30 August 2014

eBook Review: A Place for Us (Part 1) by Harriet Evans

"The day Martha Winter decided to tear apart her family began like any other day. 

The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside.

The hall is cool after the hot summer's day. The welcome is kind, and always warm.

Yet something makes you suspect life here can't be as perfect as it seems.

After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret.

But wouldn't you pay any price to have a glorious place like this?

Welcome to Winterfold.

Martha Winter's family is finally coming home"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy A Place for Us as an eBook now.

I have to be honest and say that I'm generally not a fan of book serialisation. If I'm going to read a book, I want it to be the whole thing, not just part of it that leaves me in the middle of something I want to keep reading. However, when I was sent the first part of Harriet Evans' new book A Place for Us, I was intrigued enough to pick it up and start reading the first few pages, especially after I saw a few bloggers raving about it on Twitter. I hadn't expected to get stuck right into the story, almost forgetting that this was only the first part of four! However, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for the next parts now!

Martha Winter loves her family dearly, her son and daughters, and her husband too. She lives at their beautiful family home, Winterfold, and is due to hold her annual party, finally bringing all the Winter's back together again. However, this time Martha has a secret that she is sure will blow her entire family apart. Despite that, she's sure that telling them is the right thing to do. But will all the Winter's want to come back home, and face Martha and her secret once and for all?

Harriet Evans writing in this book is brilliant, and really draws you in. The book slowly introduces us to each of the members of the Winter family, beginning with Martha. I really liked her from the beginning, she's definitely the matriarchal head of the family and loves them all dearly. You aren't given much of a hint as to what Martha's secret is throughout the book, so I was guessing in my own head, wondering what on earth it could be that could blow a whole family apart. The other members of the family are widespread, and all a bit odd in their own way. There's their son David, a doctor, on his second marriage to a much younger woman that is not perhaps as happy as it seems. Their daughter Florence, an Art professor living in Florence, and living in a bit of a dreamworld regarding a certain colleague. There's the younger generation, Martha's husband, and lots of stories to keep up with but I didn't have a problem keeping up with who was who and where they were!

This is a great introduction to the story in my opinion. It really piqued my interest in terms of what the big Winter family secret is, and exactly who I think will bother turning up to Martha's party. They are certainly a strange family, and there were a few characters that I felt unsure about, but that just added to the mystery for me. I loved the sound of Winterfold as well, it sounds like a beautiful home set in a beautiful village. Harriet Evans has done everything to make part 1 of A Place for Us a capitvating introduction to her latest story, and I for one can't wait to read more of it. I'm so intrigued to read what is going to take place at the Winter family party, and exactly who is going to come back, and perhaps clash too! If you're a fan of Harriet's books, you'll want to read this one but if you'd prefer to wait for the complete book, it's out on 15th January 2015. But for now... roll on part 2!

29 August 2014

Blog Tour: A Piece of Cake by Trisha Ashley

Today I am delighted to be part of Trisha Ashley's blog tour for her new short story eBook A Piece of Cake! I have been chosen to host an extract from the new story which you can read by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. I've already read the story, and it's definitely a fun read that you'll want to pop onto your Kindle!

You can pre-order A Piece of Cake as an eBook now.

You can read the extract from A Piece of Cake by clicking here! This will open up a new window with the extract in a Word format, so it's nice and easy to read!

27 August 2014

eBook News: Dead Romantic by Ruth Saberton

Ruth Saberton's last book Escape for the Summer was such a brilliant read, it's made me really excited to read more of her books! Luckily for me, there's not too long a wait as her brand new story Dead Romantic is coming out on October 2nd through Notting Hill Press! It sounds quite an unusual story, but I'm looking forward to reading it!

You can pre-order Dead Romantic as an eBook now.

"What do you do if you come face to face with a ghost? 

Put it down to a bump on the head and work stress if you’re a respected academic like Cleo Carpenter. With Christmas approaching, professional rivalry afoot and a best friend determined to interfere in her love life the strain is clearly starting to get to her. 

Guilt-stricken and deceased, Alex Thorne is desperate to make amends with his brother, Rafe, a tortured musician trapped in a spiral of destruction. When an encounter with Cleo forges a link between them she becomes his only hope. So what if the only person who can see him is a sceptic? 

As Cleo starts to doubt her sanity, the safe world she takes for granted crumbles around her. Setting out to regain control and prove once and for all ghosts don’t exist, she embarks on a journey of self discovery and surprise, learning that love really does defy science, logic and maybe even death itself… "

22 August 2014

Book Review: What A Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk

"Tess Brookes was the girl with a plan. Now she's the girl with a choice. 

Should she stay in London and start her own advertising agency with her best friend and potential boyfriend Charlie? Or should she head to exciting Milan to pursue both a new career as a photographer and a new man, the enigmatic and elusive (and highly irritating) Nick? 

For the first time, Tess has to choose between the life she always dreamed of and a future she never imagined possible. With her heart and her head pulling her in different directions, Tess has to make a life-changing decision about What a Girl Wants."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy What A Girl Wants as an eBook or a paperback now.

One of the highlights of my summer is Lindsey Kelk bringing out a brand new book! This is the second in her new series featuring the fabulous lead character of Tess Brookes, following on from the brilliant first novel last summer called About A Girl. I adored Lindsey's I Heart series, so it's been great to have another series to get my teeth into. The last book left everything quite open so I was looking forward to getting back to it and see what Tess was going to get into next. I have to say how much I love the cover as well - it's really bold and bright, and certainly makes it exactly the sort of book you'll want to stick in your beach bag for a good old read in the sunshine this summer!

