30 September 2013

Book Review: Since You've Been Gone by Anouska Knight

"How do you learn to love again?

In one tragic moment, Holly Jefferson s life as she knows it changes for ever. Now to the external world, at least she s finally getting back on her feet, running her business, Cake. Then she meets Ciaran Argyll.

His rich and charmed life feels a million miles from her own. However, there s more to Ciaran than the superficial world that surrounds him, and he too is wrestling with his own ghosts. Will Holly find the missing ingredient that allows her to live again and embrace an unknown and unexpected tomorrow?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Since You've Been Gone as a paperback or an eBook now.

I'll be honest and say that I hadn't heard of author Anouska Knight until I saw this book on Netgalley whilst I was browsing one evening. Apparently, she was the winner of a writing competition held by TV presenter Lorraine Kelly on her show, and has since gone on to publish this book through publishers Mills and Book. I loved the cover when I first saw it, it's really eye-catching and I was drawn into the idea of the story. I was hoping it would be a positive and I was really enjoying it when my Kindle managed to get broken halfway through, I was gutted! I was so desperate to finish it I ended up reading it on the Kindle app on my iPhone 5 (not a good experience for my eyesight!), but I was pleased to finish what was a lovely story.

Holly's life is changed in a moment when her husband dies, and she is left a young widow. Holly is struggling to get over his death, and has lived her life in her cake shop, working hard and being quite alone the rest of the time. When she has to make a cake for a society party, she meets society play boy Ciaran Argyll. Ciaran has a lot of money, women attracting his attention and a sprawling mansion and an Aston Martin to drive around in - Holly is sure he wouldn't be interested in her. But when he starts to pursue her, she's scared to let her guard down and allow herself to love again. Will Ciaran be able to break Holly down and show her that is more to him than the playboy image she knows about?

I did find the first few chapters of this book quite confusing, and I did wonder in a few parts whether or not to keep going. It kept jumping about with the narrative, I didn't really know what was going on and I didn't know whether to bear with it. Luckily I did because things are soon revealed and it settles down, but it's a shame to have such a strange beginning as I worry some people may be put off by that more than I was. I really liked the character of Holly. You can see how badly she is affected by husband's death, being very closed off and almost obsessed with work. Her colleague Jay was fantastic, a really light-hearted character but close to Holly, and I enjoyed reading about those two in the cake shop too.

Ciaran was a pretty perfect male lead, of course! He's rich but nice with it. He knows that attracts the wrong sort of women, those who only want him for his money and not for the kind person he is underneath. When he meets Holly, he realises she is one of those women who has a bit of substance, but there's something about her that is holding her back from her feelings. He's very romantic, and I enjoyed reading about the bubbling love story between these two, and was hoping a lot that Holly would really give him a chance, he deserved it! As well as the two main characters, I really enjoyed the relationship between Holly and her heavily pregnant sister, it added a new angle and relationship to the book, and it gave Holly a chance to be a bit more relaxed in the story.

I found the book to be well written, and I really enjoyed the way the character of Holly works through her grief to try and open up her heart again, it's a theme I am sure a lot of women out there will be able to relate to, and the addition of her cake shop with its delicious cakes makes it even more readable! Apart from the slow start, there wasn't a lot for me to criticise in the book as I enjoyed the pace of the story, the setting and the way it all unfolds slowly and carefully. With a loveable leading lady that you will be wishing a happy ending for, I would definitely reading Since You've Been Gone for some cosy winter evening reading. It's a good debut novel, a sweet romance as you'd expect from publishers Mills and Boon, and I look forward to reading more from Anouska Knight.

eBook News: Me and Mr Carrington: A Short Story by Alexandra Brown

Just before the release of her next book Christmas at Carrington's, Alexandra Brown is bringing us a new short story with the characters from that book, a prequel entitled Me and Mr Carrington. It's out on 10th October as an eBook only release.

You can pre-order Me and Mr Carrington as an eBook now!

"A short story from the author of Cupcakes at Carrington’s – and a prequel to Christmas at Carrington’s!

Georgie Hart can’t believe her luck. It looks like Tom, the hunky boss of Carrington’s Department Store, in the picture-postcard town of Mulberry-on-Sea, is as hot for her as she is for him. After a romantic Italian get-together leaves her on Cloud Nine, Georgie is brought back down to earth with a bump when she has to get back behind the counter of the Luxury Handbags section.

But when Georgie is left open-mouthed by a revelation from one of her well-heeled customers, it seems like Tom hasn’t been entirely honest with her. Has Georgie done her usual trick of adding two and two together to make five?

Ever wondered what happened when Georgie first got together with Mr Carrington himself? This deliciously funny short story is perfect for anyone who loved Cupcakes at Carrington’s, and for those discovering the lovable Georgie Hart for the first time. The story also features an exclusive peek at the next book, Christmas at Carrington’s."

27 September 2013

Book Review: Coco's Secret by Niamh Greene

"Coco Swan has always been embarrassed by her name.

With a name like Coco, she thinks people expect her to be as exotic and glamorous as the famous designer, not an ordinary-looking small-town antiques dealer who could win an award for living cautiously.

But when a vintage Chanel handbag turns up in a box of worthless bric-a-brac, Coco's quiet world is turned upside down. Where did it come from? And is it just coincidence that it's the same bag Coco's late mother always wanted for her?

