Saturday, 31 August 2013

Review of The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella


The bit on the back…

Samantha is a high-powered lawyer in London. She works all hours, has no home life, and cares only about getting a partnership. She thrives on the pressure and adrenalin. Until one day… she makes a mistake. A mistake so huge, it’ll wreck her career.

She walks right out of the office, gets on the first train she sees, and finds herself in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she is mistaken for the interviewee housekeeper and finds herself being offered the job. They have no idea they’ve hired a Cambridge-educated lawyer with an IQ of 158 – Samantha has no idea how to work the oven.

Disaster ensues. It’s chaos as Samantha battles with the washing machine…the ironing board…and attempts to cook a cordon bleu dinner. But gradually, she falls in love with her new life in a wholly unexpected way.

Will her employers ever discover the truth? Will Samantha’s old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?


Have you ever felt like the rug has been completely pulled out from under your feet? Something you've worked for all of your life within grasp and the harshly yanked away from you because of one little mistake? Samantha has. High flying city lawyer Samantha is due to take up a partnership position at her firm when a costly mistake has her running for the countryside. Samantha has to overcome the massive change in her surroundings and acclimatise to her new state of domesticity.

I think this was the first book by Sophie Kinsella that I had read, and it definitely got me hooked on her writing style and I have enjoyed many since reading this.

The story follows Samantha as her high flying career comes crashing down around her and she finds herself making her way on to any train to anywhere as long as it’s far from London. Blagging herself as a Cordon Bleu trained housekeeper Samantha joins the Geigers. Without a clue how to turn her own oven on, or whether her Hoover needs bags or has a cylinder she embarks on a journey which could possibly have a harder learning curve than studying for her law degree.

Cue crush-worthy Gardner Nathaniel. Nat is nobody's fool and calls Samantha out as the fraud she is, after their first meeting. Nat sees an opportunity to help Sam and offers his mother’s services to teach her to cook and keep house.

I loved Samantha's character. She is down to earth and completely relatable to anyone who has ever felt any pressure and who just needs to get away from it all.  You will be laughing throughout as this feel good romance twists and turns as Samantha changes almost beyond recognition. The writing is witty and has you feeling like you are with Samantha the whole time. You'll want to keep reading to the end as a plot twist is thrown in meaning changes for the characters.

I often think it’s nice to see some of the story told by other characters, however in a case like this where the protagonist is so likeable, reading purely from her perspective just makes it easier for you to like her and want the best for her. I also loved how easy it was for me to imagine the characters. For me Samantha was a cross between Kate Hudson and Jennifer Love Hewitt.  It makes it easier to imagine yourself in her place if you can really see the character bringing you a whole lot closer to the story.

I also really liked Nathaniel's character. He was easy going and complimented Samantha's highly strung and nervous exterior, teaching her to appreciate taking time to carry out tasks and to actually live life. Having said that, who doesn't love a good hottie to read about?

I think if you haven't read this, or haven't read it for a while it is a good read for any Sophie fans, but also for any fans of Lindsey Kelk and Paige Toon.
Erin x

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Review of Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras - Cathy Hopkins

The bit on the back…

Lucy feels like everything is changing around her, and suddenly she is required to make all sorts of decisions.

 Everyone knows who and what they want to be except her.

      Izzie has become friends with the glamoous Nesta, and Lucy isn't certain she likes this new threesome.

      Nesta and Izzie look sixteen, but Lucy, at fourteen like them, could easily pass for a twelve-year-old.

      But then the day Lucy sees the most wonderful boy crossing the street, things do start to change – in all areas of her life.


Firstly, every girl should read the mates, dates series! The books that make up this series are life lessons that every girl will be able to relate to and use in their own teenage journey.

 Fourteen year old Lucy wishes she was everything she’s not, taller, to have bigger boobs, brunette, funnier, flirtier, less babyish looking, blessed with less embarrassing parents. Unfortunately for Lucy she learns that just wishing something would happen doesn’t make actually happen. When she is faced with a boy dilemma, Lucy must rely on her friends for guidance.

 Lucy’s character is great. Plagued with all the worries a teenage girl would have at the young age of fourteen she has to navigate through them in order to move on and grow up, making her really easy to relate to. Even re-reading this at the age of 23, I can see some of me in Lucy and it made me feel nostalgic for my teenage years!

 Lucy takes the first tentative steps into the world of relationships and love when she spies a gorgeous, hunky, older lad leaving a near-by school. Having no experience at her young age Lucy does what every girl would do, turn to her friends and ask for advice. The story shows how teenage friendships have ups and downs, especially for girls, and how lasting friendships can overcome any circumstance.

 I cannot recommend this book any higher, especially for teenage girls. It is packed full of real life situations that young girls will find themselves in as the battle through the turmoil of growing up, and finding your place in the world. Making and breaking friendships, lessons in love and making choices that affect your future. Without telling you the reader how to handle situations in real life, this book offers some sage advice and guidance in the form of fitting quotes and anecdotes.


Erin x

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Review of The Naughty Girls' Book Club - Sophie Hart


The bit on the back…

Estelle sets up a book group in order to increase custom to her struggling small town cafe, what follows is more scandalous than she could have ever imagined…

As the first book club meeting flounders, Estelle suggests a spot of erotica to spice up the members lives – with trepidation the decision is accepted.