Tess knows she has to make a choice. However, it's definitely not going to be an easy one to make, knowing she will upset someone whichever path she chooses. She has to choose between her best friend, and now potential boyfriend too, called Charlie, with the pair of them aiming to set up their own business and possibly pursue a relationship, something Tess has thought she's wanted for years. But then there's the chance of a lifetime to go out and work as a photographer in Italy, and meet the man who she's also fallen for, journalist Nick. The job is a dream, everything Tess has always wanted, but her loyalty to Charlie is making her wonder if she is doing the right thing. Which choice will Tess make, and will it be the right one?!

I loved the fact that the book begins exactly where About A Girl left off, with Tess returning from her escapades in Hawaii. She's back in London and facing up to everything that has happened since, and the consequences of her actions while she's been out there too. Poor old Tess can't seem to do right for wrong, and manages to get herself in all sorts of issues, even when she's meaning things to go well. Right from the beginning, there's lots of hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments and I was really in love with the book from the beginning! The main crux of Tess' dilemma is whether she wants to be with Nick or Charlie - after About A Girl I was definitely #TeamCharlie, but I have to say I was changing my mind a bit to #TeamNick after this book! Neither man was ideal really, neither a real hero of the book, but both had their positives and negatives.

The majority of Tess' story is set in Milan, where she is doing some photography work for her pal Walter, who first appeared in About A Girl. I loved having familiar characters come back again, and it was nice to read yet another travel-based setting. Milan sounded amazing, with Kelk's descriptions making it sound beautiful, especially the palatial home in which Tess finds herself living, along with her crazy yet very enthusiastic best friend Amy. She made me tired just reading about her - how is anyone that perky all the time?! However, she is brilliantly funny, and tried to really cheer up poor indecisive Tess. The fashion parts of the book too are brilliantly written, with descriptions of clothing really coming alive on the pages - I'm not especially into fashion and clothes but even I enjoyed reading these parts. The story as a whole is really enjoyable, Tess has to be one of the unluckiest people ever though!

For me, this is a fantastic follow-up novel to a brilliant start in a series. I can't wait to keep reading and find out what other mishaps Tess can get herself into, and whether she's really going to end up with Nick or Charlie - or perhaps somebody different altogether! Kelk's writing as usual is a joy to read - light-hearted, witty, very funny and had me engrossed every time I picked the book up. Tess, Amy and co are a fantastic cast of characters you'll fall in love with - even if you haven't read the first book, this one is just as enjoyable and gives you enough information about the first story so you don't miss out, although of course I'd recommend you start with About A Girl. I loved every part of this book, it was great to read a story set in beautiful Milan and with some hilarious goings-on too. Brilliant fun.

20 August 2014

Book News: The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern

Popular chick lit author Cecelia Ahern is back this autumn with a brand new book, and what an absolutely stunning cover it has, so pretty! The Year I Met You is out on 9th October and sounds like it's going to be another brilliant read from Cecelia. I've been a bit hit and miss in the past with her books, but the last few I have read have been brilliant and I'm super excited to read this one too.

You can pre-order The Year I Met You as a hardback or an eBook now.

"Jasmine know two things: one, she loves her vulnerable sister unconditionally, and will fight to the death to protect her from anyone who upsets her. Two, she's only ever been good at one thing – her job helping business start-ups.

So when she’s sacked and put on gardening leave, Jasmine realises that she has nothing else to fill her life. Insomnia keeps her staring out of her bedroom window, and she finds herself watching the antics of her neighbour, shock jock Matt, with more than a casual eye. Matt is also taking a forced leave of absence from work, after one of his controversial chat shows went too far…

Jasmine has every reason to dislike Matt, and the feeling appears to be mutual. But not everything is as it seems, and soon Jasmine and Matt are forced to think again…"

18 August 2014

Book Review: The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson

"Life is full of second chances…if only you keep your heart open for them.

Spring Hill Square is a pretty sanctuary away from the bustle of everyday life. And at its centre is Leni Merryman's Teashop on the Corner, specialising in cake, bookish stationery and compassion. And for three people, all in need of a little TLC, it is somewhere to find a friend to lean on.

Carla Pride has just discovered that her late husband Martin was not who she thought he was. And now she must learn to put her marriage behind her and move forward.

Molly Jones's ex-husband Harvey has reappeared in her life after many years, wanting to put right the wrongs of the past before it is too late.

And Will Linton's business has gone bust and his wife has left him to pick up the pieces. Now he needs to gather the strength to start again.

Can all three find the comfort they are looking for in The Teashop on the Corner? And as their hearts are slowly mended by Leni, can they return the favour when she needs it most…?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Teashop on the Corner as a paperback or an eBook now.

One of my favourite authors is Milly Johnson, and I so look forward to a new novel from her each year - I always know I am guaranteed a brilliant read! There's been many of Milly's books I have read to date that can easily be called my favourite book by her, but this new one, The Teashop on the Corner, is definitely my favourite one by Milly to date. It's got everything I wanted in one of Milly's books, and I just couldn't put it down from the moment I began! Here's why I think The Teashop on the Corner is an absolute must-read.

Carla is devastated when her husband Martin dies very suddenly, and she's left to contemplate the rest of her life on her own, not with her husband by her side. But when she discovers the secret that Martin has been keeping from her all these years, she realises she has to move on and find a new future for herself. Molly lives alone, next door to her sister, and when a blast from her past makes a shocking reappearance in her life, is Molly ready to forgive the wrongs Harvey did to her so many years ago and make peace? Will's business has sadly gone bust, and his wife has high-tailed it away back to her parents as well, leaving Will feeling pretty worthless. He too must start again from nothing, and prove to himself that he's worth more than his wife ever made him feel. These characters come into each other's lives at Leni Merryman's lovely Teashop on the Corner in Spring Hill Square, where the new friends share more just a cup of tea and a chat together!

