Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas Giveaway #2 - Married by Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

Following on from my review of Married by Christmas which you can find here, Hannah at Ebury Publishing has very kindly offered a giveaway copy of the Christmas title for one lucky reader of Book - Love - Bug.

To enter, please follow the rafflecopter instructions below.  One entry per person, UK only, competition closes at midnight on 6 December.  Get your entries in quick! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Christmas Giveaway #1 - Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones

Last year, I loved spending the lead up to Christmas getting into the festive spirit by reading as many Christmas-themed books as possible, and concluding with a mega giveaway to thank all my lovely followers.  

This year, I want to start getting festive as all the Christmas adverts are beginning to play, yet I am still sat here wondering what happened to my summer.  It won't be as spectacular as last year, I'm not that organised this time round but there will be a couple of Christmas themed-prizes.

The first of which is Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones.  The cover reminds me of slow globes and Tiffany's and I can't wait to get stuck in to it.  The publishers have kindly offered one competition copy to my blog readers.  To enter - please follow the rafflecopter instructions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Review of "Married by Christmas by Scarlett Bailey"

** I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest opinion.  Thank you to Hannah Robinson at Ebury Publishing @Hannah_Robbo for the copy, and Scarlett Bailey @ScarlettBailey for doing such a fabulous job **

* What it's about *

All she wants is the perfect Christmas Eve wedding....

It's been on Anna's wish-list since she was a little girl, dreaming of a far happier family life than she'd ever experienced.

But now - only two weeks before her big day - her perfect husband-to-be drops a bombshell...

Only nothing's going to stop Anna's plans - not even the pesky inconvenience of discovering her groom already has a wife!

* What I thought * 

Having read, and adored A Night Before Christmas last year as part of my December month of packing in as many Christmas books as possible, and then reading Scarlett Bailey's advent calendar story, Santa Maybe, I was delighted when a copy of Married by Christmas arrived one morning.

I have been putting off reading it until an acceptable time which I felt was close enough to Christmas.  Now that the shops have fully embraced the Christmas spirit, the Christmas adverts are out (I have heard rumours that the Coca Cola advert has been aired, which means it must be nearly Christmas) and I have heard my first Christmas tune on the radio, I decided it was time to settle down in front of the fire and read this book which I had very high expectations for.

I was not disappointed in the slightest, and the only niggling worry I have is wondering how long I have to wait for the next Scarlett Bailey book.  

Married by Christmas is as magically festive as 'A Night Before Christmas' but in a completely unique way.  This book involves a last minute dash to one of the most Christmassy places in the world (no, not Lapland) and boy is it magical.  Scarlett has the knack of making me want to climb into the book and live out the life of Anna, albeit a fairly complicated life.  Scarlett Bailey's descriptions are moving and funny in the right doses, and her characters are well-developed and the sort of people you would enjoy in your life.

Anna is a very deep character - and the underlying moral to the story is a meaningful and important one; your past doesn't have to taint your future, your genetics will not overcome the goodness inside of you.  Live your life for you and follow your dreams.  

This might not be the most unpredictable book in the world, and it might not be the most festive-filled book out there this year, but it'll leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.  You know there is a twist coming, you know what you want the twist to be, and you'll keep turning the pages until you find out whether you get your Christmas wish.....!

Please Scarlett, don't make me wait another year for more!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Review of "She's Never Coming Back" by Hans Koppel

** I received a free copy of this book from the publishers (Sphere) in return for an honest review.  You can follow them on twitter @SphereBooks **

I have found this book review harder to write than normal.  There is so much I'd like to be able to say, yet by saying it, I'll make the whole prospect of you going out and buying it redundant.  So rather than top this review with the dreaded "spoilers" word, I'm just not going to say it!

What I will say is there are a couple of major points about this book that make it different to other thrillers/crime novels, for me at least.  These are the things I can't tell you....i.e. the ending! Therefore you’re just going to have to take my word for it, this book is different.  I found it to be exceptionally well wrapped up, and the conclusion isn’t what you expect it to be. 

Whilst I wouldn’t agree that is “the most terrifying crime novel I have ever read” (as broadcast on its front cover), I would say it had the right balance of suspense and storyline to hold my attention for its entirety.

I found the extracts from a lecture given about the relationship between the victim and perpetrator, which appear at the beginning of some chapters, added to the whole sense of the book. 

I should note there is a fair amount of sexual violence in this book – I certainly wouldn’t say it is a book the whole family will love, but if you’re into your crime novels and thrillers – this one, in my opinion, is worth a look.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Review of 'Putting Alice back together' by Carol Marinelli

Thanks, once again, to Lucy from Midas PR (You can follow them on twitter @midaspr) for getting me involved in the blog tour for Putting Alice Back Together.  Once again another fantastic debut novel....!

