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31 January 2015

February 2015 releases!

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

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

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

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 But even as Lila finds new purpose for outdated dresses and tries to reunite with her ex, she realizes that sometimes it’s too late for old dreams.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

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

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

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

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

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


Helen Lederer - 'Losing It' (12 February)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beth, Rachel and Lindy are looking for new beginnings. 

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

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


Stella Newman - 'The Dish' (12 February)

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Katie Schickel - 'Housewitch' (17 February)

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trisha Ashley - 'Creature Comforts' (26 February)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30 January 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justice must prevail……whatever the cost.

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

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

29 January 2015

Blog Tour: 'As Good As It Gets?' by Fiona Gibson (2015)

“Midlife crisis? WHAT midlife crisis?!”

Charlotte Bristow is worried about her husband Will. Their fourteen years of marriage have been rather lovely so far, but things have been a bit odd lately.

With their stunning 16-year-old daughter Rosie newly signed to a top modelling agency and Will recently out of a job, Charlotte can’t help but notice that things are changing in their household.

As Will dusts down his old leather trousers and starts partying with their new, fun neighbours, Charlotte begins to wonder what on earth is going on.

So when Fraser, Charlotte’s ex – and father of Rosie – suddenly arrives back on the scene, Charlotte starts to wonder what might have been…

Today I am really excited and honoured to kick off the blog tour for one of Avon's latest book releases, 'As Good As It Gets?' by Fiona Gibson! I was introduced to Fiona Gibson's writing last year when I got the chance to read and review her novel 'Take Mum Out'; a read which I really enjoyed (click here to read my review). I straight away loved Fiona's writing style and I already looked forward to her next release. So, I was incredibly excited when I was contacted about the blog tour for 'As Good As It Gets?' and I already had a good feeling I would end up thoroughly enjoying this new Fiona Gibson read!

Charlotte Bristow has been married to her lovely husband Will for fourteen years and together they form quite the family unit with Charlotte's 16-year-old daughter Rosie and their 11-year-old son Ollie. However, the relationship between Charlotte and Will isn't what it used to be: all the excitement and passion seems to have disappeared as soon as the diapers and household chaos appeared. Charlotte wants to make things better between them, but life just keeps getting in the way. From the new neighbours that move in across the road, Will's search for a new job, Rosie's wish to become a model, and the sudden e-mail from Rosie's biological father and Charlotte's first love Fraser... Charlotte has enough on her plate, and as everything is taking over her life she starts to wonder how on earth she and Will can become wife and husband again instead of just housemates? 

I love Fiona Gibson. Her stories never fail to put a smile on my face and as soon as I start reading one of her novels I simply don't want it to end, and the same definitely goes for 'As Good As It Gets?'. The main character, Charlotte, is simply wonderful; she's incredibly easy to warm to and a realistic portrayal of a modern-day wife and mum, dealing with all kinds of issues and troubles which is something many female readers will be able to relate to. I also really liked all of the other characters such as Ollie and Rosie, Charlotte's children, her husband Will who is struggling to find a new job, the new neighbours and Charlotte's colleagues at work. The novel follows one main storyline which consists of numerous separate parts (including Rosie's modelling career, the new neighbours moving in across the road, and Charlotte being contacted by her first love Fraser); I loved reading about all these different things and it constantly had me captivated and intrigued.

Fiona Gibson is one of those authors who can write about families and all the issues and laughter that come with it in an incredibly realistic and thoroughly enjoyable way. The book made me laugh out loud multiple times, and Fiona Gibson's writing style is just incredibly comfortable and easy to read. This resulted in me racing through the pages, while at the same time I just didn't want the story to end and be forced to leave the Bristow family. I don't think there's anything else left for me to say except that everyone (especially chick lit fans) should pick up this book, because it's a fantastic read. 'As Good As It Gets?' is a stunning, warm-hearted, funny, wonderful read about family which I couldn't get enough of; a true joy to read!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

27 January 2015

Review: 'The Dimple of Doom' by Lucy Woodhull (2013)

Failed actress Samantha Lytton is getting along just fine in her lonely little life when a charming criminal called Sam or Nate or maybe even Richmond kisses her, square dances most provocatively, opens his not-so-wicked heart, and gets her in trouble with not one, but two international art theft rings as well as the LAPD. She's either gonna end up in jail or famous. Maybe both. Along the way, she fights for her life, falls for this funny, sexy disaster of a man...and learns that finding happily ever after with yourself is the first step to real contentment. A cute dimple is just the second.

