31 October 2016

Book Review: Christmas at the Comfort Food Café by Debbie Johnson

"The brand new Christmas romance from best-selling author Debbie Johnson and the follow up to ‘Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe’.

The Comfort Food Cafe is perched on a windswept clifftop at what feels like the edge of the world, serving up the most delicious cream teas; beautifully baked breads, and carefully crafted cupcakes. For tourists and locals alike, the ramshackle cafe overlooking the beach is a beacon of laughter, companionship, and security – a place like no other; a place that offers friendship as a daily special, and where a hearty welcome is always on the menu."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy the book now.

I have become a huge Debbie Johnson, thanks to the fact her books are just brilliant, and I enjoy every single one that I pick up! I read her latest summer novel Summer at the Comfort Food Café a few months ago and adored it, so I was thrilled to see that Debbie was bringing these characters for another outing, this time at Christmas! However, instead of following Laura as we did in the first book, we follow her single sister Becca in this one, reluctantly joining in with her families celebrations, wishing she was back in her flat on her own! Laura, however, is determined to drag her sister into the festivities, including café owner Cherie's upcoming wedding, and, of course, Christmas. But Becca is finding it tough - will she be able to put up with everyone for the whole Christmas period, and is the arrival of local surfer Sam going to change her mind?!

The first thing I want to mention is Debbie's wonderful writing. It is this that makes me want to pick up her books several times a year, and devour them in one sitting. They're funny (genuinely laugh out loud funny too!), warm, and a joy to read, and this one was certainly no different. Debbie creates the perfect festive feeling throughout this book, and I looked forward to each opportunity I got to pick it up and get myself back to the Dorset coast with Becca and her family again.

I loved Laura as the main character in the summer novel, so it was interesting this time to see Laura and her family from someone else's point of view. While we met Becca in the previous book, she wasn't a main character at all so we don't really know too much about her going into this book. Firstly, she clearly dislikes Christmas and all it stands for. The book begins with a few flashbacks to Becca and Laura's childhood, and their Christmas disasters. Actually, Becca doesn't come across as a very nice person, but as the book progresses, it all becomes clearer as to why Becca is how she is. I actually found it quite sweet how much out of her comfort zone she put herself for her sister.

It was great being back at the Comfort Food Café again with the characters I had really grown to love in the summer. It was lovely to see how settled Laura's children Lizzy and Nate were at last, that Laura's relationship was still ongoing, and that Cherie's wedding was imminent. You don't have to have read the first book to enjoy this, but I feel you should read it prior to this to really set the tone for this one, and explain many of the goings on that are hinted at throughout this book. As I said, the festive feeling is truly there throughout, and happily we actually get to celebrate a Christmas day in the book, which is actually far rarer than you'd think in Christmas fiction!

This book was completely enjoyable from start to finish, and it's definitely one of my favourite Christmas books that I have read so far this year. It was great to be back in a familiar environment, with characters that I knew and already loved, and I was intrigued to find out a lot more about Becca as well, and her journey in the book. I don't want to reveal a lot, but we certainly get to see lots of Becca's downs as well as her ups, I did feel quite sorry for her and her mindset throughout the book, she recognised that she needed to change things but just seemed lost as to how. It was fun, festive and a great read, but also tackles some more serious things, and I enjoyed the balance of this within the book. A fab read, a must-read for Christmas!

30 October 2016

Book Review: We'll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson

"Does first love deserve a second chance?

When she was almost seventeen, Rosie Draper locked eyes with a charismatic student called Peter during their first week at art college, changing the course of her life forever. Now, on the cusp of sixty-five and recently widowed, Rosie is slowly coming to terms with a new future. And after a chance encounter with Peter, forty-seven years later, they both begin to wonder 'what if' . . ."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy the book now.

I'm a huge fan of Sue Watson, and look forward to her new books, particularly her Christmas ones, every year. When I saw she had a new book deal with publishers Sphere and that the book would be quite different to the other fiction she has released, I was really eager to try it. Of course, it didn't disappoint and I found it to be a very enjoyable read. It's the story of lonely widow Rosie, who is still getting over the death of her beloved husband, and trying to keep the rest of her life, including the florist business she runs with her daughters, together. When she delivers flowers to a fancy wedding, she bumps into her first love Peter by chance... is she open to letting her heart love again?

I loved Sue's writing throughout this book. She writes the delicate themes so well, touching on Rosie's grief, guilt, hope and sorrow so well throughout the book, and weaving it together to create a wonderfully uplifting and hopeful book. Rosie was a lovely character, someone who has found herself unexpectedly alone and unsure of how to deal with the loss of her husband. You could see she was quite lost, and when she bumps into Peter again, the guilt eats away at her, with her feeling like she might be betraying her husband, and her daughters too by the thought of her moving on.

As you can imagine, this isn't always easy reading, with Rosie wanting to take control of her own life, but being held by back by many factors, some of them being her daughters, one of whom is really struggling with the thought of her mother being with someone other than her father. I found the realism in this story was excellent, you can believe all of these characters and how they acted, I expect that is how I would react if I were to ever find myself in that situation. The relationship with her daughters was very close though, and I enjoyed reading about it. I also enjoyed how the book flashed back to the past, when Rosie and Peter were together when they were much younger, and their love story then, and why it all came crashing down for them. Again this was very emotive, but it certainly helps us understand Rosie and her reticence to possibly getting back with Peter after so many years.

This book, while very different to Sue's other more light-hearted and funny novels, was a great read from start to finish. I found it very touching and emotional, and I found myself wanting Rosie and Peter to end up with a happy ending, they both deserved it. It was also nice to read about love later in life - we read so many books about twenty-somethings finding love and settling down, but I loved reading about someone like Rosie, who was sure she was done with relationships and men after her husband's death, opening herself up to the possibility of loving and being loved once more. Watson's writing is wonderful to read, gentle yet not afraid to delve to the heart of the subject. A truly lovely read.

29 October 2016

Blog Tour Book Review: Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly

"Cassie has spent her married life doing everything right - making sure her children have the perfect life, being a devoted wife to her husband and a dutiful daughter-in-law to his mother, even when her patience has been tested. Although it has left her so exhausted that 'wine o'clock' comes a little earlier each afternoon. But she wouldn't change a thing, she's certain, until temptation comes her way...

Her sister Coco runs a vintage dress shop and sure, she's shied away from commitment over the years. It's just that Coco believes men complicate things more than necessary, and she's got enough to contend with looking after her business and her staff, who seem to rely on her more and more for relationship advice. But who is she to give advice, when her own life is so simple?

Watching over them is grandmother Pearl, tucked away in her little house in Delaney Square with her chickens, busy with her poker club and a secret lover. But something is keeping her awake at night. Was she right to do what she did all those years ago? Surely, if she were right, she wouldn't be thinking about it so often now...?

And then there's Elsa, the polished face of daytime TV, who's battled demons of her own in the past and come out on top. Now Elsa faces one final battle - but this one will require more bravery than anything that's come before."