** What it’s about **

There’s only so much sex, valium and red wine you can take to paper over the cracks…

Alice is the friend you wish you had.  The girl who makes a party more fun, drinks wine out of a mug and makes you laugh while you’re crying over an ex.  Alice is totally happy, everything is amazing and there is nothing at all to worry about…except, well:

Her job was really great – 10 years ago.

She is in love with her best friend, but he’s gay.

Her credit card bills are under her bed unopened…

But maybe the biggest problem for Alice is that she has a secret.

A secret so big she can’t tell anyone.  How do you keep a secret like that when everything is starting to fall apart?

And once it’s out there, how do you ever begin to put yourself back together again?

** What I thought **

Putting Alice Back Together is more a book about Alice falling apart.  It’s a harrowing story of ‘Little Alice’ intermingled with present day Alice; the narrative flicks back and forth as it allows the reader to discover piece by piece how Alice has come to be the woman she is today.  And let’s face it, Alice is a mess…

Alice has to hit rock bottom in order to start putting herself back together.  It isn’t just the secret from her childhood causing her to plummet; she’s also in love with her gay best friend, in a huge amount of debt and stuck in a job which is far from her ideal.

I very much enjoyed this book, discovering Alice as a person (flaws and all).  We’ve all made mistakes (perhaps not all of us on the scale of Alice), but this book is really about self-discovery, coming to terms with the person you are and learning to love yourself again, before allowing someone else to do the same.

This book is packed with friendship (some good friends and some not so good friends) and honest family relationships.  Alice was warm and witty, despite everything, and I love how she’d type out emails being frank but hit delete and retype an edited version before sending.  We’ve definitely all done that….!

There is also just the right amount of romance in this book; not too much that it becomes romantic chick lit but just enough to be real and warming against the heart-breaking background.

All in all, I very much enjoyed Carol Marinelli’s Putting Alice back together and certainly will be keeping an eye out for her future books!
About Carol Marinelli

Carol Marinelli grew up in London, but after training to be a nurse, went on holiday to Melbourne and never left.  She has lived in Australia for ten years and has travelled extensively around the country. She has embraced Australian life to the full and now lives with her family in Melbourne. Carol is a Nurse by day and an author by night, when she’s not working or writing, Carol loves to travel, with her favourite destination being New York. She hates airports and goodbyes, and is happiest at her computer lost in her imagination and making up stories.

You can read more about Carol at her website.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Taking a break.....!

I just wanted to send a quick message out to all my followers, and my lovely blogging friends, to say that I'm going to be taking a break from everything for a while.  I start a new job on Monday, after being a perpetual postgraduate student, so life is going to be a bit upside down for a while whilst I adjust to full time work (it's certainly about time at my age...!!)

I will try, as far as is possible, to keep on top of all book reviews, but they make take longer than previously, so I'm hoping you'll all be patient with me.  I'll also try to keep up with your reviews as much as I can but please forgive my silence, lack of comments and tweets for the foreseeable future.

Thank you all for the support of the past months and I look forward to being back on top of everything.  

Love to all xxx

Monday, 27 February 2012

Review of 'Run Rabbit Run' by Kate Johnson

** What it’s about **

Sophie’s in trouble. Must be Tuesday

Sophie Green’s an ex-spy, or trying to be. You wouldn’t believe the trouble she’s in. An MI5 officer has been shot with her gun, her fingerprints all over his office. And no, she didn’t kill him.

But she has gone on the run.

Now Sophie’s desperately seeking whoever’s trying to frame and kill her. She’s being forced to work with the least trustworthy man in Europe, MI5 is following her every move, and she’s had to leave the tall, blond, god of a man she loves behind.

Luke Sharpe works for MI6. Or did, until his girlfriend became a murder suspect.

Doing nothing wasn’t an option, so he started investigating. Who cares if it means jeopardising his career? Sophie’s everything he used to say he never wanted. Young, irresponsible, bright and mad. Now she’s just everything – and she has to live.

She will live, won’t she?

Thank you to Choc Lit UK for the advance copy in return for an honest review (and the accompanying Lindt bunny!)

** What I thought **

Run Rabbit Run is the latest instalment in the Sophie Green Mysteries written by Kate Johnson.  This book is published by the lovely publishers that are Choc Lit UK; an independent brand-led publisher, specialising in fiction with romantic content, where the writing clearly develops the hero’s point of view.  Oh, and have I mentioned before that Choc Lit heroes are always really realllly yummy!

