Book Review: The Redemption of Callie & Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

The-Redemption-of-Callie-and-Kayden-250x397The Redemption of Callie & Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
Publisher: Sphere
Release Date: 13th February 2014
Rating: 3/5
Buy: Paperback | Kindle
Amazon Summary:

THE NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The dark secret Kayden has kept hidden for years is finally out. Worse, he’s facing charges for battery. The only way to clear his name is for Callie to speak up – something he’ll never ask her to do. Instead, he’ll do whatever he must to protect her, even if it means letting go of the only girl he’s ever loved.

Callie knows Kayden is going back to his dark place and desperately wants to save him. But that means admitting her own painful secrets aloud. The thought of breaking her silence terrifies her – but not as much as the thought of losing Kayden forever. Can she convince him they can make a fresh start together – or is she already too late?

Lose yourself in the New York Times bestselling sensation that is enchanting readers everywhere – discover an addictive story filled with unforgettable characters, intense passion and heart-stopping romance.

Last year I read the first books in two of Jessica Sorensen’s new adult series – The Secret of Ella and Micha and The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden and I thoroughly enjoyed both books. They were great. The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden ended so abruptly though that I couldn’t wait to read The Redemption of Callie and Kayden. But it’s actually taken me a little while to get around to reading it. Mostly because I just have so many review books to read, but also because I was super disappointed in The Forever of Ella and Micha. And, unfortuntely, despite being super excited to finally get stuck into ‘Redemption’, I was yet again disappointed.

After the shocking ending of The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, and after everything Callie and Kayden have been through, and go through together, I really expected ‘Redemption’ to be more than it was. Instead, Callie and Kayden are apart for a good portion of the novel, with Kayden doing his best to try and let Callie go, even though it’s blindingly obvious Callie is never going to accept that (and rightly so). When you think of everything they’ve been through, the fact they found each other was the hope they both needed to be able to not let their pasts beat them, and while I understand that what happened to Kayden undoubtedly was AWFUL and horrific, and probably made him question a lot of things, I’d have preferred if he had just let Callie in.

I wanted to love this book so much, and it just didn’t happen. I found myself more interested in Luke and Seth than I was in Kayden and Callie because their relationship just wasn’t going where I wanted it to, and I just wanted more… It was the same with Ella and Micha, and I just don’t know where it all went wrong. Maybe if I’d read the books consecutively instead of leaving such a large gap, as I did. So what I am going to do, is I am going to dive into Luke and Violet/Lila and Ethan as soon as, because those are both two stories I’ve been dying to read, with some very interesting characters. Sorensen is a fantastic writer – the two original stories of Callie/Kayden and Ella/Micha were fantastic, I just don’t know where it all went wrong with their sequels. Maybe it’s me, as judging by the Amazon reviews, they’ve both got some fantastic reviews and are massive hits. Who knows?

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Book Review: Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan

sarah morgan sleigh bells in the snowSleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan
Publisher:  Mills & Boon
Release Date:  4 October 2013
Rating:  4.5/5
Buy: Paperback | Kindle
Amazon Summary:

Once upon a time Kayla loved Christmas

Now she’s more dedicated to her job than decking the halls, and can’t wait for the most wonderful time of the year to be over.

Until she arrives at the enchanting Snow Crystal ski resort, determined to win gorgeous owner Jackson as a marketing client.

But wooing Jackson professionally quickly turns personal as they spend flirty festive nights in this glittering winter wonderland.

With snowflakes swirling and sleigh bells ringing…could Jackson be the one to make Kayla fall back under the Christmas spell?

Kayla Green is a PR executive in New York and she is the best at her job: she breakfasts on challenge with a side of difficult marinated in the impossible. When Kayla is asked to take on a new account– at Christmas, the time of the year she hates most – she gladly accepts.  The account is Snow Crystal a family-run ski resort in Vermont. Kayla knows next to nothing about ski resorts and agrees to spend the week around Christmas there in order to get to know the Snow Crystal experience. What Kayla expects is to sit in a remote log cabin in the middle of nowhere and escape all that Christmas palaver that drives her mad at this time of the year. What she gets is the most family Christmas she’s had since she was thirteen.

Jackson O’Neil used to run his own chain of luxury ski hotels all over Europe. He used to be successful on the ski slopes, at his business and very popular with the ladies until his father perished in a car crash and he is called to go back to Snow Crystal to run the family business. He finds the resort in dire financial state and in a desperate bid to save it he pours all his money and knowledge in it. His family however are very different to the team of professionals he’s had to work with in his previous jobs; he spends his time fighting for every single idea he has.

When Kayla comes to Snow Crystal Jackson expects her to work her PR magic and get those heads on those empty beds; his Gramps expects her to know nothing and run away at the sight of the first challenge; Kayla expects to get there, do her job and get back to her life in New York. No-one expects her to fall in love with the place, with this insane family and her client.

