Thursday, 28 July 2016
Henry and Zoe have more in common than they realise. For a start, they both have pasts they'd rather leave behind.
After jilting his childhood sweetheart on the eve of their wedding, Henry makes a break for London. He has no friends, no job, no home, no plan.
Zoe has great friends, two jobs, a new house, and a big scary plan. After a traumatic, life-changing event, she plans to leave London and spend a year travelling. Alone.
If Henry and Zoe had met one year ago, things might have worked out differently. But that s not the way life works. They meet seven months after their worlds have been turned upside down. And four months before Zoe is due to climb on a plane...
After thoroughly enjoying The Two of Us by Andy Jones last year you can imagine my excitement when a copy of his second book The Trouble with Henry and Zoe arrived through the post.
We are introduced to our main characters Henry and Zoe and it is safe to say that they have both had a romantic past that they are keen to leave behind and they both have their own plans moving forward with Henry trying to make a new start in London and Zoe planning to jet off and travel the world taking in the sights and finding herself but will she still embark on her life changing adventure after meeting Henry only months before?
What made this such a delightful read were the engaging main characters who brought both humour and emotion to the storyline. The relationship that slowly builds between Henry and Zoe is very realistic especially taking into account the emotions both of the characters are still trying to overcome from their past relationships and rather than the author rush our characters into a predictable, unrealistic and quick happy ever after we actually watch the characters take their time in getting to know each other and just enjoy spending time with each other with no expectations or pressure which actually leaves us wondering if they will get together properly or if their relationship is just what they need to get over their past but are actually destined to take a different past and it is the constant uncertainty as to what will become of Zoe and Henry that had me hooked the whole way through.
The author manages to write perfectly from both Zoe and Henry’s points of views and yet you can still tell that it is a male author I think this is due to the humour but personally I love the different writing style as it is refreshing to have a new take on romance fiction. Although this is still a slightly emotive read this one didn’t have me blubbing like The Two of Us so you will be safe to read this one in public! It focuses on the big choices in life that we make and at the time they may seem like a bad choice but no matter what happened life goes on and it is a new chapter to look forward to and often good things can lie ahead. I couldn’t say that I enjoyed this one more than the author’s debut because they are both very different books that I loved equally but for different reasons.
The Two of Us will always be a memorable book as the storyline broke my heart but The Trouble with Henry and Zoe is a book that has come along at the right time for me with my own big decisions to make and I found this to be a heart-warming read with a light humour so it gets the thumbs up from me.
Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Lydia’s could bring her love - or the loss of everything that matters to her.
Grandmother, mother and daughter – three women whose lives are falling apart. But one summer’s day, a single dramatic moment will force their secrets into the open.
Can they save each other from falling?
I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Falling by Julie Cohen since the cover was release and I read the synopsis I knew this was going to be a heartfelt and current read and having now just finished reading this book I can say it is well worth the wait.
The story is told from three generations of characters teenage daughter Lydia her mum Jo and Jo’s mother in-law Honor. Each chapter alternates between each of our characters which allows us to get to know each of our characters on a more personal level as we uncover their hidden secrets. There is a prickly relationship between the three characters partly as a result from their hidden secrets, lack of communication and a long felt grief. When Honor has a terrible fall she has to move in temporarily with Jo and her children much to her disappointment.
I first found Honor quite a stuck up old moo but as the book progressed I slowly began to see cracks in her hard shell to a loving and caring woman hidden away. Jo I warmed to straight away and Lydia was also a likeable character who I also found at times that I wanted to give her a clip around the ear but we soon see from a teenagers point of view how hard life seems at school and especially whilst keeping her secret which meant that she could lose everything but at the same time meant she could never be herself.
The author tackles a number of difficult issues in this book and she delivers each and every one with such sensitivity. Although the book was based around secrets, heartbreak, grief, relationship issues and health issues it also had an uplifting feel to it thanks to Jo’s positive and cheerful nature and the little touches of humour from her younger two children.
Dear Thing is my favourite book by Julie Cohen but this book came incredibly close to knocking it off the top spot so make sure to add this one to your tbr piles.
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister.
