31 January 2014
You can buy The Unpredictable Consequences of Love as a hardback or an eBook now.
I am a huge Jill Mansell fan and have read as many of her latest books as I can get my hands on. Her stories always seem to stay with me as well, they are touching and wonderfully written books that you know you can read more than once. I always pass on her books to my friends and family too and they never fail to enjoy them either, she is one of the most popular authors I know! Her latest book The Unpredictable Consequences of Love is another one of those fantastic reads! I love the bright yellow cover, it certainly cheered me up whenever I looked at it and really suits the story beautifully. I really can't recommend this highly enough, and here's why.
Sophie Wells loves her job as a photographer, and given the amount of commissions she is getting, she knows she is pretty good at it. However, since she moved to Cornwall, she's kept herself to herself and well away from any males in the vicinity too. When Josh Strachan returns from the sunny beaches of Cornwall to help his grandmother Dot run the family hotel, he sets his sights on Sophie and is shocked that she rebuffs all of his attention. When Sophie's best friend Tula has to move to Cornwall and work at the hotel owned by Josh and his gran, she tries to get her friend to open up and see that Josh isn't a bad guy and that they could be good together. But Sophie is hiding a secret and Josh is determined to crack it and make her finally fall for him....
This book is set in beautiful Cornwall, and I do love that Mansell choses to set her books in the UK rather than abroad in sunnier climes or more fancy locations such as America. They always have such a charm about them, and I always enjoy them from start to finish. This book was lovely from the start, with our puzzling leading lady Sophie hiding a secret that we don't get to find out about for a while, and it wasn't something I had guessed either! Sophie is such a realistic character, pretty and real, good at her job and hard-working. I really enjoyed reading about her, and I was so curious about what it was that had put her off men in her past. She livened up a lot when her best friend Tula arrives in Cornwall, and she was a brilliant addition to the cast, full of life and fun, and had me chuckling away too.
Josh was a great leading male character too, it was nice to not have to read about a bad guy, and instead I could just work on liking him and hoping that he could make Sophie see sense and see past whatever it is that has put her off men! I liked the references to his previous job in sunny California, but also really loved that he preferred Cornwall and his slower life pace. All of these characters felt very realistic in the book, like people you might know or could easily bump into on holiday as well. As such, I could really get invested in their stories, and I really liked them all. The secondary characters are just as good too, Josh's friend Riley and his famous author aunt were fantastic, they added a totally different element to the book and I was completely interested in their stories as well as the main one, it was all so well written.
There were quite a few plot threads going on in the book, but for me it was really easy to keep up because of Mansell's writing and the pacing of the book. There was enough characters to keep it interesting but I didn't feel overloaded, it felt just right - enough of a cast to keep me hooked yet care for each of them. The hotel in Cornwall sounds picturesque - in fact, Mansell describes Cornwall so beautifully that it all really comes to life in your mind, from the restaurants to the houses to the beaches, I loved reading about it all. The book only took me a couple of evenings to read because I just didn't want to put it down once I'd started reading, I totally lost myself in Sophie and Josh's world in Cornwall. I feel there's something in here to appeal to every demographic as well, Mansell's books rightly appeal to a broad age range and there's a real talent in that. This book was stunning, possibly one of my favourites of Jill's books so far and that's no mean feat given how much I have enjoyed her others. You will be missing out if you don't pick up a copy of this, I loved every page. Women's fiction at its utter best.
30 January 2014
You can pre-order Spare Brides as a paperback or an eBook now.
"New Year's Eve, 1920. The Great War is over and it's a new decade of glamorous promise. But a generation of men and women who survived the extreme trauma and tragedy will never be the same.
With countless men lost, it seems that only wealth and beauty will secure a husband from the few who returned, but lonely Beatrice has neither attribute. Ava has both, although she sees marriage as a restrictive cage after the freedom war allowed. Sarah paid the war's ultimate price: her husband's life. Lydia should be grateful that her own husband's desk job kept him safe, but she sees only his cowardice.
A chance encounter for one of these women with a striking yet haunted officer changes everything. In a world altered beyond recognition, where not all scars are visible, this damaged and beautiful group must grasp any happiness they can find - whatever the cost."
29 January 2014
So when she’s personally requested to cater for the family at Thornton Hall three days before Christmas, it’s not long before Juliet’s standing at the (back) door of the Earl of Gloucester’s impossibly grand ancestral pile.
The halls are decked, the guests are titled, those below the stairs are delightfully catty, and all-American Juliet sets to work cooking up a glorious British Christmas with all the trimmings.
But other flames are burning besides those on the stove… Sparks fly with Edward, the gorgeous ex-soldier turned resident chef, and are those sidelong looks Juliet’s getting from her boss, the American tycoon Jasper Roth?
As the snow starts to fall on the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, so does the veneer of genteel high society and there are more than a few ancient skeletons rattling out of the Hall’s numerous dark cupboards!"
You can buy Christmas at Thornton Hall as an eBook now.
As you know, I'm a huge lover of Christmas books, and when I found out that Harper Impulse were publishing another debut festive novel by new author Lynn Marie Hulsman, I was so excited to read it. I'm not at all a fan of Downton Abbey or anything like that, but hoped that this wouldn't matter and that I'd enjoy it anyway. I loved the cover that Harper Impulse had given the book, I love that they give their eBooks great covers, they are still important, even for eBooks in my opinion. I did enjoy this book a lot, it was a fun book to read at Christmas, and it makes me look forward to more from this debut author.
