Friday, 20 December 2013

Review of A Wartime Christmas by Carol Rivers

I was delighted to receive a copy of A Wartime Christmas to review, as I have heard lots of good things about Carol Rivers' books.

It's 1941 and London is in the middle of the devastating Blitz. Kay lives on Slater Street on the Isle of Dogs in East London, which has been badly hit. However, she is determined to stay positive for her young son Alfie and make sure that he has a good Christmas. However, out of the blue a strange woman and young boy turn up on Kay's doorstep making shocking accusations. Can they be true and what do they mean for Kay's marriage?

I really enjoyed reading this book and found myself completely absorbed in the story. I instantly warmed to Kay and found her to be a very selfless character who always puts other people before herself. There was quite a lot of mystery surrounding Kay's husband Alan and this added a real edge to the story and I felt like I didn't want to put the book down.

I would highly recommend A Wartime Christmas, especially for fans of historical fiction and I would rate it as a five star read.


Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy to review.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Cover Reveal - The Holiday Survival Guide by Jane O'Reilly

I am delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for The Holiday Survival Guide by Jane O'Reilly.

The Holiday Survival Guide is published by Harlequin Escape and is released on 1st January 2014

Witty, clever, and sharp. It's going to be the holiday from hell...and that's just how Erica wants it.

When tabloid journalist Erica Parker is forced to take a holiday, she's determined to make it the most miserable holiday she possibly can, but not even her impressive imaginative powers could have come up with sharing a tent with survival expert Nathan Wilde.


Nathan was a married man with a successful TV show before Erica got to work on his life. Now the hottest man she’s ever met is single, furious, and he’s got her alone in the wilderness for three long days… 

Goodreads Praise for Once A Bad Girl : Once A Bad Girl is an amazing debut by author Jane O’Reilly. It is actually hard to believe that it is a debut novel. The interlaced humour and sensuality in this story sucked me in from the start and held me captive throughout...”

Jane O‘Reilly writes for both Escape and Carina UK. The Holiday Survival Guide is her third title with Escape.
Perfect for fans of Victoria Dahl


About the Author

Jane O’Reilly started writing as an antidote to kids’ TV when her youngest child was a baby. Her first novel was set in her old school and involved a ghost and lots of death. It’s unpublished, which is probably for the best. Then she discovered contemporary romance, and that, as they say, was that. She lives near London with her husband and two children. Find her at www.janeoreilly.com, on Twitter as @janeoreilly, Facebook or email her at jane@janeoreilly.com

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Review of The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow


I really enjoyed reading Liz Trenow's first novel The Last Telegram and have been looking forward to reading her latest book The Forgotten Seamstress.

Maria Romano grew up in an orphanage in East London. At the age of fourteen, Maria and her friend Nora are selected to become seamstresses at Buckingham Palace. Once there, they work very hard, but Maria catches the eye of the handsome young Prince of Wales. Soon things get out of hand and Maria is forced into devastating circumstances. Years later, a quilt is discovered that has been made with a very special and unusual material. Will this link to Maria and the Royal family reveal what really happened to her all those years earlier?

I really loved this book and the idea of the quilt, which held so many long forgotten secrets. It is beautifully written and I felt that I didn't want to put the book down until the very end. Trenow cleverly weaves in lots of historical facts and information that create lots of twists in the plot. I was particularly shocked by the idea of the hospital at Helena Hall. I can't wait to read Liz Trenow's next book The Poppy Factory.

The Forgotten Seamstress is a fantastic story that I found mesmerising to read. I was fascinated by the story and loved the the way that Maria's side of events is told through the recordings. It is a tragic tale, but at the same time is an utterly compelling read.

5 stars


Thank you to Olivia at Light Brigade PR for sending me a copy to review.

Interview with Liz Trenow - Author of The Forgotten Seamstress

I am delighted to welcome Liz Trenow to the blog today, as part of the blog tour for The Forgotten Seamstress. Liz has answered a few questions for us here...

