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30 March 2017

April 2017 Releases!

It's almost April, which not only means that Spring has made its first appearance of 2017 (hooray for that!), but it also means there are some great new book releases coming our way soon...! The next thirty days have some pretty promising chick lit titles to offer us; it was tricky to just pick 10 of them to share with all of you today. The titles below are definitely on my wish list for next month, but I'd love to hear which ones you are looking forward to reading most at the moment! 

'The Choir on Hope Street' - Annie Lyons (6 April)

The best things in life happen when you least expect them.

Nat’s husband has just said the six words no one wants to hear – ‘I don’t love you any more’.

Caroline’s estranged mother has to move into her house turning her perfectly ordered world upside down.

Living on the same street these two women couldn’t be more different. Until the beloved local community centre is threatened with closure. And when the only way to save it is to form a community choir – none of the Hope Street residents, least of all Nat and Caroline, expect the results…

 

'A Not Quite Perfect Family' - Claire Sandy (6 April)

Fern Carlile has a lot on her plate. It’s a good thing she loves her big, imperfectly perfect family, because she’s the one who washes their pants, de-fleas the dog and runs her own business. A hearty meal is the one thing that brings the Carliles together – but over the course of a year, the various courses also pull them apart.

Around the table sits an eight-year-old militant feminist, a pair of teenage accidental parents, and a cantankerous OAP. Fern’s husband needs an extra seat for his spectacular midlife crisis.

Will Fern’s marriage be over by the time coffee is served? Perhaps she’ll give in and have the hot new dish that looks so tempting. Decisions, decisions...



'Spring at Blueberry Bay' - Holly Martin (7 April)

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined… 

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman. 

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again? 



'The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square' - Lilly Bartlett (7 April)

‘I feel like The Wurzels visiting Buckingham Palace!’

When Emma’s boyfriend Daniel pops the question with a ring the size of a small country, she suddenly realises just how different they are. She’s the Eastenders to his Made in Chelsea. She wants a low-key wedding with close friends and family in Uncle Colin’s pub, while Daniel’s mother is expecting a society do that their high-brow guests won’t forget!

How on earth can Emma put together a celebration fit for Lords and Ladies on a shoestring budget? Not to mention the fact her cross-dressing Uncle Barbara wants to be a bridesmaid, her best mate Kelly can’t stand Daniel’s best friend Cressida, and her dad is too proud to accept any help from Daniel’s family towards the costs.

There’s three months to go until the big day. Will Emma’s happy-ever-after end in disaster?



'The Horse Dancer' - Jojo Moyes (11 April)

When Sarah’s grandfather gives her a beautiful horse named Boo—hoping that one day she’ll follow in his footsteps to join an elite French riding school, away from their gritty London neighborhood—she quietly trains in city’s parks and alleys. But then her grandfather falls ill, and Sarah must juggle horsemanship with school and hospital visits.

Natasha, a young lawyer, is reeling after her failed marriage: her professional judgment is being questioned, her new boyfriend is a let-down, and she’s forced to share her house with her charismatic ex-husband. Yet when the willful fourteen-year-old Sarah lands in her path, Natasha decides to take the girl under her wing.

But Sarah is keeping a secret—a secret that will change the lives of everyone involved forever.



'The American Girl' - Rachael English (13 April)

Boston 1968. Rose Moroney is seventeen, smart, spirited – and pregnant. She wants to marry her boyfriend. Her ambitious parents have other plans. She is sent to Ireland, their birthplace, to deliver her daughter in a Mother and Baby home. Against Rose's will, her baby is taken for adoption.

Dublin 2013. Martha Sheeran’s life has come undone. Her marriage is over, and her husband has moved on with unsettling speed. Under pressure from her teenage daughter, she starts looking for the woman who gave her up for adoption more than forty years before.

Martha's search for her birth mother leads her to the heart of long-buried family secrets and forces her to question everything she thought she knew. When her first love, Paudie Carmody, re-enters the frame, she's also forced to take a hard look at her own life.



'A Wedding in Italy' - Tilly Tennant (14 April)

Kate is living the dream with her gorgeous boyfriend Alessandro in his native city, but the reality is sometimes a little less romantic than she’d hoped. Every day in her new home is a fight against leaking pipes, her cantankerous landlord and her less-than-perfect grasp of the Italian lingo. 

