Monday, 29 September 2014

Review - Herbal Essences Clearly Naked Volume

I am a stickler for using the same shampoo and the reason for that is when I was about 15 my hair started to change and almost decided by itself that it stopped liking the shampoo and conditioner I was using. I found that using a cream shampoo as opposed to a gel shampoo would leave my hair feeling matt like, dull and it just felt like no matter how much I would rinse it, there was always a build up of shampoo in my hair. This has never happened before but I think it must have been down to my hormones.

Since then I have stuck rigidly to gel shampoos and my current shampoo is Herbal Essences Uplifting Volume. Right now I have quite long hair and I'm in an unfortunate cycle of having to wash it every day finding that I don't have the perseverance to try and train it otherwise. I feel the benefits of a volume shampoo as it keeps my hair looking fuller for longer.

With all of that said everything goes to absolute pot when I go on holiday. I don't know if it's something to do with the change in the water or what it is but I find that I can't use my regular shampoo when I'm away. Usually I switch it up and use Aussie, mainly because I really love the packaging and scent of the shampoo but this year the new Herbal Essences Clearly Naked collection was already on the market in the US.

In the spirit of trying to keep with the same shampoo I thought I'd try it and I loved it. Now Herbal have brought out their Clearly Naked range here and today I bought myself a bottle of both the shampoo and conditioner. Two of the things I most love about this range is the volume element I really look for in a shampoo and the smell. It is so fresh! The white grapefruit and mint extracts give off a lovely, fresh scent during and after the wash and it lasts all day. I love that the range is promoted as 0% and is basically stripped right back. I think this helped to keep my hair fresh on holiday and combated the chemicals from the pool and the change in the water.

The packaging and colours resonate with the Clearly Naked brand and that really appealed to me too. There is also a Moisture and Shine collection if you've already got that volume going on!

This month's Cosmopolitan has a freebie tester of both it you like to try before you buy. Boots have an offer just now for 3 for 2. There are three products in the range, the third is a dry shampoo but the shampoo and conditioner are £3.99 each. Asda had both for £2 so definitely a better deal to be had there.

Book News - Rowdy (Marked Men, 5) by Jay Crownover

The bit on the back...

After the only girl he had ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules – and no fun allowed. She left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Now, fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago…

Release Date: 23rd October 2014

Publisher: Harper

Friday, 26 September 2014

Blog Tour! After by Anna Todd

The bit on the back…

Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She's got direction, ambition, and a mother who's intent on keeping her that way.

But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to.
But he's also rude - to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin and she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before.

He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn’t the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper.

Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her?

Unless…could this be love?

Firstly a huge thank you to Kate and the team at The Hot Bed for sending me a copy of this to review and inviting me to join the blog tour! This is Anna’s debut novel, being published after it’s astounding success on Wattpad. Congratulations Anna!

This story is all about main character Tessa. Tessa is off to college seeking the perfect college experience to live up to the expectations of her mother and her boyfriend and immediately she is confronted with her new roomie Steph and her gang of tattooed and pierced friends.

At first I really liked the sound of this book and I loved the college setting. New adult is one of my favourite genres right now so it seemed to be right up my street. Tessa is the epitome of a good girl. She’s straight laced and conforms to every whim of her overbearing and controlling mother. She seems very naïve and inexperienced in terms of life outside of her mother’s protective bubble. I liked this about Tessa at first, that she was going to have all these new experiences at college and she was going to do some real developing as a girl into a young woman. Unfortunately my opinion of her changed a little but I’ll get to that.

Tessa meets Steph’s English friend Hardin and immediately there is this pull between the characters, even though Tessa has a boyfriend. Hardin is cocky to the point of pretty annoying, gorgeous and he knows it and is basically as moody and quite frankly as unpredictable as a person can be. His attitude is sort of sexy in this dark “I know I shouldn’t like this but I do” kind of way. He’s addictive to read about and I’m convinced that’s partly down to the palpable tension between Tessa and him.

Tessa and Hardin embark on this complicated non-friendship which bats back and forth between love and hate depending on Hardin’s current mood and whether Tessa has done something that in Hardin’s eyes merits him to be pissed off at her. He was irrational and demanding and I actually started to like that side of his character a little bit less. Although this to-ing and fro-ing between the two characters being happy together and fighting did get a bit repetitive throughout the course of the 550+ pages there is something more about Hardin’s character revealed every time.

Hardin’s character is complex and as more and more of his personality is revealed throughout the book you get to understand why he acts the way he does – although it doesn’t justify it – to situations that make him uncomfortable or angry. The narrative is emotional and will have you up and down and all over the place right alongside Tessa.

The story is loosely based on the band members of One Direction – the main character having the same initials – but don’t let this put you off. Although I did find it difficult to read the story for a few pages because I had Harry Styles in my head I did get past it and enjoy the story for what it was. The sex scenes between the characters seemed to be pitched at quite a common level with new adult stories and I liked that about it. I liked that this upheld the idea of Tess getting a whole new set of experiences at college.

As I’ve mentioned my opinion of Tessa changed and that’s because she strings more than one guy along in the story and I kind of found myself not condoning that. On the whole though I found I was completely spellbound really for want of another word by the story of Tessa and Harden and I found that I couldn’t put the book down without reading just one more page which turned into at least 20 each time. I will be checking out the rest of the series and I will probably keep this to reread in the future.

Release Date: 21/10/14

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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Guest Post - Alice Peterson

Alice Peterson, author of Monday to Friday Man and most recently One Step Closer To You joins me today with a guest post on knowing what to write! Check out my review of One Step Closer To You which is out today, happy publication day Alice!


Other than thinking up a title, I find the actual ‘what am I going to write about?’ one of the hardest things about being an author. One of my friends, Diana Beaumont, my old editor and now a literary agent, once gave me some great advice after I’d showed her one of my outlines. She read it ominously quietly, before putting the piece of paper down. ‘Alice, you’ve got to think of something you feel passionate about because that story and all the characters in it will become your company for the next year to eighteen months. This…’ She gestured to my outline, ‘isn’t you’.

She was right. I had embarked on a story about four mothers juggling careers with raising their children, but in the end, deep down, I couldn’t relate to it enough – Diana had seen right through me. It’s an important and interesting subject but it didn’t feel like ‘me’. I was trying to write something someone might like to read, rather than feeling so passionate about a subject that I was driven to write a story about it.

I know when I’m on to something because I wake up in the middle of the night, having to jot down an idea. While I’m swimming lengths I’m thinking about the plotline. While writing One Step Closer To You I had an idea about the twist while I was swimming backstroke and in my excitement I nearly drowned! And who knew traffic jams could be such a great place to work on dialogue in my head? I must look like a fool acting out scenes in the car but who cares? Everyone knows writers are a little mad. If the idea is right I become consumed by the story; I eat, sleep and breathe with my characters. I feel their disappointment, their jealousy or their nerves on a date. In my latest novel I became Polly, my vulnerable heroine. I imagined a Ben in my life and being a single mum to Louis. I tried to put myself in Polly’s shoes: what would I do if my first love returned? I missed the characters desperately when I’d finished.

But I still haven’t told you how I think up the idea… each book has been different. By My Side was inspired by a magazine piece on Canine Partners, Monday to Friday Man by Darcy and my dog walking friends, Ten Years On was sparked by a conversation about a young woman divorcing and having to return to her parent’s home for support. All it takes is that one idea, that one moment of sitting next to someone at a supper party or eavesdropping a conversation on the tube and a small spark becomes a flame. With One Step Closer To You I met someone through a friend. She was a recovering addict, my age, someone who had nearly lost her home, her independence, her self esteem, her sanity and finally custody of her two children. But she’d pulled herself back together, she was happy, she’d fallen in love again. It got me thinking… and suddenly I had goose bumps down my arms. Addiction? I wanted to know more. I think I have an obsessive gene; it’s probably common in writers…I couldn’t rest until I’d called her to see if she were willing to meet to talk to a nosy old Alice…

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Cover Reveal - The Prophecies by Holly Martin

I am delighted to take part in revealing the cover of the second book in Holly Martin's Sentinel series - The Prophecies! I've been waiting for this book and I'm so glad it's nearly here!

The bit on the back....

The world is a big place, will Eve really be the one to save it?

Eve grows stronger and more powerful every day as she strives to ensure she is ready to face her destiny. But some of her gifts are unwelcome.  Eve's visions of the future become darker and those she loves are in terrible danger. But when her actions result in tragedy, Eve is called before The Oraculum, the council that created her

When she is summoned to their castle she becomes aware of a rift between the council members that not only could endanger her life, but could put the whole planet at risk. Would The Oraculum really turn against her and risk everything?

But in the darkness, a light burns bright. Her love for Seth is stronger than any of her powers.
But as she battles against a new threat, can she really forsake those closest to her in order to save the world?  Will everyone Eve loves survive?

Release Date: 1st October 2014

If you've not read The Sentinel yet (what have you been doing?!?!) you can download it here and check out my review too.

Blog Tour Stop!! Review of A Seductive Melody (Kelly Brothers, 5) by Crista McHugh

The bit on the back…

She has the scoop of a lifetime, but only if she betrays his trust…

Ethan Kelly lost his best friend and bandmate to an overdose, but staying clean is proving harder than he thought it would be. His only safety net during his first weeks of sobriety is fellow recovering addict, Becca. As she guides him through the darkness, he begins to trust her not only with his secrets, but also his heart.

After years of trying to be the daughter her socialite parents wanted her to be (and failing miserably), Rebecca Shore finally has her life on track. Sure, she’s just an assistant at Moderne magazine when she’d rather be pursuing more serious journalism, but it’s a foot in the door. She’s just waiting for the scoop of a lifetime that will take her to the next level. But when she’s asked to help the reclusive and enigmatic rock star, her heart is torn between the career she’s always wanted and the man who bares his soul to her.

Firstly, thank you to Crista and Lisa from Tasty Book Tours for allowing me to be part of the tour for this book. I’ve been part of the tours for the other books and after book 4 I was already anticipating A Seductive Melody.

This is the 5th book in Crista’s Kelly Brothers series and is all about gorgeous rock star Ethan Kelly. Ethan’s world has just been rocked by the tragic death of his best friend and band mate and he finds his own road becoming rocky. In a bid to get back on the straight and narrow he starts trying to pull himself together and in doing so meets Rebecca Shore.

As I said I was already anticipating this book and I’m so glad to have been able to take part with this post today! In the books that have came so far in the series we have always heard a little bit from the other Kelly brothers while the main character’s story was told. In book 4, The Heart’s Game, we were given a glimpse into the situation that Ethan is in with his best friend dying and we kind of know what’s going to be going on starting this story.

I kind of thought that Ethan was going to be my favourite brother so far because there is a lot about him that appeals to me when I’m falling for a book boyfriend! I love the tattoos and the whole music side of his personality and I love that under his bad boy image he is just as good a guy as the rest of his brothers. I would say he has the most likeness to his brother Caleb.

Becca is a strong character and is a good match for Ethan. Although she wasn’t always so strong her life experience has moulded her into the girl that she is. I loved that unlike a lot of supporting characters she actually has struggled with the same things as Ethan and I loved how she was able to help him sort through his feelings and cravings.

The story is fast pace from beginning to end. It was a real page turner for me and I had it finished within an hour so definitely an ideal weekend read! This is my favourite of the series so far, five stars! 

Crista is giving away a $20 Amazon or B&N card! Enter here!

About the Author

Crista McHugh is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING author of fantasy and romance with heroines who are smart, sexy, and anything but ordinary. She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.

Author Links

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Review of Lily Does LA by Nicola Doherty

The bit on the back…

Lily is an actress. At least, that's what she tells people, even though she's currently working in a call centre and her last big part was an ad for Sofa Warehouse. So when she's invited to her cousin Alice's wedding in LA, it's a dream come true. Alice's fiancé Sam is actually a Hollywood agent; how can Lily fail to get talent-spotted? There's only one problem; not only is Lily banned from mentioning acting, parts or producers to Sam, she's expected to spend the entire week doing wedding-related prep (read: chores) with Sam's boring groomsman Jesse. But Lily firmly believes that rules were made to be broken ...

Firstly thank you to Headline for approving me for a copy of this to review via NetGalley. This is the second instalment in Nicola Doherty’s fabulous Girls on Tour series. The series started off with Poppy Does Paris and you can find my review here.

This is the story of Lily, a struggling British actress, and her adventures in LA helping her cousin out with her imminent wedding.

I really enjoyed Poppy Does Paris and was already anticipating the second part in the series. Lily is instantly likeable as a character. She’s trying so hard to make her mark as an actor (as she prefers to be called) and is working her way through temp job after temp job. The first scene with Lily sets the tone for the rest of what is a fun read.

I loved the contrast between Lily’s home life and her adventure in LA. She’s had tragedy in her life and really her home life sort of just felt grey. Dull, uninspiring and hard work. Her holiday in LA couldn’t be more different with its exciting atmosphere and the feeling of vitality. The description of LA completely transports you there and even though I’ve not been (yet!) I definitely could imagine myself there.

Lily manages to get herself up to all sorts in the short period of time that she’s in LA which will have you laughing out loud, falling in love and feeling all emotional. I loved the wedding planning and I loved seeing all of Lily’s plans finally coming together. I loved the development of her character throughout and the definite difference and growth you could see in her towards the end of the book.

There are another 3 parts to this series and I’m really looking forward to continuing. Fans of Lindsey Kelk will really love the characters and the settings in the series so far and I think that fans of Paige Toon will also enjoy it

Release Date: 25th September 2014

Monday, 22 September 2014

Review of One Step Closer To You by Alice Peterson

The bit on the back…

After Polly ends her relationship with the father of her young son, Louis, she is determined to move on. All she wants is to focus on her job, her friends and to be a good mum. No more looking over her shoulder. No more complications . . .

Then Polly meets Ben.

Ben is guardian of his niece, Emily. They become close, with Polly teaching Ben how to plait Emily's hair, and Ben playing football with Louis. Their friendship is unexpected. Polly’s never been happier.
But when Louis's dad reappears in their life, all Polly’s mistakes come back to haunt her and her resolve weakens when he swears he has changed.