Juliet Hill is a chef, and she loves her job - she's pretty good at it too. She finds herself at Thornton Hall at Christmas, working for her boss, American tycoon Jasper Roth who is seems is after more that just Juliet's cooking. However, Juliet realises there is a lot of chemistry between her and her fellow chef Edward, but things don't end up going to plan there. Even so, Juliet is quite looking forward to a traditional British Christmas, cooking for lots of guests and the hall and having fun with her fellow staff. As more guests appear at Thornton Hall, the comings and goings start to get far more interesting, and soon Juliet wonders what other secrets are being hid in these ancient walls!
First of all, the character of Juliet was fun to read about. Her reactions when she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her were very funny, but when she arrived at Thornton Hall, she did change. She became more serious, a little more introverted, perhaps because of the many other characters around her, but I missed her bubbliness and the comedy that she had in the first part of the book. Her friendship with her fellow chef Edward is interesting to read, I was hoping that the pair would just get on with it and get together since they clearly had a great chemistry together, but of course, things aren't that easy. I want to mention another storyline involving some of the secondary characters, Rose and her husband Seamus. Their storyline was handled beautifully, it was very sensitives to the issues within, and it really struck me that Hulsman had done her research here, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this part of the book.
One thing that I did struggle with in the book was the sheer amount of characters. The start was okay, just Juliet, her boyfriend and her best friend making an appearance. However, once she arrived at Thornton Hall there was a sudden influx of characters and I struggled to keep up with who was who, especially with all the differing titles and nicknames. I found myself flicking back a few times to see who was who, just to remind myself because there were a few people I just could not get my head around. There was always a lot going on in the book too, lots of love triangles going on, dramatic twists and turns and I found that I really had to concentrate as I was reading, or I would end up getting lost! It certainly keeps you interested because you want to find out what is going to happen next, but at the same time, it wasn't something I could flick in and out of, I had to sit down and properly read it.
Thornton Hall itself sounds really lovely, like a proper old stately home. Hulsman writes it really well, from the house itself to the grounds, and the cold Christmas weather outside as well. It all comes together to give a real festive feeling to the book, and it is a great one to read during the Christmas season. Apart from having a few too many characters and rather a lot going on all at once, this was a very enjoyable read, and I did look forward to settling down with my kindle each night to read it. I laughed out loud in places, there were a good few twists and turns along the way, and Juliet does manage to get herself into some rather interesting situations. I loved the parts about Juliet's cooking too, the things she cooked sounded mouth-watering and utterly delicious. Everything was wrapped up neatly by the end, all the different story lines coming together to a satisfying close, and I was happy to have read it. A good debut novel that I really enjoyed, I look forward to more from Lynn Marie Hulsman.
You can pre-order The Dead Wife's Handbook as a paperback or an eBook now.
"'Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.'
Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life - until the night Rachel's heart stopped beating.
Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can't forget her, Rachel can't quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.
As Rachel grieves for the life she's lost and the life she'll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for."
27 January 2014
You can buy Some Girls Do as a paperback or an eBook now!
I’ll be honest and admit that for some reason, I haven’t gotten around to reading any of Clodagh Murphy’s books so far. I don’t really know why, and so when I received a copy of her new book Some Girls Do, I was determined to finally try something by this author and gave it a go. I was intrigued by the cover, it’s very unlike any cover that Clodagh has had so far and the story sounded a bit different too! So I opened it up and started reading, and within just a few pages, I was hooked! I absolutely loved this book and here’s why you really should read it!
Claire lives with her elderly mother, looking after her now she has got ill. She works in a bookshop, and it seems to those who know her that Claire has a fairly boring life. However, Claire lives a double life, posting on a steamy online blog pretending to be ‘NiceGirl’, a rather experienced woman who posts about her various exploits in and out of the bedroom. It soon catches the eye of London publisher Mark Bell, and when he offers her more than a book deal, Claire is worried he will find out she isn’t the experienced girl that her blog has led him to believe. Claire needs to get some experience and fast – enter Luca, a broke but very handsome artist who is willing to help Claire out. But will Claire get more than she’s bargained for from her time with Luca?
You can see from the synopsis that this is going to be a bit of a naughty read, and I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t sure how Murphy would handle this in the book. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The naughty blog posts appear at the start of chapters within the book, and whilst they were quite rude and a tad graphic in parts, they were well done and fitted in with the theme of the blog perfectly. Some of things were a little bit surprising for me, and there is a bit of bad language, but I think by the synopsis of the book, you know what you are going to get when you read this. However, the blog posts take up such a small part of the book, it is really Claire’s story that you start to love and want to read about.
I loved Claire from the beginning, and I loved the idea of her writing this naughty blog when really not an ounce of it is true! She doesn’t tell any of her family about it, quite understandably I suppose, so when her new publisher clearly wants to be more than friends, Claire is worried that he will realise just how inexperienced she is. Her relationship with her new ‘business partner’ Luca is intriguing, she’s sure she won’t fall for him and just wants to use him to get some more experience with men. I wasn’t sure how this story was going to go as I had my doubts, but I ended totally hooked by Claire and Luca. I think as a reader I could see how it was going to end up, but I didn’t care – I just wanted to find out how things were going to get there for the pair.