Sleigh Bells in the Snow is a fantastic festive read. It’s a book for all senses:  I felt cold with the biting snow, warm by Elisabeth’s stove, hot with lust for Jackson, hungry for crêpes and cinnamon stars and fuzzy and happy throughout this feel-good romance. If that’s what you are looking for you are in for a treat.

Reviewed by Sylvia Ashby

Book News: Now That I’ve Found You by Ciara Geraghty

ciara geraghty now that ive found youCiara Geraghty is finally releasing a new book this year – EXCITING! I love Ciara’s novels, they’re always unique, always interesting, and I can’t wait for Now That I’ve Found You. It’s out in July and it’s one that’s definitely made it onto my wishlist, I can’t wait to read it! Here’s the synopsis:

Forty-two-year-old Vinnie knows lots of things.

He knows new books and school shoes are expensive. He knows his teenage daughter keeps getting into trouble and he knows his eight-year-old has wet the bed every night for the past year and a half.

What Vinnie doesn’t know is where his wife is, or how he will ever get better at single fatherhood.

Ellen knows how much it costs to take a taxi to the physio. She knows she’s too scared to get behind the wheel of a car ever again and she knows that what happened in the accident was all her fault.

What Ellen doesn’t know is that Vinnie is about to need her to face her fears. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other’s life forever.

Pre-order your PAPERBACK or KINDLE copy of Now That I’ve Found You by Ciara Geraghty from Amazon.co.uk now!

Book Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting

kimberly derting the takingThe Taking by Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 29th April 2014
Rating: 3.5/5
Buy: Hardback | Kindle
Amazon Summary:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer meets The Fifth Wave in this chilling and explosive new series from author Kimberly Derting.

The last thing Kyra Agnew remembers is a flash of bright light. She awakes to discover that five whole years have passed. Everyone in her life has moved on—her parents divorced, her boyfriend is in college and dating her best friend—but Kyra’s still the sixteen-year-old she was when she vanished. She finds herself drawn to Tyler, her boyfriend’s kid brother, despite her best efforts to ignore her growing attraction. In order to find out the truth, the two of them decide to retrace her steps from that fateful night. They discover there are others who have been “taken,” just like Kyra. Only, Kyra is the first person to have been returned past the forty-eight-hour taken mark. With a determined, secret government agency after her, Kyra desperately tries to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had . . . but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

As much as I love reading Chick Lit novels – and I do, a lot; sometimes I like a change. I’ve been reading a lot of YA recently and it’s been refreshing, sometimes it’s just really great to get out of your comfort zone and read something entirely unexpected and Kimberly Derting is an author who offers that for me. I love her Body Finder series, and I keep meaning to complete it, so when I saw she had a new novel available on Edelweiss I was instantly intrigued and couldn’t wait to dive in.

For me, The Taking had me hooked as soon as I read the synopsis – a girl vanishes in a blinding white light, and wakes up at the Gas N Sip 5 years later and everyone but her has moved on. Her boyfriend, Austin, is living the life they were supposed to live together, her mother and father have split up and her mom has even remarried and had another kid and her boyfriend’s brother, Tyler, is suddenly the spitting image of him. That’s pretty amazing stuff right there and I truly had no idea where the novel was going to go – mostly because I sometimes like a book to surprise me, and boy, did The Taking do that!

The Taking is the kind of novel that when you finish it, you sit there asking yourself “What the hell just happened? What did I just read?”, or at least I did because I thought the novel was a contemporary novel, perhaps with a paranormal twist a la The Body Finder books, but actually, it also has a scifi twist. I don’t read scifi novels. Books that feature all that techy stuff confuse me and I don’t like aliens, I can believe almost anything – a girl that can sense dead bodies, vampires, werewolves, witches but aliens ain’t my thing, ain’t my cup of tea and that’s the sticking point for me, for this novel. It isn’t even conclusive, though, but even the thought that aliens may be involved gives me the heebie jeebies.

Apart from that, though, the novel had everything I loved – a mystery, a fantastic narrator in Kyra, a swoon worthy romantic lead in Tyler and I did think the novel was a breath of fresh air. It was also kinda scary, and I did sometimes put it down because unlike the books I usually read, I actually had no idea where this novel was going to go and I felt as if I had no control over it. It was very bizarre and it did sort of make me not want I read more, in the same way in which I wanted to devour it just to get it over with!

