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30 April 2015

May 2015 releases!

It's the 1st of May, which means it's the start of a new month and that always comes with a list of exciting new titles that will be released in the upcoming few weeks! I think May is definitely a promising month this year because there are quite a few releases which I already added to my TBR-list a long time ago and you can find most of them 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! :)

Ruth Saberton - 'Runaway Summer' (1 May)

Since leaving Polwenna Bay for the bright lights of London, actress Summer Trelawne has tried her hardest to never look back; Jake, her childhood sweetheart, let her down terribly and the beautiful Cornish village holds nothing but painful memories. It’s only when a volatile relationship threatens to destroy all she holds dear that Summer finds herself returning to the place she knows so well.

Jake Tremaine has travelled the world but reluctantly finds himself drawn back to Polwenna Bay to run the family marina and take care of his unruly siblings. While Jake knows his attention should be on the rescuing the business, determined Ella, daughter of a wealthy hotelier, is set on working her way into his affections and beneath his sheets. The last thing Ella will tolerate is the reappearance of a rival…

As the holiday season approaches and seaside life gathers pace, Jake suspects that Summer is keeping a huge secret from him. But Summer is not the only person in the village with something to hide. Is she just an echo of Jake’s past or are there far more important matters at stake?

Why so excited? --> I had the pleasure of being introduced to Ruth Saberton's work last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I already look forward to picking up her next release! 'Runaway Summer' is the first part of the Polwenna Bay series, and I'm curious to check it out! / / Goodreads

Martina Reilly - 'That Day in June' (1 May)

Two people who have nothing in common...

Max is a high-flying PR exec, a mover and shaker - the man who has it all. Sandy is a runaway who has swapped her unhappy past for a life on the streets.

Every day, Max brings Sandy a coffee. Every day, she looks forward to seeing him.

But then one morning Max doesn't show up. And when Sandy tracks him down she discovers a man who has lost everything: his career, his family, his reputation.

It seems like Max and Sandy have more in common than they realised - including a certain day in June when their lives fell apart.

As Max and Sandy form an unlikely friendship, they discover that moving forward means letting go of the past - and that, sometimes, strength can come from the most unlikely places.

Why so excited? --> I'm not familiar with author Martina Reilly, but I am already quite intrigued by the sound of 'That Day in June.' Max and Sandy's story already sounds really fascinating and I hope to be able to check it out as soon as possible! / / Goodreads

Lisa Dickenson - 'Catch Me If You Cannes (Part 1)' (4 May)

Jess has decided it's time to get out of her comfort zone and live a little. So when her best friend Bryony, a journalist on a gossip magazine, is sent to cover the Cannes Film Festival, Jess decides to seize the day and go along for the ride. Two weeks of glitz, glamour and exclusive entry into celeb-filled parties is just the kind of adventure Jess needs.

Reality soon bites though when Jess and Bryony find they're staying in a dingy hotel far away from all the action and Bryony's expenses budget barely covers a glass of local wine. Undeterred, the two women are determined to live like the elite and enjoy one fancy night out to begin their holiday. So what if they have to tell a few white lies along the way? It's just this once. No harm done... right?

Why so excited? --> Lisa Dickenson's books are so incredibly funny and just amazing chick lit reads which I can't recommend enough. I'm so excited she's releasing a new 4-part series and already can't wait to read 'Catch Me If You Cannes' (you've got to love a title like that)!

Rachel Hollis - 'Sweet Girl' (5 May)

Max Jennings is in a bad mood. It’s not anything you did; it’s just that secrets from her past make it her natural state of being. But she’s not going to talk about it or share her feelings, so don’t bother asking.

Max’s bad mood means that very few people actually truly understand her or know that her secret dream is to be a pastry chef. When a rare opportunity to work for world-famous Avis Phillips presents itself, Max jumps at the chance. Avis and her staff aren’t stingy with the tough love, so Max spends every spare minute practicing her craft. As she bakes brownies and custards, cookies and galettes, she builds an unlikely friendship with a man she once loathed and finds herself falling into something she’s spent the last six years avoiding. Will she let her painful past stand in the way, or will she muster the strength to forgive herself and realize her full potential?

