Page Links

Home      About      Reviews      Contact     

30 July 2015

Review: 'Tremarnock' by Emma Burstall (2015)

Tremarnock is a classic Cornish seaside village. Houses cluster around the fishing harbour. It has a pub and a sought-after little restaurant. It is here that Liz has found sanctuary for herself and her young daughter, Rosie - far away from Rosie's cheating father.

Liz works all the hours God sends. First thing in the morning she's out, cleaning offices. At night she is waitressing in the village restaurant, while friends and neighbours rally round and mind Rosie. But trouble is waiting just round the corner.

As with all villages, there are tensions, secrets - and ambitions. Emma Burstall's wonderfully engaging first novel about Tremarnock is the story of what happens when one shocking turn of events sweeps a small community.

I love being introduced to new authors and today I have a review to share with all of you of a great novel by an author I was unfamiliar with until now! Emma Burstall has already written a few novels including 'The Darling Girls' and 'Never Close Your Eyes'. Her latest book, 'Tremarnock', is the first part of a trilogy and was released by Head of Zeus on the 21st of May. I visited Cornwall, where 'Tremarnock' is set, when I was on holiday two years ago and loved it there. It's a gorgeous area with lots of things to do and see and I really hope I will be able to visit it again in the future. For now, though, 'Tremarnock' provided me with a story with a Cornish setting and I looked forward to sitting down with it!

Liz Broome moved to the small seaside village of Tremarnock to start a nice and quiet life with her daughter Rosie. Rosie's father is too busy with other things to think of his daughter, and Liz's father appears to have his hands full with his new wife and step-daughter. It's just Liz and Rosie, but Liz is independent and does her very best to create a good life for her daughter. She has several jobs in order to provide for both of them, working as a cleaner in the morning and as a waitress in a local restaurant in the evening. Rosie has cerebral palsy, but it's something she has learned to deal with and except for some occasional bullies at school, Rosie loves her life with her mum in Tremarnock. But trouble is just around the corner, and Liz and Rosie's life is about to be turned upside down...

'Tremarnock' is a promising first part of author Emma Burstall's new trilogy and a novel which I really enjoyed reading. The book has a stunning cover which immediately made me think of a lovely quiet Cornish village, but you never know what goes on behind closed doors and that definitely counts for Tremarnock as well. The story wasn't as light-hearted as I had initially expected, but I won't go into the plotline too much because I don't want to give too much away. I straight away liked Liz and Rosie, who have a great mother-daughter relationship which plays a central role in the novel. Liz is an independent and slightly stubborn woman and I admired her, being a single mum, working several jobs and continuing to have a positive outlook on life. 

While there are some wonderful secondary characters in the novel, such as Robert, the owner of restaurant A Winkle in Time, and Pat, Liz's helpful neighbour who babysits Rosie whenever it's necessary, I got the feeling too many inhabitants of Tremarnock were introduced. I found it tricky to remember all the names, especially since some of the characters don't really play a big part in this part of the book series. I did love the fact that the inhabitants of Tremarnock form such a tight-knit community and help each other out whenever someone is in need. The story got a bit slow-paced in the middle, but overall it was an entertaining and gripping read which I really enjoyed. 'Tremarnock' is a warm-hearted and captivating women's fiction read, perfect to sit down with in the garden or at the beach, and I already look forward to the next part of this trilogy which will be released in Spring 2016!
Rating:8,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

27 July 2015

Short Summer Blog Hiatus!

Hi everyone,

Summer is finally here and I couldn't be more excited! I can't wait to spend some sunny days with a great read and some ice cream, just like most of you, hopefully! I have a large pile of review books to keep me company, so I am sure this summer will fly by and be over before we even know it (sadly enough!).

Because I will be going on holiday soon and want a good rest from everything, I've decided to have a short summer blog hiatus. I will still be posting occassionally in the upcoming few weeks to share some of my reviews with you and I am also part of some pretty exciting blog tours! I'll be back with lots of book news and reviews from August 19th, so I hope to see all of you then!

Enjoy the summer!

Love,

Jody

26 July 2015

Review: 'Sand in My Shoes' by Jenny Harper (2015)

Headteacher Nicola Arnott prides herself on her independence. She has successfully juggled motherhood and career, coping with early widowhood by burying her emotions somewhere deep inside herself. When a cancer scare shakes her out of her careful approach to life, she finds herself thinking wistfully of her first love, a young French medical student. 

She decides to revisit the sleepy French town she remembers from her teenage years – and is astonished to meet up with Luc again. The old chemistry is still there – but so is something far more precious: a deep and enduring friendship. 

