Friday, 14 November 2014

The Reckoning by Emma Jones

"As Lauren wakes after her 21st party she's not sure if she's hungover or dreaming but then she remembers.

The necklace. 
The flashback. 
The bond. 

The consequences are great & details unknown. After a visit to the vampire council things settle down until vivid worrying dreams start to disrupt Lauren's sleep & life. 

The national news is filled with big cat killings but Lauren knows the truth & is being dragged into dark souls & black magic. Someone dangerous is getting into her head & her involvement with the council tests her relationships. 

How will Lauren cope? Is there a happy ending? Will blood be shed?"

The Reckoning by Emma Jones is out now.  If you would like to purchase The Reckoning, you can do so in Kindle edition at Amazon.

The lovely Emma Jones would love to hear from you, and there a couple of ways to contact her if you would like to:

- On twitter
-  Emma's blog
-  On Facebook
-  On Goodreads

Monday, 10 November 2014

Mr Miracle by Debbie Macomber

"Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help Addie Folsom to get her life back on track - and help her find love.

Creating a happy ending for Addie and her neighbour Erich doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. But soon after arriving in the town of Tacoma, Harry realises he might need some guidance. Addie and Erich can't stand each other; growing up he was popular and outgoing, while she was rebellious and headstrong. Addie would now rather avoid Erich entirely, especially at Christmas.

Harry is going to need all the help he can get, and a bit of divine inspiration, to help Addie and Erich find their Christmas miracle."

Mr Miracle is a fairly short, light read, which I could easily have read in one sitting.  It has tinges of A Christmas Carol and It's A Wonderful Life, and the book has that magical feeling of Christmas.

I liked the characters, although I didn't feel as emotionally involved as I would have in a slightly longer book.  It definitely has the feel of a book that could have a sequel in the making.

Mr Miracle is a story of second chances and not being afraid of admitting that you're wrong, a reminder that people can change and also a reminder that life is short.  It is a sweet short story that leave you feeling warm and fuzzy this Christmas.

Mr Miracle is released on 20 November.  Thank you to the publisher, Random House, for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.  They have also very kindly offered five copies of Mr Miracle for a competition for readers of Book - Love - Bug.  To be in with a chance of winning, follow the rafflecopter instructions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Christmas at the Cove by Victoria Connelly

I am starting to gear up for Christmas reading, and one book that caught my eye is Christmas at the Cove, a novella by Victoria Connelly.  I think the cover is beautiful and, for some reason, I'm always drawn to books that are set in Cornwall or Devon - they always seem to make such fabulous love stories.

"When Millie Venning escapes to her aunt's cottage on the windswept Devon coast for Christmas, she isn't looking for romance. So, when she finds a handsome stranger already at the cottage, she's baffled. Has her aunt double-booked the cottage by mistake or is she up to her match-making tricks once again? "

The plot reminds me a little of Sue Moorcroft's The Wedding Proposal.  Lets hope it is just as good!!

Victoria has provided an exclusive extract from Christmas at the Cove:

"Cove Cottage wasn't the sort of place one found without either a map or a set of foolproof directions. Leaving the main road and taking a little lane which ran through a dark wood, only the most observant would notice a gap in the trees and the pothole-ridden track which declined steeply towards the sea. Lined with thick gorse which blazed the richest yellow whatever time of year it was, the track twisted and turned as it descended, with steep cliffs rising to the right and acres of thick bracken to the left. It was a wild, windswept place which blew away the cobwebs and entered the soul of all who visited.
Slowing down as she reached the wood, Millie looked out for the gap in the trees, turning slowly into it. The track was wet and muddy and she could see more snowflakes in the headlights. At least she was nearly there, she thought.
Turning the last corner, she caught her first glimpse of Cove Cottage which was strange because she shouldn't have been able to see it at all.
'The lights are on,' she said aloud, turning the car to park it on the grass beside an old outbuilding used to store wood for the stove in the living room. Perhaps Aunt Louise had asked the cleaner to leave the lights on for her.
She switched the car engine off and, for a moment, sat in the dark. If the light hadn't been on in the cottage, it would have been pitch black. Luckily, she'd remembered to bring a torch with her and she fumbled for it now in the depths of her handbag.
As soon as the car door was open, she heard the roar of the wind and relished the freshness of the air that whipped around her. The snow had stopped and Millie craned her neck back and smiled as she took in the immensity of the night sky above her sewn with a thousand stars. That was one of the things she missed when living in the city. As beautiful as Bath was, the street pollution didn't allow one to admire the glorious star-spangled heavens. But the intense cold soon got the better of her and, grabbing her suitcase, she followed the thin beam of the torch towards the front door.
Fishing in her pocket for the key which she'd collected from her aunt earlier that day, Millie slotted it into the lock only it didn't turn. She tried again. And again. She was quite sure she'd got the right key because it was on the funny little keyring with the picture of an Exmoor pony on it.
Then something occurred to Millie. There must be a key in the lock on the inside. Was the cleaner still there waiting to greet her? Millie supposed it was possible and so knocked on the door.
But it wasn't Mrs Jemison who opened the door a moment later. It was a tall, dark-haired man.
'Can I help you?' he asked, stooping in the doorframe.
Millie stood staring at him in wide-eyed horror, her long fair hair blowing around her face. 'Who on earth are you?' she cried."