In Run Rabbit Run, we get two delicious heroes (Luke and Jack) and one slightly crazy (quite possibly the understatement of the century) heroine.  I hadn’t read any of Kate Johnson’s previous Sophie Green books and was reassured by Choc Lit that this wouldn’t be a problem, and it certainly wasn’t.  I have to admit, I found her really quite annoying to begin with – she’s an absolute nightmare, a train crash waiting to happen!  But she grew on me, and I adored Luke (and Jack gets pretty scrummy too)!  The storyline soon gripped me and took over any of those early irritations.

The book follows Sophie on the run from a crime she didn’t commit.  Challenging at the best of times, but when you’re on the run from MI5 and MI6 and then the CIA get involved, it becomes an absolute rollercoaster of a ride.  And that is what you get with this book, from start to finish.  It’s packed full of action as well as romance – and sometimes you’ll find yourself holding your breath (for both the action and romantic parts!!).

A fabulous rollercoaster of a read for those who love chick lit with a razor sharp edge.

There are plenty of ways to find out more about Kate Johnson.  She has a blog, Days of the Insane and a website.  Kate also tweets  @K8johnsonauthor and has a facebook page.

Run Rabbit Run is out on Kindle NOW and will be out in paperback on 7th April (Easter Saturday!!).

Review of 'Recipe for Love' by Katie Fforde

** What it’s about **

Take one aspiring cook, one judge and a spoonful of romance…

When Zoe Harper wins a coveted place in a televised cookery competition, she’s thrilled.  It’s a chance to cook her way to fame and fortune and the little delicatessen she’s set her heart on.

The first task has hardly begun when she finds herself with rather too much on her plate.

Not only has she got to contend with the fiercely competitive and downright devious Cher, but she’s fast developing an inconvenient crush on one of the judges – the truly delicious Gideon Irving.

All too soon there’s more than canapés, cupcakes and cordon bleu at stake.

Will Zoe win the competition or is Gideon one temptation too far? And is Zoe really prepared to risk it all for love?

** What I thought **

Katie Fforde has distinctively simple, yet beautiful, book covers and Recipe for Love is no exception. 

I loved the characters in this book, except Cher (I wanted to pull her hair and push her face first into the mud) and Rupert’s parents are hilariously awful!  I also loved the concept of this – it was like a cross between Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off.  If you hate cooking, don’t let this put you off – the book doesn’t require you to be a cooking-lover.  There are certainly some descriptions that will make anybody’s stomach rumble!

The story is wonderfully paced and easily devoured. Katie Fforde has created a warm and wonderful book that will keep you turning the pages until suddenly you find yourself at the end with a smile on your face and wanting more.  This book is delicious romantic chick lit at its best.

** About Katie Fforde **

Katie was born and brought up in London but has lived in Gloucestershire with her family for the last thirty years.  Her first novel, Living Dangerously, went on to be chosen as part of the WHSmith Fresh Talent promotion.  There have been over seventeen novels since, as well as some grandchildren.  Her hobbies, when she has time for them, are singing in a choir and flamenco dancing.  Katie Fforde is President of the Romantic Novelist’s Association.

To find out more about Katie Fforde, visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @KatieFforde

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Review of 'The Legacy of Eden' by Nelle Davy

Thank you to Lucy from Midas PR for getting  Book - Love - Bug involved in this blog tour.

** What it’s about **

If only I had never opened that letter... and let the devil in

 Meredith Hathaway has spent the last seventeen years pretending to forget. Until she gets a letter and her world is shattered in an instant. She must finally confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway dynasty... and her own part in their devastating history.

1946 Iowa. One woman is determined to change her fate. With unwavering ambition Lavinia Hathaway will stop at nothing to ensure that her family succeeds at all costs.

Now Lavinia’s legacy, Aurelia, the once magnificent family home, lies empty, a husk of its former self, a gaping wound of the Hathaways. Unable to resist the lure of buried secrets and bitter memories, Meredith must now face the truth or be destroyed by it.

The door is open... dare she walk into the past?

 ** What I thought **

When I first got my hands on this book, I knew it was going to be something special.  The cover has a luxurious feel; soft and full of depth.  I wasn’t disappointed.

The book opens with a prologue which had me hooked:

I pointed the flashlight into the darkness, punctuating the purple haze of the evening with circles of white.  The air was full of the smell of azaleas and the sound of crickets, and I began to think of how much I would miss my home.  For a moment, I was truly scared of leaving the farm, and I was stricken with both the fear of the unknown, and my desire for it.  I gave up a shudder.
And then I heard it.
The sharp snap of twigs being twisted into the earth.  I swung around and moved off the path, down to the rose garden.  I heard them before I saw them.  His voice was low, half in a whisper, but in the stillness of the night, it carried. 
“Say it,” he urged, and then more forcefully repeated, “Say it!”
And then another noise.  At first, I didn’t even know it was her.  It was a sound I had never heard from her before.
I have relived that night so many times.  Once, I had dared to believe that I was different from my family, that I was the one that did not fit.  But as my grandmother Lavinia, the catalyst for my family’s mottled history, once said, “Blood will out.”
Perhaps you would have made a different choice that night.  If so, your heart would not be heavy with such deep regret.  But knowing who I am, who my family was, how could anyone have expected anything else?”

