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30 April 2014

Weekly Feature - Once Upon a Story...

 'Once Upon a Story' is a weekly feature in which we go back in time and focus on a specific novel that was released in the same month we're in right now (in this case April), but a few years back! It can be a women's fiction classic from the 1990's or perhaps a great chick lit read from 2011. I thought it would be nice to not just focus on recent releases, but also take the chance to jump back in time once a week and look back at wonderful reads that have been released over the years!

This week, we're travelling back to April 2010 to look back at...

At 28, Lucy is doing well for herself. She's got a great job in PR, her boss loves her, and her best girlfriends Dominique and Erin think she's great. More important than anyone's opinion is that of her flatmate, and oldest friend in the world, Henry. For twenty years they've been inseparable: beauty and the geek. Henry thinks the world of Lucy. So why does she feel the need to lie outrageously on dates? 

From rock-climbing to Chekov: when it comes to prospective boyfriends, Lucy is compelled to embellish her C.V. with unlikely porkies that always backfire - with hilarious results. Henry can't understand it. Lucy is so loveable: why can't she just be herself? But when Lucy turns the spotlight on Henry, he wishes he'd never brought it up. With a penchant for jumpers and NHS-style specs, Lucy decides that Henry is in need of a makeover - big time. 

Enlisting the help of Dom and Erin, it's not long before the girls have Henry out of the flat, and into the Topman changing rooms. A new haircut, contact lenses, a flirting master-class from Dom . . . poor Henry doesn't know what's hit him. But nothing can prepare them for the surprise results! Before long, Lucy realises that their lives will never be the same again.

Fans of chick lit will be familiar with Jane Costello's name and most importantly, her amazing novels! 'My Single Friend' was the third of Jane's novels that was published and tells the story of best friends Lucy and Henry. It's a great romantic comedy and a must-read for any chick lit fans or people looking for a comfortable and entertaining read. Talking about it has made me want to search for my own copy and re-read it all over again!  

Be sure to visit the blog next week for another blast from chick lit past with 'Once Upon a Story...'!

29 April 2014

Blog Tour: 'No-One Ever Has Sex On a Tuesday' by Tracy Bloom (2014)

Never has a late-night stand led to such chaos!

Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other ever again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union.

So all is forgotten...until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy's baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthews highly strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy's much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.

Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot. How will they navigate their way through this almighty pick-up?

Every once in a while you come across a novel everyone else seems to have read or to be reading at that particular moment, and you can almost taste the excitement. Well, that’s exactly what happened to me with Tracy Bloom’s novel ‘No-One Ever Has Sex On a Tuesday.’ The book was named Best Author Published Read at the Festival of Romance in 2013, became a best-seller and has already been published in six countries. Needless to say, I couldn’t say ‘yes!’ quickly enough when I was asked to be a part of the blog tour for the paperback release of ‘No-One Ever Has Sex On a Tuesday’ (21st of April). I also got the chance to give away one copy of the book, so be sure to scroll down to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Tracy Bloom’s novel!

Katy is a thirty-six-year-old successful businesswoman living together with her slightly younger boyfriend Ben, who is a PE teacher. They have fun together and don’t talk too much about their future as a couple, which is fine by both of them. Until Katy discovers she is pregnant. Besides the fact that she and Ben have never even discussed having kids together, there’s another tiny problem: Katy doesn’t know 100% sure who the father is. During a school reunion a few months earlier, Katy bumped into her teenage sweetheart Matthew, who broke her heart back in the day. Somehow they end up in bed together, and go their separate ways the next morning. However, when they meet again a few months later, but this time at antenatal classes, where Matthew is together with his pregnant wife Alice and Katy with her boyfriend Ben, things start to get a bit tricky...

This was such a fun and enjoyable read! I fell in love with the story after having read the first chapter (the jokes about Fanny made me laugh out loud) and I just wanted to keep on reading, which resulted in me finishing the book within two days. The characters are a brilliant mix: Katy is a great protagonist but not your average chick lit heroine, Ben was laugh-out-loud funny, and Matthew is the handsome guy I couldn’t help but develop a small crush on. I also particularly want to mention Daniel, Katy’s gay best friend, who is such a vibrant and absolutely hilarious character; I wouldn’t mind an entire book just about him and his adventures!

