Book Blitz: The Big little Festival by Kellie Hailes

The Big Little Festival by Kellie Hailes

Publisher: HQ Digital
Published: July 19th 2017
Format: EBook
Pages: 218
ASIN: B0714815RL
ISBN13: 9780008259174

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

Join the whole village at The Big Little Festival for the perfect summer day out!

With only weeks until the little Devon village of Rabbit’s Leap holds its first ever festival, Jody McArthur is desperate. She – more than anyone – wants to raise the funds to rebuild the local swimming pool and when she fell pregnant with her twin boys, it was the village who was there to support her. So, to stop disaster in its tracks, she brings in big-shot London events manager Christian Middlemore to make The Big Little Festival the huge success everyone deserves.

But Jody is totally unprepared for the impact reserved-but-gorgeous Christian has on Rabbit’s Leap – and her heart! Except Jody has avoided relationships for so long, and anyway, she’s sure romance between a country-born-and-bred single mum and a career-focused city boy would be impossible – wouldn’t it?

As tensions rise along with the home baked scones and miles and miles of bunting, Jody is about to find out!

The second book set in the picture-perfect Rabbit’s Leap, this little village is where love blooms!

My Review

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley, the author and Jenny at Neverland Blog Tours for my copy of this book in exchange for my review. Also, thank you for the chance to take part in the Weekend Blitz for it!

A excellent sequel to the first book. I loved finding out more about Jody, her boys, and can only hope the third is about Serena. She’s a character I’d love to know more about, and while there are little hints in this book about her you don’t get a full image of who she is and what she’s doing back in Rabbit’s Leap.

While this can be read as a stand-alone book, I did read the first one before this and I think it helped. You got a little backstory for some of the characters in that one that you didn’t really get in this one, it sort of skims over everyone.  The involvement of characters from the previous book make this one feel like your coming to have a catch up with some old friends.

While the romance in the first book was intense and full on, the romance between Jody and Christian was simmering, hopeful, strong and just plain old nice. It was a change that Christian took to her children, and wanted to care for them. Jody is a strong character, she knows what she wants and she knows that her boys come first. Until Christian comes along anyway. Christian is a bit of a hit and miss character for me. One one hand he’s the perfect gent, on the other hand he’s bit of a wimp. One page I loved him, the next I didn’t really like him.

The writing style was quick and easy to get into and didn’t leave anything out of the picture. I loved the way this book came across and devoured it within a few hours. As I said before, it felt like coming home to old friends for a chat, a cup of tea and a laugh. It’s a 4out of 5 from me.

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Blog Tour: Sinking Chef by Sylvia Ashby

The Sinking Chef (Pot Love Book 2) by [Ashby, Sylvia]

The Sinking Chef (Pot Love 2) by Sylvia Ashby

Publisher: Vangtorp Volumes
Published: April 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 428
ASIN: B06ZYGMPLB

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

Bridget Jones meets Burnt in this delightful comedy novel about a talented YouTuber and the guy who keeps trying to bring her down. Although part of a series this book is completely standalone, as are all other novels in the Pot Love Series.

In Belsize Park, London, Ashley works hard on her daily YouTube channel “The Sinking Chef”. It’s filmed right in her kitchen, so she doesn’t go out much.
James is a gruff British TV director, turned publisher, who Ashley had a crush on ages ago. She has moved on but when he calls with an offer to take her out to lunch she doesn’t say no. It’s only lunch – what can go wrong?
The day Ashley meets James for lunch and he promises her a book deal, she makes the worse decision in her life – to hide the book deal from her boyfriend, Giacomo. As things progress Ashley’s secrets mount up and other things in her life unravel. Is there a connection? And how is she going to get out of this without losing Giacomo and the life she loves?
Set in the heart of fast-paced London, The Sinking Chef is a charming story of love, recipes, secrets, and the determination to do thinks right by those you love most in your life.

My Review

Thank you to the author and publisher for the chance to read and review this book. I took part in the cover reveal for this back in June and I said then I was excited to read this.

While it’s the second in the series, you can read it as a stand alone which I did.  There is plenty of details to make sure you’re up to date with the previous book and that you know how the characters have got to where they are.

I think the ending of this book was the best bit. Not because it was finished but you finally got to feel what Ashley feels. Her anticipation, her excitement and her worry. I felt more for her on the last few page then I did the rest of the book to be honest. Which I feel bad about. She is a good character, she’s funny, clumsy, and just a strong character in all. I never really related to any of the characters. I think that, for me, I should have read the first book.  Some of the characters didn’t really add anything to it for me, they were just background noise.

