Monday, 31 August 2015

Review of Overruled by Emma Chase

The bit on the back…

A Washington, DC, defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing—with his southern drawl, disarming smile, and captivating green eyes, he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him, and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan.
Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart, the mother of his beloved ten-year-old daughter. Jenny is getting married—to someone who isn’t him.
That's definitely not part of the plan.

***

Sofia Santos is a city-raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.

But when Stanton, her "friend with mind-blowing benefits," begs her for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi, to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves. Her head tells her she's crazy...and her heart says something else entirely.

What happens when you mix a one-stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage, and a gun-toting Nana?

The Bourbon flows, passions rise, and even the best-laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.

I came across this book on Amazon and downloaded and started this book straight away. I have been a fan of Emma’s ever since I read the Tangled series. Drew and Kate totally pulled me into their story and Emma’s writing captivated me. I was rather keen to get stuck into this.

The story is about two main characters Stanton and Sofia but it is definitely more weighted to Stanton’s side of the story. It’s Stanton who we meet first back in his high school and college days where we even get a short visit from Drew (cue lots of fangirling). Stanton’s situation is quite unique. He became a father at a young age but was encouraged to pursue his dreams basically earning himself a relationship hall pass until he’s ready to settle down.  As I said – unique.

I loved Stanton right from the start; I will not dance around that fact. He is such a cheeky, arrogant, sexy guy with a tonne of swagger to go with it. I love all of those attributes but also on the other hand he’s caring and loving and that’s apparent in his relationship with his daughter. All round he seems like a genuinely great guy. He’s just a little out of touch with how women really work compared to his perception of how they work. This little flaw is pretty apparent in the way he thinks before he speaks or acts – especially when it comes to Sofia and Jenny’s feelings. He is completely and utterly oblivious to everything other than the 10 year old plan that he has in his head. That, I would say, is his only failing. The two sides of his character – manwhore v good family man – made Stanton an interesting character to read about and one who I was easily drawn to.

Sofia is a go getter just like Stanton and I admired this quality in her. I also couldn’t fault her for giving as good as she got when it came to her relationship with Stanton. I liked that she was in this relationship for herself, for her own benefit but couldn’t help thinking that she was fooling herself slightly because let’s face it when does life ever work out like that?

The story is dual POV and I think it worked well here because Stanton is really, really absorbed in his family dilemma that he is blind to what’s happening beyond that in his friendship with Sofia. Sofia fills that gap with her side of the story and that’s where you can see the story between the characters progressing. I thought it was pretty obvious where the story was heading and to be fair most of the secondary characters seemed to know more than Stanton too but that could be down to the fact that he just didn’t want to let go of something he thought he wanted.


I cannot wait to read the rest of this series starting with Sustained which is out later this year. I would definitely recommend this for fans of Samantha Young, Christina Lauren and Sawyer Bennett.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Review of Mile High by Rebecca Chance

The bit on the back…

FIRST CLASS IS ABOUT TO GET DANGEROUS . . .

Pure Air's new LuxeLiner is flying from London to LA - its inaugural journey - with a first-class cabin packed with A List celebrities. As the feuding crew compete to impress their famous passengers, the handsome pilot tries to win the attention of a pretty young stewardess.

But one VIP singer is battling something seriously sinister: watching her every step is a very determined stalker, someone who will go to any lengths to get the star to satisfy their desires. At thirty thousand feet there is nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide . . .


Firstly thank you to Pan Mac for approving me for a review copy of this book via NetGalley. I’m a fan of Rebecca’s previous books including Killer Queens and Bad Brides. Mile High definitely intrigued me, starting with the cover which in itself is quite different to Rebecca’s other books and it portrays everything about the story from the sense of danger to the absolute glamour.

For the most part, the story is told during the first flight of Pure Air’s LuxeLiner. Everything about the company and the air liner screams prestige, luxury and glamour. Exactly what you would expect from Rebecca’s stories and characters although this time there is an element of thrilling suspense throughout the story – the stalker! I loved the idea of the story being set on the plane. It stripped it back and completely focused all your attention on the characters. Very clever Rebecca, very clever.

