Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: The Girl Who Lived By The River – Mark Daydy

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Poppy - Blurb
If you’ve ever experienced the joys and agonies of growing up (well, who hasn’t!) – then travel back to 1975 and meet Tom Alder whose life would be just perfect if only he had a girlfriend, some guitar skills and a family without quite so many skeletons in the closet.
Flowers - Buy LinksAmazon UK
Amazon
Flowers - My Review

The Girl Who Lived By The River: Part One Part one, of this four part serial takes you back to the 1970’s. The intermittent decade in the UK between the swinging sixties and the affluent eighties. Epitomised by industrial decline, trade unions, bad fashion and music. I was a teenager in the seventies and this story captures the decade of austerity, glam rock and disco perfectly. A story of first love and teenage aspirations, set in London’s docklands, before it became a fashionable place to live. This gentle, humorous story will draw you into Tom’s world.

Tom has never had a girlfriend but he aims to put that right, before his rapidly approaching sixteenth birthday. Tom is a likeable character and typical of a teenage boy in the seventies, before the internet, sophisticated computer games and musical downloads. Tom, like so many young boys wants to be a rock star, the gateway to fame, riches and women. The first part of this, often poignant serial explores his tentative steps towards forming a band and finding himself a girlfriend.

Through Tom’s school friends and foe, you meet lots of interesting, realistic characters and experience the camaraderie and difficulties of living in the London’s East End; at a time when the docks were in decline and unemployment out of control. A curious mix of new adult and romantic comedy this introduction to Tom’s life is easy to read and addictive. I can’t wait to see what 1976 brings for Tom, in part two.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

The Girl Who Lived By The River: Part One by Mark Daydy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Girl Who Lived By The River Part One by Mark Daydy

Mark Daydy

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4* Review: One Scandalous Kiss – Christy Carlyle – An Accidental Heirs Novel

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Historical Blurb

When a scheming marquess’ daughter offers her one hundred pounds to publicly kiss a nobleman, a desperate Jessamin Wright agrees. She believes the money will save her failing bookstore and finally free her from her father’s debts. But when Jess bursts into an aristocratic party and shocks the entire ton, she never expects to enjoy the outrageous embrace she shares with a grim viscount.

Lucius Crawford, Viscount Grimsby, has never met, or kissed, anyone like the beautiful suffragette who unsettles him with a single touch. He has always strived for control and avoided passion at all costs. Lucius is determined to protect his title and restore the estate he’s unexpectedly inherited, but Jess’ appearance in his life poses a threat to his plans and his heart. After a country house party brings them together once more, neither can resist temptation, and both find that one scandalous kiss just isn’t enough

Historical Buy Links

Amazon UK
Amazon

Historical My Review

This is an intriguing romance, set in late Victorian England, full of sensual chemistry and interesting characters.One Scandalous Kiss (Accidental Heirs, #1)

Jessamin, a suffragette, agrees to create a scandal, because she is struggling to keep her late father’s debt ridden bookshop open. Kissing a nobleman, in the midst of the ton, is far out of her comfort zone but needs must and the scandal she causes is the least of her worries. Lucius is the accidental heir to a crumbling estate, with his father’s diminishing mental health; marrying money is the way to save his ancestral home and appease his demanding father. Fate intervenes; will he forsake his duty for love?

Vividly written with some surprises, for both Jessamin and Lucius, there are lots of noteworthy supporting characters, particularly Aunt Augusta. The chemistry between Jessamin and Lucius is tantalising and the ending, perfect fairytale romance.
I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

One Scandalous Kiss by Christy Carlyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


One Scandalous Kiss (Accidental Heirs, #1) by Christy Carlyle

Christy Carlyle

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Posted in Book Spotlight

Somewhere Only We Know – Erin Lawless – Paperback Launch 11 September 2015

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Today, September 11 2015, is paperback launch day for ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Erin Lawless. The book launch is at Clapham Books at 19.30 Unfortunately I can’t attend but I wanted to share the event  with you.

Poppy - Blurb

18040689Boy meets girl… Alex Bradley can’t help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.
Girl meets boy… Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back home.
Girl gets deported? It’s going to be a bumpy ride, one she’s dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes.
From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late?
Funny, addictive and always honest, this is a love letter to London, friendship and the unexpected from the author of the bestselling The Best Thing I Never Had.

