30 September 2014

Blog Tour: Giveaway - Before You Say Yes by Amy Griffin

Today I am excited to be part of Girls Love To Read's new blog tour for an exciting new author called Amy Griffin. Her new book Before You Say Yes is out now, and sounds like a brilliant read! As part of the blog tour, I have 5 eBooks to giveaway to 5 lucky readers, and it couldn't be easier to enter. Simply enter on the Rafflecopter form below, and you'll be notified if you are a winner!

Open to UK and Ireland residents only. One entry per person. Please ensure you are able to utilise eBooks with a device such a Kindle, Kobo or compatible device before entering. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book News: The Snow Angel by Lulu Taylor

Another release I am looking forward to later this year is Lulu Taylor's new novel The Snow Angel. I think it sounds brilliant, much like her last book The Winter Folly which I thoroughly enjoyed, and so I cannot wait to read this one. It's out on December 4th, look out for it.

You can pre-order The Snow Angel as a paperback or an eBook now.

"Cressida Felbridge is living the high life as a debutante in 1960s London society when she is courted by a friend of her brother's and set to marry. Wishing only the best for his daughter, her father decrees that she must have her portrait painted to mark the occasion. But as soon as she meets the painter Ralph Few, Cressie knows her life will never be the same again. Soon, she is deeply in love with Ralph, but there is one problem: Ralph is still married to Catherine. As Cassie is drawn into a strange, triangular relationship, Catherine's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and Ralph and Cressie escape to Cressie's family home in Cumbria. But Catherine will not give up Ralph that easily . . .

In the present day, Emily Conway has everything she could wish for: a huge house in West London, two beautiful children and a successful husband, Will. But as Emily and Will drive to a party, Will reveals that he has been betrayed by his business partner. Steering the car off the road at high speed, their perfect life is abruptly ended. When she wakes from her injuries, Emily is told of a mysterious legacy: a house in Cumbria on the edge of an estate, left to her by a woman she has never met. Could this house provide the chance to start anew, or does it hold secrets that she must uncover before it can be at peace?"

29 September 2014

eBook Review: Summer at Castle Stone by Lynn Marie Hulsman

"This summer, lose your heart in Ireland…

Shayla Sheridan’s a New York native born into big city luxury, but she’s never really fitted in with the “it” crowd. Desperate to make it as a writer and to finally step out from her famous father’s shadow, Shayla decides to take on a tricky assignment across the pond…

Swapping skyscrapers and heels for wellies and the heart of the Irish countryside, Shayla must go about ghost-writing a book of recipes by the notoriously reclusive and attractive head chef of Castle Stone, Tom O’Grady.

The only problem? He has no idea that she’s writing it."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Summer at Castle Stone as an eBook now.

I first read Lynn Marie Hulsman's work last Christmas when I read her festive eBook Christmas at Thornton Hall. That was a very enjoyable book, and I thought Harper Impulse had found a good new author to watch out for. Lynn Marie has a new book out this summer, called Summer at Castle Stone and I thought it sounded like another good read that I could really get into. I downloaded the eBook from NetGalley, and began reading, and got drawn into the world of Shayla, Tom and Castle Stone...

New Yorker Shayla is determined to make a name for herself as an author, but not off the back of her famous father's coat-tails. However, her writing career is stalled, but Shayla has an idea for a unique cookbook that she knows she can make a success of. Shayla wants to write a cookbook for Irish head chef Tom O'Grady, who cooks at Castle Stone. The only problem is that Shayla hasn't told Tom she's coming over the pond to write for him, and she has to invent a new identity for herself, as Sheila the new skivvy. As Shayla (or Sheila) starts to get closer to Tom, she wonders how long she can keep up appearances for before all is revealed...

While at first I thought the plot of this book sounded quite similar to Lynn's first book, I very much enjoyed the story and although there were similarities, the main crux of the novel is very different indeed. I really enjoyed reading about the characters, especially Shayla. I didn't necessarily agree with her disguising her identity and fooling poor Tom, but she was doing it for what she thought was a credible reason, albeit for her own ends. It did lead to some very amusing moments though, having to remember her new identity, not letting her best friend's phonecalls spoil everything, and of course falling for Tom O'Grady against her best intentions. I did feel sorry for Shayla regarding her job though, it makes the publishing world sound absolutely cut-throat and harsh, and I admired that Shayla wanted to get a contract off her own back, not because of who her father is.

Tom was the best thing about this book for me. He was so perfect in many ways, he can cook, he's handsome and just sounds like an all-round perfect guy - you can see why Shayla fell for him despite the fact she didn't want to! He comes across quite badly at first, very rude but as the book progresses, we find out why he is as he is, and I certainly warmed to him quite quickly. The other staff members at Castle Stone are fun to read about, but for me it was all about Tom and Shayla, and their budding relationship. At it's heart, this is a love story, and I found myself ploughing for the end to see if it would all finish with a happy ending.

The book is set in Ireland, and you can tell that the author has really researched this book so well, everything from the speech to the setting is perfectly written, and is very respectful of Irish people and their country. I liked that we read it from Shayla's point of view, as an American in a strange new country, and we discover Ireland and Castle Stone along with her. One other thing I loved about this book was the relationship between Tom and his mum, they are very close but also very traditional, and I liked how both were pushed out of their comfort zones in this book. I enjoyed everything about this book, from the setting to the fab characters, and the descriptions of the wonderful dishes that Tom conjours up too. It's got all the ingredients of a really good book, and it's one that I can definitely recommend. I really enjoyed it!

eBook News: Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson

The Christmas eBooks just keep on coming... thank goodness! This time, Harper Impulse are back with another brand new festive eBook from debut author Debbie Johnson. I am already in love with the cover for Cold Feet at Christmas which is out on 6th November, and it sounds like a brilliant story too! I haven't started reading my festive books yet, but this makes me very tempted to start!

You can pre-order Cold Feet at Christmas as an eBook now!

"A remote Scottish castle on a snowy Christmas Eve. A handsome husband-to-be. A dress to die for. It should have been the happiest day of Leah Harvey’s life – but the fairytale wedding turns sour when she finds her fiancé halfway up the bridesmaid’s skirt just hours before the ceremony!

Fleeing the scene in a blizzard, Leah ends up stranded at the nearest cottage, where she collapses into the arms of its inhabitant – a man so handsome she thinks she must have died and gone to heaven!

And when Rob Cavelli suddenly finds himself with an armful of soaking wet, freezing cold, and absolutely gorgeous bride on the run, he’s more than happy to welcome her into his snowbound cottage this Christmas…"

28 September 2014

Book Review: Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

"She could hear men and women shouting. Angry hollers crashed through the soft humid salty summer night. It was somehow hurtful for Mrs Ponder to hear, as if all that rage was directed at her . . . then she heard the wail of a siren in the distance, at the same time as a woman still inside the building began to scream and scream . . .

When a harmless quiz night ends with an act of shocking violence, the parents of Pirriwee Public School can't seem to stop their secrets from finally spilling out. Rumours ripple through the small town, as truth and lies blur to muddy the story of what really happened on that fateful night."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Little Lies as a hardback or an eBook now.

Liane Moriarty is one of the authors that I have heard bloggers raving about for a few years now. For some reason, I've never gotten around to reading any of her books, but I'm not sure why. I was sent a review copy of Little Lies a few months ago, and finally decided to give it a go a few weeks ago when I was choosing my next read. I am really pleased that I did because it was a really gripping, very well written read that had me utterly absorbed for it's rather lengthy duration. It's set in Australia, being that Liane Moriarty is an Australian author, but I guess it's a plot that could happen anywhere - and I was gripped. Here's why.

Jane is a newcomer at the local school, her four year old son Ziggy is about to join the class of children beginning school for the first time. Jane doesn't really have any new friends in the town, given that she and Ziggy move around a lot, and she is keen to be accepted in her new home. When one of the mums, Madeline, befriends her, Jane wonders if they can finally settle down. But as things at the school take a more sinister twist, Jane is left wondering how she is going to be able to cope with the rumours. When a tragedy occurs at a school fundraising night, no-one seems to be able to get to the bottom of what happened on that tragic night.

