Thursday, 28 January 2016

Release Day Round-Up #18

Today is a great day for me in publishing world as a few of my favourite authors are releasing new books today and it has been hard to pick my three favourites.


You And Me, Always

Published: 28th January 2016
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 368
Available in Hardcover and on Kindle


On the morning of Lily's twenty-fifth birthday, it's time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.

Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum's life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie's attentions.

Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily's friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again...

I'm about 90% finished with this book and although I'm pretty certain how it will end I have loved it, the characters are all lovely...well mostly. The plot has enough twists to make it interesting and Jill's writing is humorous, light-hearted and comforting with an added sprinkle of romance which has made this a joy to read. I will have a full review of this book tomorrow so pop back if you like the sound of it.

27274207

Published: 28th January 2016
Publisher: Pan
Pages: 352
Available in Hardback and on Kindle

The best things in life . . . can be just around the corner
Rachel and Becca aren't real sisters, or so they say. They are stepsisters, living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house, plus an impressive career. Artistic Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another, shares a titchy flat, and has given up on love.
The two of them have lost touch, but when Rachel doesn't come home one night, Becca is called in to help.
Once there, she quickly realizes that her stepsister's life is not so perfect after all: Rachel's handsome husband
has moved out, her children are rebelling, and her glamorous career has taken a nosedive. Worst of all,
nobody seems to have a clue where she might be.
As Becca begins to untangle Rachel's secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about
her own life, and the future seems uncertain.
But sometimes happiness can be found in the most unexpected places . . .

I'm a huge Lucy Diamond fan so any new release of hers automatically goes on the must read pile and this is no exception it sounds like another great read. I love how her characters always have really interesting background stories just waiting to be discovered and I can't wait to find out more about Rachel and Becca.

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The Birthday That Changed Everything by Debbie Johnson
Published: 28th January 2016
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Pages: 400
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

She wanted a birthday surprise, just not the one she got…

The last thing Sally Summers expected from her husband on her special day was that he’d leave her for a Latvian lap dancer half her age. So with her world in tatters, Sally jets off to Turkey for some sun, sea and sanctuary.

The Blue Bay resort brings new friends and the perfect balm for Sally’s broken heart in gorgeous Dubliner James. He’s just the birthday present she needs. And when the chemistry between them continues to spark as the holiday ends, Sally wonders if this is more than just a summer fling.

But James has scars of his own and Sally isn’t quite ready to turn her back on her marriage. This birthday might have changed everything, but what will the next one bring?

Debbie's writing is always full of fun so I'm really looking forward to reading this one over the weekend, pop back next week for a full review.

So that's my top three for this week but there are loads of brilliant books being published today. A few more that sound good are: Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty,  Our Song by Dani Atkins, We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman . So I suggest you pop down to your local bookshop and treat yourself  to one of these lovely books.


Monday, 25 January 2016

Rebound by Aga Lesiewicz

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Published: 14th January 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Available in Hardback and on Kindle

Blurb
I'm not a bad person, but maybe I did a bad thing . . .
Life is good for Anna Wright. She's a successful media executive working for one of the UK's largest TV corporations. She's got a great boyfriend, some close friends and a lovely home. She adores her dog, Wispa, and she loves to run to help her de-stress.
But Anna's perfect life starts to crumble from the moment when, out jogging on the Heath one day, she meets a handsome stranger. She takes a route into unfamiliar territory, and then she has to face the consequences.
There's a dark, growing creepiness as the atmosphere becomes unsettled and, as Anna's professional life becomes increasingly pressured and poisonous, her obsession with the intriguing stranger intensifies.

Review
Rebound by Aga Lesiewicz captured my interest from the start with the tag line “I’m not a bad person, but maybe I did a bad thing...” it conjured up all kinds of things in my head and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this book.
It begins when Anna dumps boyfriend of three years James because he just felt “too safe” for her. Then Anna meets a mysterious and handsome stranger whom she names “Dior Man” while out jogging with her dog Wispa on Hampstead Heath. Anna engages in some elicit behaviour with the “Dior Man” without knowing anything about him. After this, mysterious things begin to happen to Anna, such as things moving and acts of vandalism randomly occurring, more seriously women have been raped on the heath. Are all these events connected and how does Anna fit into everything?
Although Anna wasn’t a bad person I didn’t like her. I felt she was far too selfish and by indulging in her risky behaviour and keeping secrets a lot of things happened that could have been prevented. I also felt she didn’t really care about her friends feelings at all just calling them up to make herself feel better but not really interested in their own lives. The only thing she really seemed to care about was her dog Wispa, who was just lovely and I can imagine had those big brown dog eyes that make you just melt.
I loved all the clues that Aga has left for the reader throughout the novel, at one point I think I had five possible suspects and I loved this as it made the story so engrossing. With so many tangents created throughout the novel I was expecting a brilliant ending and I’m a little disappointed the way things were left as I still have many questions about why things happened and  how it all connected., maybe I just didn’t fit all the clues together.
Rebound is a good psychological thriller which I enjoyed reading and would definitely read more by this author. Overall I would give Rebound by Aga Lesiewicz 4 out of 5.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Release Day Round-Up #17

There doesn't seem to be much being released this week that I would like to read. In fact I could only find one, so I'm going to feature two other books which were release last week.