Will she give herself a second chance to love?

Firstly a massive thank you to Margot from Quercus for sending me a copy of this book to review! A thank you is also due to Alice for writing a guest post which will be featured on the blog on release day 25th September 2014. This is the second of Alice’s books that I’ve read, the other was Monday to Friday Man which I read a while ago and remember really enjoying so I was looking forward to getting started with this.

This is Polly’s story. Polly is a single mum, raising her son Louis after leaving his abusive father and their abusive and dangerous relationship. Polly is back on her feet, making new friends and seemingly moving on with her life until the reappearance of her ex threatens to set her back.

I read this in less than 24 hours. I started it and just fell completely in love with the story. I was hooked from the beginning immersing myself in this story about overcoming hardship and moving on with life. I quickly devoured the first quarter of the book in less than an hour and finished the book the next day. So beware, you will be gripped by it from the get go.

The novel flicks back and forward to different scenes from Polly’s past and she also tells the story of her present life. I loved the element of mystery that this gave the whole tone of the novel and how this could be felt from the outset. Instantly I felt a connection with Polly, not with some of the darker aspects of her character but with her will to make a great life for her son and I loved that about her. I love how she didn’t make herself out to be hard done to or let her past experiences map out her life in a dark way. I loved the positivity and I could feel that pulsing throughout the story.

The story is fast paced and I think that’s partly due to the time flip element. We get to learn so much about Polly’s character through hearing from her at different ages and I loved how that developed throughout the story. It allows you to invest yourself in the story and really root for Polly.

Polly’s relationship with Ben was great to read. I loved how Polly could help him through his experience with becoming a guardian to his young niece and I loved seeing the change in his character and their relationship dynamic throughout. I loved the air of innocence that Louis and Emily brought to the story which counters some of the darker subjects that are explored in the story.

Alice has written this story with a great narrative from our main character Polly. It’s tender and heart-warming at the same time as it is shocking, scary and intense. I loved the clever mix of emotions that are palpable throughout and really enjoyed being pulled into this story.

I am so glad that I’ve had a chance to read the story and it’s by far the read of the month for me. I think if you’re a fan of Jojo Moyes you might also enjoy this one!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Beauty Tag - What's In My Make Up Bag

It's been on my mind recently about starting to introduce some new posts to my blog and with the return of The Great British Bake Off, I started a series of baking challenge posts which you can check out on my Baking page! I also thought I might enjoy writing some beauty related blog posts. I enjoy using make up and trying different things out but I thought I'd kick off with a starter post - a What's In My Make Up Bag blog tag.

I have three make up bags! I have my everyday bag that has everything I would usually turn to when even putting on basic make up, my sometimes bag which sits beside my everyday bag and has more variations on colour of lip glosses, eye liners, eye shadows and all manner of other girly products, particularly kirbies and hair bands - even though I can never find one when I need it! The third bag that I have is my very occasional bag and it's full of mostly eye shadow palettes that I've had for years but seldom use any more. I'm prone to having a poke through it every couple of month's if I'm looking for something specific though so it sits a few shelves below my other bags!

Here is my everyday make up bag and contents!

Inside my L'Occitaine bag which came as part of a gift set at Christmas is -


Superdrug Vitamin E Radiance Moisture Cream £2.99 - I picked this up a while ago and now use it everytime I apply make up. I use it as a moisturiser/primer before applying foundation. It's great for dry skin and although I have quite oily skin it is prone to feeling dry and tight. It has light reflecting pigments, which even though it sounds like you'll look like Edward Cullen in the sun, gives a slight shimmer as opposed to a glittery finish. It is SPF15 which is great especially on holiday and if only using a powder.

Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Ivory 320 £6.99 - This was a recent purchase and is now an essential. I've never really found a concealer that I've liked before and that's blended well with my skin tone but this is perfect for me. The product is compact and is a twist bottom which automatically applies the concealer to the brush at the top. I usually use this above and immediately below my eyebrows, on the bridge of my nose where my glasses are usually perched, in and around the contours of my nose and dot it on any blemish or problem areas. I usually blend it with my foundation brush but find it just as easy with fingers or a sponge.

Estee Lauder Double Wear in 1N2 Ecru £29.50 - My sister introduced me to this product when we were in Florida where the price was $26 for 30ml. Here it's £29.50 for the same so safe to say we got a bargain. I tried a few of the tones before settling on this one. I usually go for anything that has ivory in it as this tends to go well with my pale Scottish skin but the ecru has a slightly more pinkish tone to it than the more yellowey ivory. I used to use a Rimmel foundation but I absolutely love this Double Wear (even though I always call it Double Face) and love the even coverage that it gives me to then work with. I find it easy to use and it doesn't increase the oily feeling of my skin. It's long lasting and the level of coverage is kept up throughout the day.

Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in 005 Silky Beige £3.99 - I've been using this for years. My sister uses it, my best friend uses it and really I don't know what I'd do without it. I use it straight onto my primer if I'm not applying full foundation or on top of foundation as a setting powder and to reduce any shine in my t-zone. I like the application and the light coverage that it gives.

Maybelline Fit Me Bronzer in Light Bronze - Although this is in my everyday bag I don't use it too often. When I do use it it's for contouring brushing tear drop shapes underneath my cheekbones. I bought this in Florida in the summer - doesn't look like you can buy it here!

Body Shop Baked To Last Blusher in 02 Coral £12.00 - I am a creature of habit and I've had this blusher for a while too. Before I switched to this one, I used a Virgin Vie blusher for ages before it was discontinued :( sad face. Anyway This is a great blusher. It's sort of a two in one as it can be a blusher & highlighter or if you sweep the brush across both you can have the combo blusher. I really like the pigment in this and it lasts quite well.


I don't carry around my eye palettes in my everyday bag because it's so tiny. I love the Urban Decay Naked palettes and I bought new Smashbox and Mac ones recently.

Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion £8.00 - I've been using this for a while too and I love it. The cream is a natural colour which blends well into your eyelids priming them for eye shadow.

Bourjois Liner Feutre in 11 Noir £6.99 - I LOVE THIS EYELINER! Seriously thought I do love it, it completes almost every single look I wear and I find it really easy to use and create a flick. It's a narrow felt tip basically and it applies well in one coat. I like that the tip is fine for a finer line allowing you to slightly slant the tip if you are looking for a thicker line. I really recommend this product.

Bourjois Kohl & Contour in 72 Noir Expert £5.49 and Rimmel Special Eyes in 161 Black Magic £2.99 - I really like both of these and use them along my lower lash line instead of the Bourjois Liner Feutre pen. I use them to make sure that my upper lash line is completely covered where the pen doesn't quite cover.

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara in 001 Black £7.99 - This is another product I've been using for years. I really like the application wand as it allows you to get right into the corner of the eye which I find really hard to do particularly on my upper lash line. It doesn't clump and gives a natural look.


CoverGirl Liplicks Smoochies Lip Balm in Smooch - I bought this while I was in America in the summer and I really like the look of it on. I tend to stick to gloss instead of lip stick but this in between balm gives the look of lip stick with the feel of a balm. I do like to add a streak of gloss over the top and I usually use...

YSL Gloss Volupte in 101 Iridescent £21.00 - I like a lot of things about this gloss! The colour, the feel of it on and the smell too. I usually apply it above the CoverGirl Lip Balm to give it a bit of a slicker look.

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Crystal Gloss in 312 Honey Glaze £14.00  - This is another one that I've had in my make up bag for a while and was actually a recommendation from a friend. I love the look of this on my lips, it's sort of a neutral colour when applied but it does shimmer.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Book News - Third Time Lucky by Pippa Croft

The bit on the back...

'It's Sister Dixon from the Royal Infirmary here. I'm sorry to tell you that Captain Hunt has been involved a serious incident.'

Lauren Cusack should be on her way home for an holiday in Washington before her final term at Wyckham College, Oxford. But this call changes everything. Her relationship with impossibly handsome aristocrat Alexander Hunt has been turbulent and Lauren knows she needs to walk away. Yet now as she rushes to his side she knows she will be inevitably sucked back into his world.

And sure enough, Alexander - even a seriously injured Alexander - is an intoxicating cocktail Lauren cannot resist and despite everything that is sent to thwart them - and with Alexander there is drama at every turn - she finds herself happier than she's ever been.

But as her final term races by, and she is offered the perfect job back in Washington, the impossibility of their romance hits home.

Can there be a future for Alexander and Lauren?

Release Date: 9th October 2014

Publisher: Penguin

Friday, 19 September 2014

Review of The Beginner's Guide to the Birds and the Bees by Sophie Hart

The bit on the back…

Sex therapist Annie Hall helps couples put the fizz back into their relationships. It’s a shame her own love life is non-existent. When Jamie who works next door catches her eye, she can’t ignore the spark of chemistry.

Most men would jump at the chance to skive off work for an afternoon quickie with their gorgeous wife, but Nick knows Julia is after only one thing – a baby. Sex shouldn’t be a chore. Can Annie help Julia see that?

Newly engaged Zoe and Simon can’t keep their hands off each other. They’ve decided to take a vow of celibacy until their wedding night. Will Annie help them stick to it?

Ray and Linda have been married for over thirty years but she’s more interested in the family business than getting intimate with him. Can Annie convince Linda to rediscover her passion for Ray after all this time?

While Annie begins to work her magic with the three couples, she soon discovers that she’ll need to take some of her own advice if she’s going to let a new man into her life.

