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30 September 2013

October 2013 releases to look forward to! (Part 2)

Yesterday I already told all of you about the exciting releases that are coming up the first half of October (click here to see the overview). However, the second half of the upcoming month definitely has some amazing books in store for us as well, including some of my favourite chick lit authors and some festive Christmas novels! Check out the list below; it might give you some early ideas for your own Christmas wish list!

Sue Watson - 'Younger, Thinner, Blonder' (17th of October 2013)

Tough talking, ball busting, TV talk show host Tanya Travis is at the top of her game. For fifteen years she has steered The Truth With Tanya Travis to be a ratings winner, solving the problems of Britain's great drug taking, shagging, DNA testing unwashed. But underneath the designer exterior, Tanya's life isn't so rosy. She is hounded by the press, who are desperate to prove her boyfriend's infidelity, and her closest relationships are with her crazy Brooklyn agent and her sweet faced (but foul mouthed) cleaner. When reality TV show Celebrity Spa Trek comes knocking, Tanya turns them down flat, believing that her image and credentials as the Darling of Daytime raise her above participating. However, she may be forced to re-think when her carefully constructed life starts to come apart at the seams. With her relationship in crisis, her career on the line, and her finances in dire straits she may have to join the desperate gaggle of C-List wannabes trekking round Nepal after all....

Why so excited? --> I'm not familiar with Sue Watson and haven't read her best-selling novel 'Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes.' 'Younger, Thinner, Blonder' tells the story of Tanya, a famous talk show host, whose life is unexpectedly turned upside down, resulting in her joining the cast of a reality TV show called 'Celebrity Spa Trek.' I love the idea behind this novel, and I'm quite curious to read more about this reality TV show and how Tanya will cope with everything (including trekking round Nepal with a group of C-list celebs)!

Melissa Hill - 'A Gift to Remember' (24th of October 2013)

Darcy Archer works in a small bookstore in Manhattan. A daydream believer, she refuses to settle for anything less than being swept off her feet by the perfect man… literally.

One day, when cycling to work, Darcy accidentally crashes into a sharply dressed gentleman walking his dog. He is knocked out cold, rushed to hospital and the poor pup gets left behind.

Wracked with guilt, Darcy takes the dog and makes plans to reunite him with owner, Aidan. As she discovers the mysterious stranger's world of books, travel, adventure and all the wonderful things she's ever dreamt about, Darcy builds a picture of this man and wonders if he could be THE ONE…

But does fantasy match reality? What happens when Prince Charming wakes up? Will Aidan be the happy ever after she's always imagined?

Why so excited? --> I'm a really big fan of Melissa Hill; her books are amazing and I have a feeling 'A Gift to Remember' won't be anything less! First of all, the cover is definitely one of the prettiest I have seen in 2013. I adore everything about it: from the font and colour of the title, to the little couple and trees coming out of the pages of a book... It's simply stunning! Next to that, the blurb promises a brilliant story with a touch of Christmas to it. Definitely a novel any chick lit fan will want to add to their wish list!

Miranda Dickinson - 'Take a Look at Me Now' (24th of October 2013)

Nell Sullivan is having the worst day ever…

Nell has always been known as ‘Miss Five-Year Plan’. But when she’s dumped and made redundant on the same day, Nell wonders if it’s time to stop planning and start taking chances.

Nell blows her redundancy cheque on a trip of lifetime to a place where anything can happen – San Francisco. Nell meets a host of colourful characters, including an intriguing new love interest, Max, and soon San Fran begins to feel like a second home.

But when Nell is forced to return home, will she leave the ‘new Nell’ behind? And can the magic of San Francisco continue to sparkle thousands of miles away?

Why so excited? --> Miranda Dickinson's novels are always filled with brilliant stories that never fail to make me smile, which is why I have been looking forward to the release of 'Take a Look at me Now' for quite some time already! I know for certain this novel won't disappoint and I can't wait to read more about Nell and her adventures in the city of San Francisco!

Carole Matthews - 'Calling Mrs. Christmas' (24th of October 2013)

Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born.

Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children, so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her loving partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients.

When millionaire Carter asks Cassie to join his family on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go . . . Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.
 
Why so excited? --> The hardcover of 'Calling Mrs. Christmas' was released last month, but the paperback version of Carole Matthews' latest release will be available from the 24th of October. I love the Christmassy cover, and the story promises a festive tale, perfect for the colder days that are coming up. I know Carole's novels never disappoint, so I'll definitely pick up my own copy of this as soon as possible!


Nicola Doherty - 'If I Could Turn Back Time' (24th of October 2013)

What if you found The One, then lost him again? 

Or not so much lost him as became the neurotic, needy girlfriend from hell. The girl who tried to make him choose between her and his job, and got seriously paranoid about his relationship with his female best friend... 

Zoë Kennedy knows she doesn't deserve another chance with David Fitzgerald. But if there's the tiniest possibility of making things right, she'll snatch it. Even if it means breaking the laws of physics to do so...

