31 July 2014

Book Extract: A Girl Called Summer by Lucy Lord

Today, I am thrilled to host an extract of Lucy Lord's brand new book A Girl Called Summer. The book sounds fantastic, and with a cover that screams 'summer read', this is definitely one you'll be wanting to read on the beach this summer. The book is out now, but read the extract now to whet your appetite!

You can buy A Girl Called Summer as a paperback or an eBook now.

You can read the extract from A Girl Called Summer right here, just click to view!

"A new start…
Bella and Andy have escaped the rat race for the sun-drenched, relaxed lifestyle on the island of Ibiza. But with a run-down house to make habitable and a distractingly gorgeous neighbour, is their island idyll all that it seems?

A holiday adventure…
Tamara Gold has been Hollywood’s most notorious car crash since she was a child star. Now clean and sober, and engaged to Tinseltown’s hottest leading man, it seems like she’s finally conquered her addictions, if not her bratty behaviour. But a summer in Europe with all the hedonistic lures of Ibiza beckons…

A girl called Summer…
Summer Larsson has always known Ibiza as home: a haven of hippies, yoga and healthy eating – and loneliness. But in Bella, she’s found the friend she always needed, and when Bella’s glamorous Hollywood friends come to visit, it looks like she might have found true love as well…

This could be the summer that everything changes…"

30 July 2014

Book Review: Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan

"There are some summers you’ll remember forever

Fiery chef Élise is determined to make this summer one of them – but with the grand opening of her chic French café falling apart – it looks like it might for all the wrong reasons.

Until Sean O’Neill comes back to town.

Last Summer Élise and Sean shared one hazy whirlwind night together – and Elise is looking forward to repeating their last encounter.

As long as she can stick to her one-night-only rule and listen to her head rather than her heart. After all, Sean hates life in his home town and is planning on leaving again soon as he can.

But recapturing the magic of last summer could be about to change everything…."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Suddenly Last Summer as a paperback or an eBook now!

Suddenly Last Summer is the second in Sarah Morgan's 'Snow Crystal' trilogy, which I got into reading last winter when she released the first book in the series with publishers Mills & Book called Sleigh Bells in the Snow. I absolutely loved that book, so I was thrilled to be sent the second book for review. I think the cover for this book is great too, so summery and bright, for me a cover is so important! Even if you haven't read the first book, this is definitely an enjoyable read and I would certainly recommend it for holiday reading!

Although business is slowly picking up at Snow Crystal resort thanks to the input of Kayla and Jackson, there's still a way to go before it's safe and the family can finally relax. For French chef Elisé, she's made Snow Crystal her home after a tumultuous past and wants to make the restaurants as much of a success as she can. She doesn't bank on Jackson's handsome brother Sean making a return to Snow Crystal, and sitting up a load of feelings that she doesn't want to be feeling. Elise was happy with their one night together, but she's not sure it was enough for Sean. Will the pair be able to put their feelings aside and help Snow Crystal get back on its feet, or is the magic of their last time together too much to resist?

Both Elise and Sean are characters we first met in Sleigh Bells in the Snow, although they had more minor parts in that book. However, I love that this was based around the same family and resort so you feel like you know them well, and it was fun to see more of Kayla and Jackson too, who the first book centred around. A bit of a troubled past has been hinted at for Elise before, and I've been wondering what it is, and luckily all is revealed in this book. We understand why Elise is so reluctant to want to commit to anyone, especially Sean, and why she is so determined to stay at Snow Crystal. I loved her French temperament, the fire in her belly, and her passion for her cooking as well.

Although I loved Elise, my favourite was Sean. He's a very successful surgeon, and the only one in the family who has chosen to live away from the resort, and is fairly reluctant to return as well. He doesn't seem to mind what his family think of his reluctance to come back home, but stays close to his brothers, especially his twin Jackson. I loved the chemistry he had with Elise, it was really fun to read and I was hoping that the two would get together, they seemed to be very attracted to each other and were staying apart for what seemed silly reasons! He seems a bit of a hero for the book, and I was quite happy to read a whole book based on him.

The setting of Snow Crystal was brilliant as usual, and we get to see a lot more of the restaurant side of the business due to the story being based around Elise. I loved reading about the set-up of the new restaurant too, how much Elise was determined to make it a success and what she put into it as well. Another element of the story that I really enjoyed was the relationship between Sean and his grandfather, it goes to show how we react in certain situations can change a relationship, sometimes irretrievably and I so wanted the pair of them to make it up. It was a lovely family-oriented story, and I was rapt from beginning to end. I'm really excited to read the final installment in the trilogy this winter, although I will be sad to leave Snow Crystal and the family behind! This is a fabulous summer read, there's a bit of everything in here - romance, laughs, family drama and the odd sex scene as well! I loved it, and definitely recommend it as a great summer read!