What I particularly enjoyed is that the book focuses on Katy’s pregnancy, both the positive and negative sides, but also deals with other aspects, such as friendship and the difficult of being in a relationship. I couldn’t predict what was going to happen which also made me curious to see how the story would eventually enfold. Tracy Bloom has a great talent; her writing is so easy to get through and she really knows what a romantic comedy entails. ‘No-One Ever Has Sex On a Tuesday’ is an incredibly funny, addictive, and thoroughly enjoyable read that will leave you with a large smile on your face. I already can’t wait for the sequel that’s coming up in 2015!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads   
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

International giveaway of 'No-One Ever Has Sex On a Tuesday'!

Can't wait to read this wonderful novel yourself? Well, here's your chance to win a copy of 'No-One Ever Has Sex On a Tuesday'! Thanks to the lovely publisher I have a special giveaway, open internationally! Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter giveaway below; you have until Friday the 9th of May. Good luck!

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 Books If You Like 'Love Actually'

'Top Ten Tuesday' is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. I love making lists, so this feature fits me perfectly! If you also take part in this feature or have any additions to my lists, please get in touch; I'd love to hear from you!
Top Ten Books If You Like 'Love Actually'

I didn't have time for last week's Top Ten Tuesday, so I'm really excited to be back with a new top 10 this week! The assignment for this Tuesday was to think of 10 books you will like if you like a specific film, comic, TV show, play, etc. I didn't have to think too long about this, because I absolutely love any kind of feel-good story filled with tons of romance, just like the film 'Love Actually.' I tried to come up with 10 books I think you will definitely enjoy if you enjoyed 'Love Actually', so definitely be sure to give them a try if you're a romantic comedy fan like me! 

1. Ali McNamara - 'From Notting Hill With Love... Actually'

I think the title of this book already says enough, right? Ali McNamara's novels are absolutely amazing, and if you're a fan of romantic comedies you will absolutely adore this book, no doubt about it! All the film references are brilliant, and the story is just a great feel-good tale that will definitely make you smile!

2. Jimmy Rice and Laura Tait - 'The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me'

I'm reading this lovely book at the moment and it's one of my favourite reads of 2014 so far! It tells the story of best friends Holly and Alex and is a classic tale of best friends I am sure anyone who loves a bit of romance will enjoy!

3. Miranda Dickinson - 'Fairytale of New York'

When I think of romantic comedies, I automatically think of Miranda Dickinson. She's one of my favourite authors and her stories are sparkling, captivating, thoroughly enjoyable tales of romance and making your dreams come true!

4. Paige Toon - 'Pictures of Lilly'

Another amazing chick lit author and another wonderful love story! 'Pictures of Lily' is a book that has stayed with me over the years and I love re-reading it.

5. Giovanna Fletcher - 'Billy and Me'

This fabulous novel tells the story of girl-next-door Sophie May who falls in love with famous actor Billy. Trust me, the story inside is just as gorgeous as the cover! 

6. Cecelia Ahern - 'Where Rainbows End'

An enchanting tale of two best friends told only in the form of e-mails, letters, notes, and text messages. One of those books you don't want to put down and makes you continue to keep your fingers crossed it will have the happy ending you are longing for!

7. Lucy Diamond - 'Me and Mr. Jones'

A wonderful Lucy Diamond novel which tells the stories of four different women, each of them dealing with her own Mr. Jones. Such a great read and a book that will leave you with a smile on your face!

8. Ali McNamara - 'From Notting Hill to New York... Actually'

Okay, perhaps I'm cheating just a bit here, but I couldn't possibly leave out the second part of Ali McNamara's book series! This novel is just as amazing as the first one, and once again a brilliant read if you're a lover of romantic comedies like 'Love Actually'!

9. Niamh Greene - 'A Message To Your Heart'

This was one of the first novels I reviewed for this blog and a story I immediately fell in love with! Set in San Francisco, it's a great tale with tons of romance at its core.

10. Alexandra Potter - 'You're the One That I Don't Want'

Alexandra Potter is another author who has to be a part of this list, because her romantic comedy novels always manage to make me smile! This is just one of many amazing reads, so if you love this one be sure to check out her other books as well!

28 April 2014

May 2014 releases!

