26 January 2015

Book News: The Beachside Guest House by Vanessa Greene

Vanessa Greene is back this spring with a brand new book... The Beachside Guest House! It's due out on 28th April, and I love the summery looking cover too, makes me hopeful of some warmer weather soon! I love Vanessa's stories, and I am sure this one will be another I will adore and devour!

You can pre-order The Beachside Guest House as a paperback or an eBook now.

"When Rosa and Bee get together in the run-up to Bee's wedding, they reminisce about the holiday they took together as teenagers to the beautiful Greek island of Paros. They remember the sandy coves, the guest house in the converted windmill where they stayed with their friend Iona, and the gorgeous local men. As memories of that long-forgotten holiday resurface, they are forced to confront the turns their lives have taken - and the guilt they both feel about letting Iona slip away from them.

When they learn that the windmill guest house is going bust they form a plan: why not go back to the island and take it over themselves? And so begins a life-changing journey - because it turns out that opening a guest house and reliving their teenage dreams isn't that easy . . .

Full of romance and friendship, love and life, laughter and tears, The Beachside Guest House is an uplifting novel about the magic of starting over with friends by your side."

25 January 2015

eBook Review: Skating at Somerset House by Nikki Moore

"There’s nothing Holly Winterlake loves more than Christmas and skating, so working as an Ice Marshall at London's Somerset House is a dream come true.

Noel Summerford hates the festive season and is a disaster on the ice, so taking his godson to Somerset House is his idea of the nightmare before Christmas!

Things are bound to get interesting when these two collide…

With a forty foot Christmas tree, an assortment of well meaning friends and relatives, and a mad chocolate Labrador, will this festive season be one to remember … or forget?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Skating at Somerset House as an eBook now!

I never used to be a fan of short stories, but since I have had my Kindle Paperwhite, I have been more willing to give them a go, and I am glad that I have! One such story I am glad that I read is the first in Nikki Moore's 'Love London' series, called Skating at Somerset House. As usual, publishers Harper Impulse have come up trumps with a stunning eBook cover that I am in love with, and the story inside promised to be just a delightful! At only 40 pages in print length, it is the perfect short story to sit down with of an evening and devour in one sitting... I did!

Holly Winterlake loves Christmas, and her passion for ice skating is still very much in force, so when she gets a job as an Ice Marshall at the ice rink at Somerset House she's delighted. Surrounded by Christmas cheer, trees and ice, she's a happy woman. Noel Summerford isn't a Christmas fan, and hates skating too, especially as he just can't seem to do it. When he takes his young godson skating and makes a bit of a fool of himself, he befriends Holly and the pair strike up a quick and easy friendship...

I don't want to say too much in this review, simply because the story is so short, and I can reveal far too much, especially as it's a book you will want to read for yourself to see how it develops! I loved the 2 main characters, they couldn't be more different (even their surnames show their loves of seasons!), but they somehow manage to get along. Holly's passion for her skating shows through straight away, you can really sense that she loves it, and we are left wondering why she gave it all up when she had such a promising career. Noel, too, is hiding a secret about his godson and why he won't let him skate with Holly, but again it's a bit of a mystery for much of the book.

The setting of Somerset House is brilliant for the book, it felt so Christmassy right from the start, and it's somewhere that I am going to put on my list of places to visit next Christmas without a doubt, I've never been before and feel I am missing out! Nikki's descriptions of the house, the ice rink, the trees and the people enjoying the whole experience are wonderful and it's easy to picture in your mind as you are reading. As I said, it is a short story but I was engrossed in it from start to finish, it was a joy to read about Holly and Noel as they begin their friendship, and the ending part of the book left me with a few giggles and a big smile on my face. I can't wait to read more in Nikki Moore's 'Love London' series, this was a fantastic start!

24 January 2015

Book Review: Christmas for One by Amanda Prowse

"As a child, Meg always dreamed of the perfect Christmas...

This year, she can make it come true for her own little boy. There will be turkey and all the trimmings, a glittering tree, and a stocking hung up by a roaring fire. Who cares if there's no devoted husband in the picture? She and Lucas will be just fine on their own.

But then a chance meeting with a stranger in New York unravels everything she's planned. Will Meg finally get everything she wished for? Or will she be alone this Christmas after all?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Christmas for One as a paperback or an eBook now.