A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the ‘Ophelia Killer’, responsible for a series of murders twenty years ago.
Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life…
I am still yet to read Tracy Buchanan’s debut but I was gripped by her book My Sister’s Secret last year so I wasted no time getting stuck in to her new release No Turning Back.
The book gets off to a quick dramatic start when radio presenter Anna is attacked by a teenager whist she was walking along the beach with her baby daughter. She instinctively tries to protect her daughter and herself but she never imagined that when she woke up the next morning her life was about to crumble around her.
The boy had died……
What starts off as self-defence soon becomes doubtful when the autopsy comes back which suggests something far more alarming.
The book races along and gradually reveals more twisted and disturbing situations that all seem to have a link to Anna and with each chapter I found myself getting increasingly tense and more suspicious of Anna as well as two other characters. I couldn’t put this book down I was desperate to find out who was the sick twisted person responsible.
The storyline alternates between Anna’s point of view and also snippets of the killers actions which were chilling and sickening. Anna isn’t a character I liked but for this particular book that wasn’t an issue as her character contributed to the suspicious and wary feel that the storyline has.
I love this authors writing style it draws you in from the start and holds your attention the whole way through not letting your attention waver in case you miss a clue. You will be suspicious of everyone. I haven’t read a book in a long time that has kept me in complete suspense the whole way through, but I had no idea what we would discover and when everything was revealed I was genuinely in complete and utter shock! So if you’re looking for a tense pacy read that will have your mind working overtime trying to solve the mystery then you will not be disappointed with No Turning Back.
I would be happy to recommend this book to anyone looking for an unpredictable, sinister and gripping read.
Sunday, 24 July 2016
Sunset in Central Park is the second book in the From Manhattan with Love series by Sarah Morgan and I loved book one so I was couldn’t wait to get started on book two to see what is going on with the girls.
In the first book we met three friends Paige, Frankie and Eva and they story was centred more on Paige’s story but we see the group start an events business together called Urban Genie and this book kicks off right where the previous book ends so I do suggest reading them in order rather than as a standalone. This time we focus more on Frankie who if I am honest was the one I liked the least in the previous book as she seemed to be a negative, prickly character but we get to know more about her back ground and her thoughts and feeling in this book and before long my heart went out to her and I was hoping that she would get her happy ever after.
We are reintroduced to Matt who is Paige’s brother and has been a friend to the girls for years but has also held a flame for Frankie for years but with Frankie’s barriers built up so high would he ever be able to break them down? He is such a caring, understanding and protective character, a real gentleman but with the good looks to go with it, the full package!
I love that we got a chance to be reunited not only with characters from the previous book but we also had a glimpse at past characters in the Puffin Island series too which was great and added that extra special something to the storyline.
This is a perfect light read that is full of romance but with a bumpy journey on the way as Frankie embarks on a journey of self-discovery where she has a part of herself that she has always hidden. I really enjoyed Frankie’s story and I can’t wait for book three to be released as Eva is a little hopeless romantic and I want to see her knight in shining armour come and whisk her away.
Thursday, 21 July 2016
Once a week, Rosie Tipcott counts her blessings.
She goes to sit on her favourite bench on the north Devon cliffs, and thanks her lucky stars for her wonderful husband, her mischievous young daughters, and her neat little house by the sea. She vows to dedicate every waking hour to making her family happy.
But then her husband unexpectedly leaves her for another woman and takes the children. Now she must ask the question: what is left in her life? Can Rosie find the strength to rebuild herself? More importantly, does she even want to?
I have only discovered author Amanda Prowse over the last year or so and yet as I am making my way through her back catalogue of books she fast becoming one of my favourite authors. Her latest release My Husband's Wife left me going off to bed heartbroken and it is the first book in a very long time that has touched my heart in such a powerful way.
After a troubled start in life Rosie now is very thankful for the perfect life she has with her two beautiful and comical little girls and her loving and supportive husband and they live in their lovely home by the sea, who could ask for more?
Rosie's picture perfect life comes shattering around her when unexpectedly one day her husband Phil tells her he is leaving her for another woman. Rosie is heartbroken for her and her daughters, the girls are her life and she is determined to keep them close and happy despite the upheaval that surrounds them.