Rating: 4/5

I'm a fan of Cathy Kelly's book, and was very pleased to be asked to be part of her blog tour for her brand new book Between Sisters. The paperback release sees a new cover look for Cathy, and I actually really like this one, its simplistic but eye-catching. This story centres around one family - the Keneally's. Grandmother Pearl is the matriarch of the family, and has brought up her granddaughters Coco and Cassie by herself after their mother disappeared when they were very young. But the girl's lives aren't exactly plain-sailing at the moment. Cassie's relationship with her husband is going from bad to worse, Coco is working away in her vintage shop, having left behind the one relationship that could have turned into her happy ever after, and Pearl is hiding a secret she knows she can't reveal. Are the Keneally sisters going to be able to move through their bad time and into a happier future?

I love books centred around families, so this one really appealed to me from the beginning. At first, we just meet Coco and Cassie, and spend time between their two stories, but as the book progresses, we meet more characters who become involved with the women. The focus, however, stays on Coco and Cassie, and how their past and the abandonment by their mother has affected them. For some, this will be a bit cliché, with the story being a bit predictable and I could see the end coming as I read, but it didn't stop my enjoyment of the book because I sometimes like a story where I can see a happy ending coming!

Coco and Cassie were very different characters, but I found myself warming to Coco more. She was more likeable in my eyes, scared of making a commitment after having her heart-broken before, but strong when she needed to be. There is a sub-plot involving Coco's best friend Jo and her young daughter, and this was a really enjoyable part of the story for me. Cathy Kelly writes these relationships really well, and how it progressed felt really believable. It was emotional, and tackled some strong issues very well.

Cassie, on the other hand, I found it harder to like. She struggles more with the abandonment of her mother, as she was older when her mother left, and this really affects her as an adult, perhaps more than realises. Her husband Shay is quite beholden to his own mother, and the angle this story takes is very interesting. I think I sided with Cassie here, because his actions did start to become unacceptable, but I did feel sorry for Shay too as he was being pulled in two very different directions. Again, this part of the book was very emotive, Cassie really struggles to deal with what is happening in her marriage, but I found myself rooting for the pair to work it out, and put their family back together again. She relies heavily on her grandmother Pearl, who is a typical older wise grandmother character, but I really enjoyed her advice, and Pearl's own story too.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book, but not my favourite of Cathy Kelly's. As I said, it felt quite predictable almost from the beginning, you could sense how things were going to end up, and although I enjoyed that, there will be readers out there who prefer to go into a book which is a little less predictable. However, what this book has is the heart of Cathy Kelly's writing - warmth, love and heart, it's all of these things which make Cathy's books so readable, and enjoyable. The characters were interesting to read about, the setting was just right for the book, and it was a very enjoyable read from start to finish. Recommended.

28 October 2016

Blog Tour Author Post: Someone New by Zoe Miller

Today I am thrilled to be hosting Zoe Miller for her blog tour for her new book Someone New. I love Zoe's books and am very much looking forward to reading this one. Please enjoy the article written by Zoe below, which is about one of the themes featured in her new book, about keeping up a perfect facade. It's a fun read! Thanks to her publishers and to Zoe for inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

You can buy the book now.

SOMEONE NEW: Blog Tour Day 5

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Chloe for being part of the blog tour for Someone New and I’m delighted to be featured today as a guest post on her blog, Chicklit Chloe Blogspot.

Today the guest post looks at the question of keeping up a perfect façade, one of the themes in Someone New.  So many of us maintain a perfect front to put out there to others, sometimes keeping other sides of ourselves away from even our nearest and dearest. We don’t always know the true colours behind the façade people present to the world. It’s a theme I find recurring in a lot of the novels I’ve written - after all anything can be going on behind closed hall doors, or our closed-off selves, or the veneer of an impeccable mask; the potential for human drama and tension as the writer delves beneath the mask or unveils the truth is limitless, for both protagonist and antagonist alike. We don’t know what anyone is going through until, as the saying goes, we’ve walked a mile in their shoes, and that applies to the characters we read and write about as much as ourselves.

In Someone New, Grace Bailey, the thirty-year-old lead character, had been giving her family and friends the impression she was quite happy with her lot and her boyfriend Gavin, and all was well in her world. Likewise her sister Lucia, who has, according to Grace, always accomplished everything perfectly and according to the golden rules.

In some respects it can good for ourselves and our well-being to keep up appearances, to put our best foot forward, to meet the world with a smile. We all need to keep certain boundaries around ourselves, and keep our hearts safe from those who might treat them less than sensitively.  We don’t always need to allow people access all areas of our lives, never mind our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes little white lies can be useful to spare someone’s feelings or safeguard our own.

In Someone New, however, we soon find out that behind the happy impression she had been giving out, Grace had been living the kind of life she felt she ought to be living rather than the kind of life that was true to herself.  She’d been living under the weight of other peoples’ expectations, doing things she felt she should be doing, conforming to other people’s opinions of what makes up a happy, successful life, until she began to feel she was drowning.  In the opening scene, Grace feels she has hit rock bottom. It’s Christmas time, she’s met Gavin, her (now) ex-boyfriend for a drink, and somehow he manages to push all the wrong buttons and make her feel guilty for breaking it off with him, particularly now in the run up to Christmas, which for some, can be the loneliest time of the year instead of the most wonderful. Grace has lived behind a façade for so long that she feels remorseful for breaking free.

Then she meets Danny.  

Writing about Danny, and the way he explodes into Grace’s world and helps her to sweep away the cobwebs of other peoples’ expectations and begin to live a life true to herself was enjoyable and fun. It was more surprising fun however, discovering the effect he had Lucia, when he couldn’t help but shake the silk-covered walls of the life she had constructed around herself.

The problem with putting up a perfect façade is that it can collapse down around us when we least expect it to, and in Someone New that’s exactly what happens…

Thank you Chloe, for having me as a guest on your blog today.

Zoë xx

About Someone New
In her heart, Grace knows the perfect, reliable, good-looking Gavin isn’t right for her. Then she meets Danny. Unpredictable and spontaneous, he turns her world upside down. All of a sudden, Grace is seeing life differently and doing things she never thought she’d do.

But tragedy strikes when Danny dies in a motorbike accident, shattering Grace’s world. As she struggles to come to terms with her loss, she becomes more and more convinced that she’s being followed – sighting a motorbike exactly like Danny’s everywhere she goes. And she starts to wonder if Danny’s death was really an accident.

When she finally voices her suspicions to her family and the police, though, no one seems willing to believe her.

Meanwhile Grace feels ever more under threat as sinister things begin happening to her. What was Danny hiding from her? And what kind of danger is she in now?

