16 September 2014

eBook News: The Perfect Christmas by Kate Forster

Yes, it's another festive reads post, yippee!! Kate Forster is back with a brand new festive story called The Perfect Christmas! It's out on 29th September, and as I have read and loved Kate's previous books, I will definitely be looking to put this one on my kindle and review it this Christmas!

You can pre-order The Perfect Christmas as an eBook now.

"Hollywood movie star Maggie and friend and manager Zoe need an escape from their complicated star-studded lives in LA. With its history and Christmas charm, London feels like the perfect getaway.

But can they truly leave their realities behind?

In their luxurious quarters, the girls meet Holly who is ideal at showing Maggie and Zoe the sumptuous sights and sounds of London in their most glittering light. But behind her bright fa├žade, Holly is hiding a secret: suffering from unrequited love, she’s looking for a Christmas miracle. Desperate to see an unattainable love story for Holly come together, will our LA starlets succeed in providing a Hollywood ending before the dawn of Christmas Day?

Packed to the brim with festive cheer, this is the only story you’ll need this Christmas…"

15 September 2014

eBook News: A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Yay, it's another festive read! This time it is the turn of fab Bookouture author Jenny Hale to deliver us another wonderfully festive novel! Jenny's last 2 reads have been brilliant, and I can't wait to dive into this eBook as well. It's out soon!

"Everyone loves Christmas...don’t they?

Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.

As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing, the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree! The only problem could be her boss…
single-dad Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?

As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it? Let the festivities begin!"

Book Review: Pieces of You by Ella Harper

"Lucy. I don’t even know how to start this letter. 

Something happened. Something terrible . . .

Lucy was always sure of one thing – her future with husband and soulmate Luke. But after eight long, heartbreaking years trying to have a baby, that future is crumbling before her eyes.

When a terrible accident puts Luke into a coma, Lucy is forced to reassess everything she thought she wanted. 

Then a woman arrives with a shocking secret that will force Lucy to make the hardest decision of her life. "

Rating: 5/5

You can pre-order Pieces of You as a paperback or buy it as an eBook now.

One debut novel I have been looking forward to reading this year is Ella Harper's first novel Pieces of You. Ella Harper is actually the pen-name for established author Sasha Wagstaff, whose books I have loved in the past, but Sasha has chosen a pen-name as this book is a bit of a change from her previous books, and I'm glad she did as this book deserves to be read by everyone, not just those who loves Sasha's previous books. There was a big marketing campaign for this book, it was really intriguing and I couldn't wait to start it, and luckily it didn't disappoint!

Lucy and Luke are soulmates and best friends as well as husband and wife. Lucy is sure that they are destined to grow old together with their children looking after them but it seems it isn't meant to be after years of trying for a baby, and many painful losses. The pair are sure that as long as they have each other, they can work through their grief. However, when Luke is in a tragic accident, Lucy worries that the future she had imagined is about to get out of her grasp. Then a strange woman arrives on the scenes with some news that is set to devastate Lucy and throw everything she thought she knew about her marriage out of the window. Will Lucy and Luke be able to work through this big secret and come out of the other side?

There was something about this book that really stuck with me, and even though it's been a few weeks since I have read it, I often think about this story and everything that happened within it. Ella's writing is brilliant, drawing you completely into the story, not just of Lucy and Luke but the family around as well, it's just wonderful and you can't help but be consumed by everything that is going on. Lucy and Luke's marriage is the thing of dreams, they are both so happy together but their longing for a baby is the one flaw between them. Lucy is desperate for a baby, and blames herself for their losses, and it's quite tragic to read in parts.

Luke's accident happened and that is when things begin to fall apart for Lucy. She goes through her own tragedy, and then has to cope with what happens to Luke, I don't know how she held it together really. But we don't just get to see the effect of Luke's accident on his wife, we also follow his mother and his sister in the book too. Ella Harper uses first person narrative for Lucy's chapters, but the others are told in third person which differentiates the chapters nicely, and makes it easy to follow for the reader. His mother Patricia is still struggling with the loss of her husband, and so when Luke is badly injured she struggles to cope, as well as struggles to connect to Lucy in her time of need. It's hard to read how it affected Patricia as a mother, and I can't imagine how it would be to be in her position.

There's also the story of Luke's sister Nell, which was an interesting one. As well as Luke's sister, she's involved in a sub-plot of her own, a quite controversial one actually but I liked the addition of it to the story, especially as it related somewhat to the main plot of the book too. It's so cleverly written, everything is woven together, and there's so many twists and turns along the way, I really didn't know how it was all going to end. Even when I had guessed how things were going, something else happened that threw me off and I was completely riveted by the whole thing. Lucy, though, was my favourite character, I felt so bad for her, you could feel her pain and her heartbreak all the way through the book, Harper's writing puts it across so brilliantly.

