Friday, 30 January 2015

One Day This Will All Make Sense - Countdown Deal

In December I hosted an excerpt from 'One Day This Will All Make Sense' by Katie Jansson Shahin. From Today (Friday 30th Jan) until Monday 2nd Feb it is available on countdown deal at Amazon, for 99p/99c - check it out!

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?

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.
Twitter: @KJanSha

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Blog Tour: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

I am so happy to be part of this blog tour, today Jasmine shares her influences on writing this book & I have my review of this fantastic book. Thank you Jasmine!

Jasmine on her influences when writing 'My Heart and Other Black Holes'
As I state in the Author’s Note in the back of My Heart and Other Black Holes, I began to write the book in January 2013, a few days after the death of one of my very closest friends. I found myself in a place of deep grief and working almost compulsively on the manuscript was one of the ways in which I dealt with those feelings. And while the manuscript is a complete work of fiction (in no way based on me, my friend, or anyone else I know), I do think my own personal grief served as a chief inspiration.

But really what poured out from my grief, I believe, is love. The book was mostly inspired by the desire to explore the transforming and life-changing qualities of love in all its forms (friendship, self-love, family, and yes, romantic). My friend I lost was one of the people in my life who had helped me to see myself differently and so I set out to write a story about the people in our lives that help us to accept ourselves for who we are; sometimes our friends help us to find strengths where we used to see only weaknesses, beauty where before we saw only ugliness.

One of the things the main character Aysel struggles to accept about herself is her Turkish heritage. I am the daughter of an immigrant and empathized with her character about how difficult it can be to look (and simultaneously feel different) from your classmates and peers. I was inspired to write a book that realistically portrayed diversity, but also was about more than just Aysel’s ethnic background. To me, Aysel’s Turkish heritage informs her character, but does not drive the entire story. I can’t remember ever reading a book with a character who physically resembled me until I was at least eighteen; and so while Aysel is by no means a perfect role model, I do know that it would have meant a lot to adolescent-me to read about someone like Aysel.

I could ramble on and on about the many different inspirations behind MY HEART (poems, songs on the radio, one-sided conversations with my cat!), but I would like to close with the idea of empathy. I very much wanted to write a story that honored the power of empathy and understanding. Sometimes a small act of kindness can make all the difference. So on that note, I really do hope that readers who pick up MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES will be inspired to be kinder and more understanding of others as well as of themselves.


I’m getting higher and higher and I feel the swing set creak.
‘Be careful,’ he says.
‘Why?’ I’m not thinking about being careful. I’m thinking about one last push, of letting go, of flying, and of falling.
‘You aren’t allowed to die without me,’ he whispers.
Aysel and Roman are practically strangers, but they’ve been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In a month’s time, they plan to commit suicide – together. 
Aysel knows why she wants to die: being the daughter of a murderer doesn’t equal normal, well-adjusted teenager. But she can’t figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all….and why he’s even more determined than she is. 
With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between Aysel and Roman – a feeling she never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all – but is Aysel in so deep she can’t turn back? 
Recently I’ve really wanted to read more Young adult books and this one really stood out to me. It’s not a topic I have read about before, at least told by the viewpoint of the people who want to commit suicide.

This book is wonderfully written. It had me hooked from the very first paragraph, which is quite poetic and set the tone for the whole book. The topic of suicide is handled with care, and I think that Jasmine has got the mind-set of Aysel and Roman well. Both characters evoked such sympathy; you can genuinely feel their turmoil. This book without doubt can break your heart at times.

Aysel is just beautiful. Her love of Classical music, and Physics is quirky and unusual; their inclusion adds a certain something special to this book. I completely understand why she feels the way she does and why she feels so alienated, not helped by how her mother has handled Aysel moving back with her and her ‘new’ family.
Roman is also in so much pain and again, I cannot help but love him. Aysel and Roman’s relationship, while made in unusual circumstances was an absolute delight to read.

I was left guessing at what would happen in the end of the book and it is exactly right for this book. This book bought me out of a reading slump. Heart-warming, poetic and powerful, this book is an effortless read where you don’t notice the time fly by as you’re compelled to just read and read and read it until you reach the very beautiful end.

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Hodder

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis

Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back. 

Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street.

Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. 

Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life. 

I didn’t know exactly what to expect from this book, but the little things I did presume, this was not it. Whilst unexpected, this is not a bad thing at all. This book is the great kind of quirky book that comes up every so often. It has characters that just surprise you with every turn of the page.

Told from 3 different character’s viewpoints. Each of them has such an individual narrative, you can instantly tell whose it is, even without the headings, which is really unique. You could tell Millie was a young child, unsure of the world. You could feel Agatha’s grouchy exterior and I liked Karl with the romantic way he talked about his wife.