Of course, some of these scenes too were quite naughty – there’s a few descriptions of what the pair get up to between the sheets, but these were very well written, not too smutty but enough detail for us to get into Claire’s head and understand how she’s feeling. I loved her awkwardness and naivety with this situation and what she had to do – it’s very endearing, but I couldn’t help but fall a bit for Luca too – he sounds so wonderful! Clodagh Murphy is an absolutely wonderful writer, and absorbed me right into Claire and Luca’s world for the short time I was reading this book. I could not put it down because I was desperate to keep reading and find out what the pair were going to get up to next. As well as the more naughty side of the book there are some more serious and emotional stories with Claire and her mother that really moved me, and it shows Murphy’s writing talents that she was able to move between the scenes so easily and draw such strong emotion from her readers. I loved this book, it was a joy to read from start to finish and I really was devastated to turn the last page and leave Claire and Luca behind for good. I cannot wait to read more novels from Clodagh Murphy – why I haven’t read anything by her before I’ll never know!
23 January 2014
You can buy Christmas at Thornton Hall as an eBook now.
"The Wild Emotional Rollercoaster of a Debut Novelist" by Lynn Marie Hulsman.
If you are anything like me, you’ve dreamed of being an author from an early age. Once I got down to business, and wrote my first book, I pictured myself chatting to Oprah about how my oeuvre would literally changed the way humans approach life. I mentally chose the writerly outfits, ranging from a black turtleneck and beret to a J. Jill-style flowy caftan, to a sexy secretary starched white blouse and black pencil skirt accessorized with horn-rimmed glasses. I would, of course, wear these when accepting the Pulitzer and the Orange Awards, and eventually walk the red carpet at the Oscars.
I envisioned myself hobnobbing at cocktail parties with John Irving, Meg Wolitzer, and J.D. Salinger (I know he was a recluse and now he’s deceased, but this is my fantasy) all of them jockeying for position so they could win me over with their anecdotes. And the advances! I would take my unprecedented 7-figure signing fee and purchase a writer’s cottage (think Gatsby’s spread) where I could alternately seclude myself like a mad genius and entertain the who’s-who of the publishing world.
The work started with a rough outline. After I sketched out my plot, and got to know my characters and my world, I sat down to stare at a blank page. For me, getting started was hard. What if I picked the wrong first sentence? What if I spent time writing this thing, and no one (including me) liked it? The triumph of reaching page 30 was huge for me. With that under my belt, the rest felt possible.
The next part of my job was asking for criticism. When I hit “send” on the partial manuscript I sent to my agent, and my first reader, I nearly threw up. I’m not saying that descriptively: I honestly nearly threw up. My fear had my cells humming. I couldn’t sit still, and I couldn’t think straight. In hindsight, I wonder why I allotted so much heft to the opinions of others. Now that I’ve broken through the first-book hurdle, I am more balanced. Critiques are critical to the success of a book, and must be considered and applied. Every writer, however, needs to trust her own voice and point of view. Not every story, or way of telling it, will be everyone’s cup of tea.
When the first draft was edited and dusted, my agent sent it out to editors. Knowing this, and waiting for answers, took a few years off of my life. I was rejected by a few editors that I hoped would like me. It stung. Looking back, I see that it wasn’t necessarily that they didn’t like me. It wasn’t even necessarily that they didn’t like my book. It’s about timing, personal taste, what a publishing house’s list required, and whether or not the editor is two days away from leaving the office to have a baby and take maternity leave for 6 months.
When my book launched, the world stopped for a day. I wondered how people were going about their normal lives, hitting the post office and driving to work. I waited for something huge to happen. It didn’t. Friends congratulated me, I was taken to tea and dinner, I got some gifts, and it was nice. But my life didn’t change irrevocably. This is my first book. There will be another, then another, then another. I see now that it’s a slow build, and a long-term investment. Sure, there’s the occasional 50 Shades of Grey, but for most writers, it’s about the dedication and perseverance to build a list and a platform.
And the reviews! Oh, the highs and lows of reading people’s opinions. At first, I eagerly awaited each one, refreshing my browsers again and again. It’s a gift when a reader takes time to give thoughtful comments. What I’ve learned, though, is that I need to stay in my own head, and on my own path.
Now my first book has been written, critiqued, sold, edited, published, and reviewed. It’s been a wild ride, and not at all what I expected. I’m proud, and I’m satisfied, and I’m pleased that I’ve come this far. And now, it’s time for me to get back to work. Book Two isn’t going to write itself…"
Thanks so much, Lynn Marie!
22 January 2014
Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She's going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can't wait.
But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie's plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what's best for the sweetshop also what's best for Rosie?"
You can buy Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop as a hardback or an eBook now.
I have become a huge fan of Jenny Colgan's novels, and the past few books that she has written have been absolutely brilliant, and definitely must-reads in my opinion. I was thrilled to receive a review copy of her latest novel Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop for review, since I loved the first one in that series, Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams. I actually read the book before Christmas, devoured it in just a few days and am finally getting around to reviewing it... doing so has certainly made me want to read it again, it was that good!
