Thursday, 30 April 2015

Blog Tour! The Inspiration behind Wendy Holden's Wild and Free

Today I'm hopping on the BookBridgr blog tour with Wendy Holden! Read on to find out more about Wendy's new novel and the inspiration behind it!

The bit on the back...

Wild & Free is the festival du jour. Everyone piles through its gates - and Cupid lies in wait to sprinkle a little midsummer madness on them all.

Teacher Ginnie is desperate to forget her crush on headmaster Mark, and hopes glamping might do the trick. But Mark is also heading for Wild & Free to reform his college band ... desperate not to be seen by anyone he knows.  

Mark's bandmate James dreams of a festival blow-out with his son, Guy ... until his wife Victoria's ambition kills the dream. Now she and Guy are en route to Wild & Free instead but when Guy meets Shanna-Mae and falls for her earthy charms, Victoria is determined to snap Cupid's arrow.

Will the magic of the festival send them wild? Or set them free to find peace and love?

Wild and Free on Amazon

The inspiration behind Wild and Free...

My new novel, Wild and Free, is a comedy set at a summer festival. It was inspired by a weekend at one of those aristo-boho shabby-chic affairs that are set in the grounds of stately homes. The ones with pop-up spas and champagne bars and posh yurts in what I recently heard someone inadvertently calling the RIP area.
I’d gone to this festival to write a piece for a newspaper and never in a million years had I expected it to be as funny as it was. There was an ironic flower show where the entries were things like broken pieces of pipe with a few dead flowers sticking out. There was a disco – for dogs. There were champagne bars and cheese boutiques and foraging masterclasses where you paid hundreds of pounds to eat weeds. The festival’s high point was the wild swim on the Sunday morning where scores of scantily clad Hugos and Jemimas flung themselves into a muddy estuary with mosquitos as big as Messerschmitts. I watched it all with amazement and delight. I knew I had found the perfect subject.
Writing Wild and Free has been a delight. The thing about festivals is that they are now so mainstream. They attract people of all ages, so I’ve been able to include characters ranging from teenagers to septuagenarians. One of my favourites is a character called Lady Tamara Wilderbeest, a celebrity socialite who wanders around in a big-chief feather headdress, a bikini and Chanel wellies. I think she has legs, as it were, for several novels to come.
I’m very proud of Wild and Free and think it’s my best novel yet. Although I love all my books.
They’re all glamorous comedies with an upmarket spin – a sort of extended autobiography, reflecting my interests and situation at the time I’m writing. Bad Heir Day was about life as a castle chatelaine and drew on my many soggy summers on the Scottish West Coast. Pastures Nouveaux was about moving from London to the countryside, where I still live. The Wives of Bath was a comedy about motherhood, a competitive sport I’d had little idea about until I actually had children myself. Filthy Rich returned to the countryside and was about a group of village allotment-holders whose eco-idealism and sense of community hits the buffers after they find buried treasure under their broccoli. And I wrote Gallery Girl, about contemporary art, after I had dipped a toe into that crazy world of gold-sprayed shopping trolleys and heads made of frozen blood during my brief and shining moment as an art collector. You can see my own spoof contemporary art exhibition, done with my husband for the launch party, on my website, The novel before Wild and Free was a campus comedy, Gifted and Talented, which drew on some of my experiences at Cambridge.
My first novel, Simply Divine, was based on my experiences ghostwriting a newspaper column for Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. The Sunday Times’s initial idea was that Tara wrote the column herself and I merely edited it. But I soon ended up writing the whole thing. And while at first I was fed up about this, after the first phone call with Tara, in which she told me how her boyfriend’s helicopter had landed in her parents’ enormous garden and blown all the petals off her mother’s herbaceous borders, I realized I was on to something seriously good. 
Where to park your helicopter was only the first life lesson I learned from Tara. There were many others. Champagne, she believed, made your breath smell. Another maxim was that you should never eat canapés because the ones dropped on the floor get put back on the trays. She had some invaluable advice about air travel. When booking, or getting your assistant to book, you should always bear in mind that in First you make Friends and in Club you make Comrades. But in Economy, you make Enemies.
Once I ‘became’ Tara, there was no stopping me. Simply Divine concerned the adventures of the lowly newspaper hack whose job it is to ghost the column of a celebrity socialite. But writing it was tricky given newspaper hours. And so, hanging up the Palmer-Tomkinson Jimmy Choos, I moved from the Sunday Times to be deputy editor of Tatler magazine.
Here I found more wonderful material. My assistant on the Tatler features desk grew up in an enormous stately home and had driven to her wedding in the ancestral coach complete with postilions and nodding ostrich plumes. But generally my new colleagues were a histrionic lot. They ate little but rice cakes and were constantly on edge, always rushing out in floods of tears to the loos, where they were prevented from using the facilities because the basins were full of flowers from admirers. One day the editor called me into her office and asked me if I knew the difference between upper- and lower-class legs. The upper-class leg, she said, extending a lanky lower limb, is thin and long and the knee joint is equidistant between the hipbone and ankle bones. While the lower-class leg is generally thicker and shorter, with a long thigh and a short calf. You can be sure that that particular pearl of wisdom went straight into my ever-growing book! 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Beauty: Review of YrNails Transfer

One thing I absolutely love is having my nails done. I am a terrible nail biter (I know, I'm nearly 25, WTF) so I use Nailene's short square uncovered nails instead! At the end of last year I purchased some nail decals, or transfers, from Amazon of all places. It's bad enough that it feeds my book habit but now it's feeding my beauty habit too!! Anyway... the products I bought were by a company called YrNails - check out their website here. They have a huge range of nail decals and they ship world wide.

I bought three different decals on Amazon for £5.85 - £1.95 per decal.

The three decals I bought were butterflies, bows and love. With the decals you get a set of really easy to follow instructions and two tester transfers. 

When I say really easy instructions I mean really easy. All you do is soak the transfer in warm water for a short time, remove it and dab it dry then slide the transfer from the backing paper onto your nail. The instructions advise you to leave a little around the edge of the decal to allow you to position it. You can trim off the excess once you have positioned it on your nail. I did this when I was putting the decal onto my left hand because using scissors with my right hand is no problem! I trimmed it much neater when I was preparing it to be put onto my right hand because there was no way I was going to be able to trim the edges without trimming my finger! It's slightly challenging with your less dominant hand but I did manage to get it into position and looking great! 

I really love this simple method to achieve a really professional looking effect. Girls in the office were commenting on how fancy they looked - cue show off smile! 

Here is a picture of my most recent bow decal nail art and you can check out my full midweek manicure post here.

Do you have any nail art posts I can check out? Make sure you to leave me a link!

Erin xxx

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Cover Reveal: Appleby Farm by Cathy Bramley

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this cover reveal today. I've been with Cathy from the self-pub Conditional love to her publishing deal so I'm really happy to have been asked to reveal this GORGEOUS cover!

On the 7th of May the final installment in Cathy's four part series Appleby Farm will be published - you can check it out on Amazon here. Later on this year those four parts will come together in one novel available on Kindle and in paperback!

The bit on the back...

Appleby Farm is a charming, funny and romantic story for anyone looking for a feel-good, light-hearted read, from the author of bestselling Ivy Lane. 

Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She’s been happy working at the café round the corner from Ivy Lane allotments and her romance with her new boyfriend is going well, she thinks, but a part of her still misses the beautiful rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm.

Then a phone call out of the blue and a desperate plea for help change everything…

The farm is in financial trouble, and it’s taking its toll on the aunt and uncle who raised Freya. Heading home to lend a hand, Freya quickly learns that things are worse than she first thought. As she summons up all her creativity and determination to turn things around, Freya is surprised as her own dreams for the future begin to take shape.

Love makes the world go round, according to Freya. Not money. But will saving Appleby Farm and following her heart come at a price?

Pub Date: 13th August 2015

Publisher: Corgi

Beauty: Brows for Beginners - Tips from a Beginner

Ok guys, confession time! Until August last year, that red bird from Angry Birds had more eyebrow game than me.

How, I hear you asking, did I manage to go 24 years without touching my eyebrows? Here is the reason. I had two (great start, so much better than one) and I am a massive wuss. Pain threshold is like -10 especially when it comes to inflicting it on myself. Bikini wax - walk in the park! Plucking one's brows? Not so much.

I decided to put my big girl pants on and pluck (see what I did there?) up the courage to sort out my brows just before I was due to attend a wedding. I left until a couple of days before, to make sure my make up wouldn't irritate my freshly plucked brows, and was astounded by the difference a few tweaks here and there had made. I was no professional plucker back then so I didn't want to go completely crazy but I was amazed at such a subtle difference.

Since then I've been regularly making my eyebrows a real shape, well trying anyway, and have started to sample a few products that I've found. As with so many things these days when your looking for instructions on how to do something (from shaping brows to folding dough) YouTube is absolutely the way to go. I've watched tonnes of videos trying to pick up hints and tips for the best way to go about grooming my eyebrows and have managed to pick up a few tricks along the way.

I am much more comfortable with the shape of my brows now and I thought I would share my "Brows for Beginners - Tips from a Beginner" with you all.

Here are my essentials -

1. B. Defined Eyebrow Kit - I picked this little beauty up on a special offer from Superdrug. It was on a 3 for 2 offer so I bought nail polish and an eye shadow primer at the same time. It's £9.99 on it's own and contains setting wax, highlighter and two brow colours. I went for the palette in "light" because I was a bit unsure as to what was going to suit me.

2. Tweezers - obvious right? Also a Superdrug purchase. These are slanted tweezers and I find it really easy to grasp hairs with this pair. 

3. Scissors - don't worry I don't do anything daft!

Now for the horrific looking "before" picture, bearing in mind I had let my brows grow out a bit specifically for this post!

(I know, bleugh)

So, of all of the videos I've watched here is the usual routine I follow to get to the picture at the end of this post...

1. Learn the shape!

"How do I know I'm getting the shape right?" was a panicked question I asked myself often. As a guide in the past I have used the handle of a make up brush to reassure myself! Holding the make up brush near the ferrule with the handle pointing towards your hairline, line it up with the side of your nose. Straight up should be where your eyebrow starts. Moving the brush handle diagonally, align it with your pupil and this should be where your eyebrow shape changes and starts to taper towards the outside. Move the handle further diagonally until it is lined up with the outside corner of your eye, this is where your eyebrow should end. Or so I've garnered when I've been trawling through the internet. This is a handy guide and it helps to keep both sides even, especially if you're a beginner because it also gives you a starting point. 

