Un-Stacking The Shelves

Allie's Little Avenue


Wow, March is over and done with.. This year is going unbelievable fast. I don’t want it to go any quicker!!!! My Reading this month has been a bit of a busy one. I’ve had 4 blog tours in one week and finally had a chance to read a few books of my choosing!! Yay!!

March Update
  1. Sweet Home Summer by Michelle Vernal Blog tour, check out my review
  2. Mister Cowboy by Rebecca Jenshank Mini Review
  3. Sunshine and Secrets by Daisy James Another blog tour, Review here
  4. Strange The Dreamer by Laina Taylor Yet another blog tour, Review Here
  5. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness Trilogy Review
  6. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness Trilogy Review
  7. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness Trilogy Review
  8. Burning Moon by Jo Watson Mini-Review
  9. Relight My Fire by Joanna Bolouri Mini Review
  10. The Château of Happily Ever After by Jaimie Admans Mini Review Coming Soon!!
  11. 36 Questions that Changed by Mind About You by Vicki Grant Review Coming Soon!!
  12. This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab Mini Review Coming Soon!!
  13. Someone Like You by Brittney Sahin Mini Review Coming Soon!!
  14. The Hotel on Mulberry Bay by Melissa Hill Mini Review Coming Soon!!
  15. The Reading Group by Della Parker Review Coming Soon!!
  16. The One plus One by Jojo Moyes Mini Review Coming Soon!!

April TBR

I don’t think I will have a definite April TBR, it’s going to be a stressful, exciting month and I don’t want to have to go by a list this month.  I’ll probably be able to read a little in downtime and at work, and probably on the train to and from Edinburgh but we shall see!!

I’ll be back in May with a possible TBR list.

 

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Blog Tour: Sunshine and Secrets by Daisy James

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Sunshine & Secrets: The perfect romantic comedy of 2018 (Paradise Cookery School)Sunshine and Secrets by Daisy James

Publisher: Canelo
Published: 19th March 2018
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B079JT1ZN8
Source: Canelo and NetGalley, thank you for my copy! Also, thank you for letting me take part in the blog tour.

Goodreads          Amazon UK

Description

When newly heartbroken, michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.

But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected….  With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?

My Review

First impressions of this book was that it was going to be a light hearted, easy, read. Honestly, I really struggled to get into it. I felt like I was reading the 2nd book in a series. I felt like I was missing vital information and it left me feeling a little confused.

Millie was a likeable girl, she was definitely my sort of person. Messy, chaotic, clumsy. Zach is confident, witty and likeable as well. I didn’t really get to form an opinion on the other characters. I felt that that weren’t in the story enough to get a fully formed thought on them.

Saying that, I think this book could have been a lot longer. At just under 200 pages, it is  very short story. Especially for me. I didn’t get what I was expecting from the story the characters, the beautiful setting of St. Lucia. It was just missing so much for me.

Having said all of that, I did actually enjoy the story. It was fun, easy to read, and all the food mentioned made me want to eat. It all sounded extremely delicious and made me want to start baking or cooking. It was a light hearted bit of fun. With a bit of a comical tone to it with how clumsy Millie was, and a dash of mystery.

For me, this book is a 3/5 read. I liked the characters and the story but I also didn’t like a lot of things. There wasn’t enough world building for me, it wasn’t long enough and I didn’t get enough info about all the characters.


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Author Bio

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Twitter: @daisyjamesbooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daisyjamesbooks/

Blog Tour: Sweet Home Summer by Michelle Vernal

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cover103841-mediumSweet Home Summer by Michelle Vernal

Publisher: HarperImpulse
Published: 12th January 2018
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley and Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Resources. Thank you lovely people for my copy.

Goodreads          Amazon UK

Description

Sometimes, home really is where the heart is…

Leaving behind her hi-flying career in London, Isla Brookes has had enough. Burnt out and tired of an unfulfilling profession and lousy boyfriends, it’s time for her to go home.

Arriving back in cosy Bibury to stay with her grandmother, Bridget, everything is charmingly familiar. Even her childhood sweetheart, Ben, is as handsome as she remembered…

And when she discovers a stack of long-forgotten Valentine’s Day cards, Isla, with the help of Ben, begins to realise exactly what is most important in life.

My Review

This book took some getting in to, and then when I did I really enjoyed it. I loved Bridget’s back story, I loved the fact we got it full detail and not just snippets here and there. I liked Isla, she was strong, stubborn, and determined. I like a stubborn person. She wasn’t your typical lost character, she found where she was supposed to be and found a way to make it work. She found a new life in her home town and it worked well for her.

I liked the fact that the story didn’t centre around Isla and her romance with Ben. It was touching to see an older, sod it an elderly, lady getting a second chance at love, and to top it off it was someone who loved her 100% back.

