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30 November 2015

Blog Tour: 'The Killing of Polly Carter' by Robert Thorogood (2015)

When famous supermodel Polly Carter is found dead at the bottom of a cliff all signs point to suicide, but as the evidence continues to mount DI Richard Poole declares it to be a murder. Now, with a houseful of suspects Richard has to narrow the field and discover who the murderer is before it’s too late. At the same time his mother is arriving from England and throwing his whole perfectly ordered life into turmoil. Not only does she want to be involved in island life, but all signs are beginning to point to not all being right in Richard’s own family…something he cannot help but attempt to fix.

I'm incredibly excited to be part of quite a special blog tour today! Some of you might be familiar with the BBC TV series 'Death in Paradise', which had a lot of viewers and has been quite the success. Robert Thorogood, the creator and writer of the series, decided to write several murder mystery novels based on the TV show and the first book, 'A Meditation on Murder' was released earlier this year. Today I've got a review of the new second part of the series, 'The Killing of Polly Carter', to share with all of you, together with a blog post by Robert Thorogood himself, telling us a bit more about his 5 favourite fictional detectives, so be sure to scroll down and have a read!

The 'Death in Paradise' novels focus on Richard Poole, an English detective who is sent to the sunny Caribbean to lead a team of police people and solve murder cases over there. When famous supermodel Polly Carter is found dead at the bottom of a cliff, Richard and his team are asked to investigate whether it was a suicide or a murder. There are quite a number of suspects who might or not might have anything to do with Polly's suspicious death and it's up to Richard to make sense of it all. However, this turns out to be quite a challenge, especially when his mother decides to pay a visit to the Caribbean at the same time...

What a fantastic read! I straight away want to go out and buy the first part of this book series and want to watch all episodes of the BBC show, because this was a thoroughly convincing read and one I enjoyed so much more than I initially expected. Robert Thorogood is a great author with a distinctive writing style that held my attention throughout the whole book. I was taken in by the story from the first few pages and it really had me guessing until the very end, which is a great thing when reading a detective/murder mystery novel. It often happens that you can at least guess who did it or find out as the end nears, but this really still managed to surprise me until the last few chapters. 

I particularly liked the characters in the book. Main character Richard Poole is a true Englishman who loves tea and cold weather, and it was interesting to see how he adapts to life in the Caribbean, and how he deals with everything, like the murder case but also an unexpected visit from his mother. Richard has a great time with different personalities in the form of Camille, Dwayne, and Fidel, who all complement each other. The novel can definitely be read as a stand-alone, so even if you're not familiar with the other novel in this series or the TV show, it's still definitely worth picking up. This book made me wonder, guess, laugh, and I already can't wait for the next one. 'The Killing of Polly Carter' is a fantastic, well-written, gripping 'whodunnit'; a truly entertaining puzzle which I wanted to solve but also didn't want to end!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

My 5 Favourite Fictional Detectives by Robert Thorogood

I'm so excited to welcome Robert Thorogood to my blog today! Be sure to pick up his new novel 'The Killing of Polly Carter', which is a great murder mystery read. Robert has shared his own favourite fictional detectives with all of us today, check out his top 5 below!

Hello everyone, thanks so much for stopping by. I’ve been asked to choose my 5 favourite fictional detectives—which isn’t easy, I can tell you. So I’ve been umming and ahhing, and I think I’ve finally decided on my list…

1. Hercule Poirot.
Poirot was the first detective I fell totally head over heels in love with (I’m conveniently forgetting the boys and girls of The Secret Seven when I write this). But it’s no surprise to me that when I had the chance to create a murder mystery detective of my own, my hero ended up being a somewhat pompous and comic middle-aged bachelor who was prone to losing his temper with those around him. Just like Poirot.

