . . Actually, it really was the trip I’d longed to take. And like so many people before me, once there I immediately fell in love with the wonderfully energetic place they call the ‘Big Apple’.

Being in New York really is like being on the set of a movie and if, like me, you’re a bit inclined to dream your way through life, then you will love wandering from street to street, spotting iconic landmarks, and trying to remember which movie or TV show you’ve seen them in before.

Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue is a perfect example of that. When you enter through its doors, it’s like stepping right into Breakfast at Tiffany’s. You almost expect to see Audrey Hepburn standing at one of the counters, trying to buy diamonds for her cat!

Notting Hill in London is a bit like that too. If you’ve ever sat and dreamily watched Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant sit on the park bench together, or wanted to buy books from Hugh’s shop just off the Portobello Road, then this is the place for you. You can even see the iconic blue door where Rhys Ifans stood and posed in his undies in front of the world’s press. Just don’t knock on the door if you do go and visit – I don’t think you’ll get such a warm welcome from the current owners!

I love movies – especially romantic ones, so being able to write two novels in which films feature so strongly has been an absolute delight. And being lucky enough to visit two fascinating and inspiring places like Notting Hill and New York, so closely associated with them, has been an absolute joy for me.

To celebrate the publication of my book Tesco are giving you the chance to win a VIP shopping weekend in London! Simply answer the following question in the comments section below:

Where would you go on a trip of a lifetime and why?

Wishing you all the very best of luck with the competition – a chauffeur-driven shopping trip around Notting Hill! Even my characters don’t get to do that!

Good luck!

Ali x

Buy From Notting Hill to New York . . . Actually online and in store now!

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Are you the lucky winner of a fabulous holiday to France or a night out at the X Factor? Read on to find out…

The number one best selling author Bernard Cornwell returned to our shelves with his new novel 1356. To celebrate we gave you the chance to win a week’s holiday for two in Couhé, a spot that’s just 30 minutes away from the bustling town of Poitiers, where Bernard’s new historical epic is set. The lucky winner of this amazing prize is Rebecca, have a wonderful time in France!

Singer, songwriter and X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos put pen to paper this year and has published her autobiography, Honest. To celebrate her literary debut she gave you the chance to win two tickets to the X Factor semi-final, and to win all you had to do was tell us who your favourite X Factor contestant is this year. There are most definitely a couple of favourites and we’ve not too long to wait and see who will be crowned X Factor winner 2012! But until then, Natalie can look forward to attending the semi-final show as Tulisa’s guest! Congratulations and have a great time!

If you haven’t won this time then have a good read of the blog and you’ll see all of the other great competitions we have going on at the moment. To get you started… Tell Carole Matthews where you would most like to spend Christmas!