I've often said that I love books where there are lots of character stories going on, and then bringing them altogether to create another story, and that is exactly what Milly has done with this book. We're introduced to each of these characters separately, each going through a bit of a tough time of their own, and then being brought together through Leni and her lovely teashop. For me, I have to say the teashop was the highlight of the book! It sounded like a book lover's haven, full of lovely bookish goods such as stationery, mugs, tea towels and all sorts of good, as well as the obligatory cake and tea of course! It sounded great, and you can see why each of the new friends kept returning for more! Leni was a bit of a mysterious character, hovering on the outside for most of the book but as her story was revealed bit by bit, I couldn't help but warm to her more and more.

The other three characters were fantastic, and each had their own stories to tell. I felt terribly sorry for poor Carla whose husband Martin was a bit of a dog, shall we say. Moving on can be hard, but with the help of her best friend, and some of her new found friends too, Carla tries to build a life for herself, away from the stigma of being Martin's wife, and I enjoyed seeing her come out of her shell. I liked her friendship with Will too, the poor man was utterly sucked in by his awful ex-wife and he was such a kind soul, I felt bad for him when he lost everything he had because of the recession. Finally, there was the bittersweet story of Molly and Harvey, a long-lost love mixed with heartbreak and sorrow, this was so beautifully written I'm not going to say anymore about what happens because you simply have to discover it for yourself and fall in love with them like I did.

For me, this novel is what Milly does best. It's got realistic characters, a wonderful setting, and just generally nice people that are there for each other in their time of need. When I sit down at night, I want to read something that is easy-going and is going to make me smile - this book certainly delivered on that, although I have to confess a few tears were shed as well. Milly's writing was brilliant, bringing not only the characters to life as well, but making you want to find your own Teashop on the Corner, she's made Leni's sound so very inviting! I absolutely loved everything about this book - it's Milly at her complete best, and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's definitely shot to the top of my Milly favourites list, and I know it's one I will enjoy reading again and again.

Book News: The Wedding Proposal by Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft has a new book out in paperback soon called The Wedding Proposal. It's out now as an eBook but is out on 5th September as a paperback too. I really love the cover - it's simple but really elegant, and I like the sound of the story too, a great sounding summer read!

You can buy The Wedding Proposal as an eBook now or pre-order it as a paperback.

"Elle Jamieson is a private person, in relationships as well as at work - and for good reason. But then she's made redundant and with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to sunny Malta.

Lucas Rose hates secrets - he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less in return. He's furious when his summer working as a divemaster is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon's misguided attempts at matchmaking.

Forced to live in close proximity, it's hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas's wedding proposal scared Elle away. But then a phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle's closely guarded past when it finally comes to light?"

15 August 2014

Book Review: The Story of You by Katy Regan

"Your past will always be part of you, but does it have to define your future? Or can you rewrite your story?

I want to explain it all to you. How this happened. How that summer – the summer I was 16 – made me the person I am today.

I want to share my memories with you: the happy memories are like sunbursts, sparkling on the sea. But then, like a current dragging me under, there's that summer of 1997.

The summer my life exploded.
The summer I had to grow up.
The summer you came into my life.

And so this is the story of you."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Story of You as a paperback or an eBook now.

I'm a big fan of Katy Regan, I've read all of her books to date but everything I have heard about this book has made me excited to read it. People have said it is Katy's best book yet, that it's brilliant, emotive and just one that you won't want to put down. This, of course, made me super excited to read it - I couldn't wait to see what all the fuss was about. The blurb didn't give a lot away to me, and I think this piqued my interest even more, I really wanted to find out who the story was about, and what was going to happen in it!

Robyn King is a psychiatric nurse who loves her work, she loves making a difference to people with mental health issues, and wants people to change their own perceptions of these problems too. When an old face from her past, Joe, gets back in touch after years, Robyn is unsure about resuming contact with him. But when she finally decides to face the music, her life is sent spiralling down a brand new path, one that she is scared and nervous to explore alone. When Robyn is forced to confront the bad things in her past, she's sure that they are going to repeat themselves, and she will be back in her own kind of hell. Will Robyn be able to take a chance at happiness, or is that too far for Robyn?

First off, I want to warn you that this is a very emotional book. It deals with issues that some will find upsetting and hard to read, and it had me in tears at parts. Katy's writing was so raw, putting across Robyn's emotions so well you can't help but feel them with her. Mental health is clearly another major topic in the book, covering many issues through Robyn's patients, and it certainly opened my eyes a lot. The way Robyn dealt with her patients was brilliant, she is a fantastic nurse and I certainly held her in a high regard once I'd finished reading. Her commitment to her patients was second to none and I admired her so much for that, even when she felt the boundaries were perhaps becoming a bit blurred - how far is too far for a patient?

Robyn herself is a superb character. I loved everything about her, although she did frustrate me a little bit regarding her attitude towards her old friend Joe. It's clear the two have a past when he is first introduced into the book, and as this is revealed, you can't help but love them both and want them to work it out together. They both deserved happiness, but the question was whether or not they were going to allow themselves to have that. We also meet Robyn's sisters, Niamh and Leah who are both interesting and very different. I liked Robyn's relationships with both and loved the family scenes - they're a bit dysfunctional but you can feel the love between them, and I loved the King family. Joe himself was wonderful, very patient and kind, loving and just a generally good guy - you cannot help but love him and want Robyn to see his good side so much!