Can it turn into true love?

Summer wouldn't be summer without some fun and quick short stories to read during an hour or two in the garden in the sunshine, enjoying a breeze on the balcony, or spending a day on the beach! Earlier this year I was part of the blog tour for author Jenny Harper's novel 'People We Love'; a book which I really enjoyed (click here to read my review). When Jenny contacted me, asking whether I would be interested in reading and reviewing her summer novella 'Sand in My Shoes' (which was released as an e-book on the 4th of July) I straight away said yes. I managed to find the time to squeeze in this short and quick summer read and am excited to share my review with all of you today!

Nicola Arnott has been through some difficult periods in her life, mainly becoming a widow and single mum at a young age after the completely unexpected death of her husband. Yet, Nicola managed to raise her daughter and build up a career for herself, leading a calm and careful life. So, when her life is shaken up by a cancer scare, Nicola decides she deserves a break. She goes back to the French small town of Arcachon where she spent some wonderful summers when she was a teenager. It also makes her think of her first love, French medical student Luc. Nicola doesn't expect to run into Luc again, but when she does it raises a few questions. Will they be able to pick things up from where they left it all those years ago, or has too much happened to the both of them...?

I really enjoyed this short story with a summer feel by author Jenny Harper. The story focuses on a fascinating protagonist whom I straight away liked; Nicola has dealt with a lot of things in her life and after a recent cancer scare she decides to take a break from it all. While there's usually not a lot of space and time in short stories to really provide the reader with a lot of detail, I really felt like I got to know Nicola and was curious to see what this trip to France would lead to. The story also includes some flashbacks, going back to the time when Nicola was a teenager and fell in love with French student Luc. The chemistry between the two of them is definitely there, and I loved being able to go back in time to see what happened to young Nicola and what this period meant to her. 

Jenny Harper's writing is a true pleasure to get lost it and really suitable for a quick and entertaining but also touching summer read like this one. I already feel like I had some sort of connection with the characters and wouldn't mind reading more about them! The setting of the short story is perfect for a summer read and will make you long for a holiday to the beautiful town of Arcachon yourself! Overall, 'Sand in My Shoes' is a thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced and touching read by an author whose work I am starting to enjoy more and more. A great novella to pick up if you're looking for a quick summer read, and I personally already can't wait to pick up Jenny Harper's next novel!
Rating:9/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

24 July 2015

Guest post by Sophie King!

I'm really excited to have a special guest post from wonderful author Sophie King on the blog today! Scroll down to read Sophie's post 'Unusual Weddings', to learn a bit more about her latest release 'The Wedding Party' and be in with the chance to win a wedding gift experience voucher from Tinggly.com! 

UNUSUAL WEDDINGS by SOPHIE KING

The bride wore white. White thermals. The groom wore a hat. A bobble one. The guests were blue with cold. Which wasn’t surprising. Because the ‘registry office’ was on the top of a very high hill in Scotland.

Jill and Robbie are keen mountaineers. “We couldn’t imagine getting married inside,” said Jill. “It might have been a bit nippy, But it was a perfect day.”

Nowadays, weddings are getting more and more unusual as I found out when researching my latest novel THE WEDDING PARTY. In fact, getting married on a mountain is small fry compared with getting married in the basket of a hot air balloon. “We didn’t want a big wedding,” said Simon, who recently plighted his troth with Mandy. “But we couldn’t work out how to restrict the number of our guests. Then we saw an advert for hot air balloon weddings. It seemed the answer to our problems. There was only space for eight people – so we restricted it to close family.”

Well it’s one way of sorting out the guest list! Or you could go for a full strike like the couple who got married in a bowling alley recently. Talk about being knocked for six!

Perhaps you fancy a museum, instead, although personally I wouldn’t like a dinosaur looking over my shoulder. Frankly, I’d rather get married in a treehouse. See www.the-lodge-scotland.com. Or maybe in a castle in full Elizabethan dress like a friend of mine (who got divorced two years later).

But it’s not just the venue that makes an unusual wedding. It’s also the company. Recently, my second husband and I went to our first same-sex wedding reception. We were still there at midnight – no one wanted to leave because there were so many interesting people to talk to. The couple also gave a really moving speech about how much it meant to have the support of their families and friends.

