Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Fix You by Carrie Elks

You've found the one, but what if life has other plans?

London, 31st December 1999
At a party to toast the new millennium, Hanna meets Richard. He is a gorgeous, wealthy New Yorker. She is a self-assured, beautiful Londoner with no interest in clean-cut American men. They are from different worlds and have nothing in common... except for their instant - and mutual - attraction to one another.
As the clocks chime midnight it is a new year and the beginning of a wonderful romance.

New York, 12th May 2012
Hanna, the girl who broke Richard's heart, walks into his Wall Street office - and back into his life - to reveal an explosive secret.

He was sure they were meant to be together forever, but she broke his heart so completely the last time, can he find a way to let her mend the pieces?

Warm, witty and a perfect piece of modern romance, Fix You is a love story to melt your heart.

This book’s cover is incredibly pretty, combining the two cities where the book takes place and it has an snowy magic-like feel that I really like and would make me pick it up from a bookshelf without hesitation. Combine this with the most important bit, the content inside and you get an un-put-downable read. The writing is really friendly, and invites you to read on finding out what will happen next.

I really warmed to the characters, they are so delightful, especially the lead Hanna, so bubbly and fun, I really routed for her throughout the book, even during the difficult time she suffers after Hanna and Richard reconnect, despite it being a mistake, it was completely understandable.

Then there is the Larsen’s. Where do I begin? They are so loving towards Hanna from the very start and just the kind of people you would want to know and have as a surrogate family. They lit up every scene they starred in. Then there was Richard Larsen. Just utterly brilliant from the first time you read him and I think he acted such the gentleman the whole way through. One wonders if he is too good to be true?!

The epilogue on this book was so wonderful, longer than most epilogues you get, and satisfied all of my questions. Overall this book was such a charming read, it is the perfect book to snuggle up with when you have an evening spare with nothing but a hot chocolate or glass of wine to keep you company! This book is just outstanding, absolutely adore it beyond belief!

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Corvus

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen

I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. 

To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. 

After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …

But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?

I read this book for Thriller/Mystery week on #SundayChallenge, I had really enjoyed ‘The Broken’ earlier this year and with the Christmas theme, this was the perfect choice for that.

Tammy’s writing is utterly gripping and it was hard to put it down. Reading about Jessica’s captivity was really spine chilling, and learning about Dominic’s past was both creepy and sinister in equal measures. The way he called Jessica ‘Sweetheart’ made my skin crawl. While you read Jessica’s story, it is interlaced with Kim, the police officer who is working on the case. At first it isn't clear exactly who she is and how she fits in, but it soon becomes clear and it is important to her story Arc.

I don’t want to speak too much about the plot, as I feel I could give it away. The twist is incredible, at one point I thought ‘could it be this’ and then put it out of my mind as a ridiculous thought, but I was partially there with it, and I couldn't believe it when it happened. There was a couple of things I am puzzled about, maybe I missed something in the book that explains them, and will definitely make sure to look out for them if I re-read this. Also it is one of those books that leaves you wondering, and I would have liked a more definite conclusion, or a bigger hint if what I think it means is what happens. I NEED TO READ MORE OF THIS!!!!!!

Despite these small issues, and I really do mean small. This is an amazing read, and will stick in my mind for a long time. Definitely a different take on the usual Christmas book I read.

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Transworld

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

 Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish!

Well, after a long break of Top Ten Tuesdays, I would really like to start this blog meme again!
So here it is, in no particular order, my Top Ten Books that I have read in 2014. 

The Memory Book - Rowan Coleman
Wow, what can I say. This book had me in tears quite alot of the time, it was so amazing. This is my favourite book of all time, so it was an easy pick for this list. 

The Time of Our Lives - Jane Costello
The first book of Jane's I have read and I can't believe I missed out for so long! Absolutely hilarious, and Barcelona has certainly been added to the list of places I want to visit!

A Proper Family Holiday / A Proper Family Christmas - Chrissie Manby 
OK OK, I realise this is too books, so technically I am cheating, you caught me! In my defence, they are two books of a series, both published this year, and some of the timelines are shared! Anyway this book is so full of lovable characters I cannot help but grin while i read this book :)

The Christmas Party - Carole Matthews
Simply, I loved this book! A really interesting set of characters, and was my first christmas read of this year, a perfect start to the season.