The start of the book is fairly straight-forward but drew me in instantly. However almost immediately when Agatha decides to help Millie find her mother, their antics descend into a great kind of chaotic silliness that is both funny and imaginative.

Millie is an absolute delight to read about, slightly macabre with an obsession with death, but such a charming character to read. My favourite part of the book is without doubt when she met ‘Captain Justice’ and became ‘Captain Funeral. Together they were just the cutest.

Overall this book was quirky, a lot of fun and completely unexpected. It reminded me of ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce but instead of one man on a journey to visit an old friend, it is a couple of quirky people finding who they are while helping a young girl in need on the journey of their lifetime.

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Hutchinson / Cornerstone

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Cover Reveal: Tied Up With Love by Amelia Thorne

I am very pleased to help Amelia with her cover reveal for her new book, Tied Up With Love, which is just absolutely BEAUTIFUL! No surprise since her debut was also incredibly pretty.

‘We’re from KMW. Do exactly as you’re told and you won’t get hurt...'
Being grabbed off the street, blind folded, tied up and thrown into a van was not what Izzy expected to happen when she stepped out the door that morning. But when an accidental kidnapping at the hands of the sexy Ethan Chase and his 'Kidnap My Wife' sexual fantasy business leads to just that, Izzy seizes the chance to turn her misfortune into a brilliant new job opportunity…
Since then, life has been one big tangle of new client meetings, fake kidnapping pick-ups, and handling the temperamental, but drop dead gorgeous 'bad boy' Mr Chase. But, as liberating as being tied up in Ethan's life is, Izzy knows the time is fast approaching when she must make some decisions and take charge of her future. The only question is: will Ethan allow himself to be a part of it?

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Boy In The Cemetary by Sebastian Gregory

This is the story of a girl who lived but was not alive…

Carrie Anne is desperately unhappy. Tangled in a web of abuse, she seeks solace in the cemetery that backs onto her garden. But something creeps between the gravestones. Carrie Anne is not alone…

…and a boy who was dead, but could not die.

'The cemetery is home to a boy. He has guarded these forgotten bones since meeting a gruesome end two hundred years ago. Neither dead nor alive, he has been watching for a long time. And now, he finally has the visitor he’s been waiting for…

Earlier this year I read another of Sebastian’s books ‘Asylum of the Fairy-tale Creatures’, which I really enjoyed. So I expected another fantastically creepy read from this one and I wasn't disappointed.

This book starts in the 1800’s and we learn of ‘Boy’ and how he came to be ‘The Boy in the Cemetery’. This was really fascinating, and really drew me into the book. Reading about the consumption and his mother was really touching. The book then fast forwards to a time when a family move in to a house that overlooks boy’s cemetery and the Carrie-Anne is instantly fascinated by it.

I really felt for Carrie-Anne, her father was a terrible person and the people she encountered at school weren't much better.  Then she meets Boy. I adored their friendship, it was really sweet and charming, despite the unusualness of Boy and the circumstances in which they meet and spend time together.

This book took the awesome creepiness from ‘Asylum’ and raised it to another level. The description of where Boy lives is outstanding and incredibly visual, as is the rest of the book. However the rat eating scene stays with me to this day, gruesome! Of course this is exactly what I was expecting and it is the perfect read for someone who is after a new good—kind of creepy fairy tale.

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Carina

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Starting tomorrow: Sophie and Suze's Review Challenge

Generally speaking I will try to review a book before starting a new one, but I have been a bit terrible at this over the last few months for various reasons, and Sophie from Reviewed the Book and Suzanne from Librarian Lavendar have come up with the perfect challenge to allow me to catch up!

I aim to write all my reviews up, the total stands at 9, and potentially there will be 2-3 more, dependent if I read any more before then, and still have time to review them. I may not publish them all the ones I complete in the time of the challenge (other than the first two on my list below), but they will all be scheduled, and the relevent ones sent off to netgalley, hopefully improving my ratio!

So, at worst I will have 1.1 reviews to write a day, but I am busy this weekend so that will probably up it a bit, but I do think my target is manageable, and it's a lot less than I thought it was. Anyway without further rambling, here is my list of books I plan to review

  • My Heart and Other Black Holes - Jasmine Warga
  • Lost and Found - Brooke Davis
  • Bride Without A Groom - Amy Lynch
  • Lily Does LA - Nicola Doherty
  • Between The Lives - Jessica Shirvington
  • The Great Christmas Knit off - Alexandra Brown
  • The Girl On The Train - Paula Hawkins
  • Best Kind of Broken - Chelsea Fine
  • A Proper Family Christmas - Chrissie Manby 
I am still reading these two so if I finish these then I shall endeavor to review these after finishing the list above
  • The Book Of You - Claire Kendal
  • Saving Quinton - Jessica Sorensen 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays - Top Ten Books by my Top Ten Authors

 Top Fifteen Books from My Top Fifteen Authors

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish!