Rosie Hopkins loves working in sweet shop in the village Lipton, even more so now the festive season is well and truly on its way. Rosie is looking forward to the first one in her new home, with new boyfriend Stephen and her aunt too. As an extra treat, Rosie's mum and other family is flying in from Australia to spend the season with her... she's just got to break it to Stephen first! As the village is gearing up for Christmas, a tragedy strikes and the residents are forced to pull together to help each other through the hard times. Rosie is worried that it might mean the end for the plans she had made for the future - is her happy ending definitely in Lipton??
You don't need to have read the first book in this series to enjoy this book, although it of course helps knowing the back story, especially of Rosie getting the shop and her relationship with Stephen too. However, everything is quite well explained so its easy to enjoy this as a stand alone novel too, especially as a festive treat. Things have moved along slightly since the previous book, Stephen is now starting work as a school teacher at the local school, Rosie's shop is becoming a roaring success, and they are living together, quite happily plodding along in their relationship, taking things slowly. I enjoyed the twists and turns that their relationship took as this book progressed, the things they came up against felt very realistic, and it was emotional to read at times, with Rosie desperately trying to work out the right thing to do.
For me, the setting of Lipton was perfect. With it's wintery snowy setting and festive feel, it seems perfect and exactly the sort of place you want to be as Christmas approaches. It's a quaint, small village with close friends and neighbours and I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. Rosie was a great main character again, and it was lovely getting back into step with her narrative, and I loved Stephen as much as I had last time. They make such a good couple, I was really hoping that they would end up with a happy ending! I really enjoyed Rosie's aunt Lilian's story in this book though, it was very emotional and totally unexpected, it was so beautifully written and touching to read, it was very compulsive once I got reading!
Rosie's family make an amusing addition to the book, and it was fun seeing Rosie with her own family for a change, rather than just making new friends in the village. The tragedy that happens shocked me quite a lot, I hadn't expected it at all and Colgan really did the scenes justice. It felt so real as I was reading, I couldn't put the book down and was desperate to find out what was going to happen next. It was totally gripping! Everything about this novel was absolutely brilliant. While the sweet shop took a little more a back seat in this book, the other stories going on around it in Lipton were amazingly written - Colgan puts across the emotion and tension in these scenes so well. I loved everything about this book, it was a complete joy to read and I hope it isn't the last we see of Rosie and her beautiful sweetshop!!
You can pre-order Truly, Madly, Deeply as a paperback or an eBook now!
"From wedding days to special anniversaries, steamy one night encounters to everlasting loves, Truly, Madly, Deeply takes you on an exciting romantic adventure where love really is all you need. This collection brings together 24 specially-selected works from bestselling authors including Adele Parks, Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Miranda Dickinson."
21 January 2014
You can pre-order The Runaways as a paperback or an eBook now.
"It should be the perfect wedding... A blushing bride, an American hero. Rachel has the happy ending she always wanted. So what's holding her back from saying 'I do'?
Rachel ran away once before, just after her father died. This time she's washed up in sunny California and she's blissfully in love. But before she can marry Judd, there's a chapter of her past that she needs to resolve. A chapter that goes by the name of Seth.
Janey, Rachel's godmother, is a successful New York high-flyer but being single in her mid-thirties is starting to make her feel like a failure. When her goddaughter asks her to find an old friend called Seth and make sure he comes to her California wedding, she agrees to help her out.
Can a road trip with a stranger help steer Janey in the path to love? And will Rachel realise that when it comes to escape plans, is getting married ever a good idea?"
20 January 2014
You can buy If You're Not the One as an eBook now, or pre-order the paperback.
"Jennifer Wright is full of 'what if' questions.
If she'd stayed with unconventional, carefree Aidan, would she be enjoying life in sun-kissed Australia?
Should she have married fabulously wealthy, workaholic Tim?
Could she have found happiness after all with kind, gentle Steve?
Jennifer’s about to find out. After a terrible row with her husband, she runs out of the house and straight into the path of a car. Whilst in a coma she’s given the gift of seeing exactly how each choice she's made has dramatically altered her life.
But maybe those answers leave her with even more life-changing decisions to make…"
18 January 2014
As usual, we have so many amazing coming out in 2014, we are so lucky! Therefore I have found it really hard this year to find just 10 that I'm looking forward to most of all, and it's taken me a few weeks of whittling and thinking about this list quite a bit, but I'm happy with the final result! I haven't numbered them 1-10 as I don't want to say I'm looking forward to one more than the other, they are a great collective bunch! Some of my favourite authors haven't released the titles or information for their 2014 books yet, so these are all in a list at the bottom of the page, as I'm eagerly awaiting their novels too!
Do let me know in the comments which of these you're looking forward to, and what others you think should be on the list too!
Do let me know in the comments which of these you're looking forward to, and what others you think should be on the list too!
- Lucy Dillon - A Hundred Pieces of Me - 27th February 2014
"Gina is ready for a fresh start. She's gone through cancer, and a separation, and now it's time to focus on what makes her happy right here, right now. Moving into a new flat in Longhampton, she decides to clear some space for herself physically as well as mentally: giving away her possessions bar one hundred special items. But what means the most to her? What sums up who she really is? In order to work it out, she will have to come to terms with her past, saying goodbye to certain memories and people, before she can move on.
Over the course of a year, Gina will find a sense of happiness and acceptance she's never felt before, and what it means to finally live life to the full."