This is a tricky book to review because I really don't want to give anything about the story away, because for me that is what made it so compulsive to read. You don't really get a lot from the blurb, and I enjoyed the story unravelling slowly as I read it, keen to find out what was going to happen and the backstory of these characters too. For me, it was definitely the characters that made this book so readable. I'm sure a lot of mums who do the school drop-off and pick-up will be able to pigeon-hole other mums into the groups that Jane finds these women to be in at Ziggy's school.

Jane is the lead character of this book, and I really liked her - in fact, I could relate to her a lot. She's very shy, awkward and is unsure of herself when she wants to befriend the other more confident mothers at the school. She is very likeable though, not fixated on image or money or anything, just on being a good mother to her son. Her past is revealed slowly as the book progresses, and goes a long way to explaining why she is as she is in the story. The other characters are brilliant too. My other favourite was strong, feisty Madeline, who befriends Jane on their children's first day. Madeline wasn't sucked in by the cliques of the playground, keen to stand up for what is right, and we see a lot of this in her in the book. Other mums include quiet and mysterious Celeste who is hiding her own dark secrets, opinionated and bitchy queen bee Renata, and their other halves made appearances too.

The writing in this book was really good, and there were points where I really didn't want to put the book down. I was so keen to find out what was going to happen next, or if any truths or lies were about to be revealed - there was something really compulsive about this book. The book begins at the school trivia night, and the rest of the book is leading up to this point, from the children's first day at school to what happens as they go on. The school trivia night events don't happen until right near the end of the book, you're left desperate for it to reach this point so you can finally find out what happened, and that's what is so addictive about this read for me. I found the book incredibly easy to read, with witty dialogue, enough description to bring it alive in your mind but it doesn't allow itself to be bogged down in it either.

For me, this might be my first of Liane Moriarty's books, but it certainly will not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and was surprised by how hooked I became on the story. I felt a plethora of emotions throughout this book, from shock, to happiness, to anger and indignation. I love a book that is able to evoke emotion as I read, and this book certainly delivers on that. I loved everything about this book, from the intriguing plot to the characters and the writing. I drew my own conclusions as the book went on - one of them was correct but the other I hadn't seen coming at all, and I loved that. This was a stunning novel, one that is definitely going on my keeper's shelf, and I can't wait to read more from Liane Moriarty.

25 September 2014

Book Review: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

"With the Wife Project complete, Don settles into a new job and married life in New York. But it's not long before certain events are taken out of his control and it's time to embark on a new project . . .

As Don tries to get to grips with the requirements of starting a family, his unusual research style gets him into trouble. To make matters worse, Don has invited his closest friend to stay with them, but Gene is not exactly the best model for marital happiness. As Don's life with Rosie continues to be unpredictable, he needs to remember that emotional support is just as important as practical expertise."

Rating: 4/5

You can pre-order The Rosie Effect as a hardback or an eBook now.

I've been eagerly awaiting this book since I read Graeme Simsion's first book The Rosie Project last year on my Kindle. It isn't my usual kind of read, but I'm so glad I decided to give it a go. It was a funny and unique book, unlike anything I have read before and I loved the lead character Don Tillman. This book picks up about 10 months after the last book left off. Don and Rosie are happily married, living in New York, but Rosie has a bit of shocking news - she's pregnant, and Don doesn't quite know how to cope with the news. Cue 9 months of worry, organisation, research and much more for our resident Professor as he prepares for a new life as a father...

Sometimes, when you go into a sequel with really high hopes, the result can leave you a tad disappointed. While I did enjoy reading The Rosie Effect, I do have to confess that I don't think it was as good as the first book, it seemed a bit convoluted in parts and I did struggle to work out where it was going in parts. However, the best thing about the book, as it was in the first book, is the main character, Don Tillman. He is as hilarious as ever, managing to get himself into some very unique situations that honestly had me laughing out loud (the park scene in particular was just brilliant). He is determined to find out everything about pregnancy and birth, taking things to his usual extremes to quite funny consequences.

However, one thing I struggled with in this book is Rosie. She was likeable in the first book, a breath of fresh air for Don, but in this book, it was like she was a different person. Yes, I know she is pregnant, but even so I struggled to like her. She was horribly mean to Don, not seeming to understand him at all which was strange considering their relationship in the first book. Gene, Don's professor friend from the first book is back in this one, and is again a changed character, not quite as funny as he was previously but I still enjoyed his presence in the book. He was good for Don too, and I enjoyed reading their 'boys night out' with their other new acquaintances in New York.

The fact that Rosie's pregnancy is unplanned is what causes Don so many problems in the book. If you've read the previous book, you will know Don loves order, that he plans things to an absolute n-th degree, so when Rosie drops this bombshell it completely flummoxes Don. He has to embark on serious research, everything that can go wrong in pregnancy, how the foetus is growing and everything concerning Rosie and her health. I actually found all this fascinating to read, and in Don's narrative voice, it was very funny and had me smiling as I was reading. It does throw up interesting ideas of fathers struggling to connect to their unborn child and how to deal with these issues, there's certainly a lot of food for thought in this novel.

While I have to be honest and say I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first one, it was still an enjoyable read, and one I would recommend to people. It's especially good if you have read the first book - usually sequels work as stand-alone novels, but in this case, I really would recommend you read The Rosie Project first, simply to get used to Don, his eccentricities and how his relationship with Rosie came about - I feel it'll all make much sense if you have the background before you read this one. I'm  not sure whether a third book would be a good idea, this one felt like it struggled slightly in parts, and in a way, it's a nice place to leave the story as the book ends. As I said, an enjoyable read and it was fab to be back with Don Tillman again. A fun read.

Blog Tour: Book Extract - The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

Today, I am thrilled to be hosting a blog tour stop for Graeme Simsion's new book The Rosie Effect. The book is out today, and is the highly anticipated sequel to Graeme's first book The Rosie Project. I will be reviewing the new book later on today, but firstly I'm hosting an extract from the new book to whet your appetite a bit! Please enjoy.

You can buy The Rosie Effect as a hardback or an eBook now!

Book Extract

Orange juice was not scheduled for Fridays. Although Rosie and I had abandoned the Standardised Meal System, resulting in an improvement in ‘spontaneity’ at the expense of shopping time, food inventory and wastage, we had agreed that each week should include three alcohol-free days. Without formal scheduling, this target proved difficult to achieve, as I had predicted. Rosie eventually saw the logic of my solution.

Fridays and Saturdays were obvious days on which to consume alcohol. Neither of us had classes on the weekend. We could sleep late and possibly have sex.

Sex was absolutely not allowed to be scheduled, at least not by explicit discussion, but I had become familiar with the sequence of events likely to precipitate it: a blueberry muffin from Blue Sky Bakery, a triple shot of espresso from Otha’s, removal of my shirt, and my impersonation of Gregory Peck in the role of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. I had learned not to do all four in the same sequence on every occasion, as my intention would then be obvious. To provide an element of unpredictability, I settled on tossing a coin twice to select a component of the routine to delete.

I had placed a bottle of Elk Cove pinot gris in the refrigerator to accompany the divers’ scallops purchased that morning at Chelsea Market, but when I returned after retrieving our laundry from the basement, there were two glasses of orange juice on the table. Orange juice was not compatible with the wine. Drinking it first would desensitise our tastebuds to the slight residual sugar that was a feature of the pinot gris, thus creating an impression of sourness. Waiting until after we had finished the wine would also be unacceptable. Orange juice deteriorates rapidly – hence the emphasis placed by breakfast establishments on ‘freshly squeezed’.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion is published today by Michael Joseph, £14.99 hardback!

You can read more of the extract here: http://penguinblog.co.uk/2014/08/06/exclusive-read-an-extract-from-graeme-simsions-the-rosie-effect/

And buy a copy of the book here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosie-Effect-Graeme-Simsion/dp/0718179471/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411467840&sr=1-1&keywords=the+rosie+effect 


The blog tour continues tomorrow at Novelicious: http://www.novelicious.com/

22 September 2014

Book News: It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane

Mhairi McFarlane is back shortly with her brand new book, It's Not Me, It's You. I love Mhairi's writing, and her previous 2 books have been brilliant to read. I'm really looking forward to this one, although I do have to question the cover design - Mhairi's previous 2 books have had gorgeous covers but it seems to have gone wrong for this one - I do wonder what the publishers were thinking with this one. It's out on 6th November. If you'd rather wait for the paperback, that's out in April 2015.

You can pre-order It's Not Me, It's You as a hardback or an eBook now.

"Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong.

