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28 February 2015

March 2015 releases!

It's already time to look at some exciting book releases that are coming up in March, which means Spring is almost upon us! I really hope the grey, rainy, misty days will disappear soon and turn into sunny early Spring days because I definitely need some sunshine in my life! Thankfully, I still have quite a large pile of lovely novels waiting for me to transport me to other places, and March has quite pretty amazing releases in store for us as well. I've chosen some of the novels I'm most looking forward to picking up next month about which you can read a bit more below. 

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! :)

Stacey Ballis - 'Recipe for Disaster' (3 March)

To an outside observer, Anneke Stroudt is a mess—her shirts are stained, her fingernails stubby, her language colorful. But, despite her flaws, Anneke’s life is close to perfect. She has a beautiful historic house to restore and a loving fiancé who cooks like a dream.

Until Anneke’s charmed existence falls apart when she loses both her job and her future husband in one terrible day. In need of a new start, she packs up her disgruntled schnauzer and moves into her half-finished home, where she throws her pent-up frustration—and what little savings she has—into finishing the renovation.

But at the first step into the house’s overhaul, Anneke is sidetracked when she discovers a mysterious leather-bound book, long hidden away, filled with tempting recipes and steamy secrets from Emma Ditmore-Smythe, the cook for the house’s original owners. Slowly, with the help of some delicious food and Emma’s life lessons, Anneke begins to realize that, just like a flawless recipe, she’s been waiting for the right ingredients to cook up a perfect life all along…

Why so excited? --> I love the sound of this novel and I can't wait to read more about main character Anneke and the secret recipe book she finds. The book promises to be a great read for fans of Emily Giffin, whose novels I can't get enough of, so I have high hopes for this release!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Roisin Meaney - 'Two Fridays in April' (5 March)

It's Friday, April 2. Daphne Darling knows that she should be celebrating her stepdaughter Una's 17th birthday, but it's hard, because the date also marks the one-year anniversary of her husband's death and she and Una just can't seem to connect anymore. Daphne can't turn to her own mother Isabel for advice as their relationship is distant, to say the least, and Mo, Finn's elderly mother, is still grief-stricken at the death of her only son, so she is of little help. But by the end of that day in April, marking the occasion with a slice of cake and a glass of wine will be the last thing on anyone's mind...

Before that Friday, Daphne, Mo and Isabel were all stuck in the past, with their grief and their loss. And then Una takes matters into her own hands, and even though she makes a terrible mistake, she teaches Daphne, Mo and Isabel something about life: that it is to be lived and that, in spite of everything they've been through, happiness can still be a part of it. 

Why so excited? --> I'm not familiar with author Roisin Meaney, but I was instantly intrigued by the cover and blurb of her upcoming release 'Two Fridays in April.' I think this will be a great read for women's fiction fans and I can't wait to check it out myself.

 


Cathy Bramley - 'Appleby Farm: a Family Affair (Part 2)' (5 March)

It’s impossible not to feel cheerful at Appleby Farm, so Freya is putting her doubts about her love life to the back of her mind for now.

But when she discovers the truth about its financial troubles, Freya has to face up to reality: they might lose the farm. There’s only one person she can ask for help, and it’s the last thing she wants to do… Can a trip to Paris change the farm’s fortunes?

As Appleby Farm’s fate hangs in the balance, Freya is surprised as her own dreams for the future take shape. But who will be at her side as her dreams become reality?

Appleby Farm is an irresistibly charming novel told in four parts – following the adventures of Freya Moorcroft in love, friendship and a spot of farming. A Family Affair is part two. It features some friendly faces who appeared in Cathy's bestselling series, Ivy Lane, but it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone story.

Why so excited? --> I love love love Cathy Bramley's work and I have been looking forward to reading 'Appleby Farm' for quite a long time. Her novels 'Conditional Love' and 'Ivy Lane' were brilliant reads and I have a good feeling this one won't disappoint either. And what about the gorgeous covers for the book series? LOVE them!