When Coco discovers a mysterious, decades-old letter hidden in the bag's lining, she sets off on a quest to piece together the story behind it, stumbling across secrets that span three generations as she goes.

Could the beautiful Chanel bag be about to teach Coco more than she wants to learn? Or will it show her just where her heart can take her if she lets it lead the way?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Coco's Secret as a paperback and an eBook now.

I'll be honest, I haven't read any of Niamh Greene's books before, I have some on my bookshelf but I have sadly never gotten around to reading them. I wasn't hugely taken by the cover of this one, I wasn't sure it would be something that I'd enjoy but when I saw that lots of my fellow bloggers were raving about it on Twitter, I couldn't resist giving it a go and seeing for myself what the fuss was about. I'm so pleased that I did because I really loved the warm story inside, and I really enjoyed Greene's writing, I'm certainly going to be reading her books from now on!

Coco Swan feels a bit like she's been cursed by her name... people hear Coco and assume she must be uber-glamourous like her namesake Coco Chanel, whereas Coco herself couldn't be any more different. She works as an antique dealer with her grandmother and she loves her job. However, when Coco finds a vintage Chanel bag in amongst a box she won at an auction, she's shocked and decides that she needs to find the owner of the bag, sure it must be a mistake that the bag has ended up in there at all. She soon finds an old letter in the pocket of the bag, and it sends her on a mission to find the bag's owner and reunite them with their precious letter. Will Coco be able to part with the gorgeous Chanel bag, but will she also be able to find the bag's owner and the letter's author too?

I really enjoyed everything about this book. I loved how Coco discovered the vintage Chanel bag, the whole mystery that unravelled because of that, and I also really enjoyed reading about Coco's family life with her grandmother, and her job too. Everything about it was very readable, and I loved escaping into Coco's world every night when I picked up the book. Coco herself was very likeable as a main character, a quiet girl who likes her creature comforts, loves imagining the stories behind the old things in her shop and is just a lovely woman. She's very caring too, and I loved the relationship between her and her grandmother, the woman who raised her after the young death of her mother when she was just a child. The pair are very close and it was touching to read how close and open they were with each other, there were certainly some funny moments in there too!

The whole idea of the bag, especially because it was a Chanel bag was special, and I loved how the mystery unravelled. As a reader, you're sent down one path believing something, but I loved how Greene throws a curveball and sends you in an unexpected direction - I didn't expect it at all and I really enjoyed reading it. The way the story unravels and the pace of it is perfect - it doesn't rush, instead it meanders along slowly, telling us its secrets in good time and letting this happen at a believable pace. Things don't always go perfectly either which is quite true to life, so there's a good touch of realism to the book. The setting was beautiful too, a small Irish village, it sounded so quaint and you can see why Coco didn't want to leave.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and everything about it to be honest. It's a very touching read, with lots of emotion and it certainly touched my heart once I had finished. The ending in particular felt perfect, it really had a perfect conclusion to the story, and I felt satisfied once I'd turned the final page that everything had happened as I wanted it to! I really enjoyed meeting all of the character with Coco on her journey, it was a fascinating read that opens your mind up to a different period of time, but also exposes many different kinds of relationships within the one story, and I think this is what I enjoyed most of all about the book. Greene's writing was wonderful to read, very evocative and full of emotion, and she really brings alive the story inside your mind as you're reading, you just end up desperate to find out how it's all going to end. A super book that I highly recommend, I can't wait to read more by Niamh Greene.

25 September 2013

Book Review: Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream by Abby Clements

"Amelia has a dream: toasting chestnuts by the fire with her husband Jack in their own cosy cottage. Their real life is another world - a cramped one-bedroom flat in Hackney. But when life takes a surprising turn, removal vans are soon heading to the Kent countryside.

They soon realise the cottage makeover is a far bigger project than they'd anticipated. On top of that, there's Amelia's newly loved-up mum and her tearaway half-sister, Mirabel, to contend with - pushing Amelia and Jack's marriage to breaking point.

Amelia begins to strip back the wallpaper and fittings in the cottage and discovers the story of the cottage's previous owner - and a hidden secret. As Amelia's ideas about love and family change, will her fireside dream finally come true?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream as a paperback or an eBook now.

Abby Clements is quickly becoming one of my must-read authors, and I was thrilled to see she is back this autumn with another brand new novel, her second book out in 2013! I adored her summer read, Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop which was released earlier this year, so I was looking forward to settling down with an autumnal read. I really like the cover, the colours work so well together and it's a pretty look that works well alongside her other 2013 book cover, and I just knew it would be a perfect read and I eagerly got stuck in.

Amelia Grey loves her job as a teacher and is happily married to her husband Jack. The pair live in a small flat in London, near Amelia's school. Now she's turning 30, Amelia is determined to make some serious changes in her life, and wants a nice house to live in, not their poky flat. When the pair find a gorgeous cottage in a quiet country village, Amelia and Jack decide the renovations it desperately need will be worth it, and decide to take a gamble and move in. However, Amelia doesn't count on her much younger half sister rocking up on her doorstep, and her tricky relationship with her mother playing into everything. Soon, Amelia and Jack find their marriage is being stretched - the cottage is more work than they thought, and it's making them realise they might have different life plans. Will Amelia be able to make her cottage home dream come true, or is it all over before it's begun?

