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31 July 2016

August 2016 Releases! (Part 1)

August is almost here, which definitely means one thing: SUMMER! I hope a lot of you are currently on your holidays or have a lovely holiday to look forward to. I also will be going away for a bit and I can't wait to relax, do fun things, and of course, spend a lot of my free time catching up on my TBR...! However, I didn't want to leave you guys without a quick sneak peak at what August has in store for all of us bookwise, so be sure to scroll down to check out some of this year's August releases which I can't wait to check out!

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! :)

'Coco Chanel Saved My Life' - Daniela F. White (1 August)

Rebecca is thirty-three years old, has a wardrobe full of tweed trouser suits and a boundless passion for the splendid Coco Chanel. She is romantic, dreamy, and madly in love with Niccolò, whom she is about to join in Milan, after a year being together long distance. 

But as soon as she gets to Milan, Niccolò confesses to her that he has fallen in love with another woman. So Rebecca finds herself in a city she doesn’t know and with a broken heart. How would her idol, the great Coco, have reacted? 

After spending several days confined to her flat, Rebecca plunges herself into the intense Milanese social life, and with the stylishness of her heroine, savours the feeling of being a desirable woman. Will she remain an eternal mademoiselle, like the ageless Coco? Or does destiny have unexpected surprises in store for her? / / Goodreads

'The Regulars' - Georgia Clark (2 August)

Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.

Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well...gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.

But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:

What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?

'The Lavender House' - Hilary Boyd (4 August)

Nancy de Freitas is the glue that holds her family together. Caught between her ageing, ailing mother Frances, and her struggling daughter Louise, frequent user of Nancy's babysitting services, it seems Nancy's fate is to quietly go on shouldering the burden of responsibility for all four generations. Her divorce four years ago put paid to any thoughts of a partner to share her later years with. Now it looks like her family is all she has. Then she meets Jim. Smoker, drinker, unsuccessful country singer and wearer of cowboy boots, he should be completely unsuited to the very together Nancy. And yet, there is a real spark. But Nancy's family don't trust Jim one bit. They're convinced he'll break her heart, maybe run off with her money - he certainly distracts her from her family responsibilities. Can she be brave enough to follow her heart? Or will she remain glued to her family's side and walk away from one last chance for love?

'When Only Cupcakes Will Do' - Daisy James (4 August)

When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

'The Legacy of Lucy Harte' - Emma Heatherington (4 August)

One girl’s dreams become another woman’s lifeline.

Life as Maggie O’Hara once knew it is crumbling around her. Her husband has left her, she’s living alone with nothing but a ready meal for one and a bottle of wine (or three), and her job is on the line.

An unexpected letter changes everything and brings Maggie back into the life of Lucy Harte – the little girl who once saved her life.

The discovery of Lucy’s teenage bucket list offers Maggie a chance at getting her life back on track. With nothing to lose, she decides to finish what Lucy started and embarks on a journey of self-discovery, healing, friendship and true love.

'Down on Daffodil Lane' - Rebecca Pugh (8 August)

Maria Charm’s world might have recently crumbled, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to let it get her down.

Sure, her ex-husband broke her heart and decimated her trust, and while it would be so tempting to spend forever in her dressing gown, a tub of ice-cream in one hand and a glass of Chardonnay in the other, Maria wants more from her new—single—life!

A make over of her lovely little cottage on Daffodil Lane and a new job at Harriet’s café are just the distractions Maria needs to carve a new life in the country. One distraction she doesn’t need is Mr Tall, Brooding and Handsome from down the lane! Brad may only be in town temporarily, but there’s nothing temporary about the tingles Maria feels at his touch…

After everything she’s been through, can Maria ever trust a man again? Could risking her heart with Brad lead to a charmed life on Daffodil Lane?

'Results May Vary' - Bethany Chase (9 August)

She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an I instead of a we; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected and potentially disastrous attraction she can't get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband's other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story's ending will mean forgiving the man she's loved for half her life, or facing her future without him. 

'The Hating Game' - Sally Thorne (9 August)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
2) A person's undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work - except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.

Trapped in a shared office, they've become entrenched in an addictive, never-ending game of one-upmanship. There's the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can't let Joshua beat her at anything - especially when a huge promotion is on offer.

If Lucy wins, she'll be Joshua's boss. If she loses, she'll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn't hate him. And just maybe, he doesn't hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game . . .


