Friday, 26 June 2015

Return To Bluebell Hill by Rebecca Pugh

Home is where the heart is… 

Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Especially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances… 

Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica—they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme—and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben!—opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… 

Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been? 

Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Rueben by her side. But when a deep, dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down… 

Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies? 

If you keep up with book stuff on twitter, or follow other book blogs, it will have been almost impossible to have not heard about this book, as it is written by the popular book blogger Rebecca from Becca’s Books.  I was excited when this was announced and even more excited on the day of release when I could finally get my hands on it (sadly it didn’t arrive till after I fell asleep at about 1am).

The cover is really pretty and perfect for this book, especially the font that is almost hand written with dainty swirls flowing off them.

Bluebell hill sounds such wonderful place and I would really have liked to hear more of the actual village and other villagers, so I think a sequel would be really nice - hint hint, Becca :). Bluebell house itself sounds very grand and it was easy to join Jessica and Esme while sitting on the porch with a nice chilled glass of white wine in the summer months.

The characters are wonderfully written and I loved Esme and how she obviously doted on Jessica as if she was her own daughter. Jessica was a harder character for me to get at first, obviously she had a hard childhood and I sympathise with that, but at times I just wish that she talked to someone during her decade away from Bluebell Hill, to try and come to terms with it, as in the current day she was just torturing herself (and fully admits this) for reasons I don’t fully understand, but then it is hard to make the step and admit you might need help to deal with issues. Maybe the sequel I am already imagining could delve back into her past a bit, so we find out more about her parents.

For me, I preferred the first half of this book. I loved reading about Reuben, and seeing Jessica and Esme reconnect after so long of not seeing each other, the setting was more idilic too, especially the woods. It had this slight magical charm. That isn’t to say the final part of the was bad, it is really good. A lot seems to happen in an extremely short space of time, so would liked to have had more pages to get my teeth into. That said, the scene at the estate agency with the Dawson family was possibly the funniest, and definitely one of my favourites from the book.

This book is a stunning debut, and if I haven’t hinted enough, would much love a sequel to be written, to find out more about Jessica’s past and the village. Failing that, it’s just another excuse to see Reuben again!

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Carina

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Truly, Madly, Greekly by Mandy Baggot

Blog Tour: Truly Madly Greekly - Mandy Baggot + Giveaway! TMGBanner
Get your summer off to a steamy start with Mandy Baggot and her sizzling new read, Truly Madly Greekly.
We've got an all inclusive tour chock-a-block with reviews, guest posts and a giveaway, as the book scorches a trail across a variety of blogs!

81HLd9MSlVL._SL1500_What they say: 
Sun, sea and a sexy stranger - a whole lot of fun just got a lot more complicated. Capable, confident and career-driven, Ellen had her dream job and a marriage proposal from boyfriend Ross. Life was good, her future set. Until it wasn’t and everything fell apart… Whisked off to the beautiful island of Corfu to plan her sister Lacey’s big, fat, Greek wedding, Ellen is hoping some time out will help clear her head and heal her heart. But letting go of her past is not going to be easy. With Lacey in full on Bridezilla mode, Ellen is soon distracted from her own problems. And when the all-inclusive treats on offer at hotel Blue Vue include one gorgeous, brooding Adonis – Yan – Ellen finds him difficult to resist. But Ellen isn’t looking for love or lust, or anything involving too much ouzo…or is she? Fans of Lucy Diamond, Miranda Dickinson and Lindsey Kelk will want to escape to Corfu with Mandy Baggot this summer.   

I’ve got a few books by Mandy sitting on my kindle, and when I was offered a chance to review this one, just a look at the cover was enough to pique my interest, then got further excited after seeing a few of my blogger friends rave about it on twitter. This certainly won’t be the only book of Mandy’s I’ve read for vert long, as it is a thoroughly fun read that I just flew through.

