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31 October 2014

November 2014 releases! (1/2)

If you are a big Christmas and/or winter fan, just like me, many of the upcoming November 2014 book releases will certainly have you jumping up and down with joy! The upcoming month seems to include releases by some of the most amazing authors within the world of chick lit and I can't wait to get my hands on each of these exciting new stories. November is the month in which the days really start to get colder and shops are seriously getting into the Christmas atmosphere, and I am already looking forward to spending frosty evenings inside with a comfy blanket on the couch, some cinnamon-scented candles, a big cup of tea/hot chocolate and one of these promising novels!  

Which releases are you looking forward to the most? Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment to this post! :)


Swati Sharma -Fashionably Yours' (1st November)

Maya Kapoor arrived in Mumbai with a glamorous dream, quite literally. Maya wants to be a serious fashion writer for the high-end fashion magazine, Glamorous but luck is not in her favour. Instead, she lands a job with a local fashion magazine, Style. Maya hates everything about it but for now this is all she has. Despite all the odds, Maya is excited about living an independent, fashionable life in the city of dreams.

At twenty-five, love has eluded Maya. But when she bumps into the dashing photographer, Aryan Malik, she falls head over heels for his gorgeous smile and charming manner.

But Maya seems to be stuck in a rut - her credit card bills are sky-high, her melodramatic mother can't stop ranting, the boss is unbearably cruel, her younger sister has decided to tie the knot, and she's not sure if Aryan could love a simple, confused girl like her.

Will Maya get the fairytale life she dreamed about or will she let everything slip through her fingers? Read her diary and find out.

Why so excited? --> Swati Sharma is one of the reviewers over at Chick Lit Club, just like me, and I'm really excited her debut novel will be released on the 1st of November! The book tells the story of Maya who is starting a new life in Mumbai. I really like the cover of the book and have a feeling it will be a really enjoyable read!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 



Jodi Picoult – 'Leaving Time' (4th November)

Jenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared in tragic and mysterious circumstances, but she remembers nothing.

Over ten years have passed, and still Jenna reads and rereads her mother's journals, hoping to find some clue hidden there, in the meticulous recording of her scientific research with elephants.

Desperate for answers, Jenna uses all her savings to recruit the aid of a private detective - and a psychic.

Jenna knows her mother loved her. She knows she would not leave her. And she will not rest until she finds out what happened that night.

Why so excited? --> Lots of people who enjoy women's fiction consider Jodi Picoult one of the best authors on the block. I have to admit I haven't read many of her works, but I've already read some positive reviews for 'Leaving Time', which will be released on the 4th of November in the UK, so I'm quite curious to check it out!

 



Abby Clements - 'Confetti at Christmas' (5th November)


Holly Madison never set out to be a wedding planner. She was just helping her stressed sister Lila with cakes and décor for her big day. But when Lila and Jack's summer ceremony is a runaway success, with high-profile guests raving about the food and styling at the pretty treehouse venue, word about Holly's expertise soon spread. 

A year on, Holly has a fast-growing business on her hands, and she is struggling to keep up. 

Boyfriend Marco worries that with so little experience she could be heading for a fall. After all, Holly's clients expect the very best - she's promised lawyers Mia and Eliot a snow-covered castle in the Scottish Highlands, and laidback couple Josh and Sarah a bohemian beach wedding in a Caribbean paradise. But as weather, in-laws, and wilful brides conspire against her, will she be able to deliver?

Why so excited? --> Unfortunately, Abby Clements' upcoming release doesn't have a cover image yet, but the blurb has already convinced me that I need to read this as soon as it's available! I love Abby Clements' stories and 'Confetti at Christmas' sounds like such a lovely read. I love books about weddings and I honestly think this will be one of my favourite November releases!


Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 



Marian Keyes – 'The Woman Who Stole My Life' (6th November)

'Okay, I'll write my introduction. 'Name: Stella Sweeney. Height: average. Recent life events: dramatic.'

Stella Sweeney is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with her husband Ryan and their two teenage kids in Dublin. She works with - or really for - her terrifyingly ambitious sister Karen in their beauty salon. Nothing to get excited about here. Nothing to make her particularly unhappy. Or happy...

No-one would be interested in stealing her life. But then things started to happen... One day, Stella, attempting a good deed, causes a little car accident and faces down a bad tempered, handsome stranger. She hardly gives it much of a thought. But karma is hovering, and is about to take over, swoop in and change Stella's life for ever. For better or worse.

