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31 October 2015

November 2015 releases!

I think we can definitely say the festive book season is once again upon us with lots of new exciting Christmas books being released every single week! It's almost November already which means there are only two months left of 2015; can you believe it?! Luckily, November will be a month filled with some pretty exciting new book releases, and especially if you're a fan of Christmas novels, like me, you won't be able to keep the smile off your face as soon as you see the list of November 2015 book releases below; trust me!

Which releases are you excited about? I'd love to hear from you! If you'd like me to include your book release in this list, feel free to contact me via e-mail or Twitter! :)
 
Abby Clements - 'The Winter Wedding' (5 November)

Hazel 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 Ollie's summer ceremony is a runaway success, with guests raving about the food and styling at the pretty venue, word about Hazel's expertise soon spreads. 

But Hazel's clients expect the very best - she's promised lawyers Gemma 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, can Hazel get two very different couples to walk up two very different aisles to say 'I do'? And will she find her own happy ending if she does?

Why so excited? --> I love Abby Clements. She's a wonderful author and her novels always make me feel good. I can't wait to read 'The Winter Wedding', especially since I love books about weddings/wedding planners. So excited! 
 


Fanny Blake - 'House of Dreams' (5 November)


In the hilltop villa with its spectacular views across rolling countryside to the straits of Gibraltar, Lucy anxiously awaits the arrival of her brother and sister.

They’re spending the weekend together to say farewell to Casa de Sueños, the house in the mountains of southern Spain where they grew up.

Her sister, Jo, landing at the airport with her fractious four year old, dreads the prospect of this time with her family which will fulfil their mother’s last instructions that they celebrate her birthday together. Only this time their mother won’t be there.

Tom, their brother, remembers the chaos of his bohemian upbringing and wants nothing more than for their stay to go off without a hitch. Then a beautiful face from his past appears at the villa...

Why so excited? --> If anyone is looking for a bit of sunshine now the weather is getting colder and the days are shorter, Fanny Blake's new novel 'House of Dreams' will be the perfect read to pick up this November! 

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Cecelia Ahern - 'The Marble Collector' (5 November)


A forgotten childhood. A discovered life.

What if you only had one day to find out who you really were?

When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her father’s possessions, she discovers a truth where she never knew there was a lie. The familiar man she grew up with is suddenly a stranger to her.

An unexpected break in her monotonous daily routine leaves her just one day to unlock the secrets of the man she thought she knew. A day that unearths memories, stories and people she never knew existed. A day that changes her and those around her forever.

Why so excited? --> Cecelia Ahern has been one of my favourite authors since I received 'P.S. I Love You' as a gift and loved it from start to finish. I love the touch of magic her novels always seem to have and I already can't wait to check out 'The Marble Collector'! 
 


Rosie Blake - 'How to Stuff Up Christmas' (5 November)


'Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you've found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance's phone... 

Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve's boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen. 

But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve's best friend Daisy know that she isn't telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve's boat? 

Why so excited? --> I just know this will be one of the funniest Christmas novels of 2015; no doubt about it! I love Rosie Blake's fun writing style and I can honestly say I'm really excited to see she will be releasing a festive novel this year. Definitely have high hopes for this one! 

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Cressida McLaughlin - 'A Christmas Tail' (5 November)


Catherine ‘Cat’ Palmer realizes that bringing an adorable puppy into work is a bad idea, especially when it gets her the sack. Deciding it’s the perfect opportunity to launch her dog-walking business, Cat enlists the help of flatmates Polly and Joe. After all Primrose Terrace, the street where they live, is full of home-alone hounds.

Getting to know the owners and their precious pooches isn’t all plain sailing, but soon Cat is making friends, particularly with sexy Mark and his Collie, Chips. But is he the right man for her?

With her talent for misadventure, Cat’s new life starts to show some cracks, and when one of the street’s loveable schnauzers gets ill, it looks like this Christmas could be turning into a dog’s dinner. But Cat has never given up on anything in her life – and this is one Christmas that’s definitely worth saving…

Why so excited? --> 'A Christmas Tail' was earlier this year released as a four-part e-book serial set in Primrose Terrace. I've had the pleasure of reading the first part of the series and I really enjoyed it. I really hope I will be able to pick up the entire book this Christmas, because I know I'll end up loving it! 