All around her there is talk of weddings, but when a secret from her past is thrust out into the open, Kate must fight to prove to Alessandro’s Mamma – and the rest of his formidable family – that she truly is Italian marriage material. 

With the women in Alessandro’s life on a mission to break them apart, the cracks begin to show and Kate starts to question if Alessandro really is the man of her dreams. Can love and the city of romance conquer all, or is that just a fairy-tale? 



'The A-Z of Everything' - Debbie Johnson (20 April)

P is for Paris where it all began. J is for Jealousy where it all came undone. But the most important letter is F. F is for Forgiveness, the hardest of all.

Sisters Poppy and Rose used to be as close as two sisters could be, but it’s been over a decade since they last spoke. Until they both receive a call that tells them their mother has gone – without ever having the chance to see her daughters reunited.

Andrea, though, wasn’t the kind of woman to let a little thing like death stand in the way of her plans. Knowing her daughters better than they know themselves, she has left behind one very special last gift – the A-Z of Everything.



'The Woman Who Met Her Match' - Fiona Gibson (20 April)

What if your first love came back on the scene... 30 years later?

After yet another disaster, Lorrie is calling time on online dating. She might be single in her forties, but she’s got a good job, wonderful children and she’s happy. This, Lorrie decides, is going to have to be enough.

That is, until she receives a very unexpected request from France. Antoine Rousseau, who had once turned a lonely French exchange trip into a summer of romance, wants to see her – after thirty years.

But Lorrie is a responsible woman. She can’t exactly run off to Nice with the man who broke her teenage heart...can she?
Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads


'Slightly South of Simple' - Kristy Woodson Harvey (25 April)

Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she'd spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley.

Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley's life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open.

 

29 March 2017

Review: 'Bad Will Hunting' by Heather Wardell (2014)

During her time on "Ragged Royalty", Ashley developed a reputation as the show's scowling shrew. Clever editing, no doubt, but she still hates it. Now that her stint on the show is complete, she's determined to get the revenge she deserves on the producers who made her look so awful. Without it she can't move forward and decide what comes next for her. She knows what doesn't, though--ever seeing MC or Kent or any of the other contestants again. She hates all of them and they hate her too. Who could like "Angry Ashley"?

When she meets sexy attorney Will on the flight home, she believes he can help her get everything she needs. Until he double-crosses her. Now she needs revenge on him too.

After reluctantly enlisting fellow contestant Sam's much-needed help in her "Bad Will Hunting" mission, Ashley turns up a ton of dead ends but also some exciting life-changing possibilities. But she can't get over her need to get one over on Will, and on everyone else who's wronged her.

With so much "bad will" in her way, can Ashley ever find true happiness?

Last year I got the chance to check out Heather Wardell’s novel ‘Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many’ (click here to read my review), and after I posted my review I was contacted by Heather, asking whether I was perhaps also interested to read and review the sequel to that novel, ‘Bad Will Hunting.’ The first book had made me curious enough to want to find out more about the different characters and check out some more of the author’s writing, so I said ‘yes’ and received that review copy (thanks, Heather!). While I was going through my list of review books a few weeks ago I stumbled upon this one and decided to sit down with it, and today I’ve got my review to share with all of you, so be sure to scroll down and check it out!

Taking part in reality TV show ‘Ragged Royalty’ has affected Ashley’s everyday life in more ways than she had imagined when she decided to give it a go. Known as ‘Angry Ashley’ to the public, Ashley hates the way the producers decided to portray her and she’s determined to get the one thing she desperately wants: revenge. She doesn’t quite know how to go about this, though, but then meets handsome lawyer Will while on her flight back home. He is willing to help her and Ashley can’t believe her luck, until he suddenly disappears and leaves her to fight for herself. Ashley’s revenge list only grows longer and longer, and while people around her, such as fellow ex-contestant Sam, try to make her focus on more positive things in life, Ashley just can’t let go. But will this idea of revenge really help her to become a happier person in the end and will it really help her find what she has been looking for?  

