Book Review: #Moonstruck by Sariah Wilson

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cover140579-medium.png #Moonstruck by Sariah Wilson

Publisher: Montlake Romance
Published: 17th July 2018
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B0797SNSSQ
Source: Netgalley and the publisher. Thank you lovely people for my copy in exchange for my review!

GoodreadsAmazon UK

Description

Over one million “likes”—but only one of them matters.

After pop star Ryan De Luna praises Maisy Harrison’s YouTube cover of his classic hit, he offers Maisy and her fledgling band the opportunity of a lifetime: to be his opening act.

Music may be Maisy’s life, but she has one ground rule: never date a musician. That goes double for a heartbreaker like Ryan. If only she didn’t feel so vulnerable to his larger-than-life charm. And maybe now more than ever, when he asks for her help to shake off his playboy image. How can she resist playing the part of his fake girlfriend for the duration of the tour?

Ryan’s never met anyone like Maisy. She sees past all the star-studded fame and treats him like any other guy. And the more time they spend together, the more he finds himself falling for her. Now he’d like to make their imaginary fling an IRL thing. But can he convince her to take a chance and trust him with her heart?

My Review

Another well written clean, romance from Sariah Wilson. She brings her characters alive so easily and it’s refreshing to have a romance that starts off on such a basic level as this. As with the first #Lovestruck book, it was a nice change that there was a man who respected a woman’s boundaries and wasn’t trying to change her mind about what she wanted or how she wanted to experience things. I also loved that there as a little appearance from Chase and Zoe from the #Starstruck book.

I liked Maisy. I liked her rules, and how determined she really wanted to stick to them. I liked the way she was with her brothers and the way she treated the people around her. I loved the chemistry between her and Ryan. It was instant, and it was written brilliantly. Maisy and her brothers banter was great, and I’m secretly hoping that if there is another #Lovestruck book then it’ll be about one of them. I’m not bothered which one!!

Ryan was a gentleman and I really liked him. I loved that he treated Maisy with respect, especially when it came to her decision about waiting to have sex. He may have hinted that’s what he wanted, but he kept within her boundaries. I loved his sense of humour and how honest he was.

The storyline flowed brilliantly. I wish we’d seen more from Ryan’s point of view but it still worked really well. The little things are the things that make this book, not the big monumental moments. It’s the little things like how a photo is described or how things are said. There is one moment where I thought Maisy was a bit harsh, unfair and a little too hotheaded for her own good, but it all worked out fine. I do love a good ending.

I’m really hoping that there will be another book in this series. I love Sariah Wilson’s writing and her characters. I love that there is chemistry, passion and a fairly normal feel to the people within her books. I love that there are sexy men who do not instantly want to jump into a woman’s underwear (and that it doesn’t happen) and that her books are full of humour, witty comments and fierce women.

 

 

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Blog Tour Extract: The Story After Us by Fiona Perrin

3vSVjt7A.jpeg The Story After Us by Fiona Perrin

Publisher: Aria
Published: 14th July 2018
ISBN13: 9781788547338

Buy now links: 

Amazon: mybook.to/StoryAfterUs | Kobo: http://bit.ly/2JTLSHq | iBooks: https://apple.co/2MsSMlE | Google play: http://bit.ly/2JJ3PVP

Description

Perfect for fans of Marin Keyes and Motherland – and for all women who have found their happy-ever-after turned out to be no fairy tale. Grown-up , sparkling, funny, poignant and ultimately uplifting.

If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her… Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become – or why she and her husband can’t even be in the same room anymore.

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off ‘consciously uncoupling’ like a celeb. But she’s starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be….happier?

As funny as Helen Fielding, as poignantly touching as Marian Keyes, Fiona Perrin’s dazzling debut is a story that is as much about finding out who you really are again, as it’s about the exhausting balancing act of motherhood. Unmissable for women everywhere.

Author Bio

S9EaysgQ.jpegFiona Perrin was a journalist and copywriter before building a career as a sales and marketing director in industry. Having always written, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course before writing The Story After Us. Fiona grew up in Cornwall, hung out for a long time in London and then Hertfordshire, and now writes as often as possible from her study overlooking the sea at the end of The Lizard peninsula.

