Saturday, 19 August 2017

My I Heart Story (Inspired by the I Heart Series by Lindsey Kelk)

So I Heart Forever will be out very soon! In case you hadn't heard, Lindsey Kelk has been chatting about the I heart books, one a week over on her YouTube channel. There's still plenty of time to catch up with them and read along. She is always looking for questions for her videos so definitely get reading so you can ask your burning questions.

I decided to join in with this I Heart Book Club/Readathon, as you may have noticed from my TBRs and wrap ups. And so I have been re-reading these books!

Reading the books again and watching these videos got me thinking about where I was then and where I am now. Where I was when I read each book and how much things have changed because of that. These books were really quite important to me and so I decided I would share my I Heart Story with you!

This one came out in 2009 and I absolutely loved this book. This book was where I rediscovered just how great books could be. I had just finished my first year of teaching, which had directly followed my PGCE, both times where you're not going to get any sleeping done, never ind reading. I had just moved from Glasgow down to Kent, I was in a really rubbish relationship, didn't have any money or a proper job. And this book allowed me to escape those things. I loved living in New York with Angela and rediscovering that whole 'just one more chapter' thing that I hadn't had for a couple of years. This book was important because it did allow me a little bit of sanity. Someone gave me the book and so I hadn't had to pay for it and reading it didn't cost me anything so this book will always have a special place in my heart!

Now I found out this book was out because I used to go into Sainsburys on a Thursday, when the new books would come out and see what was new and I was so excited to see there had been a sequel to I Heart New York, one of my all time favourite books. This one was published January 2010 when I was back living with my parents in Yorkshire and doing supply teaching. I was working a lot more and was generally happier and I was just thrilled to read the sequel to this book. I had visited Hollywood once and so I could picture roughly where they were in the book. I also loved reading Heat magazine and so I loved the storyline with the celebrity interview! I was single again and so I loved reading about Angela and Alex's relationship dramas.

I Heart Paris came out that same summer and I had secured a long term supply position for that September, things were looking up for me but there was so much drama going on in Angela's life, what was going on? I was also just beginning a new relationship so was totally optimistic about all that kind of thing and so I didn't like that Alex and Angela weren't communicating properly. I believe I read this in the Lake district whilst I was away for the week before what should have been my wedding to the guy I was with when I Heart New York came out-big changes there! Yes we seem to be tracking my relationship history with I Heart books but this is why this series is important to me. 

I think that, aside from I Heart New York, obviously, this book is my favourite of the sequels. I loved the wild things that Angela and Jenny got up to and this was the first time in the series where I hadn't been to the location where the book was set (I have been there now, I got married there, and so re-reading it has been sooooo different!). This book came out in December 2011 and I had just moved down to the south east to teach just outside London. I had a full time job, a flat and I was living on my own again. I felt more grown up and Angela felt more grown up too. I was at one of those stages where you're like "I don't need a man, I'm not dating again!' and I think that made me long even more to be on a girly trip with Jenny and Angela and I think I connected all the more with this book. Re-reading it has been so different because of the fact that I went to vegas with family to get married and so I have a whole different perspective now. 

This book came out on June 7th 2012 and I went and met Lindsey and got this book signed! This was before I managed to go to all the author signings. I had been living in the South East just less than a year and this was still when most of the singings were in the London area (I love that they are all over the place now) and so I was very lucky to be able to go and get this one signed at the new Westfield! If we're tracking this in terms of relationships, I was in a very 'I'm going on dates' stage and had had a few good dates and a few disastrous dates from dating apps (this was pre-Tinder) and this book was released JUST before I met my now husband. 

It was exciting because the singing was on June 2nd so I got the book early and of course I started reading the book on the Tube home! This book was great because Angela was back in London and I was in London and I felt like I could be my own Angela because I had just started my very own blog too! This was probably the most empowering book of the series for me! Lindsey also complimented my dress so-mont made!

This one came out in November 2013. I was approved for this one on Netgalley-how exciting. I was loving my book blog, I had a promotion at work. I was still living on my own but I was in a happy relationship, very different circumstances from most of the I Heart series. You can see now why I wanted to track the differences in reading them and also the differences between then and now. Theres not such a big difference with this one. I'm sill in the same relationship only now we're married and living in Denver so a bit of a difference. I loved this book obviously and took my friend with me to get ti signed, it was her first author event and so that is why this book is just as important and all the others in terms of mile stones!