'Rules: Things are Changing at the Little School by the Sea' - Jenny Colgan writing as Jane Beaton (11 August)

For the second year at Downey House, it's getting harder and harder to stick to the rules...

It's about making them...
Now she's engaged to sweet and steady Stan, Maggie's just got to stop thinking about David McDonald, her opposite number at Downey Boys . . . hasn't she? Can Maggie take a leaf out of the Well Behaved Teacher's exercise book - and stick to it?

It's about breaking them...
But headmistress Veronica Deveral has more to lose than anyone. When Daniel Stapleton joins the faculty, she's forced to confront her scandalous secret. How long will she be able to keep it under wraps?


'The Goodbye Gift' - Amanda Brooke (11 August)

Lucy has been desperate for a new heart for as long as she can remember. But getting the call to say a donor has been found will be a bittersweet relief: because for her to live, someone else must die.

Julia, Helen and Phoebe have been fast friends for all their lives, through Helen’s unplanned pregnancy, the sudden death of Phoebe’s mother, and Julia’s desperation to conceive with her much younger husband. Yet a deep friendship can hide many secrets, and as their relationship reaches crisis point, what has long been buried is going to come bubbling to the surface.

With one tragic accident, these four lives will converge and Lucy will get her new heart. But who has made the ultimate sacrifice?


Be sure to check back tomorrow for more August 2016 releases!

29 July 2016

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

It's almost the end of July which means we've already passed the half year mark for 2016. A great moment to take part in the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag, if you ask me. I had a quick look on my Goodreads page and so far I've read 105 books, so enough to choose from for the following set of questions!
Best book you’ve read so far in 2016

Oh, okay, let's start with one of the most difficult questions, that's fine! Hmmm... I think I'll have to go with either Cathy Bramley's 'Wickham Hall', which was an incredibly lovely read, or Debbie Johnson's 'The Birthday That Changed Everything', which was a funny and simply fantastic read as well. Don't make me pick just one, because this was already challenging enough...! 
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2016

I was introduced to Katy Colins' series 'The Lonely Hearts Travel Club' this year and have fallen head over heels in love with it! The sequel 'Destination: India' was released in June and is just as fantastic as the first part, 'Destination: Thailand.'
New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I was immediately excited when I first laid eyes on Annie Darling's 'The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts.' The novel has such a cute cover and the blurb promises a great story which I am sure I will love. So far I haven't picked up my own copy of the book yet, but I really plan on doing just that this summer!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

There are many releases coming up in the next couple of months which I am really excited about! However, if I have to pick just one, I'd probably go with Lisa Dickenson's 'Mistletoe on 34th Street.' Lisa is one of my favourite authors, she always makes me laugh with her stories, and Christmas is my favourite time of the year... The perfect combination!

Biggest disappointment

I was really excited about Lorelei Mathias' novel 'Reader, I Dumped Him...' The publisher really promoted it well and I couldn't wait to give the book a go, but in the end it really wasn't a read for me and I was quite disappointed.
Biggest surprise

Every now and again I still get surprised by books and it's a brilliant feeling. This definitely happened with Phaedra Patrick's 'The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.' I was part of the blog tour for this book but wasn't too sure what to expect or whether it would be a book I would end up enjoying. However, it was one of a kind and unlike anything else I've read!

Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)

I was introduced to author Katie Oliver this year and I still don't know why it took me so long to pick up one of her books. She uses Jane Austen as a big inspiration for her novels and I just loved the two books written by her I've read so far. Can't wait to read more!

Newest fictional crush

I have to admit I don't have as many book crushes anymore as I used to have when I was younger, but I would be lying if I would say the men in Sarah Morgan's novels don't make my heart beat that little bit faster...
Newest favorite character

Kimberley Long, the heroine in Meredith Schorr's 'Blogger Girl' and 'Novelista Girl', could be my new best friend. I read both books this year and loved them. This really is chick lit at its best and I can't get enough of Kimberley and her adventures!

Book that made you cry

Books don't often make me cry, but 'Our Song' by Dani Atkins definitely did. I remember it clearly, because I was quite surprised it actually made me shed a few tears, haha!

Book that made you happy

Anna Bell is a lovely author; her novels never disappoint and neither did 'The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart.' The book has a positive message and was just a real joy to read.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

My boyfriend recently bought me a very old edition of Jane Austen's 'Mansfield Park' which I just LOVE <3
What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

There are no specific books I really need to read before the end of the year, but I have a Goodreads goal to reach, so I definitely plan on reading another 60 books to make sure I reach that goal...!

