Monday, 30 June 2014

Book News - What A Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk

The bit on the back...

Being arrested in your own bedroom is never a good start to the day. Tess Brookes really needs to sort out her back-stabbing flatmate – and her life.

Should she gamble all on the new photography job she’s landed, or snap up the offer from long-time crush and best friend Charlie to start up on their own – in more ways than one? There’s just one small thing she hasn’t mentioned. Or rather, one tall thing. He’s handsome, infuriating and called Nick…

For the first time, Tess has to choose between the life she always dreamed of and a future she never imagined possible. From London to Milan, with high fashion and low behaviour thrown in, she’s going to have to make up her mind what a girl really wants…

Release Date: 17th July 2014

Publisher: Harper

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Review of Rett (Custom Culture, 4) by Tess Oliver

The bit on the back...

Barrett "Rett" Mason has never found the one girl who can tame his wild heart. And sometimes life is just easier and less complicated without love. While working for Kingston Construction, Barrett becomes fast friends with the owner's son, Cole. They have one major thing in common-- their insatiable appetite for women. But when Barrett meets Cole's sister Finley, the easy, care-free, no commitment lifestyle he's grown used to suddenly loses its appeal. Now Barrett has met his match and the one girl who is just too damn impossible to walk out on. 

For several years, Finley King has been a slave to the anxiety disorder that gripped her and kept her from enjoying life. Now with the support of her family, friends, and medication she is on the mend. But the one thing she lacks in her otherwise lush existence as a rock star's daughter is passion. Barrett Mason is about to change that... 

Firstly, thank you to Tess for sending me a copy of this to review! I fell in love with Tess's writing and the Custom Culture characters when I first read Freefall, number one in the series. This is book number four and is all about Barrett, who we were introduced to in his brother Clutch's book, book two.

As I've said the book is all about Rett Mason who meets down to earth daughter of rock god Nicky King, Finley while he's at work on her property.

Finley seems to be a sweet natured girl who's had a rough time but she's coming out the other side of it. Rett seems to be exactly what she needs to start feeling again. She has a caring nature which shows in her rescuing and caring for rescued animals. She likes to see the best in her dad and brothers as far as possible and she seems like she's going to be the girl to tame Rett.

Rett is like the wild child of the group, he's got himself in trouble, been rescued and then back in trouble all over again in the last two books but he also has this deep seated caring and selfless side to him, which the scars on his back prove. He is also the sexiest of the group of men! Naughty, naughty boy, or rather lucky, lucky Finley!

The story is dual POV so you get to know what both characters are feeling. It's important here because both characters have such different lives it would be difficult to really pick up on both of them if it was from a single character's perspective. I also love getting a sneak peak into the guys mind in a story!

The story might seem like the ending is predictable and based on the other novels in here series you might assume that it forms the same structure, but because of the complete difference in Finley's life it's a totally different plot twist that Tess throws in. Finley is a character that some Tess fans may already know, although I've not read it, I believe she is in another of Tess's books - Strangely Normal, so I'm going to check that out next. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Review of Beauty by Louise Mensch

The bit on the back

Blend it. Sculpt it. Shape it. Use it...

There isn't a woman on earth who doesn't have her beauty secrets. But for Dina Kane, beauty is more than just business. It's power. And it is the secret. She's dragged herself up from poverty to Park Avenue. She's rolled with the punches. And she's learned how to win.

Now someone is out to destroy her, and all she's built. They've underestimated Dina Kane. She's staying at the top - and she's happy to wait for the perfect moment to exact her revenge...

Firstly thank you to NetGalley and Headline for approving me for a copy of this book. At first I admit to being completely ignorant of the fact that Louise Mensch and Louise Bagshawe are the same author! When I did eventually join up the dots I realised that I have actually read one of Louise's books before but it was so so long ago that I couldn't remember what I was in store for.

At first this book came to my attention via another reviewer on twitter, that and the cover and emotive title really made me want to read it.

The story is all about main character Dina Kane and her struggle to leave her poverty stricken past behind her and power her way to the top.

The story starts out with a look at Dina's past, her childhood and what it was like for her growing up. I really hated her family right from the start of the story and it allows you to form this sympathetic tie with Dina. Her background is unashamedly ugly, a family who didn't want her and who didn't hide their favouritism toward her older brother. The feeling towards her family never really left me throughout the remainder of the story but rather it was something that was always present.

