Sunday, 29 June 2014

Book A Day 29: Re-read the Most Often

I'm not really one for re-reading books, not when there's so much else out in the world that I could be reading. That said, there are of course a few titles that I like to re-visit from time to time, usually the classics. I've probably re-readThe Great Gatsby the most, but seeing as I've already used that book for this challenge my choice today is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté. I haven't re-read it cover to cover - I tend to skip the young Jane part and go straight to when she arrives at Thornfield - but I do like to dip into it and re-read my favourite parts, especially the proposal scene which is beautifully written!

Which books do you like to re-read? Head over to Twitter to join in the #bookaday fun, and you can see my other choices this month here!

Book A Day 28: Bought at my Favourite Independent Bookshop.

I was actually close to skipping this category, but seeing as I've completed every other day of the book a day challenge I just couldn't do it. Living out in the sticks as I do, there aren't actually any independent bookshops anywhere near me. My closest one is in Guisborough, but even then I'm ashamed to say that I haven't visited it in years! I used to buy my Animal Ark books there when I was little so I guess that they are my choice today.

Are you lucky enough to have an independent bookshop near you? Join in the #bookaday conversation over on Twitter, and check out my other #bookaday choices here!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Book A Day 27: I Want to be One of the Characters.


This month over on Twitter, @BoroughPress are running the #bookaday challenge. I find it incredibly difficult to justify my choices in 140 characters so I'm expanding on them here. Gives me a chance to ramble on about how much I love them too!

Today's category is a book in which I want to be one of the characters, and this was an easy choice for me. I've been obsessed with all things Peter Pan and the idea of Neverland for as long as I can remember. I even have a t-shirt of the Disney film artwork with the words 'take me to
Neverland' emblazoned across the front. As to which character I'd be it would have to be Wendy. Getting to hang out with both Peter and Hook -whom I have grown to actually have sympathy for- in the most magical of fictional worlds, being able to fly, and never having to grow up... what's not to love?

You can check out my wish list of Peter Pan related things here (from jewellery and wall art to chandeliers, it's all so pretty!), and if you fancy a nosey at my other book a day choices then click here.

Which book/fictional world would you love to live in?

P.S All Feature and Follow Friday follows/comments will be returned tomorrow,  I'm truly grateful but I'm falling asleep as I type! Have a great weekend everyone! :)








Friday, 27 June 2014

Feature and Follow Friday: Featured Blogger!

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

And guess what... I was lucky enough to be chosen to feature this week! So welcome one and welcome all, take a look around!

This week's question: post a photo of your favourite coffee mug.

I haven't really got many mugs that mean much to me, but my mum got me this one for my twenty first birthday. It sits by my bed so it's the one that I always use when I'm reading. The poem on the side reads "A mug to keep for years to come, to remind me of when I was Twenty One." So cute!



Interview Questions:

When did you start blogging?
I started blogging last December. I graduated from university with an English Lit and History degree last summer, and after leaving I found it odd no longer writing about the books that I was reading. I found myself keeping notes, which gradually turned into reviews, and the idea of starting a book blog just popped into my head one day. Little did I know that there was this whole crazy world of fellow book bloggers just waiting to be discovered!

What is your favorite part of book blogging? 
Meeting like-minded people. Not many of my friends and family read, and so blogging is the perfect way to talk about the books that I love.

What type of books do you mainly blog about? 
Mainly historical/contemporary romance and YA/NA fiction, but I'm happy to read and blog about pretty much anything!

What is your favorite book(s)? 
This is an impossible question! I love Elizabeth Chadwick's historical fiction, and Anthony Horowitz is another favourite author. I love classic authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Bronté sisters too.   

What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging? 
It's got to be the free books right? The postman must laugh to himself at how excited I get when he brings a parcel for me! Knowing that you're getting to read them before everybody else is an added bonus too.

Once again welcome to my blog, and thanks to Alison and Parajunkee for featuring me!


Book A Day 26: Should Have Sold More

I'm not really up on how well books do in sales, and having spent the last three years studying classics both old and modern my choice is kind of limited. With this is mind I'm simply going for a book that I loved that I haven't heard anyone else talk about:  War and Piste by Alex Thomas. Think Chalet Girl meets Bridget Jones. I picked this up as a freebie on Kindle and raced through it in a matter of days! If you want a holiday read with a difference then this is for you.

Any underrated books that you think deserve to have sold more copies? Join in the #bookaday conversation over on Twitter, and check out my other choices this month here!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Book A Day 25: Never Finished It

It's rare for me to not finish books. Really rare. I have books that I keep renewing from the library because I have lost interest in them but can't bear to take them back unfinished! That said, of course there are a few that I just can't persevere with, but even in these cases I have to read the last few chapters so I know how they end! The latest instance of this for me was From London With Love. The blurb made it sound so promising: the privileged daughter of an ex-James Bond actor moving to England in the hope of living an ordinary life and finding a non-Hollywood boyfriend. Standard chick-lit really, only it was at least 100 pages too long. Don't get me wrong I love a good rom-com novel, but there is such a thing as going on for too long and I lost interest in it pretty quickly. As a Bond fan I was even more disappointed that I wasn't able to persevere with it!