Sometimes, unusual weddings happen without you meaning them to! When I got married for the second time, my husband and I decided to have our ceremony in a church without electricity in the Lake District. We wanted something simple and close to the earth. But we hadn’t reckoned on one of the worst storms of the decade! My husband’s had to discard his soaking wet wedding trousers and don jeans. And I wore a pair of pink Wellington boots underneath my halter-neck Amanda Wakeley designer dress! The yew tree outside the church, swayed so violently during the service, that it threatened to crash into the stained glass window. And the mud outside the church was so thick that my groom had to carry me to the car! It was certainly a day to remember.

But maybe the most unusual weddings are the ones that are usual. A simple ‘I do’ without any frills. I have some friends who got married in their work clothes and asked two strangers off the street to be their witnesses at the registration office. That was thirty four years ago. And they’re still going strong ...   

NOTE: Some of the names in this post have been changed!



The Wedding Party by Sophie King

Sophie King’s popular romantic comedy is published in a brand new ebook edition. Shortlisted for Love Story of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2010.

’An absorbing, feel-good novel ‒ I really enjoyed it.’ Penny Vincenzi

When Monique and Geoff decide to tie the knot they soon discover that love second time around brings special challenges. And not just for them. There are ups and downs for family, friends, the wedding planner, and even the vicar as the big day approaches.

Geoff’s ex-wife can’t accept that he has moved on. Could a chance meeting help Helen come to the right decision about her future?

Their daughter, Becky, doesn’t approve of her dad’s bride-to-be. But as she juggles motherhood and a high-powered career, will she realise it’s her own marriage that needs most attention?

Janie was sacked from her last job as a wedding planner for being so disorganised. Is she really the right choice to help the happy couple get hitched without a hitch?

Mel swapped a job in advertising for a new life as a vicar. But can she keep her faith after an accident which turns her family’s world upside down?

Family and friends learn that the course of true love never did run smooth, and there really is no such thing as a stress-free wedding. But can they each still find their own happy ever after?



WIN AN £80 WEDDING GIFT EXPERIENCE VOUCHER FROM TINGGLY.COM!

To celebrate the publication of "The Wedding Party", thanks to the lovely people at gift experience company Tinggly, we have a voucher worth £80 for any one experience worldwide from their Essential Collection. The ideal present for friends or family who are about to tie the knot!

To be in with a chance, simply email your answer to the following question to sophie@greatstorieswithheart.com by midnight BST on 10th August 2015.

Question: What is the name of Geoff's daughter in "The Wedding Party" by Sophie King?

See the full range at www.tinggly.com. Voucher must be used by 25/6/2017. Entry will be chosen at random. Emails and contents will not be shared with any third party and will be deleted after the competition. Competition run by Wyndham Media Ltd. Judges decision is final. Good luck!

22 July 2015

Review: 'That's Paris' by various authors (2015)

Paris-the most romantic, beautiful and frustrating city in the world! If you've ever traveled to Paris, lived in the City of Light or dreamed of setting foot on its cobblestoned streets, you'll enjoy escaping into this collection of short stories about France's famed capital.

From culinary treats (and catastrophes) to swoon-worthy romantic encounters (and heartbreaking mishaps), this anthology takes you on a journey through one of the most famous cities in the world.

View this cosmopolitan metropolis through the chic eyes of Parisians, francophiles and travelers who fell in love with the city and haven't quite gotten around to leaving yet...

That's Paris: a glimpse into living, loving and surviving in the City of Light.

Over the past two years or so I've had the pleasure of reading and reviewing several of author Vicki Lesage's novels, such as 'Confessions of a Paris Party Girl' (click here to read my review) and 'Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer' (click here to read my review). What Vicki's works have in common is the scene setting: Paris, the city of light. If I'm completely honest I have to admit I am not a big fan of Paris. I don't know what it is exactly, but I never fell in love with the city as so many others do when they visit it. However, I do really like Vicki's writing and I often enjoy books set in Paris, so when Vicki contacted me about an anthology with short stories about Paris, I said yes. I really enjoy collections of short stories every now and again, so I looked forward to picking this up... and who knows, perhaps it would end up making me want to visit Paris again!

'That's Paris: Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light' is a collection of short stories and essays about the capital city of France and to many the city of romance: Paris. Numerous authors, such as Vicki Lesage, Marie Vareille and Adria J. Cimino have contributed to this anthology by writing about the same place, but in various ways: whether it's the city itself, French food, thoughts about the city, or the Parisian atmosphere. Filled with both fiction and non-fiction, the collection will take you across the border and make it feel as if you're walking on the cobble stoned streets of the City of Light yourself.

Even though I am not the biggest fan of the famous City of Light myself, I still really enjoyed this anthology of both fiction and non-fiction stories and essays linked to Paris in one way or another. It's great to have a collection of short stories to pick up every now and again, because it's the ideal book to sit down with if you only have a short period of time to read, such as your lunch break or the bus ride home after a working day. 'That's Paris' has something for everyone since it includes a diverse collection of stories by different authors from all kinds of backgrounds.

