Saturday, 31 May 2014

Review of Love Me for Me by Jenny Hale

The bit on the back…

Sometimes you find perfect where you least expect it..

Libby Potter has just lost the perfect job, the perfect apartment and the perfect boyfriend. Moving back to the same home town that she couldn’t wait to escape when she was younger was definitely not on her to-do list. Especially as it means running into the man whose heart she broke when she left.

Pete Bennett can still walk into a room and make Libby’s world stop with just the sound of his voice – even ten years on. Only now, she is the last person in the world that he wants to see.
As everyone else welcomes Libby home with open arms, she realizes she’s missed that special closeness that comes from lifelong friendship. And, as Libby tries to make amends with Pete, she begins to wonder whether she made the right choice in leaving all those years ago.

When an amazing career opportunity gives her the chance to leave again, Libby will have to decide what her version of perfect is… and where she really belongs.

I was really lucky to be sent an ARC of this gorgeous book from Kim at Bookouture. Jenny’s first novel was “Coming Home for Christmas” which I read at Christmastime, funnily enough, and I totally adored it. The book was easily one of my favourite Christmas reads and I was so excited to hear about book two.

Love Me For Me is all about main character and narrator Libby Potter. Libby is used to living the high flying life in New York after working hard to get there but when it all comes crashing down she finds herself going back to her hometown and everything and everyone she left behind in the first place.

I absolutely fell in love with Libby’s hometown White Stone straight away. I love America anyway and I loved the totally laid back community feel the town had. It’s quiet and sounds like somewhere I would love to live but it’s everything that Libby doesn’t want and she doesn’t make any bones about the fact that she feels it holds her back.

Libby’s character is strong and independent and she seems like she might even have been a little bit selfish when she left for New York, but actually as the story develops you get to understand more fully her reasons for leaving and can’t help but empathise with her.

The story is warm, funny and romantic. It’s skilfully written exuding an easy charm that allows you to escape completely. I cannot recommend Jenny’s novels enough for chick lit fans, the characters are easy to love and the writing will sweep you away to another place.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Review of Nash - Jay Crownover

The bit on the back…

Nash Donovan, tattooist and good-time guy, never knew his father. Instead, he was brought up by his Uncle Phil, the best role model and mentor a guy could have. But when Phil is rushed to hospital and reveals he’s at the end stages of lung cancer, he wants Nash to know the truth. Reeling from the family secret Phil has let slip, Nash needs something to hold on to – and the nurse with the beautiful grey eyes taking care of Phil seems remarkably familiar…

Saint Ford doesn’t know what to think when Nash crashes back into her life. They went to school together what feels like a million years ago and although she feels – and looks – very different, she can’t tell if Nash is still the same guy: the guy who teased and bullied her way back when and who she vowed never to forgive.

But Nash is impossible to stay away from. From his flame-tattooed head to his multiple piercings, and his all-round good guy attitude, he’s unlike anyone Saint has ever known – does she still carry a flame for the first guy to steal her heart? And can she forgive him – and herself – for the mistakes of the past?

Nash is the fourth book in Jay Crownover’s Marked Men series. I stumbled upon the first book in the series – Rule – while browsing on amazon. It popped up in my “recommended for you” section as I had been looking for New Adult romance series at the time and I fell in love with the series after reading that first book.

This is the story of Nash who we already know from the first book as he is the eponymous MC’s best friend. The other main character in the story is Saint and although we don’t really know her she was introduced to readers in book three when Rome (Rule’s brother and star of book three) lands himself in hospital.

At the end of the third book we are given a glimpse into Nash’s personal life and how he’s found himself in his current situation after a rather massive plot twist which impacts all of the Marked Men we already know. Nash has just learned that his Uncle, his mentor and his friend Phil is actually his father and that he’s also really ill. That bombshell was dropped on an unsuspecting Nash and the story really goes from there including the growing importance of Saint in his life.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about reading from Nash because from the first three books I tend towards falling for the bad guy and Nash is known by the good guy out of our tattooed bunch. However, I really did start to fall for him throughout. I loved his need for Saint to like him, his need for her calming influence over his life and I also really liked how his gentle demeanour started to win her over bridging the gap between their relationship and Saint’s comfort zone.

Saint was a great complement to the entire story. Her job is the most important thing in her life which is great because she seems to be really good at it and the personality traits required to work in healthcare are exactly what Nash needs to have in his life but her story develops further as Nash starts to expose her to what a romantic and stronger familial aspect of her life could look like. Her weakness is opposed by Nash’s physical strength and I loved how they both grew as people throughout the book.

The story is highly emotional and it was great to see the makeshift family coming together to hold up one of their own. Throughout the book you are given a little hint into what might be in store for the next two characters to have their own books and some of that is expanded on a bit more near the end of the book setting you up for book five, Rowdy.

Erin x

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Review of The Wild Ones by Michelle Leighton

The bit on the back…

Passion as hot as midnight in the South and love as wild as the horses they tame.

The darling daughter of a champion Thoroughbred breeder, Camille “Cami” Hines has a pedigree that rivals some of her father’s best horses. Other than feeling a little suffocated at times, Cami thought she was happy with her boyfriend, her life and her future—until she met Patrick Henley.

“Trick” blurs the lines between what Cami wants and what is expected of her—and he just happens to be so sexy she can’t keep her hands off him. While they both know that Trick would lose his much needed job on the ranch if anyone finds out, they can’t resist the lure of their scorchingly hot encounters.

