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30 June 2014

Review & Interview: 'Cupid's Way' by Joanne Phillips (2014)

When Evie Stone's grandparents enlist her help to save their home in Cupid's Way, Evie is happy to oblige. On the cusp of her thirties, and still disappointingly single, Evie's so-called dream job with a firm of architects has been driving her crazy for months. What she needs, even more than a new man, is a challenge. But saving Cupid's Way won't be easy. A perfectly preserved Victorian terrace, surrounded by modern estates and retail parks, the street is a proud oasis of quirky characters, cobbled pathways and communal gardens. Unfortunately, it also sits on prime development land worth millions Dynamite Construction have the deal in the bag, and soon the residents of Cupid's Way will be forced to sell up and ship out - CEO Michael Andrews, charismatic and super-successful, has certainly never let sentimentality get in the way of business. At least, he hadn't until he met Evie Stone.

Several weeks ago I was contacted by author Joanne Phillips with the question whether I was interested in reviewing her novel ‘Cupid’s Way’, which was released on the 27th of June. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with Joanne’s previous work; she’s written novels such as ‘The Family Trap’ (2013) and ‘Can’t Live Without’ which was an Amazon top 20 bestseller in 2012. I immediately really liked the sound of ‘Cupid’s Way’ and I never mind being introduced to a chick lit author I’m not familiar with yet. I’m also really excited that Joanne took the time to do a short interview for my blog; so, if you are interested in reading more about Joanne’s work, her future plans and ‘Cupid’s Way’ itself, be sure to scroll down!

Evie Stone is set to give an important talk at an event, but of course it is one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong and she’s running late. Thankfully, a handsome stranger named Michael is there to help her out and Evie immediately feels a connection between the two of them. However, Evie has other things on her mind. Her grandparents Mavis and Frank have lived in a Victorian street named Cupid’s Way in Bristol for many years, but the council has decided to knock all the houses on Cupid’s Way down. The residents can’t believe they are about to lose the place they love so much and where they made so many memories. Evie wants to do anything she can to save Cupid’s Way, but when she discovers the enemy, the CEO of Dynamite Construction, is a familiar face, things start to get tricky...

I can’t believe it took me so long to be introduced to Joanne Phillips’ work, because I adored this novel and fell in love with Joanne’s writing style. The book has a great storyline which I thoroughly enjoyed and a lovely leading lady, Evie, whom it was incredibly easy to warm to. Evie is on a mission to save her grandparents’ house on Cupid’s Way and I was really curious to see whether they would eventually be able to save Cupid’s Way from the hands of the council or not. Next to that, Evie has her own troubles, resulting in enough different aspects to keep track of which resulted in me not wanting to put the book down.

Next to Evie, the novel is filled with a brilliant mix of secondary characters. There’s Michael, the handsome and charming stranger Evie meets at the beginning of the book; Evie’s grandparents Mavis and Frank who you can’t help but develop a soft spot for; and all the other neighbours on Cupid’s Way with their own story to tell. Joanne Phillips has managed to write a thoroughly enjoyable book with a great storyline and a lovely cast of characters, and I already look forward to reading more of her work. Overall, ‘Cupid’s Way’ is a charming, captivating and simply amazing read which I definitely recommend to chick lit fans; you’ll love it!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

Author Interview with Joanne Phillips

Can you tell us something about your novel, ‘Cupid’s Way’?
A cute Victorian terrace – Cupid’s Way – is under threat from developers, and Evie Stone is on a mission to save it. Only trouble is, she hadn’t banked on falling for Michael Andrews – CEO of Dynamite Construction, the developer behind the plan to demolish Cupid’s Way ...

Is the book in any way based on personal experiences or is it completely fiction? If so, how did you come up with this idea?
It’s completely fictional, although there are always elements of personal experience in any novel, I think. The inspiration for the street itself came from a Victorian terrace in Milton Keynes which was saved from demolition years ago when the residents got together and formed a cooperative. This real-life street gets a mention in the book. 

Can you tell us a bit more about the main protagonist, Evie?
Evie is single, frustrated in her career and in her choice of men thus far – a story I could definitely relate to back when I was approaching thirty! She has shaped her life around the stories of a father she never knew – an eco warrior she has idealised over the years. She’s been accused of having a ‘rescuer complex’ (something else I relate to), and is eager to dive in and help the residents of Cupid’s Way with their fight against the planners. But Evie is a passionate woman, and throughout the story has to struggle to reconcile her personal values with her strong attraction to Michael Andrews.