The setting is glorious. I’ve never been massively interested in visiting Greece, but the first thing I did upon completion of this book was look up all inclusive holidays in Greece, despite knowing  my holiday budget this year will barely get me out of Somerset. The resort that Ellen and Lacey stay in seems so luxurious and beautiful, it does seem the perfect setting for a wedding in the sun.

This book stayed mainly within the resort, but did branch out into a couple of local bars and a few excursions to nearby towns. The descriptive writing of the local area added to the sense of natural beauty that Greece has to offer.

Ellen and Lacey are complete opposites which makes for some great fun. Ellen is sensible and quite conservative and at times is horrified by her sister’s antics. Ellen is also a really closed book to everyone, especially her family. She has gone through some pretty bad stuff and has made mistakes, but she buys it deep down, as she feels that she has to be more of a mother-type figure and role model to Lacey.
Lacey of course knowing nothing of Ellen’s troubles just thinks that Ellen is being boring, so makes up for that by partying enough for both of them, when really she should be planning her wedding. Lacey is a lot of fun to read!

Then we move on to the ‘hunk’ of the book. I personally can’t stand the word hunk, it makes me visibly cringe, but for this book it is definitely appropriate. Yan is just simply the picture perfect holiday romance. Gorgeous, sensitive and mysterious, the complete package!

This book is funny, romantic and to be honest, a complete gem. It deserves to be on your TBR on your next holiday, or when you just need to escape from the undoubtedly rainy summer we will have in Britain.


Unknown-464Author Bio: Mandy Baggot is a romantic fiction author. In 2012 she won the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance. Her self-published title, Strings Attached was also short-listed for the Best Author Published Read award. Also in 2012 she signed with American publishing house, Sapphire Star Publishing, who produced her novels, Taking Charge and romantic suspense, Security. In June 2013 she signed a two book deal with Harper Collins' digital first romance imprint, Harper Impulse. She is a regular contributor to writing blogs and on-line magazine, Loveahappyending Lifestyle In May 2014 Mandy signed with Kate Nash of the Kate Nash Literary Agency. Mandy loves mashed potato, white wine, country music, World’s Strongest Man, travel and handbags. She has appeared on ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and auditioned for The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two daughters and cats, Kravitz and Springsteen. She is an advocate for women in business and belongs to the networking group Women on Wednesdays  
Follow Mandy
WIN a £50 Amazon voucher with Truly Madly Greekly and let Mandy Baggot see where you've escaped to this summer.
To take part just upload your photo of the cover of Truly Madly Greekly (paperback or e-reader) on Twitter or Facebook adding #TrulyMadlyGreekly. Whether you've escaped to a tropical haven with the kids or even your own backyard, Mandy would love to see where you're reading about Ellen and Yan this summer!
PLUS leave a comment on this post and you could be in with a chance of winning a Kindle copy of Excess All Areas!
Follow the Tour!
Giveaway terms and conditions:
Competition runs from 22 May 2015 until 31 August 2015, UK based entries only. One winner will be chosen at random from all the entries. Mandy Baggot and CandleLit Author Services reserve the right to amend and/or cancel the giveaway at any time, without prior notification.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Cover Reveal! Return to Bluebell Hill by Rebecca Pugh

OH MY GOD!!!! I cannot even express how lucky and excited I feel to be taking part in Rebecca's Cover reveal! Thank you so much! Cannot wait to read this book - if I can stop stroking the beautiful cover on my kindle of course :) 

Return to Bluebell Hill

As sweet and satisfying as strawberries and cream! This British summertime, get out in the garden with Rebecca Pugh’s sparkling debut novel.

Home is where the heart is…

Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Especially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances…

Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica—they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme—and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben!—opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been?

Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Rueben by her side. But when a deep, dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down…

Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies?

An emotional tale of self-discovery, taking chances and romance! Rebecca’s unique British voice feels like coming home again and again.

Pre-order Now!!!