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Debbie Johnson - 'Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper' (5 November)


For single mum Maggie, Christmas has always been a family occasion – her daughter Ellen filling the house with her bubbly warmth and mistletoe, her dad Paddy having one too many festive tipples, and the traditional family Christmas tree looking like a drunken elf vomited a rainbow all over it.

But this year, with both Ellen and Paddy away for the holidays, Maggie’s facing a truly blue Christmas – alone with nothing but a bottle of Baileys and an M&S turkey dinner.

Until walking the snowy streets of Oxford, Marco Cavelli quite literally crashes into her life – and, complete with broken leg, becomes her unexpected houseguest. All dreamy brown eyes and 6’5” of gorgeousness, the man is hotter and more delicious than a freshly baked mince pie.

Though Maggie always thought it’s a truth universally acknowledged that you never kiss a man in a Christmas jumper?

Why so excited? --> I just loved Debbie Johnson's previous release 'Pippa's Cornish Dreams' and can't wait to read 'Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper' (that's one brilliant title, I love it, haha!). I think this will be some lovely Christmas reading and look forward to picking it up next month! 

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Karen Swan - 'Christmas on Primrose Hill' (5 November)


On Primrose Hill...

Twinkling lights brighten London's Primrose Hill as Christmas nears - but for Nettie Watson, it's not parties and presents that she wants.

Promises are made.

For Nettie, Christmas only serves as a stark reminder of the life she used to have... One day she made a promise to never leave home, and so far she's stayed true to her word.

Promises are broken.

Under the glaring spotlight of the world's media, Nettie is unexpectedly caught up in a 21st century storm... Her exploits have made her a global name and attracted the attention of one of the world's most eligible men - famous front man, Jamie Westlake. But now she has his attention, does she want to keep it?

Why so excited? --> Karen Swan is one of the authors who releases a stunning Christmas novel each year. Just looking at the book cover is already getting me excited about this and I can't wait to read it! 
 


Lindsey Kelk - 'A Girl's Best Friend' (5 November)


First Tess was a girl with a plan.

Then she was a girl with a dream.

Now she’s a girl who’s come back to earth with a bump.

When the opportunity arises to join her best friend, Amy, in New York for Christmas, Tess jumps at the chance. The only fly in ointment is that Nick, the man who broke her heart, lives there. And Charlie, the man she turned down, has just started talking to her again. And she has just four days to take a photo for a competition that could save her career.

But aside from that, everything is going to be great: it’ll be the best Christmas ever. Won’t it?

Why so excited? --> Lindsey Kelk's name on a book cover is already enough to get me excited, so 'A Girl's Best Friend' is definitely one of the November 2015 releases I am most looking forward to reading. I have to be honest and say I'm not a big fan of the book cover, but that's definitely not going to stop me from picking it up as soon as I can! 

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Jennifer Joyce - 'The Mince Pie Mix-Up' (6 November)

’Tis the season to be jolly but for Calvin and Judy the usual festive bickering has already begun! Judy’s convinced that her husband has it easy – no glittery wrapping paper, no playground gossip and absolutely no Christmas baking.

Calvin wishes he could trade in his obnoxious boss and dull nine-to-five job to spend more time kicking back with his kids – how hard can Judy’s life really be?

But after a magical mince pie mix-up, one thing’s for certain – by Christmas Day, life for Judy and Calvin will never be the same again. Perhaps the grass isn’t always greener after all…

Why so excited? --> I love the good old plot of characters switching lives/bodies and I have a good feeling 'The Mince Pie Mix-Up' will be a thoroughly entertaining festive book to pick up next month. Looking forward to giving this a chance!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Jenny Stallard - 'Boyfriend by Christmas' (19 November)

It's bad enough to be perpetually single, without also being the dating journalist for a major lifestyle website. And Genie Havisham has just been set her toughest deadline yet: find a boyfriend by Christmas or find a new job.

Determined not to end the year alone and jobless, Genie sets out to find where all the eligible bachelors in London have been hiding, using whatever means possible.

But among the terrible dates, one night stands and the unexpected return of her 'supposedly reformed' ex-boyfriend, could Genie have overlooked what's been right under her nose all along?

Why so excited? --> I'm not familiar with author Jenny Stallard, but already like the sound of her upcoming release 'Boyfriend by Christmas.' Oh, and I love the Christmas cracker cover!
 