- Rowan Coleman - The Memory Book - 30th January 2014
"The name of your first-born. The face of your lover. Your age. Your address..
What would happen if your memory of these began to fade?
Is it possible to rebuild your life? Raise a family? Fall in love again?
When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold onto the past when her future is slipping through her fingers...?"
- Paige Toon - Thirteen Weddings - 22nd May 2014
"Last year, Bronte left Sydney for a wedding in England, where she met newly single Alex. After a night of passion they parted ways, and Bronte returned to Australia.
Now working on a picture desk for a magazine in London, Bronte is about to meet her new colleague, who turns out to be all too familiar. Although awkward at first, as Alex is now engaged to the girl he was on a break from when they met, they soon become friends
In her free time, Bronte is a wedding photographer, so Alex enlists her to do his wedding. Unable to refuse, Bronte is stuck with the job. But as the two get closer, and the wedding day looms, it is clear that Alex and Bronte have unfinished business
Will Alex leave his bride at the altar, or will Bronte be forced to photograph the wedding of the man she herself should be marrying?"
- Milly Johnson - Wish You Were Here - 19th June 2014
"At her beloved husband's funeral, Carla Proud discovers that Martin never divorced his first wife and has been living a double life with her for years. And his other wife, Julie Proud, is determined to take everything from Carla - her home, her money, and her memories.
When Will Linton's business goes into receivership he at least thinks that with the support of his trophy wife Nicole he will rise to the top again. But Nicole isn't going to stick around with 'a loser' and Will finds himself at rock bottom
Molly Jones is being bullied into going into a retirement home by her 'concerned' daughter-in-law Sherry and son Gram. Then the love of Molly's life walks in through her door - a man who broke Molly's heart into little pieces many years ago. But he says he is dying and wants to spend the time he has left with her.
All people in need of a little love and compassion which they find by chance in the stationery and coffee shop run by the ever-cheerful Leni, a woman that Shaun McCarthy finds annoying beyond annoying for her ability to remain unrealistically upbeat about everything.
But is the world of Leni Flowers as full of rainbows and sparkles as everyone thinks? Or is her smile papering over many cracks in her heart that will soon be shattered unwittingly by her new friends?"
- Rebecca Chance - Bad Brides - 27th March 2014
"Two brides. One prize. Who will come out on top?
Milly Gamble is an up-and-coming actress, and the perfect English flower child. At 23, she's always been cast as the innocent heroine. But looks can deceive. Calculating and fiercely ambitious, Milly is determined to be the most famous star in England. And how better to achieve her goal than by dating Tarquin Ormond, lead singer of the biggest folk band of the moment? Tarquin is madly in love with Milly; Milly is only in love with herself.
Brianna Jade is an all-American pageant girl. The daughter of Tamra Maloney, a stunning billionairess, Brianna is a sweet, pretty girl who is more than happy to go along with her mother's ambitious plans for her. Now Tamra's brought her to the UK and hooked her up with an Earl. He has a crumbling stately home and needs a rich wife to help restore it to its former glory. Tamra is as ambitious and determined as Brianna is sweet and innocent - is this more a case of mother-in-law-zilla than bridezilla?
Both Milly and Brianna's upcoming weddings will be huge, lavish events that garner national press. But with the cover of the biggest magazine in the country to be won, things are about to get very dirty…"
- Giovanna Fletcher - You're The One That I Want - 22nd May 2014
"Maddy, Ben and Rob have been inseparable since they met in the school playground at nine years old. They've always been a threesome and it seems nothing could get in the way of their friendship.
But what Maddy doesn't know is that Ben has always been in love with her. And what Ben doesn't know is that Rob and Maddy have begun to fall in love with each other . .
As their friendship irrevocably changes Ben keeps his broken heart a secret for the sake of his two friends. But when Rob and Maddy's love turns sour, can Ben continue to say nothing? And will Maddy have to choose between the two best men she knows?"
- Ali Harris - Written in the Stars - 5th June 2014
"Bea Bishop is horrible at making decisions. Forget big life ones, even everyday choices seem to paralyse her. She's learned to live with this because experience has taught her that it doesn't matter what you do, no one has the power to control destiny. Anyone who believes they can is a fool.
But as her wedding day approaches, her years of indecision are weighing heavily on her, and she can't help but wonder, 'What if, what if, what if….'
What if she hadn't upped sticks and moved to London? What if she hadn't grabbed the first job that came along and settled down with the first guy who showed an interest? But all of her questions are silenced when she slips while walking down the aisle and is knocked unconscious. In this split second her life splits into two: in one existence, Bea flees back down the aisle and out of the church. In the other she glides blissfully towards her intended.
But which story will lead to her happily ever after?"
- Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice - The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me - 10th April 2014
"Best friends Holly and Alex have been in love since they were teenagers. Unfortunately, neither of them have any idea how the other one feels. Something always seemed to get in the way, and the perfect moment just never arrived. Then Holly left for uni in London, while Alex stayed put in their northern hometown. But it's ten years later, things have changed. Surely if you got a second chance with your first love you wouldn't let it pass you by. Would you?"
- Jojo Moyes - The One Plus One - 27th February 2014
"Jess Thomas wants . . . . . to be more than a single mum getting by day after day
. . . to do her best for her gifted but sensitive daughter Tanzie
. . . to find a way back from the loneliest place on earth
Ed Nicholls is hoping . . .
