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30 November 2016

December 2016 Releases!

And all of a sudden we're about to reach the last month of 2016. Can you believe it?! I know I can't. This year went by incredibly fast and included some amazing new books. Luckily, the end isn't here quite yet and we still have the best month of all waiting for us: December! There aren't that many new book releases coming up in the next few weeks, but still a number of promising titles to add to your wishlist straight away. Check it out below!

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! :)

'All I Ever Wanted' - Lucy Dillon (1 December)

Caitlin's life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.

Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.

Nancy's Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.

But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages - and about what they both really want...

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'The Snow Rose' - Lulu Taylor (1 December)

I know they think I shouldn't keep her... That's why I've escaped them while I can, while I still have the opportunity...

Kate is on the run with her daughter Heather, her identity hidden and their destination unknown to the family they've left behind. She's found a place where they can live in solitude, a grand old house full of empty rooms and dark secrets. But they're not alone, for there are the strange old ladies in the cottage next door: Matty and her sister Sissy. They know what happened here long ago, and are curious about Kate. How long can she hide Heather's presence from them?

When an eccentric band of newcomers arrive, led by the charismatic Archer, Kate realizes that the past she's so desperate to escape is about to catch up with her. And inside the house, history is beginning to repeat itself...

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'The Christmas Promise' - Sue Moorcroft (1 December)

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.

So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Lift and Separate' - Marilyn Simon Rothstein (1 December)

Marcy Hammer’s life has been turned upside down. Her husband, the head of a global brassiere empire, didn’t think twice about leaving her after thirty-three years of marriage for a 32DD lingerie model. Now Harvey the Home-Wrecker is missing in action, but Marcy’s through thinking about what a cliché he is. What she needs now is a party-size bag of potato chips, a good support system, and a new dress.

Striking out on her own is difficult at first, but Marcy manages to find traces of humor in her heartbreak. Even while devastated by Harvey’s departure, she still has her indomitable spirit and her self-respect. She has no intention of falling apart, either, even when her adult children drop a few bombshells of their own and she discovers a secret about her new, once-in-a-lifetime friend. Life may be full of setbacks, but by lifting herself up by her own lacy straps, Marcy just may be able to handle them all.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'The Girl from the Tea Garden' - Janet Macleod Trotter (6 December)

In the dying days of the Raj, Anglo-Indian schoolgirl Adela Robson dreams of a glamorous career on the stage. When she sneaks away from school in the back of handsome Sam Jackman’s car, she knows a new life awaits—but it is not the one she imagined.

In Simla, the summer seat of the Raj government, Adela throws herself into all the dazzling entertainments 1930s Indian society can offer a beautiful debutante. But just as her ambitions seem on the cusp of becoming reality, she meets a charming but spoilt prince, setting in motion a devastating chain of events.

The outbreak of the Second World War finds Adela back in England—a country she cannot remember—without hope or love, and hiding a shameful secret. Only exceptional courage and endurance can pull her through these dark times and carry her back to the homeland of her heart.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Mad Love' - Nick Spalding (6 December)

Can two people who have never met make a marriage work? Popular dating site Sociality thinks so, and is marrying London lad Adam to California girl Jessica to prove it.

What better way to show that your ‘love algorithms’ work than to put two complete strangers together in an expensive publicity stunt? But, as livewire Jess and lazybones Adam quickly discover, just because a computer says you’re the perfect match, it doesn’t make it so!

Two million Sociality subscribers and the media are following the happy couple’s progress, and they have to make a go of it or they’ll lose everything, look like idiots, and destroy Sociality’s reputation. But can the mismatched pair, who seem to be constantly at each other’s throats, put their differences aside and work their way into each other’s hearts?

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Days Like These' - Sue Margolis (8 December)

Recently widowed, Judy Schofield jumps at the chance to look after her two grandchildren for six weeks, while their parents are out of the country. After all, she's already raised one set of children - and quite successfully, if she may say so herself. 