But when Trick stumbles upon a note from his father, it triggers a series of revelations that could ruin what he and Cami have worked so hard to overcome. It turns out there’s more to Trick’s presence at the ranch than either of them knew, and secrets with the power to tear them apart…

I am on a total NA Romance/Michelle Leighton binge right now! Over the past couple of weeks I have all but disregarded my TBR pile in favour of reading Michelle’s books as fast as I can and in quick succession. After reading the 3 books in the Bad Boys series and the 2 books (so far) in the Pretty series it made sense to make a start on the Wild Ones series!

The story is all about Cami Hines, daughter of the prolific stable owner Jack Hines, and Patrick ‘Trick’ Henley who has recently moved back home to help out his mother and sister.

One thing I am absolutely loving about all of Michelle’s books that I’ve read so far is that there is a dual POV in play throughout the narrative. I love that we are able to see life from Tricks perspective, especially when it comes to his feelings for Cami.

There is a draw between the two main characters which is immediately apparent, intense, undeniably hot and palpable. I think that spark between them is emphasised by the dual narrative. I felt just as drawn to Trick as Cami seems to have been but I really liked her strength and resolution when it came to not acting on her feelings towards Trick when she was with boyfriend Brent.

I loved the story running through the main plot of “breaking” the wild horse and how desperate Trick was to prove to himself, his father and to Jack that he could do it.

Cami’s father annoyed my throughout most of the book - treating Cami as a possession and trying to control her life. The reason for his attitude towards both Cami and Trick doesn’t become apparent until nearer the end of the book in a bit of a plot twist thrown in to disrupt the character’s lives. I hate to see the characters hurting but I must admit I totally love all the angst!

I’m already looking forward to Some Like It Wild, the next book in the series.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Review of You're The One that I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

The bit on the back…

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had.
And that's the problem.

Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it...

Firstly thank you to Katie at Penguin and Giovanna for sending me a copy of You're The One that I Want to review and for asking me to be part of the blog tour. You can see the blog tour with exclusive content by clicking here.

This is Giovanna's second novel, after her debut Billy and Me was widely received by readers in the ChickLit world.

You're The One that I Want is all about Maddy and her two best friends, Robert and Ben. We first meet Maddy on the day of her wedding to Robert and we are given an insight then as to the relationship the trio have and what the story might hold for them.

Immediately after that first scene we are seamlessly transported back in time to hear from both Maddy and Ben right from the first time they met at 6 years old. The rest of the story is told chronologically from their first meeting right up until we re-join them at the altar.

I enjoyed the dual POV as this is one thing I really like in a story, particularly when the second narrative is from the guy in the story! I think it was important to have the narrative from more than just Maddy in any case to build up and portray the connection she feels to both of her best friends. There were a few moments during these past scenes where there may be some confusion around whether the narrative is being told first hand or being remembered by the character but I don't think it was significant enough to detract from the story overall.

Having been taken on a journey throughout the character’s lives, as a reader, you feel like you know them quite well with the exception of Robert as you only really see him through either Ben or Maddy's narrative. There are some passages in the book were the narrator is unidentified but as the story progresses you become aware of who it might be and the significance of these short sections to the plot.

Going into the story I thought I knew what the ending was going to be but in reality after finishing the story it turned out I was wrong in my prediction. The storyline is structured well to allow the plot to develop at a steady pace throughout. This book will be perfect for ChickLit fans who enjoy a dual POV and who also enjoy a bit of suspense throughout.

Erin x

!!Blog Tour!! You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher - Exclusive Content!

Today I am delighted to be part of the book tour for You're The One That I want by Giovanna Fletcher.

Thank you to Katie at Penguin and Giovanna for allowing me to be part of the tour, and for sending a copy of the book. Each stop on the tour gives exclusive content about Maddy's wedding from the book. Today it's Maddy's First Dance Song!

Exclusive Content - Maddy's First Dance Song

There's only one song that could possibly be picked as Maddy's first dance and that's K-Ci & Jojo's All My Life. So many memories are attached to this gorgeous 80s classic - all dating back to her very first kiss with Robert in Paris. It would be strange for them to go with any other song, especially as it's lyrics would be perfect for the occasion.

We've all seen the amazing videos on YouTube of brides and grooms getting their groove on with practised choreography for their first dance (sometimes even going off into a mash-up of their favourite tunes while they show off their robot-inspired dance skills), but that's not something this couple would go for. While Robert loves to be the centre of attention, he'd rather not get it for his sketchy dance-floor moves. That would be something the boys at the rugby club just wouldn't let him live down. Instead it would be back to basics for this couple, agreeing to just slow dance in the conventional and awkward way... no doubt with lots of giggling as they gazed into each other's eyes and sang along to the meaningful words.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour for more content from Giovanna!

The bit on the back...

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had.
And that's the problem.

Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it...

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Review of Your Room or Mine (Do Not Disturb 1) - Charlotte Phillips

The bit on the back…

1 cheating ex, 3 bottles of white wine, an emergency pep talk from the girls… and this seemed like a good idea at the time:

Izzy Shaw’s Getting-Over-Him Action List

1. eBay his entire collection of football memorabilia and spend all profits on treating myself to fabulous new wardrobe.

2. Turn plans for ‘Loved-Up Mini-Break’ at exclusive boutique hotel into a weekend of spa pampering, me-time and shopping at Harvey Nics.

3. Don’t get even, get even better. Have one night stand with drop-dead gorgeous stranger – Mr Tall, Dark & Handsome in the hotel lobby is just what I need!

Your room or mine? Go on Izzy…

I bought this because it was free – simple as that. I didn’t even read the blurb.

