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1 February 2015

Liebster Award!

Thanks to the lovely Emma over at Emma's Bookery I was nominated for the Liebster award! I love fun things like this to learn more about other bloggers and it's a great way to visit some other blogs you might end up loving! :) 
Here are the Liebster Award rules:

1. Post 11 facts about yourself.

2. Answer the 11 questions created by the person who nominated you, then create your own set for the people who you are going to nominate!

3. Choose 11 people (that have under 200 followers) to nominate and link them to your post.

4. Let the people you nominated know they've been tagged. No tag backs!

11 Facts About Myself:

  • I've been blogging for almost 2 years now, wow! I can't believe how fast time has flown by!
  • I am secretly obsessed with the Carebears. I used to love the TV show and films when I was just a girl, and I guess I never grew out of that love!
  • I'm a hopeless romantic who can't stand unhappy endings.
  • I can't read two or more books at the same time; I just can't.
  • I hope I will be able to move to the UK one day.
  • I wish I could see my nanna, who passed away two years ago, one more time and get one of her amazing hugs.
  • I'm currently addicted to 'Hart of Dixie' and 'Jane the Virgin', which are both such great TV shows <3
  • I love love love anything cinnamon.
  • My favourite author of all time is Jane Austen.
  • I love pretty dresses and own way too many.
  • My favourite drink is a chai tea latte (particularly Cafe Nero's Chai Latte, yum!)

11 Questions:
  • What made you start blogging? - I had been thinking about starting my own blog for quite some time, but I wasn't really sure what to blog about exactly. Then I suddenly thought how amazing it would be to share my love for books with others, and I decided to just give Blogger a try and start my own blog... And suddenly here we are, about two years later!
  • What blogs do you check daily? - I have to admit there aren't that many blogs which I check daily, most of them I check weekly. However, there's one blog which I've been a big fan of for a couple of years now, 'The Joy of Fashion', and I even became friends with Marie, the owner of the blog. She's an absolutely wonderful person and her blog always makes me smile! :)
  • What are your top five favourite books? - Ahhh, this is such a difficult question! Alright, in random order:
    • 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen
    • 'Harry Potter' series by J.K. Rowling
    • 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott
    • 'Something Borrowed' by Emily Giffin
    • 'From Notting Hill With Love... Actually' by Ali McNamara
  • If you could travel to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? - Right now I'd probably go to Hawaii for a relaxing week at the beach after the busy week I had at work!
  • What is the one wish you would like to be granted? - For my family and friends to live happy and healthy lives until they're very old. But I guess that's something all of us wish... So, another one: I wish I would be able to work at a university, researching and teaching English literature courses, specialising in Jane Austen. 
  • What is your favourite quote? - I don't have one!
  • Favourite childhood hero? - Do the Carebears count...?
  • What are you most excited for in 2015? - My trip to the USA in the summer!
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? - Hopefully happily married with a couple of kids and a great job!
  • Do you enjoy summer or winter more and why? - I definitely enjoy winter more, because I really dislike hot weather. I love sitting inside when it's cold outside, with a nice cup of tea, a good book, and a blanket on the couch!
  • If you could go back in time when and why would you go there? - I'd either go back to the time when Jane Austen was still alive and become her best friend; or I'd like to go back to when my grandfather who I never got to meet was still alive, so I could get to know him.

11 New Questions:
  • What's your favourite colour combination?
  • Which book did you last read that was way better than you expected?
  • Which genre of films are you definitely NOT a fan of?
  • Which character from 'Friends' are you most like?
  • Cereals or toast?
  • If you would take part in a Miss World competition, what would your talent be?
  • What is the last thing you watched on TV?
  • Are you happy with your name?
  • What is your guilty pleasure?
  • Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny?
  • What's one of the most important things you've learned in your life so far?

11 Bloggers I Nominate:

Becca @ Becca's Books
Busy Brunette @ Busy Brunette's Bookshelf

Thanks again, Emma! :)

31 January 2015

February 2015 releases!