But as weeks become months, Judy feels more and more like an outsider among the young mothers with all their parenting theories at her grandchildren's snooty private school, until she finds a friend in another grandmother - and a man who takes her mind off all the stress. She just needs to take it one food allergy, one incomprehensible homework assignment and one major meltdown at a time.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses' - Carole Matthews (15 December)

Christie Chapman is a single working mother who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It can be tough just getting through the day but Christie has always found comfort in her love of crafting and any spare time she has is spent in her parents' summerhouse working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed birthday cards to personalised gifts, Christie's flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it's not long before opportunity comes knocking. All of a sudden Christie sees a different future for her and Finn - one full of hope and possibility, and if the handsome Max Alexander is to be believed, one full of love too. It's all there for the taking.

And then, all of sudden, Christie's world is turned upside down.

Christie knows that something has to give, but what will she choose? Will she give up her dreams and the chance of real love? What price will she pay for doing the right thing? Can Christie find her happy ending in... Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Always in My Heart' - Freda Lightfoot (15 December)

Brenda Stuart returns to her late husband’s home devastated by his loss only to find herself accused of bestowing favours upon the Germans.

Life has been difficult for her over the war, having been held in an internment camp in France simply because of her nationality. Thankful that her son at least was safe in the care of his grandmother, she now finds that she has lost him too, and her life is in turmoil.

Prue, her beloved sister-in-law, is also a war widow but has now fallen in love with an Italian PoW who works on the family estate. Once the war ends they hope to marry but she has reckoned without the disapproval of her family, or the nation.
The two friends support each other in an attempt to resolve their problems and rebuild their lives. They even try starting a business, but it does not prove easy.

 

'Small Admissions' - Amy Poeppel (27 December)

Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiancé,” she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.

Miraculously, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as “the dark time.” As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

Meanwhile, Kate’s sister and her closest friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome downstairs neighbor is more than he seems. Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected.

29 November 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Gift Guide - Classic Novels 101

'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!
 
 
Holiday Gift Guide - Classic Novels 101

Each year I tell myself that I will try my best to read some more classic novels. I think it's important as a reader to at least give several classics a chance, because these classics shaped the literary world of today. However, sometimes it can be quite daunting to start some of these big titles... So for this week's Top Ten Tuesday, when the theme is holiday gift guides, I decided to go with a classic novels 101; classic novels I've read and actually really enjoyed and can highy recommend!

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



1. 'A Christmas Carol' - Charles Dickens


Perfect for this time of year and a real classic Christmas story that is still one of the most well-known and loved festive stories ever written.



2. 'Little Women' - Louisa May Alcott


One of my favourite classic novels of all time and definitely not that difficult to read and get into, with a real captivating family story at its core.



3. 'Animal Farm' - George Orwell


I wouldn't say this is a novel I personally really enjoyed, but it is quite a good classic to check out because it's not that difficult to follow and is quite a signature read.



4. 'Frankenstein' - Mary Shelley


I was really surprised when I actually sat down and read this book; it's so much more than the basic Frankenstein story everyone knows. Definitely one I can recommend if you want to check out a classic.



5. 'Pride and Prejudice'/'Sense and Sensibility' - Jane Austen


I'd recommend any Jane Austen book, really, especially if you're a women's fiction/romantic novels fan; I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed!



6. 'The Picture of Dorian Grey' - Oscar Wilde


A good and original story and easy to get into.



7. 'The Great Gatsby' - F. Scott Fitzgerald


Also not a read I love, but definitely a classic I would recommend if you're looking for a classic that reads away quite easily and has a clear plotline at its centre.



8. 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass' - Lewis Carroll


A slightly puzzling read at times, but quite unique and lovely.



9. 'The Odyssey' - Homer


A true classic and quite an entertaining adventure, in my opinion.



10. 'Effi Briest' - Theodor Fontane


One of the last classic novels I've read, and I really enjoyed it. A bit long-winded at times, but still a really good read.

28 November 2016

Review: 'All She Ever Wished For' by Claudia Carroll (2016)

Marriage. It’s a dream come true. Isn’t it?

One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…

All She Ever Wished For tells the story of what happens when your dream is about to come true. And what happens when that dream turns into a bit of a nightmare…

Last year I was lucky enough to get the chance to read and review author Claudia Carroll's novel 'Love Me or Leave Me' (click here to read my review). While I'd read other novels by Claudia before, this one was something else; a simply fantastic read and one that straight away had me longing for more. So when I spotted 'All She Ever Wished For' on NetGalley, I straight away requested a review copy. I have to admit I actually thought this was a Christmas-themed read, based on the book cover, but this turned out not to be the case... Nonetheless, I was still incredibly excited to sit down with this read and hoped it would manage to live up to my expectations!

