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25 May 2017

Review: 'Summer at the Little Wedding Shop' by Jane Linfoot (2017)

The third book in the bestselling series, ‘The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’.

Summer fun comes to Brides by the Sea and there’s love in the Cornish sea breeze as the girls tackle their busiest wedding season yet. There’s plenty of bunting, bubbly and baking – but who is going to catch the bouquet?

I'm so glad author Jane Linfoot contacted me a few weeks ago with the question whether I was interested to review the third part of her lovely series about the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea. Both Jane and her novels have been some of my favourites during the past few years, and even though I actually stopped accepting book review requests because I'm closing down the blog, I couldn't possibly say no to her. When I read 'The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea' I immediately loved everything about it and I'm so glad to have been given the chance to check out this third and latest instalment of the series. I was more than ready to dive back into the world of weddings and once again meet up with some familiar faces...!

Wedding dress shop Brides by the Sea is doing better than ever, and when boss Jess decides to open a special section for styling weddings she immediately knows whom she wants as her stylist. Lily is mainly used to working with flowers, but as she finds herself out of a job she decided to take Jess' offer with both hands and make the best of it. But then Kip Penryn, a familiar face from Lily's past, unexpectedly shows up in Cornwall and sets up a rival wedding business in a gorgeous country mansion down the road. Without even a second to worry about her new job, Lily is sent to investigate and check out the enemy; what are Kip's plans and how will this affect Lily and her friends and their wedding business...?

As soon as I picked up this novel I knew Jane Linfoot wouldn't let me down, and as expected: she didn't! 'Summer at the Little Wedding Shop' is the third part of this book series, published by Harper Impulse, and it's a series I honestly can't get enough of. The first part already made me fall in love with Brides by the Sea (the wedding shop that's central to the story), the different characters (Poppy, Sera, Jess, Rafe, Immie, Lily...), the setting and the engaging and simply great storylines. The second part of the series was just as great, and I can say the third part follows the exact same line. While the novel can be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend starting at the beginning of the series, because you won't be disappointed (especially if you're a chick lit fan).

This novel focuses on Lily, who is a great and easily likeable main character, and some handsome man candy is added to the novel in the form of Kip Penryn. I loved the fun banter between Kip and Lily and felt myself rooting for them from the start. There were several different aspects to the story and I really loved how the pace of the book was great and all the different storylines kept me captivated and entertained at all times. All in all, I think 'Summer at the Little Wedding Shop' is a simply fabulous, sweet and delightful wedding-filled story by author Jane Linfoot; a fantastic third part of this series, and the only thing left for me to say is: when can we expect part four...?! 
Rating:9,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

22 May 2017

Review: '#Love London - The Complete Collection' by Nikki Moore (2015)

Six couples. One city. A year to remember.

Now you can get all of Nikki Moore’s gorgeously romantic stories from the #LoveLondon series in one book! This is THE book to fall in love with …

Includes the short stories:
Skating at Somerset House
New Year at the Ritz
Valentine’s on Primrose Hill
Cocktails in Chelsea
Strawberries at Wimbledon

and the full length novel:
Picnics in Hyde Park

London is undoubtedly one of my favourite cities in the whole world. It really is a magical place and I’ll never say no to a trip to visit the city, even if it’s just for a day. So, when I first heard about Nikki Moore’s short story collection focusing on London, I immediately knew this was going to be a book I wanted to check out. When the separate short stories were released by publisher Harper Impulse I unfortunately never managed to get any review copies, but when the complete collection appeared on NetGalley, I was one of the lucky reviewers to get a review copy. Unfortunately, it took me way too long to finally sit down with this particular read, but as I’m now slowly coming towards the end of my TBR-list, I finally had a chance to check out this lovely London collection…!