The writing style was quick and easy to read. It moved along nicely without any need for pointless paragraphs or speech. One thing I didn’t like was the timeline. It was never really made clear that weeks were passing at a time. There was also a few discrepancies, like Ashley giving a vase to someone and then the next she still had it. I tried to look over it but it happened more than once and I had to check details more than once.

The storyline in general was a little farfetched but it was enjoyable. It was the ridiculousness of it that made me keep reading, I wanted to know what outrageous thing happened next. And I also wanted to know who it was happening to. Everything about this book kept me entertained, I just wish that I had read the beginning of the series.

Overall, the storyline was good, it was entertaining, the characters were good, the characters that had main plot lines all interacted well, and it was written well. For me, this book was a bit of a mixture of opinions for me.  While I think all of the previous points, I also think that here was just too much going on at the some time.  The timing was off, the details that never stayed the same, and that I didn’t actually feel for the characters until the end was an issue. For all of those reasons, I’m giving it a 3/5

About The Author

Sylvia Ashby is fond of the written word: books, blog posts, recipes, even an explanation to the HM Revenue & Customs as to why she thinks skirts should be exempt from VAT – she’s written it all!
She likes travelling and has lived all over Europe
– London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sofia,
Bulgaria.
Currently, she lives in Leuven, Belgium with her husband, daughter, son and a sparrow called Jack, who comes occasionally to peck the seeds she leaves for him on top of the garden shed.
Twitter: @bysylvia_a

Blog Tour: The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin

The Room by the Lake

The Room By The Lake by Emma Dibdin

Published: August 10th 2017
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9781786694027

Goodreads
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Head of Zeus

Description

When Caitlin moved from London to New York, she thought she had left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a foreign city, she is desperately lonely.

Then she meets Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. He lives off-grid, in a lakeside commune whose members practise regular exercise and frequent group therapy. Before long, Caitlin has settled into her idyllic new home.

It looks like she has found the fresh start she longed for. But, as the commune tightens its grip on her freedom and her sanity, Caitlin realizes too late that she might become lost forever…

My Review

Thank you to the publisher for the chance to read and review this amazingly, intense story. Also, thank you for the opportunity of taking part in this blog tour. It definitely was a rollercoaster of emotions.

This book was disturbing. No, not disturbing. It’s made me a bit out of sorts. I’ve never read a book that has left me with a cold feeling before. Not because it was awful, but because it was so dark and terrifying in a way. The way that this book is put across is rapid yet slow, you feel the lack of concept of time along with Caitlin, you feel the neediness of her.  You feel her fear, paranoia and psychotic problems alongside every one of her emotions. I rarely feel confused while reading a book, or second guessing what I had read but this just made me a little untrusting of everything.

I didn’t know where this book was going to take me, I didn’t know what I was going to experience. I haven’t read a book like this for a very, very long time and I’m so glad that it was this one what I read before all of the others.

The writing style gripped me from the first page and had me taking a break every few pages just to dive straight back in again. It made me not trust what I was reading, not trusting the characters.  I really didn’t see what was happening until the last minute like Caitlin and it made it all the more realistic.

This book is a bit of an eye opener to how people become involved within a cult environment and has made me question if half of them are there by choice or have been manipulated into it.  Have they been told the truth from the start, or have they been persuaded by other means? Is it ever really an acceptable way to live either way?

I have been left with questions though. Did she recover? Did she have any form of communication with the others eventually? What happened to Jake? And Mary?

For a debut book, this will definitely top many people’s lists this year I think. It has everything you look for in any psychological thriller. It will more than likely be in my top 10 for the year.  It has left me cold, I may have little trust issues with books from now on.

A spectacular thriller. A haunting read. A huge, gigantic 5/5.

Blog Tour: It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

It Was Only Ever You

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback & Ebook
Pages: 448
ISBN13: 9781784082420
ASIN: B01AATYCBS

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Head of Zeus Link

Description
Set in late 1950s Ireland and New York, the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

My Review

Thank you to the publishers and Kate Kerrigan for the chance to read this book and to be involved in the blog tour.

This book started slow to begin with, and it does jump around a bit between the women and with time, but it all slowly comes together in the end.  The way it is all done works well, there is a lot of path crossing and potentially big what ifs, but it does work.  It did get confusing with how quickly the time did move, and it made me question whether things were all moving at the same pace with all the people when it came to their chapters, or paragraphs.

The one person everyone has in common is Patrick, and it works perfectly.  All the women add something to the book, and all have their own parts to play when it came to him.  Of the 3 women, I felt more of a connection with Ava or Sheila.  I wasn’t really keen on Rose though, whether that was her naivety or her innocence, she just didn’t click with me.  Ava knew exactly what was expected of her, but she still bit the bullet and went for what she truly wanted.  Girl after my own heart.  Sheila had a sense of purpose, maturity, and a feeling of toughness that the other girls lacked.  I would say that Patrick is full of regrets, but does what is right and does what is for the best.  He loves Rose, and he does love Ava.  But his heart will always go to his music first, but he does finally realise who is love is.

