Monday, 29 February 2016

Review of F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher

The bit on the back…

Helena Conway has fallen in love.

Unwillingly. Unwittingly.

But not unprovoked.

Kit Isley is everything she’s not—unstructured, untethered,
and not even a little bit careful.

It could all be so beautiful … if he wasn’t dating her best friend.

Helena must defy her heart, do the right thing, and think of others.
Until she doesn’t.

I don’t even know where to start with this, I enjoyed it so much. I’ve never read any of Tarryn’s books before although I do have The Opportunist on my kindle. This was recommended to me by a trusted friend so I started pretty much straight away after she had raved about it. The book, told from Helena’s POV, hooked me from the very start and kept me interested right until the very end. The first chapter is an absolute corker, probably one of the best first chapters I’ve ever read. I couldn’t quite get a grip of what was going on, I read it twice over and then when I moved to chapter two I looked back at chapter one thinking what the actual hell??

Helena has fallen in love with Kit. Kit is the boyfriend of Helena’s best friend Della – drama, drama, drama. This is one of those reads where there was always something in the back of my head that made me think “maaaaaaan… you should not be doing that” about the characters. I think from the beginning it’s obvious that the better fit would be for Helena and Kit to be together rather than Kit and Della. I couldn’t take to Della at all; she’s vain and has to be the centre of everyone’s universe. I felt like she kind of used Helena to make her feel better about herelf. She’s insecure and it got really grating throughout the book – although there was that one part of me that felt a smidgen of sorry for her.

The emotions are REAL in this book. I was up and down all over the place. Reading from Helena’s POV had the effect of feeling the story from her point of view, falling for Kit more and more until you’re left feeling the same way about him as Helena does. I really loved Kit. He’s imperfect and aware of it; he’s made mistakes but tries to learn from them and is a genuinely good guy at heart.

The first chapter played on my mind the whole way through the story as I kept wondering what was going to happen next for the characters. I had a bit of a book hangover with this one, I still think about it now and then but it’s the relationship between Kit and Helena, the depth of feelings and the chemistry that they had that keeps taking me back to it. I can’t wait to read more from Tarryn now after this, starting with The Opportunist.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Slimming World Sunday on Erin's Choice: Week 2

The last two weeks have been gains for me, and I'm expecting much the same from weigh in this week. I weigh in on a Tuesday night which is just close enough to the weekend to guilt me into being mostly well behaved. Most weeks. I don't have an excuse for the last couple of weeks. I've been overeating, not counting syns (thank goodness because I'd probably be disgusted) and basically eating anything I could get my hands on.

The last month or so I've been ordering my groceries online so I've just had a brand new delivery and have my meals planned for the week ahead. One of the common misconceptions I always hear bandied about regarding healthy eating, whether you follow a specific diet or not, is that it's expensive. At first I was a little worried about going back to SW that our food shopping bill would end up like tripling or something. However, our usual weekly shopping bill is now between £50-60. That's mostly food but often includes other household items too. This feeds us for a week and I always have spare from meals to go into the freezer. 

One way to cut the cost is to be a savvy shopper and hit up the whoopsie aisle for bargains. This week, the dreaded week before payday, we ate mainly meals from the freezer and one of the dinners we had was a whoopsie bargain. 

This was sweet chilli chicken made with sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, garlic, chillies and ginger. We bought the chicken thighs for half price so the whole meal between the two of us (excluding store cupboard items) was less than a fiver. Can't argue with that! 

Erin x

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Review of Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

The bit on the back…

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.

I was honestly looking forward to reading this book after discovering Penny Reid through a recommendation and reading her Elements of Chemistry series. I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed by it though and reckon that if I had read it before I’d read Elements of Chemistry I would feel differently.

The story is all about main character Janie Morris. At first Janie looks to be a pretty unique character to say the least. Janie is very, very clever but lacks all sort of social skills and is completely oblivious to all normal social indicators. It would appear she could have Asperger’s Syndrome although it’s never stated in the book. Janie has some pretty random ways of doing things and spouts random mathematical facts throughout the book, over analysing simple situations to the nth degree. This is one of the many things that annoyed me about the book. Janie is achingly similar to Kaitlyn from Elements of Chemistry although it’s scientific facts that Kaitlyn spouts. I felt a bit let down that they were the same in so many ways but like I said if I had read this first it would have been the other way round in my review of Elements of Chemistry.

Janie meets Quinn and soon starts to spend more time with him. Although she’s oblivious to what is glaringly obvious Quinn continually lets it slide never fully telling Janie the truth – I don’t know if he’s supposed to be protecting her here but he knows she’s oblivious, he tells her often enough, so it seemed a bit creepy that he was omitting the truth about his position in the company and knowledge of circumstances that are revealed later in the story.

Things start to escalate quickly in the latter half of the story and it all seems to get a bit hairy out of nowhere. I’m sad to say that I won’t be reading the rest of the Knitting in the City series which is unfortunate because I have previously enjoyed Penny’s writing. This was just to samey samey for me.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Review of Built by Jay Crownover

The bit on the back…

Sometimes you have to tear everything down to build something new…

Sayer Cole is frozen inside. At least, that’s what it’s felt like for as long as she can remember. She’s yet to let anyone past her icy exterior – and the one guy she thinks might melt her heart couldn’t possibly be interested in someone so uptight.

Rough, hard and hot-as-hell, Zeb Fuller has rebuilt his life and his construction business since protecting his family sent him to jail all those years ago. His elegant client, Sayer, makes him feel like a Neanderthal in denim, but despite the many hints that he’s been dropping to get to know her better, she seems oblivious to his charms.

Just as things finally start to heat up, Zeb’s past comes back to haunt him and he needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. As these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, fire and ice collide in an unstoppable explosion of steam…

This is the much anticipated first novel in Jay Crownover’s new Saints of Denver series. It follows on from the sensational Marked Men series and features two secondary characters from that series – Zeb Fuller, friend of Rowdy and Sayer Cole who is Rowdy’s sister.

I have been looking forward to reading this for a while. It is full of all of the things I like about Jay’s style and have come to expect when reading one of her novels. I remember the first time I read Rule, book 1 in the Marked Men series, and I remember not wanting it to end, looking at how far I had read and trying to slow myself down. The same happened with this. I devoured it in two sittings.

I really loved Zeb. Throughout the story he faces some major changes in his life, which Sayer helps him through in her lawyer capacity. He is strong and independent but is focused on doing the right thing by everyone, including himself and Sayer. I loved that he puts others before himself and that is evident throughout the whole story. I felt sorry for him in parts of the book because it felt like Sayer mucked him around, cutting her nose off to spite her face.

Sayer is her own worst enemy. Even now, when she is part of Rowdy’s family and the wider “Marked Men” family, she is still affected by her past and is afraid to let go and be consumed by her relationship with Zeb. It makes her out to be selfish as if she is stringing him along to ultimately turn him down.

The story is sexy, intense, charged, emotional and fast paced. I found it to be a page turner as I really wanted to find out what was going to happen to Zeb next and how he was going to handle it. It’s predictable in that you know how it’s going to end eventually but the sub plot with Zeb and his “situation” rounds the story out.

I can’t wait to see what’s next from Jay, as always this is one I will definitely be re-reading.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Slimming World Sunday on Erin's Choice: Week 1

Erin’s Choice has more or less been exclusively for book reviews since I started nearly three years ago, which is fitting because I spend A LOT of my spare time reading. In the last 8 months three books that have made it into the almost weekly rotation are three of my Slimming World recipe books. Slimming World is starting to take up some of my spare time previously spent reading and as I’m really on track when I have visual reminders of how far I’ve come, how much I’ve lost and so on I thought a weekly blog post about my week on Slimming World would be just one more thing to keep me on track.

I firmly believe Slimming World (SW) is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. It really feels like it once you get your head around what I think is a relatively easy meal plan. I’ve joined SW a few times over the years but when I joined again at the end of June 2015 I was in it to win it, raring to go and any other cliché you can think of.

I joined a local class and signed up for 6 weeks straight away. This marked one of the many “firsts” to get under my belt during this session of dieting. I had never bought a six week pass usually preferring to wing it week by week so I could become a diet class truant on weeks I knew I’d gained weight. My thinking behind buying the 6 week block was creating a feeling of obligation to go every week because I’m a home owner now and I ain’t got £25 to throw away willy-nilly you know!

As I said that sparked the trail for many of my SW firsts including awards, getting onto the next page in my weigh in book, becoming Slimmer of the Month and of the week (MORE THAN ONCE!!) and becoming part of the social team as the weigh in girl. During the first 6 months I lost one stone. A paltry amount compared to some of the life changing stories you read online and in the media. I had a lot going on during those 6 months socially and personally and when I signed up I was at my heaviest weight ever so it still felt good to have gone to class and lost and maintained my 1 stone loss instead of what would inevitably ended up as a 1 stone gain.

A fresh bout of dedication came in January and my head was back in the game. I’ve lost another 18lbs since the 1st by going to class, staying for Image Therapy and plan, plan, planning ‘til I’m dreaming about going for my weekly shopping! The last couple of weeks I’ve been slacking though so the idea of this post I’ve been toying with seemed more important than ever!

I’ll be back next week with an update!

Erin x

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Review of Some Girls Don't by Amy Andrews

The bit on the back…

Local television reporter Selena Durrum is in Jumbuck Springs for three days. Get in, see her grandmother, give her speech, and get out. Her career is about to hit big and she can’t afford any distractions. Especially not her childhood sweetheart…

Jarrod Weston, rural firefighter, isn’t worried about seeing the woman who’d done a midnight runner on him fifteen years earlier. It was a long time ago and he’s moved on with his life… right?

But neither of them were ready for their still potent attraction and the heavy pull of unfinished business. But then Selena gets offered the opportunity of a lifetime and once again has to choose between love and career… Will she go with her heart, or her head?

Firstly thank you to Tule Publishing for providing me with a copy of this title via NetGalley. This is the second book in Amy Andrews’ Outback Heat Series and is all about childhood sweethearts Selena and Jarrod. Selena is chasing her dream career while Jarrod fights fires near his hometown. The pair couldn’t be at more different places in their lives but the strength of their chemistry and unrequited love story draws them together again.

The story focuses on their reunion in Jumbuck Springs and how that brings up all the old feelings and emotions. There is a definite attraction between the characters and a pull that is palpable in their initial scenes together. It’s easy to see why they were good together.

I really liked Jarrod’s character. He’s this big burly firefighter who is dedicated to his town and his job, just like his brothers. He is quite clearly in touch with his emotional side as you can see how much Selena has hurt him in the past and just like watching an accident in slow motion you can see it’s going to happen again.

Selena is selfish. That’s the bottom line. Throughout the story she is solely focused on herself and getting ahead in her job. It’s as if she takes Jarrod for granted and swoops in and out of his life easily as if she doesn’t even register the potential consequences it has.

This story is a quick read and there are two further books in the series which I will definitely be checking out.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Review of Until We Fly by Courtney Cole

The bit on the back…

Ex-Army Ranger, Brand Killien, has always been good.
A good friend, a good soldier, a good everything. .
The problem is, good hasn’t gotten him anything but a crushed heart.
So after licking his wounds, he decides to move on. And moving on doesn’t include being good anymore.
Jaded and detached, Brand is determined to never open himself up to anyone again. It’s not worth the pain. Instead, he becomes closed, hardened, aloof.
But then he’s called back home for a family emergency… a family that he is estranged from. A family that he put out of his mind a long time ago for very good reasons…reasons that involve secrets and pain. Reasons he tried hard to forget.
But home is where the heart is, and it just might be where Brand finds his again.
Why? Because home is where Nora Greene is. A fiery, red-headed spitfire, Nora is a thing from his past. A beautiful, feisty thing. When Brand left, she was away at boarding school.
But she’s back now.
And she wants Brand, scars and all.

This is the 4th book in Courtney Cole’s Beautifully Broken series. It’s all about Brand Killien and Nora Greene. Brand is a character we’ve been introduced to earlier in the series as he is a friend of Gabriel’s from the second book If You Leave.

Nora has returned home for the summer but her first day back starts with a bang and Brand coming to her rescue.

Both characters have pasts full of hurt which neither of them deal with well. Where Brand’s pain is mostly physical Nora’s is now mainly emotional. Courtney takes you on a journey with Nora as she tries to face up to the people who have hurt her in the past. The story is not all flowers and romance and is definitely an emotional read. At times it was difficult to face the reality of Nora’s story.

Although Brand doesn’t know the full extent of the hardship Nora has been through in her young life he is supportive and is constantly there for her and protecting her throughout the book. Brand’s character has wisdom beyond his years due to his life experience and this helps to balance Nora’s innocence a little.

The narrative is dual POV which works because the characters have such diverse histories. The dual POV is one thing I have really enjoyed about the series, and although I enjoyed this book I think the first in the series will always be my favourite.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Book News - The Woman Who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

The bit on the back...

Forget about having it all. Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind.
Audrey is often seized by the urge to walk out of her house without looking back – but she can’t possibly do that.
She is a single parent. She is needed. She has a job, a home, responsibilities…and a slothful teenage son’s pants to pick up.
But no one likes being taken for granted – Audrey least of all – so the time has come for drastic action. And no one’s going to stand in her way…

Release Date: 25th February 2016

Publisher: Avon

Book News - The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts

The bit on the back...

When Ellie Hall lands her dream job running the little teashop in the beautiful but crumbling Claverham Castle, it’s the perfect escape from her humdrum job in the city. Life is definitely on the rise as Ellie replaces spreadsheets for scones, and continues her Nanna’s brilliant baking legacy.
When Lord Henry, the stick-in-the-mud owner, threatens to burst her baking bubble with his old-fashioned ways, Ellie wonders if she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But cupcake by cupcake she wins the locals over, including teashop stalwart, Doris, and Ellie’s showstopping bakes look set to go down in castle history!
Now all that’s missing in Ellie’s life is a slice of romance – can Joe, the brooding estate manager, be the one to put the cherry on the top of Ellie’s dream?

Release Date: 25th February 2016

Publisher: Harper Impulse

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Review of I Knew You Were Trouble by Paige Toon

The bit on the back…

Life as the undercover daughter of a rock god isn't going to be easy. How will Jessie adjust to her old boring life again after spending her summer living it up with her dad in LA?

With tough decisions ahead (and not just choosing between two hot boys), can she cope juggling her two very different lives? Summer may be over, but Jessie's story is just beginning…

I really wish these books had been out when I was Jessie’s age! I am a diehard Johnny Jefferson fan so when Paige released The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson it took me quite a while to read it because I wasn’t ready to give up the image I already had of Johnny. Turns out I just love him more after reading about him with a teenage mini-me daughter.

This is the second book about Jessie, I’d say definitely read the first one before you read this so you can get to know her story better. If you have only picked this one up Paige does a good job of telling you everything you need to know to catch up without retelling the whole of the first book.

In I Knew You Were Trouble Jessie’s life is unequivocally different compared to the start of the first book.  She’s just back from a summer with her rock star dad and her new family and she’s trying to adjust back to reality. Just for the rug to get pulled out from under her again.

There are so many things to love about Paige’s writing regardless of your age. If you’re a fan of Paige’s adult novels you will appreciate the writing style, the genuine characters and the fact that you get to re-visit Johnny and Meg. If you are a young reader you will easily be able to identify with Jessie and the normal teenage struggles she has to go through on top of everything with her dad. If you’ve read and enjoyed this you should definitely have a look at All American Girl by Meg Cabot.

The story goes from the UK to LA and you can get totally swept up in Jessie’s whirlwind of a life. It’s exciting and intense in parts and pitched perfectly for readers of around Jessie’s age throughout. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Jessie and I am tempted to go back and read Johnny Be Good now!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Book News - Kitty's Countryside Dream by Christie Barlow

The bit on the back...

When Kitty inherits Bluebell Lodge from her grandmother, a farm in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, it’s time for fresh air and a fresh start. Up to her elbows in chickens and ponies, Kitty soon realises there’s an awful lot to learn about farming. Still, at least the locals seem friendly, not least her handsome neighbour Tom… 

But just as Kitty is beginning to find her feet, and the possibility of love, the discovery of a long-hidden diary, by a mysterious character called Violet changes everything. Who is Violet and what is her message for Kitty? As Kitty fills in the lost pieces of her family jigsaw and discovers some shocking revelations, will her countryside dream and blossoming relationship fall to pieces? When it comes to life in the country, nothing is ever quite as it seems … 

New home. New life. New beginning. Love affairs can blossom in the most unlikely places . . .

Release Date: 25th February 2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Monday, 8 February 2016

Review of The Kiss Before Midnight by Sophie Pembroke

The bit on the back…

Heading home to Liverpool for Christmas, Molly Mackenzie isn’t just looking forward to the mulled wine and mince pies – she’s got high hopes for who she’ll find under the mistletoe this year!

Unable to forget the delicious near miss with her brother’s best friend, Jake, last New Year’s Eve, Molly’s got a new resolution at the top of her list: seduce Jake and get this crazy chemistry out the way before it has serious repercussions on the rest of the Mackenzie family.

Only Molly has underestimated the magic of the holiday season… The more stolen moments in the snow that she shares with Jake, the more determined she is to make it a whole lot more than just a kiss before midnight.

This is the second Christmas romance novella by Sophie that I’ve read this year, even though Christmas has passed! It follows on from The Kiss Before Christmas which was all about Dory. It’s set the Christmas after Dory’s story, and is about her sister Molly.

This is a classic case of falling for the older brother’s best friend but the best friend being reluctant to act on his feelings because of misplaced loyalty to the older brother. In that way, it’s a predictable read but the journey from beginning to end is so romantic it’s easy to get swept up in it and forget that you know what the end result is likely to be.

Molly feels like the least successful of her siblings, always a step behind trying to live up to what she thinks everyone expects of her. Going home this Christmas isn’t just about seeing her family and showing them how accomplished she is. This year she’s going home to face Jake after sharing a kiss with him last New Year. I loved the premise of the story line so I was looking forward to seeing how it was going to unfold in all its angsty, chemistry filled goodness!

Sophie did not disappoint! Jake and Molly have definitely got some unresolved chemistry going on and seeing them tempt each other by being in their mere presence is tantalising from the get go. The novella is short but well written making the time fly by when you’re reading. This would be great if you only have a spare hour or so. Just like The Kiss Before Christmas it is a timeless read for all year round. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to fans of Sarah Morgan.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Review of Midnight At Tiffany's by Sarah Morgan

The bit on the back…

Matilda is a New York waitress by day, but an aspiring author by night – and she loves to write about kickass heroines!

So when she meets gorgeous millionaire Chase Adams, she decides to channel them and act on their sizzling attraction! One magical night later, she's living the dream, but will a trip to Tiffany's make it a reality?

This is the prequel novella to Sarah’s much anticipated new series From Manhattan With Love. The story focuses on Matilda and Chase two side characters from the main series.

Matilda is naturally clumsy and accident prone unlike the ballsy and feisty heroines she writes about. I liked her instantly! One thing I love about all of Sarah’s characters is that no matter what their life entails, what their job is, there is always some part of them that you can recognise in yourself and identify with. For one night she reimagines herself as one of her characters allowing herself some freedom from her normal life. Chase, like Matilda, finds himself leaving the same party earlier and just like Matilda assumes a different identity for the night when Matilda doesn’t recognise him. Allowing himself a rare moment of anonymity he revels in it and is a very charming man with a bright sparkle in his eye.

I loved that both characters had one night to step outside their normal lives and take a break from the expectations and the burdens of day to day life. Chase and Matilda have a real connection regardless of them not knowing the others true identity and in true Sarah Morgan style you are in for a romantic and sexy read. I love Sarah’s book boyfriends and it’s safe to say Chase is another one to add to the ever growing list.

Midnight At Tiffany’s is THE perfect prequel to what is shaping up to be yet another fantastic series from Sarah, it’s a true Cinderella story. I can’t wait to get started! Make sure you pre-order the first book in the series Sleepless in Manhattan, out on the 10th of March. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

Review of Shut In by Cee Smith

The bit on the back…

Blaire didn't know much about one-night stands, but she knew how they're supposed to go. A night where inhibitions are thrown out, no names, no attachments, and in the morning you both go your separate ways, never to speak again. At least that's what was supposed to happen.
Mother nature had other plans.

She established boundaries: No details, no more sex. But Joel was never much for following the rules. With a body built for sex and an appetite to match, one night with him would never be enough. Torn between the case that could make her legal career and a man who thinks of clothes as optional, how long could she stick to the rules?

I first saw this book on one of those sponsored Facebook posts. I clicked through after being drawn to the title and the cover and skimmed over a few reviews. I decided to buy the first two stories in the series then and there.

The first installment in this series focuses on Blaire and Joel getting to know one another when they find themselves trapped in her home. I liked the premise of this but to be honest I was a bit disappointed with the execution.

Blaire, who works at a law firm, in a moment of let-your-hair-down-madness embarks on a one night stand with dark and mysterious Joel, unwittingly trapping herself with him for the next few days. Blaire seemed uptight, very focused and a little straight laced so her almost rebellious decision to take Joel home seemed very out of character.

During their time together Blaire bounces back and forth between enjoying Joel’s company and resenting it. At times I just wanted to shout at her and tell her to just own it, own her decision. She’s trapped in this extraordinary bubble where life has literally hit pause, why not run with it? She continues to focus on her work throughout which turns out to be pretty revealing in the plot twist on the last page of this installment.

Joel’s character had many sides – joker, sexy, home baker (weird one) and definitely mysterious. It took him a while to reveal more about himself and as the story is all one-sided from Blaire’s POV it’s quite hard to get to know him.

By the end of the story I was annoyed how back and forth Blaire had been but the author had gone and dropped an almost too convenient to be true plot twist so I did feel compelled to start reading book two. However, I stopped short not too far in. I’m undecided as to whether I’ll go back to it.