At the moment, Tess Taylor's life only revolves around one thing: planning her wedding. While her family is sure Bernard, who is quite a bit older than her and has completely different interests, is just a rebound from her previous relationship, Tess knows she and Bernard were meant to be together and this wedding is going to happen, no matter what. But when Tess is suddenly called up for jury duty, her careful planning is all shook up. Jury duty and organising a wedding at your family home are two things that don't go together, so Tess is determined to get out of jury duty. However, when the case turns out to be a rather big one featuring celebrity couple Kate and Damien King, Tess can't help but be intrigued. But she has no idea how this case is going to affect the rest of her life and especially her upcoming marriage...

I have to admit I had pretty high hopes when I started this novel, based on my previous experiences with Claudia Carroll's writing, and I'm incredibly happy to say the book definitely managed to live up to those expectations. 'All She Ever Wished For' focuses on two female main characters: Tess and Kate, both with a really captivating storyline to follow. Tess is about to be married when she is called up for jury duty which completely ruins her careful planning; Kate has been married for several years when everything she knows is suddenly turned upside down. I went into this book not knowing too much about the story inside, and I have to say it held my attention at all times and I couldn't get enough of it, constantly curious to discover what would happen next.

It was easy to warm to both Tess and Kate and I enjoyed both storylines; I was even a bit surprised at how interesting Claudia Carroll managed to make certain parts of this book. Her writing style only seems to get better and better with each novel, which has only got me even more excited about what she will treat us to next. I think 'All She Ever Wished For' is one of those reads you don't need to read much about, you just need to pick it up, give it a chance and be blown away; if you're a chick lit or women's fiction fan like me, you certainly won't be disappointed. All in all, 'All She Ever Wished For' is another compelling, memorable and simply stunning read by the amazing Claudia Carroll; I loved it from start to finish!
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.

26 November 2016

Review: 'Fetch Nurse Connie' by Jean Fullerton (2015)

London, 1945 and as the end of the war is declared and the troops start returning home, the nurses of the East End are joining in the celebrations.

For Nurse Connie Byrne the end of the war signals the beginning of a new chapter and as the revelries go on around the city, Connie's mind is on another celebration that she'll be able to arrange - the wedding to her sweetheart, Charlie, set to take place as soon as he arrives home. But when Connie meets Charlie off the train at London Bridge, she finds that his homecoming isn't quite going to go according to plan...

Connie's busy professional life, and the larger-than-life patients in the district, offer a welcome distraction, but for how long? If nursing in the East End has taught Connie anything, it's that life is full of surprises...

Jean Fullerton's 'Fetch Nurse Connie' is one of those review copies that somehow has been standing on my to-read shelf for way too long already. Jean contacted me herself several months ago with the question of whether I'd be interested in reading and reviewing this title and I said yes because I can really enjoy a wartime romance novel every now and again. However, I do need to be in the mood for it, because I feel it really is a specific genre and not just a quick and easy read to pick up no matter the mood you're in. Two weeks ago I decided it was finally time to give this novel a go, and after having read it I can only say I regret not picking it up any sooner...!

'Fetch Nurse Connie' is set in the east end of London just at the end of World War II in 1945 and focuses on Connie Byrne, who works as a midwife and district nurse for the St. George and St. Dunstan Nursing Association. Connie loves her job as a nurse and is completely dedicated to her patients and colleagues, especially her good friend Millie. Now that the war is over, Connie can't wait for her fiancee Charlie to come home so they can finally get married. Even though she's busy with work Connie tries her best to have everything ready for Charlie's return: her wedding dress, a house for the two of them to live in, she has even booked the church for the service. But Connie is in for a surprise when she meets Charlie at the train station, and suddenly she is forced to rethink quite a few things in her life.

I've always been intrigued by the TV show 'Call the Midwife' and don't really know why I still haven't started watching it, but I feel 'Fetch Nurse Connie' comes quite close to the series but then in book form, and I have to say I really loved it. The novel focuses on nurse Connie Byrne, who might be a familiar face to readers who have picked up some of author Jean Fullerton's other reads such as 'Call Nurse Millie', which focuses on Connie's best friend Millie. While I'm sure some of the elements in this book might have a different meaning when you know all about Millie, I do feel this read works perfectly fine as a stand-alone, which is also the way I've read it. I immediately warmed to Connie and just loved reading her story which consisted of both her personal life and her work as a nurse, visiting lots of different patients.