We are already a month into the new year and I have to say it has been a pretty good month for me when talking about the books I've read! Some of the January 2015 releases were fantastic reads (such as Lucy Diamond's 'The Year of Taking Chances' and Fiona Gibson's 'As Good As It Gets?') and they've made me quite excited about February; a new month which will hopefully also be filled with a bunch of amazing reads. Be sure to check out the list below, I'd love to hear which releases you are particularly excited about! :) 

Beth Kendrick - 'New Uses for Old Boyfriends' (3 February)

After growing up in privilege and marrying into money, Lila Alders has gotten used to the good life. But when her happily-ever-after implodes, Lila must return to Black Dog Bay, the tiny seaside town where she grew up. She’s desperate for a safe haven, but everything has changed over the past ten years. Her family’s fortune is gone—and her mother is in total denial. It’s up to Lila to take care of everything...but she can barely take care of herself.

The former golden girl of Black Dog Bay struggles to reinvent herself by opening a vintage clothing boutique. But even as Lila finds new purpose for outdated dresses and tries to reunite with her ex, she realizes that sometimes it’s too late for old dreams. She’s lost everything she thought she needed but found something—someone—she desperately wants. A boy she hardly noticed has grown up into a man she can’t forget...and a second chance has never felt so much like first love. 

Why so excited? --> I honestly don't know why, but somehow I still haven't read one fo Beth Kendrick's novels. They always sound like great reads, so hopefully I will finally get to pick up one of her books, most specifically her newest release, 'New Uses for Old Boyfriends.' I love the sound of this one (and the fact that it includes a vintage clothing boutique!) and look forward to hearing more about it! 

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Anna Bell - 'Don't Tell the Brides-to-Be' (12 February)

With a baby on the way and her business starting to boom, has Penny finally found her happily ever after? 

Things are looking up for Penny Robinson. She's kicked her gambling addiction and even started her own business: Princess on a Shoestring, an all-inclusive service for brides-to-be looking to pinch pennies on their big day. Between family fights and wardrobe calamities, wedding planning is no piece of cake, but Penny's got it all under control. That is, until a rival planner decides to take her down—one hard-won bride at a time. Now Penny must fight to save her reputation and her livelihood before it's too late. But when a romantic weekend away has some unexpected consequences, Penny's expectations for her career are brought back down to earth with a bump.

Why so excited? --> I've heard so much about this series by Anna Bell and I'm incredibly excited there's another part coming up, even though I haven't read the other books yet! I just love the sound of this series, sounds like the perfect chick lit read, so I definitely plan on picking up the books soon!


 


Helen Lederer - 'Losing It' (12 February)

Millie was at one time quite well known for various TV and radio appearances. However, she now has no money, a best friend with a better sex life than her, a daughter in Papua New Guinea and too much weight in places she really doesn't want it.

When she's asked to be the front woman for a new diet pill, she naively believes that all her troubles will be solved. She will have money, the weight will be gone, and maybe she'll get more sex.

If only life was really that easy. It doesn't take her long to realize it's going to take more than a diet pill to solve her never-ending woes... 

Why so excited? --> This sounds like a really funny read and it's one of the February 2015 releases I have high hopes for! 

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Bella Osborne - 'It Started at Sunset Cottage' (12 February)

Kate Marshall is slowly getting her life back on track after losing her fiancĂ©. As an author she has been able to hide herself away from the world and its expectations – but now one of her books has been optioned for a film and Hollywood suddenly comes knocking on her door!

When Kate is given the opportunity to stay at a beautiful country retreat and concentrate on the screenplay, it’s an offer she can’t refuse. Encouraged by her best friend, sharp-tongued single mum Sarah, Kate sees it’s finally time to stop letting life pass her by.

Looking for confidence and inspiration in the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, the last thing Kate expects is for Timothy Calder, A-list actor and leading man in the movie adaptation of her book, to turn up on her doorstep, hoping to lie low after his latest tabloid scandal! But after a rocky start, with Tim narrowly avoiding death by watering can, they find they have a few things in common: a liking for Lady Grey tea, walnut whips and bad ‘knock knock’ jokes. Actually, the bad jokes are just Tim.