 


Patricia Scanlan - 'A Time for Friends' (12 March)

When are the boundaries of friendship pushed too far, and when is it time to stop flying over oceans for someone who wouldn't jump over a puddle for you? There comes a time when Hilary Hammond has to make that call.

Hilary and Colette O'Mahony have been friends since childhood, but when irrepressible Jonathan Harpur breezes into Hilary's life and goes into business with her, Colette is not best pleased. 

After their first encounter Colette thinks he's a 'pushy upstart' while he thinks she's 'a snobby little diva'. And so the battle lines are drawn and Hilary is bang in the middle.

But as the years roll by and each of them is faced with difficult times and tough decisions, one thing is clear … to have a friend you must be a friend.

And that's when Hilary discovers that sometimes your best friend can be your greatest enemy …

Why so excited? --> I've never read any of Patricia Scanlan's books before, unfortunately, and I'm quite curious to check out one of her works. 'A Time for Friends' sounds like a promising read, so hopefully I'll be able to pick up a copy next month.

 


Louise Lee - 'The Last Honeytrap' (12 March)

Scot 'Scat' Delaney is a world famous jazz singer. He has ample opportunity to stray and his girlfriend, Alice, needs to know she can trust him.

Introducing Florence Love, Private Investigator.

Florence has just ten days to entrap an A-Lister. Whilst sticking to her cardinal rule:

One kiss, with tongues, five seconds - case closed.

A master of body language, evolutionary science and nifty disguises, her approach is unconventional, her success rate excellent. But targets are rarely as beautiful as Scat. Never fall for the target.

That is very bad form indeed.

Why so excited? --> Louise Lee's release 'The Last Honeytrap' sounds like quite a read! The blurb promises a unique story and I've read it's a great read for fans of Miranda Dickinson, so fingers crossed I'll enjoy this one as much as I enjoy Miranda's novels!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Sue Shepherd - 'Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret?' (20 March)

Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret? is a romantic comedy about three very different people, each with a secret, whose lives collide in unexpected ways. 

Steph is a harrassed mum who's considering an affair with her children's sexy headmaster. Penny is trying to deal with a crush on her boss, OCD and a sad secret from her childhood. And Mike is a vicar who is being blackmailed for his secret, although it's not all that it seems! 

Meanwhile, all three are being watched over by their own guardian angels, who try to push them in the right direction and help move their lives along - but not always successfully ... 

Why so excited? --> I was contacted by Corazon Books about this upcoming release and I already really like the sound of it. I love women's fiction titles in which the focus lies on several characters and different storylines that come together, so I look forward to picking this up next month!


Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Beth Thomas - 'His Other Life' (26 March)

He was hiding a terrible secret...

Grace’s new husband Adam seems like the perfect package. Good looking, great job, completely charming – almost too good to be true...

So when Adam suddenly disappears from Grace’s life, she is left bewildered and heartbroken. And with a lot of unanswered questions.

As she tries desperately to find him, Grace opens a Pandora’s Box of secrets and lies – and starts to learn that Adam wasn't so perfect after all.

What shameful secrets was her husband hiding? Is Grace in danger? And can she survive the truth? However terrible it may be...

Why so excited? --> I really enjoyed Beth Thomas' debut novel 'Carry You' which I received a review copy of last year. I have been looking forward to her next release for quite some time and I'm so excited I'll finally be able to sit down with 'His Other Life' next month!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Jo Thomas - 'The Olive Branch' (26 March)

It's amazing what you can buy online these days:
Memorabilia
Fashion accessories
A crumbling Italian farmhouse...

After a Prosecco-fuelled girls' night in gets out of hand, Ruthie Collins awakes to discover that she has bid for her dream Italian home online - and won. Recently out of a relationship, a new start is just what Ruthie needs. Anything is better than sleeping on her mum's settee.

But arriving in Southern Italy, Ruthie doesn't know the first thing about running an olive farm. And with new neighbours, the tempestuous Marco Bellanouvo and his fiery family to contend with, all Ruthie wants is to go back home.

Life can change with the click of a mouse. But all good things - friendship, romance, and even the olive harvest - take time to grow. Can Ruthie finally put the past to rest and find her own piece of the Dolce Vita along the way?