Why so excited? --> I haven't read Nicola Doherty's debut novel, 'The Out of Office Girl', but I've heard many great things about it. Next to that, I've heard that if you love Lindsey Kelk's novels (which I really do), you definitely have to pick up 'If I Could Turn Back Time' (which has an amazing cover, if you ask me)! The blurb promises a great story about wishing you could go back in time to change your actions, and I think this is something every single one of us can relate to in one way or another. I look forward to reading this and finding out more about Nicola Doherty's novels!

Ali Harris - 'A Vintage Christmas' (24th of October 2013)

Evie has the perfect job and the perfect man, but keeping both in her life has become a serious balancing act...

With the sales coming to a close at Hardy's, Evie must source new stock for the season ahead. Her mind is constantly buzzing with ideas and layouts, so much so that she is forgetting all about Sam.

Can she learn to keep her work separate from her home life? Or will she lose everything...

Why so excited? --> Just like Alexandra Brown, Ali Harris is treating us to a short story eBook exclusive this October, based on her best-selling novel 'Miracle on Regent Street.' Evie is back, and I look forward to seeing how things are going between her and Sam at Hardy's. A brillian short story to get in the Christmas mood!


Be sure to pre-order your own copies of these upcoming October releases on Amazon now! :)

29 September 2013

October 2013 releases to look forward to! (Part 1)

The 21st of September has passed, which means Autumn has officially arrived! And so has the craving to sit down on the couch with a comfy blanket, a cup of hot chocolate, and a lovely book to keep me distracted from all the rain and cold outside! The month of October has some fabulous releases coming up, including some of the first Christmas novels of 2013! I'm a big Christmas fan, so I personally can't wait to pick up one of these novels and get into the spirit. But even if you're not quite ready for the festive winter season yet, this list of upcoming releases will definitely include one or two books to add to your wish list! 


Katie Cotugno - 'How to Love' (3rd of October 2013)

This is a love story. But it's not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows.

This is real. This is life. This is how to love.

Before:

Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he's never noticed her, until one day... he does. They fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town, leaving a devastated - and pregnant - Reena behind.

After:

Three years later and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter Hannah. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer again? 

Why so excited? --> 'How to Love' is Katie Cotugno's debut novel and I've already read some good things about it. This Young Adult novel promises a messy and unpredictable love story, and don't we all enjoy reading about those kind of romances? I look forward to reading more about Reena and her daughter Hannah, and what happens as soon as Sawyer comes back into their lives... Will this be a recipe for disaster or will we get a happy ending?


Cathy Bramley - 'Conditional Love' (4th of October 2013) 

Sophie dreams of building her own grand design, she just hasn’t got round to it yet... 

Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much. But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, even Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is a catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen. Not a fan of surprises, Sophie would rather not; why not let sleeping dads lie? Besides, her mother would kill her. With interference from an evil boss, bickering flat mates, warring parents and a sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth. But it soon becomes clear that she will have to face the past and learn some uncomfortable home truths before she can finally build a future on her own terms.

Why so excited? --> I was lucky enough to get a spot on Cathy Bramley's upcoming blog tour for her October release, 'Conditional Love.' I fell in love with the stunning cover (the couple under the pretty umbrella, the hearts falling down... too cute!) as soon as I saw it and the blurb has definitely got me interested as well. I can't wait to meet Sophie Stone and read more about her!


Jenny Hale - 'Coming Home for Christmas' (4th of October 2013)

Allie Richfield loves Christmas, so when she lands a job as House Manager for the amazing Ashford Estate—which includes organizing the Marley family festivities—she is in her element. With a budget bigger than her life savings and a team of staff, how hard can it be?

As one-by-one she meets the Marleys, she’s about to find out…

Allie’s new boss, Robert, might be gorgeous, but he’s also colder than the snow outside and refuses to come home for Christmas.  Robert’s playboy brother, Kip, flirts with her relentlessly; and his sister, Sloane, arrives home with baggage—both the divorce-kind and the Louis Vuitton kind. Their ninety-two year old grandmother, Pippa, spends her day grumbling at them all from her mobility scooter.

With Robert intending to sell Ashford, it’s the Marley’s last chance to create some happy memories in their family home—and Allie is determined to make it happen… even if it takes a little Christmas magic! With the festive spirit in full swing, she might even discover a little happiness of her own…

Why so excited? --> And there's our first October Christmas release! The cover of Jenny Hale's novel is already making me long for a large cup of hot chocolate (with whipped cream, obviously) and pretty colourful scarves to get wrapped up in! Next to that, the story also sounds brilliant: a heroine that loves Christmas, who works at an amazing estate with a fascinating family behind it (including a grandmother on a mobility scooter, oh yes)... This one is definitely going on my wish list!