One Night in Italy - Lucy Diamond
Really enjoyed this book, a really heart warming read about friendship, and delicious recipes in the back!

The Accident - C. L. Taylor
The first thriller I read this year, and it has stuck with me for the whole year, really intriguing!

The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me - Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice
This book has convinced me that books written by two authors can work (previous experiences had been bad). It is such a charming book.

Breaking Nova - Jessica Sorensen
I have read quite a few new adult books this year, and they have all been superb, but I think this one really stood out to me, and I cannot wait to read the follow-up.


What Would Mary Berry Do? - Claire Sandy
One of the funniest book I've ever read, and really loved reading about Marie's journey on becoming a great baker!

Thirteen Weddings - Paige Toon
I love Paige Toon's books, and this one is no different. Gorgeous male lead, great friends and a great protagonist, another great summer read from Paige!

What books have you enjoyed reading this year?

Monday, 8 December 2014

Nine Lives of Christmas by Shelia Roberts

In this Christmas tale, two people are about to discover that when it comes to finding love, Christmas magic isn't enough . . . sometimes it takes a pesky orange cat named Ambrose

When a guy is in trouble, he starts making deals with his Creator . . . and Ambrose the cat is no exception. In danger of losing his ninth and final life, Ambrose makes a desperate plea to the universe. He'll do anything if he can just survive and enjoy a nice long, final life. His prayer is answered when a stranger comes along and saves him-and now it looks like he has to hold up his end of the bargain.

The stranger turns out to be a firefighter named Zach, who's in need of some serious romantic help. If Ambrose can just bring Zach together with Merilee, the nice lady who works at Pet Palace, it's bound to earn him a healthy ninth life. Unfortunately for Ambrose, his mission is a lot harder than he ever thought. Meriliee is way too shy to make the first move on a ladies man like Zach, and Zach thinks he's all wrong for a nice girl like Merilee. Now it's going to take all of Ambrose's feline wiles-and maybe even a good old fashioned Christmas miracle-to make them both realize that what they're looking for is right in front of their eyes.

What most attracted me to this book was that the book was from the point of view of a cat. I adore cats, they are just so cute, and often hilarious, as documented by the many GIFs found online! This book seemed unique so I couldn't wait to dive in.

This book isn’t just from the sole voice of Ambrose the cat. You also get viewpoints from Zach, Ambrose’s saviour and also Merilee, a cat lover who Ambrose plans to set up with Zach as his good deed, in exchange for Zach saving his life against a vicious dog. 

I thought this book was written very well from all characters. Ambrose was so hilarious, obviously being a cat he has a very different outlook on life from humans which makes for many giggles. His quips about dogs and some of his thoughts on human actions etc was really fun to read.  The whole gift scene was one of the stand outs for me! Zach and Merilee’s viewpoints helped move the story along, and seeing how each of them reacted to the situations they were put in, mainly by Ambrose made this book even better.

Zach seemed genuinely a sweet bloke, despite the hardened exterior I felt he sometimes put on. I have no idea what he ever saw in Blair (or ‘Blair Baby’ as Ambrose knows her). She was really unair to Ambrose, and even excluding that, she seemed really snobby and stuck up, thankfully Ambrose saw through her!  His kindness also shone throughout the book, the way he helps Ambrose, and Merilee when they are both in trouble. Really sweet and touching. 
This goes perfect with Merilee who is adorable, and I found myself willing Ambrose to succeed in his task from the instant the two met.

This book has charm in bundles. It is funny, romantic, the perfect book for cosying up infront of the fire! The book says that it is perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber, and I couldn’t agree more, it creates the same lovely warm feeling you get from her books! It just makes you want to go ‘Awwwwwe’ at the end!

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Paitkus

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Want to wind down after a long day of Christmas shopping with
a good book and a glass of Christmassy goodness? 