Straight away, I warmed to the main character of Amelia. She's very realistic, you can believe that she could be living next door to you, or teaching your children. I really liked her, she was kind, warm and most of all, very normal. She was determined to get her cottage and she got there, I liked that she was determined to make her dream come true, and her friendships in the book were genuine too, and nice to read. Her husband Jack was nice enough, but I didn't like his stubborn streak, he seemed a bit disrespectful of Amelia's feelings regarding certain issues in the book, and it's a shame he reacted as he did. Of course, it served to help Amelia develop more as a character, but still it was annoying to me he acted as he did, I had expected more of him as he was so lovely in the beginning!

I really liked the sub plots in this book as well. There's the story of Amelia's friends starting a family, her teacher friend trying to work out her complicated relationship with her new boyfriend, and the plot of the arrival of Amelia's half sister Mirabel. This was interesting, and added a new slant to the book and I really enjoyed this part of it, it also exposed more of Amelia's own family problems, especially with her father. It all cleverly comes together to make a wonderful story that I really enjoyed, and found myself getting lost in in the evenings whenever I picked this book up.

I can't review the book without mentioning the gorgeous cottage though, can I?! It sounds just idyllic, even though admittedly it did need a lot of work putting into it! Clements writes it so beautifully though, from the small thing such as windows and floors, to the gorgeous rambling garden with its own stream to the countryside views, and general village life. It all sounds perfect and you can see why Amelia was drawn to it so much. I really liked the inclusion of the mood boards at the start of chapters too, really letting you get the mood of the house in your head, and it let Amelia unleash her creative side! Everything seemed to go so well together, and I loved the descriptions of the newly decorated rooms and garden, it sounded just lovely.

This is probably my favourite of Abby Clements' books to date, and that's no mean feat considering how much I haved loved her previous two books. There's something so comforting and cosy about this story, how Amelia and Jack go from a rundown old cottage to creating a home for themselves, and the trials and tribulations they have to fact along the way. Amelia is the perfect star of the book, I loved her and was sad to leave her behind as I turned the final page. I know this is one book that will be staying on my keepers shelf, and I can't urge you enough to run out and get a copy as soon as you can, you won't regret it. A charming read, I can't wait for Clements next!

Book News: Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman

Michele Gorman, through her new publishers Notting Hill Press, is back with a new christmas novella! Christmas Carol is out now, and sounds like a fantastic fun story to read this festive season, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm loving the christmassy cover as well, certainly gets me in the mood for the Christmas season!

You can buy Christmas Carol as a paperback now.

"One winter wedding, two happy couples, three ex-boyfriends And a very uncomfortable weekend. Carol hates Christmas. Being recently dumped, she’s not crazy about weddings either. So her sister Marley’s nuptials, over the Christmas weekend, are making her positively Scrooge-like. When she arrives for the weekend at the stately home in rural Scotland to find her three ex-boyfriends in attendance, Carol has no choice but to face her ghosts to discover what really happened in those relationships, learning a lot about herself in the process. As the snow falls outside and the fire crackles in the hearth, might one of the wedding guests become the harbinger of Christmases to come?"

24 September 2013

Book News: A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon

Lucy Dillon is one of my favourite authors, so I was thrilled to see that she will be back early next year with a brand new novel! A Hundred Pieces of Me is due out on 27th February 2014 and it sounds like a great story, I'm so excited to read it. I'm loving the cover too, it's so pretty!

You can pre-order A Hundred Pieces of Me as a paperback or an eBook now.

"Letters from the only man she's ever loved.

A keepsake of the father she never knew.

Or just a beautiful glass vase that catches the light, even on a grey day.

If you had the chance to make a fresh start, what would you keep from your old life? What would you give away?

Gina Bellamy is starting again, after a difficult few years she'd rather forget. But the belongings she's treasured for so long just don't seem to fit who she is now.

So Gina makes a resolution. She'll keep just a hundred special items - the rest can go.

But that means coming to terms with her past and learning to embrace the future, whatever it might bring . . ."

23 September 2013

Book Review: Wait For You by J Lynn

"Some things are worth waiting for…

Away from home for the first time and finally free from her past, nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten wants to keep her first year of college low key. Get good grades, avoid the parties and maybe – please God – make a few friends. The one thing she didn’t plan on was capturing the attention of the hottest guy on campus…

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of hotness. Avery knows she should stay away from him, but Cam is everywhere, with his charm, his kindness, his sexy dimple…Getting involved with him is dangerous, but ignoring their scorching tension is impossible.

And some things are worth fighting for…

When Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls, she realises that someone from her past is refusing to let her go. When the devastating truth comes out, will Cam be there to help her or will she have to face it alone?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Wait For You as a paperback or an eBook now.

I've been quite pleased with the few New Adult books I have read this year, a brand new genre that has come about and seems to be rising in popularity quite quickly. I've enjoyed books by authors such as Cora Carmack and Jessica Sorensen, so when a copy of J Lynn's (aka Jennifer Armentrout) book came through my doorstep, I'll confess the first thing I did was pop over to Amazon and see what sort of response it had had. Well. It was rather popular. Hundreds of five star reviews, and I also found out that this book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller as well. I decided I just had to give it a go and find out what all the fuss was about, even if I have to confess I was a bit confused by the cover at first (it soon makes sense once you start reading though!).