Inspired by their sizzling reads, this group of shy suburban readers shake off their inhibitions and discover a new side to themselves with some tantalising results.


Let me start by saying that I was at first put off by the title of this book. I thought it was going to be trashy and not well written. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. After finding the blurb on amazon I realised I’d misjudged it and downloaded it straight away. After reading the first chapter I was totally hooked. Baking and talking about books are two of my favourite things to do so it really appealed to me once I started to read.

The story has several lead characters but mainly centres around Estelle, the owner of Café Crumb and chair of the Café Crumb book club. After deciding to start a book club to combat a slump in sales, Estelle meets Rebecca, Sue, Gracie and Reggie. Each has their own separate stories but as they start to make bonds over the erotic novels they’ve read their lives begin to intertwine.

Divorced Estelle lives above the café with her teenage son Joe. Since her divorce Estelle has focused on brining Joe up and running the café. As soon as the book club begins, Estelle finds a side of herself being awakened from its 5 year slumber.

Rebecca, married to husband Andy, is finding that their young relationship has gone stale. Lack of excitement spurs Rebecca to join the book club. The book club acts as a turning point for Rebecca as she realises that if she doesn’t try to bring some fun and passion back into her relationship it is in danger of going off the edge completely.

Sue has been married to George for 40 years, and recently retired, she is ready to start living her life to the full. The only problem is that George, who has been looking forward to a well-earned retirement, doesn’t want to change his habits. In a bid to relieve the boredom she finds herself facing, Sue joins the book club and has her eyes opened to what she think she has been missing all of her life.

Gracie and Reggie have both been sort of misfits, not sure of their place as their personalities both challenge the stereotypical norm. They meet the others at Café Crumb, and as they start to find a place they belong, the question is, could they belong together?

Often when I’m reading a book, if I can easily relate to the main character I can imagine myself in their shoes. With this though, I would swap lives with any of the characters!

The story focuses around the book club discussing “Ten Secret Lessons” the trending erotic novel, which reminded me entirely of Fifty Shades and the whole story captures the essence of what unfolded across nations after it became acceptable to be openly reading erotica.

I really loved that each of the characters had their own stories as well as becoming involved in each other’s as they become friends. I found it really easy to follow and the story moved along gently and seamlessly until the end. Sophie has injected warmth and love into the simple book club scenario and will leave readers looking for their closest club!

Erin x

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Guest Review of The King Takes A Bride - Danielle Bourdon

The bit on the back…
Chey's ability to handle diplomatic situations is put to the test by an unexpected visitor to the shores of Latvala. When the visitor makes a startling revelation, it throws the Ahtissari family into a tailspin. Chey learns that holding grudges and abandoning her nemesis in a time of crisis isn't as easy as it seems, while a sequence of events regarding the King and his bloodline threaten to rip the country apart.

In an effort to ease the tension, Chey offers to sacrifice the one thing she's wanted all along: her wedding to the King.

It seems Chey is finally getting her happy ending, Sander is King and he wants her to be his Queen. Now with a wedding to plan surely things will go right for the couple for once? Then again maybe not.
Book 4 in the Royals series see’s Chey really put to the test as she begins to find out what it truly means to be engaged to Sander Atthissari. The first three books shape Sander and Chey as characters but book 4 builds up the characters that surround them. We begin to learn more about Sanders siblings, Princess Natalia who quickly becomes a pain in Chey’s neck and Prince Pavo who quickly becomes a pain in everyone’s neck.
Chey is pushed to the limit as Latvala is thrown into turmoil as something threatens to split the country apart. Chey has to decide whether to put on hold what she wants for what’s best for the people of Latvala or not, very queenly.
We get deeper inside Chey’s head in this book as she plans her big day, she is torn between planning the wedding that she wants or the wedding that her Royal Advisers want, with Sander spending a lot of time trying to fix the problems of his country we get to spend a lot of time with Chey, and I fell more in love with her in this book, she cemented herself as one of my favourite leading ladies.
All the books are written in 3rd person which is something I don’t always enjoy. I prefer when a book is written from someone’s point of view, so you feel as though you are right there, inside the characters head, living and breathing the story line. However with this series the books are so well written that I can feel a great connection with Chey but so much happens within the books that it’s imperative to see things that Chey doesn’t see.
Relationships are tested as the Atthissari clan need to decide if they want to stick together and run the country or let others come between them.

Kirsty x

Friday, 23 August 2013

Author Interview - Emma Bennet


Today I am extending a warm welcome to new author Emma Bennet. I’ve recently read her debut romance novel ‘The Green Hills of Home’, you can find the review in the 2013 Reviews section.

I got in touch with Emma and she agreed to answer a few questions for us!

Q1 - Tell me about your debut novel ‘The Green Hills of Home’

‘The Green Hills of Home’ is a heart-warming love story that tells the tale of Gwen Jones, an attractive, compassionate young Welsh writer desperate to save the family farmhouse from being sold from under her critically ill mother and herself. Gwen lands a lucrative three-book deal with an eminent publisher and thinks her problems are all over, but her need to be near her sick mother means she’s unable to travel to London to work with her devilishly desirable editor, John Thatcher, and he must come and stay with her in Wales. Handsome and eminently capable, cosmopolitan John is used to getting his own way and has plans for the future which certainly don’t include being distracted by pretty Welsh girls; nevertheless when he journeys into the country to work with Gwen it’s not long before he finds himself falling in love with her, as well as the house she’s so anxious to buy. But is John capable of loving anyone as much as his job? And when he has to decide between his goals and Gwen, which will he choose?

