Sunday, 23 April 2017

Letterbox Love #6

Welcome to Letterbox Love, this is a UK meme, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking and inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. This post is a means by which to highlight the books we get in the post and beyond, and especially to bring attention to those books which may be sat on our shelves for a little while yet that we love all the same.

I've been lucky enough to receive some books from publishers this week and I also got some fab books from the library that I want to share with you. Click on the image to go to the buy page for each book. I've also already reviewed one of the books so definitely check out that post which I will link below! I also made a couple of videos about these books:

I received a copy of I Know What I'm Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself by comedien Jen Kirkman from Simon and Schuster. This one comes out in paperback on Tuesday 25th so look out for my review of this one then!

Then from Simon and Schuster UK, Books and the City, I was lucky enough to received a signed paperback copy of The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton. 

Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster US and UK for these fab books!

Check out my review of this one here!

Then, just yesterdy, I received a copy of Miss You by Kate Eberlen from Pan Macmillan, thank you so much to them for this book, I've heard great things about it!

And here are all the fabulous books I checked out from my fabulous library!

I found out that this is called Lobsters in the UK and I actually already own it-ha!

Thanks again to the publishers for the wonderful books and look out for reviews of all the other books!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Review: The Woman At Number 24 by Juliet Ashton

Meet the residents of number 24 in the warm, witty and wonderful new novel from bestselling author Juliet Ashton.

When your marriage falls apart, the last place you'd want your husband to move to is downstairs. Unfortunately for Sarah, up in the eaves at number 24, her ex-husband now lives one floor beneath her with his new wife. Their happiness floats up through the floorboards, taunting her.

A child psychologist, Sarah has picked up great sadness from the little girl, Una, who lives with her careworn mother three floors below, but is Sarah emotionally equipped to reach out?

The Spring brings a new couple to the house. Jane and Tom's zest for life revives the flagging spirits, and Sarah can't deny the instant attraction to handsome Tom. Having seen at first hand what infidelity does to people, she'll never act on it ... but the air fizzes with potential.

The sunshine doesn't reach every corner of number 24, however. Elderly Mavis, tucked away in the basement, has kept the world at bay for decades. She's about to find out that she can't hide forever.

Juliet Ashton weaves a story of love, friendship and community that will move you to laughter and to tears. Think Cold Feet meets David Nicholls, with a dash of the joy of Jill Mansell added for good measure.

Review: Oh my goodness, everything that could possibly happen inside Number 24 literally does happen. This is a book packed full of twist, turns and dramatic revelations and that made for some fast-paced, Page-turning reading for the entirety of the second half! Number 24 is a house split into flats in Notting Hill and each of the residents, or former residents in these flats each have their own dramatic story lines going on but Sarah, who lives in the flat at the top of the building and is the titular woman, is the lynch pin that holds it altogether. So whilst there are so many dramatic story lines taking place, this is a very character driven book, I loved that about it. 

The novel begins fairly pacey because we are working out who all the residents are and how they relate to one another. each chapter begins with a quote from the calendar from the Chinese takeaway that Sarah uses and is a piece of wisdom that someone in that chapter could definitely use. I loved the little clues that Juliet Ashton left in the form of the wise sayings and other little clues about people throughout the chapters, and just like her last book, i enjoyed working out what everyone's story was and the skeletons in their closet. 

It is fairly hard to pass judgement on many of the characters in this novel because there are so many twists and turns and everyone is not who they seem to be. I loved the relationship that the characters had and developed with one another though. Many people in London do not know their neighbours and this book certainly starts of being that typical set up, with only a couple of exceptions. There are many changes over the course of the book, but I liked seeing how the characters and those changes affected relationships within the doors of Number 24. 

Sarah is a great character to hold the whole story, and the house, together because she is very relatable. She is recently divorced but having to see her husband on a regular basis. Because of the housing situation, in cities in particular, many people are faced with this situation The crisis of her sudden divorce has also made her question her professional capabilities and so we have to go through that with her as well, making her even more easy to sympathise with as a character. She is just a normal woman who is determined to make the best of herself but questions her choices at every turn. I loved the friendships that she forged during this novel and I loved watching her grow and change as a person over the period of time that this story is set. 