Avery Morgansten has finally managed to get out of her home, away from her parents and to a new life in college. She's determined to forget the things in her past that she has left there, and wants to invent a new Avery. When she meets fellow student Cameron, she's surprised at her feelings for him. She tries to stay away, but finds herself being drawn to him however hard she tries to not have any feelings for him. As the pair becomes closer, Avery wonders whether she can trust him and if she can reveal her past secrets to him. When she starts getting nasty emails and texts, Avery decides to ignore them but knows that her past is starting to catch up with her, even though she's hundreds of miles away. Will Avery be able to let Cameron in to help her, or will her past end up pushing away her future too?

If I'm honest, I have to say that there are a lot of similarities between this book and Jessica Sorensen's book 'The Coincidence of Callie and Cayden' which was also released this year. Much of the story was very, very alike, from things happening with the main female character, the romance between the shy female and the handsome main male, and the setting too. However, I didn't mind this and although I found myself drawing comparisons, the writing styles were different and they were both very enjoyable books.As I mentioned before, the cover seemed a bit strange to me at first, many of these New Adult books feature rather attractive men and women, so this one does break the mould but I like how it references the book.

I found the characters in the book to be really likeable. Avery, our main character, is a damaged young woman, haunted by something that has happened to her in her past. I guessed quite early on what it was, but I liked how Lynn tackled this in the story, and how it affected Avery. It was realistic to read about, and made Avery a sympathetic character. Cameron was the typical handsome college jock, very popular, clever and all the girls like him, so of course he has to go for the shy girl who lives near him, making everyone else jealous! Lynn writes him to be really likeable though, so I didn't mind that it was a tad predictable with that story, and I just wanted the two of them to get it together if I'm honest! I did get annoyed with Avery constantly turning down Cam, especially when she couldn't seem to justify why she was, but it did help build the pair's relationship a bit more.

I have to give a mention to a few of the supporting characters too, in particular Avery's friends Jacob and Brit. They were hilarious, and provided a lot of the comedy moments in the book, and pushed for the relationship between Avery and Cam too, which is pretty much what the readers of this book are doing too! I enjoyed the setting of a college, it worked well for the book and I learnt a thing or two as I was reading too, so even better. One thing I want to mention about this book was the realism in Lynn's writing. Some of the scenes were very vivid, they come alive in your mind and they were fun to read... even the love scenes in the book were very well handled and written, very sensual and tasteful I have to say which was nice to read.

I'm sure people will slate this book because yes, it's a bit predictable, and yes, it is a lot like many of the New Adult books out there, but for me, this was easy reading, a sweet love story and I enjoyed reading it. I loved the characters, J Lynn's writing style totally suited me and Avery and Cam were a lovely couple. As I mentioned, I did find myself getting frustrated with Avery in parts, but it's part of her character to be how she is and you just have to persist with her. If you've enjoyed other New Adults titles, then I would definitely recommend you pick up a copy of Wait For You. It felt very real as I was reading, like it could really be ahappening and wasn't too contrived, and was full of emotion. I really enjoyed Wait For You and am looking forward to the next book in the series, Be With You which is due in 2014. A great read.

Book News: The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

One of my favourite authors Rowan Coleman is finally back with a new book early next year, and I am so excited to read it! The cover for The Memory Book is just stunning, and I love it. The idea of the book sounds brilliant too, and I'm sure it'll be another book that will make me cry like Rowan's previous novels! It isn't out until 27th February 2014, but already I can't wait!

You can pre-order The Memory Book as a hardcover now!

"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...?"

20 September 2013

eBook News: A Vintage Christmas by Ali Harris

I absolutely adored Ali Harris' festive novel Miracle on Regent Street which was released a few years ago, so I was thrilled to see that she is bringing those characters back for a brand new short story! It's out on 24th October and I am already loving the cover! Look out for it soon, I can't wait to read it.

You can pre-order A Vintage Christmas as an eBook now.

"Evie has the perfect job and the perfect man, but keeping both in her life has become a serious balancing act...

With the sales coming to a close at Hardy's, Evie must source new stock for the season ahead. Her mind is constantly buzzing with ideas and layouts, so much so that she is forgetting all about Sam.

Can she learn to keep her work separate from her home life? Or will she lose everything...

Ali Harris weaves a story of Christmas miracles in this magical short story eBook exclusive!"

19 September 2013

eBook News: Tuesdays at the Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene

Following on from her 2012 novel that I really enjoyed, The Vintage Teacup Club, Vanessa Greene is back with a brand new eBook short story starring all the characters from that very book. It's out on 1st October, and I'm looking forward to reading it and catching up with the characters once more!

You can pre-order Tuesdays at the Teacup Club as an eBook now.

"A lot can change in a year . . . 

The children's books Jenny writes and illustrates from her countryside studio are doing well, and after a lifetime of looking after everyone else, she's finally putting herself first. Meanwhile, Maggie's ordered world is thrown into chaos when her baby son Leo arrives. Candlelit baths have made way for endless night feeds, and she and partner Owen are struggling to find any time for themselves. It's been a long year of financial sacrifice, but working-mum Alison has fulfilled her dream at last - she is now the proud co-owner of a café and art gallery. 

But when Alison's happiness is threatened and news from home shocks Jenny back to reality, the women must band together. Suddenly their friendship is more important than ever. 