As an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, and with circumstances repeatedly throwing them together, is Sunset Cottage where both Kate and Tim’s lives will really start? 

Why so excited? --> One of the 2015 debut novels I'm most looking forward to reading! I love everything about Bella Osborne's upcoming release: the cover, the blurb, the title... I already know this novel is not going to disappoint me!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Katie Fforde - 'A Vintage Wedding' (12 February)

Beth, Rachel and Lindy are looking for new beginnings. 

Beth is planning her sister's wedding via Skype in order to avoid their domineering mother. Rachel has decided to get on with her new life in the country post-divorce, and has just finished decorating her new home. And single-mother Lindy is looking for something creative to do with her time now that her young sons don't need her quite so much. They find themselves living in the same village in the country -- and decide to set up in business together, organising stylish and perfectly affordable vintage weddings. Soon they are busy organising other people's weddings. But will they have time to find their own Mr Rights? In Katie's world, anything is possible.

Why so excited? --> A new Katie Fforde novel, yay! I love Katie Fforde and her feel-good stories, and I really like the sound of 'A Vintage Wedding.' The three female characters sound fascinating and I look forward to reading their stories!


 


Stella Newman - 'The Dish' (12 February)

Love is on the menu. With a side order of lies.

When Laura Parker first crosses forks with Adam Bayley, she's only after one thing: his custard doughnut. But when she takes a closer look she sees a talented, handsome man who outshines the string of jokers she's been dating.

There's just one problem. Adam's job means Laura has to keep her job as restaurant critic for The Dish, a secret. Tricky for someone who prides herself on honesty.

Can the truth be put on ice long enough for love to flourish?

And how can you expect your boyfriend to be honest if you're not quite telling the truth yourself?

Why so excited? --> Another author who I'm not yet familiar with, but I'm definitely excited about 'The Dish.' It sounds like a really promising read and I can't wait to pick it up this February!


 


Andy Jones - 'The Two of Us' (12 February)

If you loved 'One Day' and 'The Rosie Project', you will fall head-over-heels for 'The Two of Us'.

Falling in love is the easy part. What matters most is what happens next...

Fisher and Ivy have been an item for a whole nineteen days. And they just know they are meant to be together. The fact that they know little else about each other is a minor detail. Over the course of twelve months, in which their lives will change forever, Fisher and Ivy discover that falling in love is one thing, but staying there is an entirely different story.

Why so excited? --> I am one of the lucky people who managed to get an early review copy of 'The Two of Us' and I am really looking forward to reading it! The e-book version will be released on the 12th of February, with the paperback version following in May 2015. I definitely have high hopes for this read!

 


Katie Schickel - 'Housewitch' (17 February)

Allison Darling, former foster child, now a stay-at-home mom of three, desperately wants to fit in with the organic latte drinking, hundred-dollar-yoga-pants-wearing moms who run Monrovia, her charming seaside village. Constantly feeling like an outsider, Allison dreams of more for her children.

When the Glamour Girls, a soap-selling company run by the most charismatic and powerful women in town, recruits Allison, she jumps at the invitation. The Glamor Girls have a hand in everything in Monrovia, from bake sales to business deals. This is what Allison’s wanted her whole life—to be liked. To be popular. To belong.

After Allison’s estranged mother passes away, she learns her family’s heartbreaking legacy and the secret Allison’s been fighting to suppress all her life emerges: she’s a witch. What’s more, she’s not the only one in town. There’s more to the Glamour Girls then it seems… and once you’re a Glamour Girl, there’s no going back.

Allison must use her rediscovered magic to defend Monrovia, protect her marriage and her children, and reclaim her legacy. Fighting tooth and nail for her family is easy, but what about for herself? Is it too late to confront her own demons and become the woman she dreams of being?