Chrissie Manby - 'A Wedding at Christmas' (19 November)


What comes to mind when you picture a wedding at Christmas? A gorgeous white dress accessorised with a thick velvet cape... bridesmaids in red velvet too? An arch of Christmas greenery: holly and ivy and boughs of fir. Candles and fairy lights. Snow!

Chelsea Benson has just twelve weeks to organise her perfect winter wedding. Her family and friends pitch in to help, but sisterly squabbling, issues with money and an Ice-Queen mother-in-law soon threaten Chelsea's plans for her big day. And that's without the firework fiasco...

Rescuing Chelsea's dream of a proper family wedding might just take all the magic of Christmas...

Why so excited? --> All these fabulous Christmas novels are making me so excited about the upcoming month! Chrissie Manby is treating us to a lovely tale, combining the festive holidays with a winter wedding... Already love it!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 


Claire Sandy - 'Snowed in for Christmas' (19 November)


Everybody wants it to snow at Christmas... Don't they?

Asta's plane touches down in Ireland as the first flakes of snow begin to settle. 

The weather turns what should be a flying visit into a snowed-in Yuletide with her chaotic, eccentric family. Asta fled her village years ago, with a secret hidden deep within her. That secret is now a feisty sixteen year old, Kitty, who's keen to meet her long-lost relatives. 

There are many family mysteries among the presents under the lopsided Christmas tree. Missing the man she left behind in London, drawn to the man she meets in the snow, might there also be a cure for Asta's long-broken heart?

Why so excited? --> Last, but certainly not least is Claire Sandy's 'Snowed in for Christmas'! I already love the sound of this cozy and comfy Christmas-themed novel (and it's simply lovely cover!) and am sure it will be the perfect read to get me ready for the Christmas season of 2015!
 

29 October 2015

Upcoming Release: 'Snowflakes on Silver Cove' by Holly Martin!


Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself… 

Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance. 

As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George. 

But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas? 

Oh, I just love love love everything about this novel already! Holly Martin is a great author and I'm really looking forward to reading 'Snowflakes on Silver Cove', which will be released on October 30th. The title of the book is just wonderful and festive, the cover is so cute, the description promises a great story... Definitely one that's at the top of my holiday reading for 2015!

28 October 2015

Blog Tour: 'At the Corner of Magnetic and Main' by Meg Welch Dendler

It's hard to get on with your life when you're already dead.

Penny had been stuck in the same diner for decades—ever since she died in 1952. Her diner 
was comfortable and safe. Serving ice cream to those who dropped in on their way to the 
next level of existence, she helped to ease their transition into The Light, the one place she can't go. Her afterlife was perfect.

But when the ridiculously handsome, bad boy biker Jake Thatcher shows up and becomes stuck 
as well, Penny rediscovers feelings that she thought had been buried with her body.

Life is still life, and love is still love. But was her existence really perfect, or was it something else entirely?

I'm really excited to be a part of the blog tour for author Meg Welch Dendler's latest release 'At the Corner of Magnetic and Main' today! The book was released by Pen-L Publishing on September 29th and I was lucky enough to be contacted by Meg herself to be a part of the blog tour and review the book. I have to say I was straight away intrigued by the description of the story, even though I don't usually read a lot of paranormal fiction. The books about ghosts I can remember are probably the Goosebumps books I read when I was in my teens, so it was definitely time for a new fictional ghost experience!

Seventeen-year-old Penny has been serving ice cream at the local diner in the small American town of Eureka Springs for a long time; longer than she probably initially expected. Over 60 years ago, she became really sick and died, but her ghost is still stuck on earth, unable to move on. Penny has made her peace with this and instead helps other ghosts who end up in the diner to move into the light. Until one night when twenty-year-old bad boy Jake appears in the diner, who doesn't want to accept that he died in a motor crash after reckless driving. Just like Penny, Jake remains stuck on earth, but instead of being quiet he is out to cause trouble. Penny can't help but be charmed by Jake, but at the same time she also decides she will do whatever it takes to help him to move on.

'At the Corner of Magnetic and Main' is quite a quick read with roughly 155 pages (in print). I personally loved the storyline; the idea of Penny spending her time in the diner as a ghost, serving ice cream to other ghosts passing through, while she herself is unable to move on because of certain circumstances. It was incredibly easy to warm to Penny and I also liked the other characters, such as the owners of the diner and some of the other ghosts such as Silas and, of course, Jake. The book falls within the paranormal genre, but also has a nice touch of romance (even though I personally wouldn't have minded if it had been even a bit more!). I usually don't read a lot of paranormal/ghost stories, but I ended up really enjoying this, even more than I originally expected.