Sarah Morgan - 'Sleigh Bells in the Snow' (4th of October 2013)

Kayla Green's Christmas Survival Strategy! Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favourite time of the year. Then family heartbreak shattered that fairytale. Now all marketing expert Kayla wants for Christmas is for it to be over - as fast as possible! So spending the holidays working to put a family resort called Snow Crystal on the map, is a dream come true. Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage Snow Crystal - it's in his blood, and he'll never turn his back on it. Now he's got Kayla Green working with him, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in the town is just an added bonus! Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson - he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamt of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to fall, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell..?

Why so excited? --> We already slowly managed to get into the Christmas spirit with the previous release, so why not another Christmas story to add to the list? 'Sleigh Bells in the Snow' by Sarah Morgan has a pretty, Christmassy cover including snow, Christmas trees and lights, and the blurb promises everything romance fans could want from a fabulous holiday novel!


Poppy Dolan - 'There's More to Life Than Cupcakes' (10th of October 2013)

Ellie Redford has a husband, a job and a home. According to the rest of the world, it’s baby o’clock already. Shame life doesn’t come with a recipe...

Ellie knows that starting a family with lovely husband Pete would be an amazing adventure. Pete would make a brilliant dad and she’d have an excuse to eat shed loads of Cherry Bakewell. But Ellie’s bestie would rather she was up at 3am with a bottle of Malibu, not formula. And with redundancies looming, Ellie’s boss isn’t exactly going to throw her a shower if she disappears for a year, with pay.

While Ellie juggles her feelings (and everyone else’s) as competently as a drunken clown, she finds herself signing up for a baking class, alongside the young, free and sizzling hot Joe. As they work buns and shape tarts, is there more to their friendship than a shared appreciation of Paul Hollywood?

Ellie’s soufflés may be rising, but her personal life is one big soggy mess. If she doesn't make a decision soon, she may just lose everything that matters to her. Maybe it's time to take off the pinny and face up to the truth: there’s more to life than cupcakes... 

Why so excited? --> The first novel that will be published by Novelicious books will be released on the 10th of October and I honestly can't wait to read 'There's More to Life than Cupcakes'! Poppy Dolan's novel sounds like a brilliant read, and the cupcake on the cover looks simply too yummy. I already love the sound of Ellie, the baking class she is going to follow, and hot guy Joe... A must-read for any chick lit and/or cupcake fan!

Alexandra Brown - 'Me and Mr. Carrington' (10th of October 2013)

Georgie Hart can’t believe her luck. It looks like Tom, the hunky boss of Carrington’s Department Store, in the picture-postcard town of Mulberry-on-Sea, is as hot for her as she is for him. After a romantic Italian get-together leaves her on Cloud Nine, Georgie is brought back down to earth with a bump when she has to get back behind the counter of the Luxury Handbags section.

But when Georgie is left open-mouthed by a revelation from one of her well-heeled customers, it seems like Tom hasn’t been entirely honest with her. Has Georgie done her usual trick of adding two and two together to make five?

Ever wondered what happened when Georgie first got together with Mr Carrington himself? This deliciously funny short story is perfect for anyone who loved Cupcakes at Carrington’s, and for those discovering the lovable Georgie Hart for the first time. The story also features an exclusive peek at the next book, Christmas at Carrington’s.

Why so excited? --> I adored Alexandra Brown's novel 'Cupcakes at Carrington's', it's an absolute must-read for any chick lit fan, and I have been excited about the upcoming sequel, 'Christmas at Carrington's' for several months now. While we wait, Alexandra has been so friendly to keep us entertained with this short story, which is a prequel to 'Christmas at Carrington's'! I look forward to finding out more about what has happened to the lovely Georgie and her hunky love interest Tom and I will definitely be downloading this short story as soon as it's available!


Helen Fielding - 'Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy' (10th of October 2013)

Bridget Jones is back!

Great comic writers are as rare as hen's teeth. And Helen is one of a very select band who have created a character of whom the very thought makes you smile. Bridget Jones' Diary, charting the life of a 30-something singleton in London in the 1990s was a huge international bestseller, published in 40 countries and selling over 15 million copies worldwide. Its sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, published soon after was also a major international bestseller. Both were made into films starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

Set in the present, the new novel will explore a different phase in Bridget's life with an entirely new scenario. As Helen Fielding has said: "If people laugh as much reading it as I am while writing it then we'll all be very happy."

Why so excited? --> I think the third Bridget Jones novel has to be the book people have been talking about the most for the past few weeks in chick lit land. Obviously, Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones novels belong to the classics of the chick lit genre, and who hasn't seen the film versions starring Hugh Grant and Colin Firth? Not much is known about the plot of the third book, except that is set in the future, a couple of years after the end of the second novel, 'The Edge of Reason'... What will Bridget get up to this time around? Definitely one of the most exciting releases coming up this Autumn!

Be sure to keep an eye on this blog for more amazing October releases!


26 September 2013

Review: 'Dark Horizons' by Jenny T. Colgan (2012)

"We need to reach out. We need to continue the line..."