I’ve read a few Harper Impulse titles and have enjoyed them in the past so based on that and the price I was sucked into downloading it. I’m a sucker for a bargain! Just because it was free does not mean that it wasn’t great and I’m really glad I just went ahead and downloaded it.

This short novella is about Izzy and Oliver. The characters meet in the reception of a hotel they’re both staying in. Oliver staying because of a delay on some building work on his home and Izzy flying solo on the romantic break for two she booked for herself and her now ex-boyfriend.

I instantly loved Izzy’s character. I loved her “don’t get even, get even better” philosophy and I loved that she had the conviction to go through with it even though she’s been cheated on by her ex.

Oliver was a great character too. He was handsome, polite, considerate and the perfect rebound distraction for Izzy. He’s married to his work and doesn’t “do” relationships as so many of our male lead characters don’t these days. But we all know all it takes is the love of a good woman!

Izzy and Oliver go their separate ways and I really liked that Izzy had her independence in her gardening business and she seemed to carry that independent streak to protect her heart after her ex. The chemistry between the characters is evident, particularly when they meet again later in the story and I loved that you could practically feel it rolling off the pages.

The story was really well written, it built up nicely

Looking back the story was probably predictable from the start but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I devoured this in about an hour, it’s a short and a really enjoyable read!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Review of All The Pretty Poses by Michelle Leighton

The bit on the back…

He never wanted to be a hero...until she needed him to be


It took Kennedy Moore years to put her life back together after Reese Spencer shattered it. But she did. Now, years later, strong and independent, she is in pursuit of a single dream--to dance with the Altman American Dance Theater. Unfortunately, Kennedy is learning that a girl from nowhere with no money and no contacts might never be able to reach her goal.

That is, until Reese reappears, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that Kennedy just can't refuse. In exchange for working on his yacht for a few short weeks, he'll get her an audition with the famous dance troupe. All Kennedy has to do is keep her head down, work hard and resist Reese. That sounds easy enough, right?


Reese doesn't want to make it easy for Kennedy. Seeing her again has started a fire in his blood--an unwelcome one. It took him years to forget about her before, so this time he has a plan. It's simple: Get Kennedy on his yacht, seduce her, get her out of his system, move on with his life. That sounds easy enough, right

But the one thing Reese didn't plan for was Kennedy herself--a girl so strong yet so broken, she makes him want to rescue her, to take care of her. To save her. Even if he has to save her from himself.

This is the second book in Michelle’s Pretty series and I downloaded it pretty much straight after I finished the first book All The Pretty Lies.

The story is about Reese Spencer and Kennedy Moore who used to know each other in a past life. When, by chance, they find themselves in the same place at the same time years later, Reese is more determined than ever not to let her go. Again.

I thought Hemi Spencer (All The Pretty Lies) was hot. Until I met his brother Harrison “Reese” Spencer. Holy mother of book boyfriends! He is honestly hot, hot, hot, and kind of like American actor Chris Evans in my head. Reese is a business man who has gotten to where he has in life by being ruthless and to the point. The same tact he employs when it comes to his women, with the exception of Kennedy Moore.

Kennedy is all soft curves to Reese’s power hungry, straight down the line personality. She’s a dancer and is fluid to Reese’s brute determination. I love the fact that Reese and Kennedy have a history that all happened before they meet again in the book. There is a flashback scene in the book which takes you back there which is great to find out what actually happened.

The story is actually quite dark in some parts when it comes to Kennedy’s childhood and how her life went downhill after Reese left the first time. I think this sub-plot was handled well and actually it shows Kennedy as a really strong character.

There is a total spark between the two characters and the sexual tension adds a tautness to their relationship which makes you feel on edge most of the way through the book. Reese is almost too hot to handle in some of the scenes!

I love this series, I love the characters and I love that there is such a chemistry between them. The next in the series is going to be all about Sig who we know from the first book and I can’t wait to read that either! 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Aspiring Author Week - Top Tips for Writing from Author Karli Perrin

My final guest this week is author Karli Perrin! She's sharing her top tips for writing.

Know your audience. I can't stress how important it is to know what your readers like and dislike. Don't write YA if you don't know how young adults talk/act. Don't write NA if you don't even know what it is or who it's aimed at.   

Know your genre/category. If you don't, then you're going to miss the mark and it'll be blatantly obvious. I would never write History because I know nothing about it. I would never write Sport because I have no interest in it. See what I mean?

Make sure you market your book correctly. I've seen lots of books marketed as New Adult recently when it's clear that they don't belong there. These authors are cheating their readers (and themselves). Be proud of what you write. So what if it doesn't fall into a popular category/genre? If anything, it's harder to crack the ones which are densely populated.

Write because you enjoy it. Don't take the fun out of it. Remember why you started writing in the first place. If you're doing it for the money then you need to pick a different career - and quick!

Be original. Although there seems to be formulas that do well, readers don't want to read the same thing over and over again. Switch it up.

Be patient. Don't expect your book to hit the bestseller lists overnight. It takes a lot of hard work. Not only do you have to write the book but you have to design the cover, edit, format and market it too. Sometimes, marketing can be just as important as the actual writing itself.

Write every day. Or as much as possible. It's the only way you're going to improve. Keep your old work and look back at it in six months time - you'll be amazed at how much your writing has improved.

Read a lot. Reading allows you to become familiarised with what is already out there and what works/doesn't work. It can also inspire you. When I read an awesome book it makes me want to be a better writer. It shows me what good writing looks like.