As I mentioned before, the novel is a relatively quick read. I wish I would have been longer, because that would have provided the author with more space for some other story elements (perhaps more background details and a focus on secondary characters such as the ghosts of Silas and Katie). I kind of missed the dialogue in the story; there's not a lot of it and I think it could have given the novel just that bit more. However, I really liked Penny's tale and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. 'At the Corner of Magnetic and Main' is an entertaining, quick-paced and engaging paranormal read with a nice touch of romance; I thoroughly enjoyed it and think this is going to be a story that I'll remember for quite some time to come!
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.

27 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 Literary Halloween Costumes

'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 10 Literary Halloween Costumes

In the Netherlands we don't celebrate Halloween and I guess because I never grew up with the holiday I also just never really warmed to it. I'm also not a big fan of scary books/films, so for this week's Halloween-themed Top Ten Tuesday I decided to go with a top 10 centred around another big part of Halloween: costumes! I loved having a look around the Internet to get some inspiration for fun book-themed costumes and the 10 costumes below are definitely some of my favourites!

Be sure to share your own TTT's in the comments section below; I'd love to hear from you! 



1. Dorothy from 'The Wizard of Oz'



I've always wanted to dress up as Dorothy, so she would definitely be my first costume choice. I already have the shoes, so only need the dress and basket and I'm good to go!




2. Elizabeth Bennet from 'Pride and Prejudice'



It wouldn't be one of my top 10's without a bit of Jane Austen in there!




3. Hermione Granger from 'Harry Potter'



Not a very original costume, probably, but still definitely a fun (and quite easy) one.




4. Miss Havisham from 'Great Expectations'



If I'd have to go for a scary costume I'd probably go for Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens' 'Great Expectations.' Also a good excuse to wear a pretty dress!




5. Belle from 'Beauty and the Beast'



Belle is of course the perfect bookish Disney heroine and a great and quite easy costume as well.




6. Alice from 'Alice in Wonderland'



I've seen so many fun ideas for Alice in Wonderland costumes online. You can do a lot of different things with this which is great.




7. Nancy Drew from the 'Nancy Drew' books



I love the vintage style clothes of Nancy Drew, so this would be a fabulous costume as well, with a lot of different and gorgeous choices!




8. Rory Gilmore from 'Gilmore Girls'



If I would need a quick costume, I'd go with Rory Gilmore! She has been one of my favourite TV show characters for several years, probably because I'm quite a lot like her, so a costume wouldn't be too difficult!




9. Scarlett O'Hara from 'Gone with the Wind'



If I decided to go all out on a costume I wouldn't say no to the opportunity to dress up as Scarlett O'Hara! I just love those big dresses and wouldn't miss the chance to wear one!




10. Mary Poppins from 'Mary Poppins'



Another one of my personal favourite literary characters, Mary Poppins, that would make a great costume!

26 October 2015

Review: 'Third Time Lucky - The Honeytrap' by Victoria Browne (2015)

Good friends Sarah a sensible simple soul, Laura bitchy complicated, Beth a ‘too cool for school’ high school teacher, and Jess a funky hairdresser, decide to honey trap Jess's new American boyfriend Richard. How could such a simple plan go wrong? Just add Jess’s new flat mate, hot sexy Elise to the mix, a few glasses of wine and you have a cocktail fit for disaster – especially when Elise honey traps the wrong boyfriend! Good friends are all Sarah needs when her uncomplicated life is jettisoned into chaos.

Dan, Sarah’s boyfriend makes some shady life choices. But who is friend and who is foe? 

Wealthy bachelor Lee Preston sets his sights on Sarah and all Lee wants is to make her happy. Life could be fantastic when money is no object and your closet is filled with designer shoes, Oh, and his with secrets.

Several months ago I was contacted by author Victoria Browne with a review request for her novel 'Third Time Lucky - The Honeytrap', which was published via Neville House Publishing in June 2015. I hadn't had the pleasure of being introduced to Victoria's writing before this request, even though I had read certain reviews of one of her other books, 'Gut Feeling.' I quite liked the plotline for 'Third Time Lucky - The Honey Trap' (even though I had no idea what a honey trap actually was until I was reading the novel; is that bad?), so I was excited about giving the book a chance and hopefully finding a new great chick lit author at the same time!