The ’#Love London’ collection is an anthology of author Nikki Moore’s writing and the thing all stories have in common is that they’re all set in the lovely city of London. As we are invited to check out short stories ‘Skating at Somerset House’, ‘New Year at the Ritz’, ‘Valentine’s on Primrose Hill’, ‘Cocktails in Chelsea’ and ‘Strawberries at Wimbledon’, we meet several characters, visit different sides of London, and experience different festive times of the year, including Christmas and Valentine’s Day. After these five short stories, there is also a full-length novel included in the collection, namely ‘Picnics in Hyde Park’, which focuses on yet another set of characters, but also brings back some of the characters we’ve already had the pleasure of meeting along the way. A great collection for any chick lit/romantic comedy fan, especially if you have a soft spot for the UK capital…!

From her ‘#Love London’ collection it straight away becomes clear that author Nikki Moore has quite a bit of knowledge to share when it comes to some special places in the wonderful city that is London, but also knows how to tell a captivating romantic story. I loved all these different short stories, set in the same city, but all focusing on a different time of year, a different collection of characters and a different captivating storyline. The fact that the stories are set in London gives them that extra special something, and I loved visiting Wimbledon, Somerset House, the Ritz, Primrose Hill… I also really enjoyed getting to know all the characters and I love short stories, because they’re great when you’re commuting or have a free hour all of a sudden. 

With more than 550 pages, the collection is quite a long read. While I really enjoyed the short stories, I struggled a bit with the full-length novel, ‘Picnics in Hyde Park.’ I think this would have perhaps also worked better as a short story, because it seemed quite slow-paced and just didn’t grab my attention as much as the short stories did. If I have to choose a favourite, it has to be a tie between ‘Skating at Somerset House’ and ‘Strawberries at Wimbledon’, which I can both highly recommend. I’m really glad I got the chance to be introduced to author Nikki Moore’s writing and I am curious to see what the future will bring. All in all, Nikki Moore’s ‘#Love London Collection’ is a great collection of short stories; quite a long read, but one which I’m sure many chick lit & London fans will thoroughly enjoy.
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.

17 May 2017

Review: 'Blood Sisters' by Jane Corry (2017)

Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning. 
Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can't speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it - this is her chance to finally make things right.

But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day. 
And only another life will do...

As some of you might know by now (or might have guessed by the name of my blog): I do like my happy endings. It’s not that I run away from books with definite unhappy endings, but books without a lot of sadness and despair quite simply make me a happier person than books where one character after the other is killed or the main character can’t stop sharing his/her thoughts about what a horrible place the world is. That being said, I do try to keep an open mind when it comes to the books I review, so when I was invited to read and review Jane Corry’s thriller ‘Blood Sisters’ I decided it was once again time for me to move out of my comfort zone. I have to admit the story sounded quite intriguing, so I was curious to give it a go (while secretly still hoping for some kind of at least semi-happy ending…)!

After a horrible event in their past, in 1991 when they were just little girls, Alison and Kitty now lead completely separate lives, roughly sixteen years later. Alison works as an art teacher; when she gets the opportunity to teach art lessons in a prison, she decides to take the job, hoping it will somehow ease her mind about everything that has happened. Kitty, however, lives in a care home; she can no longer speak and has no memory of what happened all those years ago. But even though Alison might like to leave the past for what it is, circumstances won’t let her. Recent events bring Alison and Kitty back together, and it soon turns out there is an extra person in the picture, someone who is looking for revenge for what happened all those years ago…

‘Blood Sisters’ was my first Jane Corry read and one of the very few psychological thrillers I decided to pick up this year so far. Luckily I can say I’m glad I did, because the book definitely made an impression on me and I enjoyed it much more than I initially expected. The story is told from alternating perspectives of female characters Alison and Kitty; two completely different people. The main difference is that Kitty is mentally disabled, and looks at the world, and therefore also everything that happened to her and Alison in the past, in a completely different way. I think the author did a great job incorporating this in the story and it provided me, as reader, with the opportunity to learn more about this and also made me see things in a different light.

As with most psychological thrillers, the tension is clearly present in the novel, but it is well built-up throughout the story (perhaps a bit too slow-paced at times). It kept me guessing until the end, which is one thing I do like; not knowing what is going to happen and being surprised by the author. The story is filled with lies and good dialogue that had me captivated; and I personally also really liked the fact that the book consisted of relatively short and quick chapters. Jane Corry is a name I’m adding to my list of authors to read, especially because I’m curious to check another one of her works, hopefully soon. All in all, ‘Blood Sisters’ is a gripping, original and enthralling story focusing on the relationship between two sisters and how one single event can impact many lives for years to come… A big thank you to the publisher who provided me with a copy, since I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have checked out this book otherwise!
Rating:8,5/10
 
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.