When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault.

When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault.

And when he wanted her back life nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame…

From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back."

21 September 2014

Book Review: It Had To Be You by Ellie Adams

"The worst break-up ever . . . Could be the best thing that has ever happened to her,

Lizzy Spellman has been dumped. At a party.While wearing a Henry VIII costume. By the man she thought was The One. Someone even filmed it, so now she's a massive YouTube hit sensation too.

Just when she thinks things can't get any worse, she meets the rudest, most cynical man in the world, and gets a new mission in life. To prove him wrong.

Love does exist, and she's going to find it . . ."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy It Had To Be You as a paperback or an eBook now.

Lizzy is dumped in a pretty embarrassing fashion at a birthday party, wearing a rather fetching fancy dress outfit as well. The break-up was filmed by a kind bystander and soon Lizzy is recognised everywhere she goes after the clip goes viral on YouTube. Despite her misfortune, Lizzy is determined to prove that she can find love out there, even when she meets who she thinks is the rudest man she has ever met - TV journalist Elliot. Elliot has a terrible attitude which only fans the flames for Lizzy - she is sure she can show him even the most unlikely people can find love... even controversial YouTube stars!

Ellie Adams is the pen-name for already established chick lit author Jo Carnegie. However, this book is a move away from the usual books she writes, so I can understand why she has chosen a pen-name for this - it would certainly open up her readership more to those who were perhaps not so fond of her raunchier early novels (I did love the Churchminster series myself!). However, this book retains all of Jo's brilliant writing, her humour and whatever it is that makes her books so readable, so there's definitely a big reason to pick up this book! The cover is a nice, bright yellow - not a colour you see much in book covers these days so it's certainly a stand out book.

What I loved about this book was the characters inside it. Lizzy is a funny old character - she is very funny, always getting herself into awkward situations, and copes admirably even when she finds herself to be a YouTube star for her break-up and consequent reaction! She works in P.R., the scenes of which lend themselves to the funniest scenes in the book that honestly had me laughing out loud - how people can advertise these things with a straight face I will never know. What was so great about Lizzy is that she was just a normal girl dealing with some pretty rubbish situations, one of which is meeting stuck-up and rude TV star Elliot at a work function.

Elliot is someone you are meant to hate at the start - engaged to a rather beautiful model, and with a successful television career on ITN news, Elliot seemingly has it all, and doesn't he know it. But when it all goes wrong, and he meets Lizzy, the pair strike up an unlikely friendship of sorts. Lizzy ends up listening to his woes over several cups of coffee, and the story progresses from there. I enjoyed reading this burgeoning relationship, the banter that the pair have is brilliant to read, and I really did love both of these characters. I was hoping that there would be a happy ending for the pair, but things definitely aren't plain sailing for them. I have to admit by the end I did have a soft-spot for Elliot, I felt he had a kind heart underneath the attitude and the bluster.

The supporting characters in this book are fun to read about too. There's Lizzy's best friends Nic and Poppet - they sound like the best friends a girl could want, especially in Lizzy's situation! Nic is a workaholic and very set in her ways, whereas Poppet wants nothing more than to meet Mr Right and settle down. Their friendship is genuine and lovely, Adams puts this across so well in her writing. Lizzy's family are also prominent in the book, and lend themselves to more amusing moments. I love a book where I love the whole cast of characters, and this was definitely one of those books. There's funny moments, romantic moments, it isn't all plain sailing but the story is absolutely fantastic and I loved every page of it. Yes, there were a few crude moments or words that made me cringe but I really did enjoy Ellie Adams writing. I found myself eagerly reading, desperate to get to the end and find out whether I would get my happy ending. Ellie Adams is going to be one of those authors you'll definitely want to be looking out for, and this is a brilliant novel - funny, and heart-warming, this will definitely leave a smile on your face!

19 September 2014

eBook Review: What Might Have Been by Matt Dunn

"A year ago, Evan and Sarah shared one incredible night. Then Evan’s music—the thing that brought them together—suddenly tore them apart.

Since then, Evan’s not been able to forget about her. And try as she might, Sarah can’t seem to get over him either.

With time running out, Evan’s got one last chance to convince her that the two of them were meant to be. But is one night enough for Sarah to make a decision about the rest of her life—even if it was the best night of her life? And if she doesn’t believe in love at first sight, how can Evan persuade her that what they had will last?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy What Might Have Been as a paperback or an eBook now.

Evan and Sarah meet by chance at a jazz nightclub, where Evan is playing saxophone to an enthusiastic crowd. Sarah is loving the music that reminds her so much of her father, and Evan spots her face in the crowd. The pair spend an incredible night together, but are torn apart when Evan is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. He knows he has to take it, even though he has to leave Sarah behind. A year later, Evan is back and determined to get Sarah back - however, there's a small snag - she's engaged to be married. Evan is sure that Sarah is doing the wrong thing in getting married, and sets out to persuade her that he can make her happy forever. But Sarah is hiding her own secrets about her feelings for Evan too... will the pair overcome the odds and make it through together?

I really enjoyed this book right from the beginning. I like that we got to meet Evan and Sarah just like they meet each other - out of the blue, and have to make opinions about them quite quickly. They are drawn together by their love of music, and I loved reading the descriptions of Evan's saxophone playing, and the music is general, Dunn writes about it so well you can really imagine the scene of the Jazz club and how Sarah is immediately attracted to Evan. What makes this story so good for me was the element of 'what might have been', as the title suggests. Despite the fact they only had one night together, Evan is convinced Sarah is the love of his life, with some amazing memories and he is sure he can convince her too.

Evan is a sweet character, if perhaps a bit naive. He has clearly fallen head over heels for Sarah, everything about the young American woman and really does want to be with her. It seems strange in parts that he got such an attachment to Sarah after just one night, and you're left thinking what could have happened between the pair if Evan hadn't had to go abroad for his music. Sarah is far more stand-offish than Evan, perhaps slightly embarrassed about their past, and I felt she was quite rude to him at times. Yes, she's engaged to be married but I did feel like it was more an engagement of convenience than true love, that was my feeling throughout the whole book. I liked Sarah, but she did feel quite emotionally closed throughout, I wanted to see a bit more something from her, especially towards her fiance David who she just seemed to tolerate.

There was a lot of 'will they, won't they' elements to the story, with Evan keenly chasing a more reluctant Sarah, but I enjoyed the pace of the story. Things moved along at a believable rate, you could sense that Evan was under pressure to make things happen due to Sarah's impending nuptials, and I really was hoping for a happy ending. There were parts where both characters frustrated me due to their attitudes, but overall I did enjoy following their story. The writing was very good throughout the book, Matt Dunn makes the characters and their stories something you want to follow, and throws enough curveballs in there to make you doubt how it's all going to end up. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, very readable and one that I would recommend!

Blog Tour: Extract from 'Love Me or Leave Me' by Claudia Carroll

Today I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for author Claudia Carroll's brand new book Love Me or Leave Me. I have the book sitting on my shelf eagerly waiting to be read, and it sounds like it's a great read! I'm lucky enough to be hosting an extract from Chapter 1 of the book today, so take a read, and then get buying the full version of the book to find out what happens next!

BOOK EXTRACT

London.

CHLOE.

Last night, the old nightmare came back to haunt me.

I don’t actually know if it’s day or night. All I know is that it’s still my wedding day – or rather the day I was supposed to get married on – and I somehow allowed myself to be led out of the bathroom where I’d locked myself, and laid down on top of the fluffy hotel bed. Still in my confection of a wedding dress, crumpled to bits now, like some kind of a latter day Miss Havisham. And they must have given me a sedative the equivalent of a horse tranquillizer, because instead of the heartache that’s to come, all I feel is groggy and sluggish, like I’ve been out cold for hours.

The curtains are drawn and it’s semi-darkness in here, but suddenly I’m aware of someone breathing and a big blurry silhouette perched on the bed beside me. Frank? Could that by some miracle actually be him? For one wonderful, fleeting moment, hope overrides everything my sane mind is trying to tell me. By some miracle, was today just some kind of hallucination and is this actually my wedding night? I poke round at the slumbering figure a bit but realize that it’s not Frank at all; it’s my best friend Gemma, now out of the gakky bridesmaid’s dress, the one that that I practically bullied her into wearing and back into her normal, standard issue jeans with a swingy, summery top.