One of my favourite months of the year is coming up: May! Not just because it's my birthday, but because it is usually the first month in which we really get to experience a lot of that lovely Spring sunshine, you're allowed to get excited about the summer holiday that is slowly getting closer, and it is usually a month with some brilliant book releases! This year's month of May will definitely not disappoint when it comes to the book releases, because some amazing and long-anticipated novels are coming our way within the next 30 days!

Beth Kendrick - 'Cure for the Common Breakup' (6th of May)

Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by considering accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant.

Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’s the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn't be kissing him. She definitely shouldn't be falling in love.

After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything... / / Goodreads

Sarah Pekkanen - 'Catching Air' (6th of May)

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking—a winter wedding—and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don't realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone…

Kim Barnouin - 'Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched' (6th of May)

Something old, something new, something vegan, something blue...

For the second time in just a few short months, Clementine Cooper’s professional reputation hinges on one restaurant review. Clementine’s No Crap Café is poised to score the Holy Grail of publicity—a mention in the New York Times Sunday travel section—if Clem’s veggietastic lasagna can bowl over the food critic.

Clem has no time for distractions. Or surprises. But when her meat-eating millionaire boyfriend Zach Jeffries shocks her with a sweet and romantic marriage proposal, of course she says yes! Now she has to plan the most important menu of her life while fending off her domineering future mother-in-law’s extravagant plans for the wedding.

As if there wasn’t enough on her plate, Clem decides to open a second restaurant on her parents’ farm—Clem’s No Crap Outpost— against Zach’s advice. Just when she needs his support the most, Zach grows distant. The only person who really seems to understand is Clem’s friend and biggest competition, the cute vegan chef Alexander Orr. Putting out fires in the kitchen is easy—but in her relationship? Suddenly, her time with Alexander feels . . . hotter . . . than usual, and Clem starts to wonder if the charming carnivore she’s engaged to is really the man she should spend her life with.

Rachael Lucas - 'Sealed With a Kiss' (8th of May)

Kate is dumped on her best friend's wedding day by the world's most boring boyfriend, Ian. She's mostly cross because he got in first - until she remembers she's now homeless as well as jobless. Rather than move back home to her ultra-bossy mother, Kate takes a job on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor as an all-round Girl Friday. Her first day is pretty much a disaster: she falls over, smack bang at the feet of her grouchy new boss, Roddy, Laird of the Island. Unimpressed with her townie ways, he makes it clear she's got a lot to prove.

Island life has no room for secrets, but prickly Roddy's keeping something to himself. When his demanding ex girlfriend appears back on the island, Kate's budding friendship with her new boss comes to an abrupt end. What is Fiona planning - and can she be stopped before it's too late?

Jane Lark - 'Just You' (8th of May)

The morning after the New Year’s Eve before...

Waking up to a new year with a killer hangover and hazy memories of a seriously hot hook-up the night before leaves Portia in an awkward situation... Did I, or didn’t I? The only way she’s going to find out is by standing up to the guy in question.

With no regrets, Justin is willing to play the gentleman and save Portia her embarrassment. Only then he gets a text saying, come over… and he’s not gonna lie – this is friends with a lot of benefits!

But no matter how good the sex is, there’s one thing Justin’s not down with: being this shallow rich girl’s dirty little secret...

Amanda Brooke - 'If I Should Go' (8th of May)

Rachael is a single mum to Hope, and since Hope’s father left, has raised her daughter alone. They are as close as can be. So when Martin enters her life, he’s a breath of fresh air – the first guy that she has felt a connection to in a long time. But Martin’s plans for the future appear to be different to Rachael’s day-dreams: a future for two, without Hope…

At the Sunny Days nursing home where Rachael works, Mrs Wilson is convalescing after a fall. But although she’s only staying for a short time, there’s a finality about her that Rachael just can’t get to grips with. Despite Mrs Wilson’s initial reluctance, Rachael starts to break through her tough exterior but she doesn’t seem to be able to get beneath the surface.

As the clock starts to count down to the end of Mrs Wilson’s stay and Martin’s eventual move to Liverpool time is running out for Rachael to make a difference. The question is: what could she give up for love?

Christina Hopkinson - 'The A-List Family' (8th of May)

Imagine a world where your bikini body has to last all year.

Where the paparazzi turn up for the school run.

Where EVERYBODY knows your name, though you're only eight years old.

Welcome to everyday life in an A-List Family.