One of my favourite parts of the book were the letters to someone called Lily, which are interspersed throughout the book at the beginning of chapters. They give the reader a massive insight to Robyn as a person and her past, what hurt her before and how she is coming to deal with it. The relationships in this book are key - they make it utterly compulsive reading and you just want to keep reading to find out if they can all be resolved happily. This is a very powerful book  - it's message of hope, forgiveness and moving through the bad times is so uplifting, I was utterly hooked by it. Yes, it was sad, it made me cry and I felt so sad at times, but then a scene would come along that would make me laugh, would light me up inside, usually a scene involving Robyn and her patients if I'm honest. But the way it's juggled about in the book is perfect, it's balanced nicely between sadness and hope, and I loved every single page. This is most certainly Katy Regan's best book to date; emotive, powerful and just utterly brilliant. Read it.

eBook News: Trouble in Tinseltown by Aimee Duffy

Aimee Duffy is bringing a new series out called Summer Flings featuring 7 eBook short stories, and the first of these, Trouble in Tinseltown is out now. It's followed by 6 more stories, Misbehaving in Miami, Point Us to Paris, Geeks Go Greek, Ibiza Insanity, Flirting in Florence and Deliver to Dublin. The books are being released a few days apart so keep an eye out for them!

You can buy Trouble in Tinseltown as an eBook now.

"Part 1 of Summer Flings - a fun, flirty and laugh out loud rom com series of short stories.

Armed with a degree from Oxford that she doesn't have a clue what to do with, Ciara Bree convinces her two best friends, Elle and Gem to spend their first summer of freedom backpacking across the globe. Now it's time to shop, sunbathe, think about boys for a change, and party hard...

First stop: LA!

The girls hit Tinseltown for a few days of shopping, star spotting, and even a movie premiere!

But their plan to sneak into an exclusive celeb party in West Hollywood backfires. Elle's gorgeous older cousin, Zack, is called to the rescue and despite knowing she should stay away, Ciara just can't seem to resist him.

The ideal summer treat for those relaxing days soaking up the sun!"

14 August 2014

Christmas in August: I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) by Tracy Bloom

A new Christmas novel came to my attention the other day, complete with a pretty funky Christmas cover as well. Tracy Bloom's new book I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) is out on October 9th, and it sounds like a hugely funny book! I haven't read anything by Tracy yet, but I think this will be a great place to start!!

You can pre-order I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) as a paperback or an eBook now.

"There comes a time in every woman's life when the only answer is to marry George Clooney.

For Michelle, that time is now.

Slogging her guts out in a chicken factory whilst single-handedly bringing up a teenager who hates her, is far from the life that 36-year-old Michelle had planned.

But marrying the most eligible man on the planet by Christmas could change all that, couldn't it?

Sometimes your only option is to dream the impossible - because you never know where it might take you."

13 August 2014

Book Review: The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan

"How far would you go for the one you love the most?

When Louise Fenton flies to Thailand to find her mother, Nora, after the Boxing Day tsunami, she fears the worst when the only trace she can find is her mother’s distinctive bag. In the bag is a beautifully crafted atlas owned by travel journalist Claire Shreve, with her notes and mementos slipped in-between the pages. The journal tells the story of Claire’s struggle to find her place in the world following a life-altering revelation, and a tumultuous love affair.

Louise treks across Thailand's scarred landscape, exploring Claire’s atlas to try to make sense of the connection between this woman and the mother she is so desperate to find.

As devastated people are beginning to put their lives back together, Louise uncovers the secrets that nearly destroyed Claire and the man she loved – the same secrets her mother has been guarding all these years …"

Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy The Atlas of Us as a paperback or an eBook now.

I first saw this book when I noticed it on Netgalley, a site where you can get advanced reading copies of books for review. It was the cover which caught my eye, it was really beautiful and made me want to find out more about the book. When I read the blurb and found out it was about the Tsunami in Thailand of 2004, I was even more intrigued to read it, curious about how the writer would handle a fictional story set around something very real and poignant, and something I remember so well too. I don't think a lot of people will ever forget the pictures and news reports about the event, so I opened the book eager to begin.

Louise Fenton is horrified when she sees that there has been a tsunami in Thailand on Boxing Day morning, the very place where her mother is currently staying. She immediately heads over to Thailand, determined to find her mother and bring her back home. She manages to find her mother's bag, but inside is a big book, an atlas of sorts, that she has never seen before. It belongs to another woman Louise hasn't heard of, a journalist called Claire Shreve. Louise tries to piece together the things inside the book to find out more about Claire, whilst looking for her mother in a completely destroyed Thailand. Louise is determined to piece together how Claire knew her mothers, and the secrets that lie between the pages of the atlas...

When I began the book, I fell in love with the story of Louise, jetting off to Thailand to search for her mother. Those scenes were written so brilliantly, the desperation, grief, sorrow, panic came across so well from the offset that you could not help but feel and sympathise with Louise's plight. Yes, she and her mother may not have been on the best of terms, but in this situation you just can't comprehend what the relatives and loved ones of those missing are going through. Buchanan described perfectly the ravaged country of Thailand, the look, smell, everything about it just lit up in my mind, the sheer horror of it is unimaginable. I was willing Louise to find something to give her hope but when she found her mum's bag, my heart sank.

This discovery led to the other part of the book, the one I did not like so much and wished there was a great deal less of in the book. It tells us the story of Claire Shreve, a journalist who struggles to come to terms with her own infertility and the effect that this has on the rest of her life. She meets Milo by chance on a work assignment, and this sets her life off on a whole new path. She gets to know his family, including his niece Holly, and this was when I struggled to engage with the book. I didn't like Claire at all - I can't really put my finger on why but I wasn't connected to her story at all, didn't care for what she was going through, and I didn't warm to Milo either. It seemed so unconnected with the main story of Louise and her struggle in Thailand, I was almost ready to give up at one point.

As the connections between the two became clearer, I decided to persevere because I really wanted to see how it was going to end. However, by this point I really was not enjoying the book and wished instead it was based entirely around Louise and her story, which was far better for me. The book had some lovely locations thanks to Claire's story, including Serbia, Dubai, Finland, Australia and more - these places were written very well, Buchanan's descriptive writing is fantastic, you can clearly visualise these things in your mind but I just wasn't taken by the story that happens inside these places. I was just constantly waiting to get back to Louise and her friend Sam in Thailand, rather than plodding on to find out the connection between Nora and Claire.