Part of me kinda wishes The Taking didn’t have the sci fi part, because the rest of it was amazing but without all that weirdness then I doubt the novel could have happened so… Kimberly Derting is a fantastic writer, I love her books and it says a lot when I’m willing to read a book about potential aliens (even if it was unwitting). I’m so glad I read it, because it’s a fantastic, frenetic opening to her new series (which I also didn’t know until I started reading…) and I will be picking up book two because not only do I need to see where this goes, but I definitely need more or Kyra and Tyler because I loved them. I’ve never known two characters to click as much as they did, and I just want them to live happily ever after, forever and ever. We will see!

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Author Article: Five Simple Twists of Fate by Ellie Campbell

ellie-campbell-pic-1Today we are super pleased to welcome Ellie Campbell to the site! The lovely Lorraine, one half of the duo, has written us a fantastic guest post on the five simple twists of fate!

In To Catch a Creeper, Cathy has some real ups and downs where her path seems to be merrily going in one direction only to be sideswiped and sent off on a completely different track.   It occurred to me we all have some of those events that look like destiny when we realize how they’ve shaped our lives.   Here are a few of mine.

1. Fed up with my boring dead-end job as a clerk in a swimming pool company, I flipped open the evening paper and saw an ad for a literary agent needing a secretary.  I’d always been a total bookworm but it had never occurred to me that such things as literary agents and book publishers existed or to wonder how those pages got into my hand.  I went for the interview the next day and knew this was what I wanted more than anything else in the world.  The agent (now novelist) Carol Smith called me that evening and told me I had the job.  It was the event that changed my life, led to me becoming a writer and so much else.

looking for la la ellie campbell2. Fast forward about ten years.  I was 4 days into my planned adventure of travelling solo in South America for a year, newly arrived in the small town of Otavalo, Ecuador.  Feeling lonely (already) I visualised asking the universe to meet a kindred spirit.  Next morning I walked into a café for breakfast and a nice-looking Frenchman started to talk to me.  Others joined in the conversation and frustrated by the language barrier, he left.   After a full day’s hike I returned to my hotel to be told my ‘amigo’ was looking for me.  I found the same French guy coming down the stairs.  As luck would have it, it was his birthday and he’d tracked me down to have dinner with him.  He’d been searching the many backpacker and tourist hotels for a ‘Dutch girl’ because he’d thought I’d said I was from Holland instead of England.  Once my trip ended, I lived with him in France for three exciting, wonderful and tempestuous years.  After that I never could see returning to my old life in London and on our break-up I took up my backpack again.

3. Shortly after leaving France I was working on a boat in a marina in Guatemala, cleaning, sanding and varnishing when my employer, a nice American I’d met on a chicken bus, told me his friend needed a cook for a weekend charter.  Terrified about airing my limited culinary skills and possibly poisoning paying guests I insisted I couldn’t cook.  The whole marina insisted I could.  Remembering my vow to always say yes to opportunity, I was reluctantly persuaded and for the entire weekend, the captain cooked the meals for me and I served them to his wealthy Guatemalan clients.  However, Captain W. and I had such a laugh together that he offered me the permanent position of cook and crew of his 47’ yacht, breaking the bad news to the person he’d hired who arrived the next week and paying her for the inconvenience of finding her job gone.  The joke around the marina was that Captain W. had paid $100 to get rid of a girl who could cook in favor of one who couldn’t.   I fooled them by managing to produce edible meals, pour unlimited amounts of alcohol and handle the dinghy for snorkeling.  It was two years of paradise and partying.  But that decision led to…

clip_image002[2]4. One year later, on that same boat, four male clients arrived from Colorado for a sailing trip around Honduras.  Three I knew from their boys trip the year before but the fourth was a stranger, a single guy from Boulder.  Not my type at all – shorter than me, he was unusually quiet (suffering from an ear infection), wearing nerdy-looking glasses, missing a tooth (he’d taken out his temporary implant), sporting his sneakers, socks and favourite ragged and hole-y old swimshorts. (OK, I was wearing my favorite ragged and hole-y old sweatshirt, not to mention a bra that had most definitely seen better days, but at least I knew not to wear shoes on a boat.)  Between bouts of seasickness (mostly his) we chatted about our love lives and he turned out to be excellent at kitchen prep because he couldn’t stand how long it took me to produce a meal.  His three pals invited me to Boulder for a river rafting trip, where Gary and I ended up sharing an inflatable kayak and he offered me his spare guest room as a place to stay – just for a week. And, yes, reader, I married him.

5. I was settled in Boulder when sister Pam and I came up with the idea of writing together despite – or maybe thanks to – the ocean separating us. We set out to find an agent for our first Ellie Campbell novel and a young agent, Caroline Hardman, wrote to us and said she wanted to take us on.  She admitted that we would be her first ever clients and we confessed that Ellie Campbell was not one but two people.  Caroline promptly got us a two-book contract with a brand-new editor, Emma Rose, making us the first authors that Emma acquired for Arrow Books and How To Survive Your Sisters her first production.  It was a whole lot of firsts for all of us… most of all the first time Pam and I realised we might actually accomplish our dream of being novelists.