Blog Tour: Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

Today I am delighted to be part of Paige Toon's blog tour for her brilliant new book Thirteen Weddings! I read and reviewed the book a few weeks ago, and now I am thrilled to bring you an author article from Paige about her Top 5 Wedding Songs. Enjoy! My thanks go to Dawn from publishers Simon & Schuster for organising the blog tour, and to Paige for taking the time to write this piece!

You can read my review of Thirteen Weddings here.

You can buy Thirteen Weddings as a paperback or an eBook now!

Top 5 Wedding Songs

It took my husband-to-be and me ages to decide on a first dance song for our wedding, so in the end we went for The Conga and led all the guests around the Barbican Garden Rooms where we had our reception. We followed this up with The Beautiful South’s Dumb and INXS’s Never Tear Us Apart. My husband is from East Yorkshire and I’m from Australia so we figured they were fitting choices…

As for my top five wedding song recommendations, you could do worse than add these to your playlist…

Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
I felt like I had to choose an 80s classic considering Alex and Bronte from Thirteen Weddings meet in an 80s club. This is my favourite Cyndi song – I listened to it over and over when I was a teenager.

Crazy In Love by Beyoncé
One of my favourite songs ever. Get everyone on the dance floor and shake some booty! The 1920’s inspired Emeli Sandé version from The Great Gatsby soundtrack is also great and very classy.

Wicked Game by Chris Isaak
Surely one of the sexiest, sultriest songs ever written? Maybe this is one for the end of the night when everyone is drunkenly swaying in their lovers’ arms – or the arms of someone they’re hoping could be their lover (if they’re not toooooo drunk…).

Underneath It All by No Doubt
I love the reggae vibe of this song and lyrics like, ‘You see the colours in me like no one else.’ Funnily enough, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale got married in the same church as my hubbie and me only weeks before. (St Paul’s in Covent Garden, London.) They, like us, are still going strong after eleven years. One, two, three: AWW!

Your Song by Elton John
I was trying to find something more upbeat and rocky for my last suggestion, like Billy Idol’s ‘White Wedding’, or Aerosmith’s brilliantly cheesy ‘Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’, but in the end I had to settle for good old Elton. This is my favourite song of his – the lyrics are beautiful beyond words. I’ve just checked and I actually have four versions of this song on iTunes, including covers by Ellie Goulding and Ewan McGregor, so I must really like it!

Well, that’s it, and if you’re getting married anytime soon, I wish you all the very best of love and luck!

‘Always the photographer, never the bride…’
Thirteen Weddings is a bittersweet love story about Bronte, a wedding photographer who falls in love with a groom.

A note from Paige: Sign up to my book club, ‘The Hidden Paige’, at www.paigetoon.com for free short stories, competitions and the chance to find out more about me and my characters and what we’re all up to.
Follow me on Twitter @PaigeToonAuthor or visit me at www.Facebook.com/PaigeToonAuthor

Thanks so much, Paige!

26 July 2014

Book Review: Two Weddings and A Baby by Scarlett Bailey

"Tamsyn Thorne has not been back to her home town of Poldore for five long years.

But now her brother, Ruan, is about to get married and she has no excuses left.

Her plans to arrive in Cornwall looking chic and successful are dashed when a huge storm turns her from fashion goddess to a drowned rat. Worse, she ends up insulting the local hunky vicar - and then finds a tiny baby abandoned in his churchyard..."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Two Weddings and a Baby as a paperback or an eBook now.

Scarlett Bailey is quickly flying up my must-read list, so when she released a summer this year, as opposed to her usual festive novel, I was really excited to read it and see what she would do with this one. I didn't realise before I started reading that it's sort of a follow up to her 2013 Christmas book Just for Christmas, which was a fantastic story. We go back to the fictional town of Poldore, catch up with the characters there and meet some new ones too. This book has just solidified Scarlett Bailey's place on my top 10 authors list, and makes me look forward to more from her!

Tamysn Thorne has stayed away from he home town for 5 long years, but now her brother Ruan is getting married to Alex, she knows she can't put off the inevitable any longer. She's got a successful career working in the fashion industry in Paris, and is sure returning to Cornwall is like a step backwards again. But as Tamsyn returns, a massive storm hits Poldore, and the town is left in ruins, as well as Tamysn utterly drenched. She manages to insult the local vicar Jed as she makes Poldore her home once more, and ends up finding a baby in the churchyard in the pouring rain. Tamsyn's life takes a massive turn as Poldore starts to pick itself up again, and maybe returning home wasn't the mistake Tamsyn thought it would be...

