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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. 

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.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

25 April 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book

'Top Ten Tuesday' is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. I love making lists, so this feature fits me perfectly! If you also take part in this feature or have any additions to my lists, please get in touch; I'd love to hear from you!
Top 10 Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

I love it when Top Ten Tuesday lists match each other, and last week's list is the complete opposite of this one. Last week we looked at things that make me want to straight away pick up a particular book, while this week we're going the other way by looking at things that make me want to NOT read a book. Slightly more difficult than last week's list, I have to admit, but still not too tricky to get to a list of 10 things...!

Be sure to share your own Top Ten Tuesday lists by leaving a comment in the comments section below! :)

1. Unhappy endings

I didn't just randomly pick the name of my blog; I really love a happy ending, so much that I actually can't really enjoy an unhappy ending. There is already more than enough misery in the world, why would I want to read a book or see a film that only makes me feel even more of that misery...?

2. Poetry

Yeah. Poetry just really isn't for me. I didn't enjoy it at university, and still just can't see the fun of it. If anyone is willing to convince me otherwise, please go ahead!

3. Aliens/Space

No. Just no.

4. Serial killers

Another big no. I really do not understand why people want to read something that focuses on someone killing lots of other people... Why? Seriously: why?

5. Glorifying partying/drinking/drugs

I really can't deal with novels that somehow want to show how incredibly 'cool' it is to party hard/drink too much/use drugs.

6. Zombies

Why are people so fascinated with zombies? Vampires I can still kind of understand somewhere, but zombies...?!

7. Cheating

Also can't deal with cheating being turned into something acceptable. There are a few rare novels out there who managed to tackle the topic in an interesting way, but for the majority it's a no from me.

8. Anything having to do with spiders

Oh my, just thinking of spiders makes me shiver. I definitely couldn't deal with reading a novel about spiders or spiders on the cover... *brrr*

9. Overkill of religion

I'm an atheist and don't feel comfortable reading novels with an overkill of religion in them. 

10. Epic battles 

I've never understood the attraction of epic battles. Especially in novels. What's fun about reading about a lot of people getting into fights and killing each other...?

24 April 2017

Review: 'The Other Half of Happiness' by Ayisha Malik (2017)

Sofia Khan is just married. But no-one told her life was going to be this way . . .

Her living situation is in dire straits, her husband Conall is distant, and his annoyingly attractive colleague is ringing all sorts of alarm bells.

When her mother forces them into a belated wedding ceremony (elopement: you can run, but you can't hide), Sofia wonders if it might be a chance to bring them together. But when it forces Conall to confess his darkest secret, it might just tear them apart.

When I found a paperback review copy of Ayisha Malik’s on my doorstep several weeks ago, I immediately recognised the name of the author. In 2015 I was asked to read and review her debut novel ‘Sofia Khan Is not Obliged’, which I really quite enjoyed (click here to read my review). At the start of April, the sequel was released by publisher Twenty7 and I was really happy to see the publisher had kept me in mind with the review copy I received. The book has a lovely cover which fits Spring really well, if you ask me, and I couldn’t help but smile every time I took the book out of my bag. However, it’s also important to see what was inside of that lovely outside, though, so be sure to scroll further down to check out my opinion on the book!

**Please be advised this review will contain spoilers for readers who are still planning to read Ayisha’s Malik novel ‘Sofia Khan Is not Obliged’, to which this new title is the sequel**

When Sofia Khan married Conall, her Irish next-door neighbour she couldn’t help but fall in love with, she had no idea what to expect of marriage. However, reality definitely does not fit the hopes she had for life as a married woman. Conall is more focused on finishing his documentary, which requires a lot of travelling and spending time with his attractive female colleague, and Sofia’s family is constantly minding her business. When she is asked to write her second book, this one about her experiences of marriage, she is keen to take on this next challenge, especially since her new editor thinks it will be a success. But what happens when Sofia discovers Conall has been hiding something from her, something quite big, something that could change their entire lives, and especially their marriage…?