This is the first of Amanda Prowse's novels that I have ever read, and now I have finished reading her latest festive offering, I know it won't be the last. Complete with a stunningly beautiful Christmassy book cover, Christmas for One was a wonderful read from start to finish, with characters to care about, a sweet love story and also the magic of Christmas thrown in there too. Meg has resigned herself to being a single parent after the death of her fiancé Bill, and works hard at Plums Patisserie, a bakery where she is working her way up the career ladder. When her job sends her to New York City to sort out the new bakery there, she bumps into New Yorker Ed, and the pair strike up a quick friendship. But is that all that New York has to offer Meg, or will she finally spend a Christmas with someone she loves?

New York is certainly a popular setting for books these days, I have read a few this year alone but it doesn't stop me loving the city any less. Meg is visiting at Christmas, and I love the magic of New York at this time of year having visited myself - there's nothing like seeing the Rockefeller Centre tree up close for yourself! Meg is captivated by the city, and she loves exploring, as much as she loves trying to get the New York branch of Plums Patisserie up and running. I really liked how Meg struggled with her work/life balance, feeling very guilty at leaving her young son Lucas behind when she was travelling, but knowing it needed to be done for the business - a lot of mums feel like this, and there's nothing like coming home to your child when you've been away from them! I loved the relationship Meg and Lucas had, so very close and it was heartwarming to read about.

The relationship between Meg and Ed happened very quickly in the book, and I had hoped that nothing would go wrong for the pair because Meg deserved some happiness at last after being so unlucky in her life so far - growing up in care with a mother who didn't really want her, having a baby then losing her fiancé, and although she's finally settled she still would like someone to really love. I kept hoping that Ed wasn't too good to be true, and found myself sprinting through the book to find out how it was all going to end up for the pair. It didn't seem like it could possibly work long-term, with the pair living on either side of the Atlantic, and this really was a sweet love story that I was fully behind.

Amanda Prowse's writing was really enjoyable to read, and I found she got the emotion of the book just right. She tapped into Meg's guilt, love and hope so well that you were really feeling it along with her as you read, and as things took a bit of a turn about 3/4 of the way through the book, you realise Christmas isn't all happiness and jollity, and that for some it is a tough, lonely time. Yes, Ed and Meg's relationship happened very quickly, and almost a tad unrealistically but for me it didn't matter - it just added to the overall magic of the story. I loved this book from start to finish, and really didn't want to put it down until I had got to the last page. A charming festive love story - this most certainly won't be my last book from Amanda Prowse.

22 January 2015

Book News: First Time in Forever by Sarah Morgan

I was very upset when I finished Sarah Morgan's last novel, Maybe This Christmas, as I had loved the Snow Crystal trilogy and didn't want it to end! However, she's back on 1st March with a brand new series, and the first in that series is called First Time in Forever! Complete with gorgeous summery cover to get you in the holiday mood, this sounds like it's going to be a fab read, and I can't wait to get stuck in.

You can pre-order First Time in Forever as a paperback or an eBook now.

"Happily-Ever-After isn’t on Emily Donovan’s agenda…
Emily’s been too swept up in a challenging year of firsts, from becoming a stand-in mum to her niece Lizzy to moving to remote but beautiful Puffin Island, to think about love.

But that’s before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her…

Ryan knows Emily has a complicated past that she’s struggling to face. So he makes it his mission to help her unwind and enjoy the chemistry they share.

Can the welcoming community of Puffin Island work their magic on Emily and get her to take her biggest leap of trust yet —putting her heart in someone else’s hands?

Let bestselling author Sarah Morgan whisk you away with the all new Puffin Island series!"

21 January 2015

Book News: That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

Another of my favourite authors, Dorothy Koomson, is back this year with a new novel, hurrah! That Girl From Nowhere is Dorothy's first book for a few years, and I love the cover for this new book, very eye-catching and something I would want to pick up. The book is out on 9th April.

You can pre-order That Girl From Nowhere as a hardback or an eBook now.

"‘Where are you coming from with that accent of yours?’ he asks.

‘Nowhere,’ I reply. ‘I’m from nowhere.’

‘Everyone’s from somewhere,’ he says.

‘Not me,’ I reply silently.

Clemency Smithson was adopted as a baby and the only connection she has to her birth mother is a cardboard box hand-decorated with butterflies. Now an adult, Clem decides to make a drastic life change and move to Brighton, where she was born. Clem has no idea that while there she'll meet someone who knows all about her butterfly box and what happened to her birth parents.

