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31 May 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - 10 Books I Plan to Read on the Beach

'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 Books I Plan to Read on the Beach

Oh, just the idea of the beach is making me long for the summer and particularly my summer holiday...! I'm not really going to the beach, because I'm going to Scotland, which I am incredibly excited about, but beach reads are the same as holiday reads for me; light-hearted and lovely books I am sure I will enjoy and will make me smile. The 10 books below have been at the top of my TBR for quite some time now and I can't wait to finally sit down with them!

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



1. 'The Secrets of Happiness' - Lucy Diamond


I love Lucy Diamond's novels; her stories never disappoint and always make me smile, so they're the perfect summer holiday reads.



2. 'Always the Bridesmaid' - Lindsey Kelk


I'm a big fan of Lindsey Kelk's writing and I can't believe I still haven't read 'Always the Bridesmaid'... Definitely at the top of my list for books to read this summer!



3. 'The Little Shop of Happy Ever After' - Jenny Colgan


I've loved the description of 'The Little Shop of Happy Ever After' ever since I read it for the first time and I'm determined to finally check the book out on my holiday this year.



4. 'Rules for a Successful Book Club' - Victoria Connelly


I really really want to check out Victoria Connelly's The Book Lovers series. I just know I will love these books, but so far I haven't had time to read them.



5. 'The Night That Changed Everything' - Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice


I read Laura Tait and Jimm Rice's debut novel and loved it, so I've been really excited about also reading this second novel of theirs... Hopefully this summer!



6. 'Eligible' - Curtis Sittenfeld


This has to be one of the 2016 releases I have been most excited about. It's a Jane Austen retelling and I really can't WAIT to finally read it.



7. 'The One We Fell in Love With' - Paige Toon


It's been quite a while since I read a Paige Toon novel, but she's a great author and I'm quite excited to once again check out one of her works.



8. 'The Love of a Lifetime' - Melissa Hill


This book sounds like the perfect read for a romantic girl like me and I think it will be the perfect summer/beach read <3



9. 'The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts' - Annie Darling


Another simply lovely novel I can't wait to read.



10. 'Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel' - Jane Costello
This even looks like the perfect summer read, right?! 

30 May 2016

Review: 'Seeking the Star' by Traci Borum (2015)

One December night, in the sleepy Cotswold village of Chilton Crosse, a drifter named Ben collapses on George and Mary Cartwright’s snow-covered doorstep. As Christmas cheer spreads throughout the village with a Dickens-themed festival, Mary nurses Ben back to health, but she becomes curious about the secrets he seems to carry. 

On Christmas Eve, one of Ben’s secrets accidentally comes to light, forcing him to confront the darkness of his past and to rediscover the faith he once knew.

Every reader has their own ticks or habits they just can't shake. I've got two: when I start a book, I need to finish it, whether I'm enjoying it or not; and I can't read Christmas books unless it's November/December. I just can't help it, but reading a Christmas-themed novel in May when the sun is shining... It just doesn't feel right! When I started reading Traci Borum's 'Seeking the Star', which had been on my review pile for too long already, I didn't even realise it was a novella with a Christmas touch to it. However, as soon as I start a book, I need to finish it, and breaking two of my habits in one go was a bit too much... So, time to share a Christmas book review, even though it's almost June!

Chilton Crosse is a small Cotswold village where nothing too exciting happens, which suits elderly couple Mary and George Cartwright just right. They've seen enough misery in their lives, and the calm and pleasant atmosphere in the town is what they appreciate and have come to love. Until one December night Mary finds a strange man on their doorstep; a man who has collapsed and needs help. Mary and George don't think twice about taking him in and slowly but surely they get to know a bit more about Ben. But it's clear Ben is hiding something; the question is whether he will be able to share his worries with others or whether he will spend this Christmas alone.

I loved the first two parts of Traci Borum's Chilton Crosse series and was really excited to read this third instalment, which is more of a novella than an actual full-length novel with its roughly 160 pages. Traci is a great storyteller; her writing style is so comfortable to read and a great mix between description and dialogue, and with Chilton Crosse she has created an amazing little Cotswold village with a fascinating group of characters which I can't get enough of. In 'Seeking the Star' we meet a few new characters, but some old and familiar faces also make an appearance. It was easy to warm to elderly couple Mary and George; they are such caring and simply lovely people, I can't imagine any reader not liking them!