The beginning of her story is tragic. Tragic in loss, tragic in the fight for what she wants and tragic in what she has to do to escape. Dina herself is quite hard to actually get to like, although I felt a sympathy towards her she really has to drag herself up to where she wants, using people in the process and getting her own back on the people who abused her. 

When Dina starts to find her place in the world the story really takes off and I couldn't put the book down. I started to admire Dina, her knowledge and savvy in the business world spoke of a natural desire within her to succeed and I really started to enjoy and like her. As well as enjoying the story I was swept up n the business side of her story too, enjoying the whirlwind and excitement of it and seeing plans come together.

Most of the narrative comes from Dina although the other characters who are major players in the story take turns at narrating. My favourite of the other characters in the story was Joel. Joel is older than Dina, experienced in the business world and experienced in life. His own story is reflected in Dina's and I love that that formed the basis of their relationship. Joel is sort of old worldly and traditional which I really liked about him, and I liked how this played out later in the book when push came to shove and neither Joel nor Dina could deny their chemistry any longer.

I really enjoyed this story and I'm now off to find some more of Louise's other novels!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Irish Author Event! Review of If I Could Turn Back Time - Nicola Doherty

The bit on the back…

What if you found The One, then lost him again?

Or not so much lost him as became the neurotic, needy girlfriend from hell. The girl who tried to make him choose between her and his job, and got seriously paranoid about his relationship with his female best friend...

Zoë Kennedy knows she doesn't deserve another chance with David Fitzgerald. But if there's the tiniest possibility of making things right, she'll snatch it. Even if it means breaking the laws of physics to do so...

Firstly, thank you to Frances at Headline for sending me a copy of this book after I requested it from Bookbridgr!

The cover of this book enticed me to read it. It looked like chicklit heaven and it’s been a while since I’ve read from the chicklit genre So I was eager to get started with this.

The story is all about Zoe who finds herself going to bed after a Christmas night out and waking up in July, six months previous. All she knows is that no-one will believe her crazy story when she hardly believes herself that she has a second chance to redo the last six months!

The plot of the story may sound similar to something you have read before or you might think it will be easy to predict and for the most part it probably was predictable. However, no matter how predictable the story is it’s the journey the story takes you on that counts and this story does not disappoint at all.

Zoe is a great character to read about. She’s unassuming, a little scatty and she’s really genuine. I loved that she was grabbing the opportunity with both hands to change her life for what she thinks is the better. I briefly thought that she was a little bit selfish because she had a leg up over the other characters but when you get to know her boss and Jenny, David’s childhood friend and you get to see just how annoying, and not particularly nice they are toward Zoe you just kind of think you go girl!

Nicola’s writing style totally draws you into the story and lets you feel like you’re reliving the last 6 months right along with Zoe. Nicola flicks between past and present in the story in a way which doesn’t confuse the reader but gives a funny insight to Zoe’s neurotic past behaviour. The ending shocked me slightly, I thought it was a little bit abrupt but then I don’t really know why I didn’t expect that exact ending – I won’t say anymore for fear of spoiling the ending but will let you see what you think yourself!

I’ve not read anything by this author before but it definitely won’t be the last. This book is perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Alexandra Potter and it will have you hooked from the very first page.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Review of Frisky Business by Clodagh Murphy

The bit on the back...

Romy Fitzgerald always planned to go the conventional route: boyfriend, marriage, children. Motherhood via cupboard sex at a costume party with a stranger dressed as Darth Vader didn't feature on her to-do list. But when she gives birth to her son Luke nine months later, he turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to her. 

As Luke gets older however, Romy knows that at some point she's goiong to have to tell him about his father. Trouble is, she never found out 'Darth's' real name. But when an old flame arrives back in her life, the plot thickens. Kit Masterson was always 'the one who got away' and now he's back from New York and seems intent on playing happy families with Romy and Luke. But Kit has his own secrets to hide . . . 

As Romy begins to wonder if she'll ever find her mystery man from the party, she learns that in real life secrets rarely stay hidden, especially when it comes to love. But will Romy find her dark knight or will she be left to raise Luke (Han) solo?

This is the second book of Clodagh's that I've read and after reading Some Girls Do at the start of this year I was on the hunt for more of her work. The blurb of this book caught my eye and it sounded like it would be right up my street.

The story is all about main character Romy and her search for her son Luke's father. All she knows is that an encounter with Darth Vader at last year's Halloween party has turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her. The story follows her as her search appears to yield her son's true father but when a tangled web of white lies ensues it's not entirely clear who her daddy is.