Suddenly Stella has a life. A thrilling glamorous one. A life that other people might start to covet...

Why so excited? --> If you ask me, this cover is already enough to get excited about; it's stunning! Marian Keyes is one of the household names within the world of chick lit and her novels are always great reads. I'm really excited about 'The Woman Who Stole My Life' and can't wait to pick it up!

 



Scarlett Bailey – 'Secret Santa' (6th November)

A self-confessed Christmas queen, Sue Montaigne prides herself on organising the annual nativity pageant in her small Cornish village of Poldore.

But this year, what with having to deal with the repairs on Castle House after it was wrecked by a terrible storm, training a new – and frankly flighty – Virgin Mary and managing a Joseph who is allergic to sheep, she is distinctly lacking a little bit of ‘me time’.

And then there are the auditions for the new Santa. But nothing prepares her for the beautiful man who turns up, a twinkle in his eye and a promise to make her Christmas dreams come true…

Why so excited? --> Christmas time would not be complete without a Scarlett Bailey Christmas story to get into a festive mood! This author's Christmas novels never disappoint, so I have high hopes for 'Secret Santa'! 


 



Cathy Bramley – 'Ivy Lane: Winter' (6th November)

As winter descends on Ivy Lane, the frost sparkles and icy winds flurry - but Tilly is still reeling from the events of the Hallowe'en party. Only the die-hard plot holders brave the cold weather, and Tilly fears the loneliness that gripped her a year ago will return.

Resolute to stay cheerful, she throws herself into organizing both the inaugural Ivy Lane Great Cake Competition and the Christmas Party, and even squeezes in a little match-making along the way.

Surrounded by her friends at the Christmas Party, Tilly has come a long way in a year. She can feel her own heart slowly melting, but who will be waiting under the mistletoe?

Why so excited? --> Cathy Bramley's 'Ivy Lane' is a serialized novel in which the reader gets to join Tilly Parker on a year in her life, and Winter is the fourth and last part of the series. So far, I've only read 'Spring', but I really enjoyed it and I have no doubt the other parts are just as amazing as the first.

 



Judy Astley – 'It Must Have Been The Mistletoe' (6th November)


Thea's parents decide to host a big family Christmas in a house by the sea. Even though they are, in fact, about to split up. Thea herself is newly single - her sister and brother are both settled, with children, homes and a future. But Thea's boyfriend has ditched her in favour of his pedigree dogs, and Thea can't decide whether or not she minds.


There will be copious food and drink, holly and mistletoe, lots of bracing walks and a wintry barbecue on the beach. If it seems an odd way to celebrate the final break-up of a marriage and the Moving On to new partners, no- one is saying so. But then no-one had anticipated that the new partners might actually turn up to complicate the sleeping arrangements.

As Cornwall experiences the biggest snowstorm in living memory, the festive atmosphere comes under some strain. Will Thea manage to find some happiness for herself? Will the mistletoe work its magic on them all?


Why so excited? --> Another wonderful Christmas novel to look forward to this November! I love Judy Astley's work; her stories usually include great characters with a specific focus on family, and they are set in beautiful Cornwall, which also sounds like a great setting for a Christmas novel! 

 



Lucy Diamond – 'Christmas Gifts at The Beach Cafe' (6th November)

After a hectic summer running her beach café in Cornwall, Evie Flynn is looking forward to her first Christmas with new boyfriend Ed – she’s determined that it’s going to be the most perfectly romantic one ever. Cosy nights in front of the fire, spicy mulled wine, mince pies... what’s not to love? 

But the peace is shattered when Ed’s ex suddenly gets in touch again, and then some unexpected guests arrive: Ed’s surly brother Jake and Evie’s heartbroken best friend Amber. Add in the stress of trying to finish her very own recipe book, snow blizzards and family dramas and Evie’s Christmas starts to look as if it’ll be a total turkey. Will any of her festive wishes come true... or is this Christmas just a recipe for disaster?

Why so excited? --> Lucy Diamond is treating us to a special Christmas novella this November in which we get to revisit the characters from her novel 'The Beach Cafe'. I'm a big fan of Lucy Diamond's work and I'm really excited she's releasing a Christmas novella this year!