This week's topic is a freebie, so I have extended that freedom even further to a top fifteen this week, because I would spend a year trying to decide on which ones to remove from my list and still not have made a decision.

Paige Toon
Paige can do no wrong in my book, I've loved all her books, but my absolute favourite is Chasing Daisy. Utterly fantastic!

Cally Taylor
No matter what genre Cally writes, she nails it. Heaven Can Wait is definitely something special

Jane Costello
OK I have only read one book by Jane, but The Time of Our Lives is absolutely amazing and pushed her right into my top... uh 15!

Melissa Hill
Melissa's books are all so heart warming, but none are more so than The Charm Bracelet

Jodi Picoult
The Storyteller was really really amazing, Ninteen Minutes is an incredibly close second, but all her books that I've read have really made me think.

Chrissie Manby
One of the first Women's fiction authors I read and her books keep getting better. A Proper Family Holiday (and A Proper Family Christmas) is phenomenal 

Rowan Coleman
I can't even describe how amazing The Memory Book is. I tried in my review, but failed to put into words just how spectacular it is. I've still got the 'feels'.

Lucy Diamond
Every book I read by Lucy just keeps getting better and better. The Year of Taking Chances was outstanding!

Carole Mattews
Love all books I've read by Carole, especially her Christmas novels, I've got a lot to catch up on since Carole has wrote 25 books, but The Christmas Party stands out!


Diane Chamberlain
I love all books I have read of Diane's, Breaking the Silence had parts set in the past which were simply jaw dropping. 

Jojo Moyes
When I recommended, and consequently read Me Before You with my book club everyone thought it was going to be a light read, but no, this book is so much more than that, they all enjoyed it, and it's not hard to see why.

Cecelia Ahern
Cecelia's books always have this magical quality about them but Where Rainbows End (or Love, Rosie) really sticks in my mind, and I think i read it twice in a row when it first came out. Obsessed, much?

Sophie Kinsella
While I love the Shopaholic series, I think her standalones are equally amazing! Twenties Girl is just perfect.

Lindsey Kelk
I Heart New York. Literally - It is my favourite place in the world, and this book was so funny, and I just adore this series!

Ali Harris
Ali's books are so charming. Miracle on Regent Street is so good, it made me smile lots (and kudos for the cover in my favourite two colours)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

#SundayChallenge is back!!

So after a break for Christmas, #SundayChallenge has returned :) This week it is read any mystery or thriller. I have ambitiously set my self 3 books this week, 1 i'm already part the way through, then 2 that would count for the challenge.
Here are the books I plan to be reading:

My Heart & Other Black Holes - Jasmine Warga

Aysel and Roman are practically strangers, but they've been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In a month's time, they plan to commit suicide - together.

Aysel knows why she wants to die: being the daughter of a murderer doesn't equal normal, well-adjusted teenager. But she can't figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all....and why he's even more determined than she is.

With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between Aysel and Roman - a feeling she never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all - but is Aysel in so deep she can't turn back?

I have already started this book, and oh my! It is really really good so far, certainly getting me out of my reading slump!!

#SundayChallenge Book 1
The Girl on The Train - Paula Hawkins 
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

I've been dying to read this due to the fact that everyone I know LOVES it! So this weeks #sundaychallenge was the perfect opportunity to make me read it

#SundayChallenge Book 2
The Book of You - Claire Kendal
Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.
Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.
Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.

I had seen a few people review this, so picked it up while in a bookshop, read the synopsis on the back which intrigued me as a 'to buy in the future' and flicked through briefly, and I am ashamed to say this book called out to me as it used different fonts for different thing, so was immediately updated to the 'must buy this very instant' list of books. 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Daughter by Jane Shemilt

How well do you really know those you love?

Jenny loves her three teenage children and her husband, Ted, a celebrated neurosurgeon. She loves the way that, as a family, they always know each other's problems and don't keep secrets from each other. 

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn't come home after her school play and a nationwide search for her begins, secrets previously kept from Jenny are revealed. 
Naomi has vanished, leaving her family broken and her mother desperately searching for answers. But the traces Naomi's left behind reveal a very different girl to the one Jenny thought she'd raised. And the more she looks the more she learns that everyone she trusted has been keeping secrets.

How well does she really know her sons, her husband? How well did she know Naomi? If Jenny is going to find her, she'll have to first uncover the truth about the daughter she thought told her everything.