On a windswept northern shore, the islanders believe the worst they have to fear is a Viking attack. Then the burning comes. Water will not stop it. It consumes everything in its path - yet the burned still speak.

The Doctor encounters a people under attack from a power they cannot possibly understand. They have no weapons, no strategy and no protection against a fire sent to engulf them all. The islanders must take on a ruthless alien force in a world without technology; but at least they have the Doctor on their side... Don't they?

My blog kind of gives away what kind of genre I enjoy reading the most: chick lit, anything romantic, women’s fiction. I definitely like to change it up a bit sometimes, with a bit of fantasy or crime. However, if I'm being honest, there’s one particular genre that has never really attracted my attention, and that’s science fiction. I don’t have a secret obsession with Star Wars, there's no Star Trek uniform hidden in my closet, and I never understood why people think The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy is so funny. So, when I was contacted by Random House in order to review a Doctor Who novel, I was already on the verge of saying ‘No, thank you.’ However, as a big chick lit fan, I constantly find myself trying to convince other people to set aside their prejudices and give a chick lit novel a chance. This means I also have to set an example and step away from my own thoughts on science fiction and actually pick up a novel and discover the genre myself. As a result, I found myself sitting in the train a few weeks later, with a Doctor Who novel in my hands, ready to step into the world of the Doctor and time travelling for the first time (okay, I admit, I was a bit excited about the time travel part)...

In ‘Dark Horizons’ the Doctor finds himself in the Dark Ages, stranded on a northern shore without a companion, looking for someone to play a game of chess with. Yet, this idea is quickly set aside when a fire that cannot be stopped by water destroys everything in its path, including a Viking ship with a princess on board who is on her way to an arranged marriage. Soon, the initially rather quiet shore is filled with scared local villagers and angry Vikings, and the Doctor has to not only find out how to stop this fire generated by an alien force, but also how to stop these two groups from not killing each other on the spot.

‘Dark Horizons’ is the 26th Doctor Who book in this series, so initially I was a bit afraid I would not be able to keep track of everything going on in the novel, since I had never read or seen anything Doctor Who related before. Yet, thankfully, no background knowledge is needed to understand the storyline and you could easily read ‘Dark Horizons’ as a stand-alone. I felt myself getting quite excited about the book after only a few pages, because I wanted to know what would happen (and what was up with this crazy fire!). I’m not particularly a big fan of Vikings, but the mix of characters next to the Doctor grabbed my attention, and I especially enjoyed reading about the rather feisty Princess Freydis and Viking Henrik, who both also become kind of the Doctor’s companions in the book. 

As I already said, before reading this novel I was not familiar with Doctor Who, so I had no idea what kind of character to expect. In ‘Dark Horizons’ the 11th Doctor (played by Matt Smith in the TV series) is portrayed, and I thought he was an easily likeable, slightly strange (but in a good way), funny character. I’m familiar with Jenny Colgan’s writing from her fabulous chick lit novels, and in this book it isn’t any different: a well-written and captivating story that flows easily. I can’t say that reading ‘Dark Horizons’ has turned me into a big science fiction fan, but I did really enjoy reading this novel, and it has opened my eyes to the fact that even though a particular genre might not be your favourite cup of tea, you should still give it a shot because it might turn out to be a nice surprise!

Rating:7,5/10 

23 September 2013

Review: 'Killer Queens' by Rebecca Chance (2013)

Every little girl grows up dreaming of finding a prince - but what if the fairy tale turns into a right royal nightmare?

Lori is a beautiful, blonde, all-American athlete. When the charismatic ruler of a small, filthy rich European state asks for her hand, she thinks she's snagged Prince Charming. But she soon realizes that all that glitters is not gold...

Belinda was once the most recognized and loved princess in the world. Forced to stage her own death, she lives incognito abroad with her adoring royal lover. Now, she is determined to return to England to see her son Hugo wed, even if it means risking her own life.

Chloe, Prince Hugo's fiancée, is the archetypical English rose. But it's a long road to becoming a princess, even when you're dating the heir to the throne. Perhaps the fairy-tale ending isn't all it was cracked up to be...

Killer queens, scheming kings, murder plots and lashings of steamy sex - find out what REALLY goes on behind closed palace doors.

Rebecca Chance is a name I’ve come across a lot the past couple of weeks. On the 1st of August, her latest novel ‘Killer Queens’ was released and on my Twitter timeline I noticed how incredibly excited everyone was about this new novel, and they couldn’t wait to get their hands on a copy. I was not familiar with Rebecca Chance’s ‘bonkbusters’, but all the excitement and the blurb of ‘Killer Queens’ convinced me that I needed to read this one as well. Thanks to the lovely Sophie I received a review copy, and with a glass of lemonade, I sat down, ready to step into the world of Rebecca Chance’s ‘bonkbusters’...