Author Biography
Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire, with a mind full of fairy-tales and happy endings. Enchanted by true love and Disney Princesses, she decided that no matter what life threw her way, she’d continue to see the world through a child’s eyes. Through the pages of countless books, her adoration of reading blossomed, and it didn’t take long for her to fall under the spell of hundreds of authors’ words. 
Now, Rebecca’s own story has taken a fairy-tale like turn, and at 22, her dream has come true. With her faithful companions: Bonnie the dog, her partner, and her gigantic family by her side, Rebecca is ready to share her stories with readers who enjoy falling in love and losing themselves within beautiful, fictional worlds.
Rebecca Pugh is the author of women’s fiction and romance, her all-time favourite genres. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good swoon?
Her debut novel, Return to Bluebell Hill, is due to be published June 18th 2015 by Carina UK.

Too Many Cooks Blog Tour - Extract

I am so happy to be hosting an extract from this wonderful book on the blog tour! Make sure to check out the book after reading, as it is so fabulous :)

Chapter 5
‘Here we are, miss. Miss?’
I startle awake in the back seat of the car, the jetlag already taking its toll less than two hours after landing in London. ‘Sorry – I must have fallen asleep.’
‘Quite all right, miss.’
The driver, an Indian man in a smart black suit and aviator sunglasses, steps out of the sleek black Mercedes and opens my door, gesturing at the six-storey Victorian building behind him. ‘Please,’ he says. ‘After you.’
My eyes crawl up the building’s façade, which is pale grey limestone adorned with ornate balusters, corbels and carved stone wreaths. A large wrought-iron gate covers the front entryway, its black spindles ornamented with shimmering gold leaves. A window box filled with petunias sits above a gold plaque that reads ‘Hampden House’, part
of the address Poppy sent me when she confirmed all of my arrangements.
I grab my carry-on and step out of the car, making my way to the front gate as the driver removes my two suit­cases from the trunk. I press the bell for the building manager and take a deep breath as I look around, sizing up my new neighbourhood. Hampden House takes up the entire block on this stretch of Weymouth Street, in a section of London called Marylebone, a name I’m still not entirely sure how to pronounce. (Maree-le-bone? Mar-le-bone? Marill-bone? I have no idea.) Across the street, a cherry-red wine shop called Nicolas advertises a special on cabernet sauvignon, the deal scrawled in swooping cursive on a big black chalkboard. On the street perpendicular to Weymouth, smartly dressed people bustle in and out of a chic grocery-cum-restaurant named Villandry, whose sage-coloured awnings stretch across the sidewalk. On this crisp May morning, a few men and women sit at small tables outside, sipping coffee and nibbling bits of flaky croissant and slices of buttered toast.
‘Hello?’ says a man’s voice, through the intercom.
‘Hi, this is Kelly Madigan. Poppy Tricklebank sent me?’
‘Ah, yes. Just a moment.’
He hangs up as the driver wheels my suitcases up behind me, and a second later, a stocky man with wild brown hair and stubbly jowls opens the front gate.
‘Hello,’ he says, reaching out to shake my hand. ‘I’m Tom, the building manager.’
‘Nice to meet you.’
‘Your flat was serviced this morning. The keys are in my office, so if you’ll follow me . . .’
I reach for my suitcases and notice the driver standing behind them. Crap – a tip. I forgot to get money from the ATM and have nothing to give him.
‘I’m so sorry,’ I say, fumbling for my wallet. ‘I only have dollars.’
The driver raises his hand. ‘Miss Tricklebank has taken care of everything. Have a lovely stay.’
He heads back to his car, and I follow Tom into Hampden House, whose foyer is lined with thick ruby carpeting, the walls stark white. Tom grabs one of my suitcases and leads me into his office on the ground floor. The small room is stuffed with books, magazines and, as far as I can tell, junk – empty boxes, candy wrappers, torn sheets of bubble wrap, a bicycle wheel. A scuffed desk sits in the back corner, crammed between the wall and a bookcase, the surface covered with papers, a desktop computer and a clunky black telephone. 
He grabs a small key ring off his desk. ‘Right. This is the key to the front gate, which locks automatically behind you. If you forget your key, you can call my office between the hours of eight and five during the week, and I will let you in. On Saturdays, you can reach me between nine and noon. Outside those hours . . . well, you’re buggered, I’m afraid. But sometimes if you ring one of the other flats, someone will let you in.’
His words come at me fast and furious, with a husky English accent, many of the terms – ‘serviced’, ‘buggered’ – foreign to my American ears.
He holds up the second key. ‘This is the key to your flat, which is just down the hall. If you lose either of these keys, the replacement fee is forty-five pounds and a bottle of