‘Bad Will Hunting’ is the sequel to author Heather Wardell’s novel ‘Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many’, which completely focused on reality TV show ‘Ragged Royalty’, a mix-up of The Bachelor and Survivor with the author’s own ideas added to the mix. In this second novel of the series we get to learn more about contestant Ashley, who has arrived back in the real world but can’t seem to find peace with how she was portrayed on the show (she received the nickname ‘Angry Ashley’), and is therefore keen to get her revenge. In the rather fast-paced novel we join Ashley on her self-discovering journey to get revenge, while running into some familiar and some unfamiliar faces along the way. While this novel could be read as a stand-alone (background information is provided), I do recommend starting this series at the beginning, just so you know what happened and how the characters got where they are in this novel.

I was expecting this sequel to be kind of similar to the first book in the series, but it was quite different, especially since this book is set in the real world and does not read as a reality TV show. I personally had some difficulty liking Ashley; she really has a lot of anger inside of her, resulting in some ridiculous behaviour at times, in my opinion, and I just didn’t really feel for her or wanted to start rooting for her. The story did captivate me enough to keep on reading, and I do think there is something promising in Heather Wardell’s writing, but I didn’t feel like really looking forward to picking up the book and wanting to read what was going to happen next. ‘Bad Will Hunting’ is best read as a sequel in this series, and provides the reader with a look at a different character in the series; an enjoyable novel that I am sure numerous readers will really like, but it just wasn’t the read for me.
Rating:7,5/10
 
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.

28 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Authors I'd Love to Meet

'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!
 
 
10 Authors I'd Love to Meet

This week's Top 10 is actually one I already shared with all of you quite some time ago, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of good recycling every now and again...! I think to us readers authors can become kind of like celebrities, people we have created to be a certain someone in our heads, and it's almost impossible to imagine we will ever get to meet them. Below are the 10 authors whom I'd love to have a cup of tea with to talk about their books; please share your own lists by leaving a comment below! :)



1. Jane Austen



Yes, I know there's no chance for me to actually meet Jane Austen since she died quite some time ago. However, if I could just pick one author, dead or alive, to meet, it would have to be Jane. 




2. Elizabeth Gaskell



I did a lot of literary research on Elizabeth Gaskell's novels when I was at university and I'd love to be able to sit down with her for a few hours to discuss her novels. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Gaskell also died many many years ago, but if they ever create a time machine... 




3. Nicholas Sparks



This man writes some of the most amazing love stories of all time, and as a true romantic I don't think it's much of a surprise I'd love to meet him.




4. Lisa Dickenson



I think Lisa would just crack me up from the moment I'd be in the same room as her. She's incredibly funny and a lovely person and I'd love to share some cupcakes with her! 




5. Ali McNamara



The same goes for Ali McNamara. A lovely person online whose novels I absolutely adore and It'd be great to have a cup of tea with her and discuss her books! 




6. Jane Green



Jane Green's novels always manage to entertain and intrigue me. I think she's a simply wonderful author and I'd love to meet her and share some thoughts with her. 




7. William Shakespeare



I think Shakespeare just needs to be on this list because he has written so many great stories which we still tell up to this very day... I'm quite curious to meet the man who continues to be one of the world's most-read authors!




8. J.K. Rowling



I'd honestly be quite scared to actually meet J.K. Rowling, but she still deserves a spot on my list, without a doubt!




9. Cecelia Ahern



I fell in love with Cecelia Ahern when I read her debut novel 'P.S. I Love You' and I've loved all of her other novels ever since. It'd be great to meet her and tell her how much her novels mean to me.




10. Cathy Bramley



I met Cathy two years ago when she e-mailed me about possibly reviewing her novel 'Conditional Love' and she is probably one of the nicest and most sincere authors I've met since I started my blog. She's a truly wonderful person and I'd love to meet her one day!

27 March 2017

Review: 'The Idea of You' by Amanda Prowse (2017)

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…

I consider myself lucky to once again be one of the bloggers to have received an early review copy of author Amanda Prowse’s latest release. ‘The Idea of You’ promised to be another engrossing read by this author who has slowly but surely become one of my favourite women’s fiction authors, and it was definitely one of this month’s releases I was most excited about picking up. Over the past few years I’ve read and reviewed several other books by this author, such as ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘Another Love’, ‘A Mother’s Story’ and most recently ‘The Food of Love’, and one thing all of these books have in common is that I gave them high ratings. I was pretty sure this latest release would not disappoint, but you never know until you give it a try…!