It actually doesn't matter if you haven't read Just for Christmas when you start this book - everything you need to know is explained well enough in this book, but I would personally recommend you read the previous novel, it was Christmas read of the year 2013 and was a superb story. The characters of Alex and Ruan, who were the main characters in that book, appear quite a lot in this book too, so it was lovely to catch up with them, as well as the other residents of Poldore. It was good to see them through Tamsyn's eyes too, someone who didn't know some of them and hasn't been around for a while. so it was good to re-meet these characters again.

Tamsyn's name had cropped up in Just for Christmas, but we didn't know too much about her. Therefore I enjoyed reading much more about her in this book. I found her quite unlikeable at first, she seemed snobby and rude to the locals, thinking she was to good to be back in Poldore after her luxurious life in Paris working in fashion. However, as the book goes on and more is revealed about Tamsyn, we realise perhaps she is different to the facade she puts on. I did warm to her, especially as she grows ever closer to the baby she rescued from the churchyard. Seeing her adapt to being a substitute mother for baby Mo was touching, and really enjoyed this, along with the scenes with Tamsyn and vicar Jed. The two had chemistry for sure, and I loved how Scarlett was able to weave the light-hearted side of their friendship with Jed's more serious past, it was so well written, it all just came together perfectly in the book.

The town of Poldore, although battered and broken, sounded as wonderful as ever. It has the sense of real community about it, everyone looking out for each other and caring for each other, especially in the aftermath of the storm. I loved everything about this book, from the return of Tamsyn and her transformation thanks to baby Mo, to Jed and his personal story, and all the other stories in between. I whizzed my way through the book because it was so enjoyable, and I felt so invested in the story, wanting to find out what Tamsyn would do, who Baby Mo's mum was and what would happen to Poldore. Bailey has a real talent for writing, and although it isn't overly summery due to the massive storm, it's a great beach read and one you'll want to devour once you start it! This is one of my favourite books by Scarlett Bailey so far, and I was especially pleased it was a follow-up to the brilliant Just for Christmas! Definitely a must-read from me.

25 July 2014

Book Review: Ice Creams at Carrington's by Alexandra Brown

"Georgie Hart and Carrington’s Department Store have got the world at their feet. Since a reality TV series put them both on the map, life has been amazing! Carrington’s profits are in the pink, Georgie has carved herself a place in the nation’s heart and her romance with Tom, the store’s boss, has finally blossomed.

Now summertime has come to Mulberry-on -Sea and Georgie is in great demand. The town is holding a big summer festival and she and her mates from Carrington’s are planning on making sure that Mulberry puts on the show of its life!

But Georgie is about to get the offer of a lifetime – one that is just too good to turn down and something that will test her loyalties to their limits… Will Georgie be able to pull off it off once again, or has her luck finally run out?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Ice Creams at Carrington's as a paperback or an eBook now.

I do love a good book series, so when Alexandra Brown first released her Carrington's series, I was really excited to start liking some new characters and get stuck into a new book series at long last. Ice Creams at Carrington's is the third book in the series, a gorgeous summery read that you'll want to be reading on the beach or at least in your garden on the sunlounger with an ice cream of your own in your hand! I love the cover as well, it's perfect for the book and matches the rest in the series too, which I always like. So here's why I think Ice Creams at Carrington's is the perfect summer read.

Georgie Hart is back, and is more successful than ever with her job at Carrington's department store. She's still happily in love with her boyfriend Tom, and it seems like life is treating her well. Carrington's is successful as a business, and with summer approaching, the store decides to sponsor the local summer festival in Mulberry-on-Sea. Georgie is put in charge of helping to organise the stalls and manage the store's input in the festival too due to her popularity after starring on a reality show based around Carrington's. However, Georgie soon realises the scale of the job she's taken on, and is being pulled in all sorts of directions.When she gets the offer of a lifetime, Georgie is torn between her loyalty to Carrington's and this amazing opportunity... which one will Georgie choose when push comes to shove?!

While you don't have to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, it obviously helps to know the backstory of Georgie and Carrington's, as things are referenced. However, if you haven't read the other books, this is still a very enjoyable read and there's enough in there to tell you all you need to know. As this is the third book, I feel like I've gotten to know these characters really well, especially Georgie, Tom and Georgie's best friend Sam, who owns the cake shop within Carrington's. Georgie is the same as always - hard-working, kind and very dedicated to her job, but I liked that she was presented with a bit of a challenge in this book about what she really wants, and gets to travel a little as well, that was different!

I loved the idea of the summer festival - it's something that happens quite often in seaside town and it was easy to picture Mulberry-on-Sea in my mind covered in all the ice-cream vans, stalls and people milling around. The planning side isn't a piece of cake for Georgie though, and there are quite a few funny moments involving this that made me smile! As well as the funny and light-hearted bits of the book, there are quite a few serious sides to the book too, especially involving Georgie's best friend and new mum Sam. I really enjoyed these scenes, they were so well written, and Brown has really done them justice. She handled the emotion and feeling delicately and weaved this story alongside the main plot so well.