Why so excited? --> I loved loved loved Rachel Hollis' debut novel 'Party Girl' and I have been looking forward to the sequel, 'Sweet Girl', for quite some time. I am keeping my fingers crossed this novel will be just as enjoyable as Rachel's first one, but I have a good feeling it won't disappoint!

Lindsey Kelk - 'Always the Bridesmaid' (7 May)

Maddie Fraser has never been anything other than the girl in the background: golden boy Dan’s little sister, crazy Shona’s minion, workaholic Sebastian’s ex and now she’s also the girl in the middle of her warring best friends.

Lauren has announced she’s getting married – just as Sarah’s husband asks her for a divorce. Nothing in Maddie’s career in event organising has prepared her for this particular combo of planning and real pain. The news that her ex is also tying the knot is the final straw. While the magazines say she should be leaning in, all she wants to do is sleep in. But whether she likes it or not, everything is about to change for Maddie. For better or worse, this grown-up bridesmaid is taking centre stage…

Why so excited? --> What's not to get excited about, right?! Lindsey Kelk is one of my favourite chick lit authors and so far all of her novels have been fantastic reads. I can't WAIT to read this!

Zara Stoneley - 'Country Affairs' (7 May)

Welcome back to Tippermere for the wedding of the year…

Scatty but loveable Lottie Brinkley is famous throughout the village for her disorganised personality so when she steps up to plan the perfect wedding this can only end in disaster.

Things are set to take a turn for the scandalous when her globetrotting, love cheat of an ex, Todd, literally crashes the wedding on a not-so-noble steed. Rumours of why he’s back spread through the village quicker than the stable girl can drop her knickers!

With a wave of unexpected pregnancies and steamy shenanigans in the hay, will Lottie be ready to take on the coveted title of Lady of the Manor?

As the heart of the village, Tipping House Estate, makes its move into the 21st Century, pulses start to race in a novel packed full of charm and hunky stallions (the guys that is).

Why so excited? --> I've been lucky enough to have received review copies of both 'Country Affairs' and its prequel 'Stable Mates.' I look forward to checking out Zara Stoneley's work and have a feeling I'm going to enjoy visiting Tippermere this May!

Lynsey James - 'Just the Way You Are' (8 May)

Dear Ava,
How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart?

Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can't remember the last time she had a second date. It's a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces.

Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two - she's in love with someone else. Someone she's never even met.

It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer…but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken.

Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she's determined to unmask Mr Writer...and find out once and for all if he's Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!

Why so excited? --> I've heard lots of book bloggers talking about Lynsey James' debut novel and I have to admit it has definitely made me curious! I already love the cover and the sound of 'Just the Way You Are', so have my fingers crossed for a great read.

Leah Marie Brown - 'Faking It' (12 May)

Haven't you ever told a little lie in the name of love?

Vivia Grant couldn’t be happier. She has her dream job and is about to marry her dream man. Does it really matter that she’s led him to believe she’s a virgin? After all, being in love makes every experience feel like the first time anyway! But an unexpected encounter with an ex-lover is about to expose her embarrassing lie…

When Vivia’s fiancé discovers the truth, he ends their engagement—via text—and uses his connections to get her fired. Unemployed and heartbroken, Vivia begins planning her new future—as a homeless spinster. But her best friend has a better idea. They’ll skip the Ben & Jerry’s binge and go on Vivia’s honeymoon instead. Two weeks cycling through Provence and Tuscany, with Luc de Caumont, a sexy French bike guide. Too bad Vivia’s not a big fan of biking. And she’s abysmal at languages. Will she fib her way through the adventure, or finally learn to love herself—and Luc—flaws and all?

Why so excited? --> 'Faking It' sounds like a great read for a sunny May day. Definitely one to add to my TBR-list!

Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza - 'The Knockoff' (19 May)

When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. 

Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to Beyoncé. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. 

Why so excited? --> I really like the sound of 'The Knockoff.' It reminds me a bit of 'The Devil Wears Prada', which I really enjoyed, so I already look forward to checking out Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza's novel!

Jane Linfoot - 'The Vintage Cinema Club' (21 May)

Meet The Vintage Cinema Club….

Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn’t have time to date. Could a fabulous French proposal change her mind?

Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, one night kind of woman – or so she thinks…

Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?

Three retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema. When that dream comes under threat, they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.

Why so excited? --> I already love everything about this novel. A gorgeous cover, a great blurb, a lovely author... This will be a fabulous read, I can just feel it!

Kerry Fisher - 'The Island Escape' (21 May)

It’s time to get back to where it all began…

Octavia Sheldon thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow. But things didn’t turn out quite like that.

Married to safe, reliable Jonathan, her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and more loads of dirty washing than she ever thought possible. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself any longer.

So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it starts her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and get back to the person she used to be? Escape back to the island where she spent her summers? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her…?

Why so excited? --> Last year I got the chance to read and review Kerry Fisher's novel 'The School Gate Survival Guide' and I really enjoyed it. Because of this, I am really looking forward to picking up Kerry's newest release, 'The Island Escape', which sounds like quite a promising summer read!

Louise Candlish - 'The Sudden Departure of the Frasers' (21 May)

My name is Amber Fraser. I've just moved in at Number 40, Lime Park Road. You'll come to think of me as a loving wife, a thoughtful neighbour and a trusted friend.

This is a lie.

When Christy and Joe Davenport are handed the keys to Number 40 on picture-perfect Lime Park Road, Christy knows it should be a dream come true. How strange though that the house was on the market for such a low price. That the previous owners, the Frasers, had renovated the entire property yet moved out within a year. That none of the neighbours will talk to Christy.

As her curiosity begins to give way to obsession, Christy finds herself drawn deeper into the mystery of the house's previous occupants - and the dark and shocking secret that tore the street apart...

Why so excited? --> I must say I am really intrigued by the blurb of Louise Candlish's upcoming release! I can't wait to pick up this novel and have my fingers crossed it'll be as much of a great read as I expect it to be! / / Goodreads

Paige Toon - 'The Sun in Her Eyes' (21 May)

'Before your mother died, she asked me to tell you something …'

When Amber Church was three, her mother was killed in a car accident. A stranger was at the scene and now, nearly thirty years later, she's desperate to talk to Amber.

Living in London and not-so-happily married to Ned, Amber is greeted one morning by two pieces of news: she's to be made redundant from her City job and her beloved father, across the world in Australia where she grew up, has been felled by a stroke. She takes the first plane out to be by his side, leaving Ned uncertain as to when she will return. Reunited with her old friends, Amber is forced to confront her feelings for Ethan Lockwood, the gorgeous, green-eyed man she fell for as a young girl.

And then Amber receives a letter that changes everything …

Why so excited? --> Like many other chick lit fans, I love Paige Toon's works. Her novels never disappoint and I have a feeling 'The Sun in Her Eyes' will be a great summer read!

Lucy Holliday - 'A Night in With Audrey Hepburn' (21 May)

Actress Libby Lomax has retreated into the world of classic movies, where the immortal lives of her favourite screen goddesses seem to offer so much more in the romance department than her own life.

After a terrible day on set where she embarrasses herself in front of the entire cast and worst of all, it’s sexy bad-boy star, Dillon O’Hara, she plonks herself down on her battered couch to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the trillionth time.

Suddenly, Libby is astonished to find screen icon Audrey Hepburn, complete with little black dress, trademark sunglasses and vintage cigarette holder, sitting beside her and proffering advice.

Has Libby got what it takes to turn her life from a Turkey to a Blockbuster? Perhaps with a little bit of Audrey Hepburn magic, she might just pull it off…

Why so excited? --> I honestly love the sound of this novel and its great cover. Definitely at the top of my TBR-list for this month!

Rachael Lucas - 'Coming Up Roses' (21 May)

Would-be gardener Daisy can’t believe her luck when her parents announce they’re off on a midlife crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of their gorgeous garden. After a turbulent few months, a spot of quiet in the countryside is just what she needs.