While the novella has the foundations for a great story, I couldn't help but feel something was missing. There are elements of Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' in the novella, but I personally missed some kind of romance element. I also thought the ending was quite sudden and it left me with quite a few questions. Personally, I think I expected a bit more because I loved Traci's other two novels so much and this one is slightly different, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, because I did. The novella can also be read as a stand-alone, if you are thinking about picking this up without having read the other parts of the Chilton Crosse series. Overall, 'Seeking the Star' is a warm and enjoyable Christmas-themed novella; not my favourite Traci Borum read, but still a story that will bring some light during those dark winter days!
Rating:8/10
 
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.

28 May 2016

Blog Tour: 'Last Dance in Havana' by Rosanna Ley!

Cuba, 1958. Elisa is only sixteen years old when she meets Duardo and she knows he's the love of her life from the moment they first dance the rumba together in downtown Havana. But Duardo is a rebel, determined to fight in Castro's army, and Elisa is forced to leave behind her homeland and rebuild her life in distant England. But how can she stop longing for the warmth of Havana, when the music of the rumba still calls to her?

England, 2012. Grace has a troubled relationship with her father, whom she blames for her beloved mother's untimely death. And this year more than ever she could do with a shoulderto cry on - Grace's career is in flux, she isn't sure she wants the baby her husband is so desperate to have and, worst of all, she's begun to develop feelings for their best friend Theo. Theo is a Cuban born magician but even he can't make Grace's problems disappear. Is the passion Grace feels for Theo enough to risk her family's happiness?

I'm both excited and honoured to be a part of the blog tour for Rosanna Ley's newest book 'Last Dance in Havana', which was released on May 19th by Quercus, today! I was first introduced to Rosanna's writing when I got the chance to read and review her novel 'The Saffron Trail' last year (click here to read my review), which I really enjoyed. I had been looking forward to checking out another one of Rosanna's works, so when I got the chance to be part of her blog tour I immediately said yes. Be sure to also check out the exclusive guest post from Rosanna herself in which she tells us a bit more about the research she did to write 'Last Dance in Havana', so don't forget to scroll down!

'Last Dance in Havana' is mainly set in modern-day England and 1950s Cuba; two completely different places connected by the main characters in the book. Elisa fell in love with Duardo as soon as she saw him for the first time, but their love is a complicated one, especially when Duardo decides he wants to be a part of the Cuban revolution. Now, many years later, Elisa can't help but still long for Duardo and Cuba, even though she has built up a new life for herself in England. Elisa's daughter-in-law Grace is facing problems of her own; her husband wants to have children, which Grace isn't too sure about, especially not now she notices she is developing feelings for her good friend Theo. Both Elisa and Grace need to figure out what it is they want from life, and, most importantly, whether they can find that in England...

Rosanna Ley has the ability to really transport her readers to another time and place with her words, and that's definitely what she also managed to do with her latest release 'Last Dance in Havana.' I loved joining main characters Elisa and Grace, who each had their own fascinating storyline, which were also connected to one another in a clever way. I particularly warmed to Elisa; I really liked her from the start and was rooting for her to find the happiness she had been longing for for quite some time already. While I had a bit more difficulty warming to Grace, her storyline did interest me and every time I had a free moment I picked up the novel, curious to see what was going to happen next.

This is only my second novel by author Rosanna Ley but I've really come to admire her vibrant and realistic descriptions of faraway locations, such as Cuba in this particular book. It's clear she's an author that does her research and as I was reading the book I could easily imagine myself walking down the streets in Havana, putting myself into Elisa's shoes. While I do feel the book could perhaps have been a bit shorter (it's almost 500 pages) in order to keep a steady pace at all times, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for Rosanna to treat us to another gorgeous read. 'Last Dance in Havana' is a vibrant, well-written, convincing tale about love, family and finding happiness; a great piece of women's fiction and definitely a read to pick up if you're looking for a quick escape or a bit of sunshine!
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.



Guest Post by Rosanna Ley!