So re-reading the books now, obviously they remind me of where I was when I read them the first time and that's sometimes not the best memories, but they also remind me of why they were so important to me at the time. The first time I went on my own to a book signing, in London! Escaping to vegas as a single girl with Angela and Jenny. Getting celebrity gossip from Angela and discovering New York with her for the first time. I love this series, I'm not a bit re-reader but I am so enjoying re-reading these books because they represent these milestones to me. It's come full circle slightly because I am now unemployed again but happily so! Plus now I have Angela's perspective of things we miss from the UK, getting parcels containing Dairy Milk, Percy Pigs and M&S pants!

I cannot wait for I Heart Forever and I am so excited that I'm going to be able to go to a singing too!

Thank you Lindsey Kelk for writing this series!

Here's the link to pre-order I Heart Forever in the UK and the US

Friday, 18 August 2017

Bout of Books 20.0 Sign Up/TBR

Its Bout of Books time again! We are already at Bout of Books 20-when did that happen? Here's the official word from the Bout of Books website all about this fab readathon...

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

So a lovely week of reading. I think that this week is going to be a lot more successful than last week when I decided I could just read 7 books with no planning. I love Bout of Books and have always managed to fit it in even when I've been working! I update here on the blog on  a daily basis and of course I post over social media (especially my Instagram story so if you're not following me in there, head on down!). 

There are of course more than 7 books that I want to read so this will be the usual pool of books I will choose from. Time is running out on the library book front so of course I will continue my quest to read all the library books I currently have out from the library. Here are the books I have to choose from:

I have this book from Netgalley and it is released on the 24th so I am definitely going to read this one!

And now the library books:

And now the audiobooks because everyone knows that audiobooks are life savers during a readathon!

The are some long books here but I've not got a whole lot planned this week (because I knew it was Bout of Books) and so hopefully I can give these longer books the attention they need!

I am aiming to read 7 books and, as I mentioned above, I will be posting daily updates on here but more regular updates on social media. 

Leave me a comment if you are planning on doing Bout of Books. I'm so excited that it is Bout of Books time again, it really is a great readathon!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Author Interview-Laura Briggs

I am very happy to have another fabulous author interview for you today. Author Laura Briggs has been kind enough to stop by the blog today to answer some of my burning questions so that we can all get to know her a little better!

Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and admires novelty scarf designs as well. Her favorite Jane Austen novel is Sense and Sensibility, and she enjoys reading everything from women’s fiction to modern day mystery novels. She loves spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, trying new restaurants, and dreams of traveling around the UK and Europe someday. Laura has written the popular Wedding in Cornwall series, which is celebrating it's first birthday! She also recently published a literary themed novella; The Bronte Book Club for Hopeless Romantics. You can find links to all her social media at the end of the interview! 

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

Well, I was a huge book fan and majored in English at college. After dabbling in some freelance writing for awhile, I penned a romantic short story about a bookstore owner who teams with a dashing author to save her failing business. It was called Only in Novels and got me a book contract with the lovely Christian Fiction publisher known as Pelican Book Group. I wrote more titles for the same publisher and also begin to publish some chick lit titles independently via Amazon and Smashwords. Two of my favorite themes have been wedding planners and modern Jane Austen.

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

I primarily write stories for the chick lit/romance genre. It’s a lot of fun creating scenarios that are zany or exciting or even glamorous. I love to send my characters cross country for a road trip romance, or, in the case of Julianne in A Wedding in Cornwall, ‘across the pond’ to a new life and new job at a beautiful Cornish estate. 

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

Sometimes I will pick a movie cast for a novel, imagining what actor or actress might portray the characters in a film adaptation. It's a lot of fun to do and can really help me to picture how the character might react to certain events in the story.

What was the inspiration behind your Wedding In Cornwall Series?