2. Sherlock Holmes 
While Poirot thought he was superior to everyone else, Sherlock Holmes really was superior. And although this should have made him repellant as a character, his God-like genius is so impressive that it seems to make up for all of his other personal failings. And, whisper it quietly, but I think there’s also a (possibly masochistic?) frisson I get when I have a theory about who the killer is… Watson voices that theory… and then Sherlock dismisses it as being idiotic. (The fact that I enjoy being belittled by a fictional character is perhaps something I shouldn’t think about too closely). 

3. Miss Marple
If Sherlock is the hero who makes me feel enjoyably stupid, Miss Marple is the heroine who makes me feel happy to be alive. She’s like everyone’s favourite Great Aunt, isn’t she? She’s kind, she’s wise, and she’s capable of catching ruthless killers (so maybe she’s not actually like a favourite Aunt after all!). But the bonus with Miss Marple is that, when you’re with her, you also get to spend time in St. Mary Mead, a village so charming—so romantically old-fashioned—that it’s hard not to fall in love with the place. I sometimes think that reading a Miss Marple book is like taking a very long and lovely warm bath... 

4. Lincoln Rhyme
Although I normally only read cosy mysteries, I loved the grumpy Lincoln Rhyme the moment I first met him in Jeffrey Deaver’s The Bone Collector. Yes there’s gruesomeness aplenty (the clue’s in the book’s title, I soon realised), but the fact that Lincoln can’t leave his apartment is such a clever way of smuggling a ‘Golden Age’ mystery into a modern-day book. After all, Lincoln’s lack of mobility means he has to solve the crime using old-fashioned deduction—and the ending of that first book is worthy of anything Christie wrote. 

5. Columbo
Finally I come to the first person on this list who is happily married and has children (in fact, he’s the only one of the 5 detectives I’ve chosen who is even in a relationship, I wonder what that says about the murder mystery genre?!) The genius of Columbo is that he seems so disheveled and so disorganised, doesn’t he? Both in how he runs his life and how he thinks. And so we end up rooting for him because he feels so much like the underdog. And yet, we know that at the very moment in the story that it looks as though the killer has got away with it, he’ll turn back to the room and say, ‘Just one more thing…’ Pure magic.

But those are my 5 favourite Detectives. I wonder if any of the people on my list would be on yours? And who have I missed out? Anyway, as I continue to fuss and worry about who else I should have included, I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas holiday season.

Thanks so much, Robert!

29 November 2015

December 2015 Releases!

And then it was December! The month that means Christmas is almost upon us (I can't wait!) but also the month that means the end of the year is almost here. I can hardly believe it, because I can still clearly remember the start of 2015. It has been quite a year and I am really excited to share some of my favourite 2015 reads as we get closer to December 31st. However, right now, I'd like to focus on some of the amazing novels that will be released this upcoming month, so be sure to scroll down to find some inspiration for your Christmas wish list!

Which releases are you excited about? I'd love to hear from you! If you'd like me to include your book release in this list, feel free to contact me via e-mail or Twitter! :)
Lucy Holliday - 'A Night in with Marilyn Monroe' (3 December)

The last few months have been a whirlwind for Libby Lomax, not only is she dating the hottest man on the planet, but there now seems to be a decent career alternative on offer to the failed actress one that she seemed unable to escape. She can hardly believe that life is finally turning around.

But her optimism seems short-lived when she realises that Dillon O’Hara is about as far away from steady boyfriend material that it possible to get. Then, when another uninvited guest, in the form of Marilyn Monroe, turns up on her ancient sofa, Libby finds she would willingly bite her own arm off for a return to normality. Thank goodness her best friend Ollie is still there to keep her feet on the ground.

Libby doubts that Marilyn is really the right person to offer her relationship advice, but perhaps she should listen up, before it’s too late...

Why so excited? --> This novel is the follow-up to 'A Night in with Audrey Hepburn' which was released earlier this year and which received many positive reviews. I am really excited to check out Lucy Holliday's work. I love the covers of her books and have a feeling the stories are definitely worth the read as well! / / Goodreads

Danielle Steel - 'Precious Gifts' (3 December)

One act of love will change one family’s destiny.

As a devoted mother, Veronique Parker has dedicated herself to her three daughters, before and since her divorce.