Twenty-something Sarah has been with her boyfriend Dan for quite some time and while they live together, they have come to a point in their relationship where they hardly see each other and the spark between them seems to have just disappeared. Sarah's job at a furniture store also doesn't give her much satisfaction and her best friend Laura keeps urging her to dump Dan and start afresh. On a night out with her friends Jess and Beth, the girls decide to let Jess' new gorgeous room mate Elise honey trap Jess' boyfriend Richard. However, when Elise honey traps the wrong guy and Sarah continues to bump into the handsome Lee wherever she goes, her life suddenly changes from all sides. The question is: is it a change for the better and will Sarah finally find what she's been looking for all along?

'Third Time Lucky - The Honey Trap' is the first novel in a two-part series written by author Victoria Browne, and a chick lit read all about friendship and finding what makes you happy. I actually thought the plotline of the novel was quite original; I have never read any stories including a honey trap (and to be completely honest, I had no idea what it even was before picking up this novel!) and I think it's something that really works as a story element within the chick lit genre. While the novel had a good basis, I did personally miss certain things. There's a group of 4 friends at the core of the book (Laura, Beth, Jess, and a main focus on Sarah), but it felt like we didn't really get to know the girls. Not much detail was included of the characters' backgrounds, which would have been a nice extra layer to draw readers into the story and really relate to, for example, Sarah, which I wasn't really able to do while I was reading the book.

Victoria Browne's writing style is quick-paced and funny at times, which fit the genre quite well. However, I did think the story went a bit too fast every now and again, suddenly switching to another day/event, while more could have happened or been said to give the story just a bit more body and structure. Overall though, I am quite curious to read the second part in this series, so I will certainly pick up another one of the author's works in the future. 'Third Time Lucky - The Honeytrap' is a quite funny chick lit read with an original and promising storyline at its core, but a novel I would personally have enjoyed more with a bit more in-depth characters and more story detail.
Rating:7/10
 
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 October 2015

Exciting Release: 'The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas' by Carole Matthews

Christmas is just around the corner but the women of The Chocolate Lovers' Club have more to worry about than present shopping...

Lucy loves running Chocolate Heaven but she hasn't spent time with her boyfriend, Aiden, in weeks. And then her ex-fiance turns up and things become even more complicated. Nadia hasn't let herself get close to a man in a long time, yet she can't help feeling drawn to Jacob. Will he be her last chance for a happy ending? Chantal and her husband, Ted, are besotted with their baby daughter Lana - but she's not sure that's enough to base a marriage on. Autumn is dealing with a tragedy that has hit too close to home. But when she doesn't get the support she needs from her fiance, will she look elsewhere for comfort? 

Can friendship overcome all in... The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas.

This year October 22nd was one of those almost magical dates when a whole bunch of fabulous new books were released! I'm incredibly excited this day also included a new novel by Carole Matthews, one of the queens of chick lit, in my opinion. Christmas book season wouldn't be the same without a Carole Matthews Christmas story and this year she is treating us to another story starring the great characters of the Chocolate Lovers' Club. Carole's novels always leave me with a big smile on my face, and especially her Christmas reads are so incredibly lovely and festive... I can't wait to pick it up!

23 October 2015

Review: 'Missing You' by Louise Douglas (2015)

Fen works in a bookshop and is devoted to her young son, Connor, but she keeps herself to herself. Haunted by guilt and a terrible secret, Fen lives a life isolated from her family, far from home and too afraid of the past to risk becoming close to anyone. She is constantly looking over her shoulder, knowing that one day the truth will catch up with her. 

Sean, on the other hand, is enjoying a seemingly perfect life. He has a successful career, lives in his dream home and adores his beautiful wife, Belle, and their six-year-old daughter, Amy. That is until the day Belle announces she has found someone else and wants Sean to move out. 

Circumstance throws Fen and Sean together. Slowly their quiet friendship turns into something much deeper and the joy they find in one another eventually gives them the confidence to trust and love again. 

But will the past tear them apart just as they find happiness?