Well this book suits the Christmas classic 'Mulled Wine' perfectly! It makes you feel warm and cosy, and the gentle spiced warmth of the mulled wine echoes that perfectly. I used a wine from Beaujolais in France, which is mega fruity as well. Absolutely Amazing! I used the recipe from Schwarz and used their sachets, and it was sooo nice, I did chuck in a couple of extra cinnamon sticks in as well though. It went far too quickly, maybe we need 2 bottles of wine next time :) 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

One Day This Will All Make Sense : Excerpt

I am so happy to have an excerpt from 'One Day This Will All Make Sense' by Katie Jansson Shahin for you today. It sounds great and has such a pretty cover :)

In the three years since Emma, Human Resource professional by trade and writer at heart, moved to Los Angeles from Sweden it has been anything but smooth sailing. When she was offered a new job Emma thought she had finally found the security she’d been looking for since moving to the city of her dreams.

The bliss is short-lived as Emma struggles to adjust in her new role and environment. She fails to learn how to play by the unwritten rules and office politics of corporate America, leaving her defenseless against a new boss who soon makes it clear that he wants her gone. After having put her writing before her HR career for so long, Emma knows it was just a fluke when she was hired and is determined not to let it slip away. But she cracks under the pressure and is ultimately fired. Will she be able to dig herself out again? Or has she peaked at 27? More importantly, will she survive in the city that represents everything she has dreamt of becoming?

Excerpt from novel written by Katie Jansson Shahin

Not one day had passed since I had moved to LA two and half years earlier when I wasn’t grateful and aware of what city I was in. Not one morning had passed that I had driven to work, which was usually around six forty-five a.m., when my mind hadn’t gone completely quiet and at ease at the sight of Vine Street, coming off of the 101 South. I knew I was fortunate. Many young people in Sweden dreamed of moving to LA and tried so hard to find ways to stay once they made it here on a student visa. For the most part, people either got married or never found a way to stay. I, on the other hand, had gotten a green card through my dad since he’d become a naturalized citizen before I turned twenty-one. I continued down Vine Street and saw the W Hotel sign up in the sky, and a few blocks farther down I passed the bright red building that housed The Redbury hotel, with the world famous Capitol Records Building on my right side.
As I got on to the 101 North, driving ten miles an hour in Friday traffic, I wondered to myself what it was about LA that had me so wrapped around its finger. The first time I fell in love with California was when I watched The O.C. Shortly thereafter my dad moved here from Wisconsin, and I was able to go visit the place I had only seen on TV. Of course, the entire show was filmed in LA, but I didn’t know that back then. I then discovered the show Entourage, and that’s when real things started to happen inside me. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was. Was it the beautiful weather and the smell of freshly-cut grass all year round? Was it the wide streets you could barely cross in time before the streetlight turned red for the pedestrians again? Was it the buildings that on the outside looked like nothing more than a chunk of cement, but on the inside were beautifully decorated lounges? Was it the powerful rush I had gotten the first time I went ninety on the empty freeway at three a.m.? Or was it simply the fact that I knew I was in the same city where all the Hollywood movies came from?
While I saw all the beauty that L.A had to offer, I wasn’t oblivious to all the things that other people usually saw as the downside of moving to LA: the constant sound of traffic and honking; the fuel-filled air and the fog; the enormous city where everything was separated by insane distances; the huge freeways; the above-ground electrical lines; the cracks in the pavement left by earthquakes. I saw all those things too. But my love for this city was an unconditional kind of love—I didn’t love LA despite its flaws. I loved it even more for them. We could be flawed together.

Buy this book from Amazon: UK | US

About The Author
Katie’s love for writing is versatile. Before taking the big leap into novel writing she focused mostly on screen writing. In addition to that, she has a blog where she writes book reviews and articles on writing: An Authorista’s Blog.
Katie is originally from Sweden but moved to California four years ago and currently resides in the North Bay area just outside of San Francisco. When she’s not working on her writing, she is an HR and recruiting professional. Although her debut novel is not a biography, as you may have guessed One Day This Will All Make Sense is heavily inspired by her own experience moving from Sweden to Los Angeles and her life there.
Blog: http://anauthoristasblog.blogspot.com
Twitter: @KJanSha

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Stall of Second Chances by Dana Bate

Thank you to the publisher for inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour. See the poster after the review, and make sure to check out the other participants!