What's the latest book that you've had to give up on? Join in the #bookaday conversation over on Twitter, and have a nosey at my other book a day choices here!

Book A Day 24: Hooked Me Into Reading

The books that first got me into reading were the ones that my parents chose for me: Enid Blyton from my mum, Beatrix Potter from my dad. I've already used The Famous Five for my favourite book from childhood (book a day 1) so instead I'm opting for another of Blyton's crime-fighting crews: The Five Find Outers. I haven't met many people who got beyond The Famous Five/Secret Seven Blyton books, but truth be told The Five Find Outers were my favourites. Fatty, Larry, Daisy, Pip and Bets, and of course Buster the dog, played a big part in getting me into reading, and I'm pretty sure Fatty's love for disguises is what made me love dressing up so much when I was little! Mr Goon the policeman was a great character too! Just writing about these books is making me want to re-read them, I might have to revisit them over the summer!

Which book, or series of books, hooked you into reading? Check out my other book a day choices here, and head over to Twitter to join in the #bookaday fun!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Blog Tour: Mad Love by Colet Abedi

Today I'm excited to be part of the blog tour for Mad Love, a contemporary romance novel by Colet Abedi. Read on for a synopsis and my review, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Synopsis
23-year-old aspiring artist Sophie Walker can think of no better place than the exotic paradise of the Maldives Islands to escape the wrath of her controlling parents, the monotony of her boring legal work and her passionless boyfriend. With her two best friends along for the ride and to help her find herself again, Sophie is not prepared for the enigmatic Clayton Sinclair. Clayton comes from another world of privilege that seems like a fantasy to Sophie.  Can this man introduce her to the passion & seduction she never realized she was desperately searching for? Sophie quickly becomes ensnared in Clayton's seductive web until a shocking treachery makes her question her judgement and actions...

Purchase Links:     Barnes and Noble    Amazon

Review
I returned from my vacation last week, and am not ashamed to admit that I've had my fair share of post-holiday blues. Mad Love transported me back to a place where anything can happen, where the sea is unbelievably blue and the sunshine is endless. Talk about paradise. The Maldives have never even appealed to me before but Abedi makes them sound amazing! As for Clayton, oh my! I found the age difference between Clayton and Sophie a little odd at first, I'm twenty-two myself and would never consider a relationship with someone over thirty. Mind you that could all change if I ever come across a Clayton Sinclair of my own! Sophia seemed very conflicted at the start, and I wanted her to stand up to Clayton more, possessiveness isn't all that attractive in my mind. As she came into her own I liked her a lot more, and the banter between Clayton and herself as her confidence increased was really well written. Erik and Orie were definitely my favourite characters, they were absolutely adorable! It's a refreshing change to have 'gay best friend' characters who aren't completely over the top camp too! I was so not prepared for the cliffhanger at the end of the book, but given the billionaire romance genre that this book falls into I suppose I should have expected it.

4/5 stars: A perfect read for the beach, or for conquering post-holiday blues. Just be prepared to be frustrated at the ending!

About the Author
Colet Abedi has been an entertainment industry executive for over ten years. In addition to working on many
television programs for NBC, ABC, FOX, and most cable networks, she is best known for her work as head writer for the telenovela serials American Heiress and Fashion House, the latter of which starred Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild, on the FOX-owned MyNetworkTV. Abedi currently has one television series in syndication, Unsealed: Alien Files, and has completed Five Souls, her first feature film. She is also the co-author of young adult fiction novel, FAE. Book one was released July 2013 by Diversion Publishing Group and was an instant online bestseller. The Dark King, the second in the planned FAE trilogy, was released May 2014. FAE was recently optioned by Ridley Scott. Colet is a native of California, graduated with a B.A. in English literature from the University of California at Irvine, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three dogs.

Blog    Twitter    Author Goodreads    Mad Love Goodreads   Instagram: @coletabedi
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 23 June 2014

Book A Day 23: Made to Read at School

There are obviously a ton of choices for this category, from the classics like Romeo and Juliet and Persuasion, to the dreaded Lord of the Flies. On reflection I've decided to go for something that if it weren't for school I would probably have never discovered. Othello by William Shakespeare is a play that I would never have chosen to read for myself, but I absolutely loved it, and four years on I can still remember the odd quotation! I read it at A-Level alongside The Great Gatsby, another book I'm ashamed to admit that I wouldn't have looked at a few years ago- and my outlook on reading changed forever.

Which books were you made to read at school? Did you enjoy any of them? Join in the #bookaday fun on Twitter, and check out my other choices here!

Book A Day 22: Out of Print

I wasn't sure which, if any of the novels on my shelves are out of print, so instead I've gone for a childhood favourite. New copies of this go on Amazon for £75 so I'm guessing it's pretty rare these days! I used to love the Richard Scarry TV show as a kid, so my parents got me this book to go with it. No one seems to remember any of it but me though!

Which books do you own that are now out of print? Are they any that you think deserve to be brought back? Head on over to Twitter to join in the #bookaday conversation, and check out my other choices this month here!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Cover Reveal: The Lost Love of a Soldier by Jane Lark


Today I'm excited to be part of the cover reveal for The Lost Love of a Soldier. All of the covers that I have seen for Jane Lark's books have been gorgeous, and this is no exception!