Last year I finally managed to sit down with a novel from an author that had been part of my authors-to-check-out list for quite some time; Louise Douglas. I have several of her novels at home and had read and heard many positive things from other readers. When I read and reviewed 'Your Beautiful Lies' last year (click here to read my review), I really enjoyed Louise's writing style and hoped I would be able to pick up one of her other novels soon and check out more of her work. Luckily, that moment came quite quick when I got a review copy of 'Missing You' through NetGalley, thanks to the lovely people at Bookouture. The novel actually won the Romantic Novelists Association People's Choice Award a few years back, so I was really curious to sit down with it and hoped I would end up enjoying it!

Fen hasn't had it easy, which is why she prefers to lead a quiet life together with her son Connor. She enjoys her job working in a local book shop, but mainly keeps to herself the rest of the time, afraid getting close to other people will only hurt her in the end. Sean is lucky enough to have everything he ever wanted in life: a great job, a beautiful wife, and a wonderful daughter named Amy. But then Belle suddenly reveals she has been seeing someone else and wants a divorce. Before he has time to even think about it, Sean finds himself looking for a place to stay which brings him to Fen, who is looking for someone to rent one of her spare rooms. As time passes, Fen and Sean slowly build up a friendship and there might even be more between them. But will everything that happened to them in the past prevent them from being able to love again or can they overcome their struggles and finally lay the past to rest...?

'Missing You' was actually released for the first time in 2010 and I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of the 2015 re-release by Bookouture. I was quite blown away by Louise Douglas' writing and how she managed to create a very specific atmosphere in the book, which fit the mood and experiences of the characters perfectly. Fen and Sean have both been through some difficult times and this feeling of sadness reflected really well in the writing, while also shaping the characters. I liked both Sean and Fen straight away and was really rooting for them, keeping my fingers crossed for a happy ending for the both of them. 

The novel is very realistic and I actually quite liked that Fen and Sean didn't fall head over heels in love with one another straight away, but how everything happened quite gradually. The main theme of the novel comes back in its title; Fen misses her family and particularly her brother, while Sean misses his old life with his wife Belle and daughter Amy. We all know the feeling of missing something, and the novel deals with that in a wonderful way and shows how to get through it and meet other people along the way who can help you. Overall, 'Missing You' is a well-written, beautiful, heart-warming story that really had me captivated from start to finish; not a light chick-lit read, but definitely one worth picking up. 
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.

22 October 2015

Exciting release: 'Bella's Christmas Bake Off' by Sue Watson!

Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials. 

But this year things are going to be different. 

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever. 

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off… 

After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember… 

Happy publication day to the lovely and wonderful Sue Watson! Her new festive novel 'Bella's Christmas Bake Off' is released today and it's a read I am really excited about. I've really enjoyed all of Sue's novels so far and I'm so happy she decided to release a fabulous Christmas-themed book this year. I already love the cover and the description of 'Bella's Christmas Bake Off' and I just know this will end up becoming one of my favourite 2015 Christmas reads. Baking and lots of Christmas cheer? Count me in! 

21 October 2015

Review: 'Amy Maxwell and the 7 Deadly Sins' by Heather Balog (2015)

Amy Maxwell still hasn’t caught up on laundry, her daughter Allie is still acting like a rebellious teen (and schooling her younger sister in that art), the two boys are still causing her to rip her hair out by the roots with their antics, and her husband Roger is STILL sitting in his arm chair uselessly engrossed in a reality show marathon. To add to her already mounting stress, Amy has decided to go back to school to get a degree! Yeah, yeah…she’s GLUTTON for punishment. And so Amy’s new quest for a career in law enforcement, coupled with the Seven Deadly sins, puts Amy in a position she’s never been before…the back of a trunk, bound and gagged. That’s right…Wrath, Greed, Lust, Sloth, Envy, Pride, and Gluttony are the reason she’s in her current predicament. And what’s more, they’re not all her sins, but the sins of everyone else around her including her oh so perfect sister, Beth.