As the tangled truths about her adoption and childhood start to unravel, a series of shocking events cause Clem to reassess whether the price of having contact with her birth family could be too high to pay."

20 January 2015

Book News: One Small Act of Kindness by Lucy Dillon

One of the authors I always look forward to reading a new book from is Lucy Dillon. I've never read anything by this author that I haven't loved, and so I am eagerly anticipating her book One Small Act of Kindness which is out on 23rd April 2015. I cannot wait for this, I just know it'll be utterly brilliant.

You can pre-order One Small Act of Kindness as a paperback or an eBook now.

"Libby helps a stranger, and transforms her life in the process.

Libby and her husband Jason have moved back to his hometown to turn the family B&B into a boutique hotel. They have left London behind and all the memories - good and bad - that went with it.

The injured woman Libby finds lying in the remote country road has lost her memory. She doesn't know why she came to be there, and no one seems to be looking for her.

When Libby offers to take her in, this one small act of kindness sets in motion a chain of events that will change many people's lives..."

19 January 2015

eBook News: Kate & Alf by Carrie Stone

I love Harper Impulse and their stories that they find - I've discovered some great authors through them, and was delighted to see a new addition to their Netgalley page recently. Kate and Alf is by Carrie Stone, and is due out on 5th February. The story sounds great, and the cover looks gorgeous - I'm definitely going to give this one a try!

You can pre-order Kate and Alf as an eBook now.

"Kate loves Alf. And Alf loves Kate… Doesn’t he?

Kate can’t wait for her long-term boyfriend Alf to propose. So he might be a bit of a control freak who’s obsessed with his career … and he also seems to have conveniently forgotten their two-year plan to get married, buy a bigger house and have children. But Kate’s sure that ring will be on her finger soon.

When her thirty-second birthday ends in humiliating, proposal-less disaster, even Kate is left wondering if Alf really is The One. Then Alf’s friend, Marcus, needs a place to stay. With his dark eyes, easygoing manner and kind concern for Kate, Marcus is everything Alf is not - and it's not long before Kate begins to wonder if there’s more to life than diamonds."

17 January 2015

Blog Tour: Now That I've Found You by Ciara Geraghty

Today I am thrilled to be part of Ciara Geraghty's blog tour for her brand new book Now That I've Found You. I have the book sat on my shelf eagerly waiting to be read, and after reading these answers from Ciara for my Q&A with her, I can't wait to read it! My thanks go to Ciara for taking the time to answer my questions!

You can buy Now That I've Found You as a paperback or an eBook now.

Q1. Please tell me about your new book.
‘Now That I've Found You’ is about family. Parenthood mostly. Different types of parenthood. Parenting children. And still being a parent when your children are all grown up and your job is done but you just can’t let them go. The main character is Vinnie Boland, a single father who is struggling to raise his teenage daughter and his young son on his own - with insistent help from his elderly mother. He is doing the best he can but remains convinced he’s falling short. Vinnie’s wife - his childhood sweetheart - left the family over a year before the story begins and some part of Vinnie wishes she would come back, if only so he won’t be the only one his children can blame when they get older and realise what a mess he’s made of things. Then he meets Ellen, a reclusive woman who used to be a doctor, who used to have a life and a burgeoning family of her own. One day, Vinnie has a panic attack while he’s driving Ellen to one of her weekly physiotherapy sessions in his taxi and she gets into the driver’s seat and takes him to hospital. It’s the first time Ellen has driven a car since she was involved in a horrific car accident over a year before. This simple act, getting behind the wheel again, releases something in Ellen. The panic attack - its causes and its consequences - forces Vinnie to stop and think about his life. The pair embark on a cautious friendship.

The story is about life and how it throws things at you when you think that it should have stopped that carry on. It’s about second chances, and all the chances after that. It’s about how you should grab them. Expect the worst. And hope for the best.