It was nice for the book to take a bit of a detour outside of Mulberry-on-Sea for a while, but I won't spoil it and say where Georgie goes on her travels! I liked the addition of this part of the book, and it really added a good element to it. If you've enjoyed the previous books in the series, then you'll definitely want to read this and find out what's next for Georgie and the Carrington's crew. I love reading about Georgie and Tom's relationship and how it grows throughout the books too, it's a sweet love story between those two! I'm hoping that there's still more to come for Georgie, and that we haven't left her behind for good now Alexandra is bringing out a new three-part series set in Tindledale with some new characters This is a lovely, light-hearted summer read that you'll definitely need to pop in your suitcase or on your kindle this summer!

Christmas in July: The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

Yes, that's right, I've brought back the Christmas in July feature for an extra-special post, as I've been so excited to see the cover for this book!! Alexandra Brown is back this Christmas with a brand new novel called The Great Christmas Knit Off! It's a step away from her fab Carrington's series, so I can't wait to get stuck into this one! It's due out on November 6th, and this is the eBook cover - the paperback one is the same, only white instead of the red. I think this is way more festive though so that's why I've put this one here!

You can pre-order The Great Christmas Knit Off as a paperback or an eBook now.

"The perfect seasonal tale of how laughter, friends and wacky Christmas jumpers can mend a broken heart. For fans of Trisha Ashley and Jenny Colgan.

Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering at work that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to see an old friend in the picturesque village of Tindledale.

Tindledale seems to hark back to a bygone era and to her delight, Sybil also discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, can’t keep up with the rent and now the shop is due for closure. Sybil has some ideas that might help and when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen…"

22 July 2014

Book News: It Started With Paris by Cathy Kelly

Another book I am really looking forward to this autumn is Cathy Kelly's brand new novel, and her first with new publishers Orion! It's called It Started With Paris, and I have to say how much I love the cover, it's gorgeous! I'm lucky enough to have a proof copy already so I can get stuck in soon, but it's out on 9th October, so not too long to wait!

You can pre-order It Started With Paris as a hardback or an eBook now.

"It all started with Paris. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend, cheered on by delighted tourists. In that second, everything changes, not just for the happy couple, but for the family and friends awaiting their return in Bridgeport, Ireland...

Leila's been nursing a badly broken heart since her love-rat husband just upped and left her one morning, but she's determined to put on a brave face for the bride. 

Vonnie, a widow and exceptional cake-maker, is just daring to let love back into her life, although someone seems determined to stop it.

And Grace, a divorced head teacher, finds the impending wedding of her son means that she's spending more time with her ex-husband. After all those years apart, is it possible she's made a mistake?"

21 July 2014

Book News: Pieces of You by Ella Harper

This September sees another new book I am really excited for. It's a release by Ella Harper called Pieces of You, her first book with publishers Avon, but it's not her first foray into the world of writing. Ella is a pseudonym of author Sasha Wagstaff, whose previous novels I have loved, but this sounds like a real departure from her previous writing. It's out on September 25th, and sounds fantastic.

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

"The perfect marriage.

A devastating secret. 

An impossible choice.

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

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

Then Stella arrives. A woman Lucy’s never met, but with a secret that will change her world forever…"

20 July 2014

Book Review: Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

"Sometimes you have to step out of the light to see clearly again…

Bronte never expected to see Alex after their one night together, but she never stopped thinking of him. So when she arrives at work one day to find that Alex is a new colleague, she is secretly thrilled. The only problem is that Alex is now engaged to Zara, the girl he was on a break from the night they met.

Determined to move on with life, Bronte becomes a part-time wedding photographer, alongside her day job. Surrounded by loving couples, warring couples, tearful bridesmaids, mischievous pageboys and interfering mothers-in-law, she tries to navigate her way through wedding after wedding while her heart is being torn apart.

As Alex's own wedding day draws ever nearer, Bronte and Alex's chemistry becomes harder to ignore, and Bronte must decide whether to fight for the man she loves, or to let him go forever."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Thirteen Weddings as a paperback or an eBook now.

Paige Toon is one of my favourite authors, and the release of a new book from her is always one of the highlights of my year! This year though, I've been lucky enough to have 2 new Paige Toon books to look forward to, the first being her first forray into YA called The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson, and this book, Thirteen Weddings. This isn't a sequel to any of Paige's previous books, but of course characters from her other books crop up in this book too, this is always one of my favourite things about Paige's books and I'm always excited to see who would pop up and what's been going on with their lives since I last read about them.