Q2 - The main character Gwen has a lot on her plate, as well as John. What inspired a character with strength like Gwen?

 I wanted my heroine to be someone inspirational, but not too perfect - after all readers need to relate to her, and no one wants to read about a good-two-shoes! Gwen's very determined, and she has to work for everything she has. She also never takes things for granted. I suppose, essentially, she's a woman I'd really love to know!

Q3 - Gwen has a strong sense of familial duty. Is this a trait that is close to your own heart?

Family is very important to me, and I've found that the Welsh in general are incredibly family-oriented - they really look out for other members of their family, making a huge fuss over the children, and showing care and compassion for the elderly.

Q4 - Gwen’s editor John struck me as very handsome but totally grumpy and incorrigible. Did you have anyone in mind when you were writing him?

 Oh, he's not that grumpy really! He's had a tough time of it, all he needs is the love of a good woman to bring a smile to that gorgeous face!

I didn't really have anyone in mind when I wrote John - I wanted someone Gwen could spar against, but would also support her when she needed it and, above all, understand her unswerving loyalty to her family.

Q5 - The story is set mainly in Wales, where you also live. Did this inspire the location?

Most definitely. I moved to Wales almost ten years ago. I live in a market town in the Brecon Beacons now, and the landscape all around is just so beautiful, I think it would be impossible not to be inspired by it. When I thought about someone being forced to leave this beautiful place, especially if they'd lived here their whole lives, Gwen's character almost instantly came into being.

Q6 -This is your debut novel, how does it feel to see it finished?

It's been a long process, and part of me can't quite believe my book is actually out there, completed, for anyone to read. It's truly bizarre to see something I created in Amazon, but amazing at the same time.

Q7 - The cover was one of the things that caught my attention. How important was it to you that the cover was just right, and how much input did you have?

I love the cover, I just think it's so pretty, and really captures the spirit of the story. My husband designed it as a surprise for me whilst I was out one day, turns out he's quite the expert at placing floating hearts!

Q8 - You’re second novel ‘The Spaniard’s Secret Daughter’ – can you tell us a bit about it?

'The Spaniard's Secret Daughter' is about a woman called Iris, who discovers she's pregnant by her Spanish boss, Sergio. Believing that Sergio cheated on her, she disappears without telling him about the baby. Three years on, and a chance encounter means Sergio discovers he has a little girl called Paola. Determined to be a proper father to his daughter, Sergio demands to be allowed to see her, and ends up insisting Iris and Paola come with him to Barcelona on an extended business trip. Despite her fears that Sergio will try to take custody of their child, Iris just can't help it when all her old feelings come bubbling to the surface, but can she ever get over Sergio cheating, and can Sergio forgive her for keeping his child a secret from him?

Now for some more fun questions…

Q9 - If you could swap places with a character from any book, who would it be

Doesn't every girl long to be Lizzy Bennet, being sweep off her feet by the proud and haughty Mr Darcy? Just imagine the clothes!

Q10 - If you could have written any book, which one would it be?

Hmm, that's a tricky one....if I'm allowed a series, I'd choose the Harry Potter books - how cool would my kids think I am if I'd written those?! 

Q11 - What do you get up to when you’re not writing?

I have four little boys, who keep me pretty busy! When I'm not running around after them, I'm a big movie fan, especially old romantic comedies, and I love baking, knitting and sewing.

Thanks again to Emma for taking the time to answer some questions for us. I am eagerly awaiting her second novel ‘The Spaniard’s Secret Daughter’.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Review of The Green Hills of Home - Emma Bennet


The bit on the back…

Gwen Jones, a young Welsh writer, is desperate to save the family farmhouse from being sold from under her critically ill mother and herself. When she lands a lucrative three-book deal with an eminent publisher, she thinks her problems are all over. However, Gwen's need to be near her sick mother means she’s unable to travel to London to work with her devilishly desirable editor, John Thatcher, and he must come and stay with her in Wales. Handsome and eminently capable, cosmopolitan John is used to getting his own way and has plans for the future which certainly don’t include being distracted by pretty Welsh girls; nevertheless when he journeys into the country to work with Gwen it’s not long before he finds himself falling in love with her, as well as the house she’s so anxious to save. But is John capable of loving anyone as much as his job? And when he has to decide between his goals and Gwen, which will he choose?

 

The story follows Gwen, who has just landed a three book deal with a big London publisher. Handsome editor John turns her life upside down as he tries to help her perfect her debut novel, especially when he turns up at her country home in Wales to start work. Gwen has to contend with John’s moods but also with her mother’s illness and the battle to save their beloved family home.

This is Emma’s debut novel. I had seen it on amazon before got in touch with me and I was immediately drawn to its cover. The colours are eye catching and with the two main characters caught in a romantic clinch on the front cover it looked every bit the perfect romance novel.

Gwen is a good main character and is easy to like and understand her point of view. She is young but has an awful lot of responsibility thrust upon her, especially when it comes to trying to raise enough money to save her childhood home. She is down to earth, which makes her easy to like, and she very defensive of her life as it is which is commendable.