Q2. Where do you get the ideas for your stories - are they ever inspired by people or things that have happened to those you know?
I don’t tend to base any of my characters on people I know in ‘real life’ life, although I ‘borrow’ bits and pieces from people I come across and then mix and match those characteristics so that they are unrecognisable to anyone they may be partly based on (at least, that is my hope!). The stories, on the other hand, usually come from things I have heard or overheard, from friends and acquaintances, or snippets from the radio / newspaper. Things that interest me. Things that make me stop and wonder. For example, I got the basic idea for Now That I’ve Found You, from a story I heard of a man who was raising two children on his own after his wife left. When you hear about a woman raising children alone after her husband leaves, you don’t blink an eye. But a man. You wonder how he’s managing. If he’s managing. Because it’s usually us women who stay. We endure. So, over the years, I thought about that man - whom I don't know. Wondered about him. Worried about him. And when a story snags on your consciousness like that, over a period of time, it’s a good indication that it’s something you should write about. And in the writing of it, the story is revealed to you. You find out what happened to the man, the children, the wife. Of course, none of that may have happened to that man that I heard of once, but in my mind, that’s what happened. And it helps me to understand why a woman - a mother - can leave her children. How she can do it. I didn’t understand that before I started to write the story. Not really. That’s what I love about writing. And reading. The way it deepens your understanding, your empathy. Opens up the world to you. And ultimately - hopefully - makes it a better place.

Q3. The cover style for this book is quite different from some of your earlier titles - do you like the change in direction for your covers?
The paperback version of ‘Now That I’ve Found You’ is one of my favourite covers, I love the colours; the petrol blue with silver stars and dashes of red. It’s very eye-catching. When I first saw the paperback cover for Now That I’ve Found You, I loved it. It spoke to me of the story that was to come and I think that is the essence of a good cover.

When I know / love the author I will buy their book regardless of the cover. But when it’s a writer I’m not familiar with, it’s the look of the cover that will tempt me to lift the book from the shelf and turn it over and read the blurb, then - if I like the blurb - open it and read the first paragraph and then - based on this paltry information - I will buy the book. Because we are a fickle, fickle brand of mammal who often judge books by their covers, the look of the jacket is hugely significant. And that’s what makes the design people in a publishing house exceptionally important and talented.

Q4. Who are some your favourite authors to read?
I have a list of favourite authors which changes about as regularly as my teenagers’ moods…  I would say enduring influences include John Irving and Margaret Atwood. I love the quirkiness of their characters and the ease of their storytelling. I love Irish writers; Kevin Barry, Donal Ryan, Marian Keyes, Colum McCann, Edna O’Brien. All great story tellers.  And great writers. Coming from such a small, insignificant island on the far reaches of Europe but surrounded on all sides by these talented, amazing writers, makes people like me think that....YES....I CAN DO IT TOO!!!!!

Q5. How long does it take you to typically write a book?
Longer than my editor would like, I’d say! I would estimate somewhere around 18 months, which I think is pretty good going!! It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint.

Q6. What do you enjoy doing when you aren't writing?
Everything!! Playing my violin, reading, walking on the beach, going to the cinema, listening to the radio, wandering around Dublin city, travelling, swimming in the sea, listening to music, dancing in my kitchen when there’s no-one else there. Oh, and eating food that I haven’t made myself. But I do all these things while I’m writing. If I didn’t, I’d be miserable and probably have nothing to write about. I love writing and I love life and these two loves are compatible bedfellows.

Q7. What was the last book that you read, and how was it?

‘Us’ by David Nicholls. I’m a big fan of his. This book made me laugh out loud several times which is one of the hardest things a writer can get a reader to do, in my opinion. That, and writing good sex which Nicholls - perhaps wisely - does not attempt. We are told instead by the narrator that he, ‘won’t go into the details,’ when referring to his sexual adventures with his wife, Connie Moore who he says sounds like a ‘small Irish town’. The main character is another reason why I enjoyed this book; a 54-year-old industrial biochemist, Douglas Petersen is a fairly buttoned-up affair, and very believable for it, as we get snippets of his back story - his relationship with his father for example - throughout the narrative which help us understand who he is and why. ‘Us’ did for me what my grandmother declared that chicken soup did for her - it ‘warmed the cockles of my heart.’ I loved it.

Q8. Do you have any ideas in the pipeline for your next book?

Oh yes! I’m working on a new novel. The ‘working title’ is ‘This is Now’ and it centres on the lives of five seemingly unrelated characters. There is [what I hope will be] an ‘explosive’ prologue that involves all the characters (one of them dies!!) and then we go back, to particular incidents in each of the characters’ lives that shape them, make them the people they become. I suppose it’s about how events in your life inform on the person that you eventually become. I’ve always wanted to write a novel like this - different characters, interwoven in some way, to produce a story. Hopefully, this is it!!

Thank you so much, Ciara!

Book Review: The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman

"Pixie, Ellie, Katie and Jane have been best friends since meeting at Slimming Zone. Tired of being judged on the number of calories they consume, they decide to form a different kind of club. The fun evenings they spend together, not worrying about their size, make them happier than they’ve been for years!