There’s a great cast of supporting characters in the novel as well. Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I love all of them, which sounds a bit lame but it’s true. My favourite two are Mavis, Evie’s gran, who is just the way I want to be when I’m older – sparky and funny and eccentric, but also wise and caring, and Stig, the old man with a penchant for rooting around in dustbins. I also loved writing Michael – it was a real challenge to make him sympathetic as potential love interest when he is, in many ways, the ‘baddie’ of the story.

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you perhaps already working on a next novel?
My next romantic comedy is 75% finished and is called You Are Here. It’s about a woman who leaves her husband and goes off in search of her teenage love. After that will be the next Flora Lively mystery – it’s a busy year!

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Read like a writer, noticing what works and what doesn’t work and asking yourself why. Write – this sounds obvious but it’s surprising how many things writers can do to avoid actually writing. Expect to write crap stuff, and learn early how to edit well. One bit of advice that resonated with me was: Write for yourself and edit for the reader. Follow that and you can’t go wrong.

What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
Cauldstane by Linda Gillard. Linda is an amazing writer, and this book had me gripped from beginning to end. She is a master of the craft. 

Which book could you not live without?
In order to answer this question I went around my house and looked at all the books I own, imagining which one I’d grab if I had to leave in a hurry and could only take one book. And – funnily enough – it would be my first novel, Can’t Live Without. That book represented so much for me – it was the realisation of a life-time’s dream and just holding it in my hand reminds me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. 

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Cupid’s Way’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Warm, fun, engaging.

Thanks so much, Joanne! :)

29 June 2014

July 2014 Releases!

Still wondering which books to add to your summer holiday reading list? Be sure to check out all the fabulous upcoming July releases; there are quite a lot of titles which I'm personally really excited about and can't wait to read. Which books will you be picking up this summer?

Wendy Wax - 'The House on Mermaid Point' (1st of July)

Maddie, Avery, and Nikki first got to know one another—perhaps all too well—while desperately restoring a beachfront mansion to its former grandeur. Now they’re putting that experience to professional use. But their latest project has presented some challenges they couldn’t have dreamed up in their wildest fantasies—although the house does belong to a man who actually was Maddie’s wildest fantasy once...

Rock-and-roll legend “William the Wild” Hightower may be past his prime, estranged from his family, and creatively blocked, but he’s still worshiped by fans—which is why he guards his privacy on his own island in the Florida Keys. He’s not thrilled about letting this crew turn his piece of paradise into a bed-and-breakfast for a reality show... though he is intrigued by Maddie. Hard as that is for her to believe as a newly single woman who can barely manage a dog paddle in the dating pool.

But whether it’s an unexpected flirtation with a bona fide rock star, a strained mother-daughter relationship, or a sudden tragedy, these women are in it together. The only thing that might drive them apart is being trapped on a houseboat with one bathroom... / / Goodreads

Taylor Jenkins Reid - 'After I Do' (1st of July)

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after. / / Goodreads

Sue Margolis - 'Best Supporting Role' (1st of July)

When her gambling addict husband died, Sarah Green was left penniless—and with two children to raise. Since then, she’s been desperate to keep her professional and personal lives on firm financial footing. And what could be safer than dating an accountant and working at a non-emergency crime help line?

But then Sarah’s aunt dies, leaving Sarah her once famous—now flailing—lingerie shop. With her fashion background, Sarah reluctantly decides to make a go of it, even if that means breaking up with her too-prudent boyfriend over the risk.

Suddenly Sarah finds herself falling for Hugh, the handsome struggling actor she hired to renovate her new boutique, and entering a prestigious lingerie competition. Taking chances has never been her forte, but the built-in support of family and friends could give her the boost she’s been looking for....

Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice - 'The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me' (3rd of July)

Everyone remembers their first love. 

Holly has learnt that life isn't about seizing the moment. She might have harboured dreams about travelling the world as a teenager, but she let go of those - just as she let go of Alex.

But what if the feelings never really went away? 

Alex wants to make every moment of his new job count. It's a fresh start in a new city, and he knows that moving to London has nothing to do with Holly. Well, probably.

How do you know if it was meant to be. or never meant to happen at all? 