Why so excited? --> I just love the storyline of this upcoming release; the idea of bidding on your dream Italian home after a few too many drinks, and actually getting the house and being thrown into an Italian adventure! I can't wait to read more about Ruthie, I have a feeling I'm really going to enjoy this book!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Claudia Carroll - 'Meet Me in Manhattan' (26 March)

In a New York minute, everything can change …

Holly Johnson is at a crossroads in her life. She wants to make it as a real journalist, and she’s dreaming of falling in love. She’s so close to getting her break at work, and she’s met a very special guy. Well, she hasn’t actually met him … not yet. But everyone knows most relationships start online these days. And she’s on to a winner with this one. Isn’t she?

But something is not quite right with Andy McCoy – and he’s about to learn you don’t mess with Holly Johnson. She decides to fly to New York to find the truth.

Holly is about to get the shock of her life.

What she finds in Manhattan swiftly turns into a nightmare.

But maybe – just maybe – if Holly is true to herself, she can turn this nightmare into a dream come true …

Why so excited? --> Claudia Carroll is a fabulous author and I've loved all her books so far, so I'm sure I'll enjoy her next release as well.

 


Nicola Doherty - 'The Girls Take Manhattan' (26 March)

Join Poppy, Lily, Maggie and Rachel as they jet to New York - and face a big secret in the Big Apple.

When Lily invites the girls to attend a VIP event in Manhattan, they all jump at the chance. Poppy especially is thrilled to escape her impending 30th birthday with a weekend of Cosmos and red carpets. But none of them have any idea what Lily is really planning. Or how a single weekend can turn your life upside-down ... With non-stop fun and flirty frolics, this is a girls' weekend not to be missed.

'Girls on Tour' is an irresistible series of interlinked stories about four ordinary girls who have extraordinary fun in faraway places. Expect the unexpected, the utterly hilarious and unforgettable, on this rollercoaster ride of love, laughs, surprises and sparks. You have a VIP pass to join each girl's adventure, so pack your bags and buckle your seatbelts, because just about anything is possible...

Why so excited? --> I still haven't been able to read Nicola Doherty's 'Girls on Tour' book series, but I just love the idea and book covers of the series. I'm 100% sure I'll really enjoy it and hope I'll be able to get my hands on the different parts soon!

 


Pippa Wright - 'The Gospel According to Drew Barrymore' (26 March)

Friendship is like a shark: it has to keep moving forwards to survive.

Esther and Laura have been best friends since they were seven. Quite a bit has changed since then... They've swapped school for full-time employment, boyfriends for bugaboos, experimental hair-dye for salon-preened locks - and their friendship has evolved just as much. But they remain close, knitted together by the bonds of time.

So when Esther is told that Laura has gone missing, she immediately leaves her husband and small child for San Francisco and begins to trace her friend's last movements. All she has is an email from Laura: 'I'm channelling Drew Barrymore, as ever. The Gospel, right?'

In trying to understand why Laura has disappeared, and what on earth Drew Barrymore has to do with it, Esther needs to look back. Back at the secrets woven into their friendship and the truths she's avoided facing for so long.

Why so excited? --> I really like the sound of this novel! The title is great and the blurb sounds really promising. Definitely one of the March 2015 releases I'm most looking forward to reading!

 


Jenny Oliver - 'Cherry Pie Island: Part 1' (27 March)

Get ready for a delicious new romance from Jenny Oliver, featuring pastries, pugs…and a dangerously handsome hero.

The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe is the first story in Jenny Oliver’s brand new ‘Cherry Pie Island’ series. 

Welcome to Cherry Pie Island – once you step on to the island, you’ll never want to leave!

Why so excited? --> I'm already in love with the cover of the first part of Jenny Oliver's new romance series and I can't wait to read more about Cherry Pie Island (it already sounds like the perfect place to live, doesn't it?)!

 


Melissa Hill - 'Diamonds from Tiffany's' (31 March)

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 fiancee are heading for happily ever after, Ethan's love life is not so assured. 