Before publishing your work, check for errors. Then check again. Then check again. Then check again. You get my point. I read the final draft of April Showers over ten times before I was happy that I was putting out my best work. If somebody read me a line from the book, I could tell them which chapter and page it was from. Typos happen to everybody but there are only so many times a reader will overlook them. 

Be prepared. For good days and bad. For good reviews and bad. For good people and...not so good people. Within a week of releasing my debut book, it was pirated. Finding out it had been illegally downloaded over 500 times was extremely upsetting. I didn't care about the money, I was selling it for the lowest price Amazon allowed me. It was the principal. It still is the principal. You pour your heart and soul into a book only to be slapped in the face. Would you steal a paperback from a book shop? I didn't think so. Within a week of marketing my second book on Goodreads, it had received a fake 1* rating. The book wasn't even finished and I was the only person to have read any of it. Sadly, this happens a lot. See where I'm going with this? It won't be an easy journey but pressing publish for the first time makes it all worth it. Receiving your first 5* review makes it all worth it. Holding a paperback copy of your book for the first time, without a doubt, makes it all worth it. 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Aspiring Author Week - My Inspiration by Ellen Faith

Ellen Faith is the author of "The Story of Us" and today she's sharing her inspiration for writing!

Inspiration for me can come from the most obscure places as well as the most obvious. There are times that I can be sat with friends or family and they will innocently start to tell me a story about something they did in their past and it’s like something clicks inside my brain and I picture my characters doing it. Now, I don’t tell these people that their misfortune is going to be put in to print and I do try to adapt it slightly, maybe to make it a bit funnier or sometimes it’s because if I wrote the actual thing down, no one would believe me and I would get called out for being beyond belief.  My characters usually have elements of my family and friends in them though and so they become easy to write once they’re developed.

I know a lot of authors say music is their main source of inspiration but I do struggle with that and have come to the realisation that everyone has different methods, what works for one won’t work for another. I have a few go to tracks that I will just repeat for certain books, but I usually need complete silence when I write for the voices of my characters to take over – bit weird, I know.

The best advice I have ever been given as an author though is to read. Read, read, read. I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the authors I love - Lindsey Kelk, Sophie Kinsella and Alice Clayton. They inspire me to create loveable heroines with a feisty streak, to set my books in a place other than the UK and most of all, they inspired my love of chick lit. 

About Ellen - 

Ellen lives in the wonderful county of Yorkshire, England where she spends most of her time baking, eating, baking, and eating. Occasionally she does leave the house to go to the cinema or do some food shopping though.

After spending years with an overactive imagination, she decided to put all the magic in her head to some good use and put finger to laptop where The Story of Us was born and became her debut novel.

She loves to travel, her favourite destinations so far have all been in America, hence the love of all things, and all people, American. The food rocks pretty hard too, she ate until her jeans begged her to stop whilst she was there. True fact.

Aside from day dreaming and eating, Ellen is a sucker for a lolcat, penguins and monkeys - she has never claimed to be normal.

If you haven't had enough of her already, come and be a part of the crazy over on Facebook or Twitter:

Friday, 23 May 2014

Aspiring Author Week - How To Plan Effectively by Author Emma Bennet

How to Plan Effectively - Emma Bennet, Author of 'The Green Hills of Home'.

Oh the irony of being asked to write this guest post! It still pains me to recall the hours, no, the days, of agony I experienced due to NOT planning effectively whilst writing my debut novel 'The Green Hills of Home'!

Inspired and carefree, I rattled off thousands of glorious words of prose as they came to me. I was delighted at how organised I was being, making use of tiny snippets of time to write little scenes or, more often, parts of scenes. Typing up my handwritten notes, I'd slot them into 'approximately' the right place in my master document, and eventually I had a romance novel length piece of writing.

Thrilled, I printed out my draft and began my first proper read-through. Just a couple of pages in and I was close to tears: my story made no sense! It was full of inconsistencies and had ended up just a series of pretty disconnected, random scenes. Important issues begun in chapter 1 had been disregarded in chapter 2. Characters eyes changed colour, sometimes within a single page. In short, my manusript was a bit of a mess. It took months of hard work to beat the story into submission.

I was very pleased with the end result, but I couldn't help but think the whole experience would have been a whole lot less stressful, not to mention shorter, if I'd just planned effectively.

With my second novel, 'The Spaniard's Secret Daughter', I've been much more organised. I now use my small snatches of time to work on smaller jobs (guest posts, interviews, book reviews...). I only 'properly' write when I have a decent chunk of time at my disposal, usually at least an hour. I also really tried to write the book in order, from start to finish (although I'll admit I wasn't ALWAYS completely successful in this aim!).

The best piece of writing advice I've ever been given is simply don't jump straight in! Authors use various methods to plot their storyline BEFORE they start writing. I like to make a fairly basic sketch of the novel over a couple of pages of A4 paper - I then fill in extra details as they come to me. I divide the pages into ten areas, as that's the number of chapters my books typically have. When I have each of those ten chapters sketched out I produce a page of notes on my hero and heroine: I'll comment on their ages, hair colour, family members... I also find it handy to create a Pinterest board full of photos of places my characters might live or visit, as well as photos of people who look like I imagine my characters do. Only when I've got everything straight in my head do I actually start writing.

At the end of the day, every writer works slightly differently. I've found that proper planning really helps me, but it may be that what I do would make another writer feel stifled. It's all a question of knowing how you work best, so you can decide how to plan effectively for you!
Happy writing!