Title: The Lost Love of a Soldier (Marlow Intrigues #4)
Author: Jane Lark
Genre: Historical Romance 18+
Publication Date: July 10, 2014
Publisher: HarperImpulse an imprint of HarperCollins
Event Organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.

Synopsis
Young, naïve and innocent, Lady Ellen Pembroke falls for a young army officer. Paul has such an easy enchanting smile and his blue eyes glow, vibrancy and warmth emanating from him. She is in love. Captain Paul Harding, finds his attention captured by the beautiful young daughter of the Duke of Pembroke at a house party in the summer. Finding Ellen is like finding treasure on a battle torn field. His sanity clings to her; something beautiful to remind him that all in the world is not ugly. She’s someone to fight for and someone to survive for when he is called to arms in the battle of Waterloo…  

 photo For13_Jane_Lark_Full_Res_zps518c75cf.jpg

About the Author
Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance, and a Kindle top 25 bestselling author. She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write. Now Jane is writing a Regency series and contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others' imaginations at last. You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane's favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was 'Katherine' a story crafted from reality. Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses them to create more realistic plots. 'Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it's wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.' Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.
Connect with the Author: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Website


 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Book A Day 21: Summer Read

This book has been on my tbr list ever since I found out about it, and I was lucky enough to find a copy of it in my local library during my last visit. Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid is a modern day retelling of Jane Austen's Gothic novel of the same name. It may not sound like your average summer read, but as it's set in Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities in the world, it's perfect to get me in the mood for Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August which I am determined to attend!

What are your summer reads this year? Head on over to Twitter to join in the #bookaday conversation, and check out my other book a day choices here!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Book A Day 20: Favourite Cover

For today's #bookaday I've chosen a series of covers. One of my favourite authors is Elizabeth Chadwick, and the 2006 editions of her books are just gorgeous. I'm aiming to collect them all one day! I'm such a sucker for period costume!

Head over to Twitter now to join in the #bookaday fun, and check out my other choices here!

Feature and Follow Friday: My Top Reads of 2014 So Far!

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

This week's topic is your favourite reads of 2014 so far. After some consideration, these are my top five. You can find reviews for most of them in my blog archive, and I've linked the covers to their Goodreads pages, just in case you want to find out more about them.




For more picks you can check out my Top Ten Tuesday list from a few weeks back of my favourite books that I've read this year! What are your top reads?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Book A Day 19: Still Can't Stop Talking About It

This was an easy decision for me: this book was number one of my Top Ten Reads of 2014 so far, and it is a book that I have been recommending to everyone who will listen. The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas is a book of magic and illusion, of friendship and fellowship, and of life and death. You can check out my review of it here. Seriously, read it now!

Review: Fever: A Songbird Novel by Melissa Pearl


Synopsis:
"Ella Simmons does not want to move across the country. But she is, because her boyfriend has persuaded her to join him at UChicago to finish out her college education. Never able to tell him no, she hops on a plane and makes the trek from LA expecting to adjust to life like she's often forced to, but things are not that simple when she hears a luscious voice singing over her shower wall. His deep, sexy tenor makes her weak in the knees, spreading fire through her limbs and making her question everything about her life and relationship.
Can one voice really have that much of an impact?
Cole Reynolds is on his way out. In his final year at UChicago, the only this he wants to do is finish school and get on with this life. But the sweet voice that interrupts his morning shower turns his world upside down. Compelled to find his shower songbird, he begins a search across campus. The only thing to distract him from this goal is his roommate's gorgeous girlfriend who's just arrived from LA - Ella Simmons."

My review: 
'Life wasn't always roses and cupcakes. Sometimes it was arsenic and manure.' Ella and Cole are two troubled lonely individuals who are brought together by chance and instantly connect. I've read a fair few YA books with this theme but they never disappoint. I see a lot of myself in Ella; I can't sing but I'm pretty shy sometimes and I was willing her to make a stand and do what she truly wanted. Cole was adorable, and I liked how we got the story from both of their viewpoints - although I must admit that I liked the parts told by him most. Both orphaned and both trying to find their place in the world, they seem made for each other, and the only thing standing in their way is David, Ella's straight-A boyfriend who seems to have their entire lives together already mapped out. Cole searches for his shower songbird in an attempt to put Ella out of his mind, whilst Ella falls for both Cole and her shower man and has a guilty conscience about the fact. We as readers know that Ella and Cole and Songbird and Showerman are one and the same, and I was eager for the moment that they found this out for themselves! David as the love rival is not completely unlikable, which only makes the story more realistic; sometimes the good guys get hurt too. His outburst towards the end of the novel seemed a little out of character for the cool, controlled David, but his actions at the end of the novel redeem him somewhat. I couldn't put this book down and raced through it in a day, I only wish that there was more at the end about what happened to Ella and Cole! Melissa is currently working on Morgan's story so I'm hoping that we'll find out more then; it'd be nice to know whether either of them achieve their dreams.

4/5 stars: A story with a soundtrack. Fever is a novel about following your heart. It will also make you listen out the next time you're in a public shower, just in case your Songbird/Showerman is nearby!