I really love Irish authors. There is something in the writing, a certain charm that makes you fall in love with the characters and their story. I loved Romy right away, she's hard working and hasn't let becoming a single mother unexpectedly alter her life. She seems to have thrived in the face of it and works really hard to create a perfect life for her son Luke. She's respectable in light of that and I really liked that although she doesn't know Luke's father, she wants to try and find him for all the right reasons.

Although most of the narrative comes from Romy, some of it comes from the other main character Kit. He was Romy's childhood sweetheart and his arrival back in her life plays two important roles in their story, both white lies to protect their respective families. I was a bit wary of Kit at first, I felt like he had an ulterior motive and was hiding something from Romy too, not just his family.

I instantly preferred Kit's brother Ethan character-wise, he seemed honest and endearing. He had a cheeky personality that was flirty enough to be innocent as well as sexy. I loved how he added another element to the story. The other characters that surround Kit and Romy are Romy's best friend and her brother. They added a comedy element to the quite serious storyline of finding Luke's father, keeping it light hearted.

As the title suggests, there is some frisky business involved throughout the story but a lot of it is from a character you wouldn't expect! Clodagh writes about sex in a romantic way injecting a balance of love and fun into it and has introduced some riskier and unexpected aspects that will have you laughing along with Romy

I love how Clodagh draws you into her characters, into their relationships with each other and into the story as a whole. I am so glad that I've started reading her novels and I'm looking forward to the next one!

Irish Author Event - Some Girls Do by Clodagh Murphy giveaway!!

At the beginning of this year I read a book by an author I'd never heard of before called Some Girls Do. The author of that book was Clodagh Murphy, an Irish author whose book was published by Hachette Ireland.

After reading and reviewing the book I struck up a relationship with both Clodagh and Hachette and that is how I have came by two paperback copies of Some Girls Do to giveaway. You can enter using the widget below! This giveaway is open internationally too!

You can check out my review of Some Girls Do by clicking here, or if you've already read it, check out my interview with Clodagh here.

Come back later today for my review of another of Clodagh's novels - Frisky Business.

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Irish Author Event! Review of After The Wedding by Roisin Meaney

The bit on the back…

It's the beginning of May on the island of Roone and Nell Mulcahy, having called off her wedding to the handsome Tim Baker, has finally admitted her love for his brother James - a love everyone else on the island recognised long before she did. Now Nell is setting off for County Clare, to a church overlooking the sea, to say 'I do' to the Mr. Baker she was meant for all along.

But when James and Nell return to their home after the wedding, they find Roone rocked by the disappearance of a young girl holidaying on the island.

As the summer progresses, and Nell and James navigate the ups and downs of life as a married couple - along with Tim's return to Roone - the search for the girl continues. And the island residents discover that everything can change in a single moment. But will happiness be restored before autumn comes?

Firstly thank you to Hachette Ireland for sending me a copy of this story to review, and also for providing 2 copies for the giveaway at the end of this review – make sure you enter!

The story is set on the island of Roone and is all about it’s inhabitants who form the close knit community. We join the islanders before the wedding of two of the characters, and on returning to the Island after their wedding they return to find the Island has been rocked by a tragedy.

There is something in the writing of Irish authors that lures you into a story and keeps you hooked throughout; a charm in their style. That is no different here. Roisin captures you from the very beginning and firmly imbeds you in the island community.

The story starts with the disappearance of a young girl from a family of holidaymakers and follows the characters through the series of both fortunate and unfortunate events that unfold after it. It portrays the reality of life in a stark contrast to the idyllic island setting.

The story of the missing girl is a constant theme throughout the story, sometimes directly in the search for her and sometimes indirectly in the islanders now looking at life and trying to find more positives. The narrative comes from each of the characters in the main cast and this really helps to create the community atmosphere and the sense of everyone coming together in bad and good times to become stronger.

Based on reading this novel I will definitely be looking out for more from this author. I think you will enjoy this if you have previously enjoyed Zoe Miller and Penny Vincenzi novels.

Enter the giveaway to win one of two copies of this book below! Open internationally! 

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Blog Anniversary Giveaway Part 2

Time for some more blog anniversary giveaway-ness! Giveaway part two comes courtesy of Cara at Harlequin so a massive thank you to her!

There are a total of ten books up for grabs, 5 copies of Better Than Chocolate and 5 copies of The Cottage on Juniper Ridge both written by Sheila Roberts! Read more about the books and enter the giveaway below!

