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27 July 2015

Short Summer Blog Hiatus!

Hi everyone,

Summer is finally here and I couldn't be more excited! I can't wait to spend some sunny days with a great read and some ice cream, just like most of you, hopefully! I have a large pile of review books to keep me company, so I am sure this summer will fly by and be over before we even know it (sadly enough!).

Because I will be going on holiday soon and want a good rest from everything, I've decided to have a short summer blog hiatus. I will still be posting occassionally in the upcoming few weeks to share some of my reviews with you and I am also part of some pretty exciting blog tours! I'll be back with lots of book news and reviews from August 19th, so I hope to see all of you then!

Enjoy the summer!

Love,

Jody

26 July 2015

Review: 'Sand in My Shoes' by Jenny Harper (2015)

Headteacher Nicola Arnott prides herself on her independence. She has successfully juggled motherhood and career, coping with early widowhood by burying her emotions somewhere deep inside herself. When a cancer scare shakes her out of her careful approach to life, she finds herself thinking wistfully of her first love, a young French medical student. 

She decides to revisit the sleepy French town she remembers from her teenage years – and is astonished to meet up with Luc again. The old chemistry is still there – but so is something far more precious: a deep and enduring friendship. 

Can it turn into true love?

Summer wouldn't be summer without some fun and quick short stories to read during an hour or two in the garden in the sunshine, enjoying a breeze on the balcony, or spending a day on the beach! Earlier this year I was part of the blog tour for author Jenny Harper's novel 'People We Love'; a book which I really enjoyed (click here to read my review). When Jenny contacted me, asking whether I would be interested in reading and reviewing her summer novella 'Sand in My Shoes' (which was released as an e-book on the 4th of July) I straight away said yes. I managed to find the time to squeeze in this short and quick summer read and am excited to share my review with all of you today!

Nicola Arnott has been through some difficult periods in her life, mainly becoming a widow and single mum at a young age after the completely unexpected death of her husband. Yet, Nicola managed to raise her daughter and build up a career for herself, leading a calm and careful life. So, when her life is shaken up by a cancer scare, Nicola decides she deserves a break. She goes back to the French small town of Arcachon where she spent some wonderful summers when she was a teenager. It also makes her think of her first love, French medical student Luc. Nicola doesn't expect to run into Luc again, but when she does it raises a few questions. Will they be able to pick things up from where they left it all those years ago, or has too much happened to the both of them...?

I really enjoyed this short story with a summer feel by author Jenny Harper. The story focuses on a fascinating protagonist whom I straight away liked; Nicola has dealt with a lot of things in her life and after a recent cancer scare she decides to take a break from it all. While there's usually not a lot of space and time in short stories to really provide the reader with a lot of detail, I really felt like I got to know Nicola and was curious to see what this trip to France would lead to. The story also includes some flashbacks, going back to the time when Nicola was a teenager and fell in love with French student Luc. The chemistry between the two of them is definitely there, and I loved being able to go back in time to see what happened to young Nicola and what this period meant to her. 

Jenny Harper's writing is a true pleasure to get lost it and really suitable for a quick and entertaining but also touching summer read like this one. I already feel like I had some sort of connection with the characters and wouldn't mind reading more about them! The setting of the short story is perfect for a summer read and will make you long for a holiday to the beautiful town of Arcachon yourself! Overall, 'Sand in My Shoes' is a thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced and touching read by an author whose work I am starting to enjoy more and more. A great novella to pick up if you're looking for a quick summer read, and I personally already can't wait to pick up Jenny Harper's next novel!
Rating:9/10
 
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.

24 July 2015

Guest post by Sophie King!

I'm really excited to have a special guest post from wonderful author Sophie King on the blog today! Scroll down to read Sophie's post 'Unusual Weddings', to learn a bit more about her latest release 'The Wedding Party' and be in with the chance to win a wedding gift experience voucher from Tinggly.com! 

UNUSUAL WEDDINGS by SOPHIE KING

The bride wore white. White thermals. The groom wore a hat. A bobble one. The guests were blue with cold. Which wasn’t surprising. Because the ‘registry office’ was on the top of a very high hill in Scotland.