Follow Fiona and Follow Aria

Website: https://fionaperrin.com/ | Twitter: @fionaperrin
Facebook:@fionajperrinauthor | Instagram: @fionaperrin

Website:www.ariafiction.com | Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction | Instagram: @ariafiction

Extract

2017

Lars left me late on a Sunday afternoon in January. He threw a couple of bags into his car and drove off with a puff of smoke that could have been drawn by Walt Disney.

I stood at the top of the steps of our north London house as he disappeared around the corner of the road. I felt as if I were looking down at a sobbing thirty-seven-year-old brunette rather than that I actually was her. There was an overwhelming sense that, after ten years, it was Just Me Again.

But, of course, it wasn’t – now I had the kids. I rushed inside and threw cold water over my face at the kitchen sink, drying myself with a tea towel before I opened the door of the playroom. Four-year-old Finn and six-year-old Tessa were sitting on the sofa, frightened by the rowing and confused by the fact that they were allowed to watch a DVD when the rule was only an hour of screen time a day and that was when I needed to moan and drink wine.

‘Is everything OK, Mummy?’ Finn asked, walking over to kiss me. ‘Jemima’s coming to my party on Saturday. She’s my girlfriend and so is Tallulah. I’m going to marry both of them.’

‘You can only marry one person,’ scoffed his sister. ‘Can’t you, Mummy?’

‘Well,’ I said.

‘Except for Henry VIII,’ said Tess, whose special topic at school this term was the fat, monastery-burning Tudor. ‘When he went off his wives he chopped off their heads. You could chop off Jemima’s head and then marry Tallulah.’

‘But Jemima’s got lovely yellow hair,’ said Finn, clutching me.

‘You’d still have her hair if she was dead. You could keep her head in a corner.’

‘That’s enough, Tess.’ My daughter’s current favourite game was burying dolls in graves in the back garden and topping them with twigs. She also spent quite a lot of time on the floor pretending to be a corpse.

‘Daddy might not be back in time for your party,’ I said in a mock-cheerful voice. ‘He’s got to go away for work again.’ In fact, Lars missing his son’s birthday party had been the reason we’d had the enormous row that afternoon when he’d said he was leaving me and our marriage for good.

‘Oh dear,’ said Finn, who was very used to his father being away for his web business.

‘Can we watch another DVD?’ said Tess, who could spot a weak chink in adult armour a mile off.

I put my head into Finn’s neck so that they couldn’t see my face. ‘Yes,’ I said. How would they cope if we really were getting divorced? I worried so much about the impact all our recent rows were having on them; Tess was already really macabre and splitting with her father for good could only make that worse.

I wanted to crawl under my duvet and stay there in the foetal position, but it was approaching Sunday evening. I needed to do what every other family was doing: find PE kits, pack lunches, move miserably towards Monday while still mourning Saturday.

I rang Liv. ‘It’s the worst row we’ve ever had,’ I said, ‘and he says he’s divorcing me.’ She immediately said she’d come round. Then, like a robot, I made fish fingers, gave Tess and Finn a bath, packed their school bags, put them to bed and read them The Cat in the Hat, making an extra effort with my snarky Cat voice.

‘It’s you,’ I said. ‘Thing One and Thing Two,’ and they giggled. After that I poured myself a giant glass of red wine and waited for Liv on the sitting-room sofa, rocking back and forwards, as I relived the last few hours.

KQ_UOilQ

The Incredibles Book Tag

TAG

We love The Incredibles in this house. The child is very much a superhero fan, and with some of the Marvel and DC films being too grown up for a 4 year old, this is our replacement!!! When I saw this, I knew I had to do it!!! Full credit for making it goes to Paper Thieves, and you can read her post HERE!!!!!


Mr. Incredible: What book did you think had a strong father figure that impacted the character a lot?

The first books I can think of with a Dad in them is The Mortal Instrument series. Valentine wasn’t exactly Dad of The Year was he….

Elastigirl: What book did you wish you could have stretched out to make it last longer?

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Both are fantastic books and I wanted them to last sooooo much longer!!!

Violet: What book did you dislike so much you wish it would disappear forever?

I keep saying this about this book. The Rosie Project. Not that I’d wish it from existence because I know it’s very popular, but maybe just vanish it from my memory???

Dash: What book had the fastest plot that you could barely keep up?

Erm, I agree with Paper Thieves here. Caraval. It was all go, go, go and before I knew it…. Well, it was over and I was sat there like ‘What just happened?’ I’m still going to read Legendary though.

Jack Jack: What book kept information from you until the very end?

Hangman by Daniel Cole. I need answers, NOW!!!