wine.’ He smirks. ‘Kidding about the wine.’ Then he winks and cups his hand to his mouth conspiratorially. ‘But not really.’
He hands me the set of keys. ‘I have an extra key if you plan to have visitors. A boyfriend, perhaps? Or a family member?’
‘Nope. Just me.’
‘In that case, one will do. Please don’t make copies. For security reasons, anything to do with keys must go through me.’
‘Got it.’
He wheels one of my suitcases towards the door. ‘Right. Off we go.’
I follow Tom down the hallway, passing a wooden con­sole lined with unopened mail, above which hangs a large gilded mirror. Tom slows his step as we reach the door to flat two.
‘Here we are,’ he says. He sticks the key in the lock and jiggles it back and forth. ‘The lock can be a bit sticky. Ah. There we go.’ He gestures inside. ‘After you.’
I walk through the doorway into a small, carpeted entry area. To the left lies a small living room, with parquet floor­ing, a black vinyl couch, a red armchair, a wooden coffee table, and a small wooden dining table surrounded by four chairs. The entryway to the kitchen sits just beyond the dining table, the door propped open with a wooden wedge.
Tom wheels my case into the living room and deposits it next to the couch. ‘Right. Living room here. Kitchen there. Washing machine in the kitchen. And if you’ll follow me this way . . .’ He heads back towards the front door and continues along the carpeting down a small hallway.
‘Bedroom here. Bathroom there. Water heater can be a bit dodgy so it’s best to keep showers brief. I don’t recommend using the bath.’
I inch along the carpet and peek into the bathroom, which features a black-and-white tiled floor, a pedestal sink and a claw-foot tub-and-shower combination.
‘What’s that cord hanging from the ceiling?’ I ask, point­ing above the toilet.
‘The loo flush.’ He yanks on the cord, and there’s a loud whoosh.
‘Ah. Got it.’
Tom turns back towards the front door, and I follow him into the entryway. ‘The flat is serviced on Thursdays between nine and eleven, unless you say otherwise. If you require any more cleaning, please let me know, and I can arrange it for an additional fee. Oh, and Miss Tricklebank sent over a hamper, which I’ve left in the kitchen.’
‘A hamper? Like for laundry?’
Tom looks at me quizzically. ‘No. For eating.’
I quickly realize this is yet another linguistic Britishism with which I am unfamiliar so, instead of pressing the issue, I simply nod and say, ‘Right. Of course.’
Tom has one last look around the flat and claps his hands together. ‘Sorted. If you need anything, I’ll be in my office until five.’
‘Thanks so much,’ I say.
He leaves and closes the door behind him, and I head for the kitchen, where I find a large wicker basket wrapped in cellophane sitting on the counter. ‘Oh, a gift basket,’ I say out loud.
I quickly untie the silky ribbon at the top and peel back the cellophane. Beneath it, I find a pile of teas and snacks, along with a note:
Welcome! Here are a few essentials to get you started. The mobile has already been topped up. Please turn it on as soon as you arrive.
I rummage through the basket and find a shiny black smartphone, which I power on, as per Natasha’s (or, if I had to guess, Poppy’s) instruction. Five minutes later, the phone rings, its jingle filling the kitchen as I study the vari­ous boxes of organic herbal teas.
‘Ah, brilliant, you’ve found the phone,’ Poppy’s voice trills in my ear. ‘How was your flight?’
‘Long,’ I say. ‘But otherwise fine. Thank you so much for the gi—’ I clear my throat. ‘The hamper. It’s lovely.’
‘Yes, well, we figured you wouldn’t have anything in the house, so these are things at the very minimum we thought you would need.’
I scan the basket, which, among other things, contains a pot of wild boar pâté, a jar of organic Manuka honey, a package each of wild Scottish smoked salmon and venison salami, a tube of geranium and neroli hand lotion, and a lambswool hot-water-bottle cover. ‘Yeah, it looks like you covered the basics.’
‘I assume you’ve seen the ATM card Natasha has taken
out in your name.’ I spot a Barclays Bank card sitting beside the salami. ‘The PIN is attached. The cash from that account is meant for cookbook-related purchases only. Groceries, equipment, things like that. It is not for personal use.’ 
‘Good. Now, on to some business. Natasha wanted to have you round for supper tonight. Does seven o’clock suit?’
‘I – oh. I didn’t realize I’d be meeting her so soon.’
‘She wants to get to work straight away. This book is very important to her.’
‘I understand.’ I rub my eyes. ‘I’m just a little worn out. I didn’t sleep much on the plane.’
‘Supper won’t take long. Natasha is very busy, as I’m sure you understand.’
‘I do.’
‘Good. We’ll see you at seven, then. Oh, and if you decide to bring flowers – which of course you will – they must be white, and the stems must be trimmed to exactly six inches.’
‘Okay . . .’
‘And whatever you do, do not mention Matthew Rush. Do you understand? Under absolutely no circumstances.’
‘I . . . Sure.’
‘Good. We’re in agreement. See you at seven.’
She hangs up abruptly, and as I stare dumbly at the phone, I wonder what the hell I’ve gotten myself into.