I'm both honoured and excited to welcome Rosanna Ley to the blog today; in the post below she tells us all a bit more about the research she did before writing 'Last Dance in Havana'.

Cuba was way outside my personal experience - writing this novel would be a challenge. 

To help me on my way I began with an overview of the country – culture, history, geography - from books such as Enduring Cuba by Zoe Bran; documentaries and films like Soy Cuba directed by Mikhail Kalatozov.  And then there’s the Internet, of course... 

I had some themes in mind. Massage and magic (I don’t know any magicians but I had some lovely massages) power and control and dancing. In Biography of a Runaway Slave by Miguel Barnett I discovered the amazing Esteban Montejo. This young African slave on a Cuban sugar plantation, was also a runaway, fought in the War of Independence and experienced the Cuban Revolution before he died at the age of 113, in 1973 - the hundredth anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Cuba. Wow. What a life...

No Way Home by Carlos Acosta helped me imagine how it would be to leave Cuba, and since I was planning to write about the rumba, I also enjoyed watching him dance! And Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara helped me explore how it might have felt to fight in the Revolution.

And then it was time to go there... I visited Havana, Trinidad, Vinales and Cayo Levisa. I walked the streets, looking for where my characters might live, work, play. I imagined places as they might have been in the 1940s, during the Revolution, when slaves worked on sugar plantations in Valle de los Ingenios. And I talked to as many Cuban people as possible to get their take on the politics, the living conditions, the culture. It was a challenge, yes. But it was so much fun, trying to get the flavour...

27 May 2016

Review: 'The Callahan Split' by Lisa Heidke (2015)

The Callahan Split: No one knows you better than your sister. In tennis, as in life, nothing ever goes truly to plan.

Samantha and Annie Callahan are successful doubles champions — the toast of the Olympics, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadow. But their winning partnership spirals out of control when Annie’s new boyfriend announces their engagement at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Bear, the sisters’ coach, guides Annie as much as she’ll allow. But when she insists on dropping Samantha in favour of a singles career, her game and rankings plummet. Samantha is left floundering. Disillusioned, her only sweet spot is the growing passion between her and Bear. 

Amidst rising anger and betrayal, Samantha completely changes both their destinies when she does the unthinkable after a devastating Wimbledon loss. The sisters are driven to create new lives by confronting the past and taking control of the present. But can Samantha and Annie both win?

I've never really been the sporty kind of girl; I was never good at them and have never been really interested in sports in general. Yes, I enjoy watching the Olympics every now and again (who doesn't?), but that's really where it kind of stops, if I'm honest. However, when it comes to books I think it's important as a book blogger to give everything a shot at least once, so when I was contacted about reviewing Lisa Heidke's 2015 novel 'The Callahan Split', in which tennis plays an important role, I said yes. While sports definitely form a big part of the story, I was intrigued by the blurb and curious to check out this author who I hadn't heard of before... And who knows, perhaps I would learn a thing or two about tennis along the way!

Professional doubles tennis players and sisters Samantha and Annie Callahan have everything going for them. After winning a gold medal for Australia at the Olympics, they are now the favourites to also win the Australian Open. However, their position as favourites is jeopardised when Annie's new boyfriend unexpectedly proposes to Annie right before the start of an important match. Annie is over the moon, but her game obviously suffers from it and this is only the start of a downwards spiral for both the partnership between Annie and Samantha, which also influences their bond as sisters. Annie and Samantha find themselves at a crossroads, both wanting different things. But will they be able to work things out, both on a professional as well as on a personal level?

'The Callahan Split' is author Lisa Heidke's sixth novel already, but my personal first experience with her writing. I wasn't too sure what to expect exactly when I started reading, but I was really captivated by Annie and Samantha's story from the first chapter and just didn't want to put the book down, but see what was going to happen next. I also really enjoyed the tennis/competition element in the book, to my personal surprise; I really felt myself rooting for Samantha and Annie and hoping they would overcome their differences and win. Unfortunately, this feeling didn't last throughout the entire book; at a certain point the story slowed down a bit and it didn't captivate me as much as the first part did, even though I was still curious to see what would happen to Annie and Samantha. 