Sydney Strauss is obsessed with food.

Not just with eating it - though she loves that too - but with writing about it as an aspiring cookery reporter. But food journalism jobs are more coveted than cupcakes, and so Sydney is stuck working for one of TV's biggest egomaniacs - until she's left scrambling for shifts at the local farmers' market.

Selling muffins at the Wild Yeast Bakery is hardly going to make her the next Nigella. But soon Sydney is writing the market's weekly newsletter, and her quirky stories gain attention from a prominent food columnist. After years of being left on the shelf, she's even dating again. And then Sydney gets a shot atthe story, one that could either make her career or burn it to a cinder - along with her relationship and her reputation . . .

When I was offered this book, I jumped at the chance, Dana’s first novel was really good, so I had high hopes for this one. I read this as my ‘Laugh out Loud’ book for a #SundayChallenge, and was so happy that the opening scene was just one of the many funny moments in this book. The scene was so funny, and a little bizarre, Charles is exactly the personality I can imagine being on TV. Poor Sydney for having to produce his antics, however it makes sure you’re hooked by the end of chapter one.

This book, unsurprisingly talks about food more than the average book, and it all sounded so delicious. I really want to try an authentic ‘Hoagie’. I have made the recipe from the back of the book, and it does make a tasty dish (see below), however I am sure the ones from Philadelphia taste better. 

I really liked Sydney’s confidence and her passion for food. I also loved that she blogged about it, I would have liked to had more about this before she was put back in touch with a well-known newspaper, but I guess with her previous contacts this isn’t entirely unexpected, and may have made the book a little too long if you weren’t interested in blogging. 

What I wasn’t keen on about Sydney was her lack of consideration for other people, just to further her career. You see herself feeling slightly guilty about what she is doing, but then when it inevitably blows up in her face, her main defence is that the people she hurt wasn’t supposed to know it was her, as if that makes it any better. Yet she was quite judgemental on someone who had also made a mistake in their past. This didn’t make me enjoy the book any less as it was an interesting situation, and while I may not have done things in quite the same way, I understand why she did it, and the aftermath was really interesting to read, I wasn’t sure how it would all pan out in the end.

The supporting cast were all great, but I feel I need to mention Rick. Rick ‘The Prick’ was a real fun character, just absolute perfection, he made me laugh in almost every scene. He was so forthright, and everything he baked sounded amazing.

The book was an absolute delight to read. It was funny, covered a really interesting dilemma and had Jeremy, who may be one of the most perfect men ever in a book. He put so much effort in on his dates with Sydney, while Drew sounded HOT, there is only so much albatross talk a girl can take!

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Corsair

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

For my 'Hoagies' I have to admit, I strayed from the recipe slightly, I couldn't find the exact cheese and one of the meats in my local supermarket, so I had to compromise!

I got a similar looking meat from the deli counter (though the name of it fails me) and apparently cheddar is a similar cheese to Provolone, but I opted for the milder and creamier Gouda, which is one of my favourite cheeses.

They were simply DELISH! My boyfriend has now added that to his list of favourite dishes I make. so will no doubt be making many more in the future :)

Want to wind down after a long week or day with a good book and a glass of wine?
I have chosen a delicious wine to suggest accompany this book!

I chose a wine that is one of my favourites for this book. A Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. This book is about food, and this wine I think goes well with lots of different dishes, and equally as well on it's own. Incredibly fruity and delicious!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

New Book Release: Milked by Lisa Doyle

Milked by Lisa Doyle has just been released by Simon and Fig, an independent US publisher, specialising in Chick Lit, Lad Lit & Women’s Fiction! Check out this book and you can see where to buy from on the publishers website.