Now if you’re anything like me, you’ll be hooked already and on your way to amazon to order yourself a copy. But before you go, let me tell you a little bit more....

Chapter 1 is an opening chapter from Meredith, set in the present day, which lays the foundations for the whole backstory.  Meredith narrates.  The rest of the book is divided into sections focusing on other main family members; (Meredith’s grandmother, Lavinia, Meredith’s aunt, Julia and Meredith’s sister, Ava).  Meredith continues to narrate, and these sections of the book flit from the past to the present as the story unravels.

This book is like a mass of tangled ropes; you only need one of those ropes, but you have to ease yourself around the others and slowly unravel and untangle them until everything becomes clear.  This creates a gripping book, which I found incredibly difficult to put down.  For me, the storyline didn’t lag at any point and it held my interest from the first sentence to the last.

Nelle Davy creates a complex cast in The Legacy of Eden, and at times I felt like there should be a family tree lurking at the front of the book to avoid any possible confusion.  The narrator sometimes refers to, for example, “her uncle” whereas other times she will refer to them by name; to start with I found myself pausing to think and confirm “now which one is she talking about?” However, it didn’t take long for the family tree to be engrained in my memory, as Nelle Davy creates deep and remarkable characters.  I think it should be noted though that if you find it difficult to remember characters and their links to each other, you may get a little lost and confused at times – but don’t let that put you off, if anything, just create your only family tree as you go along!

The setting to the story is Aurelia, the family home and the family business.  The place itself takes on a life of its own; it’s like a supernatural force that will ultimately destroy everything.  The detail that Nelle Davy incorporates is exceptional and conjures up some wonderful imagery for the reader.

I did think that the final “Hathaway secret” to be exposed would be more dramatic than it was, but having taken time to consider it, this isn’t disappointing.  The final secret to come out is the one which is alluded to in the prologue, and there are plenty of shocking antics in between that first page and the last.  The final secret is simply the final nail in the coffin, which finally tips the balance; I don’t think the author ever intended it to be incredibly unpredictable and a shock to the reader (there are a few hints along the way).  This book isn’t necessarily about making amends, it’s about the Hathaway family and their history, not about their future.  

Nelle Davy has a very powerful and rich writing style, which is seriously impressive for a 27 year old.  The Legacy of Eden is an incredible debut from an extremely talented young author; Nelle Davy is one to watch!

Question and Answer with Nelle Davy

Thank you to Nelle for taking the time to answer some questions for Book - Love - Bug and its readers:

Book - Love - Bug: What inspired you to become a writer and where did the inspiration for The Legacy of Eden come from?

Nelle Davy: I escaped in stories. I found books to be life rafts when I was a child that I could use to sail away from my home life but I couldn’t always afford books and once, exasperated, my mother told me to write a story myself in order to stop me asking her, so I did. And I didn’t ever stop. Years later on a train ride to University mid term, I was reading I, Claudius and I thought it was such an amazing story about a diseased and ultimately corrupt dynasty that out of supposedly good intentions brought down their own family and all its glory. I kept wondering what it would be like to transpose it to a modern setting and this great estate came into my mind… a beautiful farmland that they would live on and love and die for but which would destroy them. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I sort of played around with it a bit for a couple of years and then finally when I left University and got a job and felt ready, I began writing it. And just like when I was a child, I didn’t stop.

Book - Love - Bug: Having read The Legacy of Eden, I was surprised to discover you were born in the UK - what made you set this book in Iowa and did it take a lot of research to come up with the detail?

Nelle Davy: It had to be somewhere which had a real connection with the land and somewhere, where a place like Aurelia could exist – which naturally, with its history and scope, was America. I never felt that while writing, I should feel constricted by my nationality and background. If an actress can play any part from any century, why shouldn’t a writer feel the same way? That is why it’s fiction. But it did require a lot of research, predominantly to ensure that while I may not have been American, the book was not an English person’s idea of America, but indistinguishable from American novels. That was my ultimate goal.

Book - Love - Bug: Where did the title The Legacy of Eden come from and how does it fit with the story?

Nelle Davy: It wasn’t the original title. And sadly I did not come up with it, my amazing editor did at the time. They didn’t like my title and I didn’t like their brainstorms and it all got a bit too much like a stalemate. She emailed me in the middle of the night and suggested this and I thought at first, I didn’t hate it and I could understand it’s link to the story. The notion of something aspirational like paradise and how these people fought to create it, got really close, but ultimately failed and what it was like living with that history. It was a title that grew on me over time.