About the Author:
Zoë Miller writes contemporary novels laced with suspense and intrigue. She was born on the south side of Dublin, where she still lives with her husband. She has two daughters and a son. As a child, Zoë was always the one with her head stuck in a book and she enjoyed reading so much that it compelled her to write. ‘Someone New’ is Zoë’s eighth book to be published by Hachette Books Ireland, and Zoë fits in her writing between family time and the day job.

Website: www.zoemillerauthor.com

Book Review: The Missing Wife by Sheila O'Flanagan

"Have you ever wanted to disappear?

When Imogen Naughton vanishes, everyone who knows her is shocked. She has a perfect marriage. Her handsome husband treats her like a princess. She's always said how lucky she is. So why has she left? And how will she survive without Vince?

What goes on behind closed doors is often a surprise, and Imogen surprises herself by taking the leap she knows she must. But as she begins her journey to find the woman she once was, Imogen's past is right behind her...

Will it catch up with her? And will she be ready to face it if it does?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy the book now.

I love Sheila O'Flanagan's novels, and was super excited when her new book The Missing Wife was released this summer. I have to confess I wasn't initially drawn by the cover, it seemed a little bit generic for me, but now I've read the novel, it makes sense! However, despite my initial dislike for the cover, I knew the story inside would be brilliant, because Sheila never disappoints me, and she certainly didn't with this book, it was brilliant and completely absorbing from the beginning!

Imogen seemingly has it all. She's married to a successful man, with a happy marriage, a good job, nice lifestyle and good friends around her. So when she doesn't come home from a business trip, her husband Vince is sure there must be an explanation. But when Imogen doesn't return, it seems she really has vanished and her family are shocked and puzzled, it's totally out of character for to behave like this. Imogen has fled to southern France, to where she grew up, someone she is sure she won't be found. She is determined to start afresh and create a new life for herself. But when it seems Vince might be on her trail, will Imogen be able to keep herself hidden?

There was something really intriguing about this book from the very beginning. There was no initial explanation as to why Imogen decided to walk away from her entire life, not telling a soul where she had gone or why, and this carries on for a good portion of the book. When it is revealed, we do indeed begin to understand much more about Imogen and why she felt this was the only choice she had, and I enjoyed the pace with which this unfolded. I had myself imagining all sorts of things, so it was nice when the big reveal eventually came and I was pleased that one of my guesses was right! I also enjoyed how the narrative was split between Imogen and Vince, albeit in the third person. Therefore we get to see Imogen's side, but also how that affects Vince and everyone she has left behind, we do get a nice rounded look at everything.

As with all stories, things seem to fall into Imogen's lap much more so than I believe would happen in real life, but I love the escapism of books like this and how things usually work out nicely for the characters, especially the ones that deserve a bit of a break like Imogen! Pretty much the rest of the book is set in France, and the little village that Imogen ends up in sounds beautiful, you can see why she was so happy to settle down there. The locals, too, were kind and friendly, and very welcoming too, definitely a nice start for Imogen in her new home. I loved how she got stuck in to local life, happy to work hard and mingle too when it was needed.

I enjoyed the suspense feeling to the book when we feel like Vince might be getting close to locating his estranged wife - I was desperately hoping that he wouldn't be able to because we do see his true colours, and I found myself whizzing through to see how it was going to end for Imogen. I was certainly on tenterhooks for those final few chapters, it was utterly compulsive and I loved it! I felt this was quite different to other books I have read from Sheila in the past, but I found it refreshing and I really did enjoy it. The writing was wonderful, and I really enjoyed the descriptions of Imogen's new hometown, and her childhood home too. It all really came alive in mind as I read, and I felt like I was transported to the warm French village with Imogen and her new friends! An exciting and enjoyable read, I can definitely recommend it!

27 October 2016

Book Review: Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox

"Next time you’re in New York, take a turn off Broadway onto East Houston Street. There, you’ll see it: The Starlight Diner. A retro eatery curious enough to delight tourists and locals alike. Fifties tunes stream out of the jukebox long into the night, and it serves the tastiest milkshakes in the five boroughs.

Esther Knight waitresses at The Starlight Diner. She’s sharp, sarcastic, and she’s hiding something. Nobody at the diner knows why she left London for New York – or why she repeatedly resists the charms of their newest regular, actor Jack Faber.

Esther is desperate to start a new life in the land of the free, but despite the warm welcome from the close-knit diner crowd, something from her past is holding her back. Can she ever learn to love and live again?"

Rating: 4/5

I adore books set in New York, and I just can't enough of them if I'm honest! So, when I was offered the chance to read and review Helen Cox's new book Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner set in New York and a small diner, I jumped at the chance because it sounded just like my cup of tea... or coffee as it may be in the diner! This was a truly special book, one that wasn't exactly what I had expected but I loved nonetheless!

Esther loves working in the Starlight Diner, a small diner in New York city, but she's hiding a secret. She's moved over there from England but refuses to tell anyone in New York why she is there, just telling her colleagues she fancied a change of scenery. But when Esther meets newbie actor Jack Faber in the diner, she's worried he will get her to spill all of her secrets and expose her true self. Will she be able to keep her secrets hidden from those at the Starlight Diner, or is she destined to forever be making new starts?

From the cover and the title of the book, I had expected something quite light-hearted and fun. While we did get that in parts of the book, I felt it had a more serious overtone though than I had ever expected, which did surprise me. a lot. In fact, the main storyline, which I won't reveal as part of the mystery of this book is exactly what happened to Esther, was totally unexpected, and I felt very well handled by the author. It's a serious topic, something that needs to be covered carefully and with delicate writing, and this book definitely delivers on that. It touches on the emotion, the gravitas and the power of what happened to Esther, and how it has changed her perfectly, you can truly understand why she is how she is.

Esther was a bit of an enigma in the book, I couldn't quite understand her which is of course what Helen Cox intended, and as the book goes on and more is revealed about her past, you begin to sympathise and understand this character. I loved her close relationships with her colleagues, especially fellow waitress Mona who was just lovely, and the sort of person Esther needed while she was so alone in a big city like New York. Esther's boss, and some of the other diner regulars pop up frequently, and round off a great cast! The male lead in the book is Jack, the actor who takes a shine to Esther, but is a bit of a strange one himself. I was never quite sure how to take him, and whether or not he was being genuine to Esther. However, I enjoyed the progression of their story, and again as the book goes on and more is revealed about him, I became more involved in his story too.

The twists and turns as the book progresses were intriguing, and had me surprised in several places. I had guessed what Esther's secret might be, but that didn't stop my shock and emotion when it was all revealed. Helen Cox's writing was a joy to read, describing everything from the city to the characters to the diner (which sounded just amazing by the way!) in such detail, you really feel like you are there with these characters. The story absolutely hooked me in, I couldn't stop reading in parts, and I am pleased that there is going to be a sequel called Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner, and it's out in December! I can't wait to catch up with Esther, Mona, Jack and more... the end of this book certainly hooks you into wanting to read the next one as soon as possible!

26 October 2016

Book Review: These Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton

"Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian.

