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24 October 2014

Review: 'Love Me or Leave Me' by Claudia Carroll (2014)

‘Welcome to the Hope Street Hotel – where you check in married, and check out single.’

Two years ago Chloe Townsend was dumped at the altar and had to leave behind everything that mattered to her. Even now she’s finding it hard to move forward. That is until she lands an incredible job, running a brand new boutique hotel. Suddenly she’s starting to put her life back together, and, apart from the fact that her hard-to-please new boss is breathing down her neck, things are looking good.

But what goes on in the Hope Street Hotel is a far cry from anything she’s ever dealt with before. This is a pioneering ‘divorce hotel’ designed to make every aspect of breaking up efficient and pain-free. In one single weekend, Chloe’s team promises to take care of everything – legal, technical, emotional – and guests check out carefree and single.

No one is better qualified than Chloe to understand what couples need when their relationship is at breaking point, but she soon finds herself having to tackle the heartbreak she’s tried to bury. In particular three couples need her help – Jo and Dave, Lucy and Andrew, and Kirk and Dawn – and the opening weekend is full of revelation, trouble, memories happy and sad, facts that need facing, and some very big surprises.

It’s time to move on. And it soon becomes clear that some endings are, in fact, very exciting new beginnings …
 
On the 23rd of October the paperback version of Claudia Carroll's latest novel, 'Love Me or Leave Me', was released. This is Claudia's 11th book and I have to say I was really excited about this particular October release. I was first introduced to Claudia's writing last year when I reviewed 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow?' (click here to read my review) and I was curious to check out more of her work. I immediately fell in love with the wonderful cover of 'Love Me or Leave Me' and the unique storyline. I was really excited when I found a review copy of the book on my doormat a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to get started in it!
 
Chloe Townsend was left at the altar two years ago and the only escape she saw at that moment was to leave her whole life in Dublin behind to start over in London. Now, a fantastic job opportunity has brought her back to Dublin and Chloe plans on making the best of it. She has been offered the chance to run a new boutique hotel called the Hope Street Hotel which isn't like any other place. It's a divorce hotel; a place where couples can go to make their break-up as efficient as possible. Chloe is willing to do anything possible to keep the hotel guests satisfied and to make sure the opening weekend is a big success, but things get a bit tricky as soon as the couples arrive, Chloe's boss decides to want to keep a close eye on everything, and her ex-fiancee decides to make an unexpected appearance... 
 
If I hadn't already been convinced by Claudia Carroll's amazing story-telling abilities, this book would have definitely done the trick. 'Love Me or Leave Me' is, without a doubt, one of the most entertaining and well-written chick lit novels I've read in the past couple of months. I already thought the start of the book was great; several wedding invitations from the couples the reader will be introduced to later. I loved this and it made me curious to read on. Thankfully, it only got even better after that great start. The book has a unique and captivating plotline; I'd honestly never heard of the idea of a divorce hotel before picking up this novel. The story, which is told from different female perspectives, kept me guessing and I was really curious to find out what would happen to all the characters.
 
One of the absolute strengths of the novel is Claudia Carroll's knack for creating interesting and easily loveable characters. The main protagonist, Chloe, is a wonderful character and I liked her from page 1. Next to Chloe, the main focus lies in 3 couples who are spending the weekend at the Hope Street Hotel: Dawn and Kirk, Jo and Dave, and Lucy and Andrew. These characters are forced to have a good think about their short marriages and whether they want to end things or give it another shot. I could continue talking about this book in much more detail for hours, but I'd rather have someone pick up the book itself and read it! 'Love Me or Leave Me' is a wonderful and uplifting romantic comedy with a truly captivating plotline and a brilliant mix of characters; a brilliant read!
Rating:
10/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

23 October 2014

Blog Tour: 'Stable Mates' by Zara Stoneley (including giveaway!)

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Scandalous Stable Mates by best-selling author Zara Stoneley is cantering its way through the bloggersphere. Get ready for lust, love and outrageous goings-on as we bring you romping reviews, exciting excerpts, galloping guest posts and a tip-top giveaway!

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Secrets and scandals, love and lust – when the ‘Cheshire Set’ are up against the ‘Footballer’s Wives’ the only common ground is carnal… 

 Flirting and fun seem the perfect antidote for Lottie's battered heart, and where better to find them than back in tranquil Tippermere, home of sexy eventer Rory Steel, the smiling Irish eyes of hunky farrier Mick O'Neal, and mysterious newcomer, model Tom Strachan? 

 But when landowner Marcus James drops dead unexpectedly, and the threat of his waggish wife Amanda selling the heart of the village out from under them looms large, things look like they're about to heat up in and out of the saddle. 

With tensions running high, and the champagne flowing as freely as the adrenalin, is it any wonder that love catches more than one of them unawares? 