Firstly thank you to the wonderful guys at Bookouture for sending me a copy of this to review! I’ve been eagerly anticipating Sophie’s second novel after I really enjoyed reading her debut novel The Naughty Girls Book Club – you can get my review of that here and I had a really great interview with Sophie which you can check out here!

The story is all about sex therapist Annie Hall who spends her days working on the love lives of other couples, trying to recapture the romance in their relationships. Annie works with three couples who we hear from in the story, each with their own problems and ideas of their own perfect happy ending.

Annie’s profession is a bit un-traditional! As a sex-therapist she has people drawing all sorts of conclusions about what she does on a daily basis and to be fair I did wonder myself! At heart though Annie is just a massive romantic. I love her optimism and her belief that everyone has a happy ending they just need to find it but she has an almost infuriating lack of being able to apply what she preaches to her own life.

I really enjoyed getting to know each of the three couples and seeing how their own relationship dilemmas had an indirect impact on Annie. By having chapters from their point of view the story is broken up nicely and makes for easy reading with a well-balanced progression throughout the story. 

My favourite couple was probably Zoe and Simon who are seeing Annie for a bit of a different reason than her usual clients and I loved their relationship and the amount of love they had for each other. They are the couple that look perfect on the outside but also have their own problems and I like how that applies to everyone in life when you can take them at face value and never really know what they’re going through.

The story is set in Norwich which isn’t a place that I’ve been to although I’m pretty sure I could go now and recognise different places. I loved the description of the setting to and although I love reading books set in exciting cities I’m glad that the city in the story took a back seat to the story itself.

Throughout we get to see Annie trying to wrangle her own love life into some sort of order and we get to experience the highs and lows that come with it. Annie’s experiences are really relatable and loads of readers will be able to empathise with her.

I found myself feeling really invested in the story, mostly because of how easy I found it to like and relate to Annie. Sophie knows how to write really great chick-lit!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Review of Better Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts

The bit on the back…

The best treat of all...

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations. But now it looks as if they’re about to lose their beloved shop to the bank. How can the town of Icicle Falls possibly cope without the famous Sterling treats? It won’t be easy for Samantha Sterling to save her company, though…

Its fate is in the hands of her arch-enemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with devastating good looks. Which is enough to make her want to eat the entire shop’s contents in one sitting. Yet maybe Blake’s about to convince her that (believe it or not) there’s something even better than chocolate.

Firstly thank you to Cara at MIRA for sending me a signed copy of this book for review. I also gave a few signed copies of this in part of my 1 year blog anniversary so another thank you to Cara for providing them too! This is the first book by Sheila Robert’s that I’ve read and the title definitely intrigued me as a massive chocoholic!

The story is all about Samantha Sterling and her family’s chocolate company – Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company. The death of her step father unveils some rather hard to ignore financial issues and the bank is about to call in the note on her previous family business. The story follows Sam and her family as they try to save the company.

Samantha is very easy to get to know and like and there is an instant sympathy for her as she seems to have been landed with a lot of responsibility, as both the oldest daughter and with the business. Although she seemed to be anxious and quite stressed most of the time I enjoyed seeing her character loosen up a bit, fight for her business and eventually see some of her plans come together.

The story’s villain is local bank manager Blake Preston. Blake used to go to school with Samantha and on first impression she is incredibly sceptical of his ability at the bank. Samantha’s initial impression of grown up Blake rubs off on the reader creating the same level of wariness especially when he doesn’t appear to care about helping Samantha. Blake is every bit the gorgeous guy who has been tagged the bad guy in the story but as the story unfolds it turns out he has a bit of a heroic streak in him.

I loved the development of the story and relationship between Samantha and Blake and how that changed throughout the story. I was 100% on Samantha’s side and was glad to see she didn’t take advantage of the relationship they could have had to save her business.

The story is set in the mountains of Washington State is all about the strength of family and community as the people of Icicle Falls pull together to save their town. I loved the feeling of togetherness throughout the story, and I loved how almost all of the town were on side with Samantha and her ideas to save her company and boost business for all of town’s businesses. The narrative mainly comes from Samantha but throughout we also hear from her mother and sisters, and some other Icicle Falls residents which serves to create the community atmosphere. It was interesting getting everyone’s take on the festival and it helped to build up the festival atmosphere.

The second book in the series is The Cottage on Juniper Ridge and I will definitely be reading this in the near future.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Review of Unravel Me by Lynn Montagano

The bit on the back…

Lia's meant to be on cloud nine: ever since she and Alastair finally confessed their love for one another, their relationship has never been so good.

Her British-born Adonis is all intent on sweeping her off her feet, showering her with gifts and affection more than worthy of the girlfriend of an international, millionaire businessman!

But their past seems to be intent on dragging the both of them down, and the hushed gossip of a dark secret begins to cause havoc to Lia's life...