A lot of different things helped inspire the series. I had already written several stories with a wedding theme, so it was familiar territory that I knew and loved. One of those stories, Late to the Wedding, had made it to the Top 100 on Amazon UK, so I knew I had a sizeable reading audience in that part of the world. As for choosing Cornwall as a setting, it just seemed to fit. I had seen the beautiful and unique landscape in episodes of Doc Martin, and, of course, Poldarkis a huge sensation right now. It just seemed like the perfect setting for what I had in mind, and thankfully, my readers seem to agree.
How much of you is reflected in your writing?

Several of my interests tend to pop up in my novels. Characters who share my love for reading abound, such as the librarian heroine in The Bronte Book Club for Hopeless Romantics. My baking aspirations and love for reality baking shows are pretty heavily reflected in A Bake Off in Cornwall (though none of my real life kitchen creations have come close to matching the ones described in that particular book, LOL!).

What kind of research did you have to do before/during writing this series?

For A Wedding in Cornwall and its sequels I have had to rely primarily on internet research. As much as I would love to hop on a plane to Cornwall and spend several months immersed in research there, I simply can’t do it. Being from ‘across the pond’ means there are no doubt many inaccuracies in my depiction of English and Cornish life in general. It’s very much a fictional village I have created for these stories, and I’m glad that most readers are willing to accept the differences between the version of Cornwall my characters inhabit and the real world Cornwall that so many of them know and love.

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

Jane Austen has certainly inspired several ideas for me, as she probably has for many romance authors. I do have pretty broad taste in reading, though, and enjoy everything from classics to women’s fiction and mysteries as well, both modern and historical.

And finally, what are you working on right now?

Lots of things! I’m getting Book 7 in the Cornwall series ready for publication. I’m also working on the sequel to my literary-themed romance novella The Bronte Book Club for Hopeless Romantics.  And, there are more books still in the ‘idea phase’ that may or may not make it to the first draft stage in the coming months.

Thank you so much to Laura for stopping by today. Happy series birthday!

Don't forget to check out Laura on social media:

Twitter Account:
Facebook Page:

And you can order Wedding in Cornwal here, or the Bronte Book Club here!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Guest Review: Tremarnock. The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village by Emma Burstall

Tremarnock is a classic Cornish seaside village. Houses cluster around the fishing harbour. It has a pub and a sought-after little restaurant. It is here that Liz has found sanctuary for herself and her young daughter, Rosie - far away from Rosie's cheating father.

Liz works all the hours God sends. First thing in the morning she's out, cleaning offices. At night she is waitressing in the village restaurant, while friends and neighbours rally round and mind Rosie. But trouble is waiting just round the corner.

As with all villages, there are tensions, secrets - and ambitions. Emma Burstall's wonderfully engaging first novel about Tremarnock is the story of what happens when one shocking turn of events sweeps a small community.

Review: This is the first novel I have read by Emma Burstall, and the first in the Tremarnock series. I was attracted by the lovely cover on the book, which speaks of a tranquil village by the sea, and decided to give it a listen on audiobook. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the story had a lot more to it than the synopsis suggested - a tale with true substance and a moral to boot. 

The story centres around Liz and her daughter, Rosie, who has cerebral palsy, but does not let her disability squash her lively personality. Having been abandoned by Rosie's father, Liz is bringing her daughter up on her own and working 2 jobs just to keep their heads above water. Fortunately, Tremarnock is a village full of lovely people, who are ready to pitch in and help, especially when tragedy strikes Liz and Rosie, which it does in a big way. A great number of characters feature in the story, including inhabitants of Tremarnock itself and friends and colleagues of Liz's from Plymouth, where she works as an office cleaner. One of the main protagonists, apart from Liz and Rosie is Robert, who owns the restaurant where Liz works as a waitress. 

I very much enjoyed this story. You really never knew what was coming next. I was full of admiration for Liz, who showed such immense strength in the face of all sorts of adversity, and also for Rosie, who didn't let anything get her down in spite of all the bad breaks she was dealt. The setting for the story was great as well - a classic Cornish fishing village with pretty little houses, a restaurant serving mouth watering dishes, the local pub and of course a scattering of interesting characters. Romance was bubbling under the surface of the story, but wasn't a main feature. There are 2 more stories in the Tremarnock series; I am looking forward to finding out what is going to happen next in this quaint little village. 

Click the link to order your copy: UK or US

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten YA Contemporary Romance Recommendations 15/8/17

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!

