Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Review of Forty Things to do Before You're Forty by Alice Ross

The bit on the back...

The truth is that Annie Richards is just too busy to fall in love!

Running a successful cake-making business, acting as caretaker to grand country house Buttersley, and not to mention single-handedly raising her five-year-old daughter is more than enough to keep Annie’s (flour-dusted) hands full! So can someone please remind her why she agreed to train for a marathon as a ‘40 things to do before you’re 40’ pact with her so-called best friend?!

With every hour of day already taken up, the arrival of crime writer Jake O’Donnell at Buttersley shouldn’t really have any impact on Annie’s day-to-day life at all. There’s definitely no time in her carefully scheduled day for daydreaming about drop-dead gorgeous authors. Is there?

But between whipping up batches of her signature limoncello cupcakes, Annie realises that Jake, and his twinkling dark eyes, can’t just be ticked off her mental to-do list as easily as she though.

Especially when it seems that no. 40 on her list could be creating a truly decadent wedding cake – for her very own wedding…

Firstly thank you to Carina for the review copy of this title. I've had this on my review list for a long time, almost since I started out blogging, and it's only recently that I've managed to get around to reading it. Having just finished and enjoyed both of the books in Alice's Countryside Dreams series (An Autumn Affair and A Summer of Secrets) I was looking for more from this author.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I knew the main character when I started reading. If you've read either book from the Countryside Dreams series you will have met Annie too. Although I much prefer to read books in chronological order, I did like that with this one I already knew where Annie was in her present life and by reading her book after Countryside Dreams I now had a chance to get to know her and how she'd made it to where she was.

Annie is a single mum to her lovely daughter Sophie and owns the village bakery. Annie's life was turned upside down and her retreat to Buttersley was her salvation and her fresh start. Jake O'Donnell is also searching for something from Buttersley, somewhere to write his new novel in peace - peace being the operative word!

I liked all of the characters in this novel. I connected with Annie through her baking and admired her strength and determination to provide for her daughter to hr best ability. She was a little stubborn when it came to Jake and letting him into her life. Sophie adds an innocence to the storyline with her childlike view of Jake and his presence in their lives.

I loved being back in Buttersley. The story is quite predictable, more so because I've read the books that come later, but the village is full of characters that you will either love or love to hate. At the end of the story Alice has also included a Annie's list of "Forty Things" which was a bonus after hearing about Portia's list throughout the book. If you've not read the Countryside Dreams series I would definitely recommend it!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Review of First Touch by Laurelin Paige

The bit on the back...

When Emily Wayborn receives an answerphone message from her former best friend Amber, she knows something is seriously wrong. Emily hasn't spoken to Amber in years, and when Amber uses a safe word in her message that Emily recognises -- a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild partying days -- she knows Amber needs her help. But when Emily tries to find her, she discovers that Amber is missing.

Determined to track her down, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis. Renowned for his shady dealings and playboy reputation, Emily is convinced that Reeve knows something about Amber's disappearance. To try and discover the truth, Emily sets out to seduce him. But when she's forced to decide where her loyalty lies, how will Emily choose between saving Amber and saving her heart?

I actually had a copy of Last Kiss before I had a copy of this book and as the two should definitely be read in sequence I downloaded and started First Touch pretty much straight away. The story is all about main characters Emily and Reeve and the one thing that ties them together.

Emily makes it her mission to find out what happened to her friend Amber and she thinks that Reeve will lead her to the answer. Emily is head-strong, tenacious and at times it seemed like she would stop at nothing to find out what happened to Amber, regardless of her own safety.

Reeve is the definition of powerful, dark and dangerous. He is a hard one to read and Emily finds out the extent of that. The story is all from Emily's POV so her feelings about Reeve project onto you as the reader. In the first half of the story I always felt a little uneasy every time Emily was with him. He's powerful but sometimes overpowering and a lot of the times he is manipulative.