Book - Love - Bug: Can you tell us a little bit about your next book?

Nelle Davy: It is set in Louisiana during the civil rights movement in 1963 and the heightened tensions of race relations. It is so different. My first novel in terms of scope is so small but this is so vast and much more historically weighted.

Book - Love - Bug: Are you a big reader yourself? What are you reading at the moment?

Nelle Davy: Huge! I have 15 books on my bedside table waiting to be read and I love to re-read novels too. Right now I have Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping in my bag. She is a beautiful writer.

Review of 'Rainshadow Road' by Lisa Kleypas

Thanks to Piatkus for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.

** What it’s about **

Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in beautiful, inspiring Friday Harbour, Washington. Creatively fulfilled and engaged to be married, she is content with her life, until she is stunned by the worst kind of betrayal: her fiancé Kevin announces he's leaving Lucy to be with her younger sister.

Facing the disapproval of Lucy's parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, one of the owners of the Rainshadow vineyard, to 'romance' Lucy and help her get over her anger. But when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, things become complicated, especially when Kevin starts to have second thoughts. And when Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretences, her world is shattered, and she is forced to question everything.

** What I thought **

Rainshadow Road has one of those gorgeous covers which invites you in, and makes you want to curl up in front of a fire (or lounge on a sunbed in your garden) before you start reading.  I definitely judged this book by its cover and I was right – it’s as gorgeous inside as it is out!

Lisa Kleypas brings out the characters emotions within you with ease and you swiftly take a dislike to certain characters whilst instantly warming to others.  I loved the unique occupation of Lucy – this allowed Lisa Kleypas to provide the reader with some rather vivid imagery.  The imagery from the vineyard is also fantastic and it made me want to go and immerse myself in Friday Harbour.

There are also some truly heart-warming moments to this book, centred on Holly, which had me in tears.  The romance in this is also gorgeously written – the struggle and battling of feelings that, let’s face it, are always going to win.  Sam is just gorgeous, I want him and his body to carry me around the house in my hour of need.  He’s geeky, but in the most sexy way possible!

My *only* complaint about this book would be that the synopsis isn’t exactly accurate.  The synopsis states that Kevin is Lucy’s fiancé – yet in the book she only ever refers to him as her boyfriend – there is no mention of them being engaged at any point.  I also thought the bit about Kevin trying to set Lucy up with Sam was a bit misleading.

Rainshadow Road is the first in Lisa Kleypas’s new Friday Harbour trilogy.  I, for one, cannot wait for more!  You can follow Lisa on twitter @LisaKleypas and visit her website for more information on Lisa and her books.

Review of 'Star Fish' by Nicola May

** What it’s about **

Amy Anderson has a plan.  To find her “sole mate” by dating her way through the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Tired of looking for love, the dreamy Piscean decides that an astrological dating agency is the only way to meet the man of her dreams.

So who will finally woo Amy during the hysterical search? Will it be Ted the Arian photography with a passion for ice-skating, or maybe Laurence, the Libran IT whiz kid who likes to get behind the wheel of a fast car? Or how about Capricornian Christopher, the owner of Starr & Sun, the dating agency?

You’ll be kept guessing until the very last page!

** What I thought **

Nicola May is a self-published author; something I admire her massively for.  Having read Working It Out (you can read my review of that book here) and now, Star Fish, I’m amazed that she hasn’t been picked up by a big publishing house. Seriously guys....sort it out!

Nicola May has followed in the footsteps of her debut novel Working It Out but this time instead of job-hunting, we are man-hunting.  I found it a little harder to get into Star Fish than Working It Out – I have to admit I missed Gorgeous George and his banter!  But once I’d got into it, I was hooked.  

As Amy dates her way through the star signs, there are some hilarious encounters, some cringeworthy ones and some rather steamy ones too.  Nicola May will have you rooting for the good guys, and knowing that others are going to trip themselves at the first hurdle!  The book is packed full of vibrant characters – I loved Brad and despite everything, I also had a bit of a thing for “Declan”. The ending isn't predictable; you'll be wondering "will she, won't she" up until the very last minute!

This is a wonderfully fun and light-hearted read that will leave you with a smile on your face.  Other things I love about Nicola are that she is a local girl (she lives in Berkshire) and this comes out in her books.  I also love that she incorporates her love of cats into her books!

Whatever you do, don't let the fact that Nicola is self-published put you off.  Working It Out and Star Fish are publishing-house-quality books and I've certainly enjoyed them more than some recent chick lit books from the big publishing houses! Invest and enjoy.....!

You can find out more about Nicola and her books at and you can follow her on twitter too @NicolaMay1

Monday, 6 February 2012

Review of This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson

** What it's about **

This is a love story. 