 



Rachael Lucas - 'Sealed with a Christmas Kiss' (6th November)

Kate has taken to life on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor like a seal to water: she's given a new lease of life to the Laird's estate in her day job; she's befriended the once-nosy locals; and even young Laird Roddy is not quite so grumpy these days.



Better still, Kate has just had her best idea yet: they'll turn the castle into the most gorgeous wedding venue in Scotland. The pressure's on as the first wedding is booked in for Christmas Eve - just weeks away. But with a mismatched bride and groom, a hysterical PR on her case, her own relationship woes and a huge storm blowing in, can Kate pull it off in time?

Why so excited? --> Another Christmas novella based on an existing chick lit novel! In this case Rachael Lucas is treating us to a Christmas story based on her book 'Sealed With a Kiss'. A Scottish castle and a Christmas wedding... That's already more than enough to count me in! 

 



Alexandra Brown – 'The Great Christmas Knit Off' (6th November)

Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale.



There, Sybil discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen…

Why so excited? --> Alexandra Brown is well-known for her lovely Carringtons' book series and I'm so excited she will be releasing a completely new novel this November! 'The Great Christmas Knit Off' sounds like a stunning story and I honestly can't wait to have a finished copy in my hands!

 



Trisha Ashley - 'Footsteps in the Snow and other Teatime Treats' (6th November)

From her novels to her magazine articles Trisha Ashley has been writing all her life and this is a collection of her work brought together in a single edition for the first time.

A fabulous collection of short stories from the Sunday Times bestselling author. Perfect to curl up with on a winter’s evening.

Why so excited? --> Trisha Ashley is a fabulous author and on the 6th of November a collection of short stories, perfect for a cold winter's evening, will be released. I've really enjoyed some of Trisha's novels in the past and I'm sure this collection will include some wonderfully enjoyable winter-themed stories. 

 



Karen Swan – 'Christmas In The Snow' (6th November)

No secret stays buried forever...

In London, the snow is falling and Christmas is just around the corner - but Allegra Fisher barely has time to notice. She's pitching for the biggest deal of her career and can't afford to fail. And when she meets attractive stranger, Sam Kemp, on the plane to the meeting, she can't afford to lose her focus either. She learned to shut off her emotions long ago and only her sister and best friend Isobel knows why. But when Allegra finds herself up against Sam for the bid, their passion quickly turns sour.

In Zermatt in the Swiss Alps, a long-lost mountain hut is discovered in the snow after sixty years and the last person expecting to become involved is Allegra - she hasn't even heard of the woman they found inside. But it soon becomes clear the two women are linked and, as she and Iz travel out to make sense of the mystery, hearts thaw and dark secrets are uncovered, long buried by the snow.

Why so excited? --> Karen Swan is another author who releases a great Christmas-themed novel every year. 'Christmas in the Snow' sounds intriguing and I really hope I will be able to check out my first Karen Swan novel this year!

 

Be sure to check back tomorrow for more November 2014 releases!

30 October 2014

Weekly Feature: Once Upon a Story...


 'Once Upon a Story' is a weekly feature in which we go back in time and focus  on a specific novel that was released in the same month we're in right now (in this case May), but a few years back! It can be a women's fiction classic from the 1990's or perhaps a great chick lit read from 2011. I thought it would be nice to not just focus on recent releases, but also take the chance to jump back in time once a week and look back at wonderful reads that have been released over the years!

This week, we're travelling back to November 2012 to look back at...


Imagine waking up in a snow globe...
 
That’s how travel journalist Krista feels when she arrives in magical Quebec to report on Canada's glittering Winter Carnival.
 
Over ten sub-zero days Krista's formerly frozen heart begins to melt as she discovers an enchanting world of ice palaces, husky dog-sledding and maple-syrup treats galore. And then she meets Jacques, a man as handsome and rugged as he is mysterious…
 
The two share a secret that could bond them forever, but can they find a way to break through the protective layers around their hearts to warm up this winter wonderland?
 
…let the snow-spangled adventure begin!

During the last few months of the year we are usually treated to numerous lovely sparkling and heart-warming winter/Christmas tales; books I personally can't ever get enough of! This week we're going back to November 2012 to have a look at one of those fabulous winter-themed stories, namely Belinda Jones' 'Winter Wonderland.' The book tells the story of journalist Krista who travels to Quebec in Canada to write about the Winter Carnival. The blurb already includes some amazing winter descriptions and it's making me want to travel to Canada straight away! I'm sure this is the perfect read to pick up during the colder months of the year, together with a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate! 