Destination Thailand

Destination Thailand ( The Lonely Heart Travel Club 1) by Katy Colins
Published: 21st January 2016
Publisher: Carina UK
Pages: 384
Available on Kindle

What if you had a second chance… to find yourself?

Instead of slipping on her something borrowed and tripping up the aisle to wedded bliss, Georgia spends her big day crying into a warm Sex-on-the-Beach, wondering where it all went wrong.
Forced to make a bucket list of her new life goals by best friend Marie, it’s not long before travel-virgin Georgia’s packing her bags for a long-haul adventure to Thailand.
Yet, Georgia’s big adventure doesn’t seem to be going to plan. From strange sights, smells and falling for every rookie traveller scam in the book Georgia has never felt more alone.
But the good thing about falling apart is that you can put yourself back together any way you please. And new Georgia might just be someone she can finally be proud of…


So looking forward to reading this and the other books in the series, sounds like perfect holiday reading and Georgia sounds like she's going to be one of those characters which you just can't help but like.

Another Love

Another Love by Amanda Prowse
Published: 16th January 2016 (Kindle)
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 368
Available on Kindle

In the early years, she was happy.
Romilly had worked hard for her stunning, modern house in one of Bristol's most fashionable suburbs. She adored her gorgeous, gap-toothed daughter and her kind and handsome husband. Sure, life was sometimes exhausting - but nothing that a large glass of wine at the end of the day couldn't fix.
But then, as deep-buried insecurities surfaced, everything started to unravel. A glass of wine became a bottle; one bottle became two. Once, Romilly's family were everything to her. Now, after years of hiding the drinking, she must finally admit that she has found another love...

I've never actually read anything by Amanda Prowse, which is bad really considering her books are mentioned in blogging land constantly so must be great. Her books always sound like very emotional rides and I'm longing to give this author a read.

What Would Lizzy Bennet Do? (The Jane Austen Factor, #1)

What would Lizzy Bennet Do?
Published: 15th January 2016 (Kindle)
Publisher: Carina UK
Pages: 376
Available on Kindle

When your name is Lizzy Bennet and Mr Darcy lives next door, romance is anything but simple…
Especially since a film crew has just arrived to shoot Pride and Prejudice at the Darcy estate! And when Hugh Darcy, the one who got away, arrives home after 8 years absence, Lizzy can’t help but think it’s fate. Until, that is, he introduces her to Holly – his fiancée…
What can Lizzy do but try not to feel too prejudiced against Hugh’s new woman – a city girl who knows nothing about country life, and seems more concerned with her film star ex than her current fiancé?
There’s no denying that there’s something suspicious about Holly’s interest in Hugh…and when he begins to have doubts about his high-maintenance fiancée, it seems a break up is on the cards. But is it too late for Lizzy to swallow her pride and get her Austen ending after all?

 I think this sounds really good, and who doesn't love a bit of a "Pride and Prejudice" remake? Definitely one to add to the tbr pile.

So that is my three picks for this week. Have you read any of them? Which sounds like your favourite? I'd love to know your thoughts.


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Top Ten Books I've Recently Added to my TBR

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish who love list making an reading. Each week there is a different book related list to create and share with other bloggers and readers. This week's list is one I could probably produce a top ten for every week. I've listed here the ten most recent books I've received for review this year and will be reading in the next few weeks;


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?

This sounds like a really great read and one I think I need to read soon.



 Learn to dance at The Moonlight Hotel in the most romantic place in Britain...Beginners and singles welcome.

The Moonlight Hotel sits on the shore of England's best-loved lake, Windermere, exuding vintage glamour. And in its ballroom weekly dances classes promise evenings filled with music, friends and fancy(ish) footwork.

When Lauren agrees to sign up. it's because she loves the building so much; it holds the key to her most precious childhood memories and she always dreamed of dancing the night away under its roof. Even her newly single friends cate and Emily aren't going for the men, they're going for fun  - although a little romance won't hurt...

Then comes the news that the hotel has been sold to a faceless budget chain, which has devastating plans in store. And the revelation that marks the start of a chain of events - both on and off the dance floor - that puts the strength of their friendship to the ultimate test...

I love Jane Costello's writing and think I will love this book. Windermere is where I spent my own honeymoon so looking forward to reminiscing my own happy memories.

The Assistants

3. The Assistants by Camille Perri
What would you do if you thought you’d get away with it?
I folded the cheque and shoved it deep into the black hole darkness of my bag. At the time it seemed innocent enough. I would just, you know, bring the cheque home and then tear it to shreds.
For six years Tina has served drinks and collected dry-cleaning for a boss who spends more on lunch than Tina does on rent, and her debts are piling up. Then a blip in the expenses system offers her the opportunity to change her life, a big fat cheque that shouldn’t have her name on it. She’s a good person but the temptation is too much and Tina’s moral compass temporarily malfunctions.
But with wealth comes trouble. It doesn’t take long for one of Tina’s fellow assistants to notice – and she wants in. Tina may have an unlimited expense account but is she about to discover the limit to her luck?