My heart broke for Rosie we see her battle through such an emotional storm going from having her heart broken losing the love of her life, to feeling the gradual isolation from friends and family who have been such a big part of her life almost like she is the one being punished when she has done nothing wrong. But the part that really brought the tears to my eyes and the lump to my throat was watching her feel so powerless as much as she was desperate and determined to do right by her girls everything was falling from her fingers and because this actually happens so often in the real world I think this is what made it such emotional reading to think of parents go through the same situation.
Although this is a emotional read the two daughters Naomi and Leona bring a great sense of humour to the storyline which was welcoming and uplifting. Naomi was a real cheeky character who was full of life and is like an energiser bunny. You always knew when Naomi popped up in a chapter that there was going to be some kind of drama or funny questions.
Saturday, 16 July 2016
It can be very hard buying presents for keen bookworms,
I for one have had many books kindly brought for me that I have already read!
There of course is always the option of a book voucher but sometimes it is just nice to have something to unwrap.
I have found some lovely ideas for alternative gifts.
These Dreamday Pattern Journals are real gems. The two new styles are the Japanese and the Moroccan styles and both have beautiful intricate designs for you to colour in and the idea of incorporating a colouring in book with a notebook is genius.
I took the Japanese style book out with me to brainstorm and it made it a more bearable experience and when I was lost of what else to write I found myself colouring in the opposite page until something else came to me.
Both the cover and the inside pages are great quality and I can't wait to buy the other styles.
You can purchase these journals from Laurence King by clicking Here!
The thing I am most looking forward to when my Husband and I finally get our own house
is having my book shelves back! I have found my must have book ends and this will be my first purchase when we get our keys!
This pair of bookends are available from Waterstones here is the link to take you straight there https://www.waterstones.com/product/once-upon-a-time-and-the-end-bookends-black/2000004726492
There is one website that is dedicated to us bookworms and they have so any wonderful quirky gifts from bookish jewellery to tote bags there really are too many things to list but be sure to take a look.
Johanna Bashford introduced us to the world of adult colouring books which have now set a new craze but what I didn't know was that she also has a box of notecards in her Enchanted Forest design which contains 12 different notecards that you can colour in.
She also has a hardback Secret Garden Journal which has a sweet delicate design in the corner of each page for you to colour. This is one of those journals we all rush to buy and yet can not bring ourselves to write in them!
You can purchase both of these items by clicking HERE!
Thursday, 14 July 2016
Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French is out TODAY. We have a special extract for you to enjoy.....
‘So, what do you do with your spare time, Melody?’
I look my date square in his pretty brown eyes and lie to him. ‘Oh, you know. The usual.’ I shrug to convey how incredibly normal I am. ‘I read a lot . . . Go to the movies. That kind of thing.’
I watch Lenny digest my words, and breathe a sigh of relief when his eyes brighten.
‘Movies or books?’ I ask, stalling for time because, in truth, I don’t get much in the way of spare time to do either.
‘Movies. Action or romance? No, let me guess.’ He narrows his eyes and studies me intently. ‘You look like a sucker for a rom-com.’
‘Do I?’ I’m genuinely surprised. I’m five foot three and look more like Wednesday Addams than a Disney princess. Maybe Wednesday Addams is over-egging it, but you get the idea; I’m brunette and my dress sense errs on the side of edgy. I don’t think anyone has ever looked at me and thought whimsy. Maybe Lenny sees something everyone else has missed, me included. I quite like that idea, mainly because everyone who knows my family has a head full of preconceptions about me, based on the fact that my family are all crackers.
‘Four Weddings?’ He shrugs hopefully.
I nod, not mentioning that the only part of that particular movie I enjoyed was the funeral.
Again, I try to look interested and hold my tongue, because I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear that I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than ever watch an over-optimistic Kate Winslet drag some old guy around a swimming pool again.
I’m relieved when the bill arrives and we can get out of there, because so far Lenny has turned out to be a pretty stellar guy and somehow I’ve managed to convince him that I walk on the right side of the tracks. Maybe this time, things will be different.