A shoulder to cry on wouldn't go amiss either - so when Daisy comes across Elaine and Jo, she breathes a sigh of relief. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own…

As Daisy wrestles the garden into something resembling order, her feelings for handsome Irishman George begin to take root. Daisy’s heart’s desire − her parent’s garden − is under threat, and Daisy's forced to confront nosey neighbours and fight greedy developers. Village life is turning out to be far from peaceful.

Why so excited? --> I'm lucky enough to have a review copy of 'Coming Up Roses' waiting for me and I look forward to picking it up this May. It sounds like a great read, so fingers crossed!

Rowan Coleman - 'We Are All Made of Stars' (21 May)

What if you had just one chance, one letter you could leave behind for the person you love? What would you write?

Stella Carey has good reason to only work nights at the hospice where she is a nurse. Married to a war veteran who has returned from Afghanistan brutally injured, Stella leaves the house each night as Vincent locks himself away, unable to sleep due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

During her nights at the hospice, Stella writes letters for her patients, detailing their final wishes, thoughts and feelings – from how to use a washing machine, to advice on how to be a good parent – and posts them after their death.

That is until Stella writes one letter that she feels compelled to deliver in time, to give her patient one final chance of redemption... 

Why so excited? --> Oh wow, this sounds like such an amazing read. I know this is going to make me shed a few tears, without a doubt! / / Goodreads

Mandy Baggot - 'Truly, Madly, Greekly' (22 May)

Capable, confident and career-driven, Ellen had her dream job and a marriage proposal from boyfriend Ross. Life was good, her future set. Until it wasn’t and everything fell apart… 

Whisked off to the beautiful island of Corfu to plan her sister Lacey’s big, fat, Greek wedding, Ellen is hoping some time out will help clear her head and heal her heart. But letting go of her past is not going to be easy. 

With Lacey in full on Bridezilla mode, Ellen is soon distracted from her own problems. And when the all-inclusive treats on offer at hotel Blue Vue include one gorgeous, brooding Adonis – Yan – Ellen finds him difficult to resist. 

But Ellen isn’t looking for love or lust, or anything involving too much ouzo…or is she? 

Why so excited? --> This book is supposed to be the perfect read for fans of Lucy Diamond, so enough reason for me to pick it up! I've heard lots of positive things about Mandy Baggot's writing, so I can't wait to finally pick up one of her novels myself.

Brigid Coady - 'No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham' (28 May)

What the Dickens is going on?

Edie Dickens is a shark of a divorce lawyer. She doesn’t believe in love and she scoffs at happily ever afters, however she’s agreed to be maid of honour for her oldest friend, Mel in two weeks and she still has the hen night to endure. But she has even more to endure when she’s visited by Jessica Marley’s ghost and finds out she must change her ways or end up being damned to an eternity watching other people’s happiness. Edie is visited by the Ghosts of Weddings Past, Present and Future, every Friday night until the day of the wedding. Can she learn from her mistakes in time? And did the ghosts send the hunky new lawyer, Jack Twist, to distract her?

Why so excited? --> I love the reference to Charles Dickens in the title and description of this new Harper Impulse title. I have a feeling I am going to love this read, so I can't wait to check it out!

Blog Tour: 'Letters to the Lost' by Iona Grey!

1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London...

Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five...

He promised to love her forever

Sixty years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?

Now forever is finally running out.

Today I'm part of the blog tour for Iona Grey's stunning new novel 'Letters to the Lost', which was released by Simon & Schuster on April 23rd, and it's one of the 2015 releases I've been looking forward to the most! I straight away loved the description of the story (I'm a sucker for a good war-time romance) and the gorgeous cover immediately caught my eye. During the past few weeks I've heard many amazing things from other bloggers, and this only made me even more excited about picking up this novel! As a part of the blog tour I also have a lovely guest post from Iona Grey, so be sure to check that out as well by scrolling down!

Set in both 2011 and the early 1940s, 'Letters to the Lost' tells the story of two young women: Jess Moran and Stella Thorne. In the modern day and age, Jess has finally found the courage to try to escape from her awful boyfriend, but she has nothing besides a bit of money in her pocket and the clothes she's wearing. She ends up hiding in an abandoned house on Greenfields Lane, where she finds a letter from a Dan Rosinksi addressed to a Stella Thorne. Jess is immediately intrigued by the letter and decides to try and discover more about Stella and Dan's story; an American soldier and a young English woman who fell in love during the Second World War. Jess decides she wants to bring Dan and Stella back together, but will she be able to track down both of them, and what exactly happened to them during the past sixty years...?