. . . he won't go to jail
. . . there's a way back from the biggest mistake of his life
. . . something or someone will make it all go away
Jess and Ed are . . .
. . . two strangers looking for a little kindness
. . . two lost souls with a lot to learn from each other
. . . about to find out that one plus one makes more - so much more - than two."
- Jane Fallon - Skeletons - 27th March 2014
"Jen has discovered a secret.
It's not hers to share, but is it hers to keep?
If she tells her husband Jason, he might get over the shock but will he forgive her for telling the truth? She might drive a wedge through their marriage.
If she tells someone else in Jason's family - the family she's come to love more than her own - she'd not only tear them apart but could also find herself on the outside: she's never really been one of them, after all.
But if she keeps this dirty little secret to herself, how long can she pretend nothing is wrong? How long can she live a lie?
Jen knows the truth - but is she ready for the consequences?"
Authors without 2014 book title or blurb information
- Lindsey Kelk
- Melissa Hill
- Julie Cohen
- Tess Stimson
- Sinead Moriarty
17 January 2014
You can pre-order Beauty as a hardback or an eBook.
"Blend it. Sculpt it. Shape it. Use it...
There isn't a woman on earth who doesn't have her beauty secrets. But for Dina Kane, beauty is more than just business. It's power. And it is the secret. She's dragged herself up from poverty to Park Avenue. She's rolled with the punches. And she's learned how to win.
Now someone is out to destroy her, and all she's built. They've underestimated Dina Kane. She's staying at the top - and she's happy to wait for the perfect moment to exact her revenge..."
16 January 2014
You can pre-order The Unpredictable Consequences of Love as a hardback or an eBook now.
"When Josh Strachan, newly returned to his home in north Cornwall from sunny California, first meets Sophie Wells, he's immediately smitten. Sophie's pretty, she's funny, she has lots of friends and she clearly loves her job as a photographer, despite the sometimes tricky clients. There's just one problem: Sophie has very firmly turned her back on love. It's nothing personal, she tells Josh, but she just doesn't do dates. And no one - even Sophie's scatty best friend Tula - will tell him why. Josh is sure Sophie likes him, though, and he's just got to find out what's put her off romance. And then put things right..."
15 January 2014
Single mum Cally’s life is all about her little girl Stella. She’s resigned to the fact that the only romance she’s going to get is from the rom-coms she watches, and with her busy job and her daughter, she doesn’t have time to even think about love.
But life gets very tough when Stella gets sick. Balancing her job as a recipe writer and looking after Stella is all consuming, so when Cally meets handsome baker Jago the last thing she wants to do is fall in love, especially when she’s been badly burned by a Prince Charming from her past.
Can laid-back, charming Jago unlock Cally’s frozen heart and help her find true love and magic under the mistletoe?"
You can buy Wish Upon A Star as a paperback or an eBook now.
A few weeks before Christmas, I eagerly began reading Trisha Ashley's latest book Wish Upon A Star, which looked like a gorgeous festive offering. In fact, it was one of my favourite Christmas book covers this year, and considering what it was up against, that's no mean feat! I was really excited to start this book, I haven't read anything by Trisha for a few years so I hoped this would be a book I could really settle down and enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed the story by the end, but my only moan is that it just wasn't really festive at all! Yes, there's a small bit at the end which is what the cover is based on, but for me, that cover is a tad misleading as this isn't predominantly a Christmas read, and I think that is what you are lead to believe when you see that! Either way though, it was still a very good story and worth the read.
Cally is quite happily a single mother to her little girl Stella, but Stella has had terrible health problems since she was a baby. Cally has had to cope alone, but lives with the fear that Stella may not make it to adulthood unless something is done quickly. She works hard as a recipe writer for magazines, and doesn't have time for love, instead devoting all her time to her daughter. When she is forced to move back home to live with her mother, Cally finally has to relinquish some control and starts to make friends in her new village. There's baker Jago whom she quickly befriends, as well as the other residents too, all keen to help out with Stella in any way they can.
The story is a very emotional one, and as a parent I found it very easy to get hooked into it. I felt desperately sorry for Cally dealing with such a sick child, it must be such a worry and Trisha Ashley dealt with it so well in the story. She really puts across Cally's emotions so well that you're feeling them along with her, hoping that something can be done to help Stella. Stella on the other hand is the most delightful little girl. Quite often, I feel authors miss the boat with child characters, writing them unrealistically or so that you end up disliking them. Trisha Ashley has really made Stella so likeable, you feel a lot of emotion towards her character and felt the relationship between mother and daughter was utterly beautiful to read.
The small town called Sticklepond where the story takes place is picturesque, and I really enjoyed the descriptions of it, from Cally's mothers home to the town, and even the people who live in it. There's a real community spirit around, some of which you don't tend to see much these days with everyone and their busy lives, so it was nice to read this book for me. Cally's job as a food writer also lends to amazing and vivid descriptions of cakes and all sorts being littered throughout the book, many of which I hadn't heard of myself before reading them here! Ashley makes them all sound mouth-watering and I defy you to read this book without feeling hungry at least once! Cally certainly seems to have a dream job!