The collection includes a few stories in French (with the English translation as well) and, as with every anthology, there were some pieces I really liked and some that didn't really do anything for me personally. Some of my favourites have to be Vicki Lesage's contributions, the short story by Vicki's mother Elle Marie about her daughter moving to Paris and how that influenced her life, Cheryl McAlister's story 'A Scoop of Henry', and Didier Quemener's 'Half Past Midnight'. For people who can't visit a particular place, what better way to get to know it than to read about it? 'That's Paris' is a fun and enjoyable collection of short stories, each of them inviting the reader to enjoy a different side of Paris. A wonderful read for those of you who long for a trip to this famous city!
Rating:8,0/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

21 July 2015

Upcoming release: 'The Piano Man Project' by Kat French!


Finding love isn’t always black and white…

You: kind, piano-playing sex god
Me: hopelessly romantic charity shop manager

Honeysuckle Jones has a problem, and her best friends Nell and Tash are on a mission to help her solve it. She needs a man – a caring, intelligent, funny man. But most importantly, a man who’s good with his hands…

Luckily Honey’s new neighbour – moody, antisocial ex-chef Hal – fails on almost every count. Even though the chemistry between them is electric, he’s obviously wrong for her in every way.

But when Honey discovers the devastating reason for his moods she decides to give him another chance. And discovers that the best songs aren’t always in tune…

I was a part of the blog tour for Kat French's debut novel 'Undertaking Love' last year; a book which I read and was one of my favourites of 2014 (click here to read my review). I'm really excited Kat is releasing another novel this July and I already have my fingers crossed I will enjoy 'The Piano Man Project' as much as I did her first novel!

20 July 2015

Review: 'The Rules of Love and Law' by Jeff Russell (2014)

It's 1938 in Baltimore, Maryland,and a lot of people around town thought things were pretty good that year. The worst of the Depression was over and a troubled Europe was an ocean away. Pesky labor unions seemed satisfied, Jews kept to themselves, and blacks knew their place. For everyone else the city’s odd blend of Southern attitude and Yankee hustle offered a comfortable, complacent stability with the promise of even better times to come. But on Thanksgiving Day that year a violent assault brings two very different people together and changes their lives forever.

Juliana Corbeau is a near perfect example of blue-blood upbringing. She lives in the city’s most prestigious neighborhood and attends private school. Will Stahl is an immigrant’s son. He lives in a rowhouse. Yet he too is a near perfect example; that of a first generation American. He’s a scholarship law student who’s both idealistic and ambitious. 

Their unlikely love story begins when Juliana is taking a walk through exclusive, whites-only Wyman Park and is attacked, or so it seems, by a colored man. It’s Will who comes to her rescue, and that chance encounter sets them on a path where they must confront not only the class distinctions, prejudices, and racism of the times, but a tragic miscarriage of justice, a fateful Supreme Court decision, and danger for family trapped in Nazi Germany. When the war eventually reaches America at Pearl Harbor everything changes again, forcing them to make impossible choices about love, justice, family––and ultimately their very lives.

Since I started book blogging I've been lucky enough to have a big pile of review books waiting for me at all times. While it's great to have so many promising reads to pick up, it can sometimes also be quite tricky to schedule everything and not forget about any books. Today's book, Jeff Russell's 'The Rules of Love and Law', had been patiently waiting for me for quite some time already. So, when I suddenly found myself with some extra free time on my hands last week, I straight away knew which novel deserved my attention. 'The Rules of Love and Law' was released in 2014 by Abbott Press and Jeff Russell contacted me several months ago about the book. Even though it took me way longer than expected, I was excited to sit down with the book and to share my review of it with all of you today!

'The Rules of Love and Law' is set in 1930s Baltimore. Will Stahl is the son of German immigrant parents, who moved to the USA for a better life, and aspires to become a lawyer. Juliana Corbeau is a society girl, part of a rich family and used to a certain way of life. While Will and Juliana seem to have nothing in common at first sight, the two of them are thrown together when Juliana is attacked by a man in the park. Will happens to see everything and saves Juliana. This is the start of a special bond between the two of them; something they can hold onto as the world around them, which happens to be at the start of World War II, and their own lives keep changing.