Her world is turned upside down when her former husband dies suddenly, leaving her and their daughters astonishing inheritances: a painting of mysterious provenance, a château in the south of France, the freedom to pursue their dreams, and a shocking revelation from the past.

The precious gifts he left will lead them on a journey certain to change Veronique and her daughters’ destinies in the most surprising of ways...

Why so excited? --> Danielle Steel is one of the most popular and well-loved authors within the world of women's fiction. So far I've had the pleasure of reading only one of her novels, which I quite enjoyed. I look forward to checking out more of Danielle Steel's work and 'Precious Gifts' sounds like a lovely holiday read! / / Goodreads

Judy Astley - 'Merry Mistletoe Wedding' (3 December)

It is almost a year since Sean and Thea met and it's been a roller-coaster ride: they're getting married on Christmas Eve!

Neither Thea or Sean want a big fuss - a simple wedding, with Christmas carols and just a few sprigs of mistletoe for decoration is all they need. But before they know it, things begin to get complicated. Trying to manage a long-distance relationship in the build-up to their Christmas wedding is one thing, but as one challenge after another comes their way, the happy couple begin to wonder if they'll ever make it down the aisle...

Why so excited? --> A novel that is at the top of my holiday reading for this year! Judy Astley knows how to write an entertaining story with characters that will stay with you for quite some time to come, and I already look forward to picking this up now the paperback version is being released on December 3rd!

Lulu Taylor - 'The Winter Children' (3 December)

Behind a selfless act of kindness lies dark intentions...

Olivia and Dan Felbeck are blissfully happy when their longed-for twins arrive after years of IVF. At the same time, they make the move to Renniston Hall, a huge, Elizabethan house that belongs to absent friends. Living rent-free in a small part of the unmodernised house, once a boarding school, they can begin to enjoy the family life they've always wanted. But there is a secret at the heart of their family, one that Olivia does not yet know. And the house, too, holds its darkness deep within it...

Why so excited? --> Lulu Taylor's novels always manage to intrigue me and 'The Winter Children' already sounds just as gripping as her other works; can't wait to pick this one up! / / Goodreads

Melissa Hill - 'A Diamond from Tiffany's' (3 December)

It's been two years since Ethan Greene and Gary Knowles collided one fateful evening outside Tiffany & Co on Fifth Avenue. A mix-up with their shopping bags sent each man's life on an unexpected trajectory, and while Gary and his fiancée Rachel are heading for the altar, Ethan's love life is not so settled. 

Rachel dreams are within her grasp; her restaurant is going from strength to strength and she and Gary are set to be married amongst family and friends at an idyllic New York location. But when they arrive in the city only days before the ceremony, Gary seems distracted and restless. Could he be having second thoughts? 

Ethan is anxious to see Terri again at the wedding; he truly felt they had something special, and plans to use the time in New York to prove to her that their relationship deserves another chance. 

Will the romance of New York and Tiffany's work its magic on the couples once more?

Why so excited? --> I love Melissa Hill! She's a brilliant author and Christmas wouldn't be the same without one of her stories. This short story collection seems like a real treat and I'm sure any chick lit fan will enjoy this!

Sarra Manning - 'After the Last Dance' (4 December)

Two women. Two love affairs. One unforgettable story.

Kings Cross station, 1943. Rose arrives in London hoping to swap the drudgery of wartime for romance, glamour and jiving with GIs at Rainbow Corner, the famous dance hall in Piccadilly Circus. As the bombs fall, Rose loses her heart to a pilot but will lose so much more before the war has done its worst.

Las Vegas, present day. A beautiful woman in a wedding dress walks into a seedy bar and asks the first man she sees to marry her. When Leo slips the ring onto Jane's finger, he has no idea that his new wife will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

So when Jane meets Rose, now a formidable older lady, there's no love lost between them. But with time running out, can Rose and Jane come together to make peace with the tragic secrets that have always haunted their lives?