2. Apply setting wax from the B. Defined palette to determine the exact direction your brows grow in. This also really helped me to decide what the natural shape of my eye brow was, tapering off toward the outer corner. 

3. Once you have applied the wax you should be able to see where there are hairs not following the direction of growth or where they fall below or outwith the natural shape. I am always conscious of not over doing it so I try to do both brows at the same time to try and keep them even.

4. At this point you should have achieved the shaping of your brow. I usually have so I must be doing something right. Now I would take a spoolie (there is one on the other end of the little brush in the B. Defined palette) and brush your brow upwards. This will show you where there are any longer hairs and will allow you to CAREFULLY trim along the top line of your eyebrow. You will see from my before pic that I have longer hairs towards the outside of my eyebrow and I find that the slightest of trims really makes a difference. 


The pic below also includes shading with the Billion Dollar Brows Universal Brow Pen (full review coming). Two marginally shaped brows! I am in no way finished learning about shaping my eyebrows so if you have a tutorial post, or any tips I'd love to see them!

Erin xx

Monday, 27 April 2015

Review of Rebellion of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

The bit on the back…

Always the Chalet Girl…

Year round chalet girl Tash doesn’t do attachments—she’s learned the hard way that relationships of any kind never last. But when self-made millionaire and hit TV star Nathaniel Campbell arrives to spend a month at Chalet Repos, she’s tempted to reconsider her no-strings rule…

Tash and Nate may be from different sides of the tracks, but the connection between them is undeniable! And Tash soon realises that one hot night with Nate will never be enough. But can Nate ever think of Tash as more than a fling, especially once the truth about her past comes out?

This is the latest novella in Lorraine’s Chalet Girls series. It features one of the long standing characters Tash. Tash is outspoken and feisty and you get to know these parts of her personality through the earlier novellas. What you don’t know about her though is about her less than perfect past and how she’s become the hardened girl she projects now.

There is a lot more than meets the eye with Tash and I liked getting to know her story better. In this novella the romantic hero is sexy Nate Campbell. The two characters appear to be completely at odds with each other but I loved the chemistry between them which was completely distracting for Nate and I felt like he needed the distraction in his life.

Despite his workaholic and business focused demeanour Nate manages to relax a little during his stay in Verbier and Tash plays a big part in that. She puts a little bit of herself in Nate’s hands and I was really rooting for a happy ending for her.

Looking back over the series Tash is my favourite character. I’m not sure if the fact that I’ve gotten to know her throughout the earlier novellas prior to her own story has meant that I’ve enjoyed reading about her more or not but this is my favourite installment too. Also is it just me or is there something inherently sexy about guys called Nate? Totally channelled Nate (Chace Crawford) from Gossip Girl during his Spectator days!

The series is great for fans of quick, fun, sexy reads set in an exotic location featuring down to earth characters!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Feature Friday #4: Girls On Tour by Nicola Doherty & Giveaway!

Friday at last! How has your week been? What have you been reading this week?? Friday means feature day and continuing with the theme of favourite book series I have a special post today! This is a Friday of two firsts! It's the first author interview of the feature and it's the first time I am welcoming author Nicola Doherty to Erin's Choice!

Nicola's Girls On Tour series was released yesterday in one book with some bonus content. So belated happy publication day! You can check it out on Amazon by clicking here. Read on for my interview with Nicola...

First of all, for readers who might be new to this series, can you tell us a bit about it?

Yes! It’s a series of novellas about four friends who find fun and romance abroad. A different girl ‘stars’ in each story but they all interlink, and in the last story, they all go to Manhattan. Now it’s coming out in one volume with extra material (5 additional chapters, so just over a whole extra novella basically) and I’m really excited about it!

What inspired the series?

What happened was that I wanted to write Poppy does Paris as a short stand-alone … I was talking to my agent about it, and somehow we decided: wouldn’t it be cool to have a series where a different girl went to a different location? To this day I can’t remember which of us thought of it first. I knew I wanted to write something fun, light and escapist, but with the occasional chewy bit.

The series is set in different locations. How did you research for this – are they taken from personal travel experience?

I wish I could say I took a year off to visit each place but it didn’t work quite like that! I drew on past experiences: I lived in Paris for a year, and I’ve been to New York and Rome a couple of times, and I spent a month in California in 2011 which was useful for writing Lily Does LA. And I’ve been skiing a couple of times on family holidays, though I’ve never been to Meribel or stayed anywhere as fancy as Maggie does!

Have you visited each location or are there any that are still on your travel bucket list?

I’ve been to them all except Meribel so I had to do extra research and draw on memories of skiing trips for that one. I would love to spend longer in Los Angeles. Maybe if the film gets made …

Do you have a favourite character/title in the series?

It’s hard to choose but I think my favourite character is Lily, because she’s so outrageous. My favourite book in the series is probably the last one – The Girls Take Manhattan.  They land themselves in such chaos, it even took me by surprise while I was writing it …

How did you find writing a series compared with writing a standalone?