I think this sounds like it could be a really funny an addictive read, can't wait to get started with this one.

The Second Love of My Life

4. The Second Love of my Life by Victoria Walters
In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.
Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer...
Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

I have a feeling this could be one where tissues are needed...

Kit

5. Kit by Marina Fiorato
Dublin 1702...and Irish beauty Kit Kavanagh has everything she could want in life. Newly married, she runs a successful alehouse with her beloved husband Richard. The wars that rage in Europe over the Spanish throne seem a world away. But everything changes on the night that Richard simply disappears. Finding the Queen's shilling at the bottom of Richard's tankard, Kit realizes that her husband has been taken for a soldier. Kit follows Richard's trail across the battlefields of Italy in the Duke of Marlborough's regiment. Living as a man, risking her life in battle, she forms a close bond with her wry and handsome commanding officer Captain Ross. When she is forced to flee the regiment following a duel, she evades capture by dressing once more as a woman. But the war is not over for Kit. Her beauty catches the eye of the scheming Duke of Ormonde, who recruits her to spy upon the French. In her finery she meets Captain Ross once again, who seems just as drawn to the woman as he was to the soldier. Torn between Captain Ross and her loyalty to her husband, and under the orders of the English Crown, Kit finds that her life is in more danger now than on the battlefield. Of all the dangers that she faced, the greatest was discovery...

I received a hardback copy of this book for review last year but sadly I never managed to read it, the paperback in being released on 11th February so feel its time to read this one.


The Narrow Bed: Culver Valley Crime Book 10

6. The Narrow Bed by Sophie Hannah

Linzi Birrell and Rhian Douglas: murdered.
Angela McCabe and Josh Norbury: murdered.

A killer the police have dubbed Billy Dead Mates is killing pairs of best friends, one by one. Just before each murder, he sends his victim a small white book...
Three regional police forces are working together to identify and catch Billy. For five months, they've been failing. Then a fifth victim, scared by what she's seen and heard on the news, comes forward to seek help. Unlike Billy's first four victims, she isn't dead. Yet.
Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy's peculiar white books. A stranger gave it to her after a gig she did a year ago. Was he Billy? Now Kim's life depends on working out why she - a woman who has no close friends because she trusts no one - should attract the attention of the Best Friends Killer... And, if Billy has her in his sights, why has he waited so long to strike?

I think this book sounds amazing. This is definitely the year I read a Sophie Hannah book, I have a number sitting on my shelf but this one sounds like her best yet.

The Night That Changed Everything

7. The Night that Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

This is a love story of two halves.

People say it takes half the time you've been in a relationship with someone to get over them.

Rebecca and Ben thought they'd never have to test that theory - they were happy, in love, solid. They are perfectly matched: Ben is thoughtful, kind, and does all the cooking; Rebecca is fun and spontaneous, and often thinks about doing the cleaning but never actually does.

Neither of them predicted an encounter with the past that would tear their relationship apart.

546 days of heartache, laughter, first dates and several twists of fate await…

I've yet to read anything by these two and I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

Kitty's Countryside Dream: A feel good romantic comedy about life, love and family.

8. Kitty's Countryside Dream by Christie Barlow

New home. New life. New beginning. Love affairs can blossom in the most unlikely places . . .
When Kitty inherits Bluebell Lodge from her grandmother, a farm in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, it’s time for fresh air and a fresh start. Up to her elbows in chickens and ponies, Kitty soon realises there’s an awful lot to learn about farming. Still, at least the locals seem friendly, not least her handsome neighbour Tom…

But just as Kitty is beginning to find her feet, and the possibility of love, the discovery of a long-hidden diary, by a mysterious character called Violet changes everything. Who is Violet and what is her message for Kitty? As Kitty fills in the lost pieces of her family jigsaw and discovers some shocking revelations, will her countryside dream and blossoming relationship fall to pieces? When it comes to life in the country, nothing is ever quite as it seems …

I  love Christie's writing and am really looking forward to enjoying another one of her funny books. I just love the cover too...I'm so ready for spring and some sunshine!

Just Haven't Met You Yet


Percy James has everything a girl could want: a comfy flat, a steady relationship and a truly lovely group of friends. Then she is approached by Eros Tech. Eros is 'the future of love' - an agency that brings together soulmates using mobile data. Percy has been identified as a match for one of Eros's super wealthy clients. The only problem is she already has a boyfriend . . . but what if this is *destiny*? Would you - could you - pass up a chance to meet your one true love?

This book is another which sounds like it could be hilarious.


You And Me, Always

10. You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

On the morning of Lily's twenty-fifth birthday, it's time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.

Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum's life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie's attentions.

Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily's friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again...

I read my first Jill Mansell novel last year and I adored it. I'm so looking forward to reading this and it will probably be my next  read as its released next week.

So there is my list for this week, I have a lovely pile of books to get stuck into over the next few weeks. I'd love to know what you've recently added to your TBR, leave your links below if you want to share, or visit The Broke and The Bookish to see everyone else's lists.