But the club doesn’t stop real life from getting in the way and together the girls have to address some much bigger issues than just their weight…

Will Pixie ever be brave enough to leave her abusive husband Trevor? Can Jane ever regain her confidence and go back to work as a TV presenter? Will Katie always carry a torch for the office lothario? And what if Ellie lets her all-consuming jealousy destroy her relationship with ‘The One’?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Curvy Girls Club as a paperback or an eBook now.

I was really looking forward to reading Michele Gorman's first novel with new publishers Avon, as I had enjoy her festive eBook short story The Reluctant Elf a lot just a few weeks ago. This is quite an apt time for a book centred around a weight loss club - after all, I'm sure lots of people (myself included!), have made New Year's Resolution to get trimmer and fitter. This book centres around a group of women, Pixie, Ellie, Katie and Jane who have been to Slimming Zone for a while. However, they're bored of the routine and fed up of the meetings, so decide to go it alone and form their own club, where they can have fun together and just be happy with how they are. As well as their weight, the women have a lot more to contend with too... husbands, children, boyfriends and careers...will they all be able to find their happy ending?

I had this book sent to me for review on my Kindle, and I was excited to start it. Straight away, I got into the story and had no problem with becoming hooked on the story. The book quickly introduces us to our four main characters, with Katie being the main character who narrates throughout the book. I really liked the fact that the women broke away from their weekly Slimming Zone meetings when they realised it wasn't working for them, however, they didn't seem to go into anything else regarding losing weight, especially Jane who goes the opposite way. I felt incredibly sorry for her actually, and I am sure a lot of readers will relate to her strategy of trying pretty much every diet aid on the shelves to lose those pesky pounds.

Pixie was the character who I found it hard to like. She was suffering in her home life, with her awful husband Trevor dragging her down, and I was hopeful that she would eventually find the strength to leave him and find a new home for herself and her children. However, in the final parts of the book I felt that she showed herself to be quite a ruthless person, I didn't like how she treated her friends and it left a bit of a sour taste for me, it was a bit of a shame. Ellie was Katie's best friend, and a good one at that. She's got her own demons, with her jealousy at her boyfriend's friends threatening to ruin their relationship, but I really liked her overall. The women are believable and realistic, each dealing with things we could well be dealing with ourselves, and I enjoyed reading about them and their lives.

The book tackles a couple more serious issues as well, including Katie's weight loss and the reason for it. I didn't expect to find this within the book, and felt it was really well done by Michele Gorman, she has clearly put her research into this for the character. I disagreed quite heavily with how Katie dealt with the whole thing, not at all how I would have dealt with it, but it certainly added a bit of tension into the book, and shows how people can be viewed differently because of their weight, even by those closest to them. This was a really interesting story to read, and I was surprised by the twists and turns of the plot as I read on. It was certainly a lot more than just these women wanting to lose weights - their lives were interesting and I found myself wanting to keep reading even late at night! Michele Gorman's writing is very easy to read, and it makes me look forward to reading more from Michele! A fantastic novel.

13 January 2015

eBook Review: Escape for Christmas by Ruth Saberton

"Gemma Pengelley is looking forward to a romantic Christmas with her boyfriend Cal, far away from the chaos caused by their well-meaning family and friends. After a whirlwind of a year some quality time in a picturesque Cornish cottage is exactly what they need. 

But when ghosts of partners past, a tangled web of secrets and the demands of a reality television show strike at the very heart of Gemma’s plans, her dreams of the perfect Christmas crumble. Will she still find her Christmas escape? Or is Gemma just running away?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Escape for Christmas as an eBook now

One of my favourite summer reads this year was Ruth Saberton's new book Escape for the Summer. I loved the three leading ladies, I loved the setting and it was just a brilliant read. I was therefore thrilled to see Ruth was bringing them back in a new festive novel, Escape for Christmas. I love reading about familiar characters, and I was keen to see where Gemma and co had got themselves now. The book picks up not far after the other book left off. Gemma is still with her ex-footballer-turned-baker boyfriend Cal, and the pair are still trying to lose weight, and Angel is lording it up as Lady of the Manor in her own mansion complete with her own successful reality TV show. Although Gemma is happy, she's still insecure and when Cal's gorgeous ex-girlfriend appears back on the scene, and Cal seems to be rather shifty with his behaviour, Gemma is starting to have doubts about their happy ever after...