Kate has always loved Charlie - they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn't always follow the journey it should.

But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won't it…?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy the book now!

This book was sent to me a few months ago by the lovely SJV at Simon and Schuster, and I was lucky enough that it was a signed copy, which made me really excited! I somehow managed to get so behind on my reviewing, but finally got around to reading this one, and I just wish I hadn't waited so long to finally read it because this was a truly amazing and touching story, and one that I know will stay with me for a long time to come.

The story is centred around cousins, Kate and Becca. They're very close, more like sisters than cousins, and do practically everything together. They share birthday parties, celebrations, and even their weddings. Kate has always loved Charlie, and thought he felt the same too. But somehow, fate intervenes and Kate discovers that perhaps she should broaden her horizons and not always follow how she thought her life would map out. But what will this mean for the cousins, and will their relationship stand the test of time... and adulthood?

First of all, I want to comment on the brilliant way this book progresses. It begins with the two girls as young girls, then moves through into their eighteenth birthdays, their weddings and finally it slows down towards the end of the book as the women cope with adulthood, and their very different lifestyles. I loved how we stuck with the same characters, that the book moves through time perfectly, and you feel like you really are a part of Becca and Kate's lives, and that you're almost seeing them grow up in front of your very eyes.

The story is told from the perspective of Kate, although Becca is very prominent throughout the book of course, as is Charlie, the love of Kate's life. The cast of characters is actually quite small throughout the book, but this works well and allows the story to really focus on Kate, Becca and their various relationships. I really enjoyed the relationship between the cousins; it felt very real, and I liked how it was affected by very realistic issues as the pair got older, and inevitably grow apart a little. Kate was my favourite of the two, not just because she is the narrator but I just found her far more likeable than Becca, and I felt I could relate to her a bit more, being quieter and far shier than her outgoing cousin!

There were a lot of twists and turns thrown in along the way, and the first one that really flummoxed me comes only a few chapters into the book. It shocked and confused me so much that I had to go back and reread what had happened, simply because I felt so sure I'd made a mistake in my mind and got confused, but alas, I hadn't! I loved that Juliet Ashton was able to flummox the reader so early on in the novel, and the surprises kept on coming for me, that was something I really enjoyed! Ashton's writing is brilliant, totally draws you in and made it very easy reading, I just wanted to keep going and find out what was going to happen next!

The momentum was lost a little bit for me sadly around 3/4 of the way through the book, but I ploughed on and I am pleased that I did because I found it soon picked up again, and once a certain character who I really disliked didn't appear as much, I began to really enjoy the story again. I loved everything about this book, as you've probably guessed! The little lull towards the end is totally forgiveable for me because I just adored the rest of it so much. The writing, the characters, the love, the heartbreak - it's all in here and it is just wonderful to read. A cleverly crafted and very enjoyable read, I'm looking forward to Juliet's next book!

25 October 2016

Book Review: Escape to the Riviera by Jules Wake

"Carrie Hayes is ready for the summer of a lifetime . .

Quiet and unassuming Carrie Hayes has a nice, steady life with long-term boyfriend Alan. But she’s been keeping a secret hidden for years. A whirlwind marriage to Hollywood superstar Richard Maddox when they were young and foolish and life was full of endless possibilities. Although no longer together when Richard went to fulfil his acting ambitions in America, they’ve never quite got a divorce.

And now a chance meeting in the paradise of the glamorous French Riviera is about to change Carrie’s summer, and entire life, for ever . . ."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy the book now!

Another read that I thoroughly enjoyed this summer was the new book from author Jules Wake. I have read several books by Jules now, and was lucky enough to get a copy of this through Netgalley this year. I  have to complement the design team because I think this cover is absolutely stunning, and certainly is one of my favourite covers this year. Luckily, the story inside inside is just as good as expected, and I didn't want it to end.

Carrie is enjoying her life as a teacher, happy in her relationship with her boyfriend Alan, and helping to look after her sister and niece when the need arrives. However, when Alan proposes to her, she doesn't quite know how to break it to him that she is already married - to a Hollywood superstar nonetheless. Richard Maddox lives a life a million miles away from Carrie's and she knows its time the pair finally got a divorce... trouble is, she has to find him first! She hears that he is filming a new movie on the French Riviera so decides to take her sister and niece with her on holiday to hunt down her estranged husband...

First of all, I want to say how much I enjoyed reading Jules Wake's writing throughout the book. She crafts the story perfectly, everything from the setting to the characters is written beautifully, and I really enjoyed every aspect of the book. I haven't visited the French Riviera myself, but could easily imagine it in my mind as I was reading thanks to the picturesque descriptions and detail that Wake puts into the whole book. It sounds idyllic, and I loved the time that I spent there!

The characters in the book are brilliant too. I loved Carrie, who was truly stuck between a rock and a hard place, I felt really sorry for her and her situation. It wasn't really one of her own doing, and as her life went on, she just put it to the back of her mind. However, I enjoyed the change we saw in Carrie once she met up with Richard again, how she seemed to become more free and truly herself, how he brought that out in her. He was a great character to read too, he seems perfect in nearly every way and is still blatantly holding a candle for his wife. The relationship between the pair makes for great reading, and I loved the whole story around them. I really did enjoy reading it and was swept up in their love story.

Overall, this was a brilliant book from start to finish, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole read. Everything in this book comes together to create a great story, and I thought it was a very romantic, hopeful, escapist read that is perfect for the summer, but also for these chilly autumn nights when you need to escape in your mind to much sunnier climes! Jules Wake's writing is superb, and she crafts a wonderful novel here. I am now very much looking forward to her next book, hopefully sooner rather than later!

24 October 2016

Book Review: The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club by Nic Tatano

"Swapping Prada for purrs…

While covering a story, feisty network reporter Madison Shaw gets more than she bargained for when she rescues a box of orphaned kittens. Suddenly the glamazon of the Manhattan news room is doing two am feedings to keep these furbabies alive!

This is certainly a change of pace for the high maintenance workaholic she’s become and taking care of the kittens makes Madison realise how far off track she’s come—after all, she was a stray once too…

When a video of her caring for the kittens goes viral, she knows her image as a hardnosed reporter is shot to hell. What Madison doesn’t expect is the media circus that propels her and the kittens to stardom. And the domino effect that has on her, her career and her love life—especially when she meets sexy Officer Nick Marino…!"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy the book now!

I've been a fan of Nic Tatano's books for a few years now, and was a bit intrigued by this book when I spotted in on Netgalley if I'm honest! It isn't the sort of thing I would usually pick to read over others, but I know how much I enjoyed Nic's writing previously so decided to give it a go! I am really pleased that I did because it was a really heart-warming and enjoyable novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page of it.

The story centres around a character called Madison Shaw who works as a TV presenter on breakfast television. She's not afraid to say she's quite self-centred, keen on being on her own and having no responsibilities. So when she finds a box of abandoned kittens on a building site, the last thing she truly wants to do is take them home with her, but she knows she must. She soon finds that raising the kittens is a lot harder work but a lot more fun that she ever could have thought... and they're about to open up her life in a whole new way!