You can grab yourself an ebook copy of Christmas at the Cove in time for Christmas here

I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas) by Tracy Bloom

"There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only answer is to marry George Clooney.

For Michelle, that time is now.

Slogging her guts out in a chicken factory, whilst single-handedly bringing up a teenager who hates her, is far from the life that 36-year-old Michelle had planned.

But marrying the most eligible man on the planet by Christmas could change all that, couldn’t it?

Sometimes your only option is to dream the impossible - because you never know where it might take you…"

I first discovered Tracy Bloom when her debut romantic comedy novel No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday landed in my post box.  I tried to find my review of this book to link to here, but somehow I have totally lost it and cannot find it anywhere.  I remember enjoying No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday as a lighthearted romantic novel, although I remember thinking that the title did not overwhelmingly feature in the plot.

However, with Tracy's latest Christmas masterpiece, the theme of marrying George Clooney is unmissable and leads Michelle on a hilarious journey. The story takes place mostly in the build up to Christmas, and so it isn't the most Christmassy book ever but it is the perfect book when you want a Christmas book but at the same time a release from everything that is overwhelmingly Christmas.  Yes, the plot may be a little crazy (in a good way) but at the heart of the book is a good life lesson; Reach for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars.

I felt sorry for Michelle whenever her mother was around.  This was a typical case of second child where the first could do no wrong and the second will simply never live up to expectations.  The moment at the pub quiz where her mother questions everything in favour of any glimpse of an alternative answer made me cringe for Michelle.  Yet Michelle herself has a daughter, and she too has a battle on her hands in a different kind of struggle.  I loved the different relationships that Bloom creates in this book, with Daz, and Jane and Rob!

I got some wonderfully strange looks whilst reading this on the train (yet think of the advertising!).  I powered through this book, reading it in a day in three sittings (morning commute, evening commute and bedtime); it is so light and easy to read.  Definitely my favourite Tracy Bloom so far!

You can follow the lovely Tracy Bloom on twitter @TracyBBloom

Finally, as Christmas is approaching (the Oxford Street lights have been switched on and the John Lewis Christmas Ad is on the tv....although I still await the Coca Cola ad which truly signifies Christmas), I am very happy to tell you that here at Book - Love - Bug, you have the chance to win 1 of 5 copies of I Will Marry George Clooney (By Christmas).  Thank you to the publisher for offering these competition copies.  To be in with a chance of winning, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below.....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe

"Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. 

While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can't quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend's life. 

Until a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall apart further – and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, kind, brave Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is and what that question means about them both.

A staggeringly arresting, honest novel of love, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship that moves us to ask ourselves just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends."

The Girls from Corona del Mar is a story of lifelong friendship, and the challenges and changes that friendship endures as girls grow up into women, life becomes more and more real and those friends are separated by a literal and psychological distance.

The whole story is told by Mia in a first person omniscient way so that sometimes she is recalling a history which she took part in and sometimes she is recalling Lorrie Ann's history, regardless of whether she was there or not. Thorpe does a fabulous job of weaving the two women's lives together into one solid narrative that does not ever seem to break the thread despite jumping back and forth and side to side.

I found some parts of the book quite difficult to read, and especially the difficulties experienced during childbirth.  

It was not quite what I had expected, it is far more serious featuring alcohol, drugs, abortion, childbirth and motherhood.  This book is not a fairytale; it is heartbreaking and real.  A book for grown ups.