Bronte feels like she is happily settled in the UK now, having moved over from her native Australia a few years ago. She's got a good job working on a magazine, good friends and feels happy. However, she didn't expect to bump into someone she had a one night stand with a few years ago, a guy called Alex who seemed to have captured her heart. He's now engaged to Zara, and the fact he's a new work colleague is starting to make life difficult for Bronte - she's struggling to deal with all these feelings. When she gets a new part time job as a wedding photographer, Bronte thinks she might have found her calling, even though she finds it hard to be surrounded by all the loved-up couples. When she's told she has photograph Alex's wedding, Bronte realises she really needs to move on, but can't seem to stay away - will she be able to let Alex and Zara have their happy ever after?

I have to say that I felt this book was very different to Paige's other books. The story is really a love triangle - which man Bronte should end up with, and why. Paige's books are usually more than this, but that really is all there is to this book, and I was a bit surprised at that to be honest. Bronte has to decide whether she wants to be with Lachie, a guitar player she meets at a wedding she is photographing, or Alex, who is of course engaged, but she can't seem to get him out of her head. I didn't like that Bronte wanted to keep going after a man who was with another woman - I never think it's okay to do something like that and therefore in my head it was a no-brainer as to who she should be with - I didn't like that she couldn't move on from him, and was willing to sacrifice his relationship for them to be together.

The wedding photography aspect of the book was really good, and definitely my favourite thing about the book. There are thirteen weddings mentioned in the book, and each of them is so unique, I really did enjoy reading about each of them, and finding out what style the wedding would be, where it would be and about the new bride and groom. Obviously, each one isn't done in huge detail, enough to make it come alive in your mind, but I loved Bronte's descriptions as she was taking her photographs. Paige Toon has obviously researched photography carefully when writing this book, and writes about it with authority, I loved reading about Rachel and Bronte and their job. It's clearly a passion for both characters and that comes across so well.

As we move through the different weddings in the book, we find out that Bronte has a serious dislike of churches too. It takes quite a while for her reasoning to be revealed, and I have to confess I was shocked. It's nothing like anything that Paige has covered in her books before, but I thought it was really well handled, and goes some way to explain Bronte's reluctance towards relationships as well, and it made me sympathise with Bronte too. Bronte is a good character, likeable for the most part, except for her obsession with a taken man, perhaps mainly due to the fact they had such unfinished business from before. I found Alex dislikeable from the beginning, I just couldn't warm to him and didn't understand what it was Bronte saw in him. Then there's lovely Lachie, who seemed like the perfect man to me, and I just wanted Bronte to choose him. For me, it was a no-brainer, but clearly not for Bronte! Other friends make appearances, some with bigger roles than others but the story mainly focuses on these three people.

This was an enjoyable book, with a good cast of characters and a story that will keep you wanting to read until the end to find out exactly who Bronte is going to end up with. As I mentioned before, we do catch up with a few characters from previous books - Lily (Pictures of Lily), Laura (The Longest Holiday) and Alice (One Perfect Summer). I love this aspect of Paige's books more than anything, and it really keeps you in touch with those characters you've loved from before, it's so great! Paige's writing, as usual, is spot on and so easy to read and follow, there's humour, sadness, happiness and sadness weaved within the story and Paige Toon writes each of these with ease. It's a great book, Paige balances Bronte's love life with the more serious themes in the book, and it makes for great reading overall. I enjoyed the book, and can't wait for my next book from Paige Toon.

19 July 2014

eBook Review: The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

"At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.

Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it's not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it's time for people who don't have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together?Anna, who's seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive?Clare's hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.

Will the No-Kids Club be Clare's route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The No-Kids Club as an eBook now!

I was really pleased when Talli Roland contacted me about reviewing her brand new book, The No-Kids Club. I've read a few of Talli's short stories previously, and I've enjoyed them a lot, and this sounded like a really interesting book. There's lot of novels out there based on motherhood, unexpected or otherwise, so the idea of a book about those women who did not want, or could not have, children was an interesting concept. As Talli is a relatively new mother herself too, I was curious to see how she would handle the story, and not make the main characters someone you can't relate to, which I sometimes find to be the case with a story like this.

Clare Donoghue is pretty happy with her life. She's approaching 40, she's single, child-free and has a good career that she enjoys. However, just as she is settling into her latest relationship, her boyfriend has a change of heart, decides he wants to have children after all, and so ends it with a devastated Clare, who thought she might have found the one. Clare decides she needs to connect with other adults who don't want children either, and so begins the No-Kids Club. Clare meets two women - Anna, whose marriage is feeling a bit worn and in need of some attention, and Poppy, who wants children more than anything but it seems like it isn't on the cards for her or her husbands. Will Clare be able to make some new friends at the club, or is her life destined for another path?