For me, this is an absolutely stunning novel, and has shown me a brilliant new side to Sasha Wagstaff's writing that I'm really pleased she has chosen to try something new! I absolutely fell in love with the story of Luke and Lucy, they seemed like the perfect couple in so many ways yet they are hiding a terrible heartache that they can do nothing about. As the book progresses, and we find out more about the strange woman and Luke's secret, perceptions of people are changed, and they are forced to deal with new realities. The writing around these delicate topics was utterly brilliant, you are totally absorbed into the book, and I really didn't want to put it down, I loved every page. I can't recommend this book highly enough, there's so many thought-provoking and emotional things going on here, you will not want to put it down. A stunning read.

eBook News: Humbugs and Heartstrings by Catherine Ferguson

You should know by now my favourite books of the year are the Christmas ones, so imagine my excitement when I saw yet another festive debut on Twitter this week! Catherine Ferguson's debut novel Humbugs and Heartstrings is definitely one I will be reading this Christmas, and it sounds fab, as well as having a gorgeous cover too! It's out on 2nd October as an eBook!

You can pre-order Humbugs and Heartstrings as an eBook now!

"Two ex-friends. One Christmas to remember …

Bobbie's boss Carol is a real misery-guts, dedicated to making the lives of everyone around her unhappy in pursuit of every last penny. What makes it worse is that the two women have history: once they were best friends.

When handsome hotelier Charlie steps into the frame the two women go to battle as one sees a romantic future ahead and the other a possible lifeboat for her business. With wonderful warmth and humour, and the odd mince pie fight, the women are forced to confront their shared past, the turbulent present and, most importantly, the potential of the future."

14 September 2014

eBook News: The Beginner's Guide to the Birds and the Bees by Sophie Hart

Author Sophie Hart is back this month with a brand new book from her brand new publishers Bookouture! The Beginner's Guide to the Birds and the Bees (longest book title ever?!) is out on September 19th, and sounds like it is going to be a really fun read! I loved Sophie's first book, The Naughty Girl's Book Club, so I'm excited to get stuck into this on my kindle!

You can pre-order The Beginner's Guide to the Birds and the Bees as an eBook now.

"Sex therapist Annie Hall helps couples put the fizz back into their relationships. It’s a shame her own love life is non-existent. When Jamie who works next door catches her eye, she can’t ignore the spark of chemistry.

Most men would jump at the chance to skive off work for an afternoon quickie with their gorgeous wife but Nick knows Julia is after only one thing – a baby. Sex shouldn’t be a chore. Can Annie help Julia see that?

Newly engaged Zoe and Simon can’t keep their hands off each other. They’ve decided to take a vow of celibacy until their wedding night. Will Annie help them stick to it?

Roy and Linda have been married for over thirty years but she’s more interested in the family business than getting intimate with him. Can Annie convince Linda to rediscover her passion for Roy after all this time?

While Annie begins to work her magic with the three couples, she soon finds herself falling for Jamie. But she’s been hurt before – will he be different? It’s time for Annie to take some of her own advice and learn a few life lessons of her own…"

13 September 2014

Book Review: Don't Tell The Boss by Anna Bell

"When newlywed Penny turns her hand to some casual wedding planning she only wants to help other women afford the big day of their dreams. 

But taming bridezillas turns out to be a full-time occupation, and what began as a hobby becomes a personal and professional nightmare. 

Soon Penny is struggling to keep her day job and prevent her own marriage from collapsing under the strain: tired, stressed and knee-deep in ivory satin, is Penny's life and livelihood hanging by a thread?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Don't Tell The Boss as a paperback or an eBook now.

When I finished the last book I was reading, I decided that I was going to pick the next book from my shelf, but it had to be something I had been sent a while ago to review, but had never got around to reading. This book caught my eye because I follow Anna on Twitter and have been meaning to review one of her books for a while. This book was sent to me by Quercus a while ago, so I decided it was the perfect one to try, and I'm so pleased that I did. It was a funny, enjoyable and easy read, and now I want to read more by Anna Bell!

Penny's a newlywed herself, and enjoys weddings so much, she's decided to going to be a casual wedding planner too, as well as her dayjob. However, she has to keep her second job secret because she knows her boss won't like her working alongside the day job, but it quickly becomes harder and harder for Penny to keep the two parts of her life separate. When she takes on yet another wedding, Penny is sure it will be easy, a wedding on a budget is exactly her cup of tea. But Penny doesn't realise the strain her two jobs are putting on her marriage, and how much of her energy is going to be used up in keeping bride-to-be Henri happy, and not give herself away at work too....

This is the follow-up to Anna's first book Don't Tell the Groom,  which I haven't read so I was a bit apprehensive going in to this that I would struggle with the story. However, with any good author, they give you enough information to tell you what happened in the previous book without making you feel like you missed out and that's exactly what Anna has done here. I got the gist of what went on in the first book, so could just enjoy this story without worrying I'd missed out too much. Penny is now married in this book, so we get to see her settled down with her husband, although their marriage isn't as perfect as Penny might expect due to her juggling her two jobs with her husband's disapproval always following her around.

Penny is a good character to read about - you can tell she absolutely loves weddings and lives for them - I was certainly wondering why she hadn't just jacked in the day job long ago to go after her dream job of wedding planner to be honest. However, it was amusing to see her try to juggle both jobs quite unsuccessfully, and it led to quite a few funny moments, especially towards the end on the team-building course Penny has to organise! I liked the scenes set at her workplace but I far more enjoyed reading about her planning Henri's wedding. Penny is clearly in the know when it comes to weddings, especially budget ones, but it seems like Henri is the bride-to-be from hell, she was so annoying!