Friday, 15 January 2016

Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon

Strictly Between Us

Published: 14th January 2016
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin)
Pages: 448
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Blurb
Tamsin and Michelle have been inseparable since childhood. Even now they spend all their time together, along with Patrick, Michelle's handsome husband.

Except Tamsin's brilliant assistant Bea (without whom Tamsin's life would fall apart) has heard a nasty rumour that Patrick is playing away. Determined to uncover the truth, Tamsin devises a honey-trap to test his resolve, using Bea as bait. But she never counted on Bea having her own agenda . . .

Struggling to untangle the web of deceit, Patrick seems to be constantly one step ahead. Can Tamsin reveal the truth to Michelle without ruining everyone's life along the way?

Review
Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon has a blurb which for me made me instantly want to read this book. However I was unprepared for how addictive this story would be, it’s a book I finished in just one day.
Tamsin and Michelle have been best friends since their school days and will do anything to protect each other. So when Tamsin starts to hear more and more rumours that Michelle’s husband Patrick is being unfaithful to her she decides to try and catch him out. Using Bea her attractive and very loyal assistant as bait for a honey-trap Tamsin sets out to discover the truth about Patrick. What Tamsin doesn’t count on is Bea not being quite as loyal as she thinks and Patrick being even sneakier than she ever thought possible.
From the very first chapter, which had me completely shocked I was hooked on this book.  I was desperate to find out what happened next and as the secrets and lies between the characters developed it became even better. For the first part of the book we only have Tamsin’s perspective of events but in part two we hear from Bea too as she begins to explain her actions. This really made the book for me as for the first couple of chapters I was thinking “What does Bea really think about all this?”
I wanted to like Tamsin for standing by her friend and not wanting her to be upset but part of me felt she was manipulating the situations to get the best outcome for herself. After all she wasn’t 100% honest herself was she?
My favourite character was Adam who seemed very genuine and didn’t appear to have an ulterior motive for his actions. I did feel the nickname of “Pillsbury Dough Boy” given to by his students was a little unfair.
Strictly Between Us is a well written and very addictive book which I loved and recommend to anyone who likes a plot with lots of twists and turns. It’s a book which will leave you questioning how well you really know people in your life and how much can you trust them?
Thank you to Michael Joseph and Netgalley for this copy to review. I rate it 5 out of 5, I loved it!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Release Day Round-Up #16

It's that time of the week again when I select my three favourite books being published this week. This week was a tough one as there are quite a few that have stood out to me, some of which I have already being lucky enough to read.

Holding Out for a Hero by Victoria Van Tiem
Published: 14th January 2016
Publisher: Pan
Pages: 261
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Blurb
The problem with first love is that it never truly dies . . .
Libby London fell in love with the eighties, came of age in the nineties, and now the twenty-first century is baffling her. Her New-York-City style is more, erm, vintage tragedy than retro babe and her penchant for All Things Eighties might just be what's holding her back in matters of life and love . . .
At least that's what her well-meaning friends think. They've staged a #80sIntervention in an effort to bring Libby bang up to date. What with her dreaded birthday party, friends' madcap ambush, and being forced to relocate her vintage shop, Libby's nearing breaking point!
Will she ever be able to move on when the one she loves keeps her in the past?

I have already had the pleasure of reading this book and I loved it! Libby is a great character and the 80s interventions her friends stage for her had me laughing all the way through this book. Read my full review here.

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Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon
Published: 14th January 2016
Publisher: Penguin (Michael Joseph)
Pages: 448
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Blurb
Rumours, secrets and lies. It's all in a day's work.
Tamsin and her best friend Michelle have been inseparable since they were teenagers. Even now they spend all their time together, along with Patrick, Michelle's handsome husband.
So when Tamsin hears a rumour that Patrick is having an affair, she is furious. Unwilling to ignore it, Tamsin plots a scheme to catch Patrick in the act, using her assistant Bea as live-bait. It should be fool proof.
After all, Tamsin can trust Bea with anything. From her daily coffee order to fetching her dry-cleaning, writing reports and doing all the filing - Bea does everything with a smile on her face.
Except Tamsin never considered Bea might have her own agenda.
And if she does, then Tamsin really needs to watch her back . . .


This is another book which I have already read and really enjoyed. I loved all the secrets, lies and plotting and wondering all the secrets would end up being discovered. A brilliant read which i became engrossed in. I will be reviewing this on my blog tomorrow so if you would like to know more of my thoughts, pop back tomorrow.

Wickham Hall

Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley
Published: 14th January 2016
Publisher: Corgi7
Pages: 512
Available in Paperback and on Kindle


Blurb
Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

As Holly falls in love with the busy world of Wickham Hall - from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos - she also finds a place in her heart for her friendly (if unusual) colleagues.

But life isn’t as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications…). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment? After all, that’s when the magic happens…

I have never read any books by Cathy Bramley (yet) but they look and sound lovely. This one is set in a big manor house , a setting which I have a bit of a soft spot for. Hopefully I will get a chance to read this at some point this year as Cathy is an author whose books I'm desperate to read.