Still here. Still watching over me bless her, like the genuine pal that she really is.

‘Did I dream it all?’ I croak over to her.

She shakes her head.

‘’Fraid not, love.’

‘So where is everyone?’


‘Well, a lot of his side just buggered off when…well, when they realized that there wasn’t going to be any…emm, you know."

You can buy Love Me or Leave Me as a paperback now!

16 September 2014

eBook News: The Perfect Christmas by Kate Forster

Yes, it's another festive reads post, yippee!! Kate Forster is back with a brand new festive story called The Perfect Christmas! It's out on 29th September, and as I have read and loved Kate's previous books, I will definitely be looking to put this one on my kindle and review it this Christmas!

You can pre-order The Perfect Christmas as an eBook now.

"Hollywood movie star Maggie and friend and manager Zoe need an escape from their complicated star-studded lives in LA. With its history and Christmas charm, London feels like the perfect getaway.

But can they truly leave their realities behind?

In their luxurious quarters, the girls meet Holly who is ideal at showing Maggie and Zoe the sumptuous sights and sounds of London in their most glittering light. But behind her bright façade, Holly is hiding a secret: suffering from unrequited love, she’s looking for a Christmas miracle. Desperate to see an unattainable love story for Holly come together, will our LA starlets succeed in providing a Hollywood ending before the dawn of Christmas Day?

Packed to the brim with festive cheer, this is the only story you’ll need this Christmas…"

15 September 2014

eBook News: A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Yay, it's another festive read! This time it is the turn of fab Bookouture author Jenny Hale to deliver us another wonderfully festive novel! Jenny's last 2 reads have been brilliant, and I can't wait to dive into this eBook as well. It's out soon!

"Everyone loves Christmas...don’t they?

Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.

As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing, the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree! The only problem could be her boss…
single-dad Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?

As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it? Let the festivities begin!"

Book Review: Pieces of You by Ella Harper

"Lucy. I don’t even know how to start this letter. 

Something happened. Something terrible . . .

Lucy was always sure of one thing – her future with husband and soulmate Luke. But after eight long, heartbreaking years trying to have a baby, that future is crumbling before her eyes.

When a terrible accident puts Luke into a coma, Lucy is forced to reassess everything she thought she wanted. 

Then a woman arrives with a shocking secret that will force Lucy to make the hardest decision of her life. "

Rating: 5/5

You can pre-order Pieces of You as a paperback or buy it as an eBook now.

One debut novel I have been looking forward to reading this year is Ella Harper's first novel Pieces of You. Ella Harper is actually the pen-name for established author Sasha Wagstaff, whose books I have loved in the past, but Sasha has chosen a pen-name as this book is a bit of a change from her previous books, and I'm glad she did as this book deserves to be read by everyone, not just those who loves Sasha's previous books. There was a big marketing campaign for this book, it was really intriguing and I couldn't wait to start it, and luckily it didn't disappoint!

Lucy and Luke are soulmates and best friends as well as husband and wife. Lucy is sure that they are destined to grow old together with their children looking after them but it seems it isn't meant to be after years of trying for a baby, and many painful losses. The pair are sure that as long as they have each other, they can work through their grief. However, when Luke is in a tragic accident, Lucy worries that the future she had imagined is about to get out of her grasp. Then a strange woman arrives on the scenes with some news that is set to devastate Lucy and throw everything she thought she knew about her marriage out of the window. Will Lucy and Luke be able to work through this big secret and come out of the other side?

There was something about this book that really stuck with me, and even though it's been a few weeks since I have read it, I often think about this story and everything that happened within it. Ella's writing is brilliant, drawing you completely into the story, not just of Lucy and Luke but the family around as well, it's just wonderful and you can't help but be consumed by everything that is going on. Lucy and Luke's marriage is the thing of dreams, they are both so happy together but their longing for a baby is the one flaw between them. Lucy is desperate for a baby, and blames herself for their losses, and it's quite tragic to read in parts.

Luke's accident happened and that is when things begin to fall apart for Lucy. She goes through her own tragedy, and then has to cope with what happens to Luke, I don't know how she held it together really. But we don't just get to see the effect of Luke's accident on his wife, we also follow his mother and his sister in the book too. Ella Harper uses first person narrative for Lucy's chapters, but the others are told in third person which differentiates the chapters nicely, and makes it easy to follow for the reader. His mother Patricia is still struggling with the loss of her husband, and so when Luke is badly injured she struggles to cope, as well as struggles to connect to Lucy in her time of need. It's hard to read how it affected Patricia as a mother, and I can't imagine how it would be to be in her position.

There's also the story of Luke's sister Nell, which was an interesting one. As well as Luke's sister, she's involved in a sub-plot of her own, a quite controversial one actually but I liked the addition of it to the story, especially as it related somewhat to the main plot of the book too. It's so cleverly written, everything is woven together, and there's so many twists and turns along the way, I really didn't know how it was all going to end. Even when I had guessed how things were going, something else happened that threw me off and I was completely riveted by the whole thing. Lucy, though, was my favourite character, I felt so bad for her, you could feel her pain and her heartbreak all the way through the book, Harper's writing puts it across so brilliantly.

For me, this is an absolutely stunning novel, and has shown me a brilliant new side to Sasha Wagstaff's writing that I'm really pleased she has chosen to try something new! I absolutely fell in love with the story of Luke and Lucy, they seemed like the perfect couple in so many ways yet they are hiding a terrible heartache that they can do nothing about. As the book progresses, and we find out more about the strange woman and Luke's secret, perceptions of people are changed, and they are forced to deal with new realities. The writing around these delicate topics was utterly brilliant, you are totally absorbed into the book, and I really didn't want to put it down, I loved every page. I can't recommend this book highly enough, there's so many thought-provoking and emotional things going on here, you will not want to put it down. A stunning read.

eBook News: Humbugs and Heartstrings by Catherine Ferguson

You should know by now my favourite books of the year are the Christmas ones, so imagine my excitement when I saw yet another festive debut on Twitter this week! Catherine Ferguson's debut novel Humbugs and Heartstrings is definitely one I will be reading this Christmas, and it sounds fab, as well as having a gorgeous cover too! It's out on 2nd October as an eBook!

You can pre-order Humbugs and Heartstrings as an eBook now!

"Two ex-friends. One Christmas to remember …

Bobbie's boss Carol is a real misery-guts, dedicated to making the lives of everyone around her unhappy in pursuit of every last penny. What makes it worse is that the two women have history: once they were best friends.

When handsome hotelier Charlie steps into the frame the two women go to battle as one sees a romantic future ahead and the other a possible lifeboat for her business. With wonderful warmth and humour, and the odd mince pie fight, the women are forced to confront their shared past, the turbulent present and, most importantly, the potential of the future."

14 September 2014

eBook News: The Beginner's Guide to the Birds and the Bees by Sophie Hart

Author Sophie Hart is back this month with a brand new book from her brand new publishers Bookouture! The Beginner's Guide to the Birds and the Bees (longest book title ever?!) is out on September 19th, and sounds like it is going to be a really fun read! I loved Sophie's first book, The Naughty Girl's Book Club, so I'm excited to get stuck into this on my kindle!

You can pre-order The Beginner's Guide to the Birds and the Bees as an eBook now.

"Sex therapist Annie Hall helps couples put the fizz back into their relationships. It’s a shame her own love life is non-existent. When Jamie who works next door catches her eye, she can’t ignore the spark of chemistry.

Most men would jump at the chance to skive off work for an afternoon quickie with their gorgeous wife but Nick knows Julia is after only one thing – a baby. Sex shouldn’t be a chore. Can Annie help Julia see that?

Newly engaged Zoe and Simon can’t keep their hands off each other. They’ve decided to take a vow of celibacy until their wedding night. Will Annie help them stick to it?

Roy and Linda have been married for over thirty years but she’s more interested in the family business than getting intimate with him. Can Annie convince Linda to rediscover her passion for Roy after all this time?

While Annie begins to work her magic with the three couples, she soon finds herself falling for Jamie. But she’s been hurt before – will he be different? It’s time for Annie to take some of her own advice and learn a few life lessons of her own…"

13 September 2014

Book Review: Don't Tell The Boss by Anna Bell

"When newlywed Penny turns her hand to some casual wedding planning she only wants to help other women afford the big day of their dreams. 

