Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Stars Over Castle Hill by Samantha Young - Cover Reveal


The bit on the back...

Joss and Braden Carmichael are blissfully married living in their townhouse on Dublin Street with their two beautiful children. It’s a life Joss never expected to have, and one she’s grateful for every day.

But… what if she never met Braden and Ellie Carmichael on that fateful day when she
was only twenty-two years old?

When Joss is asked to write a story about how her life might have turned out if a pivotal
moment in it never happened, she thinks of the day she met both Braden and Ellie
Carmichael. If she had never met them where might she have ended up? Joss believes no
matter where life may have taken her it would have inevitably led her to Braden. But what if she was thirty instead of twenty-two when they met? How would she have felt about risking her heart then? 
And even if she was older and wiser and ready to fall madly in love, what if too much had happened to Braden to make him the man that would risk his heart to save hers?

Will time be their enemy… or is it possible that two souls are meant for one another in
any reality?

Stars Over Castle Hill is an alternate reality novella of a romance that captured the
hearts of readers all over the world. Joss and Braden are back with a story that is
just as emotional, passionate and sexy as their first!

Haven’t read Joss & Braden’s story from the beginning? On Dublin Streetthe #1 international bestseller, from Berkley Romance http://amzn.to/2krSKvI

Follow Samantha Young:
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2lsENxR


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Review of Girl 99 by Andy Jones

The bit on the back...

When Tom’s girlfriend walks out on him the day before Christmas, he feels humiliated but not necessarily heartbroken. Sadie wasn’t, after all, The One. If we’re being precise, she was number eighty-five.

And so, for reasons that are only mostly wrong, Tom embarks on a mission to bring his number of encounters up to a nice neat one hundred.

Over the course of his quest he sleeps with a colleague, a colleague of a friend, a friend of a friend, a friend of a friend’s wife, the estate agent selling his flat and several more besides.

Everything is going, if not well, then at least according to plan…and then Tom meets Verity. Whether she’s The One remains to be seen, but she’s certainly more than just another number.

Firstly thank you to Lake Union for the review title of this copy via Netgalley. Girl 99 is the third novel that I've read by this author and I've enjoyed it equally as much as the other two. If you've read The Two of Us you'll recognise a few names mentioned throughout and one character in particular.

The story starts with Tom's girlfriend leaving him, which on first inspection is his own damn fault. After sharing his experience with best friend El, Tom embarks on a mission to take the notches on his bedpost up to 100. In the beginning Tom comes across as a bit of a sh*thead. He has little regard for the women he's sleeping with and the way he treats them isn't exactly wonderful. He's on what is a pretty selfish mission which all becomes foiled when he meets Verity. Verity doesn't seem as susceptible to Tom's charm as everyone else and for once Tom actually has a chance to get to know her before their friendship goes any further.

If you're looking for a romantic hero, Tom isn't it. What he is though is a very real character who has flaws and makes mistakes. Throughout the whole novel Tom is faced with dilemma - his family, his neighbour and of course the women he is rifling his way through. He knows he's not the best human being and all the way through I got a sense that he was trying to correct little parts of himself at a time.

Just because this story is about a man, written by a man, it definitely does not mean that this book is just for guys. While no doubt the seemingly honest depiction of what it's like to be a single lad will appeal to male readers, female readers will enjoy the story just as much. Andy's written the story in a way which actually makes Tom turn out pretty endearing by the end. You'll laugh out loud and maybe even shed a tear at some bits of it. Again I found El's story to be bittersweet and while Tom is out sleeping his way to 100 El's life is shortening in front of him.

I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more from Andy in the future and if you've not read The Two of Us then I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Mini Review of Dashing Through the Snow by M Leighton

The bit on the back…

Dilyn Hart hates Christmas, so when her boss (and ex-boyfriend) hands her an assignment to interview champion snowboarder and gorgeous playboy extraordinaire, Dash Grainger, on Christmas Eve, she takes it. There are several things she doesn’t plan for—a surly driver, a chalet in the middle of nowhere, a freak snowstorm—but the biggest surprise of all is Dash himself.
Dash Grainger lives for the high, and so far in his twenty-six years, he’s never met anyone or anything he loves more. Nothing has ever thrilled him as much as slick snow, cold air, and breakneck speed.