Why so excited? --> This sounds like such a good read! Probably one of my favourite December 2015 releases and I honestly can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Fingers crossed it'll be just as wonderful as I expect it to be! / / Goodreads

Sandy Taylor - 'The Girls from See Saw Lane' (4 December)

Brighton 1963. Mary Pickles and I walked along the street with our arms linked, looking in shop windows. We were best friends and together we were invincible.

Dottie and Mary forged a friendship over a bag of penny sweets when they were eight years old. They’ve shared everything together since then – the highs and lows of school, family dramas, hopes and dreams and now, at seventeen, they’re both shop girls, working at Woolworths.

As they go out in the world in pursuit of love and happiness, the simplicity of their childhood dissolves as life becomes more complicated. The heady excitement of first love will consume them both, but the pain of unintentional betrayal will test their friendship in ways neither of them could ever imagine…

Why so excited? --> Whenever I spot a new Bookouture release, I already get excited! Bookouture has so many lovely reads, I am willing to give all of their releases a try without even reading the book description. I actually also love the sound of 'The Girls from See Saw Lane', so can't wait to read it! / / Goodreads

Jon Rance - 'A Notting Hill Christmas' (7 December)

Meet Ben Canterbury, 29, single, lives in a poky flat in Notting Hill with horny Welshman, Rufus. His life has been one disappointment after another. What makes it worse is that his brother, Jamie, is the complete opposite - a Barrister to Ben’s Barista - with a family and a proper house in Twickenham. So in an attempt to compete with his perfect brother, Ben insists he hosts the family Christmas, but it isn’t long before he realises he’s way out of his depth. 

Ben’s flat isn’t big enough for so many people (and one very angry dog), the Christmas tree’s from the Pound Shop, the decorations are hung with Blu-Tack, and the turkey might not fit in the oven. Ben’s definitely not feeling the Christmas spirit. But when beautiful new neighbour, Mhairi McGregor, appears at his door, Ben’s Christmas worries go out of the window and he begins to wonder if it might not be the worst Christmas in history after all. 

Amid all the drama, drinking and carnage of Christmas Day, will Ben find true love or will it be just another disappointment to add to the list?

Why so excited? --> This novella promises to be a great read for fans of 'Love Actually' and 'Notting Hill', which happen to be two of my favourite films. I love the sound of the story and look forward to sitting down with it on the couch in the lead-up to Christmas! / / Goodreads

Jill Knapp - 'You'll Find Me in Manhattan' (17 December)

Amalia and Olivia have found themselves at a crossroads. Their last year in their Master's program at NYU is proving to be a trying one, and on top of that, Olivia has to balance planning a wedding AND managing the unwanted input of her estranged mother – who doesn’t even like her fiancé!

Meanwhile, Amalia finds herself feeling more lost than ever as graduation approaches and her classmates begin making plans for next year. Still torn between Michael and Hayden, she finally makes a decision – but one that that will either box her in, leaving her always wanting more out of life, or finally breaking free to find the happiness and stability she's always needed.

Why so excited? --> The paperback version of the third part of Jill Knapp's book series, 'You'll Find Me in Manhattan', will be released on December 17th! I actually just read the first part and really enjoyed it, so look forward to picking up both the second and third part of the series soon! / / Goodreads

27 November 2015

Review: 'What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?' by Jill Knapp (2014)

Life in the big city gives Amalia a ride she is not expecting. As she tries to find her way on the little island that never sleeps, she discovers she has a harder time navigating through life then she does the streets of Greenwich Village and finds herself truly lost in the complex world of men, graduate school, money, family, and friendship.

She thought she had everything she wanted – a new apartment in Manhattan, a first-rate education at NYU, a group of trusted friends and Nicholas, a boyfriend who she once believed was her soul-mate. But somehow, it isn’t enough. 

Stumbling through her relationships, Amalia encounters Michael. An attractive classmate who quickly moves from being one of her close friends, to an inconsistent friend-with-benefits. After all, the only thing consistent about New York is its beauty. 