Wow, I absolutely loved every page and every sentence of this beautiful and intriguing novel, and am still a bit sad I finished it and don't have any chapters left to read! 'Letters to the Lost' is quite a long read with more than 500 pages, but to me personally the book could have had 800 pages and I still wouldn't have been even the tiniest bit bored. The length of the book is just right and Iona Grey's beautiful and captivating writing style made me fall in love with the storyline and characters from the very start. The combination of past and present works incredibly well and I loved how Jess and Stella's storylines were explored and eventually brought together. 
The characters in the novel are amazing; both Jess and Stella had a really interesting story to tell, and I loved switching between the two of them throughout the book. Stella and Dan are definitely one of my new favourite couples, because the love and passion between them is just amazing. I am a sucker for a good war-time romance, but this is without a doubt one of the best ones I've had the pleasure of reading so far in my life. The emotions in the book are so real and I ended up really feeling for the characters and everything they go through. I really don't have anything negative to say about this novel; I loved it from start to finish and can't recommend it enough. 'Letters to the Lost' is a fantastic, compelling, beautifully written novel centred around an epic love story that will undoubtedly stay with me for years to come. 
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

Guest Post by Iona Grey


This is the last stop on my blog tour to celebrate the launch of Letters to the Lost, and so I wanted to take the opportunity to say a great big thank you. Not only to Jody for having me (though big thank you Jody!) but to a whole lot of other people too.

Writing a book is a funny old business. For ages and ages it feels like a weird secret obsession, as you wander around the supermarket and mindlessly sort laundry while thinking about people that no one else knows (because… ahem… they don’t actually exist.) And then, one day you get to the end of the story and you cry a little bit because it feels like saying goodbye to these people that you’ve come to care about massively, and you send your book off to strangers to read. And if you’re lucky, the strangers like it and believe in it (and buy it), and suddenly you have other people to talk about your imaginary friends to. And that’s when the magic really starts. Because after that it gets into the hands of real readers. 

It’s a terrifying thought. So often it’s compared to letting go of your little children on the first day of school, because – yep, that’s exactly what it feels like! As I write this, Letters to the Lost is poised to go out into the world and I know it’s too late to get my marker pen and make last minute adjustments in ALL THE COPIES, though I’d like to. I know that the one star (‘because I couldn’t give it none’) reviews will come and I know that they’ll hurt. I’d be lying if I wasn’t a bit apprehensive, just like I was on those days years ago when I left my little girls in the classroom with all the other kids. 

The thing that made those first schooldays easier was the support of other people. The teachers, who were kind and understanding and reassuring and the other parents who quickly became friends (and still are to this day, though many of our tender little infants are now students who come home every ten weeks with four bin liners of washing.) And the analogy with a book release holds good here too, because kindness and friendship is making these nerve-wracking pre-publication days easier too. Letters to the Lost isn’t yet out on the shelves, but it has already found its way into the hands of a select few people who have not only read it, but gone out of their way to write insightful reviews and blog posts, tweet things that make me smile and make my day, send messages and emails and generally be a lot like those friends at the school gate all those years ago.

Book bloggers, I salute you. For the time you give up: all the late nights and long bathtimes spent turning the pages. For not just being perceptive readers, but red-hot writers too – skilled at summarising and analysing, knowing just how much to reveal and what to leave unsaid (and how to juggle deadlines). For the way that you view writers like football teams, and support them generously and wholeheartedly. For the tweets and the energy and the positivity. For breathing life into people who exist on a page and making them real. And for doing it for nothing more than a love of books and to share the joy of reading.

Ladies, you are amazing. Thank you!