Due to the way this book was handled, you'll definitely to be able to love it, or even relate it to it whether or not you want children, or if you even have them too. I really enjoyed reading this straight from the beginning - the characters were likeable, especially Clare, and I really found myself liking her a lot. She's quite happy with her decision not to have children, but it's the social pressure from everyone else that gets to her - I think it is true that when a woman reaches a certain age, we all assume that she will start to want children, but that hasn't happened for Clare. When she decides to start the No-Kids Club, she wants to meet like-minded people, and you can understand that - although it isn't exactly what she gets at her first meeting!

The other characters in the book had differing opinions on children and families too. There's Poppy, who wants to be a mum more than anything, but nature seems to be going against her at the moment. I did feel very sorry for her, she was clearly torn inside about what was happening, but the things that she did in the book I had a hard time sympathising with, I felt she made bad choices and seemed a little crazy at times. I did like Anna too, who was struggling with her marriage, and although the pair were happy without children, you can sense Anna's fed up with her life somewhat. The three women represent many differing opinions on life as an adult, with or without children, and I enjoyed reading their relationships, seeing how they are all affected by their circumstances, and how they each dealt with them.

Talli's writing throughout the book was so easy to read, and I enjoyed every moment that I got to pick up this book. There is humour, emotion, sadness, shock and lots more covered in this novel, and Talli Roland really brings everything about this story to life, from the characters to the setting. Talli was able to put across these differing views about parenthood so well, you can understand each of these characters, in particular Clare, and begin to empathise with them. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish, a subject that is perhaps still a bit taboo is covered really well here, and written in a way that makes you want to keep reading until you reach the final page! If you haven't discovered Talli Roland yet, you won't do far wrong from beginning with this book, a brilliant read.

Christmas in July: Footsteps in the Snow by Trisha Ashley

Day 5 of Christmas in July brings another great festive read! This time it's the turn of Trisha Ashley, with something a bit different - a collection of short stories rather than a full novel. I like the occasional short story, they are nice to dip into when you know you don't have much reading time, and I think some festive tales sounds perfect! Footsteps in the Snow is out on 6th November as an eBook only.

Pre-order Footsteps in the Snow now!

"From her novels to her magazine articles Trisha Ashley has been writing all her life and this is a collection of her work brought together in a single edition for the first time.

A fabulous collection of short stories from the Sunday Times bestselling author. Perfect to curl up with on a winter’s evening."

18 July 2014

Christmas in July: The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan

Welcome to Day 4 of Christmas in July! I know it's early, but already I am so looking forward to some of the best festive fiction that 2014 has to offer!

Today is the introduction of Jenny Colgan's new festive novel The Christmas Surprise. I was thrilled to see it's another in Jenny's 'Rosie Hopkins' series, one I already love thanks to the two previous books featuring this character. Jenny assured me on Twitter this is a brand new Rosie story, so I really cannot wait for it! It's out on 6th November.

You can pre-order The Christmas Surprise as a hardback or an eBook now!

"Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it's going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together. 

After all, don't they say it takes a village to raise a child?"

16 July 2014

Christmas in July: A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

Today, my new feature Christmas in July is bringing you the best of this year's forthcoming festive fiction, so here is Day 3's offering!

Chrissie Manby is back this Christmas, with a gorgeous new novel called A Proper Family Christmas. I believe it's a follow up to her summer novel A Proper Family Holiday so I'm looking forward to reading both of these as soon as I can. Her christmas book, complete with stunning gold and red cover, is due out on 6th November.

You can pre-order A Proper Family Christmas as a paperback or an eBook now.

"Annabel Buchanan has it all. A privileged life. Pots of cash. Looks and manners born of generations of fabulous breeding. At least, that's what she likes people to think. But Annabel's carefully created image is about to come crashing down.

With her beloved daughter Izzy in need of a kidney transplant, Annabel is desperate to find a suitable donor. That's how she comes to admit that before Annabel Buchanan there was Daisy Benson, given up for adoption by her teenage mum and dad.

Hoping her biological family will be able to help, Annabel traces the Bensons and is horrified by the embarrassing, chavvy bunch she discovers. They're definitely not her kind of people. And she is equally baffling to them. 

But as Christmas approaches and Izzy's situation brings the Benson and the Buchanan families closer, will Annabel discover at last that blood is thicker than water?"

15 July 2014

Christmas in July: The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews

Today is the second post of my new feature for this week, Christmas in July, showcasing the best of the festive fiction to come this year!

Today's treat is Carole Matthews' new book The Christmas Party! Carole's christmas novels have become somewhat of a tradition for me over the past few years, so I can't wait to read this one as well in my lovely festive living room! It's out in paperback on October 23rd.

You can pre-order The Christmas Party as a paperback or an eBook now.

"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 . . .

Romance is in the air and secrets are about to be uncovered. It's going to be a night to remember at The Christmas Party."