Something I really enjoyed about this book is how heavily the cats features and how much of an important part of the story they really were. I have read books that say they are about a dog or a cat, but then said animal hasn't appeared much but that definitely wasn't the case for this book. Nic Tatano writes the kitten's brilliantly and you can tell he has had experience with his own animals as you can picture them in your mind as you read what they are up to.

The character of Madison Shaw is wonderful too, and I really enjoyed reading about her transformation as the book progresses. She begins as someone I wouldn't particularly want to know but by the end, she was kind, open-hearted and generous towards everyone. The way the kittens had worked their magic on her was very touching, and I was pleased that she gave them a chance, especially how she cared for the one kitten who seemed to have taken a shine to her!

There were a few male characters in the book too, the main one being a police officer called Nick who she meets when she's accidentally speeding to get home to the baby kittens one day. He's lovely, and certainly a good love interest for Madison, if only she can make her up mind between and another man who has been sniffing around her! I enjoyed the way she tried to get to know each of them to see which man she wanted to be with, and that she took the kitten's impression of them into consideration too, it showed how much she really loved them and cared for them!

The writing was really enjoyable in this book, and the story was charming from start to finish. If you're not a cat person, you can still enjoy the tale because the kittens are just so cute, and it's fun to read about them leaping all over the place, waking Madison up in the small hours much like a newborn baby does! Nic Tatano really sets the scene well with his writing, I enjoyed everything from the detail of the kittens, to Madison's job in television - that was certainly new to me and I liked finding out more about what she did! The budding romances, friendships and kitten love come together to make this a wonderful read, definitely recommended!

23 October 2016

Blog Tour Book Review: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

"Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she’s given an opportunity to housesit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan?

What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn’t appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…

This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Miracle on 5th Avenue now!

I can safely say that Sarah Morgan is now one of my favourite authors, and I simply can't get enough of her books! I love that she writes stories that are part of a series, which is great because I get to know the characters and become totally involved in the books, but sad because I never want them to end, and this was certainly the case with this book! Miracle on 5th Avenue is the last book in Sarah's latest series 'From Manhattan With Love' and features the final character of the three women, Eva.

Eva is a hopeless romantic and not afraid to admit it. She's pleased to see her friends Paige and Frankie settle down with their their respective boyfriends but can't help but wonder if she'll ever have the 'happy ever after' for herself. When she is sent on a job to a reclusive author's apartment to get it ready for Christmas, she's shocked to find him in situe, not prepared to let her in and do her work. She tries hard to break down Lucas Blade's walls, but he's determined not to fall in love again and make friends with Eva. As the festive season fast approaches, Eva is sure that she will find love this Christmas no matter what, and is sure Lucas can never feel for her as she feels for him. Or is there a miracle heading her way?

If you have read the previous 2 books in the series, Sleepless in Manhattan and Sunset in Central Park, you'll know the character of Eva from those two books, along with her best friends and colleagues Paige and Frankie, who took centre stage in each of the two previous books. I was always looking forward to reading Eva's story, and it certainly didn't disappoint for me. The setting of New York is perfect, my favourite city in the whole world, and I loved these books because I could imagine the city so well, especially as this book is set at Christmas and this was when I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago now.

Eva is a fantastic character, and you easily fall in love with her zest for life and eternal optimism, especially her love for all things Christmas! She has such a kind heart, is fiercely protective of those around her but hiding her own heartbreak over the death of her beloved grandmother a while ago. She tries to hide it, but I enjoyed reading Eva's more vulnerable moments when she opens up about her grief, it was so well written and very touching. The other main character in this book is crime writer Lucas Blade, who Eva ends up befriending when she is employed to decorate his posh apartment. He is the complete antithesis of Eva in every way - closed off, hard-hearted, and determined never to love again.

The chemistry between these two was on fire right from the beginning, Morgan has such a way of writing characters that bounce off each other, and you just want so badly to be together! I felt sure Eva was the woman to melt Lucas' cold heart, and was hopeful throughout the book that this would be the case. I enjoyed the ups and downs of their friendship, from how Eva opened Lucas up by cooking for him to Lucas being inspired by Eva to write his latest bestseller. The pair were certainly fickle though, and I was left hanging sometimes waiting for them to just get it together!

As I mentioned, the reading experience of this book was perfect, especially as it is set at Christmas, my favourite time of year. Morgan describes everything perfectly, from the gorgeous huge tree Eva bestows upon Lucas' apartment to the snowy scenes in Central Park that brought back amazing memories for myself. You can of course read these books as stand-alone stories but for me they really are best enjoyed as part of the series, so you know more about the other characters who pop up throughout. However, I felt the skill in this book lie in the fact the vast majority of the book is set in one apartment with just 2 characters - but I was completely hooked. Morgan doesn't allow her readers to dwindle in their attention at all, and I just loved this story so much I couldn't put it down. I'm sad that it is the last I will see of Eva, Paige and Frankie but I cannot wait to see what Sarah Morgan has for us next!

22 October 2016

Book Review: We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk

"Is it a break? Or is it a blip? 'You've just had a holiday,' I pointed out, trying not to yawn. 'Wasn't that enough of a break?' 'I don't mean that kind of break.' 

There's nothing worse than the last day of holiday. Oh wait, there is. When what should have been a proposal turns into a break, Liv and Adam find themselves on opposite sides of the life they had mapped out. Friends and family all think they're crazy; Liv throws herself into work - animals are so much simpler than humans - and Adam tries to get himself out of the hole he's dug. 

But as the short break becomes a chasm, can they find a way back to each other? 

Most importantly, do they want to?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy We Were On A Break now!

I was very excited to be sent a review copy of Lindsey Kelk's brand new book We Were On A Break and finally got around to reading it last week. I have to be honest and say this is probably my favourite book ever by Lindsey, and I don't say that lightly given how much I adored her 'I Heart...' series! I was just totally absorbed by this book, its characters and genuinely didn't want to put it down.

Liv and Adam thought they were the perfect couple, so when Liv was told (on good authority) that Adam was going to propose while they were on holiday in Mexico, Liv got her hopes up and awaited that inevitable question. However, when it doesn't come, it causes the pair to start questioning everything about their relationship, and whether or not they really do belong together after all...

Of course, when I read the title of this book, my favourite TV show of all time, Friends, sprang to mind. Who doesn't remember the 'will they, won't they' of Ross and Rachel, and I wondered what elements of that would spring up in this book. In the end, I thought the pair were quite similar to this storyline on TV, but I really did want these two to bang their heads together and work it out, they were both just being silly and stubborn in my eyes!