Flowers - My Review

18040689I was looking forward to reading ‘Somewhere Only We Know’. Its vivid characters, well researched setting and original take on girl meets boy, met all my expectations.
Nadia and Alex are complex, believable characters, Yin and Yang drawn together in a serendipitous way, they gradually discover what’s been missing in their lives.
Nadia is likeable and despite her looming problems, reaches out to Alex shows him how to enjoy life. Alex is hiding secrets that may damage their fledgling relationship. Their London and south coast adventures are entertaining, realistic and make their growing attraction inevitable to everyone, including the reader, but not themselves.
The supporting cast are equally vibrant and showcase the main characters, without upstaging them. I would like to see what happens to Caro, Holly and Rory in another book, perhaps? This is a story of young, sometimes emotionally immature adults. The romance is gentle and illuminates rather than dominates the story.
A great holiday read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Flowers - Buy LinksAmazon UK

Poppy - Author Bio

UK4A9482Erin Lawless lives a happy life full of wonderful friends, in love with a man who buys her books instead of flowers. To mix things up a little, she writes books where friends and lovers hit obstacles and (usually) overcome them. When she’s not doing that she reads absolutely everything she gets her hands on, spends an inordinate amount of time in pyjamas and runs a fun-but-informative blog on British history.

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 Here’s my review of Erin’s New Adult Bestseller The Best Thing I Never Had

Flowers - My Review

18798691The Best Thing I Never Had is a great read with fabulous characters.
Divided into past and present events this story’s structure allows the reader to know the characters in depth and really want to know what happens to them which I liked. The focus of the first section is the long awaited wedding of two of the group of university friends and it is here the reader realises something momentous occurred in their shared past but doesn’t know what.

Just over half the story takes place in the past although pacing of this section of the book allows you to experience events with the characters as it happens which makes it easy and interesting to read.

The second half surrounds the wedding and how the characters have fared since university. There are a few surprises both in character development and plot. This was my favourite part of the story possibly because the characters were less annoying and more world weary.

The characters are vivid. It’s easy to love or hate them. This is all about the people what they think, what they feel and what they do. The plot is not the main focus of this story but it does hold some pleasing twists.

Packed full of emotion and humour this story is definitely worth reading even though it is longer than is currently fashionable. I look forward to the next book by this author.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Author Guest Post, Book Review, New Books

5* Review: Shirley Valentine Goes to Vegas – Michelle Betham

ShirleyValentine Goes to Vegas Cover image


Lana Saunders is on a mission to find the ‘new Lana’, the real Lana. After twenty years spent as a prim and proper businessman’s wife, she’s finally swapped beige cotton for black leather, and cardigans for tattoo sleeves! With the ink only just dry on her divorce papers, she’s ready to live it up in Vegas.

What she doesn’t expect is to meet wickedly sexy biker, Eddie and is shocked when he asks her out. Not only does he send her sex-starved libido into overdrive, but the connection between them is unlike anything she’s ever experienced. So when Eddie asks her to stay with him in Vegas, the desire to fall into this gorgeous man’s bed and stay there forever is too tempting to ignore!

Living with Eddie in Las Vegas is the most fun Lana’s had in years—especially when he shows her that there’s more than one way to ride on a Harley!—but soon she realises she can’t ignore her old life forever, particularly when her ex, Adam shows up determined to win her back!

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My Review 2

Shirley Valentine Goes to Vegas

Lana Saunders is a likeable ‘Shirley Valentine’ character, ‘living the dream’ in Las Vegas, rather than the Greece.

Lana knows her marriage isn’t going to be as exciting twenty years on but she is escaping from more than the routine. Lana is fighting for her individuality, tired of being the square peg in the round hole.

Finn, Lana’s younger brother, gives her somewhere to run to. Lana empathises with his way of life and friends and rediscovers who she is. I loved Finn, he is loyal and caring and I would like to see what happens in his life in a sequel perhaps?