In this digital-exclusive short story, Vanessa Greene revisits the characters we first fell in love with in The Vintage Teacup Club. Appealing to both new and old fans, this is a real treat for anyone who enjoys warm-hearted and sincere storytelling - and it's best enjoyed with a nice cup of tea."

18 September 2013

Book Review: The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Café by Mary Simses

"Manhattan lawyer Ellen Branford is going to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish - to find the hometown boy she once loved and give him her last letter. Beacon, Maine, home to blueberry fields and eccentric locals, is the last place she wants to go so close to her upcoming wedding. Hoping to be in and out in 24 hours, Ellen ends up the talk of the town when a tumble into the ocean introduces her to Roy Cummings, the carpenter who saves her life. Roy happens to be the nephew of Ellen's grandmother's lost love, and the one person who can bring closure to her quest. But as Ellen learns what Beacon has to offer and what her grandmother left behind, she may find that a 24 hour visit will never be enough..."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Café as a paperback or an eBook now.

I was invited to be a part of the blog tour for Mary Simses' debut novel The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café, and this peaked my interest for reading the book. I had read good things about this on fellow bloggers sites, so I decided to give the book a try and find out more about this lovely blueberry bakeshop! I did really enjoy the book but I have one complaint about it... one that actually stopped the book being 5/5 and made it 4/5 ... the title is completely irrelevant really! The bakeshop barely appears in the book, it certainly isn't an integral part of the story so if you're expecting to read about that, you will be left disappointed! It is a sweet love story and a family discovery too, but this has nothing to do with the title and I have to say I do think it's a tad misleading which is a bit of a shame.

Ellen is devastated when her beloved grandmother dies. Before her grandmother passed, she gave Ellen a dying wish... to return a letter to someone from her past, but she doesn't leave Ellen with a lot of information to go on. Ellen has to return to the place where her grandmother grew up, a small town called Beacon in the state of Maine. Ellen is used to a fast paced lifestyle as a lawyer with a glamourous home, fiancé and job to match, and she finds the slower pace of Beacon somewhat hard to get used to. She hopes to make it a fleeting visit - drop the letter off and quickly get back home. But when she meets local carpenter Roy Cummings, things start to change in Ellen's life, especially when she finds her own life being saved by him. How will her brief visit to Beacon send Ellen's life down another path, and make some discoveries about her family too?

I found the writing of this book to be really enjoyable to read. I loved how Simses made Ellen quite unsympathetic at first, she was quite rude to the locals, dismissive about the place and the hotel she was staying in and generally not someone you could warm to. It seems that the magic of the town works its own magic on Ellen because she does become softer, and as she finds out more about her grandmother, she softens more and I enjoyed discovering more about her family history along with her. When we meet Ellen's mother and fiancé, we can begin to understand why she is how she is in the book, and I liked how they were all so closely interlinked with each other, even though Ellen is apart from them for pretty much the whole book.

The town of Beacon sounds like an idyllic place to live, and I love how Simses writes it. It certainly comes to life in my mind, from the harbour area to the quaint hotel that Ellen stays in to the local bars and restaurants she eats it... it all creates an atmosphere in the book that you are quickly swept into and I was very quickly absorbed into the book. I loved reading about the blueberry fields too, discovering all about Ellen's grandmother and her talents, and of course meeting the lovely Roy, who seems such like such a perfect man all the way through the book, and I was willing Ellen to see it too. The interactions between he and Ellen were so fun to read, and I loved the chemistry that they had, especially when Roy saves Ellen's life and she is determined that she didn't need his help at all!

Mary Simses book is a very enjoyable read and I enjoyed it from start to finish. It's a shame that it was such a misleading and irrelevant title because it is a wonderful love story and you really do find yourself swept up into the romance and mystery of the small town of Beacon. I really liked Roy and Ellen, they were great characters to follow and you are rooting for their romance throughout the story. This is a great debut novel that I would definitely recommend enjoying on these cold autumnal night, and it makes me look forward to reading more from Mary Simses. A lovely and charming read.

Book News: Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale

Ooh yes, it's another Christmas book! I'm going mad this week with a lot of Christmas release posts, but the festive stuff in the shops has got me all excited. Jenny Hale, a new debut author, has a festive read out this year, on 4th October, and it's called Coming Home for Christmas. I really love the cover, it's so pretty and I already have a copy sitting on my shelf waiting to be read!

You can pre-order Coming Home for Christmas as a paperback now.

"What does Allie Richfield do when faced with the decision to move back home with her mother or live and work in a multimillion dollar mansion? She flips a coin.

Unsuccessful both professionally and personally, Allie is hurled back into the real world with an aging degree and little work experience in her field. With the flip of a coin, she takes a job as house manager for the Ashford estate, an early twentieth century Virginian manor.

Robert Marley, Allie’s new boss, is short tempered and brash. Robert’s younger brother, Kip, relentlessly flirts with her. His sister, Sloane, returns with two kinds of baggage: the Luis Vuitton kind and the divorcée-with-two-small-children kind. Pippa, the ninety-two year old Marley matriarch, decides to befriend Allie—and Pippa doesn’t befriend anybody. They’re all coming home for Christmas—that is, except Robert who refuses to take part in the family tradition.