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Holding Out for a Hero by Victoria Van Tiem

Published: 14th January 2016
Publisher: Pan
Pages: 261
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Blurb
The problem with first love is that it never truly dies . . .
Libby London fell in love with the eighties, came of age in the nineties, and now the twenty-first century is baffling her. Her New-York-City style is more, erm, vintage tragedy than retro babe and her penchant for All Things Eighties might just be what's holding her back in matters of life and love . . .
At least that's what her well-meaning friends think. They've staged a #80sIntervention in an effort to bring Libby bang up to date. What with her dreaded birthday party, friends' madcap ambush, and being forced to relocate her vintage shop, Libby's nearing breaking point!
Will she ever be able to move on when the one she loves keeps her in the past?

Review
Holding Out for a Hero by Victoria Van Tiem was a book that arrived through the post one miserable wet morning and it instantly brought a smile to my face, how can it not with such a lovely fun looking cover? This was the first novel that I’ve read by Victoria and I was instantly hooked with her hilarious writing style and quirky characters.


Libby London loves the Eighties so much, her clothes are from the Eighties, she has an Eighties hairstyle and even her job is based on selling Eighties memorabilia. She evens spends most of her time reliving moments from her favourite films from the Eighties. With her thirty-third birthday looming her friends have decided enough is enough and Libby must join them in the twenty-first century. They stage a 80s convention to give Libby an updated make-over and convince her to get back into dating. Can Libby move forward when she’s clinging to the past by holding onto her vintage shop and pining for her first love?


I loved this book, I was laughing nearly all the way through. Libby and her friends Dora, Finn, Dean and Jas were just wonderful to read about and I loved the dynamic between them all. I loved how Libby got so mad with them for various madcap ideas but in the end she realises their only doing it because they care about her. All the characters in this book had their own little quirks and the various “dates” Libby goes on were just brilliant.


There are a lot of references to Eighties films and music in this book, many of which I didn’t get despite being born in the Eighties myself. I don’t think this spoilt the book in any way for me and if you are a fan of this decade then you will no doubt adore all the references and understand the significance of them.


Despite this book being full of comedy moments it also has a serious tone with dealing with Libby’s depression. I thought this was done really well and leaves you thinking that even when life is horrible and you can’t cope keep going because you will get through and you will be alright in the end.


This is a small book at around 250 pages so I managed to read it in a couple of afternoons. It’s jam packed with drama all the way through and I feel Victoria has captured Libby’s story perfectly. I’m so looking forward to picking up Victoria’s first novel Love Like the Movies as I just know I’ll love it.


Thank you so much to Pan for sending me a copy to review. I loved everything about this book and rate it five out of five.


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - 2015 Releases I Meant to Read But Didn't


http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish who love list making an reading. Each week there is a different book related list to create and share with other bloggers and readers. this week's list is 2015 releases I meant to read but didn't, now I could have added hundreds of books to this list! I've decided to focus just on chick lit as this had the most books I seemed to have "missed"

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1. Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Café  by Milly Johnson
Her marriage is all washed up. It's time for a clean start.
Connie Diamond has always been her husband Jimmy's 'best girl' - or so she thought. But then she discovers that he's been playing away for the past twenty-four years, and that the chocolates she believed he bought her as a sign of his love were just a cover-up, and she is determined to get revenge.
Along with Della Frostick, Jimmy's right-hand woman at his cleaning firm, Diamond Shine, Connie decides to destroy Jimmy's life from the inside. Together they will set up a rival business called Lady Muck, and along with the cleaning ladies who meet at the Sunflower Café, they'll make him wish he had never so much as looked at another woman.
Then Connie meets the charming Brandon Locke, a master chocolatier, whose kind chocolate-brown eyes start to melt her soul. Can the ladies of the Sunflower Café help Connie scrub away the hurt? And can Brandon cure her affliction and make her smile again?

 I am really disappointed in myself for not reading this. I am huge Milly Johnson fan and have devoured her previous novels as soon as they are released. Just not sure why this one hasn't made it off the tbr pile yet, hopefully it will before she releases her next book.

Country Affairs

2. Country Affairs by Zara Stoneley
Welcome back to Tippermere for the wedding of the year…

Scatty but loveable Lottie Brinkley is famous throughout the village for her disorganised personality so when she steps up to plan the perfect wedding the only likely outcome is disaster.

When her globetrotting, love cheat of an ex, Todd, literally crashes the wedding on a not-so-noble steed, things definitely look set to take a turn for the scandalous. As rumours of why he’s back spread through the village quicker than the stable girl can drop her knickers, is Lottie's future with sexy eventer Rory Steel about to fall at the next fence?

With a wave of unexpected pregnancies, steamy shenanigans in the hay and a farrier with more than shoeing horses on his mind, will Lottie ever be ready to take on the coveted title of Lady of the Manor and restore the Estate to its former glory?