28 July 2016

Review: 'Cloudy with a Chance of Love' by Fiona Collins (2016)

Every cloud has a silver lining when it comes to love…

Daryl Williams never minded the fact that she had a big bottom. It’s always been behind her. In fact, it was one of the things that her husband loved about her. Until he ran off with her best friend, Gabby.

Daryl knows that she needs to get back in the dating game, she just doesn’t know how. So when her colleague suggests taking a fortune forecast, she reluctantly agrees. And it looks like Daryl’s luck is in, by Friday she has a 99% chance of falling in love!

Only, even when it’s written in the stars, finding the one after the one is never easy…

Earlier this year, in April to be exact, I was part of the blog tour for author Fiona Collins’ great novel ‘A Year of Being Single’ (click here to read my review). The novel was a thoroughly enjoyable read and one I can definitely recommend to any romantic comedy/chick lit fans out there. I was really surprised when I found out Fiona Collins’ second novel was about to be published rather quickly after the first one, but also excited to check it out. ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Love’ has a simply lovely title and book cover and I was curious to see whether I’d end up enjoying this new novel as much as I did ‘A Year of Being Single’! 

After her husband ran off with her best friend roughly a year ago, Daryl Williams is now a forty-something divorcee trying her very best to move and get her life back on track. Her friend Sam truly believes it is time for Daryl to get back in the dating game and this is only confirmed after the two of them take a fortune forecast. According to the forecast, Daryl has a 99% chance of falling in love by the end of the week and Sam is determined to make the forecast come true. With her handsome new neighbor Will and evenings filled with speed dating and a cooking class for singles, Daryl undoubtedly has enough opportunities to get some male attention, but is she really ready to fall in love again after everything that has happened…?

I think I am slowly falling in love with Fiona Collins and her writing; ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Love’ is another entertaining romantic comedy which I didn’t want to put down and just really enjoyed from start to finish! The book already had the great title (which also fits in really nicely with main character Daryl’s job as a weather presenter on the radio) and a lovely book cover, and the story inside is definitely one that matches, filled with a great sense of humour. Protagonist Daryl is really funny and down-to-earth and the kind of character I think many readers will be able to relate to in one way or another. I’m not yet in my forties, not a mum, and not out in the dating field, but I easily warmed to Daryl and just loved reading her story, focusing on rebuilding her life after her husband left her for her best friend a year ago, and seeing what happened to her. 

Thanks to her friend Sam (who is one of several great secondary characters), Daryl finds herself in some entertaining situations, such as a speed dating evening and a cooking class for singles, and I really just couldn’t get enough of the book. Romantic comedies like this one are perfect to take on holiday with you for a read that will make it easy to forget about everyday-life for a few hours, but it’s a read I’d like to recommend to anyone looking for their next read; you won’t be disappointed. ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Love’ is another fantastic read by Fiona Collins; an entertaining, fun and light-hearted romantic read that will undoubtedly make you laugh, I loved it!
For more information about this book: / Goodreads

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

27 July 2016

Upcoming Release: 'Falling' by Julie Cohen!

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s could bring her love - or the loss of everything that matters to her.

Grandmother, mother and daughter – three women whose lives are falling apart. But one summer’s day, a single dramatic moment will force their secrets into the open.

Can they save each other from falling?

We're almost at the end of July and just like most other months this year so far, it has been another 31 days filled with some pretty great new releases! However, the month isn't over yet and we're being treated to one more release which I am personally quite excited about. I've had the pleasure of reading several of Julie Cohen's novels in the past and I'm really looking forward to picking up 'Falling', which will be released on July 28th. The book promises to be an intriguing and captivating women's fiction read and I hope it will manage to live up to my expectations! / / Goodreads

26 July 2016

Blog Tour: 'The Dress' by Sophie Nicholls!

Meet Ella and her mother Fabbia Moreno who arrive in York, one cold January day, to set up their vintage dress shop.

The flamboyant Fabbia wants to sell beautiful dresses to nice people and move on from her difficult past. Ella just wants to fit in. But not everyone is on their side.

Will Fabbia overcome the prejudices she encounters? What's the dark secret she's hiding? And do the silk linings and concealed seams of her dresses contain real spells or is this all just 'everyday magic'?