Better Than Chocolate (Icicle Falls, 1)

The bit on the back...

How sweet it isn’t!

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they’re about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it?

After Samantha does some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They’ll have a chocolate festival! Time’s running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town’s behind them, so everything’s bound to go smoothly....

Or not. Events seem to be conspiring against Samantha, and her mother’s attempts to help aren’t helping. To make matters worse, the fate of her company is in the hands of her archenemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with the football-hero good looks. It’s enough to drive her to chocolate. But Blake’s also enough to convince her that (believe it or not) there’s something even better than chocolate.

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge (Icicle Falls, 2)

The bit on the back...

How to Change Your Life…

Jen Heath is inspired to leave her stressful, overcommitted city life and move to Icicle Falls, where she rents a lovely little cottage on Juniper Ridge. This is somewhere she can enjoy simple pleasures—like joining the local book club—and complicated ones, like falling in love with her sexy landlord, Garrett Armstrong.

Her sister Toni is ready for a change, too. She has a teenage daughter who never wants to be with her family, a husband who’s more involved with his computer than he is with her, and a son whose life revolves around video games. Toni wants her family to grow closer—to return to a simpler way of life.

But sometimes life simply happens. It doesn’t always happen simply!

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Blog Anniversary Giveaway - Part 1!

Happy 1st Blog Anniversary to me! To celebrate I am hosting two massive giveaways today in conjunction with seven Harper Impulse authors and Cara over at Harlequinn!

The giveaways today are in two parts and you can enter the two giveaways in the part 1 now!

**drum roll please**

Giveaway Number 1!

An itunes voucher to redeem an ecopy of the following books!

The High Street Bride's Guide by Samantha Birch - learn more
The Best Thing I Never Had by Erin Lawless - learn more
Secrets In The Shadows by Hannah Emery - learn more

Enter here to win!

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Giveaway Number 2!

An ecopy of the following books!

By My Side by Wendy Lou Jones - learn more

Sound Bites by Rachel K Burke - learn more

One Kiss by Lisa Fox - learn more

Enter here to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One lucky winner will also receive this gorgeous beaded bookmark by Eve Devon.

!!Blog Tour!! One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin

The bit on the back...

‘Is there really such a thing as a perfect proposal?

Over the next hundred days I intend to find out. I will find one hundred ways to propose to our Chief Proposer Suzie McKenzie and post the results here for your enjoyment. One thing’s for sure, not one of my proposals will be on top of the Eiffel Tower with a dozen red roses.’

Best friends Suzie and Harry are partners in romance. That is, they run, coming to the aid of would-be grooms to create the ultimate marriage proposal.

But when Harry decides to catapult the business into the big leagues with a PR stunt all Suzie can see is a hundred days of heartbreak stretching ahead of her. But however exotic the location, or breath-takingly romantic the setting, Suzie has to keep remembering that ‘Marry Me?’ is the one question she can’t say yes to.

This business proposal should come with one hundred broken heart warnings...

One hundred proposals, one hundred chances to say yes.

This is Holly's second Carina published novel, you can read the review of her first novel, The Guestbook here. When I was asked if I wanted to be a part of the blog tour for Holly's new novel I was delighted to accept so thank you to Holly and the Gosling Girls for asking me to take part and for sending me the ARC for review!

When we book bloggers review books, we take everything into account - the characters, the plot, the editing, the writing style - to name a few, but we also have a look at the cover. How gorgeous is the cover for this book? I mean seriously, it's romantic and summery which completely resonates with the story.

The story follows main character Suzie who is in the wedding business with her best friend Harry. Not the usual wedding business, but the pre-party to it all - the proposal. The two friends go off on the hunt the perfect proposal, assuming such a thing exists.

Suzie is the narrator throughout the whole story. I liked this because you could really get to know her and build up an empathy with her. She's been through the mill recently, and that sets an emotional tone throughout the story. I like her relationship with Harry, and while it's platonic, I felt like their connection was much deeper then just friends.

Although Suzie tells the story, Harry has some interaction with the readers through a blog about all of his attempts at the perfect proposal. His sections of the book reveal some of the planning behind the proposals but also reveal some of his true feelings. I was also over the moon to find that one of the fictional blog readers who had left a comment was named after me!

While the main theme of the story is love, Holly touches on some other emotions throughout. The loss and heartbreak is written with a delicate touch, pushing ugly realities into the fore and addressing the issues that can arise after bereavement. There is a depth in her characters that welcomes you to their story and allows you to totally immerse yourself in Holly's stories and that is something that is prevalent in anything of her's that I've read. Another common feature is Holly's great sense of humour. This book will have you laughing out loud, crying with the characters and falling in love with the story.