‘Killer Queens’ focuses on the royalty of Europe and zooms in on three different women: Chloe is just your average English girl, except for the fact that she is engaged to Hugo, the prince and future king of the United Kingdom. Chloe’s love for Hugo is deep and real, but there are lots of people ready to make her life difficult, including her future sister-in-law Sophie. Lori is an American Olympic medal winner who is about to marry King Joachim of Herzoslovakia, after a few short but intense weeks of dating. Lori is convinced she is in love with her future husband, but something seems to be off and she can’t quite figure out what it is. Is she really willing to give up everything for this marriage? And then there’s Belinda, who married and divorced Prince Oliver of the United Kingdom (Hugo’s father), before she tragically died in a skiing accident numerous years ago. She was trapped in an unhappy marriage and was willing to do anything to see her children grow up happily, including staging her own death. But now, circumstances are forcing her to return to England and to uncover her big secret. These three women have the promise of a true fairy tale in common, the question is: what happens when they find out what goes on behind the closed doors of the castle...?

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been in love with anything that has to do with royalty, castles, gorgeous gowns, princesses, fairy tales... So, it’s not strange that the blurb of ‘Killer Queens’ immediately made me want to add the book to my to-read list. After reading it, there’s only one thing I can say: WOW. ‘Killer Queens’ is a brilliant and addictive read with three great storylines at its core. I loved Chloe, Lori and Belinda, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen to them. The novel includes a fabulous mix of characters, from evil stepmothers to hilarious best friends that made me laugh out loud, and it is great how everything is connected to each other one way or another.

The novel includes some very steamy, full-on sex scenes; it’s not called a bonkbuster for nothing! While some of these scenes might have been a bit too saucy for my personal liking (I will never look at a banana in the same way), they are well-written and did not change the fact that this novel is not just sex; there’s a real story behind all of it, which I really enjoyed. If you decide to pick up ‘Killer Queens’, which I hope you will, make sure to have enough free time ahead of you, because it is a highly addictive read which you will not want to put down. ‘Killer Queens’ is an outrageously sexy, glamorous fairytale for grown-ups, which gives you a sneak-peak into the world of royalty and what goes on behind those palace walls.  

Rating:9/10


19 September 2013

Cover Reveal: 'Geli Voyante's Hot or Not' by Elle Field

From Elle Field, the author of 'Kept', 'Geli Voyante's Hot or Not' will be released on October 17th in Kindle and paperback formats. You can add it to your Goodreads shelf today!
 
'I think I will always be known as the Hot or Not girl, defined by it for the rest of my career. Even my tombstone will read: Angelica “Geli” Voyante, beloved trendsetter. Death? Not Hot.

Yet, it doesn’t sound right. Why won’t anyone realise that there is more to me than this fickle persona I have inadvertently become?'

Geli Voyante is bored of being the Hot or Not girl, even if it has the perk of sitting next to Theo, the newspaper's very Hot political columnist. She's also getting a little lonely being single.

When her arch-nemesis Tiggy Boodles gets engaged, and other loved ones start to settle down, it's time for Geli to convince Theo that she’s not as shallow as her column suggests and, more importantly, she’s the one for him. Geli should remember though that there are always two sides to every story, and that applies to people too...

 

I am so excited to be able to share the cover for Elle Field's fabulous upcoming release with all of you today! I personally love the blue, wintery, lovely look of this cover, and I can't wait to pick up a copy of the novel myself on the 17th of October!


18 September 2013

Review: 'The Lies You Told Me' by Jessica Ruston (2013)

'I do not know what you have been told about your mother. But I know it cannot be the truth...' 

Klara Mortimer never really knew her mother, Sadie, a former model, who left when she was just six years old. All she has is a handful of stories, passed down from the father who raised her. Klara tells herself she has long ago come to terms with her mother's disappearance from her life, but then she receives a note and key from someone who calls themselves 'N.R.'. These lead her to a garage, full of the remnants of her mother's past, and to the diary she kept all those years ago. Within its pages, Klara discovers a woman who doesn't quite match the portrait her father has painstakingly painted for her, and a story that leads her to question everything she thought she knew...

Jessica Ruston’s August 2013 release ‘The Lies You Told Me’ is one of those novels that show why I love being a book blogger as much as I do. I hadn’t read anything by Jessica Ruston before, the cover of ‘The Lies You Told Me’ hadn’t particularly caught my attention, neither had the blurb, until I received a review copy of this novel, thanks to the lovely people at Headline. Sometimes you need to pick up books that might not have been part of your usual to-read list, but provide you with the opportunity to try something new, something different, something that reminds you to step out of your comfort zone every now and again in order to discover what you perhaps had simply looked over at first. 

Klara Mortimer was just a little girl when her mother suddenly disappeared out of her life, leaving her behind with only her father to take care of her. Now, as she is older, all Klara has left of her mother are her own memories and her father’s stories. Until she unexpectedly receives a key in the mail with a note that leads her to a storage room. In here, Klara finds several missing pieces of the puzzle that is her mother’s life, including her mother’s own personal diary. Klara doesn’t want to share her findings with anyone else, and slowly she becomes obsessed with discovering what kind of person her mother was and what truly happened to her all those years ago... 