Jill and Robbie are keen mountaineers. “We couldn’t imagine getting married inside,” said Jill. “It might have been a bit nippy, But it was a perfect day.”

Nowadays, weddings are getting more and more unusual as I found out when researching my latest novel THE WEDDING PARTY. In fact, getting married on a mountain is small fry compared with getting married in the basket of a hot air balloon. “We didn’t want a big wedding,” said Simon, who recently plighted his troth with Mandy. “But we couldn’t work out how to restrict the number of our guests. Then we saw an advert for hot air balloon weddings. It seemed the answer to our problems. There was only space for eight people – so we restricted it to close family.”

Well it’s one way of sorting out the guest list! Or you could go for a full strike like the couple who got married in a bowling alley recently. Talk about being knocked for six!

Perhaps you fancy a museum, instead, although personally I wouldn’t like a dinosaur looking over my shoulder. Frankly, I’d rather get married in a treehouse. See www.the-lodge-scotland.com. Or maybe in a castle in full Elizabethan dress like a friend of mine (who got divorced two years later).

But it’s not just the venue that makes an unusual wedding. It’s also the company. Recently, my second husband and I went to our first same-sex wedding reception. We were still there at midnight – no one wanted to leave because there were so many interesting people to talk to. The couple also gave a really moving speech about how much it meant to have the support of their families and friends.

Sometimes, unusual weddings happen without you meaning them to! When I got married for the second time, my husband and I decided to have our ceremony in a church without electricity in the Lake District. We wanted something simple and close to the earth. But we hadn’t reckoned on one of the worst storms of the decade! My husband’s had to discard his soaking wet wedding trousers and don jeans. And I wore a pair of pink Wellington boots underneath my halter-neck Amanda Wakeley designer dress! The yew tree outside the church, swayed so violently during the service, that it threatened to crash into the stained glass window. And the mud outside the church was so thick that my groom had to carry me to the car! It was certainly a day to remember.

But maybe the most unusual weddings are the ones that are usual. A simple ‘I do’ without any frills. I have some friends who got married in their work clothes and asked two strangers off the street to be their witnesses at the registration office. That was thirty four years ago. And they’re still going strong ...   

NOTE: Some of the names in this post have been changed!



The Wedding Party by Sophie King

Sophie King’s popular romantic comedy is published in a brand new ebook edition. Shortlisted for Love Story of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2010.

’An absorbing, feel-good novel ‒ I really enjoyed it.’ Penny Vincenzi

When Monique and Geoff decide to tie the knot they soon discover that love second time around brings special challenges. And not just for them. There are ups and downs for family, friends, the wedding planner, and even the vicar as the big day approaches.

Geoff’s ex-wife can’t accept that he has moved on. Could a chance meeting help Helen come to the right decision about her future?

Their daughter, Becky, doesn’t approve of her dad’s bride-to-be. But as she juggles motherhood and a high-powered career, will she realise it’s her own marriage that needs most attention?

Janie was sacked from her last job as a wedding planner for being so disorganised. Is she really the right choice to help the happy couple get hitched without a hitch?

Mel swapped a job in advertising for a new life as a vicar. But can she keep her faith after an accident which turns her family’s world upside down?

Family and friends learn that the course of true love never did run smooth, and there really is no such thing as a stress-free wedding. But can they each still find their own happy ever after?



WIN AN £80 WEDDING GIFT EXPERIENCE VOUCHER FROM TINGGLY.COM!

To celebrate the publication of "The Wedding Party", thanks to the lovely people at gift experience company Tinggly, we have a voucher worth £80 for any one experience worldwide from their Essential Collection. The ideal present for friends or family who are about to tie the knot!

To be in with a chance, simply email your answer to the following question to sophie@greatstorieswithheart.com by midnight BST on 10th August 2015.

Question: What is the name of Geoff's daughter in "The Wedding Party" by Sophie King?

See the full range at www.tinggly.com. Voucher must be used by 25/6/2017. Entry will be chosen at random. Emails and contents will not be shared with any third party and will be deleted after the competition. Competition run by Wyndham Media Ltd. Judges decision is final. Good luck!