Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Guest Review: A Night In With Grace Kelly by Lucy Holliday

Fate has got it in for Libby Lomax. She realised, far too late, that her best friend Olly, is the actual Love of Her Life. Now he’s in love with the so-nice-it-hurts, Tash, and it looks like her happy ending is completely out of reach.
Things start looking up when she, quite literally, runs into the completely gorgeous Joel. Libby discovers that there is more to Joel than his six-pack, not least, the incredible fact that he honestly believes he has found his fairy tale princess in her.
And if this wasn’t enough, an unwanted guest shows up on Libby’s enchanted sofa; Grace Kelly, wearing her iconic wedding dress and convinced that Libby is figment of her imagination. But Grace also believes that if you want something, then you’ve got to make it happen; words which give Libby hope that happy endings aren’t just for fairy tale princesses…

Review: This is the final part of a trilogy by Lucy Holliday, following on from A Night In With Audrey Hepburn and A Night In With Marilyn Monroe. The question with trilogies is always whether each part can be read as a standalone. In this case, I would suggest that it would be best to read all three in order, as there is a central story running through them; but then I would suggest that you should read them all just because they are so good. They are without doubt some of the funniest books I have read. It does help if you can suspend belief a bit, as magic forms the basis of the stories. 

The central character in all three stories is Libby Lomax, a lovely girl with a dreadful overpowering mother and an equally awful sister. It's just as well she has long time best friend Olly to look after her and keep her grounded. Having found somewhere to live, he is the one who helped her find some furniture, including a sofa which turns out to have some strange powers and play a big part in the story.  In this book, Libby, as the title suggests, has a  surprise meeting with long dead actress Grace Kelly, dressed in her fabulous and iconic wedding gown. As in previous parts of this series, Libby is given very good advice by her actor friend in an attempt to help her sort out both her love life and her future in general. 

I really loved this story and would highly recommend it to anyone. Libby Lomax is such an endearing character, persevering through all that befalls her. Her friend Olly is also lovely; you can't help feeling that they belong together. As I said at the beginning, the book is really funny; a cleverly written combination of romance and comedy with a little sprinkle of magic. 

To get your fabulous copy now, click here!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Staycation Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

So this week's top ten theme was summer and so I thought I would do a post featuring books to read if you aren't going away to another country this year, books that can let you have that escapism, even if you are only having a staycation. I know most of these books helped me escape some typical British summer weather and so hopefully they will help you too! You can click on the pictures of each book to go the buy page and I'll link any reviews I've written if you want to hear more of my thoughts...

What better form of escapism than a trip to Italy? This YA novel is a recent release that will have you travelling to the land of pasta and quality espresso! My review.

Paige Toon is the queen of escapism and this book is the perfect balance between UK escapism and a little trip to Thailand-fab! My review.

More Italy for you but this time for a little bit of romance and intrigue! My review.

If you're looking for something shorter, the whole of the Meet Cute series is great escapism, but this on is particularly sunny! My review.

Some middle grade now and something a little shorter again, this Geek Girl summer special is great and anything Geek Girl is escapism anyway! My review.

Another Paige Toon, I know but I loved jetting off to Australia for this one, her books really do whisk you away even if time and budget doesn't allow! My review.

This one is a great escape to Maine. I loved reading about the beachy scenery and the beachy attitude! My review.

Escape to Zante? Yes please! I have had a couple of awesome holidays there and this book brings it all back-just pure bliss! My review.

And if you're hooked on the Greek island idea then why not try the Island escape? We loved it here on the blog! My review.

And for some more British escapism, get to know Neil the puffin and indulge in some fresh bread by the sea! My review.

And a bonus one for you because a top ten wouldn't be complete without a Lindsey Kelk novel... Vegas Baby!

What do you like to read for escapism?

Monday, 22 May 2017

Review: How To Make Out by Brianna Shrum

Sixteen-year-old Renley needs three thousand dollars for the math club’s trip to New York City, and she knows exactly how to get it: she’s going to start a how-to blog where people pay for answers to all of life’s questions from a “certified expert.” The only problems: 1) She doesn’t know how to do anything but long division and calculus. 2) She’s totally invisible to people at school. And not in a cool Gossip Girl kind of way.