The story is told from two perspectives: Klara in the modern day and age, and Sadie (Klara’s mother) in 1950s London. I was immediately captivated by Sadie and her story, which is centred around her dream to become a famous model. She is such a determined young woman, and I really felt myself going along with her rollercoaster of emotions. I loved switching between these two voices and finding out more about Sadie with every page I turned. Occasionally I found myself getting a bit frustrated by Klara’s behaviour, but at the same time I have never been in a situation like hers, and everyone reacts differently to certain events, sometimes in unexplainable ways, which is something that also comes back in the novel. One of the strengths of the novel is also that even though I did not particularly really warm to Klara, I was definitely interested by her story and wanted to find out what would happen to her and her search for her mother’s identity.

There’s definitely a mysterious side to this novel: who sends Klara the key to the storage room? What happened to Sadie? Why did she suddenly disappear? Will Klara be able to find all the pieces of the puzzle? All these questions made me want to keep on reading in order to find out more. The novel focuses on memories, secrets, lies, and what kind of effect these things can have on you, and this is something that really fascinated me. ‘The Lies You Told Me’ is a slightly mysterious and compelling novel that will have you hooked from the first page until the very last words, so make sure you have a couple of free hours before opening this book!

Review:8/10 

16 September 2013

Review: 'A Heart Bent Out of Shape' by Emylia Hall (2013)

For Hadley Dunn, life so far has been uneventful - no great loves, no searing losses. But that's before she decides to spend a year studying in the glittering Swiss city of Lausanne, a place that feels alive with promise. Here Hadley meets Kristina, a beautiful but elusive Danish girl, and the two quickly form the strongest of bonds. Yet one November night, as the first snows of winter arrive, tragedy strikes.
 
Hadley, left reeling and guilt-stricken, beings to lean on the only other person to whom she feels close, her American Literature professor Joel Wilson. But as the pair try to uncover the truth of what happened that night, their tentative friendship heads into forbidden territory. And before long a line is irrevocably crossed, everything changes, and two already complicated lives take an even more dangerous course...

Thanks to the lovely Ben at Headline I received a review copy of Emylia Hall’s ‘A Heart Bent Out of Shape.’ This is Emylia Hall’s second novel, which judged by the blurb promises a mysterious and intriguing story set in Switserland. Her debut ‘The Book of Summers’ was picked as a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club read and I’ve only heard and read great things about it. So, needless to say, I was quite curious to discover Emylia Hall’s writing myself.

Hadley Dunn leads a normal and not too exciting life. One day, she decides it is time for something adventurous, a change, which results in her leaving home to go and study for a year in the city of Lausanne in Switserland. Lausanne is full of promise and Hadley quickly becomes close friends with the Danish girl who lives in the room next to hers, Kristina. Unexpectedly, tragedy strikes, and Hadley’s Swiss adventure is suddenly turned into a nightmare. The only person she feels she can trust is her American Literature professor, Joel Wilson, whom she forms a close relationship with. Hadley wants to discover what happened that cold November night when everything changed, but this turns out to be a more difficult and intriguing task than she initially thought.    

‘A Heart Bent Out of Shape’ is set in Lausanne, and Emylia Hall provides the reader with magnificent descriptions of this Swiss city. It almost felt like I was walking down the snow-covered streets myself, as if I could feel the cold and see the tops of the mountains in the distance. With her words, she manages to convey a very specific feeling and image, a particular atmosphere, which fits the story perfectly and made me curious to visit Lausanne myself someday. Next to the scene setting, I was straightaway intrigued by Hadley and I liked her as a character. A couple of years ago I was a student myself and I really wanted to study abroad for a couple of months, preferably in the UK, but I never dared to actually do it. Hadley takes the plunge, and I admire her for stepping out of her comfort zone. I also loved her friendship with Kristina and the relationship she builds up with Hugo, a retired crime author who spends his days drinking brandy at a fancy hotel in Lausanne.

It took a bit of time before the story really got going, but this provides the reader with a couple of chapters to get acquainted with Hadley as the protagonist of the story and the city of Lausanne; chapters that build up to the moment of tragedy which is what the rest of the novel focuses on. After that moment, I simply wanted to read on and on to discover more about the story. The novel includes a big twist at the end, which I personally had not expected. ‘A Heart Bent Out of Shape’ is a poignant and captivating read about hope, first love, and loss, which you will not want to put down until you’ve discovered all of it!

Rating:8/10    


15 September 2013

The Book Blogger Confessions Tag!


The rules:

Answer these questions truthfully.

Once you’ve completed this tag, tag 5 other book bloggers to answer these questions next. 

My answers:

1) I always finish every single book I start reading; I personally can't stand not finishing something I started reading, so even if I really don't like it, I must finish it!

