Friday, 23 February 2018

Blog Tour Review: Accidentaally in Love by Anna Premoli


Accidentally in Love by Anna Premoli
Published: February 1st 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 412
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Order now from Amazon
Rating: 5/5 

Blurb
Sara Di Giovanni is a successful lawyer in New York City: she is the star of her profession, an excellent role model to her very vivacious little sister, but has so far been unlucky in love. . . Ethan Phelps is the rich playboy trouble-maker whose only talent in life is spending money and dating women. . . That is until Ethan's father dies with no will to his name, leaving his two sons the legal heirs to his billion-dollar company. Sara is forced to become the court-appointed guardian to handle Ethan's share of the fortune, as his family do not trust him to manage it himself. Sara thinks it should be easy, but it's not so simple when Ethan is determined to get rid of her by whatever means necessary. . . What ensues is a dramatic and hilarious power-play between Sara and Ethan. . . but what will happen when feelings start to get in the way?

Review
Accidentally in Love by Anna Premoli features two very different forced together by law. Sara Di Giovanni is a very successful lawyer in the field of patents, so she can’t understand why Judge Richter has appointed her the new court guardian of Ethan Phelps. Ethan is rich, handsome and goes through money faster than Sara goes through olive oil. He owns a 15% share of his deceased father’s business and his uncle and brother have appointed a court guardian to try and curve his spending habits and stop him fluttering away his share of the business. Being renowned as meticulous and ruthless in her pursuit for justice in the courtroom has landed Sara the job.
These two are clearly chalk and cheese but both are determined to be successful in how this new partnership turns out. Sara is no pushover and despite Ethan trying many underhand tactics to get her to quit so he can regain control of his money, she doesn’t, in fact she becomes even more determined to change Ethan for the better.
As these two spend more time together the sparks fly and not always in a good way but eventually they begin to bond, initially over a mutual hatred of a spider and its not long before their relationship turns into something not strictly professional.
I loved reading about these two so much, they seem such an unlikely pair that somehow you just know they should be together. Sara is an absolute control freak and needs to have a plan and budget for everything she does. She finds in incredibly hard to relax and just be, so much so she hates weekends when she can’t work. Ethan is the exact opposite, for him life is one big party and he’s happy to foot the bill. Living from one day to the next he has no plan, no direction and no sense of purpose, until Sara shows up. Together them seemed to make each other better and more mellowed out versions of their selves and I loved reading how they changed throughout the book.
This is a great read full of fun moments, heated arguments and the odd sparkle of romance. It’s one of those books that will just put a smile on your face while you and that you can’t help but enjoy.
Thank you so much to Aria for sending me a copy to review honestly and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Publication Day Review: Marrying Mr Valentine by Laura Barnard


Marrying Mr Valentine by Laura Barnard
Published: 22nd February 2018
Pages: 199
Available on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

Blurb
Nadine Roberts smiles for everyone, but beneath it she hides a heart-breaking past that only a few know about. Throwing herself into her new career; wedding planner at The Duck & Goose, a property recently purchased by newlyweds Florence and Hugh, has helped distract her from her loneliness.

When a teary bride suddenly cancels her upcoming wedding Nadine looks to the two year waiting list. Clara Blumenkrantz and Hartley Valentine. It’ll have to be a quick turnaround, but what’s the worst that can happen, right?

This should be like every other wedding she plans, but the magnetism she feels towards Mr Valentine disrupts the orderly life she’s worked hard to carve out. 

Can she ignore her intense desires and be a professional? Or will she open up her heart to the one person that has the power to break it? And in doing so endanger not just her job, but her venue’s reputation?

Review
Nadine Roberts has worked tirelessly over the last year to put The Duck and Goose on the map as the place to get married for her best friends Hugh and Flo, winning the pub the converted award as one of the Best Wedding venues of 2017. Working hard to make every couples wedding perfect has been helping Nadine mask her own heartbreak, until now. Her latest couple to get ready to walk down the aisle are Hugh’s cousin Clara Blumenkrantz and Hartley Valentine.  Clara can only be described as a “bitch” and Hartley, well Hartley makes Nadine’s heart sing like it hasn’t done in a long time. Can Nadine manage to keep her feelings to herself and get Clara and Hartley to Mr & Mrs?