Boy meets girl and girl falls for boy - that much is true. 

But when Sienna meets Nick it's not the way it happens in love stories. It's because of a squirrel on water skis...

She sees Nick's dangerous brown eyes and thinks,





Who will be there to catch Siena when she falls? She is so fragile. She has so many secrets, and he is not that serious.

Funny and sad, this is the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else.

** What I thought **

This is a Love Story is described as a “quirky modern love story reminiscent of 500 Days of Summer”.

I have to start by mentioning the cover of this book which is just gorgeous.

This story spans about 5 years; it certainly isn’t a whirlwind fantasy.  I have to admit, at times I did find that it was kind of dragged out in that I wanted to bash their heads together and make them realise just what the other person saw.  I can understand how some people would find these extremely frustrating, but then I guess that’s the point, the course of true love doesn’t run smooth, we don’t all have whirlwind romances that pan out just the way they do in the movies.  The tagline for this book is “but not every story is the same” and so this is the story of Nick and Sienna.

I was hooked to the story early on.  I’m a sucker for romance, so when Nick and Sienna’s eyes meet on a crowded train, I had exceptionally high hopes for this stunningly beautiful girl and this gorgeous man with dangerous brown eyes that you could just fall into.

However, this isn’t JUST a love story.  It also deals with narcolepsy and cataplexy and homelessness; there are some very thought-provoking and moving chapters within this book.  I don’t want to say much more, as you need to experience it for yourself.

Jessica Thompson has a wonderful witty style of writing, and I often found myself smiling or giggling along to this book.  The character of Sienna is an old head on young shoulders, and I found her very easy to warm to.  At times I found Nick extremely shallow; within the same sentence he would often switch from being totally in love with Sienna to considering how gorgeous other girls were.  This meant that at times I wanted to smack him, but generally I warmed to him and was dying for him to take Sienna in his arms and tell her how he felt.

I think 2012 is going to the year where I discover some fantastic debuts, and I’m definitely adding this one to my list.  Despite the frustrations of the long time line of this book, I very much enjoyed it and will certainly be looking out for Jessica Thompson’s next book. This is a Love Story left me wanting more.

For your chance to win a copy of "This is a Love Story" by Jessica Thompson, follow the Rafflecopter instructions in the giveaway post.  Closes 9th Feb.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Valentines Giveaway

This is a Love Story
 Valentine’s Competition

When I first saw this book cover and title, I instantly thought of the film 500 Days of Summer which I believe has the opening line "This is NOT a love story...".  Having just received This is a Love Story, the opening line is of the press release is "A quirky modern love story reminiscent of 500 Days of Summer" so I am now even more excited to read it.

** What it's about **

This is a love story. 

Boy meets girl and girl falls for boy - that much is true. 

But when Sienna meets Nick it's not the way it happens in love stories. It's because of a squirrel on water skis... 

She sees Nick's dangerous brown eyes and thinks, 





Who will be there to catch Siena when she falls? She is so fragile. She has so many secrets, and he is not that serious. 

Funny and sad, this is the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else.

Competition Details

The publishers of This is a Love Story have kindly offered one copy of this book to winners of a valentines day competition for my blog readers.

For your chance to win a copy of This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson, follow the steps in Rafflecopter.

UK ONLY entries please :)

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review of Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

Thank you to Hannah from Ebury for the review copy of Save Me.

** What it's about **

You always put your own child first, don't you?

When an explosion rips through her daughter's school, Rose McKenna faces a horrifying choice.  Does she go in search of her daughter, or save the children nearest to her first, one of whom is the bully who has been making her daughter's life a misery?

It's a split-second decision which will cost on girl dearly and will see Rose's life transformed forever...

** What I thought **

Having read the synopsis for this book, I was looking forward to reading it, however I’m sorry to say that I was slightly disappointed by it.  It just wasn’t at all what I was expecting.  Lisa Scottoline doesn’t hang about and the drama of this book starts early on.  Once the dramatic school fire had occurred, I was left wondering what on earth was going to happen in the rest of the book.  About half way through, this drama turns into a murder mystery and I just couldn’t quite get my head around the whole thing.  It was all a bit far-fetched (which usually I can deal with but apparently not this time).

I found that there was a fair amount of repetition within the writing, and unfortunately this didn’t add anything for me, I just found it vaguely annoying.  I have to admit I didn’t warm to the main character, Rose McKenna, as I’d have liked to, but I did love her little girl Melly.  The last few chapters are my favourite part of the book (and I don’t mean that in a mean “because it was finally ending” way); they’re heart-warming and brought tears to my eyes.

I really hate it when I dislike a book, and whilst I didn’t hate it, it just didn’t do it for me.  I’ve seen other reviews from people who loved it, so don’t rule it out just yet….take a look and see what you think.