Courting Trouble by Kathy Lette

"Tilly has the day from hell when she's sacked from her barristers' chambers in the morning, then finds her husband in bed with her former best friend in the afternoon. She escapes to her mother, Roxy - a sassy solicitor whose outrageous take on men, work and family life is the despair of her more conventional daughter. Roxy comes up with a radical plan for their future - they'll set up an all-female law firm which will only champion women who have been cheated, put upon, attacked, ripped off or ruined by the men in their lives.

In court, Tilly finds herself up against Jack Cassidy, the smooth-talking, politically incorrect, legal love god who broke her heart at law school. Jack is fluent in three languages – English, sarcasm and flirtation… but if he's so loathsome, then why is she committing Acute Lust in the 3rd degree?

When a case lands on the doorstep that threatens to change all their lives, Tilly finds herself dangerously close to taking the law into her own hands… Will Jack's cunning ways and expertise in emotional break and enter derail her quest for justice? Or will the women take on the boys… and win?"

I am sorry to say that I couldn't finish this book.  When I first read the synopsis, I thought I would absolutely adore it; I am a lawyer and I love chick lit so this seemed like my perfect book, and even knowing what I know now I still think this every time I re-read the synopsis.  I am left wondering what went wrong?

I just could not engage with the main character, Tilly, or any of the other characters.  In fact, I found the personality of Tilly absolutely enfuriating and the way the book is written just didn't work for me.  It felt like every line was trying too hard to be funny or sarcastic, or both, and I found it really hard work to read.  I certainly don't know any barrister like her and I didn't find the mother-daughter relationship funny either.  I very very rarely give up reading a book, in fact I think the only other book I have ever had to stop reading was The Slap, but I just could not bear to continue reading which makes me sad.

I took to Amazon to read the reviews, twitter and the book blogger world to see if I was missing something, and to see whether perhaps it was worth continuing.  There was a mixture of reviews so I read a few more pages, but then gave up after 50 or so pages.  

I cannot comment on the rape aspect of the storyline, and whether it works with the humour side of the book, as quite honestly, I gave up just as it got to that point.  The few paragraphs I did read didn't fill me with hope that this would change my feelings on the book.

All in all, sorry to say this is only the second book I have ever had to stop reading, so this review comes with the caveat that I have not read the entire book!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Postcards from the Past by Marcia Willett

"Can you ever escape your family ties?

Siblings Billa and Ed share their beautiful, grand old childhood home in rural Cornwall. Their lives are uncomplicated. With family and friends nearby and their free and easy living arrangements, life seems as content as can be.

But when postcards start arriving from a sinister figure they thought belonged well and truly in their pasts, old memories are stirred. Why is he contacting them now? And what has he been hiding all these years?"

I didn't really like this book when I first started reading it, and have to admit that I considered giving up in those early stages.  I just didn't feel a connection with the characters and didn't warm to them; I found them difficult to picture. However, then the intrigue of the postcards kicked in and I wanted to know who Tris was and what he wanted.  

This book is more of a slow burner, but packed full of everyday life in the Cornwall community and I soon became able to picture the characters and the landscapes.  Whilst the book jumps about a lot, Marcia Willett has fitted each of those pieces together extremely well as I didn't find it disjointed at all.  

I thought the tension was built up well but it was a real shame that one of the reason's Tris returns was revealed so early on.  Dom guesses at why Tris might have come back, and as I read this I thought "well it can't possibly be that then" but actually he is not far out.  I would have liked a little more suspense in that respect.

All in all, it turned out to be a good read but not something I fell head over heels in love with. I did love little Jakey, the descriptions of when he visits the dogs and his relationship with Harry.  I also loved Sir Alec and my heart went out to him as it was clear he very much missed his wife.  His relationship with Tilly and her 'family' made me smile.  

Finally, the ending seemed to deal with all the characters but for me it was not quite as complete as I would have liked it to have been - I felt that I was left with some loose ends that I would love to have seen tied up!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