Why so excited? --> 'Housewitch' is Katie Schickel's first novel and I'm quite curious to check out this new author! I really like the sound of the story (especially the witch element sounds great) and I'm sure this will also catch the attention of other women's fiction fans!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Romy Sommer - 'Not a Fairy Tale' (19 February)

And the award goes to…

Not Nina Alexander that’s for sure. With her best gracious loser face firmly in place, Hollywood’s hottest starlet is hoping to end her evening of disappointment with a graceful exit stage left. Only an unexpected proposal and an awkward wardrobe malfunction mean that this is certainly going to be a night to remember… for all the wrong reasons! So what girl would resist the gorgeous Dominic Kelly coming to her rescue?! Especially when he’s whisking her out of the paparazzi’s prying eyes on the back of his motorbike – and wearing a tux to rival James Bond!

Nina soon realises that the only way to recover from such a scandal is to toughen up and snag the role of the decade in the year’s hottest YA screen adaptation. Who better to train her than her very own professional stuntman? Getting up close and personal with Dom will take Nina well out of her comfort zone – both professionally and in her closely scrutinized private life. But this A-list couple know only too well that’s it not all happy ever afters in Hollywood…

Why so excited? --> A fun Harper Impulse romance read to look forward to this month! I've heard lots of good things about Romy Sommer's other reads, so I can't wait to find out more about her upcoming release 'Not a Fairy Tale'!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Catherine Alliott - 'Wish You Were Here' (26 February)

When Flora, James and their two teenage daughters are offered the holiday of a lifetime in a chateau in the South of France in return for one simple good deed, they jump at the chance to escape the confines of Clapham, the weight of the mortgage and anxieties over their future for a blissful break.

But Flora didn't anticipate a mysterious guest and a whole heap of family baggage coming along too.

And with James developing a schoolboy crush on a famous singer and Flora distracted by ghosts from her past, their dream holiday suddenly takes some very unexpected turns...

Why so excited? --> I love the colourful cover of 'Wish You Were Here', it makes me long for Spring! Catherine Alliott's novels are always great reads, so I'm sure this one won't be any different; can't wait to read it!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Erica James - 'The Dandelion Years' (26 February)

Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.

Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible - and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own - Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love...

Why so excited? --> I love love love the blurb of 'The Dandelion Years.' I love gorgeous old country houses like Ashcombe and I can't wait to read more about Saskia's story; I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing read!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Jenny Colgan - 'Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery' (26 February)

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn't be happier. Because Polly is in love: she's in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she's in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she's in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there's something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that's floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend's fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he'd left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

Why so excited? --> The second part of Jenny Colgan's book series about the Little Beach Street Bakery, and also one of the first summery reads of 2015! I'm already craving yummy treats by just reading the title and blurb...!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Trisha Ashley - 'Creature Comforts' (26 February)

Izzy has broken off her engagement to her feckless fiancĂ©e Kieran and returned to her childhood home – the sleepy village of Halfhidden.

She soon realizes that life in the village is anything but peaceful – for one thing she’s living with her mad aunt Debo and her pack of dogs, and for another, Izzy has a lot of unanswered questions.

When she was a teenager, Izzy was involved in a terrible accident, involving various inhabitants of Halfhidden. As she sets out to discover what actually happened on the night of the accident, she realizes that her painful past is actually standing in the way of her future happiness. So when a handsome stranger comes to Halfhidden will she let love back into her life?

Why so excited? --> A new release by best-selling author Trisha Ashley is always something to get excited about! I love how warm Trisha's stories always are and I am already looking forward to getting lost in one of them!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Georgia Hill - 'While I Was Waiting' (26 February)

June 1963, Clematis Cottage, Stoke St. Mary, Herefordshire

I am really not sure why I am writing this. A foolish whim by a foolish old lady and it will probably sit in a box unread and decay much like it’s writer when Death makes his careless decision.

But perhaps someone will find it. Someone will care enough to read and somehow I know that will happen.

April 2000, Clematis Cottage, Stoke St. Mary, Herefordshire

Tired of her life in London, freelance illustrator Rachel buys the beautiful but dilapidated Clematis Cottage and sets about creating the home of her dreams. But tucked away behind the water tank in the attic and left to gather dust for decades is an old biscuit tin containing letters, postcards and a diary. So much more than old scraps of paper, these are precious memories that tell the story of Henrietta Trenchard-Lewis, the love she lost in the Great War and the girl who was left behind.