Be sure to visit the blog next week for another blast from chick lit past with 'Once Upon a Story...'!

29 October 2014

Review: 'What I Love About You' by Rachel Gibson (2014)

Once upon a time, Natalie Cooper had it all - as a high school cheerleader she could shake her pom-poms with the best of them. But several years down the line and she's paying for all that popularity when her husband runs off with a 20 year old bimbo. Now she's running a photo shop (and some of the pictures she sees...well, she really shouldn't!) and just trying to be a good mom.

Then she comes toe-to-manly chest with Blake Junger. 'Exiled' to a remote cabin in Truly, Idaho, Blake wants nothing to do with anyone. Instead, he's determined to struggle with his demons and win...all on his own. But he doesn't count on a pint-sized five-year-old visitor - or Natalie Cooper, the kid's lusciously curved mother - to break down his barriers...

I was pleasantly surprised when I found a review copy of best-selling author Rachel Gibson's latest release, 'What I Love About You' in my mailbox. I hadn't read any of her books before, but I straight away liked the cover of the book and the blurb and was quite curious to check it out. Since 1998, Rachel Gibson has written over 20 novels and I'm quite surprised I somehow never picked up one of her books before. However, receiving this review copy provided me with the chance to be introduced to Rachel's work and I looked forward to sitting down with 'What I Love About You'! 

Natalie Cooper has been through quite a lot in her life, but she has finally managed to settle down, together with her five-year-old daughter Charlotte. When Natalie found out she was pregnant, it was the happiest moment of her life, but her husband didn't quite agree. He turned out to have embezzled a lot of money and ran away from Natalie and their unborn child to start a new life with his 20-year-old girlfriend. Natalie hasn't focused on men since the whole debacle with her ex-husband, but this changes when brooding and handsome Blake Junger moves in next door. Blake is an ex-Navy SEAL who has come to Truly, Idaho to focus on his own issues and deal with his inner demons. He certainly doesn't plan on spending time with his new neighbours, until he meets Charlotte and her attractive mother Natalie, who manages to catch his attention and he knows he can't ignore the attraction between them, even if he wanted to...

'What I Love About You' is the third part of Rachel Gibson's Truly, Idaho series, but the book can definitely be read as a stand-alone. I have no idea what exactly happened in the other parts of the series, but there wasn't a moment while reading this novel when I felt like I was missing information or didn't understand what was going on. The book is a typical romance read when looking at the plot line and was quite predictable at times, but this didn't bother me. There is a cast of interesting characters; I really liked Natalie, the female protagonist, and Blake is a real alpha male which I expect numerous female readers will fall in love with. I would have liked to have learned more about the characters, because I did feel like the story stayed a bit on the surface instead of really diving into the characters' thoughts and emotions. The attraction between Natalie and Blake was great, though; I loved seeing them fall for one another and the sparks were impossible to ignore, which makes or breaks a romance novel, if you ask me. 

I did some research on the book online and fans of Rachel Gibson's work seem to be torn about this particular book; some of them really liking it, some of them not so much. I personally quite enjoyed the book; it's an entertaining romance read with some hot and steamy scenes, and great to pick up if you just want to get away from real life for a couple of hours. I specifically liked Rachel Gibson's writing style and am looking forward to checking out more of her work in the future. Overall, 'What I Love About You' is a fast-paced, fun and easy-to-read romance novel; romance fans will not be disappointed if they decide to pick up this book.
Rating:
7,5/10
 
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.

28 October 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

'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!
 
 
Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

It's almost the end of October which means Halloween is coming up! I'm not a big Halloween fan, to be honest. This probably has to do with the fact that I'm not a big fan of scary films/stories, and we don't celebrate Halloween in the Netherlands (where I live). I do, however, love costumes and dressing up, so this week's top 10 is a great excuse to have a look at some lovely outfits based on literary characters!



1. Dorothy from 'The Wizard of Oz'



'The Wizard of Oz' has been one of my favourite films since I was a little girl and I even own a pair of ruby glitter shoes, so I only need the dress and basket to have the perfect Dorothy outfit!




2. Mary Poppins



Another absolute favourite of mine and I'd love a Mary Poppins costume!



