Awesome Facts About London Hotels | Katy Birchall

I’m excited to welcome the lovely Katy Birchall, author of Secrets of a Teenage Heiress, to Pretty Books. I read her hilarious novel recently – the first in the Hotel Royale series, perfect for fans of The Princess Diaries and Geek Girl – and Katy’s here to share awesome facts about three London hotels (she says: YES, AWESOME. NOT BORING. THESE FACTS ARE COOL. TRUST ME.). I’m also giving away 2 copies of the book on Twitter, so head over to be in with a chance of discovering more about Flick, Fritz (the sausage dog, obvs) and the wonderful Hotel Royale.

The Hotel Royale series was inspired by the beautiful grand dame hotels in London (a.k.a. hotels so famous and old, they’ve become important institutions!). I am completely fascinated by these beautiful, elegant, perfectly-run hotels, all of which have some pretty cool history (and secrets) behind them, just like Hotel Royale does in my books (there’s a ghost and everything). There is just something MAGICAL about these hotels.

Maybe it’s all the chandeliers and gold leafing… hmmmmm…

Anyhoo, there are lots of amazing hotels in London that I love which I could bore you about (The Dorchester, Claridge’s, Brown’s, The Savoy, The Connaught to name a few) BUT… I won’t. Instead, I’ll bore you about my top 3. (It was HARD to narrow it down to just 3 but I did it just for you. You’re welcome.)

So, here are some COOL facts that you might not know about three of London’s most famous hotels…

THE RITZ

Staying a night at The Ritz was what sparked the idea for my new series, so it’s only fitting that we start with it first, and the history at this beautiful hotel is unbelievable… talk about celebrity fans…

Famous guests include Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Sir Roger Moore, a few Prime Ministers, throw in a couple of world leaders, not to mention several members of the royal family—Prince Charles and Camilla made their first ever public appearance there as a couple.

In 1951, famous actress Tallulah Bankhead came to The Ritz for a press conference and drank Champagne FROM HER SHOE. Seriously, she just took it off, poured the drink in and had a good glug. In front of all the journalists, no word of a lie. It was such a famous incident that The Ritz named a cocktail after her, The Tallulah.

So, that was weird. But also…kind of cool, right?

If the shoe thing is not enough to impress you, scenes from Downton Abbey have been filmed there. But really, if we’re going to talk about screen time, who can forget the hotel’s most famous starring role in Notting Hill? Julia Roberts’ character Anna Scott holds a press conference there and we have Hugh Grant’s hilarious Horse & Hound moment. A piece of iconic film history right there.

Continue Reading

Chloe Seager on Social Media and Anxiety

I’m excited to welcome my new friend and debut author of Editing Emma: The Secret Blog of a Nearly Proper Person, Chloe Seager, to Pretty Books. As part of her blog tour, Chloe’s here to talk about something that many of us will 100% relate to… social media and anxiety.

By the time I reached adult life, I’d pretty much levelled out my relationship with social media. I’d worked out all my dos and don’ts during my teenage years and social media wasn’t something that heavily encroached on my time or disturbed my peace of mind. I’d finally worked out a way to take all the fun stuff (e.g. tweets about books I should be reading, connecting with people from the past) without the bad (e.g. wondering how my whole day got spent staring at mindless crap, or constantly comparing my own life to other people’s). Then I got a book deal.

Suddenly my lovely, calm balance was thrown… and I didn’t expect it. I’m twenty-five, not fifteen but out of nowhere, I was refreshing my Twitter notifications every five minutes and even, dare I admit it, searching my own name. Self-Googling is probably one of the least attractive things a person can do, but I’m prepared to hold my hands up. I did it. I did it a lot. It surprises me, now, that I didn’t anticipate this reaction. Putting your writing out there for the entire world to judge is a pretty huge thing to do (and I genuinely applaud every single person who gives it a go), but when all of those judgements are on the internet? … That’s terrifying. Of course, my healthy balance with social media was toppled. It’s a bit like going back to school and knowing everyone’s talking about something you did. Except what they’re saying is public and immortalised.

Continue Reading

Photo Blog Tour: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Photo Blog Tour: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
Welcome to the 13th stop on the Wing Jones photo tour! Every day in January, Katherine Webber will be sharing the story of how her wonderful novel Wing Jones came to be.

With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants…

Photo Blog Tour: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Well, I was wrong about that guy Kevin—I did see him again after Hong Kong. Here we are at a University of Georgia football game in a massive stadium that seats 90,000 people. I’d never been to a football game in the south and experienced the sports culture there. It was fascinating and would later be one of my influences for WING JONES.

Follow the rest of the tour over on Twitter: #WJPhotoTour, check out my review here and follow Katie @kwebberwrites.

Save

Blog Tour: Mystery and Mayhem

Blog Tour: Mystery and Mayhem
Welcome to the second stop on the blog tour for Mystery & Mayhem: Twelve Deliciously Intriguing Mysteries, a collection of crime short stories by some of my favourite authors. For my stop on the tour, here’s part one of The Crime Club’s favourite childhood mysteries!

Blog Tour: Mystery and MayhemRobin Stevens
The book that really got me hooked on mystery was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. My father gave me a copy when I was 12 and challenged me to solve it. I thought I knew everything about the rules of mystery novels – and all my expectations were destroyed. Of course, Agatha Christie outwitted me completely. I put down the book knowing that when I grew up, I wanted to be a murder mystery writer.
Continue Reading

Blog Tour: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell / 5 Greatest Heroines in Literature

Welcome to my stop on The Madwoman Upstairs blog tour! I’m delighted to welcome Catherine Lowell to Pretty Books to chat about her favourite heroines from the classics.

Literature has given us no shortage of intelligent, adventuresome, and strong women to look up to. Here are the ones who top my list!

Penelope, The Odyssey
Clever, independent, and wise. Her husband might be the one at war, but she’s able to hold her own in a dangerous situation.

Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
Whip-smart and witty—Lizzy is the ultimate role model. A cliché but necessary addition to the list!

Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank
Here is a truly unique protagonist—someone so young and yet so courageous and insightful. Her heartbreaking and beautiful diary guaranteed her wish: “I want to go on living even after my death.”

Cimorene, Dealing with Dragons
My favorite heroine from a young adult novel. A princess who finds herself stuck in an arranged marriage, Cimorene runs away from home to go live with some kindly dragons.

Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing
Another smart, strong, and spirited heroine with a gift for brilliant repartee. She manages to combine a fierce independence with a hidden kindness and warmth.

Who are your favourite heroines from classic lit?


Think you know Charlotte, Emily & Anne? Think again. Samantha Whipple is the last remaining descendant of the illustrious Brontë family, of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre fame. After losing her father, a brilliant author in his own right, it is up to Samantha to piece together the mysterious family inheritance lurking somewhere in her past – yet the only clues she has at her disposal are the Brontë’s own novels. With the aid of her handsome but inscrutable Oxford tutor, Samantha must repurpose the tools of literature to unearth an untold family legacy, and in the process, finds herself face to face with what may be literature’s greatest secret.

Blog Tour: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell / 5 Greatest Heroines in Classic LitBlog Tour: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell / 5 Greatest Heroines in Classic LitBlog Tour: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell / 5 Greatest Heroines in Classic Lit