14 July 2014

Christmas in July: It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

This week I'm going to be detailing some of the festive reads I am most looking forward to this year in my Christmas in July special! I'll be showcasing the 4 reads I'm most excited for, with a final post on Friday listing all the festive fiction out later this year :)

The first book I am excited about is Judy Astley's new book It Must Have Been the Mistletoe. It's out on 25th September, and has the most gorgeous cover, I'm in love! I've read several of Judy's books in the past few years, and I love her writing, so I'm excited to read something festive from her now!

You can pre-order It Must Have Been the Mistletoe as a hardback or an eBook now.

"A family Christmas in Cornwall for the newly single? Thea's parents have split up but still seem to be together. Both her younger sister and her brother are Smug Marrieds. But Thea is newly single and very much wishes she wasn't.

When her mother and father plan a great family Christmas in a big house by the sea, the idea is to make it all great fun and tremendously civilised - not remotely complicated despite the fact that what they will really be celebrating is the final break-up of their marriage and the Moving On to new partners.And the new partners will also be there - and why not? It's what they do in Sweden, apparently, and it all works out fine.

But will they move on? And will Thea manage to navigate her way through the forced jollities and family disasters to find some happiness for herself?"

11 July 2014

Blog Tour: Author Interview with Lindsey Kelk

Today I am delighted to be the blog tour stop for Lindsey Kelk's blog tour for her brand new book What A Girl Wants! I have so excited to read this book for a year, and I was thrilled when Lindsey answered some of my questions for the blog tour! I hope you enjoy, and I cannot wait to get stuck into the book!

You can pre-order What A Girl Wants as a paperback or an eBook now.

Take it away, Lindsey!

1. Tess is back, hurrah! Did you worry that she wouldn't be as well received as the beloved Angela from your previous series when you began writing her?

Absolutely! I was so keen to tell another story and see life from someone else’s perspective but I was fully aware that there were a lot of people out there who had no interest in that whatsoever. It’s strange because I love writing about Angie and the gang but in a way, they are limiting. They’ve got their whole universe and history hanging around their necks and as a storyteller, sometimes you just want to start off with something completely new, even if you know some people won’t love it as much.

2. You brought back Angela and co in 'I Heart Christmas' last year - is that the last we'll see of her and aren't you quite done with her just yet?! 

I’m not done quite yet! It’s strange, every time I think I am, a new story starts tapping away at my brain. I’m writing a Jenny Lopez Christmas story and obviously, Angela pops up in there…. She’ll definitely be back sooner rather than later.

3. Your new cover is GORGEOUS - how much say do you get in terms of your designs? I think you have some of the best covers out there to be honest, how lucky!

Isn’t it lovely? For the most part, I have incredibly little to do with the covers – I can take literally no credit. The design team at HC is amazing. At best, I’ll tell them whether or not something works with the story, for example, the original cover for The Single Girl’s To-Do List had a speedboat on it and we had to change that because there’s no speedboat in the book. Other than that, I might get to take a look at a couple of options of colours or poses but that’s it. In he early days, I didn’t even get that! I’m such a diva now…

4. What are your guilty pleasures in terms of TV, movies and treats?

I think everyone knows how much I love WWE and Law & Order: SVU, honestly, I have such an unhealthy addiction to both. I was just on holiday in Maui and had to watch the main event of the WWE Money in the Bank ladder match on my phone! I was in bloody Hawaii at four pm in the afternoon, with a very lovely man I might add, and I was in bed watching wrestling. It’s a sickness. Movie-wise, I’ll watch anything, I’m a media sponge, and as for treats, for the most part I’ve got a real sweet tooth – gummy candy, chocolate, ice cream, yum but sometimes, all I want is a massive hunk of cheese and some French bread and I will be happy for hours.

5. What was your favourite childhood book and why?

I had so many it’s always so hard to choose a favourite but the oldest one I have with me in New York is a hardcover picture book called Setting Up Home at Willow Tree Cottage and it’s about these three animals that move in together (don’t ask) only the goose has to do all the work like a martyr while the other two keep sodding off to enjoy themselves. There’s definitely a lesson in their somewhere but since I live alone and already have to do everything for myself, I’m not sure what it is.

6. I've seen on Twitter and Instagram you've spent lots of time travelling around the USA. Do you have a favourite place (you can't pick NYC!), and where would you like to go that you haven't yet visited? 

Oh, it’s SO HARD. I bloody love America. I went to Portland a couple of weeks ago and that was really lovely and I do love LA these days. Hawaii is probably my favourite place I’ve ever visited in the whole world though and that is a US state! I’m getting old, I need the sun. That said, the next place on my to-visit list is Alaska and I’ve a feeling I won’t be getting a tan up there…

4 July 2014

Book News: One Step Closer To You by Alice Peterson

I'm a big fan of Alice Peterson's books so I was really pleased to see that she is back this year with another brand new book. One Step Closer To You is out on 25th September, and sounds like a heart-warming and touching read. I really like Alice's new cover look as well, it's nice and fresh - a book I'm looking forward to reading this autumn.