This is a book which is jam packed full of fun, as a lover of all things wedding I secretly love reading about them when things go a bit wrong. For the first time in her career as a wedding planner Nadine is having problems, mostly caused by being around Hartley.  From being locked in broom cupboard, to badly stained outfits and gravy incidents the sparks seem to fly when these two get together which made for very funny reading. This is one of those books you just have to keep reading just to find out what other scrapes Nadine can get herself into. There is also a more serious side to this book also with teenager Anna, which I think makes this a perfectly balanced read.

Marrying Mr Valentine may be a short read with a predictable outcome, but I loved the journey Nadine goes on to get there. Laura Barnard’s writing is full of light-hearted fun making this the perfect read to put a smile on your face.

Giveaway

Head on over to Laura's Facebook page (details below) to enter her release day giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a £10 Amazon Gift Card!


Stalk Laura










Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Blog Tour Review: Villa of Secrets by Patricia Wilson


Villa of Secrets by Patricia Wilson
Published: 22nd February 2018
Publisher: Zaffre
Pages: 377
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
Rebecca Neumanner's marriage is on the brink of collapse, as her desire to be a mother becomes an obsession. Then she receives news from her estranged family in Rhodes.

Called back to the beautiful Greek island of her birth, she realises how little she knows of the grandmother she has eluded for over a decade. Bubba has never spoken of the Nazi occupation during her youth, but there have always been whispers. What desperate measures did she take that terrible day in 1944 when her family was ripped apart? Can the rumour she had blood on her own hands really be true? But Bubba intends to take her secrets to the grave.

However, as Rebecca arrives on Rhodes, bringing the promise of new life, this broken family must come together. The time has come to tell the truth about the darkest of days . . .   


Review
Villa of Secrets is the second novel by Patricia Wilson and was a book which had a lot to live up to as her first novel Island of Secrets was one of my favourite novels of last year. Not to worry though I think Villa of Secrets is even better.
Sisters Naomi and Rebecca have been estranged for ten years after Rebecca chose her husband over her family.  Both sisters are feeling lonely in their own ways, Rebecca is starting her forth round of IVF and is feeling further and further away from husband Fritz as the longing for a baby overtakes her. Naomi is suffering empty nest syndrome with both her grown boys away at university and husband Costa working on a cruise ship, the strain od Bubba’s stroke is also taking its toll on her. Now the sisters must come together once more as their grandmother has decided its time to share her. Can this family put the horrors of the past behind them and finally come together for the future?
The narrative of this story is split between the present day reuniting of Naomi and Rebecca and through Bubba’s diaries of the past. For me its though these diaries that the story really comes alive and where Patricia Wilson’s writing is at its best. The diaries are from when Bubba or Pandora as she was named, and her family were made to leave the island of Rhodes during WWII being that they were a Jewish family. The tell of how Pandora being small managed to escape being taken away by the Nazi’s on the evacuation ship to the concentration camps. They gradually unravel how Pandora showed great courage at just sixteen and joined the resistance and helped to try and sabotage the war for the Germans.
I found these diaries incredibly powerful in their storytelling, every emotion and every detail has been written about so precisely it’s as if you are there reliving the whole events. It’s through these diaries that we learn just how courageous Pandora was, risking her life to try and bring freedom to the island and they kind of left me in awe of how inspiring and determined she was. I’m ashamed to say that when I’ve thought about WWII, the Greek isles and Rhodes particularly have never really crossed my mind. Rhodes has always just been that happy relaxed holiday destination that we all think of. Villa of Secrets has altered that view dramatically and shown that the effects of the War affected all of Europe and not just the bigger countries like Poland, Germany and France.
The present-day side of the story shows us both Rebecca and Naomi have also inherited the Cohen determination and ability to fight for what they believe in. This comes across more with Rebecca as she left her family to be with the man she loves and has been determined to be a mother despite having many setbacks getting pregnant.  I also think Naomi shows courage and determination, in a smaller dose granted but she’s single-handedly nursed Bubba back to health after her stroke and has had to help to raise Rebecca also after losing her parents at ten years old.
I think Villa of Secrets is a great novel which has been thoroughly researched and very well written. Patricia Wilson has written about this sensitive time in history with great empathy and has developed a strong and courageous heroine in Pandora Cohen. This novel is about family loyalty, love, religion and fighting for what you a believe in. It’s a novel full of emotions which will make your heartache in places but its also a novel which shows there’s nothing stronger than love.
Thank you so much Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a copy to review which I have done honestly and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Blog Tour Review: Best Friends by Carys Jones