Thank you to Dana Bate, and Grace from Corsair for letting me be part of this blog tour, make sure to check out the other hosts below, and you check out the book on Amazon!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) by Kate Winter

Falling in love is never simple. Especially when you're dead. 
When Rosie Potter wakes up one morning with what she assumes is the world's worst hangover, the last thing she expects is to discover that she's actually dead. With a frustrating case of amnesia, suspicious circumstances surrounding her untimely demise, and stuck wearing her ugliest flannel PJs, Rosie must figure out not only what happened last night, but why on earth she's still here.
Slowly the mystery unravels, but there are many other secrets buried in the quiet Irish village of Ballycarragh, and nobody is as innocent as they first appear. Aided by the unlikeliest of allies in her investigation, Rosie discovers that life after death isn't all it's cracked up to be, particularly when you might just be falling in love . . . 
In this hilarious, life-affirming and romantic journey through Rosie Potter's afterlife, she shares the ghostly tale of how she lived, she died, and she loved (in that order).

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty shallow when it comes to choosing books off of a shelf. I chose this one mostly on the cover (with a little influence by the quirky title). Then I read the synopsis and smiled even more at my sharp intuition on what turned out to be an absolutely outstanding book.

From the opening chapter, this was love at first read. Infact, I knew I would love it from page 1 where there is talk of a ‘vague sausage feeling’. Despite me knowing the darker side as to what she was feeling, it had me laughing uncontrollably. This book continues with the fun with a couple of serious moments which only adds depth. Seriously, this book has so much personality in it, I find it hard to believe this is the first book by Kate. 
Then there is the ending… I was having so much fun with the book, the ending escalated into something much more emotional than I was expecting. Given the subject I should have seen it coming, but it threw me completely.

Rosie is one of the most lovable and charismatic characters I’ve read in a while. She’s so funny, and doesn’t let a 'little' thing like death hold her back from getting what she wants.
Infact all the characters were just wonderfully written. I really liked the scenes with Jack. He wasn’t loveable at all, but he was perfect for his role and his scenes with Rosie were some of the best in the book.

It’s really hard to believe this is Kate’s debut novel. It’s stunning and one of the most addictive books I have read in a while.

Order on Amazon now!

Published by: 
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.
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