Among the leopard-print shoes, tea-gowns and costume jewellery in Fabbia's shop are many different stories - and the story of one particular dress.

Today I'm really quite excited to be part of the blog tour for a novel I've been looking forward to reading for several weeks now, namely Sophie Nicholl's 'The Dress'! The book was released by Bonnier Zaffre on July 28th and is my first experience with Sophie Nicholl's writing. I'm really a girly-girl when it comes to pretty dresses, so I straight away really liked the sound of this novel and fell in love with the gorgeous book cover. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to check out this novel! I've got some exclusive content from Sophie Nicholl's herself as well, so be sure to scroll down to take a look and visit some of the other blogs on the tour as well, you can find the names on the blog tour poster!

Fifteen-year-old Ella and her mother Fabbia Moreno have left their life in Eastbourne behind to start over in York, where Fabbia has plans to start her own vintage clothing store. Fabbia has always had a love for glamour and beautiful clothes and loves nothing more than to share her passion with others and help them pick out the right outfit. Ella can’t help but struggle with her mother’s personality every now and again, because all she wants is to fit in and be accepted. Luckily, Ella finds a friend in Billy and Katrina, who is the daughter of rich housewife Jean Cusworth. While Ella tries her best to lead a normal life, Fabbia is focused on moving on from her past; a past that always manages to catch up with her eventually, no matter what or where she goes…

I was really curious to check out Sophie Nicholl’s ‘The Dress’ and I’m happy to say that after just a few chapters I was already hooked by the story and that stayed that way until the very last chapter. I personally love novels that have a touch of magic to them and that’s definitely the case with this book. I was intrigued by both Ella and Fabbia, who each had their own story to share, and just really enjoyed reading about them. I could understand Ella on the one hand, because I still remember what it is like to be a teenage girl, looking for a way to fit in and wanting others to understand you, but I also felt for Fabbia and really admired her passion for clothing and wanting to give her daughter a good life. It really felt like these characters have a lot of stories to tell, which is also why I was really happy when I discovered this is the start of a series and I’m already looking forward to reading more.

The novel reminded me a bit of Menna van Praag’s ‘The Dress Shop of Dreams’, which I read last year and can highly recommend. There are some similarities between the two novels, but Sophie Nicholls definitely managed to give this story her own twist. I really enjoyed her writing style which includes some great descriptions of all the amazing clothes and was just really comfortable to read. I also loved how each chapter starts with a reference to a specific piece of clothing or accessory, and how the novel was occasionally interrupted by a story that played an important role in Fabbia and Ella’s lives. Overall, I think ‘The Dress’ is an enchanting, well-written and captivating read which I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish; author Sophie Nicholls has that touch of magic and I already can’t wait to see what she will come up with next!

For more information about this book: / Goodreads

The Dress by Sophie Nicholls is published on 28th July by Tweny7; paperback, £7.99

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

Guest Post by Sophie Nicholls!

How to make time for writing in a very busy life
Before my daughter was born, I would get up at 5am every morning to write before I began work. This was my time, time to indulge my passion. It was precious time, when the house was still dark and quiet, just me and the glow of my computer screen, my hands moving over the keyboard in perfect rhythm. 

But then my little girl was born and things changed. Suddenly, those hours of silence, my hard-won prize for dragging myself out of bed before sunrise, were no longer possible. Nights and days blurred together, punctuated only by the cries of a colicky baby. 

I remember tearfully wondering out loud to a friend, during that first year of motherhood, whether I would ever manage to write another word again. (In fact, I also seriously wondered if I would ever again manage to sleep for more than four hours straight. Or drink a cup of coffee whilst it was still hot.)

My friend, also a writer, shrugged and said, ‘You’re just going to have to think differently about writing. You’re not going to get that chunk of time – that early morning, that Saturday – for writing anymore. You’re going to have to learn to pop in and out of the ‘zone,’ write whenever you can, in snatched moments. Get used to it. That’s just the way things are now.’  

This turned out to be very good advice. Galvanised by my friend’s words, I stopped yearning for those uninterrupted stretches and started grabbing any moment I could. At first, I could write only when my daughter was napping or late at night, when I knew that I had at least a couple of hours before she’d wake for a feed again. The laundry and the clearing-up would have to wait, I told myself. I’m not a writer anymore unless I write. 

And so I did. I wrote with a new sense of urgency. I wrote as if my life depended upon it. And perhaps it did.

I’m not saying that everything I wrote during those times was my best work. Often, it would be sleep-deprived drivel. But at least I was writing again – and that felt good. 

In between these short bursts, I’d fill my notebooks with ideas, or scribble notes on the backs of receipts, cardboard packaging, paper napkins, whatever I could grab. Feeding times proved to be excellent opportunities to write in my head. I’d cradle my daughter and dream up plot lines, working through bits of dialogue. This way, as soon as I did manage to grab an hour here to perfect, a story beat to hit. I maximised every bit of time that fell randomly into my lap. 
I stopped waiting for the perfect writing time to arrive. My writing desk, previously my sacred space, gradually heaped up with household bills, old magazines, the ironing. My laptop, my notebook, post-it notes, those paper napkins, became my best friends.

These days, my daughter is four and I do have a desk again and even a room of my own, of sorts, in our spare bedroom. But right now, for example, I’m writing this article with my laptop balanced on my knees in the changing room outside my daughter’s ballet lesson. 

I’m not the writer who needs perfect quiet anymore, uninterrupted stretches to create and dream and get the first draft down. I’ve trained myself to tune out all the noise. I can write in a crowded café or in the twenty minute gap between a tutorial with a student and the school pick-up. I can even write with Peppa Pig blaring out in the background. Well, sometimes. 

I won’t say that it’s easy. I’m sure that I often appear absent-minded, even obsessive. (I think all writers are, by nature, at least a little obsessive.) My long-suffering partner has got used to me banging on, over dinner, about a plot line, sounding out an idea. He’s endlessly patient with my explanations of character or background. Just the act of talking a storyline through out loud often helps me to get it straight – ready for when the next writing opportunity comes along.  

And I think that, for me, that really is the key to the art of writing in the gaps. It’s about knowing what comes next. 

Write in the gaps. Use the in-between times. Most importantly of all, just write.

Thanks so much, Sophie!

25 July 2016

Review: 'Just the Way You Are' by Lynsey James (2015)

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!

I'm still doing my very best to catch up on all my reading (the end of my TBR-pile is slowly becoming visible, very slowly...!) and today I've got another review of a 2015 release to share with all of you which I should have shared a lot sooner. When I first heard about Lynsey James' debut novel 'Just the Way You Are' I straight away loved the cover and the blurb and was really keen to give the book a chance, also because Lynsey is a fellow book blogger who got a book deal with publisher Carina UK! The novel was released in April 2015 but due to the review copy not working on my e-reader I wasn't able to review the book as quickly as I initially planned. Never mind that, though; I finally sat down and gave the book the time it deserved and that's the most important thing!

When she was at university, Ava's life was suddenly turned slightly upside down when she started to receive the most amazing anonymous love letters. Mr. Writer, as Ava named him, knew exactly what to say to her and she couldn't help but feel as if she had found the One. Until they finally decided to meet up and he never showed. Now, six years later, Ava's attempts at moving on are halted when she suddenly finds another letter on her doorstep, but this time she is determined to figure out who Mr. Writer is once and for all. However, this is easier said than done when you've got almost nothing to go on, your boss decides to organise a crazy competition at work, and you have a new friend in need. But Ava knows she has to find out who this man is and whether it will really be the shot at true love she has been hoping for.

As soon as I read the book description of 'Just the Way You Are', I fell in love with the plotline of the novel and was really curious to check it out. Ava has been receiving love letters from a secret admirer for years and she's determined to finally discover who he really is. If you're a romantic like me I'm sure you will love Mr. Writer's letters as much as I did; wow, just the idea of receiving love letters like that...! The author really did her best to make sure readers of this book had enough to focus on with several subplots, such as an important competition going on at Ava's work, her relationship with her best friends Gwen and Max, and a new friendship with elderly lady Ivy that also comes with a search.

While lots of things were going on in this novel, I unfortunately just didn't feel as connected to the story and the characters as I would have liked to. Something was missing, a bit of depth perhaps, and it also didn't help that I was able to guess the exact way the story was going quite quickly. I also had difficulty warming to Ava, the main character; she seemed a bit all over the place, not really sure what she wants. Even though this novel didn't completely live up to my expectations, I still feel 'Just the Way You Are' is an enjoyable and promising debut by Lynsey James and I actually am quite curious to check out her second book, 'The Broken Hearts Book Club' and have high hopes for it!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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