It was a well written book, don't get me wrong. However, I wish it had focused on what the blurb had promised me - a book set around a woman looking for her mother in the aftermath of one of the most awful natural disaster's of our time. I loved Louise's story, felt it was so well written, from the scenes in Thailand, describing the ravages of what the wave has left behind to her relationship at home with her husband and daughters. Buchanan's writing was very easy to read, I loved her vivid descriptions, the way she wrote emotion into the book with ease, and the main plot. For me, though, the side plot of Claire's story, which was probably around 75% of the book by the end was just not for me, I just didn't have much of an interest for it and I found it hard going at times. I am looking forward to reading more from Tracy Buchanan in the future, and this was a solid debut novel that I did enjoy.

Christmas in August: Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen

Another new festive read, although perhaps not filled with a great deal of Christmas cheer, is author Tammy Cohen's new psychological crime novel Dying for Christmas. Tammy previously published novels under her full name of Tamar Cohen, and this name change marks a change in her writing too, it certainly sounds like a very interesting story... perhaps a bit scary for me though! It's out on November 20th.

You can pre-order Dying for Christmas as a paperback or an eBook now.

"I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there'll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out .

But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?"

12 August 2014

Christmas in August: A Cornish Carol by Fern Britton

Fern Britton is back this Christmas with her first foray in festive fiction, with an eBook short story called A Cornish Carol. I already love the gorgeous cover, so evocative of Christmas. It's due out on 6th November, I'm really looking forward to reading it, it certainly sounds like a fun read!

You can pre-order A Cornish Carol as an eBook now.

"This will be one Christmas they’ll never forget…

Piran Ambrose is the epitome of brooding male. But Pendruggan’s Mr Rochester is in danger of becoming its Ebeneezer Scrooge when he is driven to distraction by the villager’s over-the-top Christmas celebrations. How could the cringeworthy amateur village production of Aladdin bring seasonal cheer to anyone, he wonders? And do the village children really have to arrive at his cottage door every single night in December with their terrible recorders and discordant singing?

But when Piran’s bad temper risks spoiling Christmas for everyone, something drastic needs to be done. So, over one Christmas Eve, three very special people pay Piran a visit, determined to show him what Christmas is really all about…"

11 August 2014

Book Review: One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond

"Is Italian really the language of love? A new class of students hopes to find out.

Anna's recently been told the father she's never met is Italian. Now she's baking focaccia, whipping up tiramisu and swotting up on her vocabulary, determined to make it to Italy so she can find him in person.

Catherine's husband has walked out on her, and she's trying to pick up the pieces of her life. But she'll need courage as well as friends when she discovers his deception runs even deeper than infidelity.

Sophie's the teacher of the class, who'd much rather be back in sunny Sorrento. She can't wait to escape the tensions at home and go travelling again. But sometimes life - and love - can surprise you when you least expect it.

As the evening class gets underway, friendships form and secrets from Italy begin to emerge. With love affairs blossoming in the most unlikely places, and hard decisions to face, it's going to be a year that Anna, Catherine and Sophie will never forget."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy One Night in Italy as a paperback or an eBook now.

I love Lucy Diamond's book. They are fantastic reads, with realistic characters that you can warm to and relate to as well, and I always love the way Lucy writes as well. I was sent a review copy of her brand new book, One Night in Italy, complete with it's beautiful blue and silver cover. It's simplicity is what I loved about it, but the story inside was absolutely brilliant. It is definitely the best of Lucy's books I have read so far, and considering how much I have loved some of her previous reads, that's no mean feat!

What is it about Italy that draws people together? A group of new Italian language students is about to find out whether Italian really is the true language of love! There's Sophie, who has just returned from living in Italy for a few years who becomes the teacher of the Italian class at the local college, but really wishes she could be well away from her family too. There's Catherine, whose life has been blown apart by a shock revelation from her husband and she's left to rebuild her life alone, and she's scared. Anna is determined to find out more about her birth father, who she recently learned is an Italian man. It draws her into wanting to learn more about her father's native country, and she joins the language course to learn some of her new language too. The new class form friendships together, and a love of Italy is born. But what secrets are the group hiding, and can the Italian help them in more ways than one?

I have to confess that I love books where there is more than one character plot playing out, I find it fun to keep up with them and find out how they are going to interact with each other. In this book, we follow the three women, along with a few other members of the Italian class too, to find out what is happening in their lives and how they are going to overcome their latest problems. A broad section of readership is represented in the book as well, with the younger Sophie and Anna in the book, and Catherine representing an older age range. I found it easier to relate to Anna and Sophie myself, but I felt deeply sorry for Catherine and the betrayal she is going through - it's a complete nightmare situation for her but I was so hoping that she would get herself back on her feet and see that she was worth more than what she initially believed.

My favourite character was Anna, who was desperately trying to locate her birth father, as well as juggle her new column at the local paper where she works as a journalist. I found her story quite compelling and easy to read, with the birth father story remaining a good mystery throughout the book, and her columns made me giggle too! Finally, there was Sophie. I struggled to warm to her, she was very cold with her parents and even though there were extenuating circumstances, I felt she wasn't especially nice and I really did not like her for quite a large part of the book. As her story is revealed more, you can understand why she is as she is, but unfortunately she remained my least favourite! I liked some of the other characters at the class too, they each have their own story, my favourites being married couple Roy and Geraldine... such a sweet love story there, you can't help but love the pair!