One of the things I love most about being a book blogger is the chance to read and review books I probably would not have heard of or picked up otherwise. I love discovering new reads and giving books a chance; you never know what you might find! Last year I was contacted by Lucy Woodhull, who asked me to review her novel 'The Dimple of Doom', a romance read which was released in 2013 by Total E-bound Publishing. The book is the first part of a series and I looked forward to checking it out!

Twenty-something Samantha Lytton works as a secretary for Steak on a Stick. Her dream is to become an actress, but there are lots of women in LA with her who share the same dream, so that's something she's still working on. One highlight in her life is her crush on one of her colleagues, a hunky accountant named Sam. At the company Christmas party, things finally heat up between the two of them and Samantha couldn't be happier. Until things start to take a different turn after she shows Sam her boss' secret vault filled with expensive art works and he reveals he is an FBI agent who is trying to track down a big art theft ring. This is just the start of a crazy and wild couple of days for Samantha in which she encounters all kinds of things, from being shot at, to square dancing, to really falling for someone whose real name she doesn't even know...

This book is the first part of the Samantha Lytton series and a read that can be described as romance with a good dose of action and laughter. Samantha is quite a fun heroine; she's a bit crazy (in a laugh-out-loud way) and as the story progressed I warmed to her more and more. Every romance read needs a handsome male character and Sam fits this role really well, especially thanks to the mystery that surrounds him. The snappy dialogues between Samantha and Sam were fun to read and the chemistry between them is definitely there, which especially comes forward in the steamy scenes in the novel. 

The plotline is quite entertaining, which is why I personally would have liked it if more attention had been paid to the art theft ring action aspect of the story. I also would have liked more background information on the characters to, for example, see why Samantha makes certain decisions and is the way she is. I've read numerous other reviews and many people really enjoyed the humour in this book. It's a specific, tongue-in-cheek kind of humour, which wasn't really for me, but I am sure many people will laugh out loud at many of the scenes in this book. Overall, 'The Dimple of Doom' is quite an enjoyable and promising read; it wasn't entirely my cup of tea, but I am curious to see what will happen to Samantha next and what author Lucy Woodhull has in store for us!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

26 January 2015

Review: 'The Year of Taking Chances' by Lucy Diamond (2015)

It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember.

Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet.

But as the following months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted - are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?

At the end of 2014 I was quite looking forward to the start of the new year and particularly the start of a new set of twelve months, filled with wonderful books to read. I knew the year would be off to a great start with the release of Lucy Diamond's latest novel 'The Year of Taking Chances' which was released on the 1st of January by Pan Macmillan. I love Lucy Diamond; she's a brilliant author whose books I always enjoy, no exceptions. Her novel 'Me and Mr. Jones' was actually one of the very first review copies I received when I started this blog and I remember loving it from start to finish (click here to read my review). So, needless to say, I was incredibly happy when I found a review copy of this new release on my doorstep and couldn't wait to read it!

Gemma Bailey leads a happy life with her husband Spencer and their two children Will and Darcey. They want to share their happiness with others by organising a big New Year's Eve party in their home, and Gemma knows it'll be a night to remember. At the party, she meets Caitlin Fraser who is back in Larkmead after her beloved mother's death. She needs to clean up her mother's house, but without someone by her side to help she is dreading the task. Saffron, a PR executive, needed some peace and quiet in her life to make some important decisions, so decided to rent a holiday cottage in Larkmead for a few days. However, when the electricity stops working, she also finds herself at Gemma's party instead of alone in the cottage. The three women ring in the new year together, hoping it will bring them good things, but all of them will be forced to rethink their lives and make some important decisions, in various ways.