I really liked how author Ayisha Malik seemed to pick things up where her debut novel ‘Sofia Khan Is not Obliged’ ended; after just the first chapter I had once again become a part of protagonist Sofia’s life, and I loved stepping back into her world, populated by the familiar faces of her friends and family. There’s also the same comfortable and well-paced writing style and form of the book, which is written in relatively short chapters/diary entries, spread over the four seasons. Because of this I also highly recommend reading the other book first, before picking this one up. While this novel can be read as a stand-alone, it really will influence your reading experience if you’re not yet familiar with these characters and what they’ve been through together, and Ayisha Malik’s debut novel is worth picking up.

I was quite surprised by the direction of the story; I was surprised by Connall’s secret and how this influenced the rest of the characters and the plotline of the book, and I was especially surprised by the ending of the novel, which I have to admit I wasn’t a big fan of. However, I don’t want to give too much away in this review, because I can imagine other readers might actually really enjoy how this was written and worked out. I understand the comparison that is being made to Bridget Jones, but at the same time I also feel Ayisha Malik deserves to not be labelled like that; this book is something fresh and new, and deserves to be read like that as well. All in all, I found ‘The Other Half of Happiness’ to be a compelling modern-day read with some fascinating characters and mixing of cultures at its core; a promising new voice within women’s fiction and a read certainly worth checking out.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

23 April 2017

Upcoming Release: 'Four Bridesmaids and a White Wedding' by Fiona Collins

Don’t tell the bride!

Rose, Sal and JoJo have been looking forward to their best friend Wendy’s hen party for ages. A relaxing spa break is the perfect way to escape their crazy careers, grumpy husbands and stroppy children – even if the groom’s straight-laced sister, Tamsin, is coming too.

Until they realise that there’s been a mistake in the booking and instead of sipping prosecco in fluffy white dressing gowns they’re off to bridesmaid bootcamp!

Squeezing themselves reluctantly into tiny shorts and sliding through the mud, it’s only a matter of time before secrets emerge that could change everything…

Forget about saving the date, these four bridesmaids need to save the day – otherwise will there even be a white wedding at all?

I love myself some wedding lit; I will definitely check out any book that's a combination of chick lit and weddings, there are hardly any exceptions...! Combined with a lovely author such as Fiona Collins, you can certainly count me in which is why I'm really excited about the upcoming release of her 'Four Bridesmaids and a White Wedding.' This promises to be a great read, whether you're in need of something to distract you from your busy times at work or something to relax with in the Spring sunshine... This is on my April to-read list and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! 

21 April 2017

Review: 'The Choir on Hope Street' by Annie Lyons (2017)

The best things in life happen when you least expect them

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

Picture-perfect Caroline has to welcome her estranged mother into her house after she was forced out of an exclusive nursing home.

Living on the same street these two women couldn’t be more different. Until the local community centre is threatened, galvanising Caroline and the people of Hope Street into action. But when the only way to save the centre is to form a community choir – no one, least of all Nat, expects the results…

This spring, hope is coming!

When I saw ‘The Choir on Hope Street’ popping up on my NetGalley overview page, I just couldn’t stop myself from requesting a review copy of the book even though I am trying my very best to get my review book pile down to 0. I wasn’t familiar with author Annie Lyons before picking up this latest title of hers, but was definitely curious to check out this particular novel because the title, blurb and cover immediately got me excited. I just can’t ignore a promising chick lit read…! ‘The Choir on Hope Street’ was released by HQ on 6 April, and it was undoubtedly one of the April releases I was most looking forward to checking out, so as soon as I received my review copy I sat down with it….

Natalie is trying her best to pick up the pieces of her life after her husband Dan completely unexpectedly told her he isn’t in love with her anymore, even though she had the feeling things were going quite well between the two of them. Now, Nat not only needs to take care of herself, but also need to make sure her son Woody doesn’t get stuck in the middle of her problems with Dan. At the other side of Hope Street, perfect mum Caroline is dealing with some unexpected troubles of her own when she has to take in her estranged mother, who has been turned away from the nursing home she was staying at. Even though Nat and Caroline don’t seem to have a lot in common at first sight, their love for the Hope Street Community Centre is what brings them together. The local council has plans to demolish the centre, so the locals decide to get together and start a choir to try their best to save this important place in their community…

Oh, I’m such a sucker for novels in which communities get together to work towards a common goal, such as starting a choir to save the local community centre… I loved ‘The Choir on Hope Street’ and am so glad I got the chance to check out Annie Lyons’ writing. This really is a great chick lit read; one with some interesting characters at its core and even a focus on some quite serious topics (which I wasn’t expecting at first). The chapters in the books are told from the points of view of Natalie and Caroline, alternating between them. The two female leads couldn’t be more different: where Natalie is quite sarcastic and chaotic, Caroline is bossy and organised, but the two are thrown together due to circumstances, which ends up in some great reading material.