Favourite Author #2: Leigh Bardugo

This post is dedicated to Leigh Bardugo. Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know that I’m obsessed with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. I also loved The Grisha Trilogy and am planning on re-reading them in the future, whether that happens or not though!!!!

All information is from Leigh Bardugo’s website: http://www.leighbardugo.com/


Author Bio

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Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over one million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thorns— with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of Tor.com and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and the forthcoming Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Los Angeles, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

Social Media Links

Twitter
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Instagram
The Grisha Trilogy on Facebook



Books

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Goodreads

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

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Goodreads

Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy #2)
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

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Goodreads

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy #3)
The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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Goodreads

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where
anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

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Goodreads

The Language of Thorns (Grishaverse)
Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

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Goodreads

Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.



Coming Soon

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King os Scars (Nikolai Duology #1)
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

There has also been talk recently of a third Six of Crows book, some people are in two minds of it being official or not. My thoughts on it?? PLEASE let it be true!!!!

Blog Tour Extract: Confessions of a First Time Mum by Poppy Dolan

512fjtTsQQL._SY346_Confessions of a First Time Mum by Poppy Dolan

Publisher: Canelo  Published: 25th June 2018

Description

Stevie’s life has changed beyond recognition since having her first baby.

Stevie loves being a mum, but between the isolation and being vomited on five times a day, she really wishes she had someone to talk to.

With husband Ted working hard to keep the family afloat, Stevie really doesn’t want to burden him with her feelings. Turning to the internet, Stevie starts the anonymous First-Time Mum blog and blasts the rose-tinted glasses of parenthood right off her readers.

In the real world, Stevie meets the formidable Nelle and gorgeous Will, along with their own little treasures, and starts to realise that being a ‘perfect mum’ isn’t everything. But when the secret blog goes viral, Stevie must make some tough choices about who she wants to be, and whether she’s ready for the world to know the truth…

A perfect laugh-out-loud read for fans of The Unmumsy Mum, Gill Sims and Emma Robinson.

Amazon UK | Kobo UK | Google Books UK | Apple Books UK


Extract

Chapter 8

Ted had been really receptive to the idea of some quality family time when he got back, smelling of peaty whisky and taxi air fresheners. He’d bought a really lovely plush panda for Cherry, which she took to her heart straight away, trying to gouge out and eat its eyes. His business exec blanket from the flight was for me, because I’m ‘always cold’. I decided to let that slide and focus on the fact he’d thought of our girl first and foremost. Some brownie points there.

‘OK, well, I’ll leave it all in your hands, then,’ I’d enunciated slowly. ‘Where we go. When. What stuff we need in the change bag. Yeah?’ I’d been so casual about it, so cool. Not at all the trap-laying wife.

‘Hmm? Absolutely,’ he’d replied, bunging his suitcase contents into the washing machine – darks, whites, woollens. Ted has a severe case of laundry blindness and I’ve given up trying to lead him through it.

And so, are we sauntering by the River Thames, hand in hand, sharing a honeycomb ice cream? Are we at the Roald Dahl museum, teaching Cherry her first revolting rhymes as a harmonised family unit? Are we just at the local park with a picnic already prepared, simply enjoying the lovely area we live in?

Are we fuck.

We’re at Twist and Bounce. A place so wholly demonic that they took the hell that is an airless, windowless soft play centre and added trampolines and random bursts of Euro synth dance music, which upon hearing you’re supposed to drop everything and run into the central play area and join in a crazed ‘flash mob’ Macarena. I don’t come here on a Tuesday, let alone a weekend. But this was Ted’s best idea. Some might say, rightly, his only idea.

The noise pummels my ears as screams and screeches ping off the hard painted walls and right down my ear canals. The coffee is – frankly – shit: watery and thin. I’d rather have my usual stone-cold instant at home. At least I’d know the cup had been properly cleaned. And it wouldn’t have cost £3.50.

This place is not at all relaxing for me and it’s way too much stimulation for Cherry as a six month old. Large toddlers whoosh and wheel around her, dangerously close to treading on a precious fat finger. Her head whips this way and that as she tries to take them all in and I can read her little squint: Hey, how can I stare at you if you run so fast! Come here and let me chew an item of your clothing until we’re friends! And as she licks one red ball from the pit, and then a green one, and then another red – as if tasting whether the colour has any effect on flavour – I shudder to think what human substances have been left behind on those balls and in

which decade they were last cleaned. Judging by the smell of urine hanging around, barely covered by air freshener, I’m not altogether confident.