While I was interested in both Annie and Samantha and their storylines, I didn't really warm to them. If I had to pick one sister I could relate to it's probably Samantha, but some of her actions just made me want to jump into the novel and slap her in the face. I also missed a convincing romance storyline for both sisters; there is an element of romance in the book but I thought it was a bit disappointing. I know this review will probably come across as a negative one, but it definitely isn't all negative. I enjoyed this read; I think the great and addictive first 100 pages just made me expect something different than the direction the novel eventually took. Overall, though, I think 'The Callahan Split' has been a promising first Lisa Heidke read for me and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
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.

26 May 2016

Review: 'Prejudice and Pride' by Lynn Messina (2015)

You know Darcy: rich, proud, standoffish, disapproving, one of the greatest romantic heroes of all time. But you don't know this Darcy because THIS Darcy is a woman. 

In PREJUDICE & PRIDE, Lynn Messina’s modern retelling with a gender-bendy twist, everything is vaguely familiar and yet wholly new. Bingley is here, in the form of Charlotte "Bingley" Bingston, an heiress staying at the Netherfield hotel on Central Park, as is Longbourn, transformed from an ancestral home into a perennially cash-strapped art museum on the edge of the city. Naturally, it employs an audacious fundraiser with an amused glint in his eye called Bennet. 

All the favorite characters are present and cleverly updated: Providing the cringe-worthy bon mots is Mr. Meryton, the nerve-wracked executive director of the Longbourn who’s always on the lookout for heiresses to join his museum’s very important committees. (Universally acknowledged truth: Any woman in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a social committee to chair.) Collin Parsons is still in obsequious, if ironic, awe of his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. The wicked Georgia Wickham toils as a graphic designer at Redcoat Design by day and schemes against Darcy by night.

Ever since I first read 'Pride and Prejudice' when I was a teenager, I've been a big fan of Jane Austen and almost anything connected to her in one way or another. I love checking out adaptations of her novels, whatever kind they may be: modern-day retellings, from the point of view of another character, an important change of events, featuring vampires and/or zombies (yes, even those!). So, when I found Lynn Messina's 'Prejudice and Pride' on NetGalley, I straight away requested the novel and luckily got approved! I actually already read 'Little Vampire Women', the author's adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel 'Little Women', so I was really curious to see what she had decided to do with this particular classic!

Brothers Bennet and John Bethle both live in New York City and work at the Longbourn Collection, a relatively small art museum in the city. Their boss Mr. Meryton is always on the look-out for people to help fund the museum, including young and rich socialites who can organise events and help spread the word. So when heiress Charlotte Bingston, known to her friends as Bingley, comes to town, Mr. Meryton is set on John and Bennet charming her to invest some of her money in the museum. However, Charlotte's best friend Darcy Fitzwilliam isn't amused by the brothers and particularly their boss, and their acquaintance leads to quite a bit more than both parties initially expected...

As a big Jane Austen fan I was really curious to check out Lynn Messina's 'Prejudice and Pride', which is not only a modern-day retelling of Austen's classic novel set in New York City, but also one in which the genders are swapped. I loved looking for the differences and similarities with the original novel and discovering what the author had decided to change or even do completely different. We've got a male Elizabeth and a female Mr. Darcy in the form of Bennet and Darcy, which I thought was great. I also loved what the author decided to do with Mrs. Bennet in the form of Mr. Meryton, younger brother Lydon as the infamous Lydia, and Darcy's gay cousin Collin, who was quite fabulous and a great new interpretation of the character in my opinion!

I do have to admit I missed the sparks between Darcy and Bennet; the chemistry between the two of them unfortunately wasn't really there for me, which is quite an important aspect of this romance story. In some instances the author also decided to use specific Jane Austen quotes/language which just didn't really fit in with the modern-day setting and feel of the story. However, don't get me wrong, I did really enjoy this Austen adaptation and my first gender-swap retelling and definitely recommend it to any Austen fans out there. 'Prejudice and Pride' is a fascinating and original retelling of Jane Austen's most famous novel; a thoroughly enjoyable read and new take on this classic romance that fits the modern day and age.
Rating:8/10
 
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.