Newly employed to look after the daughter of a super-rich and famous power couple, Anna is about to find out what life is really like behind the closed doors of celebrity. And she soon starts to wonder: once you're in, can you get out?

Trisha Ashley - 'Every Woman for Herself' (8th of May)

Charlotte—Charlie—Rhymer’s husband wants a divorce. Charlie isn’t sure what she wants, but after the incident with the frying pan, even she has to concede that their differences may be irreconcilable after all. Returning home to her native Yorkshire and the bosom of her family seemed like a good idea at the time. Even if Charlie’s father has never quite forgiven Charlie or her siblings (Anne, Emily and Branwell) for failing to live up to their more literary (as in Bronte) namesakes.

Upvale Parsonage, the family home to which Charlie has retreated, is presided over by her sister Em. Em’s hobbies are composing inspirational verses, dabbling in the Ancient Black Arts, and fighting off the incursions of Father’s latest mistress. When the current mistress actually moves in, family loyalties are sorely tried. Still, Charlie is determined to bounce back from disaster and strike a blow for deserted older wives everywhere. But when she meets brooding actor Mace North, she realizes that when it comes to dating for the over-forty crowd, female solidarity be damned—it’s every woman for herself!

Sue Fortin - 'Closing In' (15th of May)

Helen has had to leave everything she’s ever known behind; her home, her family, even her own name.

Now, returning to the UK as Ellen Newman, she moves to a small coastal village, working as a nanny for Donovan, a criminal psychologist. Attractive, caring and protective, this single father and his sweet daughter are a world away from Ellen’s brutal past. She thinks she’s escaped. She thinks she’s safe.

But Ellen can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong.

Strange incidents begin to plague her new family, and their house of calm is about to become one of suspicion and fear. Who can be trusted? Who is the target? Who is closing in? / Goodreads

Ollie Quain - 'How to Lose Weight and Alienate People' (16th of May)

Is there such a thing as the perfect body?

Vivian Ward thinks she is in total control of her life. Actually...she's thirty five, an out-of-work actress who puts more effort into partying than getting good parts, is estranged from her family and emotionally unavailable to her boyfriend.

Truth is, the only thing she's in control of is what's on her plate...

But then she meets movie star Maximilian Fry, who's just as screwed up, and journeys into a world of celebrity even more damaging than the one she was already living in. Will image triumph, or will she realise that some of her answers lie within?

Emily Giffin - 'The One and Only' (20th of May)

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Erin Duffy - 'On the Rocks' (20th of May)

Six months ago, Abby's life fell apart for all the world to see. Her longtime boyfriend-turned-fiancé, Ben, unceremoniously dumped her-on Facebook-while she was trying on dresses for the big day.

When the usual remedies-pints of Ben & Jerry's, sweatpants, and a comfy couch-fail to work their magic, her best friend, Grace, devises a plan to get Abby back on her game. She and Abby are going to spend the summer in Newport, in a quaint cottage by the sea, enjoying cool breezes, cocktails, and a crowd of gorgeous men.

But no matter how far away they go, Abby and Grace discover that in the era of social media-when everyone is preserving every little detail of their lives online-there is no real escape. Dating has never been easy. But now that the rules are more blurred than ever, how will they find true love? And even if they do, can romance stand a chance when a girl's every word and move can go viral with a single click?

Paige Toon - 'Thirteen Weddings' (22nd of May)

Last year, Bronte left Sydney for a wedding in England, where she met newly single Alex. After a night of passion they parted ways, and Bronte returned to Australia. 

Now working on a picture desk for a magazine in London, Bronte is about to meet her new colleague, who turns out to be all too familiar. Although awkward at first, as Alex is now engaged to the girl he was on a break from when they met, they soon become friends.

But as the two get closer, and the wedding day looms, it is clear that Alex and Bronte have unfinished business…

Belinda Jones - 'The Travelling Tea Shop' (22nd of May)

Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves anything beautiful, baked and frosted. The brief is simple: With three other women, Laurie will board a London bus - kitted out as an English tea shop - on a deliciously different road trip of the USA. 

Their mission: To bring home-grown classics like Battenberg, Victoria sponge and scones to the land of cupcakes, whoopie pies and gold-leafed chocolate sundaes. 

And to show them how a real cup of tea is made. All of the women have their own secrets and heartaches to heal. As well as a grand appreciation of cupcakes, there's also the chance for romance...