John, on the other hand, was not as easy to like at first going from white knight to grouchy workaholic in a matter of pages. His grumpy demeanour and attitude to Gwen’s hectic family commitments make him almost insufferable. Part of the story is told from his point of view though which redeems his character because it shows how his feelings towards Gwen develop.

The plot appears to unfold easily around the characters; however Emma has thrown in a few twists which will keep you hooked to the end.

One thing I noticed when I had finished reading this was that it didn’t feel like I was reading someone’s debut novel, instead I felt like I was reading an established author who knew her characters well and knew exactly what path they were going to take in the story. I’m looking forward to whatever is next from Emma.

Erin x

Monday, 19 August 2013

Guest Review of Heir in Exile - Danielle Bourdon

The bit on the back…
Chey's return to Latvala is fraught with deception. She enters the country illegally upon Prince Sander's request, and, realizing they cannot hide their relationship much longer, prepares to announce their status to the King and Queen.

Neither could have imagined the lengths the ruling Monarchs would go to keep the two apart. Chey must go on the run to save her own life while Sander is forced into exile. Their journey takes a harrowing turn when a dark secret emerges, one the King and Queen will do anything to protect.

Will Chey and Sander find their way back together again? Or will King Aksel's menace drive them apart for good?

Once I had finished King and Kingdom I was so desperate to continue my voyage through Latvala I think I had to borrow £1 from Erin so I had enough to buy this book, I was skint, but I could not wait any longer to carry on the journey.
Heir in Exile is the third in the Latvala Royals series which follows Chey Sinclair as she illegally makes her way back to Latvala after being told by the King and Queen that she is not to return. Chey and Sander’s relationship is put to the test and really evolves through this book and you begin to believe that they can overcome anything. As it happens we find out that Sanders parents will go to any length to keep Chey and Sander apart. The story follows Sander as he is exiled by his parents for defying them. Sander is fiercely dedicated to his title and loyalty to the people of Latvala so this gives you a great sense of his love for Chey as he is defiant that their relationship will succeed.
Sometimes with both books and movies I can find myself second guessing the course the story is going to take, or knowing within the first few chapters how the story will end. But through this whole series I’ve never once wanted to presume what happens next because I’ve never had a clue.
Through the book I found myself rooting for Chey and Sander to succeed and eventually find a way to be together. The book took me through a whole host of emotions: fear, trepidation, loyalty, happiness and elation, all within the space of 5 pages.
I felt this book got slightly darker and more intense than the first two. For a while I had no idea if Chey would be alive by the end of the book or not!  More sudden plot twists meant I was again racing to the end to find out if things would end well for the couple or not.

As Chey stumbles upon a secret that may allow her to stay in Latvala with her beloved, I found myself unable to put it down, urging Sander to navigate the minefield that is his family secrets to establish himself as the leader of his country.
Kirsty x

Santorini

We found this really great library in the middle of white washed, sun drenched Santorini. Santorini is a Greek Island formed from a volcano and in the middle of one of the many winding cobbled streets was this fabulous library. The exterior was painted to look like book shelves... 
And it had this fantastic quote on the wall outside 

Have any of you found somewhere interesting like this in a far off place? 

Erin 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Review of You don't have to say you love Me - Sarra Manning


The bit on the back…

Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules.

And the rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down and reinventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she's not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she'd better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia's colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he's such a man-slut, and so not Neve's type, she certainly won't fall for him. Because William is the man for her... right?

 

When I saw that this was being released I knew I had to download it after loving Unsticky, another of Sarra’s novels. I liked the description and thought it was likely to be something else I enjoyed.

Neve is a mere shadow of her former self, she has dieted and exercise to lose literally inches of her life in anticipation of the return of her love William, from America. She is relying on her sister to help her become a fabulous, girl-friend worthy woman in all her slimmed-down glory. Deciding that she needs to “test-drive” her dating techniques to prepare herself for a proper relationship when William gets back, Neve starts a “pancake” relationship with notorious, sexy womaniser Max. To Neve a the relationship with Max is like making a batch of pancakes, the first always gets thrown away – Max being the pancake that is disposed of  therefore perfect for a test relationship.

I liked Neve straight away, she has many traits which are readily recognisable to so many girls in today’s society. I also liked the idea of the story and the path I thought it was going to take as she embarks on the test relationship with Max, learning the do’s and don’ts so she is relationship ready.

While Max isn’t looking for a serious relationship, he is more than happy to be the test subject. I liked how the characters related with each other, finding if full of humour as Neve is always reacting to Max in an unexpected way. Max appears to be attractive even though Neve seems completely unaffected – partly because of her love for William.

It seems as though William doesn’t really care about her, and takes advantage of Neve. She is completely naïve which is blatantly obvious and completely due to her inhibitions about her appearance which have led to her inexperience.

Neve also has family drama which you discover has played a part in her past and led her to the way she was before she took the decision to slim down. It makes the story more accessible as readers will be able to relate to this aspect of her life and how whatever decisions they have made, have made them who they are.

I found that this was quite an easy read and that I didn’t want to put it down once I’d started. If you’ve read Unsticky I would definitely recommend this.

Erin x

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Author Interview - Karli Perrin


Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Karli Perrin to Erin’s Choice. Karli has recently released her debut novel ‘April Showers’ which you can read here.