After getting terribly lost searching for love in all the wrong places, Amalia finds herself torn between the possibility of a relationship, and an adventure she's been planning all along. 

She eventually realizes that solely chasing love closes her off to all of the other good things life has to offer. Now she must decide – what is worth the chase?

Harper Impulse continues to be one of my personal favourite publishers. Over the past year they've once again released numerous thoroughly entertaining reads and I am almost starting to think that if I can find the Harper Impulse logo on the book, it's a guaranteed good read! Today I've got a review of Jill Knapp's 'What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?', which is the first part of her book series 'What Happens to Men.' The novel was first released in 2014 and since then the other two parts of the series, 'You'll Find Me in Manhattan' and 'We've Always Got New York', have also been released. I love starting a new series in the hope of enjoying it so much, you can straight away grab the other parts, so I had my fingers crossed!

23-year-old Amalia is leading the good life: she has a great apartment in Manhattan, goes to NYU to get her master's degree, has some great friends, and a lovely boyfriend named Nicholas whom she can't imagine living without. Until Nicholas breaks up with her for no clear reason, and Amalia suddenly finds herself being single in New York City. She realises the city has a lot to offer her, such as her classmate and friend Michael who seems to be just as attracted to her as she is to him but doesn't seem to be looking for something serious. But is Michael really the guy for her, or should she perhaps forget about guys for a while and focus on other things in life that could make her happy?

I completely understand why 'What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan' is compared to TV shows like 'Sex and the City', because the similarities are definitely there. Set in New York City, a twenty-something female protagonist, and a strong storyline focus on men, love/romance, and friendship. I quite enjoyed the novel, which was a quick read with roughly 290 pages, and enjoyed taking a look into main character Amalia's life. New York is, of course, a great setting for a book like this one and there was also an interesting collection of secondary characters, such as Amalia's best friend Cassandra, which I enjoyed learning more about. 

I've seen this novel being described as New Adult; a genre which I'm not really that familiar with, but there are definitely some chick lit elements in the novel as well. As mentioned before, the story really focuses on Amalia and her love life. While this was fun to read about it, I also wouldn’t have minded if another storyline had been added, just to have a bit more going on. The book ends with an open ending and I am really curious to find out what will happen to Amalia next, so I already look forward to picking up the second part of this series. Overall, ‘What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan’ is a fun, entertaining and quick read and a promising debut by author Jill Knapp!
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 November 2015

Review: 'A Certain Someone' by Ali O'Donovan (2015)

After losing her college sweetheart and her job, ex teacher Annie hides out in the wilds of West Kerry in Ireland to get her act together. But despite vowing to win back her ex boyfriend, she soon finds herself entangled with two different men in the tight knit local community. Mart, a washed up soap star falls off his barstool into her arms and decides she is the perfect tonic for his flagging ratings. And Scott, a hip American photographer on assignment in the area who has a talent for finding her in embarrassing situations (usually in her greyest underwear), who she decides she loves to hate.

But it is the arrival of an old college contemporary, and former rival for her ex-boyfriend Rory’s affections, that really forces her to get a grip on herself. Social climbing glamazon, Philomena “Grotty’ Crotty is now married to one of Ireland’s richest men and is busy re-making herself as a society philanthropist. While helping to raise funds for a children’s hospice, Annie is forced to go begging to her old university "frenemy".

Philomena has designs on both Mart and Scott and will use anyone and anything to get even with Annie. The scene is set for a collision course that forces Annie to confront what she really wants out of life and ‘that certain someone’.

Ireland is definitely one of the countries I want to visit someday. I've been on a city trip to Dublin, which I really enjoyed, but I'd really like to visit places in the countryside. I've heard and read many things about the beautiful Irish landscapes and think it is a place I will fall in love with as soon as I'm there! Today I have a review of a book that is set in Ireland to share with all of you, and it wasn't just because of the setting of the novel that I was quite excited to give this read a try. I liked the description of Ali O'Donovan's 'A Certain Someone', which was released by Oak Grove Publishing in March 2015, and which promises an enjoyable romantic comedy read, so I looked forward to stepping into the Irish countryside with this book!