Emily gets lost in Reeve but is still constantly searching for clues about Amber. The story is fast paced and will keep you hooked throughout. The characters are well developed and although at times I wanted to warn Emily away from Reeve her determination is commendable.

This book is edgy and sexy and had me captivated from the very beginning, I started Last Kiss straight after finishing this because it ended on a completely unpredictable, unforeseen & AMAZING cliffhanger!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Cover Reveal! Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

Today I'm excited to be taking part in the cover reveal for EVERY LITTLE THING by New York Times bestselling author, Samantha Young! Samantha is one of my FAVOURITE authors and I am so looking forward to starting her Hart's Boardwalk series. Every Little Thing is the second novel to be set in the picturesque Delaware beachside town.

The bit on the back...

Hartwell, Delaware—the perfect place to get away from it all, and find what you never knew you needed…
Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy. 
Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.

The first bok in the Hart's Boardwalk series The One Real Thing is on sale on the 6th of September so make sure you pre-order now!

The bit on the back...

Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts…

While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life.  Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm—and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.

Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations.  But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her.

Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for…

Amazon           Barnes and Noble       iBooks             BAM               Kobo

About the author: Samantha Young is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series, including Moonlight on Nightingale WayEchoes of Scotland Street, and Fall from India Place, as well as the standalone novel Hero. She resides in Scotland.

Website           Facebook         Twitter                        Instagram

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Blog Tour: Review of The Santiago Sisters by Victoria Fox

The bit on the back...

They should have stayed as one. They couldn’t survive apart.
It was fate, forever destined to come to this: from birth to death, two halves of the same whole.

Twins Calida and Teresita Santiago have never known a world without each other…until Teresita is wrenched from their Argentinian home to be adopted by world-famous actress Simone Geddes.

Now, while Teresita is provided with all that money can buy, Calida must fight her way to the top – her only chance of reuniting with her twin.

But no one can predict the explosive events which will finally bring the Santiago sisters into the spotlight together…

Firstly thank you to Mira for the review copy of title and for asking me to take part in this blog tour! I've been a fan of Victoria's for a while now so I was eager to dive right in to this great summer read.

This book is all about twin sisters Calida and Teresita Santiago. The girls grew up as close as could be until Teresita's view on the world is altered and she starts to seek more from life than what she's always known, taking her far from her home and far from her sister.

The first of four parts of this story starts with the twins as children on their home farm. From there it follows their individual stories as they grow up and apart and as their lives take twists at the hands of both themselves and others. Each part covers a time span of a number of years of the girls' lives and each is interspersed with a scene from the "now". This is where Victoria creates the sense of mystery which will have you hooked from the prologue. Throughout I was never quite sure who the "now" scenes were going to be about or how they were going to come about and it's something that was always in the back of my mind when I was reading. Teresita and Calida's stories interweave more and more the older they get and the number of suspects start to tot up.

Each girl has her own unique story after they separate from each other, having said that though they have a lot of the same traits - strength, stubbornness and a will to succeed to name but a few. Throughout their lives a range of people influence their life and their direction of travel from the glamorous to the reminder of their family upbringing.

One of my favourite things about Victoria's writing is the way she brings her books to life. The vivid descriptions of the settings and the people and the very tangible characters make the book easy to get hooked on and enjoy.

This is the perfect poolside read! Hats off to Victoria because this book is filled with family, romance, heat, glamour and a healthy dose of mystery all rolled into one stunning read.

Follow the rest of the blog tour using #TheSantiagoSisters or @VFoxWrites

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Review of Stripped by Piper Lawson

The bit on the back...

I've been in New York four weeks. I'm behind on the spring line, days from homeless,
and getting sued by the only person in the whole damn city who's seen me naked.

Ava Cameron has stars in her eyes. When the feisty fashion designer moves to NYC after graduation with her best friend, things are finally clicking into place.

Until their new label, Travesty, is under attack. The lawyer leading the charge is the hottest hookup Ava ever had. One she swore she'd never see again.

Nate Townsend might be from the right schools, the right neighborhood and the right family. But under the surface, his scars run deep.