But I won’t go in and rescue her from this berserk place. No. She’s not in any real danger and Ted has made his choice, so he’s in charge. Even when he picks up Cherry and looks over to where I’m sitting and pulls a wonky grin, as if to say, ‘Am I doing this right? Do I look weird?’ I choose to pretend I can’t catch the drift and I just send a jaunty thumbs up back. No, this isn’t right. Yes, you look weird, your lanky frame awkwardly squeezed into a ball pit meant for the under-5s. But on your head be it.

I’m going to sit here, upgrade myself to a can of Diet Coke and do nothing and try not to even think anything. Not – is she hungry for lunch yet? Shall I start warming the pouch in some hot water? Not – is she having a bad reflux day? Are the wipes close by? That is all on Ted today, whether he’s appreciated it or not.

When I come back to my little table with my nicely chilled can, I take a long, slow breath. Mindfulness. Calm. First World Problems.

Yes, OK, this isn’t a pottering-about session in Marlow with a cream tea, but I’m here, we’re all well and we’re lucky to have the disposable income to do family trips like this. Even if they are to a mostly abandoned industrial estate just outside town. I have a cold fizzy drink to sip alone and that is a very fine thing in itself.

I take a quick snap of the can on the table, just to remind myself to stop moaning and start enjoying the details. Just then, something flashes up in my First-Time Mum Messenger inbox.

Hi First-Time Mum! I’m a junior features ed at the Metro. Wondering if you’d write a short piece for us about parenting in the blogging age, or another angle if you’ve been thinking of one, thanks. We can provide a standard fee. Let me know. X

My mouth goes dry and I knock back some of my drink, the bubbles threatening to burst out of my nose. Metro? Short piece? FEE?!

I take a screenshot and ping it to my WhatsApp group.

Stevie: OMG, GUYS, WHAAAAAAT DO I DO?

After ten twitchy minutes I get a reply.

Will: WHAH! Amazing!!! You do it, of course. Money and fame – what’s not to love? You’re High Wycombe’s answer to Belle du Jour!

Nelle: Hang on, I’m doling out fish fingers for lunch. Belle Whosit? And yes, DO IT, STEWART.

Will: Belle du Jour was a secret blogging call girl who made a mint from her ‘sexploits’ (ugh). I think our Stevie could be quids in here. First stop Metro, next stop: Glamour! Psychologies! Red!

Nelle: Will she have to do sexploits?! I didn’t think we’d forgiven Ted that quickly… 😉

Despite the hand clamped over my mouth, I am giggling hysterically through my fingers.

‘What’s so funny?’ Ted almost makes me leap out of my plastic seat.

‘Oh, um, nothing. Just… Will saying I’m a call girl. Everything OK?’ I blunder on speedily.


Confessions of a First-Time Mum blog tour.png

Summer Book Tag

With this beautiful weather in the UK at the moment, it definitely feels like summer!!! A better summer than normal anyway. So, in honour of that here’s this Summer Book Tag!!


LEMONADE: PICK A BOOK THAT STARTED OFF BITTER BUT THEN GOT BETTER

Kirsty Greenwood’s The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance. I didn’t like Jessica in the book to begin with, but by the end I did. The story was a bit sketchy to begin with as well but it improved along with the characters.

GOLDEN SUN: PICK A BOOK THAT MADE YOU SMILE BEYOND COMPARE

The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley. Amazing Book. Or The Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans

TROPICAL FLOWERS: PICK A BOOK SET IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY

Strange The Dreamer by Laina Taylor. I will not forget Weep in a hurry.

TREE SHADE: PICK A BOOK WHERE A MYSTERIOUS OR SHADY CHARACTER IS INTRODUCED

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart. I won’t say anything else as it’s being published soon!!

BEACH SAND: PICK A BOOK THAT WAS GRAINY AND THE PLOT BARELY DEVELOPED

Ugh, I’m not even going to answer this one for the pure fact that the only book I’ve read like this recently has been banned from memory. It was awful.

GREEN GRASS: PICK A CHARACTER(S) THAT WAS FULL OF LIFE, MAKING YOU SMILE

I want to say Death from An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson. He was a funny character even if he was only there for a few moments at a time.

