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27 March 2017

Review: 'The Idea of You' by Amanda Prowse (2017)

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…

I consider myself lucky to once again be one of the bloggers to have received an early review copy of author Amanda Prowse’s latest release. ‘The Idea of You’ promised to be another engrossing read by this author who has slowly but surely become one of my favourite women’s fiction authors, and it was definitely one of this month’s releases I was most excited about picking up. Over the past few years I’ve read and reviewed several other books by this author, such as ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘Another Love’, ‘A Mother’s Story’ and most recently ‘The Food of Love’, and one thing all of these books have in common is that I gave them high ratings. I was pretty sure this latest release would not disappoint, but you never know until you give it a try…!

It might have taken slightly longer than she initially expected but with her fortieth birthday slowly approaching, Lucy Carpenter seems to have everything she ever wanted. Well, almost everything. Jonah is a wonderful husband, she has a great job she enjoys, and together they have a lovely home. But there’s one thing that would complete their perfect picture and that’s a child of her own. However, this turns out to be slightly more difficult than both Lucy and Jonah anticipated. When Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them for the summer, Lucy is keen to make it an enjoyable experience for all of them, but the strain on her and Jonah’s marriage only seems to get worse, and before she knows it everything she worked hard to build up is at risk…

In this latest novel by best-selling women’s fiction author Amanda Prose ‘family’ and ‘parenthood’ are the two keywords. We are introduced to Lucy, who is at a wonderful stage in her life, having found her true love and trying to make a baby together. This, however, turns out to be the start of an incredibly difficult period; a period in which both she and her husband Jonah will be tested and will need to work incredibly hard to make it to the other side alive. Once again Amanda Prowse succeeds in portraying an ordinary woman, an ordinary family, and she takes the reader behind closed doors, where all kinds of emotions and pain are slowly taking over. The feelings are incredibly real, and with her easy-flowing but engrossing writing style she makes it a true challenge to not feel for the characters and what they are going through.

Amanda Prowse is an author that treats her readers to a new novel almost every six months, and while you would expect this to perhaps affect the quality of the books, I can honestly say it doesn’t; she really just is a born story-teller. Each read is just as well-written and touching as the previous one, and I can only applaud her for her consistency. While this particular novel isn’t one of my personal Amanda Prowse favourites (I thought it was just a bit slow-paced at times and I had some difficulty really connecting with the topic, perhaps because I don’t have any children yet), it was still a wonderful read. ‘The Idea of You’ is another absorbing and well-written novel that will make you feel all kinds of things; if you’re a women’s fiction fan and not yet familiar with this author, be sure to pick this up because you are really missing out on something!
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.

25 March 2017

Review: 'Who Does He Think He Is?' by Emily Kerr (2016)

Lady Aurelia Osbourne-Lloyd has long wished her bank balance was as big as her name. But her home, Leydale Park, is more of a pile in a state than stately pile, and with her father off ‘finding himself’ in Thailand, it’s up to her to turn the family fortunes around by entertaining demanding tourists. 

When – thanks to her father’s interference – a Hollywood production company chooses the estate as a location for a Regency movie, a whole new level of chaos enters Aurelia’s life. Her quiet days shattered and privacy non-existent, she has no choice but to go with the flow and let them take over. 

Never mind the added distraction of dishy leading man, Xander Lord, who may have an ulterior motive for wanting to get close to her… 

Can Aurelia keep her cool in light of all the upheaval?

At the end of last year I was contacted by author Emily Kerr with the request to read and review her debut novel 'Who Does He Think He Is?'; I straight away liked the sound of the novel and especially the Jane Austen-esque feel of the story. As a big Jane Austen fan I am almost always up for novels that somehow resemble her stories, in one way or another, and the promise of a romantic comedy read is also always enough for me to want to sit down with a particular book. I was curious to give this new author a chance, and even though it took me a bit of time to finally sit down with this novel (sorry about that, Emily!), I was definitely excited to give it a go!

Aurelia Osbourne-Lloyd loves her gorgeous home, Leydale Park, but taking care of a country estate is not an easy task; a task that is made even more difficult with her father at the other side of the world trying to 'find his true self' and their bank account getting closer and closer to 0. So when Aurelia's home is suddenly taken over by a Hollywood film production, she realises she should be happy with the chance, but the chaos it brings is definitely one of the down sides. Leading actor Xander Lord happens to be a nice distraction, but Aurelia knows she needs to stay focused on saving the Yorkshire family estate; because if she does not do it, who will...?