As the family converges for one final holiday before the house sells in January, Allie’s life as she knows it will be changed forever. And Robert Marley might just have something to do with it."

17 September 2013

Book News: Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan

Oh yes, it's another Christmas release! I am really looking forward to Jenny Colgan's latest Christmas offering, which takes us back to the characters from her fantastic book Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams, a book I read and loved a few years ago. The cover for this one is gorgeous, and I can't wait for its release on 7th November!

You can pre-order Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop as a hardcover or an eBook now.

"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?"

16 September 2013

Book Review: Wing Girl by Nic Tatano

"Wing Girl: [wing-gurl] noun
1. A young, single woman frequenting liquor-serving establishments who attracts then later repels eligible men that are eventually picked up by her friends.
2. The essential accessory for dating in Manhattan.

For years guys have cruised bars using the "wing man" as a divide and conquer weapon designed to liberate a gorgeous woman from her not-so-beautiful friend.

Meet Belinda Carson, Wing Girl.

She's a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners investigative reporter fighting for truth, justice and higher ratings. But while her fame draws in the hotties, it’s unfortunate that you can’t buy a new personality at Bloomingdales!

Because up close and personal these unsuspecting suitors get fried by a snarky attitude that's sharp enough to slice a stale bagel…
which leaves her grateful friends to swoop in for the delectable leftovers!

Only enough is enough – isn’t it time for Belinda to stop taking one for the team and land her own Mr Right?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Winggirl as an eBook now.

After a massive problem in getting this book sent to my Kindle (no fault of the publishers I must say, and they were very helpful in sorting it out!), I was really keen to read this eBook which I had heard lots of good things about! I also love the fact that Harper Impulse give their eBooks decent covers worthy of being printed too... eBooks need lovely covers to draw people in, I don't care what people say, covers are important! This is a book by a new author to me, Nic Tatano and I was curious to read it and see whether I would agree with the other reviewers who have raved about it so far!

Belinda Carson loves her job as an investigative reporter for her local TV station. She's a gorgeous woman, but tends to hide it behind baggy jumpers, leggings and a strong attitude that often turns men off rather than on. Her friends Ariel, Serena and Roxanne decide they have to do something about it, and decide to give Belinda a makeover. When Belinda is transformed, she's surprised by the amount of attention she received from the opposite sex. However, it isn't just her appearance that needs to change... it's her attitude, table manners and general self too! Belinda decides she might as well go all in and try her best to attract a man, but will she be able to pick the right one from the rotten apple?

I really loved the character of Belinda. The book was written in the first person from her perspective, so you really feel like you get to know her well enough to want her to find Mr Right, and have everything work out for her! I liked that in the beginning she didn't care too much for her appearance, instead more keen on doing a good job as a journalist, and being a good friend. I wasn't too sure about her friends wanting to change her appearance, after all it isn't all about how you look, but I did agree her snarky attitude sometimes needed an overhaul, although it did give me a good laugh! The relationship she had with her three girlfriends, Roxanne in particular, were fun to read, and it was nice to read some genuine female relationships. I have to mention Vincent too, who is one of my favourite male characters in a book this year, he's so lovely!

The backdrop of New York City was the perfect setting for the book. It worked well for the idea of the powerful women in the book, the exciting newscasts that Belinda gets to be a part of, and to be honest, I just love reading anything about New York! Nic Tatano's writing was really easy to read, getting into Belinda's head so well that you are soon engrossed in the book and I found myself not wanting to put it down. It's got love, it's got laughs and lots of moments that just make you smile and want to keep reading. It's realistic too - you can believe that everything you are reading could happen and I think that's important in a book, I do like a sense of realism! I'm really looking forward to the next eBook from Nic Tatano, Harper Impulse have found a great new author here and this one is definitely one to read!

14 September 2013

Support 'Books Are My Bag'!

I hope you guys have been out supporting the amazing Books Are My Bag campaign today! It's been a day to go out and support your local bookshop and buy yourself a book and hopefully an amazing 'Books Are My Bag' canvas bag too, exclusively available at bookshops nationwide. I've got my bag, and Harry and I did our bit earlier going out to get him a few new books to share, so I hope this campaign has had an effect on people and made you want to keep shopping at your local bookshop and not so much online! Nothing beats going into a bookshop, browsing and taking home those lovely books to enjoy so let's keep our bookshops alive, and show everyone that Books are OUR bag! :)

Find out loads more about the campaign at their website or via their Twitter page!

13 September 2013

Book Review: Another Way to Fall by Amanda Brooke

"What would you do if you could write the story of your life?

After battling a brain tumour twenty-nine year old Emma thinks she is in the clear, but her world comes crashing down around her when she is told her fight was in vain, and there is nothing more the doctors can do.

Realising that she won’t now have time to achieve the things she dreamed of, Emma decides to write her perfect life in a story. She imagines all the things she would have done, the places she would have seen, the husband she would have shared her life with and the family they would have raised. And, mysteriously, as she writes her story, she starts to notice that some of her dreams seem to be coming true.

Now with a real love in her life, and her fading hope burning brighter, reality and fiction start to become blurred. As she writes their life-long love story Emma dares to believe that anything is possible, but can she really change her fate?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Another Way to Fall as a paperback or an eBook now.