Yes, when it comes to luck and opportunity I’ve definitely had more than my fair share – and certainly more than Cathy although things always seem to work out for her in the end.  There’s a few other events that spring to mind but I think I’ll save them for another day…

Buy your copy of To Catch A Creeper by Ellie Campbell from Amazon.co.uk now!

May Releases

May is a super exciting month for books! In particular I am VERY excited for the new Belinda Jones and Paige Toon! I’ve read Belinda’s already, but I still need a paperback copy for my keepers shelf! I’m also really excited for a new Emily Giffin novel, she’s amazing.

sarah pekkanen catching airSarah Pekkanen – Catching Air – 6th May 2014 (US)

From the internationally bestselling author of four books, including The Opposite of Me, a vibrant, compulsively readable novel about two married couples who pursue a dream to open a bed-and-breakfast in small-town Vermont.

In her previous works including The Best of Us, “rising star” (Library Journal) Sarah Pekkanen captivated readers by penning “refreshingly introspective, sharply realistic, and tenderly humorous” novels (Booklist) that had readers “flying through the pages” (Hoda Kotb, Today show). Now, in Catching Air, Pekkanen turns an unflinching eye on the tangled relationships of two pairs of thirty-somethings.

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking—a winter wedding—and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don’t realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone…

Relatable and dynamic, Catching Air delves deeply into the vital relationships that give shape to women’s lives.

rachael lucas sealed with a kissRachael Lucas – Sealed With A Kiss – 8th May 2014

* The Top Ten Kindle bestseller, now with brand NEW material! *

Kate is dumped on her best friend’s wedding day by the world’s most boring boyfriend, Ian. She’s mostly cross because he got in first – until she remembers she’s now homeless as well as jobless. Rather than move back home to her ultra-bossy mother, Kate takes a job on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor as an all-round Girl Friday. Her first day is pretty much a disaster: she falls over, smack bang at the feet of her grouchy new boss, Roddy, Laird of the Island. Unimpressed with her townie ways, he makes it clear she’s got a lot to prove.

Island life has no room for secrets, but prickly Roddy’s keeping something to himself. When his demanding ex girlfriend appears back on the island, Kate’s budding friendship with her new boss comes to an abrupt end. What is Fiona planning – and can she be stopped before it’s too late?

This funny, big-hearted novel is the perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.

christina hopkinson the a list familyChristina Hopkinson – The A-List Family – 8th May 2014

Imagine a world where your bikini body has to last all year.

Where the paparazzi turn up for the school run.

Where EVERYBODY knows your name, though you’re only eight years old.

Welcome to everyday life in an A-List Family.

Newly employed to look after the daughter of a super-rich and famous power couple, Anna is about to find out what life is really like behind the closed doors of celebrity. And she soon starts to wonder: once you’re in, can you get out?

amanda brooke if i should goAmanda Brooke – If I Should Go – 8th May 2014

Another heartfelt short story from the Richard and Judy Book Club bestseller.

Rachael is a single mum to Hope, and since Hope’s father left, has raised her daughter alone. They are as close as can be. So when Martin enters her life, he’s a breath of fresh air – the first guy that she has felt a connection to in a long time. But Martin’s plans for the future appear to be different to Rachael’s day-dreams: a future for two, without Hope…

At the Sunny Days nursing home where Rachael works, Mrs Wilson is convalescing after a fall. But although she’s only staying for a short time, there’s a finality about her that Rachael just can’t get to grips with. Despite Mrs Wilson’s initial reluctance, Rachael starts to break through her tough exterior but she doesn’t seem to be able to get beneath the surface.

As the clock starts to count down to the end of Mrs Wilson’s stay and Martin’s eventual move to Liverpool time is running out for Rachael to make a difference. The question is: what could she give up for love?

ollie quain how to lose weight and alienate peopleOllie Quain – How To Lose Weight and Alienate People – 16th May 2014

Is there such a thing as the perfect body?
Vivian Ward thinks she is in total control of her life. Actually…she s thirty five, an out-of-work actress who puts more effort into partying than getting good parts, is estranged from her family and emotionally unavailable to her boyfriend.

Truth is, the only thing she s in control of is what s on her plate…

But then she meets movie star Maximilian Fry, who’s just as screwed up, and journeys into a world of celebrity even more damaging than the one she was already living in. Will image triumph, or will she realise that some of her answers lie within?

A hilarious and thought-provoking novel about self-esteem and the cult of skinny…and what happens when you re funny about food but the joke starts to wear thin

emily giffin the one & onlyEmily Giffin – The One And Only – 20th May 2014 (US)

In her eagerly awaited new novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

giovanna fletcher youre the one that i wantGiovanna Fletcher – You’re The One That I Want – 22nd May 2014

A new novel from the author of Billy and Me about love and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that’s the problem.

Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

janey fraser after the honeymoonJaney Fraser – After the Honeymoon – 22nd May 2014

Two couples, one honeymoon destination, and enough secrets to end both marriages. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell

How can one honeymoon cause so much trouble?

Much as Emma loves Tom, she would never have got married if he hadn’t insisted. But with Tom sick for the whole week, shouldn’t she at least take advantage of the entertainment?

Winston married Melissa after a three-month whirlwind romance. As a breakfast TV fitness star, he’s anxious to keep things private. But the arrival of Melissa’s two children soon puts paid to that.

Rosie arrived at the Villa Rosa homeless and pregnant when she was just seventeen. Now, sixteen years later, she runs the place. However, the appearance of Winston throws her into confusion. He might not remember her, but she has never forgotten him.

By the end of the week, none of their lives will be the same. But how will they cope after the honeymoon is over?

paige toon thirteen weddingsPaige Toon – Thirteen Weddings – 22nd May 2014

Last year, Bronte left Sydney for a wedding in England, where she met newly single Alex. After a night of passion they parted ways, and Bronte returned to Australia. Now working on a picture desk for a magazine in London, Bronte is about to meet her new colleague, who turns out to be all too familiar. Although awkward at first, as Alex is now engaged to the girl he was on a break from when they met, they soon become friends. But as the two get closer, and the wedding day looms, it is clear that Alex and Bronte have unfinished business… A charming bittersweet novel from the author of The Longest Holiday.

karen swan the summer without youKaren Swan – The Summer Without You – 22nd May 2014

Rowena Tipton isn’t looking for a new life, just a new adventure, something to while away the months as her long-term boyfriend presses pause on their relationship before they become engaged. But when a chance encounter at a New York wedding leads to an audition for a coveted houseshare in The Hamptons – Manhattan’s elite beach scene – suddenly a new life is exactly what she’s got.

Stretching before her is a summer with three eclectic housemates, long days on white sand ocean beaches and parties on gilded tennis courts. But high rewards bring high stakes and Rowena soon finds herself caught in the crossfire of a vicious intimidation campaign. Alone for the first time in her adult life, she has no-one to turn to but a stranger who is everything she doesn’t want – but possibly everything she needs.

A gorgeously escapist summer read from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Christmas at Tiffany’s

fiona field soldiers wivesFiona Field – Soldier’s Wives – 22nd May 2014

This page-turning soap opera interweaves the stories of three women trying to get to grips with military life.

Chrissie, orphaned young, finds solace in her career as a medic in the regiment, but will love for a married man prove her undoing?

Maddy, a brilliant Oxford graduate, is bogged down with a fretful baby and a super-ambitious officer husband. Will she be able to stand life as a regimental wife?

And Jenna – glamorous, bad girl Jenna, who doesn’t believe in rules and regulations. Will she destroy her husband’s career? Or will it destroy her?

Jenny Oliver – The Vintage Summer Wedding – 22nd May 2014

A Vera Wang dress, the reception at a sophisticated London venue, and a guest list that reads like a society gossip column are all the ingredients of Anna Whitehall’s perfect wedding that never was…

Spending the summer uncovering hidden treasures in a vintage shop, Anna can still vividly remember both her childhood dreams; the first was that she’d become a Prima Ballerina, and dance on stage resplendent in a jewel-encrusted tutu. The second was that at her wedding she would walk down the aisle wearing a collective-gasp-from-the-congregation dress.

Years ago Anna pirouetted out of her cosy hometown village in a whirl of ambition…but when both of those fairy-tale dreams came crashing down around her ballet shoes, she and fiancée Seb find themselves back in Nettleton, their wedding and careers postponed indefinitely…

Don’t they say that you can never go home again? Sometimes they don’t get it right… This one summer is showing Anna that your dreams have to grow up with you. And sometimes what you think you wanted is just the opposite of what makes you happy…

Don’t miss this brilliant sequel to The Parisian Christmas Bake Off out May 2014!

milly johnson here come the boysMilly Johnson – Here Come The Boys – 22nd May 2014

Angie Silverton and her husband are taking a much-needed holiday on the cruise ship Mermaidia, so the last person she hopes to bump into on the first night is her one-time best friend Selina and the man Selina stole from her and married twenty years ago.
And what she needs even less is to be marooned in Malaga with Selina when both of them manage to miss boarding the ship in port.
It will take three days for them to travel across Europe to catch up with the ship again in Croatia. And in the company of each other twenty-four/seven, a lot of old baggage is going to be unloaded.

tamar cohen the brokenTamar Cohen – The Broken – 22nd May 2014

Best friends tell you everything; about their kitchen renovation; about their little girl’s schooling. How one of them is leaving the other for a younger model.