Until he meets Dilyn.

But one perfect night doesn’t mean clear, blue skies the next day. Some storms can’t be weathered.
Christmas might just be one of them.

I am a big fan of M Leighton’s and some of her books are in my frequently reread pile (especially the Bad Boys series), so when I saw this I couldn’t resist. It’s only 146 pages long so will only take you an hour or so to read and although it’s short it will give you a flavour of the author’s style and might tempt you to read something else of hers! Make sure you check out the reviews of her books throughout the blog.

The story sees reporter Dilyn and professional snowboarder Dash caught in a snow storm and what could be a more romantic setting than a beautiful chalet, a roaring fire, s’mores… well you know – nothing! Throw in a jealous ex-boyfriend some jumping to conclusions and you have this fabulously festive short story!

M Leighton is definitely an author I go back to time and time again and I think this little sample will set you up for the same.

Review of The Holiday Swap by Zara Stonely

The bit on the back…

Two women, two very different lives – one perfect solution to a Christmas holiday fraught with potential pitfalls.

The Holiday Swap.

Florence Cortes has the perfect life – an apartment in the trendiest district of Barcelona, a job she loves and a boyfriend who’s whisking her away on a romantic break to Paris to no doubt propose.
Only, he’s planning something far different, and Flo soon realises her life isn’t so perfect after all.
Home loving Daisy Fischer is perfectly happy in her idyllic home in the Cheshire countryside, with an on-off boyfriend who might be slightly dull but is totally dependable. Until he issues an ultimatum, and Daisy suddenly realises that there might be a whole different world out there that she’s missing out on.

Have Flo and Daisy come up with the perfect solution to escape festive heartbreak?
Can a snowbound Christmas in Cheshire – with aristocratic, handsome Hugo as her neighbour, a house full of animals and a leaking roof – help Flo mend her broken heart, and remind her of what she really wants in life?

Can a sunny break in beautiful Barcelona – with the dishy but brooding Javier, a never ending supply of cava, and a sea view to die for – prove to Daisy that playing safe isn’t always the answer?
Love actually does seem to be all around this Christmas – and in the places Flo and Daisy least expect to find it, but where will they be for New Year?

Firstly thank you to Harper Impulse for a review copy of this title via Netgalley. I’d never read anything by Zara before however I’d seen nothing but rave reviews on Twitter so I knew I was in for a treat.

This is a festive novel with a Spanish twist. Friends Flo and Daisy are both at turning points in their love lives and with they come up with a bit of a life swap to give each of them some space from their day to day lives. While Daisy jets off to Barcelona and decides to stick around for a while Flo returns to Daisy’s Cheshire home to look after all of her animals.

I really liked that half of this story was set in Barcelona. I’ve been fortunate enough to be there for a day at the end of a holiday and it’s somewhere I’d love to go back to. Living vicariously through Daisy was great and as Daisy was a Barcelona virgin it was easy to get swept up in that touristy feel.  If you’ve been to Barcelona before you will be able to imagine yourself back there and as Daisy becomes more acquainted with it she settles right in and right into a friendship with Flo’s handsome friend Javier. Javier is the antithesis of the boyfriend Daisy left behind while she set off to find herself and the connection between them both is immediate.

Flo on the other hand heads back to Cheshire where she grew up as a young girl. Taking over for Daisy at home means mucking in and looking after Daisy’s various animals but also coming into contact with her neighbour Hugo. At first I was a bit unsure of Hugo especially from Daisy’s point of view he was very arrogant and basically up his own arse. Flo, though, gets treated to a different side of Hugo and his character completely transforms in her company.