25 May 2016

Review: 'Somewhere Only We Know' by Erin Lawless (2015)

Boy meets girl…

Alex Bradley can't help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.

Girl meets boy…

Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back to Russia.

Girl gets deported?

It's going to be a bumpy ride, one she's dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes.

From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late?

Oh wow, isn't the book cover of Erin Lawless' novel 'Somewhere Only We Know' one of the most gorgeous covers you've ever seen?! I love everything about it, especially the references to London and the Tube, and this cover alone would already be more than enough for me to want to pick up this book. However, I was also determined to read this novel because I missed Erin's debut 'The Best Thing I Never Had', about which many book bloggers were quite enthusiastic. Harper Impulse is one of my favourite publishers, so I was really happy when I got a review copy of 'Somewhere Only We Know' and the chance to finally check out Erin Lawless' writing for myself!

Twenty-something Alex Bradley doesn't particularly love his job at the UK Immigration department, but it pays the rent. One day, he finds himself with an interesting letter in his hand, namely a request for a Nadia Osipova to be allowed to stay on in the UK. Without any money, no steady job and no boyfriend, Nadia is on the verge of being back deported to Russia, even though she knows the UK is her real home since she arrived when she was just a teenager to go to boarding school. As if it was faith, Alex unexpectedly meets the real Nadia at a pub quiz at a local pub and they become friends. As Nadia gets ready to leave London, she takes Alex on a journey to visit all of her favourite spots and do the sightseeing she never got to do. Alex can't help but grow more and more fond of Nadia, but will he realise what's right in front of him before it's too late?

I'm really glad I got the chance to read and review 'Somewhere Only We Know' because I ended up thoroughly enjoying my first Erin Lawless novel, and I'm sure this won't be my last one! Erin has a great writing style that goes really well with the chick lit genre, in my opinion, and I loved reading about Nadia and Alex and their lives. I have to admit I was a bit doubtful about the topic of immigration playing an important role in this novel, because I had no idea which direction this would go in and how serious this would make the story, but the author really did a wonderful job tackling this topic and creating a fascinating and lovely story around it with some great characters at its core.

The story is told from both a male and female perspective in the form of Alex and Nadia. I really liked both main characters from the start, and especially the scenes in which they featured together were my favourite with the clear chemistry and fun dialogue between the two of them. There were several aspects to the main storyline with things going on in both Alex's and Nadia's lives, making sure to keep the reader's attention at all times. I was also quite surprised by the ending of the novel which I did not see coming, but I don't want to give anything away. Overall, 'Somewhere Only We Know' is a thoroughly entertaining, fun and well-written romantic comedy that I really enjoyed from start to finish, and enough for me to straight away add Erin Lawless to my list of authors to look out for!
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.

24 May 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

'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 Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a good one; one that really got me thinking! I read a lot of books; some books I almost never think about again, but there are also books that stay with you, or books that keep you thinking and wondering. It wasn't too difficult to come up with 10 books I feel differently about now than when I was reading them/just read them, so check out my list below and be sure to share your own as well!

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



1. 'Harry Potter' book series - J.K. Rowling


When I started the 'Harry Potter' books I immediately loved them and couldn't get enough of them, but I think it took a bit of time for me to really appreciate how incredibly amazing these books are and what a brilliant storyteller J.K. Rowling is. There really isn't anything quite like these books out there and I'm curious to see whether there ever will be.



2. 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' - Roald Dahl


I read this book for the first time when I was 12 or 13 years old, I think, and it's a book you definitely look at in a different way when you're an adult. There are so many layers in this book, and this is definitely a good example of a book I feel differently about after many years have passed since I read it for the very first time.



3. 'The Notebook' - Nicholas Sparks


'The Notebook' is a story that, with time, only seems to get better and better. Every time I watch the film or read the novel again, I am once again amazed by the beautiful love story between Noah and Allie; definitely one of my all-time favourites.



4. 'Pride and Prejudice' - Jane Austen


It's not just 'Pride and Prejudice' but all Jane Austen's works really; I feel differently about her books now because I've come to love and appreciate her work so much more over the years and reading these classics has really become a different experience than when I first picked up these books as a 16-year-old girl.