The Italian class was a fun addition to the book, and is the reason for each of the women meeting each other, and starting a new chapter in each of their lives. I don't know any Italian, but Lucy makes it easy, giving us only basic phrases and the characters always give us translations as well. It was fun to learn a few snippets! There is a lot going on in this book, lots of emotions, stories and issues but it's all so well written, Lucy has done a marvellous job bringing all these threads together and joining them perfectly. I honestly did love everything about this book, from the wonderful descriptions of the Italian food, to the language and the country too, it's a fabulous read and I really didn't want it to end. Diamond brings together likeable, realistic characters and puts them in a story that you will simply adore. I can't recommend it highly enough, it was brilliant, and definitely Lucy Diamond's best yet!

Christmas in August: Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan

One festive read I am seriously looking forward to reading this year is the final part of Sarah Morgan's 'Snow Crystal' trilogy, Maybe This Christmas! It's coming on October 28th, and is the last installment of the fantastic series about the O'Neill brothers, and I am so excited to discover this book too!

You can pre-order Maybe This Christmas as a paperback or an eBook now.

"This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O'Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he's simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he's never ruined, and he's not about to start now. 

Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she's been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture…how can she concentrate on being his friend when he's sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she's always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?"

7 August 2014

Blog Tour: Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen

Today I am thrilled to be part of Julie Cohen's blog tour for her brand new book Where Love Lies which is out now! To celebrate the release of this book, I am delighted to be able to offer 3 copies of the book for giveaway! I've just finished reading it myself and it's a fantastic read, quite different to anything I've read in a while, and I think it's a great read for summer.

Giveaway is open to UK residents only, one entry per household. Giveaway closes on 17th August 2014 at midnight. Winners will be picked at random and notified by email.

Good luck!

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Book News: What Might Have Been by Matt Dunn

I am really pleased to say that Matt Dunn is back this month with a brand new book! I've read all of his books to date, and so I am very excited to read this one too. What Might Have Been is out on August 12th, and sounds like a great read - I know with Matt's books I'm guaranteed a great read, and a lot of laughs too!

You can pre-order What Might Have Been as a paperback or an eBook now.

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

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

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

6 August 2014

eBook Review: One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin

"‘Is there really such a thing as a perfect proposal?

Over the next hundred days I intend to find out. I will find one hundred ways to propose to our Chief Proposer Suzie McKenzie and post the results here for your enjoyment. One thing’s for sure, not one of my proposals will be on top of the Eiffel Tower with a dozen red roses.’

Best friends Suzie and Harry are partners in romance. That is, they run the.PerfectProposal.com, coming to the aid of would-be grooms to create the ultimate marriage proposal.

But when Harry decides to catapult the business into the big leagues with a PR stunt all Suzie can see is a hundred days of heartbreak stretching ahead of her. But however exotic the location, or breath-takingly romantic the setting, Suzie has to keep remembering that ‘Marry Me?’ is the one question she can’t say yes to.

This business proposal should come with one hundred broken heart warnings...

One hundred proposals, one hundred chances to say yes."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy One Hundred Proposals as an eBook now.

Holly Martin first came to my attention last year when I read many rave reviews about her new chick lit book The Guestbook. I decided to find out what all the fuss was about, and read the book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. So when Holly brought out a new book this year called One Hundred Proposals, I decided it was going to be a must-read. I love Holly's eBook covers too. Some publishers seem to think that eBook covers aren't as important as those that go into the shop on a physical book, but you still have to entice your reader to want to read the book, and Carina have done just that with this book cover. So, here's why I think you should read One Hundred Proposals.

Suzie and Harry are partners, running their website PerfectProposal.com together, showing grooms how they can create the most fantastic marriage proposals, often at a bargain price too. When Harry decides to take on the task of proposing to Suzie, not just once but one hundred times, in order to find the perfect proposal, he is sure he's onto a winner. But Suzie is already feeling dread at what Harry's got planned for her - she knows she can only take these proposals as work, although she would desperately want to say yes to Harry and the idea of marrying him. Which proposal is Harry going to pull out of the bag that Suzie will like the most? And will Harry cotton on to the fact that Suzie's feelings run deeper than just business partners....

I loved the idea of this story. I was sure Holly Martin wouldn't be able to cram one hundred different proposals into the book, otherwise it would be hundreds and hundreds of pages long, but I was hoping that the ones that were in the book were going to be magical and the sort of thing any girl would be happy to say yes to! Of course, Holly didn't disappoint, and she's really gone to town with the proposals in the book - Harry really knows how to make a proposal magical. What I loved is that he used Suzie's favourite things in as many propsals as he could, making them personal, and I was willing her to say yes and come clean about her feelings! He was almost too good to be true - the perfect best friend, handsome man and all round good guy - what was there not to like?

Suzie was a bit more of a mixed bag. She's got an upsetting past, a family tragedy that is haunting her and threatening to ruin her friendships too. She feels only Harry truly understands her feelings, and that it brings them closer together, although she is sure Harry doesn't reciprocate her feelings. I liked Suzie, although I was hoping that she would just admit the truth to Harry, rather than allow herself the heartbreak of having to sit through all these proposals. While I loved the characters and their stories, for me it was the proposals and locations that made the book so readable. They get sent around the world to perform these proposals for their website, and I loved how Holly described all the locations perfectly - it made the already perfect proposals that more special, if that was possible?! We fly across the world with Harry and Suzie, and it was utterly brilliant all the way.

While I really enjoyed Holly's first chick lit book, this one has definitely surpassed it for me. It had everything - the perfect male lead that you can't help but love, gorgeous locations, lots of romance and love too. Holly's writing is so easy to read, you get quickly absorbed into the story and Harry and Suzie's relationship (or lack of one!), leaving you wanting to keep reading and to find out what would happen next. I absolutely loved all of the proposals, Harry was so thoughtful and they all seemed absolutely brilliant, and made for such good reading. Holly Martin is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors for a great romantic read, and I can see I'm going to be very excited next time she releases another novel, hoping it'll be just as good as this one. You'll definitely want to dive in and read all about Harry, Suzie and their one hundred proposals this summer, the perfect summer romance, I loved it!