Thirty-something Annie Hussey isn't quite sure where her life is going, if it is even going anywhere. After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend Rory and losing her job, she gained a lot of weight and doesn't know what she's going to do with herself. She decides to go back to Ireland where she gets stuck in the village life of a tight-knit local community in Kerry. All of a sudden Annie has two guys who are interested in her, her own goal of trying to get her ex-boyfriend Rory back, and she finds herself in an ongoing battle with her college frenemy Philomena Crotty. Will Annie be able to finally find what she has been looking for in Ireland or are things really only going to go downhill from now on...?

I think the main storyline in 'A Certain Someone' is a classic one and one many readers will be able to relate to in one way or another; that point in your life when you're not quite sure what you're doing and you just want to run away from it all and start anew. That is the situation protagonist Anne Hussey finds herself in and she decides to travel to her home country, Ireland, to hopefully find what she's looking for. I was excited to join Annie on this journey and curious to find out what would happen to her. The novel focuses on Annie's search for a new purpose in her life, which was quite enjoyable, and a nice romantic element is added to this search as well.

While the book has a good storyline, I personally thought it was all quite detailed and long-winded, without a good dose of dialogue to mix things up a bit. I found myself wanting to skip certain passages, craving more excitement and more things to happen to the characters. I felt like much more could have been done with the different characters and the storyline, and in the end I didn't enjoy the book as much as I had initially hoped I would. Overall, 'A Certain Someone' is a descriptive romcom read that follows the life of Annie Hussey; a promising novel that unfortunately didn't completely live up to my hopes and expectations. I do think there are readers out there who will really enjoy this novel; it just wasn't the read for me.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

25 November 2015

Review: 'You'll Be Thinking of Me' by Densie Webb (2015)

A chance encounter with a celebrity, an impromptu video, and a shiny new espresso machine. It all added up to a juicy tale for 24-year-old Rachael Allen to share with friends. But when her best friend posts the video online, bizarre threats, home break-ins, and deadly gifts from an obsessed fan follow close behind.  Mick Sullivan, the star in her video, offers to help and in the process, Rachael discovers that despite his reputation as a player of Olympian caliber, he’s down-to-earth—and emotionally damaged. He has secrets; some he’s shared only with his pseudo best friend. Others he's shared with no one. But there's one secret he’s hidden from himself, washed away by too many beers.  Despite wildly divergent life paths, their shared southern upbringing (and a passion for good music) creates a common thread that draws them together. As the threats escalate, and their relationship deepens, Rachael struggles to accept Mick’s past—and his present. And she is forced to confront her own obsessive love to ultimately decide if being with Mick Sullivan is worth the collateral damage.

Earlier this year I was contacted by author Densie Webb with the question of whether I was interested in reading and reviewing her debut novel 'You'll Be Thinking of Me', which was first released in January 2015. Densie spent a long career as a freelance non-fiction writer and editor, specialising in health and nutrition, and has published several books and numerous articles on the topic over the years. This book is her first step into the world of fiction and I have to say the description of the novel straight away intrigued me. It took me a bit of time to finally pick up the novel (sorry about that, Densie!), but I had my fingers crossed for an enjoyable read!

Twenty-four-year-old Rachael Allen is pleasantly surprised when she bumps into famous actor Mick Sullivan in a gourmet coffee shop one day. They start talking and Rachael can't help but ask for a picture, which eventually leads to Mick taking a video of the two of them. Rachael is really excited, and so is her best friend Jenna, who decides to put the video on the Internet, just for fun. But what starts out as simple fun, quickly turns into something a lot more serious when Rachael is suddenly stuck with her very own stalker. That tiny video turns out to have a lot of impact on Rachael's future, and as threatening letters and e-mails start to arrive, Rachael has no idea what she has gotten herself into by starting a conversation with Mick Sullivan that one day...