The cast of characters mainly consist of celebrities and their entourages and the airplane staff. The crew keep the whole show on the road but bitchiness is rife among the staff and there is a clear hierarchy. Lucinda, queen bitch, is in charge of the staff and wields an unnatural amount of power over them all. She has the ability to destroy or make a career and she certainly displays just how devious she can be during the 10 hour flight. Catalina, the most coveted celebrity on board, is perhaps the most interesting. She’s the complete opposite of how I expected her to be and she has the added drama of having to deal with her real life, and now on board, stalker.

Throughout Rebecca keeps the mystery of the stalker’s identity under wraps. I had my initial suspicions and then I changed my mind again and twice over as it became clear that there were more twists and turns to come with every chapter I finished. We don’t hear much from the stalker which secures their hidden identity. I felt like I finished the book not knowing if the story was finished, sort of like at the end of that Leo Di Caprio film where the scene cuts before the spinning top can fall. Was there someone else that I should be suspicious of?


The story has Rebecca’s trademark raunchy scenes throughout with the added mystery kicking the whole story up a notch. The characters are all different which pulls you in completely keeping you turning the pages with avid interest until the last. Next please!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Review of Hardwired by Meredith Wild

The bit on the back…

Determined to overcome a difficult past, Erica Hathaway learns early on to make it on her own. Days after her college graduation, she finds herself face to face with a panel of investors who will make or break her fledgling start-up website. The only thing she didn't prepare for was going weak in the knees over an arrogant and gorgeous investor who seems determined to derail her plans.

Billionaire and rumoured hacker Blake Landon has already made his fortune in software, and he’s used to getting what he wants. Captivated by Erica’s drive and unassuming beauty, he’s wanted nothing more than to possess her since she stepped into his boardroom. Determined to win her over, he breaks down her defences and fights for her trust, even if it means sacrificing a level of control he’s grown accustomed to.

But when Blake uncovers a dark secret from Erica’s past, he threatens not just her trust, but the life she’s fought so hard to create.


Fans of Beth Kery stop reading this right now and go and buy this book. You will not regret it. I’ve not long finished Beth’s novel Glimmer and this book is similar in storyline, main characters and sexiness!

Erica is the narrator throughout this great book and I found reading her story to be a complete page turner. I read it in one day, totally devouring the story. Erica is the owner of a start-up website and is trying to win the investment her company needs when she meets Blake.

Wow, wow, wow! I really enjoyed this book, starting with Erica. I felt a little inferior to Erica in the beginning because she is incredibly clever and she is dead set on making her company successful and achieving her dreams. As she started to crumble a little under Blake’s attention I realised that underneath the superior business woman is a normal girl with normal feelings. As well as this intense desire for success, Erica has a past coloured with sadness and pain. I read the story feeling like Blake was her answer to finally getting a break in life, and not just in terms of her company.

Blake is beautiful. It’s that simple. I rotated Blake’s dream cast between Tom Hardy and Chris Pine from when they both starred in This Means War, with a little bit of Superman thrown in to geek it up a little. He seemed very swoon worthy with his secret little smiles and sexy arrogance. I loved that Erica fought him on it (in the beginning) trying to maintain some level of dignity but to be honest I’m not surprised that she finally succumbed to the mutual attraction.

Erica’s brutal past haunts her relationship with Blake and as she manages to shed a little light on some things she’s always wondered for herself she unwittingly opens a can of worms. Erica’s not the only one with a past and Blake’s pains him just as much although he is a lot better at hiding it, until it starts to affect Erica’s present.

I was a little sad to only have the story from Erica’s POV because I can’t help thinking just how hot it would be to see the story through Blake’s eyes. He’s pretty closed off to Erica about his past and it feels like he doesn’t want her to become embroiled in it and as such it’s harder to get to know him, other than knowing that he is insanely attractive, insatiable and very, very generous in all aspects of his relationship with Erica.