As the heart of the village, Tipping House Estate, makes its move into the 21st Century, pulses start to race in a novel packed full of charm, hunky stallions (the guys that is), and a daring plan that just has to succeed…

This is another book the I am hugely disappointed in not reading, especially if you look closely at the cover and see a certain blog name is mentioned (my bad!). I think part of not picking this was up was that I knew I was going to enjoy it and wanted to take my time with it and as last year was so busy my reading time was always rushed while waiting for the school bus. I'm planning on find an afternoon to myself and getting stuck into this very soon.


After You (Me Before You, #2)


Lou Clark has lots of questions.
Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.
Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.
Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.
And will she ever get over the love of her life.
What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.
Then, one night, it does.
But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions?
Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.
Open it and she risks everything.
But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in . . .

I think anyone who read Me Before You will have been touched Lou and Will's story and will have longed to find out what Lou did next, so thank you Jojo for writing us a sequel I just I'd had time to read it

The Great Village Show

Tindledale is in a titter. The Village Show competition is coming around again and after last year’s spectacular failure, the villagers are determined to win. Meg, teacher at the local school, is keen to help and to impose some much-needed order.

After a terse encounter with a newcomer to the village, Meg discovers that it is celebrity chef and culinary bad boy, Dan Wright. Meg thinks he is arrogant and rude but rumour has it that Dan is opening a new restaurant in the village which could really put Tindledale on the map!

As things come together, villagers old and new all start to come out of the woodwork, including new arrival Jessie, who seems to have it all. But first impressions can be deceptive and Meg discovers that when it comes to Tindledale – and Dan – nothing is ever quite as it seems…

I loved Alexandra's first book set in Tindledale, The Great Christmas Knit-Off and was really looking forward to another visit there as I just fell in love with the characters and everything about the village. Hopefully I'll get to read this before her next book hit the shelves.

Appleby Farm

Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She’s been happy working at the café round the corner from Ivy Lane allotments and her romance with her new boyfriend is going well, she thinks, but a part of her still misses the beautiful rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm.

Then a phone call out of the blue and a desperate plea for help change everything…

The farm is in financial trouble, and it’s taking its toll on the aunt and uncle who raised Freya. Heading home to lend a hand, Freya quickly learns that things are worse than she first thought. As she summons up all her creativity and determination to turn things around, Freya is surprised as her own dreams for the future begin to take shape.

Love makes the world go round, according to Freya. Not money. But will saving Appleby Farm and following her heart come at a price?

Cathy Bramley is an author who I've never read but I'm just dying to read this and her previous book Ivy Lane so much both have beautiful covers and being set in the country they really appeal to me. This is an author I really need to take time to discover this year.

A Very Big House in the Country

'Holidays are about surviving the gaps between one meal and another.'


For one long hot summer in Devon, three families are sharing one very big house in the country. The Herreras: made up of two tired parents, three grumbling children and one promiscuous dog; the Littles: he's loaded (despite two divorces and five kids), she's gorgeous, but maybe the equation for a truly happy marriage is a bit more complicated than that; and the Browns, who seem oddly jumpy around people, but especially each other.



By the pool, new friendships blossom; at the aga door, resentments begin to simmer. Secret crushes are formed and secret cigarettes cadged by the teens, as the adults loosen their inhibitions with litres of white wine and start to get perhaps a little too honest ...



Mother hen to all, Evie Herreras has a life-changing announcement to make, one that could rock the foundations of her family. But will someone else beat her to it?


I loved Claire previous novel What Would Mary Berry Do? and this sounds even better, a big house, three families to me it just screams hilarious moments that will have me laughing all the way through and I'm gutted I haven't yet read this book.

The Woman Who Fell in Love for a Week

Teacher Jenny loves her summer job house-sitting, and she's looking forward to a fortnight looking after The Old Rectory, a quintessentially English pile stuffed with glorious artwork and books. Owned by two celebrated writers, everything about it boasts of a successful family, reminding Jenny of her own happy home life before divorce. In a sizzling heatwave, as Jenny encounters the forceful personalities of the family dog and the eccentric neighbours, she soon starts to realize that the Lewis family may not be as enviably perfect as their big portrait above the fireplace suggests. And a new friendship may represent a surprise second chance in Jenny's life that paints a whole new picture.

Fiona Walker has been one of my long-term favourite authors and I usually enjoy her latest book on my summer holiday. However this didn't happen last year so I'll probably try and read this when we have our summer holiday this year as it sounds the perfect beach read.

If You Go Away

1914. Vivian, a young, impassioned debutante is hurried into a pedestrian marriage to cover a scandal. War breaks out on her wedding day - domestically and across Europe. Quick to escape the disappointment of matrimony, her traditionalist husband immediately enlists and Vivian has no alternative than to take up the management and running of his estate - after all, everyone is required to do their bit. Even pretty, inadequately-educated young wives.

Howard, a brilliant young playwright rushes to the front to see for himself the best and the worst of humanity; he cannot imagine what the horror might be. In March 1916, when conscription becomes law, it is no longer enough for him to report on the War, it's a legal requirement that he joins the ranks. Howard refuses, becoming one of the most notorious conscientious objectors of the time. Disarmingly handsome, famous, articulate and informed, he's a threat to the government. Narrowly escaping a death sentence by agreeing to take essential work on Vivian's farm, it's only then Howard understands what is worth fighting for.