And thank YOU, Iona! :)

29 April 2015

Review & Interview: 'The New Mrs. D' by Heather Hill (2014)

Four days into their honeymoon in Greece, Bernice and David Dando have yet to consummate their marriage and after having accepted his almost non-existent desire for sex throughout the relationship, Bernice finally discovers the reason; he is addicted to porn. Learning that the love of her life chooses the cheap thrill of fantasy over her is devastating but then, 'every man does it; it’s just looking, right?’ If she leaves the relationship because of virtual adultery, will she be labelled as pathological, overreacting, or even worse, frigid? 

When funny, feisty, forty-something Bernice plans the adventure trip of a lifetime, she doesn’t expect to be spending it alone. But as it turns out, unintentionally contributing to a Greek fish explosion, nude karaoke and hilarious misadventures with volcanoes are exactly what she needs to stop fretting about errant husbands and really start living. But when Mr D tries to win her back, Bernice has a decision to make: is this a holiday from her humdrum life, or the start of a whole new adventure?

Another day, another book review! Several months ago I was contacted by author Heather Hill with the request of whether I'd be interested in reading and reviewing her novel 'The New Mrs. D.' It took a bit of time before I found a review copy of the book on my doorstep (especially since another copy went missing in the post), but a few weeks ago I received the book and looked forward to checking it out and finding out more about main character Bernice! Below you can find my review of the book and I also got the chance to ask Heather Hill some questions about 'The New Mrs. D', her own favourite books and her future plans as an author. So be sure to scroll down to read more!

Forty-year-old Bernice Dando has finally tied the knot with her boyfriend of six years, David, and they are in beautiful and sunny Greece to enjoy their honeymoon. However, Bernice is getting a bit worried because the two of them haven't consummated their marriage yet, and it doesn't take long before Bernice's fears are confirmed. She knew about David's porn addiction and was willing to give him another chance, but only four days into their marriage Bernice realises David isn't even trying to overcome his addiction and she knows she will probably be better off without him. Instead of a romantic honeymoon, Bernice decides to turn the trip into her own adventure, and she quickly finds a group of new friends to join her. But what happens when David comes back onto the scene, begging Bernice to take him back and giving their marriage another chance? Will Bernice give it another go and go back to her old life, or is it really time for something new?

'The New Mrs. D' is quite a quick read with just over 250 pages and one that's great for a day at the beach or when you're looking for a few hours to get your mind of things. Heather Hill really has her own distinctive writing style which is filled with humour and fits the story well. It took me a bit of time to get into, but main character Bernice's antics definitely had me laughing out loud and shaking my head. Bernice, also known as Binnie, has to deal with quite a serious topic; a husband who has a porn addiction, something that has also really affected her own body image. Heather Hill approaches these topics with a good dose of both realism and humour, which is something that can definitely inspire readers. 

Bernice is a unique character; her energy and humour are great and I admired her and the journey she goes on throughout the novel. She goes on all kinds of crazy adventures with her new group of friends, which form a fascinating collection of secondary characters and really add a fun touch to the story. Personally, I do think the novel was a bit too much on the funny side; I would have really liked to have seen a bit more of an emotional side to Bernice and getting to know her a bit better as the main character. However, I am positive other readers will appreciate this fact and thoroughly enjoy the high dose of humour. Overall, 'The New Mrs. D' is a witty and entertaining read with a collection of colourful characters at its core; a novel to pick up when you're looking for an escapist read and a laugh!
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 Heather Hill

I'm really excited to welcome Heather Hill to the blog today for an author interview. Be sure to check out her answers below!

Can you tell us something about your novel, ‘The New Mrs. D.’?
It is the story of a woman who takes a second chance on love in later life by marrying the man of her dreams, only to discover he has an unhealthy addiction to porn. Not in that he just uses it, but that he has been using it in place of making love to her.  And the saddest part is it has taken her so long to recognise the damage his addiction has been causing the relationship that she only learns the true extent of it while on honeymoon. So, she sends him packing while deciding if this is a serious enough issue to call off the marriage; embarking on the rest of the adventure laden honeymoon alone. 

It’s a sad, hilarious and empowering romp that delves into subjects that are not often spoken about, and follows the woman’s midlife, personal awakening whilst alone on a stunning island in Greece.