I've read some really cute YA romance this year. I think I may have posted  simillar top ten in the past but there have been some really really cute reads in my wrap ups recently so I thought I'd compile them for you here! These books have all made me go 'awwwwww' and swoon with the romance-that's all you need to know...

Monday, 14 August 2017

Review: I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk

ngela is in the city of love -- but romance is taking a nose-dive! When Angela Clark's boyfriend Alex suggests a trip to Paris at the same time as hip fashion mag Belle asks her to write a piece, she jumps at the chance. But even as she's falling for the joie de vivre of Paris, someone's conspiring to sabotage her big break. And when she spots Alex having a tete-a-tete with his ex in a local bar, Angela's dreams of Parisian passion all start crashing down around her. With London and her old life only a train journey away, Angela can't decide if should stay and face the music or run away home!

Review: Ok confession time: if I had to pick one, I mean really had to, I think that this would be the least favourite of the I Heart series for me, but I still loved re-reading it and I would never have left it out and I still love Angela. But i don't heart Paris and I think that might be why I didn't love love love it. Plus there are so many nasty things that happen to lovely Angela and lovely Alex in this book, it was a little on the stressful side! Nevertheless I would still highly highly recommend reading this one because otherwise you will miss out on all the Angela drama and miss out on spending time with the beautiful Alex. 

So I think that this books is where Angela really learns to stand on her own two feet. She doesn't have Jenny with her all of the time, because of Jenny's new Job and Angela being in Paris for work, there aren't even a ton of interactions between them in the middle part of this book. I would have loved to have seen Jenny more obviously because Jenny is amazing, but she needed to take a little step back to allow Angela to see that she could deal with every crisis that comes her way on her own. I loved the way Angela handled a lot of the things that happen in this book, not all of them and I did shout at her a couple of times about not being able to see what was right in front of her face, but then we can't always see things when we are in certain situations can we?

From the way I am talking about these characters you can tell just how well written they are. These people feel like real friends of mine, like if Angela was to tweet something, I would definitely re tweet it for her. Alex is fairly independent in this book too and I didn't always like the way he handled things either, I love you Alex, but I didn't always like you! It is great for Alex and Angela to have some time on their own away from New York dramas to work on their relationship but the storyline meant that there was drama for them every step of the way and that is one of the things that I really liked about this book, the drama. There is so much drama in this book, drama over so many different areas as well and so it definitely meant for a fast read. Having re-read it I had forgotten some of the finer details as well and the way Lindsey Kelk has crafted this story is pretty impressive and must have been hard to map out-bravo!

Obviously I wasn't thrilled about the setting of this one and did keep asking if Angela was going to get a plane back to New York, but it is very well-described. I could definitely picture myself on the Parisan streets with Angela and the shopping she does is pretty immense. There is also a lot of wine drinking in this book, it being Paris and all and I really loved that about it. Unfortunately I listened to this book in audio form, which was incredibly well done, but meant I couldn't be drinking wine because most of the time I was in the car!

Needless to say, despite the setting, this is a great addition to the I Heart Series. The drama, the relationships and the fashion was absolutely on point and whether this is a re-read for you, or a first time, what are you waiting for? Get stuck in!

To order your copy now and catch up with the I Heart Series, just click the link: UK or US

Library book week (7 in 7)

Hello again and welcome to a new reading week! Now this week is the 7 in 7 readathon over on Twitter. I hadn't planned on doing this readathon because next week is Bout of Books and that will be my last readathon of the summer so... But then I realised I'm not going to have access to my usual library after this month until basically December and I have some really exciting library books to read right now. So I was going to make this book library book reading week. Then someone reminded me of the 7 in 7 and so I thought-why not combine the 2?

So I will be attempting to get through the 10 books I have from the library basically over the next 2 weeks. This is going to be a very YA heavy TBR but I don't mind that!

So here are the books I have to choose from:

I am buddy reading Ramona Blue with James from @achapterahead on Twitter and here is his YouTube channel:

The rest of the books are pretty much open pick after that one...

So wish me luck!

Do let me know in the comments if you are doing the 7 in 7 this week or if you are planing on taking part in Bout of Books next week-happy reading!