Save Me is Lisa Scottoline’s seventeenth novel (!!!!) which will be released on 15th March 2012, published by Ebury Press.  You can follow Lisa on twitter @LisaScottoline or find out more about her at

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Thank you to Headline Publicity for the copy of this book to review!!

** What it's about **

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Imagine if she hadn't forgotten the book. Or if there hadn't been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn't fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she'd run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else - the weather over the Atlantic or a fault with the plane? 

Hadley isn't sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it's the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver...

Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

** What I thought **

The statistical probability of you putting this book down once you've started is very very low.  Clear your schedule....

This book is incredibly easy to read, it’s kind of captivating and I found myself reading and reading until I’d turned the last page.  I’ve always been a believer in fate and destiny and this book takes that simple premise and turns it into a love story.  It makes you think, when you run back into the house to grab something you’ve forgotten, what difference will those few minutes make to your life? It could, after all, be life-changing.

It’s lovely to watch as the relationship between Hadley and Oliver develops.  I found myself smiling to myself at the closeness and instant chemistry that they both felt and it reminded me that every once in a while you stumble across someone who feels such a natural part of your life despite having known them only a few minutes or hours.  It might be predictable but it's without being cliched - it follows a natural progression which allows the reader to believe every word.

Whilst there aren’t any massive shockers, no cliff-hangers, this isn’t just a love story; it also focuses on Hadley’s relationship with her father.  This added a lovely depth to the book and was another thing I could relate to.  I felt the whole plotline was developed well considering the length of the book (only 215 pages of fairly big text!).

This book is set over a very short 24 hours and it makes for a gorgeously easy read, perfect for any occasion; a night in on the sofa, curled up in front of the fire, on the train or maybe on a plane.  Saying that, the feelings are intense, and watching them develop is wonderful.  This book is a bit like a bar of chocolate; it won’t last that long, but you’ll enjoy it very much whilst it lasts!  I, for one, would love to see a follow up to this – but that’s because I’m greedy and I want to know more!!

Review of Never Coming Home by Evonne Wareham

Thank you to Choc Lit UK once again for the advance copy of this book for review.  Never Coming Home is released on 8th March 2012 and you can pre-order it now from Amazon! (which I highly recommend you do!)

** What it's about **

All she has left is hope. 

When Kaz Elmore is told her five-year-old daughter Jamie has died in a car crash, she struggles to accept that she'll never see her little girl again. Then a stranger comes into her life offering the most dangerous substance in the world: hope. 

Devlin, a security consultant and witness to the terrible accident scene, inadvertently reveals that Kaz's daughter might not have been the girl in the car after all. 

What if Jamie is still alive? With no evidence, the police aren't interested, so Devlin and Kaz have little choice but to investigate themselves. 

Devlin never gets involved with a client. Never. But the more time he spends with Kaz, the more he desires her - and the more his carefully constructed ice-man persona starts to unravel. 

The desperate search for Jamie leads down dangerous paths - to a murderous acquaintance from Devlin's dark past, and all across Europe, to Italy, where deadly secrets await. But as long as Kaz has hope, she can't stop looking… 

** What I thought **

Whilst this is chick lit (there’s oodles of sexual tension and tanned skin to keep you dreamily staring at the page), it’s a unique type of chick lit.  It isn’t a meandering love story; it’s romance combined with a gripping plot – it’s a mystery, romantic thriller.  It's quite a solid read, but it's very easy to do so, easy to get wrapped in and very hard to put down (even when the natural break of a new chapter comes along!) - I had to convince myself to put it down in order to sleep!

This book is the perfect mix of romance and action with twists and turns around every corner.  I found it incredibly unpredictable, and refreshingly I didn’t guess the storyline before it happened.

Evonne Wareham is a fabulous writer; the book is told from alternating points of view (both Devlin and Kaz) and this allows the reader to see the same scenario from different perspectives.  The writing is witty, warm and wonderful!

The two main characters are easy to fall for, and no sooner have you opened the book are you drowning in their chocolatey goodness.  Choc Lit once again provide a delicious hero, and an equally delicious heroine.  Devlin is smooth but with a kick of danger – definitely chilli chocolate!!

Unbelievably this is Evonne Wareham’s debut novel – I cannot wait to see what other delights she comes up with.  Never Coming Home has a fantastic plot, written in the perfect way – it’s unputdownable! Equally heartbreaking as heartwarming! Finally, I can't leave without mentioning the cover - it's beautiful and I could stare at it all day.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Review of Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay

Thanks to Choc Lit for the copy of this book for review!

** What it's about **

Betrayed by his brother and his childhood love, Brice Kinross needs a fresh start.  So he welcomes the opportunity to leave Sweden for the Scottish Highlands to take over the family estate.