14 May 2017

Review: 'Invisible Women' by Sarah Long (2017)

Tessa, Sandra and Harriet have been best friends through first crushes, careers, marriage and the trials of motherhood. After twenty years of taking care of everyone else's every need, they've found themselves hitting the big 5-0 and suddenly asking themselves: 'what about me?!'

Sandra has a sordid secret, and Harriet is landed with her ailing mother-in-law. Tessa is looking for something to fill the gaping hole left by her youngest daughter's departure for uni, where it seems she's now engaged in all sorts of unsavoury activities, if Tessa's obsessive late-night Facebook stalking is anything to go by.

When Tessa impulsively responds to an online message from an old flame, she soon finds herself waiting at Heathrow Airport for The One That Got Away. 

But what will the plane from New York bring her? The man of her dreams, or a whole heap of trouble? 

And could this be the long-awaited moment for Tessa to seize her life, for herself, with both hands?

Another unexpected review copy landed on my doorstep a few weeks ago and I decided to squeeze it in just before I’m closing down the blog by the end of this month… (I can’t believe how fast time has flown by and my review pile only consists of one or two titles left to read and review)! ‘Invisible Women’ was released by publisher Bonnier Zaffre at the start of May, and I’m glad I received a surprise review copy of the novel. Not only did I like the sound of the story, but I also liked being provided with the opportunity to check out author Sarah Long, who I wasn’t yet familiar with before picking up this latest release of hers!

Tessa, Sandra and Harriet have been good friends for years and as they are getting closer to hitting 50, the three of them take a close look at their lives and ask themselves whether they are really happy where they are at right now. Now their kids are taking care of themselves and their husbands no longer seem to pay attention to them, it might be time for some significant changes. Tessa’s husband is more focused on making money than her, so when an old crush of hers suddenly pops up in her life again, she can’t help but love the attention. Sandra is dealing with the aftermath of her husband’s mental breakdown, and Harriet is being treated by her husband as a servant, having to take care of her sick mother-in-law. Will the three women decide to make some drastic changes in their lives and is hitting 50 the trigger they needed to start thinking about themselves for a change; or perhaps some of the recent events will make them see what it is they really want from both their husbands and life in general.

Sarah Long’s ‘Invisible Women’ is a read I think especially female readers between the ages of 40 and 60 will be able to really enjoy and relate to in one way or another. However, as a twenty-something female reader I also enjoyed reading about best friends Tessa, Sandra and Harriet and what they are going through in their lives. The women are all reaching the milestone of becoming 50 and they are getting tired of feeling as if things don’t matter anymore. This leads to some more risky behaviour; the question is, is this really what will make them happier in the end? I liked how the story focused on the three different storylines, while at the same time linking all of it together because the three characters are best friends and share everything with each other.


I think there were just a few things in the novel I didn’t particularly like, and the combination in the end resulted in me giving the book a 7,5. First of all, I did find it difficult to put myself in the shoes of the characters, mainly because of their situations and age. However, that is something I can definitely put aside; the main thing was the male characters in the novel were just all pretty horrible, and I couldn’t understand why the women were still married to them or interested in them. I like it when there is a romantic and happy element to a novel, where I really root for the characters, and I just missed that here. Therefore, I do think ‘Invisible Women’ is an enjoyable read about women hitting middle age and trying to deal with this in their own way, but in the end it just wasn’t entirely the read for me.
Rating:7,5/10
 
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.

10 May 2017

Blog Tour: 'Catch Me If You Cannes' by Lisa Dickenson!

Today I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour for the amazing Lisa Dickenson's latest novel 'Catch Me If You Cannes'! I've been a big fan of Lisa's novels ever since I got the chance to read and review her Christmas-themed book 'The Twelve Dates of Christmas' several years ago, and I can highly recommend any of her novels to any chick lit fans out there. Be sure to scroll down to read my review of 'Catch Me If You Cannes', and also to check out the blog tour poster so you can visit some of the other book blogs taking part in this tour!