*I was given an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.*

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Book A Day 18: Read on Recommendation


I had heard a lot of hype about J. A Redmerski's The Edge of Never, so when I came across it in the library I just couldn't resist. Wow! I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did, or to fall for Andrew as hard as I did, and the raw emotion pouring off the pages just blew me away. I'm now desperately trying to get my hands on a physical copy of the sequel, e-copies just aren't the same with books like this!
I read it on recommendation, and now I'm recommending it to you, check out my review here!

Any good books that you've read on recommendation?
Check out my other #bookaday choices here!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Book A Day 17: Future Classic

I want to use The Time Traveler's Wife again for this, but seeing as it's already been used, my choice today is Atonement by Ian McEwan. That's if it's not considered a classic already, I remember studying extracts from it in A-Level English lessons.

What books would you call future classics? What is it that even makes a 'classic' novel? Join in the #bookaday conversation over on Twitter!
You can have a look at my other choices here.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Book A Day 16: Can't Believe More People Haven't Read

This category was another tricky one, I took the approach of choosing a book that I hadn't heard of until I saw it on the library shelf: Season of Light by Katharine McMahon. Think The French Revolution meets Jane Austen. Unpredictable, unputdownable, Absolutely brilliant. Check out my review here!

Do you have any favourite books that more people should read? Join in the #bookaday fun over on Twitter, and check out my other choices here.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Book A Day 15: Favourite Fictional Father

This category had me stumped for a while. Unfortunately Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music isn't strictly fictional, so my choice today is Mr Banks from  Mary Poppins. I never liked him much in the film adaptation when I was younger, but watching Saving Mr Banks earlier this year completely changed my opinion of him, and gave me a new found respect for all that he represents.


Who's your favourite fictional father? Join in the #bookaday conversation over on Twitter!

Check out my film review of Saving Mr Banks here, and click here to have a look at my other #bookaday choices!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Book A Day 14: An Old Favourite

I was toying with choosing a classic novel for this category until I happened upon Lords of the White Castle by Elizabeth Chadwick. It has long been one of my all time favourite novels, and it was this book that really got me into historical fiction. I would highly recommend it! The version I originally read was a library copy, and a couple of months ago I snapped up a copy of it that I found in a charity shop determined as I was to read it again. Haven't got round to it yet but I will soon!

What's your go-to old favourite book?
Check out my other #bookaday choices here, and don't forget to join in the #bookaday conversation over on Twitter!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Book A Day 13: Makes Me Laugh

The book that makes me laugh is my Bridget Jones' Diary/Edge of Reason Omnibus edition. Although I admittedly prefer the film adaptations, there's something so quirky and endearing about these books. It's been a while since I've read them, but you can always rely on Bridget to cheer you up. No, I've not read the latest instalment Mad About the Boy, and I don't intend to. The original books are perfect just the way they are. Props to you if you picked up on the movie reference in that last sentence, I couldn't resist!

What book never fails to make you laugh? Join in the #bookaday fun on Twitter, and check out my other #bookaday choices here!


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Book A Day 12: I Pretend to Have Read it.

There is one book that I vividly remember pretending to have read: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. One of my friends lent it to me while we were at Primary School and I kept it for a few weeks out of politeness. I think she twigged that I hadn't got past the first page though! It was the hype around the books that put me off - I even remember putting Harry Potter into "Room 101" during an English class! These days people just assume that I've read the entire Harry Potter series, and I don't bother to correct them!

What books have you pretended to have read, and why? To impress people, to fit in, or for another reason entirely? Head over to Twitter to join in the #bookaday conversation, and have a gander at my other #bookaday choices here.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Book a Day 11: Second-hand Bookshop Gem

It is literally impossible for me to walk past a second hand/charity shop without a quick scan of the book section, just in case they have any hidden gems. I've obviously bought many second-hand books, but the one that sticks out in my mind is The Moneypenny Diaries: Secret Servant by Kate Westbrook. I had found out about the Moneypenny Diaries series of books only the day before, so imagine my surprise at finding it sat there on the shelf waiting for me. Now that's fate! Gorgeous cover too!

What's the best second-hand book you've found? Head over to Twitter to join in the #bookaday fun, and have a nosey at my other choices here!



Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Book a Day 10: Reminds Me of Someone I Love

This was quite possibly the easiest #bookaday for me so far. I inherited my love for reading from my mum, so I think it's only right that I feature one of her favourite books today. She is a huge Agatha Christie fan, especially Poirot; she's even got a list of the Poirot books she hasn't got just in case we're stuck for present ideas at birthdays/Christmas! Of course, there are many tales starring the famous Belgian detective, but I'm going for what is perhaps the most famous of them all: Murder on the Orient Express. Clever and original, it is definitely one of the defining novels from the Queen of Crime. If ever I won the lottery the first thing I would do is buy my parents a trip on the Orient Express, my mum would love the spectacular scenery and the Art-Deco romanticism of it all, whilst my dad, well he likes trains so he'd be in his element! Wishful thinking huh?