Emily Kerr's 'Who Does He Think He Is?' is a greatly entertaining chick lit read that shows how fantastic it can be when a British country estate meets the glamour and gossip of a Hollywood film set. Main character Aurelia is trying her very best to save her beloved family home, Leydale Park, from disaster but the financial trouble only seems to get worse, especially when every single room seems to need some renovation work and serious TLC. Luckily, her father arranges for the house to be the setting of a new Hollywood film, starring heartthrob Xander Lord. Before she knows it, Aurelia's home is filled with lights, cameras and actors, and this results in some great reading. If a story is set at a lovely British country estate, you can usually already count me in, but I honestly really enjoyed what Emily Kerr did in this novel and how she gave the story her own touch.

I notice that these days sometimes the romantic sparks seem to be missing in many chick lit reads, and characters are paired off together and I just really don't feel it. It might just be me, but I'm glad to say the sparks were definitely there in this novel and I loved that feeling of wanting to turn the pages of a book, curious to see what is going to happen next and whether 'they' will end up together or not. I was slightly disappointed by the lead-up to the ending of the story, it all felt a bit rushed, but overall I was quite impressed with this debut novel and can't wait to read more. All in all, 'Who Does He Think He Is?' Is a fast-paced, fun and simply lovely chick lit read with a great setting and good characters at its core; suitable reading material for any chick lit or romcom fan!
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.

23 March 2017

Blog Tour: 'Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings' by Wendy Holden

She'll need a triple-barrelled name for the castle one. She'll need a gallon of glitter for the woodland one. She'll need a lobster-shaped hat for the Shoreditch one.

Laura Lake longs to be a journalist. Instead she's an unpaid intern at a glossy magazine – sleeping in the fashion cupboard and living on canapĂ©s. But she's just got her first big break: infiltrate three society weddings and write a juicy exposĂ©.

Security will be tighter than a bodycon dress, but how hard can it be? Cue disappearing brides, demanding socialites – and a jealous office enemy who will do anything to bring her down...

Today I am really excited to be part of the blog tour for author Wendy Holden's latest novel, 'Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings'! I had been quite curious to check out this book ever since I stumbled upon the lovely bright cover several months ago, so when I was invited to be part of this tour I didn’t even have to think about it. And, which was actually even quite a surprise to myself, this also happened to be my first Wendy Holden novel! No idea why it has taken me so long to finally pick up a book by this author, but I am glad I finally got the chance to do just that. Be sure to check out my review of the novel below, and visit some of the other blogs that are taking part in the tour by taking a look at the blog tour poster!

Laura Lake has always wanted to step into her father's footsteps and become a journalist. However, her actual life is slightly different from that particular dream as she is living in Paris, taking care of her grandmother Mimi, and trying to get by with her job working for an estate agency. When she is unexpectedly given the chance to start working as an intern for popular magazine Society, Laura knows she cannot possibly say no and moves to London to show what she can do. With the assignment to write an article about three different modern-day weddings, Laura suddenly finds herself in all kinds of challenging situations. Throw in her secondary school arch-enemy, and Laura has more than enough to deal with while trying to prove being a journalist is what she was meant to do... No matter what it might take.

I’m glad to say that my personal first experience with author Wendy Holden was an entertaining one in the form of ‘Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings’, which was a lovely break from reality and a thoroughly enjoyable novel. I have to say I was already quite excited to pick up this read after having just seen the cover and the book description; I love fun chick lit reads, and I love books about weddings, so I already had a feeling this was going to be a winner. Laura is a great heroine, and from the first few chapters I already felt myself rooting for her and hoping she’d be able to achieve her dream of becoming a journalist, and stepping into her father’s footsteps. Next to Laura, the novel has some fun and interesting characters at its core, adding their own touch to the story.

The novel kind of reminded me of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ in places; I loved that book, so I really enjoyed the resemblances, even though I have to give Wendy Holden credit, because this is definitely an original novel and not just a knock-off of another one. She does have quite a distinctive way of writing; this is, of course, a good thing as an author, but I personally found it a bit tricky at times and didn’t 100% get into it. However, the story and the characters convinced me, and that’s also why this book deserves the high rating I’m giving it. ‘Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings’ is a very colourful, quirky and wonderful novel, unlike anything else I’ve read, and quite simply a great chick lit read.
Rating:9/10
 
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.
Win free signed copies of Laura Lake And The Hipster Weddings by sharing your own hilarious wedding stories with me! I can't wait to read them! They might even inspire another novel! Please go to https://goo.gl/forms/xYaoaGCgxPpNR23g1  Thank you.  Love Wendy xx