Where did you get the inspiration for your novel? Is it in any way based on your own experiences?
I was actually at the airport after a holiday in Greece, waiting to go home, when the idea came to me to write the story of a woman who ends up on an adventure honeymoon alone. I wrote an overview for the book on the plane and while thinking about the reasons for such a sudden spilt, decided there and then to tackle this quite modern issue – I say modern because I believe that porn use is escalating now that modern technology makes everything sordid easier to access than ever before. I didn’t set out to attack the porn industry, or try to say that it was wrong. I set out to tackle the deeper issue from continued use, when viewing porn becomes such a problem that it affects a man’s libido and, ultimately, his desire for sex with his wife/partner.

Can you tell us a bit more about the main character, Bernice?
For sure! Bernice is quite a complex character who has been a bit of a victim for most of her life, from living under the cloud of life with a narcissistic mother, to having her first marriage collapse due to her husband’s infidelity and finally, all too quickly agreeing to marry a man she knew had issues in the hope that she could change him. It seems incredulous to many people that this could happen, a woman actually going through with a marriage when her head is full of doubts. However, my extensive research has taught me that it does and much more often than you might think.  Bernice is by no means unintelligent, but has many complex co-dependency issues as a result of her life experience so far. 
On the lighter side, she is also kind, funny, accident-prone and getting in to a mountain of weird, wonderful and hilarious situations whilst holidaying alone which makes for a series of madcap adventures throughout the book.

Can you also tell us a bit more about the cast of supporting characters in the novel? Which character did you most enjoy writing?
Bernice makes friends with some of the other people who are booked on a series of tour experiences on the island. We have an American teacher, Linda, who has come to the island to meet her girlfriend that she met online. The girlfriend has in tow a troupe of hilarious and lovely gay exotic dancers whom she has brought to the island as their manager, to do some shows. Then we have the painter, Chris, who is a friend of her husband’s and whose apartment she is staying in. There is also a couple from Sweden and one from Scotland. Without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite character is a kindly and hilarious little old Scottish lady from this couple named Greta. I completely love her and no, she isn’t based on anybody I know. But when I picture her, she looks exactly like Mrs Pepperpot from the children’s books! I don’t want to spoil things by giving away too much about Greta, but she is a very lovely and funny lady with an empowering and inspirational story all of her own.

Did you do any particular research for parts of the book?
I researched pretty much all of it, believe it or not. The story follows a series of adventure experiences and I even went out to do a couple of them myself; attending an art class near my hometown in Glasgow and some kayaking. I also spoke with several volcanology professors here and in the USA about the conditions required for a fake volcanic eruption. This part makes me smile because a couple of people found that part a bit far-fetched but they’d be surprised to know it was gleaned from a series of actual events! I also spoke to a chemistry professor and a company that sells pelvic toners! Enough said there…

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you perhaps already working on a next novel?
I am writing a second comedy novel at the moment about three fairly mature widows that find friendship in an online forum, although progress has slowed whilst trying to publicise Mrs D as much as possible but I hope to have this out, at least in an ebook, by the summer this year. To describe it in short, I’d call it ‘a tale of grief, loss and accidental kidnapping’. 

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
I have said this a lot in interviews, but I really hate the term ‘aspiring’ writers. If you are committed to writing something the length of a novel then you’re already a writer. The best thing you can do for yourself from the off is stop being so afraid to call yourself a writer. The day I finally said this to myself was the day I pushed onwards with my writing for real, knowing I would never stop even in the event that no one ever bought a word of what I wrote. Not being able to sell what you’ve written so far doesn’t detract from the amazing fact that you did it! You don’t need anyone’s permission to call yourself a writer. Believe it, say it boldly out loud and you’ll become a writer. Don’t let your head get hung up on not being as good as somebody else or that your first novel draft isn’t perfect. Of course it isn’t! Nobody’s is. The magic happens in the rewrites. Keep going!

What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
‘A Mother’s Story’ by the lovely Amanda Prowse. Amanda writes with such heart I find her work incredible – it resonates inside of you; especially if you’re a sensitive soul like me. She really writes emotion well. Her books always have me in tears at some point and I often tweet her telling her off for doing this to me again, but I always go back for more.