3. Hermione from 'Harry Potter'



Not one of the most difficult outfits, but definitely the perfect excuse to walk around waving a wand and practising spells all night long!




4. Elizabeth Bennet from 'Pride and Prejudice'



I'm a big Jane Austen fan and Elizabeth Bennet is one of my favourite literary characters. Besides, any excuse to wear a pretty long dress...




5. Alice from 'Alice in Wonderland'



In this case I'd definitely go for the Disney version of Alice with a lovely blue dress and apron!



6. Wendy from 'Peter Pan'



And another lovely Disney version of a literary character, Wendy!



7. Elizabeth & Jessica Wakefield from 'Sweet Valley High'



This would be such a fun outfit together with a friend, especially with all the 80's accessories!




8. Scarlett O'Hara from 'Gone With the Wind'



YES to an excuse to wear a gorgeous Scarlett O'Hara dress!



9. Miss Havisham from 'Great Expectations'



This would be perfect as a Halloween costume, because it's the only outfit in this top 10 that's actually a bit scary in a way, haha!



10. Willy Wonka from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'


A female Willy Wonka; the perfect excuse to eat chocolate all night long!

27 October 2014

Review: 'We That Are Left' by Juliet Greenwood (2014)

August 4th, 1914: ‘It was the day of champagne and raspberries, the day the world changed.’

Elin lives a luxurious but lonely life at Hiram Hall. Her husband Hugo loves her but he has never recovered from the Boer War. Now another war threatens to destroy everything she knows.

With Hugo at the front, and her cousin Alice and friend Mouse working for the war effort, Elin has to learn to run the estate in Cornwall, growing much needed food, sharing her mother’s recipes and making new friends – and enemies.

But when Mouse is in danger, Elin must face up to the horrors in France herself. And when the Great War is finally over, Elin’s battles prove to have only just begun.

At the start of this year I reviewed the lovely ‘Mr. Perfect’ by Joanna Davies (click here to read my review), which was a book published by Welsh publisher Honno. Honno is an independent co-operative press run by women and committed to bringing the best in Welsh women’s writing. I’m part Welsh myself and a big fan of women’s fiction, so when I was asked by Honno to read and review Juliet Greenwood’s novel ‘We That Are Left’, which was released in February 2014, I immediately said yes. I wasn’t familiar with Juliet Greenwood’s work, but her debut novel ‘Eden’s Garden’ was a finalist for The People’s Book Prize 2013-2014. I looked forward to picking up this book and kept my fingers crossed for another fabulous Honno read!

It’s 1914 and Elin is married to Hugo, with whom she lives a comfortable but lonesome life at Hiram Hall. Hugo fought in the Boer War, something he doesn’t talk about but has influenced his life for the long run. Elin has a feeling her marriage isn’t going anywhere, but she doesn’t dare to do anything about it. Then World War I suddenly takes over everyone’s lives and Hugo leaves Elin behind to run the estate. While Elin’s cousin Alice and good friend Margaret work for the war effort, Elin is discovering a new side to herself and she realises there is so much more to life than being the obedient wife. But the war is unpredictable, and Elin finds herself thrown in different directions with no idea what her life will look like as soon as things will calm down again...

‘We That Are Left’ is Juliet Greenwood’s third novel and I can’t believe it took me this long to discover her work! I was completely enthralled by this book from start to finish and it’s one of the best wartime books I’ve read over the past couple of years. The main protagonist, Elin, is a fascinating heroine whose story I really enjoyed. Elin is struggling to find her own identity as a woman; before the war she is trying her best to be a good and obedient wife, but the outbreak of World War I changes everything and she discovers there’s much more and she can’t go back to her old life. Next to Elin, there’s a wonderful cast of well-drawn characters, who each bring their own unique something to the story. I particularly loved Lady Margaret Northolme, known as Mouse to her friends, who becomes Elin’s close friend, and Elin’s cousin Alice. 

The story is mainly set in Cornwall, Anglesey and France, and the descriptions blew me away. Juliet Greenwood’s writing is really descriptive and almost enchanting; it made it so easy to imagine everything in my head, it was almost like a film. It is obvious the author did a lot of research and this definitely shows and makes the story even stronger. I already look forward to reading some of her other work in the future, with the hope of it being just as good as this particular book. ‘We That Are Left’ is an engrossing and moving novel with at its core a woman’s search for her own identity in the time of World War I; an absolute pleasure to 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.