I loved it. Because the series takes place over a year, we get to see the girls at lots of different stages which is fun and also felt quite natural. The best part for me was being able to revisit the characters after their ‘happy ending’ – and explore how their romances developed and changed and in one case, ended, and how the friendships deepened as well. One of my favourite new scenes in the Girls on Tour complete book is Maggie and Rachel going on their first ever ‘friendship date’ after they’ve met on the skiing holiday. It’s so awkward initially, I felt for them!

I personally loved the link between the characters and the links with your standalone novels If I Could Turn Back Time and The Out of Office Girl. Was that intentional when you were planning the series or something that fell into place?

Thank you very much!  It sort of fell into place. Poppy and Rachel are the best friends in those two
novels, and I wanted them to have a chance to be main characters.  I feel like that’s how most friendships work – sometimes you’re the one having the drama while your best friend listens, sometimes it’s their turn! And I wanted the chance to revisit old friends from previous books. Basically being a character in one of my books is like being in the Mafia. You’re in for life. 

Do you have a favourite book series? If so what is it and why?

Tough question! I don’t know if you’d call them a series but I love the early Jilly Cooper standalone novels like Prudence and Imogen. And I’m loving Gemma Burgess’s Brooklyn Girls series – about a group of girls sharing a house in New York. Probably my favourite series ever was Sweet Valley High but I’m not sure if they would stand up to a re-read now …

Thanks Erin!

Thank you to Nicola for taking part! I have really enjoyed this series of novellas, keep reading for a giveaway of Nicola's new book Girls On Tour! I love that each one is in a different location and, thanks to Nicola's writing, you can really imagine being there with the girls! Check out my reviews at the links below. If you enjoyed Lindsey Kelk's I Heart series then this is for you, you could also check out Nikki Moore's Love London series and Aimee Duffy's Summer Flings series.

Poppy Does Paris (Girls On Tour 1) - Nicola Doherty
Lily Does LA (Girls On Tour 2) - Nicola Doherty
Maggie Does Meribel (Girls On Tour #3) - Nicola Doherty
Rachel Does Rome (Girls On Tour #4) - Nicola Doherty
The Girls Take On Manhattan (Girls On Tour #5) - Nicola Doherty

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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Release Day! Letters To The Lost by Iona Grey

The bit on the back...

1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London…

Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five.

… He promised to love her forever

Sixty years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?

Now forever is finally running out.

Release Day: Today!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Chalet Girl Plays Cupid by Lorraine Wilson

The bit on the back…

A match made on the slopes…

After a messy break up that’s left her homeless, jobless and single, temporary chalet girl Emily needs a fresh start! So when best friend Holly asks her to help out before the start of the winter season at the exclusive Chalet Repos in Verbier, Emily jumps at the chance. What broken heart can’t be fixed by après ski cocktails?

Verbier seems like the perfect escape, until Emily meets super-sexy and darkly brooding winter athlete Jake. She’s meant to be avoiding men at all costs, but the spark between her and Jake is sizzling! As she finds herself increasingly left alone with Jake, Emily begins to wonder if Cupid has paid a visit to Chalet Repos…!

This is a short story and is the 5th in Lorraine’s Chalet Girl series. It continues with the theme of introducing two new main characters but we also get to spend a bit more time with Scott and Holly, the very first characters in the series, in this story too. Did I mention that it’s also free? Bonus!

This story is about Emily and Jake. Both characters are going through rough patches in their life and where a break in Verbier should be relaxing Cupid, a.k.a Holly has other ideas.

I liked being back with the two original characters as although you have a sense of what’s going on with them in the other novellas this short story does allow you to get more of a feel for their life and their business, particularly the expansion of Chalet Repos.

Although neither Jake nor Emily is open to being paired off together the chemistry between them is absolutely undeniable. It definitely heats up the exchanges between the characters, almost to the point where you want to just grab them by the scruffs of their necks and say just kiss already! When they do finally succumb to the electricity between them it is hot and I enjoyed this little short novella in the middle of the series.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Blog Tour! Review and Giveaway of The Doris Day Vintage Film Club by Fiona Harper

The bit on the back...

Claire Bixby grew up watching Doris Day films at her grandmother’s house and yearned to live in a world like the one on the screen – sunny, colourful and where happy endings with chiselled leading men were guaranteed. But recently Claire’s opportunities for a little ‘pillow talk’ have been thin on the ground. 

Until she meets mysterious Dominic. Nic is full of secrets but their connection is instant. Could he help Claire finding the Hollywood ending she’s been searching for? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…

Firstly thanks to Cara at Harlequin for sending me a copy of this to review and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. This is the first book of Fiona's that I've read, but the cover completely drew me in its so pretty and perfect for spring!

This story is all about main character Claire. Claire is a Doris Day fan and has been successfully running her late grandmothers fan club from the upper room of her local pub. Life has dealt her a pretty crappy hand and recently the only guys she's been seeing are Doris's co-stars - cue Dominic Arden!