5. 'The Hunger Games' - Suzanne Collins


I actually really enjoyed 'The Hunger Games', the first part of Suzanne Collins' trilogy, when I picked it up for the first time. However, since I've finished the series and know how everything ends, I just don't really like the books anymore and can't help but have a 'meh' feeling when thinking about them.



6. 'From Notting Hill with Love... Actually' - Ali McNamara


I have nothing but love for Ali McNamara and her novels. Her very first book 'From Notting Hill with Love... Actually' is chick lit at its best, and I don't think I really realised that when I read the book for the first time.



7. 'The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants' - Ann Brashares


Oh, how I loved 'The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants' when I was a teenager. I really loved this series, but about two years ago or something I finally read the fifth and final part of the series and that just completely changed the way I feel about these books. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but it just really affected my feelings towards this series.



8. 'Party Girl' - Rachel Hollis


'Party Girl' is a book which I loved from start to finish, and as I read more and more books I'm starting to appreciate more and more how rare it is to find a book in which you just love everything and how you just do not want the story to ever end.



9. 'Wickham Hall' - Cathy Bramley


I think the same thing I mentioned above for 'Party Girl' goes for Cathy Bramley's 'Wickham Hall' as well. This book really has everything in it I could ask for from a book, and as time passes I sometimes think about it and wish I could pick it up again for the very first time, enjoying it all over again.



10. 'Tempting Fate' - Jane Green


There are quite a number of novels out there that deal with the topic of infidelity. It's something I feel quite strongly about, and I am still blown away by Jane Green's novel 'Tempting Fate' in which she deals with this topic in an incredible way that really got to me. As I read other novels about cheating, I always think of this book and appreciate it even more, realising Jane Green really is a terrific author.

23 May 2016

Blog Tour: 'B-Side' by Elle Field!

Etta Millhouse has always had big musical ambitions to match her big voice, but she’s also got three very big problems - the addiction she won’t admit to, her godmother’s illness she can no longer ignore, and her godmother’s useless business partner (who she wishes she could ignore). 

Keeping an eye on Arielle’s bad business decisions is the last thing Etta wants to do when she’s offered the chance to record a demo with a top producer. But, a promise is a promise, even if it has her reaching for another pick-me-up... And then another. And then one more. 

When the secret she must keep for her godmother, Felicity, sends her drug habit spiralling out of control, can Etta battle her demons in time and make her dream happen? Or, will her music career be over before it’s even begun?

Today I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour for Elle Field's latest release, 'B-Side'! 'B-Side' is part 2.5 of Elle's Arielle Lockley series and provides us readers with an insight into the life of another one of the characters in the series, namely Etta Millhouse. I've really enjoyed the other parts of the series so far, so I was excited and curious to read this extra instalment and look at things from another character's perspective for a change. Be sure to also check out some of the other stops on the blog tour, you can visit Elle's Blog to view all the stops, and enter the giveaway which you can find at the bottom of this blog post!

It has always been Etta Millhouse's dream to become a famous singer; music is her passion and she couldn't imagine doing anything else. So when she is finally offered the chance to record an actual demo, she's over the moon. However, as with any dream, Etta has to face quite a number of challenges on the way, including the addiction she knows she has but won't admit to and the illness of her godmother whom she doesn't want to lose. Next to that, she also needs to check up on Arielle, her godmother's new business partner, which only adds to the stress and before she knows it, Etta is forced to make some pretty important decisions about her life and career...

I was quite excited when I heard Elle Field would be releasing an extra instalment of her Arielle Lockley series; book 2.5 focusing on a completely different character in the form of Etta Millhouse. I think the words 'completely different' fit quite well here, because from the first few pages of the book it already becomes clear that Etta is indeed the complete opposite of Arielle, the main character throughout this series. I would be lying if I said it was easy for me to warm to Etta, because I found her a very troubled and challenging character which I had difficulty relating to and understanding. This did make this a bit of a tricky read for me, because I just didn't really like Etta and this feeling unfortunately didn't change as the story progressed.