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. Her short story Beneath The Bay Bridge is in this year’s Sunlounger 2 anthology

Monday, 23 June 2014

Blog Anniversary Giveaway Preview

Tomorrow is my one year Blog Anniversary which I keep calling my blog birthday - I'm not sure what the right term is? Maybe both? Anyway I am so excited to have finally reached one year and I can't actually believe that it has gone so fast! Tomorrow is going to be full of giveaways and a fabulous blog tour is stopping by too so make sure you check that out too! I've decided to give you all a little preview of the HarperImpulse authors featuring in tomorrow's giveaway!

 Samatha Birch, author of The High Street Bride's Guide (Review)

About Samatha 

So far I¹m the author of one book: The High-Street Bride's
Guide. I¹ve written about dresses, bridesmaids and cake toppers for Brides
and You & Your Wedding, and regularly contribute to the likes of GLAMOUR and
Love Baking ­ often while eating cake in my pyjamas. I live with my husband
in a chaotically untidy flat in Letchworth, which I pretend is an artfully
unkempt writer¹s loft in St. Albans.

Author links: 
Twitter (me): @SamBirchWriter
Twitter (wedding advice/the book): @HighStreetBride

Hannah Emery, author of Secrets in the Shadows (Review)

About Hannah

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I love writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. I studied English at the University of Chester, England and I now work in a College where I mentor degree students. My favourite things in life are my family, my friends, books, exciting makeup products, champagne and dinner dates, zoo trips with my little girl, cosy weekends away and watching things like Gossip Girl and Sex and the City.

Author links:
Twitter: @hannahcemery

Wendy Jones, author of By My Side

The bit on the back...

Betrayed by her boyfriend and best friend, Lena is left empty; trapped under a weight of guilt and loneliness. Then, at her lowest point and when she needs it most, a mysterious stranger comes into her life with a tale of friendship, family, and finding love in the most unexpected of places…

Katy Heath is definitely not thinking of love when she comes across consultant, Adam Elliott, berating some poor patient on the ward one day. In fact it is Dr Peter Florin who quickly has everyone’s hearts aflutter with his easy smiles and practised charm.

Yet Katy comes to realise that there’s more to Adam than his determination to push everyone away and it’s not long before she finds herself longing to reach out to touch the man within, healing the pain of his past.

As Lena is drawn into Katy’s story, she begins to learn – just as Katy does - that the course of true love never did run smooth.

About Wendy

My name is Wendy Lou Jones. I was born and raised in West Sussex, England and moved to Birmingham to study Medicine at University, where I was lucky enough to meet my husband. We now live in a little village in Herefordshire with our two grubby boys. I discovered a love of writing not long after my youngest son started school. And if you were to ask me what it was that made me make the switch, I’d tell you quite simply, that it started with a dream.

Author links:
Twitter: @WendyLouWriter
Multi-store buy link:

Lisa Fox, author of One Kiss 

The bit on the back...

Sometimes one kiss can change everything.

New Year's Eve is supposed to be a night for celebration and new beginnings. For best friends Kat and Dean, it is a nightmare filled with disastrous dates and enraged ex-girlfriends!

Lucky for them, they've got each other to help laugh off the embarrassing, and downright inappropriate, moments. But then midnight rolls around and neither of them have anyone to kiss...

There's no doubt this is a night they will always remember.

The real question is whether it will be a night they want to forget...

About Lisa

World-renowned neurosurgeon, jet fighter pilot, secret member of American royalty, seducer of legions of beautiful,outrageously sexy angels and demons and vampires and werewolves and the occasional pirate, Lisa Fox has done it all - in her own mind. In reality, she can generally be found at her desk with a cup of coffee close at hand. Or maybe a martini. It really depends on the day.
Feedback, comments, opinions, words of wisdom, chocolate cake and the addresses of super hot men are always appreciated and encouraged. Please feel free to contact Lisa any time.