Which book could you not live without?
All of them! Imagine a life without books? I had a dear, now sadly departed TV comedy writer friend who used to tell me he never trusted anyone that didn’t have books in the house and I agree with him. I’m often asked for my favourites and I genuinely find it hard to commit to naming one. For what seems like my entire life I’ve been the kind of person who wanders off in to a bookshop and doesn’t come out again for hours.

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘The New Mrs. D.’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Hilarious, empowering, and silly. 
NB Dear world full of serious people, it’s actually okay to be silly sometimes…

Thanks so much, Heather!

28 April 2015

Cover Reveal: 'Appleby Farm' by Cathy Bramley!

I'm incredibly excited to be a part of the cover reveal for Cathy Bramley's novel 'Appleby Farm' today! The series has already been released in 4 separate e-book parts, but the full Kindle and paperback version will be released on the 13th of August!

Appleby Farm is a charming, funny and romantic story for anyone looking for a feel-good, light-hearted read, from the author of bestselling Ivy Lane. 

Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She’s been happy working at the café round the corner from Ivy Lane allotments and her romance with her new boyfriend is going well, she thinks, but a part of her still misses the beautiful rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm.

Then a phone call out of the blue and a desperate plea for help change everything…

The farm is in financial trouble, and it’s taking its toll on the aunt and uncle who raised Freya. Heading home to lend a hand, Freya quickly learns that things are worse than she first thought. As she summons up all her creativity and determination to turn things around, Freya is surprised as her own dreams for the future begin to take shape.

Love makes the world go round, according to Freya. Not money. But will saving Appleby Farm and following her heart come at a price?

Isn't the book cover simply stunning?! I LOVE it and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the paperback version of the book as soon as it's released in August!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books Which Feature Characters Who Are Linked to Jane Austen!

'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 Books Which Feature Characters Who Are Linked to Jane Austen!

Those of you who visit this blog more often will know that I'm a big Jane Austen fan. She's one of my favourite authors of all time and I love picking up books that are even in the smallest way connected to her or her novels. So, for today's Top Ten Tuesday I decided to go with 10 books that feature characters that are in one way or another linked to Jane; whether they are fans of her work or looking for their own Mr. Darcy... Books which any Austen fan should definitely pick up! :)

1. Victoria Connelly - 'A Weekend With Mr. Darcy'

Victoria Connelly's 'Austen Addicts' series is quite simply a must-read series for any Austen fan! I love Victoria's writing style and 'A Weekend With Mr. Darcy' is still one of my favourite Austen-inspired books!

2. Karen Joy Fowler - 'The Jane Austen Book Club'

One of the most well-known Austen-inspired novels that was also turned into a film in 2007.

3. Shannon Hale - 'Austenland'

I love 'Austenland'; such a fun look at Austen's novels and the time she lived in. The book was also turned into a great film which is perfect for romantic comedy fans, even if you're not an Austen fan.

4. Syrie James - 'The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen'

A novel in which Jane's hidden memoirs are found after hundreds of years and we finally get to discover what her life was like exactly... Loved it!

5. Kim Izzo - 'The Jane Austen Marriage Manual'

I really enjoy Kim Izzo's work and 'The Jane Austen Marriage Manual' combines two of the things I love: her writing style and Jane; another fabulous Austen-inspired read! 

6. Marilyn Brant - 'According to Jane'

Another entertaining read in which the main character is suddenly stuck with the voice of Jane Austen in her head.

7. Alexandra Potter - 'Me and Mr. Darcy'

A thoroughly enjoyable chick lit read in which the main character goes on a guided tour of Jane Austen country.

8.  Laurie Viera Rigler - 'Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict'

The first part of Laurie Viera Rigler's Austen-inspired novels, 'Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict' is such a fun read, and I highly recommend the second part, 'Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict' as well!

9. Mary Lydon Simonsen - 'Searching for Pemberley'

Three love stories set at different times, with a link to Jane Austen... And a stunning book cover!

10. Melissa Nathan - 'Acting Up'

Another great chick lit read which focuses on a journalist who is asked to play the role of Elizabeth in a Pride and Prejudice play. A fantastic read!