As I said this is the first book of Fiona's I've read but I found her writing really easy to get into and it felt easy to get swept up in Claire's story. Claire's a travel agent specialising in romantic breaks for happy couples which is the complete opposite of her own romantic situation. Claire's unlucky in love and has had some ups and downs with her family but her strength of character is a testament to how well she has came through it all. 

The narrative is told in a dual POV between Claire and Dominic - Nic - Arden. As the blurb suggests Dominic is full of secrets and what at first was quite funny knowing something that Claire didn't, it soon made me feel annoyed at Nic on her behalf. I felt like he was in need of a good woman in his life, just like Claire, to help him settle down, but didn't like that he kept his secrets secret for so long! 

There was a sub plot throughout where Claire and the girls from the film club helped out a younger member and I couldn't help but feel like this was a kind of "what would you tell your younger self" type of situation that helped Claire to put her own life in perspective.

I found this to be quite a page turner and I really enjoyed the Doris Day theme with the chapters being named after her films too. I've never seen a Doris Day film but I think it's about time that I did! I will also be keeping my eye out for more of Fiona's work! I think you'll enjoy this if you like Paige Toon, Sheila Roberts and Sarah Morgan. 

Mills & Boon are running a giveaway along with this blog tour! One lucky winner will in a vintage make over from Lipstick and Curls for themselves and a friend so make sure you check that out too, the links are below...

Monday, 20 April 2015

Review of Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilsons

The bit on the back…

Chalet Girl Sophie Trent has plenty of reasons to hate Valentine's Day. After a lifetime of being treated like she didn’t matter because of her looks, she’s shed the pounds but not the self-esteem issues – and when she can curl up with one of her beloved romance novels, why put herself through a night of awkward speed ski dating?

A treasure hunt set by a secret admirer makes her reconsider. Only, what if it’s a cruel joke? Because it certainly wouldn’t be the first time!

But as Sophie follows the trail of red paper hearts around the idyllic winter wonderland of Verbier, she can’t help but wonder whether there really might be a Secret Valentine waiting for her out there on the slopes…

This is the 4th book in Lorraine Wilson’s Chalet Girl series. There are 6 novellas in the series now and although you don’t strictly speaking have to read them in order, each novella features a different main character while the story of the previous main characters progresses.

This story is all about Sophie, a character who has appeared in the earlier novellas. Sophie is an easily relatable character. She struggles with body confidence which is something so many girls struggle with so there is a real sense of realism about her character.

She also struggles with some other issues in her life, one in particular which has had much more of an impact on her than others. When this is revealed to the readers it is shocking and sad to read about but you can see a real strength coming out in Sophie. She eventually learns to translate this strength into confidence in herself.

This novella is the least light hearted I would say but it’s so sweet and that makes it equally enjoyable. Sophie’s romantic hero is kept secret in the beginning as she goes off on a Valentine’s hunt and I really loved the build-up to Sophie finding out who her admirer was, although I kind of already suspected!

I would say that so far this is my favourite of the series.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Feature Friday #3 The Beautiful Series by Christina Lauren

Friday again! This has felt like the longest week in the world! It's been the first full week I've worked due to holidays or courses over the last 7 or so weeks so it's been pretty full on! I'm looking forward to having a relaxing weekend this weekend but know it's not likely to happen as two weeks today I'm moving house so I have lots of packing I should be doing!

This week's Feature Friday is all about Christina Lauren's This Beautiful series. The series now consists for 8 books - 4 full length novels and 4 novellas. Check them all out on Christina Lauren's Amazon page. I was introduced to the books in the summer of last year when a group of my blogger friends hosted a SexMeUpReadathon. The aim of the game was in the title when it came to the books that should have been on the reading list and as usual even more books were recommended to me! The first book in this series, Beautiful Bastard, being one of them.

The first story introduces our first couple of main characters, Chloe and Bennett. During the story you are introduced to their friends who take turns being the main characters in their own stories. I've only read the first 3 full length novels so far but I've read them again (and again and again when it comes to Beautiful Player). One thing I found really cool about these books is that there is actually two authors. Christina and Lauren. I was blown away when I found out because the narrative in the book seemed seamless!

I would definitely recommend these books for quick, compelling and sexy reading. I would recommend reading in order of release, although it's not strictly necessary as each book is about a new character, the story of the cast as a whole continues to progress with each novel. They are a little expensive for kindle books though so keep an eye out for them on a deal.

Check out my reviews below -

Beautiful Bastard - Christina Lauren
Beautiful Stranger - Christina Lauren
Beautiful Player - Christina Lauren

Thursday, 16 April 2015

#TBThursday - Stirling Book Festival 2013

Today I'm throwing back to the book festival I went to in 2013...

On Thursday we attended our first ever book festival! Stirling Book Festival ran from the 8th of September and is finishing today, including authors like Samantha and Freya North.

As soon as I saw that one of my favourite authors was hosting an evening I had to go! So after a bit of speculation as to whether or not we had actually arrived at the right place we made our way inside and joined the rest of the women inside the library. 

I've been a fan of Sam's since reading On Dublin Street at the start of 2013 and then reading the rest of her adult series when it became available. I've also read, and can recommend, Into The Deep, her first dip into the New Adult pool, bridging the gap between YA and contemporary romance.