Lenny pulls his dull, salesman’s saloon into the cobbled beside my building and kills the engine. I don’t mind dull. In fact, my life could really use a bit of dull right now, so I shoot him my most seductive smile, cross my fingers that my mother will be in bed, and invite him in for coffee.
Oh, just when it had all been going so well. Why couldn’t I have just given him a goodnight kiss, with maybe the smallest hint of tongue as a promise, then sent him on his way? He’d have called for a second date, I’m sure of it.
But no. I got greedy, pulled him by the hand through the dark back door, placing my finger against my lips to signal he should be quiet as we tip-toed past my mother’s apartment and up the old wooden staircase to my place.
He rests his hand on my waist as I turn the key, and a small thrill shoots down my back. Look at me, winning at this being-an-adult thing today! Dinner with an attractive man, sparkling conversation, and now back to mine for coffee . . . and maybe even a little fooling around. It’s not that I’m a virgin or anything, but it would be fair to call my love life patchy of late. By ‘of late’ I mean the last two years, ever since Leo Dark and I called things off. Well, by Leo and I, I mean Leo called things off, citing conflict of interests. Ha. Given that he was referring to the fact that my mad-as-a-bag-of-cats family are the only other psychics in town besides him, he was, at least in part, right.
But enough of Leo and my lamentable love life. Right now, all I want is for Lenny not to know anything at all about my peculiar family, to keep seeing me as a cool, regular, completely normal girl, and then to kiss me.
‘You remind me of Clara Oswald,’ Lenny whispers behind me at the top of the stairs. ‘All big brown eyes and clever one-liners. It’s very sexy.’
Lord, I think he’s just brushed a kiss against the back of my neck! My door sticks sometimes so I shoulder it open, aiming for firm and graceful but, I fear, ending up looking more like a burly police SWAT guy ramming it down. Thankfully, Lenny seems to take it in his stride and follows me into my apartment. Then I flick on the table lamp only to discover that my mother is standing on my coffee table in a too-short, too-sheer, baby-blue negligee with her arms raised towards the ceiling and her head thrown back.
‘Shit!’ Lenny swears down my ear, clearly startled. He isn’t to blame. My mother’s a striking woman, ballerina-tall and slender with silver hair that falls in waves well beyond her shoulder blades. It isn’t grey. It’s been pure silver since the day she was born, and right now she looks as if she’s just been freshly crucified on my coffee table.
I sigh as I drop my bag down by the lamp. So much for me being normal.
Slowly, she takes several heaving breaths and opens her eyes, changing from crazy lady to almost normal human lady. She stares at us.
‘For God’s sake, Melody,’ she grumbles, taking her hands from above her head and planting them on her hips. ‘I almost had the connection then. He’s hiding out in the loft, I’m sure of it.’
I risk a glance over my shoulder at Lenny, who sure isn’t kissing my neck anymore.
He lifts his eyebrows at me, a silent ‘what the hell?’ and then looks away when my mother beckons to him like a siren luring a fisherman onto the rocks.
‘Your hand, please, young man.’
‘No!’ I almost yell, but Lenny is already across the room with his hand out to help her down. My mother eyes me slyly as she steps from the table, keeping a firm hold of Lenny’s hand.
‘Long lifeline,’ she murmurs, tracing her red talon across Lenny’s palm.
‘Mother,’ I warn, but my , cautionary tone falls on her selectively deaf ears. I expected nothing else, because she’s pulled this trick before. Admittedly, the standing-on-the-table thing is a new twist, but she’s got form in scoping out my prospective boyfriends to make sure they’ll fit in with our screwball family from the outset. Not that her romantic gauge is something to put any stock in; Leo passed her tests with flying colours and look how that ended up. I got my heart broken and he got a spot on morning TV as the resident psychic. Where’s the justice in that?
Look, we may as well get the old skeleton out of the family closet early on here, people. It’s going to come out sooner or later, and despite my attempts to pull the wool over Lenny’s eyes, there’s never any running away from this thing for long.
My name’s Melody Bittersweet, and I see dead people.