By and large, Amanda Keane makes pretty good decisions. Okay, she might not have the best taste in men, but she’s got great friends, a good job, and an independent spirit. That is, until her 30th birthday ushers in a whirlwind romance with a sexy Irish musician who leaves her, not at the altar as she imagined, but accidentally pregnant. And when he disappears, she’s downsized out of a job, her apartment is robbed, and lapsed health insurance coverage leaves her with a C-section to pay for, Amanda is launched headfirst into the life of a broke single mom. But her friend and uber successful ob-gyn, Joy, clues her in to an unlikely temp position with one of Chicago’s celebrity elite that just may be the answer to all her woes. Or could it be just the beginning?

It’s with serious trepidation that Amanda embarks on her surprisingly lucrative new career: underground wet nurse to the offspring of Chi-town’s rich and famous. Amanda must quickly understand how to live at the whims and mercy of the one percent as she deals with the irony of nursing – and loving – someone else’s child, while still making ends meet for her own daughter. And then there’s Cute Daycare Dad (aka Dan), who’s obviously interested in her. But can she afford to tell him what she really does for a living? Is her new job (something she thought went out with the 19th century) a shameful thing? Just another way of selling her body? Or does it have something to teach her after all? 

A novel of motherhood, its many demands, and all the little triumphs along the way, MILKED is a warm and witty debut about making tough choices and traveling the roundabout road to happiness.

About the Author, Lisa Doyle
Lisa Doyle is a communications manager and freelance writer based in the Chicago area. A native of Hinsdale, Illinois and a graduate of Miami University, she spent several years editing business-to-business publications for the personal care industry before moving to the nonprofit sector, and currently works in advocacy for homeless families at Bridge Communities in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She has written for major beauty trade publications (Global Cosmetic Industry, Skin Inc, Salon Today, Modern Salon, Renew, Suburban Life) and is a contributor to WOMEN REINVENTED: TRUE STORIES OF EMPOWERMENT AND CHANGE (LaChance Publishing, 2010). 

Doyle is represented by Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary, Inc., a full-service agency based in New York. 

For more about Lisa, please visit her website.
On twitter she’s @bylisadoyle
For buy links, please go to www.simonandfig.com.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Home for Christmas Film

So, as you may know I am a massive fan of Cally Taylor's books, and was really excited to here that 'Home For Christmas' was being made into a movie. The book is really excellent, humorous and romantic, I think everyone can relate to Beth really easily.

I hope to catch the showing in Bath on the 11th of December, but there are screenings all around the UK - Check out the website for booking here. Make sure to pre-book though, as they will only be screened it there is enough interest.

Cally talks about the background behind the film below

As you may know the film has been developed by a small independent film company based in Brighton called JumpStart Productions. One of the owners of JumpStart, Nathalie Grace Miles, read the book when it came out in 2011 and fell in love with it. Home for Christmas is set in the fictional Picture Box cinema in Brighton and it's based on the Picture House cinema The Duke of York's, which is where Nathalie happened to work. I've always dreamed of seeing one of my books as a film (most authors do!) and I figured that, even if I just got to see it on DVD it would still be an amazing experience. You hear so often of authors selling the film rights to their books and nothing happening so I never dreamed the film would actually get made - but it has!

The film stars April Pearson (from Skins and the slasher film Tormented) as Beth Prince and Karl Davies (from Emmerdale, Kingdom, Happy Valley) as Matt Jones, Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) and Derren Nesbitt (Where Eagles Dare).

The film was financed by JumpStart putting on an auction night, through crowdsourcing website indiegogo and via private funding. 
The film went into production in April and May this year on location in Brighton and Swansea. I was lucky enough to go and watch a day's filming at the Duke of York's cinema (you can read about my experience here: Writing about writing...and other random waffle.: Home for Christmas the film: aka watching a figment of your imagination become real)

Now it's been made JumpStart, in connection with Picture House and Our Screen, are putting on screenings at various Picture House cinemas across the UK (Full list here - Screenings - and more are being added) Unlike regular cinema screenings this is an 'on demand' way of getting independently made films out there i.e. they'll only be screened if there's enough interest and pre-bookings. And the pre-bookings need to be made by the end of November. 