So, she decides to learn to do . . . well . . . everything. When her anonymous blog shifts in a more scandalous direction and the questions (and money) start rolling in, she has to learn not just how to do waterfall braids and cat-eye makeup, but a few other things, like how to cure a hangover, how to flirt, and how to make out (something her very experienced, and very in-love-with-her neighbor, Drew, is more than willing to help with).

As her blog’s reputation skyrockets, so does “new and improved” Renley’s popularity. She’s not only nabbed the attention of the entire school, but also the eye of Seth Levine, the hot culinary wizard she’s admired from across the home-ec classroom all year.

Soon, caught up in the thrill of popularity both in and out of cyberspace, her secrets start to spiral, and she finds that she’s forgotten the most important how-to: how to be herself. When her online and real lives converge, Renley will have to make a choice: lose everything she loves in her new life, or everyone she loves in the life she left behind.

Review: oh this was such a cute read. I absolutely flew through this one and read it in basically one sitting, that's how much I wanted find out how things were going to unfold for Renley and her friends! This book reminded me of a lot of teen romance movies and would make a great movie itself. It is very much a coming of age and self-discovery novel and I really enjoyed watching Renley as she made her way along the steep learning curve towards not quite adulthood but away from childhood that;s for sure!

I really loved the characters in this novel. I could definitely picture where they fitted into the social hierarchy of the American High school and they definitely met a few of the stereotypes I have leaned about growing up watching these teen films in the UK. Renley was an easy character to like, even when she wasn't always making the right choices. That is because we all have our faults and I liked her better because she was fairly open about those faults, she felt bad about them and knew that she needed to speak to someone about them. 

I have to admit, I totally fell in love with bad boy Drew. I know I wasn't entirely supposed to because we also have Seth to swoon over in this book but I just loved what a decent human and what a good friend Drew was throughout this novel, I really hope I get to hear some more from him soon! April fits into the role of best friend so well. She is the slightly rebellious girl that still attends math club and still knows how to do the right thing, and therefore I could really identify with her (I'm the teacher that ran math club with the tattoos and the coloured hair) so I would really like to find out what happens to her as well!

I liked the storyline, parts of it were slightly predictable, but reassuringly so, and I really like the fact that it features a blog and someone trying to make money off of a blog too. As I say, this really was a coming of age story with some seriously romantic parts to it as well. I think that if you are a fan of contemporary/romantic fiction then you will definitely love this one and I can't wait to read more from this author soon!

To order your copy now, click here!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Cover Reveal! The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French

I am so excited to bring another cover reveal to you today-its been a while hasn't it?

This new read is from a fab author, Kat French, I'm a big fan! Here's what the book is all about...

A gorgeous summer read to escape with this summer!

Three women throw caution to the wind and move from England to run a B&B on a Greek island. They’ve all reached a point in their lives when the need a change – one divorced, on empty nester, one made redundant from the job she’s held since leaving school many moons ago. The move test their friendship to the limits, brings errant husbands running their own metamorphosis, but will they choose to stay in Greece when the holiday season winds down?

The perfect escapist read for fans of Lucy Diamond and Milly Johnson – transport yourself to a Greek island and forget about your troubles with this glorious summery romance.

And here's that gorgeous summery cover-what do you think?

You can pre-order the book now by clicking here. The ebook is released on 22nd June (UK) and the paperback comes out on 13th July (UK).

Kat French lives with her husband, two little boys and two crazy cats. She loves all things romance – reading it, watching it and writing it. She also writes steamy erotic romance as her bestselling alter-ego Kitty French.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Blog Tour: Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn Author Interview!

I am so excited to bring you another fabulous author interview today as part of the exciting blog tour for Darcie's Boleyn's new novel Summer at Corwenna Cove. Buy links and goodreads links can be found at the bottom of the post. Before I start with my probing questions, here's what it's all about...

Eve has a glittering career, a loving husband and a future. But a terrible twist of fate means she loses it all, and with nowhere left to turn she flees to her Aunt Mary’s home in Cornwall. The last thing on her mind is romance – until she meets Jack.

Jack has seen the worst things people can do to each other and realised he is better off alone. He settles in Conwenna Cove, and saves his affections for the rescue dogs he cares for. But when Eve arrives in the village he can’t deny his attraction to her.

Eve and Jack are both scared to trust, but when they come together it’s impossible for either to ignore their feelings. Can they put their fears aside and learn to love again?

Summer at Conwenna Cove is an emotional and heart-warming holiday read about being brave enough to take a chance on love

And now for the interview...

First question-bit of a cliche-how did you get into writing?

I’ve always written, and as a child I used to enter short story and poetry competitions. This continued when I went to university but then, as life became busier, writing took a back seat. I nursed the dream to write for years when my children were young, and I tried to write a novel but spent far too much time procrastinating, which meant that it didn’t get finished. A few years ago, my husband encouraged me to really try again, and following a few false starts, I finally had that amazing acceptance email. Since then, I haven’t stopped!

Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?

I do now. I recently left teaching after almost twenty years and I’m delighted to have such a fabulous opportunity. Basically, for me, I’m living the dream!

Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer?

I’ve written books in first and third person but I don’t have a preference. It happens organically when I sit down to write. I let the characters tell me how they want their story told. So far, I’ve written contemporary romance and that’s what I enjoy, but I like stretching myself as a writer, so who knows what I’ll write in the future.

How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?

Creating new characters, and watching as their lives unfold is a very enjoyable process. The way I’d describe my character development is that it’s like entering a dark corridor where the lights come on automatically, one at a time, as I move forwards. I don’t always know exactly what’s at the end, or even the next step, but as one light comes on, I can see more of the way ahead and this keeps going until I reach the end.

There’s a standing joke amongst writers that if someone makes you mad, you’ll write them into a novel, but although I might base certain characteristics on a real person – or give a character the name of someone I know as a mark of respect – my characters are entirely fictional.

What was the inspiration behind Summer at Conwenna Cove?

There were a few reasons why I wrote this novel.
Firstly, I adore Cornwall and wanted to set a story there. It’s an absolutely fabulous location with a dramatic coastline, stunning beaches, pretty fishing harbours, spectacular scenery and a rich and intriguing history.  As a teenager, I enjoyed some amazing family holidays in Porthleven; they were magical times and I treasure the memories.
Secondly, as an author, teacher, wife and mother, I’m well aware of how stressful and hectic life can be when we’re trying to juggle it all. Taking time out to be with loved ones is so important. Holidays can be restorative and allow your body and mind to recuperate from the ups and downs of everyday life. Cornwall is the perfect place to do this and that’s why being in Conwenna Cove has this effect upon my characters. I wanted to write about a place where my characters could go to rest, to heal and to fall in love.
Thirdly, I wanted to write a story featuring greyhounds. As a greyhound mum, I care a great deal about these beautiful, gentle creatures. I adopted my girl, Freya, from Greyhound Rescue Wales, and the rescue sanctuary in the novel is based on the sanctuary in Wales, where Freya came from. The employees and volunteers of GRW work tirelessly to care for the hounds and they deserve recognition for the wonderful work they do. In the story, Eve’s healing process goes hand in hand with that of Gabe, the greyhound, and I wanted to show how they rescue each other. With help from Jack, of course!

What is your writing process-do you map it out first? Write a bit at a time?

I write an outline and character sketches, then type away. But I find that my characters often tend to surprise me, and I love it when that happens, especially when they reveal a secret that even I didn’t know they’ve been hiding.

How much of you is reflected in your writing?

There will always be elements of me in my stories and my characters, especially where emotions are concerned, but I am writing fiction, so I try to allow the characters to develop themselves and to ensure that they make decisions that would make sense for them. This is also where a good editor comes in; to point out if something is ‘out of character’ or to question if a character’s thoughts and feelings are fully developed. In Summer at Conwenna Cove, the greyhound sanctuary is particularly important, because it’s something that matters to me, but it’s also important to the story and to character growth.

What kind of research did you do before/during writing your latest book?

I did a lot of reading about Cornwall on the internet and made lots of notes about typical Cornish towns and villages. I also looked at old holiday photographs from my own Cornish holidays to try to get the details just right. To ensure that the greyhound details were accurate, I contacted some of the very helpful people at Greyhound Rescue Wales, for their greyhound stories and for advice about Gabe’s behaviour in the story.

How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?

This is a tricky one. Reviews can be wonderful and a good review can make you feel absolutely fabulous. But, like everything in life, writers have to accept that not everyone will like what they do. 

Are friends and family supportive of your writing?