When the society prince and the loud designer come face to face on a case that could decide Ava's future, sparks fly. Nate's not about to let Ava forget she's the only person who knows his secrets. And Ava's walking the line between getting Travesty back on track and being dragged into the gutter by one stubborn young attorney planning to take her down.

If only Nate Townsend didn't make the gutter look so damn good...

Firstly thanks to Victory Editing for the review copy of this title via NetGalley. This is the first novel I've read of Piper's so I was excited to get started.

The story is the 2nd in Piper's Travesty series however, as I've not read this first one and didn't feel like I'd missed anything, you can definitely enjoy this as a standalone. The story is all about Ava and Nate. After meeting in a club in New York neither think they will see the other again but things get all riled up when Ava and Lexi's fashion label is sued.

Having read the blurb I knew I was going to be in for a sparky read with this one. The dynamic between Nate and Ava is strained, intense and feelings definitely linger as emotions get the better of them. Thrown together, or rather against each other, in the law suit the story focuses on the relationship between the characters and how that develops throughout. Quite early on Piper threw an unexpected spanner in the works and I knew then not to expect any parts of the storyline because it wasn't guaranteed I'd be right about it!

True to one of the main themes in the story Piper injects the love of fashion into Ava's narrative and this really comes across well.

If you're a fan of Big Rock and Mister O by Lauren Blakely I think you'll enjoy this. I'll definitely be reading the first book, Schooled, in the future!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Review of Charged by Jay Crownover

The bit on the back...

Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome, and Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.

When Avett lands in hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is this insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing she wants to do is rely on someone who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance, yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…

They have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other – because the chemistry between them is beyond charged.

This is the 2nd book in Jay's Saints of Denver which is a spin off of her original Marked Men series. I have loved every book I've read of Jay's so far so you can imagine I had this on pre-order as soon as the link was available. Once again Jay did not disappoint.

The story is all about Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson - both characters we have met before. If you've not read the first book in this series or any in the Marked Men series then not to worry you can definitely enjoy this as a standalone but I would challenge you not to want to read more as soon as you're finished!

Avett Walker is good at one thing - getting herself into trouble. Although this time she's managed to land herself in really deep trouble. Avett's impacted many people's lives and the irresistible Quaid Jackson is set in to be her white knight.

Avett and Quaid are opposites in every way on the outside but on the inside they are kindred spirits. They clash immediately, in part due to Avett's inability to hold onto a good opportunity, and that angsty intensity stays between them throughout. Avett awakens something real in Quaid that goes against everything he's been working for in his life. The progression of the characters from start to finish puts me in mind of the progression of Rule from the eponymous first novel in the Marked Men series.

This book runs parallel to the first book in the series which was quite weird at first however I soon recognised scenes from the first novel albeit from a different character's perspective. The novel is packed with intense passion, emotions and adrenaline inducing action. I didn't expect the story to take the turn that it did and there is certainly an element of danger prevalent throughout the storyline.

Jay has done it again, this is another great story to add to an already impressive collection. I cannot wait to see what's next in this series!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Blog Tour: One Last Summer at Hideaway Bay by Zoe Cook

Firstly, happy publication day to Zoe! I am kicking off the blog tour for her debut novel, One Last Summer at Hideaway Bay, set in Cornwall. Read on to find out more about the book and for Zoe's guest post on her "perfect" 24 hours in Cornwall.

The bit on the back...

Lucy, hi. It’s Tom. How are you? It’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to get in touch but it’s hard to know how to after so much time. I hear you’re doing really well up there. I knew you would be. 

You should come here, you know, back to Hideaway bay. Come and see everyone, see how little it’s all changed. Feel the sand between your toes, the Cornish sea breeze on your face. When the sun hits the surf in that way it does, it’s as magical as ever. 

That’s why I’m writing to you, actually. I want to get the gang back together again, one last time before…well…just one last time. You should come too. The four of us, a summer on the beach, like old times. We all want you here for it. I want you here for it. It’s been so long since I saw you. 