Don't forget to head over to Twitter to join in the #bookaday fun, and click here to have a nosey at my other choices so far this month!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Read So Far This Year

Way back in January I set myself the target of reading thirty books this year, and I'm proud to say that I hit that target yesterday! Think I'm going to extend it to eighty, a hundred seems like a bit of a push even for me! Out of the thirty books I've read, I actually found it relatively easy to choose my top five - there were a few books that really blew me away- but the other five were a little trickier. So anyway, without further ado, here are my top ten books that I've read so far this year, with links to my glowing reviews of them!


1) The Illusionists - As soon as I read the blurb for this amazing novel I was hooked! All I can say is read it right now!

"5/5 stars: So much more than a love story, The Illusionists is a story of friendship and fellowship, of magic and illusion, of life and death. It is the most absorbing and atmospheric book that I have read this year by a mile! Read it and you won't be disappointed."
(see full review)




2) The Time Traveler's Wife - Poignant and thought-provoking, I can't believe I waited so long to read it. As soon as I finished it I gave it straight to my sister and implored her to read it too.

"5/5 stars: A moving tale of the girl who waited, and the man she was destined to love."
(see full review)





3) Water for Elephants - Such a unique novel, and I'm so glad that I read it before I saw the film adaptation.

"5/5 stars: As intoxicating as moonshine; not an easy read but a gripping tale of humans and animals living side by side on a circus train heading for tragedy."
(see full review)




4) The Edge of Never - Picked this up on a whim to see what all the fuss was about, and I was blown away. It's a little unbelievable in places, but my scepticism aside it's well worth reading.

"5/5 stars: Sweet, sexy and compelling, The Edge of Never definitely lives up to the hype." 
(see full review)






5) Season of Light - Another novel that surprised me. The French Revolution meets Jane Austen.

"5/5 stars: In the words of a review by The Guardian Season of Light is "one of those books so intensely alive in the past that it makes the world you actually live in feel flimsy and thin." Safe to say that I will definitely be reading more of McMahon's work!"
(see full review)





6) Waiting for Sunrise - Boyd at his best.

"4/5 stars: a gripping tale of a man thrust into the world of espionage set against the backdrop of the First World War."
(see full review)






7) Solo - I've always been a sucker for all things James Bond, and although it was a little gritty for my liking - in all honesty I prefer the glamour of the original novels and films - it's a worthy addition to the Bond franchise.

"4/5 stars:  An interesting addition to the Bond franchise which is by no means badly written, but fans of the more gritty Daniel Craig films may appreciate the plot more than I did. Bond is back, literally with a vengeance."
(see full review)




8) Once Upon a Masquerade - This spin on the classic Cinderella story is compelling stuff- I read it pretty much in one sitting!

"5/5 stars: Cinderella with a twist; an enchanting read that will hold your attention from start to finish, perfect for lovers of fairytales and historical fiction, with enough action and adventure to appeal to the more cynical romantic."
(see full review)




9) Once Upon a Wager - Another ARC that I read in one go! This is a classic case of  'don't judge a book by its cover', and I'm so glad that I didn't!

"5/5 stars: Compelling and heartwarming without being overly sentimental, Once Upon a Wager is a book that I would highly recommend. A refreshingly different historical romance." (see full review)






10) Hook's Pan - If you like Peter Pan/Fairytales then you'll love this! Don't be put off by the cover!

"5/5 stars - Witty, compelling, and set in the most magical of fictional worlds, Hook's Pan is a book that you'll want to read over and over again."
(see full review)




Looking back at this I really should have done this list in reverse order, never mind!

Honourable mention goes to The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne that I finished yesterday after I'd scheduled this post.. I haven't had time to gather my thoughts on it yet but it's definitely in my top 5, I just don't have time to edit it in!

I'm off on holiday almost as soon as this post is published, so any views/comments/follows will be returned as soon as I get back. Please do leave links to your lists though, I'd love to read them! Have a great week everyone! :)


Monday, 9 June 2014

Book Blitz: Weddings on Main Street


Weddings on Main Street by the Authors of Main Street - Eleven New Novellas

You are Cordially Invited: 
When: June 9th, 2014 
Where: Main Street 
R.S.V.P. Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and iTunes

The Authors of Main Street; cordially invite you to attend more than eleven weddings this summer, in our anthology, Weddings on Main Street. When the Authors of Main Street get together, boxed sets and romance magic, happens. On the wave of our Amazon Best Seller, Christmas on Main Street - which was the #1 Best Seller in Romance - Holiday, Romance - Inspirational, and spent weeks in the top 50, on all of Amazon - we will release a collection of eleven new novellas, by eleven of our authors, all about weddings. We are honoring what readers told us, they loved most about our Christmas anthology, with a fresh mix of stories, characters, and mild to warm levels of romance. 
What a Cowgirl Wants by Tori Scott. Page-Turning Stories from the Heart of Texas. It's wedding bells for Blake and Mandy, but the fairy tale wedding Mandy wants is in jeopardy when Blake's father butts in. Can Mandy pull off the wedding of her dreams on a limited budget? Only if Blake can keep his father under control, which is not an easy thing to do when his father is Barrett Kaufman, tough Houston attorney. 

April Fool Bride by Joan Reeves. It's never too late to live happily ever after. Is it a marriage of convenience or something more? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist.