It was great to hear Samantha talking all about her writing journey and also her journey through self publishing her YA fantasy books. 

Samantha read from the 2nd in the series, Down London Road and spoke quite a bit about Jo and why she had chosen her as the focus of the book. One thing that Samantha spoke about which really stuck with me was that for novels from the romance genre, characters and their development are so important because they carry the story. 

Aside from her books and hearing all about her it was great to be supporting a Scottish author, and great to meet her! 

Reviews of her books and a fab interview with Samantha are all up on the blog. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Midweek Manicure

Midweek Manicure is an original and regular feature from my lovely beauty blogger friend Emsypickle's blog. You can check out her blog here and her Easter bunny mani - how cute are those fluffy tails?!

Emsy's midweek manicure is my favourite regular beauty post and I always make sure I check out her latest post. I love nail art and dream of having beautiful nails. I have such a bad habit of biting my nails so instead I substitute with Nailene's short square uncovered nails. These are a BARGAIN, for realsies, at £7.99 for 200 nails from Asda. The set includes nail glue and a file. I find them hard wearing and last about a week if I'm extra careful with them!

This week's manicure features a Barry M nail polish that I used recently. It's a beautiful pastel pink colour and it's called Rosehip. I picked this because although I wanted to have pretty pink nails I was wearing them during the week to work and I thought the pale pink might be less out there, for work anyway, than the bright pink I really wanted to go for! I also tried out my YRNails decals this week!

I used one thick coat of the varnish. I really love Barry M varnishes, don't you? Apart from the kaleidoscope of colours available I love the finish and even the bottles! Rosehip is such a pretty colour. It's girly and understated so it's perfect for work. 

The YRNails nail decals are a product I came across on Amazon actually while I was looking for nail dotting pens. I added three to my basket for £5.85. After testing one of the free decals for timing I went straight for two bows for my fourth finger and found it really simple to apply them. Keep an eye out for a full review of the decals later this month!

Have you tried any nail transfers or decals? 

Erin xx

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Review of Revenge of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

The bit on the back…

All she wants for Christmas is…revenge.

When chalet girl Amy Wright finds her ex’s name on Chalet Repos’ guest list she sees her chance to get back at him – Josh Carter, the guy who broke her heart. Getting revenge without losing her job will be tricky but luckily the other chalet girls are on hand to offer their support. Pretty soon she’s in too deep and realises she doesn’t want to hurt him anymore. She wants him back.
There’s just one teeny complication…

This is the third novella in Lorraine Wilson’s Ski Season series and is all about chalet girl Amy and her ex Josh. At first I liked the sound of this novella, I liked that it was about exes and knew that there was going to be some angsty, chemistry going on, but as alluded to in the blurb there is one teeny complication and I wasn’t sure how that was going to pan out.

Chemistry is definitely evident between the two characters from the start. I loved the feeling that I got from both Josh and Amy when they were able to read each other’s body language and tone which could only exist from them having a history together. The dual POV really works in these short stories but especially so here because there are a lot of feelings to explore.

We are introduced to the naughtier side of one of the chalet girls, Tash (future MC), as Amy tries to show Josh she’s moved on. This starts out as fun but when the complication hinted to is revealed it turns out to have more serious implications for those involved.

I really enjoyed this book and I went straight into the next book Secret Crush of a Chalet Girl.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Review of The Girls Take Manhattan by Nicola Doherty

The bit on the back…

Join Poppy, Lily, Maggie and Rachel as they jet to New York - and face a big secret in the Big Apple.

When Lily invites the girls to attend a VIP event in Manhattan, they all jump at the chance. Poppy especially is thrilled to escape her impending 30th birthday with a weekend of Cosmos and red carpets. But none of them have any idea what Lily is really planning. Or how a single weekend can turn your life upside-down ... With non-stop fun and flirty frolics, this is a girls' weekend not to be missed.

This is the fifth and final installment in Nicola’s Girls On Tour series. You can buy all the parts of this series later on this month and make sure to check back for an interview with Nicola about the series!

I was really looking forward to reading this. I’ve enjoyed the first four parts in the series and the girls all get together in the fifth book. I’m also massively jealous of the girls hopping of to Manhattan! New York is at the very top of my “Would like to travel to” list so reading about the city through the girls’ eyes was an added bonus for me.

We are back to our first narrator Poppy which was a nice way to round of the series. Poppy puts me in mind of Angela Clarke from Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart series. I love that she’s down to earth and she has a funny sense of humour which really appealed to me.

Each of the girls are dealing with a difficult life decision in this part of the story which they have to face up to while they’re in New York and it made for quick reading to find out what was going to happen.

I have Girls On Tour on pre-order so that I can enjoy these five parts together again in the future!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Feature Friday #2: Favourite Series - Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Since I started blogging, and started paying a bit more attention to my Amazon recommendations I have seen the covers of K.A. Tuckers Ten Tin Breathes series repeatedly. I read another of Tucker's books in September last year and felt completely hooked on her characters and her writing so decided to get stuck into Ten Tiny Breaths pretty soon after.

The series starts with the eponymous first novel and consists of three further novels and a novella. You can read my reviews of the novels by clicking on the links below...