Author Links:
Twitter: @LisaFoxRomance

Eve Devon, author of Her Best Laid Plans (Review)

About Eve

Growing up in locations like Botswana and Venezuela gave me quite the taste for adventure and my love for romances began when my mother shoved one into my hands in a desperate attempt to keep me quiet during TV coverage of the Wimbledon tennis finals! When I wasn’t consuming books by the bucketload, I could be found pretending to be a damsel in distress or running around solving mysteries and writing down my adventures. As a teenager, I wrote countless episodes of TV detective dramas so the hero and heroine would end up together every week. As an adult, I worked in a library to conveniently continue consuming books by the bucketload, until realising I was destined to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense myself. I live in leafy Surrey in the UK, a book-devouring, slightly melodramatic, romance-writing sassy heroine with my very own sexy hero husband!

Author Links:
Twitter: @Eve Devon

Rachel K Burke, author of Sound Bites (Review)

About Rachel

Rachel discovered she wanted to be a writer at the age of ten, when her love of R.L. Stine murder mystery novels inspired her to start writing her own.

In 2008, she began freelance writing for several magazines including Prevention, Jamsbio and Worcester Magazine.

Rachel graduated from Bridgewater University in 2011 with a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies. She currently resides in Santa Monica, CA.

For more information on Rachel and her upcoming fiction, please visit

Author Links:
Twitter: @RachelKBurke

Erin Lawless, author of The Best Thing I never Had

The bit on the back...

‘So much more than a love story, more of a life story.’

Five years ago at university they had been seven friends that laughed hard and loved harder.

Nicky and Miles were the couple that were always meant to be… Leigha and Adam, not so much…

So when Adam and Harriet grew close during endless days in the library, they did the one thing that changed everything – they kept a secret. And when it came out, it all fell apart.

When the day comes for bridesmaids to be chosen and best men to fulfil drunken promises, Nicky and Miles’ wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion – loaded with past hurts, past regrets, past loves…

The Best Thing I Never Had is in turns funny and sad, but always honest, about friendship in all its forms and the practicality of second chances.

If you fell in love with Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me at Hello and David Nicholls’ One Day, then this stunning debut book is for you.

Author links:
Twitter: @rinylou

Irish Author Event! Review of A Husband's Confession by Zoe Miller

The bit on the back…

A deserted laneway.

A hit and run accident.

Two families will never be the same . . .

Max and Ali Kennedy own a renowned artisan bakery in Dublin's creative quarter. Max has given Ali everything she ever wanted - marriage, children and security. Now, her biggest fear is that her precious family will be taken away from her.

Across the city, Finn and Jo Kennedy live a life of responsibility and success - far removed from the carefree couple they were when they first met in Australia twenty years ago. But in the best of marriages, appearances can be deceiving.

When a tragic accident befalls one of the families, a long-buried secret between the Kennedy brothers comes to the surface and a house of lies comes tumbling down.

As the couples discover life-changing truths about their marriages, they must make a decision - to forgive, to forget or to move on?

Firstly thank you to Hachette Ireland for sending me my first Zoe Miller novel! I posted a picture of my book post on twitter and a lot of people commented on the picture telling me how they’d enjoyed this book and Zoe’s other books so I was eager to make a start!

The story is set in Dublin, Ireland and is all about the Kennedy brothers Max and Finn and their two families.
The prologue sets you up for what you can kind of expect of the rest of the book storyline-wise. However it’s not quite as simple as you might think at first because the character in the prologue is unidentified so the element of mystery is imbedded into the story right from the beginning. That really sets the tone for the rest of the story as I felt like I was always guessing what was going to happen next, and then re-evaluating my first guess after new information came to light.

The story is told in two parts. The first part, takes place before the event described in the prologue and the second part is after that event. The characters take it in turns to narrate the story which kept the story telling fresh and I felt like it involved you more as a reader because you were getting to know all of the sides to the one story. Some parts of the story come from the children of the family which adds an innocence to what is quite a distressing storyline and there are some other scenes included where the narrator is unidentified keeping the air of mystery present throughout.

There are some parts of the story which give you some insight into past of the two families. These are interspersed throughout the character’s present day lives which added a depth to the story which wouldn’t have existed without the build-up these insights give you. I loved the contrasts that could be drawn by having these “past” scenes and they help you to invest yourself in the lives of the characters.

The title of the book, “A Husband’s Confession” had me anticipating the confession of one husband throughout, however it wasn’t clear who would be confessing and just exactly what they would be confessing until well into the last half of the book. At several points I felt like I had started to join up the dots but another piece of the story was revealed throwing my guess out of the window.

I really enjoyed being pulled into the storyline and surrounding myself with the characters and their stories. I’m glad to have been introduced to a new author in Zoe and I will definitely be looking out for more from her in the future! 