WATERMELON: PICK A BOOK THAT HAD SOME JUICY SECRETS

Renegades by Marissa Meyer. Both Nova and Adrian have big fat juicy secrets in this book.

SUN HAT: PICK A BOOK WITH A VAST, BIG UNIVERSE/SETTING

Am I going to pick anything different than the Grishaverse books? I mean, come on…

BBQ: PICK A BOOK IN WHICH A CHARACTER WAS PORTRAYED AS A HUNK

Let me go with a recent read for this one. Anders Ostergaard from Bahama Mama.


What are some of your favourite summer reads?

Blog Tour Extract: The Girl in the Pink Raincoat by Arlene Hughes

Hughes_THE GIRL IN THE PINK RAINCOAT_preview.jpeg The Girl In The Pink Raincoat by Alrene Hughes

Published: 12Th July 2018
Publisher: Head of Zeus
ASIN: B0778ZPTVN
ISBN13: 9781788543965

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Kobo

Description

When a factory girl and a Jewish businessman fall in love it seems that the whole world is against them.

Manchester, 1939. On the eve of war Gracie Earnshaw is working in Rosenberg’s Raincoat factory – a job she hates – but her life is about to be turned upside down when she falls in love with Jacob, the boss’s charismatic nephew.

Through Jacob, with his ambitions to be a writer, Gracie glimpses another world: theatre, music and prejudice. But their forbidden romance is cut short when Jacob is arrested and tragedy unfolds.

Gracie struggles with heartbreak, danger and old family secrets, but the love of her first sweetheart comes back to her in an unexpected way giving her the chance of a new life and happiness.


Extract

Sunday afternoon was warm and sunny, and after dinner Sarah announced that she was going to whitewash the outside privy. ‘If there’s going to be a war, I want to make sure all my affairs are in order.’

Gracie looked at her mother, shook her head in disbelief and convulsed with laughter. ‘What? What?’ was all she could say.

‘You know what I mean,’ said Sarah. ‘I wouldn’t want anybody to talk about me if we’re bombed.’ By now Sarah knew how ridiculous she sounded and started laughing as well. ‘Anyway, do you want to help me?’

‘No, Mam. The last thing I want is to spend a lovely day in a lavatory. I think I’ll change my clothes and go out for a bit. I’ll be back for my tea.’

It was a fair walk from Oldham Road to Heaton Park, but Gracie didn’t mind. It was good to be out in the fresh air, to leave behind the streets of two-up-two-down terraces and find herself in the leafy suburbs. She wore her Sunday best – blue floral cotton frock and cardigan with a matching ribbon in her dark hair. She strolled under the colonnade that marked the entrance to the park and joined the crowds of people enjoying the warm sun and a holiday atmosphere. If anyone was concerned about the threat of war they certainly didn’t show it.

The lake was crowded with rowing boats and she stopped to watch the antics of four lads who couldn’t work out how to stop the boat going round in circles. Then she set off up the long drive towards Heaton Hall, a large and impressive Georgian house. To the right of it was a high vantage point topped by a little temple. She climbed the hill and looked out over the park from where she could see the anti-aircraft gun and searchlight that Charlie had described. The encampment was well dug in and surrounded by a wooden fence. Two soldiers stood on guard. The gun was much bigger than she had imagined and the thought of it in action made her shudder.

In the distance to the north and east were the mills of Bury, Rochdale and Oldham. To the south, as far as the eye could see, were the factories and canals of Manchester and Salford, and to the west, on this clearest of days, Gracie fancied she could see the port of Liverpool. Above her the sky seemed huge and for a moment she imagined it full of enemy planes.

‘It’s an impressive weapon, isn’t it?’

She turned. Jacob Rosenberg was at her side. ‘I suppose so, but I hope to God they never have to fire it.’

‘I’m afraid they probably will, Gracie, and sooner than we think.’ He went on, ‘The news is bad today. The papers are saying we’ll be at war this time next week. Just think, we could be enjoying the last Sunday of peace for a long time.’

‘Well, that’s put a dampener on the day, hasn’t it?’ said Gracie.

‘Oh, I’m sorry, forgive me.’ There was the lovely smile that brightened her working days. ‘Let me make it up to you,’ he said. ‘How about an ice cream?’

They walked down the hill together, and Gracie couldn’t help wondering why he was in the park and, of all the people there, he had ended up standing next to her. ‘It seems a bit of a coincidence that you’re here today,’ she said.