5 August 2014

Book Review: The Beach Hut Next Door by Veronica Henry

"Summer appeared from nowhere that year in Everdene . . . and for those lucky enough to own one of the beach huts, this was the summer of their dreams.

For Elodie, returning to Everdene means re-awakening the memories of one summer fifty years ago. A summer when everything changed.

Vince and his brother are struggling to come to terms with the death of their father - but they have very different ways of coping.

And for Jenna, determined to put the past behind her, the opportunity to become 'the ice cream girl' once again might just turn her life around.

But this summer is not all sunshine and surf - as secrets unfold, and some lives are changed for ever . "

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Beach Hut Next Door as a paperback or an eBook now.

Veronica Henry is one of my favourite authors, and I have read all of her books that she has had published to date. I've enjoyed every one of them, and I was thrilled to see that Veronica was doing another book like her previous brilliant summer read The Beach Hut. It didn't feature any of the same characters, but was still set on Everdene beach, and examined the lives of many different characters who happen to visit the beach and the huts there. I was really pleased when I received a review copy from Orion, and eagerly got stuck in, looking forward to another fabulous summer read, and it's certainly one I'd recommend you stick in your suitcase!

Jenna and her boyfriend Craig are determined to keep the strength in their relationship alive, and when Jenna discovers a new business opportunity that she thinks will be the making of her, Craig knows he has to trust and support his girlfriend in her venture. Recently separated couple Rachel and Tim have decided to share their beloved beach hut, neither wanting to part with the place that holds such lovely memories for each of them. There's also the fishermen brothers who are trying to keep their business alive after the loss of their father at sea, driving one of the brothers to the brink of despair, and the other struggling to keep the business afloat. Finally, there's Elodie, who fell in love with Everdene in her childhood when she lived at Grey House but left after a shocking family revelation left her estranged from the rest of her family. All this and more happens on the beach at beautiful Everdene...

While I've mentioned the above characters, these are the ones that stood out to me but they aren't all that is in the book. There are lots of little stories within the book, all cleverly woven together and they really do read as a wonderful story. There's obviously lots of different storylines going on and you do have to concentrate to make sure you know where you are with the book but for me, it was a really enjoyable read. I loved revisiting Everdene, visualising the beautiful scenery in my mind as well as the lovely beach huts too. Since reading the book, I've found out that the characters of Jenna and Craig featured in Veronica's 'Quick Read' A Sea Change, and although I haven't read that book, it didn't stop my enjoyment of the story at all.

I had 2 favourite parts of this book overall. The first was the story between recently separated couple Rachel and Tim. They have been driven apart by their desperate need for a family, something Tim knows he can't even give Rachel, no matter how much they want. He's reluctantly let her go to fulfill her dream, but he's hurting and missing her. The fact they shared the beach hut was so sweet, and I really did feel for Tim, it was a very touching story. The other brilliant part for me was Elodie's tale. We meet Elodie as a elderly lady, buying the Grey House in Everdene, but we soon find out that the house has a big tie to her from her childhood. As the book progresses, it moves back to Elodie's childhood to reveal what happened that drove Elodie away from her home and her family, and it was a really captivating story. I was really riveted by this and thought it was so well done, I could have read a whole book on Elodie and her story alone.

This was a fantastic read, as I always expect from Veronica Henry! I really enjoyed the whole thing from start to finish, whether it was Elodie's emotional story, or one of the tales of the residents of the beach huts too, they were all very readable. I loved Veronica's descriptions of the beach huts and Everdene, she managed to make them sound like the perfect place to be in the summer, and I can't now wait to visit my parents where they live by the sea, and sit there near the beach huts with a good book! Fans of Veronica Henry are going to want to pick this up and lose themselves in another wonderful, evocative and warm tale of many lives at Everdene beach and beyond. I loved it. A fantastic beach read.

Book News: The Marriage Mender by Linda Green

Linda Green is back this month with a brand new book. The Marriage Mender is out on 28th August, and sounds like it is going to be a really good read. I have to confess I'm not entirely sold on the cover, but I certainly like the concept of the book so will be putting it on my to-read list!

You can pre-order The Marriage Mender as a paperback or an eBook now.

"Alison is a marriage mender. Her job is to help couples who fear they have reached the end of the line. But the trouble with spending your time sorting out other people's problems is that you tend to take your eye off your own. 

Even when her husband's ex Lydia arrives on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it. 

But what Alison doesn't realise is that Lydia is the one person who has the ability to destroy their happy family. And sometimes the cracks can run so deep that even a marriage mender can't repair them."

4 August 2014

Book News: I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson

Miranda Dickinson is back this year with a brand new book, and I can't wait! I'll Take New York is out on December 4th, so still a bit of a wait for its release, but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait. It's the sequel to Miranda's very first book Fairytale of New York, and I'm sure it'll be nice for people to catch up with those characters once more. I have to say I love the fabulous cover as well, it's so gorgeous! Plus, who doesn't love a book set in New York?!

You can pre-order I'll Take New York as a paperback or an eBook now.

"The path of true love never did run smooth…

When Brooklyn bookstore owner Bea James is let down once too often by unreliable boyfriend Otis, she swears off relationships for good, determined instead to focus on her successful business and otherwise happy life in New York.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Manhattan, Jake Steinmann is nursing a broken heart after his beautiful wife Jessica files for divorce. Relocating his life back to New York from San Francisco, he throws himself into setting up his psychiatry practice and supporting older brother Ed who is preparing to wed love of his life, Rosie.

Unexpectedly thrown together at Rosie and Ed’s engagement party where they are the only two singles, Bea and Jake bond over their dislike of relationships – a conversation that ends with a promise to never get involved with anyone ever again.

But as their friendship grows both Bea and Jake begin to wish they’d never made their pact. Can they find a way to follow their hearts before it’s too late?"

3 August 2014

Book Review: Written in the Stars by Ali Harris

"Bea Bishop is horrible at making decisions. Forget big life ones, even everyday choices seem to paralyse her. She's learned to live with this because experience has taught her that it doesn't matter what you do, no one has the power to control destiny. Anyone who believes they can is a fool. 

But as her wedding day approaches, her years of indecision are weighing heavily on her, and she can't help but wonder, 'What if, what if, what if….' 

What if she hadn't upped sticks and moved to London? What if she hadn't grabbed the first job that came along and settled down with the first guy who showed an interest? But all of her questions are silenced when she slips while walking down the aisle and is knocked unconscious. In this split second her life splits into two: in one existence, Bea flees back down the aisle and out of the church. In the other she glides blissfully towards her intended.

But which story will lead to her happily ever after?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Written in the Stars as a paperback or an eBook now.

Ali Harris has become one of my must-read authors in the past few years thanks to the amazing books that she has released. Yes, there has only been 3 of them but it's enough to have got me hooked on her writing, and I always know I am about to read something special when I pick up one of her books. Her latest book Written in the Stars sounded like it was going to be another brilliant book - something a bit different too. I have to mention as well how much I love the cover. I know they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but I do, I just can't help it. But when a book has a cover as gorgeous as this, I'm sure I can't go wrong!

The book begins on Bea Bishop's wedding day. Bea is sure that getting married is what she wants, despite the fact she knows she is terrible at making decisions. However, if she gets married then she has someone else to rely on to help her make those decisions for the rest of her life. She starts the walk down the aisle... and slips over, knocking herself unconscious. As she comes around, Bea's life is split into two possibilities. One, where she carries on down the ailse and marries the love of her life. The second, however, changes everything. Bea turns around and runs away from her impending nuptials, leaving her groom and family in utter shock, and wondering what to do next. Bea carries on with these two lives, experiencing very different emotions and lifestyles in each. But which life is going to lead to Bea finding the happiness she so deserves?

Now, I'll be honest and say books with a magical twist aren't really my things - I prefer something more realistic, that I can relate to. So when I read the plot of this one, I did look forward to it but hoped that it was done in a really good way that would allow me to enjoy it rather than sit and scoff at how unrealistic it is, as I have to admit I have done in the past! Of course though, I should have put my faith in Ali Harris and her writing, because of course it was brilliantly written, I enjoyed every single page and I even managed to suspend my disbelief for a while and just enjoy the book for what it was. Yes, it isn't something that can ever happen but it didn't seem to matter - all I cared about was finding out which ending Bea would choose and if she's live happily ever after.

I really cared about Bea, both versions of her. I thought I would dislike her when she ran away from her wedding, leaving her poor fiancé Adam behind but I didn't. Instead, I sympathised with how she felt and what she did. There is the reappearance of someone from Bea's past in the book which explains a lot about Bea, and I found this part of the book very sad, something Bea was really struggling to get over and move on from. The Bea who did get married was different in her own way, perhaps struggling too with the confines of marriage and her own expectations. Neither Bea seemed particularly happy, and I was wondering what it would take to make Bea a happy woman again. I was pleased that Adam didn't disappear from one story when Bea ran away from him at the wedding, instead he's an important part in her life for both stories. You'd expect him to hate her, but he was so lovely, the perfect man in lots of ways and I wanted Bea to end up happy with him.

Bea is really into gardening in the book, it's her thing and I enjoyed reading about that a lot, even though I'm not particularly green-fingered or into gardening myself! I loved reading about Bea's visions for the flowers she put together in her new job at the flower shop, or the gardens she envisioned herself doing for the course she thought about doing. It was a good way of getting inside Bea's creative head, and getting out some of her emotion through her work too. The reason for her love of gardening was very touching too, something very different for the book and again went a long way to explaining Bea and her character throughout the book. Ali really puts across Bea's passion for it so well, and I think that is what I liked most about the character, the passion she has for the things she loves.

This was a fantastic book, and certainly makes you think about the decisions you make in life, and how they affect other things in your life too. However, this book made me realise that although you might regret decisions you made, they usually lead to the same outcome had you chosen a different path anyway. Destiny is always the same, you are fated to be with certain people, do certain things, no matter how you get there. For Bea, she experienced two very different paths to her outcome, and each was important in shaping the person she became, but it didn't change her destiny in the end. As I said, I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did but Ali Harris' writing made this a must-read, I thoroughly enjoyed every page. Bea was a character you couldn't help but love, and I loved the way the two life paths for her alternated in the book, it was easy to keep up and I really didn't want it to end. A brilliant book I highly recommend.

1 August 2014

Book News: The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

One of the most famous female writers is back this year with a brand new book... none other than Marian Keyes! The Woman Who Stole My Life is coming on 6th November, and has a pretty bold cover style, certainly one that is going to stand out and make you take interest in it. I've been a bit hit and miss with Marian's books in the past, but the blurb of this one sounds really good! Are you looking forward to it?

You can pre-order The Woman Who Stole My Life as a hardback or an eBook now.

"'Okay, I'll write my introduction. 'Name: Stella Sweeney. Height: average. Recent life events: dramatic.'

Stella Sweeney is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with her husband Ryan and their two teenage kids in Dublin. She works with - or really for - her terrifyingly ambitious sister Karen in their beauty salon. Nothing to get excited about here. Nothing to make her particularly unhappy. Or happy... No-one would be interested in stealing her life.

But then things started to happen...

One day, Stella, attempting a good deed, causes a little car accident and faces down a bad tempered, handsome stranger. She hardly gives it much of a thought. But karma is hovering, and is about to take over, swoop in and change Stella's life for ever. For better or worse.

Suddenly Stella has a life. A thrilling glamorous one. A life that other people might start to covet..."