Jess and Bryony have been best friends since they were little girls; back then it was them against the world and that still seems to be the case. Jess owns her own cafe but feels it's time to do something to spice up her life a bit. Bryony works as a journalist for a gossip magazine and is sent to France to find some juicy stories at the Cannes Film Festival. Jess immediately spots a chance for an adventure and decides to go with Bryony. However, their hopes for a glamorous holiday are quickly shattered; their average hotel is far away from all the action and they don't have anywhere near enough money to be able to party with all the celebrities. Jess and Bryony decide they will make the best of things, they're in Cannes after all! So, telling a few lies here and there won't hurt anyone and will help them have a good time... Or not?

It's relatively easy to write a review of one of Lisa Dickenson's novels because I just seem to love every sentence that she gets onto paper, and 'Catch Me If You Cannes' is no exception to that! It has an entertaining storyline, great characters, a fabulous setting, and it's really funny. Lisa Dickenson really has her own distinctive writing style; a style that's easy to get lost in and one that even seems to be a bit addictive, because I didn't want to put the book down (but also didn't want it to end!). It's also perfect for the chick lit genre and I dare to say that anyone who is a chick lit fan will love this e-book series. 

Bryony and Jess are great characters. I loved their friendship; the two are each other's opposites which is probably what makes them work together so well. From the first chapter I was already rooting for them and just wanted to jump into the novel and join them on their Cannes adventure. Of course there's also enough man-candy to swoon over and a captivating plotline that made me both laugh and wonder what was going to happen next. I personally got to read this as a novel, instead of having to wait for the next part to be released, which resulted in me being really immersed in the story. Overall, 'Catch Me If You Cannes' is another chick lit hit for Lisa Dickenson; a feel-good, thoroughly funny, and amazingly entertaining romantic comedy which you need to add to your suitcase right now. Your summer holiday won't be complete without it!
Rating:10/10
 
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.

9 May 2017

Review: 'Evie's Year of Taking Chances' by Christie Barlow (2017)

Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books - after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own. 

Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother. 

Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past. 

As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken?

Over the past year and a half or so I’ve had the pleasure of reading several of author Christie Barlow’s novels. I’m a big fan of publisher Bookouture, which is how I was introduced to Christie’s works, namely when I requested a review copy via NetGalley of her novel ‘Kitty’s Countryside Dream.’ I ended up really loving the book, and since then I’ve been looking out for other reads by this author. Since that first novel I’ve also read ‘Lizzie’s Christmas Escape’ and her ‘The Misadventures of a Playground Mother’ series. I have to admit I wasn’t too big a fan of the last one mentioned there, but I was definitely curious to check out Christie’s latest release, ‘Evie’s Year of Taking Chances’, which promised to be a great chick lit read…

Twenty-something Evie has a pretty good life; she loves her job as a librarian and she has some great people around her in the town of Becton, particularly her best friend and colleague Clara and her foster mother Irene. Yet, every single year on her birthday Evie can’t help but wonder whatever happened to her real mother; why was she unable to take care of her and where could she be now? One year, Evie decides it’s time to finally start searching for some answers to her questions so she tries to find her birth mother. At the same time, however, there is someone else who makes an unexpected reappearance in Evie’s life; eight months ago she developed a crush on author Noah, but never bumped into him again after that. Now he’s back in town and, most important of all, seems to be interested in her… Will Evie be able to make the best of this new year, full with chances, or will it all just be a bit too much in one go?

When I read my first Christie Barlow novel, ‘Kitty’s Countryside Dream’, I immediately developed a liking for the author’s writing style and loved the story she had come up with. However, the books I’ve read since then just didn’t quite manage to live up to that very first novel I picked up, in my opinion. However, I’m happy to say ‘Evie’s Year of Taking Chances’ did manage to capture that same feeling, and really was another captivating and warm-hearted chick lit read I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. The book has realistic characters at its core, and also ones that are easy to warm to and root for. I liked Evie from the start, and also thought there were some wonderful secondary characters that really added their own touch to the story as a whole (I especially liked Clara, Evie’s best friend and colleague).