‘Not really. I often have a walk here on Sunday afternoon. I only live up the road.’

‘So you didn’t hear me say I was coming here?’

He pretended to be surprised. ‘Why would you think that?’

She had the feeling he was teasing her, but she wouldn’t let him get away with it. ‘I know you watch me at work when you think I’m not looking,’ she said.

‘Ah, but that’s because you watch me when you’re supposed to be stitching raincoats.’

She opened her mouth to protest, but he was already laughing. ‘Let’s just say we keep an eye on each other. But today’s different, isn’t it?’

‘Is it?’ she said.

‘Of course it is. We’re not in the factory. It’s just you and me out for a walk in the sunshine. So, how do you want to spend our time together on the last Sunday of peace?’

They went to look at the Hall, walking around the outside and peering through the tall windows at grand fireplaces, huge dark paintings of people long dead, an elegant table that would seat half of Gracie’s street. ‘It would have been such a bustling place at one time,’ said Jacob, ‘with carriages sweeping up the drive bringing the cotton barons to dine.’

Gracie’s eyes lit up. ‘Yes, and the lady of the house, in an Empire-line gown, embroidered with pearls, and long white evening gloves, would have stood at the foot of the sweeping staircase waiting to greet them.’ She ran up the steps outside a French window and struck a pose. Jacob followed her, playing along, bowing low

‘Welcome, Mr Rosenberg,’ she said, in her poshest voice, ‘and how is the raincoat business?’

‘Thriving, ma’am, thriving.’

‘And, tell me, do you treat your workers kindly?’

‘Indeed I do, ma’am, especially the pretty ones.’

She frowned. ‘So, you have an eye for the ladies, have you?’

‘I wouldn’t say that.’ He took her hand and brought it to his lips.

Gracie pretended to be shocked and looked up at him under her eyelashes.

‘I shouldn’t have done that, should I?’ he said.

She laughed. ‘Don’t be daft, Mr Jacob, I’m just play-acting.’ But she was surprised to feel her heart racing.

‘Oh, you can’t call me Mr Jacob when we’re not in the factory.’

‘No?’

‘I’m just Jacob.’

She put her head to one side, pretending to study him. ‘Just Jacob, I like that.’

They wandered through the rose garden, heady with scent, and into a shaded woodland walk. ‘Do you like working at the factory?’ he asked.

‘Not really. Some days I think there’s not much difference between us and them down the road in Strangeways.’

‘Come on! My uncle’s not that hard a taskmaster, is he?’

Gracie pulled a severe face and mimicked her boss: ‘Miss Earnshaw, I don’t pay you good wages for clowning around when there’s raincoats to be stitched.’

Jacob threw back his head and laughed. ‘You should be on the stage, Gracie.’

Back on the main path, Jacob bought them ice-cream cornets and they went to sit on a bench under a chestnut tree.

She studied him closely: his dark hair a little longer than most men’s, strong nose and chin and, when he turned to look her, the darkest of brown eyes. ‘I’ve not seen you wearing the little cap before,’ she said.

‘The kippah… Jewish men cover their heads to honour God. I don’t usually wear it, but I’ve just been to shul, that’s my church, for a meeting and, well, it’s expected.’

‘And the way you speak, is that Jewish too?’

‘My accent, you mean?’

Gracie nodded.

‘In a way… I grew up in Germany, but I’ve been back and forward to England every few years, sometimes London then Manchester, learning the family business. I was supposed to go back to Germany a while ago, but…’ He looked away.

‘But what?’ asked Gracie. She saw his jaw tighten and it was a moment before he answered.

‘I wanted to go back, but my parents thought I should stay here. Now is not the time to be a Jew in Germany. As we speak, thousands are fleeing the country, frightened for their lives.’ He shook his head. ‘It’s a bad business.’

Gracie would have asked him to explain, but he looked so sad. After a minute, he checked his watch and his voice was brighter when he said, ‘Come on. It’s almost time for the concert.’

The bandstand was lower down the hill, set in an amphitheatre of grassy banks where people were sitting around, waiting for the music to begin. Jacob took off his sports jacket and spread it on the ground. ‘There you are,’ he said, and they sat down so close together their arms touched.

Besses o’ th’ Barn brass band, resplendent in their uniforms trimmed with gold and red, were straightening their music stands and playing random notes by way of a prelude.