After finishing this I downloaded the 2nd, 3rd and 4th books in the series and started Hardpressed right away. I am more than glad that I didn’t have to wait for the second in the series. I have high hopes for the series and I’m looking forward to the story of Erica’s business and her relationships unfolding.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Review of Wickham Hall Part 1 by Cathy Bramley

The bit on the back…

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up.

Her first major event is a spring wedding of royal proportions. Holly has every detail covered, so all she has to do is keep calm and carry on… Easier said than done!

As the church bells ring, little does Holly know that come Monday, she’ll have a new boss. And it might not exactly be a match made in heaven…


I was sooo excited to read this! I have been a fan of Cathy’s since I first read her novel Conditional Love back when I started blogging. Cathy has this great style of writing that draws you into her stories and characters and has you turning pages faster than you can one click. Wickham Hall is Cathy’s 3rd serialised novel following on from the fantastic Ivy Lane and most recent Appleby Farm.

The story is all about main character and narrator throughout Holly Swift.

Holly is instantly likeable. She’s easy to relate to especially with her circumstances and her jitteriness over waiting to hear about her dream job she’s applied for. Holly’s job is the main focus in this part of the story and I really liked seeing her taking it on from the start, making it over unexpected hurdles and experiencing the same learning curve she did. It kind of put me in mind of Hester Browne’s Honeymoon Hotel.

There is a whole cast of characters in the hotel that I’m looking forward to getting to know, especially the owner’s son he looks like he might be trouble for Holly.


Although Holly is the star of the show there are two side stories going on involving her best friend and also her mum. I’m sensing that these stories will develop later into the series and I’m looking forward to seeing how Holly deals. Looking forward to reading part 2.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Review of Some Kind of Wonderful by Sarah Morgan

The bit on the back…

Her whole life, Puffin Islander Brittany Forrest has dreamed of adventure. And at the age of eighteen, she thought she’d found it in bad boy Zachary Flynn. But after just ten tempestuous, smouldering days, their whirlwind marriage went up in smoke, and Brittany resolved to put him out of her mind forever.

Zach knows he let Brittany down, but being back on Puffin Island and seeing Brittany again stirs up long-buried emotions. This daredevil pilot has never felt worthy of her, yet he can’t stay away—even when he knows the chemistry between them will only complicate his life.

As long, hot summer days on the beach dissolve into sultry, starry nights, Brittany and Zach find that the sparks between them are more powerful than ever. Could it be that the second time around, their dreams of a happy-ever-after will finally come true?


Firstly thank you to M&B for approving me for a copy of this book via Netgalley. I first read Sarah’s books last year and I couldn’t wait to start her new Puffin Island series. This is the second book in the series following on from First Time In Forever, which I loved.

Sarah takes us back to Puffin Island just as the main character, Brittany, is returning to the place she calls home. Brittany is an archaeologist and is used to spending her time in the sun, in the dirt and digging into the past but with a broken wrist Brittany is homebound. Unfortunately for her she’s not the only person who has returned to the Island. Cue gorgeous Zach!

I found this book to be a complete page turner; I read it within 2 days. To be honest I’ve found that with everything I’ve read of Sarah’s so far and I think it’s probably because I just can’t wait to see what’s going to happen with the characters. At the centre of Some Kind of Wonderful is a love story between the two characters Zach and Brittany. Both characters have baggage, which seems normal right? But in this case the baggage is each other as they used to be married. If that’s not a starting point for some serious tension and chemistry then I don’t know what is.

This is the main focus of the story and I really enjoyed seeing the characters bouncing off of one another and bonding again as more mature adults. The underlying attraction between the characters is still there which makes their reunion interesting to say the least. Zach was the more prominent character for me in this story because of his complicated childhood and how that transferred and has hindered his adult life. Brittany helps him to overcome some personal obstacles in this book and it’s nice to see him believing in himself.