Lana’s chance meeting with Eddie, a Scottish biker, living in Vegas is vivid and intense. Eddie is a mysterious character. Lana gradually discovers his secrets and demons, when she lives life on the wild side. Adam, Lana’s ex-husband’s reappearance, transects her new life and leads the story in a new, unexpected direction.

Full of twists and surprises, with realistic characters and an absorbing plot, which draws you in and keep you turning the pages. This is an epic sized novel but it is so easy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Vegas and walk on the wild side; especially the hot and raunchy love scenes that epitomise Lana’s journey of self- discovery.

I received a copy of this novel from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

What inspired Michelle Betham to write ‘Shirley Valentine Goes to Vegas’? 

Shirley Valentine Goes to Vegas by Michelle Betham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Shirley Valentine Goes to Vegas by Michelle Betham

Michelle Betham

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Guest Post: Michelle Betham – Shirley Valentine Goes to Vegas

ShirleyValentine Goes to Vegas Cover image

‘Shirley  Valentine Goes to Vegas’ is the latest release from one of my favourite authors, the lovely Michelle Betham.

Miauthorpicchelle is guest posting on my blog today to share the inspiration behind this unusual story of self- discovery.

‘There are three things I’ve always wanted to do:-

1. Visit Las Vegas.
2. Ride a Harley Davidson.
3. Get a real big tattoo.

Two out of those three things are still on my “yet-to-do” list, but the third one has been achieved. My left arm now sports a rather large “statement” tattoo – a black ink rose vine that stretches from my wrist to my shoulder. And I love it. It was something I’ve wanted for a long time, and despite being on the wrong side of forty-five now, I truly believe that it’s never too late to do anything, be that get a tattoo, or, in the case of Lana in my new book ‘Shirley Valentine Goes to Vegas’, change your life.

Funnily enough, Lana also decides to “ink up”, as part of her rather drastic lifestyle change, but that’s kind of where the coincidences between myself and my character ends. But, writing about Lana and her journey into a whole new world did give me a chance to – albeit in the fictional sense – live out those first two items on my “things I really want to do” list.

Most of the story in ‘Shirley Valentine Goes to Vegas’ takes place in, yes, you’ve probably guessed it by the title, Las Vegas. I have a huge a fascination with that place, and I really, really want to go there some day, so setting a book there was a no-brainer for me. It seemed like the perfect place for Lana to discover that new life she’s been looking for, even if she didn’t go there expecting to find it. Relationships are the last thing on Lana’s mind when she meets super-sexy biker, Eddie, at a tattoo convention in Las Vegas. But the connection is instant. And it throws Lana. Newly divorced after twenty years of marriage she isn’t used to the feelings Eddie stirs up in her, and when he asks her – completely out of the blue, and after only a couple of days of knowing each other – to stay with him in Vegas, she struggles with what she feels she should do, and what she really wants to do. But, you know, Eddie owns two Harleys. And as I can’t get to ride one of those (yet), Lana gets to do it for me… and Eddie shows her there’s more than one way to ride one of those beautiful machines…

She’s having more fun than she’s ever had before with Eddie, living the kind of life she hadn’t even known existed. But sometimes the past can’t always be pushed aside quite as easily as you’d like it to be. Especially when the past comes looking for you…

For me, creating the character of Lana – a woman who, at the age of thirty-nine, has literally walked out on the only world she’s ever known – was quite liberating. And that’s where the whole “Shirley Valentine” comparison comes into it. Just like Lana, she upped and left the only life she’d ever known to try and find a new one. Because it really is never too late to change anything; to go out and get something, or just do some of those things you’ve always wanted to do. If you have dreams, go out and live them.
Writing this book, I got to turn a woman who’d once been stifled, almost, by the life she’d once lived, from corporate wife into tattooed biker babe; she got to go out there and live out her fantasies, and to write about her transition was a blast! But, of course, nothing is ever that simple, and there comes a point when Lana also has to make choices she didn’t think she’d ever have to make…

I guess this is also a story about – to some extent – fate, because I’m also a strong believer that (some) things happen for a reason. And some of the things that happen to Lana… well, you’ll have to read the book to see how it all works out for her. All I know is you only get one life. And, like Lana – like Shirley Valentine – there comes a time when you just have to get out there and live it – the way you want to live it…’

Untitled
ShirleyValentine Goes to Vegas Cover imageLana Saunders is on a mission to find the ‘new Lana’, the real Lana. After twenty years spent as a prim and proper businessman’s wife, she’s finally swapped beige cotton for black leather, and cardigans for tattoo sleeves! With the ink only just dry on her divorce papers, she’s ready to live it up in Vegas.