Wedding Surprise by Mona Risk. Around the world with love, humor and passion. Finally, Claire's dream of a wonderful white wedding to the man she’s loved for ten years is about to come true. Two weeks before the big day, Claire and David receive an unexpected announcement that can destroy their relationship. Is their love for each other strong enough to turn the worst wedding surprise into the best?

Small Town Glamour Girl Wedding by Stephanie Queen. USA TODAY Bestselling Author. Fun, Flirty & Forever. Julie and Jack are over-the-moon in love, but with their soon-to-be mothers-in-law battling for influence over wedding plans, they fight to keep the peace. Finally when their mothers reveal a stunning secret from the past, Jack and Julie must re-think the wedding. Will they or won’t they say I do?

The Vow by Pepper Phillips. Southern Sass with a Touch of Heart. Coming home after ten years, Ann Normand is discouraged to find nothing has changed. She’s still not wanted. Except for Clay Couvillion. He’s a man now and he wants her to stay. Can she forget the past and open her heart or will she run again?

The Reluctant Bride by Jill James. A little Sweet. A little Sexy. A lot Happily-Ever-After. Jimmy and Claire were high-school sweethearts. A decade later of living together and there is still no wedding in sight. With the help of Claire’s family and friends, Jimmy has a plan to surprise, ambush, and wed his reluctant bride.

Kiss the Bridesmaid by Susan R. Hughes. Sweet with a touch of heat. Serving as a bridesmaid at her brother’s wedding should be a piece of cake for Mari. The icing on that cake turns out to be Jake, a gorgeous wedding photographer with an adorable daughter. Life couldn’t be sweeter until a problem Mari had thought she’d left in the past resurfaces to threaten her future. The wedding of Brooke and Ian from Secret Vow provides the backdrop for this sweet love story.

Second Chance Wedding by Leigh Morgan. Strong women and the men who love them;. After high school, loss strikes again and, Sunshine MacAlister leaves Shute Pond and the man who holds her heart, Conall O’Malley. Twelve years later, Sun, now Dr. “Mel” MacAlister, returns home for her best friend's wedding, and comes face to face with the man she loved and left. Will seeing Conall again re-kindle the passion she once felt, and fill her with love that can last a lifetime?

Once Upon a Wedding by Kelly Rae. Love really is, all there is...Cassie Anderson, bridesmaid extraordinaire, is tired of flying solo to all of her friend’s weddings. Unfortunately, the one man for whom she feels any spark has a nasty habit of having a date on his arm. Stealing another woman's date is against the rules, but if she can just catch him alone - well that would be fair game!

Stuck with You by Kristy Tate. Romance, mystery and magic.Whit offers to forgive Andie's debt if she’ll pose as his date to his brother’s wedding. Andie needs the money, and Whit believes it's the perfect way to escape his mother’s match-making schemes.Whit calls it a win-win situation, but Andie is afraid she may lose her heart.

I Thee Wed by E. Ayers. Where Life and Love Come Together. A product of broken marriages, Julia never sees marriage for herself. She throws everything she's got into her career with Main Street Bridal Salon, until a crazy redhead with freckles named Aaron sweeps her off her feet. But a family secret is about to change everything.


About The Authors

Tori Scott
Tori Scott, a Golden Heart finalist, is published independently as well as by Red Sage Publishing, Woman's World, and selected news media. She lives near Dallas, Texas and writes Western Romance, sexy romantic comedy, contemporary small-town romance, and romantic suspense.
Twitter: @ToriScott  Facebook  Blog  Email

Joan Reeves
Joan makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband. They have four kids who think they are adults and a ghost dog--all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter. She lives the philosophy that is the premise of all of her romance novels: "It's never too late to live happily ever after." 
Website: www.JoanReeves.com
Twitter: @JoanReeves
I LUV Books, Free Reader Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/PNag1
I love to hear from readers! Please write to me at: Joan@JoanReeves.com. Please put "Real Live Person" in the subject box to make it past the spam filters. Or, send snail mail to: Joan Reeves, P.O. Box 1627, Normangee TX 77871-1627.

Mona Risk
Self-publishing my novels were the best things I ever did for my publishing career. In 2012, my three medical romances, Babies in the BargainRight Name, Wrong Man, and No More Lies landed on the Amazon bestseller list for contemporary romance and medical romance. I was walking on cloud nine when my name was posted on Amazon.com in the 100 most Popular Authors in Romance list for several months.
Filled with energy and enthusiasm, I hid in my writing cave and wrote for days and nights, stopping only to walk on the beach or exercise at the gym.
My books have garnered: Top Picks; Outstanding Read; Sweetheart of the Week; Best Book of the Week at various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly, and won several awards, from Best Contemporary Romance of the Year at READERS FAVORITE with two Gold Medals, to EPPIE award finalist and Best Romance Novel of the Year at Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.
 I will continue to write and read while traveling and discovering unchartered territories and fresh inspiration for interesting stories and new settings.
Mona Risk can be found at: www.monarisk.com
On Twitter: @MonaRiskS

Stephanie Queen lives in bucolic New Hampshire where writing happy, snappy stories takes most of her time. Right now, she’s busy working on a secret new exciting mystery-thriller series.  To find out about new releases CLICK HERE! to sign-up for the Stephanie Queen Newsletter. You are invited to visit her website and the Quirky Quips blog at StephanieQueen.com, or connect with Stephanie Queen online at Twitter or Facebook. You can email her at stephaniequeen@rocketmail.com. She loves hearing from readers!