I definitely recommend not picking this up as a stand-alone; it's a book that's best appreciated when read as a part of the whole series, so you know the background and the different characters and their relationships. Elle's writing style is captivating and well-paced and even though Etta just isn't my type of character, the story held my attention until the end and I'm already curious to read part 3 of the series, 'Found', which will be released later this year. Overall, 'B-Side' is an interesting addition to the Arielle Lockley series; a book that is just a bit darker than the other parts of the series and even though I'm sure others will really enjoy this, I personally prefer Elle's more light-hearted work, the chick lit-esque novels that make me smile!
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.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

22 May 2016

Upcoming Release: 'One Last Summer at Hideaway Bay' by Zoe Cook!


Lucy, hi. It’s Tom. How are you? It’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to get in touch but it’s hard to know how to after so much time. I hear you’re doing really well up there. I knew you would be.

You should come here, you know, back to Hideaway bay. Come and see everyone, see how little it’s all changed. Feel the sand between your toes, the Cornish sea breeze on your face. When the sun hits the surf in that way it does, it’s as magical as ever.

That’s why I’m writing to you, actually. I want to get the gang back together again, one last time before…well…just one last time. You should come too. The four of us, a summer on the beach, like old times. We all want you here for it. I want you here for it. It’s been so long since I saw you.

I still think about you.

Tom

Isn't that book blurb already enough reason to want to pick up Zoe Cook's summer novel 'One Last Summer at Hideaway Bay' this month? It definitely is for me! I can't wait to find out more about Lucy and Tom's story and see what happens to them. The book will be released this upcoming week and I can't wait to get myself a copy!



20 May 2016

The Reader Problems Book Tag

It's been a while since I've done a book tag, so I had a quick browse around some of the book blogs I visit and found the Reader Problems Book Tag on My Tiny Obsessions

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next? 
Haha, luckily I don't actually have 20,000 books on my TBR list, but sometimes it feels like it...! I usually have planned for myself what I need to read next in order to meet publisher/author requests for a review, but other times I just randomly decide what kind of book I want to read based on my mood (a feel-good read, a challenging read, a happy read, etc.).

2. You're halfway through a book and you're just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?
I'm committed. I have this tick that I just can't NOT finish a book, so even if a book is boring me to tears, I finish it, even though I do skip some pages if things get too bad...! 
3. The end of the year is coming and you're so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?
Hmmm, if it's really that close to the end of the year I think I would just adjust my goal instead of staying up day and night to read and try to reach it. However, if I am quite close to reaching my goal and I just need to go that extra mile, I'd definitely do all I could to reach that milestone... Except for staying up all night reading, because that's just something I can't do, I get too tired too quickly, haha! 

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?
I cope by buying matching ones, so I have a complete series. But I'd only do that for series I really loved, otherwise I would just learn to live with the different covers!

5. Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don't like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?
I think I would try to find a friend in real life or online who actually feels the same way I do. And if I can't find anyone, I'm afraid my boyfriend will have to accept my complaining and nod yes every few minutes!

6. You're reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?
Been there, done that...! I usually try to stop my tears the best I can, and if it doesn't work I try to hide them as soon as possible or stop reading for a sec, take a breather, and perhaps wait with finishing until I get home. 

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you've forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads?
I think I would first try to find a synopsis somewhere and if I still feel I don't remember enough to start with the sequel, I'd try to read the first part again before starting on the new book... But if I was really really excited about the sequel, honestly, I think I would just dive in and hope my memory wouldn't let me down!

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. Borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?
Oh, this is a tricky one. I think I would just try my best to explain to people that I'm a bit crazy like that and don't want to lend out my books because of some bad experiences in the past with people not returning my books or ruining my books...?

9. You've picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?
By picking up a novel I will definitely love and will hopefully get me back in the reading mood again. I have to admit, though, *knocks on wood*, I've never been in a reading slump, so can't speak from experience! 

10. There are so many new books coming out that you're dying to read! How many do you actually buy?
I'd probably add some to my wishlist and only get the ones I really really really can't wait to read immediately and which are decently priced and not too expensive.

11. After you've bought the new books you can't wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?
Way, way, WAY too long... I hardly ever get to read the books I buy myself because of the many review requests I accept, so the books will most likely sit on my shelf until the summer holiday, when I always only read books I've picked myself and don't have to review.