I really liked the idea of starting a community choir and loved how this brought different kinds of people together, all fighting for the same goal. I wouldn’t have minded if the choir had played a slightly bigger role in the novel, really adding that musical touch to the story, but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The author’s writing flowed really well, provided a good mix of description and dialogue, and fit the genre. I know I will definitely look out for Annie Lyons’ name the next few months and hope she will be treating us to another read soon. All in all, ‘The Choir on Hope Street’ is an uplifting, hopeful and warm-hearted romantic comedy read which I’m sure any chick lit fan will enjoy just as much as I did!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

19 April 2017

Review: 'The Possessions' by Sara Flannery Murphy (2017)

In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies“, wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients. 

But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls. 

After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets.

Earlier this year I received a fantastic book box from publisher Scribe which made me a very happy book blogger. The box included the great ‘Girl Waits with Gun’, which I reviewed a few weeks ago (click here to read my review), and the straight away intriguing ‘The Possessions’ by Sara Flannery Murphy. I had already read some things about this novel, which was released in February 2017, and have to say I was straight away fascinated by the description of the story and curious to discover what the book would be like. It is not the type of read I usually go for, but I always like to step outside my reading comfort zone every now and again, and ‘The Possessions’ seemed like the perfect read to do just that…!

Twenty-something Eurydice has quite a unique job, working as a body for the Elysian Society. Being a body means she is able to provide a link between people and their deceased loved ones. By taking a ‘lotus’, Eurydice is able to become a channel for the afterlife, giving customers a chance to make contact with people they’ve lost. Eurydice has been successfully doing this for several years now, mainly thanks to her ability to detach herself quite easily from it all. Until she meets widower Patrick Braddock, who wants to get in touch with his deceased wife Sylvia. Eurydice can’t help but develop feelings for Patrick, but the more she gets to know him and the more she channels Sylvia, the more difficult it becomes to let her go again. As her own life and Sylvia’s seem to become one, Eurydice is forced to deal with some of her own secrets and Patrick’s, having to decide how far she is willing to go for love and whether she wants to risk losing herself along the way…

‘The Possessions’ is author Sara Flannery Murphy’s debut novel and to me personally it was the first time reading a book with this particular kind of storyline. Main character Eurydice, also known as Edie, has a rather unique job; she works for the Elysian Society as a body, making it possible for the deceased to once again get in touch with their still living family and loved ones. I have to admit this idea immediately intrigued me and I was incredibly curious to see what the author would do with it, since it can be the base of all kinds of fascinating stories, I think. However, perhaps I was expecting a bit too much, because I couldn’t help but feel a bit let down by the novel. Especially the fact that there was no real big climax or ending which the story was working towards was slightly disappointing.

I also had difficulty connection with main character Edie; it was tricky to really feel for her, since she didn’t really seem to have a lot of personality, in my eyes. Perhaps if the novel had a bit more background information on its characters, I would have been able to understand their actions better. I want to point out I did enjoy Sara Flannery Murphy’s writing, and thought it was quite an impressive debut; it just wasn’t as much of an original and great read as I was expecting it to be, which also has to do with my personal expectations, obviously. Overall, ‘The Possessions’ is a thought-provoking and intriguing novel; not exactly what I had hoped it would be, but it has definitely made me curious for what else this author will bring us in the future.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

18 April 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

'Top Ten Tuesday' is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. I love making lists, so this feature fits me perfectly! If you also take part in this feature or have any additions to my lists, please get in touch; I'd love to hear from you!
Top 10 Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

Oh, this week's Top Ten Tuesday list is a fun one! I'm definitely a reader that is easily influenced by book covers or particular topics or authors... If a book has a specific something I love, then it's almost 99% sure I will want to pick it up. This week's list focuses on just that; those things that immediately make me want to pick up a book, so here we go!