All Rachel's dreams are coming true; 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. Is he having second thoughts? 

Terri is dreading the Big Day, mostly because she thinks her best friend is making a huge mistake in marrying Gary. But also because the wedding means that she will need to see Ethan, and face the hurt in his eyes and disappointment on little daughter Daisy's face. 

Ethan is anxious to see Terri again; 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 Rachel and Gary's big day go ahead as planned? Can Ethan and Daisy convince Terri that they belong together? Or will the romance of New York and Tiffany's work its magic on the couples once more.... 

Why so excited? --> Another wonderful release coming up this March by one of the most loved chick lit authors around! Melissa Hill's stories never disappoint and I really look forward to checking in with these familiar characters in this new short story!

 


Lindsey J. Palmer - 'If We Lived Here' (31 March)

After three years of dating and trading nights at their respective New York City apartments, Emma Feit and Nick O'Hare are moving in together. Or they will be, as soon as they find the right place. For two happily-in-love professionals--Nick's a teacher, Emma tutors college-bound teens--with good credit and stellar references, how hard can it be? As it turns out, very--in ways that are completely unexpected. 

Suddenly Emma is filled with questions about cohabiting, about giving up her freedom--not to mention about who's going to clean the toilet. And while her best friend plans a dream wedding to her wealthy fiancé, and her older brother settles into suburban bliss, Emma must figure out what home means to her--and how on earth to get there.

Why so excited? --> I really like the sound of 'If We Lived Here' and have a feeling this will be a novel I'll end up enjoying a lot. I've been lucky enough to receive a review copy and can't wait to start reading it!



27 February 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: 'People We Love' by Jenny Harper

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Jenny Harper is back with the fourth instalment in her popular Heartlands series.

People We Love will be on tour for the next few weeks, visiting some of the best and brightest book blogs for reviews, guest posts and a colourful giveaway!
 
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For readers of Jojo Moyes, Jodi Picoult and David Nicholls, you will love Jenny Harper's People We Love. 

  Her life is on hold – until an unlikely visitor climbs in through the kitchen window.

A year after her brother’s fatal accident, Lexie’s life seems to have reached a dead end. She is back home in small-town Hailesbank with her shell-shocked parents, treading softly around their fragile emotions.

As the family business drifts into decline, Lexie’s passion for painting and for her one-time mentor Patrick have been buried as deep as her unexpressed grief, until the day her lunch is interrupted by a strange visitor in a bobble hat, dressing gown and bedroom slippers, who climbs through the window. Elderly Edith’s batty appearance conceals a secret and starts Lexie on a journey that gives her an inspirational artistic idea and rekindles her appetite for life. With friends in support and ex-lover Cameron seemingly ready to settle down, do love and laughter beckon after all?    

I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour organised by CandleLit Author Services for Jenny Harper’s latest novel ‘People We Love’ today! The book tells the story of Alexa Gordon, also known as Lexie, who is trying to pick up her life after the unexpected death of her beloved brother Jamie. She’s back in her hometown Hailesbank and tries to help her family and the family business. However, what Lexie loves most is to paint; it has always been her dream of having her own show at a gallery, but due to everything that has happened this dream is still just a dream. Until one day an elderly lady named Edith climbs in through the Gordon family’s kitchen window. Edith is looking for something and this something helps Lexie to start a new project, a project in which she is finally able to express her passion for painting but also a project that will change both her and her family’s lives.

I was not familiar with author Jenny Harper’s work before I got the chance to read and review ‘People We Love’, and I’m really glad I got the chance to discover her writing. It took me a bit of time to really get into the novel, but the characters and storyline managed to draw me in after a few chapters and after that I just wanted to keep on reading. The story is incredibly captivating and beautifully written, filled with tons of emotion, and the characters are well-drawn and fascinating. I quickly warmed to Lexie and was really curious to see whether she would be able to get on with her life after her brother’s death and which choices she would make. A big focus lies on Lexie’s love life, with appearances by her exes Cameron and Patrick, and I loved the fact that the story included this romance element, but also focused on other characters and the relationships between them, such as Lexie and her best friend Molly.