This book was touching. It had heartbreak, second chances, new dreams coming true, and a very detailed back story. I love it when there when we get a complete back story to a book. I think I would have just read the book if it was just Bridget, her past, and nothing else. She took centre stage for me and I adored her. Bridget is definitely my favourite character in the book. I would adopt her as my Gran with her stories and what sounds like very delicious home cooking.

It was written well, as I said it took some getting in to but it didn’t take long for me to grow attached to the story. All of the characters as instantly likeable and I related to them all on some sort of level. The little town of Bibury sounds like the sort of place that I would love to visit, it sounds like a place I’d happily call home.

I happily give this 4 stars. With instantly likeable characters, a town that feels like it could become home, and a elderly lady who I would happily call Gran.

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Author Bio

thumbnail_IMG_20171229_153710Hello, my name is Michelle Vernal, and by way of introduction, I’m Mum to Josh and Daniel and am married to the super supportive Paul. We live in the garden city of Christchurch, New Zealand with our three-legged, black cat called Blue. BC (before children) Paul and I lived and worked in Ireland, the experiences we had there have flavoured my books.

I’ve always written, but it was only after my first son was born that I decided to attend a creative writing course at Canterbury University. Oh the guilt dropping him at pre-school so I could learn the basics of story writing, but oh the joy of having conversation to contribute other than the price of nappies that week! The first piece I ever penned post course was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. I went on to write humorous; opinion styled pieces of my take on parenting, but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel. Six books later and a publishing deal with Harper Impulse here I am. These days I write for a lifestyle magazine and my latest book Sweet Home Summer has just been released by Harper Impulse.

Social Media Links

http://www.michellevernalbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/michellevernalnovelist/

https://www.instagram.com/vernalmichelle/


 

Blog Tour: Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Blog Tour


thumbnail_STRANGE THE DREAMER PBKStrange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Published: 8th March 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN13: 9781444788952
Source: Hodder Paperbacks, thanks to Jenni for my copy and for letting me take part in the blog tour.

Amazon UK        Goodreads

Description

The dream chooses the dreamer.

Since he was five years old, Lazlo Strange has been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to go in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself – in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep to cut it off from the world? What did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do many more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who visits Lazlo’s dreams . . .

My Review

There are people who are on this world just to weave beautiful tales. Laina Taylor is such a person. She has written an enchanting story, with magical characters and fascinating cities. I don’t know how I’m going to put into words how incredible I think this story is.

The back story, the myths and tales that are throughout this book are fascinating and well thought out. It wraps you in a world of comfort and magic and I for one did not want it to end. We get their fairy tales, the folk lore, the myths and legends. We get the full picture of what the people of Weep believe and how they try to live with what their world is now like. We get a sense of mystery, of wonder and intrigue within the first few pages and it keeps you on tenterhooks throughout.

Characters. I loved Strange and Sarai. You care for them, you love for them, you get involved with everything to do with them. Between the two, I would not be able to pick  favourite. It would be impossible. I think we need to keep an eye on one of the characters, I think they are going to be our true villain. Some of them are going to sneaky I reckon ad others will surprise us immensely. I’m intrigued as to how everyone fits in to the final story. All of the characters have wonderful back stories, they’re all likeable, well except maybe one or two.

The ending of this book is just.. it’s jaw-dropping.  It’s definitely an ending I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I hope the second book, Muse of Nightmares, is going to be a spectacular conclusion and we will see who is evil or not. Well, not evil but you see where I’m going.

I’m struggling with finding everything I want to see about this book. It truly is a magical masterpiece and to get the full extent of that you have to read it. I’m in awe of how somebody can write like this.

I’m officially unable to leave the land of Weep, and am waiting impatiently for book two. This book is outstanding, delightful, stunning, magical, enchanting. This book is everything. This book gets a very well deserved 5/5. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have read this spectacular story and be involved with promoting it.

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Blog Tour: The Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans

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thumbnail_The Little Wedding Island-HQThe Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans

Publisher: HQ Digital
Published: 2nd March 2018
Format: Ebook
ASIN:B074SD3RKH
Source: Jenny over at Neverland Blog Tours, thank you!!

Goodreads          Amazon UK

Description

‘Will you… pretend to marry me?’

Bonnie Haskett loves everything about weddings. She loves her job at a national bridal magazine and even has a deposit down on her dream dress. The only problem? She doesn’t have a fiancé!

So when Bonnie is sent to Edelweiss Island, known as ‘The Little Wedding Island’, it’s a dream come true. She’s heard the rumours, every wedding that takes place in the tiny chapel ends in a happy-ever-after.

But there’s a catch! Investigating the story, Bonnie needs to pose as a blushing bride – and the only man up for posing as her groom is her arch rival (and far too handsome for his own good) journalist Rohan Carter…

My Review

First impressions of this book was that I was going to love it. And I did. I instantly fell head over heels for Bonnie, for Rohan and for Edelweiss. I’m at the final stages of wedding planning, and it made me remember why I’m getting married. Its not for the day, it’s for the days, months and years after. This book should be read by everyone who is having major wedding planning dramas, doubt or just planning a wedding full stop.