Best Friends by Carys Jones
Published: 1st February 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 330
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 3/5

Blurb
Four friends, a terrible secret, and one week to stay alive. . . Grace doesn't have a family. That was taken away one dreadful day when she was just six, and her twin brother Peter was killed. Instead she has her best friends and flatmates – Jasper, Franklin and Aaron – and nothing can tear them apart. Living in London, and trying desperately to make a living, the four friends are rapidly running out of money and hope. So, when they find a discarded suitcase in a skip, they can't believe their eyes when its contents seem to answer all their prayers. But then a there is a knock on their door, and a very disgruntled thug with revenge on his mind, gives them one week to return his belongings, or they will pay with their lives. Soon the fractures in their friendships begin to show, and when one of them ends up fighting for his life, the stakes are raised even higher. Will any of them get to the end of the week alive, or will the best of friends become the deadliest of enemies. . .

Review
Best Friends is the first novel by Carys Jones that I have read and is a novel which I found gripping in places with a sinister undertone throughout. Best friends Grace, Franklin, Aaron and Jasper all share a two bedroom flat in London while they struggle to makes their dreams of fame and fortune a reality. It’s almost rent day and with no fixed employment between them the friends have once again struggled to find the rent money. After yet another day of let downs and setbacks the friends decide to head out and drown their sorrows with a drink or two. Many drinks later the foursome head home facing possible eviction from their flat. Franklin in his drunken state decides to have a rummage in skip they pass by, what they find in the skip changes their lives but not quite in the way they first expect. They’ve found a case with £20,000 and all their prayers seem answered. Until the owner of the case wants it and its contents back. Having spent all the money the friends have just seven days to pay back what they owe, or they will pay with their lives. What follows is an intense week where these four friends are tested to their limits.


Each of the friends are longing to pursue their dreams of fame through various creative outlets. Aaron is a guitarist in a small band struggling to hit the big time, Franklin longs to be an actor and Jasper is in the middle of writing a novel while working as a freelance writer and Grace, a classical trainer dancer longs to find that special dance company where she can finally feel she belongs. As the week progresses they each question if they really can make it to stardom or whether to give up and get a regular job. I liked that there are hints of romance between Grace and Aaron which has gone wrong but I would have liked more details of how their relationship fell apart.


I wanted to love this novel as I thought the premise was unique but sadly it left me a little disappointed. It started out well and I was gripped with how the friends reacted to finding the money and then their struggles as they tried to pay it back. I found myself racing to the end to find out what would happen but sadly the ending felt very anti-climactic and that ruined the story for me, after so much build up I was expecting a little more. I also found it strange how Grace’s past is mentioned throughout the book as I didn’t feel this fit with the rest of the story. It also seemed odd that the four friends just seem to take the stranger demanding the money at face value and didn’t seem to question who he was, where he came from and if the money was actually his.


Best Friends is an interesting read which centres around the concept of every action has a reaction and it might not be the one you’re hoping for. It’s a novel which takes a good look at friendship bonds and examining just how far they can be pushed.  Although not my favourite book it was still an enjoyable read and one which may appeal to those who want something a little different.