Jago is the main male character in the book, a baker from the village who meets Cally when she's attending one of Stella's many appointments. He's the perfect male hero for the book, I was willing Cally to look past her horrid past relationship with Stella's father which didn't end too well, and see the good in Jago. He is written so well you can't help but fall in love with him a little bit, and the slow progression of the relationship between he and Cally was perfect, I really did enjoy reading it! Aside from the lack of festive feeling, I really did enjoy this book. It was an uplifting yet very emotional read that I was easily able to connect to as I read, and I felt Trisha Ashley really brought the characters and their situations to life with her writing too. Look out for appearances for characters from her other novels too, I always love it when authors do things like that within their stories! Wish Upon A Star is certainly a book I can recommend, with wonderful writing, a great cast of characters and a story you will truly care about. Brilliant reading.
You can pre-order It Felt Like A Kiss as a paperback or an eBook now.
"Ellie Cohen is living her dream. A great job at an exclusive Mayfair art gallery, loyal mates, loving family, and really, really good hair. Well, there's the famous rock-star father who refuses to acknowledge her and a succession of 'challenging' boyfriends, but nobody's perfect.
But when a vengeful ex sells Ellie out to the press, she suddenly finds herself fighting to keep her job, her reputation and her sanity. Then David Gold - handsome, charming but ruthlessly ambitious - is sent in to manage the media crisis . . . and Ellie.
David thinks she's a gold-digger and Ellie thinks he's a shark in a Savile Row suit, so it's just as well that falling in love is the last thing on their minds . . ."
13 January 2014
"Sally is an outstanding singer and – with the possible exception of a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake – she loves singing more than anything else in the world. Unfortunately, she only loves singing in her wardrobe where nobody can hear her: she’d rather cut her head off than sing in public.
For years she’s managed to hide her prodigious talent and has worked as a wardrobe mistress at the Royal Opera House. But then a wild, heady summer of love and loss in New York changes her life and she returns to London having made a promise to audition for Opera School . . . and to her utter horror, she’s offered a place.
The night before term starts, a tired, beautiful-looking man turns up on Sally’s doorstep with an old hand-written message in his hand and a nervous smile on his face. With him come the best and worst memories of Sally’s life and she is stunned speechless . . . Although she still manages to attack him with a piece of pork belly.
How did he find her? Why is he here? And, with him back on the scene, how can she possibly fulfil her promise to train as a singer?"
9 January 2014
Despite the oddballs that keep turning up on her dates, Anna couldn’t be happier. As a 30-something with a job she loves, life has turned out better than she dared dream. However, things weren’t always this way, and her years spent as the ‘Italian Galleon’ of an East London comprehensive are ones she’d rather forget.
So when James Fraser – the architect of Anna’s final humiliation at school – walks back into her life, her world is turned upside down. But James seems a changed man. Polite. Mature. Funny, even. People can change, right? So why does Anna feel like she’s a fool to trust him?"
You can buy Here's Looking At You as a paperback or an eBook now.
At the end of 2012, I read and loved a debut novel called 'You Had Me At Hello' by a brand new author called Mhairi McFarlane. That book very quickly became a best-seller, and rightfully so because it was a fantastic read. Luckily for her new fans, Mhairi was back at the end of last year with a brand new book, Here's Looking At You. I started it over the Christmas holidays and it became my bedtime reading. I looked forward to picking it up each night and getting back into Anna's story and find out how this romantic tale was going to end!
Anna Alessi is a Professor at History at university, and absolutely loves her job. She really knows her stuff when it comes to history, but when it comes to romance and relationships, she honestly hasn't got a clue. She's recently turned to internet dating, but hasn't quite managed to find her Mr Right there yet either. When a work project leads her to get involved with a new company, and a face from her not-so-happy past makes an appearance, Anna's world is turned upside down. James Fraser is someone Anna would rather forget, but he's quickly becoming a frequent visitor into her life, and he seems a totally different person to when he was a teenager. Anna still isn't sure whether to trust him again, but she isn't sure she can stop falling for him anyway...
While this book took me a little while longer to get into than Mhairi's first one, it was still just as enjoyable and I loved not knowing where the story was heading, and exactly what Anna was going to do about James. I liked Anna a lot - she had a pretty bad time of it as a teenager, and we get to see a glimpse of this at the start of the book, it did make me cringe a bit, poor old Anna! The idea of bumping into someone who you didn't like at school is a realistic one, and it certainly made me wonder how I would deal with it if I ended up bumping into people I would rather not have done! Anna actually handled the situation quite well, although a few changes since then certainly helped her with that! It's inspiring to see how she's pulled herself through her tough times and has made a success of herself, I enjoyed this aspect of the book. Anna is very likeable throughout the book though, and you certainly want to keep reading her story to find out more.
James is one of those characters I wanted to dislike, but I just couldn't! He was really nice, and shows how people can change from their immature, hormone-ridden teenage selves. Anna really wasn't sure whether to trust him, but I felt sorry for him due to his own personal strife that he's going through, and I really hoped Anna would give him a chance and allow him to prove himself to be a good man once and for all. It's just a shame he happens to hang around with the biggest pig in the world called Lawrence, the man we are definitely meant to hate! The more minor characters in the story were fantastic too. I especially loved Anna's sister Aggy, who is engaged to be married and is excitedly planning her wedding. She provided quite a few funny moments, but I loved the relationship she had with her sister too, it was lovely to read.