I'll be honest and say for some reason I hadn't noticed this book until I was contacted by the lovely Jaime at Harper who offered a review copy to me. I read the blurb and thought it sounded like an intriguing read, and I wanted to find out what was going to happen with Emma's story. I was quite prepared for it to be a bit of a sad read, but I don't think I was anywhere near ready for the emotional rollercoaster that I found myself on when I was reading the book. I went from smiling to sobbing, and by the end, I was so moved I couldn't pick up another book for a few days. It's one of those really emotional books that will haunt you and stay with you for a long time, and for me is a must-read.

Emma has been battling a brain tumour for a few years, and she thought she'd finally beaten it. But when she starts getting more symptoms and finds out that her tumour has returned, and this time there's nothing more the doctors can do to help her, she begins to feel bereft. Being only 29, Emma realises she isn't going to get to do all of the things in life she wanted to - travel, get married and have children. So she begins to write a story of her perfect life, with this version of Emma getting to do all those things that she will miss out on. However, as she starts writing her story, things in her own life start changing, and for the better as well. Emma finally opens up her heart, and with that tries to find happiness in the short time she has left.

I don't want to spoil too much of the book, but I have to say how much I loved the character of Emma. Straight away, you get the sense that she is an incredibly strong person having to deal with a really horrible disease, and Brooke writes this so poignantly that you can't help but be touched by it from the first page. Emma's pain, both physical and emotional, is obvious too. Her longing for things she knows she won't have is hard to read and often moved me to tears, and certainly makes you feel grateful that you aren't in her shoes. I can't imagine what it must be like to live with such uncertainty, and while it doesn't always make for comfortable reading, you can't stop turning the pages and being absorbed by Emma and her tale. I really enjoyed the aspect of her writing her own happy ending as well, it was quite bittersweet but the way she felt she was living somewhat through her fictional Emma was heart-warming.

One thing I found really, really hard was to read the scenes with Emma and her mother Meg. I was in floods of tears with these scenes, particularly towards the end because as a mum, I couldn't help but put myself in Emma's mums shoes and the pain she was going through knowing she was going to lose her child. It was very emotional for me in this respect, and I am sure a lot of mothers reading this will be thinking the same thing. It was heart-breaking but such a pivotal part of the story it had to be there. The relationship that Emma had with her sister too was wonderful to read, so close and Brooke writes the pain of both so easily. The love story within too gives Emma hope, and you can't help but wish she could get the happy ever after that she so deserves, even though you know it isn't possible.

Another Way to Fall is really emotional, heart-breaking and moving book that will definitely move you to tears, but it is one that you'll be pleased you've read once you have. It's full of hope and love, showing how families can come together when they are pushed to the very limit, and how you have to be there for each other through the ups and downs, no matter what. Brooke has really tapped into the emotions of these characters so well, their pain, their heartbreak and also their hope too that you are feeling these emotions along with them, it's so powerful. When I read the opening to the book which explains how Brooke lost her own young son to cancer, you can see how she has tapped into her own awful experiences to put across the realistic side to this book, and as you've probably guessed that made me cry even more. Never has a book made me cry so book, but I'm still pleased I've read, and I know it's one that will remain on my 'keepers' shelf, a truly moving book.

6 September 2013

eBook News: Woman Walks into a Bar by Rowan Coleman

Rowan Coleman is releasing a new eBook this month, but it's one with a difference. Rowan is donating all of the proceeds of the book to charity Refuge, one which helps women and children to escape domestic violence. Rowan hopes to raise £10,000 through the eBook, and all you have to do to help is buy a copy for your Kindle for a mere £1.59.

Also... there's a chance for you to win some amazing prizes too. Rowan says "Everytime you download a copy of 'Woman Walks into a Bar' you will be entered into a prize draw to win fabulous prizes like a Kindle Paperwhite, A one off designer bag, and lots of Benefit Make up goodies, BUT to be entered you MUST tweet or facebook your purchase via amazon and include the tags #supportafriend and #womanwalks Don't forget to do it, and tell all your friends."

Support a fantastic cause championed by a brilliant author and buy the book now. The eBook is out on 10th September.

"A night out with the girls changes Sam’s life forever…

28-year-old single mother Sam spends her days working in the local supermarket and her Friday nights out with her friends letting her hair down at the White Horse. Life hasn’t been easy for Sam and her daughter, Beth (who always looks on the bright side) but she’s always hoped that one day she’ll break free from her past and meet The One. 

But after a series of terrible dates with men she’s met through an internet dating site, that have all been as awful as her daughter's terrible jokes, she’s starting to lose heart - until her friends tell her they’ve set her up on a blind date. Sam’s horrified but finally she agrees to go. After all you never know when you might meet the man of your dreams; just maybe Sam’s happy ending is just about to begin….

But will Sam have to face up to her past before she can find a new future?"

You can pre-order Woman Walks into a Bar as an eBook now!

5 September 2013

Book Review: The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

"Things to do when I grow up:

1. Have a baby

2. Fall in love

3. Perform live on a super-big stage

Brett Bohlinger seems to have it all: a plum job, a spacious loft and an irresistibly handsome boyfriend. That is, until her beloved moth
er passes away leaving behind a will with one big stipulation: in order to receive her inheritance, Brett must first complete the life list of goals she'd written when she was fourteen.

Grief-stricken, Brett cannot believe she can ever fulfil her mother's wishes, because to do so would mean losing her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend.