One of the strongest features of this novel is undoubtedly Jean Fullerton's writing; I personally loved her writing style, which really had me engrossed in the story and made the read a really comfortable one. I loved learning more about all the different patients Connie visits, but also her colleagues and family and friends, and even though there are quite a number of small character roles in the book, I didn't get confused at any point. I really thoroughly enjoyed this read and definitely plan on picking up some of the author's other books, and perhaps finally start watching 'Call the Midwife' sometime soon...! On the whole, 'Fetch Nurse Connie' is a captivating, very enjoyable and well-written novel I couldn't get enough of, definitely a must-read if you're a fan of the wartime romance genre!
Rating:9,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

25 November 2016

Review: 'Bodyguard' by Jessica Linden (2016)

The most eligible bachelor on Capitol Hill has met his match.

Abbie Whitmore is good at her job. She knows how to protect people, and she's always right--until Congressman Jonathan Lassiter comes along. The presidential hopeful refuses to believe that his politics have put him in danger, yet Abbie's determined to keep him safe. But how can she protect him while she's guarding her heart?

Quite some time ago now I was contacted by a publisher and introduced to 'BookShots', a new way of reading developed by world-famous author James Patterson. I hadn't heard of BookShots before, but they're basically small and light books you can finish in one sitting that will keep you on the edge of your seat; short, fast-paced, high-impact entertainment. I read my first BookShots read, 'Little Black Dress', a few weeks ago (click here to read my review) and more recently had the pleasure of reading 'The Mating Season', 'Sacking the Quarterback' and 'Dazzling' (click here to read my review). Today I'm excited to share my review of another BookShots example with all of you, another romance read, namely 'Bodyguard' by Jessica Linden!

Congressman Jonathan Lassiter is determined to get re-elected, no matter what, but after working on legislation against human trafficking he finds himself a target of attacks during his campaign. This is where Abbie Whitmore, fierce and determined bodyguard, comes in. Abbie is hired to protect Jonathan, but the congressman finds it difficult to believe that others are out to hurt him. It doesn't take long before Jonathan realises the truth, though, but it also doesn't take long for Abbie to see she's not just guarding this wonderful man, but also protecting herself from possibly getting hurt on this latest job...

'Bodyguard' is a romantic suspense story that focuses on bodyguard Abbie who has a new job taking care of politician Jonathan. Jonathan doesn't really believe he is in much danger and it's going to be a challenge for Abbie to not just convince him of this but to also stay professional, because it's difficult to ignore the chemistry between her and her new client. Like the other BookShots reads I've had the pleasure of diving into so far, this is a fast-paced read of roughly 140 pages that held my interest for approximately 1 to 2 hours. Author Jessica Linden has done a great job writing a captivating romance story with two interesting characters at its core and I wouldn't mind reading more about these two, especially since I enjoyed the political setting a lot more than I originally thought I would.

I have to say I'm really starting to look forward to any new BookShots release; the small books are so easy to take with you and guarantee a good read in which there's more than enough going on to keep your attention. It has also provided me with the chance to discover some new authors, such as Jessica Linden, who I'd love to read more from. All in all, 'Bodyguard' is another entertaining, fast-paced and fascinating BookShots read I thoroughly enjoyed picking up and I can really recommend this series to anyone who travels a lot or just prefers short, quick and action-packed reads.
Rating:8,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

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

24 November 2016

Upcoming Release: 'All I Ever Wanted' by Lucy Dillon

Caitlin's life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.

Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.

Nancy's Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.

But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages - and about what they both really want...

Of course December is the month when all of us fanatic readers are adding books to our wishlists, hoping Santa will treat us to some fabulous new reads by the time Christmas is here. Well, this December there is definitely one read I can't wait to get my hands on and that's Lucy Dillon's 'All I Ever Wanted.' Not only does the book have a lovely winter cover, but I also really like the book blurb and think the story sounds incredibly promising. Definitely a read that has been added to my Christmas wishlist, and I can't wait to hopefully share my review of it with all of you in the near future!

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads