Thursday, 19 January 2017

Review of The Vets at Hope Green - Sheila Norton

The bit on the back...

Working as a receptionist in a London vets, Sam is living far from her idea of a simple life. She’s always broke, rents a tiny flat and is constantly arguing with her boyfriend. But the worst part is that her career is going nowhere. She wants to be a vet, but the most contact time with the animals she has is a quick hello when she books in their next appointment.

Something’s got to give, so when her parents suggest visiting her Nana Peggy in a small quiet picturesque village, she agrees, thinking a bit of R&R could do her good.

But rest and relaxation may not be the order of the day. Poor Nana Peggy’s lovely dog Rufus is unwell, and Sam can’t help but grow fond of him. With the help of Joe the local vet, a charming yet strangely distant man, Sam sets out on looking after him, despite her London life trying to call her back…

This is the first installment in Sheila Norton's new four par series The Vets at Hope Green. The story is all about vet practice receptionist Sam who's at a bit of a crossroads in her life with relationship and work decisions hanging over her. Sam heads to her Nana's to get some good old country air into her lungs and to take a break from her city life.

I love the sound of Hope Green. I used to live in a little village myself and it all came rushing back - everyone knowing each other, the friendships and the wide open spaces. It's Sam's fantasy to one day return to the countryside - somewhere just like Hope Green - with a gaggle of children and pets but it seems her boyfriend has different opinions. Their frequent arguments drive Sam to take some time for herself to clear her head.

In the village Sam is reunited with her Nana Peggy who she is very close to and also with her Nana's dog Rufus. As Sam settles back in she reflects on everything that's not quite right in her life, trying to work through her options. I think Sam is a very relatable character, her career and relationship worries are easy to empathise with.

Sam is introduced to the seemingly very rude local vet, Joe. I can sense there's much more to come from him throughout the rest of the story and I can't wait to see how his character and story develops throughout! The next installment is out on the 16th of February.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Review of Four Letter Word by J. Daniels

The bit on the back…

Fate. Hate. Love. Lies.

Which four letter word will change their lives forever?

Sydney Paige was never so mortified to hear the words 'wrong number' in her life. She meant to tell off the guy who broke her best friend's heart, but unleashed her anger on a perfect stranger instead. And now her world is turned upside down by the captivating man who wants to keep her on the line.

Brian Savage is living a life he's quickly come to hate - until Sydney's wild rant has him hooked and hungry for more. Soon the sexy woman on the phone becomes the lover in his bed. But Brian has secrets, and the closer he lets Syd get, the harder it is to shield her from the devastating mistakes of his past . . .

This is the first book of J. Daniels' that I’d read however after I’d finished I downloaded the first two books from her Alabama Summer series and had checked when the second book in this series was due for release. I’ve since read those other three books!

This is the first book in J. Daniels' most recent series – Dirty Deeds. It’s all about main characters Sydney “Syd” Paige and Brian “Dash” Savage. I didn’t know what to expect from this as I bought the book based on the cover alone so I started without any preconceptions. The book starts off from Syd’s point of view and events quickly escalate into the first intense conversation between both characters. Sydney dials Brian’s number by mistake and as the blurb suggest unleashes hell on him. This comical start to their relationship sets the tone for the level of intensity you can expect throughout the book.

The pair continues to get to know each other without meeting in person and fleet in and out of each other’s lives while their proximity to one another remains disguised. The amount of times I wanted to scream at one of the characters that the other was right there, literally RIGHT THERE, is considerable however this added to the overall angsty tension throughout.

Both characters hold back secrets from one another however the extent of the secrets Brian keeps from Sydney is undoubtedly greater. As the narrative comes from both characters you are given an insight to each character and given the difference between the backstory of each character I think it worked really well. There are definitely parts of the book that I liked more than others – Brian’s side occupation for example was not my favourite part of this story!

If you’ve read Everything I Left Unsaid by M O’Keefe I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book, it has a similar storyline with very different characters.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Mini Review - The Reading Group: December by Della Parker

The bit on the back...

Grace knows that the holiday season is going to be different this year. No turkey, no tinsel, no gorgeously wrapped gifts under the tree . . . how on earth is she going to break it to her little boys that Christmas is effectively cancelled? And can she bear to tell anyone her embarrassing secret? Enter the Reading Group: Grace's life might have turned upside down but there's no problem they can't solve.

Meet the Reading Group: six women in the seaside village of Little Sanderton come together every month to share their love of reading. No topic is off-limits: books, family, love and loss . . . and don't forget the glass of red!

This is a little freebie starter to Della Parker's new six part series The Reading Group. This 17 pager introduces you to all the main characters and gives a little bit of insight into their lives and friendships, particularly Grace and her struggles over the Christmas period.

This taster doesn't give too much away about what we can expect from the story as it goes on other than the friendship between each of the women. However, over the rest of the series you will get to know each of the women as they each take a turn in the spot light.

I would love to join a reading group so I'm looking forward to living vicariously through this series!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Review of Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

The bit on the back...

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness,” is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant―hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.
Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.
Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.
Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.
There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately―the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.
But to Olivia―Nicholas is worth it.
Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

As always with the announcement of a new release from Emma Chase I was excited to read this book. Moreover it’s the start of a series and if I’ve learned anything from her Legal Briefs series they just keep getting better the more you read. This book is all about main characters Olivia and Nicholas and is the first book in Emma’s Royally series.
Olivia is constantly struggling against the ever rising tide to keep her late mother’s coffee shop above water. She’s feisty and caring and is doing her upmost to make the best life for her sister. I felt sorry for Olivia throughout because she’s got a lot of expectation on her shoulders, from herself and her father. Then Nicholas walks is suave ass into her life and changes everything.
Nicholas and his upbringing are the antithesis of Olivia and hers. Where Oliva battles for every penny Nicholas comes from a life of unbridled privilege. Nick is in New York to retrieve his hell raising brother Henry and I’m already looking forward to reading Henry’s story. It definitely feels like he’s loosely based a Prince of our own.
Nicholas and Olivia share the narrative throughout the book which serves well because while both characters are so different their chemistry is so immediate that seeing both of their perspectives allows you to feel swept up without feeling like the story is moving too fast. Nick is often quite crass and at first really shows himself up. Olivia has more decorum than Nick at some points throughout. I loved that she was able to keep him on his toes and put him in his place when he needed it.
If you’ve enjoyed Emma’s books in the past or if you are fans of Christina Lauren’s series’ I am sure you will enjoy this. Royally Matched, the 2nd book in the series featuring Nicholas’ brother Prince Henry, is out in February.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Review of The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell

The bit on the back...

Monique and Issy are teachers, housemates and lovers of musicals! Their Friday night routine consists of snacks, wine and the Frozen DVD. So when Monique’s boyfriend moves to America for a year and her sister Hope moves in because of her own relationship woes, Friday nights get a new name… ‘The Singalong Society for Singletons’!

It’s a chance to get together, sing along to their favourite tracks from the best-loved West End shows, and forget the worries of work, relationships and love (or lack of it). But when Issy shares the details of their little group further afield, they get some unexpected new members who might just change their opinions on singledom for good….

Firstly thank you to Harper Impulse for the review copy of this title via NetGalley. This is Katey's first full length novel following on from her Meet Cute series.

Monique, the main character and narrator throughout the story, lives with her friend and work colleague Issy. They both have loads in common from their careers to their love of musicals but they are also unique individuals in their own right with pasts and a history that unfolds the more you read of the story.

Hope, Monique's sister, makes the duo a trio when she moves in and together the three of them form The Singalong Society for Singletons. Along with their friend Connie the four friends explore new friendships, love and challenges. Connie takes a big leap of faith in herself and following her example the other three friends also embark on life changing decisions from small to big things.

As a lover of musicals I really enjoyed this element of the story. This is central to the overall story and I cannot think of another like it. The musicals from each Society meeting reflect something that is going on with the characters in that chapter and while the main focus is the development of the characters and their own individual stories throughout the link with the musical adds lightness to the overall story.

Katey has delivered a polished book which is original with fresh and honest characters that all readers will be able to identify with.  The writing is well structured and feels as though great care has been taken over it. Katey is on her way to establishing her place in this bookish world!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Review of All I Want for Christmas by Jenny Hale

The bit on the back…

Christmas comes once a year . . . But true love comes once in a lifetime.

Snowflakes are falling, there’s carol singing on every corner, and Leah Evans is preparing for a family Christmas at her grandmother’s majestic plantation house in Virginia. It won’t be the same now that her beloved Nan is gone, but when Leah discovers she has inherited the mansion, she knows she can give her daughter Sadie the childhood of her dreams.