Q1 - Tell us a bit about your debut novel ‘April Showers’

It's a New Adult book based at a University in England. It's written in the POV of the main character, April and follows her as she starts a new life away from home. It includes lots of swooning!!

Q2 - I really liked main character April. What inspired her character?

I just wanted her to be realistic and down to earth. She's not perfect and makes mistakes like we all do. But I also wanted her to be funny and to be able to hold her own against the boys ;)

Q3 - Both Issac and Lukas appeared incredibly good looking. Did you have anyone in mind when you were writing about them?

I picture Isaac as Rodrigo Guirao Diaz, a Spanish actor. He is pretty spot on looks wise. Those eyes!!!

I picture Lukas as Alex Pettyfer :)

Q4 - There are some memorable quotes throughout the book. One of my favourites was Issac’s “No rain, no rainbows”.  Do you have a favourite quote from the book?

My favourite is actually 'No Rain, No Rainbow.' I really believe that it's true. I also like the line that Katie says to April about love - "You deserve a man who makes you feel butterflies. Love isn't safe. Love is crazy and scary and unpredictable. You can't control it and you sure as hell can't fight it. It's one of life's greatest risks...but it's also one of life's greatest gifts." 

Q5 - Some of the scenes between Issac and April were pretty steamy – how did you find writing them?

I had a lot of fun writing them haha. Especially the rain scene!

Q6 - The first book ended in a total cliff-hanger, can you give us a preview of what to expect in book two?

Book two will pick up from where April Showers left off. You will get more character/relationship development and also some brand new characters!

Q7 - Sum the book up in a sentence.

A total rollercoaster of real, raw emotion <3

Now for some more fun questions…

Q8 - Tell us more about yourself

I'm 25 and I live in rainy England. I'm a massive book nerd! 

Q9 - Who is your favourite romantic hero?

Travis from Beautiful Disaster. I love him! And Will from Slammed. And Kellan from Thoughtless. And Holder from Hopeless *sigh* There are too many to list!

Q10 - How does it feel to see your debut novel finished?

Awesome! I love talking to my readers :D such an amazing feeling.

Q11 - What are you reading at the moment?

The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher - it.is.amazing. I love it.

Q12 - If you could swap places with any character, from any book, who would it be?

Layken in 'Slammed' when Will is reading her the poem that he wrote for her. Just that one scene, its perfection. 

Thanks Karli! You can catch Karli on twitter at @karli_uk

 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Review of April Showers - Karli Perrin


The bit on the back…

What happens when your head and your heart pull you in completely opposite directions?

April Adams is about to find out the hard way.

When April enrols at Manchester University, it feels like a whole new life. New city, new house, new friends...new crush.

Isaac Sharpe is the hottest guy on campus - with an even hotter reputation. After a chance meeting, April quickly finds herself wrapped up in all that he is. But what if all that he is isn't what it seems?

Caught up in a battle between what she wants and what she thinks she needs, April meets Lukas Roberts. Lukas is the security blanket that she craves so desperately and she finds solace in their friendship. But what happens when she finds more than she bargained for?

April has always been a big believer of fate, but will she learn that she's in control of her own destiny before it's too late?

Join April as she embarks on a life changing journey of love and loss, which will have you laughing and crying until the very end.

 

Firstly, congratulations to Karli on the release of her debut novel April Showers! I first heard of April Showers after I started following Karli on twitter. I read it in about 6 hours and absolutely loved it.

This is the story of April Adams as she starts her new journey at Manchester University. The story launches straight into April’s first day, which I really liked because the story started straight away and you will be instantly hooked. While running (literally) late she slams straight into the gorgeous, mysterious Issac. Her attraction is instant and his character is really easy to fall for - smooth talking and sexy and sure of himself. If one romantic hero isn’t enough for you April meets another in the form of Lukas her soon to be class mate and also close friend. The story follows April as she decides between her two suitors and when secrets are revealed by both men you will be with her each step of her tumultuous journey.

April is great protagonist. She’s young, which was easy for me to relate too, and she is down to earth. Although I love reading glamorous stories where the characters are swimming in millions of pounds and moving through social circles higher than Mount Everest, you can’t beat a good down to earth character that you can readily relate to, especially when they have to face boy troubles and also troubles with girlfriends. The other thing I really liked about April is her relationship with her best friend this reminded me of my own relationship with my best friend. Katie is always there for April voicing April's thoughts that she's too afraid to admit herself.

Issac is a hottie. There is no denying that. He exudes such self-assurance than can only be described as attractive. His character really gives April a run for her money as she decides how to, if she even can, tame her passionate feelings for him. He also deepens as a character the further you get into the book when his earlier life is revealed.

Lukas is also a great character and really compliments the entire story. I could never pinpoint exactly where the story was going and I think that was largely due to Lukas’ existence and how his character put a spin on April’s world too. The book is steamy and gripping and will keep you hooked until the end where Karli hits you with a whopper of a cliff hanger leading into the 2nd book in the series which is under way right now.

The writing itself is great and out of the few debut books I’ve read recently this is one of my favourites. There are a couple of memorable quotes and even a reference to Voldemort (for all those Harry Potter fans!).

If my review isn’t enough to convince you that this is a book you need to read (available to download) then have a look at the trailer. Couldn’t have imagined it any better myself!


Erin x

My Holiday TBR!