26 October 2014

Weekly Feature: Once Upon a Story...


 'Once Upon a Story' is a weekly feature in which we go back in time and focus  on a specific novel that was released in the same month we're in right now (in this case May), but a few years back! It can be a women's fiction classic from the 1990's or perhaps a great chick lit read from 2011. I thought it would be nice to not just focus on recent releases, but also take the chance to jump back in time once a week and look back at wonderful reads that have been released over the years!

This week, we're travelling back to October 2009 to look back at...


Heiress and celebrity Birdie Sederburg has been used to getting everything she wants. That is, until hot young actor Dean Stevenson (quite literally) crashes into her life.

Birdie's convinced she's found The One. But Dean is only in it for his career, and is resisting her charm offensive. Still, Birdie is not prepared to admit defeat. As her obsession with Dean grows, she realises she may have to do something drastic to make him fall in love with her.

But is getting herself kidnapped in order to win his heart as insane as it sounds?

How far would you go for love?

Author Chrissie Manby has been releasing wonderful chick lit novels for quite some time now. I haven't been able to read her most recent release, 'A Proper Family Holiday' (which was released in June 2014) yet, but I'm sure it's another fabulous read to sit down with on a rainy Autumn afternoon! However, today I want to place the spotlight on one of Chrissie's older books, namely the 2009 release 'Crazy in Love.' The novel tells the story of celebrity Birdie Sederburg who falls head over heels in love with heartthrob Dean Stevenson. He is, however, only in it for his career. Birdie decides to take things into her own hands, planning something drastic to make sure Dean will fall for her... This happens to be another Chrissie Manby read I haven't read myself (yet), but it sounds like a fun and great read which I'm sure any chick lit fan will enjoy! 

Be sure to visit the blog next week for another blast from chick lit past with 'Once Upon a Story...'!

24 October 2014

Review: 'Love Me or Leave Me' by Claudia Carroll (2014)

‘Welcome to the Hope Street Hotel – where you check in married, and check out single.’

Two years ago Chloe Townsend was dumped at the altar and had to leave behind everything that mattered to her. Even now she’s finding it hard to move forward. That is until she lands an incredible job, running a brand new boutique hotel. Suddenly she’s starting to put her life back together, and, apart from the fact that her hard-to-please new boss is breathing down her neck, things are looking good.

But what goes on in the Hope Street Hotel is a far cry from anything she’s ever dealt with before. This is a pioneering ‘divorce hotel’ designed to make every aspect of breaking up efficient and pain-free. In one single weekend, Chloe’s team promises to take care of everything – legal, technical, emotional – and guests check out carefree and single.

No one is better qualified than Chloe to understand what couples need when their relationship is at breaking point, but she soon finds herself having to tackle the heartbreak she’s tried to bury. In particular three couples need her help – Jo and Dave, Lucy and Andrew, and Kirk and Dawn – and the opening weekend is full of revelation, trouble, memories happy and sad, facts that need facing, and some very big surprises.

It’s time to move on. And it soon becomes clear that some endings are, in fact, very exciting new beginnings …
 
On the 23rd of October the paperback version of Claudia Carroll's latest novel, 'Love Me or Leave Me', was released. This is Claudia's 11th book and I have to say I was really excited about this particular October release. I was first introduced to Claudia's writing last year when I reviewed 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow?' (click here to read my review) and I was curious to check out more of her work. I immediately fell in love with the wonderful cover of 'Love Me or Leave Me' and the unique storyline. I was really excited when I found a review copy of the book on my doormat a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to get started in it!
 
Chloe Townsend was left at the altar two years ago and the only escape she saw at that moment was to leave her whole life in Dublin behind to start over in London. Now, a fantastic job opportunity has brought her back to Dublin and Chloe plans on making the best of it. She has been offered the chance to run a new boutique hotel called the Hope Street Hotel which isn't like any other place. It's a divorce hotel; a place where couples can go to make their break-up as efficient as possible. Chloe is willing to do anything possible to keep the hotel guests satisfied and to make sure the opening weekend is a big success, but things get a bit tricky as soon as the couples arrive, Chloe's boss decides to want to keep a close eye on everything, and her ex-fiancee decides to make an unexpected appearance... 
 