An Irish Promise by Isabella Connor

"A promise is a promise…
Art historian, Rachel Ford has returned to the Irish village of Kilbrook intent on keeping her promise to take revenge on the school bullies who ruined her childhood and destroyed her family.
Australian actor, Finn MacKenzie sets hearts fluttering when he turns up in sleepy Kilbrook to help his aunt with a school production. He seems to have a charmed life, yet his confident fa├žade hides heartbreak and tragedy. Although Finn isn’t looking for love, when he meets the mysterious Rachel, there’s a definite spark between them.
Rachel is torn between her desire for revenge and this new love affair. She doesn’t want to deceive Finn, but can she trust him to keep her real identity a secret? And will he understand why she must keep her promise, no matter the cost?"
An Irish Promise is, not surprisingly, set in Ireland, however, I have to admit it did not feel overly Irish.  As a girl with Irish family myself, from a dialogue point of view, I felt it could have just as easily have been set in England, although there are some lovely desriptions of Ireland in it and I particularly liked the reference to the Claddagh (symbolising love, loyalty and friendship).  I was therefore not surprised to learn that this did not come from an Irish author; Isabella Connor is the pen name for Liv Thomas (who was born and raised in the South of England) and Valerie Olteanu (who grew up in Scotland).  However, this does not detract from the book being a wonderful masterpiece.
This is Isabella Connor's second 'Emerald Isle' book, but the first that I have read.  Having just finished An Irish Promise I can't wait to get my hands on the first book, Beneath an Irish Sky.
An Irish Promise is a story packed full of warmth and love, set against a backdrop of bullying and the quest for revenge.  The book made me smile until my jaw ached but it also made me cry (in public, very embarassing!!).  The book reveals both sides of the coin; the feelings of the bully and the victim (both then and years later) and the authors do a good job of portraying this.  Of course, as with all ChocLit books, romance can't help but creep in!
About 150 pages in, a revelation was revealed that changed everything and I can honestly say made me gasp!  Later in the book, another (similar) revelation was revealed that I also did not see coming and even made me turn back to the early parts of the book to see whether I should have known!  This book was full of twists and turns, and the suspense at the end left me with the book inches from my face and I could not stop my eyes from darting down the page to try and work out whether Ella and Finn get their happy every after.
An Irish Promise is quite a long book at just under 400 pages, but every part is perfectly woven together to create a fabulous book that I do not hesitate to recommend.  Despite its length, I flew through the book and having finished it, I now wonder whether I should have savoured it for a bit longer.  The author makes you love the characters who you should and detest the characters who do not deserve your adoration.
You can read some more about An Irish Promise and the authors comments on it on ChocLit's blog.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Each and Every One by Rachael English

"Your family are always there for you...aren't they?

For Tara, Vee, Niall and Damian, the children of the Shine family, their parents have seen them through thick and thin. In fact, Gus and Joan's lifetime of hard work has given their children the luxuries they never had when they were growing up - a comfortable home in a leafy Dublin neighbourhood, gap years that never seem to end and an open chequebook for life's little emergencies. Unfortunately, although the children have grown up, they have got a little too comfortable with the well-feathered nest: now it's time to learn a few home truths.

When a twist of fate means the bank of Mum and Dad can no longer bail out the younger generation, suddenly the whole family must find out who they really are - but sometimes the truth isn't easy to face. Uncovering the secrets they all hide will show them a different side to the city they call home and mean finding allies in the most unlikely places.

Warm, wise and witty, Each and Every One is a novel about the lessons we learn in life - and the ones we never do."

Each & Every One is a fabulously unique idea and extremely well delivered by Rachael English.  There is a huge amount of storyline packed into this book, and each and every one of the characters goes on a life-changing journey in modern day recession-hit Ireland. 

Each & Every One is full of both warmth and sadness, and there are some great interactions between siblings and parents.  I also particularly enjoyed Tara's relationship with Ben (and Carmel & Jenelle), which added a further dimension to the story. 

I personally did not see the twist coming, which brings further turmoil to the Shine family.  Although I have to admit, my mum (who has also read the book) did guess it.

This book cannot be described as chick-lit but is true fiction, packed full of emotion, love and strength with a full cast of wonderful characters and a life lesson to deliver to each & every one of us.  People believe that money can buy you happiness, but can it?

Saturday, 25 October 2014

COMPETITION: Saving Grace by Jane Green

This week a copy of Saving Grace by Jane Green arrived in my post box.....and once I have read it, you will be able to find my review on this blog!

Jane Green is the bestselling author or over fifteen novels, and this is her latest beauty, about a shattered marriage and a devastating betrayal.  To celebrate, Macmillan are collating as many tips for a long and happy relationship as they can.  Whether you're married or not, tell them what you think keeps love alive, long term by visiting their website here.

In addition, Macmillan have also offered readers of Book-Love-Bug, some fabulous prizes.  There will be four winners in total and the available prizes consist of:
  • 3 hardback copies of Saving Grace by Jane Green; AND
  • 1 scented candle (the perfume of which was personally created by Jane Green herself). 

Entering is simple, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below.... a Rafflecopter giveaway