I quite like it when the main storyline of a novel consists of several different aspects and different things are going on. This was also the case for this book and I was really curious to see how everything would work out, even ending up being a bit surprised by some of the events (don’t want to give anything away!). Christie Barlow’s writing style also fits the chick lit genre really well, so if you’re a chick lit fan and curious to check out one of her reads, don’t hesitate to start with this one. All in all, I’m really happy to say I was once again convinced by Christie Barlow’s writing with her latest release; ‘Evie’s Year of Taking Chance’ is a lovely and wonderful story filled with smiles, love and friendship; a thoroughly nice feel-good read!
Rating:8,5/10
 
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.

7 May 2017

Review: 'Lady Cop Makes Trouble' by Amy Stewart (2017)

In 1915, lady cops were not expected to chase down fugitives on the streets of New York City. But Constance Kopp never did what anyone expected.

Bergen County’s Sheriff Heath has appointed Constance as one of the nation’s first female deputies. He knows she’s a powerful addition to his force, and she knows she can do the job, but when the wiles of a German-speaking con man threaten her position and her hopes for this new life — and risk the honourable sheriff being thrown into his own jail — Constance is forced to prove herself again.

'Lady Cop Makes Trouble' sees Constance on the trail of a fugitive, helping runaway girls taken in by unscrupulous men, and sorting out why an old woman is taking the fall for a murder she couldn’t have committed. Cheering her on are her sisters Norma and Fleurette — that is, when they aren’t, respectively, training pigeons for the war effort or fanning dreams of a life on the stage.

I was really excited to pick up and check out ‘Lady Cop Makes Trouble’, author Amy Stewart’s sequel to her fantastic read ‘Girl Waits with Gun’, which I had the pleasure of reviewing a few weeks ago (click here to read my review). I loved the mix of historical fiction, women’s fiction and detective/mystery novel, and was really curious to read more about the Kopp sisters. I was lucky enough to have also received a review copy of the second part of this book series, which was released in 2016, and I already had a good feeling I was hopefully going to enjoy it as much as the first part…!

Set in the 1910s, Constance Kopp finds herself making history when she is appointed as one of the country’s first female deputies. Constance is determined to do a good job, especially since she loves what she does, but not everyone supports her and sheriff Heath’s decision to appoint a woman as deputy. When Constance accidentally lets a German immigrant criminal escape on her watch, she not only brings her own career at risk, but also sheriff Heath, who has always supported her. There is only one thing that can save both of them and that’s tracking down the German criminal and putting him behind bars once again, but Constance has quite a job ahead of her…

After having read Amy Stewart’s novel ‘Girl Waits with Gun’ I promised myself I’d keep an eye out for any other books by this author, and I’m really glad to say the sequel in the series, ‘Lady Cop Makes Trouble’, managed to live up to my expectations; it’s definitely another engaging and well-written detective read I couldn’t get enough of. The oldest of the Kopp sisters, Constance, has managed to be appointed as deputy and she takes her job very seriously. When something unexpected happens, she is suddenly forced to prove her worth, no matter the stakes. I really liked how we not only follow Constance, but we also learn more about her sisters Norma and Fleurette. I love the three different female characters, and wouldn’t have minded if perhaps even more attention had been paid to Norma and Fleurette and their activities.  

Just like with the first part of this series, I really enjoyed how the author tackles various genres (women’s fiction, historical fiction, a detective element) and both fiction and non-fiction (the storyline is based on actual events). Amy Stewart has a great and comfortable writing style and I am counting the Kopp sisters novels to some of my favourite reads of this year so far, and I sincerely hope there will be more adventures to come. All in all, another stunning and convincing read by author Amy Stewart; ‘Lady Cop Makes Trouble’ is an entertaining and original work of fiction that I loved from start to finish.
Rating:9/10
 
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.