The series is based on a group of friends so it was great to catch up with Emily and Ryan from the first book and also to get a feel for the next book in the series which features Sky and Alex.


The Island itself sounds absolutely gorgeous. A complete haven on the east coast of the USA and Sarah’s description of the place transports you there. You only have to Google a few pictures of Maine and Penobscot Bay to fuel your imagination further. It’s a place I would definitely have loved to visit, and I’m looking forward to going back to it in the third novel Christmas Ever After, out in October.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Great British Bake Off 2015: Week 1



And so the long awaited return of GBBO graced us with it's presence last week with a fabulous first episode. Just like last year I am going to try and bake along with the show however this year I am off to a rather rubbish start as I am currently minus one oven! As my whole family are avid Bake Off fans I arranged to bake at my mum's until I have a new oven.

This week I tried my hand at the Madeira cake. Unlike the start of last year's Bake Off when I turned out this pretty spectacular (even if I do say so myself) Giraffe Swiss roll...



...I decided to stick to the traditional Madeira loaf cake recipe which I found on the BBC Good Food website. Click here to view the recipe and method as Good Food describes it!

On a scale of one to croquembouche I would say this is a fairly easy recipe to follow, even for a baking beginner or someone (like me) who has never tried this recipe before. The hardest part, for me anyway, was lining the damn tin because I have never been able to do that without wrapping myself in baking paper! Usually I leave it to my mum whenever a tin needs lined.

Here is my finished attempt complete with the signature Madeira crack (insert joke here) and all.



I don't overly like Madeira cake and because I'm currently on a diet I knew if I chose to make this I wouldn't eat much of it! According to my very reliable sources (workmates, family and boyfriend) the cake tasted as it should, with a close texture and hint of lemon. It did turn into a bit of a "how do you eat yours" with my dad preferring it warm and my boss liking hers with some butter.

If you are baking along with this year's show I would love to check out some of your baking related posts so leave me a link to your blog in the comments. My friend over at www.emsypickle.co.uk inspired me to bake along last year so make sure you check out her baking posts for some extra inspiration!

See you next week with something biscuity!

Erin xx






Monday, 3 August 2015

Review of Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley


 The bit on the back…


Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she seeks out peace and quiet in a new town, taking on a plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution.

But the friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and gradually draw Tilly in to their cosy, comforting world of planting seedlings, organizing bake sales and planning seasonal parties.

As the seasons pass, will Tilly learn to stop hiding amongst the sweetpeas and let people back into her life – and her heart?


Firstly thank you to Cathy and Corgi for sending me a copy of this novel which was previously published in four parts. I had only read Part 1: Spring so I was eager to get back to the allotments.

From what I had already read I knew I would quickly become hooked on the story again thanks to Cathy’s ability to create a story and main character that is really easy to relate to. I started from the beginning again and found myself liking all the same things as I had before from the cast of characters to the sense of community in the allotments and the promise of something better to come.

Tilly is the main character and narrator throughout and she is easy to empathise with. Her new allotment is her fresh start and from the snippets of information you’re given initially you begin to understand that Tilly has been through a life changing and difficult period in her young life so far. The allotment and the other owners feel like just what she needs even though she can’t quite see it yet.

Having previously only read the first part I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’d already made my mind up about the characters and had formed my own idea of what might happen. As the story continued to unfold through the seasons I was pleasantly surprised by the path that it took and loved the growth in Tilly’s strength throughout. Her character really develops over the four seasons and you get a sense of who she was before mingling the person she is growing into. Tilly’s own allotment is a bit like her life with new beginnings and setbacks and it played along quite nicely throughout the story.

We are also introduced to Freya who is the main character of Cathy’s second four part series which is due to be released as one, in paperback, on the 13th of August. I have yet to read any of this series and I do have it on pre-order although I was incredibly lucky to receive a beautiful copy in the post. I have also started reading Cathy’s third four part series Wickham Hall and I already have high hopes for it!