In the first novel we are introduced to the characters who will come to feature in the series. Each book is about a different character which I really liked. Sometimes I feel like a series can run out of steam when it follows only one character so by switching to a new character each time it kept it fresh and interesting and also kept you clued in on the progression of the previous characters as you read on. The first two books are told from the female protagonist's POV, sisters Kacey and Livvy, and the third and fourth books have a dual narrative between the male and female MCs. This was a real plus for me because it's one of the things I enjoyed most about K.A. Tucker's writing style in the first book I read (Burying Water). Each story is different and although they follow a similar, formulaic plot the journey from beginning to end is different in each one. My favourite from the series has to be the fourth book, Five Ways To Fall because I absolutely adore Ben's character.

I've still to read the novella In Her Wake which is Trent's (from Ten Tiny Breaths) story. I still feel a bit raw from Kacey's story so will give it a little bit longer before I go back to it.

I would thoroughly recommend this series to fans of Jay Crownover, Michele Leighton and Samantha Young.

Have you read this series? Which book is your favourite?

Erin xx

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Review of The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

The bit on the back…

It's springtime in London and everything is about to change for Annie Mulholland. From the moment she meets Stephen Flint, things seem too good to be true as Annie abandons her customary cautiousness for a wild love affair.

In Somerset, Kate Brady is starting a new job. Fresh air, new faces and good old fashioned hard work is just what she needs to put everything that happened in Dublin behind her.

But what are these two old friends hiding, and for how long can they run from the secrets of their past before they come crashing into their futures?

Firstly a massive thank you to Penguin for approving me for a copy of this title via NetGalley. I read this very early on in 2015 even though publication date is TODAY! I just hope this review does this book the justice it deserves!

The story is all about two friends Annie Mulholland and Kate Brady. Both girls are on the brink of something new in their lives but both are haunted by their past.

I was totally intrigued by the blurb! I love a bit of mystery and there is definitely plenty of this in the story. Both Kate and Annie narrate throughout the story and going by the title I knew that something was brewing for both girls I just didn’t have a clue what or how it was going to happen!

Annie is feeling run down after her alternative therapy business becomes more demanding. She has a rather nervous disposition and the cause of that isn’t revealed until later in the story. She’s surrounded by a group of friends who all look out for her, her sister and their friends Tim and Claudine. I loved their group meetings and the contrasting personalities in the group. It felt so realistic and simply as if you are acting as a voyeur during their meals together rather than reading the story.

Annie’s knight in shining armour appears in the form of Stephen Flint who pulls her up out of her mildly depressed state and appears to transform her life in a whirlwind of opportunities. Throughout, something niggled in my mind about Stephen, like he wasn’t all he was cut out to be, but at every turn he continued to surprise and be there for Annie.

Kate’s new adventure seems to be at the other end of the extreme to Annie’s. She’s taken herself off for a new start at a new job, and like Annie she seems to suffer from anxiety. Her anxiety is palpable and she tries to reveal as little about herself as possible which has you as the reader questioning every possibility. I absolutely loved her new job and all of the friends she meets. Each of them seem to soothe her soul in exactly the way she needs and I loved seeing her relax a little and there is almost a complete transformation in her character.

After about 2/3s of the story Lucy basically takes everything you’ve ever been sure of and throws it all up in the air! Talk about a mind blowing plot twist. I have real respect for her writing skill after reading this. Both Kate and Annie’s stories appear to run parallel with each other throughout interwoven with flash back scenes to the life a seven year old girl. I was guessing at every turn the entire way through this story and so totally did not see the ending coming! When the story is revealed you will also have a newfound respect for Lucy for her research and approach to the issues she writes about in this story.

This is without a doubt one of the most gripping and enthralling reads of 2015. Lucy Robinson has hit the nail on the head with this novel, a big well done!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Second Best: My Dad and Me by Calum Best

Calum Best should have had it all. As the only son of world-famous footballing legend George Best and his first wife Angie, a gorgeous English model, Calum was born into a world of privilege and opportunity.

But his father’s fame came at a price, and George’s playing career was soon overshadowed by his playboy lifestyle and an increasing dependence on the comforting embrace of alcohol. Whilst his tumultuous later years could never diminish the memories of the peerless, often breathtaking, quality of his football, they had a profound effect on Calum.

Growing up with his mother in California, Calum’s visits to see his father in England were all too rare, and he cherished every moment he could spend in the company of the man he adored. But as George’s alcoholism spiralled out of control, inebriation frequently led to violence and George’s self-destruction spilled over onto his son.

Vivid, deeply moving, brave and honest, Second Best is the heart-breaking story of their relationship. It is a powerful tale of love and suffering, of an absent father and his wayward son, and of a family torn apart by addiction.

On the 7th of January this year Calum Best walked into the Celebrity Big Brother house to emerge some weeks later in third place. Before CBB, I'd heard of the womaniser, party boy Calum Best , his reputation preceding him, but I hadn't ever taken the time to think of him in any other light. I pre-ordered this title at the beginning of March, looking forward to finding out more about him. I may have developed a teensy, little crush on him too at the time, so I won't lie, that did add to my reasons for pre-ordering.

We begin in 2008 where Calum describes his pride in filming a documentary about children of alcoholics before he takes us back to his childhood and beyond to the memories of his parent's life together.