As I already mentioned but just want to focus on again, this novel has some great in-depth characters at its core. Not just Lexie and her family, but other characters such as the elderly lady who climbs through the kitchen window, Edith, and the local eccentric shop owner Pavel, really managed to steal my heart. The storyline of this novel is just beautiful and I want to applaud the author for coming up with and creating this emotional and wonderful tale. ‘People We Love’ is a captivating story about healing, overcoming things and going on with your life with a smile on your face. A truly wonderful story which I can’t recommend enough!

Rating:9/10


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Author Bio:
Jenny Harper lives in Edinburgh. She is the author of four books about Scotland and Scottish culture, a history of childbirth, and The Sleeping Train for young readers. When she isn't writing, she enjoys walking in the Scottish countryside or anywhere warm, and travelling to Europe, America and India. 
  
Find Jenny:
 

 
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Enter via the Rafflecopter below to win:

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1st Prize: 1 x Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Sketchers Pocket Set and an E-copy of People We Love by Jenny Harper
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2nd Prize: 1 x Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Sketchers' Pocket Set

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 Giveaway is international. Jenny Harper and CandleLit Author Services reserve the right to cancel or amend giveaway details at anytime and without prior notification.

   

26 February 2015

Review: 'I'm Your Man' by Joanne Rawson (2014)

Ruth Jones loves her boyfriend Justin. He is handsome, has a killer body, and the sex is awesome. He does have one major fault though. He travels so much with work that she only gets to see him once or twice a week, and that is his reasoning for always wanting to . . . stay in. At first she’s happy that he only wants to be with her, but over time, his habit of jibbing out at the last minute for every family occasion, work function, or any bloody occasion that involves socialising, really does her head in. All she wants, for goodness sake, is for people to get to know her boyfriend. Okay, so she wants them to see she has a hunk of a boyfriend, but is that so wrong?

When Ruth wakes up in a hotel room one morning suffering from a major hangover, she tries to piece the events of the previous night together. Feeling let down by yet another no-show by Justin at a work function, she headed to the bar and ordered a drink. The last thing she remembers is sitting next to an average-looking guy with a nice accent and large hands, and wondering just what those hands could do given half the chance. When the bathroom door opens and Mr. Average walks out, she realises that at the ripe old age of thirty-three, Ruth Jones has experienced her first one-night stand.

A one-night stand that is about to send her world into utter turmoil.

In October 2014, Joanne Rawson’s novella ‘I’m Your Man’ was released by Australian publisher Bottom Drawer Publications. I wasn’t familiar with the author before I was contacted by Bottom Drawer Publications about possibly reviewing ‘I’m Your Man’ for my blog. I looked up some information on the Internet and noticed that during the past two years, Joanne Rawson has released quite a number of romance stories and I have to say I was quite curious to check out one of her works myself! I love having a few novellas ready to pick up whenever I have some extra time for a quick read while I’m on the train or have some spare time, so I looked forward to reading ‘I’m Your Man’!

Thirty-something Ruth Jones has a job she loves, great friends, and a guy she's crazy about. However, while Ruth really likes Justin, it becomes clear to her he isn't quite willing to commit to their relationship in the same way she is. None of her family members have ever met him, and whenever they are invited to a social event he finds an excuse to be somewhere else. One evening after a few drinks too many, Ruth ends up in bed with a complete stranger, which is something she never expected she would do. It is her first one-night-stand, and while the initial plan is to walk away with her head held high and never mention it to anyone, most particularly Justin, things don’t quite work out the way Ruth has planned. Especially since her one-night-stand, New Yorker Danny, has quite something else in mind…

‘I’m Your Man’ turned out to be just what I hope for in a novella; a thoroughly entertaining and quick read. The storyline was a lot of fun, the characters were great, and the story was quite quick-paced resulting in me finishing it in one sitting. I easily warmed to Ruth and I think numerous female readers will be able to relate to her and the situation she finds herself in: being crazy about a guy who isn’t willing to commit. There’s also a fun cast of supporting characters, such as Ruth’s friends and her one-night-stand, Danny. 