Kate Kerrigan has a unique writing style, I enjoyed it, I felt for the characters and their love, their heartache, their losses.  This book was beautifully written, but it took me a long time to get into it.  While I enjoyed it, and did feel for the characters, I felt it was a little rushed and was missing something to make it spectacular.  I can’t pinpoint what I thought it was lacking though.  The ending was a sudden thing, I would have loved to have known if everyone was happy with their choices, and if it worked out well for them. It leftbtoo many what ifs and do they/don’t they for me, I would have liked things to be wrapped up neatly.

I give this book 3/5.  I liked the majority of characters, I liked the romance, loved the setting (who doesn’t love a New York story?!), the music references, it was written beautifully, but as I said, I felt it was missing a spark.  Something to make it so much better and mind-blowing. 

Blog Tour: Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks

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Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks.
Publisher: Piatkus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780349415505

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she’s unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend’s Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.

When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.

Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?

My Review

A delight to read on a horrible wet, windy, typical British summer day.  Thank you to the publishers for the chance to read and review this spectacular book.  Any book set in Italy will always have me in its grips within pages, especially one written by Carrie Elks.  I have only read one  other book by her, but I loved this one just as much as that.  Her writing is wonderful, her characters bounce from the pages and read spectacularly.

Cesca was an amazing leading lady, going from her downward spiral unconfident ways to a confident, young woman who goes for what she wants.  She comes across as a bit of a stray to begin with, forever trying to find her place in the world.  She thought she had her place once, but then it all fell apart.  Since then, Cesca has always blamed one person: Sam Carlton.  I’ll get to him in a minute.  I loved Cesca’s story, her backstory, everything.  Her sense of loyalty to her family is wonderful, especially the bond she shares with her 3 sisters.

Sam, your typical Hollywood actor. Handsome, “chiseled”, charming, what else can you ask for?  Except, with the beginning of the story from Cesca’s view, he only ever thinks of himself.  But he doesn’t, and Cesca realises that.  I loved Sam.  He hides from his mistake, yes to protect himself, but also to limit the damage done to his family.  He cares about what will happens to his mother, and his sisters.  Not so much his father though.  Sam is caring, he comes across as a sensual man, a sexy man.  He definitely knows what he wants.

Chemistry flows from the page the first time they come into contact with each other, and it just gets more intense as the book goes on. With a few hot and steamy parts further on in the book, I was expecting it to be quite cheesy and a bit cringey but I was wrong. It was done in a non-cringe way and didn’t leave anything to the imagination.  They work well together, whether they are arguing, having a normal conversation or having sex.  They work perfectly.

I’m glad things work out well in the end, I don’t think I could have handled it if it didn’t.  I will happily read anything else to do with Cesca.  I wonder if we’ll be getting one for each sister? I’m very intrigued by them.  I would love to know each of their stories.

I happily give this book a huge 5/5.  In fact, I would happily give it 10/10!!!!

About the author

Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.

 

Blog Tour: Q&A/Review: The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by Cressida McLaughlin

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by [McLaughlin, Cressida]

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by Cressida McLaughlin
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 29th June 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 500
ISBN13: 9780008219284
ASIN: B01MY458DB

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
Robin Brennan has come home to Campion Bay. Now her parents have retired, she’s set to become the new landlady of The Campion Bay Guesthouse.
Bookings have been as thin as the hand towels, and it doesn’t take long for Robin to realise that the place needs a serious makeover. Perhaps throwing herself into the task will help to heal her sadness at the tragic end to her dreams in London.
As she gives the guesthouse a new lease of life, Robin encounters old friends and new, including old flame Tim, who’d clearly like to reboot their romance. But what about Will, the new arrival at No. 4, who’s rocked up with the cutest dog ever?
Caught up in a flurry of full-English breakfasts and cream teas, Robin’s never sure what, or who, the next check-in will bring…

Q&A With Cressida McLaughlin

1. What does your writing day look like? And do you have a favourite place to write?

My brain is much better first thing, so I like to start early, 7.30 or 8am, and will try and work through until lunchtime on writing or editing, whatever stage I’m at. After lunch I’ll do other things, social media or blog posts or Q&As like this. The main hazard is Twitter, which can suck up hours of my time if I let it. I should put one of those ‘no internet’ thingies on my computer, but it would frustrate me not being able to look something up if I needed to. (Which is obviously a rubbish excuse from a Twitter addict.)

I have an office in one of our spare bedrooms at home, and I love it. I can have music playing, my sparkly lava lamp on, coffee and tea when I want, a candle burning. It’s very snug and colourful – it has lots of Poldark postcards on the walls – and it’s the ideal space for me to be creative.

2. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Can you tell us a bit about it?

I feel bad that I don’t remember the first story I ever wrote, but I do remember that whatever I did write, I always wanted it to look like a book. I folded sheets of A4 paper in half, stapled them at the fold and then drew a cover on the front, writing the words and adding pictures on the pages inside. My parents taught me about the magic of books from day one, and I loved the idea of my words being inside one – an ambition I feel very lucky to have realised. I remember very vividly a murder mystery my sister wrote for primary school. The story was brilliant, it was put together like a proper book, and I remember wishing that I’d written it. That has stayed with me much more than any of the stories I wrote when I was small – she was definitely an inspiration to me.

3. Do you have a favourite film adaptation of a book? What was it and why?

I thought the adaptation of Gone Girl was excellent, and very faithful to the book, but my favourite has to be the BBC adaptation of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, with Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale and Richard Armitage as John Thornton. It’s bleak, dramatic and very romantic. The scenes in the mills, with the cotton falling like snow while John Thornton stalks about in his stark black suit and hat, are so powerful. It’s a classy adaptation that I never get bored of re-watching.

4. If you were forced to write a different genre, what would you chose?

Creepy ghost story, definitely. I may have the beginnings of one on the go at the moment, just to see if I can do it . . .

My Review:

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley, and the Publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my review.  Also, for letting me take me part in the blog tour.

A light hearted story, revolving around Robin who is starting fresh in her home town of Campion Bay. Taking over her parents guesthouse, she starts from scratch after losing her friend and closing her events business.  A likeable character but a little predictable. She comes across as kind, caring, thoughtful, if not a little held back because of her time in London.  The whole story was a little predictable but then again that’s what we all need as a pick me up from time to time!! This book is definitely a pick me up book. It was heartwarming, friendly, a little amusing, and has some delicious recipes at the end.

Throughout the whole book we have likeable characters, from Molly, Will, Paige, the guesthouse guests and other people from the town. Of course, we have a villain (in a sense anyway) in the form of Robin’s childhood sweetheart, Tim. Not so much a likeable character but it works for this story.  He comes across as sleazy, a little too confident and thinks he’ll get his own way no matter what.

The writing style was easy to read, it kept me reading and was easy enough to keep track off. The book is separated into 4 parts (I think they were published individually before?), each part flows brilliantly into the next. The time frame is only over a couple of weeks but doesn’t feel like that as you read it.  But then on the other hand, it goes by so quickly you don’t really get a sense of the timeframe of everything.  Such a quick pace is always good for me, I love getting caught up in everyone’s stories.

I think it’s safe to say that I liked this book, a lot.  I loved the writing style, the quickness of it, the characters.  I can’t really pinpoint one thing that I didn’t really like about it.

I give this book 5/5

New Release Spotlight: Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal

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Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal
Publisher: Elevate Fiction
Pages: 552
Format: EBook
Publication Date: 6th June 2017

Synopsis
To escape the burden of his family’s past, Whym accepts an apprenticeship with a master his parents fear and revile. He soon finds himself entangled in a web of treachery and on a perilous journey to locate a creature of myth and magic-a journey that will transform Whym and shape the future of the realm.

Meanwhile, Quint, the son of a powerful religious leader, abandons his faith to join the fight against a corrupt council. As the adviser to a remote tribe, he must find in himself the wisdom and fortitude to save the people from the invading army-and their own leaders.


Civil war looms, defeated foes plot revenge, and an ancient deity schemes to destroy them all. While navigating the shifting sands of truth, the two young men must distill what they believe, and decide on whose side they will stand in the coming conflict.

Goodreads

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Today I’m showcasing Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal. Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read, and take part in the blog tour.
I have read this book, so I know what you’re in for, and for the reference, Do Not Get Attached. Never get attached.  You get a connection with someone, and well… You get where I’m going.

Beautifully written, spectacular descriptive writing, and wonderful characters as well. I think that the rest of this series will be a massive hit among readers. I definitely will be looking out for the following book, which we are given a preview of at the end of this one.

Character development was fantastic. Starting as boys, you see Whym and Quint develop into men. The book starts as a child and grows up alongside the characters to become a Man of a book.  Other characters in the book, for example Stern, Tedel, and others, are written with as much thought as the 2 main boys.  I felt for them, I understood them, I wanted what they wanted.

Let me just say about the front cover as well. It’s just amazing. I’m very tempted to buy the physical book just to have that on my shelf.  Throughout the book you get illustrations, as seen above, to give you a better idea of how things look.  It helped when it came to things that seemed a little.. weird.  I wasn’t expecting them so they definitely added a little extra to the book.

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