I love historical novels that tell a good story (with a nice touch of romance, preferably) while also making it possible to step into a completely different time period. I wasn't too familiar with the American 1930s and 1940s and it was also really interesting to look at the World War II years from a perspective from across the Atlantic. The protagonists of the book, Will and Juliana, are interesting characters; both from a different world, but thrown together. The book is definitely a character-driven novel and not a plot-driven one. It also took me a bit of time to get into the story, but after a few chapters I was really fascinated by both Will and Juliana and was curious to find out more about them as individuals as well as together.

The book deals with several quite serious topics such as social class, equality, and democracy. It's clear from the author's way of writing that he did a lot of research to make sure everything in the novel fits the time in which it is set. While this made the story come alive, it also resulted in a more abstract novel which seemed to lack emotions (especially the ending felt really sudden and quick). While I really liked Will and Juliana, I didn't get completely immersed in their story and didn't get the chance to cry or laugh with them. Don't get me wrong; I still really enjoyed the book, but it was something I did notice and think about after having finished it. Overall, though, 'The Rules of Love and Law' is a thoroughly fascinating, compelling and enjoyable read with a lot of history and a lovely romance story at its core; I really enjoyed it!
Rating:8,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

19 July 2015

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

The lovely Emma over at Emma's Bookery always manages to surprise me and make me smile and this time she has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award; thanks so much, Emma!

Scroll down to read my answers to Emma's 10 questions and find out who I've nominated for this award! :)

The Rules
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Nominate ten blogs.

Questions that were put to me

1. What are you currently reading?
I actually just finished a book ('The Rules of Love and Law' by Jeff Russell) and am about to pick my next read. I'm looking for a relatively quick read, because I have some other review copies waiting for me, but I haven't picked one yet!

2. If you could be any character in one of your favourite books who would it be and why?
Oh, this is such a difficult question! I think I would have to go with Elizabeth Bennet in 'Pride and Prejudice.' That means I would get to have my very own Mr. Darcy love story AND live at Pemberley. Win win, if you ask me.

However, I would also love to be Hermione Granger. But if I HAD to pick one, I think I'd have to go with Elizabeth.

3. Choose a superpower and why you want that power?
The superpower to be able to use any superpower I want to use at that particular moment in time? That probably doesn't count, right? Hm, I think I would go with teleportation, including being able to go back to the past. That would be pretty cool.

4. Favourite setting for a book?
Oh god, don't ask me to pick just one! I love books that are set in big cities like New York, Paris, San Francisco. Or books set in a cafe, bakery or book shop. But mainly I love books set in the UK, especially London or a small village... There's just something fab about books set in the gorgeous UK <3

5. Name five books you want to read but keep putting off.
Okay, here we go:

1. John Green - 'The Fault in Our Stars'
2. J.K. Rowling - 'The Casual Vacancy'
3. Lauren Weisberger - 'Revenge Wears Prada'
4. Jojo Moyes - 'Me Before You'
5. Amanda Brooke - 'Another Way to Fall'

6. What genre is your favourite and why?
Chick lit/romantic comedies, without a doubt. They're perfect for a hopeless romantic like me who hates unhappy endings.

7. What do you have planned for summer?
I'm actually going to the USA for the first time and I'm SO excited, I really can't wait!

8. Favourite TV shows?
Way too many. To name a few: Dawson's Creek, Gilmore Girls, Glee, Gossip Girl, Younger, New Girl, Agents of SHIELD, Nashville, Suits... And the list goes on.

9. What's your opinion on ebooks?
I have to admit they're quite handy and reading a book on an e-reader definitely has its perks. However, I will always always always prefer a paperback version of a book.

10. Snog, Marry, Avoid? Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, Draco Malfoy.
Oh, I love this. I'd snog Neville, marry Harry, and avoid Draco. 

Questions I'll be passing on

1. What was your favourite book (series) when you were a teenager (and which you probably still secretly love)?
2. Which genre do you absolutely never read?
3. Can you read a book while watching tv with one eye or is it too distracting? 
4. What is your favourite place to buy books?
5. Which character do you love to hate?
6. What was the best book you've read in 2015 so far?
7. For which book would you like to make the soundtrack?
8. Do you read more books by male or female authors?
9. The perfect length of a book?
10. Which book would you want to read for the very first time again?

My nominations

Ryley @ The Paperback Princess 
 Kim @ Kim the Bookworm
Bronagh @ Handwritten Girl
Laura @ Blabbering About Books
Lindsay @ The Little Reader Library
Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf
Sunny @ Stardust and Words
Captivated Reader
Deb @ Readerbuzz
Zarina @ Page to Stage Reviews

17 July 2015

Review: 'No Place for a Lady' by Gill Paul (2015)

All’s fair in love and war …
1854. England is in the grip of a gruesome war.