Thank you so much to Aria for sending me a copy to review honestly and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Blog Tour Review: Scandal by Sasha Morgan


Scandal by Sasha Morgan
Published: 1st February 2018
Publisher: Aria 
Pages: 418
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
As the new custodian of the ancestral home, Treweham Hall, Tobias Cavendish-Blake soon discovers exactly what he's inherited. Instant financial action is needed if the Hall is to survive the mounting debts it's racking up. Adding insult to injury the family is forced to sell the Gate House on the estate to lottery winners Gary and Tracy Belcher – not the kind of neighbours Tobias was hoping for. Megan Taylor inherits her grandmother's country cottage in the village of Treweham and decides to make a fresh start there, taking a job at the local country pub. When Megan meets Tobias, the attraction is clear, but she is determined to resist his charms, put off by his reputation and that of his best friends – the rakish Seamus Fox, son of a millionaire race horse trainer and dastardly jockey Dylan Delany. But Tobias is a hard man to resist. . .

Review
Scandal by Sasha Morgan is a book full of secrets, lies, romance and sex and is the perfect guilty pleasure read. In the quiet Cotswold village of Treweham a whole array of scandal is unfolding, involving more or less the whole village.
Tobias Cavendish-Blake has just taken over the role of Lord Treweham Hall the passing of his father. He may have inherited a beautiful house, but he’s also inherited a load of stress as the upkeep for the hall is too high and with the debts his father has left the family are struggling. He needs to reign in his mothers spending and provide a much-needed income quickly.
One of Tobias’ money-making schemes involves renovating and selling off part of the estate, the Old Gatehouse. This is something he finds particularly hard, especially when he sees what the lottery winning buyers Gary and Sharon do to the place.
Newcomer Megan has inherited her grand-mother’s quaint little cottage in the village, a place she sees as a sanctuary after her recent break-up with cheating ex-boyfriend Adam. It’s not long before Megan has fully integrated herself into village life, taking a job in the local pub, becoming firm friends with local girl Finnula and catching the eye of the new Lord.
Village Casanova Dylan Delaney may finally have met his match with stable-hand Flora, will she be the one to finally settle the famous jockey.
These among other great characters make a great story with numerous plotlines which all interweave and work beautifully together to create an engaging and thrilling read. I love Sasha Morgan’s writing and think this story could be made into a series as I’d love to read more about these characters.
I also loved the way the idyllic scenery of the Cotswolds and grandeur of Treweham Hall have been captured in the writing. I’ve been to this part of the country and reading Scandal has made me long for another visit to the quaint chocolate-box villages of this part of the country.
Full of sexy liaisons, family secrets and horsey shenanigans Scandal is the perfect escapist read ideal for fans of Jilly Cooper, Tilly Bagshaw and Fiona Walker. I loved everything about this novel and am keeping my fingers crossed for more form Sasha Morgan very soon.
Thank you to Aria for sending me a copy to review honestly and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.



Friday, 16 February 2018

Blog Tour Review: The French Adventure by Lucy Coleman


The French Adventure by Lucy Coleman
Published: 1st February 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 292
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
Suddenly unemployed and single, Anna escapes to her parents' beautiful house in France for a much needed recharge – and to work out what she wants to do next with her life now her carefully mapped out plan has gone out the window.

Anna gives herself 6 months to recuperate, all the while helping renovate her parents' adjoining gites into picturesque B&Bs. But working alongside the ruggedly handsome Sam on the renovation project, she didn't expect for life to take an unexpected, if not unwelcome, twist...

Review
When Anna witnesses her boyfriend of over a year Karl deny all existence of their relationship to get himself a promotion, Anna does the only self-respecting thing she can do and walks out of her job and out of a life with Karl. After renting out her house Anna sets off to spend six months in France to help her parents renovate their farmhouse B&B in the countryside, but also to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.

Anna is soon enchanted by life in France, the slower pace and beautiful countryside make her relax and enjoy the little things in life. It also helps that she’s working alongside sexy handyman Sam whose passion for his work hides his deeply tormented past. A past Anna longs to know more about, but Sam’s a very private person and doesn’t initially let Anna in, but slowly the two begin to form a solid friendship. A mystery surrounding the history of the B&B brings Anna and Sam even closer and soon Anna begins to realise that maybe her heart belongs in France not just for the summer.

