I remember discovering Mills & Boon books when I was at a family friend's house when I was pretty young, perhaps around 10. I'd snuggled into a chair in a corner and gotten through half a book before my mother found me, and steered me away swiftly! Having moved on from Enid Blyton, I was far too young for the kind of blouse-ripping and panting that Mills & Boon touted, not to mention all those stereotypes and cliches, but there was a gap. So I discovered the Sweet Dreams series and Sweet Valley High and got completely hooked. In my defence, my other favourite reading matter was Maya Angelou's autobiographies, or P.G.Wodehouse's Jeeves. I was just at that age where romance was too scary to imagine in real life, but it was fun to live it through the books, and I love having something light, easy and fun to read, and the teenage romance stories ticked that box.
Having a little girl now makes me wonder what she will get into reading herself? Will she be into sci-fi or historical stories? Adventure or detective stories? Or perhaps we all need a sweet story about hope, dreams and first love? When I first met Kelly McKain, we were in the same NCT group 5 years ago, about to have our firsts (both girls), and she was already author of several children's books. I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed for my series of interviews with working mothers, called "Work.Life.Balance?", and she kindly sent me a book from her new series, Rainbow Beauty to see what she has been writing.
I honestly had no expectations at all when I curled up under the duvet to start reading. These days, I love getting my teeth into a really meaty tome, and I have been known to walk into lamposts and miss my stop on the tube when really engrossed.
Peppermint Kiss is the first in the series, and is targeted at girls 9-13. The series begins with Abbie, the youngest of 3 girls, her mother and sisters in a dingy flat, having had their world turned upside down when their dad's affair and failed business are discovered. They have left their lives behind to start afresh, and I remembered sharply how I felt starting new schools and knowing no-one too. Within no time at all, I was empathising with parts of the tale, and was drawn into their world and their worries; there is something real and touching about the story, the characters are engaging and I actually cared about what was going to happen to them.
There are fun moments, sad and serious ones, and of course, there is friendship and romance. I'd say that for a young girl this would be a lovely series to read to dip into the world of romance, with a sweet balance of tummy-lurching and some good doses of girl-power too, giving a balanced message that boys and romance are not the be-all. The book is as much about friendship and about taking action to change her family's situation as about finding a first love. The other two books are called Strawberry Summer, and Blueberry Wishes.
Kelly has very sweetly offered some wonderful prizes to readers of Mama and More blog. One winner will receive signed copies of all three books, and another 10 (yes, TEN!) will receive signed copies of Peppermint Kiss. Simply follow the instructions below in Rafflecopter - good luck! If you would like to read what Kelly thinks about being a working mother, then check out her interview right here
(ps - the answers to one of the questions in the competition is in the interview!)