Also if you want to read the book here is the synopsis and cover :)

Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she's finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox - a charming but rundown independent cinema - and has a boyfriend who's so debonair and charming she can't believe her luck! There's just one problem - none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn't look like Aiden's going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear I love you' for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands - and instantly wishes she hadn't. Just when it seems like her luck can't get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he's determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

#SundayChallenge week 6 and 7

Firstly, thank you to Ana at This Chick Reads for hosting #SundayChallenge, and also to Paris at  Paris Baker's Book Nook for hosting #SpookyReadsWeek

#SundayChallenge - Week 6: 26th October - 2nd November!
Read ONE book that is the author's debut or the first book you have read from that Author

OK I am a week behind in my #SundayChallenge posters, the last week has been very busy so I haven't had time  to put together my thoughts on week 6, so here is what I read that week. Which also coincided with Paris Baker's #SpookyReadsWeek, for which I planned to read a debut thriller to coincide with #SundayChallenge and Sebastian Gregory's new book 'The Boy in the Cemetery'

The debut book I chose to read was Daughter by Jane Shemilt. The synopsis really intrigued me and for the most part I liked it. I will write a review of this soon for a more complete overview about what I did and did not like.

Sebastian Gregory's book was a whole lot more successful, delightfully disgusting and really creepy, the perfect read for #SpookyReadsWeek! Fans of Sebastian's previous books  will not be disappointed

#SundayChallenge - Week 7: 2nd November - 9th November!
Read ONE book that is a rom-com or a LOL book

As I mentioned above this week has been busy, and I have really struggled to read for any long amount of time. The book I chose was 'The Stall of Second Chances' by Dana Bate. This book was really enjoyable, and once I could sit down for an extended amount of time (thank god for train journeys!) I absolutely soared through this book. With all the talk of delicious food, I was constantly craving the delicious delights this book mentioned. I will be reviewing this on 2nd of December.

This weeks challenge  (9th-16th November) is to read one Christmas themed book, you could win 'Yours Truly' by Kirsty Greenwood, I adore this book so check it out!

What is #SundayChallenge?
#SundayChallenge is a challenge among a group of readers on twitter, previous examples of challenges range from "Read 3 paperback/hardback books" to "Read 1 book that is released in September/October 2014". It starts every Sunday at 1pm and you have one week to complete the challenge, so ends at 1pm the following Sunday. It is hosted by the lovely Ana from ThisChickReads.com, check out her blog it's awesome, and also make sure to follow her on twitter @ThisChickReads! Ana has even started sorting out prizes for participants, so thank you Ana, you're doing some amazing work! If you want to participate, once the challenge is announced on ThisChickReads twitter, just reply to Ana's tweet saying you'd like to join, simple!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

'The Christmas Party' by Carole Matthews

Louise Young is a devoted single mother whose only priority is providing for her daughter, Mia. Louise has a good job in a huge international corporation and she's grateful for it. The only problem is her boss who can't keep his hands to himself, but Louise can handle him. What she really doesn't have time for is romance - until she meets the company's rising star, Josh Wallace. 

Louise usually says no to evenings out but she's decided to let her hair down tonight. It's the office Christmas party, she has a pretty dress to wear and she's looking forward to some champagne and fun. She's completely unaware that others around her are too busy playing dangerous games to enjoy the party - until she's pulled into those games herself... 

I haven't read many of Carole Matthews' amazing 25 books, but every one I have read I had really enjoyed, especially her Christmas novels. They are so amazing, you really care for all of the characters. This book is no different. 

This book is about, unsurprisingly, a Christmas party, and tells the story over a period of about 3 days, most of which focuses on the Christmas party itself, I can't think of another book I have read that focuses on such a short time period, however this is not a bad thing, quite the opposite, it means you get incredibly detailed viewpoints from all the characters. It is really fantastic! I would love a whole 'War and Peace' length novel with this world we are bought into, I cannot get enough of what Carole writes!

This book was a good start to my festive reads, I love Christmas parties, and this one sounded amazing, even if you remove all the drama that occurs. The open bar, the extravagant setting and being so close to Christmas, the perfect sounding party!

 You are first introduced to Louise, a single mum who is looking forward to starting a good job so she can provide and move out of her parents house, however she doesn't appreciate her letchy boss, Tyler! Louise seemed such a sweet person, someone you would want as a best friend. She was caring and shy, I found myself hoping that everything went her way.