Please tell us a little about yourself
My family has been weaving silk for three hundred years, and I was brought up in the house next to the mill which is still weaving today. Although I didn’t go into the silk business myself, this upbringing has left me with a great love of all things to do with fabrics.
I came to fiction writing quite late in my career having spent fifteen years as a news journalist on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news. I always wanted to write fiction (some would say journalism is fiction!) and had no idea how different it would be. I knew that I would need someone to ‘hold my hand’ so enrolled on a part time two year MA in Creative Writing at City University in London. For this degree you have to write a full length novel as the ‘dissertation’, so I emerged with the draft of what would eventually, after many rewritings, become my first novel, The Last Telegram. The Forgotten Seamstress is my second novel.

I live in Essex with my artist husband, and we have two grown up daughters. There’s more about me at www.liztrenow.com and I’d love to hear from you on Twitter @LizTrenow.

Please tell us about The Forgotten Seamstress and your inspiration for the book
Two stories are told in parallel: In 1910 a young seamstress, Maria, is noticed by Queen Mary, patron of the London Needlework Guild, and employed in the royal household. In 2010 Caroline discovers that a patchwork quilt inherited from her grandmother contains unique royal silks. Through the fading memories of her mother, some family letters and photographs, some old cassette tapes and the help of a local journalist Caroline uncovers an extraordinary story involving a royal affair, a life of incarceration and two women whose lives collided with devastating consequences. Finally, she comes to understand what her Granny wanted her to know – the truth about herself and how she wants to live her own life.
I was inspired to write this book when I went to the Warner Textile Archive in Braintree, Essex, doing research into my own family history, and chanced upon a case of the ‘May Silks’: beautiful damasks and brocades, some with interwoven gold and silver threads, hand for the trousseau of Princess May for her wedding to the heir to the British throne in 1893. The silks themselves were entrancing but it was the story behind them which most intrigued me.
I decided to set it in a mental asylum because, as a teenager, I was an inpatient in a ward set aside for minor clinical operations at an enormous Victorian mental hospital close to my home town. The sights and sounds of the place left a deep impression on me. It was like a country mansion set in its own grounds but surrounded by high fences – outwardly grand and yet with such an oppressive and ominous atmosphere.

Can you tell us about your typical writing day? 
I write in the mornings when my mind is freshest – usually starting around 8.30ish and continuing till my stomach rumbles for lunch. I start by reviewing and editing the section I wrote yesterday, to get me back into the ‘zone’ and then I usually try to write between 1,000 – 1,500 words each day. I always write in my study, a small room at the front of the house where there are not too many distractions. My imagination seems to close down after lunch so then I do research, admin, replying to emails, blogging and, when I’ve got to that stage, proof reading.

What are you working on now?
I have already written the first draft of my next book, The Poppy Factory. It will be published in August 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. As the title suggests, the story revolves around the work of the real-life Poppy Factory which still employs disabled veterans making Remembrance Day poppies in Richmond, Surrey. Besides a poignant First World War strand it also has a powerful contemporary storyline based on interviews with two extraordinary young women who served as army medics on the front line in Afghanistan.
My next book will go back in time to the 18th century – set among the silk weavers of Spitalfields in London, where my family’s silk weaving history began.

What do you like to do outside of writing? 
Reading, spending time with family and friends, walking on the coast in Suffolk, and singing – especially early music!

Thanks, Liz!

Look out for my review of The Forgotten Seamstress, which is coming soon.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Review of Melting Ms Frost by Kat Black

Summary from Goodreads
How do you thaw the coldest of hearts? Find out in the sexiest romance to hit the shelves this year.

When Aidan Flynn walks into Cluny’s Restaurant, he can’t take his eyes off his new boss, Annabel Frost. With his heart set on winning her over, Aidan can think of nothing but getting beneath her cold exterior.

Known as one of the toughest women in the business, Annabel is impervious to Aidan’s many charms. His compelling grey gaze and persuasive Irish lilt do anything but anything but captivate her.