Lisa Jewell - 'The Third Wife' (3rd of July)

London 2011: In the early hours of a summer morning, a young woman is killed by a bus. A tragic accident? Or suicide?

A year later, her devastated husband, Adrian Wolfe, is determined to find out. Adrian and Maya had only recently married, and he'd always believed they were happy together. His children from his two previous marriages loved her. And Maya loved them. She had a job she enjoyed, she had plenty of friends, and she and Adrian were trying for a baby. They seemed to have the perfect life.

Why then might she have wanted to kill herself?

When Adrian finds a hidden stash of poisonous emails on Maya's laptop he begins to identify the dark cracks in her life. 

Because everyone has secrets.

And secrets have consequences.

Some of which can be devastating.

Lucinda Riley - 'The Italian Girl' (3rd of July)

Rosanna Menici is just eleven years old when she meets Roberto Rossini, the man who will change her life forever. 

In the years to come, their destinies are bound together by their extraordinary talents as opera singers and by their enduring but obsessive love for each other - a love that will ultimately affect the lives of all those closest to them. 

For, as Rosanna slowly discovers, their union is haunted by powerful secrets from the past...

Josephine Moon - 'The Tea Chest' (3rd of July)

Kate Fullerton, talented tea designer and now co-owner of The Tea Chest, could never have imagined that she'd be flying from Brisbane to London, risking her young family's future, to save the business she loves from the woman who wants to shut it down.

Meanwhile, Leila Morton has just lost her job; and if Elizabeth Clancy had known today was the day she would appear on the nightly news, she might at least have put on some clothes. Both need to start again.

When Kate's, Leila's and Elizabeth's paths unexpectedly cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate's magical vision of London's branch of the newest and most delectable tea shop, The Tea Chest. But every time success is within their grasp, increasing tensions damage their trust in each other.

With the very real possibility that The Tea Chest will fail, Kate, Leila and Elizabeth must decide what's important to each of them. Are they willing to walk away or can they learn to believe in themselves?

Cathy Bramley - 'Ivy Lane: Summer' (3rd of July)

Tilly Parker is feeling happier than she has done since her life completely changed a year ago, though she's still keeping some secrets to herself. As she flourishes under the summer sun, she attracts the attention of not one, but two suitors. Excitement reaches fever pitch at Ivy Lane as a TV crew descends to capture life inside a modern-day allotment, bringing out the best (new wellies and lipstick) and the worst (parsnip rivalry) in them all. The Annual Show marks the end of summer and the end of filming, but is Tilly ready for romance - and if so, who will be the pick of the bunch?

Ciara Geraghty - 'Now That I've Found You' (3rd of July)

Forty-two-year-old Vinnie knows lots of things.

He knows new books and school shoes are expensive. He knows his teenage daughter keeps getting into trouble and he knows his eight-year-old has wet the bed every night for the past year.

What Vinnie doesn't know is where his wife is, or how he will ever get better at single fatherhood.

Ellen knows how much it costs to take a taxi to the cemetery. She knows she's too scared to get behind the wheel of a car ever again and she knows that what happened was all her fault.

What Ellen doesn't know is that Vinnie is about to need her to face her fears. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other's life forever.

Maria Duffy - 'One Wish' (3rd of July)

When Londoner Becky Greene moved to Ireland, she was ready for a fresh start - and to leave her dysfunctional family far behind. But when she discovers that she's pregnant, after a one-night stand, all of a sudden she suddenly has more than herself to think about.

Fast-forward four years and now her daughter Lilly is asking questions about her father. While tracking down high-flying property developer Dennis Prendergast is the last thing Becky wants to do, she knows that Lilly has a right to know who her father is. But when Becky finally locates Dennis, she discovers that his life has taken a very different route. And finding out he has a daughter is definitely not in his five-year plan.

Can people ever really change? As Becky comes to know the person Dennis is now, and a little more about herself, she begins to think that maybe people can.

Katy Regan - 'The Story of You' (3rd of July)

Your past will always be part of you, but does it have to define your future? Or can you rewrite your story?

I want to explain it all to you. How this happened. How that summer – the summer I was 16 – made me the person I am today.

I want to share my memories with you: the happy memories are like sunbursts, sparkling on the sea. But then, like a current dragging me under, there's that summer of 1997.

The summer my life exploded.
The summer I had to grow up.
The summer you came into my life.

And so this is the story of you.