I personally enjoyed Joanne Rawson’s writing style; it was fast-paced, comfortable and funny in the right places. Enough details were given, especially for a novella where there usually is simply not enough space to really go into character’s backgrounds in lots of detail. I would definitely love to read more about these characters, so wouldn’t mind if the author decided to turn this into a full-length novel or write a sequel! Overall, ‘I’m your Man’ is a fun, entertaining and quick-paced contemporary romance read which I really enjoyed, and I look forward to reading more of Joanne Rawson’s work in the future!
Rating:8/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

24 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 Favourite Heroines from Books

'Top Ten Tuesday' is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. I love making lists, so this feature fits me perfectly! If you also take part in this feature or have any additions to my lists, please get in touch; I'd love to hear from you!
 
 
Top 10 Favourite Heroines from Books

Another week, another Top 10 Tuesday list! I love this week's topic, my favourite book heroines, and found it quite difficult to just come up with 10, to be honest! I often read books in which I love and can relate to the main heroine, but it was quite tricky to decide which lucky ladies would make it into my top 10 of favourites! 



1. Angela Clark from 'I Heart...'



A no-brainer. Lindsey Kelk's 'I Heart...' series is one of my favourite chick lit book series and it's difficult to not fall in love with Angela when reading the books. She's so easily loveable and crazy, I can't get enough of her adventures!


2. Jamie Sullivan from 'A Walk to Remember'



One of the book heroines I most admire has to be Jamie Sullivan from Nicholas Sparks' heartbreaking novel 'A Walk to Remember.' I admire Jamie's strength and her belief in what is right; sometimes I wish I could be a bit more like her!




3. Rachel from 'Something Borrowed'



I fell in love with this novel and its main character Rachel from the first page. Rachel finds herself in a really difficult situation, and while I don't support all of her decisions, I do understand where she's coming from and Emily Giffin just did a wonderful job writing this novel and making the readers warm to the characters.




4. Elizabeth Bennet from 'Pride and Prejudice'



Of course Elizabeth Bennet cannot be missing from this list! What's not to love about her *speaking like the big Jane Austen fan I am*?




5. Jo March from 'Little Women'



Another simply wonderful female character who has stayed with me ever since I was a little girl. I always wanted to be like Jo, and even though I still can't support her decision for not marrying Laurie (crazy girl!), she remains one of my personal favourites.




6. Hermione Granger from 'Harry Potter'



Another heroine that rightfully deserves a place on this list. Hermione is a brilliant character and I love her, full stop.




7. Claudia from 'The Twelve Dates of Christmas'



One of the funniest chick lit novels and heroines ever. Lisa Dickenson is a fabulous author and all of her book characters are so much fun and easy to love, but Claudia has to be my favourite.




8. Lizzy Spellman from 'It Had to Be You'



I read Ellie Adams' novel 'It Had to Be You' last year and it was difficult not to fall head over heels in love with main character Lizzy. She's so easy to relate to and funny; I loved her.




9. Scarlett O'Brien from 'From Notting Hill...'



Another simply amazing chick lit series is Ali McNamara's 'From Notting Hill...' series. Fans of romantic comedies will hopefully like reading about Scarlett O'Brien's adventures as much as I do. I honestly think Scarlett and I would be the best of friends if we ever met... Too bad she's just a literary character!




10. Emma Woodhouse from 'Emma'



Another Jane Austen heroine that made it into this top 10! It took me a bit of time to warm to Emma, but I've definitely come to appreciate her more and more over the years. 

Which are some of your favourite book heroines? I'd love to hear from you! :)

23 February 2015

Review, Interview, Giveaway: 'Finding Amy' by Phyllis A. Humphrey (2014)

When SABRINA GILMORE attends the funeral of her grandfather in England, she learns the family manor is in foreclosure. She also finds her inheritance is nothing but an old trunk containing, among other things, her childhood doll, Amy. However, Sabrina soon discovers the doll has hidden inside it a jeweled necklace. How did it come to be there, whose is it, and is it valuable? In the process of finding the answers to these questions, Sabrina meets a handsome man, HUGH PENDLETON, who makes a play for her, but also falls prey to a kidnaper and thief who has his own interest in the necklace. This is the exciting story of how Sabrina, a Chicago girl, confronts these problems while at the same time dealing with an Englishman who wants to marry her.