This book sounded really intriguing. I have been loving thrillers like this recently, so it caught my eye and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

That said, this is one of the hardest reviews I have written so far, because there were parts I really liked and parts I really didn’t. The book flitters between two times, one focuses on a few days before and after the event, the second focuses on the present day which is one year after. The times directly before and after the disappearance of Naomi were fantastic, I couldn’t read these parts quick enough. The same cannot be said for the majority of the present time. For me I found it really quite dull until the last few chapters, and my interest waned.
I think this is mostly down to me not really connecting with any of the characters. Jenny especially I didn’t like. Maybe this is because I am not a mother myself, so don’t understand how I would feel or react in this situation. Of course I felt sorry for her, having a child disappear must be both terrifying and devastating. However, the way Jenny came across to me was self involved. SHE ‘knew’ Naomi the best (or maybe not as it seems), SHE was the one most upset about and effected her the most. As if no one else knew what she was going through. Obviously she was distraught at losing her daughter, and you probably aren’t thinking straight, but a year on, still it seemed all about her and her loss, ignoring the fact that her husband (though far less than perfect himself) had also lost a daughter, and their two sons had lost a sister.

As I said earlier the time periods set around the time of the disappearance were fantastic, and there was a few plot points I would have liked to have seen Jane Shemilt delve a bit deeper into, though maybe one in particular would have made the book darker than Jane wanted it.
The ending, with a lot of these style of books (Gone Girl I am looking at you **Glares**) people will be divided on the ending, and I don’t think  this is any different. I am, for once on the dislike side of things. I don’t mind the part that made me wonder, it was more Jenny’s reaction to the big reveal, it was just ‘HUH?’, I think my jaw literally dropped!

I think the premise of this book is great and I really did enjoy a large part of this book. I recommend you try it, I know a lot of people who have really enjoyed it, and would love to know your thoughts on it!

Buy on Amazon now!

Published by: Penguin

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Blog Tour: But I Said Forever – Jennifer Gilby Roberts + Giveaway and Special Offer!

Jennifer Gilby Roberts is unleashing the second book in the fabulous Parker Sisters series!
She will be doing the rounds with this soul-searching romance, which will bring you
guest posts and a gorgeous giveaway!

But I said foreverWhat they say:
After a whirlwind courtship, Brittany Beresford married her Prince Charming and looked forward to living happily ever after. Five years later, she’s been reduced to a not-quite-desperate housewife, with a husband who spends more time flossing his teeth than holding meaningful conversations with her. She braves his disapproval and turns working mother and, other than feeling far more drawn to a handsome baker she works with than him, things seem to be looking up. But then she discovers that his “hobbies” include something even worse than golf – and he expects her to put up and shut up. Fairy tale illusions shattered, but still believing marriage is for life and wanting the best for her son, Brittany has a choice to make: should she follow her heart, or her conscience? ~~~~ But I Said Forever is the second book in the Parker Sisters series (first book The Dr Pepper Prophecies), but can be read as a standalone.  

Early last year, I read ‘The Dr Pepper Chronicles’, which is the the first in the series, however this book follows a different Parker sister (DPC you read about Mel and this book follows Brittany), so you don’t need to have read this book before you read this one, however I thoroughly recommend you do as I really enjoyed it :)

I absolutely adored Brittany. She had a big heart and you can see she adores James, and puts all her effort into making her marriage with Philip work, despite his distant persona. She is such a strong woman, never giving up and  made some tough decisions throughout the book, which is very admirable.

This book is funny and heart felt, with a positive message through running through the whole book. I really felt for Brittany and the dilemma she goes through. A page on however and you are laughing, especially when she is talking with her colleague Abby, who is really ditzy, but all the more loveable for it.

I also really liked Carly, not your typical nanny. I loved reading scenes between her and Brittany, seeing their friendship grow. Lauren, the other nanny in contrast seems a right terror. She is incredibly forthright which often comes across as rude, however, underneath it she seemed to have a heart of gold, and her clashes with Brittany were amusing to read at times.

Overall this book was a really good read. The food in the café sounded delicious and as delightful as all the characters working there. Easy to read in one afternoon, preferably with a cake of your own.

Jennifer Gilby RobertsAuthor Bio:
 Jennifer Gilby Roberts has a degree in physics and a postgraduate certificate in computing, so a career as a chick lit author was inevitable really. She was born and grew up in Surrey/Greater London, but now lives in Richmond, North Yorkshire with her husband, small daughter, two middle-aged cats and a lot of dust bunnies. She can be found getting red-faced at zumba class, reading historical porn (as her husband calls it – Regency romance to the rest of us) and humming nursery rhymes while going round Tesco.

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Giveaway is international. Jennifer Gilby Roberts and CandleLit Author Services reserve the right to cancel or amend this giveaway at any time and without prior notification. No responsibility is taken for non-delivery of prizes.
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