The beginning and end of this book (I'd say the first 30% and the final 40%) are very pacey and I read those sections all at once. I couldn't believe some of the twists that this story took on and found myself shouting at the characters to realise what was going on right in front of their eyes. The very middle of the book dragged a little for me, it was focused on one storyline in particular and I just didn't click with that one. Overall though this was a great read and in keeping with what I have now come to expect from this author. This would be a great book to read over the bank holiday weekends that are coming up and if you haven't read any of Juliet's other novels, definitely add those to your TBR too!

To get your copy now, click here!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Review: Then. Now. Always by Isabelle Broom

I hope you're ready for an adventure. Twenty-eight year old Hannah certainly is. She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it's a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and crush). If only Tom (Hannah's best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way... Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah's half-sister arrives. What is she doing here? For once in her life, can't Hannah just have one perfect summer, free of any drama?

Review: Isabelle Broom's books always make her readers want to travel and this book is no exception. This writer clearly has a gift for describing settings so that they jump right off the page. She describes the sound smells and feels of the Spanish coast so that you can literally feel the eat in the air, the sand between your toes and the kick of the Sangria hitting your veins. This is a definite must for any travel junkies on a budget, just like myself because you will be able to sample all that Spain has to offer in wonder descriptive reality without having to fork out for those plane tickets!

Your trip will be courtesy of Hannah and her work colleagues Theo, Tom and Claudette. These characters are written to be just as real as the setting, and whilst I didn't find myself warming to them, I believe that that was a deliberate choice on the part of the writer and so she has clearly done her job. Hannah is really rather self-centred and her tales of her childhood began to wear on me a little after a while, but I loved the storyline that she has about the relationship with her sister, and I really liked the fact that she remained committed to her work despite having many set backs, some of them self-inflicted, whilst she is in Spain. 

As I mentioned, I didn't warm to many of the other characters but that is because they seem to be out to cause our Heroine as much physical and emotional trouble as possible. It was sometimes hard to read Hannah trying to carry on with her job, and her life, whilst everything was against her and this sometimes made the book drag for me but overall it was an enjoyable read. The storyline is based around friendship and possible romance. Of course, being Spain, there is an element of holiday romance in there too, which was great fun. This would make an excellent book to take away with you on holiday, but would equally transport you away from the British summer weather if you're not going away this year. You genuinely will feel like you are living the med trip alongside Hannah and Tom!

To order your copy now, click here!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Guest Review: The A to Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson

Twenty-six chances to find their way back to each other...
P is for Paris where it all began. J is for Jealousy where it all came undone. But the most important letter is F. F is for Forgiveness, the hardest of all.
Sisters Poppy and Rose used to be as close as two sisters could be, but it’s been over a decade since they last spoke. Until they both receive a call that tells them their mother has gone – without ever having the chance to see her daughters reunited.
Andrea, though, wasn’t the kind of woman to let a little thing like death stand in the way of her plans. Knowing her daughters better than they know themselves, she has left behind one very special last gift – the A-Z of Everything.

Review: I am a great fan of Debbie Johnson's delightful and hilarious romantic comedies. However, this story is something very different from her. I started the book with an open mind as to the subject matter, but ended up gripped by a tale which had me crying and laughing in equal measures. It is an incredibly powerful and moving story, skilfully written. 

There are only really five main characters in the book. Actress Andrea Barnard knows she has little time left on this earth and enlists long time friend and lawyer Lewis to help her in a scheme to bring together her daughters, Poppy and Rose, who have been estranged for most of their adult life. Her plan involves the creation of a list - The A to Z of Everything - of messages and tasks that she hopes will help them deal with their grief and, in doing so, find a way to forgive each other for what has happened in the past. Rose's son, Joe, who was very fond of his grandmother, joins them in their journey. 

Although I was doubtful as to whether I would enjoy this book, I found it both uplifting and heartwarming. Andrea's love for her daughters and anguish at their long separation is evident on every page. Even though it sounds a very sombre subject, and, indeed, I would be amazed if anyone could read the book without dissolving into tears at some point, there is also a great deal of humour within. Some of the tasks Andrea sets for her girls are hilarious. I would recommend this novel to anyone, whether established fans of Debbie Johnson or new to her work. 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Read a Book 18/4/17

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!

This is such a fun list and I love the fact that I get to do the opposite next week! There are definitely topics that will make me pick up a book straight away and so here is my list!

1. If they're an auto-buy author! Here's a link to a post on who they are!

2. Books set in New York

3. Books about babies

4. Books about shopping-such a cliche I know!

5. Books from my favourite celebrities

6. Books about feminism

7. Books from series that I love

8. Books about food

9. Fiction featuring celebrities

10. Books with plus-size characters

Monday, 17 April 2017

Guest Review: The Cornish Escape by Lilly Graham

Get swept away along the beautiful Cornish coast, where a love story in a long forgotten diary has the power to change one woman’s life forever.