What she doesn’t expect is to meet wickedly sexy biker, Eddie and is shocked when he asks her out. Not only does he send her sex-starved libido into overdrive, but the connection between them is unlike anything she’s ever experienced. So when Eddie asks her to stay with him in Vegas, the desire to fall into this gorgeous man’s bed and stay there forever is too tempting to ignore!

Living with Eddie in Las Vegas is the most fun Lana’s had in years—especially when he shows her that there’s more than one way to ride on a Harley!—but soon she realises she can’t ignore her old life forever, particularly when her ex, Adam shows up determined to win her back!

Buy Links 1

Amazon UK

Kobo  

Nook  

Sainsbury’s 

Google Play 

Author Bio

authorpicMichelle Betham is an ex-media technician turned author of hot, edgy, gritty romance, usually involving rock stars, sports stars, and bikers. But not usually all in the same book. Yet. She is both self-published and published through HarperImpulse, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

Addicted to binge-watching TV dramas she struggles to think of a life before Netflix, loves rock music, tattoos, spicy food, and Keanu Reeves – a crush that’s lasted over twenty years, and one she blames entirely on ‘Point Break’…

Her dream is to ride a Harley. And visit Las Vegas. And be able to eat any amount of chocolate without putting on weight…

She lives in County Durham, north-east England, with her husband and West Highland Terrier, where she can be found most days drinking tea and making up stories.

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: Cover Girl – Nic Tatano

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Blurb - Coastal

Powerhouse romance editor Keira Madison is known as “Cover Girl” – because she’s come up with the concepts for the covers of the best selling novels in history. But right now, she’s desperate to replace her best selling author.

Wannabe author Alex Bauer has given up hope of ever selling his military thriller, so he takes a shot at writing a romance and sends it to super agent Bella Farentino. She’s blown away by the book, but more shocked to find out the author is a man. So she decides it’s best to keep it a secret when pitching the novel – what does a man know about romance after all?

When Keira buys the book, Alex needs a cover story to hide the fact he’s the real author. So he invents a fictional cousin who’s an agoraphobe; too shy to ever leave the house. He agrees to work as “her” intermediary during the editing process while getting a friend to “play” the author on the phone.

One major problem. He falls hard for Keira, a spunky redhead who is a dead ringer for the heroine in the book. And she’s smitten with him, as he’s a clone of the novel’s romantic hero, a fictional Mister Right come to life.

You see where this is going.

As the release date for the book gets closer, their relationship grows stronger while the tale of the fictional author goes over the top. At some point Alex will have to come clean that he’s the real author of the book but worries he’ll risk losing Keira because she won’t be able to trust him.

Buy Links - Coastal

Amazon UK
Amazon
My Review - Coastal

Cover GirlThis story has the distinctive, edgy realism of the other books in the series, even when the plot spins a tale of epic, fairytale proportions. The characters are believable and vivid, I could picture them and their expressions as I read the story and this made it an enjoyable read. The meeting between dynamic Keira and our gentle hero Alex is original and plausible.

Keira is a strong female character who takes no prisoners in her work life, romance is a different story but luckily she has her fairy godmother or editorial assistant Gretch who makes her believe in herself.

Alex isn’t an alpha hero but a rare male who appears to understand, what’s important to women. Despite this, he misses the obvious on numerous occasions with some comical and poignant results.

The story is perfect for romantic comedy. A career dream comes true for Alex and he finds a woman, who could be his soul mate but when the plot twists come into play, his dream career, perfect love life and his sanity are all in danger.

For me, the test of a good romantic comedy is the humour and the imagery it portrays. This story delivers both and was a pleasant escape for a few hours.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Cover Girl by Nic Tatano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Cover Girl by Nic Tatano

Nic Tatano

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