With an ocean separating her from her love, Lia can't help but wonder if she can ever feel secure with a man who still plays everything so close to his chest, including her.

Firstly thank you to Harper Impulse for approving me for a review copy of this from NetGalley. This is the second book in Lynn Montagano’s debut series. I read the first book Catch My Breath when I was on holiday this year and I really liked the characters and the setting of the story so I was definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

In Unravel Me we rejoin Lia an Alastair at a new stage in their relationship and after finally admitting their feelings in Catch My Breath it seems like all is going to go swimmingly for the characters until Lia’s persistent past keeps poking his head into her present.

One of the things I loved about the first story was the setting as it is set in two main locations – Glasgow and Orlando. I live near Glasgow and I’m always interested to read a story set somewhere near me as I’m never sure if I will find it weird or not! The second city is Orlando which is one of my absolute FAVOURITE places on the planet. I absolutely love Orlando and I love that even though it’s not a popular story setting it was so great to read more about it in a different context.

Lia and Alastair’s relationship was romantic and the chemistry just zinged between them. That carries over into this story too, especially now that the characters have admitted their feelings to each other. Their relationship has stepped up a gear and that original chemistry that they had has only intensified. Alastair is a really protective guy and although he wants to protect Lia from her ex he also tries to protect her from his past which is something that haunted their relationship in the first book.

The story continues at the same fast pace and although you are swept up in the romance between Lia and Alastair, Nathan Lia’s ex brings a darker side to the story by trying to disrupt the couple’s happy relationship. Nathan is slippery and everything you would expect from an ex who just couldn’t let it go. He part in the story always felt a bit sinister even though he tried to convince Lia he was doing everything in her best interests.

This is another page turner and I finished it over a couple of sittings. I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Review of When I Break by Kendall Ryan

The bit on the back…

Knox Bauer's life has unraveled to the point of no return. Fighting to fill the emptiness inside himself, he seeks solace in unfamiliar beds with unfamiliar women. As guardian to his three younger brothers, this can't go on...they look up to him in every way and all he’s done lately is prove how messed up he really is. Needing a change, he attends a local Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting, where he finds himself tempted by the alluring instructor, McKenna.

Twenty-one year old McKenna is trying to make amends. After losing her parents in a horrific accident, she knows if she can just be good enough, maybe she can forgive herself for what happened. With her newly acquired degree in counseling, she begins leading a sex addicts group where she meets the troubled Knox and her life takes on complications she never bargained for. She doesn't have time for a bad boy who only wants to take her to bed, even if her body disagrees. The fixer in her wants to help, but trusting Knox's true motivations might take more courage than she has.

I bought this book ages ago mainly because I was attracted to the cover. I only discovered New Adult as a genre when I started blogging and I really, really enjoy it so this seemed like the perfect read for me.

Knox Bauer has a lot of responsibilities in his life and likes to blow off steam by sleeping his way through his town. In a bid to change his ways and to prevent his younger brothers from following in his footsteps he enrols in his local Sex addicts Anonymous meeting where he’s introduced to McKenna who turns out to be just as damaged as he is.

Everything about Knox, right down to his name screams bad boy and I was ready to fall head over heels for him. And I did. His past is a bit heart-breaking with a dead mother and an absent father he has the responsibility of bringing up his three younger siblings on his shoulders. Although he’s got the whole bad boy exterior he seems like a genuine guy trying his hardest to do right by his little family unit. I loved that sense of ownership and responsibility he had and could totally get on side with him trying to blow off some of the steam that came with that.

McKenna is a completely different character to Knox. She volunteers and thrives on helping others, specifically sex addicts and that’s how she meets Knox. She’s had her own share of hardship with the tragic loss of her parents at a young age and she has such a rock steady character to use that hardship and turn it into something positive by helping others.

The dual narrative allows you to see Knox for who he is but also who he is through McKenna’s eyes. They have an instant connection and it’s more about respecting McKenna for Knox than treating her like he usually treats women. I loved getting to see the real Knox coming out as their relationship progressed.

The story is entirely predictable but entirely enjoyable. I didn’t realise that it was part of a series at first because I bought it so long ago but I will definitely finish the series now.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Book News - Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

The bit on the back…

Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wake-up call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude to win her heart.

As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good.…

Release Date: 7th October 2014

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Book News - The Beginners Guide to the Birds and the Bees by Sophie Hart

Author of The Naughty Girls' Book Club, Sophie Hart returns this month with a new novel!

The bit on the back...

Sex therapist Annie Hall helps couples put the fizz back into their relationships. It’s a shame her own love life is non-existent. When Jamie who works next door catches her eye, she can’t ignore the spark of chemistry.

Most men would jump at the chance to skive off work for an afternoon quickie with their gorgeous wife, but Nick knows Julia is after only one thing – a baby. Sex shouldn’t be a chore. Can Annie help Julia see that?