Hachette Ireland have been very kind to offer two copies of this book for you to win! Please enter below for your chance to win A Husband's Confession.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Review of Catch My Breath by Lynn Montagano

The bit on the back...

Lia Meyers' plan for a relaxing Scottish vacation is short-lived when one uncharacteristic moment of clumsiness lands her in the arms of her very own Knight in Shining Armani…

The perfect opportunity for a much needed holiday romance? Wrong! Lia’s still reeling from the mother of all bad breakups, and she really doesn't have the patience for Alastair Holden – despite his effortless charm and cute British accent!

Arrogant and totally inscrutable, he's exactly the sort of guy she wants to avoid but can't: the man behind the mystery proves just too tempting to resist.

Drawn to him, Lia is forced to battle with her own insecurities, and the closer they become, the more she recognizes her own weaknesses as she peels away his layers with every night they spend together. Discovering the past Alastair is so desperate to conceal, Lia must decide if they can heal one another together or if their deepest fears will tear them apart.

Firstly thank you to NetGalley and Harper Impulse for approving me for a review copy of this book. I requested it at the same time I requested Crazy, Undercover, Love by Nikki Moore. If you've liked either one of these you will like the other.

The story is all about MC Lia. She comes to Scotland for her sister's wedding and to escape from her crazy ex boyfriend and his stalker-ish tendencies. There she meets Alastair and is drawn to his charm.

This was a really weird read for me at first because of the setting of the story! It's set between Glasgow and Orlando, I'm from a town near Glasgow but I was actually holidaying in Orlando when I read it! Also, the football ground in the story happens to be based on my boyfriend's team which I suspected throughout but wasn't entirely sure until I read more about Lynn's inspiration for the story on the Harper Impulse website.

Lia is the narrator throughout the story which is good because we get to know her really well, but it also deepens the mystery behind Alastair and his character. The only thing that disappointed me with Alastair was that he himself wasn't Scottish! 

Lia is generally quite easy going and pretty easy to get to like. She has a rather nasty relationship history and Alastair seems to be like the antidote for that. He's a complex characters with a past and baggage of his own. He has the whole "don't do relationships" thing going on but we all know they all say that until the right woman comes along. The relationship between Alastair and Lia isn't all hearts and flowers though. The start of their relationship is really quick which I think causes some of the upset later when the characters don't know everything about each other and haven't really had the chance to develop a fuller relationship.

The story is quite fast paced as the characters cross the Atlantic a few times to be with each other but as I've said isn't without it's mishaps which creates a depth to the story and makes for an interesting read. I will definitely be looking out for more from Lynn after reading this.

Book News - Ivy Lane Part 2 - Summer by Cathy Bramley

The bit on the back...

Romance ripens at Ivy Lane . . .

Tilly Parker is feeling happier than she has done since her life completely changed nearly two years ago. As she flourishes under the summer sun, she throws herself into life at Ivy Lane, complete with strawberry planting, chinwags with Gemma and cups of tea with Alf.

And excitement reaches fever pitch when a TV crew descends to capture life inside a modern-day allotment, bringing out the best (new wellies and lipstick) and the worst (parsnip rivalry) in them all.

As Tilly's broken heart slowly mends, she attracts the attention of not one but two suitors - but is Tilly ready for romance and what secrets is she still keeping from her friends at Ivy Lane?

Release Date: 3rd July 2014

Publisher: Transworld Digitan

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Review of Confessions of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

The bit on the back...

Verbier. Exclusive Swiss ski resort and the winter playground of the rich and famous = every chalet girl’s dream!

Good for:

Maximum time on the ski slopes – and in the bars at night!

Looking for flings – or looking for rings!

Super hot snowboarders such as Luxury Chalet Experiences owner Scott Hamilton…

But not for Holly Buchanan. This accidental chalet girl won’t drink, can’t ski – and isn’t there to hook up with any man who’s only interested in making her another notch on his ski pole. Or so she thinks!

Scott’s living life to full, both on and off the piste, and Holly can’t help but find his attitude just a little bit infectious… And the hook up? Well,she’s going to have to confess that one night with her boss just won’t be enough!

So pack your salopettes and pour another shot of Jägermeister, it’s time to hit the slopes.

The reason I downloaded this book was because it was free on Amazon, and after having luck with another free Harper Impulse title I thought I'd try it. It is the first in Lorraine Wilson's Ski Season series. The other books aren't free but they are low cost. There are no full length novels, only novellas like this one. It has 112 pages so it was a really quick read. 

