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22 July 2014

The Page Girls Birthday Week!

The Page Girls is a new online mag with an emphasis on books, cocktails, and female friendships. Each week, they publish a themed issue containing short stories, book reviews, personal and funny essays, videos, cocktail recipes, and more. Some sample issues include The Craziest Thing I Did For Love and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister). 

From July 21-25, The Page Girls is celebrating its first official “birthday week,” which means a giveaway every day plus other goodies! I love the Page Girls website and definitely recommend book fans to have a look and join in with all the fun! 

As part of the Page Girls birthday week, I'm incredibly excited to give away one e-copy of Emily Poule's 'Here for the Cake'!

No, of course she wasn't going. Are you insane? For 29-year-old academic Mina Joseph, going to Luke's destination wedding to the venomous Ella Hutchinson would be the ultimate act of lunacy. It would be much safer to stay in her small studio in Boston so she could stalk the Facebook pages of the bride, groom, and every other guest in attendance before falling asleep in a box of tears and Wheat Thins.

But Luke's best man, the insufferably charming Benjamin Fogarty, has different plans for Mina. Both desperate to break up the mismatched couple before they say their "I do’s” and convinced that Luke is still in love with Mina (though he can’t figure out why), Ben offers her a plane ticket and a wad of cash to come out of hiding to seduce the groom. 

Armed with a new wardrobe, devious friends, and copious amounts of tequila, Mina has five days to rekindle her love with Luke, expose Ella for the certifiable psychopath that she is, and at all costs, avoid having sex with the best man, regardless of how hot it could be...

Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below; good luck to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 July 2014

Blog Tour: 'You Had Me at Merlot' by Lisa Dickenson

Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they're single, they're not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren't filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine - she likes her independent life, she loves her job, and she has no desire to walk down the aisle anytime soon. But Laurie wants love and she wants it now.

So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. You Had Me at Merlot Holidays promises crisp sunshine, fun and a chance to stir up some sizzling romance. Elle has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else's idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?

You Had Me at Merlot is the kind of love story that will have you crying with laughter one moment and nodding your head in agreement the next. Full of sultry summer nights, hilarious moments and plenty of wine, it will warm even the most cynical of hearts and have you believing in the magic of romance (and the power of a decent glass of Merlot).

I am SO incredibly excited to be part of the blog tour for Lisa Dickenson’s second novel, ‘You Had Me at Merlot’, today! Not only is Lisa one of the loveliest authors around, her debut novel ‘The Twelve Dates of Christmas’ was one of my favourite reads of 2013 and a book I can’t recommend enough to others (click here to read my review). Lisa has a brilliant and incredibly funny writing style and I couldn’t wait to read more of her work. Thankfully, the first part of ‘You Had Me at Merlot’, which is a four-part digital romantic comedy, was released on the 14th of July and the second part is now also available! I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy (I already got incredibly excited when I heard the title, I love it) and I can’t even describe how much I looked forward to sitting down with one of Lisa’s stories again!

Elle and Laurie are two best friends who have one important thing in common: they are the only ones of their group of friends who are still single and not worrying about planning a wedding or having babies. Elle is absolutely fine with this; she loves being on her own and making her own decisions without having to worry about someone else, but Laurie needs love and she has found the perfect way to get it. With the promise of lots of sunshine and delicious wine, Laurie convinces Elle to join her on a singles holiday to Tuscany, organised by You Had Me at Merlot holidays. Elle and Laurie both know what they want and expect from their ten-day trip, but Italy has quite a lot of unexpected things in store for them...

Honestly, where do I start? I just want to say: Lisa Dickenson has done it again, what an absolutely fantastic read! I loved everything about this book. Yes... Everything. I just tried to think of something, even something small, I didn’t like, but I can’t think of anything. Elle and Laurie are fabulous characters; they make a great duo, both with their own individual personality and their own issues. There’s also a great supporting cast of characters; I particularly loved Sophia and Sebastian, the elderly couple who run You Had Me at Merlot holidays, their hunky son Jamie, and Elle’s boss Donna. 

The plotline had me entertained from the first until the last page, and it even managed to surprise me every now and again. Lisa’s writing style flows so easily; I could honestly just keep on reading and reading, and she is incredibly funny. I have to admit, there aren’t many authors who manage to make me literally laugh out loud while reading a book, but I had several moments while reading this book when other people in the train or bus looked at me because I was laughing so hard. The book is divided into four separate parts, which also makes it an easy read, for example when you don’t have that much reading time, but also works perfectly as one novel which you finish in a day. ‘You Had Me at Merlot’ is an incredibly funny, feel-good, sunny romantic comedy which is the perfect summer read. I hope publishers are standing in line to give Lisa Dickenson a book deal, because she is undoubtedly one of the most exciting new voices within the world of chick lit and I can’t wait to read more of her work in the years to come!  
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

19 July 2014

Blog Tour: 'The Things I'd Miss' by Andrew Clover

If you could change anything in your past, what would it be?

If only things had been different, Lucy Potts, 43-year-old mother of two, would be married to Hugh Ashby - the man she loved and lost. Instead, she married his best friend, Simon.