It’s not only me. I’m just the latest in a long line of Bittersweets to have the gift, or the curse, depending on how you look at it. My family has long since celebrated our weirdness; hence the well-established presence of our family business, Blithe Spirits, on High Street. We’ve likely been here longer than the actual chapel at the far end of the street. That’s probably why, by and large, we’re accepted by the residents of the town, in a ‘they’re a bunch of eccentrics, but they’re our bunch of eccentrics,’ kind of way. What began as a tiny, mullion-windowed, one-room shop has spread out along the entire row over the last two hundred years; we now own a run of three terraced properties haphazardly knocked into one, big, rambling place that is both business and home to not only me, but also to my mother, Silvana, and her mother, Dicey. Gran’s name isn’t actually Dicey, it’s Paradise, officially, but she’s gone by Dicey ever since she met my Grandpa Duke on her fifteenth birthday and he wrote Dicey and Duke inside a chalk heart on the back wall of the building. He may as well have written it on her own racing heart.
Speak of the devil. Does no one go to bed around here?
I open my door to find Gran on the threshold with her hand raised, poised to knock. I guess I should be glad she’s slightly more respectably dressed, if a floor-length, purple shot-silk kimono, bearing huge dragons could be considered as such. Her usually pin-curled gold hair is piled elegantly on her head and she wears a slash of fire-engine-scarlet lipstick for good measure. Most people couldn’t carry the look off, but thanks to her poise, confidence and couldn’t-care-less attitude, Grandma Dicey wears it with artful success. She glides past me without invitation and gazes at my mother and Lenny, who are still hand-in-hand on the rug.
First thing tomorrow morning, I swear, I’m going to look for a new place to live, somewhere, anywhere, that is not in the same building as my mother and my gran. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a charming old place and I love my family dearly. It’s not even as if I don’t have my own space here, because, theoretically at least, I do. Mum and Gran have the ground floor apartment behind Blithe Spirits, and I have the smaller flat upstairs, at the back. In lots of ways this makes me fortunate; I get to have a nice little home of my own and stay close to my family. It would all be fine and dandy, were it not for the fact that my family are officially bonkers and liable to come up and let themselves into my flat – using the spare key I gave them for dire emergencies only – and embarrass the shit out if me.
‘Why is Silvana entertaining a man half her age in your flat?’ Gran looks from me to my mother. ‘You should have said you were expecting company, darling. I’d have gone out.’ She touches her hand lightly against her hair. ‘Put a towel on the doorknob or something, isn’t that the modern way to signal these things? Don’t come a ’ if the caravan’s ’?’
She looks spectacularly pleased with herself, and one glance at Lenny tells me that he knows he’s way out of his depth with these two and is in the process of writing me off as the worst date he’s ever had. His eyes slide from me to the door, and I can almost hear him begging me to let him go unharmed.
‘He’s not mum’s date, he’s mine. Or else, he was,’ I mutter, and then I’m distracted as a beer-bellied pensioner in a soup-stained shirt slowly materialises through the ceiling, his flannel trousers not quite meeting his bony ankles. Stay with me; I see dead people, remember? As do my mother and my grandmother, who also watch him descend with matching expressions of distaste.
‘Finally,’ my mother spits, dropping Lenny’s hand so she can round on the new arrival. ‘Two hours I’ve been chasing you around this bloody building. Your wife wants to know what you’ve done with the housekeeping she’d hidden in the green teapot. She says you better not have lost it on the horses or she’s had it with you.’
Grandma Dicey rolls her eyes. ‘I rather think she’s had it with him anyway. He’s been dead for six weeks.’
‘You’re a fine one to talk, given that you still sleep with your husband twenty years after he died.’ Mother flicks her silver hair sharply. Touché.
Lenny whimpers and bolts for my front door, turning back to me just long enough to splutter ‘something’s come up, go,’ before he hoofs it out and down the stairs two at a time.
I listen to the outside door bang on its hinges and wonder what came up. Probably his dinner.
If you enjoyed this little teaser then go ahead and click the link below to buy your copy which today is only 99p on kindle!
Price correct at time of post.