 
On Friday I will FINALLY be going on my summer holiday. I have been counting down the days since the 1st of January and it’s finally here.  As I will be aboard the Ruby Princess as we cruise round the Eastern Med and without wifi for most of the voyage I can’t think of a better time to make a dent in my ever-increasing “to be read” list on my kindle. So, I thought I’d share what I’m taking with me.

Him – Carey Heywood

The Secret Supper Club – Dana Bate

No-one Ever has Sex on a Tuesday – Tracy Bloom

One Hundred Names – Cecilia Ahern

It’s Raining Men – Milly Johnson

About a Girl – Lindsey Kelk

Silver Bay – Jojo Moyes

The Long Weekend – Veronica Henry

Forbidden Pleasures – Jo Rees

Hollywood Sinners – Victoria Fox

AND if I manage to make my way through them I have the fab Sunloungers by Belinda Jones – 40+ shorts!

I am in no doubt that I won’t finish all of these thanks to the activity packed days on board a Princess ship but I am willing to make a good go at it!

Erin x

Monday, 12 August 2013

Author Interview with Paige Toon


Today I have the pleasure of posting my first Author Interview with the lovely Paige Toon, welcome to Erin’s Choice Paige!

Paige is my favourite author and recently took the time to answer a few questions for the blog…


Q1 - Please tell me about your most recent release ‘The Longest Holiday’
The Longest Holiday is about a girl called Laura who has fled the UK on a girls' holiday after discovering her husband did the unthinkable on his stag do. Whilst away she falls hard for a gorgeous Cuban scuba diver called Leo, and as the end of the holiday approaches, she doesn’t want to go home…


Q2 - The story is set mainly in Key West, Florida. What inspired this location? 
I’ve been to Key West on holiday before, many years ago, and I wanted somewhere exotic yet accessible. The pull to return to Key West to research it was so strong.

Q3 - As readers of your books will know, your main characters often appear in your other novels. What made you decide to link everyone together?
When I wrote Lucy in the Sky, I didn’t want to say goodbye to Lucy and Nathan forever, so I decided to link one of the characters in my next book, Johnny Be Good. Meg is Lucy’s stepbrother Tom’s girlfriend in Lucy in the Sky, and she was a convenient choice to be the heroine in Johnny Be Good, allowing me to write a scene where she asks Tom about Lucy and Nathan. I’ve carried on doing this ever since – they keep living and breathing in my mind this way. I loved writing Baby Be Mine, when I decided to have Meg have a fling with an actor and it occurred to me that the actor could be Joseph Strike from One Perfect Summer, which I hadn’t even started writing yet. I really enjoyed writing about Joe’s future before I’d even started writing about his past, and I suspected my readers would like that too!


Q4 - How did you decide who to write about next?
The plot always comes first – I have an idea for a book that takes hold and won’t let go. The characters come next – if a character from a previous book will fit the plot, then I’m very happy to write from their perspective. My next book, Thirteen Weddings, is about a wedding photographer, so it fits to link it to Pictures of Lily. Lily went to work for a magazine and covered for the editorial assistant-turned-picture assistant. Said picture assistant, Bronte, will be the star of Thirteen Weddings, and I’m excited to write about her developing friendship with Lily.

Q5 - Did you have anyone in mind when you wrote Leo?
No, I see him in my head as this dark, brooding, incredibly good-looking man and I’m always looking out for pictures of people who might resemble him so I can post them on Twitter and Facebook for my readers to enjoy, ha ha. Haven't found anyone yet!

Q6 - If you had to choose, which of your own novels would be your favourite?
This is very difficult because they’re all close to my heart, but when I read Pictures of Lily again recently for the first time since publication, I thought it might be my favourite.

Q7 - Your back catalogue has recently been redesigned, how important do you think it is to have the right cover?
It’s one – if not the – most important factor. I love the new look, which ties all the books in together. I especially love the cover for The Longest Holiday. I’m looking forward to seeing what the team at Simon & Schuster come up with for Thirteen Weddings.

Q8 - How does it feel to be a best-selling author?
Surreal. I can’t quite believe I’m doing my dream job and that there are people all around the world who love what I write. Sometimes it will just sink in momentarily and it’s the best feeling ever!

Q9 - If you could have written any book, which one would it be?
Ooh, I often change my mind about this but I absolutely love the Twilight and Hunger Games series, so it would have to be either of them.

And now for some more fun questions…
               

Q10 - Who is your favourite author?
Marian Keyes – I still think she’s the best in the chick-lit genre. Watermelon was the first book of hers I read and I’ve read all of them since.

Q11 - What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve written stories, poems and songs ever since I can remember, so without sounding too cheesy, I think it’s what I was destined to do from the very beginning!

Q12 - You are well travelled and this really comes out in your books, where is your favourite place to be?
I choose to live in Cambridge in England with my husband and two children and I do love it here so much – the history and architecture make it an inspirational place to write. But a large chunk of my heart will also belong to Australia where I grew up – namely the Adelaide Hills, which is where Pictures of Lily is partly set.

Q13 - If you could trade places with any character that you have read, who would it be and why?
This question stumped me. I’ve just been to look at my bookshelf and all of my favourite heroines are vampires or live in horrible dystopian futures or have had something truly awful happen to either themselves or their loved ones! In MY books probably Lucy or Lily have fared the best, so maybe I’d go for one of them…

Q14 - What do you do when you’re not writing best-selling novels?
I have two small children, so I’m a mum first and foremost. My son is at school now and my daughter does 4 mornings a week at nursery, which is when I write, so when they’re with me, we play! I know how lucky I am to have a job which works around motherhood. I hope I never take it for granted.