In my opinion, Lucy Diamond is one of the best chick lit authors around at the moment, and definitely one of my personal favourites. While reading 'Me and Mr. Jones' in 2013 I fell in love with her comfortable writing style and warm feel-good stories and I had high hopes for 'The Year of Taking Chances.' Of course, there was no need to worry because this book is once again a simply wonderful read. One of Lucy Diamond's absolute strengths is her ability to portray a cast of incredibly realistic and loveable characters. There are three great main female characters at the core of the story: Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron are fascinating, down-to-earth, normal women and I am sure every reader will manage to relate to at least one of them. There is also a great collection of secondary characters in the novel such as lovely and handsome Harry and crazy and eccentric Bunty, to name just two of them. Combined with a captivating storyline, I just didn't want to stop reading the book for even a second.

I personally loved that there were three separate stories to focus on, all starring a different female character, and how these storylines were also brought together. The book deals with various topics, and especially at the start of the new year I was inspired by how the characters face their struggles and dare to take chances. This novel left me with a big smile on my face and it's just a fantastic read. I can't remember reading a book during the past few months that made me smile like this and filled me with hope. I hope Lucy Diamond will continue to write tons of books, because I can honestly say I don't think I will ever get enough of her stories. Overall, 'The Year of Taking Chances' is a brilliantly well-written, warm, feel-good read which I loved absolutely everything about; a fabulous read to start a new year with, but just as great to pick up any other day of the year!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

24 January 2015

Weekly Meme: Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a fun weekly meme for book bloggers organised by Tynga's Reviews. This meme is all about sharing the books we are adding to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual!

This week was a really quiet one when it comes to books; didn't buy any new books and didn't receive any review copies. However, there are still more than enough books on my TBR-list, so a quiet week isn't that bad every now and again!

Books bought


Review copies received


Books added to wishlist

Joan Elizabeth Klingel Ray - 'Jane Austen for Dummies'
Karen Swan - 'Christmas in the Snow'
Erica James - 'The Dandelion Years'

23 January 2015

Review & Interview: 'Right Click' by Lisa Becker (2013)

Love. Marriage. Infidelity. Crises of identity. Death. Cupcakes. The themes in Right Click, the third and final installment in the Click series, couldn't be more pressing for this group of friends as they navigate through their 30's. Another six months have passed since we last eavesdropped on the hilarious, poignant and oftentimes inappropriate email adventures of Renee and friends. As the story continues to unfold, relationships are tested and some need to be set "right" before everyone can find their "happily ever after."
Last year I was contacted by author Lisa Becker with the question of whether I was interested in reviewing her three-part book series 'Click'. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two parts, 'Click' and 'Double Click' (click here to read my review) of the series which consists of only e-mail correspondence between a group of friends. Luckily, I had also received a review copy of the final part, 'Right Click', which was released in May 2014. The lovely Lisa Becker managed to find the time to answer some interview questions, which you can find below, including also the fabulous trailer of an upcoming film version of the book series. Be sure to check it out by simply scrolling down!
'Right Click' is the third and final part of the 'Click' series which focuses on the lives of a group of friends: Renee, Shelley, Ashley, and Mark. In this last book, the characters once again find themselves in different situations: Renee is ready to get married to her lovely boyfriend Ethan; Shelley has taken the plunge and has moved away to Seattle to be with her boyfriend Nick, even though this means leaving behind her friends and family and building up a new life in a strange place; Ashley is trying to find her way being her mother to her new baby girl, and Mark is happily engaged to Cassidy, but there are some troubles on the horizon. While each of the characters deals with everything life throws their way, they stay in touch with one another via e-mail; no matter the distance, the time or the subject matter!
I have to admit I am quite sad this is the final part of the 'Click' series, because I've thoroughly enjoyed the books and will definitely miss reading about the great and fun group of characters. I love the fact that Lisa Becker decided to write these books completely in the form of e-mails. Not only because it's a nice change from a regular novel, but also because it provides both reader and author with a different perspective of experiencing a story. I was really surprised how much emotion and detail can still be conveyed through the use of e-mails, and I really ended up loving these novels and the characters. The main protagonist, Renee, is easy to warm to and the other characters all have their own unique personality traits which results in a great and fun group of friends. 
Another aspect which I particularly liked about this part of the series is that it includes quite some emotional and sad events as well, and even in these situations the e-mail correspondence works. I was a tiny bit disappointed by the epilogue, but only because it was so short and I would have loved it to have included a bit more information. I would personally definitely recommend reading the other parts of the series before picking up 'Right Click'. I guess it could be read as a stand-alone, but it's so much more enjoyable when you already know the characters and their history together. Lisa Becker is a great author and I'm curious to read a work that's not only e-mail correspondence, just to see what else she can do. Overall, 'Right Click' is a light, fun, and fast-paced read about friendship; the final part of a thoroughly enjoyable series which I highly recommend to all chick lit fans! 
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 Lisa Becker!