3 May 2017

Upcoming Release: 'See You in September' by Charity Norman

Cassy smiled, blew them a kiss. 'See you in September,' she said. It was a throwaway line. Just words uttered casually by a young woman in a hurry. And then she'd gone. It was supposed to be a short trip - a break in New Zealand before her best friend's wedding. But when Cassy waved goodbye to her parents, they never dreamed that it would be years before they'd see her again. Having broken up with her boyfriend, Cassy accepts an invitation to stay in an idyllic farming collective. Overcome by the peace and beauty of the valley and swept up in the charisma of Justin, the community's leader, Cassy becomes convinced that she has to stay. As Cassy becomes more and more entrenched in the group's rituals and beliefs, her frantic parents fight to bring her home - before Justin's prophesied Last Day can come to pass.

I've had the pleasure of reading several of Charity Norman's novels during the past few years and I love her stories. She has such a compelling writing style and her stories never disappoint. They always make me think about different topics and issues, and tug on my heartstrings. I already am intrigued by the description of 'See You in September' and I am pretty sure this will be another great and captivating read by this author... Fingers crossed it will live up to my expectations!

2 May 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art

'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 Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art 
 
This week's Top Ten Tuesday list has to somehow be related to book covers, so I decided to go with a list I actually already posted quite some time ago, but which I really loved, namely: top 10 book covers I'd frame as pieces of art. I think it would be great to have a room with all kinds of book covers on the wall... Perhaps in my future amazing library room..?! I found some lovely covers, but would love to hear if anyone else has some other great covers to share!
 


1. Sarra Manning - 'It Felt Like a Kiss'


I fell in love with the cover of Sarra Manning's novel 'It Felt Like a Kiss' the second I saw it and every time I look at it I fall in love with it a little bit more! I honestly adore everything about it: the pink and blue colours, the romance of the couple holding hands, the London skyline in the background... It's just perfect!
 


2. Jane Austen - Collection of Seven Novels

 

As a big Jane Austen fan I immediately knew I needed to add this particular item to my Austen collection as soon as I saw it; without a doubt one of the prettiest Austen covers I've ever seen. I was lucky enough to get it as a gift from my lovely sister and it's even more gorgeous in real life. 



3. Nicholas Sparks - 'A Walk to Remember'


 I love the colours of Autumn and this cover of Nicholas Sparks' novel 'A Walk To Remember' really manages to catch that Autumn feeling. It's a really pretty image and even though it might at first glance not look like anything special, I think it's simply gorgeous.



4. J.M. Barrie - 'Peter Pan'


 Ever since I was a little girl I've loved the story of Peter Pan and I always wanted to be like Wendy. Just the idea of flying through the air to another world, 'second star to the right and straight on till morning', is a magical feeling and this book cover manages to capture that thought perfectly. 



5. Neil Gaiman - 'Stardust'


Anoter pretty, not too complicated, cover with a couple of trees. I love the way the sunlight appears to be like stardust, the title of the novel, and how this gives the image something magical, like something amazing might be hidden behind these trees.
 


6. L. Frank Baum - 'The Wizard of Oz'
 

I'm a sucker for cute things and I love this incredibly cute cartoonish book cover for L. Frank Baum's 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', one of my favourite children's stories.



7. Jane Sanderson - 'Ravenscliffe'
 

I'm a big fan of gorgeous country houses like you can find a lot in the UK, which is why I also love the cover of Jane Sanderson's 'Ravenscliffe.' Pretty colours, lovely country house in the background, the way the gate decorated with flowers is seen from up close... Love it!



8. Louisa May Alcott - 'Little Women'


Penguin has a whole series of classic tales with embroidered book covers. I really like this 'Little Women' one because it has lots of bright and lovely colours and the cover seems to tell a story with all these small images and quotes from the book. I think this would look great on my wall!
 


9. Ali Harris - 'The First Last Kiss'


Another chick lit cover which is just simply breathtaking. The colours, the lanterns, the couple holding each other, the font... Amazing!



10. P.L. Travers - 'Mary Poppins'


And last but not least, a really pretty cover of another one of my all-time favourites, 'Mary Poppins.' I love the colour combination of the red, blue, black and white and I think this would look brilliant as a poster in my appartment.