2) The Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin

3) Jonathan Safran Foer's 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'

4) 'Message in a Bottle' by Nicholas Sparks (not because it's awful; I'd wrap it in plastic, so the sea can bring it to another place where someone might pick it up and read this fabulous love story)

5) Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'

6) The Fifty Shades of Grey series

7) Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice'

8) 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' by J.K. Rowling

9) 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' by J.K. Rowling

10) I have absolutely no idea.

I tag:


12 September 2013

Interview with Sarah Webb & 'The Memory Box' giveaway!

This morning I posted my review of Sarah Webb's new novel 'The Memory Box' (click here to read it), which was released today! It's a lovely, warm read which I recommend to every chick lit fan, so definitely add this one to your to-read list! I was lucky enough to get the chance to ask Sarah some questions about her new release; you can read the short interview below!
 
 
Can you tell us something about your new novel, ‘The Memory Box’?
The Memory Box is the story of an Irish woman, Pandora Schuster who on the eve of her thirtieth birthday discovers that she may have her mum’s heredity cancer gene, Breast Cancer Gene 1. This sends her into a complete tail spin, and makes her question her life and also the future of her nine-year-old daughter, Iris. Pandora is a single mum and she has never told Olivier, her ex-boyfriend that he has a daughter. So she travels to Paris to find him, with disastrous consequences.
 
Where did you find the inspiration for the plotline of ‘The Memory Box’? Did you incorporate any of your own life experiences in the book?
I’m not sure where the story came from to be honest. I’d read about the breast cancer gene and it just fitted this story. The characters grew and developed as I wrote the book and some of their passions are also my passions – art, family, Paris.
I was a single mum for seven years, so I understood Pandora’s struggle to work and look after her daughter, Iris only too well.
 
Which character in the novel did you most enjoy writing about and why?
Pandora Schuster, the main character. She’s strong and runs her own business, while looking after her daughter and her sister at the same time. I like giving my characters a challenge.
 
You’re not just an author of novels for adults, but have also written children’s fiction. How and why did you decide to start writing fiction, and did you start with writing for children or for adults?
I started writing for children. My first book was called Kids Can Cook and was published in 1996. I’ve written 34 books since then, 10 novels for adults and many books for children. I love writing for all ages and in many different genres. I hope I can continue to do so for many years to come.
 
The Memory Box’ is the second novel that focuses on the Shoestring Club. Can you give us a tiny hint on whether we will be able to read more about Pandora, Jules and the other Shoestring ladies in the future?
I won’t be revisiting the characters for the foreseeable future, but never say never!
 
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Yes:
1. Read – all great writers are great readers. It teaches you so much about plotting, characters, structure and good writing.
2. Write. A lot of people say that they’d love to write if they had the time. Make the time. Stick your bum to the chair and get on with it!
3. Write as often as you can, that way the story stays fresh in your mind.
4. Finish your book. The world is full of half-finished novels.
5. Never give up. If you truly want to be a writer, don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way. And if you fail the first time around, if your first novel is rejected, learn from the experience and write another.
My favourite quotation is this: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
It goes for all things in life, including writing.
 
And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘The Memory Box’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
It’s always hard to describe your own work but I’ll give it a go – how about honest, heart-felt and warm.
 
** GIVEAWAY of Sarah Webb's 'The Memory Box'***
 
I am very pleased to let you all know PanMacmillan has kindly provided me with 2 copies of 'The Memory Box' to give away to some lucky readers! This giveaway is open to UK & Ireland residents.
 
Check out the synopsis of 'The Memory Box' below:
 
Pandora Schuster is about to turn thirty but that’s the least of her worries. In Dublin she has just been tested for a hereditary family illness and, expecting the worst, is desperate for her ex-boyfriend and father of nine-year-old Iris to be a part of her daughter’s life. There are two major problems: Olivier Huppert lives in Paris and he has no idea that Iris even exists. So when Pandora secretly tries to find Olivier during her Parisian birthday weekend, it all ends in disaster.
 
As the agonising weeks until her test results crawl by, Pandora manages to find some distraction with her kind and sensible boyfriend, Declan, and with her fellow Shoestring Club members as they time-share a fabulous new designer dress. Yet matters of the heart are not easily forgotten and Pandora is determined for Iris to know the truth about her handsome, charismatic father. So she creates a memory box filled with photos, letters and mementoes of the magical time she spent with Olivier in Paris.
 
But when the past and the present start to collide Pandora finds herself having to choose between her head and her heart...
 
In order to be in with a chance, please comment on this post explaining for whom you would make a memory box and what kind of things you would put in it, while also leaving your name and e-mail address. 
 
This giveaway ends on the 20th of September 2013 at midnight (UK time). Winners will be chosen at random and will be notified the day after. Good luck! :)
 

Review: 'The Memory Box' by Sarah Webb (2013)

Pandora Schuster is about to turn thirty but that’s the least of her worries. In Dublin she has just been tested for a hereditary family illness and, expecting the worst, is desperate for her ex-boyfriend and father of nine-year-old Iris to be a part of her daughter’s life. There are two major problems: Olivier Huppert lives in Paris and he has no idea that Iris even exists. So when Pandora secretly tries to find Olivier during her Parisian birthday weekend, it all ends in disaster.