I love discovering new authors and today I have a review of the novel ‘Finding Amy’ which was written by, previously to me unknown, author Phyllis A. Humphrey to share with all of you! Phyllis herself contacted me at the end of 2014 about possibly reviewing her latest release ‘Finding Amy’, which was published by Criterion House last Spring. I did a bit of research and quickly discovered that Phyllis has actually written ten romance novels over the years, so I was quite surprised I hadn’t stumbled upon her work any sooner. Luckily, I received the chance to check out her work and I’m delighted to also share an author Q&A with Phyllis and an exclusive giveaway of one of her novels with all of you; just be sure to scroll down!

Sabrina Gilmore was born an American, but finds herself back in the UK for her grandfather’s funeral and the reading of his will. She once spent a summer at Gilmore Manor, the family country home, and now is her first time back in England since she was a little girl. To her surprise, Sabrina learns she has inherited an old trunk filled with children’s books, dress-up clothes and her old childhood doll named Amy, which she left behind all those years ago. However, inside the doll someone has hidden an expensive necklace and Sabrina has no idea who the necklace belongs to or who put it there. On her search to find the answers to these questions, Sabrina is helped by the handsome British Hugh Pendleton who seems to have fallen for her. But when Sabrina’s hotel room is burgled and she even gets kidnapped, things start to become very serious very quickly…

I have to admit I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this novel when I started reading it. I personally wasn’t particularly drawn in by the cover and the blurb seemed to promise a mixture of both romance and mystery, but already gave quite a lot of information about the storyline away. However, as soon as I had read the first chapter I was intrigued by the main character Sabrina and I finished the novel in two sittings, constantly wondering what would happen next and who had put that necklace in Sabrina’s doll. The author’s writing style was fast-paced and pleasant to read and there were quite a few twists and turns that managed to hold my attention until the last page.

The storyline includes a good dose of romance between the main character Sabrina and easily likeable Hugh Pendleton, but also includes an intriguing mystery element which made the book feel a bit like a detective novel. I really enjoyed this combination of romance and mystery and it has made me curious about Phyllis A. Humphrey’s other novels. It was a bit of a shame that we didn’t really get to know the characters, particularly Sabrina and Hugh, on a deeper, more detailed, level. I would have loved to have read more about them, their backgrounds, and the things that made them the persons they are. Overall, though, ‘Finding Amy’ is a well-paced, fun, and intriguing read that had me captivated from start to finish. I’m really glad I got the opportunity to discover Phyllis A. Humphrey’s writing and already look forward to reading more of her works in the future!
Rating:8/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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



Author interview with Phyllis A. Humphrey!

Can you tell us something about your novel, ‘Finding Amy’?
I think of FINDING AMY as "Romance and mystery in London and Paris."

Where did you get the inspiration for your novel? Is it in any way based
on your own personal experiences?
I've been to both London and Paris several times and always hoped to set a novel in those great cities.

Can you tell us a bit more about the main character, Sabrina?
Sabrina is a woman I think many of us would like to be: resourceful and smart, yet caring and with a sense of humor.

There’s a great cast of supporting characters in the novel as well. Which
character did you most enjoy writing?
The hero's "man" Leonard, was fun to write about, because I'd never had one like him in a novel before.

Did you do any particular research for parts of the book?
I did a little research about areas in London and used my book about Cockney accents and terms for a few minor characters.

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you
perhaps already working on a next novel?
Since I often put elements of suspense or mystery in my romances, I'd like to try straight mystery. In fact I just got a contract for such a book, titled EYEWITNESS, but don't have a publication date yet. If you and your readers want to be informed when this - or my next novel - is available, please send me your names and e-mail addresses. I promise I'll only send book information and won't give your addresses to anyone else. 