But Aidan knows there’s more to Annabel than meets the eye. And he’s not going to stop until he reveals all…


Annabel Frost is a demanding and uptight boss of Cluny's an upmarket restaurant in London. She comes across as a very cold, determined character, but underneath that is a much more vulnerable person. When she meets new Irish bar tender Aidan, she takes an instant dislike to him. Aidan, however, is the opposite and sees Annabel as a project and someone he is very attracted to.

As Aidan attempts to seduce Annabel, we start to see how their relationship changes. Annabel is determined not to be seduced by anyone at work and has no intention of crossing any boundaries, but she doesn't realise just how persuasive Aidan can be.

Aidan really pushes the boundaries and I think that is was makes the book so gripping, I just didn't know what would happen next. I also liked the way that he starts to uncover Annabel's secrets and show who she really is.

I really enjoyed this fast paced and gripping read and the tension just sizzles on the page. It is a steamy read that I didn't want to put down.


Thank you to Avon for sending me a copy to review.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Review of Black Roses by Jane Thynne

At last – a spy thriller set in 1933 which portrays the women behind the Nazi warlords! All the history books teach us about Hitler, Goebbels, Von Ribbentrop and Himmler but what about their wives and girlfriends? What do they do while their husbands are secretly preparing for war? What do they talk about and what are their lives like?

Clara Vine, blue-blooded daughter of a prominent member of Parliament, breaks with the accepted tradition of her class to become an actress. When she realises that, in spite of this, she is expected to marry, she acts on impulse. A good friend of hers has recently given her a letter of introduction to Max Townsend, a prominent film producer in Berlin, in order to further her career. Overnight, she travels to Germany without a word to anyone.

There, she goes to the Babelsburg studios and immediately makes a new friend, Helga. The studios are in the process of being taken over by the Hitler`s Propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels and Clara finds herself unintentionally included in the circle of Nazi wives amongst whom is Magda Goebbels. This makes her an ideal source of information for Leo Quinn, an undercover agent who recruits her to gather information on her new circle of friends and trains her in spycraft. She must, however, turn her back on Helga for now.

Clara and Leo are attracted to each other and inevitably fall in love. Clara continues making films for the Reich, collecting snippets of information from the ladies circle and her Nazi escort and admirer Klaus Müller and passing them to Leo. It is only when Magda confides in Clara and entrusts her with a startling and alarming mission that Clara feels compromised and fears for her life, feeling trapped between duty and love. Who can she really trust?

I found the book a really compelling read and a fascinating insight into German society in the early 1930s. Jane Thynne has combined historical accuracy, suspense and romance in an unforgettable book. I cannot wait to read her next book, The Winter Garden! An excellent read.


Reviewed by Liz.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Review of Soloman's Tale by Sheila Jeffries

Soloman's Tale is a lovely book told from the point of view of a cat called Soloman.

Soloman has been sent to protect his grown up owner Ellen and soon he becomes the protector and confidante of both Ellen and her young son John, as they battle family problems. When he arrives on Ellen's doorstep as a tiny scruffy kitten, no one realises the impact that he will have on Ellen's family.

It is a beautifully written book that will appeal to all animal lovers. Keep your tissues handy though as there are some heart breaking moments too.

This is a lovely heart warming story that was a delight to read and would make a lovely Christmas present.

I loved the cover too.


Thank you to Avon for sending us a copy to review.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Review of Tempting Fate by Jane Green


Gabby has been happily married to Elliott for twenty years, they have two daughters, a lovely home and close group of friends. However, Gabby longs for another child, whilst Elliott is not so keen.
When Gabby meets handsome and younger Matt at an event, she is flattered by his attention and the two soon begin a secret correspondence. However, one careless moment could wreck Gabby's life and her everything around her. Desperate to save the family life that she cherished so dearly, Gabby will do anything to save her marriage. But, is it too late for that?

This is a brilliant book that I didn't want to put down. The plot hooked me straight in and I ended up feeling as if I knew the characters. I really felt for Gabby's two daughtrs who were torn between their parents. It is an emotional and thought provoking book that I highly recommend.

This is the first book by Jane Green that I have read and I absolutely loved it.


5 stars


Thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy to review.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Review of Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye


Transported to the Manhattan of 1846 when the police force (or Stars as its members are called) is in its infancy, dirt and squalor in the streets and crime is rampant, we follow the investigation of Copper star Timothy Wilde and his capricious brother Valentine into the kidnapping of Mrs Lucy Adams family. Tim and Val are opposites: Tim is the quiet thinker whereas Val is brilliant, reckless and given to the pleasures of life in all their forms. They are no strangers to hardship, having grown up in what is, in essence, a cauldron for all types of disease and dishonesty.

Lucy`s sister and son have been taken by Blackbirders; slave catchers who operate within the law in Manhattan. Tim has to delve into depths of violent depravity on the streets in order to solve the case and rescue the family. This is no mean feat as the devious Blackbirders make money out of catching freed slaves as well as the runaways from the southern plantations and are willing to stop at nothing to achieve their ends. The Law does not mean anything to them – in fact some corrupt politicians actively encourage the practice, so how will Tim, with Val`s help, bring these people to some form of justice?

Lyndsay Faye creates the lurid atmosphere of lawlessness, brothels and the desperation of the Irish immigrants flowing into New York in the 1860s to escape the potato famine with astounding accuracy. We suffer the injustices and gasp at the often brutal attitudes of those in charge towards the lives of others which are held cheaply. Her characterisations are insightful to the point where we become part of the plot and experience the despair, helplessness but also the dreams of all concerned.

A vibrant and exciting read – highly recommended.

Reviewed by Liz.
Thank you to Headline for sending us a copy to review.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Review of Megan's Game by Tony Drury


Megan is a sports and Outward Bound teacher living in Abergynolwyn, a small town in Wales, who is still coming to terms with the death of her soldier husband, Rhys, in Basra. She has somewhat lost her way in life until she is invited to play at the annual tennis tournament held by the owners of the mansion in Aberdovey on Cardigan Bay. Here she partners new arrival David Rensburg to win the doubles tournament – thus starting a new chapter of her life. David works in the City and owns a cottage in Aberdovey. They have a passionate affair and Megan begins to move forward at long last.

However, the path of true love never did run smooth, as the saying goes, and back in London David becomes embroiled in the unethical financial dealings of Martin van Dijl on behalf of his brokerage firm, culminating in being imprisoned for a high-profile murder. Megan, by now loved by David`s two sons Matthew and Josh, has to do her utmost to prove that David is innocent, no mean task for a small-town lady in the imposing and raw city of London. Will she succeed, and will David ever be able to fulfil his ambition to explain the intricacies of high finance to the public by means of a simply-written book? Read on……!

Tony Drury himself was a financier in the City with a love of Wales and this is his first work of fiction. His written style is easy to read and he builds the tension very well – I couldn`t wait to turn the page to find out what happened next! I would thoroughly recommend this book and look forward to Tony`s next offering.
Reviewed by Liz.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Review of Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple


I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette as part of my reading group and it is, without doubt, one of the funniest books that I have read. I absolutely loved it.

At first glance, Bernadette Fox is wife to senior Microsoft employee Elgie Branch and loving mother to Bea. However, to the other mothers at Bea's school, Bernadette is glamorous but unfriendly and even slightly crazy. When one of the mother decides to google Bernadette, the only thing that she can find online is an entry about a trailblazing architect who hasn't been seen for over twenty years. Surely that is not the same Bernadette, is it?

Everything seemed as normal as could be in Bea's household until she asks to go to Antartica after getting straight As at school. Much to everyone's surprise (even her own), Bernadette throws herself into preparing for this trip. However, all is not as it seems and when the illusive Bernadette goes missing, her daughter Bea tries every to track her down. Told through a series of emails, letters and messages, finding Bernadette also becomes a story about finding who she is and what she is really afraid of. I loved Bernadette's character with her outlandish theories and names for people. I also found the character of Majula, the online assistant, to be a brilliant if somewhat frightening addition.

I sat down to start reading this book on a Saturday morning and literally did not move until I finished it. It is a real feel good book with lots of laugh out loud moments with my particular favourite being a hilariously timed landslide. I could imagine this being made into a film.

Highly recommended and one of my favourite books of the year.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review of Cruel Crossing by Edward Stourton

Cruel Crossing is a fascinating book full of the horror and tragedy that occurred during World War Two. In France, the pyrenees were used as a daring and extremely dangerous escape route into France. As Stourton takes part in the Chemain de la liberte, a walk commemorating the route used by so many to escape the Nazi, he pieces together the stories from people who were actually involved.

The horrors that befell both ordinary people and the armed forces are all too apparent in this book, but what really stands out is the unwavering selflessness and bravery shown by those who helped the escapees. Cruel Crossing is thorough and brilliantly researched and has made me want to visit this area of France that I knew little about.

It is a heart-wrenching, but utterly compelling collection of accounts of people involved in the daring escapes across the Pyrenees during the Second World War.

I highly recommend this book and would rate it as a 5 star read.

I read this as part of the Transworld Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Review of Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway


Well, what can I say?  A detective novel with no plot, no suspects but plenty of crimes. There is no story – it is about two detectives: Hawthorn, the introspective one and Child, the extrovert. Beyond that, this novel delightfully disconcerts the reader, who is naturally looking for a developing story with a beginning, a middle and a (hopefully ) satisfying conclusion. This does not happen. Instead one is presented with a series of intense insights into what any one of the characters may be thinking about any subject  at any one time, with the added confusion of who `s thoughts they are and what time-scale they are in. It reminds me of Samuel Beckett`s “Waiting for Godot” and would, indeed, make a superb theatrical production.

It is very thought-provoking book, keeping the reader avid to know more and gratifying nothing. I was beguiled by the style and the perceptions express by the author. It is a book that needs to be read at least twice, as there is a new twist each time you read it. I will look forward to reading it again and experience the pathos and the humour. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Liz.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Review of Midsummer Magic by Julia Williams

As soon as I saw the beautiful cover on Midsummer Magic, I knew that it was a book I wanted to read.

Recently engaged Josie has jumped into wedding planning and left her fiance Harry feeling a little left out. When she invites Harry, her bridesmaid Diane and Harry's best man Ant to Cornwall for the weekend she imagines a relaxing couple of days talking about the wedding. However, what she doesn't realise is that Diane and Ant already know each other and are not the best of friends. To make matters worse, when Harry and Ant meet famous magician Freddie Puck in the local pub they drunkenly agree to take part in a hypnosis stunt on Mid summer's Eve for his new show. As Midsummer Night comes round, the four realise that the tv show could be a mistake and before they know it long buried secrets and feelings start coming to the surface.

The use of local mythology is a strong part of the storyline and the beautiful setting in Cornwall really emphasises this. There is something about the caves and rugged coastline that makes myths seem like possibilities.

This is a fun, magical story that I really enjoyed reading. I thought that the references to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream were a very clever addition and I am looking forward to reading Williams' next book.

Thank you to Avon for sending me a copy to review.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Woman Walks into a Bar by Rowan Coleman


 
 
 
On September 10th Rowan is publishing her novella Woman Walks into a Bar as an ebook for the first time. And 100% of her proceeds will be donated to Refuge. 
Her goal is to raise £10,000 and you can help. All you have to do is buy a book, or two, and get your friends to buy one too. You’ll get a funny, romantic and touching summer read and you’ll be helping women you’ve never even met at the same time and all for the price of £1.59!
 