I'm really excited to welcome Lisa Becker to the blog today to tell us some more about her successful 'Click' book series!

Can you tell us something about your novel, ‘Right Click’?
Well, if your readers really do like happy endings, this third and final instalment in the Click trilogy should prove quite satisfying.  The trilogy, Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click, which all unfold exclusively in emails, marry the friendships of “Sex and the City,” the epistolary nature of “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and the online love story of “You’ve Got Mail” to be light and breezy stories for anyone who's ever been dumped, been in love, had a bad date or is still searching for "the one."  In the final chapter, another six months have passed since we last eavesdropped on the hilarious, poignant and often times inappropriate email adventures of Renee and friends. As the light-hearted, slice of life story continues to unfold, relationships are tested and some need to be set "right" before everyone can find their "happily ever after."

Where did you get the inspiration for your novel? Is it in any way based on your own personal experiences?
The trilogy is loosely based on my real-life dating experiences, as well as stories friends have shared with me.  In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred.  Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect.  And some scenarios are completely fictionalized.  But I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.”  

Can you tell us a bit more about the main protagonist, Renee?
Renee has a self-depreciating sense of humor, fear of flying, motivation in her PR career, love of baking and hopeful romantic outlook on life.  

There’s a great cast of supporting characters in the novel as well. Which character did you most enjoy writing?
Mark is loosely based on a friend who encouraged me to try online dating.  He’s a terrific guy who is still himself searching for “the one.”   So if you know any nice single girls, let me know.  ;)  But, my favorite character is Shelley.  She’s confident, brash, outrageous and wholly unapologetic for her choices.  She was so fun to write.  Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria.  She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.  Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn't long before they met and dated for a spell.  

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you perhaps already working on a next novel?
The screenplay based on the first in the series has recently been optioned for a major motion picture.  The same company also optioned another screenplay, called Clutch.  The story follows a young handbag designer who has a series of unsuccessful romantic relationships she compares to various styles of handbags – the Hobo (slacker), Diaper Bag (single dad), Messenger (born-again Christian), etc. –  in an effort to find the “Clutch” or one she wants to hold onto.  I’ve since completed three other screenplays and like most everyone in Los Angeles am now trying to break into the movies.  

And the question I can’t help but ask; is this really the end of the Click series or will we see these characters again in the future...?
I do believe that Right Click brings the series to a satisfying conclusion and I have no plans for more novels in the series.  I am, hoping (with fingers crossed and double crossed!) that we will see these characters brought to life on the big screen.  I’d love to see Casey Wilson play Renee, I can picture Shelley played by Malin Akerman, and I think James Van Der Beek would make a great Mark Finley.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
The  Click trilogy is a self-published series.  I explored the traditional publishing route and got feedback from multiple literary agents. One in particular explained the current economic state of the publishing industry to me. Due to the large investment to edit, produce, distribute and market a work by an unknown author, many large publishers won’t take the risk. Self-publishing is a way to get your work out there and was very easy.  The hardest part is marketing the book and spreading the word about it.  So, I’m especially appreciative to blogs like yours for helping me with that process.   

I'm also reminded of some advice I was once given. I had interviewed Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210, for an alumni magazine article while I was in graduate school. And I'll never forget what he told me, "Don't fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them." One of the great benefits of self-publishing is that you can really take control of the process. 

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Right Click’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Conversational, clever and calibrated, with a fourth being alliterative ;)

Thanks, Lisa!

Be sure to watch the fab book trailer for 'Click' below!