But there’s a catch. Leah must split the house with a man called David Forester. Leah hasn’t heard that name in a long time. Not since they were kids, when Davey was always there to catch her.
Now David is all grown up. He’s gorgeous, successful, and certain of one thing: Leah should sell him her half of the house.

They can’t agree, but as they share memories over wine by the log fire, Leah notices a fluttering in her stomach. And by the look in his eyes, he’s starting to feel it too.

Will it be Leah or David who must give up their dreams? Or, with a little bit of Christmas magic, will they finally understand Nan’s advice to them both about living life without regrets … and take a chance on true love?

I’m a little late in posting this however, other than being set at Christmas the story itself is timeless and can be read all year round! I am a massive fan of Jenny’s so of course I was excited to read her latest Christmas offering. This story is all about Leah and her daughter Sadie.

Leah is a single mother and is working hard to make sure her daughter Sadie doesn't go without anything. Their relationship is very special and the have a really close bond with one another. Leah has the support of her two best friends throughout the novel and this theme of friendship is one of the most noted throughout the book.

David and Leah have known each other since children and although the book is set over a short period of time this history serves as a strong foundation for the new direction their relationship is going in. Leah has a kindness that shone throughout and it's not hard to see how carefully she nurtures her friendships.

The story follows Leah and David as they try to sort out their differing opinions over what should happen with the estate and at times I really could have reached into the book and given David a good shake! Leah had a very close connection with her Nan and this can be felt throughout with all of the ties to family Christmas and the plantation.

One thing I love about Jenny's books is the setting. I can always imagine them so clearly thanks to her vivid and detailed description of the surroundings. I would love to visit Virginia one day to experience it for myself! If you've never read any of Jenny's books, or if you're already a fan you are sure to enjoy this book!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Review of Beautiful by Christina Lauren

The bit on the back...


After walking in on her boyfriend shagging another girl in their place, Pippa Bay Cox ditches London for the States to go on a drunken road trip with Ruby Miller and some of her Beautiful friends.

Scaling the career ladder is the default way to deal with heartbreak—and to just deal—for Jensen Bergstrom. Absolutely buried by his drive and workload, he rarely takes time for himself. But when his sister Hanna convinces him to join the gang on a two-week wine tour, he has a rare moment of cutting loose. Of course, it’s only once he’s committed that he realizes the strange girl he met briefly on the plane is coming along, too. She might be too much for him…or he might realize his life has become too small and needs her to make it bigger, crazier.

With this circle of friends there’s always something going on: from Chloe and Sara’s unexpected personality swaps to Will’s new domestic side to Bennett’s text message barrage and George’s own happily-ever-after. In short, their adventures in love, friendship, and hilarity are nothing short of Beautiful.

When one of your favourite authors, which is actually two super duper authors, announce that they're bringing out a 5th book in one of your favourite series naturally you're going to be muchos excited about it. That's about how I felt when I found out about Beautiful. This is the fifth and final full length addition to the Beautiful series and what a great way to end it. This story brings all of the central characters together as well as focusing on two previously peripheral characters giving them the limelight to tell their story.

Both characters, Jensen and Pippa, have featured earlier in the series. Jensen is Will Sumner's best friend and his wife's older brother. Jensen is responsible for bringing Will and Hanna together so for that sir, we salute you (Beautiful Player is one of my all time favourite books). Pippa is best friends with Ruby from the 4th book.

The book starts off with Pippa and Jensen meeting randomly and unbeknownst to each other which sets the tone for the novel. Slightly daft British girl meets perfectly handsome American guy. This chance encounter is followed by a two week stint touring the east coast after the pair are awkwardly re-united at a birthday party.

If you haven't read any of Christina Lauren's books then firstly, where have you actually been? And secondly what can you expect? Well every book I've read has been packed with chemistry, sizzling tension, great characters and truly brilliant scenes. This book is no exception whatsoever. Pippa and Jensen's friendship to relationship is built on this one chance encounter and a lot of chance encounters ensue. The place they find themselves in lends itself to the overall humour in the book and Pippa certainly knows how to make the best of an awkward conversation. She also knows how to bring the best out in Jensen without either of them realising.