The story behind the story
 
Every book Rowan have ever written has meant a lot to her, but with her latest book ‘Dearest Rose,’ something really special happened when the real world and the fiction she loves to write collided.  It changed her as a person and a writer, forever.
She was getting ready to research her tenth novel, which with the help of her Facebook readers she decided should pivot around the theme of domestic abuse. It was a subject she’d touched on briefly once before, when she wrote a short novella as one of the first Quick Reads called Woman Walks into a Bar, which to this day remains one of the pieces of work of which she is most proud.
 So she posted on her Facebook page asking if anyone had any personal experiences of domestic abuse, and any stories they might share with her in confidence.
She was shocked and amazed by the response; there were more than 200 emails waiting in her inbox the next day. Each story she read was horrific and frightening in its own way, giving her an insight into the secret lives of many women; lives that all too often remain hidden. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone - well educated wealthy women are just as likely to suffer as women from a working class background - but the one thing all those women had in common was that they were survivors. After years of being mentally and physically beaten down, they had managed to find the emotional strength, somehow, to break free and start again. 
Now Rowan wants to do something that will help other women find that inner courage, and change their lives.£1.59 Amazon Kindle
 
So, come on and join Rowan, and help to #supportafriend on September 10th. Every time you buy or pre-order ‘Woman Walks into a Bar’ you’ll be entered into a prize draw for fabulous prizes every week, while the #supportafriend #womanwalks campaign is running. On 10th September, tweet Rowan photos of you and your friends, tell her your ideas to support a friend, and why your friends mean so much to you.
You can be a best friend to someone you have never even met. You can help someone out there find the support they need to change their lives. 
If you are a blogger or tweeter, spread the word using #supportafriend #womawalks. If you are a company who could offer a prize to drive book sales and thereby money for Refuge, please get in touch. If you are a woman in an abusive relationship, or if you have a friend about whom you are worried, please get in touch with Refuge and ask for help today. 
About Rowan
Rowan Coleman grew up in Hertfordshire secretly longing to be a writer despite battling with dyslexia.  After graduating from university she worked in bookselling and publishing for seven years before winning Company Magazine Young Writer of the Year in 2001.  Her first novel ‘Growing Up Twice’ was published in 2002.
Rowan has gone on to write eight novels for women including the bestseller ‘The Accidental Mother, The Baby Group’ and ‘The Accidental Wife‘ and eight novels for children and teens including the paranormal adventure novels Nearly Departed and Immortal Remains under the name Rook Hasting. Her books are published around the world. She now lives in Hertfordshire with her family.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Review of Sophie's Encore by Nicky Wells

 

 
Her rock star is waiting in the wings, but will he get a second chance?
It’s all change for Sophie Jones—only this time, there is more at stake than just her happiness.
Rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, has been her patient and caring friend through the highs and lows since her wedding day, but now he figures it is time for her to start over. By stealth, the rock singer draws Sophie into the behind-the-scenes work for his band’s latest album. Through the days and weeks spent together at the mixing desk, Sophie discovers whole new horizons for her life, yet before she can even begin to explore them, she faces the very real threat of losing her rock star for good.
Join Sophie and Dan in Sophie’s Encore to find out how their journey will end…
I have been eagerly awaiting the final instalment in the Rock Star Romance trilogy and I am pleased to say that it did not disappoint.

Sophie has had a difficult couple of years and Dan had stood by her through thick and thin. When Dan offers Sophie the chance to work behind the scenes she jumps at the opportunity and loves the idea of working as a sound engineer. Things between Sophie and Dan seem to be amicable and Dan  even helps look after Sophie’s two children who are his godchildren. However, when Dan becomes ill the tables are turned and it is Sophie who has to look out for Dan.

This is a fast paced book that I found addictive to read. I found the parts about the music industry to be fascinating and I loved the hearing about Dan's tour - it all sounded so glamorous.

I’m so pleased with the way that the book ended and will miss reading about Dan and Sophie now that the trilogy has ended.

Sophie’s Encore is available to buy now.
 
 

Party Time — The ENCORE PARTY!!

 

Join in the release day fun!! Come on and party with Nicky —



On Twitter — #SophiesEncore


Moreover! In honor of the launch, the first two books in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy are available on Kindle for only $0.99/£0.77 for a limited time only!

If you haven’t already got them, go get them here: 

Sophie’s TURN: AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM

Sophie’s RUN: AMAZON.CO.UK | AMAZON.COM 

If you’ve already read them, share the joy and spread the word!