I still think about you. 


24 hours in North Cornwall

Any day in Cornwall should start with breakfast with a view. As this is my fantasy 24 hours I’d be waking up in the gorgeous St Enodoc Hotel in Rock, and tucking into kedgeree on the terrace overlooking the estuary, washed down with plenty of coffee.

From here there’s a cliff path walk past sweeping beaches and endless sea views, all the way to Polzeath, my favourite Cornish beach. There’s time to grab a quick coffee here from Cone Zone, right on the edge of the sand, and to watch the surfers doing their thing. There’s also a great branch of Ann’s Cottage surf shop in Polzeath, perfect for a bit of retail therapy – or the ideal place to buy a wetsuit and body board if it’s too hot to resist getting into the water.

After getting salty in the surf and drying off on the golden sand, it’s time to head to Padstow for lunch. A ferry runs from Rock to Padstow, and there’s nothing quite like the sea breeze on your face as the nippy boat chops across the water at surprising speed. Padstow gets a bit of a bad rep with some for being too touristy, and there’s no escaping the fact that it is a tourist haven, but for good reason. It’s not somewhere I’d come to spend a whole day, and the prospect of trying to park in the town on a hot summer’s day is enough to fill any Cornish person with dread, but I find myself drawn back to Padstow time and time again for one very good reason – Rick Stein’s fish and chips.

For a long time I’d say I didn’t even like fish and chips, until I discovered Rick Stein’s harbour-side takeaway in Padstow. The beef dripping chips, and the piping hot fish fried to order is a whole different ball game from the paltry offerings on most high streets. So I’d always include a trip to Padstow for the food alone, and if, by some miracle, you aren’t too full after lunch, there is a fudge shop tucked away in the town called Buttermilk whose traditional Cornish fudge is absolutely divine, and worth stocking up on (if you’re a better person than me and can resist devouring the whole lot in one go despite the very best intentions).

As a girl who’s fond of shopping I’d probably find myself in Wadebridge after a trip to Padstow, it’s got a few lovely boutiques, and very importantly, an amazing wine shop where you can buy Camel Valley fizz – a local sparkling wine which smashes champagne out the park in international competitions. The Glasshouse is a great spot to grab afternoon tea (or wine, if you’re me), while people-watching in the sunshine.

There’s still time for a final beach walk and a trip to the dunes of Daymer Bay to breathe in the sea air and soak up the scenery. The beaches in North Cornwall never fail to take my breath away. Daymer in particular almost never feels busy, and has its own unique charm nestled between the busier, more touristy, spots, attracting lots of dog walkers, windsurfers and locals. I never want to rush too much in Cornwall, it’s the kind of place that forces you to take your time and enjoy a slower pace of life. When a Cornishman tells you they’ll do something ‘drekkly’ (directly) that could mean they’ll do it anytime from now to next week, there’s just not that rush down here to get everything done in double time. It’s a nice reminder not to race through each day without stopping to breathe and look around.

Cornish evenings are a special time, when the heat of the day has peaked and the sun starts to soften in the sky, the bars start to fill and the shops bustle with people buying food to barbecue. There are few things I like more than being on the beach for these hours, ideally with a handsome companion to talk about hopes and dreams for the future (if my husband’s reading this, don’t worry, I mean you). Then a revitalising shower back at the hotel and off for dinner looking fabulous (well, this is my fantasy). The Michelin starred chef Nathan Outlaw’s latest venture, The Mariner’s in Rock looks like my kind of place, with laid back local food and a great wine list. I’d watch the sunset, glass of Camel Valley in hand, and toast a perfect day in my favourite place on earth. 

About Zoe

I grew up by the sea in Cornwall, spending my summers on the beach. I left to study History at Oxford University, before starting a career in television during which I was lucky enough to travel the world interviewing incredible authors for the Richard & Judy Book Club. Fast forward ten years I’m now married to a lovely man called James and have a daughter who keeps us on our toes. Oh, and a very furry cat called Bobby.