Be sure to share your own Top Ten Tuesday lists by leaving a comment in the comments section below! :)

1. A certain author's name on the front

There are some authors whose work I've fallen in love with over the years (such as Cecelia Ahern) and whenever I see their name on the front of a book, I don't need to read the blurb or even like the cover... It's a definite must-read.

2. Anything related to Jane Austen

I will literally pick up anything that has to do with Jane Austen. I've even read the zombie novels and I hate zombies. 

3. Anything referring to chick flicks/rom coms

I'm a big fan of romantic comedy films, also known as chick flicks, and I love books that somehow refer to any of these films, such as Ali McNamara's amazing 'From Notting Hill with Love... Actually.'

4. A gorgeous book cover

As mentioned many times before, I'm a sucker for a lovely book cover, it really is enough for me to want to pick up a book...!

5. Anything having to do with princesses, castles, fairy tales...

I love fairy tales, and any books about princesses or castles... You can count me in.

6. Recommendations by my favourite authors

Whenever a book has a quote from one of my favourite authors on the front, recommending to read it, I am definitely more willing to give it a chance than if I hadn't seen the quote.... Another publisher trick I have to admit really does work on me!

7. Retellings of my favourite classic novels

I have a few favourite classic novels, such as Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women', and I love reading adaptations of these famous stories, discovering what other authors decided to do with these tales.

8. The promise of a good love story

I love love love a good love story; a good dose of romance and you can count me in.

9. Books written by celebrities I like

I'm always willing to check out a novel if it was written by a celebrity I personally really like, such as when actress Lauren Graham wrote her book 'Someday, Someday, Maybe.'

10. Books set in Wales/London

I'm also a bit of a sucker for setting; whenever a novel is set in London, or in Wales, I'm more likely to pick it up because of my love for the location.

17 April 2017

Upcoming Release: 'Slightly South of Simple' by Kristy Woodson Harvey

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.

I've had the pleasure of reading both of Kristy Woodson Harvey's novels up until now. Both 'Dear Carolina' and 'Lies and Other Acts of Love' were great books filled with that distinctive southern touch that comes with the author's writing, and I am really excited that Kristy's third novel, 'Slightly South of Simple' (a fantastic title, I love it), will be released this week, on the 25th of April to be exact. I have a feeling this is going to be her best one yet, and I honestly can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the book!


15 April 2017

Review: 'Summer at Rose Island' by Holly Martin (2016)

Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals. 

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing… 

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day. 

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides. 

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?

Over the past few years author Holly Martin has really made a name for herself within the romantic comedy/chick lit world. I’ve had the pleasure of reading several of her novels up until now, mainly her Christmas titles such as ‘Christmas under a Cranberry Sky’, ‘Christmas under a Starlit Sky’, ‘Christmas at Lilac Cottage’ and ‘Snowflakes on Silver Cove.’ In 2016, ‘Summer at Rose Island’ was released, and while I straight away managed to get a review copy of the novel via NetGalley, it took me quite a bit of time to finally sit down with it. Nevertheless, I know by now that a book with Holly’s name on the front is definitely worth giving a try, so I was keen to finally get started and discover more about Darcy’s story.

Darcy Davenport has moved to beautiful White Cliff Bay with a mission. Even though she loved her work as a marine biologist, she is determined to have a fresh start and make something of herself, and hopefully finally make her parents proud of her. When she first spots Rose Island lighthouse, she immediately falls in love with the beautiful building, but when she discovers there are actually plans to demolish this piece of Rose Island history, Darcy wants to do whatever she can to stop this from happening. Lighthouse-owner Riley Eddison seems to have the same goal and Darcy can’t help but fall for his rugged good looks. However, Darcy can’t forget what she came to White Cliff Bay for, and this ultimately puts her in an incredibly difficult situation where she is forced to pick sides…

‘Summer at Rose Island’ really is one of those chick lit novels that makes you long for warm lovely days on the beach and walks outside in the sunshine… Setting the scene is something author Holly Martin is known for and she certainly manages to do just that in this particular book; I wish I could actually visit White Cliff Bay and its lovely locals! While this novel is actually the third part of a series, it can undoubtedly be read as a stand-alone and no prior knowledge of any characters is needed. That being said, I did really enjoy seeing some familiar faces again and discovering how they are doing, such as Libby and George.