But there's trouble afoot at Rosyth in 1754 and Brice finds himself unwelcome. The estate's in ruin and money is disappearing.  He discovers an ally in Marsaili Buchanan, the beautiful redheaded housekeeper, but can he trust her?

Marsaili is determined to build a good life.  She works hard at being a housekeeper and harder still at avoiding men who want to take advantage of her.  But she's irresistibly drawn to the new clan chief, even though he's made it plain he doesn't want to be shackled to anyone.

And the young laird has more than romance on his mind.  His investigations are stirring up an enemy.  Someone who will stop at nothing to get what he wants - including Marsaili - even if that means destroying Brice's life forever.

** What I thought **

I have to admit when publishers ask what genres I read I always say everything except historical fiction.  So when Choc Lit UK (renowned for their delicious heroes) sent me a copy of Highland Storms, I was a little apprehensive.  Yet, this isn’t just any old historical fiction – this is historical romance fiction.  And yes, the hero in this IS delicious! So tuck in….!

This is the sequel to Trade Winds, but can be read as a stand-alone book.  It’s packed full of adventure and romance, friendship and love, loyalty and betrayal.

The characters were extremely well developed.  It didn’t take me long to hate Colin “the bad man” Seton and he is by far the best baddy I’ve seen portrayed in a book for a long time.  Brice is delicious (did I already mention that?!).  Marsali isn’t any normal woman, she isn’t a damsel in distress, she’s fiery and I loved that about her.  I have to say, apart from the steamy romance, I particularly loved Brice’s relationship with young Archie and Marsaili and Liath’s relationship was beyond special.

Amidst these strong characters comes the even stronger background.  The book is set in 1754, just as Scotland is beginning to settle after the Jacobite risings of 45.  Courtenay’s descriptive writing takes over you and draws you in to this far away world.  There are plenty of twists and turns along the way, leaving us with a well-paced and unpredictable action-packed read.

I believe next time come to visit the Kinross family we will get to discover Jamie (Brice’s brother).  I look forward to that – Christina Courtenay has been added to my list of authors to look out for in the future!

Review of Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

Firstly, I would like to thank Sharon over at Jera's Jamboree for running the competition which caused this book to come into my life.  Thanks also to Daniela Sacerdoti for getting involved with Sharon and a) doing the author's interview and b) picking me as the winner of a copy of her book Watch Over Me.  I loved reading about how the idea for this book came to be and then grew - you can read it too here.

** What it's about **

Eilidh Lawson's life is in crisis.  Years of failed fertility treatments, a cheating husband and an oppressive family have pushed her to the limits.  At the end of her tether, she runs away to the one place she things she can find solace - her childhood home in the Highlands.

There, as she struggles to mend her broken life, she reconnects with her childhood friend Jamie McAnena, who is trying to raise his daughter Maisie alone.  After Maisie's mother left to pursue a career in London and Jamie's own mother, Elizabeth, passed away, he has resigned himself to being a family of two.

But sometimes there is more to a story than meets the eye.  Despite their reluctance, curious circumstances keep bringing Jamie and Eilidh together.  For even when it seems all is lost, help can come from the most extraordinary places.

** What I thought **

I've sat here and stared at this review for too long, wanting to add more but it's difficult to put into words how poignant and beautiful this debut novel is.  Therefore, whilst you read what I have managed to convey, please think hard about getting yourself a copy of this.  There's something about it that's life-changing, it flicks a little switch inside of you that truly makes you consider life.

As I sit having just finished Watch Over Me, I can’t help but wonder how an author can come up with a debut as incredible as this (see here for an answer to that from Daniela herself!).  This book is honest and raw, it’s heart-wrenching and heart-warming, and it’s beautifully written.

When I first picked it up, I did think that it was going to be a little predictable, all too convenient to be realistic but how wrong I was.  It’s subtle, yet magical – there isn’t any of the “girl meets boy, boy goes off with other girl, boy comes back to girl” stuff here.  At times, I feared it was going to become that but it doesn't; it’s real and it’ll make you think about life.  There are so many ways that the added touch of Elizabeth’s “help beyond the grave” could have gone wrong, but Daniela doesn’t fall into any of the traps – it’s perfect.

The main characters Eilidh and Jamie are exceptionally easy to love.  And don’t even get me started on Maisie; what a gorgeous little angel!  The story is told in a unique and incredible way which draws you in instantly and lets you fall deeper and deeper until you’re totally captivated.  The writing itself is beautiful – I found myself re-reading passages just to absorb the beauty radiating from the page.

Take your time when you read this (I didn’t and devoured it in a matter of hours), absorb every word, because it’s totally and utterly worth it.  The first book I’ve ever wanted to read again before I’ve even finished turning the last page; this book will stay with me forever.