But taming bridezillas turns out to be a full-time occupation, and what began as a hobby becomes a personal and professional nightmare. 

Soon Penny is struggling to keep her day job and prevent her own marriage from collapsing under the strain: tired, stressed and knee-deep in ivory satin, is Penny's life and livelihood hanging by a thread?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Don't Tell The Boss as a paperback or an eBook now.

When I finished the last book I was reading, I decided that I was going to pick the next book from my shelf, but it had to be something I had been sent a while ago to review, but had never got around to reading. This book caught my eye because I follow Anna on Twitter and have been meaning to review one of her books for a while. This book was sent to me by Quercus a while ago, so I decided it was the perfect one to try, and I'm so pleased that I did. It was a funny, enjoyable and easy read, and now I want to read more by Anna Bell!

Penny's a newlywed herself, and enjoys weddings so much, she's decided to going to be a casual wedding planner too, as well as her dayjob. However, she has to keep her second job secret because she knows her boss won't like her working alongside the day job, but it quickly becomes harder and harder for Penny to keep the two parts of her life separate. When she takes on yet another wedding, Penny is sure it will be easy, a wedding on a budget is exactly her cup of tea. But Penny doesn't realise the strain her two jobs are putting on her marriage, and how much of her energy is going to be used up in keeping bride-to-be Henri happy, and not give herself away at work too....

This is the follow-up to Anna's first book Don't Tell the Groom,  which I haven't read so I was a bit apprehensive going in to this that I would struggle with the story. However, with any good author, they give you enough information to tell you what happened in the previous book without making you feel like you missed out and that's exactly what Anna has done here. I got the gist of what went on in the first book, so could just enjoy this story without worrying I'd missed out too much. Penny is now married in this book, so we get to see her settled down with her husband, although their marriage isn't as perfect as Penny might expect due to her juggling her two jobs with her husband's disapproval always following her around.

Penny is a good character to read about - you can tell she absolutely loves weddings and lives for them - I was certainly wondering why she hadn't just jacked in the day job long ago to go after her dream job of wedding planner to be honest. However, it was amusing to see her try to juggle both jobs quite unsuccessfully, and it led to quite a few funny moments, especially towards the end on the team-building course Penny has to organise! I liked the scenes set at her workplace but I far more enjoyed reading about her planning Henri's wedding. Penny is clearly in the know when it comes to weddings, especially budget ones, but it seems like Henri is the bride-to-be from hell, she was so annoying!

As you'd expect, it isn't plain-sailing for Penny when she's organising this wedding, and I really enjoyed reading all about the build-up to it. While there was a bit of a twist at the end, I had guessed what it was before it got there, but that didn't matter to me, I'd still enjoyed the anticipation of finding out whether I was right. While Penny is the main character of the book, there's lots of others in here to keep you interested, although I did feel her husband Mark could have been a bit more supportive towards Penny when she's only doing what she loves! I especially enjoyed the side plot of Penny being a mentor to a young gambler, and how hard she was finding it to connect with her and deal with the situation. It was well handled and a bit more of a serious plot for a light-hearted book. This was a really good read, it was easy to follow and the story was enjoyable from start to finish. Anna Bell's writing was good to read, I liked her narrative and was always engrossed in the story whenever I was reading. Recommended, and I look forward to more from Anna Bell!

11 September 2014

Book Review: Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson

"Ben Lawrence seems to have it all - the hot job, the flashy car, the luxurious apartment. But one tragic day in his past mars his future.

Since the events of that day he hasn't truly got close to anyone.

He made a promise that love was the price he would pay for his mistakes.

When Effy Jones - a bright, ambitious charity founder - walks into the PR firm where Ben works, neither realise that their lives are about to be turned upside down.

Paper Swans tells of how love can conquer all, and how when everything is broken one person can help to put the pieces together..."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Paper Swans as an eBook or a paperback now.

I am a big fan of Jessica Thompson, and have read both of the books she has released to date. There is something special about Jessica's stories that I really love - a combination of very likeable characters, and a story that completely absorbs you from the minute you begin to the very last page you turn, and Paper Swans, her latest book, was definitely no different. The cover to this book is eye-catching and stunning, cream with gorgeous golden-yellow foil swans, one of the most stunning covers I have seen this year actually. For me, Paper Swans is up there for my 'book of the year' award, and here's why.

To the outside world, Ben Lawrence looks like he has it all. He's got a very successful and lucrative career in PR, he's got a gorgeous flat in the most expensive area of London, a posh car, and no ends of girls to have fun with. But Ben is hiding a devastating secret from his past that threatens to ruin everything he's built up so far. When he meets charity worker Effy, Ben's life is thrown into turmoil. He experiences feelings he is sure he shouldn't be allow to feel, and feels guilty for these feelings. Ben wants to help Effy's new charity succeed but can he get past the quagmire of confused emotions first and lay the past to rest?

I liked that in this book, it was a male protagonist who took the lead, and was the one with the problems from his past. In many chick lit books, they are of course based around women and their problems, but this one was a little different straight away and I liked that. Despite his rather affluent lifestyle, I really liked Ben from the beginning. Yes, he had money but he wasn't overly mad with it, he was a bit haphazard when it came to relations with women he met, but otherwise, he was an all-round good guy, a hard worker, but inside a broken man. I was curious as to what secret was eating him up, because it isn't told to us for a long time in the book, although it's of course alluded to all the way through. As things became more apparent, I did feel incredibly sorry for Ben, and how it affected him so deeply throughout his adult life.

Effy was a breath of fresh air for Ben, and for the book. She added a bit of light where Ben tried to keep everything in the dark, and you can see why Ben was drawn to her. Effy is a charity founder, determined to do right for the people she wants to help in Uganda, and it' s a very noble job, especially in a climate where there are so many charities vying for our money and affection. She and Ben have an instant liking for each other, and I enjoyed how the begin their friendship, and plod along with each other, unsure of perhaps just how to be around each other. The scenes featuring these two characters were beautifully written, from when they meet right up until the end of the book. I cared about them both, and they were perfect in how they were written.

I thought that the author has done a brilliant job in tackling the tricky subject of mental health, the second such book I've read around this topic this summer. Using Ben, Thompson is able to show how easy it is to hide a mental illness from those around you, portraying a carefree lifestyle to those around you, when really you are dying inside and desperately crave help, but have no-one to turn to. It's a powerful and emotive book, I just wanted to be able to hug Ben and tell him it was okay to feel that way, it didn't make him any less of a man - and in fact, using a male in this role was even more powerful for me. People make assumptions that those like Ben, with a high-flying career and money on tap, can't possibly have anything to be depressed about, but that's an ignorant view and simply isn't true. Thompson has clearly done her research on the topic, and it really comes across as such in the book, it's handled delicately and with care.

As I mentioned earlier on, this book is most certainly up there with my contenders for 'Book of the Year 2014', simply because I enjoyed it so much and the writing really was stunning. I enjoyed both stories, that of Effy and Ben, and then when the two stories became combined in a way, it just got better for me. I also love the title - a delicate hint to something fragile but very beautiful, a poignant link to several things in the book in fact. I utterly devoured this book from start to finish, it was emotional yet uplifting, and I loved every page. A stunning read not to be missed.

Book News: Coming Home for Christmas by Julia Williams

I have been really looking forward to Julia Williams' new festive release, as it's the third time we will be catching up with Cat Tinsall and co for a festive adventure! Coming Home for Christmas is out on 6th November (as a paperback), and I for one cannot WAIT to read it! I have to complement the cover design team as well, it's such a beautiful cover!

You can pre-order Coming Home for Christmas as a paperback or an eBook now!

"Warm, humorous and completely irresistible. The perfect gift for all those unsung heroes of Christmas – our multi-tasting mums.

Cat Tinsall is ably juggling her busy family life – a quintessential ‘sandwich generation’ woman, she’s responsible for the care of her kids, her mother-in-law, and her baby granddaughter. Her TV career as The Happy Homemaker is looking rocky – and she’ll do anything to resist the whispers that, as a woman over 40, she’s in danger of ‘fading to grey’. She’s got an awful lot on her plate …

Cat’s good friend Pippa Holliday is finding life as a single mum a challenge, especially now the farm her family have called home for generations is in dire financial straits.

And schoolteacher Marianne North, with her young twins and teenage stepson, is dismayed to find her increasingly absent husband calling on her to take his damaged and delicate ex-wife into their home – with no moving out date in sight.