It has been a while since I've read a novel as suspenseful as this one! Densie Webb has really managed to create a convincing story filled with tension, and a story that had me at the edge of my seat until the last few chapters. While the plot line (celebrity crush/stalker) is one that has been done many times before, the author really managed to turn it into her own. I particularly liked Densie Webb's writing style. It was incredibly easy to fall into and to keep on reading for longer periods of time, while at the same time detailed enough and quite gripping. The fact that this is her debut novel is quite impressive and I already can't wait to read more of Densie's work. 

I would describe the book as a combination of genres; a large part thriller, but there's also a clear romance element between the main characters, Rachael and Mick. I liked Rachael from the start and I loved seeing the relationship between her and Mick develop slowly, all because of what is happening to the two of them. The story is told from several different points of view, which really provided the reader with the opportunity to get into the head of the characters. If I have to give one point of critique, I'd have to go with the cover. I personally really don't like it and think a more attractive cover would only benefit the great writing that is hidden inside. Overall, though, 'You'll Be Thinking of Me' is an enthralling, chilling and well-written book about celebrity crushes, love, and obsession; a thriller/romance novel that is definitely worth picking up!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

24 November 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Authors I'm Thankful For

'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!
Ten Authors I'm Thankful For

On November 26th it's Thanksgiving; a holiday I've never celebrated, because this is something we don't celebrate at all in the Netherlands. I really like the idea of spending a day each year, thinking about what you're really thankful for in life, so perhaps I'll start celebrating it someday, who knows? This week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about being thankful, most specifically focusing on the 10 authors I'm thankful for. Be sure to check out my list below and I'm curious to see which authors made it onto other people's lists!

Be sure to share your own TTT's in the comments section below; I'd love to hear from you! 

1. Jane Austen

Jane Austen has been my favourite author for years and I love loving her work! <3

2. J.K. Rowling

What would the world look like without Harry Potter in it? I don't want to know, unless it means the books still need to released and I could read them all again for the very first time!

3. Lindsey Kelk

Lindsey Kelk is one of the authors that made me fall in love with chick lit and I still thoroughly enjoy all of her novels.

4. Lisa Dickenson

Lisa's novels make me laugh so much, no matter the weather or whatever has happened in my life. Definitely something to be thankful for!

5. Cathy Bramley

Cathy's novels are so heart-warming and just a true joy to read. Whenever I feel down, I just know picking up one of her novels will make me forget about everything for a while.

6. Nicholas Sparks

Probably the best romance author of the past couple of years, I just love the fact he's keeping romance alive with his fabulous novels!

7. Tracie Banister

I recently read my first Tracie Banister novel and it had been such a long time since I read a great chick lit novel. The book came at exactly the right time, when I really needed it, and I'm thankful for that!

8. Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis is another author who proved that chick lit is still alive and can be pretty amazing. I love her books and hope she'll continue writing for years to come.

9. Louisa May Alcott

An author whom I've loved for years, ever since I was a little girl and read 'Little Women' for the first time.

10. Robert Thorogood

I just finished Robert Thorogood's upcoming release 'The Killing of Polly Carter' and really enjoyed it. I don't think I've ever read such an entertaining and intriguing detective/mystery novel and he opened the door to a new genre for me, so thanks for that!

23 November 2015

Review: 'Fooling Around with Cinderella' by Stacy Juba (2015)

What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella’s toes? When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom.

I've always been a big fan of fairytales. Stories about princesses being saved by Prince Charming, living happily ever after in a beautiful castle in a faraway land... I guess the link between happy-ending fairytales and romance/chick lit novels is quite obvious, so whenever the two are combined you can always count me in. When I was contacted by author Stacy Juba about reviewing her novel 'Fooling Around with Cinderella' (released on November 6th by Thunder Horse Press), I straight away loved the sound of the novel, which is the start of a new book series. The idea of Storybook Valley, a theme park completely dedicated to fairytales, is something I loved straight away and I couldn't wait to see what the novel would be like!