But as Brett reluctantly embarks on a perplexing journey in search of her adolescent dreams, one thing becomes clear: sometimes life's sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Life List as a paperback or an eBook now.

This is one debut novel I didn't hear about until shortly before it was due to be released. I had seen it on another blog and it sounded like a great read, so when I was invited to be a part of the blog tour, I jumped at the chance. I hosted a lovely article by Lori Nelson Spielman, and at the time I was only halfway through the book. I took it on holiday with me and had to finish it straight away because I was so involved in the story. I have to compliment the publishers on the gorgeous cover too - I think it's really beautiful and somehow fits in well with the idea of the story too. I really loved this book, and here's why I think it's a must-read.

Brett is devastated when her mother passes away after an illness. She and her mother were very close, and Brett wonders how she is going cope without her rock guiding her through her life. When the will is read and Brett finds out all of her brothers have been given an inheritance and she hasn't, Brett is dumbfounded - why has her mother treated her so differently to her siblings? She soon finds out that her mother has set aside an inheritance, but it's on some strict conditions. Brett has to complete the 'life list' she wrote when she was just a teenager. It seems a strange request - some of the things aren't relevant anymore but Brett is sure there must be a method in her mother's madness. Brett decides she must do what her mother asks, and when she starts completing the tasks, she wonders how they can lead to a happier life for her after all....

This really was a brilliant book. The lead character of Brett Bohlinger is so likeable. Straight away, you sympathise with her as the book opens with Brett at the funeral of her mother and you can see how badly she is affected by her loss. She's bereft and her actions show that so well. When the idea of her teenage life list is introduced, I really liked how Brett dismissed it, sure she is a very different person from the teenager who wrote that list. As she begins to open her mind to the things she has to do, from putting on a stand-up comedy show to having children, something which seems impossible given the year time limit Brett's mother has put on her completing these tasks, you can see Brett change as a person, and I really enjoyed reading the relationship between Brett and her mother's attorney Brad develop as he helps her fulfill her tasks throughout the year.

What shocked me most of all about this book though was the emotion within. While the idea of Brett completing these life list tasks is the main theme, it is the way she goes about completing one of these tasks that really sticks with me and really moves me. There is a story in the book involving Brett and young pregnant girl Sanquita. This story shocked me with how much it struck me and made me think about mother-child relationships in a different way. I'm not ashamed to say that a few parts in this story drove me to tears, it was so emotional and full credit to Nelson Spielman for handling this story so sensitively. I also liked Brett trying to fulfill another of her tasks, connecting with her father. This, again, took some real twists and turns and I loved how it all turned out in the end. It was unexpected, in so many ways and for the whole book really but it worked so well.

At the heart of this book is a beautiful bond between a mother and daughter and this remains the most important thing throughout. Yes, Brett's mother is no longer with her in body, but you get the feeling she is with her in every other way and you can see how Brett draws strength from that. The book takes place over the year of Brett trying to complete her tasks, and I enjoyed reading her character grow and change as a person, accepting those things she cannot change and embracing the ones she could. The bond between Brett and her brothers too was interesting, especially showing how money and business can affect everyone, no matter how close they are. The book isn't at predictable, it twists and turns along the way - when you're sure you know where it's going, Nelson Spielman throws you in another direction, and I really enjoyed it. It's an emotional and very touching read that will certainly stay in your mind when you've finished it. There are some important lessons in this book, and I'm sure everyone who reads it can take something from it. A beautiful book that deserves to be read, shared and loved.

3 September 2013

September 2013 Releases

I cannot quite believe we are already in September.... which is a great thing because a) it's nearly time to start the countdown to Christmas and b) that means festive reads! In the mean time though, we have a great selection of books out this month, and I'm certainly looking forward to a few of them! I've also added in a few eBook only titles because I feel eBooks are now so popular, they deserve to be included. Let me know which ones you are looking forward to reading.

2 September 2013

Book News: Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper

This book caught my eye when I was browsing for Christmas titles on Amazon the other day, and reminded me I have another of Fiona Harper's festive offerings on my bookshelf to enjoy! Her latest book Make My Wish Come True is due on out on November 1st, complete with colourful festive-style cover, and I think it sounds like a great read, and one I'll add to my festive must-reads list!

You can pre-order Make My Wish Come True as an eBook or a paperback now.

"Family-orientated and Christmas-dinner cook extraordinaire Juliet is trying to keep it together in the wake of her marriage breakdown two Christmases ago, but the cracks are beginning to show. Bright and vivacious Gemma was always the favourite daughter… So she has no qualms about leaving Christmas in her sister Juliet’s capable hands; and escaping the pressures of her glamorous job, and the festive madness by jetting off to somewhere warm. When Gemma shirks responsibility once too many and announces she’s off to the Caribbean (again!); Juliet finally snaps. Gemma offers her sister the perfect solution - to swap Christmases: she’ll stay home and cook the turkey (how hard can it be?) and Juliet can fly off into the sun and have a restorative break. In the midst of all the chaos, there’s Will, Juliet’s dishy neighbour who’s far too nice to float Gemma’s boat and may secretly harbour feelings for her sister; and Marco, the suave Italian in the villa next door, who has his own ideas about the best way to help Juliet unwind. Will the sisters abandon caution and make this a Christmas swap to remember?"