Tess Stimson - 'An Open Marriage' (3rd of July)

When you abandon the rules, can you ever go back? 

Mia Allen has never quite adjusted to living in England. She misses her friends in the States and feels restrained by small-town family life near Oxford. Her husband Kit, on the other hand, loves the sense of community here and his job as a school teacher in a private school. Like Mia, Kit's boss Charlie is also looking for more excitement in her life. Her marriage to emotionally-distant Rob has left her frustrated and yearning for more. 

So when she and Rob are invited to dinner with Mia and Kit, she jumps at the chance to make new friends. One evening, the increasing attraction between all of them moves up a notch, and it's not long before the seductive highs of these new friendships lead to desperate lows. Can any of their relationships survive this unconventional arrangement?

Kerry Fisher - 'The School Gate Survival Guide' (3rd of July)

Feisty Maia Etxeleku is a cleaner for ladies who lunch. She spends her life wiping up spilt Sauvignon and hoovering around handbags before rushing back home to skivvy after her children's feckless father on an estate where survival depends on your ability to look the other way.

But an unusual inheritance catapults her into a different world where no child can survive without organic apricots and Kumon maths classes – and no woman can contemplate a week without Pilates and pedicures.

As she blunders through a middle class minefield, dashing from coffee mornings to her mops and buckets, she is drawn to the one man who can help her family fit in. But is his interest in her purely professional or will her modern My Fair Lady experiment end in disaster?

Christina Jones - 'That Red Hot Rock N Roll Summer' (3rd of July)

The Berkshire village of Daisybank has held a traditional summer fete for as long as anyone can remember and twenty-eight year old waitress Tiggy Dunmore and fellow committee member Cordelia North, can't think of anything worse. As Cordelia and Tiggy discuss the 'fete worse than death' over cups of tea and cake, they come up with an alternative idea. Instead of the fete with the same old tombola, bric-a-brac stalls and raffle to win a hamper of almost-on-sell-by tinned food, why not have a music festival? Just a little one, of course. Nothing like Glastonbury. Surely it can't be that difficult to set up a stage and find a few bands, can it?

As the months roll on towards the last weekend in July, the Daisybank Festival begins to take shape, especially when the gorgeous Liam Maxwell, a guitarist in a local band, agrees to play. And as the hot and sunny weekend dawns, life for Tiggy, Cordelia -- and Daisybank -- will never be the same again.

Sheila O'Flanagan - 'If You Were Me' (3rd of July)

Carlotta O'Keefe is happily engaged, and the wedding plans are coming together. She's clear about her future path, both personally and in her busy career. Maybe Chris doesn't make her heart race every time she sees him, but you can't have that feeling for ever. Can you?

Then, on a trip to Seville, Carlotta runs into Luke Evans. Luke broke her heart so long ago she'd almost convinced herself she'd forgotten him. Now, he's not that boy any more, but an attractive and intriguing man. And he can explain everything that happened way back when.

Suddenly Carlotta's not so sure of anything any more. Except that what she decides now will shape the rest of her life...

Veronica Henry - 'The Beach Hut Next Door' (3rd of July)

Summer appeared from nowhere that year in Everdene . . . and for those lucky enough to own one of the beach huts, this was the summer of their dreams.

For Elodie, returning to Everdene means re-awakening the memories of one summer fifty years ago. A summer when everything changed.

Vince and his brother are struggling to come to terms with the death of their father - but they have very different ways of coping.

And for Jenna, determined to put the past behind her, the opportunity to become 'the ice cream girl' once again might just turn her life around.

But this summer is not all sunshine and surf - as secrets unfold, and some lives are changed for ever...

Victoria Fox - 'Power Games' (4th of July)

The most exclusive invitation of the year has been issued; the supermodel, the thief, the senator, the heiress, the paparazzo, the pop prince and the playboy board a private jet. Destination: paradise. 

Someone is watching. Someone who knows the dark secrets and the wicked reputations lurking beneath their glamorous facades. When it comes to revenge, knowledge is power. Vanity, pride, lust, greed - whatever their crime… 

No one sees the plane go down, but everyone knows who was on board. Seven notorious passengers, on an island that does not welcome visitors. The challenge is to survive. Let the power games begin.

Sarah Morgan - 'Suddenly, Last Summer' (4th of July)

Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the grand opening plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O'Neil is back in town and looking more delectable than ever. Memories of the electrifying night they shared last summer leave Élise very tempted, but she knows all too well that eventually Sean will be leaving… again. 