But will making whoopee lead to love? / / Goodreads

Fiona Field - 'Soldiers' Wives' (22nd of May)

Chrissie, orphaned young, finds solace in her career as a medic in the regiment, but will love for a married man prove her undoing? 

Maddy, a brilliant Oxford graduate, is bogged down with a fretful baby and a super-ambitious officer husband. Will she be able to stand life as a regimental wife? 

And Jenna - glamorous, bad girl Jenna, who doesn't believe in rules and regulations. Will she destroy her husband's career? Or will it destroy her? / / Goodreads

Giovanna Fletcher - 'You're the One That I Want' (22nd of May)

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that's the problem.

Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it... / / Goodreads

Janey Fraser - 'After the Honeymoon' (22nd of May)

How can one honeymoon cause so much trouble?

Much as Emma loves Tom, she would never have got married if he hadn't insisted. But with Tom sick for the whole week, shouldn't she at least take advantage of the entertainment?

Winston married Melissa after a three-month whirlwind romance. As a breakfast TV fitness star, he's anxious to keep things private. But the arrival of Melissa's two children soon puts paid to that.

Rosie arrived at the Villa Rosa homeless and pregnant when she was just seventeen. Now, sixteen years later, she runs the place. However, the appearance of Winston throws her into confusion. He might not remember her, but she has never forgotten him.

By the end of the week, none of their lives will be the same. But how will they cope after the honeymoon is over?

Jenny Oliver - 'The Vintage Summer Wedding' (22nd of May)

A Vera Wang dress, the reception at a sophisticated London venue, and a guest list that reads like a society gossip column are all the ingredients of Anna Whitehall’s perfect wedding that never was…

Spending the summer uncovering hidden treasures in a vintage shop, Anna can still vividly remember both her childhood dreams; the first was that she’d become a Prima Ballerina, and dance on stage resplendent in a jewel-encrusted tutu. The second was that at her wedding she would walk down the aisle wearing a collective-gasp-from-the-congregation dress.

Years ago Anna pirouetted out of her cosy hometown village in a whirl of ambition…but when both of those fairy-tale dreams came crashing down around her ballet shoes, she and fiancée Seb find themselves back in Nettleton, their wedding and careers postponed indefinitely…

Don’t they say that you can never go home again? Sometimes they don’t get it right… This one summer is showing Anna that your dreams have to grow up with you. And sometimes what you think you wanted is just the opposite of what makes you happy…

Karen Swan - 'The Summer Without You' (22nd of May)

Rowena Tipton isn’t looking for a new life, just a new adventure, something to while away the months as her long-term boyfriend presses pause on their relationship before they become engaged. But when a chance encounter at a New York wedding leads to an audition for a coveted houseshare in The Hamptons – Manhattan’s elite beach scene – suddenly a new life is exactly what she’s got.

Stretching before her is a summer with three eclectic housemates, long days on white sand ocean beaches and parties on gilded tennis courts. But high rewards bring high stakes and Rowena soon finds herself caught in the crossfire of a vicious intimidation campaign. Alone for the first time in her adult life, she has no-one to turn to but a stranger who is everything she doesn’t want - but possibly everything she needs.

Tamar Cohen - 'The Broken' (22nd of May)

Best friends tell you everything; about their kitchen renovation; about their little girl's schooling. How one of them is leaving the other for a younger model.

Best friends don't tell lies. They don't take up residence on your couch for weeks. They don't call lawyers. They don't make you choose sides.

Best friends don't keep secrets about their past. They don't put you in danger.

Best friends don't always stay best friends.

Kim Moritsugu - 'The Oakdale Dinner Club' (31st of May)

After Mary Ann's husband cheats on her, the suburban mom decides to have her own affair. She starts up a neighbourhood dinner club as a cover and invites three men she has earmarked as potential lovers. Along for the ride is her best friend, Alice, who has recently returned with her young daughter to Oakdale, the cozy bedroom community where the two women grew up and briefly shared a telepathic past.

Over good food and wine, new friendships develop, new dreams simmer, Mary Ann pursues her affair candidates, and Alice opens her heart and mind to ways out of her single-working-mother social rut. The stars align on the night the core dinner club members consume an aphrodisiac, go to a local dive bar, hit the dance floor, and rock their worlds. / / Goodreads

Which releases are you looking forward to the most? I'd love to hear from you!