As you'd expect, it isn't plain-sailing for Penny when she's organising this wedding, and I really enjoyed reading all about the build-up to it. While there was a bit of a twist at the end, I had guessed what it was before it got there, but that didn't matter to me, I'd still enjoyed the anticipation of finding out whether I was right. While Penny is the main character of the book, there's lots of others in here to keep you interested, although I did feel her husband Mark could have been a bit more supportive towards Penny when she's only doing what she loves! I especially enjoyed the side plot of Penny being a mentor to a young gambler, and how hard she was finding it to connect with her and deal with the situation. It was well handled and a bit more of a serious plot for a light-hearted book. This was a really good read, it was easy to follow and the story was enjoyable from start to finish. Anna Bell's writing was good to read, I liked her narrative and was always engrossed in the story whenever I was reading. Recommended, and I look forward to more from Anna Bell!

11 September 2014

Book Review: Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson

"Ben Lawrence seems to have it all - the hot job, the flashy car, the luxurious apartment. But one tragic day in his past mars his future.

Since the events of that day he hasn't truly got close to anyone.

He made a promise that love was the price he would pay for his mistakes.

When Effy Jones - a bright, ambitious charity founder - walks into the PR firm where Ben works, neither realise that their lives are about to be turned upside down.

Paper Swans tells of how love can conquer all, and how when everything is broken one person can help to put the pieces together..."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Paper Swans as an eBook or a paperback now.

I am a big fan of Jessica Thompson, and have read both of the books she has released to date. There is something special about Jessica's stories that I really love - a combination of very likeable characters, and a story that completely absorbs you from the minute you begin to the very last page you turn, and Paper Swans, her latest book, was definitely no different. The cover to this book is eye-catching and stunning, cream with gorgeous golden-yellow foil swans, one of the most stunning covers I have seen this year actually. For me, Paper Swans is up there for my 'book of the year' award, and here's why.

To the outside world, Ben Lawrence looks like he has it all. He's got a very successful and lucrative career in PR, he's got a gorgeous flat in the most expensive area of London, a posh car, and no ends of girls to have fun with. But Ben is hiding a devastating secret from his past that threatens to ruin everything he's built up so far. When he meets charity worker Effy, Ben's life is thrown into turmoil. He experiences feelings he is sure he shouldn't be allow to feel, and feels guilty for these feelings. Ben wants to help Effy's new charity succeed but can he get past the quagmire of confused emotions first and lay the past to rest?

I liked that in this book, it was a male protagonist who took the lead, and was the one with the problems from his past. In many chick lit books, they are of course based around women and their problems, but this one was a little different straight away and I liked that. Despite his rather affluent lifestyle, I really liked Ben from the beginning. Yes, he had money but he wasn't overly mad with it, he was a bit haphazard when it came to relations with women he met, but otherwise, he was an all-round good guy, a hard worker, but inside a broken man. I was curious as to what secret was eating him up, because it isn't told to us for a long time in the book, although it's of course alluded to all the way through. As things became more apparent, I did feel incredibly sorry for Ben, and how it affected him so deeply throughout his adult life.

Effy was a breath of fresh air for Ben, and for the book. She added a bit of light where Ben tried to keep everything in the dark, and you can see why Ben was drawn to her. Effy is a charity founder, determined to do right for the people she wants to help in Uganda, and it' s a very noble job, especially in a climate where there are so many charities vying for our money and affection. She and Ben have an instant liking for each other, and I enjoyed how the begin their friendship, and plod along with each other, unsure of perhaps just how to be around each other. The scenes featuring these two characters were beautifully written, from when they meet right up until the end of the book. I cared about them both, and they were perfect in how they were written.

I thought that the author has done a brilliant job in tackling the tricky subject of mental health, the second such book I've read around this topic this summer. Using Ben, Thompson is able to show how easy it is to hide a mental illness from those around you, portraying a carefree lifestyle to those around you, when really you are dying inside and desperately crave help, but have no-one to turn to. It's a powerful and emotive book, I just wanted to be able to hug Ben and tell him it was okay to feel that way, it didn't make him any less of a man - and in fact, using a male in this role was even more powerful for me. People make assumptions that those like Ben, with a high-flying career and money on tap, can't possibly have anything to be depressed about, but that's an ignorant view and simply isn't true. Thompson has clearly done her research on the topic, and it really comes across as such in the book, it's handled delicately and with care.

As I mentioned earlier on, this book is most certainly up there with my contenders for 'Book of the Year 2014', simply because I enjoyed it so much and the writing really was stunning. I enjoyed both stories, that of Effy and Ben, and then when the two stories became combined in a way, it just got better for me. I also love the title - a delicate hint to something fragile but very beautiful, a poignant link to several things in the book in fact. I utterly devoured this book from start to finish, it was emotional yet uplifting, and I loved every page. A stunning read not to be missed.