Being back in Vermont - even temporarily - is surgeon Sean O'Neil's worst nightmare. Returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means confronting the guilt he feels about rejecting his family's lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise is still in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Remembering last summer and how good they were together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine….

Rainbow Rowell - 'Landline' (8th of July)

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it's been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her - but that almost seems besides the point now.

Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells him that she can't go. She's a TV writer, and something's come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her - he is always a little upset with her - but she doesn't expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally done it. If she's ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It's not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she's been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts...

Is that what she's supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Ellen Sussman - 'A Wedding in Provence' (15th of July)

What could be more idyllic than a wedding in Provence? That's what Olivia and Brody think when they invite their closest friends and family to spend their wedding weekend with them. But when Olivia's older daughter from her first marriage invites a man she met on the plane to join her, the delicate balance of the entire weekend is upset. Soon Olivia's best friend, the owner of the inn who is hosting the wedding, discovers that her husband has cheated on her. Then Brody's mother shows up without his father, who has gone into hiding. How can one choose love in the midst of chaos? Told from the point of view of Olivia and her two daughters, A Wedding in Provence is a moving novel about love, trust, secrets and family.

Lindsey Kelk - 'What a Girl Wants' (17th of July)

Tess Brookes was the girl with a plan. Now she's the girl with a choice. 

Should she stay in London and start her own advertising agency with her best friend and potential boyfriend Charlie? Or should she head to exciting Milan to pursue both a new career as a photographer and a new man, the enigmatic and elusive (and highly irritating) Nick? 

For the first time, Tess has to choose between the life she always dreamed of and a future she never imagined possible. With her heart and her head pulling her in different directions, Tess has to make a life-changing decision about What a Girl Wants.

Elizabeth Aaron - 'Low Expectations' (17th of July)

Georgie has a glamorous career in fashion. Her boss doesn’t know her name, but working for a genius will pay off one day. She hopes.

She also has great friends. Granted, they’re sometimes a bit superficial, but who wants to discuss a global crisis on a Friday night?

And she’s enjoying her single life. Eighteen months of celibacy, and not a hot prospect in sight.

Perhaps life’s not quite what she was hoping for...

But how can she change it, and what does she really want? Stuck somewhere between a quarter-life crisis and self-fulfillment, Georgie is determined that this year, everything will be different. Armed only with her sense of humour, some black eyeliner and her best attempt at ‘charming’, she’s on the way. But just how long will the new improved Georgie last?

Nicola Doherty - 'Poppy Does Paris' (17th of July)

It takes two to tango in the City of Love...

Paris. City of love, city of romance. The last place you want to go to on a work trip when you're in the middle of an epic dry spell. But that's where Poppy is headed, along with her colleague Charlie, who's shallow and annoying but very, very good-looking. During a white-wine-fuelled Skype session with her friend Alice in LA, Poppy concocts the perfect plan: work by day, and have some no-strings fun with Charlie by night. Of course, it might prove a little more complicated than that, but it's nothing Poppy can't handle - or is it?

Julie Cohen - 'Where Love Lies' (31st of July)

Lately, Felicity just can't shake a shadow of uncertainty. Her husband Quinn is the kindest person she knows and loves her peculiarities more than Felicity feels she deserves. But suddenly it's as if she doesn't quite belong.

Then Felicity experiences something extraordinary: a scent of perfume in the air which evokes memories that have been settled within her for a long time, untouched and undisturbed. As it happens again and again, the memories of a man Felicity hasn't seen for ten years also flutter to the surface. And so do the feelings of being deeply, exquisitely in love ...

Overwhelmed and bewildered by her emotions, Felicity tries to resist sinking blissfully into the past. But what if something truly isn't as it should be? What if her mind has been playing tricks on her heart?

Which would you trust?

Jessica Thompson - 'Paper Swans' (31st of July)

Ben Lawrence seems to have it all - the hot job, the flashy car, the luxurious apartment. But one tragic day in his past mars his future.

Since the events of that day he hasn't truly got close to anyone.

He made a promise that love was the price he would pay for his mistakes.

When Effy Jones - a bright, ambitious charity founder - walks into the PR firm where Ben works, neither realise that their lives are about to be turned upside down.

Paper Swans tells of how love can conquer all, and how when everything is broken one person can help to put the pieces together...

Claire Sandy - 'What Would Mary Berry Do?' (31st of July)

Marie Dunwoody doesn't want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. Except, her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee.

Marie can't ignore the disappointed looks any more, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up perfect profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie's had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow - to the letter - recipes from the Queen of Baking and at all times ask 'What would Mary Berry do?'

Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget sheets and so puts on the pinny: serious redundancies are on the horizon. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year-old girls...

Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria Sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy's sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour?

Tracy Buchanan - 'The Atlas of Us' (31st of July)

How far would you go for the one you love the most?

When Louise Fenton flies to Thailand to find her mother, Nora, after the Boxing Day tsunami, she fears the worst when the only trace she can find is her mother’s distinctive bag. In the bag is a beautifully crafted atlas owned by travel journalist Claire Shreve, with her notes and mementos slipped in-between the pages. The journal tells the story of Claire’s struggle to find her place in the world following a life-altering revelation, and a tumultuous love affair.

Louise treks across Thailand's scarred landscape, exploring Claire’s atlas to try to make sense of the connection between this woman and the mother she is so desperate to find.

As devastated people are beginning to put their lives back together, Louise uncovers the secrets that nearly destroyed Claire and the man she loved – the same secrets her mother has been guarding all these years …

Sinead Moriarty - 'The Secrets Sisters Keep' (31st of July)

The Devlin sisters rely on each other - but some things are just too painful to share, even when your sisters are your best friends ...

Mum-of-four Julie thought that if her family had more money, life would be easier. But now that they've inherited a fortune, her problems are only starting.

Lawyer Louise is used to having life go exactly as she wants it to. So accepting that she cannot control everything in her world is beyond her.

And former model Sophie can just about cope with getting older - that's until her ex-husband finds a younger model.

All three women think that some battles are best fought alone. Maybe they need to think again ...

Cover Reveal: 'The Poppy Factory' by Liz Trenow

I'm really excited to be part of the cover reveal for Liz Trenow's amazing new novel 'The Poppy Factor', which will be released on the 28th of August 2014!

Inspired by the upcoming anniversary of the First World War, historical fiction author Liz Trenow has penned a captivating story of two young women, bound together by the tragedy of two very different wars. 

Interviews with soldiers who have recently served in Afghanistan, along with an NHS paramedic and extensive research into the origins of the incredibly inspirational Poppy Factory which to this day helps returning soldiers to find work helped Liz to create remarkable characters inspired by real events.

With the end of the First World War, Rose is looking forward to welcoming home her beloved husband Alfie from the battlefields. But his return is not what Rose had expected. Traumatised by what he has seen, the Alfie who comes home is a different man to the one Rose married. As he struggles to cope with life in peace time, Rose wrestles with temptation as the man she fell in love with seems lost forever.

Many years later, Jess returns from her final tour of Afghanistan. Haunted by nightmares from her time at the front, her longed-for homecoming is a disaster and she wonders if her life will ever be the same again. Can comfort come through her great-grandmother Rose’s diaries?

For Jess and Rose, the realities of war have terrible consequences. Can the Poppy Factory, set up to help injured soldiers, rescue them both from the heartache of war?

I can't wait to pick up another Liz Trenow book after reading 'The Forgotten Seamstress' at the end of last year (click here to read my review). It was an amazing read, so I'm definitely looking forward to 'The Poppy Factory'!

Click here to pre-order your own copy now on Amazon! 

28 June 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 May), 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 not so far back to June 2013 to look back at...

A quaint suburb. A quiet little book club. A very naughty reading list.

When Estelle sets up a book group in order to increase custom to her struggling cafe, what follows is more mind-blowing than she could have ever imagined...

As the first book club meeting flounders, Estelle suggests a spot of erotica to spice things up.

Inspired by their naughty novels, this group of shy suburban readers shake off their inhibitions and soon discover that their own lives can be just as scandalous...

In June 2013, Sophie Hart's novel 'The Naughty Girl's Book Club' was released and it was one of those books all of the book bloggers seemed to be talking about! I remember seeing the cover of the book everywhere, and it got me really curious. When I was in the UK for my summer holiday, I picked up a copy, but unfortunately it's still lying on my to-read shelf. I still love the idea behind the book, just like the gorgeous cover, so I think it's definitely time to pick it up, a year after its release!

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