Tyler, despite how despicable he was with his cheating and thinking he was gods gift to all women, he provided some great comedy moments, and I actually felt quite sorry for him, and that's a beautiful thing in itself, it's very rare that I feel sorry for a character that I know I shouldn't like at all! One scene in particular towards the end had me laughing out loud, causing me to try to explain the whole story to my boyfriend so he would understand why it was so funny.

The other viewpoints were from Kristen, Tyler's wife who I felt bad for but never really warmed to her as much as I did Louise and Melissa, Lance's wife who was quite similar to Kirsten in a way, but actually I found her more likable, sure she made mistakes, but after getting hurt and learning her lesson she seemed stronger and more determined.

As well as the humor and romance you come to expect, another scene, involving Lance had me quite sad, showing that this book has it all. This is another stunning book from Carole!   

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Sphere

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Want to wind down after a long day of Christmas shopping with a good book and a glass of Christmassy goodness? I will talk about a nice non-alcholic version of the Christmas Classic 'Mulled Wine' I drank which I think suits the mood of this book.

What better way to start off the Christmas book season than Mulled Wine. I thought I would try a non alcoholic version and I found this recipe online. Wow, despite my initial reservations due to the 'not-remotely-mulled-wine-esque' colour, it was amazing, warming and that hint of spice, not as heavy as mulled wine, but really delicious and is definitely reminiscent of the alcoholic version. I'm definitely making this in future and am sorely tempted to add some Cranberry juice for extra fruit and colour goodness, an extra mulled wine sachet, and then, being the cinnamon addict I am, a couple of cinnamon sticks too!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Guest Post: The Inspiration behind 'The Boy in the Cemetery' by Sebastian Gregory

I would like to think that the inspiration for The Boy in the Cemetery had not come from me at all. That I do not have a place in my head where the dead never die and still walk the earth, protecting their secrets and passing the time by creating elaborate sculptures from the bones of the long departed.   Unfortunately though, that is not the case, so the question would be why I would write about such things. Yes, there are horrible and upsetting scenes that happen in the story, both in the supernatural and real world.  I wanted to write about how a friendship would work when two wounded souls found each other, even though they are separated by two hundred years and a heartbeat.   I also wanted to tell a young adult story that had adult themes and issues that affected young people. I did not want to shy away from the subject just because it was unsettling and awful, but I wanted to show there is always someone who can show kindness and a way out of even the most terrible of situations. In all my stories so far I have always been inspired to write about the power to overcome despite the trials and sometimes adverse childhoods.

Sebastian Gregory’s THE BOY IN THE CEMETERY is only £0.99 for a limited time on Amazon, Apple and other retailers.

THE ASYLUM OF FAIRY TALE CREATURES is free for a limited time on Amazon, Apple and other retailers.

THE GRUESOME ADVENTURES OF ALICE IN UNDEADLAND is £0.99 for a limited time on Amazon, Apple and other retailers.

Look out for A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY, coming in December.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

#SundayChallenge - Week 5 19th-26th October!

#SundayChallenge - Week 5 19th-26th October!
Read ONE book in a genre thatisn't your usual pick (any length, any format)

So this week, I thought I would delve in at the deep end and read a collection of Essays on NYC, never really read non fiction for fun before, and I am OBSESSED with anything to do with New York City. So 'Never Can Say Goodbye' by Sari Botton seemed the perfect fit for this weeks challenge.

Sadly I never considered the logistics of this book, I could never read more than maybe two essays in one go. I get like this with Short Story anthologies so I should have seen it coming, by Thursday night I had given in and vowed to start a new book on Friday. I will definitely continue to read this as I do enjoy it and actually read about 60% of it, but will take my time over it rather than try to marathon read it and struggle.

So I chose a YA book, 'Between the Lives' by Jessica Shirvington. Friday night came and went and I managed a pathetic 2 pages, and then on Saturday I managed to get 13% of the way through, thankfully Sunday morning really focused me and I managed to complete the rest with about 1 hour to go *Phew*. It was quite easy as it really grabbed me, I was compelled to know what was going to happen, and it didn't turn out how I expected at all!