You don't have to have read the first book in order to enjoy this, but I personally recommend you do so that you have the background on these ladies, and how they came to  be where they are now. This book is very much about Gemma, although Angel features quite a lot in it. I loved Gemma in the first book so was pleased this was about her character. Gemma is a fantastic baker, making the most wonderful cakes but her problem is that she can't help herself from eating it too. She knows her weight is a struggle, but Cal loves her as she is, curvaceous and voluptuous. She's quite self-conscious about her figure though, which I'm sure a lot of readers will relate to and it only warmed me to Gemma more.

Cal's behaviour in the book is rather strange, although I did have a little inkling about what he might be doing. Of course, though, Gemma can't see the wood for the trees and suspects the worst of her poor boyfriend. It all becomes worse when the South family descends on their home, and Gemma just can't cope with it. I was frustrated with Cal for being so shifty, because I know he was doing it for the right reasons, but still I did feel incredibly sorry for Gemma and how she was feeling! Her best friend Angel doesn't exactly help either, insisting on the pair's participation in her reality show, when it's clear that it is the last thing Gemma wants.

The book is very funny from beginning to end, with lots of things making me chuckle as I was reading and I was always left with a smile on my face when I was reading this. The book was very readable, I didn't want to stop reading once I had picked up my Kindle at night and found myself whizzing through it far too quickly! I hope that this won't be the last outing for Gemma and the girls because these stories are fab, and I so enjoy reading them. Ruth's writing is brilliant, really bringing to life the settings, the emotion, the characters within this book,and I found the pace to be really good, never lacking at any point and constantly enjoyable to read. A fantastic festive treat, but one to enjoy any time of year! 

12 January 2015

Book Review: The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews

"Louise Young is a devoted single mother whose only priority is providing for her daughter, Mia. Louise has a good job in a huge international corporation and she's grateful for it. The only problem is her boss who can't keep his hands to himself, but Louise can handle him. What she really doesn't have time for is romance - until she meets the company's rising star, Josh Wallace. 

Louise usually says no to evenings out but she's decided to let her hair down tonight. It's the office Christmas party, she has a pretty dress to wear and she's looking forward to some champagne and fun. She's completely unaware that others around her are too busy playing dangerous games to enjoy the party - until she's pulled into those games herself . . ."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Christmas Party as a paperback or an eBook now.

Every year, I look forward to 2 new releases from Carole Matthews, and the highlight of these is usually the Christmas read that Carole treats us all to. This year, her novel was called The Christmas Party and I was so looking forward to reading this one, complete with a beautiful festive cover, Carole's publishers certainly never lets her down with her book covers! The book was a real treat, one I read over a few evenings before Christmas and that I know will remain on my Festive Reads shelf to be enjoyed again and again at the right time of year!

This is the story of Louise, a single mum who has just finally managed to get herself a good job as a PA to a manager at an oil company, and it's now time for the annual Christmas Party. Louise really isn't sure she wants to go, but her parents offer to look after her daughter and so she's left to doll herself up and enjoy the evening as best she can. She makes friends with Josh, a successful salesman at the company, and the pair spend most of the party together, trying to avoid the drunken goings-on from their colleagues, and keeping track of their boss too. But is it going to be the party of Louise's life, or something else entirely?

I will first of all say that I did struggle at times with this book in keeping track of who was who, and who was with who, mainly related to the managers and their wives - I just couldn't get them straight in my head at all and found it all a bit puzzling for a while. I kept having to go back and check I had the right couple, but after about half of the book, I seemed to have it down. This hasn't happened to me with Carole's books before - perhaps because the whole book takes place at one event, there wasn't that separation of characters that you would usually find, but perhaps that was just me having a bit of an off day when I was reading it! There's Louise, the main character of the book and I liked her a lot. She's determined to make a success of her new career and was so wanting to make a good impression at the party in front of her new colleagues. I could totally understand why she found the situation a bit daunting, it's my idea of my worst nightmare, and I don't think I would have stuck it out like Louise did!

As well as the main story, the book delves into the private lives of 2 managers at the Fossil Oil Company. There's the story of Tyler, Louise's boss and his wife Kirsten, and also the story of the big boss Lance and his long-suffering wife Melissa. Melissa is having an affair with Tyler, Kirsten knows Tyler is cheating on her but assumes it is with his new PA Louise. I found all this a bit tough to follow, and the women just seemed very interchangeable to me in the story which was a bit of a shame, as the idea of the story was really good. You just know that it's all going to go horribly wrong for these couples, and as the story plays out, I was left wondering who exactly would get their happy ending, and whether or not they really deserved it. The only nice person I felt was Louise, and her new friend Josh! 

For me, this was an enjoyable read but it wasn't my favourite festive read from Carole. I don't know why there were elements of it that I found tricky to follow, but I did like the story as a whole, and the fact it all took place on one night was interesting too, I've not read a lot of books like this before! There's a lot of drunken antics, flirting, cheating and naughtiness going on within the book and it's certainly entertaining - mainly because I was thinking as I was reading that I would never get myself into these situations, especially as a non-drinker, it's my worst sort of night out lol! A very entertaining read, with lots of festive feeling that can certainly be enjoyed again and again. 

9 January 2015

Book News: A Time for Friends by Patricia Scanlan

Patricia Scanlan is back this Spring with a brand new novel, and I can't wait to read it. A Time for Friends is out on 12th March, and it sounds utterly brilliant. There's something so readable about Patricia's books, like you could know the people she's writing about and I always get so involved in her stories. I really am looking forward to reading this one.

You can pre-order A Time for Friends as a hardback or an eBook now.

"When are the boundaries of friendship pushed too far, and when is it time to stop flying over oceans for someone who wouldn't jump over a puddle for you? There comes a time when Hilary Hammond has to make that call.

Hilary and Colette O'Mahony have been friends since childhood, but when irrepressible Jonathan Harpur breezes into Hilary's life and goes into business with her, Colette is not best pleased. 

After their first encounter Colette thinks he's a 'pushy upstart' while he thinks she's 'a snobby little diva'. And so the battle lines are drawn and Hilary is bang in the middle.

But as the years roll by and each of them is faced with difficult times and tough decisions, one thing is clear … to have a friend you must be a friend.

And that's when Hilary discovers that sometimes your best friend can be your greatest enemy …"

8 January 2015

Book News: Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley

A new book for this February is the new release from Trisha Ashley called Creature Comforts. It's out on 26th February (paperback releases on 18th June), and sounds like it will be another heart-warming read from Trisha. I'm looking forward to reading this one.

You can pre-order Creature Comforts as a hardback or an eBook now.

"Izzy has broken off her engagement to her feckless fiancée Kieran and returned to her childhood home – the sleepy village of Halfhidden.

She soon realizes that life in the village is anything but peaceful – for one thing she’s living with her mad aunt Debo and her pack of dogs, and for another, Izzy has a lot of unanswered questions.

When she was a teenager, Izzy was involved in a terrible accident, involving various inhabitants of Halfhidden. As she sets out to discover what actually happened on the night of the accident, she realizes that her painful past is actually standing in the way of her future happiness. So when a handsome stranger comes to Halfhidden will she let love back into her life?"

7 January 2015

Book News: The Dandelion Years by Erica James

Another book I am looking forward to this year is Erica James' new book The Dandekion Years. I think the cover is gorgeous, and reading the synopsis, it sounds like a brilliant book. The book is released on 26th February as a hardback and an eBook, and I'm looking forward to reading this one.

You can pre-order The Dandelion Years as a hardback or an eBook now.

"Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.

Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible - and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own - Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love..."

6 January 2015

Book News: The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews

Carole Matthews is back shortly with a brand new book, and I can't wait! Her new book, The Cake Shop in the Garden, is out in as a paperback is out on 23rd April, but the hardback is released now on 8th January along with the eBook. I love the cover too, it's utterly delicious and I'm sure the story will be just as scrumptious!

You can pre-order The Cake Shop in the Garden as a paperback or buy as an eBook now!

"Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn't do all this, who will?

Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she's ever made.

When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay's entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn't know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life-changing decision - even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most? Life, love and family are about to collide in The Cake Shop in the Garden."

5 January 2015

Book News: Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

One of the reads I am looking forward to in 2015 is the release of Jill Mansell's new book Three Amazing Things About You! Jill's books are a staple of my yearly reading, and luckily it isn't long until her new book is out - January 15th! The book sounds amazing and I cannot wait to read it.

You can buy Three Amazing Things About You as a hardback or an eBook now!

"Hallie has a secret. She's in love. He's perfect for her in every way, but he's seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren't going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn't have long to live. Time is running out...

Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won't be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends - let alone anything more.

Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she's afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.

THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU begins as Hallie goes on a journey. A donor has been found and she's about to be given new lungs. But whose?"

1 January 2015

Chick Lit Chloe's Book Awards 2014!

Chick Lit Chloe's Book of the Year 2014

Winner: THE MEMORY BOOK by Rowan Coleman

Runner Up: THE TEASHOP ON THE CORNER by Milly Johnson

- One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond
- The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman
- Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff
- The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman
- One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson
- The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson

Christmas Book of the Year 2014

Winner: THE GREAT CHRISTMAS KNIT OFF by Alexandra Brown

Runner Up: MAYBE THIS CHRISTMAS by Sarah Morgan

- Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan
- The French for Christmas by Fiona Valpy
- The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown
- Escape for Christmas by Ruth Saberton
- The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews
- Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson
- A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Female Character of the Year 2014

Winner: RACHEL from THE DEAD WIFE'S HANDBOOK by Hannah Beckerman


- Tess Brooks from 'What A Girl Wants' by Lindsey Kelk
- Penny from 'Don't Tell The Boss' by Anna Bell
- Tamsyn Thorne from 'Two Weddings and a Baby' by Scarlett Bailey
- Crystal from 'A Place to Call Home' by Carole Matthews
- JJ from 'Mother of the Year' by Karen Ross
- Rachel from 'The Dead Wife's Handbook' by Hannah Beckerman
- Sally from 'The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me' by Lucy Robinson
- Robyn from 'The Story of You' by Katy Regan
- Polly from 'One Step Closer to You' by Alice Peterson
- Sybil from 'The Great Christmas Knit Off' by Alexandra Brown
- Carrie from 'A Christmas to Remember' by Jenny Hale

Male Character of the Year 2014

Winner: TYLER from MAYBE THIS CHRISTMAS by Sarah Morgan

Runner Up: BEN from YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT by Giovanna Fletcher

- Jed from 'Two Weddings and a Baby' by Scarlet Bailey
- Ben from 'Paper Swans' by Jessica Thompson
- Max from 'The Dead Wife's Handbook' by Hannah Beckerman
- Luca from 'Some Girls Do' by Clodagh Murphy
- Ben from 'You're the One that I Want' by Giovanna Fletcher
- Ben from 'One Step Closer to You' by Alice Peterson
- James from 'I'll Take New York' by Miranda Dickinson
- Tyler from 'Maybe This Christmas' by Sarah Morgan

Book Cover of the Year 2014

Winner: YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT by Giovanna Fletcher

Runner Up: PAPER SWANS by Jessica Thompson

- The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman (paperback edition)
- 'You're the One That I Want' by Giovanna Fletcher
- One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin
- Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson
- Written in the Stars by Ali Harris
- It Started With Paris by Cathy Kelly
- A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Tear Jerker of the Year 2014

Winner: PIECES OF YOU by Ella Harper

Runner Up: THE DEAD WIFE'S HANDBOOK by Hannah Beckerman

- Paper Swans - Jessica Thompson
- Pieces of You by Ella Harper
- A Part of Me by Anouska Knight
- The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman
- A Place to Call Home - Carole Matthews
- The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

Self Published/eBook Novel of the Year 2014

Winner: ONE HUNDRED PROPOSALS by Holly Martin

Runner Up: IT GIRL by Nic Tatano

- Matt Dunn - What Might Have Been
- Nic Tatano - It Girl
- Holly Martin - One Hundred Proposals
- Ruth Saberton - Escape for the Summer
- Sue Watson - Love, Lies and Lemon Cake
- Sophie Hart - The Beginner's Guide to the Birds and the Bees
- Romy Sommer - To Catch A Star

Women's Fiction Book of the Year 2014

Winner: GHOSTWRITTEN by Isabel Wolff

Runner Up: THE DEAD WIFE'S HANDBOOK by Hannah Beckerman

- The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan
- The Broken by Tamar Cohen
- Beautiful Day by Kate Atkinson
- Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff
- Spare Brides by Adele Parks
- The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman
- The Winter Folly by Lulu Taylor
- Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Thanks to the publishers who have supported me all year, I look forward to working with you in 2015!
- Allen & Unwin
- Avon Books
- Bookouture
- Carina
- Ebury Press
- Hachette Ireland
- Harper Collins
- Harper Impulse
- Hodder
- Mills & Boon
- Notting Hill Press
- Orion
- Pan Macmillan
- Penguin
- Piatkus
- Quercus
- Simon & Schuster
- Sphere (Little, Brown)