You can pre-order One Step Closer To You as a paperback or an eBook now.

"After Polly ends her relationship with the father of her young son, Louis, she is determined to move on. All she wants is to focus on her job, her friends and to be a good mum. No more looking over her shoulder. No more complications . . . 

Then Polly meets Ben.

Ben is guardian of his niece, Emily. They become close, with Polly teaching Ben how to plait Emily's hair, and Ben playing football with Louis. Their friendship is unexpected. Polly’s never been happier. 

But when Louis's dad reappears in their life, all Polly’s mistakes come back to haunt her and her resolve weakens when he swears he has changed.

Will she give herself a second chance to love?"

3 July 2014

eBook News: From Paris with Love by Samantha Tonge

I read and enjoyed Samantha Tonge's debut novel with publishers Carina called Doubting Abbey last year, and enjoyed it. Samantha is back with a brand new book called From Paris With Love on 24th July 2014. It's a follow-on to Doubting Abbey, so I can't wait to catch up with the characters and see what they are up to now!

You can pre-order From Paris With Love as an eBook now.

"Every girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…

Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!

A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!

But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade - there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…"

2 July 2014

eBook News: Poppy Does Paris by Nicola Doherty

Nicola Doherty is back this summer with a brand new series of eBook novels! It's a five part series of short stories, each based around a different character and location, perfect for dipping into on your summer holidays! The first book, Poppy Does Paris is due out on 17th July, with the other stories following monthly afterwards. I can't wait to read them!

You can pre-order Poppy Does Paris as an eBook now!

"The first instalment in this hilarious, romantic and unputdownable five-part series. Perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk's I Heart... novels.

Paris. City of love, city of romance. The last place you want to go to on a work trip when you're in the middle of an epic dry spell. But that's where Poppy is headed, along with her colleague Charlie, who's shallow and annoying but very, very good-looking. During a white-wine-fuelled session with her friend Alice, Poppy concocts the perfect plan: work by day, and have some no-strings fun with Charlie by night. Of course, it might prove a little more complicated than that, but it's nothing Poppy can't handle - or is it?

Girls on Tour is an irresistible series of interlinked stories about five friends, ordinary girls who have extraordinary fun in faraway places. Expect the unexpected, the utterly hilarious and unforgettable, on this rollercoaster ride of love, laughs, surprises and sparks. You have a VIP pass to join each girl's adventure, so pack your bags and buckle your seatbelts, because just about anything is possible.."

1 July 2014

Blog Tour: The Beach Hut Next Door by Veronica Henry

Today, I am delighted to welcome the lovely Veronica Henry to my blog as part of her blog tour for her brand new book The Beach Hut Next Door! I was really pleased to be revisiting the location of Everdene Sands, the location for Veronica's previous book The Beach Hut (although this isn't linked in any other way, so you can read both as standalone novels), it sounds so beautiful and is the perfect read for the summer! Take a seat, and enjoy reading Veronica's article below :)

You can pre-order The Beach Hut Next Door as a paperback or an eBook now!

"I write books to escape with.  Whether it’s in a lovely warm bubble bath, stretched out on a sun-lounger, swaying in a hammock or curled up by a roaring log fire, I always hope to take the reader to another place.  Because I know how important it is to be able to run away from reality from time to time.

With the onset of this lovely weather, I’m going to lug my ever-increasing to-be-read pile down to the beach this summer and spend the time wallowing in the worlds created by all my favourite writers.  As soon as I could read, books provided an escape for me, and I feel so lucky to be doing that now for other people.

The beach I go to was the inspiration for my 2010 novel, The Beach Hut, and the follow up to this is The Beach Hut Next Door, published this summer.  

Beach huts are a peculiarly British institution, and there aren’t many people who wouldn’t love to spend the summer months in one.  When the sun is shining, you can spend the afternoon lolling about on a rug or in a deckchair, then run across the hot sand to dabble your toes in the sea and cool down.  If it’s raining, you can hole up in the hut with a Thermos full of tea and play Scrabble until the weather takes a turn for the better.  Throw in fish and chips and a 99, and you have the perfect recipe for a summer holiday.

The Beach Hut Next Door is more of a follow up to The Beach Hut than a sequel – the setting is the same but the characters are all new.  There’s reconciliation, tears, laughter, love – and ice cream!  It’s escapist and romantic and the next best thing to having your own beach hut.

Where is your favourite place to read?  Do you have a special chair, or a window seat, or do you just grab five minutes at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee to get some reading time?  If you don’t have your own reading space, then make one – get an old chair from a second hand shop, pile it high with some squashy cushions and hide away for a few minutes each day. "

Thanks so much, Veronica!