Calum recounts his life with what seems to be an open and honest voice, not disguising the darkness that took hold of him throughout his twenties nor in anyway explaining away or excusing his previously debauched lifestyle. Throughout this memoir, he takes you on a vivid journey through his life, the highs and lows of being George Best's son, and the situations he found himself in that no young child should find themselves in. The reality of this book will strike a chord with many.

What struck me the most was the startling similarities between how George Best coped with life and how, in turn, Calum tried to cope with the loss of his dad. Calum undoubtedly loved his dad, that much is plainly clear to see and throughout you can't help but feel for the little boy who just wanted his dad's undivided attention and love. 

Easter Baking

So on Monday I spend the whoooooooooooole day baking. A couple of the girls at work have been doing Lent and as such they've not been eating any cakes or chocolate and the likes. I promised them that after Lent was over I'd make them some easter goodies with Cadbury Creme Eggs, which, by the way, I had to buy like 2 weeks ago so that I could make sure I'd have the ingredients before everything was sold out. I also decided to make some cupcakes for my family too using Cadbury Mini Eggs.


For the cakes...

6oz (150g) Self-Raising Flour
6oz (150g) Margarine
6oz (150g) Caster Sugar
3 eggs (room temp)
1.5 tbsp Baking Powder

For the icing...

8oz (200g) Icing Sugar
3oz (75g) Unsalted Butter
1tbsp Vanila Essence
a splash of milk

For the decoration...
2 bags of Cadbury Mini Eggs
3 full size Cadbury Flakes

This recipe makes 18 good sized cupcakes.


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180/190 degrees (I have a fan oven) & prepare 18 cupcake cases
  2. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until you get a smooth, creamy texture.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases
  4. Cook for 15-18 minutes until golden and the sponge springs back to your touch
  5. Leave to cool
  6. Measure the icing sugar and butter into a mixing bowl and beat until the ingredients come together.
  7. Add the Vanilla Essence and combine. 
  8. Add a little milk at a time while mixing until the icing comes together into a light, creamy texture. 
  9. Spread onto the cool cupcakes
  10. Pour the mini-eggs into a bowl and break the three flake bars onto a plate.
  11. Take a cupcake and tilting it, roll it around the plate coating the edges giving it a nest effect
  12. Add three mini-eggs to finish

I also tried my hand at Creme Egg Cheesecake using this netmums recipe

I found the recipe easy to follow and easy to execute. The hardest part was halving the creme eggs! Make sure you store them in the fridge for a few hours like the recipe suggests!


This Creme Egg Caramel Shortcake using Kerry Cooks recipe

Again, this recipe is relatively easy to follow. I love making shortbread so trying out a different recipe to my usual one was great experience but for a caramel novice I found the caramel making a bit daunting. It didn't seem to want to cool at all - I even got in touch with Kerry for tips!

Have you been baking anything this easter? I'd love to see your posts so make sure to share them below!

Erin xxx

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Favourite Series

You might have caught my post on Friday about the new feature I'm planning to run about favourite book series! A few blogger friends have answered one question - "What is your favourite book series and why?"

I featured a couple of ladies in my intro post on Friday which you can check out here and I have some more up today!

"Flowers In The Attic. Read in the 80's, it was so totally different to anything else I'd ever read, shocking incest, four children locked in an attic whilst a mother partied! Virginia Andrews created characters that messed with your mind - disturbing yet compelling reading." - Dawn @ Crooks On Books

"The All Souls Trilogy from Deborah Harkness - it combines vampires & witches (my two favourite paranormal sub-genres) with history and mystery." - Rebecca, Author of A Time Apart

"It would have to be the Divergent Series because they were the first YA dystopian books I read and they got me hooked into reading more YA and dystopian books" - Natalie @ Nat's Reading Cloud

"Probably The Maze Runner series. It completely captured my imagination and I was on the edge of my seat." - Charlene

"Geek Girl by Holly Smale. Harriet is such a relatable character and I love following her adventures as a teen model. I adore them for a nice easy read." - Tish @ Tishylou's World

"I don't read many series, I prefer stand alone novels, but I loved the Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa because I love the vampire genre. It was brilliantly written and 1000% different from Twilight. It's three books and a novella, I'd thoroughly recommend." - Emma, Author of The Awakening

"My favourite book series is Riders/Rivals/Polo by Jilly Cooper. It has everything - hot men, intrigue, lots of steamy scenes and a great plot." - Jo @ Comet Babe's Books

"I found choosing a book series exceptionally hard, so many amazing books sprang to mind and honestly I wanted to pick them all, but then I thought about a book that was with me at a time I needed it the most, a book that introduced me to a series that is full of HOT bookboys and romance that is deep rooted. I may get caught out on a technicality because it appears to ave now merged into two series' but ladies and gents I am madly in love with The Maddox Brothers (also from the Beautiful series). Travis, Trenton and Thomas are men that love with such intensity and it is the reason that this series by Jamie McGuire is my favourite." - Kirsty @ The Love of a Good Book

Thank you to everyone who has taken part! I can't wait to bring you some of my favourite series' and author interviews over the course of the next few weeks with my...

Erin xx