I loved all of the characters we meet on Edelweiss, they made me laugh and smile stupidly at how crazy about love they are. The chemistry between Bonnie and Rohan is instant, it’s charming, fun and amazing. I found myself laughing along with them when it came to their jokes, I found myself wanting to cry for Bonnie and how she feels, and at times I wanted to scoop Rohan in the big hug that he obviously so desperately needed, or give hi such a slap for being an idiot.

The story flowed easily, and was written beautifully. I shall definitely be looking out for more of Jaimie Admans books!! I’ve loved everything about The Little Wedding Island and really wish it was a real place, I’d instantly be cancelling my own upcoming wedding and eloping to Edelweiss.

This is another of those books that I didn’t want to end, and I really do hope this is the last we see of Bonnie and Rohan. If it is, then the ending is as perfect as it could get.

This book is fabulously romantic, it’s perfect in ever sense. For that reason, this book is getting my third 5/5 of the year.

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Giveaway details

Giveaway Prizes

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bf633057171/?

The Little Wedding Island themed goodie bag:

· The Little Wedding Island notebook

· The Little Wedding Island fridge magnet

· A signed postcard

· In honour of Puffin the dog, a pug fountain pen

· In honour of Edelweiss Island, a copy of The Sound of Music on DVD

· A ‘grow your own’ Edelweiss flower kit in a tin


Author Bio

Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, thumbnail_jaimie-admans-pic1 (2)gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.

She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.

Author links:

http://www.jaimieadmans.com

http://facebook.com/jaimieadmansbooks

Blog Tour: The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert

Blog Tour


The Start of Something Wonderful: a fantastically feel-good romantic comedy!The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert

Publisher: HQ Digital
Published: January 2018
Format: EBook
ASIN: B0763F9C2N
Source: Jane Lambert, thank you for letting me review and be part of your blog tour!!

Goodreads Amazon UK

Description

It’s never too late to follow your dreams…

Forty-year-old air stewardess, Emily Forsyth, thought she had everything a woman could wish for: a glamorous, jet-set lifestyle, a designer wardrobe and a dishy pilot boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her…

Catapulted into a mid-life crisis she wishes she’d had earlier, she decides to turn her life upside-down, quitting her job and instead beginning to chase her long-held dreams of becoming an actress!

Leaving the skies behind her, Emily heads for the bright lights of London’s West End – but is it too late to reach for the stars?

My Review:

I left writing this review for about a day after finishing the book for a few reasons, the main one being I didn’t know how I felt about the book, and I wanted time to think about it.

I liked the story, but I feel a little… Stumped. It felt like the whole story was building up to something big, something exciting and yet… It never happened. In a way I’m hoping we see more of Emily in another book, I found her quite funny. The things she got up to were hilarious, and I’ll probably never look at another jar of tomato pasta sauce without thinking of this book, that scene made me laugh out loud. The ending of the book is what is leaving me troubled. It’s not a complete ending, but it’s not left at a cliff hanger either. It just sort of… finished..

I liked the easy flow of the book, and that it was set over a long period of time rather than a quick few weeks. We got to see Emily and her adventures through the seasons and it was fun.

I liked Emily, and I liked the fact that she was an older woman. Many other books with the same sort of feel as this is always centred on a mid twenties woman, it made a refreshing change. She had experience, she knew what she giving up in the chase for her true dream.

Other characters within in the book were all likeable, except for her ex Nigel anyway. He was a dick, yep I said it. Francesco was just romance on legs and was a good thing for Emily. I think Portia would have been a fantastic character had we seen her more. I would have found it highly entertaining if she carried on popping up in random parts of the book with a little bit of wisdom. The sense of friendship between Emily and the other characters is there, there’s chemistry, there’s passion and there are of course laughs.

I’m happy to give this book 4 stars. With it’s funny moments, special friendships and maybe a happy ending in sight, it’s a fantastic easy, light read.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #5

It's Monday!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!


So much for me making this a weekly thing!! For many reasons I’ve not kept up with it and constantly unscheduled posts when I’ve not had either the motivation to write the post or have had no time in which to sort it out. But, I plan start again properly the beginning of May so bear with me!!

What I Read Last Week

  • Sunshine and Secrets by Daisy James Goodreads
  • Mister Cowboy by Rebecca Jenshank Goodreads
  • Sweet Home Summer by Michelle Vernal Goodreads
  • Strange The Dreamer by Laina Taylor Goodreads

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What I’m Reading At Present

  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness Goodreads

A Discovery Of Witches (All Souls, #1)

Up Next

Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve not even opened A Discovery of Witches yet, I’m still living in the land of Weep refusing to leave. But, I’m in no rush. I’m officially all caught up with blog tours at the moment so I’m going with the flow.