As the close-knit village community of Hope Christmas pulls together to battle ruthless plans from local developers, it looks like each of these three women needs a miracle.

As Christmas approaches, bringing with it more than one surprising turn of events, it appears they might just find one …"

10 September 2014

Book News: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

One of the highlights of my reading year is a new book from Jodi Picoult, and it's almost here!! Jodi's brand new book Leaving Time is out on 4th November, and I just cannot wait to read it, I don't think I have ever read a book from Jodi that I haven't enjoyed. This sounds brilliant, roll on 4th November.

You can pre-order Leaving Time as an eBook or a hardback now.

"Jenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared in tragic and mysterious circumstances, but she remembers nothing.

Over ten years have passed, and still Jenna reads and rereads her mother's journals, hoping to find some clue hidden there, in the meticulous recording of her scientific research with elephants.

Desperate for answers, Jenna uses all her savings to recruit the aid of a private detective - and a psychic.

Jenna knows her mother loved her. She knows she would not leave her. And she will not rest until she finds out what happened that night. In her most gripping mystery since House Rules, Jodi Picoult brings us a powerful story of a young girl's determination to uncover the truth, however shocking and life-changing it might be."

9 September 2014

eBook News: The French for Christmas by Fiona Valpy

Another festive read that I can't wait to read this year is one by an author I have never read before, Fiona Valpy, and it's called The French for Christmas. It's being published by Bookouture and is released on October 3rd 2014. I love the christmassy cover, and it sounds just like the sort of thing I would love to read.

You can pre-order The French for Christmas as an eBook now.

"A year to forget. The perfect escape. And a little Christmas magic…

Evie used to LOVE Christmas, but this year she can’t wait for the tinsel and presents to be a distant memory.

When her best friends offer the use of their cottage in the beautiful French countryside, Evie jumps at the chance. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband, celebrity chef Will Brooke, plastered over the news with his latest ‘love interest’, leaving the country seems like the perfect plan.

Armed with her French grandmother’s tattered notebook of recipes, Evie is determined to ignore Christmas altogether and bake herself back to happiness.

And when Evie meets her next-door neighbour – the très gorgeous doctor Didier she finds a very willing taste-tester. But is it possible that he could be interested in more than just her Tarte Tatin?

With snow falling, a special Réveillon dinner and a little Christmas magic in the air, could Didier even be the one to thaw Evie’s heart? Or will a visit from the ghost of Christmas past change everything?"

8 September 2014

Book News: The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannigan

Another festive read I am really looking forward to this year is Emma Hannigan's brand new book The Heart of Winter. It sounds utterly brilliant, and given that I loved Emma's last book, I can't wait to read this one as well. It's out on October 9th, and that cover just screams CHRISTMAS, I just can't wait to read it!

You can pre-order The Heart of Winter as an eBook or a paperback now.

"Holly Craig's family have lived happily in Huntersbrook for generations but when times grow hard, even she must admit defeat and sell off their once-successful stables.

The three Craig children, Lainey, Joey and Pippa find themselves locked in a fight to keep their beloved Huntersbrook; dare they transform it into one of Ireland's most sought after countryside venues? 

Renovation work is well underway when life rears its ugly head and everything stops in its tracks. The Craig family is forced to reassess what matters and although they no longer live at Huntersbrook, can the house work its magic even so ... and lead them into the light once more?"

5 September 2014

Book Review: A Part of Me by Anouska Knight

"Amy and long-term partner James have finally been accepted into the adoption process. Then out of nowhere a dark secret changes everything. Will Amy follow her heart and let the thing she wants most in her life slip away from her, or follow that dream, but lie to her heart?"

You can buy A Part of Me as a paperback or an eBook now.

Rating: 5/5

I read Anouska Knight's debut novel Since You've Been Gone and really enjoyed it, it was nice to find a new voice in female fiction, and one that wrote the sort of stories that I loved to read. A Part of Me is Anouska's second novel, and one that ventures into the subject of infertility and adoption. If it was anything like her first read, I knew it was going to be a good one, so I eagerly got stuck in.

Although Amy's had a bit of a traumatic past, she is determined to make things right for her future with her long-term boyfriend James. The pair have finally got what they were waiting for - a yes from the adoption committee, giving them permission to finally adopt the child they have been longing for. But just as Amy things everything is sorted, James drops a bombshell that threatens to destroy the future they have planned together. Amy has to decide what it she wants, and whether it's worth putting aside her pain and suffering to get the family she's wanted forever.

This is a very emotional book from the beginning. Amy's been through a rough time in her past, leaving her unable to have children, and obviously she is really struggling with the idea that she can never have children. You can tell how important this adoption process is to Amy in particular, although you can tell James does want it too. The pair have made massive changes to their lives, and while I think it's wrong how vigorous the adoption process and how hard it can be for couple's to adopt a child, the book starts with Amy and James getting the yes they've always wanted. The emotional scenes were Amy realises she is being given the chance to be a mum are fantastic, so well written and you can't help but feel utter joy for the pair.

As the book goes on, the secret James is hiding is revealed, and although I had sort of seen it coming, I was still really looking forward to seeing how it would all unfold, and how it would affect the adoption process for Amy and James. I felt so sorry for Amy, you could feel her pain at all her plans falling apart in front of her eyes, and I hated James too. Amy obviously falls apart when things come out, and it's hard to read how much she is hurting, but watching her trying to keep herself going is admirable. I felt it was all very believable, like everything happened at a realistic pace, and I was absorbed by the book and finding out what was going to happen next.

The inclusion of Amy's job was a good part of the story, especially as Amy and James work together, and I loved the project that Amy starts to work on as she gets over what is happening. I loved the character Rohan Bywater that she meets, he sounds perfect in almost every way, and I loved how he cared for Amy and their relationship developed in the book. I looked forward to these parts of the book, and we got to see a bit of a happier Amy when she was around Rohan. The character of Amy's best friend was lovely as well, a properly supportive best friend. I found this book to very easy to read, and enjoyable right from the beginning. Yes, it isn't all happy and jolly, but it's a realistic portrayal of something a lot of people have to go through, and the consequences of certain actions as well. It was well written, and I loved the story, especially regarding Amy's work with Rohan. I'm looking forward to Anouska Knight's next!

4 September 2014

Book News: The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams by Fiona Harper

Another release from Mills & Boon this year is Fiona Harper's latest novel The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams. How gorgeous is that cover?! It's so festive and beautiful, I think I'm in love! It's out on 3rd October, and I'm really looking forward to reading this one :) Who doesn't love a good romance?!

You can pre-order The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams as a paperback or an eBook now.

"Nicole Harrison is planning the proposal of the century. Too bad its not her own…

Nicole, a born organiser and true romantic, has created her dream job when she sets up the Hopes & Dreams proposal agency – staging YouTube worthy proposals…until she’s hired to plan a proposal by gorgeous photographer Alex Black’s girlfriend.

Alex is the New Year’s kiss that Nicole hasn’t been able to forget – and now she’s planning his wedding to someone else! But if she lets herself fall for Alex’s charms, her reputation and business will be ruined before it’s even got off the ground! Suddenly the girl whose always prepared is at a loss…and falling head over heels."

3 September 2014

eBook Review: It Girl by Nic Tatano

"Veronica Summer is stuck in the dream job from hell.

The spunky New York reporter is offered the network's morning anchor position, but she doesn't want it because she's a night person. Then the network plays a trump card, promising her the evening anchor chair in three years. So the fiery redhead takes the plunge, with the ultimate gig waiting down the road.

Problem is, that road is filled with two am wake-up calls and the only social life she has is one with bats and raccoons. She quickly realizes she'll never survive the grind and decides the only way out is to get fired by being her snarky self on live television.

And the ratings skyrocket.

Veronica becomes the nation's It Girl, so the network makes her a celebrity contestant on its most popular nighttime dance competition show, Dance Off. While her journalistic credibility is shot to hell by the show's skimpy costumes, she's thrown into close contact with two incredibly attractive men; her dance partner and the show's sarcastic British judge.

And she soon discovers that love is the ultimate gig."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy It Girl as an eBook now.