Why so excited? --> Another fab Harper Impulse read to look forward to this upcoming month! I'm not familiar with Georgia Hill's work, but I am quite curious to read 'While I Was Waiting'. I love historical romance stories, so I look forward to picking this up!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads


Which reads are you looking forward to this February? I'd love to hear from you!
 

30 January 2015

Review: 'First to Fall' by Carys Jones (2014)

Aiden Connelly’s first case will be one he’ll never forget.

Lawyer Aiden Connelly has traded the frenzy of Chicago for a slower pace in sleepy Avalon – and his first case appears to be as open-and-shut as he could hope for. Hired to defend a local ex-beauty queen accused of murdering her husband, he’s confident that he’ll have the case closed in record time. But below the surface lurks a darker truth…

Suddenly, a quiet backwater has transformed into a dangerous pressure cooker. In a town where everyone knows everyone, gathering evidence should be easy… but the harder Aiden searches, the more he appreciates how tangled this net of loyalties is. And as he digs deeper, Aiden begins to realise that his very first case in Avalon could be the beginning of his undoing…

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Carys Jones’ writing last year when she contacted me about possibly reviewing her novel ‘Prime Deception’ (click here to read my review). The book turned out to be an enjoyable read with a touch of both thriller and romance, and I looked forward to checking out more of Carys’ work in the future. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait too long to do just that since I still had a review copy of her novel ‘First to Fall’ waiting for me. ‘First to Fall’ was released in September 2014 by Carina and is the first in the crime/thriller ‘Avalon’ series; a series I was curious to check out!

Lawyer Aiden Connelly has decided to turn his life around completely by moving from the busy city of Chicago to a small and quiet town called Avalon, together with his wife Isla and their two-year-old daughter Meegan. Aiden noticed he and Isla were slowly drifting more and more apart, each of them leading their separate lives in Chicago, instead of being a close family. So, when he stumbled upon a job working as a lawyer in a small two-man law office in the sleepy town of Avalon, he decided to take the job and give their marriage another shot. However, Aiden’s first case is quite a challenging one involving the murder of a beloved Avalon resident, and it doesn’t take long before both Aiden and Isla discover that there’s much more to Avalon and the people who live there than what meets the eye…  

From the first chapter of this novel I was already intrigued by the small and sleepy town of Avalon and what the main character, Aiden Connelly, would find there. The murder case he is asked to deal with is a fascinating one and managed to keep my attention until the last page of the novel; constantly wondering what would happen and who had done it. The case revolves around twenty-something Brandy, who is suspected of murdering her husband Brandon, who was an extremely beloved person in town. Carys Jones definitely managed to keep the suspense going, urging me to keep reading, and I was even surprised by the eventual outcome. The story flows really well and has just the right pace and amount of background information and detail.

The novel has a fascinating collection of characters at its core. It was easy to like the main protagonist Aiden as we get to see two sides of him: Aiden the lawyer and Aiden the husband/father. I really liked how these two different aspects were focused on and brought together. Isla annoyed me a bit every now and again, but Meegan is just the cutest little thing. Next to that, Brandy and the other townspeople of Avalon were well-written and I’m still curious to find out even more about them. ‘First to Fall’ is a gripping, unpredictable and entertaining read that had me hooked from the first page; a great start to a new series and I honestly can’t wait to pick up the next part and read more about Aiden and Avalon!
Rating:8,5/10
 
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.



If you're a fan of Carys Jones' writing, be sure to keep a look out for the third novel of the Avalon series, 'Third to Die' , which was released on the 10th of January!



Justice must prevail……whatever the cost.

Aiden Connelly has settled in to life in Avalon and is developing a reputation as an attorney who will fight for the truth … no matter what enemies he makes along the way.

But when he is asked to look into the tragic death of an old friend ten years before, Aiden is drawn back to his hometown of Greensburg, the town he eagerly fled as a teenager. As the ghosts from Aiden’s past resurface, and new dilemmas rise up to challenge him in Avalon, Aiden begins to wonder if everything he holds true has been built on lies.