  Click Here To Buy This Book - UK 
  Click Here To Buy This Book - US  

I Blame James
Guest Post by Zara Stoneley

When I was younger my mother wanted me to be like James Herriot. Well, I wanted to be like James, a vet. Not, obviously the type who permanently had one arm in the nether regions of a mooing cow, and two feet in very muddy wellingtons. No, more the type that spent a lot of time cuddling puppies and kissing kittens. But my mother had other ideas. She wanted me to write like James Herriot. As in a best-selling very funny and popular book about animals, that is turned into a TV series or a film (I can now see where she was coming from).

I did it my way, I did write a book but it was more James Bond than James Herriot (animals and 007 were my twin obsessions). I sent it to Michael Joseph publishers (because they published my favourite books) and got on with nagging my parents to let me have a puppy, and pay for horse riding lessons.
Time passed, I grew up, and became an IT consultant wearing designer suits instead of wellies, and applying my fingers to a keyboard rather than anything four legged and furry.

And then, one day I decided a sudden career change was in order. I set up a dog grooming business, and bought a horse (no, there isn’t any logic). The dogs were funny (did I tell you about the collie that liked to climb trees?), me and the horse were funnier (ever been towed through a picnicking family by a fat cob?). So I’d come full circle, almost. And I decided to apply those fingers to a different keyboard. And write Stable Mates.

I blame James, and I blame my mother (who definitely knew best) – which is why I dedicated the book to her. Now, anybody fancy turning it into a TV series?

  ZaraQuote Zara 

Author Bio: 
 Bestselling author Zara Stoneley lives in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When she's not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in her sexy high heels or green wellies, she can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas! Zara writes hot romance and bonkbusters. Her latest novel, 'Stable Mates', is a fun romp through the Cheshire countryside and combines some of her greatest loves - horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)! She writes for Harper Collins and Accent Press.

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Enter via the Rafflecopter below to win a £20 Amazon voucher and signed paperback of Stable Mates:

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Giveaway UK only. Paperback copy of Stable Mates will be sent upon its 20th November 2014 release. CandleLit Author Services and Zara Stoneley reserve the right to cancel and/or amend the giveaway at anytime, without prior notification.

22 October 2014

Review: 'Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer' by Vicki Lesage (2014)

Diapers, tantrums, and French bureaucracy - the crazy life of an American Mom in Paris. 
Party Girl is back, this time as the sassy mommy of two kids trying to navigate the beautiful, yet infuriating, city of Paris. 

How does she steer a stroller around piles of dog poop? How does she find time for French administration between breastfeeding and business meetings? And can she ever lose the baby weight with croissants staring her in the face from every street corner? 

Answers to these pressing questions - and many more - are in this hilarious sequel. Laugh, cry, and wipe up drool right alongside Vicki as she and her ever-patient French husband raise two children in the City of Light.

In May this year I got the chance to read and review Vicki Lesage’s debut novel ‘Confessions of a Paris Party Girl’ (click here to read my review and an interview with Vicki Lesage!). The book is a collection of Vicki Lesage’s stories of her time living in Paris, which started out as blog posts. I’m not a big fan of memoirs, but I ended up really enjoying reading about Vicki’s experiences in France. So, I was really excited when Vicki contacted me a few months ago about possibly reviewing the sequel to her first book, ‘Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer.’ I looked forward to reading more about Vicki’s experiences in the famous city of love, especially since this time we are introduced to a new main character, her first baby!

Vicki is still living her life in the wonderful city of Paris; trying to find her way as an American in the land of the French. After having found the love of her life and discovering she is pregnant with her first child, big changes are around the corner and Vicki’s life is about to become completely different from what she’s used to. The hunt for a new and bigger apartment in the French capital is forming quite a challenge, and Vicki has to do it all without the support of a glass of wine. As soon as the baby is born, Vicki’s life is completely taken over by him and as a reader we are invited to join Vicki and her husband on their Parisian adventures with a newborn...

I really enjoyed the chance of going back to the city of Paris and once again joining Vicki on her everyday adventures as an American in France. The great thing about this memoir is that Vicki Lesage managed to make the reading experience feel like you are chatting to a friend and laughing at her life stories. She has a great and fun outlook on life and with these collections of stories she has found  a great way to share her experiences with the world. The book isn’t complicated or boring; it’s filled with funny anecdotes, is fast-paced and basically just really entertaining. 

Personally, I would definitely recommend reading ‘Confessions of a Paris Party Girl’ before picking up this one, because I think you will enjoy it more if you know the characters and the history. In this sequel, there’s one new main character and that’s Leonardo, Vicki’s newborn son, and it was great fun to see what kind of situations Vicki and her husband found themselves in. I’m sure many parents will be able to relate to Vicki’s experiences, but if you’re not thinking about children just yet the stories are definitely entertaining as well. Overall, ‘Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer’ is another thoroughly enjoyable book that is light-hearted, easy to read and filled with funny, entertaining stories. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third part of the series!
Rating:
8/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.