Thanks again to Paige! You can read my review of ‘The Longest Holiday’ here and also check out the 2013 reviews section of my blog for reviews of ‘Johnny Be Good’ and ‘Chasing Daisy’.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Review of Until Fountain Bridge - Samanth Young


The bit on the back…

Ellie Carmichael has been in love with Adam Sutherland for as long as she can remember. What started as a childhood crush on the protective and best friend of her older brother bloomed into full-blown infatuation over the years. Unfortunately, it also meant full-blown heartache, as Adam refused to fall for his mate's little sister.


But it takes a crisis for Adam to realize he's wasted too much time denying his feelings for her. Unwilling to waste a second more, he decided to make Ellie his, no matter what the consequences. Now happily settled with the woman he's pined after for years, he's about to find out what their ten year courtship was like for her, through the journals she kept during their ups and many downs. And though Adam may have Ellie now, he has no idea how close he came to losing her . . .


Firstly, I totally loved this, loved loved loved it. I read On Dublin Street by Samantha at the start of the year (fell in love with that too) and as soon as this popped up in my “recommended for you” on Amazon I downloaded it straight away, not even hesitating as I knew already I was going to like it. Like On Dublin Street I’ve re-read it already. What I would say, is if you haven’t read On Dublin Street, read it first before reading Until Fountain Bridge. You don’t have to, but I am really glad I read them in this order and you will see why too.

This novella follows the story of Adam and Ellie, two of the characters who featured in On Dublin Street. Ellie is Braden’s sister and Adam is Braden’s lifelong best friend. This is one of the things I really liked about the book as it give you an insight into their relationship, as it is only slightly touched on in On Dublin Street.

After a health scare, Adam finally got himself together and made his relationship with Ellie official. The story sees both characters reminisce about their entire relationship aided by Ellie’s musings in her diaries, kept since childhood. I really loved this idea as it focused in on turning points throughout their relationship. I also really loved how each diary excerpt began as though written by Ellie but then turned into 3rd person narrative from Ellie’s point of view of the event.

I also enjoyed hearing what Adam had to say after reading each of Ellie’s entries as it gave an insight to how he felt at the time too, and what he was going through at the same time she was. I loved that this was included as I’ve read a few books recently wishing that you could see the story from another character’s perspective.

Although I can’t directly relate with Ellie and Adam’s situation I could relate to the teenage crushes and angst Ellie clearly felt when she was younger and first started to realise that she was in love with Adam. I love how Samantha portrayed each event when Ellie was young as if it was a massive tragedy which is so true to how a young teenager would react!

I also loved how you got to see how both Adam and Ellie grew up and how their relationship changed over that period of time. One of the other things which I really liked was how I could relate certain parts of the story to how they were told in On Dublin Street and how I was able to think back to reading On Dublin Street and fit Adam and Ellie’s story in now that the characters were more defined through Until Fountain Bridge. I really wasn’t sure that I liked Adam in On Dublin Street but I am totally in love with him now, possibly even more than Braden!

I can’t praise this highly enough as I really loved how it was written and how it easy it is to see the two parts of the series together as a whole.

I would definitely recommend Down London Road after reading these two, which features Jo from Club 39.

Erin x

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Review of The Longest Holiday - Paige Toon

The bit on the back…
'Don't wait for the storm to pass;
learn to dance in the rain…'

Laura has been married to the man of her dreams for seven months. But a week before the wedding, Matthew made a terrible mistake. Escaping the humiliation that is now her marriage, Laura is whisked off to Florida's Key West by her best friend Marty. A carefree holiday full of cocktails and fun, surrounded by gorgeous, tanned men, is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Distraction comes in the form of sexy Cuban scuba diver Leo. Laura's instant attraction to him knocks her flying, and she falls hard. As the end of the holiday approaches, Laura doesn't want to go home. Is it time to face the music? Or is there more to Key West than a holiday romance?


This is the story of Laura, who has just had a bombshell dropped on her from a great height. Her husband has done the unthinkable and is about to be a dad, but not to Laura’s baby. In an attempt to remove herself from the situation, Laura jets off to Florida with her two girlfriends, hoping that a break away will let her clear her head, get her thoughts and feelings in order. While enjoying the laid back, sun-drenched atmosphere of Key West, Laura meets diving instructor Leo and finds herself having to decide if her holiday should be extended or if it is time to return to the UK.
I was getting along quite nicely (and quickly as I was eager to read on) with the story, then it hit me who I was reading about. If you’ve read any of Paige’s other novels you will know that often characters from her books feature in more than one. When I did realise I think I actually sat there with my mouth open in shock and surprise. Laura appeared in Chasing Daisy as F1 racing driver Will Trust’s childhood sweetheart. At first I wasn’t sure how to feel about that, I was totally Team Daisy when I read that book so I was really unsure how I could like Laura. 
When I read on I realised that I was actually starting to like her as I was getting to know her as Laura - girl who has just had her life turned upside down (again) - and not Laura girlfriend of Will. After I got over myself, I could see that Laura was a really good protagonist. She is easy to relate to in terms of her feelings and it’s easy to get involved with her relationship with leading male Leo. Readers will end up rooting for her and really hoping things turn out the way she wants. 