Best friends don’t tell lies. They don’t take up residence on your couch for weeks. They don’t call lawyers. They don’t make you choose sides.

Best friends don’t keep secrets about their past. They don’t put you in danger.

Best friends don’t always stay best friends.

belinda jones the travelling tea shopBelinda Jones – The Travelling Tea Shop – 22nd May 2014

A delectable tale of love, friendship and cake…

Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves tea-time and travel. So when British baking treasure Pamela Lambert-Leigh needs a guide on a research trip for her new cookbook, she jumps at the chance.

The brief:

Laurie and Pamela – along with Pamela’s sassy mother and stroppy daughter – will board a vintage London bus for a deliciously unusual tour of the USA’s East Coast, cruising from New York to Vermont.

Their mission:

To trade recipes for home-grown classics like Victoria Sponge and Battenburg for American favourites like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pie.

All the women have their secrets and heartaches to heal. As well cupcakes galore, there’s also the chance for romance…

But will making Whoopie lead to love?

Book Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

the break up arists philip siegelThe Break-Up Artists by Philip Siegel
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 29th April 2014
Rating: 5/5
Buy: Hardback | Kindle
Amazon Summary:

Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash.

Some work at the mall.

Becca Williamson breaks up couples.

ecca knows from experience the damage that love can do. After all, it was so-called love that turned Huxley from her childhood best friend into a social-world dictator, and love that left Becca’s older sister devastated at the altar. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Becca strikes back—for just one hundred dollars via PayPal, she will trick and manipulate any couple’s relationship into smithereens. And with relationship zombies overrunning her school and treating single girls as if they’re second-class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even Becca’s best friend, Val, has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and the football team’s star player, Steve. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date—starting rumors, sabotaging cell phones, breaking into cars…not to mention sneaking back into Huxley’s good graces. All while fending off the inappropriate feelings she may or may not be having for Val’s new boyfriend.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy.

When I spotted Philip Siegel’s debut novel I thought it sounded utterly fantastic! I love young adult novels that don’t conform to the rest, that have a plot that I’m going to remember, and The Break-Up Artist immediately became a book I HAD to read. So when I spotted it on Netgalley (thank you, Netgalley) I got the chance to read it a little bit sooner than I expected, which was a really great thing, because boy, is it a fantastic read! I never knew breaking up couples could be this fun, but this is one of the most fun, adventurous, enjoyable young adult novels I’ve read in ages. I can easily see this novel being a but debut during 2014, because it has such a unique angle and Becca is a very, very interesting charcter. I admire her chutzpah, greatly. It takes balls to do what Becca does, and she does it very well indeed.

I admit to being a tad cynical when I first started the novel. For the first little while, I truly thought that perhaps Becca was being a tad harsh in her break-ups, and that she perhaps a little bit bitter, not having a boyfriend herself, but that feeling soon drifted away as I got further and further into the story. It became irrelevent, if I’m honest. I sort of didn’t care what Becca’s motives were because I enjoyed reading her break-up tales so much (does that make me a bad person? I suspect it does a little bit, but read the book and you’ll understand). Because it just sort of works. Becca is a fantastic, fascinating heroine and I love her reasons for being a break-up artist and I’ll admit that there are times when I, too, wonder if love is all it’s cracked up to be and if it’s worth the hassle. And, anyway, something that’s said later in the novel about the fact if the couples weren’t strong enough to overcome Becca’s obstacles (which were AWESOME, the wedding binder in particular was hilarious) than they clearly weren’t meant to be, so it sort of doesn’t make it so bad to enjoy what Becca does, because she’s sorta doing the couples a favour, if you REALLY think about it…

Once I got over my cycnical suspicions, I sped through the rest of the book, I was DESPERATE to see if Becca could break up the golden couple at her school – her former best friend, Huxley (I am SO with Val on this, what kind of a name is Huxley?!?!) and her boyfriend Steve. It wasn’t as simple as some of Becca’s other break-ups and it really required some in-depth thinking, and a bit of undercover work and I sort of liked seeing Huxley and Becca mending their broken friendship, whether it was deceitfully or not. I was kinda sorta hoping they would end up as friends again, not as they were, but just tolerant towards each other, respectful, because I know what’s it’s like to be in school and have your best friends suddenly not notice you, or care about you, and ostracise you, although mine wasn’t because of a boy, and it’s awful and I sort of wanted Huxley to apologise for being a total cow towards Becca, who is actually one of the nicest, sweetest characters I think I’ll ever meet in a book! I would HAPPILY be her friend, and I thought it was stupid her best friend Val was falling into the same slippery trap Huxley fell into (Ie. the boyfriend trap that ceases to mean your best friends exist unless you say so).