The progression of the story was great to read, it moved at a good pace that allowed things to happen quite naturally and I really enjoyed Mhairi's writing. There was lots in the book to make me laugh, and a few more serious and emotional moments too. I felt really sorry for Anna being so affected by what she went through as a teenager, and it's a stark reminder to us all to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves. There's a good message in this book, and I felt it really delivered on that, especially with the characters within the story that I really did care about and wanted a happy ending for. I also have to say I really enjoyed the side plot of Anna's job and the few historical snippets I learnt throughout the book too, it made the book a little more fun to read for me! This is a fantastic second novel from Mhairi McFarlane and certainly cements her as one of my new favourite Chick Lit authors that I will be looking forward to reading for many years to come. A fab book, and a must-read from me!
7 January 2014
You can pre-order After I Left You as a paperback or an eBook now.
"Anna has not been back to Oxford since her last summer at university, seventeen years ago. She tries not to think about her time there, or the tightly knit group of friends she once thought would be hers forever. She has almost forgotten the fierce sting of betrayal, the heartache, the secret she carries around with her, the last night she spent with them all.
Then a chance meeting on a rainy day in London brings her past tumbling back into her present, and Anna is faced with remembering the events of that summer and the people she left behind. As Anna realises that the events of their past have shaped the people they've all become, hope begins to blossom for what the future could hold . . ."
6 January 2014
Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.
Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?"
You can buy Sleigh Bells in the Snow as a paperback or an eBook now.
I know Christmas has passed already (sob!) but I do have a couple more Christmas reviews to post, so do bear with me! One such read was my first Sarah Morgan novel that I read on my iPhone kindle app. I had heard such good things about this book that I was willing to put up with reading it on a far too small screen late into the night to get it read, and I am so pleased that I did, it's gone right up there as one of my favourite Christmas 2013 reads! It also makes me very excited to read more from Sarah Morgan, a good Christmas romance is exactly what I love to read at this time of year!
Kayla really doesn't celebrate Christmas and is more than happy to work her way through it, not even acknowledging the festive season much to the amusement of her colleagues. When she's offered a job scouting a prospective new holiday resort called Snow Crystal, she jumps at the chance of spending Christmas at an isolated log cabin in the middle of Vermont. When she arrives at the resort, she meets the new manager Jackson, and sparks soon fly between the pair - mainly because he's determined to make her love Snow Crystal and his family, and she wants to stay as unemotionally attached as possible! As the magic of Snow Crystal is revealed to Kayla, she fights to stop falling in love with not just the resort but someone else too...
As I mentioned, I haven't read anything by Sarah Morgan yet, but being that the book is published by Mills & Boon, I was sure I was in for a lovely romantic read, and I wasn't wrong. The best thing about the book for me was the characters - they were all so likeable and you warmed to each and every one of them as you move through the book. Kayla was a bit of a mystery,we don't know why she doesn't like Christmas and it makes you want to keep reading because I felt like I needed to know why she behaved how she did, especially towards Christmas, and feeling part of a family. Jackson was the real handsome alpha-male of the group - tall, dark and handsome indeed, and with good morals and ethics to boot. You can see why Kayla starts falling for him, I certainly loved him a little bit too!
The other thing which I really enjoyed about this book was the setting of Snow Crystal in Vermont. I assume that this is a fictional place, but Morgan really brings in to life on the pages with her wonderful descriptions of the gorgeous, wooden log cabins, deep white snow and ski slopes galore. Everything about it makes Snow Crystal seem like the perfect Christmas destination, and it certainly helps make Kayla's job of doing PR for the resort much easier! I loved how Morgan described it, reading from the tourist Kayla's point of view really allowed her to be vivid with her descriptions, everything from the snow to the cabins selling hot chocolate sounded amazing, and I wish there was somewhere like that I could visit for Christmas, it sounds magical.
This book was a recipe for success for me, and I have to say I absolutely loved it. I was so consumed by the story that I found myself reading it on my iPhone at every opportunity I got, keen to find out what was going to happen next with Kayla and Jackson, whether she'd ever let him in emotionally, and to find out how the story was going to end for the pair! Morgan's writing was a joy to read, so easy to follow and I honestly thoroughly enjoyed every single page. I also have to complement Morgan on her more secondary characters which I felt were as well written as the main ones - my favourite included Jackson's brothers, and the chef Elise. They all had a story that was important to the main plot, and added more depth to the book. I loved this book so much, I know it won't be the only Sarah Morgan book I read, and it's one I'll eagerly be re-reading every festive season!
You can pre-order The Love Detective as a paperback or an eBook now.
"'In a way, I'm a bit of a love detective. Because what's a greater mystery than love?'
Meet Ruby Miller. A writer who makes happy-ever-afters happen. Until she discovers her fiance is a lying cheat and loses her faith in love. So when her sister invites her on a beach holiday to Goa to forget about him, Ruby jumps on a plane . . . and into an extraordinary adventure.
Stolen bags, a runaway sister and a handsome American stranger sweep Ruby into a magical mystery tour across India. Amid fortresses and fortune tellers, and a whirlwind of weddings, she uncovers fascinating stories of love, lost and found.
But as the mysteries deepen, secrets are revealed that turn Ruby's life upside down. And what started as a journey to find her sister, becomes a journey to find herself - and love - again."