The conductor stepped up, raised his baton, and the band members put their instruments to their lips. The baton fell, and the air was instantly full of the rich sound of brass. The programme of patriotic music lifted everyone’s spirits, and at the end of the concert the conductor invited the audience to sing along to ‘There’ll Always Be An England’.

‘Oh, you won’t know the words,’ said Gracie.

‘It doesn’t matter,’ said Jacob. ‘I’m happy just to close my eyes and listen to you.’

The day had turned chilly by the time they left the park and they stood together under the colonnade before they went their separate ways.

‘I’m glad I came out for a walk today,’ said Jacob.

‘So am I,’ said Gracie, and she thought he might kiss her, but then he frowned.

‘Gracie, when we’re back at work tomorrow…’

Instinctively, she knew. ‘I understand,’ she said. ‘I won’t say anything.’

‘It’s just that…’

Gracie touched his arm. ‘It’s all right, don’t worry.’

Jacob took her hand and held it. ‘Thank you. I’ll see you tomorrow,’ he said, and she watched him go.

On the long walk home, her thoughts were full of Jacob. He was nothing like other lads she knew: he was funny and sad, confident and shy and so very, very handsome.

At the bottom of Cheetham Hill, not far from the raincoat factory, she was surprised to see a ragged procession of people walking towards her up the road. Men with long black coats and high-brimmed hats, women in dark clothes with their hair covered, several with a baby tied in a shawl across their bodies. Closer they came, too weary to look about them, carrying bundles or battered suitcases. But it was the sad-eyed children

trailing in their parents’ wake that touched her: a little girl in what was once a pretty party dress now ripped and stained; a boy with ringlets hanging in front of his ears and a little round cap on his head.

Gracie’s heart went out to them for she knew at once that they were Jews and they had travelled a very long way to get to Manchester.

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The ABC Book Challenge: ‘D’

Memorable titles that start with the letter “D”

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Defender by G X Todd
  • {A} Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

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Books Starting with “D” on my TBR

  • {The} Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee
  • {The} Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
  • Defiance by C.J. Redwine
  • Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

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Blog Tour: An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

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An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

Published: 28th June 2018
Publisher: Wicked Kilt Publishing
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B07D23TM38
Source: Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Resources and the author Kiltie Jackson, thank you for my copy in exchange for my honest review! Thank you for letting me take part on the blog tour as well!!!

Goodreads | Amazon UK

Description

Are you ‘living’ your life or just living your life?
Elsa Clairmont was widowed barely five years after marrying her childhood sweetheart. She has struggled to come to terms with the loss and, six years later, has almost ceased to live herself. She does just enough to get by.
Danny Delaney is the ultimate ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s kind, caring and sweet. A talented artist in his teens, his abusive mother ruined his career in art and he turned his back on his exceptional gift. Now, he does just enough to get by.
On New Year’s Eve, both Danny and Elsa die in unrelated accidents.
Thanks to some poker playing shenanigans, Elsa’s husband Harry, and Danny’s old Art teacher, William, manage to orchestrate a deal with Death that allows Danny and Elsa to live for one more year on the condition they both agree to complete three tasks.
They have until the last chime of Big Ben on the 31st December to fulfil their quests.
If they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.
If they should fail however…
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is a story of personal growth and self-discovery as two people find themselves forced to make overdue changes in their lives, changes in other people’s lives, and all with the added challenge of finding true love before their time runs out.

Will they do it?

Can they do it?

After all, it’s a matter of Life or Death…


My Review

I really didn’t know where this book was going to go. Honestly, I didn’t think it could match up to the first in the series but… It worked. A lot. It matched up to Rock-‘n’-roll Lovestyle and then some.

The writing style was a bit odd though, it felt like it would go off on a tandem and then eventually get back to where it was going. It worked for the story though, and it worked for the characters. I loved the little side scenes with Death, Harry and William. Death was hilariou, he would have been the life of the party!! I loved the whole near misses, the little moments that we were so close to having. I also loved that we got to catch up with Sukie, Pete, Beth and Jordie along the way as well.

I liked Elsa, and I’m glad she wasn’t living in pain throughout the whole book. I liked to see how to grew into herself again and found who she was again.

Danny was a likeable character as well. It was a nice change from some of the men you can get in books like this. He was caring, and quite humble. I did not like his girlfriend, Sandra. She made me so angry, and I would have happily given her a slap. Sukie’s descriptions of her in certain scenes are definitely an excellent description of her.