Emma Bennet's debut novel, 'The Green Hills of Home', is available from Amazon

Her second romance, 'The Spaniard's Secret Daughter', is due to be published soon.

For more information on Emma and her writing, visit her website

Thursday, 22 May 2014

!!Release Day Review of The Second Time I Saw You by Pippa Croft!!

The bit on the back…

It's the beginning of a new term at Wyckham College, Oxford, and a fresh start for Lauren Cusack. Her fingers were badly burnt when a whirlwind romance with gorgeous English aristocrat, Alexander Hunt, became too hot to handle - and now she's determined to keep her distance.

Her resolve is shaken when Alexander appears on her doorstep - he's been completely torn apart by some devastating news. Lauren knows that she should stay away, but their chemistry is undeniable and she soon finds herself back in Alexander's arms.

Can Lauren handle the drama that comes with Alexander Hunt? Or will she have to sacrifice the most exhilarating passion she's ever known . . .

Firstly thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for approving me for this book! This is the first book I’ve been approved from by Penguin so super excited about that, yay.

This is the second book in Pippa Croft’s Oxford Blues series. I recently read the first book ‘The First Time We Met’ and I knew categorically that I’d be reading the second book as soon as I could get my hands on it! You can find my review of book one here.

In book two we join main character and narrator Lauren Cusack back at Oxford after Winter Vac. She arrives back more determined than ever to put Alexander out of her mind and preferably line of sight after their blow up before term ended, but you know what they say about best laid plans and all that.

If you’ve read book one you might have felt this way, or if you’ve read my review you will already know that I found Alexander difficult to connect to. He was distant, constantly vigilant of his emotions and very aware of not letting too much of his feelings be seen. This book and the circumstances the characters find themselves facing is the best thing that could have happened for Alexander character-wise. I was reading this and thinking “Yes! This is much more like it!”. You will not be disappointed.

Pippa basically drops a massive bombshell right at the start of the story and the pace and tone of the rest of the novel is set from there. I whizzed through the story, eager to find out what was going to happen and constantly rooting for Lauren and Alexander’s relationship.

I really love Lauren’s character, that’s something that’s carried right over from book one. I love how helplessly attracted to Alexander she is, because who isn’t, and I love that she strives to always see the best in him but that she also won’t take any of his shit.

There is an interesting dynamic developed between Laruen and Emma that grows throughout the story and I always felt on tenterhooks wondering how their relationship was going to have an impact on the whole story. I liked their closeness and I think it offloaded some of the burden that Alex, and consequently the reader, feels throughout the story.

The book, like the last, is left on a cliffhanger but in quite a different way which was refreshing and at the same time I was pleased that the ending was new and original to the story. I absolutely cannot wait for book three and I am so glad I’ve started this series!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Aspiring Author Week - Cathy Bramley talks Writer's Block

My Top Tips on Giving Writer’s Block the Heave-Ho

It happens to us all. There you are, poised at your computer, ready and eager to commit your novel to memory stick. You open a blank document and… nothing. This happens to me quite often. Not every day, thank goodness, but often enough for me to have developed a few tactics to get me through a small patch of writer’s block.

When I have finished a book I generally spend some time absolutely convinced that I will never be able to think up another story fit for a novel. I do not consider this to be writer’s block. I put these feelings down to tiredness, insecurity and having a slightly dramatic approach to life. On the other hand, when I am well into a new novel and the words refuse to flow, that is when I do something about it.

We are all different and what works for some may not work for others, but here are my top tips for overcoming writer’s block:

1. Be honest with yourself. Have you planned this section (chapter or scene) out fully? For me, the times I struggle the most are when I haven’t properly thought through what this section is supposed to be doing: how it takes the narrative forward, what detail of backstory it is revealing or how it shows the character(s) developing over the course of the novel. These days what I try to do before starting typing is to make a note of what the purpose of today’s writing is. This usually helps me focus.

2. Start where you know. Sometimes even after I have identified my purpose, I still can’t get going. For example in Ivy Lane, which I have just completed, I might know that the main character Tilly reveals something about her past to her best friend, Gemma but I don’t know where they are, Gemma’s house? On the allotment? On the phone to each other? In this instance I try and concentrate on the bits I do know about the scene. Perhaps I know a snippet of conversation between the two of them, or I know what Tilly is doing with her hands… anything. So this is where I start. I don’t worry too much about the start of the scene. Once I’ve got going and the conversation between the two of them is flowing usually the start of the scene and the setting becomes obvious and I can go back and fill in the gaps.

3. Go! Walk out the door! Sorry, a bit of Gloria Gaynor there. I remember a couple of months ago looking at my word count and realising I’d only managed 300 words in two hours. Well, that’s okay I hear you cry. Not when the all 300 words were just different versions of the opening sentence of the scene and I still couldn’t work out where I was going with it, it wasn’t. So I saved the document – for what it was worth – called the dog and set off for a walk. Bunking off for an hour feels decadent and very naughty, but it really works. Somehow just giving myself a change of scene works wonders and certainly beats looking at a blank screen!

4. Don’t write. Work on your manuscript in other ways: plan future chapters, flesh out some of your characters, write a synopsis… okay, not the synopsis, nobody deserves that… but find some way of working on your book that helps move you forwards. This usually helps get my creative juices flowing and I want to get back to the serious business of writing.

5. Jump much further forward to a part of the book that you can visualise. Some writers like to write key scenes first. I don’t write that way; I prefer to be chronological, but if it helps you do it. I might trigger something that helps you write the scene you’re currently stuck on.

Finally, if you're suffering from writer’s block, give yourself a break. Don’t stress over it or build it up into a major drama. This may seem easier said than done, but writing is very hard work, we are only human after all. J

About Cathy - 
After growing up in Birmingham, Cathy went to Nottingham Trent University at the ripe old age of eighteen and five days to study European Business. Upon graduating she spent the next few years in the corporate world of marketing working on high-powered projects such as testing the firing range of SuperSoaker waterguns, adding hair extensions to Girls’ World styling heads and perfecting the weeing action of Tiny Tears. After making it onto Timmy Mallet’s Christmas card list, she realised it was time to move on and so in 1995 set up her own agency, Apples & Pears Marketing.
Avid fans of the TV series, Cathy and her husband realised their Grand Designs’ dream of building their own house in 2011. They now live in rural Nottinghamshire with their two daughters and a cockerpoo called Pearl.
This project provided the inspiration for Cathy’s debut novel Conditional Love, although it is by no means autobiographical, apart from the unfortunate incident in the boardroom! She shares her time between her marketing agency, writing and taxiing the girls endlessly from one activity to the next.
Cathy is a fan of Masterchef, strong coffee, chocolate brazils and Marian Keyes books. She is addicted to her Kindle and has an irrational fear of bananas.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

May Challenge Update

At the start of the month I decided to set myself a bit of a mini (read rather ambitious) reading challenge because my TBR is out of control! I chose 24 of the books on my list to read this month and now that we are half way through the month I thought I'd give you an update!

Here are the books!

I have read a total of 9 out of 24 and I'm working my way through books 10 and 11. Book number 10 is After The Wedding by Roisin Meaney which is a paperback I received from Hachette Ireland and book number 11 is Frisky Business which I purchased on ebook but which is also coincidentally by Hachette author Clodagh Murphy!

Through last week I was quite distracted with other things so lost a lot of my usual reading time but I'm determined to ramp it up again this week. I'm planning to read as many of the paperbacks as I can before the end of the month, because I can take the ebooks on holiday with me if I run over into June!

The complete list of the books names and authors are below along with dates when you can expect the review!

1. How to Win a Guy in 10 Dates - Jane Linfoot (review here)
2. A Husband's Confession - Zoe Miller (review and giveaway live 23/06/14)
3. After The Wedding - Roisin Meaney (review and giveaway live 25/06/14)
4. Things We Never Say - Sheila O'Flanagan (review live 26/06/14)
5. Nash - Jay Crownover (review live 30/05/14)
6. Frisky Business - Clodagh Murphy (review and Some Girls Do giveaway 27/06/14
7. Shot Through The Heart - Matt Cain (review live 03/06/14)
8. Looking For Alex - Marian Dillon
9. Almost Royalty - Courtney Hamilton
10. The Second Time We Met - Pippa Croft (review live 22/05/14)
11. Beyond Grace's Rainbow - Carmel Harrington
12. The Fortune Hunter - Daisy Goodwin
13. All The Things You Are - Clemency Burton-Hill
14. Sealed With A Kiss - Rachael Lucas (review here)
15. Beauty - Louise Mensch
16. The Accident - C. L. Taylor
17. The Geography of You and Me - Jennifer E. Smith (review live 05/06/14)
18. First We Take Manhattan - Colette Caddle 
19. Collide - Gail McHugh (review here)
21. The French For Always - Fiona Valpy
22. The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson - Paige Toon
23. Love Me For Me - Jenny Hale (review live 31/05/14)
24. The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty

Aspiring Author Week - Guest Post from Lisa, author of The Elemental

The lovely Erin McEwan asked me to write something for aspiring writers and I said I'd be more than happy. Here's the question she asked me.

"Where do you write, and do you surround yourself with anything to get in the zone?"

I write in my favourite coffeehouse in my hometown. I tried working at home once or twice and I got a few lines on paper, but it doesn't get me in the zone. 

For me, a coffeehouse brings that perfect buzz, and may I add, smell! I love the smell of fresh coffee and muffins or brownies coming out of the oven, it makes me happy and also more focussed. I like the constant noise, it's not overwhelming, I don't have to listen to it, but it's there. People coming and going, looking sharp, some bring in their laptops as well, it's an inspiring environment. 

That's the most important bit, I think. Find a place which inspires you to write. My house inspires a great many other things, so there's too much distraction, if you will. An office is not a creative enough environment for me, so I chose a coffeehouse. Barista CafĂ© is what mine is called, but thankfully, whenever I'm on holiday, there's always another coffeeplace to oblige and inspire me. 

Also, sit down, open your laptop or whatever you write on, until you reach the point where you ended last time, so it stares you in the face. It will help, trust me. Put your phone on vibrate so you won't be disturbed and reread the last part to refresh your memory. 

Happy writing! Oh, and if you happen to find yourself in a coffeehouse like me, try to limit the amount of brownies, take my word for it! ;-)

About Lisa - 

Lisa is the author of The Elemental, part I of The Fire Trilogy. The Elemental is her first novel. She has a background in social services and music, but writing has always been a part of her daily life. One night she dreamed the outlines of The Elemental and took it as a sign from the Universe to pursue a career in writing.
She grew up in a small town in the Netherlands where her parents always taught her to think outside the box. She has a degree in social studies and joined the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids as an adult.
Lisa loves London, according to her ‘the city where magic dwells’ and can often be found there. She still resides in the Netherlands however with her partner and their dog Miss Ginger Rogers and if you’re lucky, you may find her in her favourite coffeehouse, Barista cafe.
She is also a freelance copywriter for a music venue in The Netherlands and an editor for Folks Harp Folks, a magazine published by The Dutch Folk Harp society.
Lisa's website -

Monday, 19 May 2014

Aspiring Author Week - Holly Martin's Top Tips for Writing

1. Read lots, read those that are successful in your chosen genre, to see how they do things, how they develop and progress the story, what characters you like and dislike, what works for you. Read other genres too, look at particular effective descriptions.

2. Watch TV and films, an idea, a character, a scene could be the start of something else for you. I'm not talking about plagiarism, but it could be something tiny that you could develop into something else. I loved the idea in The Truman show where this whole fake life, fake friends, fake family had been created for Truman purely for entertainment. And thats the world I created for Eve in The Sentinel, not for a TV program but to keep her safe, to save the world

3. People watch. Listen to conversations in shops, restaurants, in the street. Snooping and being nosy is perfectly acceptable as a writer. Listen to people's dramas, funny stories, anecdotes. Store it all away for future use, when you use it in your writing, embellish and exaggerate. Watch people's mannerisms, the way they walk or talk, what they do when they are sad or happy or frustrated, so you can build your characters on real people.

4. Switch off distractions, twitter, facebook, the TV, even the radio, music is ok, but radio with talking and adverts are not. You need to dedicate writing time every day, even if its 5 or 10 minutes a day, make sure you do it. I know you are busy, people have work and family commitments but if you want to be a writer you need to make time to write. Its easy to fall in front of the TV once the kids are in bed and the kitchen is tidied, but make the TV a reward once you have written a hundred words or written for 20 minutes.

5. Write. Write down everything, write a conversation, a scene, a setting, an idea, a description, write down any or all ideas, it doesnt have to be something concrete, it could just be a few words or lines but write it down. Those lines could develop into a whole conversation, that conversation could turn into a whole scene, that scene could turn into a whole book or it could not. But unless you start writing something down youre always going to be staring at a blank page. I have deleted thousands of words from my finished stories but all those stories have grown from a few lines, the odd scene. So just write. It doesnt have to be perfect, just get it down, perfection can come later

About Holly:

Holly has been writing for five years, mainly chick-lit novels. Changing Casanova and The Chainsaw Masquerade were shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent Award 2012. Her short story won the Belinda Jones Travel Club short story competition last year and was published in the first Sunlounger anthology. Her fantasy adventure young-adult book, The Sentinel, was published in October and hit three different bestsellers lists within twenty four hours. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 and her novel The Guestbook was released on Valentine’s Day 2014. One Hundred Proposals is her next chick lit book which will be out in the summer. She is also featured in the Sunlounger 2 anthology out this summer too.

Aspiring Author Week!

One thing I love about reading is the ability it affords you to totally escape into someone else's story, another world or another time.

I have the utmost respect for authors and their talent in creating this escapism. Since I started blogging I've been more keen to try and write something of my own but I could never seem to be able to come up with anything that I really liked. When the opportunity to enter the Sunlounger 2 competition came up I decided to give it a good go and in the end submitted my 3000 word short story. Even trying to get 3000 words down on paper was hard, never mind a full length novel. So when it comes to advice on writing your own novel where do you turn? The authors! 

I have enlisted the help of some author friends to share everything from their tips and tricks for writing to where they find it easiest to turn their ideas into stories. All this week my guest authors will be sharing so keep an eye out for their posts! First up is author Holly Martin!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Teaser Pic from Ellen Faith

Author Ellen Faith stormed into the chick-lit scene at the start of the year with her first novel "The Story of Us" - you can read my review here. Yesterday Ellen shared this teaser pic for her next novel "Home for The Holidays" - enjoy!

Book News - Love Me For Me - Jenny Hale

Ok so I am waaaaay way excited for this! I read Jenny’s Christmas novel “Coming Home for Christmas” and it is definitely one of my favourites! I am so looking forward to this!

The bit on the back…

Sometimes you find perfect where you least expect it..

Libby Potter has just lost the perfect job, the perfect apartment and the perfect boyfriend. Moving back to the same home town that she couldn’t wait to escape when she was younger was definitely not on her to-do list. Especially as it means running into the man whose heart she broke when she left.

Pete Bennett can still walk into a room and make Libby’s world stop with just the sound of his voice – even ten years on. Only now, she is the last person in the world that he wants to see.
As everyone else welcomes Libby home with open arms, she realizes she’s missed that special closeness that comes from lifelong friendship. And, as Libby tries to make amends with Pete, she begins to wonder whether she made the right choice in leaving all those years ago.

When an amazing career opportunity gives her the chance to leave again, Libby will have to decide what her version of perfect is… and where she really belongs.

Release Date: 22nd May 2014

Publisher: Bookoture

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Book News! Fall From India Place by Samantha Young

Samantha Young is back with the 4th book in her fabulous On Dublin Street Series! Fall From India Place is out 3rd June!

The bit on the back...

When Hannah Nichols last saw Marco D'Alessandro five long years ago, he broke her heart. The bad boy with a hidden sweet side was the only guy Hannah ever loved-and the only man she's ever been with. After one intense night of giving in to temptation, Marco took off, leaving Scotland and Hannah behind. Shattered by the consequences of their night together, Hannah has never truly moved on.

Leaving Hannah was the biggest mistake of Marco's life-something he has deeply regretted for years. So when fate reunites them, he refuses to let her go without a fight. Determined to make her his, Marco pursues Hannah, reminding her of all the reasons they're meant to be together . . .

But just when Marco thinks they're committed to a future together, Hannah makes a discovery that unearths the secret pain she's been hiding from him-a secret that could tear them apart before they have a real chance to start over again . . .

Friday, 16 May 2014

Book Boyfriend of the Week #4

Happy Friday! This week's book boyfriend is Jake Caplin from Samantha Young's New Adult Romance series Into The Deep.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Review of How to Win a Guy in 10 Dates - Jane Linfoot

The bit on the back…

The 10 Date Challenge

Day 1: Take one loaded commitment-phobe explosives expert, embarking on the impossible–a challenge to have ten dates with one woman.

Day 5: Add in a fiercely independent and feisty burlesque teacher who has sworn off men.

Day 10: She’s so not his type and he’s so not in her life-plan. But the heat is sizzling and the attraction is explosive. And they’re fighting it all the way….

Firstly, thank you to Jane for sending me a copy of this to review.

This is the second of Jane’s books that I’ve read, although it is actually her first novel.

The story follows two main characters Ed and Millie. Ed makes a bet with his sister and friend that he won’t fall in love after 10 dates and sets out to find the perfect girl not to fall for. Millie literally gets blown off her feet by Ed and the story goes on from there.

In the first couple of pages we are introduced to Ed and instantly find out about his little wager. I was surprised to find that the story line of this book is really quite similar to the story line of ‘The Right Side of Mr Wrong’ (book 2) complete with a pushy sister.

Both main characters hid secrets from each other (which is another similarity in both books) but as the story is dual POV you get a little more insight as a reader into each character. Ed was the stronger of the two characters. His story seemed much more developed than Millie’s and it felt like there was a bit more importance placed on his story throughout the book. When both secrets are eventually revealed it seemed kind of rushed with the main focus of the story being placed upon the 10 dates.

Millie was an ok character, she was independent and a little feisty but sometimes I felt like those two traits didn’t really match up to the insecurity that she had after her last relationship. I felt like that insecurity was a little overplayed considering the most important aspect of her relationship was underplayed.

Throughout the prose is witty and light and carries the story along well. The story build up is well constructed throughout the beginning and middle of the story. The description of Provence, and the character’s time there, transported you there and I really like that aspect of the story. If you’re looking for a quick and easy read this one is for you.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

!!Blog Tour!! Review of Collide by Gail McHugh

The bit on the back…

Her mind tried to fight a bloody battle against what her body already knew. She wanted him, and she wanted him bad.

On the heels of college graduation and the unexpected death of her mother, Emily Cooper moves to New York City to join her boyfriend for a fresh start. Dillon Parker has been sweet, thoughtful, and generous through Emily’s loss, and she can’t imagine her life without him—even as her inner voice tells her to go slow.

Then she meets Gavin Blake. A rich and notorious playboy, Gavin is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Their first encounter is brief, but it’s enough to inflame Emily’s senses. When their paths cross again through an unexpected mutual acquaintance, she tries to deny the connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome won’t let go so easily.

As she discovers Gavin’s pain-filled past and Dillon’s true nature begins to surface, Emily knows she must take action or risk destroying everyone—including herself. But how can she choose when she can’t trust her own heart?

Firstly, a massive thank you to Kate at The Hot Bed (Simon and Schuster) for sending me a paperback copy of the book and for asking me to be part of the UK blog tour!

This is the first book in the Collide series. I’m so glad that I have an actual paperback copy of it because I love the cover. I don’t know about you but I am a big fan of book boyfriends and there’s nothing better than having your new one on the cover of your book! I also really love the title of the book and the series. “Collide”, the one word title is forceful, emotive and evocative. The title’s connotations already had me thinking ahead into the story and imagining the sort of tone it would have. So far so good!

The story is all about main character Emily, her tragic family circumstances and how she meets the other main character, Gavin. Emily has just moved to New York when we meet her which is another thing I love in a story. I’ve never been to New York but garnering information about the city and how it feels to be there is something I love to get from a book set in the city. She starts her new job and instantly meets our Mr Tall, Dark and Handsome.

I was expecting there to be an instant connection between the two main characters and there was. The impact of it is instant and palpable from that moment and throughout. I know that the story may seem like it could be predictable but actually Gavin turned out to be totally different to what I thought he’d be like. He is the very definition of a book boyfriend, handsome and a little cocky maybe but actually underneath his businessman persona he seems to be a really, really great guy.

For me Emily had this unfortunately misplaced sense of loyalty to her boyfriend Dillon and I really hated him throughout the entire book. I always felt like he was shifty and never fully honest with Emily. I was pleased that Emily’s character tried to prolong acting upon her feelings toward Gavin until her relationship with Dillon was no longer an issue but I really wished she would just have manned up and tried to get past the stumbling block of feeling like she owed him. Both Emily and Gavin have a deeper than face value connection and I loved how that played out in their relationship. I really liked the strictly Emily-and-Gavin-only inside joke type quirks that the relationship had, especially with the bottle caps (read it and you will know what I mean).

There is an eclectic mix of other characters in the shape of Emily’s friends. My favourite throughout the book was her friend and roommate Olivia. I loved her plain, straight down the line view of the world and I also loved her very broad imagination when it came to renaming Dillon.

The book is nearly 400 pages long but hardly felt like it. I couldn’t put it down and I flew through it thanks to the pace of the story set by Gail’s writing. I loved some of the humour in there and I loved the romance of it all, the pace totally capturing you and sucking you into it. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series Pulse after Collide ended on a cliffhanger.

Erin xx