Lucy Harvington, ill-educated beyond how to be a wife, has travelled to the Crimea with her handsome and impetuous officer husband Charlie.
As the day of battle dawns she can only pray her husband survives. If he doesn’t, what will become of her?

Dorothea Gray, volunteer nurse at the Westminster Hospital, is determined to follow her little sister Lucy to the front and to serve her country alongside her heroine Florence Nightingale and the pioneering nurses already risking their lives.

But neither sister could possibly have known the horrors they are about to witness – the courage, the cowardice, the danger – and the excitement – nor could they have guessed the risks they must take, the passion they will taste, and the simple fact that they may never see one another again…

A few weeks ago I was part of the blog tour for the release of author Gill Paul’s latest historical novel, ‘No Place For a Lady’. I had a special guest post from Gill Paul herself on why she writes historical novels, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already done so by clicking here. The e-book version of the novel was released on the 4th of June and the paperback version on the 2nd of July. As part of the blog tour I also received a review copy of the book and since it didn’t arrive on time for me to include my review with my blog tour post, I have my review of ‘No Place For a Lady’ to share with all of you today. I personally really looked forward to sitting down with the novel because I had heard a lot of positive things about Gill Paul’s writing, but I hadn’t had the chance to check out one of her other books before. I love a great historical novel every now and again, so I hoped both the author and the book would match all the great things I’d read and heard!

‘No Place For a Lady’ is set in England in 1854, the time of the Crimean War, and focuses on two sisters from London, Lucy and Dorothea Gray. Lucy is still young but when she falls head over heels in love with handsome officer Charlie Harvington, she decides to get married straight away and follow her new husband to the war front in the Crimea. Lucy’s older sister Dorothea is against the hasty marriage and tries to warn her sibling about life in a foreign country and on the battlefield, but nothing can stop Lucy. Dorothea tries to focus on her work as a volunteer nurse in Westminster Hospital, but she can’t stop worrying about her younger sister. When the opportunity arises for her to serve her country by working as a nurse at the warfront, Dorothea knows she has to take this opportunity. Not only so she can work alongside her own personal heroine Florence Nightingale, but also to hopefully track down Lucy before it’s too late.

I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up one of Gill Paul’s historical novels, and after having read ‘No Place For a Lady’ I can say with certainty that it definitely won’t take as long before I sit down with one of her other novels; what a wonderful and captivating read this was! The combination of the intriguing time period and place in which the novel is set (both England and the Crimea during the Crimean War around the 1850s) and the author’s engaging and detailed writing style resulted in a read which I really looked forward to picking up and getting lost in. The storyline immediately spoke to me with a focus on two sisters who are separated during the war, and since the story is told from both Lucy’s and Dorothea’s perspective I really felt like I got to know both characters and got the chance to look at the events in this historical period from different points of view.

Lucy and Dorothea are great main characters; really different and each with her own story to share. Lucy is the young and hopeless romantic one, who is willing to leave everything behind, including her family, to go to the warfront with the man she loves. Dorothea is the older, more thoughtful and worrying, sister and also the character I personally liked best. Both women are forced to be strong and find their own way in life, and I really enjoyed being taken on this journey with them. Author Gill Paul really has her own voice; one filled with a lot of detail (I honestly felt like I learned a lot while reading this book) which made it easy to picture everything, but also its own distinctive style. I loved jumping back in time and joining these characters during this fascinating period in the past and can’t wait to pick up another one of Gill Paul’s novels to travel back to another historical event. Overall, ‘No Place For a Lady’ is a wonderfully captivating and intense historical novel; a book that held me in its grips from the very beginning and quite simply couldn’t get enough of!
Rating:9,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

16 July 2015

Review: 'Pippa's Cornish Dream' by Debbie Johnson (2015)

Since Pippa Harte was forced to take over her parent’s farm, she’s barely had time to shave her legs let alone make time for love. Now she’s more likely to be getting down and dirty mucking out the pigs – and avoiding those of the human male variety.

When Ben Retallick walks out of her childhood and back into her present it seems that perhaps Pippa has more time than she thought. All Poldark smoulders and easy-going charm, Ben’s definitely worth whipping her wellies off for!

But Ben is a man with his own past and his own issues – and as much as she’s enjoying having him around, she’s got to get a grip. After all life isn’t always a beach … even if you are in Cornwall.