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
After many years of writing, and especially trying to get published, my most important advice is "Never give up."
What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
FOREVER MINE by Carolann Camillo is another romantic-suspense novel that I can heartily recommend.

Which book could you not live without?
My favorite novel of all time is REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier. I reread it every few years.
And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Finding Amy’ in just
three words, which words would you pick?
My three words would be: romantic, suspenseful, humorous.

Thanks so much, Phyllis!



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22 February 2015

Review: 'Behind the Glass' by Kristen Morgen (2014)

Rebecca Jordan’s life is simple, disciplined, and uncomplicated, at least on the surface. Then she meets a handsome stranger/secret admirer named Michael Vale one fateful late night at a bookstore café. As a focused but struggling photographer with a passion for art, her outwardly happy world is turned upside down during this life-changing encounter when she quickly realizes she has met her soul mate. The undeniable attraction between them and their intense, immediate connection seem picture perfect as they discuss the shop’s local artwork, until Rebecca abruptly ends the chance meeting with no explanation. 

Betraying Brett, her loyal, loving boyfriend, is something Rebecca can never bring herself to do. Driven by a strong moral code and molded by divorced parents and a tumultuous childhood, she struggles to stay away from Michael, but fate and circumstance intervene, bringing them back together time and time again. As much as she resists, there is no denying her true feelings for him and the simple fact that Michael understands her in a way Brett never has. Michael proves to be everything she’s ever wanted, but remains just out of her reach.

When I first laid eyes on the cover of Kristen Morgen's 'Behind the Glass', which was released in 2014, I wasn't completely sure about what to expect from the book. At first sight, it seems quite dark and doesn't give too much away about the novel. The blurb, however, hints at a romantic story and it definitely managed to intrigue me. I was curious to check out the story and was lucky enough to receive a review copy from the author herself. I still wasn't too sure about what to expect, but it's always good to step out of your comfort zone and give something you might have doubts about a try, so that's what I decided to do with 'Behind the Glass'!

Rebecca Jordan is a disciplined, introvert twenty-something who works two jobs to get by. During the day, she works as a photographer for a local newspaper and in the evenings she works as a waitress in a restaurant. Photography is her passion and Rebecca secretly dreams of turning it into a career someday and she's willing to make the needed sacrifices for that. On her Friday evenings, she likes to hide away from the world by visiting her favourite bookstore, Behind the Glass, where she spends hours reading her favourite novels, hidden away in a comfy chair. One evening, she's interrupted by a handsome young man named Michael Vale. Both Rebecca and Michael immediately notice the connection and sparks between them. But Rebecca knows she has to ignore it because she already has a boyfriend, Brett, who is crazy about her. Yet, Rebecca can't seem to get Michael out of her mind, and this is made even more difficult when she bumps into him again at a party and discovers they have mutual friends. Rebecca tries her very best to focus on anything but Michael, but can you really turn away from true love...?

'Behind the Glass' is a relatively short novel (about 200 pages) that proves you should never judge a book solely by its cover. I wasn't quite sure what to expect at first because of the slightly dark and modern book cover (which didn't really speak to me personally), but the story inside is a captivating and romantic one which definitely made an impression on me. I was intrigued by the two main characters, Rebecca and Michael, and really enjoyed the fact that the story is told from both their points of view. I was rooting for them from the start, mainly because of the author's wonderful descriptions of the emotions they experience. The characters are well-developed and the reader really gets the chance to get to know them, their backgrounds, and their feelings, which made it quite an up-close and personal read.

I ended up really enjoying the author's calm and detailed writing style, even though I did occasionally feel like more could have happened in the story. However, at the same time it's quite refreshing to read a calm and slow-paced story like this one in the world we live in where almost everything is fast, fast, fast. Some people might find this quite a cheesy romance story (which you definitely would not expect by just seeing the cover) but I personally loved it from start to finish. Overall, 'Behind the Glass' is a well-written, emotional, sweet story about finding the one you love; a promising debut novel from author Kirsten Morgen!
Rating:8/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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