And then a devastating car crash leaves her unconscious, and she finds herself revisiting the crucial moments in her past. But everything is slightly different. Suddenly, she is able to change all the things she's always wished she'd done differently.

But by concentrating on her past, she is forgetting about all the things she would miss in the present, and as she comes round, she makes a devastating discovery.

I’m honoured to be part of the blog tour for Andrew Clover’s new novel ‘The Things I’d Miss’ today! When I was contacted by the lovely people at Random House about being a part of the blog tour, I immediately thought the blurb of the book sounded quite fascinating and the cover grabbed my attention as well. I wasn’t familiar with Andrew Clover’s work, even though I did hear from others that his debut novel ‘Learn Love in a Week’ is incredibly funny. ‘The Things I’d Miss’, which was released on the 17th of July, promised to be a slightly different read, but one I was definitely curious about. I’ve also got a special guest post from Andrew himself on the blog today, so be sure to scroll down to check it out!

Just like any other person, Lucy Potts can’t help but ask herself occasionally: what if...? What if she had managed to stay together with the love of her life, Hugh Ashby? What if she hadn’t married Hugh’s best friend Simon instead? But then, one day, Lucy has a horrible car crash which results in her revisiting the past, particularly those important moments that shaped her future. It doesn’t take long before Lucy notices she isn’t just a bystander, but can actually change things in her own memories. Suddenly Lucy is given the chance to make these ‘what if’s’ happen, but by focusing so much on the past, she starts to forget about everything that’s going on in the present...

The plotline of this novel straight away fascinated me; I love novels in which the main characters get to do things which we won’t be able to do in real life. The main character in the book, Lucy, is involved in a car crash and her soul is separated from her body, providing her with the opportunity to travel through her own past and memories, and at the same time being able to change these important events. I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel; travelling with Lucy to different stages in her life, from her being a little girl disobeying her mother to her being at university completely infatuated with a boy. The fact that Lucy is actually able to change these memories was a remarkable aspect of the book and I was incredibly curious to find out what Lucy would do and how it would all turn out in the end.

I particularly enjoyed reading about Lucy’s time at university, because this is the time where she gets to know some of the most important people in her life: her best friend Gemma, her future husband Simon, her big love Hugh. As the novel progressed, I have to say I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Hugh and Lucy, which is a shame because I think it would have made the novel even stronger if this chemistry had been there. I also sometimes felt like I didn’t know enough about Lucy, which made it difficult for me to really connect with her as a character. Overall, though, ‘The Things I’d Miss’ is a touching, well-paced and thoughtful novel which I could hardly put down. I really enjoyed Andrew Clover’s writing style and look forward to his future work! 
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

Guest Post by Andrew Clover

What if there were just one thing you could do?

The trick to writing the best book you can is to ask yourself questions:  What do you love?  What if there were one thing in your life you could change - what would it be? 

I know the answer to that one...

When I was at school, I had a friend called Derk.  I met him in Chemistry over a hot Bunsen Burner.  He was tall, and he had twinkling eyes, and the gift of being able to tease, without a hint of mockery.  We quickly struck up a firm friendship.  I visited his home.   I often slept in his room, and enjoyed knowing his habits.  He slept with a foot dangling from the duvet, as if he were always ready to leap into action.  He loved action.  One summer we windsurfed all around The Isle of Wight, with our friend Callum...  And then, twelve years on, I bumped into Callum in town one day.  “How’s Derk?”  I asked.  “You know he had ME,”  began Callum,  “well he took his own life.”
I was stunned.               
I knew Derk had got ME.  After school, he went on to college with me.   I visited his room several times, but, after the first, he never seemed to be in.  In retrospect, I realised he’d been inside all along.  I should have knocked harder.  What if I had?  How might I have helped?

Starting a new book, those were certainly the questions I needed to explore.   One day, I sat down and wrote...  I discovered a narrator.  She was 43, she was artistic, she had kids.  One day, she left them at home, she drove off to the shop to buy rice, but she had a terrible car accident.  Next thing she knew, she was a student again, and she was lying beside a handsome man – the one she’d always loved, the one she’d never kissed.  She realised she was living her life again.  What if she could do things differently?

I didn’t realise I was writing about Derk, at first.  I just liked the story since the scenes that flowed out seemed ten times more vivid than anything else I’d written.  You can see why...  If my heroine died, these were the things she’d miss.  So I got hooked on her story.  Would she be able to save the handsome man, by giving him love?  If so, would her past change?  And would she ever get back to those kids? 

They all seemed good questions, and I kept writing till I found out.  I wrote a first draft, without planning, or stopping to change a word.  It seemed the best way to serve the truth of the tale.  But did it work? I’d love you to order the book, and then to tell me.  But more than that,  I’d love you to ask yourself these questions:   do you have a friend, right now, who might appreciate your call?  Could you arrange to meet?  And if you do,  do you think you might, for a moment, light a Bunsen Burner in memory of my friend Derk?

I’m still cross I wasn’t a better friend, but perhaps you could be.

Girls Love to Read:
Seeing my dogs every day #thethingsidmiss
Book Club Mum:
An impromptu hand-hold from my children #thethingsidmiss
Spoonful of Happy Endings:
The feeling of my grandmother's amazing hugs #thethingsidmiss