If I hadn't already been convinced by Claudia Carroll's amazing story-telling abilities, this book would have definitely done the trick. 'Love Me or Leave Me' is, without a doubt, one of the most entertaining and well-written chick lit novels I've read in the past couple of months. I already thought the start of the book was great; several wedding invitations from the couples the reader will be introduced to later. I loved this and it made me curious to read on. Thankfully, it only got even better after that great start. The book has a unique and captivating plotline; I'd honestly never heard of the idea of a divorce hotel before picking up this novel. The story, which is told from different female perspectives, kept me guessing and I was really curious to find out what would happen to all the characters.
 
One of the absolute strengths of the novel is Claudia Carroll's knack for creating interesting and easily loveable characters. The main protagonist, Chloe, is a wonderful character and I liked her from page 1. Next to Chloe, the main focus lies in 3 couples who are spending the weekend at the Hope Street Hotel: Dawn and Kirk, Jo and Dave, and Lucy and Andrew. These characters are forced to have a good think about their short marriages and whether they want to end things or give it another shot. I could continue talking about this book in much more detail for hours, but I'd rather have someone pick up the book itself and read it! 'Love Me or Leave Me' is a wonderful and uplifting romantic comedy with a truly captivating plotline and a brilliant mix of characters; a brilliant read!
Rating:
10/10
 
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.

23 October 2014

Blog Tour: 'Stable Mates' by Zara Stoneley (including giveaway!)

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Scandalous Stable Mates by best-selling author Zara Stoneley is cantering its way through the bloggersphere. Get ready for lust, love and outrageous goings-on as we bring you romping reviews, exciting excerpts, galloping guest posts and a tip-top giveaway!

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Secrets and scandals, love and lust – when the ‘Cheshire Set’ are up against the ‘Footballer’s Wives’ the only common ground is carnal… 

 Flirting and fun seem the perfect antidote for Lottie's battered heart, and where better to find them than back in tranquil Tippermere, home of sexy eventer Rory Steel, the smiling Irish eyes of hunky farrier Mick O'Neal, and mysterious newcomer, model Tom Strachan? 

 But when landowner Marcus James drops dead unexpectedly, and the threat of his waggish wife Amanda selling the heart of the village out from under them looms large, things look like they're about to heat up in and out of the saddle. 

With tensions running high, and the champagne flowing as freely as the adrenalin, is it any wonder that love catches more than one of them unawares? 

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I Blame James
Guest Post by Zara Stoneley

When I was younger my mother wanted me to be like James Herriot. Well, I wanted to be like James, a vet. Not, obviously the type who permanently had one arm in the nether regions of a mooing cow, and two feet in very muddy wellingtons. No, more the type that spent a lot of time cuddling puppies and kissing kittens. But my mother had other ideas. She wanted me to write like James Herriot. As in a best-selling very funny and popular book about animals, that is turned into a TV series or a film (I can now see where she was coming from).

I did it my way, I did write a book but it was more James Bond than James Herriot (animals and 007 were my twin obsessions). I sent it to Michael Joseph publishers (because they published my favourite books) and got on with nagging my parents to let me have a puppy, and pay for horse riding lessons.
Time passed, I grew up, and became an IT consultant wearing designer suits instead of wellies, and applying my fingers to a keyboard rather than anything four legged and furry.

And then, one day I decided a sudden career change was in order. I set up a dog grooming business, and bought a horse (no, there isn’t any logic). The dogs were funny (did I tell you about the collie that liked to climb trees?), me and the horse were funnier (ever been towed through a picnicking family by a fat cob?). So I’d come full circle, almost. And I decided to apply those fingers to a different keyboard. And write Stable Mates.

I blame James, and I blame my mother (who definitely knew best) – which is why I dedicated the book to her. Now, anybody fancy turning it into a TV series?

  ZaraQuote Zara 

Author Bio: 
 Bestselling author Zara Stoneley lives in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When she's not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in her sexy high heels or green wellies, she can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas! Zara writes hot romance and bonkbusters. Her latest novel, 'Stable Mates', is a fun romp through the Cheshire countryside and combines some of her greatest loves - horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)! She writes for Harper Collins and Accent Press.

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Giveaway UK only. Paperback copy of Stable Mates will be sent upon its 20th November 2014 release. CandleLit Author Services and Zara Stoneley reserve the right to cancel and/or amend the giveaway at anytime, without prior notification.