I’m very glad we got the ending that we got, it was pure excellence. I really, really want there to be a follow up for Sukie and Pete, and other characters that we get to meet in this book. I need to know what happens to them all.


thumbnail_An Artisan Lovestyle Head Shot Piccie.jpgAuthor Bio

Kiltie grew up in Glasgow in Scotland, This is a very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life.

When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then, after several years of obtaining interesting experiences -which are finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands. Kiltie currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one grumpy husband. Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having plenty of moggies, there are no towers!

The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their house on the condition they keep paying the mortgage! She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles. She really dislikes going to the gym! Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job and write her stories for a living.

Kiltie’s debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, was released in September 2017 and won

a “Chill With A Book – Reader Award” in December 2017.

She first began writing her debut novel eleven years before it was released but shelved it as she didn’t think it was very good. In November 2016 when, having read more on a best-selling author who had begun her own career as a self-published author, she was inspired to revisit the unfinished

manuscript and finally finish what she had started. Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing. ‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is the second book in the Lovestyle Series.

Work is due to begin on book three (not yet titled but also part of the Lovestyle Series) in the Summer of 2018. She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and the ideas still keep on coming. Kiltie now lives her life around the following three quotes: “I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!” “Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?” “Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”

Website http://www.kiltiejackson.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kiltiejackson
Twitter – https://twitter.com/KiltieJackson


Giveaway – Win a £40 / $40 Amazon Voucher (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Book Review: Bahama Mama by Tricia Leedom

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35041996.jpg Bahama Mama (Key West Book 2) by Tricia Leedom

Publisher: Firefly Hill Press
Published: 8th May 2018
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B071YDQ3BH
Source: NetGalley and Firefly Hill Press. Thank you lovely people for my copy, in exchange for my review.

Goodreads | Amazon UK

Description

Troubles are piling up for Molly MacBain. Between navigating the moods of an increasingly sassy teenage daughter, grappling with money problems, and dealing with her daughter’s deadbeat dad, Molly doesn’t need any more stress in her life. Her best friend’s wedding should be a welcome chance to relax, but Molly’s dismayed to discover her friend’s new brother-in-law is her idol—country music superstar Anders Ostergaard. After spending years on the country music circuit herself, Molly can’t help but have a fangirl moment when she meets Anders in real life.
Anders flies to Key West to attend his brother’s wedding and keep a low profile after a Vegas tragedy plasters his face to the cover of every tabloid. He has strict rules about getting involved with fans, but with her sharp wit and refreshing openness, Molly draws him in like no one has before, even as the shadow of his recent scandal stalks closer.
Their flirtation is put on hold when Molly’s daughter witnesses a murder and winds up in Jamaica. Anders offers Molly his private plane, and together they race for Montego Bay, dodging the hit man who’s hell-bent on eliminating everyone who knows of his crimes.
When danger and proximity spark a blazing romance, Molly can’t help wondering about the future. Can a fan and her idol build a lasting love? Or is their relationship just a fling fueled by the sultry Caribbean breeze? And most importantly—can she survive long enough to find out?

My Review

Where in the world can I find myself my own Anders?? Seriously, I know I’m a married woman but holy f***.  I thought his brother, Jimmy Panama, in the first Key West book was hot, but Anders has taken it to a whole new level. I’ve only got extremely high hopes for the third book next year featuring the third brother Jonas. If it’s anything like the first two then we are in for one hell of a hot ride.

I’ve really enjoyed reading this book. It’s got a little bit of everything for everyone. Sex? Check. Action? Check. Humour? Check. Hot man? Double check. It’s been pure escapism for me and I loved every page. Everything works really well together and it’s a fantastic read.

The writing style was gripping, fun, and very heartfelt in moments. It left me guessing a little until right at the last moment it all clicked into place, when there was one little tiny detail what made me think through it properly. I sort of expected the ending, it wasn’t that difficult to work out when it came to Molly and Anders relationship.

I definitely preferred Molly in this book compared to the characters of the first. I found her feisty, independent, and funny. I felt for her in the book when it came to things with her daughter, Cheyenne, and for how she felt towards Anders. Her first meeting with him had me laughing, it’s definitely something I would do. You already know my opinion on Anders so let’s not go there… Molly’s relationship with Cheyenne really bounces from the page, and so do her feelings and friendships towards other people.

This book definitely deserves its 4 out of 5. The only thing that I will say is that it was all a little far-fetched, but I loved it for that.