Darcy is a great main character; I loved how feisty she was, but also struggling to deal with some issues in her life, and it was wonderful to join her during this new step in her life. White Cliff Bay is a lovely village with a great sense of community; all locals know each other and seem to know everything about each other as well, but in the end they all mean well, and it resulted in this lovely atmosphere and feeling to the whole book. There is definitely a pattern noticeable in Holly Martin’s books and storylines, but I have to admit I personally still enjoy it every single time and I’m already excited to see when I will be able to pick up her next read. All in all, ‘Summer at Rose Island’ is a sweet, heart-warming and romantic read, and definitely a good one to pick up if you’re longing for a bit of sunshine in your life!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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

14 April 2017

Upcoming Release: 'The A to Z of Everything' by Debbie Johnson

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.

On the 20th of April we are going to be treated to something quite amazing; I can feel it. Over the past few years I've fallen in love with author Debbie Johnson and her novels. Her stories are the best; they always make me feel good, leave me with a smile on my face, and have me craving for more, so I don't even know where to start to explain how excited I am about this new novel of hers. 'The A to Z of Everything' sounds like a fantastic read already and I've only seen the book description and book cover (which is gorgeous, by the way)... Can't WAIT!

12 April 2017

Review: 'Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams' by Mary Gibson (2017)

Frank Rossi promised Matty the world. The Cockney Canary would become a world famous movie star. As his wife, she would be one half of a power couple, feted and adored by all. But the Wall Street crash puts paid to that and as Frank becomes more violent and unstable, Matty knows she must escape and so she flees at dead of night.
Once home in Bermondsey, she goes into hiding and starts desperately looking for work. But only the hated biscuit factory, Peek Frean's, is hiring. Then, as a secret from her past comes back to hurt her, Matty learns that Frank is on the move, determined to find her and get her back.

Last year I had the pleasure of being introduced to author Mary Gibson; her novel ‘Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys’ was a great read (click here to read my review), so when I was contacted about possibly reviewing her latest book ‘Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams’ I didn’t have to think twice about my answer. This latest read by Mary Gibson was released in January 2017 and tells the story of main character Matty. I immediately liked the sound of the story and was curious to give it a try, keeping my fingers crossed for a just as enjoyable reading experience as with the author’s previous novel!

Matty Gilbie has always loved to sing and there’s a reason she is known as the Cockney Canary. When she met Frank Rossi, she couldn’t help but fall head over heels in love with him and his promises to make her a big star. But now, after following Frank to America, these promises have lost their shine and especially with the Wall Street Crash making everything more difficult, Matty only wants to get away from Frank and return back home to Bermondsey. One evening she just decides to leave and tries her best to build up a quiet life back in the UK. But she knows Frank is looking for her; will she be able to leave behind her singing career and stay away from the spotlight? And can a new life in the UK, working in a factory, really offer her what she always wanted…?

If you enjoy historical and/or women’s fiction, I can recommend picking up a Mary Gibson novel. I thoroughly enjoyed her book ‘Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys’ and now got the chance to read ‘Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams’ which focuses on main character Matty Gilbie. Her singing voice brought her to America, but due to circumstances she now finds herself back home with her family in Bermondsey, trying to lead a quiet life, not drawing any attention to herself. As a reader I thoroughly enjoyed joining Matty during this particular time in her life; at the start of the novel she is basically forced to start all over again, and we follow her and get to see how she continues to be brave, trying to find happiness while not losing sight of who she is as a person and discovering what really makes her happy.

One of the strengths of the novel, and the author’s writing, is the ability to create that feeling of community; people coming together and caring about each other. I loved the Bermondsey community and getting to know the different secondary characters in the book, and how they all come together to help and support Matty. While I personally thought the story became a bit slow-paced and too much of the same towards the middle of the book, I still really enjoyed it and Mary Gibson is certainly on my list of authors to keep an eye on. All in all, ‘Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams’ is a heartfelt and well-written historical/women’s fiction read with a determined and brave leading lady at its core; a thoroughly enjoyable read!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

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