1 May 2017

Review: 'Lost for Words' by Stephanie Butland (2017)

You can trust a book to keep your secret . . .

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she'll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can't hide any longer.

I have to admit I hadn’t heard or read anything about ‘Lost for Words’ when I found an unexpected review copy on my doormat. However, the cover of the novel immediately got me excited, and when I realised the story is all about a female character working in a bookshop, I was definitely sold. I also loved the fact that the publisher sent me a physical review copy of this book; I hardly ever receive physical review copies anymore; it’s all about e-books these days, it seems. However, I am still one of those slightly old-fashioned people that can’t help but prefer an actual copy of a book that I can smell and hold in my hands, and if that book is actually all about books as well, then that physical copy has just even more of that special extra touch…!

Loveday Cardew has had a difficult time in her life; a difficult time she prefers to hide away from others and definitely not talk about, even though it still has its impact on whatever she does. Luckily her job entails working in a second hand book shop in York and luckily, books don’t ask questions and are really the perfect companions when you’re not the most social person. Yet, while Loveday has managed to find some people who keep an eye on her, she also continues to meet ones that do not necessarily mean well. Loveday’s life is about to change and she will be forced to finally share her secret with the world, no matter the consequences…

Wow; I love it when I already know I will really enjoy a read and it still manages to surprise me, to blow me away. ‘Lost for Words’ is a brilliant novel and I am sure any true book lovers out there, like me, will hopefully enjoy this as much as I did. Loveday is unlike any character I’ve encountered before in other books; she’s not the easiest to warm to at first, but when you discover what makes her tick you’ll fall head over heels in love with her. The book really has some great characters at its core; all of them with their own personality and touch, such as flamboyant second hand bookshop owner Archie, who always looks out for Loveday, and Nathan, a magician and poet who unexpectedly appears in Loveday’s life. I was really captivated by the different characters and the storyline and couldn’t get enough of the book, which is also why I finished it in just two sittings.

Stephanie Butland’s writing really is quite unique and managed to stand out for me. There’s a bit of quirkiness to it, and a dark element as well, and just a special touch, I don’t really know how to describe it, but I liked it. I personally found Loveday’s tendency to use books as an escape extremely relatable, and I think many readers will recognise this feeling, and I loved how the author showed that you cannot keep on running away from real life, no matter how hard you try. Yes, I really loved everything about this novel and it’s one of my favourite releases of 2017 so far. All in all, ‘Lost for Words’ is a compelling and lovely read that will warm your heart and leave you with a smile on your face. If you love books about book shops, then definitely do not miss out on this one!
Rating:9,5/10
 
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.

28 April 2017

I Never Book Tag

This week I felt like taking part in another book tag, so I had a look around and found the following one, the 'I Never' tag, on A Book Lovers Playlist. If you feel like joining in with the fun, be sure to leave your link to your list in the comments section below! :) 


1. "I never read that!" 
Name a book that you've never read, that everyone else has.
For a really long time it used to be 'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes, but I actually managed to sit down with that one earlier this year! However, that does mean I need to come up with a new book for this particular question... Let's go with 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert.

2. "I never read anything so awesome!" 
Name your favorite book.
At the moment it's a tie between 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen and 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott. But I think Jane is going to win. 

3. "I never thought I would get through it." 
Name a book that you didn't like, but powered through it anyway.
Anything by J.M. Coetzee. I had to read quite a number of his novels while I was at university and I just couldn't get through these stories... It really was quite the struggle!

4. "I will never finish that!" 
Name a book or a series that you don't plan on finishing.
'The Lord of the Rings.'

5. "I will never regret reading that." 
Name a book you read solely on a recommendation that you ended up really liking. 
'Twilight'.


6. " I would never do that!" 
Name a relatable book character who made choices you didn't agree with, or did things you would never do.
Hmmmmm, tricky tricky. There are quite a lot of book characters who make choices I don't agree with, so I don't know why I can't think of one right now...

7. "I never wanted to admit it." 
Name a book that you were embarrassed to say you read or were embarrassed to carry around with you. 
Without a doubt the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' books.

8. "I never read anything so heartwarming." 
Name a book or a series that really touched your heart.
'A Walk to Remember' by Nicholas Sparks.


9. "I never laughed so hard!" 
Name a book that made you laugh out loud.
'No-One Ever Has Sex in the Suburbs' by Tracy Bloom. SO funny.

10. "I never could have made it through childhood without it." 
Name a favorite childhood book or book series.
I loved The Babysitters Club; those books really gave me hours of fun and turned me into the avid reader I still am today.

26 April 2017

Review: 'Poet of the Wrong Generation' by Lonnie Ostrow (2016)

“It’s not that I don’t love you, and my tears are yet to dry. But you can’t go back and forth forever and we’ve already said goodbye.”

Through these words, a young poet unearths his musical soul while severing ties with the woman he loves after her stunning betrayal. Unknowingly, in writing this ballad of liberation, he will soon evolve as one of the fastest rising stars on the pop music landscape.

The year is 1991; the place, New York City. Here we meet Johnny Elias, a college student from Brooklyn with boundless adoration for two things in life: timeless popular music, and the heart of a sweet, complicated young woman who is clearly out of his league.

Megan Price not only is the object of Johnny’s affection, but also the only daughter of New York’s most powerful PR woman: the indomitable Katherine Price.

Projecting that her daughter’s boyfriend will never live up to the family standard, Katherine cleverly perpetrates a series of duplicitous schemes to rid Johnny from her high-class world. But in her callous disregard, she inadvertently sets him on a determined course to his improbable musical destiny - while sending her own daughter spiraling down a path of devastation.

In November 2016 author Lonnie Ostrow’s debut novel, ‘Poet of the Wrong Generation’, was released. Shortly afterwards I was contacted by Lonnie himself to see whether I’d be interested in reviewing his novel. I liked the promising sound of the book and how the story almost sounded like a kind of ‘saga’ I couldn’t possibly miss out on. It took me a bit of time to finally pick up the novel, but before I did I was almost blown away by the numerous five-star reviews I found on Goodreads while doing some initial research. These reviews and positive words only made me more curious and eager to check out this read, so I was glad when I finally took the time to sit down with it several weeks ago….!

Set in New York in the early 1990s, ‘Poet of the Wrong Generation’ tells the story of college student Johnny Elias who lives in Brooklyn and has a big dream of performing his own songs to a large audience someday. With the heart and support of his girlfriend Megan Price, Johnny feels he doesn’t need much more, until Megan’s powerhouse mother Katherine decides Johnny is definitely not right for her daughter. With her efforts she manages to separate Megan and Johnny, but this also happens to be the start of Johnny’s promising music career… The question is, will music and fame really bring Johnny what he wants from life, or does it all mean nothing without the love of his life by his side?

Wow; you really don’t find a lot of books like this one anymore. At least I don’t! I don’t know exactly what Lonnie Ostrow did in his previous life, but he was obviously born to be a storyteller and his debut novel ‘Poet of the Wrong Generation’ is a wonderful example of this. The book tells the story of college student and musician Johnny Elias who dreams of becoming a famous star someday, especially with his girlfriend Megan by his side. However, different obstacles block their path to happiness, and as a reader we get to join Johnny on his way to stardom. I loved how this book seemed to combine it all; there’s a clear storyline focusing on the music industry and building up a music career, but at the same time there is also a great romance at the core of this book, and a focus on themes such as family, friendship and following your dreams.

The book has some great and fascinating characters at its centre. Main man Johnny is definitely the kind of guy you find yourself rooting for, and there’s also a good group of secondary characters that complement the story, especially Johnny’s best friend Andy and his girlfriend Jacqui. If I’m completely honest I did feel the book was really quite long (it has over 450 pages), and slightly too slow-paced at times. However, the fantastic writing definitely made up for this. All in all, ‘Poet of the Wrong Generation’ is an engaging and memorable novel about the ups and downs of the music business, family, love, friendship, finding yourself… Life in general, really. There’s something in this book for everyone, and it’s an incredibly promising debut novel. Lonnie Ostrow is a name to look out for, without a doubt.
Rating:9/10
 
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.