Adele Parks is another favourite author whose books I like to keep up to date with. Although her previous novel Spare Brides wasn't my favourite I'm still keen to read her latest historical novel as this sounds really good.

The Love Shack

Life's great when you're 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum . . .

Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they'll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan's mum.

It's a desperate solution, but it's only for six months. And Gemma's determined to
make it work, no matter how bad things get.

But between Dan's mum's kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and - worst of all - her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not.

Then, as they're trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma's past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…

I think this book sounds like a brilliant read which will be full of humorous moments, definitely one I'm sad I haven't managed to read yet.

Dream a Little Dream

Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she's been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it's really okay. She's happy (ish).

But it's not surprising that when Sarah starts dreaming about a handsome stranger, she begins to look forward to falling asleep every night. Reality isn't nearly as exciting. That is until her dream-stranger makes an unexpected real-life appearance, leaving Sarah questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Because no one ever really finds the person of their dreams... do they?
  

I have to confess I was initially drawn to this book because I think the cover is stunning, the story does sounds intriguing though, feel this is definitely a curl up in your bed read.

So that is my top ten chick-lit books which I missed reading last year. It will be interesting to see if I actually manage to fit them in this year among all this years amazing books. If you would like to play along with the list week then go along to The Broke and the Bookish and add you link.










Friday, 8 January 2016

A Merry Mistletoe Wedding by Judy Astley

A Merry Mistletoe Wedding

Published: 3rd December 2015 (Paperback Edition)
Publisher: Transworld
Pages: 352
Available in Hardback, Paperback and on Kindle

Blurb
It is almost a year since Sean and Thea met and it's been a roller-coaster ride: they're getting married on Christmas Eve!

Neither Thea or Sean want a big fuss - a simple wedding, with Christmas carols and just a few sprigs of mistletoe for decoration is all they need. But before they know it, things begin to get complicated. Trying to manage a long-distance relationship in the build-up to their Christmas wedding is one thing, but as one challenge after another comes their way, the happy couple begin to wonder if they'll ever make it down the aisle...

Review
A Merry Mistletoe Wedding is Judy Astley’s Christmas novel for 2015. It follows on from last year’s book It Must Have Been the Mistletoe, which I’d suggest you read first if you haven’t already and would like to. A Merry Mistletoe Wedding could be read as a standalone novel but I feel it works best as a sequel as you would miss out on a lot of information which really adds to the story if you haven’t read the first book.

In this novel Thea are Sean are planning their wedding which they want to be held in Cornwall at Christmas just like how they met. All they really want for their day is the beach, some mistletoe and each other but like any wedding they incur a number of setbacks which make them question if getting married really is the right thing to do?

Like Judy’s other Christmas novels this book has a fabulous cover which oozes festive spirit with the Christmas tree and all the twinkling lights. However unlike It Must Have Been the Mistletoe it didn’t feel like it was a Christmas novel at all. In fact Christmas only features in a little of Emily’s plans and right at the very end of the book. Despite this, I did really enjoy this book.  I loved following Thea on her journey through wedding planning with difficulties from her family and was hoping she’d eventually find her happy ever after.

Along with Thea and her wedding plans the book also features narrative from Anna who is on the hunt for a new home and Emily who is struggling with post-natal depression after giving birth to Ned her third child. I really felt closer to Emily in this book as we learn more about her depression and her fears of being snowed in again and something bad happening to baby Ned. Surprisingly it seems to be family friend Charlotte who makes the most effort to try and help Emily and these scenes were definitely my favourites in the book.

I really enjoyed this book and Judy’s writing style which is heart-warming and easy to read has definitely put Judy Astley in my “must read more of” for this year. Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley who sent me a copy to review. I’d rate this book 4/5.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Release Day Round Up #15

For 2016 I have decided to bring back my Release Day Round Up posts which I wrote back in 2014. I've decided to do this for two reasons. Firstly I probably won't be reading as much this year so want to share as many wonderful book with you as possible and secondly they may end up acting as mini reviews while  I catch up with the backlog of reviews I have to write. Each week I'm going to just pick my top three releases so these posts don't end up mega long. I am working on a release date page for all books that catch my eye this year so pop back soon for to check that out. So for this week my picks are:



Try Not to Breathe

Published: 7th January 2016
Publisher: Corvus
Pages: 384
Available in Hardback and on Kindle

Blurb
You won't be able to put it down.
Just remember to breathe.

Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she's cut herself off from everything but her one true love - drink. Until she's forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.

Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She's as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands.

Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma...


I think this sounds really intriguing and slightly creepy and just what I'd fancy reading after all the Christmas romances.