The Break-Up Artist is such a clever, well-rounded novel. It had everything I wanted – a character to root for, a plot that no other author has ever thought of, a fantastic high school setting, and it was actually really, really believable. I felt for Becca the entire novel, and I understood her motives completely for doing what she does. The only questionable part of the novel was the whole Ezra thing. Honestly, I never really saw what everyone else saw in him, he was far too slick for me, and I was hoping with EVERYTHING crossed he would get some come-uppance. It’s such a charming, enjoyable novel, and I am SO glad I loved it as much as I did! It ticked all of the boxes for me, every one. Philip Seigel has delivered an AMAZING debut novel, it was bloody brilliant and SUPER amusing. So amusing. I could actually read another book about Becca, because she’s just so fun and lovely and so flipping real, guys. It’s been a while since I’ve connected to a character as much as Becca and I just loved her so much. I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s delightful and funny and warm and SO charming and very, very well written, with such an engaging, unique voice. Way to go Philip, and MORE PLEASE ASAP.

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Author Interview: Lisa Fox

LF_logo_2Today I’m pleased to be interviewing the lovely Lisa Fox! Lisa is the author of the novella One Kiss, a wonderful New Years Eve set read! I thoroughly enjoyed it and reviewed it a little while ago!

1. Hi Lisa, welcome to the site! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi Leah, it’s so great to be here. Thank you so much for having me over! I have to be honest and tell you, I really quite boring. I read, I write, I drink coffee. Sometimes I go out to glamorous places like the grocery store, but not if I can help it. Mostly, I like to dream up people who don’t exist and kill pixelated enemies on my PlayStation.

2. Can you tell us about your novella One Kiss?

One Kiss is a friends-to-lovers tale set on New Year’s Eve in New York City. Through a variety of circumstances, the main characters, Kat and Dean, find themselves without anyone to kiss at midnight. They decide, half-jokingly, to kiss one another. It’s only one kiss after all, what could it hurt?

3. Despite what I thought One Kiss isn’t your first novel, can you tell us a bit about your other books?

I have a few paranormal and erotic romances published with Ellora’s Cave. If you’re looking for something a bit edgier and more sexilicious, please check them out!

lisa fox one kiss4. How did you react when you found out your book was being published by Harper Impulse? What was your road to publication?

Oh, that is a good story. I had just finished a major overhaul/edit on One Kiss, and I thought it was too late in the season to submit my little New Year’s novella anywhere. But then, I stumbled upon the Harper Impulse Winter Wonderland Competition announcement. It seemed like a fun contest, so I decided to enter.

About two months passed, and I hadn’t heard anything, so I just figured I’d lost and somehow managed to miss the winner announcement. I was shocked when I opened my email one cold November morning and found an email from Charlotte Ledger, the Content Developer and Editor at Impulse. It had one sentence: “I would love to chat about your submission further… would you be available for me to call you tomorrow sometime?”

After I stopped squealing, I wrote her back and gave her my number.

Now, I knew that she wasn’t going to call me to give me a very nice rejection. It had to be something good. In my wildest fantasies, I imagined that I had received some sort of honourable mention – not good enough to win, but maybe good enough that she wanted to offer me a contract. Never ever, ever, ever did I expect her to tell me that I’d won the competition.

Poor Charlotte. I probably screamed her deaf that day.

5. Do you base your characters on real people, or are they entirely fictional?

They are entirely fictional people who sometimes share traits, mannerisms or even a bit of history with friends, family, actors, and strangers I’ve met on trains.

6. How do you write? Any naughty habits or guilty pleasures?

I write in my pjs, with my laptop on my lap, and coffee by my side. I usually have a cookie (or five) as well. I’m a huge coffee addict, and I drink a pot a day at minimum. In fact, I’m drinking coffee right now and enjoying it immensely!

7. Did being a published writer change the way you write?

It certainly has improved my writing. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some amazing editors. They have helped me pinpoint my weaknesses and build a better story. And I’m always learning. Every manuscript is a new chance to improve and do something better than I did the last time.

8. If you weren’t a writer, what else would you be doing?

I don’t really know what I’d be doing. I’ve always wanted to be an author. I guess I’d work in publishing. I’ve done that in the past and liked it well enough. I would definitely want to be around books. Maybe a librarian? That might be nice too.

9. What’s your favourite Chick Lit book of all time?

I’m not a huge Chick Lit reader – I tend to read mostly horror – but I love anything and everything by Cherry Adair.

10. Where does the inspiration for your novels come from?

The gods, the ethers, the vast, unknowable universe – lol! That’s a tough question to answer. Inspiration can come from the jaunty angle of a man’s hat, an overheard snatch of conversation, a whisper in the dark. Finding inspiration isn’t hard, the difficult part is making whatever caught my fancy into an actual story.