It might have taken slightly longer than she initially expected but with her fortieth birthday slowly approaching, Lucy Carpenter seems to have everything she ever wanted. Well, almost everything. Jonah is a wonderful husband, she has a great job she enjoys, and together they have a lovely home. But there’s one thing that would complete their perfect picture and that’s a child of her own. However, this turns out to be slightly more difficult than both Lucy and Jonah anticipated. When Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them for the summer, Lucy is keen to make it an enjoyable experience for all of them, but the strain on her and Jonah’s marriage only seems to get worse, and before she knows it everything she worked hard to build up is at risk…

In this latest novel by best-selling women’s fiction author Amanda Prose ‘family’ and ‘parenthood’ are the two keywords. We are introduced to Lucy, who is at a wonderful stage in her life, having found her true love and trying to make a baby together. This, however, turns out to be the start of an incredibly difficult period; a period in which both she and her husband Jonah will be tested and will need to work incredibly hard to make it to the other side alive. Once again Amanda Prowse succeeds in portraying an ordinary woman, an ordinary family, and she takes the reader behind closed doors, where all kinds of emotions and pain are slowly taking over. The feelings are incredibly real, and with her easy-flowing but engrossing writing style she makes it a true challenge to not feel for the characters and what they are going through.

Amanda Prowse is an author that treats her readers to a new novel almost every six months, and while you would expect this to perhaps affect the quality of the books, I can honestly say it doesn’t; she really just is a born story-teller. Each read is just as well-written and touching as the previous one, and I can only applaud her for her consistency. While this particular novel isn’t one of my personal Amanda Prowse favourites (I thought it was just a bit slow-paced at times and I had some difficulty really connecting with the topic, perhaps because I don’t have any children yet), it was still a wonderful read. ‘The Idea of You’ is another absorbing and well-written novel that will make you feel all kinds of things; if you’re a women’s fiction fan and not yet familiar with this author, be sure to pick this up because you are really missing out on something!
Rating:8,5/10
 
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.

25 March 2017

Review: 'Who Does He Think He Is?' by Emily Kerr (2016)

Lady Aurelia Osbourne-Lloyd has long wished her bank balance was as big as her name. But her home, Leydale Park, is more of a pile in a state than stately pile, and with her father off ‘finding himself’ in Thailand, it’s up to her to turn the family fortunes around by entertaining demanding tourists. 

When – thanks to her father’s interference – a Hollywood production company chooses the estate as a location for a Regency movie, a whole new level of chaos enters Aurelia’s life. Her quiet days shattered and privacy non-existent, she has no choice but to go with the flow and let them take over. 

Never mind the added distraction of dishy leading man, Xander Lord, who may have an ulterior motive for wanting to get close to her… 

Can Aurelia keep her cool in light of all the upheaval?

At the end of last year I was contacted by author Emily Kerr with the request to read and review her debut novel 'Who Does He Think He Is?'; I straight away liked the sound of the novel and especially the Jane Austen-esque feel of the story. As a big Jane Austen fan I am almost always up for novels that somehow resemble her stories, in one way or another, and the promise of a romantic comedy read is also always enough for me to want to sit down with a particular book. I was curious to give this new author a chance, and even though it took me a bit of time to finally sit down with this novel (sorry about that, Emily!), I was definitely excited to give it a go!

Aurelia Osbourne-Lloyd loves her gorgeous home, Leydale Park, but taking care of a country estate is not an easy task; a task that is made even more difficult with her father at the other side of the world trying to 'find his true self' and their bank account getting closer and closer to 0. So when Aurelia's home is suddenly taken over by a Hollywood film production, she realises she should be happy with the chance, but the chaos it brings is definitely one of the down sides. Leading actor Xander Lord happens to be a nice distraction, but Aurelia knows she needs to stay focused on saving the Yorkshire family estate; because if she does not do it, who will...?