I have quickly become one of Nic Tatano's biggest fans since the release of his first book Wing Girl last summer. His eBooks have become something I really look forward to, and each one that he has released so far have been utterly brilliant! The minute his latest book It Girl became available to download on NetGalley, I was there and downloading it, eager to read. Once I began it, I knew it was going to be another super read, and I wasn't wrong - in fact, I might even go so far as to say it's my favourite of Nic's books so far, and that's no mean feat, believe me!

Veronica Summer absolutely loves her job of being a hard-hitting TV journalist, but when the job of being breakfast TV anchor comes along, she knows she can't turn it down. As she settles into the hideous routine of being up in the middle of the night , Veronica is thrown a curve ball by her bosses - she has to take part in the network's celebrity reality dance show 'Dance Off'. Veronica hates all reality shows, and her clashing with the show's British judge Dexter doesn't make for a good combination, and Veronica is sure if she's bad enough, she can get herself voted off the show. However, she doesn't count on a sizzling chemistry with her dance partner, and a competitive streak that won't let her give in. Will Veronica be able to keep her credibility, and dance her way to the glittery trophy?!

What I love about Nic's novels is that they all feature a strong woman in the lead role, and It Girl is definitely no different - in fact, I would probably say that Veronica is my favourite leading lady to date! I liked Veronica from the off, she was feisty, not afraid to put her career before her relationship because she's so determined to get what she wants and climb the career ladder. The book really got going for me when Veronica got the job of breakfast TV anchor alongside her old friend Scott, and she struggled to put up with the crazy schedule. It actually sounded like my worst nightmare, waking up at 2 and living like a nocturnal animal, and Veronica is brutally honest with how awful she finds it! It certainly led to lots of funny moments, and I did feel sorry for Veronica!

The dance show part of the novel was also really enjoyable, especially now the Strictly Come Dancing is upon us all (and the countdown to Christmas starts, yippeeee!). The show has a stuffy British judge, Dexter, that Veronica immediately butts heads with, and you can tell straight away there's a chemistry there, despite the denying by both of them! Some of the things he did were so heart-warming, he was definitely a genuine nice guy, and I loved the inclusion of him into the story, especially someone who is just a quick-witted and feisty as Veronica. I also loved Veronica's friendships in the book with her best friend Layla and Savannah. They are there for each through thick and thin, and I liked how Veronica became herself around the girls, they were both funny too and good characters for the book.

Once I had started this book, I genuinely didn't want to put it down. It's brilliantly written, so funny, fast-paced and witty that you are immediately drawn into the story and on this journey with Veronica, and even though I knew she hated being on the show, I couldn't wait to see what would happen on the dance show! The book doesn't get too bogged down in dance details and technical info, instead it more focuses on the backstage drama, and that worked perfectly for me. With a fantastic lead character in Veronica, sexy dance routines, and that sizzling chemistry between Veronica and Dexter, this book has loads to keep you reading, and I didn't want it to end! Loved it.

Blog Tour: A Husband's Confession by Zoe Miller

Today I am delighted to welcome Zoe Miller to my blog as part of her blog tour for her new book A Husband's Confession. I read the book a few months back and loved it, you can read my review here. Today, Zoe has written a piece about sibling rivalry, a big theme in the book, and it makes for interesting reading! Thanks to Zoe for taking the time to write the piece, and to Joanna at Hachette Ireland for organising the tour!

You can buy A Husband's Confessions as a paperback or an eBook now!

A Husband’s Confession – Sibling Rivalry

Picture the scene: It’s a cold Christmas Eve in suburban Galway. A Moses basket has been found inside the door of the local church. Tucked up inside, swaddled in a blue blanket, a two-day old infant boy is sleeping peacefully. He has been abandoned by his mother. She has left a note in the basket asking her baby to forgive her as she is unable to care for him and wants him to go to a good home.

The image of a baby, abandoned on Christmas Eve, would clutch at your heart strings. It melted the heart of Mr and Mrs Kennedy, who adopted the baby and called him Max.

The couple already had one young son, four-year old Finn. They couldn’t have any more children and wanted Finn to have a brother.  But Finn didn’t have such a heart-tugging beginning. His birth nearly killed his mother. A quiet and introverted child, he had started school before Max arrived on the scene and so naturally, he felt supplanted, with his nose most definitely out of joint.

A perfect recipe for classic sibling rivalry and the breeding ground for a host of childhood resentments. Very often it stays there, fading away as children move into adulthood. Other times it festers away in the background, lying deeply buried, only to resurface during a catalytic event. For storytellers since the beginning of time, sibling rivalry has also been the rich breeding ground for a huge array of fictional drama.

Max Kennedy grows up big and strong, comfortable in his own skin. He’s good at football, laid back, full of charm. He always makes his adoptive parents laugh, and keeps them amused. Finn grows up feeling inferior in the shadow of his younger brother, and the fact that they are like chalk and cheese helps to keep them drifting even further apart. They don’t get on. They never really have.

Fast forward to the present day:  In the opening chapters of A Husband’s Confession, we discover that actor Finn’s lead role in a long running, Irish TV crime drama series has been axed and six years of fame and recognition have come to an ignominious end.  At the same time, Max’s star is rising with the success of his artisan bakery on Booth Street, including a proposed prime time television bakery programme, which would propel him into the stratosphere.

With Finn’s childhood sibling rivalry still simmering in the background, is it any wonder old resentments come to the surface and the sparks are ready to fly between the brothers? Despite the best effort of wives Ali and Jo to keep the peace, tensions rise. Then into the twists and turns of this volatile mix there is a devastating hit and run accident, which in turn unveils life-changing secrets that affect all of them and nothing will ever be the same.
 
As to whether or not the rivalry between Max and Finn can be resolved, as I said, it’s a human condition that has great potential for drama and conflict…

ZOË MILLER – A HUSBAND’S CONFESSION

Zoë Miller is the author of six contemporary women’s fiction novels published by Hachette Books Ireland, including the newly released A Husband’s Confession. Her books are a blend of drama, romance and intrigue. When Zoë’s not escaping into her writing she juggles her time between her family and her day job in training and development. You can find out more at www.zoemillerauthor.com, Facebook/zoemillerauthor, or follow her on twitter @zoemillerauthor.


eBook News: Twitter Girl by Nic Tatano

Nic Tatano is back with another new book this autumn, and it sounds like it's going to be a cracker! Twitter Girl is out on 18th September, and if it's as good as all of Nic's previous chick lit books (which I've read, and they are all brilliant), then we are in for a treat! You can follow the lead character on her Twitter account @TwitrGrlCassidy too!

You can pre-order Twitter Girl as an eBook now.

"Meet America’s Tweet-Heart.

She’s network reporter Cassidy Shea, better known as @TwitterGirl, with more than a million followers thanks to her sarcastic tweets. One hundred forty characters that can take anyone down a notch.

But while brevity may be the soul of wit, it can also get you fired.

When a controversial tweet goes viral the snarky redhead finds herself locked out of the career she loves… and watches her boyfriend take a hike.

Alas, no industry values sarcasm more than politics, and Cassidy becomes a marketable commodity for Presidential candidate Will Becker, a squeaky-clean, stone cold lock to be the next occupant of the White House. This candidate is unlike any other; he’s the country’s most eligible bachelor. He’s also looking for a running mate, and we’re not talking about a Vice President.

Twitter Girl has caught his eye.

Cassidy finds herself swept up in a whirlwind romance that turns her into the next Jackie Kennedy and becomes the favorite to be the next First Lady. The country can’t get enough of America’s First Couple… will Cassidy and Will Becker bring back Camelot?

But an anonymous tip triggers her journalistic curiosity. Is Will Becker all that he seems? The search for the answer teaches Cassidy the meaning of love."

2 September 2014

Book Review: The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon

"Kate Fullerton, talented tea designer and now co-owner of The Tea Chest, could never have imagined that she'd be flying from Brisbane to London, risking her young family's future, to save the business she loves from the woman who wants to shut it down.

Meanwhile, Leila Morton has just lost her job; and if Elizabeth Clancy had known today was the day she would appear on the nightly news, she might at least have put on some clothes. Both need to start again.

When the three women's paths unexpectedly cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate's magical vision for London's branch of The Tea Chest. But every time success is within their grasp, increasing tensions damage their trust in each other.

With the very real possibility that The Tea Chest will fail, Kate, Leila and Elizabeth must decide what's important to each of them. Are they willing to walk away or can they learn to believe in themselves?