The story is well written and although it’s only set over a short period of time it didn’t feel rushed and it didn’t feel like any element of the progression was missing. Zara painted just as vivid a picture of Barcelona as she did of Cheshire and I could easily imagine myself in either place. I will definitely be reading more from Zara in the future.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Review of Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

The bit on the back…

Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.

Little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…

The first book I read of Debbie’s was Summer at the Comfort Café. I found the book to be really charming and moving and when I saw that there would be a wintery return to the café I knew I would want to read it. There is such a mix of characters in who all thrive because of the café and it was really heart-warming to read about. In this festive read we are back in Dorset only this time Becca, Laura’s sister, is our narrator.

Becca likes to portray this untouchable party girl/wild child image and it’s exactly how she wants her family to see her. In reality though, Becca is deeply unhappy and a little bit lost. Debbie doesn’t sugar coat Becca’s feelings which I appreciated because it made her much more reachable as a character. After the death of Laura’s husband Becca cleaned up her act, determined to be there for her family should they need to depend on her. I liked how much she put everyone else before her. She really struggles with a lot of things in life but tries her damnedest not to let that show and to only be the supportive aunt and sister.

Although the story is set at Christmas, if you’re only just picking up Summer at the Comfort Food Café you definitely don’t need to wait until the festive season to read this little gem. As well as reading Becca’s story it’s nice to catch up with everyone from the Summer novel and see how they’ve progressed in their new life. The Comfort Food Café stories will be ones that I will always be memorable for me. If you like Jenny Hale and Paige Toon you will enjoy Debbie’s writing.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Review of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Joanna Bolouri

The bit on the back…

Thirty-eight year old Emily has a satisfying job, fab friends, an amazing car and, most importantly, a wonderful flat, exactly 411 miles away from the judgemental, batshit crazy, interfering family she reluctantly sees twice a year. In fact, the only minor stress in her life is her twenty-something neighbour Evan and his penchant for flirting, loud music and even louder sex . . . but he's nothing she can't handle.

Emily also has a boyfriend called Robert and it's going really well. So well, in fact, that Emily is hoping to take him home to meet her family. Finally she won't be subject to five days of nosy questions from her parents and pity from her younger married siblings.

But when Robert breaks up with her a week before the trip, Emily is gutted. How on earth is she going to face her family now? Enlisting the help of party boy Evan, Emily is determined for Robert to meet the parents come hell or high water, even if it isn't the real Robert . . .

Firstly thank you to Quercus for a review copy of this title. I am obviously a little behind in reviewing this book seeing as we are now in February and I read the book in December *hides face in shame*, however I would happily reread it right now and would enjoy it just as much as when I first read it.

I read Joanna’s novel “The List” a couple of years ago and I knew then that she was going to be one of my must read authors. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year more than lived up to my expectations and will be a book I will definitely keep to reread in the future.

The story is all about Emily who thinks she more or less has her life sorted; job – tick, friends – tick, car – tick, flat – tick and of course amazing boyfriend – tick. That is until Robert tips her life upside down and puts a spanner in every single one of her going home at Christmas as the well rounded, successful daughter plans. Robert, quite frankly is a swine and even though he had a kind of Colin Firth-y thing going on I was actually glad when Emily and him split up!

Emily is a really down to earth and relatable character. She has many worries and issues that readers will be able to identify with and she has a really dry sense of humour that will have you laughing throughout the book. One little trait of Emily’s that lets her down in the beginning is that she is quite judgemental, particularly when it comes to her hot, younger, neighbour Evan. I really liked Evan though. He wound Emily up and got under her skin which was fun to read because he shook her up a little and gave as good as he got from Emily.

The story follows Emily back home for Christmas where Evan masquerades as perfect boyfriend Robert. As the holiday season passes the two become closer and Emily begins to see that she has pegged Evan all wrong.

I really enjoyed this festive read which can really be enjoyed at any time of the year. If you’re a fan of Mhairi Macfarlane and Lindsey Kelk you will enjoy Joanna’s books!