This weeks #SundayChallenge is to read 1 book that is either an author's debut book, or 1 book that is from an author you haven't read before. 2 Participants will win "The School Gate Survival Guide" by 

What is #SundayChallenge?
#SundayChallenge is a challenge among a group of readers on twitter, previous examples of challenges range from "Read 3 paperback/hardback books" to "Read 1 book that is released in September/October 2014". It starts every Sunday at 1pm and you have one week to complete the challenge, so ends at 1pm the following Sunday. It is hosted by the lovely Ana from ThisChickReads.com, check out her blog it's awesome, and also make sure to follow her on twitter @ThisChickReads! Ana has even started sorting out prizes for participants, so thank you Ana, you're doing some amazing work! If you want to participate, once the challenge is announced on ThisChickReads twitter, just reply to Ana's tweet saying you'd like to join, simple!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside by Kerry Barrett

For better or much, much worse...

Esme and Jamie have finally got their perfect wedding day planned. Beautiful snowy landscape – check. Amazing venue – check. Stunning dress – check.

But when an avalanche seals off their gorgeous mountain hometown from the outside world, their dream day starts to look more like a nightmare. Especially when Jamie’s ex turns up on their doorstep with a surprise neither of them expected!

Esme’s magical powers can solve a lot of problems, but it looks like their big day is doomed! Is Esme and Jamie’s wedding simply not meant to be, or can they still make it down the aisle, against all the odds?

The cover of this book is absolutely fabulous, it instantly grabbed my attention. When I requested this book on Netgalley, I wasn’t aware this was part of the series that Kerry has wrote. This wasn’t a problem however, everything that needs to be explained is, and while I think it would add more depth to understanding the characters and what led to this moment, it doesn’t stop the enjoyment of this book.

This book is possibly one of the most wintery books that I have ever read. Even though winter is known as a cold season, especially in the book with all of the snow. Just thinking of the snow, and how picturesque it is I felt a warm glow, imagining being all snuggly under a blanket in front of a fire, or being out in the cold, but wrapped up in my winter coat, wooly hat and mittens. It makes me smile and the description of the setting of this book gets me totally in that frame of mind.

With no prior connection to Esme in the opening chapter or so I thought that she came across quite selfish when it came to her mother’s relationship with Douglas. I understand it may have been a shock, and hard to get used to but she didn’t even seem to try, she was quite rude to him outwardly and acted in a very teenager way, not like someone who is in their 20s. No one is perfect though, and this skepticism over Esme was soon dissipated when she was confronted with her FiancĂ©e’s ex girlfriend, Tansy and Jamie’s five year old son, who neither Esme or Jamie knew about. Esme handled this so calmly, I don’t think I would have handled this situation so well. This warmed me to Esme. Overall she seemed lovely once you get to know her, and had the patience of a saint for most of it, especially in the face of wedding crisis, again I don’t think this would have coped with that as well as Esme seemed to either!

Harry and Louise were absolutely lovely, they were so close to Esme and a great support in her hour of need. I also really liked Tansy, other than a few mistakes (hey, who doesn’t make a few bad decisions?!) she seemed genuinely nice, it was hard not to like her, quite the opposite to the usual ex girlfriends you normally read about.

Parker, where do I start with Parker? I loved him. His quirky interests made for some great big smiles and he was incredibly smart for someone who was 5. The relationship between Esme and Parker developed really nicely and was quite touching at times. 

This book was simply lovely and full of warmth , I cannot wait to read the rest of the series.

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Carina

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Want to wind down after a long week/day with a good book and a glass of wine?
I will talk about a nice wine I drank which I think suits the mood of this book

It’s getting colder, both in real life and in this book so it’s time to crack out the red wine. I chose to drink this Valpolicella Ripasso from Morrisons. It is from the Veneto region in Italy.
It is full-bodied, with notes of smoky warmth and tastes of delicious cherry and dried fruits with chocolate. Absolutely delicious and perfect for this book with it’s delightfully wintery setting.
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