Liv is a vet in her small village, and Adam has thrown the towel in at University and has decided to work as a carpenter, something he had always wanted to do but Liv gave him the guts to actually pursue. Both of them are really nice people, with supportive families that I enjoyed reading about - having said that, I thought Adam's brother was absolutely awful and I think I'd probably disown him if I were related to him! Liv, however, was my favourite. She seemed genuinely heart-broken when the proposal didn't materialise and I just wanted Adam to man up, make them both happy and ask her to marry him. I enjoyed the unfolding of this part of the book, which happens at the beginning and really sets the tone well for the rest of the book.

One thing I really enjoyed a lot about this book is that it was told from both character's perspectives. Lindsey Kelk alternates her narrator chapter by chapter, and I found it interesting to see how both Liv and Adam viewed things, and how easily crossed wires happened between the pair. I wanted to kill Adam for some of his choices, I wanted Liv to stop moping around and get on with it, but reading both of their stories certainly allowed me to feel more involved in the story, if a little more frustrated as I knew their true feelings and they just couldn't seem to bring themselves to say it! The writing is of course typical Lindsey Kelk - funny, witty, emotional and just brilliant to read. The narrative flows so well from both characters, and chapters zoomed by in a flash because I couldn't stop reading.

As I said earlier on, this is probably my favourite book of all time by Lindsey Kelk which is certainly no mean feat! I just thoroughly enjoyed the feel of the whole thing, from its setting to the characters, both main and secondary and the twists and turns that the book took along the way to its conclusion. I really didn't want it to end, although there was a part of me who wanted it to get there to see if the pair would decide whether or not they wanted to be together! It was a fantastic, enjoyable and funny read, I can't wait for Lindsey's next book!

20 October 2016

Blog Tour: Extract of All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll

Today I am very happy to be hosting an extract from Claudia Carroll's brand new novel All She Ever Wished For. I am a bit in love with the book's gorgeous cover, and I think the story sounds wonderful too! So please enjoy this extract and get ordering the book!

Spring 2002

Eight months, two weeks and four days. That’s exactly how long Kate had been married before she began to see a very different and slightly worrying side to Damien.

She could still remember it vividly. They had been due to have dinner that evening with a business contact of his, along with his wife. Not just any business contact though – Damien had so many, it was impossible to keep up with them all – this was a guy who’d flown in all the way from Missouri especially for the night and Damien was hoping to persuade him to come on board as a Globtech investor. Kate knew it was a huge deal for him and, as ever, the last thing she wanted to do was let him down.

About an hour before they were due to leave, she was still up in her bedroom at Castletown House, blow-drying her hair before changing into a slinky Armani cocktail dress she’d bought in Harvey Nichols earlier that day, a whispery slip of a thing that only someone as long and lean and elegant as her could possibly carry off. From two floors beneath her, she heard Damien coming home from work and moments later, he strode into the room and was straight over to her, locking his arms around her waist and nuzzling deep into her neck.

‘Missed you,’ he said, kissing at her ear. ‘Did you miss me?’

‘Stop messing,’ Kate laughed, playfully pushing him away from her so she could concentrate on putting in her earrings. ‘We only just saw each other this morning!’

‘Far too long to be apart,’ he said, gripping her even tighter. ‘Nine hours stuck in the Globtech office without you? Completely ridiculous. Might have to start bringing you into work with me.’

He looked adoringly at her and a part of Kate glowed, still unable to believe that it really was possible for two human beings to really be this much in love, even after almost a year of marriage.

Their life was completely perfect in every way and although she worried constantly about something going skew-ways, it never seemed to. Day after unbelievable day, she and Damien had remained as besotted with each other as they’d been since they first met. Everyone commented on it; friends teased them for still acting like newlyweds and even the gossip columns were constantly filled with stories about ‘the loved up Mr and Mrs King’.

But then Kate was still naïve enough to find being in the full headlamps of Damien’s attention endearing and romantic. The way he was so full-on and almost obsessive about her, insisting on being with her every night of the week and when they weren’t together, calling and texting all the time. Wanting to know the tiniest detail about her day, wanting to tell her all about his.

‘Oh that’s so sweet . . . he’s nuts about you!’ all her girlfriends had said, not a little enviously.

‘Keeping tabs on you, is he?’ was her mother’s only comment, when Damien had taken to calling in to the family home at all hours before they were married, even if he knew Kate was out on a modelling shoot. He’d sit with her mother, charming her, buying expensive gifts for her, encouraging her to tell stories about what Kate had been like as a little girl. Never in her whole life had Kate dated anyone so unabashedly besotted with her and she found it intoxicating. Like standing out in full, glorious sunshine.

‘So where are we meeting the Sandersons tonight?’ she asked him, focused on her dressing table mirror and fiddling with the back of an earring that stubbornly refused to go in.

Damien pulled a face and locked his arms even tighter around Kate’s waist, kissing the nape of her neck and playing with her long, fair hair. He was still in his work suit and smelt slightly sweaty and musky from a long day.

‘Oh, sweetheart, does it matter?’

‘You’re messing up my hair.’

‘So what? I like it messy. It’s sexier.’

‘Well shouldn’t we get a move on before we’re late?

If we’ve got to drive into Dublin for this dinner, we need to get going.’

‘Let’s not bother,’ he’d said after a pause, sliding his arms even lower down her thighs and pulling her even closer. ‘Let’s just have a night in, just the two of us. We’ve both had a busy week, so why not have this evening to ourselves?’

‘But won’t that be rude to the Sandersons?’ Kate asked, turning around to face him now. ‘They’ve flown in all this way and you’ve been saying all week how much you’ve got to discuss.’

‘Oh, babe,’ he said, rolling his eyes. ‘I’m putting them up in the Merrion hotel. They’ll be fine there, with a bit of room service. It was only a business dinner anyway, we can always do it some other time.’

‘But they’ve travelled from Missouri just for this!’


‘But . . . I was actually looking forward to going out tonight . . .’

‘Ooh, now, sweetheart, I can think of ways to keep you far more entertained here at home instead,’ he’d said, unzipping her dress, pulling her face to his and kissing her as he gently caressed the small of her back.

Half an hour later, tangled up in bed together in a mess of limbs and discarded clothes and Egyptian cotton sheets, Damien reached out to the bedside table for his phone.

‘Hi, can you put me through to the Sanderson’s room, please? Thanks. Hi, Greg, that you? Damien here. Yeah, good to hear your voice too. Listen, bit of a problem this end, I’m afraid. There we were, so looking forward to seeing you for dinner tonight, only Kate’s been in an awful car accident and I’m afraid she’s a bit shaken.’

Kate sat up and looked across the bed at him, horrified.

‘. . . OK to take a rain check on tonight?’ he chatted on, improvising easily as he went. ‘No, no, she wasn’t hurt, thankfully, but she’s completely rattled as you can imagine . . . yeah, the car is a complete write-off . . . no, not the Jag, the Beamer . . . brand new as well . . .’