Again, as with other her other novels, Paige has created another handsome book boyfriend every reader will love. With his sexy, brooding, exotic qualities Leo will have you totally in love with him, and attracted to him instantly just like Laura. It is also refreshing that after a massive plot twist some of the story is told from Leo’s point of view which just makes me love him more!
Paige chose Key West as one of the main locations in the book. This was a great choice and really compliments the laid back attitude to life that Leo and his family have. The detailed description will have you longing to go back if you’ve been and itching to go if you haven’t – right down to the chickens wandering up the roads!
Really though it’s quite simple, I loved it. Yet again Paige has produced another fantastic story with a great plot and fabulous characters to boot.

Erin x

Guest Review of King and Kingdom - Danielle Bourdon

The bit on the back… 
Chey Sinclair discovers that dating a real life Prince can be both heart-warming—and heart wrenching. Sticking to her guns, she faces down the Queen and defies the Royal order to cease her relationship with Prince Sander. Piqued, the Queen strikes back, and Chey finds herself separated from Sander by no means of her own. Forced to return to Seattle, Chey waits, and hopes, to be reunited with her Prince. What happens next leaves her desolate and devastated. Just when she decides to move on, her wily Prince proves he has a few cunning plans of his own.


Will Sander Ahtissari pull off the impossible, or will the King and Queen of Latvala get their way in the end?


King and Kingdom is the second book in the Latvala Royal series by Danielle. A book I immediately downloaded after quickly finishing and enjoying Heir Untamed, the first in the series. As Erin mentioned in her review to of Heir Untamed I read the first 3 in the series while on holiday in Corfu and this book is the perfect book to escape into to while away the hours.
The story follows Chey in her relationship with Prince Sander and picks up immediately where book 1 left off, something that I really enjoyed, you didn't have to worry about catching up with the story line, and as I finished book 1 and started this immediately, I really appreciated this.
From the word go Chey and Sander’s relationship faces adversary from Sanders parents, the King and Queen of Latvala. At first Chey believes she will be able to overcome his parent’s negativity and their relationship work, but she slowly realises that it may not be up to her.
The story follows Chey as she is suddenly shipped back to Seattle without Sander and learns that defying the King and Queen has bigger consequences than she first realised.
The story quickly rolls between Seattle and Latvala as Sander and Chey fight against the monarchy to be together. Danielle’s beautiful description of the fictional country of Latvala continues through this novel and I found myself falling in love with this country. Even though the settings jumped between Seattle and Latvala it was fantastically easy to follow and keep up with the quick progressions in the story line.

It was another gripping story which I found very hard to put down, although this book doesn’t have the same dramatic plot twist as the first, it still has lots of interesting twists and turns to keep you enthralled from beginning to end. For anyone that gets to the end of a novel and always finds themselves wanting to know more about the characters and where their lives go next this series is perfect. I’ve just finished the fifth in the series and been told by Danielle that there is still more to come.
Kirsty x

Monday, 5 August 2013

Review of The Mistake - Emma Louise Dagnall


The Mistake – Emma Louise Dagnall

The bit on the back…

It was love at first sight when they met at University, but when a secret unfolds on their wedding day, there is only one family member to blame…

When Nina meets Thomas, she knows that he is everything that she could ever wish for in a partner. He is kind, handsome, charming and career driven. When Daniel, the older brother of Thomas, comes into the picture, will a family betrayal tear the brothers apart?
 

I first learned about The Mistake when I started to tweet with Emma on twitter. This is her debut novel which she has also self-published. Self-publishing, and putting your work out for the world to read and judge is a brave, and quite admirable thing to be able to do – so good on you Emma.

Nina is about to walk down the aisle towards her husband-to-be to promise to love him for better or worse. Unfortunately for her, stood next to Thomas is his brother Daniel. The story follows Nina throughout her big day as she battles against her mistake being revealed.

This is more of a short story than a novel. I downloaded it, rather than reading the paperback and found myself flying through it. I don’t usually go for short stories as I don’t really feel like there is enough time for the characters to develop. I felt this way when reading The Mistake, especially with the main character Nina, I still don’t really have an image of her in my head. Thomas and Daniel are the other two main characters in the story, however there are a number of family members who all get a mention; I wasn’t always sure who was who as they didn’t seem to get a chance to develop and have a proper place in the main characters lives.

The book flicks between past and present and I found myself having to go back and re-read some parts as I wasn’t sure if I had followed the storyline correctly, sometimes it was quite confusing – although that could just be me. I did like, once I knew where I was, that it went between past and present as it allowed you some insight to what Nina’s mistake was and started to build up some relationship between the characters. It also allowed for there to be a bit of a twist as you don’t get to fully learn about the mistake until later in the story.

There were a few editing errors but considering that this is a self-published debut it is understandable. There are also some sections where there isn’t any real structure to the story and some overuse of full stops, where a semi-colon would have allowed the story to flow more seamlessly, some sentences were quite descriptive and probably not required.

The book ends with a cliff hanger so it’s just as well Emma is writing the sequel, The Regret. I feel as though I was only getting to know the characters so hopefully the sequel will be a bit longer and allow the characters to develop more thoroughly.
Erin x