11. Finally, are you working on something new, can you tell us anything about it?

I’m currently working on a story featuring Stacy Saunders, one of Kat and Dean’s co-workers, who makes a brief appearance in One Kiss. She gets sent to New Orleans for a marketing conference, and while there, she runs into an old flame.

Thanks so much, Lisa!

One Kiss by Lisa Fox, published by Harper Impulse,  is available from Amazon.co.uk now!

Book News: A Part of Me by Anouska Knight

anouska knight a part of meI loved Anouska Knight’s debut novel Since You’ve Been Gone so I am SO excited to read her sequel A Part of Me! It’s out in June and I’m sure  it’s focused on Holly’s friends Amy and James, and I can’t wait to read their story! Plus the cover is AMAZING. Probably one of my favourite covers of the year. Here’s the synopsis:

Amy and long-term partner James have finally been accepted into the adoption process. Then out of nowhere a dark secret changes everything. Will Amy follow her heart and let the thing she wants most in her life slip away from her, or follow that dream, but lie to her heart?

Pre-order your PAPERBACK  or KINDLE copy of A Part of Me by Anouska Knight from Amazon.co.uk  now!

Book Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel

hall of fameamanda maciel teaseTease by Amanda Maciel
Publisher: Hodder
Release Date: 1st May 2014
Rating: 5/5
Buy: Paperback | Kindle
Amazon Summary:

Emma Putnam is dead, and it’s all Sara Wharton’s fault.
At least, that’s what everyone seems to think when Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma’s shocking suicide.
Now Sara is the one who’s ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community and the media.
But Sara is sure she hasn’t done anything wrong. Emma brought it on herself. Emma stole Sara’s boyfriend. Emma stole everyone’s boyfriends. Surely Sara was the victim, not Emma.
During the summer before her senior year Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment – and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she’ll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.
A story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires, Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.

When I spotted Tease by Amanda Maciel on Edelweiss, I thought it sounded really, really interesting. The synopsis grabbed me immediately, and I loved the striking cover with the word Tease dominating and I knew I had to read this book! Young Adult is such an interesting genre, one I’m reading more and more every week, every month, and I keep discovering some fantastic new authors, and Amanda has very much joined that list because Tease is one of the most unforgettable books I will ever read. I say that with no doubt in my mind, and I think that everyone who reads it will feel the same way – whether you love or loathe this book, make no mistake, you won’t forget it in a hurry.

Kids committing suicide after being bullied is something that’s more and more prevalent in our society. It’s a hot topic, and Tease delves right into the heart of that topic, right from the off. Because everyone believes that the reasons Emma Putnam is dead is because of Sara Wharton and her BFF Brielle. The novel opens with a bang, with Sara at her lawyers office discussing what happened with Emma and why, perhaps, Sara and her friends are part of the reason Emma killed herself. It’s shocking, I’ll say that, but it had me hooked instantly. The novel then flashes back in time and we unravel exactly what happened in the lead up to Emma’s death, whilst also maintaining a foothold in the present, as Sara’s trial comes closer and closer. It was written so captivatingly. I could barely put the book down and spent a happy day devouring it.

What Tease did best was it asked a lot of questions of myself – it really made me think. Because we were essentially reading a book about a bully, a group of bullies, which was so bad a girl killed herself. But there’s one quote that stands out for me, “Emma’s life is over because of Emma,” I say. “I didn’t kill her,  Brielle didn’t kill her and the guys didn’t kill her.” That. That is the reason I spent the novel so conflicted because it’s true. Sara didn’t tie the rope around Emma’s neck and let her hang, but I will confess that they didn’t help matters. I don’t really know where I stand on blaming bullies for kids deaths. It’s awful all around, let’s be honest, and Tease allowed that insight into Sara’s life. It wasn’t all roses and happiness, and Emma did do a lot of things to anger Sara, not that I’m justifying bullying. But there’s definitely more than one side and this is a novel that will have you thinking and doubting and wondering “what if…”

I was very much spellbound by the book, which makes me feel bad – how can I love a book about such a horrific experience? How can I feel compassion for what Sara goes through when she very much failed to show that herself? I truly didn’t think Sara was as bad as made out to be – she was to Emma, absolutely, but apart from that, at home, she wasn’t so bad and I do think peer pressure had a lot to do with it. Her BFF Brielle was very much the driving force, and we all know how tough it is when we come up against someone like a Brielle. Tease is a fascinating read, one that left me questioning myself and one that will stay with me long after reading. It’s a book that packs a punch and it packs it well, with questionable characters, a brilliant fast pace and a really interesting narrator. I loved it.

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