The novella is about chalet girl Holly who took the job solo even though it was meant to be a dual effort between her and her friend, but since her friend fell pregnant she had the choice to go skiing or go home.

I know some people aren't fans of novellas because you don't get to know the characters well enough, or because the story isn't long enough. Here though the story is dual POV between chalet girl Holly and chalet owner, and boss, Scott. This really allows you to get a quick impression of them both and also allows you to have  a two sided story which creates the effect of a longer book.

The story is pretty predictable but that doesn't ruin the fun of it throughout. I loved that it was a quick read because it's ideal for holiday reading when you don't need to have that much concentration to enjoy the story.   

Book News - The Beach Hut Next Door by Veronica Henry

The bit on the back...

Summer appeared from nowhere that year in Everdene . . . and for those lucky enough to own one of the beach huts, this was the summer of their dreams.

For Elodie, returning to Everdene means re-awakening the memories of one summer fifty years ago. A summer when everything changed.

Vince and his brother are struggling to come to terms with the death of their father - but they have very different ways of coping. 

And for Jenna, determined to put the past behind her, the opportunity to become 'the ice cream girl' once again might just turn her life around.

But this summer is not all sunshine and surf - as secrets unfold, and some lives are changed for ever...

Release Date: 3rd July 2014

Publisher: Orion

Friday, 20 June 2014

Review of Beyond Grace's Rainbow by Carmel Harrington

The bit on the back...

When Grace is diagnosed with cancer her best chance of survival is to find a bone marrow transplant from a family member. Only Grace is adopted and her one previous attempt to connect with her birth mother resulted in bitter disappointment.

But with her young son, Jack, to think about, and the return of her ex Liam, Jack’s father, reminding her of feelings she’d thought she’d buried long ago, Grace refuses to give up hope just yet. With the help of her friends she bravely embarks on a journey of discovery.

This search will bring her from her home in vibrant Dublin to the unspoilt beauty of Wexford where she must unravel a web of lies and deceit that has spanned over thirty years.

Firstly let me say I have just been completely blown away by this book. I have so much I want to say about it and trying to make sure I can do it justice is going to be hard.

The story is about single mother Grace, who after suffering flu symptoms discovers she actually has cancer. The story follows her journey from her diagnosis through her family history in search of answers she's never needed to find more than now.

I've had this in my TBR for a while, I've been aware of it longer than I've had it in my pile and that's all down to following Carmel on twitter and down to her fans singing her praises so highly. I downloaded the book when it was on offer but even at its current price of £2.48 for the ebook from Amazon you are walking away with an absolute bargain. It was only recently that I'd actually read the blurb and found out what the book was about and just decided on a whim to bump it up the queue the other night. 

This story is a tearjerker, your Kleenex warning starts here. I am a crier anyway but I really think you will find it almost impossible to read without shedding a few tears throughout. 

Carmel gets straight to the point with Grace's story. We learn immediately of her diagnosis and a little of her prognosis too. She's a single mother who has already suffered through some tragic family circumstances and the fact that she has now been diagnosed with leukaemia is the unthinkable cherry on top of her cake. 

The cast of characters in this story really make it. Grace has a strong (and eclectic) support network around her that lift her up in the downs and keep her spirits lifted with their own dramatic lives. I loved that while Grace and her story obviously take centre stage, we get to learn about the lives of the other characters and how life absolutely has to go on even in the face of illness. My favourite character aside from Grace was Liam. His reappearance couldn't have came at a better time even though it might have been sucky to begin with. I loved his passion to prove he'd changed and was ready to support and love Grace and Jack like he should.

The story is told in third person and rotates through all of the characters close to Grace, including some snippets from her son, Jack's perspective. I loved the innocence and childlike perspective of the impact of the changes in his life.

Cancer is present in almost everyone's lives in some way. Reading about it and the suffering associated with it, both on the patient and their family is hard enough but to write about the tragedy of it is brave. It's brave because you have to be delicate, you have to tread carefully through the abundance of emotions that surround the illness, you have to be truthful and face the sometimes ugly reality of it and you have to be aware of not undermining or downgrading the importance of every aspect of the illness. 

I absolutely take my hat off to Carmel for having such a difficult subject matter in her debut novel and for writing so eloquently and poignantly about it. I have been left totally captivated by Carmel's writing style which had an easy charm and quiet beauty to it. I've been fortunate to be approved for a review copy of her second novel "The Life You Left" which I am going to start straight away.