I really enjoyed this but I'm equally sad that it's the last book in the series. Catching up with the other characters in the series added a little something extra to this book. I especially loved seeing Will and Hanna again because Will has got to be one of the hands down, never to be improved upon, most gorgeous ever book boyfriends to ever grace the pages. I love this series and will definitely go back to it time and time again.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Button Maker's Daughter Blog Tour

Today I'm joined by author of The Button Maker's Daughter Merry Allingham. Merryn's sharing with us the inspiration behind the story! 

It was a single image that lodged in my mind and set me writing. I’d made a memorable visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, near the southernmost tip of England. Over the past few years, the gardens had gradually been rescued from complete desolation and were still being restored. In their heyday in the late Victorian/Edwardian eras, their several owners had spent an immense amount of time, money and effort in creating a veritable paradise. But in 1914, war came to England and everything changed. 

On one particular day that summer, every gardener on the estate had downed tools together and walked side by side to Redruth, to enlist at the local recruiting centre. Most of those men, if not all, were to perish in the mud of Flanders. The Day Book, which should have listed every job done, carried only the date that day and poignantlywas never used again. With the loss of so many, it proved impossible to maintain the gardens and they slowly succumbed to the ravages of nature until they were rediscovered, ‘a sleeping beauty’, some thirty years ago. 

The image of those men, honourable and courageous, walking together to enlist in what they saw as a just cause, stayed in my mind, and I knew I had to record that moment in a novel. My fictional estate, Summerhayes, is nestled in the Sussex countryside, rather than Cornwall but like Heligan, it faces the threat of a war that looms ever closerIt also faces threats nearer to home. 

The daughter of the house, Elizabeth, is at odds with a society based on rigid gender and class divisions, that in The Buttonmaker’s Daughter burst into open conflict. She has struggled unsuccessfully to become a professional artist and now is forced to fight against her family’s choice of husband. Her adolescent brother, William, already a disappointment to his father, must confront his true sexuality. And a long-running feud with the Summers’ neighbours, fuelled by money and jealousy, intensifies to breaking point. As the sweltering heat builds to a storm, Elizabeth, her family and household, face danger on all sides. The summer of 1914 will change everything for them, as indeed it did for so many.

About Merryn

Merryn spent her childhood moving around as a soldier’s daughter, and the desire to travel stayed with her into adulthood when working for an airline introduced her to a vast range of people and adventures around the world. Later settling down in Sussex to raise a family, Merryn earned a PhD from the University of Sussex and for many years taught university literature until turning to her own writing. She has published six Regency period novels under the name Isabelle Goddard, and The Button Maker’s Daughter is the 5th title under Merryn Allingham. 

Follow Merryn on Twitter @MerrynWrites 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Review of The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon

The bit on the back...

Phoebe is caught between a rock and a hard place. Settle down and get married, or return to the French Alps to pursue her passion?

Eliza is in love with someone who is no longer hers. In fact, he probably never was… And her dream of becoming a successful musician seems to be vanishing before her eyes.

Rose is out of a job and out of a boyfriend. To make matters worse, she’s been forced to move back in with her mother…

But these very different girls have one thing in common. Angus. The one they fell in love with…

This is Paige's latest novel. I've read every single one of her books and have yet to not love one of them. I can remember the first book I read - Chasing Daisy - and now when I look back I think that was the first time I ever fell in love with a book boyfriend. Of course at that point I hadn't read Johnny be Good and lets just get it clear that Johnny Jefferson is up there with the all time book boyfriends! This story is all about triplets Pheobe, Eiza and Rose and the golden boy next door - Angus.

For the first time Paige brings you the narrative from more than one character which works perfectly because of the three very different girls and again the very different relationships each one of them has with Angus. Paige introduces each of the sisters and as they tell the story from their point of view you get to know what makes them unique but also what ties them together.

Paige is the golden girl and has first dibs on Angus. Rose and Eliza constantly clash and where Rose is safe, Eliza is a wild child. Paige takes you through their young adulthood into meeting Angus and into adulthood. At times, and without giving too much away, the story is heartbreaking - and not always in the most obvious way.

As usual you can expect a lot of laughs, romance, tears and tender moments throughout Paige's latest book, you can also expect the usual cameo of one of Paige's other characters and ahh, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia for them! I really enjoyed the story, reading about each sister and recognising elements of the relationships they had with each other. As with all of Paige's other books I will undoubtedly be reading this again at some point, check out the rest of Paige's back collection to make sure you've not missed any!