Pepper Phillips
I had breast cancer in 2009. From diagnosis to the end of chemo and radiation, took a year. I had problems with the treatment phase, developing a stomach ulcer, and needing a new treatment regimen. But I got through it. Like my heroine, I can do this, became my mantra.
One out of every eight women will get breast cancer. Alarming figures. One out of eight!
Get your breast exam yearly. From one year to the next, I was diagnosed with a cancer that was aggressive. If I’d waited another year, it might have been too late. During my treatment, I learned about a writer friend of mine who died of breast cancer. Don’t be the next victim. Get your exam!
Thank you for taking time to read The Vow. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated.
If you would like to keep up with my newly released titles, consider joining my newsletter. Sign up for newsletter

Jill James 
Jill James is a published author with The Wild Rose Press and self-published since 2011. She writes contemporary and paranormal romance. When she isn’t writing she spends time with her husband, who is the inspiration for all her romance novel heroes.
Contact online
Email: jill@jilljameswrites.com
Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/hvtn-/
Twitter: @jill_james
Facebook: Jill.James-author

Susan Hughes
Nothing gets my heart pumping like a good love story with absorbing emotion, plenty of passion, and an old-fashioned happy ending.
Set mainly in Canada, my contemporary romance novels explore the extraordinary thrill of finding that special someone and falling head over heels in love.
I live in Ottawa, Ontario, with my husband and three daughters.

Website: susanrhughes.weebly.com

Leigh Morgan
A native mid-westerner, Leigh lives in Southeastern Wisconsin and dreams of owning a cottage in Scotland.
Leigh is currently working on a series of stand-alone contemporary novels, The Warrior Chronicles, with a tie to the martial arts. Adventure, romance, and themes such as ‘what constitutes a family’, and ‘living by a personal code’ all wrapped up in a tail-kicking package that will make you laugh, cry, and feel good about the world and your place in it.
A graduate of Marquette University Law School, Leigh studied Comparative Mythology, History and Philosophy as an undergraduate. Who knew this would lead to a lifetime of love with mystical romance, both contemporary and historical.
Leigh is a fifth degree black belt in Okinawan Shorin Ryu karate, a fifth degree black belt in Matayoshi Kobudo (weapons), and has taught self-defense for women and practical defense sequences for writers. She is also an avid motorcycle enthusiast.

You may visit Leigh at: www.leighmorganauthor.com

Kelly Rae
Kelly Rae lives in the Pacific Northwest with her son and a chocolate lab, who has delusions that she is a lap dog. When Kelly is not writing or reading, she spends her time on her favorite work, which is parenting. This often involves watching and cheering at sporting events, and occasionally displaying her impressive jump shot during one on one games of basketball.

Kristy Tate
Kristy Tate writes Women Fiction with a dash romance, mystery and humor. Her debut novel, Stealing Mercy, was on Amazon's top 100 list of historical romance for more than fifteen weeks and spent two weeks as number one. The Rhyme's Library, was a 2013 Kindle Review semi-finalist, and Hailey’s Comments was an Amazon Breakout Novel quarter-finalist.
Kristy studied English literature at Brigham Young University and at BYU's International Center in London. Although a long time resident of Orange County California where she lives with her family, Kristy's heart belongs in her hometown of Arlington, Washington, AKA Rose Arbor--the fictional setting of her popular Rose Arbor series.
For updates on Kristy's upcoming novels, please visit her blog at kristystories.blogspot.com

E. Ayers
II write stories about people who live in today's world and find real love.
Each person experiences love differently because we are all diverse. It's not a one-size fits all world so my books don't have stereotypical characters. 
Writing is something I do. I write and always have. Read and enjoy!
(Twitter)   @ayersbooks
(Website)  http://www.ayersbooks.com
(Email)  e.ayers@ayersbooks.com
(Shared Blog)  http://authorsofmainstreet.wordpress.com
(Blog)  http://ayersbooks.wordpress.com

Blog Tour / Review: Once Upon a Wager by Julie Lemense

Today I'm excited to be hosting the blog tour for Once Upon a Wager by Julie Lemense. Read on for a plot synopsis, an excerpt, and my review; I absolutely loved it!

Publishing date: 12th May by Crimson Romance
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

Synopsis: 
When Lord Alec Carstairs returns from war, hailed as a hero, only Annabelle Layton knows the sort of man he really is. They’d been friends before a passionate kiss changed everything, before a reckless wager left her broken and bloodied, and he abandoned her. Hardly the actions of a hero. But shocking lies have distorted the past. Can Alec uncover its painful truths, and still keep his distance? Can he deny his forbidden desire, even as it flares hotter than ever?