Kate lay back against the pillows, astonished at how easily the lie just tripped off his tongue. He even embellished it with all sorts of crazy, elaborate details. Apparently she’d been driving along one of the twisty by-roads that led to Castletown when another car came flying round a dangerous bend, crashing into her front right headlight and sending her reeling off the road. A hit and run, apparently. And yes, the Guards had been called, and were confident they’d find the culprits. Teenage joyriders, more than likely. For good measure, he even threw in that he’d taken her to A&E, where she’d been treated for minor shock, then sent home to rest.

What was really chilling was that he was so persuasive, so utterly convincing. If I listen to him much longer, Kate thought, I’ll eventually start to believe this myself.

‘All sorted, babes, we’re off the hook,’ Damien said, hanging up the phone and cuddling her tightly into him. ‘So it looks like it’s just you and me tonight. Bliss.’

She pulled away and hauled herself up on her elbows so she could look him square in the face.

‘You could have just said one of us had a tummy bug,’ she said. ‘There was no need for the three-act opera.’

‘The bigger the fib, the more easily people will believe it,’ he’d shrugged lightly.

Kate said nothing, just looked steadily back at him.

‘What now?’ he said. ‘Did I say the wrong thing?’

‘Nothing. I hadn’t realised, that’s all.’

‘Realised what?’

‘Just what a good liar you are.’

17 October 2016

Blog Tour Book Review: The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop by Caroline Roberts

"From sleigh bells to wedding bells . . .

After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down teashop regained its old sparkle.

Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairytale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The teashop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?

Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve.

Will Christmas at the Cosy Teashop be a showstopper to remember?"

Rating: 5/5

I was thrilled to be asked to be part of the blog tour for Caroline Roberts' new festive treat The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop, which is a follow up to her lovely summer novel The Cosy Tea Shop at the Castle, a book I read and thoroughly enjoyed earlier this year. It was lovely to catch up with the familiar cast again and see what they were up to in a book set a few years after the previous one, but this can also enjoyed as a stand alone festive read too!

Ellie and Joe are loving living at Claverham Castle, and Ellie's tea shop is going from strength to strength, with a good daily dose of visitors keeping things ticking over. As well as this, the pair have started to host weddings at the castle, sure that people will want to hold their wedding at their beautiful home, and raise some much needed revenue too. As Christmas time approaches and things start to get quieter, Ellie decides that they can host a Christmas Craft fair to attract some more visitors. As well as this, a last minute wedding ensures that things at the castle certainly aren't going to slow down for the festive season!

As the book began, I have to be honest and confess that I was wondering where the festive feeling was hiding as it didn't begin at Christmastime! However, I needn't have worried because this was a really enjoyable read, and I loved how the Christmas spirit crept up on throughout the book, and by the time the season had arrived, I was feeling well and truly festive. Caroline Roberts' descriptions definitely helped as well - the castle decorated for Christmas sounded idyllic and definitely somewhere I would want to visit at Christmas.

As well as the descriptions of the castle, I also loved the mouth-watering descriptions of the festive treats that Ellie and her crew at the tea shop were cooking up, from brownies to mince pies, brandy laden Christmas cakes and gingerbread - yum yum! These sounded perfect, I could have done with a lovely piece of gingerbread and one of Ellie's hot chocolates with cream while I was reading! Together with this, the lovely Christmas tree, Father Christmas and much more going on at the castle, it added up to a very festive read indeed!

The story is of course set at Christmas, but there are a few threads going on which made it great to read, as there was always something going on .Ellie and Joe go through a bit of an emotional set back of their own, and I felt that Robert's tackled this issue really well, giving it the time it deserved but also not allowing her characters to become too bogged down in their sadness. The way they used the happiness around them to motivate themselves was great, and I loved the final few chapters with the most perfect festive wedding I think I've ever read! I certainly had tears in my eyes at the most inspirational final few chapters, it was such a joy to read! I really hope that this isn't the last we see of Ellie, Joe and Claverham Castle, they've become firm friends of mine and I'd be happy to pay them another visit! A must-read for the festive season!

9 October 2016

Blog Tour: The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

Today I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Sue Moorcroft's new festive read The Christmas Promise, her first book with her new publishers Avon. I am hosting an extract from the book, and am lucky enough to have a copy sat on my shelf ready to ready when I start reading my festive books!

Please enjoy the extract below, and make sure you pick up a copy of The Christmas Promise! Thank you to Sue Moorcroft and the team at Avon for asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Saturday 1 December
Battling her way along the crowded pavements of Camden High Street, under the red and green Christmas lights and past the huge boots and aeroplanes displayed on the shop fronts, Ava didn’t feel entirely in the mood for going out and having a good time. Today, her first day as a ‘casual’ stallholder in the West Yard market, had seemed endless. And she was pretty sure there would never be a second.

‘Even though I’ve been home to warm up, my feet are still burning and freezing both at the same time,’ she complained to Izz. They’d linked arms to share body heat as sleet danced in the air around them but she wished her dress would magically transform itself into a thick water­proof coat until she reached the warmth of Blaggard’s Bar. ‘It’s only the beginning of December and I’ve already had enough of Christmas shoppers who browse without buying, try on without buying, and especially, especially those who gasp, “How much? For one hat?” and drop one of my precious samples. Also without buying.’

Izz’s teeth chattered, although she was marginally more warmly dressed in glittery jeans and a top. ‘Sales were a bit thin, were they?’

‘To the point of being anorexic, even though I slashed my prices and prayed that none of my bespoke customers would appear and demand to know why they’d previously paid double.’

‘Your hats are amazing. You should be charging more, not less.’

Ava gave Izz’s arm a squeeze. ‘Aw, thank you! But needs must. I do need to eat, even if I can manage without luxuries like restaurants or the gym. I get anxious every time I think how much I spent on tarpaulin, skirting cloth and display stands, all of which look likely to end up on eBay after Christmas. If another casual hadn’t offered us a lift home I’d probably have stuffed the lot in a bin. I should have listed my stock on Etsy or Notonthehighstreet and saved myself a lot of freezing disappointment.’

She gave a little skip to keep up with Izz’s long stride. ‘I hope this drinks party is worth coming out for. It’s a bit early for a Christmas do, isn’t it?’

‘PR and marketing people will be frantic for the rest of the month with clients. Anyway, three of the associates from Jermyn’s were already over here today with a new client. Oh, look, there’s Tod, going into Blaggard’s.’

Ava watched the back of their mutual bestie Tod with envy as he hopped out of a cab and into Blaggard’s Bar, safe from the December drizzle. ‘Clients on a Saturday?’

‘It’s not necessarily a Monday-to-Friday industry.’ Izz was on a short contract at the communications agency where Tod was an associate. Tod was taking his newish and bossy girlfriend, Louise, to the agency Christmas do, and so Ava had agreed to be Izz’s plus one, Izz not currently having a boyfriend or feeling sufficiently brave to go alone.