My husband and children have been incredible and are my cheerleaders with everything I write. If it hadn’t been for my husband’s initial support and encouragement, I don’t know if I’d have had the courage to start writing again. I am also extremely lucky to have some amazing friends in the writing and blogging communities, and their support means the world, especially when I’m ploughing through edits.

How do you feel leading up to your publication day?

Excited. Nervous. Giddy with anticipation.
I have to admit to having a giggle about this with other authors, as before I was published, I thought publication day would be a whirlwind of champagne launches and celebrations, but in reality, I might spend publication day writing, editing, cleaning, ironing or food shopping. However, I always make time for a celebratory glass of wine at the end of the day and enjoy interacting with readers, authors and bloggers on social media because they always make it a special time.

Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?

So many authors inspire me and I enjoy reading a wide variety of genres. This is always a difficult question as I’m worried I’ll miss someone out if I start naming them.

Finally...what are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on revisions for my second summer novel, Love at the Italian Lake, and plotting out Christmas at Conwenna Cove. I have a busy few months ahead of me! J

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

Summer at Conwenna Cove was released in the UK on 15th May

Amazon Link: 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Review: I don't know why I waited so long to read this book. I actually ended up reading Nicola Yoon's second novel first, fell in love with that and then returned back to this book, which I already owned! I have to admit, I do prefer to her second novel over this one, but as a debut novel, this is truly a beautiful read. This book has everything you could want from a contemporary novel. There is romance, there is tragedy and there is definitely an aspect of finding oneself!

I was a little cautious of how much this book would be able having a disease and whether it would be bogged down with medical terminology. But the medical parts of the book are actually told through illustrations and diagrams, Venn diagrams and amusing charts which really breaks up the text of the book and actually makes it more fast-paced rather than bogging it down with medical jargon, so if you're worried about picking up this book because of that-don't be!

Of course there is romance in this book, you can't get away from it and it is magical. First loves are always great to read about and both Maddy and Olly learn a lot about themselves through their illicit communication. I loved them both as characters, finding them easy to like and easy to relate to. Their families are secondary characters in this novel and both families are less than perfect, adding a little more conflict to the novel and definitely giving it another layer of complication. 

I would say that this is a fairly predictable read but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. It is interesting because it seems like there is only going to be one setting and that is Maddy's confinement but actually, thanks to Yoon's beautiful description, there is much more to read about. I really enjoyed this read and would encourage anyone to add it to their TBR and don't wait as long as I did to read it!

I can't wait for the film to come out now!

To order your copy now, click here!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Review: The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon

When life feels like a puzzle, sometimes it's the small pieces that make up the bigger picture... Join Bridget on a journey to put her world back together.

A successful travel journalist, Bridget has ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog about the missing pieces of her heart into a book. But after a spate of rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition.

Nicole Dupré died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel. Tasked with finishing the book, Bridget is thankful to have her foot in the publishing door, even if it means relocating to Cornwall for the summer and answering to Nicole's grieving husband, Charlie...

Review: I was so excited to read this novel and once I started it I couldn't put it own. I love how Paige Toon has such a knack for sweeping you off to a new place and leaving all your worries behind. This time we are swept off to Cornwall for a little bit and then to Thailand, what more could we ask for? I still really felt so immersed in Paige Toon's writing, even though I wasn't necessarily somewhere exotic, it just must be the gift that she has! 

I loved the fact that this novel features and author, I wonder how much personal experience was put into this? And yet it is also about so much more. It is about learning to love after being hurt, about what constitutes lies and deception and about grief and how people handle that in different ways. And there are so many characters facing all or some of these issues. And yet I never felt at any time like this was an issue driven book. I just loved getting to know Bridget and in turn her getting to know Nicole and Charlie. 

This book definitely has a slightly slower pace than some of this author's previous novels, I think perhaps because so much of it takes place in one setting. I loved the family aspect of it too, both Nicole's family and Bridget's family. There were some mo moments that made me laugh and others that made me cry. Of course I wanted to be eating fish an chips during the first section of the novel and then during the latter part of the novel, I was desperate for Pad Thai!

If you are a fan of Paige Toon then obviously you will love this novel. If you are looking for a summer read that you can loose yourself in and escape from the real world then this definitely needs to be added to your collection. The slightly slower pace didn't stop me finishing this one in one day and I am sure that you will absolutely fly through this one, tissues at hand and be left feeling all warm and fuzzy afterwards!

To order your copy now, click here!