Excerpt:
Just as evening fell, Alec walked up the crushed stone drive to Astley Castle. Despite its rather grandiose name, it was more accurately a fortified manor house, although it did have a moat. Briefly the home of Lady Jane Grey, England’s unfortunate Nine Days Queen, it had also served as a garrison for Cromwell’s forces during the Civil War before passing into the Layton family. Tonight, however, the house gave no hint of its troubled history. Japanese lanterns were strung, not only in the trees leading up the drive, but also in those surrounding the house, and the effect was magical. In the early dusk, a gentle light bathed the grounds, softening the lines of the old home, coloring it with pale pinks and darker purples. Alec heard strains of music and conversation. In fact, it appeared to be a remarkably conventional party, which was something of a surprise. Surely, circus animals were lurking somewhere.

The oversized front door was open to the evening air, and dozens of people were assembled in the Great Hall, which was brightly lit with wall lanterns. Chandeliers decked with wax candles flickered high above as Gareth’s parents received their guests. Sir Frederick, who often panicked in crowds, was hiding his misgivings well, and Lady Layton was radiant beside him. Gareth stood next to her, dressed in a colorful approximation of evening attire, but he seemed distracted. His eyes were darting the crowd and looking for someone. A footman with the champagne tray, no doubt. Alec did not see Annabelle.

But then familiar, melodious laughter washed over him, and he turned. A willowy, honey-tressed blonde stood at the center of a crowd of adoring men. Her face was hidden from view, but her gown—the color of moonlight—caressed her curves like a lover. Alec braced himself, every nerve taut. As if sensing his presence, she looked over her shoulder and smiled.

God in Heaven, he should never have come here tonight.

Annabelle had been only four years old the first time he saw her. He’d joined his mother on a neighborly visit to Astley Castle, and the little girl had utterly charmed him, struggling to sit still while Lady Layton served tea to her guests. Delicate, soft, and pink, like a rosy-cheeked doll, she’d roused all his protective instincts before kicking him in the shins to gain his attention.

If only he could see the girl she’d once been in the woman standing before him. Even two years ago, there had been hints of her, hiding in the body of a goddess. But there was nothing childlike about Annabelle now. She was spectacularly lovely, with arched brows, high cheekbones, and cornflower blue eyes that took his breath away.

Excusing herself from her admirers, she walked toward him with a slow smile. Then again, walking was not the right word. Swaying was the better choice, and all he could do was stand there, heart slamming in his chest as she approached, the gossamer silk gown caressing her curves. Were it dampened—as was the fashion with London’s faster set—it would be almost transparent. Just like that morning when she had gone swimming in the fountain, casting a spell over him like a sorceress.

Review
In short, I loved this book! It's an historical romance without all the 'fluff'. It starts traditionally enough, with a ball at a country house, but it soon transforms into something quite different. I was hooked from the start and read it pretty much in one sitting! As with all historical romances, it was obvious that things were eventually going to end well for Alec and Annabelle, but this only made me enjoy it more, safe in the knowledge that they would eventually end up together. Alec was perfect; he was a hero, yet mortal, as Annabelle muses in Chapter 21 'as a young woman, she'd made him into a kind of storybook hero. In reality, Alec was far more human. He was flawed and imperfect, and... she loved him all the more.' In the end, I loved him too. Annabelle herself was a strong female protagonist who knew her own mind and wasn't afraid to voice her opinions. As other reviewers have mentioned, this is a refreshing change from the formulaic historical romances, which although I love, can get a little tiresome. The characters are all realistic, and Digby the villain is just horrid! I also loved the secondary characters, who each had their roles to play in bringing Alec and Annabelle together. Unlike in other novels of the genre, they each had their own unique personalities; I especially loved Aunt Sophia and the brilliant Benjamin Marworth, and I would love to read their stories someday! It would be nice to see Jane Fitzsimmons get a happy ending too, I think I was sort of hoping Benjamin would end up with her! My one criticism of this novel would be that the cover really doesn't do it justice!

5/5 stars: Compelling and heartwarming without being overly sentimental, Once Upon a Wager is a book that I would highly recommend. A refreshingly different historical romance.

About the Author: 
A Georgetown University graduate with a degree in English Literature, I have been a Regency romance addict since I read my first deliciously bad Barbara Cartland novel. These days, I prefer the complex characterizations and plotting of Julie Anne Long, Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran. A member of the Romance Writers Association of America, I am currently working on my next two novels, as the ghosts who live in my haunted, gilded age-era home try to sneak their way into my stories.

Author Website/Facebook      Book Website      



Book A Day 9: Film/TV Tie-In

Today's #bookaday is a film/TV tie-in. When I first read this category I had no idea what I was going to pick, and then I saw it. The 100 Most Pointless Arguments in the World: Solved. Signed by Alexander and Richard when we met them at Cheltenham Literature Festival last autumn (and Richard told me I was cute *fangirl*), pretty much all of my family have borrowed it to flick through. It's a real crowd pleaser and brilliantly British. We were also lucky enough to win a signed copy of their first book The 100 Most Pointless Things in the World, along with a pair of Richard/Xander masks so that we could "recreate Pointless in an authentic style" (I'm not joking!)  Safe to say that we're massive fans of the show. If you've never heard of Pointless you're seriously missing out: think reverse Family Fortunes and obscure answers . But it's the banter between the boys that really makes it special.

Head over to Twitter to join in the #bookaday conversation, and click here to have a nosey at my other #bookaday choices!