Emily Kerr's 'Who Does He Think He Is?' is a greatly entertaining chick lit read that shows how fantastic it can be when a British country estate meets the glamour and gossip of a Hollywood film set. Main character Aurelia is trying her very best to save her beloved family home, Leydale Park, from disaster but the financial trouble only seems to get worse, especially when every single room seems to need some renovation work and serious TLC. Luckily, her father arranges for the house to be the setting of a new Hollywood film, starring heartthrob Xander Lord. Before she knows it, Aurelia's home is filled with lights, cameras and actors, and this results in some great reading. If a story is set at a lovely British country estate, you can usually already count me in, but I honestly really enjoyed what Emily Kerr did in this novel and how she gave the story her own touch.

I notice that these days sometimes the romantic sparks seem to be missing in many chick lit reads, and characters are paired off together and I just really don't feel it. It might just be me, but I'm glad to say the sparks were definitely there in this novel and I loved that feeling of wanting to turn the pages of a book, curious to see what is going to happen next and whether 'they' will end up together or not. I was slightly disappointed by the lead-up to the ending of the story, it all felt a bit rushed, but overall I was quite impressed with this debut novel and can't wait to read more. All in all, 'Who Does He Think He Is?' Is a fast-paced, fun and simply lovely chick lit read with a great setting and good characters at its core; suitable reading material for any chick lit or romcom fan!
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.

23 March 2017

Blog Tour: 'Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings' by Wendy Holden

She'll need a triple-barrelled name for the castle one. She'll need a gallon of glitter for the woodland one. She'll need a lobster-shaped hat for the Shoreditch one.

Laura Lake longs to be a journalist. Instead she's an unpaid intern at a glossy magazine – sleeping in the fashion cupboard and living on canapĂ©s. But she's just got her first big break: infiltrate three society weddings and write a juicy exposĂ©.

Security will be tighter than a bodycon dress, but how hard can it be? Cue disappearing brides, demanding socialites – and a jealous office enemy who will do anything to bring her down...

Today I am really excited to be part of the blog tour for author Wendy Holden's latest novel, 'Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings'! I had been quite curious to check out this book ever since I stumbled upon the lovely bright cover several months ago, so when I was invited to be part of this tour I didn’t even have to think about it. And, which was actually even quite a surprise to myself, this also happened to be my first Wendy Holden novel! No idea why it has taken me so long to finally pick up a book by this author, but I am glad I finally got the chance to do just that. Be sure to check out my review of the novel below, and visit some of the other blogs that are taking part in the tour by taking a look at the blog tour poster!

Laura Lake has always wanted to step into her father's footsteps and become a journalist. However, her actual life is slightly different from that particular dream as she is living in Paris, taking care of her grandmother Mimi, and trying to get by with her job working for an estate agency. When she is unexpectedly given the chance to start working as an intern for popular magazine Society, Laura knows she cannot possibly say no and moves to London to show what she can do. With the assignment to write an article about three different modern-day weddings, Laura suddenly finds herself in all kinds of challenging situations. Throw in her secondary school arch-enemy, and Laura has more than enough to deal with while trying to prove being a journalist is what she was meant to do... No matter what it might take.

I’m glad to say that my personal first experience with author Wendy Holden was an entertaining one in the form of ‘Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings’, which was a lovely break from reality and a thoroughly enjoyable novel. I have to say I was already quite excited to pick up this read after having just seen the cover and the book description; I love fun chick lit reads, and I love books about weddings, so I already had a feeling this was going to be a winner. Laura is a great heroine, and from the first few chapters I already felt myself rooting for her and hoping she’d be able to achieve her dream of becoming a journalist, and stepping into her father’s footsteps. Next to Laura, the novel has some fun and interesting characters at its core, adding their own touch to the story.

The novel kind of reminded me of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ in places; I loved that book, so I really enjoyed the resemblances, even though I have to give Wendy Holden credit, because this is definitely an original novel and not just a knock-off of another one. She does have quite a distinctive way of writing; this is, of course, a good thing as an author, but I personally found it a bit tricky at times and didn’t 100% get into it. However, the story and the characters convinced me, and that’s also why this book deserves the high rating I’m giving it. ‘Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings’ is a very colourful, quirky and wonderful novel, unlike anything else I’ve read, and quite simply a great chick lit read.
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.
Win free signed copies of Laura Lake And The Hipster Weddings by sharing your own hilarious wedding stories with me! I can't wait to read them! They might even inspire another novel! Please go to https://goo.gl/forms/xYaoaGCgxPpNR23g1  Thank you.  Love Wendy xx