 

Party Time — The GIVEAWAY!!!


 


 
1 x signed Sophie’s Encore Poster
2 x Sophie’s Encore Mugs
1 x Sophie’s Run Mug
1 x $10 Amazon Gift Voucher (or equivalent currency)
2 x Sophie’s Encore Key Ring
1 x Sophie’s Run Key Ring
2 x “Swag Pack” featuring 2 postcards (1 signed) each
for all three Rock Star Romance books, and 2 bookmarks each for Sophie’s Turn and Sophie’s Run

Enter the giveaway here:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/926ff65/
The giveaway closes 30 September at 12 midnight BST.
Entrants must be 18 or over. Giveaway is open internationally.
 
 
Nicky Wells is your ultimate rock chick author. Signed to US Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, Nicky writes Romance That Rocks Your World, featuring the rock star and the girl next door.
Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill!
Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C. Like her leading lady, Sophie, Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor to The Midweek Drive show on Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Review of The Elephant Girl by Henriette Gyland

I really enjoyed reading Henriette Gyland's debut novel Up Close and have been looking forward to reading The Elephant Girl.

Five year old Helen Stephens witnesses the shocking murder of her mother in London. Twenty years later after a terrible childhood, she is summoned by her step-grandmother who abandoned her. When she arrives back in London, she finds out that the woman convicted of her mother's murder has just been released from prison. Determined to avenge her mother, Helen goes looking for the convicted killer Fay Cooper in London. However, finding her unleashes emotions and memories that Helen thought were long buried. After twenty years could there still be new information to uncover?

Helen is a strong, likeable heroine who comes across as a very determined person. I thought that all of the characters were well formed and had a strong presence on the page.

This is a gripping and fast paced read and I enjoyed every minute of it. There are lots of surprises in store for the reader as Helen tries to narrow down the events surrounding the murder. The mysterious circumstances intertwine with a strong romantic element. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Thank you to Choc Lit for sending me a copy to review.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Review of The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard


The Ways of the World is set in Paris during the peace conference after the first world war.

James ‘Max’ Maxted, war hero and second son of Sir Henry Maxted, is devastated to hear of his father’s death in Paris. Alongside his elder brother Sir Ashley, Max travels to France and is shocked to discover suspicious circumstances surrounding his father’s death. Against his brother’s wishes, he decides to stay in Paris and uncover the truth. However, in looking for his father’s killer, Max steps into a world full of secrets, spies and assassins. In some ways, his life is put in even greater risk than it was during the war.

I was fascinated by the historical context of this novel with its details about the 1919 peace conference. There are so many twists and turns in the plot that I was suspicious of many of the characters at various points. This is a truly outstanding story that will have you guessing until the very end. I highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction.

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be looking out for more books by Robert Goddard. The cliff hanger ending has left me desperate to know what will happen next.

I read this as part of the Transworld Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Review of A Jersey Kiss by Georgina Troy

Bea is mourning the death of her aunt and is struggling to cope with the beautiful old house that she inherited. It is called The Brae and was her aunt's pride and joy, so Bea is determined that it must stay in the family. However, she has recently separated from her husband Simon and he is demanding a share too. The will also states that Bea has been left something called the Jersey Kiss, but no one seems to know what this is. Could it be something that might help her save the house?

The last thing Bea is looking for at this difficult time is romance, but when handsome builder Luke arrives to start work on the house she can't help but feel a connection. The problem is that her boss Tom also seems determined to strike up more than a friendship. When Tom delivers some shocking news about Luke, Bea must decide who, if anyone, to choose.

I really recommend this book as a fun summer read that is full of romance and mystery in a beautiful setting. I look forward to reading more by this author.

I loved the cover on this kindle edition!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Review of The Old Rectory by Julia Ibbotson


I am delighted to be hosting The Old Rectory blog tour today.

The Old Rectory is Julia Ibbotson’s real life account of buying and restoring a Victorian rectory in the countryside.