I'm sure every book fanatic has specific book-related habits they just can't shake. I have this thing where I just can't start a series of books by picking up the second or third part; I need to start with the first part. I like to know all the history and background there is to know, so when I realise I have the second part of a series in my hands, I usually make sure to get a copy of the first part straight away and read that one first. However, when I started reading Heather Balog's 'Amy Maxwell and the 7 Deadly Sins', I had no idea it was actually the second part of a book series until I was already about 50 pages into the story (dilemma!). So, I took a deep breath and decided to shake my habit and finish this sequel without having read any other book by this author... and both the book and I survived, so I guess there's a first time for everything! ;-)

After quite a turbulent year (which included being kidnapped together with her daughter and then saving the day), Amy Maxwell is determined to get a grip on everyday things such as the household, her three children, her lazy husband and her own life. After her adventurous experiences she has even decided to go back to college to have one foot in the door of the law enforcement world, which is a dream of hers. However, Amy's first day at college isn't the biggest success and before she knows it, she has once again managed to get herself into all kinds of trouble. Only this time it happens to be together with her perfect older sister Beth. Question is, will Amy be able to save the day a second time around or is she simply in too deep?

'Amy Maxwell and the 7 Deadly Sins' is the second part of author Heather Balog's 'Amy Maxwell' series and the sequel to 'The 8 Mistakes of Amy Maxwell.' I personally always prefer to start a book series at the very beginning, but I didn't even know this was a sequel until I was already about 50 pages into the novel. While I did feel I had missed some important information because of this (such as the fact that protagonist Amy and her daughter are kidnapped in the first part), the author provides the reader with details in order to also be able to read this second part as a stand-alone. I liked the author's writing style; it was well-paced, easy to read and quite funny in places.

Amy leads a chaotic life which gets her into the craziest situations. Sometimes you have characters in books that manage to find themselves in all kinds of trouble, no matter what they do, and Amy is definitely one of those characters. At times it did all seem a bit far-fetched, but I guess that's also what made the novel fun to read. Sometimes Amy annoyed me a bit with the things she did and said, but she also made me laugh and I didn't want to stop reading until I knew how the story would end. 'Amy and the 7 Deadly Sins' was quite an entertaining and crazy read; not one everyone will enjoy, but also one some people will love. I'm glad I got the chance to be introduced to Heather Balog's writing and I can't help but admit I'm quite curious what Amy will manage to get herself into next!
Rating:7,5/10
 
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.

20 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me

'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!
 
 
10 Wishes I'd Ask the Book Genie to Grant Me

If only a book genie would really exist! I love the topic of this week's Top Ten Tuesday list and have been spending way too much time already thinking of possible wishes the book genie could grant me, haha. However, I managed to come up with 10 which would make me a very happy bunny, so be sure to check out my list below. 

Be sure to share your own TTT's in the comments section below; I'd love to hear from you! 



1. Another 7 Harry Potter books



My first wish for the book genie would definitely be another several Harry Potter books. There hasn't been any book series that I've read which I fell in love with as much as I fell in love with Harry Potter, so another few books in the series would just be brilliant.



2. Jane Austen to come back to life

Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors, so I would want her to come back to life to finish 'Sanditon', write another couple of books, and become my new best friend (I'd also be happy with just the chance to meet her, but I have to make use of this book genie, obviously!). 



3. My own beautiful library


Like almost any book lover I'd love to have my own beautiful library in my own home <3



4. For paperbacks/hardbacks to stay available forever

I have no idea what the future is going to look like, but I really hope e-books won't take over the whole book market. Actual books needs to stay available forever and book stores that sell and smell like actual books should never disappear.



5. To find a new book series I will completely fall in love with

Falling in love with a book series and getting incredibly excited about the release date of the next part... I love that feeling and I unfortunately haven't had it since the Harry Potter books. I'd love to fall in love with a new book series and feel that excitement again!



6. To be able to find an amazing job within the book world



I really enjoy my current job, but it would be a dream come true to actually make a living with my love for books. To work in a beautiful library, to do lots of research and spend time in beautiful libraries all over the world, to work in a wonderful book shop, to work for a publisher and spend all day around books...



7. To become best friends with the Bennet family

Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' is a fantastic book and I've always loved the Bennet family. The 5 sisters and their parents seem like a great family to become friends with, so I'd ask the book genie for that wish as well.



8. To be able to visit the loveliest fictional English towns



I often read books and wish the town in which the story takes place would actually exist. I'd love it if some of these fictional places would become reality so I could actually visit them!





9. To have the complete chick lit collection

There are so many chick lit novels which I still need to add to my collection. It would be great to have the book genie snap its fingers and have some of the books I'm still missing.




10. To enjoy reading for the rest of my life as much as I do now



I hope I will never lose my love for reading and books in general and that it will continue to make me happy until I'm old!