Jaine Andersen is unemployed and seriously looking for a job to take her mind off all the wedding planning and babysitting she has to do for her quite demanding twin sisters. When she manages to get an interview with Dylan Callahan, manager at the local family theme park Storybook Valley, about a marketing job, Jaine knows she will do anything to get the job. Dylan is impressed with Jaine's creativity and determination and decides to hire her. There's just one catch: there is no room for the marketing position at the moment, so until the end of the season he wants Jaine to play the role of Cinderella. While Jaine knows walking around a theme park in a princess dress wasn't her first idea of a suitable job, she knows it will eventually get her what she wants. But keeping secrets from your family, making children happy, coming up with marketing strategies, and developing a crush on one of your colleagues, all at the same time, is quite a challenge, even for Cinderella...

Oh, I just loved every bit of this novel, from start to finish; what a brilliant read! The combination of chick lit and fairy tale just works so well, if you ask me, and Stacy Juba created a thoroughly enjoyable and fun read which I can't recommend enough to any romantic comedy fan out there. I loved the fairy tale element brought into the story by Storybook Valley, the theme park in which the novel is set, but also the modern twist the author gave the story of Cinderella in the form of the protagonist, Jaine. The fairy tale elements are incorporated in the story in a clever way; the elements are clearly there, but the story reads like a modern-day chick lit novel.

I easily warmed to Jaine and thought she was a wonderful heroine. She's easy to relate to and I loved seeing her develop as a character throughout the story. There was also a great cast of secondary characters, such as Dylan and his family and all Jaine's new co-workers at the theme park. The story really had it all for me and I can't even begin to explain how excited I am that this is just the first part of an entire Storybook Valley book series! Overall, 'Fooling Around with Cinderella' is a fun, heart-warming, and simply magical read that entertained me from start to finish; I loved 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.

22 November 2015

Review: 'Sleeping with Your Best Friend' by Rosa Temple (2015)

It's Lori's wedding night and husband, Sam, makes a startling revelation just hours after arriving at their dream honeymoon location. A devastated Lori returns to London believing revenge will help her recover from the shocking blow. But Lori does something she will live to regret.
Sam's best friend, Matt, is there to offer Lori a shoulder to cry on because Lori's best friend, Julia, disappeared just days before the wedding.
This flaky foursome are about to have their relationships stretched to the limits, when honesty is in short supply and bed hopping seems to be the order of the day.

Over the last year or so I've really come to appreciate novellas a lot more. I used to not really be a fan because I found the stories a bit too short to really connect to the characters, but luckily I've discovered there are definitely some great novellas out there: quick and fun reads to pick up during your lunch break or commute home! Today, I also have a review of a novella to share with all of you, namely for author Rosa Temple's 'Sleeping with Your Best Friend'!

'Sleeping with Your Best Friend' tells the story of twenty-something Lori who has just married her boyfriend Sam. What she expects to be a blissful and loving honeymoon, though, quickly turns out to become a disaster when she discovers Sam cheated on her with no one else than her best friend Julia. Lori quickly returns home and decides she wants revenge; something that will hurt both Sam and Julia in the way they hurt her. In a moment of anger, Lori does something that will certainly affect all of them. But will it turn out to be a big disaster or perhaps not such a bad thing after all...?

This novella is a fun and quick romance read of about 70 pages, and a story which can be read easily in one or two sittings. Main character Lori just married her long-term boyfriend Sam when she discovers he cheated on her with her best friend a few months before their wedding day. Now, all Lori is wants is revenge. The storyline of this novella is perhaps not the most original one, but it's entertaining and features a foursome of interesting characters in the form of Lori, her best friend Julia, her husband Sam and his best friend Matt. 

The story deals with topics such as friendship, love and betrayal and is quite quick-paced, with a lot of different things happening in a relatively short time span and much dialogue. Author Rosa Temple has piqued my interest with this novella and I'm curious to check out more of her work in the future. 'Sleeping with Your Best Friend' is a fun and fast chick lit novella; a bit predictable, but still an enjoyable read.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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