I think the cover of Debbie Johnson's latest release 'Pippa's Cornish Dream' is one of my favourite book covers of the past couple of months. The colours match so well, the font looks great, and it's just such a gorgeous cover; already reason enough for me to want to read the story that's hidden inside! However, I also already had enough other reasons to want to pick up this read; a publisher that often has thoroughly enjoyable reads (Harper Impulse), a lovely author (Debbie Johnson) and a fascinating book description. I got the chance to read and review Debbie Johnson's 'Cold Feet at Christmas' several months ago (click here to read my review) and I really enjoyed it. So, when Debbie contacted me about her newest book, I couldn't wait to pick it up and start reading!

When her parents died in a horrible car accident, Pippa Harte was suddenly left to her own devices and had to set aside her plans for going to Oxford University and instead stay at home to take care of her younger siblings and the family farm. These days, the farm is a holiday rental place run by Pippa while she also looks out for her younger siblings. One day, Ben Retallick, an aquintance from Pippa's past, hires one of the cottages and immediately there's a connection between him and Pippa; a connection that's difficult to ignore. However, Ben has a dark secret and he has come to Cornwall to hide away from the world. Pippa knows she needs to focus and can't use any distractions, but what happens when a distraction is as hard to ignore as handsome Ben...?

I’m happy to say the story inside ‘Pippa’s Cornish Dream’ is just as fabulous as its stunning cover; Debbie Johnson definitely has treated us to a wonderful romance story, perfect for a long and lazy summer day! The first chapter of the novel already paints a clear picture of main character Pippa’s life and I straight away warmed to her. Pippa is young and already has a lot of responsibility to shoulder; she takes care of her 4 younger brothers and sisters and the family holiday rental farm business. She’s independent and brave but at the same time she’s at an age where you try to find yourself and what it is you want in life. Mysterious, dark and handsome Ben Retallick comes into Pippa’s life at the right time, ready to shake things up a bit. I even developed a little crush on Ben; he’s the perfect hero for a romance story like this one and the chemistry between him and Pippa was definitely there.

I really liked the fact that while this is a relatively short and quick read (you can finish it within just one or two sittings), you really get to know the main characters. The storyline is an entertaining one and made even more fun with the help of secondary characters such as Pippa’s younger siblings Patrick, Daisy, Lily and Scotty. There was enough going on to keep my attention on the pages until the last sentence, and even then I found myself secretly wishing for more. This romance story was a true pleasure to read and one I’d like to recommend to any romance/chick lit fan. Overall, ‘Pippa’s Cornish Dream’ is a light, down-to-earth, feel-good read that will leave you with a smile on your face; I really enjoyed it!
Rating:9,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

15 July 2015

Upcoming release: 'The Cherry Tree Cafe' by Heidi Swain!


Lizzie Dixon's life feels as though it's fallen apart. Instead of the marriage proposal she was hoping for from her boyfriend, she is unceremoniously dumped, and her job is about to go the same way. So, there's only one option: to go back home to the village she grew up in and to try to start again.

Her best friend Jemma is delighted Lizzie has come back home. She has just bought a little cafe and needs help in getting it ready for the grand opening. And Lizzie's sewing skills are just what she needs.

With a new venture and a new home, things are looking much brighter for Lizzie. But can she get over her broken heart, and will an old flame reignite a love from long ago...?

I already fell in love with the cover of 'The Cherry Tree Cafe' the first time I saw it and it sounds like a great chick lit read. The book will be released on the 16th of July and I can't wait to sit down with it this summer and get to know more about Lizzie, Jemma and the new cafe the two friends are opening. Really excited about this and can't wait to get my hands on my very own copy!

14 July 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Last 10 Books That Came Into My Possession!

'Top Ten Tuesday' is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. I love making lists, so this feature fits me perfectly! If you also take part in this feature or have any additions to my lists, please get in touch; I'd love to hear from you!
 
 
Last 10 Books That Came Into My Possession

There's almost nothing better than receiving books! Review books through the mail, review e-books, books as presents, swapping books with friends, buying yourself books... This week's Top 10 Tuesday list focuses on the last 10 books that came into my possession. I love this idea; it's a great way to share some of your newest books with others and also get a sneak peek at what other readers have next on their TBR-lists!



1. 'Darcy's Story' - Janet Aylmer



Another Austen read to add to my collection! I actually got this as a complete surprise from my boyfriend the other day, which was a lovely present and I can't wait to read it! <3




2. 'Each & Every One' - Rachael English



Last year I was introduced to Rachael English's writing and I'm really excited to have received another one of her novels for review! 




3. 'The Very Thought of You' - Mary Fitzgerald



I'm a sucker for good war-time romance stories. I love the whole feel of those novels and Mary Fitzgerald is a great author of exactly those kind of books. I just received a new title which I haven't read before, so I'm already excited to pick it up!