As the agonising weeks until her test results crawl by, Pandora manages to find some distraction with her kind and sensible boyfriend, Declan, and with her fellow Shoestring Club members as they time-share a fabulous new designer dress. Yet matters of the heart are not easily forgotten and Pandora is determined for Iris to know the truth about her handsome, charismatic father. So she creates a memory box filled with photos, letters and mementoes of the magical time she spent with Olivier in Paris.

But when the past and the present start to collide Pandora finds herself having to choose between her head and her heart...

One of the best things ever has to be book post. I love receiving packages with books in them; packages promising lovely new stories to get lost in! Several weeks ago I received a package I wasn’t expecting, and I pulled out a review copy of Sarah Webb’s latest release, ‘The Memory Box’ (thanks so much for sending me a copy, Lucie!). By simply looking at the title and the cover, I already had a feeling this would be a novel I’d definitely enjoy. Sarah Webb is not an unfamiliar name, but I had never read any of her novels before, so I was quite curious to start reading, hoping my expectations would match reality!

Pandora Schuster lost her mother to cancer when she was just a teenager, which resulted in Pandora and her sister growing up with their father and the help of their grandmother. Now, Pandora’s thirtieth birthday is nearing, when she is unexpectedly contacted by a former friend of her mother who happens to be a doctor. She tells Pandora about a breast cancer gene she might have, which would increase the risk of her getting the same disease that eventually ended her mother’s life. Pandora decides to take a test to see if she has the gene or not, while at the same time it makes her think about her daughter, Iris, and the father she never met, Olivier. Pandora plans a birthday weekend to Paris, to track down Olivier and convince him to play a role in Iris’ life. Yet, things don’t go exactly as planned, and Pandora soon finds herself back home, not only worrying about her test results, but also about her boyfriend Declan, the Shoestring club, and the question of whether to continue to make sensible decisions or to simply follow her heart...

I absolutely love the idea behind the Shoestring Club; a group of women who can’t afford expensive dresses, but in order to be able to wear them after all, they share. I think this is a brilliant idea, also one that brings people with a shared passion for beautiful clothes together, and I’d love to be part of a group like this. ‘The Shoestring Club’, which was released in 2012, is actually the first part of the Shoestring series, followed by ‘The Memory Box.’ I didn’t read the other novel, but this didn’t influence the reading experience in any way. Sarah Webb explains everything and there wasn’t any moment in the book when I felt like I was missing bits of the story. ‘The Memory Box’ includes some fabulous characters, like Pandora and her entire family (I especially loved her grandmother, Bird, and little Iris), and after reading this novel I am even more excited about being able to pick up a copy of ‘The Shoestring Club’, to discover more about some of these fascinating characters!

The idea of a memory box (in this case, Pandora’s box, which is of course a great play of words) immediately spoke to me. I’ve always been fascinated by memories and capturing events and emotions by saving little things that remind you of that particular moment in time. The novel deals with quite some heavy and emotional things, but Sarah Webb manages to keep the tone light and pleasant. I also loved how there were different storylines; especially Alex and Markham’s plotline was really enjoyable to read. Overall, ‘The Memory Box’ is a warm and touching novel, a perfect read to help ignore the wet and colder Autumn weather that is coming up!    
 
Rating:8,5/10

 
 Keep an eye on this blog for an interview with Sarah Webb and a chance to win a copy of 'The Memory Box'!

11 September 2013

September 2013 release: 'Gifted and Talented' by Wendy Holden


It's the new university term among the dreaming spires. The start of a whole new life. 
 
Meet Isabel, beautiful, clever, shy - and leaving home for the first time. Meet Olly, recently graduated, idealistic and a little hopeless, a man whose heart leads his brain and for whom opportunity just hasn't come knocking - yet. Meet Amber, the It girl who is soon partying with the fast set - and no-one is faster than Jasper de Borchy, glamorous leader of the notorious Bullinger club. Meet the grown-ups: Diana, recently divorced mother-of-one, newly arrived in town to take up a post as college gardener - and Richard, the new college head, a widower, a scientist, and as lonely as some of the specimens he captures in his science lab. 
 
The rich, the poor, the shy, the extrovert, the givers, the takers. Meet the Gifted and Talented.

 
It was love at first sight for me as soon as I saw the cover of Wendy Holden's September 2013 release 'Gifted and Talented' on Amazon. Isn't it stunning?! I almost wouldn't even care what the book is about with a cover like that and Wendy Holden's name on it! However, the blurb luckily doesn't disappoint either. I already love the sound of the mix of characters, both youngsters and grown-ups, and I'm curious to find out what will happen to them and how their stories are connected to one another. Can't wait to pick up my own copy!


Click here to pre-order this novel on Amazon now!