The House at Quill Court by Charlotte Betts
Published: 7th January 2016 (Kindle Only)
Publisher: Piatkus
Pages: 383
Available on Kindle

Blurb
1813. Venetia Lovell lives by the sea in Kent with her pretty, frivolous mother and idle younger brother. Venetia's father, Theo, is an interior decorator to the rich and frequently travels away from home, leaving his sensible and artistic daughter to look after the family. Venetia designs paper hangings and she and her father often daydream about having an imaginary shop where they would display the highest quality furniture, fabrics and art to his clients.
When a handsome but antagonistic stranger, Jack Chamberlaine, arrives at the Lovell's cottage just before Christmas bringing terrible news, Venetia's world is turned upside-down and the family have no option but to move to London, to the House in Quill Court and begin a new life. Here, Venetia's courage and creativity are tested to breaking point, and she discovers a love far greater than she could have ever imagined . . .

I love a good historical fiction novel and the Regency period is one of my favourites. Charlotte Betts is an author I've not read yet so really looking forward to giving this book a read this year.


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The Chocolate Lover's Wedding (Chocolate Club #4) by Carole Matthews
Published: 7th January 2016
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 384
Available in Hardback and on Kindle

Blurb 
The ladies of The Chocolate Lovers' Club should be gearing up for the wedding of the year but life keeps getting in the way . . .
Lucy is worried about her financial situation and it keeps distracting her. Should she accept an offer of help from an untrustworthy source?
Nadia may have a real chance at finding love but other areas of her life aren't so rosy. Something needs to change - but what?
Autumn can't wait to meet someone she hasn't seen in a very long time. She's full of hope for the future but then things don't exactly go to plan . . .
Chantal has been through so much and she's finally starting to feel settled. The last thing she needs is the kind of bad news that could change her life all over again.
And yet, despite all the ups and downs, the Chocolate Lovers' ladies know they can get through it all as long as they have each other. They're not going to let anything get in the way of their happy-ever-afters in . . . The Chocolate Lovers' Wedding.


Sadly I've only managed to ever read one of Carole's novels, I do however have about six waiting to be read as they always sound so good that I keep buying them. I've only got the first book in this little series in my pile The Chocolate Lovers Club so it will be a while before I get to this one. I know she has a huge following and many of her  fans will be eager to read The Chocolate Lovers Wedding.

So that's my top three for this week, next week it will be much harder to narrow down to three as I already have a list of ten that look good.






Wednesday, 6 January 2016

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe

Published: 25th September 2014
Publisher: Transworld
Pages: 349
Available in Hardback, Paperback and on Kindle


Blurb
Thea's parents decide to host a big family Christmas in a house by the sea. even though they are, in fact, about to split up. Thea herself is newly single - her sister and brother are both settled, with children, homes and a future. But Thea's boyfriend has ditched her in favour of his pedigree dogs, and Thea can't decide whether or not she minds.

There will be copious food and drink, holly and mistletoe, lots of bracing walks and a wintry barbecue on the beach. If it seems an odd way to celebrate the final break-up of a marriage and the Moving On to new partners, no- one is saying so. But then no-one had anticipated that the new partners might actually turn up to complicate the sleeping arrangements.

As Cornwall experiences the biggest snowstorm in living memory, the festive atmosphere comes under some strain. Will Thea manage to find some happiness for herself? Will the mistletoe work its magic on them all?

Review
It Must Have Been the Mistletoe is one of the most Christmassy books I’ve read this Christmas. It has a beautiful festive cover and unlike many “Christmas” books I’ve read it’s actually about Christmas which was wonderful to read in the middle of the festive season.
I really enjoyed the sound of this book, Anna and Mike are sixty-something parents who have chosen to divorce after forty years of marriage. They intend to remain friends with each other and decide to spend one last Christmas together as a family. They’ve booked a cottage on the Cornish coast and have ask their three children Thea, Jimi and Emily and their families to join them there over Christmas.  As with all large family gatherings some things are bound to go wrong including being snowed in with a couple of unexpected guests.
I did find that this book had a slow start and to be honest I was not totally comfortable by Mike and Anna’s decision to divorce and seek new partners, it just seemed a really odd thing to do after a  long and happy marriage. It took me a while to get these thoughts out of my head and focus more on the other characters. Thea, the eldest daughter has just broken up with fiancé Richard who decided he prefers his poodle and his sister to Thea. She’s not really in the mood for Christmas this year but tries to embrace it for the sake of her family, can the cottage’s owner give Thea her sparkle back? We don’t find out too much about the other family members other than Emily seems to be a bit moody. My favourite character had to be Charlotte, so was so brutally honest and put her foot in her mouth on more than one occasion!
After a few chapters I was hooked as the full on family Christmas got under way. There was tree-decorating, carols, snowmen, board games and of course the Christmas dinner. I just loved all the Christmas details and what made it all the more Christmassy was seeing the whole family together as one unit despite all the bickering, moaning and fall-out of normal family life.
Surprisingly given the number of previous novels listed at the back this is my first Judy Astley novel, it certainly won’t be my last I’m hooked. I loved the details of the scenery and am longing to visit a remote cottage for my own magical family Christmas. I also loved the way she brought her characters to life, the felt very real to me with their ordinary everyday problems and the way she wrote the romance in the book was just perfect. This is exactly the kind of book I enjoy reading at Christmas full of family, romance and a little touch of magic!
I’d rate this book 4/5 and am looking forward to reading the follow up book A Merry Mistletoe Wedding.