4. 'The Square' - Rosie Millard



I got really excited when I first heard about Rosie Millard's newest novel 'The Square' and I was lucky enough to get a review copy. I have really high hopes for this one so hope the book will be able to match my expectations!




5. 'I Followed the Rules' - Joanna Bolouri



A few months ago I read and reviewed Joanna Bolouri's novel 'The List' and I absolutely loved it. Joanna Bolouri is a fantastic author and I honestly can't WAIT to read 'I Followed the Rules'!




6. 'If I Could Turn Back Time' - Beth Harbison


Beth Harbison's 'If I Could Turn Back Time' is one of the novels I've added to my summer holiday TBR-list. I think it will be a great read and I'm really excited to have received an e-book review copy.




7. 'The Girl's Guide to Getting Hitched' - Sophie Hart



I have only love for Sophie Hart and for publisher Bookouture. I already love everything about this book and I haven't even read the first letter yet. I just know it will be amazing, without a doubt.




8. 'The Sisters Club' - Lauren Baratz-Logsted



Another read for my summer holiday TBR-list. When I found this book on NetGalley I immediately liked the sound of it and I'm really happy the publisher accepted my review request. Really curious about this one!




9. 'No-One Ever Has Sex in the Suburbs' - Tracy Bloom



I really liked Tracy Bloom's 'No-One Ever Has Sex On a Tuesday' and of course I also need to read the sequel!




10. 'Those Secrets We Keep' - Emily Liebert



One of the releases of 2015 which I have been looking forward to the most and I'm SO excited to finally have my own copy of the book!

13 July 2015

Review: 'Fairytale Beginnings' by Holly Martin (2015)

Love is an open door…except when it keeps slamming in your face.

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he?

When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of an historical building in the village of Clovers Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away - a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after?

When I first found out about Holly Martin's latest release 'Fairytale Beginnings' (the book was released on the 10th of July) I immediately added the book to my 'to-read-as-soon-as-I-manage-to-get-a-copy-one-way-or-another'-list. Not just because of the absolutely amazingly gorgeous cover (I honestly LOVE it, there's nothing about it I don't like, nothing!), but mainly because of the book and publisher combination. Bookouture has been one of my favourite publishers for about a year now, mainly because I've really enjoyed all of their releases so far. Holly Martin is an author whom a lot of people on social media and book bloggers love, and I've been really looking forward to finally picking up one of her novels. Luckily, I managed to get a review copy of 'Fairytale Beginnings' really quickly (thanks so much, Bookouture!) and I really hoped the book would manage to match my pretty high expectations!

Milly Rose has always been a big Disney fan and a believer in true love and happy ever afters. Even though she has had her own fair share of heartbreaks, she's determined she will find her very own Prince Charming someday. For her job for Castle Heritage, an organisation that restores all kinds of historical buildings around the country, Milly is sent to Clover Castle in the little village of Clovers Rest to see whether Castle Heritage would be interested in restoring it. The castle's owner, Cameron Heartstone, is a best-selling author who inherited the building from a family member. The sparks between Milly and Cameron are almost impossible to ignore, but Milly knows she has to stay professional and can't get cosy with one of her clients. But when the crazy inhabitants of the village and old curses all start to point in the same direction, Milly starts to doubt... Could Cameron really be the one for her?

After having finally read one of Holly Martin's novels (an author I've heard so many positive things about from others), I understand why all chick lit fans have fallen in love with her works. With a title, cover, and description like this, the book could hardly disappoint me (a hopeless romantic from head to toe), and luckily it didn't. It wasn't difficult to warm to main character Milly; her positive and sparkly attitude immediately won me over (together with her love for anything Disney!). The book is almost like a modern-day fairytale with a handsome Prince Charming in the form of author Cameron Heartstone and the setting of the beautiful Clover Castle in the village of Clovers Rest with its slightly eccentric but fun inhabitants. I'd honestly like to move to the place straight away!

The story had something magical about it and I have to admit I always love a bit of magic. The book was quite fast-paced and I couldn't predict what was going to happen next. I really enjoyed Holly's writing style which is funny and captivating and perfectly suitable for the romantic comedy genre. I think Holly is a great new addition to the world of fiction and I really can't wait to read more of her works. 'Fairytale Beginnings' is a simply adorable read filled with a good doses of romance, laughter, and a sparkly touch of magic. Any hopeless romantics or readers looking for a thoroughly enjoyable chick lit read, definitely pick this one up!
Rating:9,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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