The French Adventure is a beautifully written story about love, planning, and not letting the past control your future. Anna is a great character, she’s caring, and she’s not afraid to get stuck in and try something new and put her twist on it – rendering with a plastic knife and gloves for example. Anna needs to have a plan and needs to know the next step, that’s probably why working on the farmhouse suits her so much, this is the total opposite to Sam though. Sam prefers to live completely in the moments blocking out all traces of the past and not even planning for tomorrow, which drives Anna nuts but as they say opposites attract right?

I loved the way this book is written; the characters are well developed the plot is interesting, but I think my favourite part was the vivid images that were conjured up through Lucy Coleman’s writing. I would just have loved to have seen the beautiful field of sunflowers bobbing their heads at sunset and feel very jealous of Anna that she got to see this. The French Adventure is a beautiful romantic tale from start to finish and I loved every page.

Thank you so much to Aria for inviting me on this blog tour and sending me a copy of The French Adventure to review honestly.




Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Blog Tour Review: The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke


The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke
Published: 1st February 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 426
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
Love, marriage, obsession, betrayal and treachery in 1920s London – a powerful and gritty saga perfect for fans of Kitty Neale, Josephine Cox and Rosie Goodwin.

The hedonism of London in the roaring '20s is a world away from Annabel Tarleton's ordinary country existence. Until a chance meeting with the charming Richard Fortescue at a society ball changes her life for ever.

Swept off her feet by the dashing Richard, and his renowned fortune, Annabel soon realises that all that glitters isn't gold. Her bid for freedom has come at a terrible price and she finds herself trapped inside a marriage that behind closed doors is cruel and brutal.

Annabel has no choice but to flee, and will do everything to save herself, and her unborn baby, from destitution. But the very rich and very powerful expect to get what they want – and Richard wants only one thing – Annabel...

Review

The Runaway Wife was a book which I was really looking forward to reading. Firstly because it’s written by Rosie Clarke who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors in the saga genre and secondly it was set in the 1920s and 1930s a period of history I love reading about for all the glitz and glamour. It’s a book which didn’t disappoint and was devoured in just a couple of days as I tend to get lost in Ms. Clarke’s writing.

Annabel and her family are feeling the pressure of money troubles after their father lost most of their money in bad investments during the stock market crash. They still have their home but its at the point of falling down around them. Annabel is a woman with intelligence, tenacity and charm longs to go out into the world and find a job. But her mother has other ideas Annabel must marry well like her brother Ben and secure some money for the family, Annabel has too much of a sense of duty to disobey her mother.  Which is how she finds herself married to Richard Hansen, instead of the man she has fallen in love with working class Paul Keifer, a printer.  Richard is a man who is rich, handsome and completely charming on the outside, much approved by Annabel’s mother. Alone in their marriage Annabel soon learns Richard is a cruel and violent man who will stop at nothing to get his own way. Fearing for her own life Annabel decides she’s had enough and runs away…after all any life is better than one with Richard.

Annabel is a great character, she hard-working, honest and has any easy nature which seems to put those around totally at ease and I loved how much she changed throughout the novel. At the beginning she has her hopes and dreams but ultimately is controlled by her mother. After her marriage to Richard begins to go wrong she grows in independence and is determined to make her own decisions about her future.

I found The Runaway Wife to be a realistic and well-rounded portrayal of life in the roaring twenties. Every detail has been thought of and described from the glamourous costumes and hairstyles of the rich and famous to the everyday details of making the families bread on the farm. Written at a time when society was beginning to be more equal with the rich people facing the losses of the stock market and women demanding their right to vote this was a very exciting and uneasy time in history and I think Rosie Clarke has managed to capture this atmosphere perfectly in her novel.  It’s a book which brings together all classes of people with this well written and gripping story. I loved that is was a bit grittier than your usual saga featuring some more unpleasant aspects of life.

I really enjoyed The Runaway Wife and think anyone who has an interest in this period in history will enjoy this book.  Thank you to Rosie Clarke for writing another brilliant story and thank you to the publishers Aria for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.