Victoria Langley’s world crumbles when her husband leaves, but she knows exactly where to go to mend her broken heart. The rugged shores of Cornwall will be her perfect sanctuary. 

In the quaint, little village of Tregollan, nestled in the sea cliffs, Victoria is drawn to Seafall Cottage, covered in vines and gracefully falling apart. Inside she finds a diary full of secrets, from 1905.

Victoria is determined to unravel the diary’s mystery, but the residents of Tregollan are tight-lipped about Tilly Asprey, the cottage’s last owner. Just as she reaches a dead end, Victoria meets Adam Waters, the lawyer handling the cottage’s sale. He’s handsome, charming, and has a missing piece of the puzzle.

Tilly’s diary tells a devastating love story that mirrors Victoria’s own. Can Victoria learn from Tilly’s mistakes, and give herself a second chance at love? Or is history doomed to repeat itself?

Review: This is the 3rd book from Lily Graham that I have read. I adored the first one that I read, but found her last one, A Cornish Christmas, not quite so enthralling. However, I wasn't quite prepared for just how good this latest story was going to be. The reader gets really good value from this book too, as it is 2 stories in one, each set in a different time. 

The main story concerns Victoria Langley, a published biographer who realises that her marriage is over and seeks peace in her beloved Cornwall. In the quaint seaside village of Tregollan, she discovers a long abandoned and fairly well hidden cottage that draws her to it, leading to the discovery of a diary from a former inhabitant, a mystery and a charming love story. In Tregollan, she also meets Adam Waters, an American lawyer dealing with the sale of the cottage, giving us the possibility of a modern day romance as well as the older one. 

Lily Graham has filled this book with really strong characters, and there are even some that will be recognisable to anyone who has read A Cornish Christmas. I love to find familiar characters in a book. It's like meeting up with old friends. The only thing that I found disappointing in the story is that it finished too soon for me. If that's all I have to criticise, it can't be at all bad!

To order your copy now, just click here!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Guest Review: A Wedding in Italy by Tilly Tennant

This is a review of part 2 in a series so may contain spoilers for part one...

Sun, spaghetti and sparkling prosecco. When it comes to finding love, there’s no place like Rome... 

Kate is living the dream with her gorgeous boyfriend Alessandro in his native city, but the reality is sometimes a little less romantic than she’d hoped. Every day in her new home is a fight against leaking pipes, her cantankerous landlord and her less-than-perfect grasp of the Italian lingo. 

All around her there is talk of weddings, but when a secret from her past is thrust out into the open, Kate must fight to prove to Alessandro’s Mamma – and the rest of his formidable family – that she truly is Italian marriage material. 

With the women in Alessandro’s life on a mission to break them apart, the cracks begin to show and Kate starts to question if Alessandro really is the man of her dreams. Can love and the city of romance conquer all, or is that just a fairy-tale?

Review: This title is Book 2 in the From Italy With Love series, following on from Book 1: Rome is Where the Heart Is. I very much enjoyed the first in the series, and had high hopes for this new book. I certainly wasn't disappointed - the story was every bit as good and another triumph for Tilly Tennant. The storyline had me hooked from page one, and I finished the book in quick time. 

It is always hard not to give any spoilers when dealing with a sequel, but I'll do my best. As in the first part, the story revolves around Kate, who is living the dream in Rome with her policeman boyfriend Alessandro. She is working hard to gain acceptance from his family, and at the same time trying to find some gainful employment. There are also other obstacles to overcome, and she misses her family at home in England, but she seems to remain happy despite all that. 

It was really enjoyable watching as Kate built up a relationship with Alessandro's, at times, disapproving family. However, a close friend of the family is not at all easy to deal with, and is responsible for a sinister turn in the plot. Kate's desire to make a living from her talents as a seamstress is proving a difficult one to fulfil, but I felt a little disappointed in her decision to look elsewhere for employment rather than trying a little harder to get her dressmaking business off the ground. 

As our thoughts turn to holidays at this time of year, I would heartily recommend this book as an addition to the suitcase or e-reader. It is an easy read, evoking lots of mental pictures of sunny Italy, its people and, of course, it's delicious cuisine.

To order your copy now, just click here!