An enchanting, witty novel about the unexpected situations life throws at us, and how love and friendship help us through. Written with heart and infused with the seductive scents of bergamot, Indian spices, lemon, rose and caramel, it's a world you won't want to leave."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Tea Chest as a paperback or an eBook now.

I hadn't heard too much about this book before I started reading it, and sometimes I like going into something with my eyes open but having no opinion about it one way or the other. I hadn't heard of author Josephine Moon either, and it turns out she's an Australian author, and this is her first book. I loved the cover for this book, it's really sweet and suits it perfectly, and although I'm not a fan of tea (in fact, I  hate it!) I decided this book sounded good and gave it a try!

Kate is happily plodding along in her life as wife, mother and works in a tea shop too. She loves her work, she loves making bespoke tea blends for people, and is pretty good at it, attracting return custom for the shop. When the opportunity arises to start up a new branch of the tea shop in England, Kate makes the touch decision to leave her family behind and head over there to start the shop. She recruits new PA Leila, and new worker Elizabeth, and sets to work making the shop as much of a success as she can. There's lot up against them but the three women are determined to fight against the odds and keep the Tea Shop going... but will it work?

I'll be honest and say that when I started the book, I struggled to get into it. It was quite slow, and I felt it got bogged down too much in the detail of the shop and what Kate does, rather than getting the reader into the story and hooked on what was going on. I decided to persevere with it, sure that it would pick up and I'm really pleased that I did because it did get much better. There was an awful lot in the book about tea, as you can probably guess from the title of it, and while I found this interesting, it wasn't my favourite part of the book. I don't like tea, and although it was interesting, I found at times it got a bit too detailed for me and my interest did wane slightly at parts. However, it was the story of the set-up of the shop that really hooked me, and I loved that part of the book.

Kate was an interesting character. As a mum, I couldn't fathom leaving my child on the other side of the world for a job, and carrying on as normal without them. Therefore, I did find it hard to understand her actions, and when she was missing her boys and her husband, I found it hard to sympathise with her because in my mind she chose that, and therefore she had to live with the consequences of her actions. Leila was another strange one, in love with someone at work but keeping it a secret, she moves on and accepts a job with Kate, but seems a flighty and fancy free to me. Elizabeth was the most normal of the bunch I think, she left Australia after a betrayal but her husband so her sister brings her back home and here she meets Kate and also begins work. The characters work well together in the book, bouncing off each other and their stories are all interesting, and they certainly made it worth reading on.

The book does jump around a bit with flashbacks, and I did find it hard to keep up with at first because they aren't always massively clear to the reader which was a bit of a shame. But I soon got into the pattern of the book and began to settle into it. I still feel it needed to broken down in a clearer way, because the use of flashbacks was good for the story but the way it was set out wasn't defined enough for me and led to the confusion. The challenge of building the shop up was the best bit about the book, the work that goes into it, the struggles the women face, and also some of the terrifying realities they have to face, which I have to say are so well written, I felt like I was in the middle of it. This was a very good novel, well written if a little bogged down in the details at times. It's a slow-burner, but once you're into it, it's a great read. Enjoyable and recommended.

Book News: Christmas With Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Eeek! One of the most exciting Christmas reads this year has got to the sequel to Giovanna Fletcher's fab debut novel Billy and Me, which is to be called Christmas With Billy and Me! It'll be fantastic to catch up with Billy and Sophie again, especially in a festive tale, and I am super excited for this one. It's only a short story, but nevertheless, I'm sure it'll more than worth it. It's out on 6th November.

You can pre-order Christmas With Billy and Me as an eBook or a paperback now!

"Join Billy and Sophie for the next chapter of their story by bestselling author Giovanna Fletcher.

Christmas has come to Rosefont Hill and it's destined to be a particularly special festive season for Sophie May.

When a smitten stranger emails Sophie to ask her if he can propose to the woman he loves in her little teashop, the romantic in her finds it impossible to refuse. Even though Christmas is her busiest time of year she has her own sweetheart, Hollywood actor Billy Buskin, to lend a helping hand. How could she say no to making someone's dream come true?

As Sophie and Billy work together to plan the perfect fairytale proposal for this couple, excitement in Rosefont Hill is mounting. Who is this mysterious man? And who is the lucky lady he's about to get down on one knee for?"

1 September 2014

Book Review: To Have and To Hold by Helen Chandler

"From the outside, Ella has the happy marriage, the cute kids and the comfortable home - inside, she craves something more. But giving in to temptation will stir up a whole heap of trouble . . .

Imogen's relationship with Pete was once fun and carefree but since they've become parents, everything is different. Then an accident provides the catalyst for a life-changing decision.

Fifteen-year-old Phoebe is miserable at home and at school. And now her dad, who was always her ally, seems completely distracted by something - or someone. Maybe it's time Phoebe took a stand, and took control of her own life.

As Ella, Imogen and Phoebe contemplate taking the biggest risk of their lives, marriages, families and friendships hang in the balance. Should they take the leap, or will they risk losing everything?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy To Have and To Hold as a paperback or an eBook now.

I read Helen Chandler's debut novel Two For Joy and thought it was a great book, and that Helen was going to be a great new voice in the women's fiction market. I was pleased to be sent a review copy of Helen's new book, To Have and To Hold as I really loved the sound of the story. As you probably know if you read my blog a lot, I enjoy books where there is more than one story to follow, and that's exactly what this book delivers on. I have to say I love the cover design as well, it complements Helen's previous book, and is a very elegant and pretty cover too.

Three women, all at different points in their lives, dealing with their own battles, intertwining in ways they had never imagined. Ella has it all - the perfect husband, 2 beautiful children, a lovely home but there is part of her that just wants more, despite her husband's protestations. When she bumps into a face from her past, she is left questioning the decisions she made all those years ago. Ella's best friend Imogen hasn't had it easy since the birth of her daughter, what with her partner being a pretty lax father. But when a freak accident leaves Indigo injured, Imogen makes a decision that is sure to change their future forever. Finally, there's fifteen year old Phoebe, dealing with a lot of issues in her personal life, especially her troubled relationship with her mother. As things fall apart at home, Phoebe doesn't know who to turn to, leading to terrible results. Are each of the women destined to lose everything they hold dear?

This is very much a family orientated novel, dealing with the complexities of different family dynamics, and how they affect those in the families, and those around them as well. Although there are 3 separate stories as such, they're all linked in their own way which I really liked. The three women are all great characters, and each strong in their own way in what they are dealing with. The story I enjoyed reading about most was poor Phoebe. She's a really young girl, both in age and in mentality, and is really struggling at home and at school. Phoebe is overweight, she knows it but her mother enjoys reminding her about it at every opportunity, which I found really hard to read. I felt so incredibly sorry for her, her mother was just an awful character and her father just needed to grow a backbone. This was a very sad story, and while it was at times hard for me to read, it was very well written and I enjoyed reading the progression of it.

Ella I struggled to like. She's a stay at home mum to her two young children, but feels like she wants more. She seems unfulfilled, but doesn't seem like she knows what is wrong with her life. She's driven to doing something questionable and the fallout from that is what takes place in the book. I didn't feel sorry for Ella dealing with it all because honestly, she brought it on herself, and I struggled to like her for what she did. It isn't something I agree with but I felt she did make some amends with her actions towards the end of the book for me. Finally, there's Imogen, the character I could most relate to. She's effectively a single mum to her daughter Indigo, dealing with a bit of a dead-beat dad and you can see why she has had enough, although I wondered why she put up with as long as she did. She was so likeable and just deserved so much happiness, I was really rooting for her throughout the whole book. I also enjoyed reading the male characters in this book too which is unusual as sometimes the men are the ones you're meant to dislike in these books, but not in this case which I liked.

I really did enjoy this book, and found it hard to put it down whenever I was reading. I kept saying to myself 'just one more chapter' every evening, but ended up reading at least 2 or 3 more! I was hooked into the story, desperate to find out what was going to happen next, especially with poor old Phoebe, I really did feel so so sorry for her. The book is a stark reminder as well how as parents we have a duty to protect our children in lots of ways, and how our actions affect them. Ella, Imogen and Phoebe each have to move on and through the things that happen to them, relying on each other as it goes on, and it shows the importance of friends and family all the way through the story. Chandler has written a fantastic novel here, full of drama, love and family, and it's definitely cemented her as one of my new must-read authors, I really loved this book.