It is a fascinating and absorbing book and I enjoyed the author's accounts of settling into life in the village. Over a two year period, the author and her husband gradually renovate the house and fill the reader in on all of the trials and tribulations involved in this process. Ibbotson also tells the reader about the history of the house and surrounding area.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I particularly loved the inclusion of seasonal recipes at the end of each chapter. I plan to try a number of the dishes mentioned, especially the sticky toffee pudding. The Old Rectory will be a perfect book for fans of biographies and cookery books.
 
You can follow the blog tour tomorrow at: http://www.crimsonflowerreview.com/

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Review of Nearest Thing to Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes


Nearest Thing to Crazy is a real edge of your seat, gripping and pacy read that I didn’t want to put down.

Ellie Black arrives in a sleepy country village and is soon at the heart of local society. Everything about her from her red shoes to sports car screams glamour and different.

Ellie befriends Cass and Dan and soon they start to plan outings together. At first, Cass and Ellie seem to get on really well and Cass is excited about her new friend. However, soon Cass starts noticing strange behaviour from Ellie -  just small things at first, but the problem is that no one believes her – not even her husband Dan and daughter. As Ellie works her way into village life, Cass feels that people are turning against her and starts to feel that her life is spiralling out of control. Is Cass imagining things and blowing them out of proportion or is her distrust of Ellie justified?

This book is full of suspense and will really have you questioning what you believe to be true. I was taken by surprise so many times by the many twists and turns in the plot – it will keep you guessing right until the end.

This is a stunning debut novel that had me hooked from the very first page. I look forward to reading more from this author and wouldn’t hesitate to rate this as a five star read.

Thank you to Cutting Edge Press for sending me a copy to review.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Review of My Husband Next Door by Catherine Alliott





I am a big fan of Catherine Alliott’s books and had been looking forward to reading her latest novel ‘My Husband Next Door’.



Ella was just nineteen years old when she married well known artist Sebastian Montclair. They had a whirlwind romance and two children soon followed. At first, their lives seemed idyllic with a large London townhouse, lots of invitations flowing in and a private education for the children all within their means. However, fast forward the clock and things have drastically changed. Ella and Sebastian now live separate lives on the same farm in the countryside with their fashionable London days a world away.



With Sebastian living in the out-house, everything is left to Ella and you can tell that she is just about at the end of her tether. It is made all the worse by her sister who seems to have a perfect life with a large house and no money worries. However, when Ella strikes up a friendship with handsome gardener Ludo she wonders if there could be more to their relationship than just a friendship.

Alliott has filled this book with a whole host of coulourful, larger than life characters. I particularly liked the animals characters featured and, as the owner of some rather unruly chickens, I found a certain scene with Ella's cockerels to be hilarious.

 

This is another fun, witty read from Alliott that would make perfect reading on a summer’s day.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Review of Millie and the American University by Annabel Scott


Millie and the American University is the prequel to Millie and the American Wedding, which was released last year.  

The novel follows University student Millie as she goes on a year abroad to Kendry University in Pennsylvania. Millie finds herself the centre of attention on this small US campus, as the only British student there and people (especially boys) are fascinated by her accent. Everything about Kendry is different from her UK University from the intense workload to the fraternity parties and the way that students don’t drink in bars as much. Determined to make friends, Millie is initially introduced to Jen and Casey two girls from one of the sorority houses. At first, she thinks that they are genuine friends, but soon their bossiness about her clothes and weight begin to seem more like bullying. When Millie makes friends with Kristen and begin going to parties together, Jen and Casey turn on her and things become particularly nasty when Millie shows interest in a guy that Casey likes.

Each chapter begins with an email entry from Millie to her friends in the UK and this was one of my favourite features of the book. It is interesting to see Millie’s summary of what has happened whilst she has been away. I loved reading about all of the frat parties and drinking games that went on, there are some hilarious moments with one particular incident with whipped cream that had me laughing out loud.

This is a really fun, romantic, feel good story that I read in one sitting, it made me feel nostalgic for my university days!

 I also think that it would appeal to fans of New Adult fiction.