Izz’s next words illuminated why giving the event a miss had not been an option. ‘Sam says the agency Christmas bash is a cornerstone of team building, so everyone will probably be here.’

‘Ah! If Sam said it then it must be true,’ Ava teased, shooting thankfully through a midnight-blue door span­gled with stars and into the happy and familiar din of Blaggard’s Bar, the rough-hewn wooden pillars incongru­ously strung with fairy lights and mistletoe tied with red and black ribbon.

Typically Camden, Blaggard’s was about crowds and diversity; suits mixing happily with gothic black or steampunk satin.

4 October 2016

Blog Tour: We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk

I am really thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Lindsey Kelk's brand new book We Were On A Break which is out this week, hurrah! I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy and absolutely loved it, so do check back later for my review! In the meantime, Lindsey was kind enough to write me a piece about her 'Top 10 Friends Moments' - my personal favourite TV Show of all time, and I have to confess many of Lindsey's picks would have made it onto my own list! Do you agree with Lindsey's best 'Friends' moments?! Leave your faves in the comments!

Thanks so much to Lindsey and her publishers for letting me be part of the blog tour, and check back later for my review!

Lindsey Kelk's Top 10 'Friends' Moments!

Season 1, Episode 1: The Pilot
You can’t start a Friends marathon without the first ever episode.
Fave quote:
Rachel: Daddy! Daddy listen to me! It's like all my life everyone's told me, "You're a shoe! You're a shoe! You're a shoe!" Well, what if I don't want to be a shoe? What if I wanna be a purse or a hat? No I don't want you to buy me a hat, I'm saying I am a hat. It's a metaphor Daddy!
Ross: You can see where he'd have trouble.

Season 3, Episode 24: The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion
I loved Pete Becker. I know he wasn’t the one for Monica but I loved him so much. And since one of my favourite wrestlers, CM Punk, started his career in UFC in much he same way as Pete, I think we should all take a moment to wonder how he’s getting on. This episode also includes Chandler getting slapped on the butt by his boss and Phoebe introducing Ross to Bonnie (the girl who was supposed to be bald) so you know, it’s pretty great.
Fave quote:
Pete: [about becoming the Ultimate Fighting Champion] One day, kids will wonder who'd win in a fight: me or Superman. Of course I can't beat Superman, but you know, kids are stupid.

Season 3, Episode 5: The One with Frank Jr
As much as I enjoy Phoebe’s little brother, I chose this episode for it’s cultural impact of Ross and Rachel’s laminated lists.
Fave quote:
Ross: (About Isabella Rossellini) Damn! I can't believe I took her off my list.
Monica: Why? 'Cause otherwise you'd go for it?
Ross: Yeah, maybe.
Rachel: Oh oh, you lie.
Ross: What? You don't think I'd go up to her?
Rachel: Ross, it took you ten years to finally admit you liked me.
Ross: Yeah, well missy, you better be glad that list is laminated.
Rachel: You know what, honey? You go ahead. We'll call her an alternate.
Ross: Okay, hold my crawler.
Rachel: Okay. (He walks up to the counter.)
Monica: Rach, are you really gonna let him do this?
Rachel: Honey, he's about to go hit on Isabella Rossellini. I'm just sorry we don't got popcorn.

Season 5, Episode 2: The with All the Kissing
If you’re unfortunate enough to spend more than seven minutes with me and my best friend, at some point during the evening, one of us will say to the other ‘Mrs Geller, why you cry?’ It’s my all time favourite quote and to me, proves why Jennifer Aniston is a comic acting genius. Her timing is amazing, her delivery is always pitch perfect and basically I love her. That is all.
Fave quotes:
‘Not to shabby for Rachel.’
‘Mrs Geller, why you cry?’

Season 5, Episode 11: The One With All the Resolutions
Man, season five knocked it out of the park. This episode is notable to me for putting the fear of god into humanity when it comes to leather pants. I mean, fashion did GREAT work I bringing them back, weren’t we all terrified? THE LOTION AND THE POWDER MADE A PASTE.
Fave quote:
Ross: They're still not coming on, man! Aand the lotion and the powder have made a paste!
Joey: Really? Uh, what color is it?
Ross: What difference does that make?!
Joey: Well, I'm just... If the paste matches the pants, you can make yourself a pair of paste pants and she won't know the difference!

Season 5, Episode 14: The One Where Everybody Finds Out
This is just one of the best examples of Friends doing what Friends does best. People messing with people but messing out of love. Rachel’s master manipulation, Joey’s shirt opening skills, Phoebe’s dance, the lotion, Ugly Naked Guy, Ross’ breakdown and Chandler and Monica’s declaration of love… it’s got everything.
Fave quote:
Phoebe: God, they thought they can mess with us! They're trying to mess with us?! They don't know that we know they know we know! (Joey just shakes his head.) Joey, you can't say anything!
Joey: I couldn't even if I wanted too.

Season 5, Episode 16: The One with the Cop
I will always have time for crazy Ross and who hasn’t shouted ‘pivot’ when trying to move something cumbersome? Also, you get to meet one Phoebe’s best boyfriends, Gary the cop. Before he shoots that bird and ruins everything.
Fave quote:

Season 6, Episode 1: The One After Vegas
There was so much to love in the Vegas epsiodes, Joey’s hand twin, Regina Phalange and my favourite wedding in Friends history, Ross and Rachel’s Nevada nuptials. Is there anything funnier than the two of them running out of the chapel in front of Monica and Chandler with their Sharpied faces?
Fave quote:
Well, hello, Mrs Ross! Well, hello Mrs. Rachel!

Season 7, Episode 10: The One with the Holiday Armadillo
I love the seasonal episodes and I love the Holiday Armadillo. Ross is at his best when he’s being peevish and even though he’s trying really hard to be a good dad, he still can’t quite help being a bit of a dick. And more to the point, whatever happened to Ben? How come he just vanished? I’m assuming boarding school because he too was a bit of a dick.
Fave quote:
Chandler: [sarcastically referring to Joey who's dressed as Superman] My favorite part was when Superman flew all the jews out of Egypt.

Season 10, Episode 16: The One With Princess Consuela
For all her flaws and relationship difficulties, Phoebe dated some pretty great guys. Luckily, she ended up with the best one (shut up, David-shippers, I’m not listening to you) Mike. Phoebe got to marry PAUL FREAKING RUDD. Of course, there was one glorious episode where Mike was no longer Mike but the fantastically named Crap Bag. Because if your wife changes her name to Princess Consuela Bananahammock, what are you supposed to do?
Fave quote:
Phoebe: Rita is a massage client.
Mike Hanigan: Oh, why don't you introduce me?
Phoebe: Rita, this is my husband.
Mike Hanigan: Why don't you tell her my name?
Phoebe: Ok, I will. This is... this is my husband, Crap Bag.
Rita - Massage Client: Crap Bag.
Mike Hanigan: If you need an easy way to remember it just think of a bag of crap.

Thanks so much, Lindsey!