Newly engaged Zoe and Simon can’t keep their hands off each other. They’ve decided to take a vow of celibacy until their wedding night. Will Annie help them stick to it?

Ray and Linda have been married for over thirty years but she’s more interested in the family business than getting intimate with him. Can Annie convince Linda to rediscover her passion for Ray after all this time?

While Annie begins to work her magic with the three couples, she soon discovers that she’ll need to take some of her own advice if she’s going to let a new man into her life.

Release Date: 19th Septeber 2014

Publisher: Bookouture

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Review of Reasonable Doubt 3 by Whitney Garcia

The bit on the back…

I hate him…

I hate that I fell in love with him, I hate that he didn’t love me back, and I hate the fact that I just made a life-altering decision just so I could get the hell away from him.

He’d always said that he was unchangeable, heartless, and cold…

I really should’ve believed him…

This is the third instalment in Whitney Garcia’s erotic romance serial Reasonable Doubt. You can read my reviews of part 1 and 2 here and here!

At the end of the last instalment the characters had had a massive bust up over the appearance of Andrew’s ex-wife, Ava, at their office. The identity that Andrew has tried so hard to conceal up until now threatens to come out in the open in light of her reappearance.

I read the first two parts during the SexMeUpReadathon that was hosted by the Gosling Girls and was distraught to find that part three hadn’t been released yet so when I just happened to come across this on Amazon at the end of last week I downloaded it straight away and had it finished the same night! It is the longest instalment of the serial at 183 pages but I still read it in one sitting.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book right from the beginning. Their relationship was flirty and had some spark even though it remained platonic and anonymous in the beginning and although the characters aren’t speaking to one another at the start of this book the same chemistry is palpable between them. The narrative is dual POV, which I love anyway, but I really think it suits the situation here because there isn’t very much time to get to know both characters through just the one narrative.

The storyline really develops in this part as we get to learn more about Andrew’s true identity and how he is the man he is today. You are given some inkling as to what his past was about but never the full story so it is pretty much revealed to you at the same time as it is to Aubrey.

I think this might actually be my favourite of the three parts in this romance serial, especially because of the plot development and the ever present chemistry and romance between the two characters! I would love to read more about Andrew and Aubrey!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Review of If You Leave by Courtney Cole

The bit on the back…

Ex-army soldier Gabriel Vincent is a badass hero. Or he used to be. Home from Afghanistan, Gabe can't stop thinking about that one horrible night on the battlefield, a night that changed his life for ever. He knows he's messed up, but with the help of a little beer and a lot more women, he's keeping it together. Until he meets Madison Hill.

Madison is happily single - or so she thinks. After the tragic death of her parents, she took on the responsibility of running the family restaurant, and that's all she has time to worry about. Until she meets Gabriel.

Though they don't know realise it at first, Gabe and Maddy will soon develop a weakness: each other. They need to be together to be whole, but can they find a way to heal the past . . . before they lose each other?

Firstly, a massive thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for approving and sending me a copy of this book after I requested it via Bookbridgr. If you’ve seen my review of If You Stay, which is book 1 in Courtney’s Beautifully Broken series, you’ll know that I didn’t even know it was a series until I received this one! After buying If You Stay, and reading it in one sitting, I moved straight onto book 2.

This story is all about main characters Maddy Hill and Gabriel Vincent. We already know Maddy from the first book in the series as she is the sister of main character Mila and Gabriel is new to us. At least a year on from If You Stay we join Maddy as our new main character as she struggles to keep the memory of her parents alive through their restaurant The Hill. On a one off wild night out she meets our other main character Gabriel Vincent.

Just as with If You Stay, this story is told from both the main characters which I absolutely love. Gabriel has some of the same traits as Pax from the first book especially in respect of how he views emotions and feelings which almost felt reassuring in a way, that you were in for something just as great as the first book.

The first time the characters meet the chemistry is explosive. It more or less jumps off the page and smacks you right in the face. Gabriel is this gorgeous, sexy stranger who just screams sex god and Maddy is working all she has got to give off sexy vibes to match his. I loved their playful, flirty relationship and could see how that might play out through the rest of the story.

This story, although similar to the first book in that both characters have experienced tragedy is completely different when it comes to our leading man. Gabriel is an ex-army man and like many he has come home with PTSD. He has tried to deal with it himself but his demons get the better of him. I just felt incredibly sad for him, which I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want but I felt like it was time someone rescued him.

We already know what Maddy has been through and how much she’s had to shoulder from book 1. Having said that I think that’s made her character stronger and allows her to prop Gabriel up in the way he needs.

This book was even more emotional than the first with some more twists and turns which give you a little glimpse of what to expect in the next book. I finished this in one sitting too and I have absolutely fell for the writing style from this author. More please!